For Women: Our Men Are Under Attack

Whatever men you have in your life–dad, son, brother, husband, coach, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, and so on–the enemy wants them weak and vulnerable. That could mean physically or spiritually weak. Once the enemy can incapacitate a man, those around him are much more vulnerable.

This is not a sexist view, this is Biblical. Man was created first:

“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.'”
Genesis 2:18-23 NIV

But you will also note that the serpent used the woman to get to the man:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”‘ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
Genesis 3:1-6 NIV

While women have influence over the men in our lives, that can be good or bad influence. As women, we need to be on our knees for the men in our lives. If you think, “Well, there are no men in my life – no family, no friends, no Pastors, etc.,” then be on your knees for our President, for instance, if you are an American. Whatever political view you have, the Bible commands we are to submit to the government authorities that God instituted:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Romans 13:1-7 NIV

Men do not always pray for themselves. I understand that, for it can seem selfish to pray for yourself. David prayed for himself a lot, however, and he was a strong warrior and king. There are many examples of David praying for himself, and here is just one: “Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked” (Psalm 3:7 NIV).

Credit: Snow

We need to encourage the men in our lives. We need to pray for the men in our lives. We need to let them know we are praying for them, whether they are praying for themselves or not, and that we have them covered daily.

The prayers of a woman are incredibly powerful, as are all prayers. The point I am highlighting here, though, is that the serpent used the woman to bring down the man. Can you imagine how much more powerful it would be if God used women, through prayer, to protect the men in our lives?

If they are unsaved, cry out to God for their salvation. If they are wandering, pray they would become the prodigal son. If they are weary, pray for strength and tenacity to keep their eyes on Jesus. If they are walking with Jesus, pray that they would continue to deepen their walk. (From a wife’s perspective, I personally can attest that a man who loves Jesus above all else is extremely attractive!)

Ask them how you can pray for them. If you do not know, just lift them up to God to fulfill whatever it is they need. God knows. Just be on your knees against the enemy’s attacks.

Will you join me in a prayer now?

Father in Heaven,

We lift up the men in our lives, whether fathers, friends, family, mentors, or romantic partners. We lift them up to You.

Please surround them with hedges of spiritual and physical protection forged by the precious blood of Jesus. Let only that which is of You or from You dare touch them.

We pray for their souls to grow closer to You. We pray for their flesh to submit to You. We pray for them to aggressively pursue You and Your Will daily in their walks. We pray their relationships with Jesus grow deeper every single day.

Lord, fill our men with strength and courage. Lord, fill them with wisdom.

Lord, fill us all with the desire to be on our knees in prayer for Your Will to be done in our lives. May we draw closer to You with each passing day.

Father, we thank You and praise You for all You have done.

In the precious name of Jesus we pray.

Amen

Why Does God Allow Himself To Suffer?

When going through very difficult times, believers might ask other believers, “Why does God allow suffering?” This is a valid question. In response, believers might share:

“Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.”
Hebrews 2:18 NLT

Believers might then say what we are going through is nothing like what Jesus or Job suffered–my goodness, Job lost his children, wealth, health, friends, and unity with his wife to name a few of his problems.

Both of these responses are Truth, but what about the suffering God endured?

Maybe a different question to ponder to arrive at the answer to our question is, “Why does God allow Himself to suffer?”

God planned to have His Son crushed, and it was called a “good plan”:

“But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief [. . .] and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.”
from Isaiah 53:10 NLT

It sounds like an extremely painful plan full of suffering. How is suffering good? Jesus died so that “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins” (Isaiah 53:11 NLT).

The suffering of Jesus resulted in believers being forgiven–Thank You, Jesus! Even with the knowledge God had of the outcome of His Son’s suffering, I am sure it was painful to tell Jesus, “No” three times when Jesus asked the Father to remove the cup of suffering:

“He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’ Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!’ Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, ‘My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.’ When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again.”
Matthew 26:38-44 NLT

As if denying His Son’s request three times was not painful enough, the Father then watched His Son being tortured, beaten, and ultimately murdered. The Father had to turn away from the Son when the sins of the world were placed on Jesus:

“At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?'”
Matthew 27:46 NLT

Why does God allow Himself to suffer?

