The Next Invasion

Did you know that cicadas, who have lived underground for 17 years, are planning their comeback? According to ABC News, millions of cicadas will soon make an appearance in the southern part of the United States. They can damage plants when they lay their eggs, causing branches and leaves to split and die. But the greatest threat is to our ears. Cicadas are LOUD, and in numbers estimated to be upwards of one and a half million cicadas per acre, that’s a lot of buggy volume.

I lived through a cicada invasion over 30 years ago when my husband and I were stationed in Texas with the Navy. Having grown up in the northeast, we had never heard of cicadas. All of a sudden we were experiencing the 11th plague. Noisy, flying bugs were literally dropping from the sky en masse. When you drove into the K-Mart parking lot, you could hear them crunching under your tires. We would make a mad dash from the car to the front door and were covered in them in the 30 seconds it took to run. There was no getting away. Picnics and outdoor events were cancelled. They were loud enough to keep us awake at night. Fortunately, the life span of a cicada only lasts four to six weeks, so at least there was an end in sight.

In defense of the cicada, the screeching sounds they make are part of their life cycle. Having no access to dating apps such as Tinder or eharmony, they default to their biology:

The noises that cicadas produce are mating calls from the males who are attempting to attract females. It could be an annoyance to some, considering it is described as an “alien-like wail,” according to Virginia Tech. (ABC News)

Surely this impending invasion will bring a new kind of suffering to the communities they invade.

In 1 Peter, we are given a word of encouragement about suffering. Christians all over the world were experiencing persecution for their belief in Jesus Christ. One of the most significant verses in scripture appears in this passage when we are invited to turn all our worries over to God:

1 Peter 5 (New Revised Standard Version)

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 

Are you experiencing anxiety? Do you worry about your life, your future, your health, your job, and your family? God cares for YOU. You are invited to cast your cares upon the creator of the universe. Imagine that!

Peter then offers sound advice about how to combat the source of many of our troubles. Be disciplined. Stay alert. Resist the devil. Look ahead to your deliverance.

Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

So when suffering comes, remember that you are in good company. Give all that anxiety over to the one who will restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. Your steadfast faith and God’s power will bring you through anything. Even a cicada invasion.

Sunlight Flowers by Jan Johnson

Through Fire and Water

There is a great debate among the faithful about the pandemic and God’s activity in it. Some people believe that God has brought this upon the earth as a corrective measure. The effect of the stay-at-home orders on the environment is cited to support this notion. As the air and the waters clear up, people in that camp point to the lessening of pollution (due to the fact that we aren’t driving and flying as much) as part of God’s purpose in “causing” the pandemic. They point to the plagues of the Old Testament to solidify their argument.

Others are in the camp of “God allows.” This perspective suggests that there are things that simply happen that God allows. In other words, God didn’t cause it, but has allowed a virus like this to sweep the globe, which has brought needed changes and is teaching us many important things. God has allowed this situation, which has brought us a cleansing of the environment. This notion encourages us to know that what he “allows” is within his control, and in his time, it will end.

Wherever you stand on this, or if you don’t care either way, it is good to know certain things about God’s activity in a disaster.

We can know that he is with us.

We can know that he has brought us through fire and water, and he will bring us through this.

We can know that even when he corrects us, he does so with mercy and love.

We can know that he brings us through the refining fires of testing to a rich fulfillment that only he can provide.

Listen to how the Psalmist puts it:

Psalm 66 (New King James)

Oh, bless our God, you peoples!
And make the voice of His praise to be heard,
Who keeps our soul among the living,
And does not allow our feet to be moved.


10 For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
11 You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs.
12 You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.

Our response, regardless of how we got here, should always be worship. Worship reminds us of who we are, and whose we are.

13 I will go into Your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay You my vows,
14 Which my lips have uttered
And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals,
With the sweet aroma of rams;
I will offer bulls with goats. Selah

So if you are having a bad day/week/month, if you are worn out and ready for this pandemic to be OVER, remind yourself of all of the times that God has already rescued you. Can you name them?

