Church Picnics and Bus Trips
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
We woulda done more but... we got caught up in the activities and the social aspect of it all. We woulda accomplished more if we weren't so selfish, while showing respect of persons.
We coulda reached out more, cared more about others beyond our social circle. We coulda buried pride, and the flesh.
We shoulda spent more time getting to know who people were in the fellowship and outside of the fellowship. We shoulda appreciated what everyone brought to the table. We shoulda stopped gossiping and maligning others. We shoulda been pure with our intentions. We shoulda made a lot more phone calls to those who had no family in the church. We shoulda used our skills to strengthen rather than put ourselves on display. We shoulda walked into church in a better spiritual condition. We shoulda loved one another and accepted the differences. We shoulda helped where the help was needed. We shoulda held each other in high esteem. We shoulda recognized that God was watching. We shoulda checked our prejudices at the door while confessing its sin. There is so much that we shoulda done and now that we are not gathering together as in the past, what will we do differently if given another opportunity?
As Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His Word, So would we in these latter days, hear and obey our Lord. There would we hear His blessed voice and gaze upon His face, would learn in meekness at His feet what is the woman's place.
Not to usurp authority or take the place of men, yet she can serve in other ways, as did the women then. With ready mind to do His will, like those of long ago, with willing heart to serve Him well, true loyalty to show.
Like Hannah, Miriam, Deborah, she may His praises speak; she may lead other women on; she may support the weak; she may train children for the Lord; uphold the fainting heart, inspiring with a steadfast faith the men to do their part.
Like Sarah, and like others, too, her husband to obey, with willing hands prepare a feast when strangers come that way, and thus, like Sarah, entertain an angel unaware; "Ye did it unto Me," He'll say, whose eyes are everywhere.
Like her who did at Shunem dwell, God's servants to receive; like Abigail in David's day the hungry to relieve; and so we might pursue the tale of women long ago, who served the Lord in simple faith while yet they dwelt below.
Who wait upon the Lord their God shall mount on eagle wings, and elder women, taught of Him, are teachers of good things: to teach young women to be wise, discreet, and good, and kind, to serve the Lord with gladsome heart, and with a quiet mind.
The elder may the younger teach, the young, those younger still; thus shall they help each other on to do His blessed will, to follow Him, the lowly One, and walk in His blest ways, and thus in all they have to do to live unto His praise.
The care of immaturity, of childhood and of youth, to lead the young and wayward feet along the paths of truth, to train them in right ways to go from e'en their earliest days, so they shall still, when older grown, be found in wisdom's ways.
To care for all her household well, and bring up worthy sons, to help the poor with kindly deeds, relieve afflicted ones; to comfort those in sore distress, and succor bring to all who need her help, as Phoebe helped the great apostle Paul.
Like Persis, Lydia, Tabitha, to labor for the Lord, spend time and substance for the poor and earn a rich reward; to practice hospitality, and oft resort to prayer, to follow on with stedfast mind in all good works to share.
Such is the woman's worthy place of service to her Lord; so shall she do His blessed will according to His Word. Who would not gladly serve Him thus? Who would not count it good to hear the Master say at last, "She hath done what she could"?
We are certainly in times of great distractions! During this pandemic of sickness and death, there has been nothing but turmoil on the earth.
There are some very important issues on the table that need addressing as far as this world is concerned. Racism has increased and so have the deaths it has caused. There are marches, rallies, and protest all around the world. Yes, the issues need to be addressed and dealt with.
Social media has been bombarded with many distractions. If we, as believers, are not careful, we will find ourselves carried away with social issues, political issues, and the like.
It is so easy for us to be distracted. Entertainment is a huge distraction for some, as well as some good things, like, our hobbies, or personal interests. We are reminded in Hebrews 12:1 "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith NKJV)." In other words, "we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that won't let us go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us (CEV)". Weights are not sin, a weight in our lives can be things that are hobbies, or your job can become a weight. Anything that takes up a lot of our time and attention is a weight.
We have to fight off distractions. They don't go away on their own. A key part of the above verse is the line, 'Looking unto Jesus'. We can't keep our own minds focused on what we should focus on unless our eyes are on the Lord daily.
Many of us are not able to physically gather together in our local churches as before, and this provides a greater danger for distractions to over take us.
It is Satan's pleasure and joy to keep us preoccupied with everything that is going on in the world, good and bad. No matter what is going on, don't allow yourself to become consumed with it all. Ask God to show you what role you should play for such a time as this, but do not become distracted from the overall purpose God has for you!
We live in a world that is constantly changing. It changes for the bad as well as for the good. I can look back through time and see some changes that were profitable and helpful, yet the more things change the more things remain the same.
