hope and a future after COVID-19

When you feel like giving up, endure.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

JEREMIAH 29:11 

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

hope and a future

Christians often read, quote, and share this scripture when they want to encourage someone starting a new venture, like graduating, starting a business, or to deepen someone’s faith.

It’s not wrong to do that, but by taking the verse out of context, we miss much of the richness and the true inspiration of the passage.

Earlier in the book of Jeremiah we learn that the people he was writing to were enslaved people, who were refugees from their native country; not just refugees, but exiles. Life was tough; it had been for a long time, and would be for a long time more. This is what had been done to them.

” I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 

 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 

 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”

Jeremiah 25

Now I am certainly not suggesting God sent COVID to us now as punishment or as a divine object lesson. We all know life is not perfect, bad things happen to everyone. But the way we look at our difficulties and what we do with them makes the difference.  

Jeremiah 29:11graphic by alittleperspective.com
graphic created by Christine Miller, http://www.alittleperspective.com/category/perspective/, used by permission

What a Bible scholar says

I’m not a Bible scholar but my friend Jeremy is. He wrote this commentary on Jeremiah 19:11 which he generously shared with me and you.

“This is one of the most misused verses in the Bible, but the comfort this verse offers is far deeper than the out of context promise often given to graduates.

This was a specific promise given to specific people as opposed to a universal promise to mankind, and it was made to them while God was destroying their nation, tearing down the Temple, and sending the people into 70 years of captivity in a foreign land.

Families were torn apart, people were enslaved; those left behind in a desolate homeland struggled to survive starvation. This was the setting of the promise.

But the promise God gave them was- no matter how bad things were about to get, God had a plan and He would not abandon them forever. 

The same God who promised Israel their suffering would end, and they would come into a brighter future because of the refining they would experience,  is the same God who brings us into the covenant promises. No matter what fire we are in, if it is the Lord’s chastisement we are enduring, God  will bring us into a better future if we allow the fire to purify us.

When you feel like giving up, endure. These people suffered for 70 years to receive this promise, so we can endure whatever length we must as well. ”

You can read the entire chapter here –Jeremiah 29

 

written by Jeremy Scott Wilson, B.A., Biblical and Theological Studies; M.A., Theological Studies and Church History. Jeremy occasionally blogs at Awakening to basics .

exploring the HEART of faith, hope, and love

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope and love in cursive letters
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a desolate waste

Dr. Jonathan Weinkle, author of Healing People, Not Patients , referenced Jeremiah in a recent blog post about the COVID-19 pandemic.

All we can do is keep breathing.  Breathing in the desolate waste, hoping it will again be tilled one day.

The conditions for that tilling, however, are faith, repentance, and repair.  We don’t get to just decide to go back and till the desolate waste and expect crops to sprout abundantly.  We have to work for it. 

Another prophet, Jeremiah, predicted, as the Jews were still in the process of being exiled from the land by the Babylonians, “Houses, vineyards and fields will again be purchased in this land.”  But he meant seventy years thence, not the next day.  Things had to happen, conditions had to change, before that could happen.

Dr. Weinkle

Read his post at

Keep Breathing

Viral Words from Bonhoeffer

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, I remembered Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German clergyman and son of a physician.

dietrich Bonhoeffer

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, I remembered Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German clergyman and son of a physician. He lived in Germany during the Nazi era, and tried to save lives by following his conscience.

one act of obedience is better than 100 sermons- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
graphic courtesy of Lightstock.com

For that, he was executed and is considered to be a martyr for his faith.

Review the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer at this

previous post .

a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer
graphic courtesy of Lightstock.com

sharing faith, hope, and love

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

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cheesy-free faith-focused stock photos

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Daily Audio Bible-now read and listen to the Bible in 1 year

Brian Hardin has been podcasting the Bible to hundreds of thousands for over a decade, leading people through the whole Bible every year. Now he’s putting his love of the daily reading of Scripture on to the page. In this collection of 365 readings, you’ll be surprised by how often what you read in the Bible will be a mirror into your own heart and motives.

It’s not too early to think about adding more faith, hope, and love to your life next year. One way I do so is reading the Bible.

The Bible is long and sometimes complicated, so reading every chapter in a year is daunting. But Brian Hardin and his crew from Daily Audio Bible have made it doable.

Brian Hardin, creator of Daily Audio Bible, reads from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs every day of the year. His daughter China reads from the Chronological Bible every day. (That’s the order the events occurred, rather than the way the books in the Bible are arranged.)

And there are versions available for kids and teens, and in multiple languages including Spanish, French, Arabic, and Japanese.

How to listen

Accessing the DAB is easy – and FREE.

And that’s not all

Now there is another option- a daily devotional book to read along with the daily Bible readings.

The One Year Adventure with the God of Your Story by Brian Hardin

This is an affiliate link, used to earn a commission from sales made through it. The funds go to support the expense of publishing this blog.

The daily devotional entries parallel the readings that Brian does each day.

