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.
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.
When Bob & I first moved from California to Montana back in 2006, I was a recently retired educator with over 30 years of teaching/administrating under my belt. I was not really ready to “hang it up.” You know, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.”
So, when I joined the Friends of the Library and received a message from a young man who was seeking help to earn his GED (I think that stands for: General Education Diploma, but it might be Graduation Equivalence Diploma) … anyway, I was all in.
Zahid was a 19 year old from Pakistan whose English was sketchy enough that he had trouble understanding the questions, let alone knowing the answers. I agreed to help him with the English/Language Arts/History areas while a good friend worked with him in the areas of Science and Math.
His host mom would drop him off at our house at 7:30 AM three times a week, and after an hour of study, I’d drive him to his place of work, just five minutes away. During our hours together, one of my greatest challenges was teaching Zahid that it’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” He tried to bluff his way through answers. It was often quite amusing!
Once Zahid learned to say, “I don’t know,” and admit to needing help with the answers, we made great progress. He eventually passed and got his high school equivalent diploma. Hooray!
2.It’s OK to… Feel all the Emotions
Zahid tried to hide his lack of knowledge and his feelings of discouragement. He tried to hide his frustrations. He attempted to bluff his way through the quizzes. It didn’t work. When he learned to let his emotions show, when he opened himself to being “real” with me, we made great progress.
3. It’s OK to… have Bad Days
Life is not always fair. Even with hard work and the best of intentions, our dreams don’t always pan out. The first time Zahid took his test for the credential, he failed. Without encouragement and a shoulder to cry on, he might have folded. He might have said, “Give it up! I can’t do this!” But, we didn’t let that happen. His host mom and dad joined our Positivity Club – and together we helped “Z” keep at it, learn from his mistakes, try again, and ultimately pass.
4. Its OK to …Let Yourself Cry
Once “Z” passed his GED, the next goal was to pass his driver’s behind-the-wheel and written tests and get a driver’s license. He worked hard at it.
My husband, Bob, is a retire teacher. (If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know he also is a retire beekeeper. But before he went back to the family bee farm, he taught driver’s education and coached wrestling for nine years in California.) So, Bob was a natural to help “Z” get his driver’s license.
Once that goal was accomplished, the next step was to buy a car. Zahid had saved the money he earned working at the local grocery store. He had enough to pay for a good “starter car.” But the problem that emerged was that he had no idea how to take care of a car. That’s where the “It’s OK to let yourself cry” comes in. He burned up the car’s engine by not checking the oil, the water, etc. The tears were real! It was a sad lesson in the reality of truth #5…
5. It’s OK to …Ask for Help
Bob would have been more than happy to help “Z” learn the basics of car maintenance, but Zahid never asked. It was a tough, expensive lesson. But “Z” learned it. He asked Bob to help him find a new engine. He did… and “Z” learned to ask for help in car maintenance in the future. That car gave him several years of reliable service and actually made it from Montana to Alaska when “Z” moved there for better job opportunities.
6. It’s OK to …Make Mistakes
Looking back over our experiences with that young Pakistani, we know we made mistakes, just as he did. We backed off when we should have moved forward and been more assertive with him. He tried bluffing and exercising independence when admitting his lack of knowledge and asking for help would have served him better. But, he learned – and so did we.
As long as we learn from our mistakes, it’s OK. In fact, making mistakes is sometimes the ONLY way we learn. Knowing what doesn’t work helps us eliminate some options and seek better solutions.
Don’t try to have all the answers.
Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. Be real. Let them show!
Don’t let the bad days get you down. We need valleys in order to appreciate the mountain tops!
Don’t hold back the tears. Let them flow when they need to. Let them cleanse you!
Admit your ignorance. None of us is an expert at everything. Ask for help when you need it.
Don’t let mistakes get you down. No one is perfect. We need to make mistakes in order to learn and move forward.
It’s OK to … select friends who lift you up, encourage you, and give you a shoulder to cry on when you need it.
It’s OK to … BE one of those friends. Happy, warm, genuine. Even long-distance, over the miles, through cyberspace, you can reach out and be the positive friend others are seeking.
Just do it! It’s OK…
Thank you for your visit, your comments and your friendship,
While perusing FaceBook this evening, I came across this article that I thought was so well written. The author, Nancy Guthrie, said what many of us know, “… for those who’ve recently lost someone they love, the holidays can seem more like something to survive than to enjoy.”
Nancy Guthrie is a guest writer on the FB page, desiringGod. She goes on to write,
“While those of us who surround grieving people can’t fix the pain of loss, we can bring comfort as we come alongside those who hurt with special sensitivity to what grief is like during the holidays. Grieving people wish we all knew at least five truths, among others, at Christmas.”
You can click on the link below to see the full article, learn what those five truths are, and learn a little more about Nancy Guthrie.
(When you click on that link and hear the story creatively told in delightful, child-like cartoon format, be sure to click the back arrow and return here!)
Pretend you are short (I don’t have to pretend). Pretend your name is Zacchaeus and you are hated. You are hated because you are a lying, cheating tax collector. You are lonely.
Then you learn that Jesus is coming to your town. You’ve heard about Him – and you want to see Him. But, to do so, to see above the crowd, you have to climb a tree. Pretend you are up in that tree … looking down at Jesus.
Get in the mood for today’s message!
There is a growing epidemic Of loneliness in society today. Surprisingly, the loneliest are young adults. Next are empty-nesters, they say.
A third group are the elderly Who are often seen sitting alone. Checking an empty mailbox, They nurse their ailments and groan.
People out there in our world are lonely. Often it’s for a reason they can’t control. Other times, it seems to be choices they make – Like Zacchaeus, who chose his greedy, tax-collecting role.
Loneliness affects all kinds of folks, good and bad. We cannot overcome loneliness by ourselves. It takes the love and compassion of someone else Who notices our empty emotional shelves.
If you are struggling with loneliness, And you have come to church to heal it, Look around and know the love of Christ Is in the hearts of those around you. Can you feel it?
Zacchaeus climbed a tree so he could see Jesus. This lonely, short, little man wanted a view Of the man he had heard so much about. Would you climb a tree to see Christ? In faith, will you?
Be ready – if you are lonely and you look For God and love by goin’ somewhere strange. Be ready – because God will find you there. He’ll find you where you are; and you will change!