Comfort in the Face of Fear

Life is different right now.

As we are confined to our homes by the Coronavirus, our minds may be bombarded with questions: Does God care? Has He given up on me and is going to leave me to face disease or financial ruin through this? Can God control this or is this a rampant disease of nature that God has no control over? Will this ever end? Is there hope?

God’s chosen people in the Old Testament also had questions. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet looks toward the future to the time of the coming Babylonian exile. He tells the people of Judah of God’s capacity and desire to deliver them. God had him tell the people, “Do not fear for I am with you.” God said that for a reason – they would be afraid. The people of Israel undoubtedly wondered if God had given up on them because of their sin and if their situation was beyond His power to remedy. The questions running through their minds were most likely the same kinds of questions we have. 

The God who sees and hears and knows knew their heart questions, and He knows ours. Therefore He spoke these words to and through his prophet in Isaiah chapter 40:

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1

There is Comfort in the Savior. There is Comfort that our sin has been paid for – that our “iniquity is pardoned.” Don’t we long for that?! A clean slate. A “do-over” as my grayscale-photo-of-the-crucifix-977659grandson used say when he was 4. The sins of all mankind have been paid for by our Savior, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died on the cross. Our debt has been paid! We are forgiven! We don’t have to bargain with God saying: God if you’ll get us out of these uncertain times I’ll do what you want.

There is Comfort in our Frailty. Until we realize our flesh is faint, frail, and feeble, as James 4:14 says “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” – we feel independent, self-sufficient. Our pride Has us feeling we have no need of a Savior. But through this pandemic we have begun to grasp the transitory nature of our lives, and are more aware of our need of the One who Created us. The Word of God is strong, sure, and secure, the opposite of our frail flesh. He is our hiding place. A firm foundation upon which we can rest. Our sword and shield. Our high tower, protection, security, and salvation. 

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:23-25 

There is Comfort in His 2nd coming. Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus coming as the Messiah were fulfilled, which gives us every confidence that His prophecies about the 2nd coming are also dependable. Knowing that Christ will return to set up God’s kingdom on earth and that we will live with Him eternally gives us comfort and a hope found in nothing else. In our normal daily lives before Covid-19, we we had a routine that depended on no one except ourselves. There was no reason to look toward the hope of eternity. But suddenly we are thrown into this scenario that feels like it is fresh out of some dystopian novel, but it’s not. The uncertainty of these times draws us to that hope of eternity with Christ, a longing for the one who is in authority over all things. Thoughts of His coming again brings comfort!

religion-3450127_1280There is Comfort in the Shepherd.  

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

This is one of the sweetest, most tender verses of scripture. He shepherds us. He carries us close to His heart. He gently leads those that have young! (Great encouragement for you young mamas out there quarantined and trying to school a houseful of blessings!) What a picture! Meditate on this verse this week when you are seeking comfort.

There is Comfort that God is the Creator. “Who is like Our God?” Scripture asks. A rhetorical question, of course, because the answer we know is “No one.” Our sovereign Creator can do what we cannot dream of doing.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Isaiah 40:12-14

sunrise-1765027_1280No one we know can create mountains and seas. No one can offer wisdom and advice to God. He is the source. Look up at the heavens. Who can bring out the stars? He calls everything out, the totality of creation, He summons them by name. Who can do that? Can you? Can I? Do we have His generative power? Can the smartest doctor or scientist? Can Bill Gates, or Queen Elizabeth or Pres. Trump? NO. There is no on like our God.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?” Isaiah asks. Can you not understand and perceive our insignificance in comparison to the greatness of God? Creation reveals to us Our Father God. Our Comforter. We can rest in Him for the answers for any situation that arises with His creation.

As He Comforts Us, We Wait in Hope!

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

Jehovah is God and there is no other. We just need to rest in Faith in Him!

  • He is our Comfort.
  • He is our Creator.
  • He is our Hope.
  • He is our Strength.
  • He will Lead & Protect.
  • He is our reason Not to Fear.
  • He gave us a Savior who freed us from sin & is our Righteousness.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Waiting in Faith for the Waters to Recede

by guest author Jenny Stricklin


Photo credit: Kelley Dague

Weeks into the Covid-19 quarantine, I saw a rainbow. Spread out over my house after a heavy rain. And it reminded me…


Back in early January, when 2020 was still so fresh and clean, I had asked God to speak.  The new year held so many secrets and I wanted to be the first to know them. Opening my Bible, I asked God for just one hint. I love to get a hold of what God is up to if He’ll let me and then dream about how it might play out.

