A Word of Encouragement

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


Hello, Bethel Family. I miss being with you so very much. Please be safe and be kind to yourselves while we are apart and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I have a confession to make, it has been a struggle for me to adjust to working from home. The stress and anxiety kept building in me and caused terrible headaches. I don’t know if any of you can relate but I wanted to share with you what GOD has been teaching me in these days of COVID-19 and social distancing.


First, GOD reminded me to sing. When fear overwhelms us our first thought isn’t to sing praise but that’s exactly what will conquer fear. In the old testament there are stories of the worshippers going to battle in front of the warriors. Just think with me for a moment, we’re going to battle and the praise on our lips are the bullets that are putting holes in the devil’s lies. That makes me smile. I’ve started singing “Jesus Loves Me” when I wash my hands. It makes me focus on GOD instead of fear (and I know that I’ve washed them for at least 20 seconds). GOD is so very faithful to us and our response of praise to him can bring us joy. “God is good, all the time. He puts a song of praise in this heart of mine. God is good, He’s so good…all the time.”


Second, GOD reminded me to read his word out loud. Friends, this didn’t come easy, I had to choose to turn my thoughts from my fears and speak the words of truth from the Bible. Saying Bible verses out loud is powerful because it strengthens our faith. Romans 10:17 tells us “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Every day I need my faith strengthened and especially during these times. So, just wondering if you have ever tried to not think about something only to realize that’s still all you are thinking about? I’m trying to not think about my fears so that means I need something else to focus on and to think about. That’s where Philippians 4:8 helps because GOD tells us what to think about! Woohoo! He is awesome and gives us what we need to keep our eyes on him. I took each part of the verse and wrote down something I am thankful for GOD doing or showing me in the past few days.


Whatever is true – My roommate Cindy who prays over me with Your words of truth that I am loved by you, chosen by you to do your will, made by you to love others deeply and freed by you to live loved.


Whatever is noble – The birds singing in the trees and the flowers blooming that bring joy to my heart.


Whatever is right – My nephews Sam and Troy calling to facetime with me and share about their week as they are going to online school. Thank you for all the laughter as they ate their lunch and their 3-year-old brother Zeke kept saying he was a dragon.


Whatever is pure – A special, close time with a few friends while listening to the message about Zacchaeus on Sunday.


Whatever is lovely – The new deck on the back of Cindy’s house that was given to us so we can enjoy the sunshine while we eat lunch.


Whatever is admirable – My brother Jonathan who called me on the phone to talk through my struggles with no judgement.


Anything excellent – Our friend Lola encourages us with her laughter. She is staying with us right now because she cannot go home to Nigeria.


or praiseworthy – The gift of music to sing at the top of my lungs (and Cindy and Lola not complaining about it).


As I read these Bible verses out loud my spirit became calmer. Next I read the verse and what I am thankful to GOD for showing me out loud. I invite you to take a few minutes and write out your own thoughts. What do you want to dwell on to give thanks to our great heavenly Father? Consider starting a gratitude journal where you write down 3 things or 5 things or 10 things that you are grateful to the LORD for each day. Perhaps you want to keep it by your bed to record them before you go to sleep and the next day you can share them with your PBS Group and Facebook friends. Then let’s sing our favorite song of praise to our King as we wash our hands for 20 seconds. The GOD of peace is with us.




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