The Old Spot2020-03-25T01:33:23-05:00

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Read today’s reflection on Romans

T H I S   D A Y   |   Mar 24 Devotional with Paul Sands

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Devotionals

1903, 2020

Too Much Time on Our Hands: How to Sabbath When You’re Stuck at Home

March 19th, 2020|0 Comments

A really wise guy once said, “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.”  Then he goes on to talk about a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to embrace and a time to practice social distancing.  To be honest, I have to admit that I had never heard of social distancing until about a week ago.  These are weird times, but I know that God’s got this.  It’s so easy to see that this is a time for rest, a time for family, a time to slow down, and a time to trust the LORD at a deeper level.  As Joshua and his sidekicks told the children of Israel that one time, “Hey, we have not passed this way before.”  True then, true now. So, what now – especially during this time while we are logging in unprecedented hours in our homes?  The funniest tweet I saw this weekend was from a fellow in Florida who revealed, “Day 2 without sports:  Found a young lady sitting on my couch yesterday.  Apparently, she’s my wife. She seems nice.”   So here we are, sitting on the couch, with some serious time on our hands – maybe looking at family members who are in the same boat.  To lift an ‘80’s rock lyric, “I’ve got nothing to do and all day to do it.”  So, what to do?  Let’s take a look at the word sabbath. Sabbath always comes to mind when we think of the creation story where on the seventh day God rested (shabath).  Eugene Peterson says it’s more than just a day off.  It means quit, stop, take a break, cool it.  He goes on to say that Sabbath-keeping should mean “uncluttered time and space to distance ourselves from the frenzy of our own activities so we can see what God has been and is doing.”  Well, have we ever found ourselves more distanced from the frenzy of our activities? We are constantly complaining about how quickly time flies.  Well, have you noticed how slow time has passed these last few days?  See this as a gift – an opportunity to live a little deeper.  Remember, this is a very strange trip we’re all on right now.  So, let’s look at how we might take advantage of this sabbath time: Limit screen time. If during this unique time, we just go off to our rooms and stare at our screens, what a missed opportunity.  That is not sabbath.  That is just turning your brain into mush. It’s an age-old discipline, but have some designated quiet time for reading scripture, journaling, and praying. This could be the time when you finally plug that into your busy life. Speaking of reading, isn’t about time you read more books? If you’re already a reader, you don’t need any encouragement.  If not, here’s your opportunity.  It’s been said that a reader lives a [...]

1403, 2020

Faith and COVID-19: Wisdom and Fear

March 14th, 2020|0 Comments

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’" Matthew 4:5-7 "Live without fear; walk in faith." These are good watch words for all Christians, but we need to understand them correctly. As we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, we hear some Christians saying that living without fear and walking in faith means acting as if nothing is wrong. According to this mindset, practicing self-quarantine and social distancing are signs of fear and lack of faith. After all, shouldn't Christians face times like this with boldness, trusting in God's protection? Isn't it a sign of strong faith to show up for worship on Sunday? In a word: "No!" The gospels tell us that Jesus was tempted in the desert in the weeks before his ministry began. One of those temptations was that Jesus should jump off the temple because scripture said that God wouldn't allow him to come to harm. Imagine how this kind of stunt could have jump-started Jesus' ministry! To jump off the temple and be caught by angels would be a spectacle that would earn him an instant following. More than this, wouldn't it seem like a good thing for Jesus to prove his faith in such an extreme way before beginning his ministry? The tempter certainly seems to have thought so. Jesus didn't take the bait. Yes, he knew that Psalm 91 said that God would protect him. But he also knew that Deuteronomy 6:16 instructed that we should not put the Lord our God to the test. Rather than testing his faith by putting himself in harm's way, Jesus practiced wisdom and stepped away from the edge. It's important to note here that Jesus was not a coward in taking this course of action. The rest of his ministry shows Jesus to be strong, courageous, and full of faith. He wasn't afraid to face adversity when his ministry called for it. But that wasn't the case when the tempter took him to the top of the temple. The true test of Jesus' faith here wasn't to jump, but instead to be confident enough in his relationship with God to walk away. Yes, we Christians are called to live without fear. Yet, we are also called to walk in wisdom. To put ourselves at risk to prove our faith is to put the Lord our God to the test. In a moment like this, the call is to walk in wisdom and be good neighbors. To be faithful in this moment means that we heed the instructions we are receiving about keeping ourselves safe and slowing the spread of [...]

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