Bread and potatoes..

Our country currently is under 24/7 lockdown. Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations have been closed.  We haven’t been able to leave our home, except for brief walks in our little closed in neighborhood. We could risk being arrested if caught out.  The last time I went to the grocery store was when the previous curfew was lifted for a few hours and they allowed grocery stores to open. Because Dale and I walked, I only bought enough for a few days because we had to carry anything we bought home,  and I wrongly assumed that the stores would open again in a few days. Later that day the government put us another lockdown til the 29th.

We have been running out of fruit and veggies and we have been out of bread since before our trip to the grocery store. They had been out of it. I have been rationing what we have trying to make it last til the 29th. Trying to be creative with meal planning. Skipping meals. There are apps available where you can order food from the grocery stores and have what you need delivered. However we have not had any success in that.

Then this afternoon I was reading in the Psalms..

Psalm 37 :25 Once I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the goldy abandoned or their children begging for bread. 

And then I prayed about it, that somehow God would provide what we needed, which was produce and bread because if He didn’t make a way I really didn’t know what I was going to do. We still had almost a week to go on the curfew.  I confessed being a little worried about it. I confessed to feeling a little hopeless.

Then a few moment later I received a message from a friend that the grocery store near us was actually open. She told me that if  we brought them our list, they would shop for you and bring it out to you. So Dale and I headed down there and passed through a police check point without any issues.

I waited in a line with other masked shoppers with my list. I was told it could be up to 2 hours, so Dale and I went home and waited for them to call. We only had to wait about twenty minutes. However when I went to pick up the order, I was told they had no bread! He gave me the total, I paid and said he would return.  He came back out with the groceries in a cart and on the top of the bags was a loaf of bread! The funny thing was the two large bags of potatoes. I had asked for 6…but instead was given 6 pounds! It was the same thing for carrots!  I guess I should have been more specific! If you have any recipes for carrots send them my way!

Psalm 37 :5 Commit everything you do the the Lord. Trust Him and he will help you.

Psalm 37:7 Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. 

 

When things are uncertain..

As I write this, Tegucigalpa, the city where I live is under a 24/7 curfew. Basically we cannot leave our house unless it’s an emergency. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations are currently closed until further notice.  So there really is no point of going out. You would be stopped and questioned and possibly fined if you did. It’s not like you can meet a friend for coffee anyway.

These are uncertain times and things like this are happening all over the world. If I allowed myself, I could easilly be overwhelmed with riddled with anxiety by all the unknowns, all the what ifs. In the natural…worry is my default.

Ministry has come to a sudden end for now…due to the curfew and also due to the need for social distancing.  And truly it is hard! As another missionary (Robert Esposito) put it, “It is painful and unnatural not be out in the world helping, loving and sharing the Gospel.”

None of us know when all this will end or what life will life will look when things go back to normal. No doubt it will be a new normal. Things will never be the same. But hopefully all of us will be stronger when it is all said and done. Hopefully these times will allow us to draw closer to Him. Honestly I don’t know how I would stand if it were not for the Lord giving me His strength and peace each day. Sometimes it’s moment by moment.

I heard a sermon clip yesterday by Steven Furtick. He was talking about how Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus…but when he saw the wind and waves he was terrifed and began to sink. He took his eyes off of Jesus and only saw the wind.

Matthew 14:30  But when he saw the strong wind and waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 

Steven Furitck said in his sermon “If you watch the wind, you will always fall.”

Faith and fear are a product of your focus. We can choose and take control of our focus...Steven Furtick

So, I ask you…where is your focus? Is it on the storm around you? Is it on all the unknowns? Don’t allow yourself to slip and fall. Change your focus to Him. Get into the Word more. Spend time in His presence. He will meet you there and he will give you inner strength. He will give you peace when the world seems to be falling apart.

Remember He is with you in the storm. He is with you in every circumstance. At all times.  Remember He is faithful to His promises.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself, give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

Deuternomy  31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will never fail or abandon you.

 

 

When the world as we know it comes to a halt…

So much has changed in the last 24 hours. As of last night, Honduras is basically on lockdown with no one allowed to come and go for a week and only essential businesses open.  Also there is no pubic transportation. I may be wrong but I imagine this time will be extended. I can honestly say I am not afraid however I was finding myself feeling very heavy -hearted and discouraged this morning.

