Lead by Example

Since March many of us have been prisoners in our own homes due to information that we thought we could trust from the “experts”.  In my opinion it has become apparent that they were very wrong and that in fact COVID-19 was no worse on the population than the flu.

I will agree that we need to protect the old and very young when it comes to this virus, but those of us who are of good overall health need to get back to what we know is right; working hard to support our families and those who support us by providing the produce we depend on each and every day.

After reading a post by Marcus Pittman on FB I am of the same position                                ( https://www.facebook.com/marcuspittman/posts/10106117309026028 ); as a “Church” we must start having services again to set the example for the rest of the nation to follow.  Our fear does not reside in the virus we have been told to fear, it lies in the hands of the one and true God who is over everything, thus we should have no fear to go forward with God who provides our armor and is the tip of our spear.

We can be wise in how we congregate by keeping safe distances, not shaking hands, wearing masks, etc.  Either way we are there to worship God regardless of what we wear, how far we sit from others or if we don’t shake hands.

Let’s shake the fear off and go forward as the Christian Soldiers we know we are!  I will stand next to any Christian as we go into the fray together to fight the good fight for God’s Kingdom; His will and not ours is our marching order!

Until that day we will continue to pray for those in the medical fields or any other job that puts them up close to the virus as it stands today.  We also pray that our elected leaders do not abuse their office, but handle each situation with wisdom and clarity, rather than with panic or emotional choices.

May you find Jesus as your peace and strength during this challenging time.  With that strength I would ask you to stand with your Christian brothers and sisters as we march on for God’s glory.

There is victory in this and it will be we believers who show others how to find it!

 

The Koifish Christian

“Position Improvement”

Many years ago, when I first entered the U.S. Army, I heard the term “Position Improvement”.  I soon learned that this meant if I found myself in a defensive position it fell on me and those on my team to be involved in improving the position through a list of necessary tasks.

The positions in which we found ourselves could be started by simply camouflaging our location all the way up to eventually building hardened bunkers or fighting positions.  Some of the work was easy and rather boring, but some of it was challenging and interesting.

The important thing to know was that this work never really stopped.  It was always about improving our percentages of success if defending our position became necessary.  Our labor was all in all for each other.

Now as the entire world reacts to the COVID-19 virus it is obvious to me that we have taken a defensive posture to this threat.  As we get into our “fighting positions” I would offer that if we remember that God is our commander, we will be successful in our mission because of our labors related to “Position Improvement”.

The labor we are doing now to keep ourselves healthy and take care of our families is just part of the work to improve our position.  The work to make God first in our lives, spread the Good News and love our neighbors has not been put on hold.  If anything, this challenge should make our labors even more intense to accomplish our mission.  This in no way means to take on any of this in a frantic manner, but in a way that shows our trust and faith in God through peace, strength and love.

This defensive posture in no way means that we hunker down in our “holes” without offensive actions.  Around the world there are scientists, doctors, nurses, businesses and many others who are taking the fight to this enemy.  We must support them in every way possible and that starts with praying for them at every opportunity to say the least.  We also need to show them we respect their sacrifice by doing our part at home and in our communities to stop the spread of this virus.

As with any battle there will be loss and pain so it is a reality we must contend with.  Rest assured that this will not be a short battle and it will require every Christian to step into the gap for believers and non-believers alike.  With our faith in the promises of God and our Savior Jesus Christ we know where the true prize resides.

Something to make it easier to put into perspective and remember might be a motto I learned while in the Army; “Mission First, People Always“.

May God bless you with peace, strength, love and boldness as we march forward into the gap together.

 

The Koifish Christian

“Do You Carpe Diem?”

Throughout our lives we encounter the subject of death in varying circumstances. Sometimes it hits close to home, sometimes it is just far enough away that we brush it off as “…so glad it wasn’t someone in our family”. Either way I don’t think we take the time to appreciate the life we all have in front of us. I understand that some may take offense to that last statement and if you do; good! This means you take every day on as a gift and treat it as such.

For those who are mourning the loss of someone close there is no magic answer for making the pain of loss go away. However, there is peace found with God and the Son Jesus Christ. It is He who listens to our every groaning regardless of the severity or complexity. The hardest part of turning to God with our grieving is the “trusting” part. Simply trust as a child trusts their parent and you will see God begin working in your life. The first sign to look for is a friend or family member asking to be at your side through your mourning; just say “yes”.

By saying yes to that friend or family member who wants to mourn with you, it could very well be their prayer to be a blessing to you and God is simply answering their prayer to answer yours. Don’t deny them their prayer as it might also be a prayer about being more obedient, caring, loving, or simply trying to not be selfish. We may never know the “Why”, but that is okay, just roll with God’s plan.

Was there a time you told someone “No” and you later regretted it?