Of all the verses in those couple of chapters I read that day, one tiny part of a familiar story jumped off of that thin page.

Gen 8:1 said, “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede.”

I bet I read it a dozen times looking for clues.

-“God remembered Noah in the ark” – Remembering here (I learned) doesn’t mean God had forgotten Noah, but that he was about to take action for Noah’s well-being.

-“God made a wind to blow across the earth” – The word wind here can also be translated Spirit. As in, the Spirit moved  over the earth.

-“The floodwaters began to recede” – This sounds hopeful. And it was. But it was a slow, gradual process lasting the better part of a year, per the rest of chapter eight.

My perspective that day was super limited. Obviously, I could never have predicted this pandemic. But God let me sense that He was up to something. And unfortunately, it looked like it would involve a lot of waiting. Waiting is hard.

So that morn, I pondered Noah’s plight and typed these notes in my phone:

“Even as with Noah, Lord, help me be faithful and patient over the next year as “the waters recede” at a slow pace. When there’s no dry land in sight or change to be noted, help me to walk in faith like he did. In the uncertainty, the insecurity, the fear…. In the isolation, the unknown, the frustration. When he had no clue of what You were doing or when You’d calm the storm or how You would rescue…When there was no end or plan in sight, only deep, dark waters of mystery, Noah waited on You.”

I remembered these words again that day. And oh how I needed to pray them again.

crashing-waves-1494707Noah was in the middle of the MOST COLOSSAL GLOBAL CRISIS of all time. And his struggles were likely common to ours – long waiting, isolation, limited Information, total lifestyle change, deep loss, fear of the future.

And in the middle of the mystery, after 40 days of isolation and flooding, God was moved to action. He shut off the water supply and inch by inch by inch, the water subsided.

After many long months, Noah and his family were released from the ark. The land was dry again and suitable for life and flourishing.

—Sometimes floods precede flourishing.

—Sometimes suffering is the soil that nurtures great fruitfulness.

—Sometimes we just have to cooperate with God’s bigger plan for our lives & for the world.

I won’t pretend to understand the flood. Thankfully, He promised He wouldn’t do that again.

And I won’t pretend to understand Covid-19.

All I’m sure of? GOD WANTS OUR ATTENTION. The One who allows the struggle, will be the one to save us from it.

The rainbow that day was a sure sign of His commitment to us…

And perhaps also an invitation to recommit ourselves to Him.



Red Clover

I have loved red clover since I was very young. I can remember going for rides in the car on Sunday afternoons during the spring to look at the red clover that was planted on the side of the road or in fields to hold the soil in place while the ground was resting. My daddy would always be on the lookout for areas of red clover so he could take me to see them.

My daughter lives in a new housing development that has areas that are not yet under construction. On a recent visit to her home I saw large areas of beautiful red clover that were planted to keep the ground from washing away. Red clover is so beautiful because it is so bright in color. I thought it would make a beautiful setting for a picture of my two granddaughters. What could possibly go wrong?

I spoke to my daughter about what she would want them to wear in the picture and we chose matching Easter Bunny tops and pink and white shorts. The clover was not very far away but we chose to drive so we could do this quickly. As we pulled up next to the field, the 4-year-old started squealing with excitement over all the butterflies she could see in the clover. They were so beautiful.

As we were getting the baby out of the car, I began to see that there were not only yellow-and-black-honeybee-on-pink-petaled-flower-1309008butterflies sipping the nectar from the clover but bees. We picked a spot for the picture and laid down a little blanket and placed the girls on the blanket hoping they would ignore the bees that were not too far away. I began snapping pictures but was only able to get 4 pictures before a bee flew by and the 4-year-old was done. The beauty of the clover was over for her. She no longer remembered the butterflies. The beautiful red of the clover and the green of the leaves were history as far as she was concerned. 

Beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Beauty can be interrupted very easily. Sin, like bumblebees, can cause a beautiful situation to lack its luster or cause fear. Sometimes sin jumps in with no notice and everything is ruined. While from a distance the red clover could only be seen for its amazing beauty, on closer inspection we found bees. We must be watchful for these interruptions and recognize them for what they are. We should not let them ruin the beauty and joy that we are experiencing.  

