In this crucial time We need to stop, look, listen Stop now and bow down!
In kindergarten, we were taught to stop, look and listen. We made traffic lights as an art project. As a kindergarten teacher in the 70’s, I taught the children to recognize their colors, write their numbers, sing their ABC’s and listen for the sounds the letters made. I taught them safety features. Looking out for themselves and for one another. Yes, we had partners who took care of each other when we went out on field trips.
It’s time once again For us to stop, look, listen Practice safety rules
It’s time once again To look out for each other Hold hearts across miles
Just STOP, everyone! Stay sequestered and stop now Look for ways to help
Listen for the cries Of people less fortunate Look for solutions
Kim Taylor Henry is one of the contributing writers for Daily Guideposts 2020. This week, she has taken us through her devotionals on a journey to the Holy Land. We stopped with her in Jerusalem and bemoaned the way “the city bustled on.”
Kim thought of the words of Jesus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
She wrote that when she traveled to Jerusalem, she “had expected to feel connected to God through tranquility.”
Instead, as she stood on a hill looking down at the expanse of the city, she wanted to cry out, “Stop everyone! This is holy ground! Bow down. Worship. Praise.”
We were just like that – Chaotic, bustling, busy – Moving way too fast
Then this virus hit We came to a screeching halt Stop, look and listen!
Now we have the time We are forced to be at home How will this change us?
Will we use this time To reclaim our best values To reach out in love?
The city is still The children are in their homes It seems the world stopped
Take time to bow down Reconnect with your Maker Let His Will guide you
When Kim Taylor Henry left Jerusalem and traveled on to Gethsemane, she expected to find “a hushed highlight” for her trip. She wrote that she thought she would find “a spot where I would reflect on our Savior’s suffering, a place of pain, yet serenity.”
“Instead ,” she wrote, “I saw a fenced-off grouping of knobbly olive trees… It didn’t feel peaceful.”
Opportunity or Tragedy
We have the opportunity during this COVID-19 pandemic to create in our homes a place of peace, a spot where you sense a “hushed highlight” in the opportunity to just BE… just BE together with family or alone in your space…
We can create a tragedy where we feel “fenced off” and we can be resentful, and we can worry and let our fear blind us to the opportunities that are before us.
Indifference or Awareness?
Traveling on the Via Dolorosa, the road to Calvary, the place outside the city of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified, Kim Taylor Henry wrote in her Guideposts devotional,
“I felt irritated by what I viewed as near oblivion to the sanctity of the path. Crass crowds and the array of souvenir shops disturbed me.”
But she went on to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Golgotha, the hillside where Jesus and the two thieves’ crosses remained, and she felt a sense of hush and respect.
Kim asked herself, “Why is the Via Dolorosa bustling with indifference and commercialism while the sites of death and resurrection are worshipful?” And she postulated, “Perhaps it’s a reminder that I, like so many wrapped up in the world… realize my errors too late, and bow down after the fact – when crisis has already struck.”
Is it Too Late?
Help us not to wait Until the crisis has struck Devastating us
Help us to heed NOW The directions we’re given And let us bow down
Stop, look and listen Like kindergarteners did No, it’s not too late!
Thank you, Kim Taylor Henry, for permission to quote your writing. Thank you, Guideposts, for your wonderful DailyGuideposts 2020spirit-lifting devotionals. I appreciate this resource that helps me each day stay focused on the positive ways we can remain in His Word and “Walk the Talk” as we learn to better love and care for one another.
My friend, Elaine, who has avoided poetry most of her life (after a high school experience in an English class (where diagramming sentences and picking poetry apart looking for rhythm and rhyme scheme and very hidden meaning turned her off) is discovering the poet in her soul! She sent me these Haiku. She wrote them this morning:
Our world is amiss One alone proves capable Gentle as a kiss
And here is Elaine’s second one:
Choose to share kindness Chaos only seems to reign Care completes circle
Kindness in Chaos?
