Monthly Archives: March 2020

Fear… it’s real, but we are neither alone, nor helpless

I woke up and did the wrong thing, went to Twitter. I read a string of replies that were pleas for prayer. These were missionaries, organizational leaders and others who are watching donations stop.

I was moved deeply with empathy. I know that fear. I’ve seen it before. I know what it feels like to not get paid when donations slow, and to slip into worry about those who are looking to us.

So here’s my solution: Pray the Word of God. Here’s part of my list:

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 ESV)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 ESV)

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14 ESV)

but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” (Proverbs 1:33 ESV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5 ESV)

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. [8] He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV)

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19a ESV)

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34 ESV)

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7 ESV)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

NOW… Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. [14] Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, [15] and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. [16] In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; [17] and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, [18] praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,… (Ephesians 6:13-18 ESV)

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Let us be reminded…

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The news …

Two hours of news in the car last night taught me this…

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Being at home (3) a time for self reflection

Yesterday I posted some ideas from my decade of working from home. In that bit, I mentioned that this might be a time for some self reflection.

This is a time in which we are asked or told to keep space between one another. For some of us that space is something we practice as a spiritual discipline.

Two posts back I posed this question: “During this time of hunkering down, what can each of us learn about abiding in the Lord through solitude?”

Well, today, as I said I might, I am posting a resource for you to use for some self reflection.

For several years scores of fellow disciples have used this set of questions to gain a better perspective on the last 12 months, on where they are, and on where they’re headed. This book is usually sold on Amazon (still is – this revision is being published). You can order the book, but as of right now, you may download the latest updated – and last – revision for free.

I suggest printing it. Curt Thompson, in Anatomy of the Soul helped me understand that using a pen on paper does something to ignite our brains. Set aside a couple of hours and begin.

I URGE you, I BESEECH you, to read the Introduction before beginning. During January retreat weeks in the Hungarian mountains, leaders get a four hour time of silence. There, hunkered down in your home, you might only have an hour at a time. So take it a section at at a time. That’s it. If you have questions, use the comments, I think I get a notification.

USA users should use the 8X11

Non-USA users should use the A4

Happy reflecting!

A Fresh Start – Retreat Handbook 8×11

A Fresh Start – Retreat Handbook A4

 

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Being at home (2)…

I greeted a neighbor the other day (from greater than 6 feet) and learned that she and her husband were working from home, as are many during this crisis.

She noted that they are in the “figuring out stage”. I told her that I remember trying to figure out how working from home could be successful.

This got me thinking. We could be at this awhile. So here are some ideas that worked for me from my decade of working from home. They may help, they may not. We’re all different, it okay.

Maybe some readers who have also worked from home may use the comments below for some additional ideas that would be more helpful than mine. Adapt, apply and then adopt! Anyway, here are my ideas:

1. If possible, get a spot that can be your workplace. A spot where you can leave stuff laying and then come back to it. Everybody doesn’t have a room set aside for a home office, so look for a corner that you can have a chair and a table (if not a desk). Again, this may not be possible, but avoiding the couch is probably wise.

2. Establish a rhythm. Routine, for some of us is essential, for others of you is helpful. But getting into a daily rhythm may be especially helpful to your family. If you’ve got little ones who need almost constant attention, then having a dependable rhythm will help in sharing the load.

2b. Don’t mistake rhythm for a rut. Be flexible in your planning!

3.Don’t become a stone that never moves. Use your phone or Fitbit or whatever to remind you to get up and move EVERY hour. I’ve got my Fitbit set to warn me at every :50 to finish my 250 steps. I use the stairs, go get a glass of water, or more likely, a cup of coffee. I even go outside and walk a lap around the yard. When I return to my desk, I’m more alert! Speaking of walking around the yard…

4. Go for a real walk every day. A few years ago, I discovered walking and talking… who knew? (the Greeks & Jesus, that’s who) So, if I’ve got a call scheduled that is going to be primarily disciple making, coaching or mentoring, and if there’s little need to refer to a lot of documents, I put my ear things in, put my phone in my pocket and go for a walk. A colleague in Europe just posted about the various positives from this practice. Check it out

4b. Keep in touch with people!

5. Keep reasonable, dependable hours. Your spouse will appreciate this one, or may grow resentful if you don’t. A wise friend gave me this advice when I first “moved in” to the home office. It may be hard and there may be exceptions, but it will pay off in the end.

6. Treat your home workspace the way you would in an office context. Keep it organized and don’t let a mess pile up. This is especially important if your space winds up being in plain view of everyone else in the house.

7. Be careful not to fall into a comfort food thing. One challenge of being home is the possibility of eating snacks. A lot of snacks. Comfort food May not only make your mind less effective but you could find yourself putting on some unneeded pounds.

8. Read something positive. Dwell in Scripture that encourages you. (There’s a link somewhere on this home page lists Scripture I read when I fear.) Being anxious about this crisis is to be expected, but sitting in anxiety helps no one, especially you. Work on your Spiritual Disciplines. Pray.

9. Since you’re home, and according to Twitter and Facebook, maybe suffering from boredom, invest in yourself by doing some gentle life evaluation. I’ll be posting a free PDF resource that has helped many.

10. Develop a home exercise routine. Do some stuff to stretch and move every day. Getting in better shape shouldn’t require a gym. It’ll help in tons of ways.

Well, those are my thoughts. I hope something spurs an idea! If you’ve got more to add, use the comments.

Oh, yeah! Wash your hands!

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Being at home…

A quick question: During this time of hunkering down, what can each of us learn about abiding in the Lord through solitude?

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The cross and the faithfulness of God

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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