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”  Luke 12:27

They surround me like bees. Psalm 118:12a

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:12


A New Normal

by Sheila Keedy


Over the last few weeks I have said and keep hearing from others, “It will be so good when things return to normal.”  Family dinners, church gatherings and meeting with friends are just a few of the things I am sure we all look forward to enjoying again.  

In reality, things may return to normal but then again maybe they won’t.  We already have new words in our vocabulary like “social distancing” for example!  So the question that keeps tugging on my heart and mind is, do I really want things to return to normal?

Normal, before the quarantine, seems to be a blur.  Hectic schedules driving us at a frenzied pace.  Parents feeding kids across the back seat of the car on the way to the next event and many of us falling into bed at night exhausted from the demands of work and activities.  Time to read and study God’s Word marginalized against other things we make a priority. 

Over the last few weeks, it has been such a delight to see moms and daughters riding bikes together, dads and sons playing basketball in their driveway, and couples walking around the neighborhood.  We have enjoyed talking across the yards to neighbors and worshiping together from our driveways – socially distanced of course!  More than anything, I have loved unhurried time with the Lord in the mornings.  

So which of those “normals” do I really want to go back to?  

These times remind me of Israel’s journey as Moses led them out of Egypt.  God was testing, yet also preparing them for their Promised Land. They experienced God’s presence, saw His mighty hand at work through miracles and provision over and over again.  Yet, over and over again, they would get discouraged and complain, wanting to go back to Egypt. 

Numbers 11:4-5 And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat!  We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

They wanted things to return to normal.  God was preparing them for a new normal.  

Several times in my life I have been on a difficult journey and just wanted to go back image0-3home where things were expected and convenient.  One specific time stands out the most – spending over four months in the country of Venezuela.

In the fall of 1983, my husband was invited to play Winter Ball in Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela.  We prayed and believed God had opened this door and we were excited to walk through it.  At that point in his professional baseball career, it was a great opportunity for many reasons.  So off we went with our “English to Spanish” translation book tucked in our luggage.   

When a player was sent to Winter Ball, their length of stay depended on how well they played.  After the first two weeks of struggling and almost being sent home, Pat hit a homerun.  It wasn’t just any homerun – it clinched a game against an area rival and he almost became a national hero!  We were in it now for the long haul.  No matter how difficult the situation or how homesick we became, we were going to be there through the New Year. 

image2-2Our home away from home was a large hotel room with plenty of fresh air as the air conditioner only worked about half the time.  (Just know we were close to the Equator!)   My refrigerator was a Styrofoam cooler where the ice melted faster than we could load it in there. (Did I mention the Equator?) Our kitchen appliance was an electric skillet that popped some really good popcorn; the “manna” of choice as the food in the grocery store was usually outdated, sometimes by years.  The option to buy cow eyes in the meat market was enough to help my satisfaction with our salty sustenance.  The language barrier wasn’t too bad except when I almost got eggs in my water instead of ice getting the two words mixed up in my request!  

As our journey continued, we began to see some difficult things – the unrest in their government, extreme poverty, and odd things that were really out of place for us like military soldiers in full battle gear stationed all around the baseball field with guns ready.  I think our biggest struggle came in not being with family during the holidays and just missing the comforts of home.  By the end of the first month, the adventure wore off and we were ready to pack up and head back home.  

As God would have it, things slowly but surely changed. (Or was He changing us?)

Most of the baseball games were at night, so with no television or a car to go anywhere we had plenty of time each day to read the Bible.  We would then talk for hours about what we had read. We were only two years into our marriage and a foundation of trusting the Lord and each other was being established.  

We became close to teammates and their wives as we found ways to meet for Bible Study.  The opportunity to share our fears increased our faith as we prayed together and saw God move in so many situations.  

