My Safe Place

My Safe Place

During this crisis, which has mandated “social distancing” and “sheltering in,” I think on all that I’m grateful for; a good and strong husband, capable and resourceful children, healthy and happy grandchildren, a loving family…all sheltered in safety; secure. But, I’ve also thought about and prayed for the less fortunate…those who even before this crisis were not safe or secure, whether from food insecurity, financial insecurity, physical and mental illness, homelessness or domestic abuse. How much more might they be suffering now? Think about it!

Have you ever been terrified? Have you ever been without provisions? Have you ever experienced hurt? Have you ever felt alone? When it seems like nothing or no one in this world can help…Where do you go? What do you do? Where do you turn? Everyone needs a safe place.

As for me, I learned to reach for God, like a vulnerable little child climbing onto “Papa’s lap.” In my mind, all I hear is His heartbeat. All I feel is the warmth of His embrace soothing my soul…My Safe Place.

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” — Matthew 19:14 (NIV)

As we continue to celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, let us embrace and share our Salvation…which literally means the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction…our SAFE PLACE.

My Safe Place
Fern Walker Jones

I put my head on your chest
And I hear your heart beating
I feel the rhythm
And the cares of my soul start melting

You are my safe place
I rest in your warm embrace
On your lap cradled in your arms
I’m sheltered from all harm

You are My Safe Place
Yes, You are
You are my Safe Place

Why do we look for love in man(kind)
Just to have our hearts broken
God proved His PERFECT LOVE
When he sacrificed His only Son

You are My Safe Place
And I no longer feel disgraced
On the cross you erased sin from me
Your greatest gift of love is life eternally

You are My Safe Place
Lord You are
You are My Safe Place

I take refuge in
The shelter of Your wings
My strong and mighty tower
Praises will I sing

So I have my head on Your chest
And I hear your heart beating
I feel the rhythm
And the cares of my soul ARE melting

You are My Safe Place
Until the day I see Your face
I’m on Your lap cradled in Your arms
Sheltered from ALL harm

Stop and Smell the Roses

Stop and Smell the Roses

Eli and Fern JonesI’ve heard “Stop and Smell the Roses” for so many years.  My mom, Elvira Jones, used to say it, and dozens of family members and very close friends have told me the same.  Somehow it sunk into my spirit and stayed there.  I know this to be true, because during this time that we all have been sheltering in place, I got to spend more time at home with my wife.  Just the two of us.  I got the opportunity to stop and smell the roses.

On April 16, 2020, Fern and I celebrated 37 years together as husband and wife.  She and I have endured a lot over that period of time – ups and downs, like everyone else I suppose.

On July 27, 2019, we lost a daughter.  Afterwards, I continued working, and Fern continued to work on music.  We went on about our daily lives pausing here and there for a few moments to tear up but never stopping long enough to fully absorb what happened.  I guess that was our way of coping with the pain of losing a child.

And now I’m working at home, and she’s still working on music, but we’re together day and night.

The Spring of 2020 will go down in history meaning many different things to so many people, but I hope many of us will remember stopping to smell the roses.  Prayerfully, I believe so many of us are looking past the negatives of this “crisis” and counting our blessings.

Deuteronomy 28:2 says, “All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God.”  I am grateful for my family, my friends, my mom who planted the seed in me to stop and smell the roses, and my wife, who told me today, “It’s nice having you home.”  Happy Anniversary Fern.  I love you.

Be Still and Know

Be Still and Know

(My thoughts for today)

Given today’s pandemic of COVID-19, I am often led to the Psalms, which is like a healing balm to my soul. Psalms 46:10 reads, “Be still and know that I am God.” As believers, how often do we take the time just to sit, reflect, and truly know that He is God?

From 1918 to 1919 there were three waves of influenza that were part of the global Spanish Flu pandemic killing 50 million worldwide. A century later we are witnessing another pandemic that has many worried, scared, and anxious about the future. What does the scripture tell us about anxiety? In Matthew 6:25, we read, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

My prayer for today is that we will each take the time to celebrate today. Many have heard the words, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a GIFT which is why we call it THE PRESENT.” Take time today to relish the gift of another day. In these days of social distancing, remember that God wants us to have community. Take the time to call a friend that you have not connected with for so long, enjoy making memories with your families as you ‘shelter in place’, go on a walk and enjoy God’s beauty around us, look through old family photos and reminisce about God’s goodness, and take time to pray and turn your burdens over to the Lord.

My favorite scripture is one that I pray for each day–words that we should remind ourselves each time that are anxious–I Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him, because He cares for you.” May you be reminded today to whom you belong, cast those cares upon Him, and remember to take time to be still and know that HE is God–He’s got the whole world in His hands.

During Trying Times – Pick Up God’s Yellow Pages

During Trying Times – Pick Up God’s Yellow Pages

During these trying times, I encourage you to pick up God’s Yellow Pages and let your fingers do the walking through the Bible.

When disaster threatens – look up Psalm 91; Psalm 118:5,6; and Luke 8:22-25.

Enjoy reading aloud this personalized version of Psalm 91:

Psalm 91
1 I will dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.
3 Surely, He will deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
4 He will cover me with His feathers, And under His wings, I will take refuge; His truth will be my shield and buckler.
5 I shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand; But it shall not come near me.
8 Only with my eyes shall I look and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because I have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, My dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall me, nor shall any plague come near my dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over me, to keep me in all my ways.
12 In their hands, they shall bear me up, lest I dash my foot against a stone.
13 I shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent I will trample underfoot.
14 Because I have set my love upon You, therefore You will deliver me; You will set me on high because I have known Your name.
15 I will call upon You, and You will answer me; You will be with me in trouble; You will deliver me and honor me.
16 With long life, You will satisfy me, and show me Your salvation.

Download and Print Psalm 91 Personalized

Be blessed and keep the faith. 🙏🏽

Jo Ann Burbridge
Senior Fellow
American Leadership Forum Criminal Justice