Love.

Jesus suffered and died to forgive our sins out of love so that we can live with Him in heaven. God crafted the good plan to crush Jesus out of love for us, His lost sheep, so we can be reunited with God. God denied the prayer requests of Jesus out of love for us. Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done” out of love for the Father.

God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and He loves us, so why does He allow suffering?

The short answer is, He loves us. When we suffer, we draw closer to Him. That is a goal of our time on Earth, to draw closer to God every day. Suffering and trials result in us doing that.

Why do we need suffering to draw closer to Him? Human nature, for “No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God” (Romans 3:11 NLT).

Can you recall a time when there was a desperate need in your life-–illness, job loss, death, etc.? The way you prayed during that time probably looks very different from the way you pray daily.

Drawing closer to God every day is what is best for us. God loves us and wants the best for us.


Father God,

We lift up all who are suffering. Abandonment. Sickness. Depression. Addiction. Unemployment. Abuse. Grief. And other burdens. May this be the day they draw closer to You. May this be the day they feel immersed in Your love. May this be the day they rise up from the burden and feel Your joy. Your peace. Your love.

In the blessed name of Jesus we pray.

Amen

Credit: JC

Guest Blog: The Truth About Abortion

NOTE: Today’s guest blog deals with sensitive subjects, including abortion, in a candid manner. While we pray it is edifying, the material may be upsetting to some readers.

Image Credit: Snow

By Esther

In the city that I live in, there are multiple abortion clinics. A simple Internet search provides you with all you need to know to select one. The location, the reviews, whether to expect picketing, where to park and so forth. The date was January the 6th. I had eaten breakfast and asked my best friend, who was also my ex-boyfriend, to drive me to my appointment at the clinic. He asked me if the baby was his, I said “No.” I did not discuss my decision to terminate the pregnancy with the father of the baby. I determined that it was my body, and so it was my choice. My decision was based on me feeling that I was too young to have a baby, the lack of relationship with the father of the baby, and that my mother would not be supportive.

I had not envisioned that my first pregnancy would be like this. I thought I would be happily married, and it would be an occasion to celebrate. I thought that both families would be filled with joy, and there would be so much love. At the time of my visit to the clinic, I was legally married and the father of the baby was my husband. He was dating another woman, he was possibly with her the day I went to the clinic, I am not sure. I was not thinking about him or what I was doing. I needed to not think about anything, just be numb. This was no big deal.

We pulled into the parking lot and maneuvered past the picketers holding up various signs, such as “Baby Killer.” They were pro-life Catholics. Instead of saying awful things, maybe just maybe, if one of them had said something compassionate. . . .

But it was my choice, I take responsibility for the decisions I made that day and leading up to that day. I entered the clinic and checked in. I was told to go into a room and strip down to just a paper gown. I was given a little bracelet that had the key to the locker where I would place all my items. I was to wear nothing, no jewelry, no watch and have no phone of course. Just the paper gown that covered some things and the little bracelet. I entered a holding room, full of pregnant women. There was one girl in there a few years older than me. I am sure it was obvious that I did not know what was going on and that I was scared. She had pretty blond hair and told me not to be nervous that she does this all the time. I asked what she meant. She shared with me that abortions were her birth control. She did not choose to use any other forms of birth control. She assured me that all would be fine, it would be over quick, and I would just feel cramping afterwards. We sat there together in those paper gowns, her comforting me and me trying to pretend this was no big deal.

I had been sexually active about a year at that point with two different men. My ex-boyfriend who drove me to the clinic was my first and the man I married was the second. I was not comfortable with nudity and certainly was still trying to figure everything out. The paper gown left little to the imagination, which made me uncomfortable. The little voice inside me was screaming, “Leave!” I was alone and scared and felt that there was no other path. I was called into the exam room where a female performed an ultrasound on me. She shared that I was 13 weeks pregnant and that I may be “too far along” for them to proceed with the abortion. I joked that I had “a big breakfast” and did not think that I was that far along. I had no idea how far along I was.

