Cristo es la respuesta

INTRODUCTION:

It is an undeniable truth that the woman occupies a foremost place in the mind of God and in the development of the home and the church. Since her creation she was recognized as the suitable helper. In other words, someone able to help, serve, complement and work hand in hand beside her husband for the benefit and blessing of her family. The Holy Scriptures devoted a full chapter to describe what is considered to be the goal of every woman: to become a virtuous woman.

Chapter 31 of the book of Proverbs is particularly interesting for the woman to whom has to live during this pandemic of the 21st century. In the midst of this crisis situation, illness, quarantine, unemployment and all the consequences that this pandemic of COVID-19 is causing around the world, women need, more than ever, to be that woman in which "the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her" and that "Her children arise up and call her blessed".

It is a crisis situation that is forcing us to let the best of our abilities and creativity as women out in order to help our family to cope with this time of difficulty. It is our desire that this little reflection be of help and serve as a guide in which to get ideas to live this time without fear, in a positive way, with our eyes and faith always placed in the Lord Jesus Christ who is our helper.

SITUATIONS CREATED BY THE PANDEMIC OF COVID-19

The emergence of this disease, which quickly became a global pandemic, and turned our normality of life into a real challenge, has been particularly difficult for women for several reasons:

1. It disrupted the family routine

The quarantine or "lockdown" that has been imposed in almost all countries, in various levels of severity, has forced us to deal with the continuing presence of the spouse and children in the home. This, which on the one hand could be seen as a blessing as giving the family more time to be united, in turn creates other problems. Having the entire family together for a few days is a blessing which gives us time to share, strengthen relationships and enjoy each other. But let's be honest, when that period goes beyond a few days, (here in Puerto Rico today, April 27, we have been in quarantine for 42 days in which only one family member can go out to buy food or medicine), boredom, concerns over the economic situation, frustrations of projects not achieved, etc., begin gauging the tensions, and all of this has consequences.

In the case of the spouses, this situation has a very strong emotional component, by feeling his routine of life altered, by failing to fulfill his role as a the provider, the concern for having lost his job or be prevented from working for so long. He was accustomed to be out of the house from 8 to 10 hours or more and is now locked up with nothing to do. This creates tensions that, unfortunately, in many cases has resulted in domestic violence situations in some homes. 

The routine for the children has also been disrupted. Schools closed and, in many countries, I was changed to learning online. The weight of this education in the home rests, in most cases, upon the women, who is a mother, but not a teacher. This woman was accustomed to the husband going out to work and the children going to school, and that left her time to deal with the household tasks or her own job, if she worked outside the home. Now she continues with her responsibilities, but now the weight to meet the education of their children at home is added to them. In some cases, without having adequate resources, as there are households that still do not have access to a computer or internet services. She has to take the time to help them with their homework, taking into account that, probably, the children by feeling out of the school routine, are not encouraged to sit down to study at home with mom as a teacher. We must also include in this analysis the influence of this time upon the children. They have also seen their routine disrupted by not being able to attend their centers of study and having to be locked up at home all day. This affects the mood, creates anxiety and sprout bad behaviors, mischievous character and an atmosphere of discomfort in the home.


2. Has affected the household finances 

One of the most difficult consequences of this quarantine has been the loss of jobs and, therefore, the loss of income in the home. Although, in some countries, governments have moved to provide some aid and economic assistance, we know that this will not be in the long term and that, sooner or later, the family funds will begin to be exhausted. This will require of the women, of all their skills to manage food resources of the home. Above all, bearing in mind that since everyone is limited to be in the home continuously, visits to the fridge and kitchen will become more frequent. Eating becomes a part of the entertainment when you are bored at home. Perhaps the children were eating two or three school meals (breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack). The woman has to learn to work with the few resources she has to feed her family.

3. It has imposed new burdens in habits of hygiene, disinfection and social distancing. 

The fight against the pandemic requires us to keep our social distancing, with all that implies emotionally. We are locked at home with our immediate family but unable to go to visit other loved ones and friends and of our time of entertainment outside the home. In addition to that, we have to keep standards of hygiene, the use of the mask or respirator, gloves, frequent hand-washing with soap and water, disinfection of products every time we go out on the street and buy food, etc. It is very probable that all these practices and measures of protection, hygiene and social distancing fall upon the woman to make sure the family practice.