An American missionary family made contact with us and provided a place to worship each week in the small church they pastored.  It was a bilingual service so we could hear God’s Word in our own language.  It also gave us the opportunity to share our testimonies with the local people and that helped many of us in our courage to share our faith.  The men naturally connected with the players, but it was such a blessing to connect with the women who were wives and mothers just like us.  

image0-4I learned to cross-stitch, fashioned our first Christmas tree out of felt to hang on our hotel room wall, visited a candle factory where wax ornaments were being made that told the story of Jesus’ birth, saw amazing poinsettia trees, and watched local women make the most beautiful tapestries. Not wanting to forget any of the things happening, I began to journal.  What started as journaling  day-to-day experiences soon became testimonies of God moments that continues to this day, thirty-seven years and over forty journals later.  

image1-3Looking back now, going home early would have been a mistake.  Giving in to inconvenience and the unknown wouldn’t have allowed us to experience God’s presence, His provision, seeing Him heal and restore.  Most importantly, it wouldn’t have allowed for Him to change things in us that needed changing.  

Don’t get me wrong; I was very glad when we did go home!  Hugging my family, listening to their voices, sleeping in my own bed, and drinking all the clean water I wanted was a privilege not taken for granted.  But, how much sweeter was it all because of the journey we had been on. 

So, is wanting things to return to normal a good thing? In some respects, maybe so.  But what if, during this time, we seize these moments seeking God with all our heart, soul and mind and ask Him what to continue, what to cut out, what to change?  Instead of just waiting for the quarantine to be lifted and things to return to normal, allow God to show you how He would like to prepare you for maybe a new normal.

Consider these things with me:

  • Do you really want to live at the same pace that you were living before the quarantine? 
  • What daily plans need adjusting to prioritize time in Scripture and in prayer? 
  • Are there things you thought you couldn’t live without that may have become an idol? 
  • Do you need to extend love, kindness and/or forgiveness to someone?
  • How can you serve your community instead of your calendars? 

When it’s over, what will you go back to?  Let’s not return to Egypt.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”— I Corinthians 2:9

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“That’s What I Know”

“That’s what I know.”

She works with me nearly daily and she makes that statement on the regular. To be completely honest she says it all the time, and I rarely pay attention to what she is actually saying. She uses it like a punctuation mark and I hear it as such. After all who announces their punctuation to their statements and questions?

“Have you done your chores question mark”
“I had no idea you today was your birthday exclamation point”
“The car is making a funny noise period”

I am thankful in the English language our tone of voice, inflection, and context do that for us.

That particular day as she said, “That’s what I know.”

Something made me actually hear the words she was saying and not the intended punctuation.

I have no idea what she was talking about but I clearly heard her say, “That’s what I know.”

Perhaps it was the chatter about the once every 12 years 27th upcoming pay week. Maybe it was the talk of the upcoming holiday break plans, the visit from a family member, the insurmountable work that lay ahead of her, or the lunch choices in the cafeteria.

Ironically I do not know what it is she knows.

So when she proclaimed within earshot, “That’s what I know,” it got me to thinking… what is it exactly I do know.

I know I have worked the same paycheck yielding job for nearly twenty years and find myself wondering what comes next.

I know that there are so many uncertainties I do not know where to begin muddling through finding answers.

I once had a friend in the midst facing a terrible diagnosis and she simply said, “We do not know what we do not know.”

I decided to shift my focus from the unknown to the known.

I know that I am incredibly grateful for the body of believers I am in…
I know that I am even more grateful for Jesus, for without Him life would be unbearable, without Joy, and void of purpose…
I know that even on the hardest and darkest of days He, Jesus is Light and Life..
I know that even when it takes as much effort and deliberate action to do the basics that I do not do them alone…
I know that in the secret places of hurt and despair He is there…
I know that He is good…
I know that He is trustworthy…
I know that His ways are better…
I know that He will use for good even the worst of circumstances…
I know that He loves me and He loves you…
I know that He called me (and you) and that He will sustain me (and you)…

I have found myself focusing on the what I don’t know a lot… but today I am going to choose to focus not just on what I know, but on WHO I know.

And that WHO is Jesus Christ, the knower of all things so that I do not have to be.


Is There Scrabble in Heaven?

