The Lord is my constant companion

This is the second Sunday of not gathering together and I miss seeing all of you! I know it is a difficult time and so does God. But despite the challenges we are facing there is one thing for certain — we do not face them alone. God is with us. I have heard a beautiful rendition of the 23rd Psalm which I would like to share with you. But please first understand, Psalm 23 is not just about death. We always equate this Psalm with death, because we hear it at almost every funeral, but the psalm speaks to more. And I think it speaks to our current situation. This paraphrase is by Leslie Brandt from her book Psalms Now and hopefully you will appreciate it as much as I do.

The Lord is my constant companion. There is no need that He cannot fulfill. Whether His course for me points me to the mountaintops of glorious ecstasy or to the valleys of human suffering, He is by my side. He is ever present with me. He is close beside me when I tread the dark streets of danger, and even when I flirt with death itself, He will not leave me. When the pain is severe, He is near to comfort. When the burden is heavy, He is there to lean upon. When depression darkens my soul, He touches me with eternal joy. When I feel empty and alone, He fills the aching vacuum with His power. My security is in His promise to be near to me always, and in the knowledge that He will never let me go. Church family this is the truth. Whatever we face, we do not face it alone. I hope that this truth brings you peace…. You see as Christians we should be filled with the peace of Christ because He has saved us, He has removed us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His Son whom He loves (Colossians 1:13). Because we were once darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. And we are told to live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) Ephesians 5:8-9. We belong to the light and we are light through Him. Brothers and sisters we always have an awesome opportunity to show up for Christ as His light, but even more so during times of crisis! Right now those who do not know Jesus are looking to us as His followers. They are watching to see how we respond. Are we hoarding toilet paper?? 😊 Are we going out and about not following the recommendations, possibly exposing those most vulnerable to this disease? Are we full of fear? Or are we reaching out to help those in need — are we checking on others — offering words of encouragement to those who are afraid? Are we shining His light, sharing His love and spreading His joy? It is interesting because in times of crisis, we see very clearly both light and darkness. But God always wants us to shine His light.

And in so doing we can remember that God can do amazing things in spite of horrendous circumstances! That’s one of the things I love about Him the most! Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite scriptures for this very reason. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. This means God can take anything, absolutely anything His children go through and use it for our good and His glory. And we will see this over and over and over again during these trying times if we just look for it! It’s already happening and it will continue to happen because that is who God is. So while you are shining His light — remember He’s got this and He’s got you. As a matter of fact in the palm of His hand. He loves you and will continue to love you. He is with you and will always be with you. He will use these challenging times for your good and His glory. You can count on it. And remember this virus does not impact our love for each other! It cannot stop our prayers for each other! And when we know the Lord, we have His peace…….

Let us pray: Gracious God we praise You for Your goodness and mercy — for Your love and light! Thank You for choosing us as Your sons and daughters. Thank You for watching over each and every one of us. For providing for our needs. For protecting us and keeping us safe from harm. For leading us and guiding us and showing us the way. We love You Lord! We are grateful for You! And now let’s pray the words our Lord and Savior Jesus taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory now and forever. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen!

Three additional items — in spite of my fear and stepping totally outside of my comfort zone, I will be attempting to use Face Book live to deliver a devotional later today. 

This is the second Sunday of not gathering together and I miss seeing all of you! I know it is a difficult time and so does God. But despite the challenges we are facing there is one thing for certain — we do not face them alone. God is with us. I have heard a beautiful rendition of the 23rd Psalm which I would like to share with you. But please first understand, Psalm 23 is not just about death. We always equate this Psalm with death, because we hear it at almost every funeral, but the psalm speaks to more. And I think it speaks to our current situation. This paraphrase is by Leslie Brandt from her book Psalms Now and hopefully you will appreciate it as much as I do.

The Lord is my constant companion. There is no need that He cannot fulfill.

Whether His course for me points me to the mountaintops of glorious ecstasy or to the valleys of human suffering, He is by my side. He is ever present with me.

He is close beside me when I tread the dark streets of danger, and even when I flirt with death itself, He will not leave me.

When the pain is severe, He is near to comfort. When the burden is heavy, He is there to lean upon. When depression darkens my soul, He touches me with eternal joy.

When I feel empty and alone, He fills the aching vacuum with His power. My security is in His promise to be near to me always, and in the knowledge that He will never let me go. 

Church family this is the truth. Whatever we face, we do not face it alone. I hope that this truth brings you peace…. You see as Christians we should be filled with the peace of Christ because He has saved us, He has removed us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His Son whom He loves (Colossians 1:13). Because we were once darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. And we are told to live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) Ephesians 5:8-9. We belong to the light and we are light through Him. 

Brothers and sisters we always have an awesome opportunity to show up for Christ as His light, but even more so during times of crisis! Right now those who do not know Jesus are looking to us as His followers. They are watching to see how we respond. Are we hoarding toilet paper?? 😊 Are we going out and about not following the recommendations, possibly exposing those most vulnerable to this disease? Are we full of fear? Or are we reaching out to help those in need — are we checking on others — offering words of encouragement to those who are afraid? Are we shining His light, sharing His love and spreading His joy? It is interesting because in times of crisis, we see very clearly both light and darkness. But God always wants us to shine His light.

And in so doing we can remember that God can do amazing things in spite of horrendous circumstances! That’s one of the things I love about Him the most! Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite scriptures for this very reason. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. This means God can take anything, absolutely anything His children go through and use it for our good and His glory. And we will see this over and over and over again during these trying times if we just look for it! It’s already happening and it will continue to happen because that is who God is. So while you are shining His light — remember He’s got this and He’s got you. As a matter of fact in the palm of His hand. He loves you and will continue to love you. He is with you and will always be with you. He will use these challenging times for your good and His glory. You can count on it. And remember this virus does not impact our love for each other! It cannot stop our prayers for each other! And when we know the Lord, we have His peace…….

Let us pray: Gracious God we praise You for Your goodness and mercy — for Your love and light! Thank You for choosing us as Your sons and daughters. Thank You for watching over each and every one of us. For providing for our needs. For protecting us and keeping us safe from harm. For leading us and guiding us and showing us the way. We love You Lord! We are grateful for You! And now let’s pray the words our Lord and Savior Jesus taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory now and forever. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen!

Three additional items — in spite of my fear and stepping totally outside of my comfort zone, I will be attempting to use Face Book live to deliver a devotional later today. 

Finally — I just heard this morning of two churches who failed to heed the warnings to not have services. One church has one confirmed case with 150 in quarantine and the other has 40 cases of coronovirus, with 4 in critical condition and one death. While we don’t like this time of physical separation, we can certainly see the need for it. Please keep these churches and all churches and pastors in prayer, as well as your church family. I love you and I am praying for you!

God bless you,

Pastor Cathy 

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