It is an unprecedented time in our history. It is a time of fear and unease. We are smack dab in the middle of a global pandemic called the coronavirus. A lot of us are “social distancing” right now—or at least, I hope we are. And in response I think people are spending more time on social media.
One of the ways we are coping is by trying to focus on fun and light-hearted things. One of the ones I like that have been going around Face book is people listing songs that fit, or go along with, the COVID-19 crisis. They are naming songs like “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, and “One is the Loneliest Number” by Three Dog Night.
For some reason, as I was lying in bed last night, another song popped into my head. One that I have not thought of in a long time, but realized would be the perfect song to be my “theme” song during this scary time. And, then I realized that it should not only be my theme song, but everyone’s theme song. The song I am referring to is “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle, which, by the way, hit number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 on December 5, 1987. (I was eleven years old.)
In Matthew 22:36-40, Matthew asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If you listen to “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” you will note that it’s more of a romantic-type song. It's a song that sounds like Belinda is singing to her love. Well, if you read the lyrics, you can actually paint a different picture for yourself. Read the words to yourself and direct them towards our Heavenly Father. They don’t need to be romantic at all. When you read them as if towards the Lord, they fit and make so much sense--especially in this time of fear, worry, and the unknown.
When the night falls down
I wait for you and you come around
And the world's alive with the sound
Of kids on the street outside
When you walk into the room
You pull me close and we start to move
And we're spinning with the stars above
And you lift me up in a wave of love
Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth?
Ooh, heaven is a place on earth
They say in heaven love comes first
We'll make heaven a place on earth
Ooh, heaven is a place on earth
When I feel alone, I reach for you
And you bring me home
When I'm lost at sea I hear your voice
And it carries me
In this world we're just beginning
To understand the miracle of living
Baby, I was afraid before
But I'm not afraid anymore
Once we know God as our Lord and Savior, we don’t need to be afraid of anything anymore. As Isaiah 41:10 reminds us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” And, as we learn in Matthew, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
And, Mrs. Carlisle drives all of these point home with this song; "I'm not afraid anymore," “love comes first” and, “we’ll make heaven a place on earth”—just as Jesus tells us. By knowing and trusting in the Lord Jesus, we can do all of these things! What an encouraging and needed reminder in this time of the coronavirus.
We don’t need to physically be near people to love them, encourage them, and uplift them. We only need a heart that cares. So, let’s take Belinda’s advice and put love first and make heaven a place on earth.
We are smack dab in the middle of something I have never experienced before, and pray that I never experience again - a two-week quarantine. This is all thanks to the coronavirus, better known as COVID-19. And, while the quarantine in Georgia is mostly self-imposed at the moment, at the suggestion of White House officials, there are other parts of the world where they are not so fortunate. And, by fortunate, I mean that they are in a mandated quarantine.
Currently, Italy is having an extremely rough time. I would like to ask for all of you to be in prayer for this country and it's people. Of course, you should be praying for everyone here in the U.S. as well. Especially, our doctors, nurses, emergency responders, and anyone working in the medical community and nursing homes.
And, while the present situation is scary because we don't know as much about COVID-19 as we would like, I wanted to take some time today to remind you that the Bible tells us not to worry about anything. This includes COVID-19. And, yes, I know this is easier said than done.
So, to help calm our fears and worries, I thought I would share with you 18 Bible verses about NOT worrying.
As you can see, there are many verses in the Bible that we can turn to and take comfort in when it comes to worrisome situations. These are just 18 verses that I found in my initial search, I am sure there are a lot more that I am missing. But, these 18 are a good place for us to start.
And, the key is for us start--start reading our Bibles, start praying to God as often as we can, start believing in His love for us, and start trusting in His promises. He truly does love and care for us and wants the best for us.
And, once we start doing all of these things, we will realize we truly can STOP worrying--just like the Bible tells us.
Growing in the Lord can sometimes feel like a struggle. In your heart you know you want to be a good Christian and reflect God’s love and light, but you wonder if you are actually doing that. You want to learn and grow and study the Word of God, but you feel like it is time-consuming and arduous. What can you do?
Trust me, I know how hard it can be. It is a busy world. We all have a lot going on. We are parents, spouses, employees, and friends. We all have a lot of things we are responsible for and people we are accountable to. We have jobs to do, houses to clean, errands to run, laundry to wash, and food to cook. And, all of these things are never-ending. (Especially the laundry!)
While growing my relationship with the Lord is a top priority in my life, it recently dawned on me, that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Actually, if you want to, you can make it a simple process. You can grow and will see growth in your spiritual life by taking three easy steps: be thankful, and trust and believe.
Yes, that’s it.
First, be thankful. I have gotten into the habit of thanking God every day as often as I can. Before I get out of bed, I thank God for another day, for my health, for my family, my job, and my home. I sprinkle small “thank yous” to God throughout my day. It helps me stay connected to God and it works wonders on my attitude.
Next, I just trust and believe. I believe in God. I believe that He loves me and wants the best for me. I trust in God. I trust Him to take care of me. I trust His will for my life. I trust His timing. I trust that He will work all things out for my good.
In addition to the above “trusting and believing”, I have cultivated a little “special sauce” I have added to my life. I tell myself that good things will happen. I just make up my mind that good things will happen. And, you know what? They do!
It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Nothing can be that easy. I agree. Most things in life are not this simple. But, with God and your love and belief in Him, it really can be this straightforward.
How can I be so confident? Because I am living it right now.
Nonetheless, I must be completely transparent with you. Getting to this point in my life--where I love and trust and believe in God this much--has taken me years. But, each one of us is different. Just because it has taken me years to get to this stage of my spiritual growth doesn’t mean that it will take you that long. But, maybe it will. Only God knows your future and your path. But I would like to encourage you and help you along your journey as much as I can. That is why I have this blog.
So, I will finish this post by saying that this is now my life. I am thankful and I trust and believe. And, God is showing Himself to me in all sorts of amazing ways. And, I couldn’t be more grateful or thankful for it. Which, is to say, I couldn’t be more thankful and grateful to God and His love for me.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.