Happy Monday, Friends. I'm linking up with Tanya at The Other Side of the Road for this blog post.
I accidentally let last week slip by without writing a lot, but part of that was because of the fact that I tried to stay off the computer and my phone most of the week. I know we all have weeks like that, and last week it was just my turn. I keep thinking I'm spending too much time on my phone and on social media, so last week for the whole week, I removed it all from my phone. I was in a better place in my own mind by the end of the week, and I spent much of that time that I would have spent mindlessly scrolling praying for all the ones who are hurting right now. I also prayed for our nation, our leaders and governing officials, our city and town, and all of the police officers, fire fighters, and EMT's (my own two First Responders included).
I'll continue on with the praying, because it's vitally important right now. And I will be "back" on the internet, but hopefully in less doses. I said this to my best friend just last night in a conversation we were having over the phone. I did install the apps back onto my phone, but I didn't put them in an easy to access folder like I had them in before. Hopefully that'll deter me from reaching for the phone.
In the mean time, I have been keeping busy. I have been watching one of the fluffy and feel good shows I love on Netflix (Hallmark's The Good Witch), and I've been trying to make a habit out of reaching for my fiction book when I get bored (Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn). I've been keeping up with the reading in my chronological Bible, and I've been busy doing Bible study homework (Trustworthy by Lysa Terkeurst). I've been listening to worship music at all times of the day, with my favorite on repeat (Goodness of God by The Worship Initiative and Bethany Barnard).
All of these things have helped me tremendously and are helpful in lessening anxious thoughts. I know I'm not alone in this either, and I pray these ideas help someone reading this experiencing the same thing. Sometimes it's good to just turn off the television, y'all. I've not been able to watch the news at all since February, not even one little ounce of it, even the fluffy stuff that I love. I keep seeing a meme for rebooting the year 2020, and I couldn't agree more with those sentiments!
I think as time goes further on, things may not return to what we've been used to, and more than ever before I know and realize that even life WITH Jesus is hard. But withOUT Him, it would be impossible. I do not know how one lives and carries on in such times without walking closely with Jesus. Jesus is the One who brings peace to my often troubled mind. He comforts, He heals, He provides me with everything I need for living in this day and time. Do you know Him? If you don't and you feel a little tugging in your heart, reach out to me. I would love to share more about this relationship I have with Him with you, and I want you to have that same thing! I don't say that lightly, Friends and more than ever before I understand that we all need desperately need Jesus. When we have this kind of relationship with Him, He transforms our lives and us into being people who look a lot more like Him and who point others to Him.
My Pastor preached such a great sermon yesterday, and he made some really great points on being a godly influence in a very dark world. I thought I'd share a few of them.
He preached out of Matthew 5:13-16, which is part of Jesus' sermon on the mount. Pastor Chuck began by asking two questions:
1. How can we remain faithful to Jesus throughout this time?
2. Should we hide out of our fears and insecurities, or should we be out and sharing with others this faith that we have?
In the same chapter and in verses 1-16, Jesus focused on the character and the conduct of believers, and as far as those two things go, He expects these same things from us today as believers in society.
Read what they say. This is Matthew 5:13-16.
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salthy? It's no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."
He made the point that food without salt is bland, that it's good and gives appropriate seasoning. And think of light and what it does...it pushes back the darkness. In those same ways, we are to be salt and light. He closed by giving some really great examples of ways we can make a difference, and all of these are taken out of the whole sermon on the mount. You can read it for yourself in Matthew chapters 5 through 7. Don't just take these words and read them and forget them~read the chapters for yourself!
How to make a difference:
Pray! 1 Timothy 2:1
Share the gospel.
Give to the poor.
Turn the other cheek when someone strikes.
Forgive, as Jesus forgave us.
Love your spouse and kids, and be loyal to them.
Refuse to be judgmental.
Live out the golden rule, taken from Matthew 7:12.
Stand for truth.
Invest in the kingdom.
Obey the Lord.
And then he left us with one final quote, from Dr. Tony Evans:
I think these words are very true today, and extremely relevant to today's issues. If God hates sin, so should we. And one sin is not better or worse than any other~they're all the same, in the eyes of God. We can start by just being better, especially those of us who are believers in and followers of Jesus. We are to look vastly different from those who are around us.
I plan to share the message our Pastor preached on Sunday on social media this week when I receive the email with the link on Vimeo. When I do that, if you have some spare time, I hope you take the time to listen. It will encourage you greatly. I hope these words of mine have done the same...and the few things I shared from Pastor Chuck's sermon yesterday. Thanks for reading my blog. Love to all.