God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Dr. Henry Cloud has a recent podcast titled: “Being psychologically healthy during times of crisis.” In it he says… “If you’re feeling a little weird right now… that’s okay. It’s normal. You have made all these maps about how life works. Ritual and patterns were pretty much set and all of a sudden… boom! You wake up and everything is different. Like none of those patterns exist anymore. When life changes… it registers in the brain as an error. It causes your whole body to “amp up” looking for “what is going to change next.” This can leave you feeling a little weird.
That is not his exact words. You can listen to them here: Henry Cloud
But the point is… change disrupts us in so many ways. It can feel like the aftermath of an earthquake… we are shaky and disoriented. The paths we frequently travel have fissures … blocking our customary paths. There is an anxiousness that wells up within us because we can’t reach for our usual fixes. Coffee with a friend. A movie. A night out. Its weird. We feel weird.
It is okay to feel that way in a time of crisis. Psalm 46 describes an earthquake. As you read the passage you can almost feel the earth moving beneath your feet. It is a particularly cataclysmic one… as “mountains are slipping into the heart of the sea.” This is “tidal wave producing” change the Psalmist is talking about! In life one can usually trust at least the ground they are walking on… not so in an earthquake. But the Psalmist reminds us in verse 1: “God is our refuge. A very present help in trouble.” There is a place to run which will not collapse in ground rupturing times of change.
If you are looking for solid ground right now and you aren’t finding it in your daily rituals and support groups (not because you don’t want to but because you can’t)… ground yourself in your faith. Turn over your fears and anxieties to God. (1 Peter 5:7)
Break open that devotional book your neglected since January… and catch up. Many Christian publishers are offering free or 99 cent books right now. David C. Cook
Do you have a book that is bringing you comfort right now? Could you share it with the community below?
At the end of Psalm 46 is a familiar verse. It is perhaps a crucial verse for us during this time of “weirdness.”
Be wise. Stay Safe. And remember to love one another.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
This afternoon’s encouragement is for those self-quarantining with kids. It has been awhile for Janine and I… but I remember those days. I had to laugh at Drew Dyck’s email yesterday called “Life in Lockdown.”
Life on Lockdown
I live in Washington state. On Sunday, our Governor ordered all restaurants to close and banned gatherings of more than 50 people. So basically, like an increasing number of Americans, I’m stuck at home.
Initially, this sounded fine to me. We’re stocked up on groceries, so I was looking forward to getting a little break from the outside world. Grace and I could have romantic dinners, curl up in front of the fire and read. Maybe watch movie before bed. Ah, sweet quarantine! But then I realized I’d overlooked one very important fact. Actually, three: our children. Our bouncing-off-the-walls, only occasionally obedient, young kids. A chill ran down my spine as I realized we were quarantined … with them.
But we’re finding ways of coping. On Sunday, since church was cancelled, I sat the kids down in the living room, opened my Bible and delivered a powerful message. Well, I thought it was powerful. They squirmed and laughed talked through my message. “Be quiet! If you don’t settle down there are going to be serious consequences. This passage is about God’s love!”
I’m working from home, which is nothing new (I’ve worked from home for the past 5 years). What is new is having kids at home with me. And it’s pretty irritating. They steal the pens off my desk and plead with me to come outside. “Dad, you’re so boring! Why do you look at that screen ALL day?”
Fortunately, I’ve come up with a solution for these unwelcome intrusions—and it comes straight from Scripture. Henceforth, I have decreed that no child shall approach me unless I have raised my royal scepter (ala the king in the book of Esther).
Unfortunately, Amazon is fresh out of royal scepters. I guess a royal broom will have to do.
From talking with my church members with children these past few days I sense there is a scramble to keep children occupied for what appears to be an unknown period of time.
I’m sure some of you out there have had some great ideas that you might want to share with everyone. In the comments below let us know what is working for you. Some of you who don’t have children in the home right now… but remember ideas that are still tried and true… write and share those.
Here are a couple of things I’ve seen this week around the web…
#1 – David C. Cook is offering “13 Very Awesome Promises and How God Always Keeps Them” by Mikal Keefer for free e-book download today. It is a lesson book to teach lessons of faith to children. They are also offering several others books in their series of “13” books for 99 cents each. If you have trouble finding it on Amazon.com, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will email you back a link.
#2 – This might be a good time to watch (or re-watch) the Disney film “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis. The context of the film is kids on lockdown… sent to a country home for their safety during WW2. The movie has several themes such as forgiveness, sacrifice and salvation that would spur some great family conversation. It is also a beautiful picture of what Jesus has done for us… in the character of Aslan, the lion. You could watch this together on Disney+ or you could get a copy-if you’re local I’ll loan you one- and you could read it to them.
#3 – tasteofhome.com has a collection of easy recipes to bake with your kids. Just paste https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/easy-baking-recipes-for-kids/ into your browser.
How about it? Anyone else have any ideas.
Till tomorrow. Be wise. Stay safe. And remember to love one another.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
This week I’ve been calling through the church directory and checking on members and frequent attenders. (If you haven’t gotten a call yet, hang on, I still have some to make.) I’ve been asking them if they had any needs we as a church could help meet and if there were anything we could be praying about. One word I heard frequently was “isolation.” “Pray for those that will be isolated from people.” “Pray for our family stuck in isolation together for this extended period.” One parent put it kindly: “Pray for ‘general kindness’ in our home.” : )
We all hope for time… time when we aren’t so busy… time to spend reading or working on our hobbies. So what do we do with such time when we have it thrust on us? And what happens when, after a period of “isolation,” all we desire is human contact? The people of Italy are in full lock down right now due to the current pandemic. But they have found an interesting way to encourage one another: singing from their balconies! Could that be something we as a community could do here at Lucas Grace Bible?
In the book of Colossians, Paul called upon the body of Christ to “let the peace of Christ rule” in their hearts. The reason for this was that they were called to “one body.” The first example he gives of that bond we share as believers is singing. There is something about voices being lifted together that melts away division and shoos away fears. We need that kind of unity right now.
So I’m opening up my blog (which I haven’t touched since 2016) and will write daily (hopefully) through this period of “self quarantine” to provide a forum where we as a church can encourage one another. I am going to put up encouraging stores, humor, inspirational verses, etc. And I’m asking you to please comment below with anything similar. This will give us as the body of Christ a chance to “sing from our balconies” and encourage one another in Jesus.
Please be encouraging and hopeful! We need hope right now! I ask that you plan on coming back daily to share. This is open to anyone, whether you attend Grace Bible or not. I’ll be awaiting your responses.
Until then… Be wise. Stay safe. And remember to love one another.