Recently a family friend went to be with the Lord. She had been a friend of my family for 25 years or so. She had been a friend to both of my parents and to me. One of her hobbies was to make crochet dish cloths.

person-holding-purple-crochet-hook-and-white-yarn-3945638The summer before my mother died, Mother had asked our friend to make some dish cloths for my brothers and me for Christmas. My Mother could no longer crochet because of her arthritis. Not too long after my mother died, our friend called my Daddy to let him know about my Mother’s request and that the dish cloths were ready. He stopped by to pick them up and noticed that she had a Scrabble game set up where she had played with family the day before. He sat down and played a game with her. That was the beginning of a Scrabble friendship that lasted until he died. If it was Tuesday, it was Scrabble day. It was something my Daddy looked forward to. What a precious friendship between two people just wanting to play Scrabble. She had a Scrabble dictionary that my Daddy called the King James of Scrabble. I think she knew most every word in there. My Daddy didn’t challenge her very often. When she died, I began to wonder if she was in heaven playing Scrabble. Jesus told us:

“I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2b 

I just have to believe that her place has a Scrabble board. She and her husband had played at least 3 games a day for many, many years. When he died, there was a space of time that was empty. I am so thankful for the friendship that my Daddy and our friend had around a Scrabble board. They both looked forward to the game but also the friendship. I miss knowing that she is no longer here on this earth, but I know where she is and that I will see her again.

So many of the people that I love are in Heaven. I am so thankful for the Salvation we have through Jesus Christ and the knowledge that Heaven awaits believers after our last breath on this earth. 

I have no way of knowing if there is Scrabble in heaven, but if there is, I hope that my friend will always have a place to play her 7 letter words. I also hope that she has a triple letter square to play her Q and Z.  Maybe my Daddy could beat her in a game once or twice in Heaven. Probably not. That’s ok. He learned how to lose gracefully over the years. 

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the LORD.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV


Resurrection Day – Sing Praise!


This BloodListen to Prestonwood Choir sing this powerful song.

There is a blood that cost a life
That paid my way Death its price
When it flowed down from the cross
My sins were gone, my sins forgot

There is a grave that tried to hide
This precious blood that gave me life
In three days He breathed again
And rose to stand in my defense

So I come to tell you He’s alive
To tell you that He dries
Every tear that falls
So I come to tell you that He saves
To shout and to proclaim
That He’s coming back for you

There is a blood that sights the blind
That heals the sick, the lonely finds
It has the power to free the bound
As chains they fall upon the ground

So pour it out to cleanse my soul
And let His liquid glory flow
Because He lives to make me whole
I owe my life, I owe my all

So I come to tell you He’s alive
To tell you that He dries
Every tear that falls
So I come to tell you that He saves
To shout and to proclaim
That He’s coming back for you

So I come to tell you He’s alive
To tell you that He dries
Every tear that falls

So I come to tell you that He saves
To shout and to proclaim
That He’s coming back for you
This price, this blood
This price, this precious blood
This one He sacrificed to wash away my sin
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing, nothing

What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood, nothing but the blood
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing, nothing

What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood, nothing but the blood

There is a grave that tried to hide
This precious blood that gave me life
But in three days He breathed again
And rose to stand in my defense

So I come to tell you He’s alive
To tell you that He dries
Every tear that falls
So I come to tell you that He saves
To shout and to proclaim
That He’s coming back for you
Yes, I come to tell you that He saves
To shout and to proclaim
That He’s coming back for you


What You Can Do During This Quarantine

The night is dark, but the moon is shining bright. There is a bright side to all dark events we face in life. Don’t close your eyes. In all situations, we have the opportunity to look around and find things we can learn in order to become more kind and loving. This season of pandemic is no different.

A day or two ago, I received an email from George Verwer (founder of OM) sharing his 29 suggestions for us to do while we live in isolation and deal with this coronavirus crisis. His list prompted me to write up my own suggestions, which I hope will be a help for you in these days ahead.

35 suggestions for this season of isolation:

