Metamorphosis

Butterflies are one of the most beautiful creations that God made. I especially love Monarch butterflies. As my husband and I were returning home from a quick trip to the grocery store, I glimpsed my first Monarch butterflies of the season. What a beautiful sight. This reminded me of our trip to Pensacola in the fall.

We were eating in an outdoor restaurant and there were Monarch butterflies everywhere we looked. As we returned to our car, there were Monarchs nestled together on shrubbery and trees. They were huddled in groups. I had never seen so many Monarchs. On the news that evening, they spoke of the Monarch migration. It made sense as to why we were seeing so many Monarchs.

animal-beautiful-biology-bloom-675313Those tiny butterflies were traveling to Mexico. Many had already come long distances. Some had flown all the way from Canada. How do they know where to go? There are only a few mountains in central Mexico where Monarchs migrate for the winter. The oyamel fir trees provide the perfect place for them to survive. These butterflies will never return to the beaches of Pensacola because when it is time to migrate back to the summer places, they lay eggs and those little caterpillars grow and then form their chrysalis where they blossom into a beautiful Monarch butterfly. It can take 4 or 5 generations of Monarchs to get back to their summer breading ground. How do they know where to go?

While the Monarch Butterfly only lives 15 to 50 days, something amazing happens when the butterfly starts to migrate to Mexico. The Monarch becomes a super butterfly that will live around eight months. This butterfly has the strength to travel between 2000 to 3000 miles to get to its migration destination. It lives through the winter and then starts the process all over again by laying eggs on the milkweed for the next generation of butterflies.

God our Creator made them with the ability to know where to go in the summer and where to go for the winter. Even though many generations have passed and the butterfly has never been to where it is going, it knows where to go. It is inborn. When it needs the strength to fly over vast amounts of space, God has given the strength and ability to accomplish its task.

We are made by our creator with certain intuitions and abilities. God creates us to be who he wants us to be. Then it is up to us to become who he designed us to be. God also gives us strength and determination to accomplish the tasks that seem more than we can fathom. He gives us the strength to go through more than we think we can handle. We become more than we think we are because of the strength God gives us in times of need. Like the tiny butterfly that can travel 2000 to 3000 miles, we can accomplish amazing things for the Kingdom of God. What is inside of you that you need to let out? What is God trying to do through you? What is your super power for God’s use? If God took such care to design a butterfly with such detail, how much more does God our Father, design us to be His and do His work?

The scripture tells us:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

https://www.monarch-butterfly.com/monarch-butterflies-facts.html

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Weariness

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Sigh… Breathe… Do the next thing with little energy… Nap…

As this Coronavirus pandemic drags on, we have found ourselves going from disbelief, to fear of the unknown, to resignation and a we-can-get-through-this mentality. This was followed by a drop in the numbers of cases and hope of the U.S. economy reopening soon. Now that numbers are up and down daily, and we realize this virus will not disappear quickly, many find themselves in a low spot. You may be weary, frustrated, or even sinking into depression. This disease has taken its toll whether you have caught the actual virus or are suffering from emotional, mental, societal, or economic factors.

Ladies, this is when we are called to remember our faith, and to look to our Savior and not to the waves rolling around us. Lamentations 5:5, 9-10 seems to reflect the situation well,

Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are weary and find no rest…. But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side! Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.”

Weary.  Many whispering “Terror on every side!” Denounce her – publicly declare she is wrong, evil! She blames my political party. They disagree with me about wearing masks. Soak in the sunshine and dance through the waves.My opinion is right why can’t they see it. Everyone taking a side and criticizing their fellowman. If we live in this mindset of constant arguing and fear of disease, checking hospitalization and death statistics and depending on human wisdom, we will find ourselves in a state of weariness at the least and deep dark depression at the worst. So what is a woman of God to do?

We do what we have been trained and discipled to do throughout our Christian life, we turn to God’s Word and prayer, and seek our comfort in the God of the Word not in human wisdom, miracle cures, or any anesthesia this world can offer (Amazon ordering included!)

Our Father is a loving father who cares deeply about us and comforts us in our weariness. In Matthew 11:28 He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Then in Jeremiah 31:25 he tells us “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” He is here for us. Right now. In this time of uncertainty. All we need to do is come to Him. 

I have made it a habit, almost a ritual during this time of COVID-19, of going out on my deck first thing each morning with my coffee, my dog, and my Bible, journal, and pen. He meets me there each day. The sun warms me slowly, the breeze blows, the birds sing all reminding me of His miraculous world and His tender love and care – the setting prepares my heart. Then I pour out my fears and doubts in prayer. I sing to Him and journal my questions. And I dig into His Word – that’s where He meets me. It’s almost as if He’s a fleshly, patient Daddy sitting there waiting for me to spill out all my concerns before He responds.  But respond, He does. His written Word speaks specifically to my weary heart. I hear Him soothing me and reminding me of truths I tend to forget in the dark times.

We are not alone in our weariness. Jesus in His flesh and blood form here on earth grew weary Himself. The writer of Hebrews remind us to “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (12:3) Can you even imagine the weariness our Savior must have felt on this earth as the only righteous person, knowing that His was a lonely mission even though He was surrounded by followers. He was on a mission to battle the forces of evil and bear the punishment of all sins for all time. A sinless man, carrying the weight of the sin of the world. Trying to imagine the weary task is impossible for our small minds, we can only glimpse the man of sorrow sweating drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane and crying out to the Father to remove the weary cup.

Isaiah says in chapter 40, “He [God] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” My strength will not come through any outward help, nor through inward trying. My strength for the weariness is found only in stumbling and falling into the arms of my Creator and allowing Him to imbue me with strength through His Word in my quiet moments of prayer with Him. When I put my hope in Him, then will I receive strength to soar above the weariness, to run with tired, sore knees, and to keep walking without fainting dead in my tracks.

In Galatians 6:9 the Apostle Paul tells us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Ladies, can we join together right now and take this verse to heart? Will you choose this very moment to put one foot in front of the other and do the next righteous thing the Lord has before you? That may be folding laundry, spending time with the Father, painting a room, loving on our children, calling a friend with a word of encouragement, or taking a walk in God’s wide, wide world. Whatever is before you, let us not grow weary. Let us keep pursuing righteousness, faith, hope, love, and all the fruit of the Spirit, so that our lives do not stagnate and degenerate into weariness of soul, but instead flourish as we walk forth confidently in faith in our adoring Father.
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Those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:20

The Why

A look back at Coronavirus and the Easter weekend tornadoes of 2020.

