By Mark P. Gonzales
Fort Myers, Florida
No matter how much damage we personally sustained from Hurricane Ian, all of us are struggling with grief and are working through the stages of denial, bargaining, depression and anger on the way to acceptance.
Even Jesus grieved in Gethsemane where His Father helped Him, just as He will help us. Here are a few reminders of how God is our disaster relief.
1. He relieves us from hopelessness.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
2. He relieves us from loneliness.
“I will never leave you, or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
3. He relieves us from weariness.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28–29).
4. He relieves us from anxiety.
“Be anxious for nothing … the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7).
5. He relieves us from helplessness.
“… do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on” (Matt. 6:25).
Editor’s Note — Mark P. Gonzales is an associational mission strategist serving as executive director of Royal Palm Association of Churches, SBC in Fort Myers, Florida.
“Invest in people to help them become true — and fully functioning — followers of Jesus.”
Richard Blackaby, Author and Bible Study leader
To some, because she has no way of knowing if Naomi’s people will accept her, Ruth’s decision to leave Moab and her family to go to a foreign land seems foolish, but the Lord fulfills her, not seeing foolishness but loyalty and faith.
Addie Lee Frierson
“5 Women in Matthew 1: Ruth”
Be bold in the Lord as God’s missionary to your personal community. Tell others what Jesus Christ means to you. Ask a friend, fellow worker or neighbor to attend Bible study or worship with you.
Heavenly Father, thank You for all things. Father, thank You for every time You remind us of the consequences when we don’t think for ourselves, or when we allow appearance and power to rob us from making better decisions.
Please guide us so we don’t allow peer pressure to make decisions for us. Sometimes in the midst of the situation, we feel trapped or helpless. Please, Lord, give me strength to stand firm in Your promise and in “the right thing to do.”
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Vernet C. Nettles
Thank you for the recent articles about the ministry of Baptist associations.
You have always shared those stories, but the most recent ones have been so on target and so needed that I had to respond.
For the first 42 years of my life, I benefited from, but was oblivious to, the power of associational ministry.
While I enjoyed association-wide softball, missions, Bible Drills, Royal Ambassadors basketball and other activities, I did not fully realize who or what was behind all of this. It was associational directors of missions and their colleagues.
Over the past 21 years of my life, I have seen the power of associational ministry in the form of hands-on missions, missions partnerships, WMU missions and ministry activities, community outreach, disaster relief and other ways we serve as the hands, feet, mouths and hearts of God.
Southern Baptists are at their best when they come together in the name of and for the glory of God.
We are blessed to be led by an army of godly men and women who serve God and us through associational ministry.
Thank you, The Baptist Paper, for the reminder.
David George, president
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” —Romans 1:16
From the Twitterverse
I am sure that if we spent more time praying for one another, rather than criticizing, then our lives would have much more of a godly influence. I know it sounds idealistic, but I am personally convicted about it.
What Jesus provides us is always better and more satisfying than anything this fallen world has to offer.
Disciples aren’t made in crowds; they’re made in community.
No amount of money or possessions can satisfy you. Whom you marry or where you go on vacation won’t fulfill either. Because you’re not just body, mind & emotions. You were made in God’s image. And God is Spirit. Your spirit — your innermost being — is the real you, and it was made for God.
Laughter is medicine for the soul. Thanks for this reminder, @DrJoeMcKeever.
From Jesus alone is freedom from condemnation, fullness in His righteousness, eternal vitality in His given life, indissoluble union in fellowship with Him. —The Life Look
Lord, I thank You that You are the perfect match for my every need. I am weak. You are strength. I am hesitant. You are assurance. I am confused. You are confidence. I am tired. You are rejuvenation. You are all that I need and so much more.
The world has fallen so in love with lies that the truth feels like hate.
Oh, blessed trust! To trust Him whose power will never be exhausted, whose love will never wane, whose kindness will never change, whose faithfulness will never fail, whose wisdom will never be nonplussed, and whose perfect goodness can never know a diminution! —C.H. Spurgeon