Brian Hardin has been podcasting the Bible to hundreds of thousands for over a decade, leading people through the whole Bible every year. Now he’s putting his love of the daily reading of Scripture on to the page. In this collection of 365 readings, you’ll be surprised by how often what you read in the Bible will be a mirror into your own heart and motives.

Amazon

I’ve already purchased a copy of the devotional so I’ll be ready on January 1. But I skipped ahead a little to share with you a quote from the January 5 entry, when Brian introduces the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. It’s one of my favorite passages of scripture and I’ve shared several blog posts using verses from it.

In Matthew’s gospel Jesus began to teach one of his foundational messages known as the Sermon on the Mount. This disruptive message describes a world that we long for but have no idea how to achieve-which may be the point.

 Jesus spoke of the countless blessings (the Beatitudes) for those who reach the end of their own strength and ability only to find God there. We are happiest when we depend on God for everything we are and everything we will ever be

Brian Hardin

sharing faith, hope, and love next year

So whether you buy Brian’s book or not, I hope you will follow along with me at the Daily Audio Bible. It will only cost you a little time but I think you will find it a worthwhile investment.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

The Daily Audio Bible is supported by donations and sales of products on the website. This blog gains no financial benefit from them and DAB did not compensate me for this blog post.

Some posts from the Sermon on the Mount on this blog

More ways to win over depression

Sheila was Walsh an accomplished singer when she became co-host of The 700 Club. She seemed to be at the peak of her career publicly but privately she was careening downward. One evening she left the studio on the verge of suicide and checked into a mental hospital .

In another post I told you about depression from the viewpoint of blogger Darren Rowse of ProBlogger,com. He shared how he has dealt with depression, steps that I endorse and recommend to my patients. In this post I talk about another public person who has depression and uses her insights to help others.

Sheila Walsh-singer, speaker, author

Sheila was an accomplished singer when she became co-host of The 700 Club. She seemed to be at the peak of her career publicly but privately she was careening downward. One evening she left the studio on the verge of suicide and checked into a mental hospital .

Since then she has lived with depression but not under the weight of depressive feelings.

” After entering the hospital, Sheila went through therapy and evaluation. Along the way, she discovered things about herself that were harmful. For example, when she was unable or unwilling to deal with what was true about her life, she buried it.

“You can try for years to deny the things that are tearing at your soul, but they will not go away. They thrive in the shadowlands, and if you don’t deal with them, they will one day deal with you.”

Sheila

Her doctor determined that she was severely clinically depressed. She had all the classic signs:

  • insomnia,
  • loss of memory,
  • loss of appetite,
  • overwhelming feelings of hopelessness,
  • loss of emotional control, and
  • an unbearable sadness.

Sheila’s doctor helped her understand that mental illness is a reality, a treatable reality, and there is no shame there. Through prayer, reading the Bible, therapy, and medication Sheila began to manage her depression. At the end of thirty days, Sheila left the hospital and returned to CBN to say goodbye. ”

from CBN.com

Sheila’s top 4 tips

In a radio interview with Jenny Dean Schmidt of Channel Mom, Sheila lists 4 things that help her deal with depression.

  • walking her dogs
  • listening to worship music
  • sleeping well
  • staying in touch with trusted friends who “know all about me”

“a kind supportive boss”

In this interview with her former boss, Pat Robertson, Sheila explains how his kind and caring support, medication, and her faith helped her overcome depression .

These are all similar to things Darren mentioned in his article- exercise (walking), getting a dog, telling friends and family, medication, and prayer/meditation.

This post contains affiliate links which, by paying a commission if used for a purchase, help me fund this blog and share the HEART of health around the world.

How Sheila was “Loved Back to Life”

In this book, Sheila tells her story of her recovery from depression.

Sheila’s “Unexpected Grace”

I enjoyed Sheila’s story about supporting her mother-in-law through a cancer diagnosis.

Unexpected Grace is a tender account of the relationship between a mother and daughter-in-law and how they discovered extravagant grace in the midst of what could have been the most tragic experience of their lives. Their story will encourage you and help you see how God can bring good out of even the bleakest circumstances. “

Sheila Walsh

available on Kindle Unlimited and Audible

I hope you enjoy listening to Sheila sing You Raise Me Up

If you haven’t read it already, please read my post about how Darren Rowse manages to control his depression.

How to relieve depression in 11 simple steps

If you are depressed and thinking about or planning suicide, please stop and call this number now-

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

this is the day the lord has made

watercress words-exploring the HEART of freedom from depression

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

February Timely Topics-Love and Hearts

Valentine’s Day is February 14. Don’t forget to share words of faith, hope, and LOVE.

Celebrate Hearts

February is American Heart Month. On this blog you can find information and inspiration to keep your heart healthy.

7 Steps to a Healthy Heart

Celebrate Love

Valentine’s Day is February 14. Don’t forget to share words of faith, hope, and LOVE.

tree with red leaves shaped like a heart
William Shakespeare, English playwright, , poet, and actor graphic from Lightstock.com, stock photo site

Love is- 1 Corinthians, the Message

exploring and sharing the HEART of health

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Suggestions for you

Do you need Valentine’s Day gift ideas? Consider products from these affiliate links, or any other affiliate links on the HOME page. You’ll be helping me fund this blog.