Scott Martin: “Why are you awake?”
Me: “I had to use the bathroom.”

~~~~~

Me: “Why are you awake?”
Scott Martin: “I haven’t been asleep yet.”
Me: “Why?”
Scott Martin: “I’m worried about tomorrow’s severe weather threats.”
Me: “You’re worried about tomorrow so you didn’t sleep tonight?”
Scott Martin: Nods head.
Me: “Come to bed now so you won’t be a grump later.”
Scott Martin then climbed in the bed beside me and promptly fell asleep.

And that’s when I knew. Suspicions confirmed. My take on the weather event might warrant sharing at a later date, but this is what I suspect was The Why.

imagesI ain’t even gonna lie. I hadn’t looked at the first model, I hadn’t watched or listened to the weather man (the one living in my house and the one not.) I had’t been stressed over it at all. Normally my stress regarding the weather is limited to: 1. If I’m scheduled to work because when the weather is bad and you’re a fragile kid, your dad’s a meteorologist working in a closet, it’s good to have your mom at home. And 2. When your patriarch is a meteorologist and you still go to church on Sunday morning the aforementioned patriarch will not likely be present. (His coverage area is not limited to Where We Live, Alabama, so it might be simply delightful here and all crunk up in the Pickens, Lamar, and the Hale counties, among others, so he must work to share the information with those people.)

I suspect that the Enemy of This World had tried desperately to flip the King and His people on their sides, a forever abdication of sorts. Tried to make life miserable and tiresome for all of us. I suspect the enemy did one of those happy dance, boo-ya things when the world as we know it had to be interrupted. I suspect when the worship services across this nation halted, he did cartwheels, I also suspect he thought he’d won this one as he watched store shelves empty, panic and fear spread like a brush fire in the desert. I suspect that he did a “YES!” elbow in movement as people began to hide in their homes and put life on hold. And I suspect and in a classic egomaniacal way he celebrated. He happy danced himself through the empty streets of places that have not been empty before this moment in time and he reveled, wallowed in his good work disruption. And I suspect that he could not contain himself when he looked upon the suffering of the people wracked with sickness… I suspect he thought he had the upper hand.

woman-in-black-leather-jacket-wearing-white-mask-3983416That was until humanity and the Good that lives in us proved him wrong. That was until people began to come out of their homes and love on their neighbors, spreading good news and smiles with unused sidewalk chalk. That was until unlikely seamstresses were born overnight to carry the burden of making masks and items for those in need of them. That was until we started to look up and see the helpers, the heroes, and the humble. That was until families forced to stay at home have eaten meals together and talked and laughed, and cried and healed. That was until the creativity that we all have has been channeled into resourcefulness. I’ll bet he rubbed his grubby little hands together with delight at his work until he saw others selflessly run to the aid of the sufferers.

Pastors and preachers, Bible studies and such have come together virtually. Encouragement and laughter can be found on the Facebooks and the Instas and on the YouTubes in the form of Hamilton via Zooms. Sure it’s not easy and there is still much to do and much to work toward, but overall, despite the horrible hand it was dealt, humanity didn’t fold to the pressure and pain he tried desperately to inflict. He was right – the world has changed, but not for the worse, some would say for the better.

The Enemy’s plan wasn’t working out so well so he had to up the ante…

cross-671379_1280Easter week is the single most special Sunday to the King’s People. It’s the day when we remember intentionally what happened that first Resurrection Sunday, when our King overcame sin and death. There is likely not a single historical event that riles the enemy more than that one. He tried really hard to stop the Celebration and he failed, so now he was using against Alabamians what we all know and many of us fear… time and weather. What a perfect diabolical mix to push us over the edge.

Suspicions Confirmed. The enemy wanted to steal the thunder of the King and he had plans to use a destabilized atmosphere, a panicky public, a significant anniversary, social distancing (which eliminates some folks’ place of safety) to throw one massive ugly punch. I am a full believer in being prepared and having a plan, the Lord protects us but he’s also given us a brain to use, so part 2 will lay out just how to do that, a timeline of what and when, but part 1 is what I suspect is the why.

Of note, this predicted weather event was the Easter Sunday tornado outbreak of 2020. There were a total of 24 tornadoes that day that were confirmed by the National Weather Service and zero fatalities in Alabama.

 

The Praying Place

Not too long ago, my family began to get my Daddy’s house ready to sell. My Daddy had lived a life with rich blessings from the Lord and had made his way to heaven to join my Mother. The house had been their home for almost 30 years. With the help of my brother, my husband, and our family we began the task to get the house ready for sell. My family had already tagged some of the items to go to their own homes, but we were trying to go through closets and boxes to see what needed to be kept and what needed to be thrown away.

Then the time came for the house to go on the market. What a blessing it was when the house sold. The realtor told us that when the young couple walked in the door of the house, they looked at each other and said that this was the one. They had not even seen it yet. They said they felt the Lord there. What a legacy.