  1. Write emails, letters and notes to as many people you can think of. Thank them for the small or significant things they did for you or share what they mean in your life. Write to your parents, teachers, doctors, children, friends, neighbors and so on. A word of encouragement can make all the difference in a person’s life.
  2. Call 10 people each day just to say “Hello” and offer a word of encouragement. Be diligent to share words of hope and refrain from talking about negative things—there’s enough of that in the news already.
  3. Make a list of people that come to your mind and start praying for them. Each day set aside 1 or 2 hours and pray for each person by name.
  4. 35 suggestions for us to do while we live in isolation and deal with this coronavirus season, which I hope will be a help for you in these days ahead.Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Read 5 books at a time. I do this all the time. Read one for half an hour, then switch over to another book and read that. In this way, you are reading many different subjects at the same time. It feels like a good meal that has several items on the plate all at once.
    • If you email me, I will send you a list of some of the most impactful books that have changed my life. Email me at
  5. Read God’s word and memorize verses of hope and promise.
  6. Read poems about hope, love, and faith.
  7. Read a good book about using time wisely.
  8. Think about others, especially those who are in a much more dangerous environment than we are, and pray for them.
  9. Write an email to the Government authorities, both local and higher levels, and encourage them. Appreciate all that they do for the society. They don’t hear positive encouragement very often.
  10. Although you cannot go to public places like the gym for exercises, discipline yourself for at least half hour each day to do some kind of physical exercise in your home. If you aren’t sure what to do, a quick search on Google will bring up hundreds of ideas as to what you can do for exercising at home.
  11. Read my books. You can download them for free by going to
  12. Look around and see the accumulation of material stuff that has cluttered your life. Simplify your living conditions by throwing things away that can’t be used and giving away what can be.
  13. Don’t consume foods that your body cannot use, especially during these days with limited inability to burn the calories.
  14. Listen to music that calms your mind and emotions.
  15. Watch good movies on life. Don’t watch scary movies.
  16. Guard your ears from listening to people talking about negative things.
  17. Read a book on silence and solitude and try practicing it. Make this a habit for your life. They say when you do something for 21 days, it will become a habit. One book I would recommend on this topic is The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen.
  18. If you have resources to give, look for ways to help others in dire need, especially those in communities and nations that are in greatly suffering due to this corona virus crisis.
  19. Learn something new! Practice a new language, develop speed reading, learn an instrument—you can get started by looking at what is offered for free online.
  20. Go to and learn all the ways you can help the needy and suffering in Asia through your prayers and assistance.
  21. Listen to encouraging teachings. Some of the best I’ve found can be heard online at
  22. Eat simply and eat less. Fast one or two days a week if you can.
  23. Read the words of Christ about the signs of the last days. Think to yourself what it means to live in the light of eternity. Make decisions that matter beyond time and the physical world around you.
  24. Being isolated with your family members is a gift from God. Be kind and loving to those who are close to you. This convergence culture and online world of social media has caused so much loneliness and isolation. Re-learn how to be a real human being during this time you have together.
  25. Make a list of things you can live without. Use that list to create changes in your life. Think about the amount of time and money you can save and learn how to live simply—it will bring you so much freedom!
  26. Study about the first 400 years of the Holy Church by reading the writings of the church fathers and the desert fathers and mothers. Many of their teachings can be found online.
  27. Use this time to think about the reason for your living based on 2 Peter 1:4. Learn what it means and looks like to embrace the sacramental life, which is key to living as God intended for us.
  28. Use this time to think about all those you need to seek forgiveness from as well as those you need to forgive. Call. Write. Talk to them. Free yourself for the prison of bitterness. We all fail, we are all sinners. No one is perfect, including you. Be kind.
  29. This season of forced isolation is a God-given opportunity to know who we truly are by reading God’s Word over and over again and learning to see ourselves in light of it.
  30. Church is the epicenter of the universe. And the Church is not a crowd. Worship is the epicenter of the Church. You can gather with the handful of people already in your home and have a time of worship, where God is in your midst as the only audience.
  31. Make a list of prayer requests to pray for the nations. You can get started by visiting our website and using the list we have provided.
  32. If you have any inclination to write—either stories or poems or a memoir—begin writing a book, especially one that includes stories of hope and courage from your life’s journey.
  33. Pray the Lord’s Prayer as you wash your hands often. [It takes about 20 seconds!]
  34. Every time you become anxious, say out loud, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I reject these fears.”
  35. Remember this phrase: Don’t waste this corona virus! Use it to your advantage and help others in need.

The Power of the Gospel

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:2-5

This week is my favorite week of the year. It is a Holy Week. A week of focus on Jesus Christ, the Gospel story, and the greatest sacrifice and miracle the world has ever heard of. Easter week is time of great joy and renewal in our world, and it has proven to be a time of great joy and renewal in my family. Two of my most precious gifts were given to me during this particular week in years past. And I’m asking the Lord, humbly, not greedily, for another gift this year.

On this week in 2005 our family headed out for a spring vacation to the mountains of Virginia. Planning the trip we realized that we would be traveling through a Tennessee town where one of our former ministers of music lived. We got in touch ahead of time to see if we could take them to dinner and have a short visit, but as we should have guessed, his current church was presenting their Easter music on the night we would be traveling through. We immediately decided to make their Easter program a part of our vacation.

