Hi, May!

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Father God, thank You for this new month! Lord God, thank You that You are in control. Lord God, thank You that You know our needs even more than we do. Lord, I ask that You strengthen this reader. Lord God, I ask that You meet the physical, financial, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of this reader. Lord God, thank You that You provide for us even when we do not see or feel it. Lord God, help us to become more like Jesus.

Father God, I ask that You give all nations and governments wisdom when it comes to how they handle COVID-19. Lord God, be with all people who are working day and night to serve and help others in this time. Lord God, may all people everywhere, exercise wisdom and common sense when it comes to being out in public. Lord God, helps us to be agents of peace and patience. Lord God, help us to draw closer to You. Teach us to discern Your Truth from all the lies and fear that are bombarding us.

Lord God, I specifically pray for East Africa. Lord God, be merciful on our East African brothers and sisters as they deal with the coronavirus and locusts. Lord God, impress on Your people, for those who have abundance, to consider the plight of those all over the world, even and perhaps in their own backyard who are suffering.

Lord God, teach us to value the things that You value. Teach us to love how You love. In all things may we seek to bring You glory. Thank You Jesus for the ability to pray in Your Name. Holy Spirit, lead us and guide us this day and in this new month. Triune God, thank You for who You are and for all the ways that You are working. Amen.

Scarcity or Abundance?

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In the Bible, the idea of scarcity first appears in Genesis 41. Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream that in the seven years of plenty Egypt should store up food and resources for the following seven years of famine. In the first year of the famine the Egyptian people gave up their land for food, the following year their cattle and by the third year of the famine they had no collateral but themselves (Gen 47:13-19).

According to Brueggemann, “That’s how the children of Israel [became] slaves-through an economic transaction” (“The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity,” The Christian Century, 1999, p. 343).

When God led Israel out of Egypt one of the first things that He did for them was address their short-term and long-term need for food by raining bread (manna) from heaven (Ex 16:4). Rain in Hebrew is a hiphil participle. A hiphil verb is one of causation and a participle is repeated action. God is the Agent, the one causing the action to occur. God’s raining of manna from Heaven was one that He caused and provided and did so continuously until the day Israel entered the Promised Land (Josh 5:12).

This gift of manna from heaven came with a test to see if Israel would walk in the ways of His Law or not (Ex 16:4). “The people’s willingness to obey the manna-gathering law  would show God whether or not they would be inclined to keep his covenant law as revealed at Mount Sinai. It was not just a test to see if they could follow instructions but a test to see if their hearts were inclined to be his covenant people. The test itself required faith for an agricultural people. Farmers know that if one harvests only enough food in a day to meet the needs of that day, eventually one has no food because no crops or animals produce food every day. Now they were being asked to restrain their natural tendency to gather as much as was available to gather in anticipation of the time when no gathering would be possible. God was teaching them to trust him every day afresh, and they were challenged to think about his provision in a way that had never before been part of their planning pattern” (Stuart, Exodus, NAC, 2006, p. 372).

Here is where the fear of scarcity filtered into the minds of the Israelites. On the sixth day, the Israelites were to gather twice as much so to have food for the Sabbath as well (Ex 16:5). “The resulting arrangement provided a weekly opportunity for the emerging Israelite community to be tested by God and to learn about his faithful provision. Every sixth day they would have to discipline themselves to gather twice the usual amount of manna but only that much. Every Sabbath they had to trust that when they woke up, there would be enough manna left to eat and that it would not have spoiled overnight as it might on other days. Thus each week they would see how God provided for them, in a manner counterintuitive to their normal sense of how to gather and store food, and God could see how they were doing in learning to obey him in advance of his giving them his full covenant law over many months following the encampment at Sinai” (Stuart, Exodus, pp. 372-373.

This reminds me of Proverbs 30:7-9 “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God” (ESV).

Agur, the author of the proverb, knows his weaknesses. Agur’s prayer request is that the Lord would not give him poverty nor wealth, as falsehood and lying “are the deceptiveness of both wealth and poverty” (Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, NAC, 1993, p. 238).

This of course reminds me of Jesus’s Words in the Disciple’s Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer is John 17), “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11).  Jesus’s Words here are an allusion to Exodus 16:4 where God will rain manna from heaven. “Just as God provided the wilderness generation with daily bread (i.e., the manna), so Jesus’ disciples, who are also living in a time of salvation, should petition God to provide them with daily bread” (Evans, The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew–Luke, 2003, p. 125).

