“Come away by yourselves to a || SECLUDED|| place and rest a little while” ~ Love, Jesus (Mark 6:31)
Perhaps God is using this world-wide pandemic for a global #reboot. People all over the earth who were ‘continually coming and going’ have halted their busy-ness and find themselves in a ‘secluded place.’ In the stillness of these moments, let’s take time to re-evaluate our priorities and realize what is truly important.
Over the last few weeks, we have had a front row seat to witness healthcare workers, National leaders, state leaders, local leaders, truckers, grocery workers, business leaders, ministers, athletes, celebrities and ordinary citizens come together like never before in history to work for a common goal. We are witnessing God’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” in action!
When this #pandemic storm passes, let’s never go back to our “old normal.” Let’s use this experience with #covid_19 for a time to reset to a new normal where we eliminate the clutter in our schedules and embrace God’s command to love our neighbors.
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12: 30 – 31
“We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are chosen to be a part of His plan.” Romans 8:28
Get vaccinated with a dose of Faith.
Read Psalm 91 aloud (below), and let the power of His words melt away your anxiety and fear. As you read the psalm, you can turn it into a powerful prayer to the Lord in behalf of you and your loved ones. God is greater than the hardships we face, and no problem is too great for God…not even COVID-19!
While He has us in a world-wide Holy Time-Out, you can replace panic with peace by spending time feasting on the soul food of His Good News, not the constant social feed of bad news.
God is teaching us to trust in HIM — Not the economy, not the stock market, not your job or your bank account.
Put your faith in the One who has overcome the world and rest in the shadow of His wings.
Choose Faith over Fear!
Psalm 91 ~
Whoever rests in the shadow of the Most High God
will be kept safe by the Mighty One.
I will say about the Lord,
“He is my place of safety.
He is like a fort to me.
He is my God. I trust in him.”
He will certainly save you from hidden traps
and from deadly sickness.
He will cover you with his wings.
Under the feathers of his wings you will find safety.
He is faithful. He will keep you safe like a shield or a tower.
You won’t have to be afraid of the terrors that come during the night.
You won’t have to fear the arrows that come at you during the day.
You won’t have to be afraid of the sickness that attacks in the darkness.
You won’t have to fear the plague that destroys at noon.
A thousand may fall dead at your side.
Ten thousand may fall near your right hand.
But no harm will come to you.
You will see with your own eyes
how God punishes sinful people.
Suppose you say, “The Lord is the one who keeps me safe.”
Suppose you let the Most High God be like a home to you.
Then no harm will come to you.
No terrible plague will come near your tent.
The Lord will command his angels
to take good care of you.
They will lift you up in their hands.
Then you won’t trip over a stone.
You will walk on lions and cobras.
You will crush mighty lions and poisonous snakes.
The Lord says, “I will save the one who loves me.
I will keep him safe, because he trusts in me.
He will call out to me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him in times of trouble.
I will save him and honor him.
I will give him a long and full life.
I will save him.”
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those living in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of Peace.
Luke 1:78 – 79
Watching a sunrise is one of the most peaceful experiences on earth. As the newborn day peeks out of its cradle, an ever-changing palette of soft pastels paints the sky ‘s fresh canvas. While fringes of the sun’s light become more visible, the silence of dawn is softly interrupted by morning songs of birds – blending harmoniously together in a cheerful symphony of praises to their Creator. The cool morning air gives way to the warmth of the majestic solar glow.
In the few minutes it takes to pause and watch the sun pull itself up over the horizon, there’s a perpetual feast for the senses that can transform your spirit and set the tone for your day.
Jesus came into the world as “God’s Sunrise.” (Luke 1:78) His dazzling light shines brightly on the darkest caverns of our hearts and illuminates the path to peace – the path to the One true God.
Starting each day basking in the light of His Word, will refresh your soul and provide you with hope, guidance, and perspective for any circumstance you face throughout the day. Trust Him to take your hand and guide you – one foot at a time – down the path to perfect peace.
Take time to pause in His presence, and be transformed by His Son-rise in your Soul!
With every sun’s rising surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive. Psalm 90:14
You will indeed go out with joy
and be peacefully guided;
the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
The scorching Georgia heat radiated off the black tar of the parking lot where I stood waiting to meet my son. He was running late, and I was quickly running out of patience. To make the most of the delay, I pulled out my cell phone to check emails. But as soon as I read the first sentence, the sickening sight of a blank screen and dying battery appeared, and my frustration level escalated.