After my husband and I split up, I lived alone in an abandoned house. I had no furniture, no anything – just me sitting on the floor curled up in a ball as Christmas approached. I wanted to die, I did not attempt suicide to be clear, but I certainly wanted to die. I knew that I was pregnant, I knew that my husband was dating another woman, and I knew that I felt utterly alone. It was during that dark time that I decided to terminate the pregnancy. I reached out to my ex-boyfriend, and he promised to take me to the appointment.

After the procedure was over, I stumbled back to the room with the lockers and tried to find the one with my clothes. My head was spinning, and the locker number on the little orange coiled bracelet seemed so hard to read. I was pouring out blood and felt incredible pain. The nurse who assisted the male doctor during the procedure gave me very thick and long sanitary pads because she said I would “bleed a lot.” She recommended Tylenol for the cramping. I was embarrassed to have my legs spread wide with my feet up in the stirrups as a male doctor whose name I did not know was tugging hard on my insides as I lay there naked for all to see. I just wanted the procedure to be over at that point. I wanted the tugging to stop, and I wanted to put my clothes on and never think about any of this again. I kept thinking about what the beautiful blond girl told me. She had done this six . . . or was it seven . . . times. Why was I acting like a baby? Why couldn’t I be strong like her?

My ex-boyfriend stood up to hug me as I re-entered the waiting room. I was bleeding so very heavily, felt dizzy, and the cramps were bad by this point. He helped me out to the parking lot and into his car, past the picketers – shielding me as best he could. He knew I did not want to talk about it, so he talked about everything under the sun during the drive home to distract me.

In about a month, I recovered physically. I began to date someone new as the divorce proceeded. After the experience at the clinic, I went on oral birth control (I was not taking birth control prior). With my new boyfriend, I began to drink, a lot. So much that I would sometimes get alcohol poisoning. We were having fun and enjoying each other in every sense of the word. Life went on.

Sometime later, I had a friend who was a Pastor at a Presbyterian PCA church. He was always talking about Jesus and the Bible. I would listen, but not grasp what he was saying or really invest the time to try to understand. One day, I learned that there was an unwed young lady who was a regular attender of that church. She was pregnant and the church ex-communicated her. I wondered, how can a group of people who said they love everyone and are “pro-life” kick someone out who needed them now more than ever? I had to wonder if she had quietly gotten an abortion instead, nobody would have been the wiser. Nobody knew about my abortion, except the father and my ex-boyfriend who drove me. I never told a soul.

It was shortly after this incident that I met Jesus. I realized many things. That He is with me always. He forgives me for everything, yes, even abortion. He loves the pregnant, unwed lady in the church, too. He creates every life. A baby is alive at the moment of conception. He loves me. Yes, even a terrible sinner like me.

You never fully heal from an abortion. Your body may recover, but the scars are there. You carry them daily. It is not the easy way out; it is riddled with pain and hurt. There are also “what if?” questions. What if the baby I carried was a boy? What if the baby I carried would have cured cancer? You think about how old they would have been and what their life might have been like. You think about what your life might have been like. The pain that you carry will always be there, and nobody but Jesus can understand what you went through. We must give our pain to Jesus, because it is too much for us to bear. 1 Peter 5:7: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT).

In Jesus, we are forgiven. I am sorry if you have experienced a decision similar to mine. I am sorry for your loss and for your pain. I am sorry if you have been hurt by “the Church.” We are all sinners and mess up. Please do not turn your back on “the Church” if you have had negative experiences. Ask God to show you a new church that He would have you connected to.

Ask Jesus to forgive you, for He will. 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (NIV). Once He forgives you, forgive yourself. Do not hold yourself in chains that the Savior has freed you from. Journal through your pain, open up to someone who will hold you while you cry and pray for you. There is hope and healing and power in the name of Jesus. He will bind up your wounds and give you the strength to carry on. All you have to do is allow Him to heal you.


Father in Heaven, we lift up all of the Esthers of the world. May they find forgiveness in You and themselves. May churches remember that You are love, that all of us are sinners, and that You love and forgive us all. May we all find You and walk closer to You. In the blessed name of Jesus. Amen.

Thank you to Esther for having the courage to share her story. If you are in need of a personal prayer, please contact Wounded Butterflies. We commit to praying for you and walking with you.

