“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11 ESV
I don’t know about you, but sometimes my soul does get “downcast.” Other words that describe this state are – dejected, sad, depressed, discouraged, and disappointed.
I think we all have those days. How do we rise above those feelings? How do we get our soul (mind, will, and emotions) to leave the position of being “cast down” to one of being “uplifted?”
Have you ever thought about speaking to your soul? This is what is happening in this passage of scripture. If you are someone who has ever engaged in “talking to yourself” – you now know that it is scriptural!! 😃
As we read this verse, we see that the solution to the soul’s downcast state is to hope in God, praise Him, and to remember who He is – our salvation and God!
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves (speak to our souls) of God’s goodness and how we should respond to Him. As we move our attention from ourselves to God Almighty, our feelings of depression and discouragement begin to fall away.
Oh my soul, why are you discouraged? Jesus is my salvation and Lord! The Lord loves me. He is faithful, strong, and true! He is my Rock and my Redeemer! Oh my soul, why are you cast down within me? By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me! Oh my soul! Hope in God! Even in my discouragement, yet will I praise Him!
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God… Psalm 42:1-2
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NRSV
As I was seeking the Lord about what my devotional would be for today, I felt that He was nudging me to not focus on what has happened and is happening in this time of COVID-19, but to look FORWARD to what He is calling us to.
I know you have probably heard, as I have, people saying that they can’t wait for things to get “back to normal.” Well, I don’t think that as we transition through this season, God is calling us BACK to where we were before. I don’t believe He wants us to just pick-up where we left off.
Brothers & Sisters! The Lord wants us to go FORWARD into a new season, a new reality, and a new “normal.” It can be a little scary and a little unsettling not to know what to expect as we journey into the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
BUT! We are reminded by the Lord in Jeremiah that we have a FUTURE WITH HOPE! The Lord has plans for us – and they are plans for our welfare. When I looked up welfare in the dictionary I was given the meanings: health, happiness, and well-being.
WELL-BEING! I am encouraged to know that the Lord desires for my being – my body, my mind, my soul, and my spirit to be well. His plans are not to harm us! When life throws us an unexpected “curve ball” the Lord still can use use it to work for our good!! HALLELUJAH!!
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NRSV
LORD, we are so thankful that You have plans for us – plans that are in no way abolished because of what is happening around us. We put our whole trust in YOU, knowing that You desire our health, happiness, and well-being. We continue to journey forward knowing that You have already gone ahead of us preparing the way. We are ready to embrace the “new normal” and we know that YOU are moving in and through it all manifesting Your good and perfect will! ALL GLORY AND HONOR AND PRAISE IS YOURS NOW AND FOREVERMORE!! AMEN!
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 ESV Well, the days of quarantine and staying at home continue. As we are separated from others physically and separated from participating in some things that give us pleasure, it is easy to dwell on those things that make us frustrated or angry or sad. We are instructed in God’s Word to take control over our thoughts! We are not to let our thoughts control us – to control how we feel – but we are to control what thoughts we allow to “hang around.” [2 Corinthians 10:5] If we allow God to guide and direct our thoughts – we will discover that we can change our focus from thoughts of doubt, negativity, blame, frustration, and hopelessness to thoughts that focus on those things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. In other words, what are things that we are THANKFUL for? May we take each day and write down those things/people/circumstances that are commendable and deserve our praise. Let’s not just write them down once a day, but let’s have a running list that continues throughout the day as we are proactive in bringing our thought life into alignment with God’s thoughts. LORD! We are so thankful that You are with us 24/7 as we journey through this quarantine season. Help us, Lord, to take control of our thought life. May our thoughts and our words be full of life and love and praise. Help us to see others through Your eyes and may we be vessels of honor and truth and love. Oh LORD!! YOU are the One at the top of our list who is worthy of our praise!! And we praise You each and every day! HALLELUJAH!! ~Tina K. Roach
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25 NASB
I woke up on Palm Sunday feeling at odds because I was not getting ready to attend church on this special day. As a matter of fact, it was supposed to be the day of our Easter Cantata. But, due to the quarantine/stay-at-home, we were unable to follow through in leading this worship experience.
I know that once this separation is over, we will not only pick up where we left off, but we will pick up NEW ways to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds….and encouraging one another.” We already have found ways that maybe we weren’t doing before as a Church or individually. I would say that Church, as we know it, is being transformed!!
We have also discovered that even though we have been unable to assemble together in our church building – we have NOT forsaken our “assembling together.” Through phone calls, email, texts, and social media – we HAVE stayed connected!! Hallelujah!
In and through it all –
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful!!”