4. It has disrupted the practice of the spiritual life of the family

All the temples are closed so that not only can we not routinely attend the house of God as we used to do, but neither can we exercise our various ministries as we used to do. We can no longer go out to evangelize the streets or visiting the sick in hospitals or attend women meetings or circles of prayer, nor give Sunday Bible schools to children in the neighborhoods or in the church. We must recognize that women are the majority of the membership of the church and, in many cases, they are the church’s moving force, helping in many activities.

But if there is something that this pandemic has taught us is that the Church is not the four walls of the temple, but each and every one of the lives that congregated there. Therefore, we now have to convert our homes into that place of worship and spiritual edification. Something that is not so simple when you do not have the collaboration of all household members, especially of the husband, who is who should carry the spiritual priesthood of the household. When this does not happen, it is up to the woman to stand up, just like Deborah in Israel, and assume the spiritual direction of home.

SUGGESTIONS FOR A CREATIVE WOMAN IN TIMES OF CRISIS

We can conclude that this quarantine period and its consequences have produced quite a difficult situation for women, but if there is an area in which women stand out in, it is to be creative and proactive in times of crisis. In the Bible we have women as Zipporah (Exodus 4:20-26), Abigail (1 Samuel 25:1-42) and Deborah (Judges 4 and 5) that are example of this. Zipporah, in a time of crisis in which her husband almost loses his life, took a flint in her hand, and circumcised her son (something that was the responsibility of Moses but which he had neglected), and thus saved her husband’s life and incorporated her son into the covenant with God. Abigail, in another moment of crisis, where the foolishness of her husband Nabal earned him the wrath of the king who was coming ready to kill him, but she went out to meet them and with wisdom and sagacity, and managed to calm the wrath of the king and save her husband’s life and his entire family. Deborah, in another moment of crisis of the people of Israel, the Scripture says that seeing how the enemies of the people of Israel were rising and harassing the people, and how the cities of Israel were decayed and desolate; she “arose as a mother in Israel”, and moved the people and Barak, leader of the army of Israel, into battle and obtained a great victory.

The Bible says that "Every wise woman buildeth her house; but the foolish plucketh it down with her own hands." (Proverbs 14:1). We have to stand up and, with the grace and
wisdom of God, develop ideas and plans to take our families forward in the midst of this crisis. We must use our abilities, skills and talents to reinvent ourselves and be virtuous
women who attend well her home, her husband and her children, without leaving aside our personal needs and our relationship with God.

The following are a number of suggestions that might be useful:

  1. First of all, it is very important that you stay well informed and up-to-date with regard to the pandemic, the situation in your country and what measures the government is taking in this regard, as well as of any aid that is giving its citizens to mitigate the situation. But make sure you are looking for your information in reliable means. Not everything that appears on the internet and on social networks is true.
  2. In the economic part, learn how to deal with the resources you have. Be frugal, and teach your family to be also. Use the wisdom of God, ask if you need it, to know how to offer a balanced and economical diet, that will satisfy your family. 
  3. You must prepare a budget for the home and try to stick to it as best as possible. You need to identify sources of income, how much income we hope to have, see what are the recurring expenses that are inevitable to pay, and decide what expenditures are not required and can be omitted at the moment. 
  4. A suggestion, if you have any land available, practice making a home garden. This pandemic is not going to disappear tomorrow or next month. We must accept that we will be long months under its effects. In Puerto Rico there is talk that we will be under social distancing measures for approximately 18 to 24 months. Therefore, planting some foods that will help us to reduce the costs of feeding is not a bad idea.
  5. Share recipes with other sisters in Christ. Between us we can help each other to maximize our resources and feed our families well. In some countries, I have seen sisters kneading bread for their families, something they had never done. It is about to be proactive and reinvent ourselves.
  6. In agreement with your husband, create a new routine for your home, plan your day, so that there is order and structure. This is very necessary for you and your children for a healthy coexistence. You must plan time to study, feeding, recreation, and spiritual communion. Household chores and responsibilities must be shared so that the entire burden does not fall on you, and everyone can be occupied.
  7. Plan activities for the family as, for example, exercise sessions, board games, reading time. Also make time to be alone with your husband, even it is just going out to the backyard or balcony, so that you both can calmly share each other and relieve the stress of the situation. 
  8. Take the opportunity to complete all those projects in the house that are overdue for lack of time, giving your husband and your children something to occupy their time in. Perhaps you have desired to paint the house for a while, or fix a door, or build a table, in the end, look around and think of all the times you have said: I would like to do such and such a thing, but I do not have time. Because, you know what? Now you have the time that you both wanted. 
  9. It is very important not to neglect your spiritual life in the midst of this situation. Be sure to take time out for your private devotional life, your private time with God. To be a blessing to others you must first be in the presence of the Lord and be ministered to by Him. That way you will receive the anointing to be able to affect the lives others.
  10.  Make time for the family altar, where all the family can gather together to pray, worship the Lord with spiritual songs and reflect on the Word of God. If your church is holding service using electronic means, either Zoom or any of the social networks, dress and prepare your family to be present and receive the Word of God. I, in my home, have insisted that we dress as if we were to go to the temple because I want them to feel that they are in the house of God and participate in the worship with due reverence.
  11. Think about how you can be a blessing to others who are in the same situation. Ask God for guidance and that He show you who you can minister to through a phone call or a small video using WhatsApp or any other similar application. Surely God will show you people who are in sorrow, loneliness or discouragement and to whom you can inspire and encourage with the Word of God. Testify about Christ in season and out of season.
  12. If you were a teacher of children in the church, maintain your contact with them, and call them from time to time, and maybe you can also organize a Bible class with them using any of the video and social media applications.Use your talents to be a blessing to others, such as Dorcas. The Bible tells us that she knew to sew and made beautiful robes to share with her sisters, it does not
  13. say that she was a preacher, a singer or a teacher, but she blessed others with her talent.

In the end, a Christian woman who puts her life in God's hands can be a channel of blessing and become that virtuous woman mentioned at the beginning. May God fill you
with grace, wisdom, love and patience and give you the ability, inventiveness, creativity and strategies for coping with this time of crisis. 

" Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:13)

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"Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Proverbs 3:9-10. 

God bless you. We give all the glory to God for the opportunity to deliberate on this topic.  

In this article, we will present a number of general principles, among others:

  • The stewardship of resources including money.
  • The finance organization (budget)
  • Fidelity to God in time of crisis.
  • God’s fidelity which is not in crisis.

The stewardship of resources including money.

"Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2.

Despite the times of crisis or scarcity, God is calling us to be faithful stewards of what God has placed in our hands.

God knows the periods of adversity, economic or pandemics. He knows everything that is going on in our world. He also knows what is to come.

Above all else, the Church of Jesus Christ belongs to the kingdom of heaven. God cares about how the adverse circumstances affect the lives of His children. These circumstances can sometimes be intense and painful, but there is no need for them to overwhelm us or steal our peace. God knows what we need and wants us to depend in Him and his provision every day.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:31-33:

"Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. 

Crises can provide opportunities for the people of God to flourish spiritually and lead others to Christ, who is our only rock and hope, not only in the present time, but for all eternity. 

• Look to God, instead of your need or lack of resources.

Our response to the difficult times will be determined by our perspective and where our focus is. In the midst of our needs, we pray to God so that He supplies our needs and we can become witnesses to the people around us, that we have a God who helps us in the crisis, gives us a response to our pressure and supplies us.

• Ask God for your needs and thank him for the provisions that are to come.

• Be faithful with your tithes and offerings

Ask God for provision, wisdom, guidance and grace to persevere and to manage what we have and to depend on God even in scarcity.

Have you prayed about it? Are you asking God to provide your "daily bread" and to show you what steps he wants you to take?

In Philippians 4:6-7, God tells us: "In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

God is still the God of Provision. 

When the disciples had not caught any fish, Jesus said to Simon: “And when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Put out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answered and said, Master, we toiled all night, and took nothing: but at thy word I will let down the nets. And when they had done this, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes; and their nets were breaking;” (Luke 5:4-6).