468x60 Happy Valentine's Day with LOVE Take a food journey around the world
pure,safe, and beneficial skin care products and makeup.

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The best meal you can eat

“When we Pray the Scriptures, we begin by reading a few verses of the Bible. We read unhurriedly so that we can listen for the message God has for us there. ”

“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.  Matthew 5:6 CEB

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

Matthew 5:6 Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness

The Upper Room® is a global ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual life of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully.

From its beginnings in 1935 as a daily devotional guide, The Upper Room has grown to include publications, programs, prayer support, and other resources to help believers of all ages and denominations move to a deeper level of faith and service.”

Copyright 2018 The Upper Room

(Affiliate links that pay a commission to this blog are used in this post, your use helps fund this blog)

This verse is from a Bible passage called the Beatitudes, Matthew 5: 3-11, which introduces  Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This version, The Common English Bible,  uses “happy”, while most others use “blessed” as The Message does

 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. Matthew 5:6, MSG

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

The Contemporary English Version puts it a different way, making God the subject of the sentence.

“God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink.
They will be given what they want!” Matthew 5:6 CEV

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

And in Spanish, the Nueva Biblia Viva reads

“¡Dichosos los que tienen hambre y sed de justicia, porque quedarán satisfechos! “Mateo 5:6 NBV

© 2006, 2008 por Biblica, Inc.® Usado con permiso de Biblica, Inc.® Reservados todos los derechos en todo el mundo.

THE BEST MEAL YOU WILL EAT-WWW.WATERCRESSWORDS.COM-

What do these verses mean to you?

Using this guide from The Upper Room, try praying these Scriptures- use one of these versions, all of them, or others that you prefer.

“When we Pray the Scriptures, we begin by reading a few verses of the Bible. We read unhurriedly so that we can listen for the message God has for us there. ” Continue reading at 

Praying the Scriptures

man with hands folded in prayer
photo from Lightstock .com, stock photos and graphics(affiliate)

In her memoir, FIRE ROAD- the Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace ,  author  Kim Phuc Phan Thi  wrote,

“One of the passages that never failed to comfort me when I was feeling especially down was the Beatitudes, the  list of blessings Jesus proclaimed to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount.”

Please continuing  reading at my related post

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

Thanks for joining me to read and explore these words of faith, hope, and love and for helping me share the HEART of health. 

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope and love in cursive letters
another inspirational graphic from the Lightstock.com collections of stock images, an affiliate link

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

Just as there may be many ways to define or describe being blessed, there are many ways to define health or describe being healthy. I addressed this in a previous post that I hope you will read.

This section of the Bible book Matthew is known as The Beatitudes.

Matthew recorded these lessons that Jesus taught in his “Sermon on the Mount” , some of the most well known and often quoted verses of the Bible.

a ceramic cross with the Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-10
The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-10

The dictionary defines  beatitude as “a state of utmost bliss or supreme blessedness.”

Beatitude inherited its blessedness from the Latin word beatus, meaning both “happy” and “blessed.” In the Bible, the Beatitudes are a series of eight blessings, such as “Blessed are those poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” And in 1958 writer Jack Kerouac coined the term “The Beat Generation” because he felt its members were seeking beatitude. (vocabulary.com)

Most modern English translations of the Bible use the words blessed or happy in these verses. The Easy-to-Read version calls it “great blessings.”

The Amplified Bible lives up to its name using several different words to express these sentiments. These include

  • spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired
  • forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace
  • inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect
  • joyful, nourished by God’s goodness
  • anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature
  • spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor
  • comforted by inner peace and God’s love
  • morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Just as there  may be many ways to define or describe being blessed, there are many ways to define health or describe being healthy. I addressed this in a previous post that I hope you will read.

 

 

Improving health with 7 life elements

(Here is a brief excerpt)

Spiritual Wellness – what brings, peace, harmony, and purpose to our lives.

woman with hands bowed in prayer

Our sense of ethics, morals, right, and wrong is usually based on what we believe to be true and meaningful,  and likely involves faith and support for an organized belief system or religion. Without belief in something, our lives can drift aimlessly and we can fall into restlessness, doubt our purpose, and lose hope for the future.

Both states-blessed and healthy– may be determined

not by what we have, but by who we are,

not by what we get, but what we give,

not by chasing them, but by living them.

Maybe they are both a journey, not a destination.

The Beatitudes- How to be blessed, happy and healthy- watercresswords.com

I’ve written more about the Beatitudes and other lessons from the Sermon on the Mount. Here is one.

 

 

 

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.”  (Matthew 5:6)

“I would run my finger along those phases, wondering if those words could really be true. If I pursue your ways, God, will you really satisfy that which is hungry in me?”                    

excerpt  from FIRE ROAD 

                                Read a review of  FIRE ROAD 

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Please share this post and follow Watercress Words for more words of

faith, hope, and love

(1 Corinthians 13:13)

Thank you so much.    Dr. Aletha                 

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