A Biblical Response to The Coronavirus Outbreak

Yesterday as we were eating supper, I changed the TV from the kid’s shows that had been entertaining my littles to the evening news. As I watched the non-stop coverage of the growing Coronavirus pandemic I could feel fear and anxiety rising up in me. I was overwhelmed by the worldwide effects of this new illness as it is shutting down whole economies! This is NOT our Biblical Response to The Coronavirus Outbreak!!

After supper we loaded up as a family to take several boxes of snack bags to our parent ministry We Will Go. Holy Spirit used Amy Lancaster to bring the situation into Biblical perspective.

We are serving and ministering to the poorest population in our nation. There are no stockpiles. There is no savings. Kids are out of school and the single mom is faced with a decision: leave the kids at home and go to work, or stay home and don’t get paid. How does she make it without her paycheck?

What is our Biblical Response to The Coronavirus Outbreak? The Bible says “Do not fear” 365 times. Once for every day of the year! And the word “fear” is used over 500 times in the KJV! God has a LOT to say about fear!!

Will I give into fear and stockpile resources for my own family? Will I retreat into the safe bubble of my own home and be held hostage by fear? This is a fear based world view.

A Biblical world view says that I will not fear.

But when I am afraid,

    I will put my trust in you.

I praise God for what he has promised.

    I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?

    What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4 NLT

When fear attempts to creep in, I will declare my TRUST in the LORD! I will declare Psalm 91 over myself and my family! I will use my voice to speak Truth OUT LOUD!

Our Biblical Response to The Coronavirus Outbreak in Regards to Stockpiling

A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosityj— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

Acts 2:43-47 NLT

Our Biblical Response to The Coronavirus Outbreak in regards to stockpiling is that we will continue to serve the Lord by sharing our resources with our neighbors in need. By sharing what we have today, we are declaring our trust in the Lord to provide for tomorrow! I am reminded of the Lord providing manna for the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They were commanded to gather ONLY what they needed for that day, and anything extra they gathered in disobedience rotted overnight! This season of scarce resources is an opportunity for the Lord God Almighty to perform miracles of multiplication!! We are certainly praying for multiplication over our last 3 rolls of toilet paper!!

Our Biblical Response to The Coronavirus Outbreak in Regards to Social Distancing

Our Biblical Response to The Coronavirus Outbreak in regards to Social Distancing is that as a family we are honoring the request of our government officials to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.

We are choosing to worship from home DAILY instead of attending services at our church.

We will continue to check on our neighbors and meeting their needs as we are able based on the resources the Lord provides.

We will continue to have other believers over to our house to share meals and pray together.

We will be constantly diffusing DoTerra OnGuard in our home. And each member of our family has their own bottle of OnGuard sanitizing spray! We will wash our hands often and disinfect our home daily. We will continue to build our immunity by taking DoTerra LLV supplements daily.

We WILL NOT live in fear! We WILL NOT stop serving the Lord!! We WILL share His love as we share the resources He provides!!

How can you help?

  1. PRAY!
    • Pray for the Lord to provide for the needs of our neighbors through His unlimited resources!
    • Pray for divine health for us, our neighbors, and our entire community!
    • Pray for an atmosphere of PEACE to overwhelm our community!
  2. GIVE!
    • CLICK HERE to give financially
    • Email us at meridith@redeemer54.com if you would like to donate non-perishable food items and/or paper products.
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Emily + Cameron | Engagement

Vicksburg Mississippi Engagement Session

I love engagement sessions, and this Vicksburg, MS engagement session with Emily + Cameron did not disappoint!

I picked Emily up at 5:00 and drove to meet up with Cameron at her family’s cabin outside of Vicksburg. I just loved getting to know Emily and her heart for Jesus on our car ride! We talked about church, ministry, worship, and her plans for including Jesus as the most important guest on her wedding day! I also loved hearing more about her love story and Cameron’s relentless pursuit of Emily’s heart!

How They Met

Emily + Cameron met during high school through their church youth group. He pursued, and love blossomed. High school graduation did not deter these two, and their love has continued to grow despite the long distance with Cameron at Ole Miss.

Proposal Story

On the four year anniversary of when they started dating, Cameron took Emily out on a date. After their dinner, he took her to the swinging bridge in Byram to talk. This is something they did often, so she didn’t suspect anything. As they were walking across the bridge, Cameron got down on one knee and asked Emily to spend forever with him! Emily immediately said yes, knowing without a doubt that this is the man Jesus created just for her!

