What God Showed Me in the Woods

IMG_6181 2

 

As of this writing, our family and my brother in law’s family are settled in at the farmhouse. What we thought was a few days at the farm for spring break turned into an indefinite stay. One day I felt the need to escape for a bit. With 12 people under roof—sometimes—you just need to hunt down some quiet. There is a stretch of woods on the farm where the tall pines grow in neat rows. The grass comes up bright green in this area and once it reaches a certain height the cattle are brought in for the buffet.

I sat under a tree to enjoy some quiet time. I prayed over everyone in my groups, my Bible study ladies, my church leaders, my writer friends, my inner circles, neighbors, and of course family. I prayed for God to supernaturally protect them from the virus. I told Him I believed in the promise that all things work for good for those who love Him, for I’ve experienced this first-hand, but I asked Him for some clarity. What to expect maybe? Why? Just anything…

I waited.

A butterfly fluttered by my boots, the wind blew through the tall grasses, I heard a frog ribbiting nearby, a hawk screech. I noticed creation goes on about its business while the civilized world becomes uncivilized while fights break out in grocery stores, commodities such as toilet paper have risen to the level of luxury, hospitals overflow with the sick, and exhausted medical personnel work without sleep.

IMG_6182

Several loud snaps, and large branches fell to the ground. I peered into the trees, thinking it was a large animal. I’d forgotten the pistol and radio, which my husband, Jay continually reminds me to take. I knew he’d lecture me on my return home. Another one snapped and fell. Then another. I couldn’t see anything causing them to fall except the wind.

One oak tree stood alone in the midst of the pines. The sunlight slipped through spotlighting that one lone oak. It was strange, one oak in the middle of all these pines that had been planted before we ever came to the farm. I wondered how it had survived and wasn’t chopped down.

“Oaks of righteousness” came to mind.

“Oaks of righteousness?” I said aloud.

A phrase from the ancient prophetic pages of Isaiah 61:

To comfort all who mourn;

To grant to those who mourn in Zion–

To give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,

The oil of gladness instead of mourning,

The garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;

That they may be called oaks of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

IMG_6185 2

While the world around us cracks and falls, we must remember Jesus Christ came to plant oaks. Those that abide in the Heavenly Father will stand strong like the oak in the midst of the pines. I realized something sitting out there in the woods, things must be removed from us for us to grow strong. How many things in our lives have snapped off and been discarded with a virus? Our conveniences, our money, our relationships, our health, our pleasures, even our own traditional church service because let’s face it, we have a tendency to look to our church for the answers, instead of going directly to the Source our God. How many of the things we’ve lost were false gods to us?

Pruning is never easy, but when the end result is a closer intimacy with God the Father it’s always worth it. God uses hardships to strengthen faith. While we are becoming accustomed to the changes in our lives I know there will be financial issues, frustrations, some illness, there may even be loss of life, but remember if we keep our focus on the Light in the forest we will flourish and become strong oaks in a world full of pines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for the Pandemic- Corona Virus

DSC_0456

I wanted to post today, to address the fears and anxieties over the Corona virus and how to prepare for it. We at The Hallelujah House have been busy preparing our homes and children for the virus as we would a hurricane coming into town. God speaks in His word to His followers on being prepared, but this does not mean preparing in anxiety or out of a place of fear. We need to recognize that fear is in opposition to faith and is a tool of the enemy. Do not wander into Satan’s camp by acting out of fear. Being prepared for troubles is wise.  Being prepared puts you in a place of calm for your household, but also puts you in a place where you can be a blessing to others who are not prepared.   “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

With this particular outbreak, I can’t help but recall the story of the Israelites, being enslaved to Egypt, painted blood on the door posts of their homes as the angel of death passed by. Today, we don’t need to paint the blood of an animal over the door of our homes, we have the blood of Christ covering our souls. There is power in the blood of the most perfect lamb, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and I pray His blood of protection over our country today.

I wanted to share with you all as to how we are preparing here at The Hallelujah House for Corona virus:

  1. First things first, we remember who we belong to, who we serve. (Preparing the heart)

Your Lord and Savior walked on water. He calmed the stormy seas with His voice. He healed the lame, the possessed, the blind, the deaf, and those covered in leprosy with his words.

He saved our souls by shedding His blood on the cross because He loved us that much.

If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are a child of the King. So whom or what do you have to be afraid of? “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” ~ Psalm 27:1

 

  1. We are praying. (Preparing the Heart)

We are praying for protection over our households and beyond. We’re spending time

praying over our families, friends, neighbors, church, city, state etc. We remember the power of prayer and we spend time daily covering individuals and groups.  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

 

  1. We are placing our fears and anxieties at the feet of the Father. (Preparing the Heart)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  ~ Psalm 56:3

 

  1. We are checking our food supply. (Homes)

We are buying food to ensure we can feed our children for two to three weeks without leaving home. Including buying food easy for older children to make in case we become infected. We are making sure we have adequate pet supplies. We do not buy from a crazed place of fear but from a place of wisdom.

And if you feel you can’t prepare enough in this department, or feel a panic to brawl at the grocery store remember this verse…

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? Luke 12:24.

DSC_0423

5. We are inventorying our medical supplies. (Health)

Making sure we have adequate supply of any prescription medication, cold medication for children and adults, and vitamins to boost immunities.

 

6. We are bringing our college aged children and our elderly parents (where need be) under our roofs. (Harvest and Home)

 

7. We are checking on those within our sphere of influence. (Harvest) Check on your extended family, neighbors, church members. Consider partnering with other families, to help each other out with childcare, sharing meals, etc. (Harvest)

 

8. We are taking time to be outdoors. (Health)

Remember there is a whole green world out there, outside the alarming news and your four walls. Get outside. If you live in the city, go to a park and breathe.

 

  1. We are planning on homeschooling our children and the entertaining of our brood while they are home. (Harvest)

I don’t know about your state, but our kids are out of school for two straight weeks. We bought a few board games, and cheap balls and pop up nets. We purchased balloons they can fill with water and hit each other with. Today, I am taking my nieces and daughter into the woods where we look for treasures like sticks, pine combs, acorns—whatever  I declare is the treasure of the day; for them, it’s like an Easter egg hunt and for me it’s fun to imagine we are pirate treasure hunters.

Getting outside refreshes the weary spirit.

 

  1. We are committed to enjoying this time with our family to get reconnected. (Heart and Harvest)

In life families are often scattered, especially when older kids are in college. We are making up our minds to look at the blessings of being under one roof for a season. We will make the most of it and enjoy this time together reconnecting.

11. Most of all, we are remembering we are nothing without God. Sometimes we need reminding of our desperate need for a Savior. (Heart)

(On the river Jordon the spot Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, a group of girls from Mexico, sing.)

We pray you will find some encouragement from our list and become prepared yourselves so you can face the virus in a calm state of mind, and hand all your worries over to your Heavenly Father. We’d like to include a great list of verses on fear and anxiety that you can find by clicking here: What the Bible says About Fear and Anxiety

We pray God’s favor be poured out upon you all.

The Hallelujah House team.