Then I was reading during my devotions this passage of scripture and felt encouraged, so I just want to share it.  Hebrews 6:18,19a .(I like how the Passion Translation words this) “So it is impossible for God to lie for we know that His promise and his vow will never change. And now we know we have run into His heart to hide ourselves in His faithfulness. This is where we find His strength and comfort, for He empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time…an unshakeable hope!
We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding ourselves to God Himself …

May we not forget God is not taken by surprise by any of this. He sees us, and He cares and wants us to find our Hope, our strength,  and our comfort in His faithfulness. He wants us to trust Him!  He wants us to cry out to Him. ..to seek Him. He doesn’t want us to be discouraged but rather He wants us to be anchored to Him.

Let’s use this time of being confined to our homes not to spend more time on social media, which I really believe only adds to our anxiety and stress. (It does for me anyway) But to work on our relatonship with Him. Spend more time in the Word and prayer, crank the worship music, encourage one another, and pray that He will heal our land.

James 4:8 Come close to God and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give a gift the world cannot give….so don’t be troubled or afraid.

 

 

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Where do you turn when troubles rise in your life? When the storms come as they sometimes do, who do you turn to? One thing I have come to realize in my life is that my first response is not always to go to the Lord first when I am anxious, upset or frustrated about something.  I have been guilty of posting things on social media that maybe should have been kept quiet. I have been guilting of venting at times. I am trying to do better in this area and am trying to be a little more intentional with what I post, especially  when it comes to what I will call “fluff”…those things of little value.  Because the reality is, no one really cares what I had for dinner or if I was stuck in traffic for hours.

That being said I often find myself mindlessly scrolling through my social media feed multiple times throughout the day. It is so easy to waste large chunks of time scrolling and taking glimpses into others lives. Time flies during those moments. There have been many times where I’ve found myself  becoming more and more discontent, anxious, inadequate and alone just want to unplug for a while. Then soon after I come back for more incase I missed something. Most times I have not missed out on anything and then I just end up feel even more disconnected when all really I want is connection.

I saw a post once where someone compared social media to being addicted to smoking. It was powerful image to me and I really think it is true. At least it is for me. Honestly… I love that social media allows us to staying touch with family and friends and even people we don’t know….those accounts we follow.  The dark side is it is extremely addictive and a huge time waster. Not only that but I really believe it also can be used as a tool to steer our hearts away from the Lord. What if we spent the same amount of time working on our relationship with the Lord as we spent on social media? Time reading His Word, time in prayer. He wants to be close to us and have relationship with us, give us his joy and peace and counsel, but we never spend time with Him, we won’t know ever truly know Him or hear his heart for us.

Psalm 16: 11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasure of living with you forever.

When we are facing hard things…should He not be the one we go to first, before sharing it with the world? There is nothing wrong with sharing our burdens and struggles with others and we are encourged to do so. (Galatians 6:2) ( Ecclesiastes 4:12) However I am so guilty seeking the advice of others before even thinking of going to the Lord. What if we went to him and sought His counsel first before sharing with others and before seeking their opinions ?

The other day I was reading in Exodus  how the children of Isreal were finally free to leave Egypt…and then Pharaoh changed his mind and came after them. I noticed something that I didn’t pay attention to before.  Did you realize their first response of the Isrealites before they turned on Moses was to cry out to God?

Exodus 14:10 As Pharaoh approached , the people of Isreal looked up and panicked when they saw the Egytpians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord.

Of course not long afterwards they began to complain to Moses who told them to be still and the Lord would fight for them. (Exodus 14:14) And He did!

Most people know the story of how the Lord delivered the Isrealites that day. How he parted the waters and the Isrealites walked on dry land with walls of water surrounding them on either side.  Amazing! And how not one of their enemies survived when the waters rushed back to their usual place despite how they tried to escape.

One of my favorite  Psalms in the Bible is Psalm 118..Here are a few verses from there that talk about looking to Him during those difficult times that we all go through.

Psalm 118:5 In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free.

Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in people.

Psalm 118:14 The Lord is my strength and song; he has given me the victory. 

Psalm 118:23 I thank you Lord for answering my prayer and giving me the victory.

If you don’t take time away from the world around you, you’re going to get pulled down by the world around you.—Erwin McManus

I have truly been challenged in this area. Challenged to put the phone down and walk away.   Scroll less. Post less and seek Him first…