Morning Refreshment by Ruth Cowles
In mid-March, Kansas declared that schools would close for the rest of the school year. Other states soon made the same determination.
Very quickly we started hearing terms like “Shelter at Home” and “Social distancing.” “Quarantine” was a word seldom heard these days…until now when we hear it daily.
The words “Pandemic” and “Plague,” although foreign and strange to the younger generation, engender memories giving rise to fear in the minds and hearts of the oldest among us.
Businesses and churches closed,
The economy faltered,
Violence at home is increasing,
and Deaths from the virus are reported daily.
Many of us have only seen times like these in movies or read about them in books.
and Discouragement is on the rise, exacerbated by the news reports and accompanied by weather fluctuations from cold and wintry to mild and spring-like and back to wintry again.
And we are all wondering, "How long???"
Nothing is certain except that nothing is certain.
I always love it when I read those words “But God” in my Bible. Often they follow bad circumstances or evil, offering hope to a situation that would otherwise seem hopeless.
For example – Joseph after all the hardship he had gone through told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
In Psalm 73:26 the Psalmist records “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Another such passage can be found in Ephesians 2:3-10. ".......But God who is rich in mercy..."
So… COVID 19 …That’s the bad news.
But God … That’s the good news!
So, what can we do?
We can follow the example of King David when things were so bad his own people wanted to stone him to death! 1 Samuel 30:6 says that he “was greatly distressed…but David encouraged himself (some versions say ‘strengthened himself’) in the Lord his God.” (KJV) He encouraged himself in the Lord! He took courage in the only one able to save him. He drew strength from God! David also wrote in Psalm 29:11, “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (NIV)
Secondly, we can heed the words of the Apostle Paul, when writing to the church at Thessalonica he said, “… encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
We can encourage others!
When we do that we bless others but we are encouraged also!
So, dear friend, be encouraged in the Lord today. Let Him be your source of strength and peace in the middle of this storm. And then in His strength, look for ways to encourage others.
Peter and I celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary this year. Our 3 grown children and their spouses have blessed us with 7 grandchildren. During our marriage, we have lived in 4 different States in the USA and 2 foreign countries in Africa. Our children were born in Illinois, Tennessee, and Kenya, and our grandchildren were born in Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Austria. I worked as an RN in PA, IL, and TN. before moving with my bush pilot husband and family to Africa for mission work. We lived in Nigeria 2 years then Kenya for 15 years where the door was open for me to teach the Bible. Returning to the USA I served as Minister to Women for 16 years at our local church. Now retired I enjoy teaching Women's Bible studies, writing, speaking, and being a full-time wife to Peter.
One of Grace Thru Faith's customer favorites is our ...But God designs. We have them in different styles with more coming. Want to be encouraged and encourage others of God's mercy and strength during difficult times? Wear one of our shirts and let it start conversations!
We entered 2021 excited for what was to come. Things were looking up! We had a goal, a vision, and a purpose that gave us great joy. We had it all planned out. Our amazing graphic designer, Preston, had created the artwork. I had sourced just the right garments. Our trusty local printer printed onto the amazing garments. We had created giftable items for folks who might be looking for something more than apparel. We spent several months curating, sourcing, and working towards our goal of launching THE most amazing thing ever. We had a plan; (we have learned over 5 years to plan far ahead of the seasons.) We even had a pop-up planned at a trendy store. We were super excited to launch this powerful, hopefully life-giving movement. Everything was on target.
Then…during a benign Monday night in early January, we got a phone call. For anyone who has ever been a caregiver, you know that when you see the facility name and number pop up on your screen, your heart drops a little bit.
As I pushed forward and backward the seemingly heavy vacuum and saw the white pup hair that was being taken away little by little, I lost it. Literally had a breakdown right there in the living room. The room was quiet except for the hum of the vacuum. It did not matter that no one was around, I could not help but bawl uncontrollably thinking of our beloved Gidget and the fact that we had to put yet another dog down...
What do you do when you lose a beloved pet? Kelly Sue shares her and her husband's journey through their grieving process of losing their beloved dog, Gidget, and how Barkin Dogs Rescue found them not one, but two new pups to adopt and love!
I will never forget the excitement I had going into a meeting with one of my professors, Dr. J back in grad school. I had the idea of launching a Christian clothing business from way back when and he had a side business that helped start-ups. I came prepared with all my notes, my hand-drawn ideas scribbled into a notebook from years ago and a prototype of a zip-up hoodie that had embroidered crosses and verses stitched all over it. I was so excited! See, Dr. J, now this is what I’m talking about! See this cool hoodie??!! It’s a nicer, higher-end product that I really think people would buy! He, of course, has far more knowledge than I and he is asking questions and pondering it all…thankfully not anything like “Shark Tank”; I would never have survived that type of questioning. He was genuinely being a kind fella and hearing me out. At the end of our meeting (as I am walking out) he asked me to write a “Theology of a Hoodie.” K…. hmmm….ok. That’s it? What on earth does he mean, I thought? I also thought, are you kidding me dude, you know full well how many books and papers we must write in graduate school and now you are asking me to (for fun) write a theology of a hoodie?!
Well, here it is almost 8 years later. (BTW I still do not know exactly what he was asking for, however, I have a far better understanding of hoodies after creating and selling them for almost 3 years now). “Theology” means a theological theory or system” I am going with just the theory or system; my guess is that was what he was asking for?
So, here is my brief explanation of how the system works, at least in my case.