When the widow had only a handful of flour in the jar, and a little oil in the vessel; (1 Kings 17:12), God made provision and in the years of scarcity, she never lacked.

When the widow did not have resources to pay her debts, God gave her the means to have enough oil to sell and be able to pay her debts and live with what was left over. (2 Kings 4).

If we are faithful to God with our tithes and offerings and even more in times of crisis, we show God our fidelity to Him. God will not fail to open the windows of heaven to pour out His blessings upon us until they overflow.

It is believing in God, that He is going to do and confess his Word, though we do not see it: "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).

• Present God the church and the lives that do not know Christ

Ask God to use this time of confusion and uncertainty to bring revival and spiritual awakening to our lives, our churches, our country and the world. (Habakkuk 3:2).

• Learn the secret of contentment.

The contentment comes from believing that God has provided everything we need for the present moment and that He will provide everything you need in the future (Psalms 73:25-26; Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-8).

Take the discontent out of your words or from your heart. Are you murmuring, or complaining, being anxious, expressing that what God has provided is not sufficient to meet your needs?

• Ask God to fulfill His purposes.

God is putting us through some processes so that we learn to believe Him amidst the trials and scarcity. To not depend on man but only in Him.

God uses adversity to show us what is in our hearts, to take out those things that God does not like in us, and to deepen our dependence of Him. Times of scarcity can become times of great blessings, because people bare their soul and their hearts turn to the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Are you more focused on the satisfaction of your own needs and solving your own problems than in seeing God's purposes be fulfilled in your life, in those around you, and those who do not know Christ? 

• Allow God to reorganize your priorities

In those times of economic difficulties or losses we have to identify any tendencies to accumulate "things" we do not need, and make us take measures to develop a more moderate lifestyle (Luke 12:15, 31, 34).

You need to redefine what are your "needs"? You need to make some adjustments in your expenses, in order to be able to live according to your possibilities and/or give more to meet the needs of others? 

We have to ask God for strategies to cope with economic crisis. Ask God for wisdom to organize the finances and to have a budget with what little you may have. When establishing a budget, we must set a priority in what are major expenditures and eliminate or postpone others.

It is very important is to adjust the budget and do not use credit cards for basic needs. If there is no possibility of payment, do not use the credit card, only in cases of extreme emergency.

We should analyze every project that is undertaken in order to see if we have the resources. Jesus gave us example in Luke 14:28.

Pastors must speak to the church that no matter the scarcity or crisis, never cease to be faithful to the Lord with our tithes. Upon that faith depends whether we see God moving
His hand on our behalf.

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Hebrews 13:5- 6.

In the church, pastors must define the priorities for expenditure; and have a budget in place in order to help those who are going through a need.

In the crisis, the pastors with their church may devise activities to generate funds. 

• Put your trust in the Lord.

You can rely in Him. He loves you, He knows what you are facing, and takes care of you. God is on His throne and His purposes are being achieved in your life and in the world. Trust in Him to have your needs fulfilled, He will provide. 

  • Remember what God has done in the past (Deuteronomy 8:2).
  • Trust His Character (Psalms 36:5, 7).
  • Remembers His promises (Joshua 23:14).
  • Refuse to surrender to fear or anxiety (Psalms 46:1-3; Isaiah 54:10).
  • Avoid taking matters into your own hands. Do not let that fear lead you to those places that God does not want you to go (Genesis 12:10; Ruth 1:1).

Practice giving as Christ did.

The natural tendency in times of financial uncertainty is to retain what we have and give less. But what a great opportunity to demonstrate the greatness and power of God with
Our offerings! Ask God how you can exercise your faith and reflect His generous heart in your giving at this time (2 Corinthians 8:1-4; 9:8).

Does your way of giving reflects the generous giving heart of Christ? How does God want you to grow in grace by giving during this time of crisis?

Rejoice in the Lord.

Regardless of what is going on in the world or in your personal financial situation, do not let the enemy rob you of your joyfulness! If you have Him, we are rich, we have everything we need, and we have reasons to rejoice! (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

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