Devotional 3/23/2020

Yesterday I took a day off.  I don't actually mean from work.  I did some of that.  I took a day off from the news.  I told my family that I was not reading nor did I want to know any news, particularly on COVID-19 until Monday.  

Now this was not so I could hide from what was going on.  I still did everything I should do- like stay home all day- and I did check on some of my loved ones.  However, I stepped back from the downpour of information and stories related to COVID-19.  This included even the happy or silver-lining stories that are out there. 

Truth be told, I also did not make the full day.  At 6PM, my spouse said I know you don't want COVID-19 news but i feel you should know that the governor issued a stay at home order. So I was off with that.  

However, the 12 hours I spent consuming none of that information were wonderful.  We did at home church, we had a mini egg hunt, we made cookies, and I participated in a facebook clergy challenge of a dance off.  Now this last thing is definitely not my normal thing.  I am not a good dancer and in general I prefer not to appear ridiculous. But the idea is to have some fun and spread smiles and I decided that was worth it.  So if you want a laugh today check out my facebook for me dancing to "Let's hear it for the boy" by Deniese Williams.  

By the end of the day yesterday I truly did feel refreshed and happier.  It has been a long week but today I feel better because yesterday I took a break from all the stuff weighing on me and laughed, created, prayed, and rejoiced. 

In Romans 12:12 it is written, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  I do not know that there could be a better motto for Christians right now.  There is certainly hardship right now and we can choose to be patient or not.  However, being patient will certainly make what you go to do feel better.  But enduring is not all that is asked of us by God in difficult times.  We are called to be faithful in prayer and to be joyful in hope.  And when we do this, when we attend to these needs of our souls, we will find that all we have to endure will be easier and we will remained better grounded in God and his hope. 

So today I want you to do 3 things.  One do something that brings you joy for no other reason than it brings you joy!  Maybe this is dancing or listening to a favorite song, baking cookies, taking a bubble bath, reading a book you enjoy, sitting down and petting your dog, cat, lobster or whatever pet you like, call a friend. Just do something for the joy of it (within the bounds of what we should be doing with COVID-19 please).  But take the time to cultivate joy today.  

Second read Psalm 118.  Focus on these questions: What reasons for joy do we have? What is God doing this day that you have seen (specific, not general)?  What can we count on from God? How does this Psalm describe God? 

Third is go to God in prayer.  Not a hurried prayer but a slow conversation with your Creator.  Lay your concerns out there- all f them.  And lift up the blessings and joys you have.  Share your praises for people in your lives.  And listen for God's reply.  Prayer is not something we normally time but try praying for at least 5 minutes and try to do it twice today.  Spend at least 10 minutes today talking to God, faithful in prayer. 

I believe that prayer and joy do make a difference.  I hope you do too.  I also believe being faithful in prayer and finding joy helps to make us more patient in affliction.  

So take the time.  Follow the words of the Bible, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." 

Joy and Peace,