In this crazy world where people sometimes are behaving irrationally, it is easy to write some people off and say they are off-limits! They are adding to the earth’s problems, rather than trying to solve them. One of my followers wrote this note yesterday:
“I’m all for being positive, Jan, but some people’s behaviour is sickening … like some here who are selling paracetamol on eBay for £10 and Calpol for ,£20!”
What to Do?
What should we do about those “sickening” people? Do we write off the toilet paper hoarders and the ones buying cases of hand sanitizer, and the price gougers? Do we condemn the politicians who sold off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock after a preliminary briefing about the upcoming pandemic? Condemn ’em and throw all the bums out??
27 Jesus said in Luke 6:27-31 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Kindness Rules! Kindness completes the circle of life as we want it to be.
Let your creativity reign. Give birth to your inner poet .
Be the change you wish to see in this world.
What kindness can you exhibit today to add love and sunshine to your home?
Chase unhappiness – Just pursue awfulizing – Make matters worse!
Psychiatrist, Albert Ellis, coined the phrase “awfulizing” and wrote that it is “engaging in the pursuit of unhappiness.” Is that what our nation is doing in this Coronavirus pandemic?
Dr. Ellis says, “… when we look at circumstances and are overwhelmed by them, we become part of a society that has an abundance of illogical ideas and philosophies that lead to self-defeating patterns or neurosis.”
Flood the toilet paper aisles with frenzied shoppers filling their carts and fighting over the last roll!
A couple days ago, my doorbell rang. When I went to the door, I found my neighbor standing there with a broad, silly grin, holding a long stick on which he had strung four rolls of toilet paper! Some friends come to the door of 70-80 year olds in their “hoods” with food or flowers or a book to read while we’re sequestered. This neighbor shared his most precious commodity: toilet paper! Who woulda thunk it??
Shop on-line and fill your garage with cases of hand-sanitizer bottles!!
How many hands did that shopper expect to cleanse? S’pose he intended to freely share them? Nope, he was hoarding with the intent of selling them at some exorbitant price in the future – gouging people!
Flock to places like Shedhorn Sports here in Ennis, Montana, and purchase every last gun and all the ammunition you can carry!
Sure enough, these behaviors will solve this awful COVID-19 problem!
James R. Hine, in his essay, The Situation is Hopeless but not Serious , wrote the following:
“The decisions we make are rarely perfect. But if we make a decision based on our best judgment and with God’s help, we should let it stand.”
He was reminding us that we cannot go back and change the past. We can’t undo the mistakes that got us into this mess that sounds hopeless. But, we can look forward, learn from the past, and move into the future with greater wisdom, with love, and with a hope that keeps our spirits up.
In that same essay, Hine wrote,
“I will never preach like Peter nor pray like Paul, but I can minister in my own way and be acceptable to God in that role. You and I are not perfect, but we are unique.”
Here I am with my accordion a few Christmases ago… Unique, indeed!! And so is Andrew with his trombone!
In your own unique way, avoid “AWFULIZING” and move forward in hope. This is serious, but it’s not hopeless!
James R. Hine, The Situation is Hopeless, but Not Serious
Let me leave you with another quote from Hine: “Through that which is deemed hopeless – the present – there arises a freshhope, a new vision, and a world of creative possibilities. It is in the dead of night. Sodom and Gomorrah, the evil city, is burning behind us. In that burning are all the tragedies of yesterday – the pretensions, the stupidities, the ambiguities, and the moral breakdowns. We have learned hard lessons, but we will not look back. Putting our hands in the hand of God, we will move toward the hills and the dawning of a new day.”
God bless you, my friends. Tell me what you are doing this day to “move forward toward the hills”?
Another friend, Penny Hall, said in a podcast yesterday, “Embrace the good with the bad, and know there is always more good than bad in this world.” Amen, Penny!
Spread positivity, my friends. See ya tomorrow. JanBeek
In the midst of this COVID-19, there is hope. I loved this message that is linked below. It tells of the people of Italy who are using music as a link to one another and to feelings of HOPE.
