Posts

A Faith Response to the Coronavirus

A Faith Response to the Coronavirus

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God , which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Do not panic

       “Do not be anxious…”  These are words coming from a man who was in a prison. His situation was restricted and uncomfortable. His future was uncertain. Despite his own suffering, he encourages his friends not to get distressed about their situation. To be anxious means to be distressed, uneasy, to have a foreboding sense of fear. Many people have reacted in this way to the growing problem of the Coronavirus. This virus, also known as COVID -19, is characterized my mild symptoms including runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. This illness can be more severe for some people than others, and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. In rare cases,it can be fatal. As of the date of this writing, it has reached pandemic proportions. It has understandably caused some people to be afraid. But there is another option besides fear or dread. It is important to note that not worrying or being afraid is not the same as being concerned. Genuine concern about personal well-being and the safety of others is appropriate and expected. Anxiety or panic is also not the same as being cautious. Some in the church are quick to warn against taking precautionary measures as a lack of faith. To those sometimes well-meaning, but often misguided critics, I would remind them of our everyday habits of locking our doors or activating our alarm systems at night, or washing our hands before we eat. These are normal precautionary measures that we do without much thought, because of the kind of world we live in. These are good habits that do not reflect negatively on our faith in God. Being more intentional about washing our hands, staying home if we are sick, or limiting our physical contact with others, in the wake of Covid-19 are practices of good stewardship. And we can do these things without giving in to worry, fear, or anxiety.  When Jesus instructed his disciples to avoid given in to worry, he stated at least two reasons why this would not be the best response to suffering and uncertainty: 1) Worry adds nothing to your life. (Matthew 6:27); 2) Worry demonstrates a lack of trust in God. (Matthew 6:32). Both are very good reasons not to react to our current circumstances by allowing ourselves to be gripped by an emotional stranglehold that leaves us depleted, and frantic over things over which we have little control.

Be Prayerful

Prayer is the Christian response to the Coronavirus outbreak. It is the first line of defense in every season of suffering and uncertainty. The Apostle Paul, from his prison cell, says to be prayerful “…in every situation.”  Prayer turns us to God. It tunes us into God and His heavenly resources. Prayer helps us to filter and counter those negative messages with which we are bombarded from 24 hour news cycles and Social Media. We are to pray specifically for our needs and those of others. We are to pray for the people who have been infected by the Coronavirus, and those who are uniquely positioned to help find a solution for curing it.  As we pray, we are to express thanksgiving to God, because we know that whatever resources are marshalled, or solutions are found…ultimately they are another expression of His grace. Prayer is not a substitute for work. Prayer is work. It has benefits for the people and situations for which the prayer is offered and for the one from whom the prayer is being offered. An appropriate Christian response to the Coved -19, and any other crises, whether personal or otherwise, is to  “ pray as if everything depended on God, and then work as if everything depended on us.” True Christian prayer leads to action. It also results in peace.

Be Peaceful

   With the discomfort and uncertainty of his external circumstances, the imprisoned Apostle assures his audience that it is possible to live a life free from panic. He instructs them on how to counteract and overcome the tendency to overreact and give in to worry and anxiety. It is the peace of God that comes into the believer’s heart when he or she prays and releases all care to Him. The peace of God stands as a  guard to  block the negative impact of fear, anxiety, and dread—when we feel threaten by internal and external forces that may cause us harm.  Jesus promised this peace: “My peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives. I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled. Neither let then be afraid.” (John 14:27).  In many ways, we live in a world that is troubled and full of fear. The Coronavirus has exacerbated the situation. It provides a challenge for us all to either give in to panic and worry, or to look to God who sent His Son so that when troubling things or fearful circumstances come–we might experience peace.

