When the world is at its darkest, some people shine even more brightly. When tragedy strikes the worst, neighbors step up to help one another. People open their hearts to give whatever they can – words of encouragement or hugs of emotional support. We’ve witnessed them opening their pantries or their wallets in a crisis.
In the face of the coronavirus, people are offering gifts of toilet paper to one another, where others have hoarded it. People have posted the need for masks and gloves to protect those who must get out or have compromised immune systems.
Jesus said, “Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light. So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 TPT
The enemy of your soul would love for you to isolate and fall into depression during this dark season. Refuse to give in. Don’t hide your light. Now is our time to shine for all the world to see. Here are some practical ideas of how you can shine your light:
- Smile and greet others with the love of God (from a good distance, of course).
- Spread hope and inspiration instead of the negative news. (What is God doing? What are you expecting by faith?)
- Video chat with someone shut in. They’ll be excited to see your face (and it’s fun to surprise them).
- Offer to pick up groceries for someone who can’t get out and leave them on their porch.
- Send snail mail. A cheerful, unexpected card or note showers light into someone’s day.
- There’s a lot of people in need of prayer. Start with those on the frontlines – our medical service providers, EMTs, police, childcare workers – anyone who had to go out to do what they do.
- Send a text or email to specific people with the words you’re praying or include a certain Scripture you felt led to share with them and why that one is significant.
Many of you are already doing many of these things, and we say thank you! And to those who will take on this challenge and act now, thank you, too!
Our world has completely changed over the past few months. Many are living in a virtual reality. Those who can, work from home, and spend their work hours communicating in video rooms with colleagues and clients, while the those on the front lines – medical service providers, police, grocers, some daycare workers, police, emergency responders, and some daycare workers – keep their doors open for those who must go out to serve. Churches, movie theatres, restaurants and gyms are closed. People are strongly encouraged to maintain social distancing and avoid gathering in groups.
Yet none of this is a surprise to our Heavenly Father. He prompted the Psalmist to share the words we find in Psalm 23 to serve as a comforting promise, as well as a picture of just how He cares for us.
The valley of the shadow of death may sound to you like the address for the neighborhood you’re living in today. If so, let the words from Psalm 23 bring you peace today (TPT). While you may not know what tomorrow might bring, you do know the One who holds your future.
- When you grow tired of the negative news of what’s happening in our world, your Heavenly Father offers a resting place for you in his luxurious love (v. 2).
- He wants to take you to an oasis of peace.
- With the waters of the quiet brook brimming with His joy, He restores your tired spirit and breathes into you, new life (v. 3).
- He leads you in His footsteps, and all you have to do is follow, opening before you pathways to His goodness to bring honor to His name (v. 3).
- And even though He takes you through a valley of the deepest darkness, fear cannot conquer you because He defeated all fear (v. 4).
- He stays close to you, encouraging you with whispers of promise and love.
- His authority is your strength. He showers you with His peace.
- His love blankets your soul, and consumes all fear (v. 4).
The place you find yourself may be overshadowed with darkness, but His love and light will lead you through. It’s not easy to let go and let God direct you. It takes trusting Him to always be with us, leading us to the right places by the path of His choosing. When we do allow Him to guide us, we can experience His peace and contentment.
Billy Graham said, “Fear not the future; God is already there.”
No one expected we would ever experience days like the ones we are living in now. For many, the unknown of what tomorrow holds can bring doubt, anxiety and concern for the future. The uncertainty of our current situation with COVID-19 is definitely something to take seriously, but our hope is not in how our government responds, what the economy does or doesn’t do. We don’t have to live with the anxiety that sitting in isolation could bring or even the possibility of the effects of contracting a virus with no known cure.
Fear’s job description is to convince you that your faith will not work. When you focus on fear in any form, it infects your faith. Fear’s assignment is to attack your mind, much like a virus attacks the body. Once infected with fear, your hope diminishes and your faith becomes depleted.
But when your hope is in the Lord, His Word becomes your spiritual disinfectant. Just like you spray disinfectant in the air, or use hand sanitizer to kill germs and bacteria, truth from Scripture eradicates fear and brings you back into spiritual health.
That’s why it’s vital to know God through His Word. We are told to put God’s words in “your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” (Deuteronomy 11:18 NLT).
The first step to a fear-free life is to give your life to Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Him, and would like to, click here. Who is Jesus?
The phrase, “the word of the Lord came …” appears in the King James Version of the Bible 92 times. God’s Word led His people through some of the most difficult trials of their lives. And He continues to be our living hope today.
The first time this phrase is used, Genesis 15:1, says “the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward’” (NIV).
God may choose to speak to you as He did with Abraham, and many others whose stories are told in Scripture, but He primarily speaks to us through the Bible. The way to encounter God, as Abraham did, is to study God’s Word and allow it to come alive in us.
So, shower your mind with God’s truth. Here are some Scriptures to help you get started. Read these aloud today. Another way to use them is to read the entire chapter that each verse comes from over the next few days.