Tag: pandemic

HOPE ! for 2021

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I once coined a definition of HOPE to be Hanging Onto Pending Expectations.

With Covid I suspended most of my expectations for the year 2020.  Did you too?

Did things you had expected to achieve, celebrate, and get done during the year get moved to a back burner and then reevaluated or even canceled as the pandemic went on and on?

It seems odd to me then, that now, many of those expectation have returned, upgraded to a “pending” status.

What seems strange, is that we are in a worse place now with Covid cases than we were in the spring and summer – when we thought we were in the middle of the pandemic and close to it being over.

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Is it simply because the calendar page has been turned there is more hope?

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God designed this world and put us in it to learn from it. To learn about Him and to learn about ourselves. And one thing we see here is the cycle of seasons. There is a time and a purpose for different seasons here on the earth and also in our lives.

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We have a time to blossom, a time to grow and be fruitful, time to let go of and harvest, a time to rest and regroup and store energy for the next coming season of blossoming, productiveness and fruitfulness. It’s an ongoing cycle.

So there has been an imposed season of rest during this coronavirus for many of us.

I have lot of respect for and appreciate those Frontline workers who have kept our grocery stores open, our streets safe, our water and electricity running, and our hospitals working to help and heal people. If you are one of those, thank you!

But for many of us it has been a time of sequestering. I’m living within the walls of our home with no immune system, minimizing outside exposure while awaiting a kidney transplant. And although I don’t know when, I’m hopeful there will be an end to the down time.

Not for the sake of getting back to what we used to call normal. But because I trust what I’ve learned by observing this beautiful world that God has given us. That something more is coming.

As I look out the window from my exercise bike every morning I appreciate blue – the blue of the sky that was taken away for many weeks with the gray of smoke and falling ash from wildfires in my state. I appreciate green – although the grass has turned yellow and brown, the pine trees are a deep green and remind me of life.

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Many people have expressed a newfound appreciation for things we used to take for granted.  How about you?

What are you thankful for – even in this time of loss?

When the time comes, I believe we will bring all the stored-up wisdom from the lessons learned in our down time, and move forward into a new productive time – seeing all the blessings God has placed in and around our lives.

Jeremiah spoke these famous words to a people who were going into captivity.  Theirs was to last 70 years.  I believe our time will be over sooner than that.

Here lies our HOPE:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

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Praying THROUGH the Pandemic

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Praying THROUGH the Pandemic

 

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Take one letter of the word THROUGH each day for a week, and pray the topic that starts with that letter.

I have written out a prayer for each topic you can pray aloud, or use it as a springboard for your own words to pray.  The Lord may draw you to other topics as well.  Listen for the Holy Spirit to guide you in your prayer time.

This is certainly not all inclusive, but I believe it’s a way God has shown me is a good place to start.

T – Total Control

Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that no matter what the circumstances here on earth look like, or how they seem to us, that You are in Total Control.  Even in the midst of this pandemic that has spread over the entire world, You have not forgotten us.  You are not wringing Your hands wondering what to do.

Thank You that You are a loving, sovereign God who we can come to in prayer at any time.  And thank You that Your presence can be anywhere and everywhere at the same time  – so You can be with each one of us to hear our prayer and lend support: encouragement, comfort and discernment when we need it.

Thank You that even when things around us seem to be chaotic and discouraging, just Your presence can bring us peace.

Father, help us see Your hand at work in each of our lives.  Bring each one of us answers to our prayers.  Give us understanding of how to live and make decisions in these unusual and difficult times.

While we face this huge challenge, remind us that You, who created the universe and each one of us, are still on Your throne, still love us and are in Total Control.

H – Health

Lord, so many people have become ill with this Covid-19, and so many have died, that it is easy to be fearful.  We are asking You to safeguard our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  And that of our loved ones.

Protect our bodies.  Some of us are pretty healthy but worry over the effect this virus might have on us should we contract it.  Others of us are older, more fragile with failing immune systems and diseases that make us much more vulnerable physically.  Fight for us against this virus that would ravage our health and put our lives in danger.  Keep us safe from exposure.  Provide whatever medical support we need to arrest any infection or corona virus activity.

Father, mentally and emotionally this pandemic is taking a toll on us and our loved ones as well.  So many are dealing with anxiety and depression again or for the first time due to the extreme isolation, lack of close support of family and friends, and loss of jobs, income, and the routine of life that kept them going.

Please provide the needed support for those who have been side-lined by mental issues that further strip them of the ability to work and cope with the challenges of life during this pandemic time.  Lead them to the medical guidance or counselors who can help them with appropriate medications or therapies.