Why Does God Wipe a Slate Clean?

The life that I have known for over two decades has been completely blown up – some of it by choice, some not. It is interesting that God did not change or remove a few pieces of my life, but all of it. Every piece has been gutted. So that leads me to ask, “Why does God wipe a slate clean?”

Whenever I have a question on my mind for God, I look to the Scriptures to find answers in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. He is a God who does not change (Hebrews 13:8), so the examples we see in the Scriptures apply today, just as when they were written.

The first example I thought of in the Bible was Jesus. He wiped our slates clean with forgiveness when He died on the cross. Why did he wash us clean of our sins? We are commanded in both the Old and New Testaments:

“‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
from Matthew 22:37-39 NLT

In this context, our slates are wiped clean to focus solely on God and loving others.

Credit: Snow

A different example, found in the Old Testament, is when God commanded Abraham:

“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.”
from Genesis 12:1 NLT

The objective of God wiping Abraham’s slate clean was to bless him and all families of the Earth to come from him:

“I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:2-3 NLT

Sometimes God wipes our slates clean to prepare us for blessing. The trouble with God removing pieces of our lives is that as soon as a relationship concludes or a job ends or an illness arrives, we want the answer or the next step right away. He may not provide that insight immediately, though. He may want us to rest in Him or learn to trust Him more or refine the skill of remaining joyful during trials:

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
Psalm 46:10 NLT

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
Proverb 3:5 NLT

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
James 1:2 NLT

The goal of every Christian is found in Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (NLT).

This means seeking Jesus, who is the Word of God, the Path to God, and the Giver of the Holy Spirit. Seeking first the Kingdom of God enables all else to fall into place. We are to seek Him and live righteously, and He will give us everything we need (not everything we want).

This is what we do while waiting for God to reveal our next steps. We focus on seeking Him and drawing closer to Him by spending more daily time with Him, more daily worship of Him, and more time listening to Him. James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (NLT). Drawing close to God also means we will hear the Holy Spirit clearer, which is what we ultimately want and need.

In order to obtain our next steps after God has wiped our slates clean, we must be still and listen as we draw closer to God. He has a plan for renewing or changing our lives.

We simply must listen.

Your Enemy Is Real

With the world we live in now, it is critical that you know that nothing can separate you from God’s love. Nothing and nobody at all, ever (Romans 8:38).

Once you believe in Jesus, you no longer belong to the dark side – the battle changes. Before you believed in Jesus, the battle was to keep you in the dark, so to speak.

Now, you stand in a place of victory. It is the victory that Jesus won for you. So, the dark side changes their approach because they no longer have you on their team. They want to keep you from enjoying all that is already yours through Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and hell. But fear not, God did not leave you without instructions on what to do when the dark side tries to distract you or hurt you or invade your thoughts.

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:11-17 NLT

Credit: Snow

These verses are saying that people and situations are not your enemy; your enemy is real and is not flesh and blood. The enemy is the opposite of Jesus, who is full of life and love. Just like anyone in battle, there is armor or equipment we need to use.

The first is the belt of Truth. The belt was critical, for it held weapons and enabled warriors to defend themselves when under attack. We fight with Truth, and it is one of the ways we defend ourselves.

The second is the body armor of righteousness. You keep this as a “covering” to protect yourself against attacks. It is not how good you are. It is God’s righteousness, so you protect yourself standing on the victory Jesus already won.

The shoes of peace mean wherever you go, you carry the peace of God with you. No matter what is going on, you have the peace of God. Not only do we need to anchor to His peace, but we are also to carry that peace with us and share with the lost why we have peace. You will go through many storms in your life and when you remember that you have His peace, you will look “different” to others as you navigate storms.

The shield of faith is what protects you. You must never let go of your faith. No matter what bad thoughts or bad things come your way, you use your faith to protect you like a shield. Believe in God and His love for you.

The helmet of salvation is to protect your mind with the knowledge that you are saved by Jesus. Nobody can take that from you. Once you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are His. Period.