As we see the horrors of the heart of sinful man played out right before our faces, and hear the helpless cries of the Black race, it is overwhelming. Racism and injustices have been in existence since the biblical age. Moses' sister, Miriam, was prejudice against his second wife, and as a result of her comments against her, she became a leper. That alone shows us that God hates prejudice. It is mentioned again in James 2: 1, 9, it says that we can't say we have faith in the Lord Jesus and show partiality. It is a sin!
We are in for more change to take place in this world. We are in hazardous and dangerous times. So what can we do? How do we weather the storms created by evil men? How do we navigate here on earth and still maintain our joy in the Lord? My comfort lies in the never changing one! There is nothing else and no one else we can count on in this world but God! He has left us promises, and assurances, and we've got to hold on to His Word. That's how we make the journey here with our joy in tack. Joy isn't the same as happiness. Happiness is conditional, but joy is a permanent state of the heart no matter what happens.
God promises to never change and God cannot lie! You and I have got to hold on to His unchanging hand! We've got to trust that He knows exactly what He is doing in allowing all the stuff that we see. He has promised to take care of those who belong to Him.
So as you see things change politically, socially, and in the religious sector, take courage. Stay close to the Lord God. Read, study, and meditate on His word. Tell Him all about your aches and pains, and trust Him to turn things in your favor! I know because I can testify to the tremendous power He has worked on my behalf. All of my success comes from the Lord!
Keep Trusting, Keep Believing No Matter What Is Happening On This Earth!
Racism is a learned behavior! No one is born hating another human being! It is taught first from within one's home. Parents have the greatest influence on their children.
God cares about people no matter the race or skin color. Deuteronomy 10:17 tells us that God is impartial. God shows no favoritism and accepts all people from every nation who put their trust in Him (Acts 10:34-35).
Prejudice, racism, or showing favoritism is a sin according to James 2:9.
The whole earth is under the influence of Satan. This is where racism stems from. The heart of men who know not Christ, as the son of God, have hearts full of corruption and it spills out in their actions towards others. Some people are worse than an animal because an animal doesn't have the ability to reason rationally, neither does an animal have intellect, but man does. There is no excuse for RACISM!
The atrocities that have been repeatedly visited upon African Americans is evidence and proof of sin which has corrupted the heart of man. It has reached such dangerous proportions that the entire black race is not only once again outraged, but we have had ENOUGH! The cries of the black race have been ignored for centuries! God is angered by this! God says He is angry with those who are wicked, everyday (Psalm 7:11)!
So where does that leave us who say we are Christians? What part do we have in all of this? As we watched the intentional, murder of George Floyd, and the officers who stood by and watched as Officer Derek Chauvin poured out his hatred for the entire black race on a black man, something had to of burned within us. We must raise our voices and speak up and speak out against such heinous crimes! We must not be silent!
Racism and acts of hate hurt and destroy all of us including those who are racist!
These are perilous times with more to come, unfortunately. None of these events have taken God by surprise for He warns us in His Word that the things that would take place on the face of this earth were going to put us in dangerous and hazardous situations (2Tim. 3:1).
The fact that you are living at this time confirms that God has you here to do your part as a believer. Not only are you and I to be salt and light, but we are to speak out against unrighteousness and injustice just as Jesus did. We have access to an entire world without ever leaving our homes so we have no excuse for not verbally standing up for what is right!
Racism within the body of Christ is the worst of all, in my opinion. I have personally experienced it and challenged it when it was happening. It amazes me how some Christians can justify what they do by calling it something else. I know racism when I see it. Let's just call it what it is! We have a responsibility not to avert our eyes when any brother or sister shows favoritism, exclusion, or prejudice. It is not to be tolerated!
Are Christians of other races outraged by the assaults and murders of black people? Where are their voices, I wonder. Although I know they could never understand the plight of the black man, I do expect that their hearts would be so affected that they couldn't help but speak out against such injustice especially when they have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. How can they remain silent?
As I continue to live through these events, I am permitted, by God, to be angry, but with self control, bringing no offense or harm to any persons. I am to pray for all involved and share the cure for sin, which is salvation, God's saving grace.
God is about inclusion and unity within the body of Christ (Gal. 3:28). We have been brought into oneness in Christ, so let us be about unity, and inclusion within the body of Christ, loving all men!
Proverbs 25:4 "Silver must be purified before it can be used to make something of value." (CEV)
The process of making anything from silver is very interesting. The Refiner has to apply intense heat to remove all the impurities. Once that is done, they now have something of value.
The Bible also uses this imagery in relation to our hearts, and subsequently our lives. How does God go about the refining process with you and I? Well, He applies the heat on us using trials, afflictions, and pressure to remove anything that shouldn't be there. He challenges us concerning the areas of our lives that need tending to, like that lie we told, that act of deception we used on another, and many other things we have fallen prey to. This process can be a painful one.
The end result of every situation God takes us through should make us better. But what happens if we aren't getting better? What happens if we resist His discipline, His correction, and His chastisement? When we resist what God is trying to do in our lives, we remain un-usable, unproductive, non-effective in service, and disqualified for what He planned for us to do.