And still many are battling trying to reconcile their faith in light of this pandemic. It seems so much has gone wrong all over the globe, they are questioning where You are in all of this?   Do not let the devil get a foothold through this.  Rekindle our faith – remind us of Your faithfulness to us in the past.  Remind us of Your promises in the Bible.

R – Relationships

Father, show us how to maintain our relationships with those who matter to us and have influence in our lives.  Thank You for bringing us friends, co-workers, neighbors, who impact us on a personal level.  For our churches and neighborhoods and families who keep watch over us and care for us.

When person-to-person contact isn’t wise, remind us to reach out to others in ways that keep us connected and close.  A lot of people have been using Zoom and Face Time and other advanced technologies, thank You for that.  But remind is to also make time and reach out with phone calls, emails, texts, and old-fashioned written letters or cards that we can hold and feel a tangible sense of someone’s care for us.

Some of us have kept working – many from home – so we are still busy trying to get work done with the complications of being at home with all the distractions and less-than-optimal working conditions.  For those there doesn’t seem to be as much time in the day to keep up social relationships.

Some of us have lost jobs and have time on our hands but no real interest in discussing our situation while trying to deal with the stress of making ends meet and the depressing state of our lives.

Some of us are retired and also have time on our hands but have gotten into new routines that no longer include socializing, so remain detached from friends.

At some point Lord, we pray this will all be over and life will get back to “normal.”  But until then, please show us how to maintain connections with our friends and family members so we don’t lose the closeness and positive impact they have on our lives.

O – Others   

Father remind us of the truth of what has been said over and over again –“We are all in this together.”  Let that be a guiding influence on the decisions we make in how we respond to the medical advice we get that show how we can all beat this virus and move forward.

Thank You Father, for those people who make our lives work by putting themselves at risk.  Thank You for the doctors and nurses, and healthcare workers, administrators and the cleaning teams who keep the hospitals and medical and care centers running. Thank You for those who keep our utilities – water and electricity and gas – supplied to our homes and businesses.  And who collect our trash and deliver our mail.

Thank You for all those who allow us to get the food we need – grocery store workers and restaurant workers.  And who protect our communities; our police and fire and emergency responders.

Lord, there are so many people who work behind the scenes who we don’t often see to recognize.  Bless them.  Father, protect all these people who continue to serve, from this virus.

Even those who seem to be the most fragile among us, have lived lives and served in their own way, and have value.  Do not let them be overlooked as a disposable generation.  But impart to us all, the value that every life has.

None of us gets through this life alone.  We all depend on others to help us along the way; encourage us, pray for us, teach us, correct us.  Thank You for putting people in our lives to help us and for us to help.  Let us see how we all impact one another with the decisions we make.  And let us consider others and build on that as a strength as we all fight this pandemic.

U – Unity

Father, there has been so much dissent and disunity over issues regarding this pandemic.  Simple things that would have had a more powerful impact, like quarantining, limiting social contact and wearing masks have become so politicized.  I don’t understand it.  It seems simple, logical science.  Yet misinformation has spread like wildfire in the name of personal rights and freedoms.

Help us join together to seek the common good rather than insult and tear each other down.  Help us see that the virus is the enemy – not our Facebook friend, church member or political party.  Help us be teachable, patient, and make every effort to be at peace with each other as we fight the true enemies we face:  this pandemic, and disunity.

Lord, please bring sense and order out of the chaos.  Bring the truth to light.  Dispel the darkness.  End the strife between political opponents who seek to further their own agendas.  Before it is too late and we lose the battle for life and health in our families, our communities and our countries.

G – Governments

Father in heaven, help all the national leaders and government heads who make decisions about the care of the people in their jurisdictions.  Bring them wise counselors to advise them, who have an understanding of the reality of this pandemic situation.  And the steps needed to fight and conquer it.

Help governments have an honest concern for their people, and communicate truth to them, without political motives.  Show them how to instruct and motivate their citizens to do what is best for their health and economies, to end this pandemic sooner rather than later.

Give the local and world health organizations the wisdom they need to make the best recommendations, supported by science, in a non-political way so that treatments can reach around the world helping everyone.

Let doctors and scientists and governments and corporations all work together on a worldwide basis to find an answer to this pandemic.  Do not let money or national boundaries or political ideologies get in the way of progress for a global solution.

Father, do not let political agendas or abuse of power be tolerated when the lives of people hang in the balance. Let the evil of the wicked come to an end.  Intercede for those whose governments are corrupt.  When treatments or vaccines are offered, ensure that everyone gets them.