The last piece of armor is different. This weapon we are to wield. When we are attacked, we have all of the defensive weapons to use. This last one is an offensive weapon. It is the Word of God, and it is a sword. This means many things, but we will focus on just one. When Jesus was dealing with the devil in the desert, Jesus kept saying, “It is written.” Every time the devil would say something, Jesus would say Scripture back and speak the truth (Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11). He was teaching us how to use the Word of God like a weapon. When you hear lies, listen to the truth and speak the truth, which is the Word of God. What a different world we would have if Eve had just stuck with what God said when the devil showed up to tempt her.

You may be thinking, how do I get these weapons and know what to use when? Reading the Bible daily equips you. It teaches you all these things, and then you have what you need when you need it. You will be amazed how Scriptures will just pop into your head when you need them. This is the Holy Spirit at work within you. He will even bring Scriptures to your mind that you have not yet read or did not quite grasp when you did read them. He speaks only truth.

You have everything you need to push the bad away from your heart and mind. You just need to remember that you have everything you need – that is the hard part. It is something I struggle with a lot. I allow the bad stuff to creep into my head when I know it is not true, and I know what is true. That is the battle that people who believe in Jesus face. Our souls are safe, but it is our hearts and minds that can still be distracted from the amazing blessings we have been given. So, we need to stay aware of what we are allowing into our hearts and minds. The enemy will constantly send fiery darts at us and attack our hearts and minds. It is not a sin to have a “bad” thought, but it can become a sin depending on what you do with it. Do you take it captive, as we are commanded in 2 Corinthians 10:5, or do you entertain it?

Thank God that He has armed us with these weapons, outlined for us what they are, and demonstrated Jesus using them. He also has given us the Holy Spirit, the Author of truth and our Helper. As we endure many trials in this life, we must focus on what God has given us to defend ourselves and stand at the ready for when the attacks come, not if they come.

Dear Single Parents/Guardians and Their Loved Ones

Credit: JC

Being a single parent/guardian is not easy. For starters, you are the spiritual leader of the home. You are the sole provider for the children God blessed you with. There is a lot of pressure to keep food on the table, clothing on their backs, and a roof over their heads. You cannot just “take a break” when you need one. The more children you have, the less time you have to yourself – including trying to shower or get any sleep.

Please do not misunderstand me, I am incredibly grateful to God for my children. Throughout the years of abuse endured at the hands of their father, my kids were the only things to keep me going. And even more so since we left their father.

My kids are each funny, full of laughter and have different perspectives. One of my children has multiple cognitive disabilities. She has taught me more than I could ever teach her. The way she looks at life and how she processes information is incredible to me. I consider each of my children a gift and her “disabilities” are also gifts to our family.

While you might feel alone raising kids, I have learned that I am not alone. Jesus is with me (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is the One who holds me at night when I am scared. He is the One to whom I bring problems and fears. Daily, I pray earnestly for His wisdom to help me raise the kids in a manner that glorifies Him. Through the storms of life – illness, tragedy or job loss – we simply must trust in Him.

If you are a single parent/guardian, know that you are not alone. God is right there with you, co-parenting. You may not always feel that way, but He is. God loaned us His kids, we are the stewards of His children. He loves them more than we do. We must trust in His love and provision for the kids and for us. If you are raising kids alone because of the choices of others, forgive those people. Forgiveness does not mean you agree with what they did, but instead you are freeing yourself from their control over you (Colossians 3:13).

We moved out of the house to escape an incredibly toxic environment. We no longer have interactions with their father except when he reaches out demanding money. We are surrounded by thoughtful neighbors, and God has certainly blessed us! If you are not a single parent/guardian, please consider making dinner for a household that is. Or in these times of COVID, a gift card for pizza or other food delivery would be incredibly appreciated. In our new place, we have a neighbor who cooks for us. I am grateful to him for giving me a “night off,” so to speak, where I do not have to cook. We have another neighbor that has given the kids gift cards for pizza delivery.

If you know someone who is a single parent/guardian, please pray about how to help. Maybe place a gift card (for pizza delivery or for a grocery store) anonymously in their mailbox. Or perhaps cooking them dinner if everyone feels comfortable during COVID. Babysitting is a bit tougher depending on how well they know you and COVID, etc. Offer to pick something up for them if you are running to the grocery store. I can tell you that I have another neighbor that does that for me, and he is a God-send.