Certainly God has heard us. And he always attends to the voice of our prayers.

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul.
17 I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
19 But certainly God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer,
Nor His mercy from me!

God has not turned away. So let us learn everything from him that he is trying to teach us right now. His mercy is always ready to be given! Blessed be the Lord.

Blessed be God! By Margaret Brushwood

Reunion

This is the time of year when our thoughts naturally turn to summer plans. The month of May typically includes the winding down of the school year, and Memorial Day weekend signals the beginning of summer. Vacations, trips to the beach, watching the sun set, and traveling to family reunions are just some of the things we anticipate. Or did, before the pandemic.

This year there will not likely be a big family reunion at the Haas farm outside of Pittsburgh. Run by my third-removed cousin, the “other” Betsy Haas, this glorious location sits nestled among the hills and valleys of green fields and picturesque farmlands. Our family reunion is filled with story telling, (some of them are even true!) hugging, laughing, and most of all, EATING. Popular family recipes show up every year, and we get our annual fill of fresh-from-the-garden three-bean salad, Aunt Judy’s Lemon Lust, and hot buffalo chicken dip on salty Fritos. It is a gastronomic delight. Hay rides and blueberry picking round out the day, and we delight in the company of family.

It always makes me think that heaven must be exactly like that. A big family reunion, a warm summer day, lots of feasting at the heavenly banquet, and seeing people we love from whom we are separated by distance and time.

John 14 is a common funeral text, and it references the place we will go upon our death as a family reunion of sorts. The dwelling place that God has prepared for us has enough room for the entire clan:

John 14:1-14

 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

In the midst of reminding his disciples that they already know the way to their heavenly reunion when their time comes, Jesus clarifies that the host is his Father, who is the one who sent Jesus to show them the way:

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

Coming home at the end of our lives will be a reunion with the Father and the Son, and all of our loved ones. This is why Jesus begins with “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Jesus will come and take us to a homestead that he has prepared for us himself. No matter what trouble the world gives, these things are guaranteed: a heavenly family reunion, a feast of good things, and the comfort of a home made ready by the Lord himself.

I wonder if there will be Lemon Lust??

Maybe Next Summer by Tim Neal

Deliverance

Deliverance. What a curious word! Think of the many things that get delivered. Mail gets delivered. Pizzas get delivered. Newspapers get delivered. Babies get delivered. People in jeopardy get delivered. Souls get delivered.

Have you ever asked God to deliver you from something?

It is not uncommon when you find yourself in a place of great distress to ask God to deliver you from it. Illness, abuse, violence, unfulfilling jobs, hateful bosses, out-of-control teenagers….Lord, in your mercy, deliver us. Even atheists pray in foxholes.

I have had many a broken-hearted spouse come to me seeking God’s deliverance from the awful pain of betrayal. Sometimes he delivers them from the marriage, and freedom is restored. Other times he delivers them from their own grudge-holding, and facilitates forgiveness and reconciliation.

One thing is sure: God is our refuge and strength. He is our Deliverer.

Take a look at the beautiful language of Psalm 31, but before you do, ponder this: is there something from which you need to be delivered? Some sin, a destructive habit, an overwhelming loneliness, a feeling of shame, debilitating anger, or a negative personality trait? These things can feel like a fishing net that has wound itself around your ankles. You can’t move. You are trapped.

Think of that net, and imagine that you are at the foot of the cross asking Jesus to cut you loose as you pray this prayer:

Psalm 31

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

I’m sure you recognize verse 5 as the last thing Jesus said as he died on the cross. Jesus was quoting this scripture at the moment that God delivered him, cutting the crucifixion-net free and releasing his spirit as he left the earth.

So too will he do for you, if you trust him to release you from whatever has entangled you.

You don’t have to stay entrapped. You don’t have to be caught in despair. You may have done things that led you straight into a net that was laid out for you, but you don’t have to stay there. All you have to do is ask to be pulled out.

Behold! Your deliverer comes.