You see, when the dross (impurities) are removed from our heart, the silver is now able to shine and glisten as it was suppose to. Only the best silver that's tried and true gets to be made into jewelry because by that time it has become valuable enough for people to want to possess it. That is what God is trying to do with us. He wants us to shine so that others will be impacted enough to want their own spiritual relationship with Him.
The flesh (all that is unlike Christ)
Evil speaking, gossip, maligning others
God will put us through fiery trials in order to refine us and make us more like Him. His aim is to produce a vessel that shines forth with great value while putting Him on display at the same time.
Does Your Silver Shine?
There are times we find ourselves in personal situations that require us to make certain decisions. As Christians, generally speaking, we know overall what God's mind is for us but, when it comes to our own individual circumstances, we need a specific word from Him that is tailor-made for us.
It's important to pray openly and honestly about everything we're experiencing or going through; don't leave out any details, even if it's stuff you're not proud of. Let God know that you trust Him enough to handle whatever it is, and do leave the results to Him as well.
Sometimes God will show us an interesting path to take that isn't what we had in mind when we prayed. God has a way of intervening in our lives and guiding us through sticky situations. After all, He knows all of the particulars we're dealing with, He knows all the people who are involved or who may get involved, and He knows all of the possible pitfalls we may encounter. We're just looking at the mountain in front of us, but God sees the falling rocks, the holes, and the dangers as we try to navigate our way through. He's knows which way to go, which way to handle what needs handling, and He knows when it's time to do so.
There may come a time when we need an 'OUT' because it's a no win situation we're looking at. God shows us how to handle those too. I know, I have been there. God is concerned with us growing and prospering in our lives and I'm referring to things that are not spiritual things only. Our everyday lives and the events in it are important to God. Things relating to our jobs, home and family, our health, friends, etc. impact our lives greatly.
God sees all the circumstances we're in. He has something to say about each one. That is why we should commit everything to God in prayer regularly. Don't take anything for granted. There may be relationships that are hindering us from moving forward in life, while there are others that are simply unhealthy for us. We may need to exchange one job for another, or make a crucial decision concerning our health.
God will always let you know when to make a change, when to get a second opinion, and when to simply 'let go'.
Don't make your own decisions about terminating friendships, leaving your job, or considering a particular medical procedure until you speak with God about it, then 'Wait' for His answer. That's very important!
In conclusion, pray about everything, and trust God for your particular situation. Ask God for the wisdom needed to handle whatever challenges you're facing right now. No one, and I mean 'NO ONE' can tell you exactly how to handle your personal affairs! There are ins and outs to every situation. You have to hear from God Himself with specific instructions for each circumstance in your life!
"Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God."
These are stressful and worrisome times! There's a lot to be concerned about. I can't imagine the impact this pandemic has had on everyone. Many, have been affected by it in one way or the other.
One thing for sure is this, we cannot afford to get spooked by every news media outlet and their take on the subject of the Covid-19. It's imperative that you and I understand the facts, take the necessary precautions, stay home, and keep the faith. Once you do everything you can, you leave the results to God. He is Omnipotent (all powerful), Omnipresent (everywhere at all times), Omniscient (all knowing), and He is God all by Himself.
We, as a nation, have never traveled this road before, and the powers that be (on the earth) don't have all the answers. They just don't know a lot about this virus but, God knows everything about it and how it will affect each person's body. He's the one we should be consulting!
If you have loved ones who are sick with the Corona Virus, pray for them earnestly, and fervently. If you are also in the throws of the virus, pray to God and tell Him what you need. He's listening, and He is here for you, right now, in the present. Place your trust in the one who has all the answers. He will give you peace that is beyond understanding.
I am reminded of the one who spoke the world into being by saying, "Let there be", I am encouraged. There is nothing too hard for God. All He has to do is say the word and poof, it'll all be gone! Remember the woman with the issue of blood? She said, if only I could touch the hem of His garment, I will be made whole. She really believed that! (Matt. 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48) What are you believing Him for today? Remember when Peter's mother in law was sick with fever and she was seriously ill, Jesus came to her and ordered her sickness to depart and just like that, it left her and she got up and started serving them. (Luke 4:38-40)
God is in charge, not the president or the powers that be on this earth. Make your appeal to Him, first and foremost!
I don't know what you're going through right now, maybe it isn't the Corona Virus, perhaps it's something else bothering you, whatever it is, Jesus is on the mainline, tell Him what you want, call Him up and tell Him what you want! He is faithful, He loves and cares for you, and He can be trusted!
Don't give up, don't give in, keep the faith!
As a writer, I enjoy giving you the honest side of truth! As an artist, I create what doesn't exist. Each day I look for new and creative ways to use every ability God has so graciously given me.