These Are Hard Times
In times of stress it takes special effort to “keep on track” spiritually. Many of us have had our daily routine interrupted along with our devotional or Bible study time. Our children have been especially affected by the constant changes and uncertainty, both in their education and discipleship.
Many of have come up with creative ways to stay close to the Lord and His Word through these tumultuous times. Don Worley suggested that some of those ideas might be of value to others at North Haven. That was an excellent idea, so we’ve compiled some of the creative things we’ve heard that others are doing and listed them in this letter.
Fathers have a special family responsibility in times of stress. We hope the men of North Haven exemplify strength and courage to your children and spouse. This is not a time for un-due fear, laziness or forming unproductive habits. Instead, we should be growing in our faith and knowledge of God, through times of study, prayer and service, and encouraging our families to so the same. Hopefully, some of these ideas will help all of us as we strive to be the person God wants us to be.
Commit yourself to grow spiritually through these difficult times, and then read through the practical faith-building ideas listed below. You may find something in this list that is the catalyst you need to be an overcomer.
Suggestions to Keep You on Track Spiritually
Some of these ideas are for individual use, some for families, etc. Pick the ones that suits your needs and stat them right away.
- If you cannot attend in person, get up, get dressed, and worship on-line at 9:15AM Sunday mornings. The discipline of church attendance and have specific times for worship is vitally important, especially for families with children.
- Use crayons or markers to write the names of people you need to pray for on your mirror, sticky notes on your monitor, phone, or computer screen saver, etc.
- Profanity and crude speech are becoming more commonplace, especially in the media. Hearing such language is harmful to the spirit. Keep your heart and mind clean by turning off or removing the TV, tablet, or computer that is bringing those words into your home.
- Expand and focus your financial support of God’s work. For example, select a ministry. Then address and stamp 30 envelopes. Go to the bank and withdraw enough cash to put some in each envelope. Each day of the month, put the days money into an envelope, pray God to bless the ministry and your gift, and then mail the daily offering. (Use wisdom and don’t enclose too much cash, since mailed cash can be easily lost or stolen. Individual checks might be a better option.)
- Read the Bible out loud. You may want to do this in a private setting, but it is powerful when children hear their parents read God’s Word aloud.
- Read five chapters in Psalms and one chapter in Proverbs every day for a month. Psalms will help you grow in relationship to God and Proverbs helps with relationships with people.
- Start a spiritual journal. These are momentous and changing times, and insights from God and His Word can be fleeting. If God speaks to you through a verse of Scripture, write down what he has said and enter the date and time. Some day in the future, those words will come back as a testimony to you of God’s faithfulness through these times.
- Although events seem to be rapidly unfolding, commit to fast from all forms of media for seven days. Instead, spend that week reading God’s Word, or in the timeless quietness of nature. God met Adam and Eve in the Garden daily and He will speak to you also if you quiet your mind and listen for His voice.
- If you have a standard mealtime prayer, add these words to it… “Jesus, today we remember the price that you paid on the cross for us and we are thankful.”
- If you are struggling with fear, do a concentrated Bible study focusing on scriptures that contain the words “fear” and “not.” God spoke about this 144 times and you need to hear what He says.
- Seek discernment from God. We live in a fallen world and we are constantly exposed to falsehood and exaggeration. But we need not become cynical or deceived. Every time you hear a news broadcast, or read an email or Facebook posting, or hear a story from a friend, ask the Lord to help you judge if what you hear is true. God will guide you into all Truth if you ask Him too.
- Write an anonymous encouraging note and pass it secretly along to your neighbor. Pick a different neighbor each week.
The times were difficult for the members of the early church, in many ways, much more difficult than our present struggles. Through those times, they encouraged each other and God spoke to them. The ancient words in II Peter 3:17-18 were spoken to them and to us as well:
Therefore, beloved, knowing beforehand,
beware lest being led away with the error of the lawless,
you fall from your own steadfastness.
But grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.
Contact the church office if you have a suggestion to add to this list.