Something to try during a time of mourning might be to turn your mourning into energy for helping or reaching out to someone else. The truth is this; no matter how much we mourn it cannot bring that person back. However, we can honor that person by giving, loving and sharing more with those around us who just might need you to be a blessing for them. Simply put, don’t dig yourself into the hole of mourning and never come out.

God’s promise of life after death is also something we should take the time to think more about as it should make us appreciate the life we have now and know that we should not waste it by living like we will never die. This is a selfish way to live and not one of the directives God has given us. The first directive from Christ was to worship God only and the second, love your neighbor as you do yourself. You can’t do either if you let mourning take over.

How have do you feel inside after helping others?

God places every person in our path for a reason and if we are simply mulling through life day to day without realizing that someday those around us will not be here, we are doomed to a life full of regret. This is not at all how God wants us to live! If you think about it, the phrase; “Carpe Diem” (Seize the Day) is more than just a quote that looks cool on a coffee cup. It should be how we approach life every minute of every day as God intended.

How have you handled the hard days? Did you trust God, or did you try to just trust in yourself?

It is okay to mourn the loss of a loved one, but don’t let it take over your life. This life is the only one you have so treat it like the gift it is. God never promises an easy life here on earth, but He does promise that in the end you will be free from the burdens that you had while here. Through Jesus Christ you can accomplish all that God has planned for you so don’t waste another day. Use this day and every day after as an opportunity to simply be a blessing to others, just as they were for you when you were in your time of need.

Are you ready to “Carpe Diem”?

 

The Koifish Christian

“Will This Snow Ever Melt?”

The sun comes out, the snow melts and the birds sing. For those who live with the four seasons, this is considered a normal refreshing perspective that indicates that summer is on the way.

And then there is the Upper Midwest with snow storms in mid-April. For many this is very depressing and can negatively affect their attitude. Myself having lived in the deep south for a few years, find the snow welcoming. I personally do not like it very hot, nor the humidity. I also detest the snakes, cockroaches, scorpions, spiders of every kind and super noisy Cicadas. Again, this is my personal preference, so I will take shoveling snow over all those things I just listed!

For those who complain about the snow, let me try another perspective on you to see if this helps with the whole attitude thing.

When we get snow, it is a slow way for the soil to pull in much needed moisture for the crops that sustain life. When it rains the top soil tends to run off into lower elevations that might not be able to be planted or harvested. As I am not a farmer I can’t speak to the science of it, but practical sense tells me that the snow is better than the rain to prepare fields for planting. Spring rains can keep farmers out of the field for planting so I would assume that this is not an easy task for farmers to contend with.

I am aware that blowing snow can also carry top soil away from a field so this idea is not exempt from waste in the process. I am aware that farmers have ways to compensate for this natural process and those who choose not to, then that is a choice they must work with in the spring.

So, after my lack-luster attempt to explain how the snow helps farmers, I would rather turn to what I know and believe to be true. I do believe all of this is a work given by the hand of God. It is God who created the miracle of snow and the positive things that come with it. Ultimately, it does bring life and yes, it does bring challenges.

As far as the challenges of snow go, I think even if you have not dealt with it much, you know that it is not always fun to deal with when you must move it. However, those challenges do make us a stronger and hearty people who know what hard work means.

Think of it this way, it is just another way God prepares us for life and the hard work it takes to survive. In bible studies I have often heard about how God tempers us through His work, and since snow is a creation of God, it is God’s work to contend with winter. How many times have we seen people helping people when the snow hits? Stuck vehicles, shoveling sidewalks, walking with someone across an icy parking lot, sharing food, working at homeless shelters, caring for those who are without during Christmas, on and on.

Since the snow will be gone soon, I thought it appropriate to give thanks to God for the blessings He has given during this winter season. Ultimately, it is life that God gave us and it is for his miracle of creation, we give our thanks.

Here is a poem I wrote to hopefully lighten your mood about this longer than expected winter.

 

“Wayward Friends”

 Shapes of wonder carried on high

Not one the same, but all alike,

Fall where they may or destined to fly.

 

Enjoyed by some or loathed by a few

Pushed or pulled it matters not,

Man has labored since the first one flew.

 

Some will venture far to escape their number

For their pull is strong and not forgotten,

We dream of childhood memories as we slumber.

 

Like old friends who visit unannounced

Ready or not they will knock on your door,

They will bring gifts for everyone measured by the ounce.

 

Reminding all of that special time

Bringing us together to love and share,

Giving away our coins when we hear the chime.

 

Some have sadly never known them as a girl or boy

Angelic and portly creations are the order of the day,

Giggles and smiles they bring, turning sadness into joy.

 

Friends forever and a gift, they will always be to me

Visiting each year right on time,

I am happy to know them, even though they are heavy.

 

D.E. Jones