As I type this post we (at least in the States) are being given a narrative of scarcity. People’s fear and emotions are being elevated as we are being told that meat processing plants are closing due to COVID-19 and that the food may go to waste. While we should be prepared and buy meat, we do NOT need to hoard! Fear mongering is driving the narrative of scarcity. Again,  there is nothing wrong with buying meat, we do not need to hoard. People need meat to survive, so if you are compelled to hoard, let it be the toilet paper!

While I have lived in a farming community my whole life, no one in my family farms. What God has really taught me over the years is that the farther one is removed from providing their food, the less thankful they are. I have never had to work for my food. When I sit down to pray before I eat, my level of thankfulness is no where the same as the farmer or the person who is thankful for that specific meal and trusting God for their next.

These are stressful times for all of us right now. We are all dealing with fear in our own way and media outlets know this. When we start to fear the narrative of scarcity over the great abundance of God, may we ask Him to renew and transform our minds by remembering what He has done and how He has provided for us in the past, as well as discerning His Will for our lives now (Rom 12:1-2).

Father God, thank You for the ways that You provide for us each day. Lord, may we NEVER take Your provisions for granted. Lord, I ask that You help those of us in an area of abundance to not hoard. Lord God, thank You that You know our needs and You know exactly how to care for and sustain us. Lord God, may this time of COVID-19 bring us to a greater level of thankfulness and appreciation for You and for community. Lord God, give us wisdom when it comes to being prepared. Lord God, may we come to a place where we can say “we have Jesus, we have today and each other and that is enough.” Lord God, break the strongholds of consumerism that is plaguing society today. Lord God, teach us to trust. Teach us to exercise self-control. Help us to hear Your still small voice in the midst of all the competing noise. Lord God, thank You for this reader. Thank You that You are this reader’s Jehovah Jireh. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

 

Real or Perceived?

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Almost ten years ago I took a short term position as a Physical Therapist Assistant in an outpatient orthopedic clinic. I remember this like it was yesterday. I can be skeptical of people who state they have back pain. With some patients I filtered their back issues and pain through my own experiences having thoracolumbar scoliosis.  Honestly, at times I was so judgmental I would think to myself, “how can it be that bad?!”

Well, it was not long after I started this job that the Lord allowed me to experience back pain in a way in which I cannot describe. It was horrific! I learned empathy real quick, I can tell you that! I remember saying, “Lord, I repent!” as if my cry of repentance would make it go away immediately. The only thing that calmed me was muttering to myself, multiple times a day:

So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT).

God has also allowed me to experience digestive issues. I know what it is like to be afraid to eat because of pain. There is an emotional toll of knowing that you need to eat to live that gets mixed with the fear of having pain, making the situation more complicated.

Through these two painful experiences God taught me one very important lesson and one very important question to ask Him.

The lesson I learned was that it is easy to see that when someone has their leg in a cast, or their arm in a sling, or a brace around their knee, or using crutches that they have a physical issue. It is NOT easy to visualize a person’s problem when it is internal such as back, GI or neurological pain. We need to ask God to help us listen to a person’s pain rather than being dismissive or judgmental.

The life changing question that God taught me to ask Him was “is this real or perceived pain?” Is my back really hurting or am I being fearful that I will have pain? I have learned that the devil will use my fear of pain to distract me and keep me from stepping out in faith and trying new things. I literally have to ask God if the pain I am experiencing is real or perceived. While most times for me it is legitimate pain, there are times when it is not.

There are numerous times in my life where God has not taken my pain or healed me as I wanted; however, He has most certainly helped me endure. God has given me a greater appreciation for the times when I am pain free, and in my pain He taught me to trust and rest in Him.

Dear reader, I have NO clue what your pain looks like nor what the pain of your loved one looks like. I am in NO way minimizing or trivializing you or your loved one. I do know first hand that the devil loves to keep us worried, fearful and focused on our pain. The devil will NEVER point us to the Lord who will help us process our pain.

Father God, few things are as debilitating as physical pain, and the fear of it. Thank You, Jesus, that You know first hand the debilitating nature of pain. Lord God, I ask that You help us to discern if our pain is real or perceived. Help us to be vigilant and aware without being nervous and fearful. Lord God, help us to have empathy to those who are hurting. Help us to not add to people’s pain. Lord God, thank You that You are with us in our pain. Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord God, give us wisdom, discernment and common sense when it comes to dealing with the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual toll COVID-19 is having on us all. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

 

Thoughts on Psalm 88

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88 A SONG. A PSALM OF THE SONS OF KORAH. TO THE CHOIRMASTER: ACCORDING TO MAHALATH LEANNOTH. A MASKIL OF HEMAN THE EZRAHITE.