If that house could talk, it would tell you of the conversations people had there and how much the Lord was loved and worshipped. I remember leaving the house for the last time with mixed feelings of never returning but thankful for the young couple who bought the house to start their life together. When the last of the papers were signed and the house was officially theirs, I told them about my Daddy and how he was a man of prayer. I told them of the tremendous number of hours that he had spent in prayer for his family, his pastor, his church, his Sunday School class, and the list went on. He had two particular places that he prayed. He loved to pray at the dining room table because he could spread out his Bible that had his prayer list inside. He sometimes journaled his prayers and that gave him room to write. He would also pray in his chair in the corner of the den. He always met the Lord there and they had long conversations in these two locations. I told them that these were places that the Lord met with him daily. If they needed to make an important decision or had a need, these were the two places in the house that had been prayed over the most. 

Where do you pray? Where do you meet God each day? Do you have a particular place that has everything you need to pray and worship the Lord? Where would your family say your praying place is?

The scripture says,

“But when you pray go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”. Matthew 6:6 NIV

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35 NIV

“On the next day, as thy were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray”. Acts 16:13

Fake Grace

My boy wiener dog loves my Mama’s dog. Her name is Grace, the dog not my Mama. Grace is a rather portly elder chiweenie. She is a good-for-a-retired-person dog. She likes naps and waking up early. She enjoys walks in the neighborhood and rides to the coffee shop. She has a tendency toward being lazy, but when she’s around her younger cohorts she gets a burst of energy and hops around like a bunny. We always laugh when she gets so excited when she visits my house. Her favorite playmate is my boy wiener.

He isn’t the smartest dog. We’ve decided as a family he is either the smartest or the dumbest dog ever. He makes us laugh with his antics. He is solid black except for a heart shaped white patch in his chest. He is playful and as I said, he adores Grace. He absolutely adores her and when she does that bunny-hop thing he gets exceptionally excited. They’ve visited and played together regularly. However, when this quarantine started, those play dates and visits were halted. To his dismay Grace has not been to visit in quite some time.

However, our behind neighbors happen to have a chiweenie as well. She is blonde and a tad younger and slimmer than Grace. There is a fair amount of space that separates my boy pup and the neighbor pup, he can’t see her very clearly but her bark sounds just like Grace. We have named her “Fake Grace.” Fake Grace will bark and my boy pup goes bonkers, he runs the fence and barks back. When Fake Grace is not outside my boy pup will stare longingly out the window in the direction of Fake Grace’s yard. When she finally emerges into the yard my Boy Pup can hardly contain himself. He barks himself silly, In rapid fire succession I imagine if I could understand dog it would sound a little something like this,

“Grace! Grace! GRACE! Come here, come over here and play! What are you doing back there Grace?”

Fake Grace does not respond. My Boy Pup persists.

“Grace!! Why did your Mama put you back there? You’re supposed to be over here!”

Fake Grace remains silent, she carries on with her business, hardly acknowledging the pest behind her home.

“Grace! I’m going to come over to that yard and get you!”

Fake Grace continues to saunter around her yard.

dachshund-2683905_1280The Boy Pup, desperate for fake Grace’s attention, wiggles himself free of the confines of my backyard and sets out to visit Fake Grace. Usually he gets turned around, stuck, gets himself into any number of awkward situations trying to make his way to Fake Grace. He has had to be rescued countless times as he makes an attempt to reach the counterfeit. As I rescue my Boy Pup, I scold him. He has gotten himself into a mess trying to make it to Fake Grace.

It was just such an experience when I realized I am much like my Boy Pup. I spend wasted hours striving for a Fake Grace when the real Grace is where I should be investing my time and energy. Oftentimes the things of life have the appearance of godliness but when I get right down to it those things become my sole focus. I strive to impress the Fake Grace decoy all the while neglecting Christ, the very One on whom I should be focused. It has even been so bad that there have been occasions when in my attempts to get the attention of the Fake Grace, I get myself into such predicaments that I am incapable of freeing myself from. Thankfully God is a long-suffering, patient God. He rescues me from my entrapment, loves on me, and reminds me that Christ alone should be my focus.

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

To all you wonderful women… May you have a day filled with sunshine and joy, people you love and memorable moments. May you each have health and peace during this time of coronavirus.

Celebrate your role God has given you today, whether you’re a biological mom, spiritual mom, adoptive mom, foster mom, godmother, or beloved aunt! We women have a way of mothering those around us – cherish that God-given nurturing ability!

Welcome Home

My daughter and her family recently went on a vacation. We had met them at the airport  when they left to get their car so they did not have to pay parking. As they were returning, we made signs with the names of our two little granddaughters. As we waited at the bottom of the escalator, I could hear the anticipation of families waiting for their family member to arrive. One little boy just couldn’t wait for Granny to get here. Others were waiting for grandchildren to arrive. Two children couldn’t wait to get off the escalator to get to their grandparents. Then a young man in a military uniform came down the escalator. His mother was calling to him and a big smile burst on his face when he saw her. Another family had a sign for their military daughter.