I come from a long line of single moms. We are stubborn and independent, which is what has protected our children through the generations. If that is you, please consider this. Some of the people that help me are saved and some are not. Perhaps me accepting their help will pave the way to have a conversation about Jesus. God sends people to help His children. While it may be hard to accept help, pray about it and see if God wants to use you to speak into that person’s life.

God bless.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9 NIV

Love Will Restore the Land

2020 was a year of loss and hurt for most people. Between the pandemic, the economy, job loss, illness, and the inability to see loved ones, 2020 was a mess.

As believers, we cling to the fact that God is in control. Everything that enters our lives passes through the fingers of our Lord. So what are we to learn from the pandemic and its impacts?

It seems many people believe when the calendar flips to January 1, 2021, all will return to “normal.” At the risk of seeming negative, I think we must seek a new normal. The current generation of 2, 3, 4, and 5-year-olds have been taught not to touch each other, share toys, or sit with each other. They have been taught hugging is not a good idea, nor is touching others at all.

I am not saying I disagree with what we have to do as we battle a pandemic, but it does indicate possible future tendencies of that generation. This was not just one country of kids taught this, but the global population of kids. What does this mean for these future leaders? This remains to be seen.

We have re-wired ourselves and our children to not touch or hug, except certain people that are “safe.” There are people that have not felt human touch in almost a year. For some, they are grateful to be left alone. For others, it is a struggle. Humans are created for touch. We are created to love each other and comfort each other. There are so many verses that command us to love each other. Here are just a few:

“This is my command: Love each other.”
John 15:17 NLT

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:10 NLT

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”
John 13:34 NLT

“We love each other because he loved us first.”
1 John 4:19 NLT

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”
John 15:12 NLT

“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”
1 John 4:11 NLT

“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.”
1 Peter 3:8 NLT

We have a choice, as a nation and as a people. Do we invest our time and energy into arguing about masks, politics, and myriads of other things or do we follow the Bible and love each other?

I do not have to agree with you to love you. Jesus loved everyone, even those who murdered Him. He asked God to forgive them as they drained the blood out of our Lord and Savior.

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’ And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.”
Luke 23:34 NLT

That is our bar to strive for – love everyone. He loved those that caused His death and were gambling for His material possessions as He prayed for them to be forgiven.

Snow and I talked about grudges recently during a devotional. There have been many people who have inflicted or spoken hurt into our lives. We are faced with a choice, just like all believers, hold a grudge or love.

The way that God has taught me to release grudges, hurt, anger, or resentment is to pray for that person. Pray for the person to be forgiven and blessed. Regardless of your political affiliation or how you feel about wearing masks, pray. We need to pray for each other and we need to tell people we are praying for them. Pray for the future generations that are being taught not to touch. Pray for the neighbors and loved ones that are suffering from loss, loneliness, job loss or anxiety. Pray for them by name and tell them you are praying for them.

The great thing about God is that He always knows whom you are talking about. You can pray for the “lady down the street whose name I do not know” and God has her. He knows who she is and what she needs. Drop a note in her mailbox: “I am praying for you.” You do not need to sign it or even interact with her. This is a spiritual touch. We must find new ways to touch people to show love. Prayer is one big way. Telling people we are praying for them is another way to show love.

There have been many analyses over 2020 about what the world needs: Vaccines, herd immunity, economic recovery, and so on. We need prayer. We need to pray and tell people we are praying for them.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT

The above verse tells us a list of things to do now and in 2021. For those of us who feel hurt, confused, or unsure about what to do – look to this verse and love.

Love however you can, whoever you can, whenever you can.

During this time of limited physical touch, we must find new ways to show love using technology, handwritten notes, or “smiling” with our eyes when our real smiles are hidden behind masks.

Be humble with those around you by showing patience, kindness, and sensitivity. If you have been untouched by the virus, praise God! Please keep in mind that most of the people around you have been touched by it in some way or other.

Instead of losing patience with people, pray for them. It takes literally two seconds to lift someone up: “Lord, I pray that person drives better” or “Lord, I pray that person becomes nicer.” Seek His face on their behalf and pray.

Credit: JC