How has God been at work?

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Devotional Word for Monday, June 15, 2020

These devotional thoughts began as a way of maintaining contact with folk as everything was shutting down and everyone was under a shelter-in-place mandate. Today, June 15, marks three months since we at Leidy’s Church suspended public services of worship. A lot has happened since then. There’s a passage I want us to listen to today. It is Ephesians 3:20-21 and it encapsulates how we should respond to the past three months. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

I have been able to maintain contact with many folk, including many new folk with whom I didn’t have contact previously! Praise God for that. It’s been good to hear from people from across the country as well as from across the Leidy’s Church congregation about these devotions. Though I’ve not been able to respond to each person, it’s been a blessing to me to hear from you. 

Our congregation officially re-opened a week ago yesterday. One thing the lockdown produced among us was an appreciation of how much we missed (and needed and longed for) public, corporate worship with a local body of believers. It’s been joyous to begin to worship together again. 

One of the effects of this shutdown is breaking the stranglehold that sports had on so many of our lives and schedules. It’s been liberating not to have to schedule around lacrosse practices and weekend travel team journeys to tourneys and the ups and downs of major league sports franchises. May the Lord keep us free from future entanglements!

For over twenty years Leidy’s Church has sent summer mission teams to various Native Reserves in far northwest Ontario. This is the first year since 1995 that we will not be sending a team anywhere in the north country. Those communities and the people who live there, however, remain in our hearts and in our prayers. That’s why Ephesians 3:20-21 is so appropriate. Though we cannot go to the Reserves, nothing restricts the Lord from working there! I want to read from a letter we received from Colleen Estes who works in the Pikangikum community. This is a Reserve that’s been plagued by substance abuse, domestic violence, suicide, and a sense of hopelessness. The last three months present a classic case of adding by subtracting. 

In the midst of everything currently going on in the world, Pikangikum is probably one of the safest, happiest places on earth! I betcha never thought you would hear me say that! We are so thankful for His protection from Covid-19. The community has been under lockdown since March 22nd, meaning that we are not allowed out of the community except for medical appointments, and those returning need to quarantine for 14 days. An 11pm to 6am curfew is enforced. There have been these restrictions, but other than that, life is pretty normal; rather, much better than normal. With the travel ban, the torrent of alcohol into the community has been reduced to a trickle. What an incredible difference that has made in individual lives and in the atmosphere in Pikangikum! People are fishing with their kids, baking beautiful cakes and pies and selling them, quilting, exercising on the school track, putting decks on their homes, and flying out to their traditional traplines for weekend hunting trips. There seems to be an increase in kindness in the community, and definitely a decrease in violence. Facebook posts are often of morning Bible readings and beautiful sunsets. We lost our summer last year due to forest fire evacuations, and now there is an intensified appreciation of the treasure of the lakes and land.

. . . There is reaching out to others in need. Hallelujah! Please pray especially for Pastor Simeon Moose. He has been working very hard with nightly prayer meetings, services, outreach, mentoring three young men, in addition to working full time. He needs healing in his body, especially in his feet, from the effects of diabetes. God is using Simeon in a mighty way!

How about you? Can you take stock of your life since mid-March and see where Ephesians 3:20-21 might be applicable? Let’s take time today to reflect how God has done far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. Let’s take time to notice how He has been working in us and through us. Let’s take time to give the glory to Him. We praise God for His goodness to us.

Let us pray: Almighty God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – we lift our hearts and voices to You with thanksgiving. You alone are the one, true, living God. You are the One who makes big, barren rocks to gush forth rivers of water. You take our lives and bless them by Your presence. You bring us peace and joy in the midst of harsh realities. We thank You for what You’re doing in the Pikangikum community. We pray for Simeon Moose – help him in spirit, soul, and body. And continue to use Colleen Estes to accomplish Your good purposes. We are humbled by Your care and thankful for Your provision. Open our eyes to perceive what You are doing in each of us. To You be all glory, forever and ever. Amen.