At last our family was coming down the escalator. Our oldest little granddaughter called out to us. You would think it had been longer than the week that they had been gone. She ran around me to get to her PawPaw. That’s ok. I grabbed for the baby. I was thankful that they arrived home safely.

welcome-806163_1280As I watched more people emerge from the escalator, I had a beautiful picture come across my mind. I began to think of the ultimate Welcome Home. How beautiful heaven must be when loved ones emerge into view. Some separations have been a long while but others, only a short time. No matter the amount of time, this joyous reunion is forever. Parents seeing their children. A husband seeing his beautiful wife. A Mother seeing her precious child lost far too soon. No more goodbyes. This is the Eternal Hello!

Heaven is a place for Jesus to Welcome Home those who belong to him. How beautiful are the ones who come to Him because they have believed in him. How blessed is the Salvation he has offered as a gift. Jesus has a special place for each one in heaven. 

Jesus said “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” – John 14:2 ESV

Heaven is a place of worship. 

“…so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11

“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom. That all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve him His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:14

Heaven is a place of unending happiness.  

“So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
And everlasting joy will be on their heads
They will obtain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11

 “But you are A chosen Race, A royal Priesthood, A Holy Nation, A people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

When Jesus says, “Welcome Home” it is forever. 

Welcome Home!

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The Librarian’s Gift

“Seeing you makes me miss homeschooling my kids a little.”

The librarian had made her way to the table we had been occupying. The Martins were dispersed among the premises. One was looking for the Odyssey, or maybe it was the Iliad… one of those Homer books. The middle was checking the status of some things on the borrowed library computer. The youngest had fallen asleep on a table positioned in the sunshine.

They are the Modern Day Bethany 3, and Martha was quiet and still for a change. As we walked into the door of the public library two-thirds of the group announced they didn’t have the necessary book to do their assigned work. I laughed out loud. I informed them it was their lucky day because libraries specialize in… wait for it… BOOKS! And they most certainly have what they need. I grabbed the required literary companions from the stack. My long ago library aid years returned to me instinctively; I did not require help or a card catalog to locate the volumes needed to complete the assignment.

simplicity pngAs we sat at the table the older two got so tickled with themselves that they even got me tickled. The very word legume had me turning red and laughing so heartily I was sure the aforementioned librarian would ask me to vacate. Those same two, have gained their Mama’s ability to laugh uncontrollably in a place designated for quietness – a sense of humor that is both inappropriate and annoying and the ability to procrastinate and avoid socializing if possible.

I don’t want them to struggle with the same things I do, so I make them do things, step out of the comfort zone, in hopes that one day they’ll be less hesitant to do so. I reminded the Lazarus of the bunch I was making him build character as I handed him the required funds, and the dialog he was to have to get a copy made. Mary, per her usual, was sitting quietly and drawing until Lazarus dragged her into his comical circus. They were laughing and enjoying being goofy teenagers.

After our trip to the library we made our way to a local fast food place and had lunch. We ate and made our way home. The next day was our Bible Study day, and unbeknownst to us, this would be the last time we would be able to do any of the activities we had been doing so many days before. The following Tuesday the Quarantine would begin. By the next week the libraries and dining rooms of restaurants would be closed. Life would completely change for us in routine and in what we could expect from the coming days.

Within a week everyone would be homeschooling their kids, corporate worship would cease, and it wouldn’t be weird for folks to wear a mask made out of a bandana into a store. Conversations and priorities would change and it would seem as if life would never return to the normal we once knew.

As days have turned into weeks since that now seemingly long ago conversation I had with the librarian, I have thought much about what life looks like in her house, how she had missed being with her kids daily, and now she has the opportunity to do that. I have thought much of the negatives of the quarantine life. The negatives of staying at home, unable to resume “normal life.” Although admittedly I am a little more sluggish to focus on the positives, like the unexpected gift of homeschooling to the librarian, family meal times, and unplanned and unexpected togetherness. I, like most of the world I know, want life to resume, for the normal to return. But I would be lying if I said that I have not appreciated the slower pace of life and the unexpected gifts it has yielded.

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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

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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…

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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.

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