Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Mid-Week Message - Start Preparing Praise

"You have changed sadness into a joyful dance; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with joy.  So I will not be silent; I will sing praise to you.  Lord, you are my God; I will give thanks to you forever!"  Psalm 30:11-12  (GNT)  

Most of us are sitting in our homes throughout the day, doing our part to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus that threatens our nation and, indeed, the world.  Thousands have died and tens of thousands have been infected.  Our best chance of protecting ourselves is staying away from others who may have it.  So we work from home, school our children from home and keep ourselves as busy as possible so we don't get so bored that we are tempted to leave our place of surety and venture out into danger.  

This is a new experience for most of us and I doubt than any of us are enjoying it as much as we enjoy being able to do whatever we want or need to do any time we desire to.  Though we know it has been deemed necessary, we may be tempted to test the boundaries and take chances that we might regret later.  Then we turn on the television and are quickly reminded of the consequences.  Twenty-four hours a day cable news channels regale us with the ever growing frightening numbers of those who are fighting this foe and warning us that either we or those we love could die from it.  

How are you faring today?  Are you bored, tired or anxious?  Are you wondering when things will return to normal?  Will there be a time in the foreseeable future when can return to our jobs and churches and not be afraid of being less than six feet away from our friends and loved ones?  These are difficult questions made harder because everything changed in what seemed like such a short time. 

I want to comfort those who are grieving right now.  I am so sorry for your loss.  If I had a magic wand and could change things for you, or for those who have lost their jobs, believe me, I would wave it as quickly as possible.  However, when God created me He didn't give me that gift, but He did give me, and you, the greatest gift of all, Jesus, whose death and resurrection broke the bonds of sin and death and enables us direct access to the One who can turn our sorrow into joy.  

I have been sad that all of the attention is on what is happening in the world rather than the celebration of Easter that is rapidly nearing.  What a time for the world to be faced with the threat of death!  Because Jesus loved us enough to die on a cross for our sins and then rose from the dead just as He said He would, death has been defeated!  We have the assurance of eternal life in Heaven, free from illness, sadness and death when our time on this earth is over.  When we receive Christ as our Savior we become co-heirs with Him, children of the Most High God.  

Oh, how this thrills my heart!  I am not worried about this microscopic virus because it is not greater than the One I serve.  But, whether I live or die past this time, I win.  If my earthly life continues then I have more time to share His love with you and to offer encouragement wherever it might be needed.  If my Father calls me home, then I get to live with Him and sing His praises everyday for eternity. 

There is a saying that is often used on Good Friday.  "Today is Friday (meaning the day our Savior died) but Sunday's coming (the day He rose from the grave)!"  Because He died and was resurrected, we have so much to sing about.  And yes, as the verse today references,  our sadness is changed into a joyful dance as we see how He conquers evil, pain and death.  

Trust Him.  He has all of this in hand.  Spend time with Him in prayer and allow Him to comfort your heart.  Then start preparing your praise because one day soon the sun will rise on a new day and we will have a song of joy to dance to!  God bless!  

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