by Delores Carr
During this Pandemic time, many of us have spent more time than usual alone. I have never minded being alone. It’s time for thinking, praying even as I do my work, and quieting myself. I enjoy it.
However, I have never had enforced long periods of aloneness. I don’t know if I would like that. Even now, my husband is here after work and weekends. He is an essential worker, so he is coming and going each day. I have someone to talk to, to bounce things off, and someone with whom to interact. I talk occasionally, at a “proper distance” to my neighbor. I email and talk by phone to family and friends.
I received a phone call a couple of days ago from a friend of twenty-seven years who lives in another state. She told me her husband had died suddenly that morning. I was stunned. She did not want to talk. She did not want me to pray with her. She just wanted to let me know.
She hung up, and I began to weep and pray. But HOW do I pray? After all these years of gently witnessing to this couple, I had no assurance he was ready to meet God. He was a good man. He ran his business with honesty and integrity. They were faithful to their old-line church. But they had difficulty seeing their spiritual need.
They knew nothing of God’s Word or about a personal relationship with Him except what we had told them as the Lord had opened opportunities. They were touchy and resistant to talking about spiritual things. One time when I mentioned the Bible, she told me, “We don’t use the Bible in our church. We have prayer books.” I thought at the time, how sad. Just as is described in 2 Kings 22, the Word of God had been lost in the house of God.
So, after hanging up the phone, I prayed in the Spirit according to Acts 8:26-27, as I didn’t know how to pray. Aren’t you thankful for the Holy Spirit at times like this?
It’s never a good time to lose someone you love. Often during this unusual pandemic time in our nation, I have thought how sad that people cannot have a proper funeral with the support of friends and family when death comes. Now my friend is there. We can’t attend his funeral. We can’t be there to say, “We love you” or to comfort her. I can’t offer to come there and help with all the stuff she must deal with.
She is alone.
And she is even more alone as she does not have the personal relationship with a Savior and God. I cannot give her the same healing words of encouragement from the Word that we give our Christian friends and family at these tough times. I don’t know that he is with the Lord. I don’t know that she will see him again someday. So, at this point, we DO grieve as others grieve. It’s awful.
But I can pray. I ask God to somehow make Himself real to her. I pray that she will not become bitter. I pray that God will give her guidance and clarity in working through all the “stuff“ that is associated with the aftermath of a death. Paperwork alone can be overwhelming. And I pray that somehow, she will come to a personal relationship with Him. I pray she will turn to Him for help.
For a moment, stop and thank God that you are never alone when He is your personal Savior. Reflect on what a tremendous blessing that is. Be grateful for His presence whatever your circumstances. Be still and know that He is God–even when you are all alone. Or, maybe especially then.
Delores and her husband, David, have a long and rich history of ministry. From youth pastor to senior pastor, from church planter to teaching in AG Bible colleges, they have covered this nation from coast to coast. Delores has been director and teacher in pre-school programs, filled the pulpit from time-to-time, and a speaker to women's groups. She loves music and writing, and hopes to one day write a book about her family history in the Ozarks.
by Julie Davenport
Keep Calm and Carry On was a slogan printed on posters by the British Government on the eve of World War I as a message of reassurance in the threat of the troubled times ahead. The troubled times did come as they do in all of our lives.
I have needed reassurance in recent months with the passing of my precious mother after her long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was my best friend and loved me unconditionally. Rather than focusing on the difficult days at the end, I am focusing on the wonderful and godly influence she had as my mother and as the grandmother of my children. I am learning to keep calm and carry on.
We each have multiple roles that may include mother, grandmother, pastor's wife, credentialed minister, teacher, co-worker, etc. We influence many around us by the lives we live before them. We influence others daily by being consistent and faithful with the little things as well as the big things.
Carrying on can simply mean to continue what you are doing and not give up. Many times, we can grow weary when troubled times come. However, we can be encouraged to carry on with examples from the life of Timothy given to us in the words of Paul. When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing [carrying on] the work of the Lord, as I am. I Corinthians 16:10 ESV
First, Timothy carried on by living a life of sincere faith. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 2 Timothy 1:5 ESV. He was a very young man. For him to be chosen to go with Paul and Silas on their missionary journey, he must have learned from his godly grandmother and mother. I am reminded of the lives of my own dear Grandmother Perkin, my Mammaw Wilkerson, and my dear mother, Faith. Without their influence, I would never have been able to have the strength for the things I have gone through in my life. I hope I am carrying on some of their traits and influence with my children and grandchildren.
Secondly, Timothy carried on by living a life where others spoke well of him. Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. Acts 16:1-3 ESV. Again we see the influence of Timothy's mother. His mother was Jewish and a believer, BUT his father was Greek (possibly to insinuate that his father wasn't a believer). Paul had Timothy get circumcised—Timothy willingly obeyed and went through the pain of circumcision, because Paul asked him to do it "because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek."—so Paul knew others were watching them. Paul wanted people to speak well of Timothy.
Finally, Timothy carried on by "waging the good warfare" (fighting the battle) and holding on to faith. This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith. I Timothy 1:18-19 ESV. Paul had literal shipwrecks, but here he is talking about shipwrecks with regard to the faith. I am thankful through the shipwrecks of my life I had the example of my parents and grandparents that helped me to not have a shipwreck with regard to the faith. It is worth it to fight the battle well and hold on to faith for the sake of your children and grandchildren. The greatest joy is seeing your faith passed down through the generations. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4 ESV. When we see what we believe passed down to our children, grandchildren, and others in our circle of influence, we realize it is worth it to carry—keep the faith—to pass it on.
"Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." Andy Stanley
If one word could depict a life, Julie Davenport’s would be “redemption.” As a child in the Perkin household, Julie’s character was forged within a legacy of faith, godliness, and ministry. So when she married a charismatic young pastor on the fast-track to prominence, life was everything she’d dreamed it would be . . . on the outside. But inside, alone and hidden from view, Julie endured abuse, betrayal, and infidelities that spiraled to include miscarriage, cancer, divorce, mental illness, and eventually suicide. With a BA in Art Education from Southwest MO State University, Julie served as a parent educator with the Independence MO School District for many years. She is now an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. Today, through speaking engagements and two daughters continuing the legacy of ministry, God is using Julie’s life-story to validate His immeasurable grace and prove His power to redeem what Satan tried so hard to destroy.
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