Devotional

Can’t Quarantine the Gospel: “Love in Action”

This Devotional is part of our “Can’t Quarantine the Gospel” series where members of the church are contributing morning Quiet times during this time of Social Distancing. Today’s Devotional is by the leader of our chapter of Hope Worldwide edited for this Devotional series by Patrick Genova. Today is Day 14 of our series. Any of the Devotionals can be read as a stand alone quiet time. You can see more devotionals here


Love in Action

By: John Rountree

Romans 12:9-13

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.   Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

During the past few weeks many, if not most of us, have been in a type of survival mode we have never experienced before. Understandably, our focus has been on ourselves and our families and how we are going to meet our basic needs (food, shelter, clothing).

The scripture calls us to be “devoted to on another”, to “honor one another above ourselves”,  to share with those in need.

How do we do that when we are in survival mode, when we are afraid to leave our houses? This is precisely the time when we need to turn to our faith in our God, that he is in control and has a plan in this, though we can’t see it in the moment. We know that God can and will use us when we step out in that faith.

If you yourself are need, this is an opportunity to also let others serve you. This pandemic is going to impact all of us in different ways. For some of us it may be emotionally, for others it may be economically, and still for others it may be an impact to their health. When needs arise in your life, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Matthew 26:36-46

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Jesus at this moment was in a sort of “survival mode” he knew that very soon he was going to undergo one of the most severe trials anyone could imagine. What I love about Jesus is that, in this moment, even though he is God in the flesh, He was still vulnerable! He was able to in the hardest moment of his life express his needs to those around him. He told them “My soul is overwhelmed” and he asked them for what he needed, to “stay here…with me” Jesus needed their company, he needed friends around him during this time, he needed emotional support, spiritual support. Jesus knew what was coming was going to be hard and he needed his team around him.

Q: Do you have your team around you now?
Q: Why is hard for us sometimes to be vulnerable when we are struggling?
Q: What is your greatest need right now? Is it emotional support? Financial support? Spiritual support?

Encouragement: Be vulnerable with God in prayer and be vulnerable with someone in your life. Ask them for whatever you may need. People really do want to help you and right now we need each other more than ever. We need to have people around us.

As we look to Jesus example we can find strength during this time to meet whatever may come.

It is at this time that we need to choose Faith over Fear and Peace over Panic

As we ourselves are being open and allowing others to meet our needs we will have the strength to meet the needs of others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

God will comfort us so that we may comfort others. We can “pay it forward” in a sense. I have been on a number of Zoom meetings recently with HOPE Chapter leaders from around the country and we have been brainstorming how we can serve others at a time when most of us are quarantined in our homes. If you are looking for ways to serve I have put together a list below.

Serving practically:

As you read this list it may be helpful to pick one thing per week. Don’t feel you need to tackle all of this at once. You can print this list and use it as a list where you can check things off each week.

Below are some suggestions that were offered.

  • Download the “Nextdoor” App or sign up online – post a message for people in your neighborhood that are looking for a church, bible studies, or just a phone call.  Many are using this app to ask for or offer help from others. It is a great way to meet you neighbors and share your faith. Download for Apple, Download in Google Play , or Sign up with your computer.
  • Ask people we pass on prayer walks how we can pray for them (Keep in mind the CDC recommendations on Social Distancing as you do this)
  • Call, email or put a note in your neighbors mailboxes asking if they know of anyone in your neighborhood who might need groceries or other support. Many people near you may be alone or sick and could use some encouragement by phone or email.
  • Connect with disciples in other countries to pray and encourage them.
  • Call 2-3 brothers or sisters a day to check on them. Encourage them, ask what their needs are and ask what you can pray for them about.
  • Check the “Requested Prayers” row in the “Virtual Church” on our Church App (Download here) for how we can be praying for people.
  • Get together information on the resources people can access in order to help with the financial impact of the situation. Do the research so that you can become a resource for people to know how to access the different benefits and relief programs under the new stimulus package.
  • Ask brothers and sisters with unique talents to do Facebook live videos to encourage and teach a specific skill
  • Go through your phone directory and contact local friends and relationships. Schedule family and/or friend Zoom times with our distant families. Everyone is excited to connect .
  • Consider reaching out to child or college student who may be separated from their parents
  • Contact local nursing homes. Ask if there are people you could contact either by email, a call or a card.. Considering sending flowers for their lobby.
  • Volunteer at the Connecticut Food Bank (if you are able and willing to leave home).   Delores Wisdom dwisdom@ctfoodbank.org 203-741-9074
  • Give Blood at the American Red Cross (redcrossblood.org)
  • Order food cards for the elderly or homebound neighbors.

Q: Is there one thing you can do this week?

Serving others allows us to experience Gods miracles, to experience His presence and blessings, it increases our faith, and helps us to get outside of our heads as we feel more connected to Christ and the people around us. Serving is so fulfilling and incredibly uplifting for the one serving and for the one being served. It is how we can love each other during this time.

Brothers and Sisters, this is the time we need to let our faith out of the box, and to show the love we have for God to those around us.

1 Peter 4:10-11

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Pray for God to show you how you can serve others during this time. Although we may be homebound, that doesn’t mean we can’t serve. As James says our Faith must be accompanied by action. We don’t just want to observe the hardship around us, we want to find creative ways to serve while not contributing to the spread of the virus or getting sick ourselves.

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