“…let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NASB
I would say that we are definitely in a time of need! God loves us so much. He doesn’t expect us to make this journey alone. He tells us exactly what we are to do during these challenging times.
We are to DRAW NEAR! As we faithfully follow the social-distancing guidelines, it is imperative that we remember that it is not a time to distance ourselves from the Lord. He invites us into His “personal space!” He won’t back off and say, “Whoa! Too close!” No, as we begin to step closer and closer – I see Him smile, and with a soft, loving look He whispers, “Closer…”
We are to draw near with CONFIDENCE! Some translations say with BOLDNESS. We are to come before the throne with the assurance of who we are in Christ Jesus and who God is. We are “dressed for the occasion!”
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 NASB
Ahhh, Brothers & Sisters! He is inviting us to His throne to receive mercy and grace during our time of need. Are you ready to join me there?
Dearest LORD, such love You have for us! Even as we struggle daily with new boundaries of quarantine and social-distancing…YOU are with us every moment of every day. May we take this time of forced separation and see the blessing in it – more time with You…more time with family…more time to evaluate our priorities. We aren’t happy in the circumstances that we face, LORD. But we do rejoice because YOU are with us!! We exalt and honor You each day – in quarantine or out. Blessed be Your most holy name!
What a time we are experiencing in the world! The Coronavirus is causing us to be quarantined from our “normal” day-to-day lives. I know many are experiencing financial hardship as they are not able to return to work. Some that are working are having to find child care for their children because of school closings. We are praying for you!
I am hearing a lot of negative talk going around on social media and from people that I have encountered on my short trips to pick up supplies. I hear you…I understand the frustration and the fear that is trying to surround us. In the midst of this “storm” I am reminded that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
I do not speak against those that are having fear, but encourage you to look to God to help you overcome it. I have to admit that I have moved from the initial feelings of fear and frustration to seeing the spiritual implications of what’s going on spreading out before me.
I do not believe that the enemy of our souls, Satan, has caused this virus. However, I do believe that Satan is taking the opportunity to release a spirit of fear to paralyze the church and world. He is trying to separate and shut down God’s people and cause anxiety and depression.
I come against that right now, in the mighty Name of Jesus! I rebuke and root out the spirit of fear. I command it to GO and I release God’s POWER and LOVE to rise up within God’s people! I thank You, LORD, that we have the mind of Christ, a SOUND MIND…a mind that is not filled with what the world says, but with YOUR TRUTH, O God!! I thank You, LORD, that out of our sound mind we make decisions and choices based on Your Guidance and Your Word. May we honor and heed the guidance and directions of those that are positioned to stop the spread of this virus. May we look past ourselves to those that are vulnerable and need to be protected. Help us, LORD, to be on the front line of defense – through our actions and through our prayers.
I also believe that God has not caused this virus. However, I do believe that He causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
I see God using this time to wake up His Church!! What are we turning to in reaction to what’s going on? Are we comforting ourselves through things of the flesh or are we turning to God? Where does our hope come from?
What are we doing now that we are forced to be at home? Oh Brothers & Sisters!! What an opportunity we have to connect more deeply with the Lord! I hear the Lord calling us to DRAW NEAR!! How can we journey through this time and come out on the other side stronger?
I would encourage you (and me) to dig deeper into God’s Word. I would encourage us to spend quiet time just resting in His presence – feeling His love and expressing our love to Him. Take this time to LISTEN. God wants to speak to you. I believe that as we press into the Lord, really press in, we will begin to receive answers to questions we have had unanswered. We will receive deeper revelation of what God wants us to do during this time of separating ourselves from the world and abiding in Him.
God is calling us to HOLINESS! I see this time as a time of “cleaning house.” May we physically clean house and get things in order…but even more importantly…may we spiritually go through our homes and get rid of those things that God says to remove. Get out the anointing oil and (re)dedicate our homes as places of spiritual safety, health, love, and rest.
We also need to “clean house” in our own lives. What has God been calling us to stop doing or to begin doing? What things are causing us to move away from God instead of drawing near? Brothers & Sisters, the time is NOW! No more putting it off until later…
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. (Matthew 25:1-4). *I invite you to read through verse 13*
WE ARE THE CHURCH!! We are just as much the church even when we are not physically able to meet in the church building. May we focus on the LORD during this time. May we position ourselves to become the Church He has called us to be. May we use this time to be wise and “fill our oil lamps!” Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you to overflowing! May we burn brighter and brighter as we are filled more and more with the oil of the Holy Spirit!! When we are released from this quarantine may we be LIGHTHOUSES shining brightly for the LORD!!! GLORY!!
We are in this journey together!! You, me, and Almighty God!! Trust and KNOW that He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)