Sunday, April 5, 2020

How to Keep Calm During Uncertain Times

Today I was thinking about the recent instruction to make sure that you wash your hands long enough by singing the “Happy Birthday” song. I thought about how integral habits are to daily living. Habits are formed naturally, often without intentional forethought. New habits are hard to develop. Old habits are difficult to break.
I want to offer a few suggestions for you as you consider reshaping some of your own personal and household habits.
Don’t Sing Happy Birthday while washing your hands
Instead, choose a Bible verse or song phrase that will impart a biblical principle. Use this new habit to do more than cleanse the body, use God’s Word to strengthen the mind and heart.
Romans 10:17 reminds us that “faith comes through hearing the words of Christ”. W. A. Criswell said, “No word was spoken for God ever falls to the ground. Somehow, someway, in areas of life that we don’t understand and don’t know, God blesses it in his good purpose”. Use the new habit of frequent hand-washing to literally record audible sounds of God’s Words in your mind and hearts of those in your household. Instead of merely focusing on physical things, build a new habit that instills hope and faith against the very real fears we face in this uncertain time.

Don’t Worry

Paul gives a practical command in Philippians 4:4-9, don’t worry. Instead, he calls for establishing several habits of the mind and heart:
Don’t forget the riches of God’s goodness - “Rejoice in the Lord”. Start conversations in your home; brainstorm about ways you can rejoice in who God has revealed himself to be. Consider the ways you see his faithfulness and goodness in your lives, in the created world, in the ways he’s delivered his people in the Bible, in history, in your family lineage, etc.
Don’t forget God – Remember that God is near, “the Lord is at hand”. This can mean he is “not far from you”, (Acts 17) and/or that his return is imminent. Consider how much you would worry if Jesus was literally present in your home, sheltering with you. Talk about how different things would be in your household.
Don’t let worry rule - Replace to worry with prayer, pray specifically, purposefully and intentionally, instead of dwelling on things that create and foster anxiety and worry. Phil. 4:6 uses 4 different words do describe how to pray, instead of worrying:

Prayer - Engage God honestly with a meek heart

Supplication - Entreat God with humble requests

Requests - Explain the details of your agenda before God

Thanksgiving - Express heartfelt Thanksgiving, knowing that you’ve encountered the God of “Hesed” or steadfast love (see Pastor Daniel’s Sunday morning sermon from March 8th)

Don’t let worry rule - Rest in the promise of God’s protecting peace around your heart. Consider this as a “great exchange”…exchange worry with the promise that the God of Peace will protect you with His peace while you’re experiencing threatening circumstances.
Don’t let your mind and emotions run wild - renew your mind with “thoughts after God”, thinking on things that are true, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence, praiseworthy.
Don’t forget to feed on God - Read, memorize, meditate and recite God’s WORD. Here are some favorites:

Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 42:11; Psalm 46; Psalm 119:114; Psalm 119:165; Psalm 56:3; Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 57:15; Isaiah 66:1-2
Romans 5:15; Romans 8:31-35; Ephesians 14:21; 2 Thess. 2:16-17

Don’t allow silence to become a blanket of gloom - Make your home a vibrant center of active, audible worship and praise; fill your home with good, godly music
Don’t keep your praise to yourself - Consider recording your worship to share with others, share music with others
Don’t despair - rest in the promise that the very God of Peace has promised to be with you in this trial
Don’t shut down - choose to obey God, practice these things as intentional, daily habits.
Don’t Isolate

I have had more touchpoints with people in the last two weeks than I normally have. These are because I’ve initiated them, but also many people have reached out to Janell and me. The most meaningful have been visual contacts through FaceTime, Zoom, and recorded YouTube. Other random emails and texts from people I’ve not heard from for a few years have been incredibly meaningful to me. This interaction is much different than normal but has been very fruitful and encouraging. Here are some ways for you to consider:

Start with your family, care group, neighbors
Reach out wisely, follow CDC guidelines

Use technology to share encouraging thoughts, scripture, helpful resources, music, poems, links, etc.

Cultivate intentional acts of love for others

Pray for people by name with specific requests for each person

Write out specific prayers and send them via text or email

Record prayers to send via WhatsApp, text, etc.

Offer to run errands for the vulnerable

Consider yard work and spring clean-up

Above all, DON’T LOSE HOPE.
Romans 15:10-14
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people. Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him. The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.I myself am satisfied with you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another."

Kent Kloter

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