What Hope Can We Have During This Pandemic?

by Lee Ann Mancini

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.    Psalm 27:14 NIV

Every morning when I open my eyes, I say, “Thank you, Lord, for this day! Let me serve and honor you.” Once I have finished praying, I like to start my day with a cup of coffee and the morning news. I don’t know about you, but the news is getting harder and harder for me to watch. I feel like we are moving through this pandemic at a snail’s pace. I want my old life back! I want to go out to dinner with my family and friends. I want to go to the movies with my husband. I want to go shopping! And I want to do all of this without a face mask. I’m sure you feel the same way. Plus, if you have grandkids, I’m sure you want to hold them in your arms again as soon as possible.

Although I long for my life to return to normal, I recognize that I am very blessed. There are many people in our country who have suffered much more than a simple disruption of their daily schedule. Many have lost their jobs, their income—or worse, their loved ones. Meanwhile, others have developed severe physical complications or mental illnesses, such as anxiety and panic disorders, that will last them a lifetime.

Given the horrible consequences of this pandemic, I suspect that most of us have wondered, “Can any good come out of this situation?” The answer is a resounding yes! Every day, we see new heroes rise up who have gone unrecognized for too long: doctors, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, grocery clerks, mail delivery drivers, and many more. They are brightly shining lights that are truly living out the Lord’s command, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV). During this pandemic, we should follow the example of these unsung heroes in our society. Perhaps we are called to step out of our comfort zones to help an elderly neighbor, to volunteer at a food bank, or to sew masks. Whatever the case may be, our new lives should reflect the love of the Lord for others, now and always.

Where can we find hope in difficult times? Surely, all of us recognize that we can find hope in God’s Word. But specifically, we can find hope in the stories of the heroes of the faith who waited patiently on the Lord to rescue them in times of distress. Think of David, who was persecuted by King Saul to the point of death for many years. Throughout this fearful time of testing and trial, David was determined to obey God and trust in His provision and protection. When given the opportunity to kill King Saul, David refused to take matters into his own hands. Instead, David waited patiently on the Lord, and God blessed David greatly for his faithfulness.

In another example, consider the story of Joseph. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, sold into slavery in Egypt, and on top of all this, sent to prison under false accusations! Yet in spite of these terrible events, when given the opportunity, Joseph refused to take revenge against his brothers. Instead, Joseph forgave them! He trusted in the Lord’s providence and provision, and God rewarded Joseph for his faithfulness.

These are just two examples of how we can trust the Lord during difficult times. The Bible is filled with many such stories! We simply need to dig deep into the Word of God and trust that the Lord will take care of all our needs according to His perfect plan. We can endure the present negatives that surround us by focusing on the future positives that await us. Psalm 27:14 states, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (NIV).

Throughout this pandemic, I have had to remind myself to trust in God’s promise that He will take care of all my needs and desires. Some days are easier for me than others. But whatever the day brings, I will actively choose to trust the Lord and help others in any way I can. After all, I know that God loves me, and He will take care of me and reward me for my faithfulness. With this new perspective in mind, as I watch the news and drink my cup of coffee in the morning, I will not fear. God is in control!

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What Hope Can We Have During This Pandemic? – encouragement from Lee Ann Mancini on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lee Ann Bio PictureAbout the author:  Lee Ann Mancini is an adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. She is the author of the Sea Kids books and executive producer of the Sea Kids animation series https://seakidstv.com that helps children to build a strong foundation in Jesus.

Join the conversation: What other Bible stories inspire you to trust in God?

 

 

Peace Like a Frog

by Linda Rooks @Linda_Rooks

One day while pulling weeds and overgrown vines in my large Florida backyard, I squeezed through the hedges to grab a vine and spied a small frog clinging to a leaf. Instead of jumping down and hopping off to find a calmer location where the plants were not being jostled and shaken, he didn’t budge.

For the next hour, I continued pushing past the frog as I pulled on vines and drug them back through the hedges to deposit them in the trash can. But despite the disturbance I was making, the frog didn’t move. Seemingly unfazed by any potential danger, he sat peacefully and unflustered on the side of the leaf.

I was surprised at his cool composure. Why was he so calm in the midst of so much chaos around him?