1  O LORD, God of my salvation,
I cry out day and night before you.
2  Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!

3  For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
4  I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
5  like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
6  You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
7  Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah

8  You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
9  my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O LORD;
I spread out my hands to you.
10  Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah
11  Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12  Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

13  But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14  O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
15  Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless. 
16  Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
17  They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.
18  You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
my companions have become darkness (ESV).

This psalm is an individual lament. This psalm is also an anomaly in that it does not end in praise nor confession of confidence in the Lord. Verse 18 can also be translated darkness has become my only companion or darkness is my closest friend (NIV).

Robert Alter makes the observation that “the psalm deploys an unusual abundance of synonyms for the underworld” (The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary, 2019, pp. 210-211) such as: Sheol (v. 3), the pit (vv. 4, 6), the grave (v. 5), the land of forgetfulness (v. 12).  

In Old Testament thought “the Lord does not involve himself with the dead…so the psalmist feels cut off from divine care” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 154). The Psalmist has been suffering pain and affliction, being close to death since his youth (v. 15). Even though the Psalmist is suffering and feels cut off from God, he still trusts the God of “[his] salvation” (v. 1).

It may be significant that the Psalmist states that he takes his prayers to the Lord in the morning, as this is when the Lord most often intervened on His people’s behalf (see Pss 30:5; 46:5; Isa 37:6). “The psalmist suggests that for him prayer is the first item on his daily schedule. Prayer is not his last resort but his first impulse” (Estes, p. 156).

The Psalmist is unapologetically raw, sincere and vulnerable in expressing how he feels about his circumstances and the Lord’s silence. However, the Psalmist “does not accept his pain with stoic apathy because, as VanGemeren notes, ‘True faith is not an apathetic acceptance of whatever comes to pass. True faith lies in wrestling with the Lord in prayer'” (Estes, p. 155). The Psalmist “just casts the problem into the hands of the Lord, in effect challenging him to rectify the situation by his faithfulness and righteousness” (Estes, pp. 157-158).

“Psalm 88 teaches that the life of faith at times includes experiences of raw pain and desperate loneliness, but even in the blackest of nights those who trust in the Lord can and should take their frustrations to the Father (cf. Ps 139:12)” (Estes, p. 159).

That quote is what strikes me the most about this psalm. The Psalmist does not complain to his family, friends or anyone else who is willing or in earshot to listen. The Psalmist takes his laments, rhetorical questions and grief directly to God; crying out to Him. The Psalmist still has faith in the Lord even though He is silent.

When I first started typing this my title was “The Darkest Psalm.” While this psalm is indeed dark and bleak, Psalm 88 reveals that it is all right to ask God why even when he does not choose to answer the questions that we bring before Him. Psalm 13 and Job “As both Psalm 13 and the book of Job manifest, the Lord’s silence does not mean his absence, and his silent presence is enough for those who trust in him” (Estes, p. 159).  

In this time of COVID-19 may we take our laments and personal grief before our Heavenly Father. May we trust Him when it comes to dealing with this new normal. Dear reader, please know that is okay to cry out to God, to ask Him questions. While your questions may be met with silence like this Psalmist, I pray that you will still trust Him. 

Father God, I ask for You to strengthen Your people. Help us process and reconcile things that we have never seen before. Thank You Father for those who have training in how to deal with infectious diseases and outbreaks. Thank You Father for those who are calm. Lord God, help us to discern truth from error in regards to the news that is being presented to us. Lord God, may we be reminded that You are NOT the Author of confusion and chaos. Lord God, make prayer our impulse and default mode rather than our last resort. May we take our grief to You and have You help us with our grief before broadcasting our fears, troubles and anxieties to an already dark and anxious world. Lord God, I ask for Your Hand of mercy to be upon all Your people with small children, new babies and babies in the womb as life has changed from what it once was. Thank You Jesus for allowing us to pray in Your Name. Amen. 

 

 

 

Notre Dame, One Year Later

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On April 15, 2019, six days before Easter, I remember watching Notre Dame in Paris, France burn. My mom was visiting and her and I were glued to the TV. Paris has ALWAYS had a very, very special place in my heart and life. April 10, 2020 with seven people present, Notre Dame held an online Good Friday service. (FYI I am strictly talking about the cathedral and am by NO means advocating for the Catholic church!)
Three days post Easter Sunday, I cannot help but reflect. Last year people lamented the burning of said structure and how there would be no Holy Week services. On April 10, 2020 with seven people present, Notre Dame held an online Good Friday service in hazmat suits. It does not matter how beautiful, big, small, old, new, etc. nor how much money one has or is raising for the church building, if there is no one there to worship.