Emily + Cameron, I have prayed for you as I edited the images from your engagement session. As I prayed, the word FAITHFUL kept coming to my mind. I sense the Lord saying, “Well done! Thank you for being faithful to Me, even in your dating and engagement relationship.” He took me to the verse from Matthew 25:21 where it says, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” I feel that with you marriage He is bringing you into a season of deep happiness and joy!

Emily + Cameron, I enjoyed my time with you on your Vicksburg, MS engagement session. I am looking forward to celebrating with you on your wedding day in May!

Vicksburg Mississippi Engagement Session

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The Beauty of Vulnerability: Part Seven

First Marriage – disappointment, verbal abuse, rape and depression

My first marriage had the outward appearance of a fairy tale, but that was far from the truth. I was trapped in bondage of guilt, shame, and self-condemnation. I looked to my husband for affirmation and was belittled and beat down with words. The guilt and shame would come rushing in when we had sex. I would cry almost every time, overwhelmed by these feelings. I continued to withdraw more and more.

Six months into our marriage I vividly remember my husband pushing me onto the bed and holding me down as he forced himself on me. Throughout the rest of our marriage he would simply wait for me to fall asleep and I would wake up in the middle of what should be an act of love and intimacy. As the years went on I slipped deeper and deeper into depression.

Alcohol and the affair

I believed that it was up to me to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I began making myself get out and do things with my husband, which meant spending time on the back of his Harley and going to bars and bike rallies. I believed it was ok because I was hanging out with the Christian Motorcycle Association folks… at least part of the time.

I remember one night at a bar with a group of our biker friends. One of the girls bought a round of tequila shots. I had never taken a shot of anything at this point and had only been drunk a couple of times on accident, never intentionally. As she pressured me to take the shot with the group, my husband glared at me with anger and said no. A defiant spirit rose up in me and I looked him in the eyes as I took that first shot. This would be the first time I set out to intentionally get drunk.

As I got to know some people and began to become comfortable with the environment I began to enjoy it and decided I wanted to learn how to ride myself. Originally it was for the practical reason of wanting to be able to ride for help in case of an emergency, but as I began to learn to ride I discovered a new level of freedom I had never experienced before. I became hungry for more freedom. I gained confidence I hadn’t known in many years.

Within just a couple of months I bought my own bike, and a short six months later upgraded to a Harley Sportster 1200 Custom. Each taste of freedom feed a spirit of rebellion in me. I began to seek attention from inappropriate sources and inappropriate ways. I was so hungry for male attention and falsely believed that flirting was innocent as long as I didn’t act on it. I could receive the attention that I craved without sacrificing my illusion of purity.

As I got deeper into the darkness of biker culture I began to have men proposition me. The first time this happened my husband was standing next to me and it was a friend of his that simply said “hey, want to go have sex?” I was shocked as my husband simply laughed it off. The second time I was at the Harley shop and as usual my husband was not by my side. He would disappear and leave me on my own. One of the mechanics that I had befriended flat out asked me if I wanted to have an affair with him. I was shocked that he was serious. I said no, that I was a Christian and believed that sex outside of marriage was a sin. I told my husband of the conversation at my first opportunity. His response was punishment and control, no longer allowing me to go to the Harley Shop. In my anger I told him that what made me mad was that I was receiving attention from other men that I should be receiving from him. He again responded with more control.

Time went by and the tension between us continued to grow. As more and more guys paid attention to me, my confidence grew and I began to fight to be free of my husband’s control. In the end I made the conscious choice to have an affair for the sole purpose of ending my marriage. I knew just enough about the Bible to know that this was the only Biblical way out (definitely a distorted view of scripture) and I knew it was a point of no return.

Looking back I can see that I had strayed so far from what little knowledge that I had of God and was living only for myself. I was living a life of sin and not concerned about the consequences. I was relying on “cheap grace” believing that I could return to God when I was ready… but the truth is that I had no idea how much the Lord really loved me. In my fight for freedom I only found myself in greater bondage to sin. I was perfectly aware of my sin, what I needed was revelation of His overwhelming love for me! I needed to know that I hadn’t gone too far for Jesus to save me.