H – Heart

Heavenly Father, make this a time in history when the hearts of men, women and children are turned to You.

It‘s so easy to turn away from pain, poverty, disease, and injustice in the world.  We put our heads down and try to make it through one day at a time with our own problems and challenges.  But this is a time in history when the focus of the world IS the world!  And how this pandemic has spread across national boundaries, political regimes, and affected people of all languages, economic statuses and beliefs.

Father, as we come face-to-face with the probability of illness and death, turn our thoughts to eternity.  Give each person on earth a glimpse of their standing with You and how they will spend eternity.

Send dreams and visions all around the globe that reveal an understanding of who You are.

Put Bibles in the hands of people in languages they can understand to spell out Your way of salvation.

Call to people’s minds scripture and truths they learned – recently or long ago, maybe as children – that taught them of heaven and hell.  And of Your great love for them that sent Your Son to die on the cross and make a way for them to believe and receive the free gift of a salvation for an eternity spent with You.

Ezekiel tells us You will remove our hearts of stone and give us a heart of flesh.  With the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.  Father, go into every place where this pandemic has reached, and soften every heart.  Show every person who You are and how to be saved.

And those of us who are already believers, soften our hearts to understand Your purpose for our lives during this time.  Give us a unity of Spirit to see where You are working, and work alongside You.

Strengthen our hearts to follow You wherever You are leading us, and to do all You show us to do.  Our lives are different in this pandemic.  Show us how to use this time to honor and worship You.  Give us undivided hearts to bring glory to You.  Amen

Do not be anxious…

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

This is an unprecedented time in our country and in the world.  With the pandemic spread of the Coronavirus and the self-quarantining of social distancing, business and school and church closures and resources being hoarded, and the uncertainty that comes with all of it, it’s not surprising that people are at a bit of a loss to know how to cope.

These are real worries that affect each one of us personally and differently.  And we may be left with intellectual and emotional responses that are not helpful in dealing with the issues that confront us.

Some things have helped me find a peace that is sustaining me through all this.  So although I have no magic solution I can share those things I have heard others say that have helped me.

Pray – for people, for leaders, for healing from this disease, for medical, physical and financial needs to be met, for people to turn to God in the midst of this crisis

Balance – the time you spend listening to the news with time spent listening to God – through listening for His Voice in prayer and reading His Word

Make – 3 personal connections each day through a phone call, a text, face time, an email or a written letter, to overcome the sense of isolation that social distancing brings for you and for others you know who may not have the human contact they need.

Practice – the personal hygiene suggestions on the CDC website and do some extra cleaning of your own home.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

If you need prayer, reply here to me, or call 1-877-247-2426 at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, or contact your local church.

For further encouragement online go to www.billygraham.org

And join me in this prayer…

Father in heaven, thank You for today being set apart to pray for the world as we face coronavirus which has circled the globe.  People we know and people in countries we have never even heard of are dealing with this illness in many ways.

We lift up those who are sick and ask that You would be their Healer.  Whether they can get to a doctor or not, strengthen them and their immune systems to fight this virus in their bodies.  Fight for them when they cannot.  Give them the rest and nourishment they need to survive.  Let them draw strength from You.  And bring people alongside them to help them with their needs.

We pray for caregivers – whether doctors, nurses, family members or friends and neighbors who are helping the sick.  Father give them the energy and stamina they need to help in whatever ways they can.  Protect them from getting sick too.  Give them patience and a sense of humor when they need it to meet the needs of those around them who are ill.  Let them draw strength from You.

We pray for those who are still working, whose jobs are impacted by this outbreak.  Many will have lost wages and be facing financial hardship even though they may not be sick.  Those living from paycheck to paycheck will have difficult decisions to make.

Father, open opportunities for them to earn money in other ways to meet their financial needs.  Let them receive grace to delay payments on rent and bills until work picks back up.  Provide for their needs through the generosity of the communities around them.  Ensure they have the food and care they need to survive this hardship.

We pray for leaders in positions of authority in local, state, national and world arenas to receive godly counsel in making decisions. Father, give those called to address this crisis, whether medical or political, wisdom and compassion.  Let them draw strength from You.

Lord, show each one of us how to best function in this time of “social distancing.”  Lead us in a time of spiritual growth and maturity, reading Your Word, praying, listening for Your leading, helping others.

Father, turn the tide of this epidemic.  Halt its progress.  Release a wave of healing that circles the globe.

We turn to You.  Our Healer.  Our Savior.

Amen