Since the church is the people and not the building, when there are no people in the building, it ceases to be the church. It is the Good News authentically preached and applied that makes the church, the bride of Christ beautiful. COVID-19 does not discriminate it is affecting all of us; keeping us behind locked doors.

COVID-19 has stalled the rebuilding efforts of Notre Dame; however, our Triune God does NOT nor has He stopped, stalled or slumbered building His Body, individually and corporately. The temple is no longer a place, it is a literal physical body. Dear reader, your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, keep glorifying God with your body (1 Cor 6:19-20). While church buildings in the time of COVID-19 are closed, you dear reader, as a believer in Jesus Christ, sealed with the Holy Spirit are indeed a living representation of life in Christ to those who are hurting. While the church building may be closed, the Church Body is ALWAYS open.

A life changed by Christ is more beautiful than any gothic architecture style or rose window. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'” (Isa 52:7; Rom 10:15 NIV).

Jesus lifts up our branches that are not producing fruit and He waters, tends and nourishes them. In this time of uncertainty, doubt, frustration, cling to the One who heals and restores. Cling to our Triune God whose mercies are new each morning.

As the world is rapidly changing before our eyes, remember God is with you, in you and through you. God is still open for business and He is interested in using you! Please do not allow yourself (nor do I want to allow myself) to become a dead lifeless building.

Father God, it amazes me how much life has changed. Thank You Jesus that You are the same yesterday, today and forever! Lord God, may Your fire refine us in this time of COVID-19 to be a people who live and act more like You. May we be a Body who is in the world, not of it. Lord God, thank You that You are still in the people using business. Now more than ever Lord, Your people need to come together in prayer and worship. Lord, I am thankful for technology. I am thankful that in this time of COVID-19 that we are still able to communicate with each other even if it is not in person. With that said Lord, may we not get too comfortable with these platforms that when we are able to meet again that we would rather stay online. Lord God, thank You that You resurrect, heal and restore our physical bodies, relationships, mindsets. Thank You that You have chosen to indwell us. May we be reminded today that You, our Triune God are in us, above us, around us and want to work through us. Thank You, Jesus for the opportunity and ability to pray in Your Name because of Your sacrifice and work on the Cross. Amen and Amen.

 

Happy Easter!

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Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”

(John 20:18 ESV)

Father God, thank You for raising Your Son Jesus from the dead! Thank You, Jesus for giving us new life, reconciling us to the Father! Father God, thank You that for those who are believers in Jesus’s Name that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, thank You for pointing us to Jesus, for convicting, teaching and guiding us! Holy Trinity, may we meditate and savor this Easter with more awe, reverence, devotion, love, respect and wonder this year. Thank You Jesus that You are among the living and NOT the dead!

Lord God, thank You for this reader! Lord God, I ask that You manifest Your presence and power in his/her life in a way that they know that it is You! Lord God, may our lips be filled with praise for who You are and what You have done. The more we praise You and meditate on You, the less we think about ourselves and our situations and circumstances. Thank You Jesus for giving us new life!

Lord and Master Jesus, thank You for loving us. Thank You that we are able to see You in Your Word. Thank You for preserving Your Word. Thank You that no matter what this world does to us and future generations, it cannot kill nor destroy the Truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jesus, I ask that You help us to respond to You and Your Work by loving others in a way that pleases and glorifies the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Holy Trinity, praise You for Easter. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Holy Saturday 2020

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I have always been sensitive that to the disciples and first followers of Jesus, the Saturday after Good Friday would have been to them, the darkest day in the history of the world (link for last year’s “Holy Saturday” post).

The Gospel writers do not give details about the disciples activity on the Sabbath. Köstenberger and Taylor state, “We can presume, however, based upon their actions Sunday evening-fearfully hiding together behind locked doors-that Saturday was spent in secretive fear and dread” (The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, 2014).

While Jesus told the disciples what was going to happen, they did not understand. The disciples truly thought all was lost. For me, when the whirlwind of events starts to settle and I begin to reflect on the situation, circumstances, thinking that all is lost, I am prone to fear (in all its various forms), anger, anxiety and situational depression.

The church is not the building, it is the people who are the church. Even if every church building and Bible in the land were burned or destroyed, it would not destroy the Good News of Jesus Christ. Regardless of what fears, anxieties, insecurities you may be experiencing, dear reader, please know Easter is coming. Hold on!

