Making the Most of Hard Times – Philippians 4:11-13

Do you get cranky when temperatures rise? I’m enjoying our spring weather so far, but you might want to back off if I’m in the sun too long.

Photo from Stocksnap – pixabay.com

When I was a baby, my parents took me to Indiana to introduce me to our relatives at Anderson Camp Meeting. As the day wore on, the summer heat got to me. Soon my fussing made those around me equally miserable. My ever resourceful mother found a bucket, drew a little water, and sat me in it. Dad snapped a photo of the transformation, his whiny child now grinning and splashing in the water. All because they’d met my most pressing need.

Sitting in the bucket, I had no concerns about food or clothing, or where I would take my afternoon nap. All I needed that moment was a bucket of water and my loving parents.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13 ESV

In these difficult times with the virus and its effects on our lives, we can be content with what we have. We can face seasons of having much, as well as those of lack, through Jesus who strengthens us.


Helping others

My longtime friend, Laurie, a missionary in Uganda, is working to feed the hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what she wrote a couple days ago.

Today, Gerald is on his way to go and help another 6 families. One story that has really touched me this week: When Gerald was buying posho and beans for one family, a young woman came up to the vendor with a baby on her back and a young child in tow. She asked the vendor how much the very cheap (not milled well) rice was. They said shs3,000 (less than $1).
She said, “Oh, I thought it was only shs1,000.” (less than 30 cents). Then she walked away, not having enough to buy even the worst rice you can buy. Gerald said she looked hungry, but he had no extra money to get her anything. So, now when he goes to buy for the ones we know, I send him with extra so he can get something for those who have nothing–like this young mother.

Laurie Dickerson

I share Laurie’s story because I want to remember there are people suffering much more than I am from the effects the virus. Having spent time in communities like hers, I’ll never forget the tremendous need.

She serves where most people go to work, receive their pay and buy their food the same day. Few have refrigeration or canned foods. If they don’t work, their family doesn’t eat that day. Many have lost their jobs and are going hungry. (If you’d like to help, contact me and I’ll get you connected.)


An app to try

No matter what state I’m in, I’m more aware of God’s presence when I read the Bible every day. Because of the convenience of having the scriptures via Biblegateway.com accessible on my cell phone, I’m happy to be a #BibleGatewayPartner and share this resource with you. I am not paid to share my opinion–my desire is to promote Bible reading.

I recently downloaded Bible Gateway’s free Bible Audio App and it’s great! When my hands are busy, like when driving or stretching, I can listen to Scripture. The only downside is that currently the English Standard Version, the version I prefer, isn’t an option. Hopefully, that will change.

This app is also a great tool to help with memorization. The verse text appears on your screen as you listen, and changes when the spoken verse changes. And you can swipe to navigate between verses or set it to repeat the verse or passage being read. I like that.

Remember, the Bible Gateway Bible Audio App is free.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

A Snapshot of Gratefulness – Philippians 4:6-7

I played outside with my family this week. My husband, sons, and grandson shot basketballs in a game of PIG while two other grandchildren sped by on their bikes, launching themselves off the ramp. The youngest sat in the grass.

A couple of times I stopped the ball from escaping, kicking it back into the game. I also offered a lot of verbal support, withdrawing from the ruckus since my chronic pain insists I live more gently. That’s when I remembered that the day our third son, Seth, was born, we thought he might never play with the family.

There’d been concerns during labor. A specialist was called in. Jerry held my hand as I clung to peace by quoting from Psalm 121 between contractions.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth . . . The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life” (Psalm 121:1-2 and 7 ESV).

The hospital tests hadn’t provided answers. One concern was his color, which they described as ashen. He was lethargic. They decided to keep him another day for observation, and I went home with an empty baby carrier. I imagined all sorts of devastating news I might hear the next day–he had a disease, a birth defect, or he was dying.

We left him overnight but decided that was enough. Seth needed to know his family surrounded him and loved him. His two older brothers needed to pat his head and whisper their secrets. He belonged at home.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).

Now he plays with his nephews in the street, the tall, strong father of a teenager. He’s home. No wonder I rejoice in the Lord who heard my prayers and answered them in ways more beautiful than I could imagine.

These times are precious. We don’t know the length of our days, but He Who Watches Over Us keeps us. As we move toward the end of our days let’s remember to be ever thankful for God’s kindness to us. That he heard our prayers, that he hears us still, and he will see us home.

The completeness, the joy I can’t contain, the certainty of God’s promises – can you even imagine the awesomeness of standing near my son as he shoots baskets with his dad, his brother, and his nephews, when so close is the memory of the time we didn’t know if we’d get to see him grow up?

It’s only a breath of time, me standing with the life of my family swirling around me. For this moment I am grateful.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Multiplying blessings – Psalm 103:1-5

I’m slowly being buried in blessings I don’t want, mostly because of my daughter’s wedding.

Frank & Amy Barbera

Amy moved home to save her rent money for wedding preparations last year. Within weeks boxes from Amazon began piling up by our front door. It felt like Christmas, only instead of celebrating the coming of a Savior we anticipated the emergence of the newest branch in our family tree.

Frank joined our family in May, a true blessing.

While Amy was here I started finding clothing and bridal catalogs in the mailbox. After the wedding I ordered some items myself, and that’s when the floodgates opened.

Tuesday seven catalogs assaulted my home in one day. Most of them filled with “blessings” I have no use for.

And the subscriptions keep multiplying.

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5 NIV).

Here are blessings I need, desire, and should never forget.

  • forgiveness
  • healing
  • redemption
  • love
  • compassion
  • satisfaction
  • renewal

Until I figure out how to stop adding junk mail to the landfill, I’ll use it to remind me of God’s greater blessings in my life.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis