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Three Ways to Thrive at Home During the Pandemic
Three Ways to Thrive at Home During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has upturned our world in ways we have never experienced. We are encouraged strongly to wash our hands, do not touch our faces, and to remain indoors. We each can, and must, do our part to ensure the safety of others.
The question we each face in our self-quarantine is how do we not just survive, but how do we thrive in the midst of a pandemic? Can we work from home? Can our children survive being sequestered at home with parents and siblings without doing permanent damage to their relationships? We all love the Internet and our personal devices but we are learning that we cannot live by tech alone.
So, what do we do?
Let’s narrow this down so that we can be more focused. As believers, what do we do?
I suggest that there are three ways to thrive at home during a pandemic. Now, they may seem obvious to you as you read this. But, are you living these three calls to action?The first way to thrive at home during a pandemic is to get into the presence of God.
While some are worried if their financial nest egg will survive the rollercoaster called the Stock Market, others are trying to find work just to put food on the table. Who knew that we would be reduced to surveilling the grocery store for toilet paper? All of this adds up to fear, anxiety, and paralysis of the heart and soul. The antidote is to get into the presence of God.
The avenue to get into the presence of God begins with truth. Here are three truths that you can believe, especially in these times:God did not give you a spirit of fear. Your anxiety and fear are not from God and therefore you can reject them. Throw them off. But, replace them with the truth of II Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (KJV). God enables you to act in the strength of a relationship with Him. Our love for Him and to serve others motivates us to act and think rightly in times of crisis. He brings stability to our lives by giving us a sound mind, self-discipline, and self-control. We are not held hostage to our fears nor are we to be tossed on the waves of emotional instability. We can thrive in His power, His love, and with a sound mind.God is in control. He was not caught unaware nor unprepared by COVID-19. Daniel 2:12 states, “It is he who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.” We read in Isaiah 41:10. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” What a powerful and comforting truth!God will journey with you. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” (Joshua 1:9, NIV). When we walk with God and obey Him then we are ensured of His constant presence. Recite the words of the apostle Paul as your declaration, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (NIV). In the moments of victory, God is there. In the seasons of seeming defeat, God is there. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4, NIV).
So, if God will journey with you then you must determine that you will journey with Him! Jesus said,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
When we enter into the presence of God, our outlook on life changes! When we center our heart’s affections and our mind’s attention on Him, then we experience a reset, a realignment. We throw off the fears of our surrounding circumstances and find comfort and rest in focusing on God. In His presence, there is reason, order, joy, peace, healing, comfort, and stability. In fact, the more time we spend in His presence, the more we will become like Him in character. When we journey with God, our character is transformed to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
So, our action point is that we must get into the presence of God! Determine to select a specific time to be alone, shut off all the noise around you, and focus on the Lord. Here are some ways to make this your reality:Read God’s Word, the Bible. Seriously, read the Word! Fill your heart and mind with Truth. When was the last time you read an entire book of the Bible like you do a novel? For example, reading the book of Matthew will not take you a long time plus it will feed your soul as you input God’s Word into your heart. I guarantee that as you do this, the Lord will speak to you. You will begin to read verses that you never have seen before. He will enlighten you to His truths that you have never considered because you never exited the merry-go-round of life, paused, and gave Him personal time.
Now, when a verse shouts aloud to you, underline it! Write notes in the margins! God’s Word, though priceless in value, is to be a hands-on and interactive experience. Wrestle with God’s Word, meditate on God’s Word, and it will take root in your heart and transform your life. Then, you will experience a deeper level of relationship with Him; as you sit in His presence.Pray! All you must do to get into the presence of God is to talk with Him! The joy is that He will respond and so be ready to listen. And, be ready to do what He says! Philippians 4:6 provides you will a prayer plan, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Your prayer plan includes prayer, petition, and thanksgiving. As you pray, you interact with God as a friend. As you state your petitions, you are providing your requests for Him to answer. As you interact with God, you must do so with thanksgiving for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He will do. No matter how dire your situation and void of hope you may be, there is always an opportunity to thank God. This action alone will usher you into His presence and alter your outlook.
So, do not just talk about prayer, you must actually pray! Some people are event-oriented and so they can just sit and pray. Other people are more structured and need a time limit. If this is you, then set a time when you will pray and then set your alarm for how long you will pray. The point is for you do to whatever it takes to pray!Feed your heart and soul with Truth through various venues. Play worship songs. Music is a time-tested way to get your focus off your circumstances and onto God. Listen to Christian podcasts and videos that feed Truth into your life. Then seek to apply these truths into your daily life. One medium that combines all the above is an online church service. It provides music, preaching, and a call to action at the end.
If you will take the time to get into the presence of God during this pandemic, it will bring a spiritual vibrancy to your life that you have never experienced. Do not just talk about this, do it!The second way to thrive at home during a pandemic is to spend quality time with your spouse and children.
We work hard. We do our morning commute, put in our eight-hours or more at work, and commute home. Consider mealtimes, maybe six hours of sleep, and time to get ready for work, and suddenly there is little time for our spouse or our children.
Take your season at home as an opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones. Talk with them. Go on walks. Play board games or video games with the kids. Go on a family outing.
Many of us are required to work from home and technology empowers us to do so. But even with our continued workload, set apart specific times with family and honor these commitments. The shame will be if you have not leveraged this opportunity to invest in your loved ones when this season ends.
This will happen only when you make plans. What will you do today to encourage your spouse and to make your spouse feel loved? What will you do for your children? Often, the greatest gift that we can give our children is our time; time alone with them. Make your plans and act on them!The third way to thrive at home during a pandemic is to consider ways to bless others.
Our interaction with others is limited due to the call for us to practice, “social distancing.” However, we can be a blessing to others by talking with them, encouraging them, and praying with them. For example, you can pick up the phone and call your parents and grandparents. Ask them how they are doing, get them talking about their lives, and let them know that they are loved.
Take advantage of social media and contact friends, as well. Be that breath of fresh air into their lives
that brings hope and friendship. Isolation knocks the life out of people. So, be that person who seeks others who are alone during this pandemic and let them know that you care.
Maybe you go grocery shopping for a neighbor that is home-bound. Maybe you mow their lawn in the front of their house. Maybe you wash their car. There are many, many opportunities to bless others if only you will take the time to consider what can be done and then do it!
If we focused on the pandemic then we will lose hope. Instead, may we embrace this season as an opportunity to thrive and grow. Lord willing, when this season passes we will look back and mourn our losses but yet remember that the Lord enabled us to grow and make a difference in the lives of others.
Life can be hard. We all face challenges and trials, but finding answers can be frustrating. Don’t lose hope. There is an answer CHAT 📲
Abandoned No More
Abandoned by his birth parents, this young man bounced between several foster homes in coal city . He was uncertain of who he was or where he belonged until a kind foster father showed him love and mercy even though Chikara felt unworthy of either emotion. Shortly after being adopted by this man, his father became very ill and another man, his high school basketball coach assumed the role of mentor and father figure. Not wanting to disappoint either of them, the young man began to change his destructive habits, accepting the unconditional love that was shown to him
TO THE HELPLESS
Lease Foundation was founded in early 2020 by lease Chapel
Why Was Jesus Born?
Was Jesus a Created Being?
What Did Jesus Teach?
What Does it Mean that Jesus can Forgive you of your Sins?
Is Belief in Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?
Was Jesus a Prophet?
Does Jesus give you life after death?
Are You a Follower of Christ Because You Were Born into a Christian Family?
Are Jesus and the Devil Equals?
Can Jesus bring enlightenment?
Can Jesus liberate us from the things of this world?
Why Do Those Who Follow Jesus Suffer in this Life?