Old Net by Michelle Robertson

Getting Stoned

Have you ever had an argument where you could tell with a hundred percent certainty that the other person was not listening to you? Have you ever told your child to do something and you were positive that they did not hear a single word you said? How about communicating with your teenager…ever feel like they have invisible hands over their ears as you are trying to talk to them?

Despite our best efforts to communicate, there are times when we simply aren’t heard. People tune us out because of anger, lack of interest, lack of respect, obstinance, ignorance, and a host of other reasons. Many of those reasons don’t even have anything to do with us or what we are saying…people are dealing with their own internal demons, which can render them deaf.

In our scripture this week, a Jesus-follower named Stephen was trying to communicate the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, he shared a vision of heaven. But the council members were not swayed. They were deeply threatened by his revelation, as it challenged their power structure and a status quo that put them at the top of the food chain. So they shouted and covered their ears when he spoke.

Then they did the unthinkable:

Acts 7 (Contemporary English Version)

55 But Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked toward heaven, where he saw our glorious God and Jesus standing at his right side. 56 Then Stephen said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right side of God!”

57 The council members shouted and covered their ears. At once they all attacked Stephen 58 and dragged him out of the city. Then they started throwing stones at him. The men who had brought charges against him put their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, “Lord Jesus, please welcome me!” 60 He knelt down and shouted, “Lord, don’t blame them for what they have done.” Then he died.

It is extraordinary to see Stephen’s reaction to their violence. Rather than defend himself or fight back, he turned his eyes upon Jesus and asked for a homecoming. Then he absolved them of blame, asking God to forgive his murderers.

Stephen is remembered for his martyrdom and compassion. His willingness to proclaim Jesus in the midst of rejection and violent retaliation is remarkable. He didn’t stop, even knowing that nobody was listening.

There may be people in your life to whom you are speaking a word of love who aren’t listening. Tell them anyway. Others reject your offer for help. Help them anyway. Some are covering their ears as you try to give sound counsel. Keep trying. Sometimes carrying a message of hope results in being attacked for no reason. That’s when it’s important to ignore the ignorant comments and keep pressing forward with what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do. Just ask me.

May we all have a smidge of the enormous compassion Stephen felt for his attackers. In that way, we might have the peace that he had, and reflect back to the world the visible image of Christ’s forgiveness at the crucifixion.

Whenever we reflect Jesus, we honor God.

Heart Stone by Michelle Robertson

The Classics

Sometimes in life, you just want the classics. A classic New Jersey hoagie…Italian of course, not tuna and avocado. A pepperoni pizza, not Hawaiian with pineapple. (Who does that??) A ‘63 Mustang convertible, not a Mini Cooper. Beethoven’s Fifth, not the Electric Slide.

If I were to ask you which scripture you think is the most recognized, you would probably default to the classics. John 3:16. Genesis 1:1. Psalm 23. These passages are well known because they are memorable and timeless.

One of the reasons that the 23rd Psalm pops up to the top of the classics chart is our familiarity with it. Many of us memorized it as children. Bible Study writer Dick Murray once said that it was while crouching in a foxhole in the war that he realized that the only available “bible” he could access in that moment was the one he had in his mind, and it was sadly limited to the few passages he had memorized. He was trying to calm himself by reciting scripture, only to discover that the ones he had memorized were few and far between. This motivated him to go back and memorize more when the war was over.

So, what’s in your bible?

The 23rd Psalm is said at every funeral in my denomination. It conveys a timeless message of beauty, hope, assurance, and peace. It is a classic for a reason.

Psalm 23 (New King James Version)

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

My challenge for you today is to spend time memorizing this beautiful piece. Take it apart, study it line by line, make picture-memories of it, walk around your house saying it out loud, and add it to your mind. This one will never let you down. We need it now more than ever.

Like you, it‘s a classic!

Still Waters at Sunset by Bonnie Bennett

Great Assembly

OK, here’s the truth. I am tired of everybody’s online worship. I am tired of watching myself on TV on Sunday mornings in my jammies, with a cup of coffee in my hand. We are all tired of trying to think of new and creative ways to tell the story of Jesus while making eye contact with the cold, hard lens of a camera.

