Holy Spirit of God, come upon us on this Pentecostal Sunday as You came upon the disciples of old. We need Your help! Anoint our minds and spirits with boldness, that we may join our efforts to Yours for achieving peace in this world.
Touch our hearts with compassion, that we may see more clearly those who are struggling with anger over the injustice in our nation and world; show us how we can be instruments of peace and equality for all.
Enable us to be Channels of Your Peace in these changing times. Show us how to worship You together in safe and meaningful ways as we prepare to come together once again as a Body of Christ.
Visit our wills, O God, with the fire of Your Spirit that we may strive with boldness for what is right and just for the poor, the underprivileged, and the disenfranchised.
Let us not be content merely to have what we have and not share it with others, merely to enjoy what was given to us and not realize it was intended for all.
Infuse us with the zeal and dedication that were in Christ Jesus our Lord, that we may not merely take for granted the life and freedom and opportunities that are ours.
Lift up those who have fallen victim to COVID-19, and those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Though we are thankful for the health we have enjoyed, help us not to become blind to the suffering of those who have found themselves on the frontlines of the pandemic. Lift up the fallen, heal the sick, comfort the bereaved.
Give us strength in our weakness, illumination in our darkness, and hope in our despondency. Empower us to be all You created us to be.
On my blog, I usually try to steer away from taking a partisan stance on issues. My blog subtitle “Love One Another” causes me to want to see the positives and spread loving energy. I don’t like to post things that pit us/them or reinforce labels. I believe in unity.
However… a good friend sent this Barbara Streisand video to me today, and I feel COMPELLED to share it!
Recently I have begun to I pray daily for our USA President. I ask God to give him wisdom and compassion. I ask God to speak to his heart and help him see the importance of Truth and Transparency. His words matter to us and to the world.
This video points out so clearly what some of the negative effects are when Truth is not the standard.
It takes compassion To have honest empathy; Takes a loving heart.
In a World of Need by Terry Waite
“O Lord: In a world where many are lonely, we thank You for our friendships. In a world where many are captive, we thank You for our freedom. In a world where many are hungry, we thank you for our provision. We pray that You will: enlarge our sympathy, deepen our compassion, and give us grateful hearts. In Christ’s name, Amen”
Notice that in the first quote, Roger Ebert wrote EMPATHY is the most essential quality. In Terry Waite’s lovely poem, he asks God to “enlarge our SYMPATHY.”
What the difference between EMPATHY and SYMPATHY?
Oh, you poor, poor thing! I am so sorry for you. You hurt. What a shame!
I walk in your shoes, Genuinely share your pain. I understand you.
Lord, enlarge our empathy. Help us know how to reach out with compassion. Teach us to love, seek to understand, and share. With God’s grace … teach us!
And help us remember LOVE IS WHAT WE DO! Reach out in empathy and compassion today!
And don’t forget as you reach out to do so with a GRATEFUL heart!
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.
Do you live in trust? Are you feeling terrified? We all have a choice.
Today at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church, in Ennis, Montana, our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley, began his sermon by telling us he had scrapped the sermon he originally planned. “It just didn’t seem to fit,” he explained to the sparsely attended congregation.
With this Coronavirus Pandemic spreading like wildfire around the world, and the first four cases being tested positive in Montana just yesterday, Pastor Steve felt God nudging him to speak to that topic.
So, here are my sermon notes from today’s message:
Terror or Trust?
We must always trust in God In the face of everyday life. We must turn to Him when We’re faced with terrifying strife.
We must trust the Mighty Fortress In the midst of Pandemic Fear. We must trust He is with us. We’re not abandoned; He is here.
Even when we learn that things Will get worse before they’re better, We still must trust the Lord. We must read His Word; believe every letter.
In Psalm 46, the Bible says The Lord All Powerful is right here. Especially in the midst of disasters, He tells us, “Do not fear!”
To really know God and believe In His love and care every single day, Takes a lifetime of faithful living With consistent prayer and walking His Way.
There will be days when we doubt Because God seems so far away. It’s days like that when we gather Together, listening to what God has to say.
We hear His Word and are reminded Of God’s faithful love and care. We believe in God’s good character And see His goodness everywhere.
We must know that God expects us To be His character witnesses today. Witness to the love of Christ, And spread it with what you do and say.
In our state of dread and insecurities, We are invited to live in the HOPE That only God can give to us. Will I become frozen in fear? NOPE!
Not only did Steve’s sermon encourage us to live in Trust (not terror), but his Prayer of Confession (printed in our bulletin) further inspired us to look deep within and examine whether or not we are:
more apathetic than active
more isolated than involved
more callous than compassionate
more obstinate than obedient
more legalistic than loving
Our Prayer of Confession continued, “Gracious Lord, have mercy upon us and forgive our sins. Remove the obstacles preventing us from being Your representatives to a broken world. Awaken our hearts to the promised gift of Your indwelling Spirit. Amen“
God Is Our Fortress God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear … “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
God Bless You! Bee safe – Bee well – Bee a Blessing TRUST and KNOW: God is with you.
What is one small act you can do to change Terror to Trust in someone’s heart today?
I hope the link above will take you to this very inspiring post. In the face of a world-wide pandemic, our lives seem at peril. Our world is changing. So many events are being cancelled. We’re told not to shake hands and to keep our distance from others. We’re worried about whether we might be carrying and spreading the Coronavirus. The National Basketball Association just cancelled future games until further notice. Tom Hanks & his wife are filming in Australia and they just found out they have the virus.
We can live in faith or fear. The choice is ours. Be prudent. But, be positive, too. Choose happiness – and make that contagious! Go up and click on that link. It’s just what I needed to see/hear tonight.