The author wrote. “Songs of resilience that recall difficult times of the past are finding a special resonance.” It is MUSIC THERAPY in action! (I majored in music therapy in college!)
You MUST go and read, “What you see outside your window.” That blog will give you hope, too. Click on the link up there.
I saw on that blog a picture of a girl standing on her balcony in Italy, playing her accordion. Since that is my instrument, I certainly related to her… and I found this picture of this old cowboy playing his accordion:
Isn’t he cool? I hope he is playing “Songs of resilience that recall difficult times” that can resonate with his listener and help them to…
… Keep the faith and … Keep hope alive.
Yes, my friends, Share your positivity. Share this link with your friends, okay?
Thank you that “before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4). Thank You that there are no surprises with You. Help me find deep comfort in the fact that You are unshockable and nothing is too great, too terrible, too large, or too heavy for You. Help me see the problems that I face today in light of how big You are. Amen.
Reprinted with permission from Max Lucado
So, the praying part is easy, right? There are folks like Max Lucado out there who can help us find the right words. Live in the faith that God hears – and He is with us – and it’s true: nothing is too great for Him.
But What About Perseverance?
How do we keep on keeping on? The Autobahn Assoc. shared this suggestion today:
“… talk about the power of birds, … this year they take on an even more powerful meaning. They enliven our days, brighten the trees, serenade in our backyards and city parks, and bestow us with so much joy and hope, all bundled together in feathers and lively personalities.”
Breathe in the calm of our feathered friends. Listen to their songs! Watch their deliberate and graceful movements!
We can find such comfort by watching the activities of our fine feathered friends. See how they continue to sing their songs.
In his podcast today Bob Goff asked us to “Hit the pause button. Step back and think about your life.” He asked his listeners to ask ourselves:
What opportunity has this Coronavirus-induced-shutdown given to you?
What can you do that in the normal routine of everyday you don’t have time to do?
How do you deal with uncertainty and ambiguity?
Where are you now and how are you feeling? Are you dwelling in fear?
What are your most important values and how are you exhibiting those during this time of world-wide crisis?
Bob Goff continued to make suggestions: 1) Be sober about what’s going on. 2) Be picky about what you focus on. 3) Turn the volume down on the hype. 4) Limit screen time. 5) Follow the recommendations of the experts – wash hands, avoid crowds, stay home if you’re sick, etc. 6) Live authentically, remaining true to who you were created to be.
Who Were You Created to Be and Do?
Bob Goff quipped, “Introverts have been preparing for this for years!”
But some of us are not introverts. We’re having trouble hunkering down inside and having our jobs, our volunteer activities, our restaurants, schools and churches all closed to us. What can we do to remain true to ourselves and feel like we’re not just sitting around wringing our hands helplessly?
How would you answer the question, “Who were you created to be?”
I thought about it and decided:
I was created to “Walk the Talk and Live with Integrity.”
I was created to “Reach out to others with love and compassion.”
I was created to “Use the talents God gave me to make the world a better place.”
What is YOUR Purpose?
How can you persevere in the face of this latest shutdown – and the gloomy predictions that this could last a year and a half or more?
What talents has God given you that you can use to make your life seem worthwhile in the midst of these world-wide changes? Using those talents is a way to remain true to your purpose.
I intend to: 1) Continue to post a blog here daily with ideas that uplift and bring hope. 2) Write cards/letters/e-mails/texts/messages and make phone calls to friends and family. 3) Exhibit love, compassion, tolerance, empathy, and joy – spreading those as far and wide as I can. (See photo below) 4) Do something I’ve always wanted to do but for some reason have put off. 5) Keep in touch with friends on-line by playing games like “Words with Friends” (Scrabble) and commenting on their FaceBook posts while I post positive things there, too. 6) Pray and meditate and daily read God’s Word and devotionals, such as Guideposts and In Touch magazine.
Do you have a half a dozen or so things you can list as your intentions?
Maybe deliver flowers or food to a friend who is shut in? Just call ahead and then drop it at his/her doorstep. I did that today.
Tell me what you plan to do to make the world a better place.