Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Pandemic Sized Problems

Hello friends.  Long time no see.  I don't know about you, but man doesn't life seem to get a little out of control real easy?  I know it has for me.  This has a lot to do with the fact that it has been a few years since I have used this platform for communication and devotionals.  But, pandemic times call for pandemic measures!!

This pandemic is definately new to me, and probably you as well.  With the exception of a few members of my church that may remember living through the plagues of Egypt, Black Death, and the Spanish Flu of the early 1900s.  😂  Many times we tend to always focus on the bad, the fears, the stress, and I could probably go on and on and on.  Not to mention the stress on our families as we try to help our students learn at home.  I know many teachers who have had their eyes opened to the challenges on trying to teach online, and parents pulling their hair out trying to help their own kids.  I'm actually living on both sides of this equation right now.  With my wife and I both being educators, it adds an interesting twist to our daily routines.  And we sometimes beg for a little more "social distancing."

There are also things we have to do without.  Sitting down in a restaurant, nope.  Going to the movies, nope.  Finding toilet paper, good luck.  But the thing I miss the most, going to church.  Now, I do follow a couple of pastor friends of mine and watch video clips of there sermons.  I also keep up with my pastor via text, email, and the occasional phone call.  Not to mention keeping up with church members on Facebook.  But it is not the same.  I miss the personal interaction with my church family on a regular basis.  I find myself craving the opportunity to get back to fellowship with my church family.  It almost feels as though I am being malnourished in a way.  I miss the fellowship, the teaching, the prayer time, and singing in the choir.  I feel that too much more of this could cause me to become weak from my 'malnourishment.'

But this 'pandemic problem' is no different than many of the trials that we face, and will continue to face in our lifetimes.  There are two important things to remember when facing trials:

1.  They have a purpose
2.  They don't last forever

James 1:2-3
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Have we taken time to ask God what it is that He wants us to learn from this?  Have we looked for ways to actively grow our faith in this time?  Are we making the most of our opportunities to share our faith with others as it grows?

There is an end in site with this pandemic.  I challenge you to look for blessings that may be hidden in disguise.  Look for ways to grow your faith in the midst of these trials.  Be comforted by the grace that God has given you in your current situation.  Take joy in the process, because you know what the end reward will be.  Most importantly, don't forget to share with others.  Check in with those you miss.  Call and encourage your pastor.  Keep studying and praying as an individual, and with your families.  I may not be able to go to church, but i can still be a part of it until I can.

Thanks for reading, and God bless you all!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

God's Timing

Regardless of how I would like to view myself sometimes, I am not a patient person.  One of my biggest pet peeves are long, and unnecessary lines.  They always seem to be the worst when you are in the biggest hurry as well.  For example, I walked into the local Wal-Mart last week to pick up two or three items.  (Yes, I made it in and out without anything extra)  It took me maybe four minutes total to find what I needed, and I thought to myself, this is going to be a quick trip.  Boy was I wrong.  Out of over 20 registers at the front of the store, only four were open and checking out customers.  FOUR!  The lines were long, and I waited almost half an hour before I got out of the store.  I am proud to say that I kept my cool, because I did realize that it was not the poor girl's fault who checked me out, and she did not deserve some of the comments that she was receiving about the lines.  But, it was still ridiculous.  Then, on the way home I pulled up to a red light, when it turned green five cars got through before it changed back to red.  And guess who was the first one to have to stop, THIS GUY.  I did not think it would ever turn green.  I especially got fed up when there was at least a full minute and a half when no traffic was coming through the green light!

I wonder sometimes if we have this same attitude towards God as we experience things in our lives.  It seems like we are always in a hurry to be in a relationship, to get that new job, or buy a new home.  And when it does not happen, we either try to force the issue or question God as to why.  Not only this, but we tend to demand answers of Him.

Psalm 46:10
"Cease striving and know that I am God;"

Some translations also use the phrase "Be still."  We can also look at a point of being patient.  We should not put so much in making things try to happen the way we want, and just be patient.  And what should we do while being patient.  Know that He is God.  Know that He knows what He is doing.  Trust in the fact that He is sovereign over all things.  Have faith in His will for your life.

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

We must seek His will in our lives, and trust that He knows exactly what to do in our best interest.  Through this, we draw closer to Him.  What do we do in the time being, we serve.  We stay faithful in the areas in which we currently find ourselves, and we work hard until He is ready to move us where He wants us to be.

Thanks for reading, and I pray that God will continue to bless you all!