Father God, thank You that in the midst of our deepest and darkest fears You are there. Calm the storm inside of us as we wait for You. Lord God, thank You that the grave does NOT contain You. Thank You that no matter what happens in this life or on this planet that NOTHING will change the fact that Christ died to save sinners. Lord God, help us to not waste what You want to do in us and through us in this time of coronavirus. Jesus, help us to hold on, knowing that You are coming soon. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Good Friday 2020

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In light of the coronavirus, I have an even greater appreciation for how quickly life can change whether for Jesus’s first followers or for us. I have even greater empathy to the reactions of the disciples after Jesus’s arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial.

I cannot comprehend that even if I were the only sinner, Jesus would have died for me. I grieve that everyday, multiple times a day I spit in Jesus’s face, mock, flog, crucify Him by how I think, speak and act towards Him, others, things etc.

Even in the midst of my personal anguish of Jesus’s death for my sins, I know death does not win. The grave does not contain Jesus. Jesus is Resurrected, Ascended and Seated at the right hand of God the Father (Col 3:1).

Master Jesus, thank You for doing Your Father’s Will and allowing Yourself to suffer in our place. Thank You Jesus for the gift of salvation by grace through faith. May we never lose sight of what our salvation cost You and how worthy You think we are. Triune God, help us to ponder and reflect on the events of Good Friday in a manner that brings us closer to You. Thank You Jesus for all that You have done, are doing and will do. Amen.

 

I Am Sorry!

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Yesterday when I was talking to my mom on the phone the Holy Spirit convicted me.

I have been incredibly selfish and self-centered and I need to make a public apology to my mom and to all the people out there, especially those who are older, who are physically alone right now in this time of quarantine, social distancing and stay at home orders due to COVID-19.

  •  I am sorry for not apprecating human presence
  •  I am sorry for not appreciating human touch

To say to those who are alone right now, “Jesus is with you” sounds so trite and unencouraging to me. I hate and I mean hate when I hear people say to someone who is suffering or homeless that “Jesus loves you!” and just walks away.  What does this love of Jesus mean to someone who is suffering? What does it mean that you will always have a home with Jesus? What in this time of COVID-19 does it mean that Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you when everything is a mess and is upside down?

Ultimately, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17 ESV).

My challenge to myself and all of us is to truly consider others in this time. For those who have children that are home and driving you crazy, consider those who do not have children and would love to have that problem. Whatever social/relationship situation we are in right now, may we consider those in the opposite.

I am thankful that God does not play favorites. I am thankful that God does not change.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor 1:3–4 NIV).

I am a hugger by nature, and right now, dear reader, I am giving you a VERY big hug. May we not allow this pandemic to alter us to the point where we will cease human contact and touch out of fear of the next virus.

Father God, I am sorry for once again losing focus and sight of You. I am sorry for the way that I have grumbled and complained. Lord God, thank You for the medical professionals and grocery store workers who are putting themselves at risk. Lord God, give political leaders all over the world wisdom and common sense when it comes to dealing with this pandemic. Lord God, thank You that You are God and that You are here whether we feel it or not. Lord God, speak to each one of us as to how we our faith can be manifested in action during this time of COVID-19. Lord God, prepare our hearts for Easter. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

 

Welcome, April!

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Father God, keep us connected to You in this new month. Lord God, thank You for the brave men and women all over the world who are working to help others in the midst of the coronavirus. Lord God, in this time of quarantine and stay-at-home orders, may we not grow distant and isolated from You and from each other. Lord God, be present with the elderly all over the globe as many face this time alone. Lord God, in the United States, may we grow in our respect, appreciation and awareness of our elders.

Lord God, “April Showers Brings May Flowers” I ask for Your rain to cleanse and renew Your creation and us literally and figuratively this month. Lord God, may we cling to You and trust You in this new month. There’s a saying Lord, “You don’t know how much you need Jesus until Jesus is all you have.” These are desperate times Lord, make Yourself known to those who do not know You and strengthen those who belong to You. Lord, I am learning to depend on You now more than ever. Lord God, help us to pass this test that we are going through in our speech, thoughts and conduct.

Lord God, may we cling to faith and not fear, wow is that easier said than done. Lord God, I ask that Your people (myself included) practice common sense when it comes to social distancing. Lord God, help us be a people who will live for You and others and not just for ourselves. Lord God, may we be reminded that JOY means Jesus Others Yourself. Lord God, thank You for the gift of a new month. Lord God, only YOU know what this month has for us. Prepare us to face this month knowing that You are in control.

Prepare our hearts for Easter. Thank You that we have a Savior who has defeated all sickness, disease and death. Thank You Jesus that You are our Resurrected, Overcoming and soon returning King. Praise You God for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.