Rolling into town too late to get supper before it started, we pulled into the church parking lot and managed to get seats within about 6 rows of the front where our wiggly 6-year-old could stay focused and engaged for the hour-and-a-half long music and drama presentation. He curled up in my lap and to our great relief was attentive and tuned in for the whole evening. The Gospel was presented boldly and clearly, with one particular song, “End of the Beginning,” summing up the whole message of the Gospel in a powerfully moving way.

As we got to the invitation, I did as is my habit for years now, and I closed my eyes and began praying for the lost that had just heard the message. The pastor gave an altar call and began to lead the crowd in the sinner’s prayer. I felt a tug on my shirt and opened my eyes prepared to say, “It’s almost over. Be quiet for just a moment more.” But instead I saw sincere little eyes gazing at me, and my 6-year-old whispered, “I want to pray that prayer too, Mommy.”

My heart was seized by love and joy. Of course I told him, “OK. Let’s pray.” And my sweet little 6-year-old – who had loved Jesus from the time He could talk and begin understand the stories of the Bible – prayed to the Father, asking forgiveness for His sin, and telling God that He could rule over his little heart and life forever! My first joyous gift at Easter!



Flash forward to April 2017. Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, our pastor had called our church to a week of fasting. He had challenged us in advance to pray about who we would be fasting for – who were we praying for God to move in their heart. My husband and I both felt compelled to pray for our daughter-in-love. Our beautiful daughter-in-love has always been one of the kindest, most tender-hearted, loving people you would ever meet, but we didn’t know if she had a relationship with Jesus. Now, we are not habitual fast-ers. In fact, this was one of only a handful of times in my Christian life that I had committed to a fast, and never before had it been for a week.

So we started that week with continuous prayer in the place of food. We found it wasn’t as hard as we’d feared. This mission with which God had overwhelmed our hearts drove us to prayer and away from food. I think that was one of the most intense weeks of prayer in my life.

On Easter Sunday at the end of that week our son and the prayed-for-daughter-in-love came to the worship service. My mama’s heart was full. Once again at the invitation time, I bowed my head and prayed for the lost in the congregation who had heard the message of salvation, that they would respond to the call of the Holy Spirit upon their heart. Once again there was a tug on my sleeve. This time it was my husband. He nodded toward the altar. As I looked up, there she stood – my sweet daughter-in-love, the first one down to the altar. That day she also prayed to receive Christ. Another joyous Easter gift!

This year I’m praying for my One. God knows who they are. This year I’ll be worshipping at home over the internet because of the Covid-19 virus; I imagine another tug at the sleeve is impossible. But I know better than to doubt what Our Mighty God can do! So folks, I’ll listen to the message, celebrate the resurrection in my heart, pray when the pastor offers the online invitation, and who knows… I would not put it past God to have a tug on my sleeve and find out my One has come to Christ!

How about you? Who’s your One? Are you praying in faith expecting Jehovah to move in their heart? I’ll join you in praying for them – on Easter Sunday I’ll bow my head and pray for all our Ones to answer God’s call.

The End of the Beginning

I was takin’ a trip on a plane the other day
Just wishing that I could get out
When the man next to me saw the book in my hand
And asked me what it was about
So I settled back in my seat
“A best seller,” I said
“A history, a mystery in one.”
And then I opened up the book and began to read
From Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

He was born of a virgin one holy night
In the little town of Bethlehem
Angels gathered round him underneath the stars
Singing praises to the Great I Am
He walked on the water
Healed the lame
And made the blind to see again
And for the first time here on earth
We learned that God could be a friend
And though he never ever did a single thing wrong
The angry crowd chose him
And then he walked down the road
And died on the cross
And that was the end of the beginning.

[Verse 2]
“That’s not a new book that’s a bible,” he said
“and I’ve heard it all before
I’ve tried religion
It’s shame and guilt
And I don’t need it anymore
It’s superstition, made up tales
And just to help the weak to survive.”
“Let me read it again,” I said
“Listen closely, cause this is gonna change your life”

He was born of a virgin one holy night
In the little town of Bethlehem
Angels gathered round him underneath the stars
Singing praises to the Great I Am
He walked on the water
Healed the lame
And made the blind to see again
And for the first time here on earth
We learned that God could be a friend
And though he never ever did a single thing wrong
The angry crowd chose him
And then he walked down the road
And died on the cross
And that was the end of the beginning.

