Trying to Make a Difference

This week has been a doozy.  We continue to struggle with the “side effects” of the stay at home orders.  As I navigate my piece of this, I have tried to be careful what I read, watch, and share.  However, I have been watching and reading about two doctors from Bakersfield, CA who spoke up with their opinion of our current situation.  They have been under attack.  They weren’t trying to make waves.  Their goal was to take care of their patients and be examples in their community.  That has stuck with me.  I want to make a difference.  I’m not likely to change the world, but I hope to be an appropriate example where I live.  Hopefully, direct someone to the truth.

As I thought about what I wanted to write this week, the news flooded with the story of George Floyd, a black man who died when a police officer knelt on his neck.  Then the city of Minneapolis (and many others) became the site of rioting and looting.  People, who are no doubt hurting for multiple reasons, are lashing out at this injustice.

With all that has been going on and the addition of this horrible situation in my home state, words truthfully seem futile.  I knew that I still wanted to pursue my original thoughts.  Be an example – lead by example – lead towards truth.

I can’t change people’s hearts and minds.  The evidence that George Floyd died wrongfully is overwhelming.  I don’t know the heart of the police officer, but I pray that he acknowledges his wrong and accepts lawful punishment.  I pray that those rioting and looting wake up to their own ugliness and learn of God’s love.  I pray that those who manipulated through the pandemic situation are held accountable.  I pray that we learn and move forward appropriately.

What I can do is to speak the truth of Who God is.  That is my goal with this blog.  He does not force us to choose the right path.  He has the power to change wrong and ugliness, but He has allowed us to choose. The truth is that we all choose sin at some time.  All sin is ugly and deserves to be punished.  The truth is that Jesus died to save us from sin (Romans 6:23).  If we confess our sin and trust in Jesus, we will be saved from the eternal effects of sin (Romans 10:9-10).  We ALL need this.

There are many Bible verses that tell what God does for those who follow Him. I am sharing 3 with this post.  We are facing hard times.  We need to turn to the truth of the Bible to make a difference that will matter for all eternity.

Dear Heavenly Father, it feels as though multiple powder kegs were lit and blew up. We have so much hurt and pain – all based in sin.  Please convict us and forgive us for the wrong each of us has done.  We are in desperate need of Your help.  Please help me as I seek to show truth – Your truth – the only truth.  Please break through the barriers that keep people from knowing You and how much You love them.  Please help me to be an instrument of Your peace.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Peaceful Protection

Have you ever been anxious – silly question, right?  We have all faced anxiety at some point or another.  If you are living, you have opportunity for anxiety and stress.  It is the reality no matter what.

I am so thankful that God provided a way to end my anxiety.  As I pray with both thanksgiving and request, God will send His peace that provides protection.  He never fails.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending peace when I come to You in praise and pleading.  I ask for help now as I face the day to day challenges that You allow in my life.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Freedom Taking the Next Step

Many of us are “coming out of quarantine” – slowly moving forward after feeling like we have been on hold for a while.  We feel like we are regaining our freedom.  I am happy to be moving forward, but I hope no matter how this situation plays out that we learn/remember a few things.

1. The world has never revolved around “me”.  Too often in our society, we see “it’s all about me” thinking.  We need to remember to think about others.

2. No matter how hard we try, we can’t please/take care of everyone. Too often as we try to rectify selfish thinking, we move too far in the opposite direction and become people pleasers.  That doesn’t work any better than error number 1.

3. The longer I live, the more I see the need for balance.  As we work through 1 and 2 above, we need to find what works the best knowing we will never have the perfect solution. I am often an idealist/optimist, but the truth is that we have tough stuff to face no matter what.

For some this new virus showed very publicly what they have faced before.  Someone who has severe health issues has to be cautious during cold and flu season. Germs that don’t bother most of us can have a harder affect on someone who has cancer for example. Their needs are different.  We still need balance.  We can’t perfectly protect the vulnerable. We simply need to be ready to serve with our freedom.

What is the best way to serve?  Make sure to start with pray. When a friend sent me a message in January that her husband (who has cancer) came down with pneumonia, I was pleading in prayer.  While praying doesn’t always feel like much, I still believe it is an action.  I would love to cure cancer, but that is not in my skill set. My prayer helps me to be prepared for what God does want me to do.  As I submit to Him, I will be better prepared to serve. I will have freedom from my own selfish wishes and much more able to help others.

So, as we regain “freedom” let us find ways to put others first.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to learn how to reach out to others. Please remove my selfish wishes and replace them with the desire to serve.  Please show me what I should do.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Gracious Seasoning

Hello, friends.  How has your week been?  I think some places feel a little more normal, some are still facing various limitations.  Based on the advice of a friend, I am trying to get back to normal as much as I can.  Restrictions are being lifted and let’s face it – I still need groceries (and now home improvement stores are becoming a need). 

We are still facing heightened emotions based on all the things we hear and read as well as what we are living through.  Friends who claim to know and serve Christ – we have a job to do no matter what. We need to make wise use of our time and be gracious in our speech.  Right now, it is hard.  We are being hit in areas of our lives that we are not used to.  This scares us.  Fear can push us towards ungracious words and behavior.  We need to keep praying for wisdom and grace to navigate our circumstances in a way that honors the One Who has given us eternal life.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please help me to navigate my current circumstances with wisdom and grace.  I want others to see Who You truly are.  We need the truth to prevail.  Please help me to encourage truth and not get in the way with foolish, ungracious speech.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Do You Have Cabin Fever, Too?

I don’t know about you, but this has been another tough week living through the effects of this new virus. Working from home hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped.  I’m an introvert – this should be my dream.  There are some fun pieces of working from home, but spending the entire week at home is more than I like.

As I have fought to navigate the barrage of information, media sensationalizing (and negativity), stay at home orders, etc. I have found it difficult to know what to pray. I have my opinions on the situation – my viewpoints based on a lot of things.  And, no, I will not post them here. I will, however, seek to challenge everyone’s thinking.

Before you decide that your research has given you the correct data and interpretation of that data, please know – a small detail can change your understanding.  Before you think you have looked at it from all angles – know that there could still be a perspective you haven’t thought of – or another detail you don’t have.  That is why situations like this are so difficult.  No one has the perfect answer.  I have appreciated commentary that admits we didn’t know much about this virus to start with and we needed to learn.  One doctor said that is why they “practice” medicine – they are still learning.  So how do we navigate these sticky situations? 

Keep silent? Sometimes we should.  Listening is a great way to learn and show respect.

Speak up?  Sometimes we should.  When we fumble through the huge amounts of information (including misinformation) we will make mistakes.  We occasionally need to hear a different view.  Maybe we can give that view to someone else.

How do we know what to do?  The book of Proverbs gives great wisdom.  Today’s verse reminds me to give myself and all I do to God and He will direct me.  That includes how I navigate tricky situations like this one.

Dear Heavenly Father, I have many times prayed that I would be an effective tool to serve You.   I need Your help to navigate the difficulties.  I want to be used for the best purpose possible – to further Your work.  I commit my life to You.  I am Yours anyway.  Please help me to navigate this situation in a way that honors You and shows others Who You truly are.

I pray this is Jesus’ name.

God is so good.