The Beauty of Vulnerability: Part Five

I am way past due in continuing my story. To be honest, I have been procrastinating. I have put it off because so many of the memories are hard. I have a lot of it already written, but there are gaps. There are parts that I still need to write.

This blog post is a continuation of a series started months ago. If you would like to start at the beginning you can click here for part one. Part two. Part three. And part four. Below is part five. Only Papa God knows how many parts there will eventually be… but this is one more step towards full obedience to what He has asked of me.

Losing My Grandfather: Death Strikes Again

During the spring semester of my ninth grade year of high school, I was once again spending time at the funeral home. It was a place becoming all too familiar.

To be honest, I don’t really remember what happened to my Pop. I know he never seemed to recover from the episode several years earlier, but my memories from this time period are foggy at best. All I really remember is spending several more days at the funeral home seeing family and friends, and yet another trip to the cemetery. This was becoming an all too familiar routine.

Goody-goody, self-righteous church girl/Grow up fast, having it all together, all the right answers

Boy did I think I had it all together in high school! I was in church every time the doors were open, including every youth meeting, event, trip or retreat. I served in leadership, helped with VBS and worked in the nursery. Religion was about keeping a list of what I can and can’t do, and of course staying busy with all the good things I could do for Jesus. In addition to all my church activities, I was also involved in the high school band, choir, show choir, play, several clubs at school, and was on the honor roll most semesters. My theory was that if I stayed busy enough I wouldn’t have to think about everything that had happened.

I was in a cycle of “go, go, go, go, go” then crash in sheer exhaustion. I wanted to do everything, and do it perfectly.

Dream of being a missionary doctor… desire to save the world

I’m not sure exactly when I lost the desire to be a dentist. Was it when Dad was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer practice? Or later when he passed away? By the time I was in high school I knew I wanted to be a doctor. More specifically, I wanted to care for babies and especially newborns. Even more specifically, I wanted to go to Africa and care for the babies and children who were dying of starvation and preventable diseases.

I don’t remember exactly when it was, but there was a missionary from Zimbabwe that spoke to my youth group. He brought pictures of Africa and talked about the work he was involved in there. I don’t even remember if he was part of a medical mission or not, but I know that was the moment the Lord put Africa on my heart. I had grown up seeing the news footage and commercials to adopt starving children in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa, but this was the moment that I knew the Lord was calling me to have a part in His plan for the hurting in the world.

R54 Block Party!

The month of July brought exciting increase and momentum to Redeemer 54 Ministries!! We have been living in the Broadmoor neighborhood for a little over a year, focusing on building relationships with the kids and families on our street… and now was the time to take these relationships a step further!

Several months ago we began attending Grace City Church as a family. They have moved into the old Broadmoor Baptist Church building this year and have a heart and vision for reaching our neighborhood. As we have shared our experience and vision with the leaders of the church and our community group, we have all felt led to partner together to see the Kingdom come in Broadmoor as it is in Heaven!

Our first partnership outreach was to host a Manila Drive Block Party on July 22, bringing all the neighbors together to cook out, have fun, pray for our community and invite all the kids to the Grace City VBS! We had such an amazing turn out from both the church and the neighborhood! Lee and I walked around like kids on Christmas morning, so full of excitement seeing the vision the Lord has given us being fulfilled in this moment!!

We had a space jump, food truck, and our friend Keith from Sow, Reap, Feed showed up to grill corn and had over 250 lbs of vegetables to pass out to our neighbors! We are so excited to partner with both Grace City Church and Sew, Reap, Feed to share the love of Jesus with our neighbors, and see the Light of Christ shine brightly in this part of Jackson!!

Not only did we have a fantastic crowd, but we had 14 of our kids sign up VBS!!! Be sure to catch our next blog post with more on that fun adventure!!!

Enjoy the photos below from our block party, and please pray for these relationships to continue to grow and go deep!!

Bursting Barns Ministries | Missionary Nurture | Lynnville, TN

 

Meet the Perry Family, my dear friends and the heart behind Bursting Barns Ministries in Lynnville, TN. A couple of weeks ago we had the honor of being guests at Bursting Barns for Jill Perry’s Jubilee Birthday Celebration & Ministry Launch!! And come to find out, we were their very first missionary guests!!

Eddy and Jill Perry were in Missionary Nurture Ministry way before they had a name for it. In fact, the vision for this ministry grew from  the many missionaries who stayed in their home over the years.