Comfort for an Agitated Heart
Comfort for an Agitated Heart
The founder of a successful manufacturing company was in the process of succession planning and was grooming his son to take over the business. One day, as he was walking through the factory, he saw his son angrily acting out toward some employees. His son’s actions caused him concern.
The father returned to his office and called his son to come see him. When his son arrived, he said the following: “David,” he began, “I wear two hats around here. I am the boss, and I am your father. Right now I am going to put my boss hat on. You’re fired. You are done here. I will not have that kind of behavior in my company…”
Then he said, “Now I’m going to put on my father hat.” After a moment’s pause he continued, “Son, I heard you just lost your job. How can I help you?”
Like the father in this story, Jesus was hard on the issues and soft on the person.
Jesus had invested three plus years in his closest followers and just before his arrest, he tells them truths that confront their false confidence. He tells them that one of them will betray him and Peter will deny him before morning. They are troubled to the point of agitation.
Wait for it… just at the right time, Jesus says, “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me,” (John 14:1, The Message).Lesson
Jesus allows the right kind of pressure in our lives to bring us to a place of trusting him for the life he wants us to experience.
What issues are you ignoring?How are you handling the pressure?How might you deal with the pressures more productively?What and who are you trusting?
I was raised to avoid the word “hate.” I could use the words “dislike” or “detest.” So my language sounded a lot like Dr. Seuss in his classic, Green Eggs and Ham. “I do not like them Sam-I-am.”
Eventually, the day arrived when I read Romans 12:9 and could no longer avoid the “H” word.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good,”
– Romans 12:9, New International Version
Many, many years ago the Beatles sang, “All You Need is Love.” I’m not quite sure what they meant by that. Whatever the case is, I have this sneaking suspicion what they meant love to be in their song was not what the Apostle Paul meant in his letter.
The Apostle Paul doesn’t leave you guessing here. In fact, his rapid-fire exhortations could be very aptly designated as Paul’s description of what love is and what it isn’t.
Within Paul’s 3 short commands he describes real love. Real love both hates and clings.
Hate What is Evil
It may seem odd at first to read the phrase, “hate what is evil” in the context of sincere love. However, it does make perfect sense. Remember, love seeks the highest good and serves the best interest of others. Evil, conversely, is destructive.
In my 30 plus years of ministry, I have witnessed much devastation brought about by the impact of evil. I hate the things that bring devastation to people’s lives. The pain seldom hurts only one person. Evil hurts people directly and evil also hurts those around them indirectly. Evil obscures God’s beautiful plan for abundant life.
We must pause and understand that as Christ followers, we are not to hate people. When Paul says “hate what is evil,” he means “to shudder with horror.” He is more than suggesting we run in the opposite direction from evil. We are not just to run from evil but run to what is good and cling to it. This is what genuine love does. Love both “hates” and “clings.”
Someone once said, “The person who cannot be angry at evil lacks enthusiasm for good.”
Cling to What is Good
I understand “cling” in two ways: Static cling (especially in the winter) and plastic wrap. “Cling” means to stick like glue or cement. Paul is telling us to take hold of what is good and bind yourself to it.
Solomon gives us a picture of what this looks like. “…when I found the one my heart loves, I held him and would not let him go,” Song of Solomon 3:4 (NIV).
What is “good?”
In Romans 12:2 Paul presents the path to “good.” “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
In essence, Paul says, “good” is one way of describing the will of God.
There is good and evil in the world. Ask: What is good? Cling to it and do it. That is the way of sincere love. In other words, clinging to what is good is walking in the will of God.
Love must be sincere.
There are people who are great actors. They are the best in the world at pretending to be someone they are not in real life. It’s amazing the amount of money and fame they achieve. Really good actors and actresses can play different roles. In each role, they are so convincing you believe them–they are that good!
Paul said love must be without hypocrisy; without pretending. Don’t pretend to love. It will eventually be evident if you really love or if you’re just pretending.
Be a lover, not a pretender.
Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head.