I felt a slight, welcomed breeze blow through my hair as I looked for a shady place to sit, and I glanced toward the sky to see if a summer storm might be brewing. That’s when I noticed the lone tree topped with limbs forming a perfectly shaped cross. The beautiful scene stopped me in my tracks as I felt God nudging me with a reminder that my day had been so jammed with appointments and to-do lists, I had not taken time out for HIM. He too had been waiting for His child to meet Him…and she was too busy.
“Holy goosebumps” tingled from head to toe as I felt God bending down reminding me to align my priorities appropriately. He paused my schedule right there in the blazing hot parking lot to send me a sign of His love. The tree He destined as my messenger also served as my shade from the scorching sun. I remembered the verse from Isaiah,
“You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Joy and peace were blatantly absent from the hours leading up tho this moment, but my frustration melted into joy while I treasured this heaven-sent gift. I did not schedule this divine appointment, but I am so thankful that He interrupted my chaotic life with a holy meeting.
I pray that God will open your eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of mountains singing and trees clapping their praise to Him…or growing their limbs in the shape of a cross! Make your time with Him a priority, and He will fill you with joy and guide you peacefully through your day.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water
so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”
Exodus 14:15 – 16 (NIV)
Is God telling you to “move on” today? Is there something you have been praying about, and you sense that God has told you to move in a direction that seems humanly impossible? You can always be sure that if God leads you to it, He will lead you through it. If you listen carefully to your Heavenly Father’s divine directives and follow His guidance, He can turn dead ends into miraculous detours.
With mountains on one side and the red sea at their backs, the Israelites felt trapped as Pharaoh’s pursuing army closed in on them. There was no obvious route for their escape, and the people were terrified. But God told Moses to stop crying out to Him and start moving…into the direction of the Red Sea! The people had no idea that God would part the sea for them to cross on dry land. As God’s chosen leader, Moses told the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14: 13) Moses had just witnessed God’s incredible deliverance of the Israelites out of bondage from Egypt, and he had faith that God would again protect His children and provide a way of escape from the approaching army. Moses obeyed God’s command, raised his staff, stretched out his hand over the sea, and watched the miracle unfold before his eyes as the sea parted and made a way of escape for God’s children.
So there comes a time when we need to stop praying and start doing. If Moses had doubted God’s directives and continued praying for another answer, the Israelites might have been doomed. Often we refrain from doing whatever God is calling us to do because we are fearful and we doubt our abilities. But even in your most desperate situations, you can be sure that God is whispering in your ear, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake( you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) So with God by your side, you can have confidence to move on. Absolutely nothing is impossible for the God of all possibilities. Never doubt His power nor His abilities. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His solutions are beyond our imagination. God’s greatest work is accomplished through our weaknesses. When we are weak, He is strong, and in our weaknesses God can shine! On we go!
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 (NLT)
and know that I am God…”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
How often do we ask God for help or guidance, but we don’t stop to listen and wait for His response? The act of being still means more than simply remaining in place, it also means to be free from sound or noise, and free from turbulence or commotion. Yet in the busyness of life, it is challenging for us to carve out quiet chunks of time being still. The world requires action from us, yet God asks us to simply be still and spend time focused only on Him.
Not only is it difficult to come to a complete rest from motion, it’s also nearly impossible to quiet our thoughts. Silence can be intimidating because that’s when our anxious thoughts seems to kick into turbo speed – “What if something bad happens? What if I fail? I’m not smart enough; I’m not good enough; I’m not successful enough; I can’t handle this; I’ll never get through this; I’m a failure; There’s no hope; etc..” If we fill our time with endless activity, non-stop work, mindless television, internet surfing, or social media browsing, it’s easy to dodge our concerns and block any worries. Silence can force us to face issues that we might be trying to run away from, yet God wants us to bring those cares and apprehensions to Him. In Mark 4:39, Jesus quieted a raging storm with these word, “Peace, Be still!” Ask Him to quiet the tempestuous thoughts in your mind with those same words. He will shine the light of His truth into your life and replace those fears and self-doubts with His peace. Both your mind and your strength will be renewed through this process.
On a recent trip to Central America, our group came upon the sloth pictured above. We were enthralled with this unique creature and thrilled that we were able to experience this rare sight! During the entire time I watched him hanging by his shaggy arms, he remained motionless and seemingly oblivious to the chatter and activity below from our group of observers. As I stood viewing this fascinating animal, the Lord gently reminded me that His slow-motion-creation provides a great example of what it means to be still.
So when you need strength or help from God, or when your anxious thoughts are overpowering you, learn a lesson from the sloth. Cling to Jesus and rest in His unending love and care for you. Block out the distractions and noise from the world and meditate solely on His voice. Simply, “Be still, and know that I am God.”