Just checking in on you <3

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How are you doing? 

Are you holding up? 

In the past week I have heard of or been with people who are facing some heavy stress from the new normal. 

Teachers, administrators, parents and students are having regular meltdowns and facing feelings of frustration and depression. 

Families are standing outside of windows communicating via phone with their loved ones in a nursing facility who have no idea why this is happening to them. 

Parents who are gifted and talented and very good at what they trained to do are now attempting to also become the teacher in a home school that was thrown together in a matter of weeks. 

Servers are being asked to wear a mask while the customers breathe their order up into their sweet faces. 

Cities where people gathered and shouted protests are now shrouded in smoke so thick it is impossible to breathe. 

While communities were preparing their town to be hit by a hurricane, the winds shifted and it brought devastation somewhere else.

As businesses are closing or cutting back, people are trying to figure out how much longer they can go without a regular paycheck.

In a home, everyone is affected by the changes the pandemic has brought and the way they respond varies. Flexing to all the different coping mechanisms while trying to get your own feet grounded is stressful and frustrating.

Those are just a few of the examples that come to my mind.

It’s rough out there and we are lacking opportunities to gather together and talk and hug and support one another. We are turning to social media if that is a place of connection, but for many that isn’t even an option. 

So we have a false sense of community through apps or nothing. 

As Christ followers, we need to be reaching out through whatever means are available to communicate with others. If we are using social media, it should be to encourage and lift up and be supportive of others. We can also prayerfully think of those we know who are not on social media and give them phone call or send a note. 

In this time of upheaval, our go to response may be to preserve our own sanity and safety and shut down. We can’t do that. We have to be asking God who we can come alongside of today and then reach out. 

Remember how very much you are loved <3

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Between the old and the new <3

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Today is a small landmark in my annual Bible read through. Drum roll, please. I finished the Old Testament. I have to admit, I went from reading a set number a pages a day when I hit the minor prophets. I took my time with each one and studied them a bit more. 

Brief endorsement here for reading  your Bible: reading the Minor prophets these past few days was like reading the headlines of our current news stories. The Bible is relevant. In every single age. Human nature has not changed even though we dress differently and chase new fangled idols. Civilizations rise and fall, governments rule and are taken over, economies boom and crash and over it all, God has remained Sovereign, constant and faithful. 

In the midst of all the drama of human history, there has always been a small and faithful remnant that continues to call on God no matter what the popular voices are shouting. And Malachi has a word for us to encourage the weary. 

I love this version from the Message:

Then those whose lives honored GOD got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the GOD-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God’s name.

GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give a child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving Him.”

Malachi 3: 16-18 The Message

Let’s take that to heart people of God. Let’s honor Him with our words and actions in every arena we enter until He takes us Home. Let’s make it a point to gather together with believers and talk about the things of God, not man. He is listening and taking notes on what we say AND He knows the heart from which our words flow. I pray we are taking in as much, and then even more, of what HE says than what the media and other people are saying <3

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Just a thought in the midst of the haze <3

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Yesterday I had an early morning appointment. As I was driving out of our area, I glanced to the right to check for traffic and stopped to gaze at the strangest sight. Off to the east and just above the level of my eye looking down the road was a huge orange ball in the sky. It looked like the moon at that time of day but enormous. I called Russ and he told me it was the sun. 

Don’t laugh. Please. The man has been patient with me for so many decades and he never laughs at me so you can’t either.

He assured me it does look like that in the first moments of sunrise. He also agreed it was strange to have it still looking like that so high in the sky. It was fascinating to me.

We found out last night it is because of the smoky haze drifting our way from the wildfires out west. This morning, just as was predicted on the news, the sun hid a long time behind a haze of smoke. 

To think the smoke has drifted this far across the country and we are experiencing just a remnant of the reality our fellow countrymen and women are dealing with is humbling. It is a tangible reminder that in all of our differences and conflicts, the weather and the seasons fall on each of us the same. 

Another story on the news last night showed all manner of people working side by side to pile sandbags in preparation for yet another hurricane hitting the shores of our southern states. We are divided on many issues, some are hills worth dying on and some are just selfish and petty. 

In this year of 2020 when we have been afraid to ask how things could get worse, because they sure as heck have, we have such an opportunity to come alongside others and help. We can still hold fast to our beliefs about God and we can still be strong in our convictions about sin, but we can also apply that old cliche of the church – it is better to be righteous than right. 

Our prayers and our efforts to bring help and healing to others avail much in all seasons. Let’s not fail in this one to do what we know God has called us to do. 

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Blessings to each of you wherever you are. 

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