Shelter Me in Place #1
Welcome to our new devotional adventure, called "Shelter Me in Place". I pray this will be an encouragement and blessing to you. In case you missed this on Monday, I want to repeat it again..."Thank you church family for faithfully supporting your church in spite of the fact that we can't meet together personally. Our tithes and offerings are truly acts of worshiping the Lord when we give them with a cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). As you can imagine, certain expenses have decreased, however other expenses are fixed and those bills must continue to be paid. As always, your financial and prayer support is greatly appreciated. We have provided a "giving link" on our website for your convenience, However, if you would rather give with a check or cash, Kevin Ogaard (or someone else) will be at the church every Tuesday between 10:00am and noon. I also want to thank all of you for your continued prayers and acts of kindness to Ken and Karissa. While there is great joy in Denise's presence with the Lord right now, there are also incredible adjustments for Ken and Karissa. We know and trust the Lord's goodness and His mercy is new for every day. Ken and Karissa also want you all to know how much they appreciate your prayers and gifts. We were going to make plans to provide meals for them. Yet right now, they do not need us to do that for them. You are welcome to continue to send cards, letters, and notes of encouragement and your prayers. They are doing well and confident in the Lord's care.
------------------------------------------------------------------- OK, are you ready to begin our new devotional adventure? I think we can safely say that we are now officially “Coronials.”
With the mandated shelter-in-place directives, all of us get to continue to experience a degree of isolation … together, for the unforeseeable future.
While this worldwide situation has never been faced globally in the history of mankind, we’re not the first Christians to involuntarily "Shelter-in-place". The Apostle Paul experienced this predicament on multiple occasions.
His final 'can’t-go-anywhere' took place in the Mamertine Prison in Rome. It’s the Carcere Mamertino in Italian. Google it if you'd like and you’ll find a picture. If not for this awful pandemic, if we wanted, you and I could visit it next week.
Being a veteran shelter-in-place guy, Paul did two things to make the most of his isolated situation.
Scripture for today
"Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments." - 2 Timothy 4:9-13
How do you think Paul felt as he wrote the words, “Only Luke is with me”?
Abandoned? Lonely? Discouraged? Maybe a little fearful?
You’re not the only saint who’s struggled with such things.
What were the three things Paul did to redeem his isolation situation? You’ll find them both in v. 13.
Here’s the first: “When you come, bring my cloak…” Paul couldn’t leave his surroundings, so he decided to make his surroundings as comfortable as possible.
You and I might not have a Timothy to fetch things for us. But then again, Rene' has me and you do have a Pastor Timothy, but I guess that's not quite the same. (Sorry for that attempt for a little humor.) However, unlike Paul we do have Amazon; and Wal-Mart, and Target, and a few other stores - all ready and willing to send us anything to make our life a little more comfortable - as long as our credit card can pay for it.
The second thing Paul said was, “And when you come, bring my scrolls and parchments.”
If I calculate correctly, the Apostle Paul would have been in his mid-to-late sixties when he wrote these words. How did he want to spend his time? Reading the texts of Scripture that would help him continue to grow spiritually!
Over the last six weeks or so, we’ve spent a lot of time lining up in stores so we can continue to hunker down in our houses. Now that we’re hunker down, maybe it’s time to do some continued growing?
It's been said, "Leaders are readers, and readers are leaders." So since that's true, what do you want to read to become a more able image-bearer of your Almighty?
I suggest the Bible. Start there, every day while you’re in lockdown.
Then, maybe you'd want to dip your toe into one of the Classics of the Christian Faith.
I heard that there are about 400 books that have stood the test of time. Those books are enriching because they hold great truths and encouragement for us.
Reading books out loud together with your children or spouse can also be enjoyable.
Paul did one more thing we’ll want to take note of during his final shelter-in-place. He trusted God.
Read this verse out loud:
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen. - 2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue us too! Meanwhile, I want encourage us all to get off the internet for a little while each day and get into the Word and maybe a good book.
To Him be the glory forever and ever.
Prayer for today
Father, I ask You to give us the peace that Paul had today.
You’ve given us this time for a purpose; and we don't want to miss the opportunity to use this situation for continued spiritual grow.
Speak to us from Your Word every day during this quarantine. And maybe from some other good books as well.
Enlarge our minds, our hearts, and our faith during this time for Your Glory and our good.
We trust you Lord.
In Jesus’ name, Amen