With my hands busy with the task of pulling out the vines, my mind was free to ponder things like how a frog could stay so peaceful, and I realized God’s provision of a suit of camouflage made him feel safe. His reaction to danger was to “hide” in God’s provision for him. The frog was able to be quiet and at peace in the midst of the mayhem going on around him, because he knew that while remaining still he’s invisible to predators. He’s camouflaged. He’s hidden.

The frog inspired me to think about my own reactions in life, for when uncertainties surround me and life seems chaotic, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

But when life gets out of hand and we don’t know how to untangle ourselves from the chaos surrounding us, God tells us to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 ESV) Like a frog that doesn’t move when danger lurks, God asks us to be still.

For when we are still, we can find that hiding place in the arms of our loving Father. When we quiet our minds and rest in His care, He can give us His peace that transcends understanding. (Philippians 4:7) In Psalm 32:7, David says, “You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (NIV) And Psalm 91:4 tells us, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart“ (NIV).

When we’re still and look to God in our troubles, we can recognize that God has the answers for us. He is our security, and He is our refuge.

When we look at nature, we see how God protects all His creatures, sometimes by giving a frog the protection of camouflage, sometimes by giving a porcupine prickly spines or a bird the ability to fly away. For each of his creatures, He is a loving creator.  But for us, His people, He is also a loving father. God’s amazing love is our protection. He is our hiding place and our refuge. When we’re scurrying around trying to find answers, He stands with His arms out to us, telling us to come to Him. He is faithful and has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He himself is our protection and refuge.

When you feel fear stalking you, when your mind swirls around with fears, imaginations, and unanswerable questions, when fear creeps up on you and is about to pull you under, remember you have a hiding place in a God who loves you with an everlasting love. His protective camouflage will hide you from the enemy’s snares. And under the shadow of his wings you can find refuge.

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Peace Like a Frog – insight from @Linda_Rooks on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

linda rooksAbout the author: Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her book Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation continues to bring strength and healing to those who need an encouraging friend in the midst of marital breakdown. Her new book, Fighting for Your Marriage While Separated, will release in February 2019, to offer practical guidance for those who desire reconciliation. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family and Today’s Christian Woman. She and her husband reside in Central Florida where their ministry to marriages in crisis has helped many couples reconcile their relationships.

Join the conversation: When has God been a refuge for you?

Finding Your Quiet Place During a Season of Weariness

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

I remember waking up one morning and thinking I don’t feel like facing this day.

I didn’t feel like doing anything on my to-do list. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed.

I was exhausted from a busy schedule, tired of all the noise, and in need of a quiet retreat.

I dragged myself to the Psalms that morning because I had nowhere else to go. In those songs of Scripture, I sensed the heart break, the happiness, the frustration, the elation, and the desperation of those songwriters – all human beings who felt many of the same emotions I did.

And there in Scripture’s songs I discovered a pattern. In all 150 of the Psalms, the phrase “I will” was sung 140 times. And that told me that despite the way the songwriters felt there were certain things they were determined to do. And I realized that there were, as well, certain things I needed to say “I will” about, whether I felt like it or not. One of those “I will’s” has stuck with me through the years: “I will not forget Your Word” (Psalm 119:16 CSB).

As I poured through the Word of God that morning, letting its words penetrate my soul, I found I was refreshed and renewed. I experienced what the Psalmist did when he wrote Psalm 119:25: “Give me life through Your word” (CSB).

On those days when I don’t feel like facing all that I have to do, I now turn to God’s Word first and not only find refreshment and renewal to get me through the day, but a place of quiet retreat, too. In Psalm 32:7, God is called our “hiding place.”

Do you need a place of quiet retreat? A “hiding place” to which you can go and be renewed and refreshed?

Then make Him and His Word your place of quiet retreat – that tower of refuge to which you can run… that shelter in which you can hide.

Hide away with Him and His Word.  Listen to what He has to say to you in the pages of His book. You’ll be refreshed, renewed, and reminded of the One who’s been waiting to get away with you.

God, draw me daily to the strong tower of Your Word where I can find refuge, the green pastures of Your Word where You can feed my soul, and the spacious places in Your Word where I can find rest. Thank You that Your Word is my quiet retreat and the place where I can be renewed. 

God provides a quiet place when we’re weary – @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including When Women Long for Rest, When You’re Running on Empty, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: Do you have a place of refuge where you can be renewed?