June 18, 2020 8 min read

Thankful 4 Our Heroes

The men and women fighting for our nation on the frontlines of hospitals, clinics, and testing stations are worthy of our admiration. Doctors, nurses, CNAs, and medical technicians are showing up every day in the face of danger to wage battle against a common enemy — a virus smaller than the human eye can detect, that is disrupting lives and putting the most vulnerable members of our community at risk.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, "Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other."

How do we thank people whose names we may never know, and whose faces we may never see, for selflessly showing up to work each day to protect us from this pandemic? Many of us quite literally owe them our lives, and we are so grateful for their efforts to extend love and grace to families who won’t have the chance to welcome their loved one home.

Pray for our medical community:

For physical and mental well-being as they work long hours and endure a tremendous amount of stress.

For health and peace for their families at home.

For wisdom for hospital administrators and managers, and the support they need to do the next right thing.

May God bless each and every person working to test, treat, and care for our friends, neighbors, and loved ones at this time.

Let’s pray.

Lord, in the midst of a daunting situation, you have blessed our nation with men and women willing to risk their lives to serve others in the cause of health and healing. Bless the work of their hands, comfort their hearts, and protect them in the midst of this crisis. Give them respite when they are weary and bless their loved ones as they carry out this vital work. Amen.

God Bless the Teachers

Ask most adults about their favorite teacher, and they’ll tell you Mrs. Wilson in fourth grade helped them believe in themselves, or Mr. Lincoln in 10th grade history developed their skills as a writer, which led to a fulfilling career later in life.

This year, teachers have had to think outside the classroom in ways they couldn’t have imagined when the school year began. The last few months of school looked very different than what any of us expected, thanks to the coronavirus.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, "Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other."

These last few months, teachers have hosted online learning sessions for kids as young as Kindergarten, walked parents and students through endless web-based learning platforms, held neighborhood parades and checked in via text, email, and drive-by visits with weary parents and anxious children.

They’ve stepped up in ways big and small, and done their best to teach fractions and comfort fears, to deliver school lunches to families in need, and kids and parents keep going during uncertain times.

God bless our teachers. We already knew we loved them, but perhaps we didn’t realize just how much we needed them!

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, we are so grateful for the talented teachers and other school professionals who mold and shape the minds of children and young adults in this country. They have risen to meet the challenge of students learning from home, and they are a blessing to families, and entire communities. Keep them safe, and help them to know how very loved they are by you, and by the people whose lives they touch. Amen.

Do This and You Will Live

The Parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke Chapter 10, verses 25-37 exemplifies what it means to be the kind of neighbor Jesus wants us to be:

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On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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God’s Holy Word, the Bible, gives us a clear example of how to be the kind of neighbor we all want to have, and kind of neighbor the Lord calls us to be, as we face this pandemic together, and as we return to a new normal going forward.

Let’s pray.

Dear Lord, Thank you for neighbors across our community who care for those around them by delivering meals, shopping for people at risk, using their skills to sew masks, donating to worthy causes, and showing up where they are needed. Give each of us the opportunity to be a neighborhood hero to someone in need. Amen.

Ninja-Level Parenting Skills

Parenting requires a ninja-level set of skills in order to keep kids healthy, happy, and safe. The biblical fruits of the Spirit cover many of them: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Add to the list energy, creativity, and multitasking, and you’re ready to raise a kid.

Parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual, and the list of preferred qualifications, alongside an endless to-do list, can be exhausting for busy moms and dads. Add a global pandemic to the list, and the life of modern families really starts to heat up.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, "Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other."

Who do you know at work, at church, or across the street who is trying to keep it together during the pandemic, and has suddenly been thrust into the role of homeschool teacher and short order cook for the weekday lunch crowd? The usual demands of parenting have increased significantly for many families as Mom and Dad attempt to work under unusual circumstances, while teaching Sally and Sam “new math” and completing art projects and practicing spelling from home.

You’ve probably witnessed a grinning youngster join Mom or Dad for a ZOOM meeting, contributing their two cents and doing their best to capture their parent’s attention while you attempt to plan Q3 marketing efforts, or examine last month’s production numbers.

This is a new level of excitement and disruption none of us planned for.  

So, how can you support heroic parents trying to do it all during the pandemic? Social distancing is keeping us apart, so you may not be able to keep Junior or Jane for an afternoon, but you could: bake a batch of cookies and drop them on the front porch; Send them a board game or outdoor items like chalk, bubbles, and jump ropes; Call or text to ask how they’re doing; Offer to cook them a meal, or pick up kid-friendly fast food; Pray for them - and let them know you are praying.

If you or someone you love are doing the best you can to raise children in the midst of these strange circumstances, God bless you. This too shall pass!

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, you know the concerns, frustrations, joys and praises in the heart of every mom and dad. We thank you for the blessings you rain down on us, even in the midst of chaos. Give parents extra energy, patience, and creativity while we sort out the details of our new normal, and bless our children with a sense of calm and cooperation. Amen.

Pastors Can Be Heroes, Too

California church goes to Supreme Court on in-person restrictions.

Church must be ready to deal with post-COVID ‘apocalyptic’ scenarios.

Morning Briefing: Is Going to Church Worth the Risk?

Congregations of every stripe are in the news lately as communities adjust to a shared new normal in the midst of this pandemic. It’s tempting to think churches across the land are flouting CDC restrictions and defying local social distancing orders, but most congregations — probably your home church, too — are continuing to hold online services, parking lot services, pre-recorded services...all kinds of creative methods of doing church together, while we’re staying 6 feet apart.

God equips and calls incredible men and women to shepherd His flock as pastors, and these servants of the Lord are facing challenging times, and tough decisions, as we all continue to deal with the big consequences of a microscopic virus.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, "Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other."

Pastors care for all of us, and they are doing their best to make decisions about funerals and weddings, Vacation Bible School and summer camp, and when it will be safe to resume typical church services.

Now is a great time to reach out to your pastor on the phone, in email, or on Facebook to offer encouragement, ask how you can help or support them, and let them know you are praying for their health and wellbeing, their family, and for God to bless their important work.

Here are a few of those church news headlines you might have missed:

Oklahoma Church Members Find Musical Inspiration in Their Kitchens

Charlottesville church puts on parade to celebrate member’s 100th birthday

Albert Lea Church Hosts Drive-Thru Food Drive

Let’s pray.

God, thank you for the pastor, associate pastor, youth pastor, lay pastor, and other members of the ministry and administrative team that lead and shepherd my church. Bless them with good health, courage, discernment, and grace for themselves, the ministry team, and the congregation. Thank you for your loving presence as they continue their good work. Amen.

See the t-shirt this devotional was inspired by here