I guess I’m just tired of the isolation of attending church in my living room. I bet you are, too. I need my people.

I believe we were created for corporate worship. I believe heaven rejoices when God’s people gather in a place and raise their combined voices as one melody of adoration. I believe kids should be noisy and fidgety, older people should snooze, and young people should text each other during church…like we normally do every Sunday!

(Look, I’m like Santa sitting up there in the front….I see you when you’re sleeping, I know when you’re awake…)

I also believe we should listen with open hearts and minds, and in my church, that is what we do every Sunday together. I miss my congregation’s attentiveness to the Word as it is spoken, proclaimed, sung, and experienced. You see, I also see people leaning in when the Word is offered.

So today’s Psalm sent a ping straight to my heart with the very first verse:

Psalm 22 (New King James Version)

My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!

But then we get to a verse that reminds us that we worship as all the families of the nations. In that context, we couldn’t possibly be together in one place, and thus we are reminded that God’s kingdom is so much larger than the sanctuary that we are all missing:

27 All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s,
And He rules over the nations.

29 All the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship;
All those who go down to the dust
Shall bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep himself alive.

So what do you suppose our children are learning from this? Parents, what you are doing right now is teaching your children, who are the “posterity and the next generation,” about what YOU really feel about worship. Are you finding it less and less convenient to set Sunday morning aside for family worship? Is the beach, a sunny walk, picking strawberries, a bike ride to the woods, etc. more enticing to you as this pandemic wears on? Be careful with your priorities. The children are watching.

30 A posterity shall serve Him.
It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation,
31 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,
That He has done this.

If you are a regular church goer, please hang in there. Your pastor did not receive training as a televangelist in seminary. We are doing the best we can. God still requires that we keep the Sabbath holy, even in a pandemic.

The good news is, the great assembly will return! So in the meantime, let us continue to set Sunday mornings aside for “corporate” worship. God is still here, and he is worthy of our praise.

New Normal

Jesus Freaks

I suppose every generation has a version of religious zealots that takes on a unique persona. In the early 1800’s, the Second Great Awakening produced charismatic Camp Meetings, where fiery Revivalists converted the masses. Salvation was their focus.

In the prohibition era, we had lace-hatted ladies who marched with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, proclaiming that “lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine.” (I had a grandmother who was a proud WCTU card-carrier.) Sobriety was their focus.

In the ‘60s, we had free-spirited “Jesus Freaks,” a counter-cultural group who shared things in common and proclaimed a message of love. Community was their focus. All these groups in their own way were Jesus Freaks of a sort, but the hippie culture may have been the closest to the original:

Acts 2:42-47 (English Standard Version)

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.

 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

One of the blessings to arise from the pandemic is that the Jesus Freaks among us have revived the notion that we should share our possessions and belongings, and break bread across our community with those who are hungry due to losing jobs. Several restaurants in the Outer Banks have taken the lead with offering free breakfasts, chicken and dumplings lunches, and hearty meatloaf dinners, all free of charge. Some have set up tents for distribution.

Our local homeless ministry has extended their program during a time when they would normally be closed, and churches continue to take turns volunteering and delivering meals.

Churches are expanding their Care Ministries to include any need that comes to their attention. Last week my church had a request to help a non-member who lives almost an hour away from our location. She is hospitalized in another state with a high risk pregnancy, and her husband is struggling to care for their children on his own while working and trying to visit his wife. So my church will deliver meals for the next four weeks, because that’s what Jesus Freaks do.

In the passage above, we see that these acts of community were met with awe, which came upon every soul. This witness of sharing resulted in people coming to Christ in great numbers every day. That is what happens when people see the love of God in action.

Where is God calling you to be the evidence of his love today? Where can you invite awe into someone’s soul by sharing what you have in his name?

God calls us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and offer water to the thirsty. There is a need in your community that you can meet. You can produce many wonders and signs of God’s reign right where you are. Go out and find a way to be a Jesus Freak for someone today!

Free Chicken N Dumplings Photo courtesy of the Jolly Roger Restaurant

Driving out Fear

Are you a person with a great capacity to love? Do you believe that we are called to love one another? What does the Bible say about love?