E. Trice

Five Benefits of Prayer

SoulPower

prayer 1

President Trump made an appearance at a church on the Sunday after the recent shooting in Virginia Beach. His spoke persons said the presidential appearance was in response to the tradgedy. The pastor of the church prayed for him , for the nation , and for the families of the victims. Despite the high probability that political motivations were at play, the coverage of the story was a reminder that prayer is important, especially in times of  great loss. As a practicioner of prayer, I offer at least five benefits:

1. Prayer reminds us that we are not alone. When we pray, we are acknowledging the presence of an invisible God who loves us and will never leave us.

2. Prayer releases a sense of calmness and peace within us. While the circumstances around us may be tumultuous, there is an inner tranquility that invades the heart that opens itself…

View original post 186 more words

Season of Love

Christ came to demonstrate to the world the love of God. He so loved us that He gave his only son. God gave his best to reach out to a world that often disbelieves and makes mockery of his name. He is love and wants each of us to experience His love in a personal way, and share that love with others.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him .” (John 3:16-17)

E. Trice

A Season of Hope

 

Photo by it’s me neosiam on Pexels.com

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ” Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:20-21)

The message of the first coming of Christ is a message of hope. It is a hope for the whole world. He came to save us from our sins. His birth is a reminder to us that God hates sin and wants so much that we not suffer its tragic consequences. Because Christ came into the world, we now have the hope of salvation that He brings. His birth brings hope for new life, new faith, new beginnings, and new destiny.

E. Trice

The Right Time to Say No

 

 

 

say No

Some people have a hard time saying no to others. Often it is because they don’t want to hurt their feelings, or come across as mean. It may be that they have a deep desire to be liked and accepted…and believe that to say no may result in disfavor from a close friend or family member. People pleasing is very common and it often has its roots in early childhood experiences. For instance, a child who never received unconditional love or  approval from a parent, may find themselves going out of their way to give to or agree with someone…for fear that they might scare the other person away. They won’t say no, even when it is appropriate, and necessary. The Scriptures says that we should “let your yes be yes, and your no be no.”So when is it necessary to say no? Below are five reasons to say no to someone you love.

1.We should say no when it is obvious that what the person is asking for is not something they are ready to receive or able to handle. This is often a situation that parents find themselves in with their children. When the child ask for certain privileges or rights that requires more maturity than they can handle, it is in  the child’s best interest for the parent to say no to such a request. Since parents naturally want their children to be happy, it is difficult to say no , even when the reality of the situation indicates that it would be a mistake to give in to the child’s every request.

2. We should say no when we are being asked to do something that goes against our personal convictions or core beliefs. If someone offers us  something that is potentially harmful, like taking drugs or going to what might be considered dangerous spaces…a no response is appropriate. This is especially true when one realizes that to do what goes against our convictions or beliefs is a choice. And no matter how persuasive the other person may be, in the final analysis,  we are responsible for the consequences.

3. We should say no if what we are being asked to do requires over extending ourselves to the point of jeopardizing our health (spiritual, emotional, physical), or operating outside of our natural talents and gifts. When this happens, in the first instance, we will end up less effective in helping others because of our own  unhealthiness. In the second instance, we will be less effective, because our greatest effectiveness in providing service is to do what we do best. This happens when we operate within the realm of our natural gifts and talents, and not based on the demands and expectations of others.

4. We should say no when what we are being ask to do will jeopardize the  health and welfare of someone else. The golden rule reminds us that we are to do to others what we would have them to do to us. This continues to be the best guide to inform how we should respond when we are being pressured or coaxed to do harm to another person to satisfy the wishes of someone with ill intent.

5. We should say no when the timing is not right, with the proviso that we might say yes at a more appropriate date in the future. It has been said that God answers our prayers in three ways.He says no, yes, or wait. If God says wait in response to our request, that means he is saying no, for now. And His response will come in His timing, and when we are better able to receive the thing for which we are praying. So it is okay to say no, while understanding that,  when the timing is right –that no may very well be turned into a yes.

