Tag Archives: Hope

One Day at a Time: Pandemic Version 2021

Being a Person of Peace - Experiencing God | First15 Daily Devotional

It’s been almost a year since I last posted. When our city first went into lockdown in March 2020 I thought that we would be houled up in our homes and backyards for several months and when it was all over we would go back to life as normal, except with really dry skin from all of the hand sanitizer.
Boy was I wrong!

We are now 19 months into this pandemic and my city has some of the highest COVID19 numbers in the country. We even made international news for our government’s incompetence in handling this ongoing crisis.

At the time of writing this we are still under provincial mandates aimed at slowing the spread of the delta variant.

I know I’m not the only one who wishes this would all end. No more over run ICU’s, no more people fighting about vaccinations, conspiracy theories, masks, and passports that don’t involve traveling outside of the country.
I was ready for a first-world problems meltdown when I couldn’t order a bed from IKEA due to their inventory shortage related to COVID19 procedures and process, and whatever other excuses they wrote about.
I had to stop and remember to give thanks that I wasn’t one of the thousands of people who have succumbed to this virus.

I reminded myself that I have been employed throughout the lockdowns and mandatory work from home orders. I haven’t had any material needs since this virus took over our country.

I was also reminded of a record my mother used to play frequently. It was by an artist named Cristy Lane. She had a song on the album called One Day at a Time. I’m posting some of the lyrics here with the hope that it will be more than lyrics to an old song, but rather our prayer as Christians while we continue to hopefully, move closer to witnessing and experiencing the end of this viral pandemic.

One Day at a Time

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.

Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

Do you remember, when you walked among men?
Well Jesus you know if you’re looking below
It’s worse now, than then.
Cheating and stealing, violence and crime
So for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time.

Whatever your situation is in the midst of all these pandemic disruptions, may you take it one day at a time in trusting that God is still with us. Call on the Holy Spirit to guide you as you made daily decisions for safety, community, and well-being.

Advent Day 5: How We Wait

Hope 5

Thursday Day 5:

“And so we wait.  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.  But we wait not in passive resignation or despair.  Expectant and hopeful waiting requires that we pray.  “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”  And it requires us to be agents of that kingdom.  In Advent we neither ignore the brokenness in us and around us, nor do we ignore the transformative power of Christ and the flowering and the beauty of a new way of doing business.  We wait in hope, knowing that the Jesus Kingdom will one day bring about a restoration to the way the world was meant to be.  We love deeply.  We advocate justice.  We feed the hungry and clothe the naked.  We love deeply and give sacrificially.  And, as the Psalmist admonishes us to do, we seek peace, and pursue it (Psalm 34:14).  We do all of these things in the power of the First Advent and in the hope of the Second.  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

Todd Deatherage is co-founder of the Telos Group, a Washington D.C. -based non-profit organization dedicated to educating American leaders about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the pressing importance of working for its peaceful resolution.

http://www.washingtoninst.org/2972/waiting-for-peace-during-advent/

Day 2: Suffering, Hardship and Challenges Are a Part of the Hope of Christmas

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Psalm 33:20 – 21

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.

“Here’s what I mean: All those characters we remember in the Christmas story — Mary, the Wise Men, Shepherds, Angels, Joseph, Zachariah, Elizabeth, Simeon — they all have something in common. They identified what was happening to them as being firmly rooted in the promises of God — promises to His people detailed in the Old Testament.” Chuck Colson.

http://www.religiontoday.com/columnists/breakpoint/through-and-beyond-suffering-the-joy-of-christmas.htm

 

 

Advent Week 1: Hope; The Patriarchs (Old Testament)

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#1Joseph or Abraham (Fatherhood and responsibility)

Matthew 1:18 – 25

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph , but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he name him Jesus.”

Genesis 15:1-21

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; you reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue to be childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the LORD came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Abram (later known as Abraham) believed the Lord and was noted as a righteous man. This sounds great, but unfortunately the story takes a terrible turn for the worst.

Sarai (later to be known as Sarah) grows impatient in her desire to have a child to call her own. She pressures Abram into having a child with their African slave-girl named Hagar. It becomes disastrous for both Sarah and Hagar. Abram returns Hagar to Sarah’s ownership and from then on Sarai “dealt harshly with her”.  The story can be read at Genesis 16: 1- 16.

Abram doesn’t respond to fatherhood in the same manner as Joseph. Despite knowing that his wife is not pregnant with his own child, Joseph defies the religious rules and instead follows the instructions of the Lord and takes Mary as his wife. Joseph takes in Jesus as if this son was his very own flesh and blood. These are the actions of a righteous man.

Abram on the other hand does not act with righteousness. There isn’t even a hint of care for his pregnant concubine wife and his unborn child. When faced with public embarrassment and marital pressure, Abram chooses to put the life of his now former wife into the hands of his angry wife and washes his hands of his responsibilities to his concubine wife and unborn child. Hagar is treated so badly that she chooses to escape into the wilderness and possibly face death.

God is powerful and He is good. He takes the most unlikely persons and gives them amazing promises. Hagar is saved by the Lord as He tells her to return to her mistress as a slave. On the surface this sounds awful. As we read the story we want God to save her by guiding her out of the dessert to safety and freedom, but God doesn’t do that. Instead he sends her back to oppression and harm. For the longest time this part of the story always had me upset. It didn’t sound like something that a God who commands that his people practice justice and put an end to oppression would do. I later realized that in order to save Hagar and her unborn child He had to send back to her life of oppression and slavery; this was how Hagar was going to live and have her divine promise fulfilled.

Hagar receives this mixed message with praise and becomes the first woman in the bible to name God. “You are El-roi, for she said, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him? … Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.”  Hagar listened to the Lord and did as He had asked her to do and she was rewarded by the fulfillment of His promise to her.

QUESTION: After reading the stories of Joseph, and Sarai and Abram, do you consider yourself to be a person who responds like Joseph or like that of Abram and Sarai when faced with possibility or reality of public humiliation while waiting on God as he fulfills his promises to you?

QUESTION 2: How can we learn to face and deal with public humiliation that is caused by following God’s commands?