I first connected with the Perry family while I was attending the Iris Harvest School of Missions in Mozambique, Africa in the summer of 2011. Eddy & Jill’s daughter Brooke, then only 17, was part of a mission team from We Will Go Ministries. Holy Spirit did so much in Brooke and I during that week in the dirt, and our hearts are forever knit together! During the fall of that same year, Brooke traveled from her home in Franklin, TN to We Will Go to visit and serve with us in Jackson, and then she returned with her family and church family for a spring break mission trip! This spring break trip is when I met Jill,  the two younger Perry sons Brent & Blake as well as several from The Nest Church family. Little did I know, this church family would sew spiritual and financial seeds into my heart, vision, and ministry for years to come!

Over the years I have had many opportunities to stay in the Perry home, which we loving called the Perry B&B! This family does hospitality like nobody else! I have so many stories I could share, and many will appear on this blog in the future as I share my own Jesus story… but as I write this blog post about Eddy & Jill and Bursting Barns Ministries, the first thing that comes to my mind is the word FAITHFUL. What started as kind of a joke about the Perry B&B, became a vision. The vision grew through prayer and prophecy. And now, the vision has become a reality! Check out the full story on the Bursting Barns Blog!

Eddy & Jill, we love y’all so much! We believe your ministry of missionary nurture is VITAL to advancing the Kingdom!! We are so thankful for you and your example of faithfulness to keep pressing forward in order to see all that God has promises come into existence!! Praying for ABUNDANT PROVISION for you ministry so you can continue to nurture, refresh and equip missionaries who desperately need it!

 

This Beautiful Mess

As a mom with young children I clean up a lot of messes. And I mean a lot. Daily. And I find myself getting frustrated as I sweep and mop the kitchen floor for the third time in a day due to dropped food or spilled milk. Well, the Lord is teaching me to see the beauty in messes. And it started with the post-meal mess in the photo above.

It was Sunday, July 1st. The day after I shot the Smith-Vaniz 50th Wedding Anniversary party. The sweet family who hired me also sent me home with TONS of BBQ, baked beans & coleslaw that was leftover from the party to use for our ministry. I was so excited because we planned to take some of our neighborhood kids to church with us for the first time and I was going to bring them home for lunch after and serve them the abundance we had received from Pig & Pint! Oh how much joy I had as I envisioned our neighborhood kids gathered around my dining room table enjoying this gift from the Lord!!

But they were not able to come. And my heart hurt. I was feeling so much disappointment and discouragement as our church service started that Sunday morning. As I sat there I chose to worship and I began to pray, asking Holy Spirit how He wanted us to use this food for His glory and His kingdom.

And then it happened. A homeless couple walked in the church. They sat just two rows in front of us. And I knew. Deep down in my spirit I KNEW that this is who would sit at my dinning room table and eat BBQ with us today!

When the service ended we introduced ourselves to them. They told they were homeless and looking for help. We invited them to lunch. At our home. Around my dining room table.

Lee visited with them as I put the babies down for a nap, heated lunch and fixed our plates. The conversation that began in our family room continued over lunch as they shared their stories and we shared ours. The stories they told were incredibly painful. My heart broke as I began to understand what led each of them into addiction and to the streets. And we were here. We were available to share Truth, to share Jesus. To speak life over them.

Throughout our visit, Lee and I were both praying, listening for Holy Spirit to lead us in not only what to say, but also what help to offer. We both felt led to offer them a plan to help them get off the streets, to gift them two nights in a local hotel, and to fix them to go plates with enough food for a couple of days. We talked a lot about Jesus and the freedom He is offering each of them.

The hardest part of ministry is that each person has to choose for themselves. These sweet new friends have our phone numbers. They know where our house is. They know that we are willing to help when they are ready. Will you pray with us for G & P. Pray that the see we had the honor of sewing in their lives will find good soil in their hearts. Pray for them to see the light of Jesus shining through the darkness that surrounds them. Pray that they will CHOOSE to say YES to the One who can save them! Pray that will see them again, have opportunity to love them again.

Oh what an honor it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and dying world.

 

Redeemer 54 Ministries is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable missions organization. We operate completely on faith that the Lord will provide for every need we have as a ministry. One way to support us is through hiring Meridith Lee Photography which supports both our family and ministry. You can also donate directly to Redeemer 54 by using the link below.