E.Trice

 

Five Benefits of Prayer

prayer 1

 

President Trump made an appearance at a church on the Sunday after the recent shooting in Virginia Beach. His spoke persons said the presidential appearance was in response to the tradgedy. The pastor of the church prayed for him , for the nation , and for the families of the victims. Despite the high probability that political motivations were at play, the coverage of the story was a reminder that prayer is important, especially in times of  great loss. As a practicioner of prayer, I offer at least five benefits:

1. Prayer reminds us that we are not alone. When we pray, we are acknowledging the presence of an invisible God who loves us and will never leave us.

2. Prayer releases a sense of calmness and peace within us. While the circumstances around us may be tumultuous, there is an inner tranquility that invades the heart that opens itself to the divine.

3. Prayer helps to change our attitude or perspective about the people or the situation for which we are praying. There is usually not much that can be done in the immediate aftermath of such a horrendous act of violence as referred to above. Prayer reminds us that, despite the confusion, and flood of unanswered questions, God is bigger than the circumstances, and He can provide the intangibles (faith, hope, peace, love, and joy) to sustain and uplift the most grief strickend heart. Prayer may not change the circumstances, but it can change me.

4.Prayer motivates the one praying to become a part of the solution. As we pray for comfort for the grieving or healing for those who are  hurting, God moves us to do what we can to help. It is not often the unexplained miracle that falls down from the sky that comes to rescue a desperate soul, but the  resources of our  own human efforts…that is God’s answer to our prayers.

5. Prayer still opens up the windows of Heaven. God still moves in mysterious and miraculous ways.

E.T.

Keys to Spiritual Success

four person standing at top of grassy mountain
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

 

Fellowship and Family

The Bible teaches that the church is a family (Eph. 2:19). As believers in Christ, we are members of God’s household. The word household is another word for family. God is our Heavenly Father, and Jesus is our big brother (Ro. 8:29), and we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are a spiritual family who share in common our faith in Jesus Christ. A faith that is based upon his death , burial , and resurrection. To fellowship means to share something in common with another. While we may be from different backgrounds, racial and ethnic groups, and different socioeconomic levels, we still have in common something far more important than any of these temporary qualities. And that common factor is the relationship that extends from the blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross that was the means by which we were adopted into the family of God ((Eph. 2:13). Just as our role in a biological family is important, our role in our spiritual family has special meaning as well.
Staying close to your spiritual brothers and sisters is essential to nurturing the love, unity, and a caring community… that is desperately needed in what is increasingly becoming an impersonal world. It is a fact that we all need acceptance and the sense of belonging that comes from a healthy family environment… where we can be accountable to each other, and experience unconditional love and forgiveness.
Meeting together on a regular basis with other Christians can go a long way in strengthening our faith. On the other hand , if we choose to keep our distance from other believers, we will find that our faith will become weaker and our tendency to sin and make excuses for it ,will grow with increasing frequency. The Bible says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).”
Fellowshipping with other Christians also allows us the opportunity to share our lives and our testimony with those who have had similar experiences. Everyone has something to share. Each person has a unique life journey ,from which they can share ,that will help certain individuals who identify with stories of victory, and defeat that are— all too familiar to the human condition. But if we do not attend church on a regular basis so that we can be in a position to give our personal testimony, people who need to hear what we have to say, will be not benefit. So often we go to church thinking about what we are going to receive. A more balanced approach to church attendance, and involvement is to recognize that we have something to give. We all have a story that can encourage someone. Each of us has a touch that someone needs to feel, or a smile that someone needs to see. Sometimes all it takes is a mere glimpse of our mere presence that brings encouragement to someone who is going through a difficult situation.
Like the other spiritual disciplines , fellowship must be a priority in each person’s life. We must determine in our heart that we are going to make time to be with other brothers and sisters in Christ. This kind of getting together was important in the early church, and it is no less important in a today’s world. Listen closely to the word fellowship in how Luke describes the activity of the first church, “ They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42).”Fellowshipping with other believers is one aspect of our faith that keeps us connected with our spiritual family. Once we discover that our relationship with other believers is important, we will not only find a place for good fellowship, but we will also incorporate in our lives a commitment to serving others.

E. Trice