1 John 4 may be the most love-saturated passage in the entire Bible. Take a look at this and see how many times the word “love” appears:

1 John 4 (Common English Bible)

Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 10 This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. 

Love is from God. If you don’t love, you don’t know God. The charge is so simple: if God loves us so much that he sacrificed his son for us, we ought to love each other in the same way.

12 No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. 13 This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. 15 If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us and we remain in God. 16 We have known and have believed the love that God has for us.

So what do we make of “love” that abuses, shuns, or condemns? What evidence of love can be found in the person who refuses to accept the “other?” Where is love when judgment is being spewed?

God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. 17 This is how love has been perfected in us, so that we can have confidence on the Judgment Day, because we are exactly the same as God is in this world. 

We will be judged by how we followed the commandment to love as God loves in this world. And God is the only one qualified to judge. He calls us to offer love to one another, not judgment. Perfect love is designed to drive out fear, even fear of people who are drastically different from us. If you claim to love God but hate a certain section of God’s people, you are a liar.

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love because God first loved us. 

20 Those who say, “I love God” and hate their brothers or sisters are liars.

After all, those who don’t love their brothers or sisters whom they have seen can hardly love God whom they have not seen!21 This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.

Those who claim to love God have to love their brother and sister WITHOUT JUDGMENT. This is the Word of God for the people of God. If your response to this is “Yeah, but what about the people who….” then you have totally missed the point.

Hearts Over Atlanta by Kathy Schumacher

Pandemic Dreams

My pandemic dreams are getting wilder and louder. Some mornings I wake up exhausted by my dream-saturated sleep. Even in my tiredness, I am grateful for the silence that wakefulness brings. My deep consciousness is flooded with turbulence. I have read that others are experiencing this as well. How about you?

We understand that dreams are the mind’s way of unburdening itself of the daily pressures and disturbances that get shoved away throughout the day so that we can focus on what is at hand. Some posit that dreams are a form of memory processing, or are a type of protective act, i.e. a way to prepare the brain for danger and challenges. In any case, it stands to reason that the current pandemic would result in people having vivid dreams all night long.

In 1 Peter, we read a beautiful picture of life being ”a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.” That image is profound for us pandemic people. Oh, how we long to replace our deep consciousness of despair with the deep consciousness of God’s peace!

And I like that it reminds us that this is a journey, which implies that there is a destination. I am ready, as I’m sure you are, for us to ARRIVE at the end. Let me off this bus!!

Even better, we find God on this journey:

1 Peter 1 (The Message)

17 You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.

18-21 Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought.

YOU are not an afterthought to God. You call out to him for help, and he responds like the good, responsible father that he is. He has removed us from our sloppy, dead-end, empty-headed way of life.

Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

Don’t miss that…we have a future in God. This is comforting news in the midst of recent information that we might see a spike in COVID cases in the fall. A second wave may be imminent, and we are so weary of the first. But hang on. We have a future in God.

22-25 Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word.

What must change immediately is that we must “love one another as if our lives depend on it.” We are utterly failing at this. The vitriol, anger, and downright hatred that we see every day on our streets, on the news, and especially on social media must stop. We condemn ourselves with every post.

Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That’s why the prophet said,

The old life is a grass life,
    its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers;
Grass dries up, flowers droop,
    God’s Word goes on and on forever.

This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.

Today is a day to seek the deep consciousness of God. Today is an opportunity to allow God’s Word of hope, salvation, and unconditional love to bring forth a new life in us.

THIS is what I dream of: a world-wide community unified as one body, loving each other through this pandemic, and offering only words of comfort and peace to each other until this is over.

What do you dream of? Are you experiencing disturbing dreams right now? Do you wake up tired? Do you long for peace?

Listen. Stay in the Word, and get out of the world. Find ways, especially at bedtime, to turn everything off and go deep into the consciousness of God. Pray like you’ve never prayed before.

God will deliver us, of that I am sure. The Word will bring new life in us.

Sweet Dreams by Becca Ziegler