“The end of the beginning,” he said with a smile
“What more could there be?
He’s dead
You said they hung Him
Put nails in His hands
And a crown of thorns on His head.”
I said, “I’ll read it again but this time there’s more
And I believe that this is true
His death wasn’t the end, the beginning of life
That’s completed in you
Don’t you see He did all this for you!”

He was born of a virgin one holy night
In the little town of Bethlehem
All the angles singing praises to the Great I AM
He walked on the water
Healed the lame
And made the blind to see
(and for the first time here on earth)
Did you know that God could be a friend
Though He never ever did a single thing wrong
He was the one the crowd chose
Then he walked and he died but
Three days later
Three days later
Three days later
HE ROSE!!!!!!!

Three days later he rose!
You see he came, he lived, and he died
But that was the end of the beginning.


Messy Monday Milkshake Madness

(Here’s a repost of one of our all-time favorite blogposts! Have a laugh. Enjoy!)

Image result for Jack's milkshake

by Kim Hamm

The month of April came and went like a whirlwind. It came in and turned our house upside down. After ten years, it was time to do some home repairs and remodeling. Everything we owned was moved out of the house and stored in the basement and garage so that the work could get done without interruptions. Needless to say, five people living in the basement for three weeks can cause quite a few stressful moments! There were many “spilled milkshake” days.

Let me explain. It had already been a very stressful weekend. Let’s face it. Getting ready for church on a normal Sunday can be a challenge but when all the clothes that your entire family own are dumped in the basement, it can be downright scary. Our new living arrangement started off nice and orderly. All of the clothes were stacked in neat piles and everyone had their own area to keep all their “stuff” organized as much as possible. The problem was that after three weeks of stacking everything neatly and living out of storage bags and bins, all the mountains of clothes started falling. Everything became a huge mess. So, to get the week started off right, after school on Monday, I decided to go through Jack’s drive through and get Kayla and myself a delicious milkshake.

We were having a great time talking, singing to the radio, and enjoying our milkshakes when it happened. As I turned onto our street, Kayla’s milkshake spilled … no, exploded everywhere! One moment I can see beautiful blue skies. The next moment all I can see is milkshake running everywhere. It was dripping down the front of my windshield and onto my dashboard. It was running down my face from the top of my head. I couldn’t see so I immediately turned on my wipers which did nothing to help the situation because, obviously, the milkshake was on the inside, but who can think logically when a milkshake has exploded all over the inside of your car … not me! We had no napkins (I can never remember to ask for them when I need them) so I started grabbing jackets from the backseat to throw on my dashboard to absorb the gooey, sticky mess. I pulled into a driveway and sat there with milkshake in my hair and all over the car. Kayla and I just stared at each in shock and disbelief.

I would like to say that I remained calm and cool at that moment, but I would be lying. I let out a scream, more out of shock than anger. I could just imagine my car smelling like sour milk all summer long. As I looked at Kayla, I only said two words … “How?” and “Why?” I wasn’t really expecting her to give me an answer because how can you explain an unexplainable accident. She just shrugged her shoulders in confusion as milkshake dripped off our hair and faces. Later, as I was cleaning up the milkshake mess, it hit me.

The entire month of April we had been living in a messy state of total disorder and displacement. All of our family routines were halted and our lives were thrown into chaos, mess, disorder and stress. It was just like the messy milkshake that had been thrown all over my car. I realized that life is exactly like that milkshake explosion – messy, unexpected, surprising, stressful, exciting, and chaotic. When you are in the middle of a terribly difficult situation, you can’t see the end results. That’s when you have to let out a scream of frustration (at least I did) and then put your car back in drive and just keep going forward.

Whatever situation you may be dealing with this week, this month, this year, be encouraged that this challenging season will not last forever. You may not know the outcome today, but you can rest assured that God can use any messy, frustrating situation to grow and mature us. Today, as Kayla and I look back on our messy Monday milkshake madness, we can both laugh. Why now and not in the moment of the madness … because God has a way of changing our perspective on the other side of the mess! Don’t give up when you are sitting in the driver’s seat, but you can’t see where you are going. Just let go and let God take control while you wipe the milkshake from your eyes.

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24