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Sunday – 9:30am and 11:15am

Location
1200 North Russell Rd.
Bloomington, Indiana, 47408
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812-336-5958
info@citychurchbloomington.org

Surrounded

I was standing on the streets of Harlem, sharing about Christ and all the sudden, I was surrounded.

It was a bright sunny day as I was a part of a team doing outreach in the heart of Harlem, New York. It was going well and I loved every minute of it and then, before I could blink, I was surrounded by 10 to 15 guys. They wondered who I was, what I wanted and what I was doing. I remember distinctly one of them having a big pitbull on a leash and he was restraining it as the dog wanted to come closer to me. I wasn’t afraid but I was certainly unsettled, as the feeling of being surrounded was getting to the point of being overwhelming.
Then, as God would have it, I connected with one of the guys through Basketball and how we played against each other through AAU a few years before. Everything changed and soon I got to tell them why I was there and the group disbanded away from me. It was something I never forgot because five minutes later I saw that same group of guys beat down another gentleman on the street. The range of emotions I felt was all over as I saw this unfold. However, the gentleman who got beat up came to our night service and received Jesus. He received a Bible and went on his way.
All of these moments were clear in my mind but the feeling of being surrounded stands out.
Whether you are surrounded by friends or foes, the feeling of safety or being unsafe can be equal. In this moment you are outnumbered, you have no power and you are at the discretion of those surrounding you. No one wants to be surrounded by the enemy because of its vulnerable place and danger. And yet as people in America and around the world, it can feel that we are surrounded by the COVID-19 virus.
Things have shut down that I never dreamed would be. Layoffs are rising and people are sick and even dying. Yes, it’s easy to feel surrounded by what’s going on but there’s a greater truth in this moment, we are surrounded by God!
That’s right, our God surrounds us and watches over us with His good hand. Being God’s people doesn’t inoculate us from a battle, but it does always give us the advantage in a battle. It may seem like we are outnumbered by what we see. But truly, more is with us than what we know.
I know sometimes this can be far from our minds as we don’t always feel this or see it but nevertheless, it’s true. God is our protector and the chief Shepherd of our souls meaning, He’s leading us where we need to be and is watching over us every day of our lives.
I think of the promise that I’ve been feeling in my heart during this crisis and it’s found in Psalms 139:5.
“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”
Notice God goes before us and behind us and His hand of blessing rests on our head. We are surrounded by our Creator and our heavenly Father! Now, what’s powerful about this verse is that it speaks of our future and our past.
He goes before us meaning, He’s leading the way, so we don’t have to fear tomorrow. He goes behind us healing where we’ve been. Making all things new so we don’t have to live trapped by our mistakes or failures. Then, His hand of blessing rests on our head giving us favor, grace and mercy on a daily basis.
How awesome is that?
Even though this COVID-19 virus seems to be swirling about having no regard for anyone in its way, there is a God in Heaven who goes before us and behind us! His hand is resting on our head, so our days can be blessed and purposed.
Therefore, if you’re sick, He will heal you. If you’re afraid, He will give you peace. If you’re overwhelmed, He will soothe your soul. If you don’t have enough, He will provide all you need. If you don’t know what to do, He’s already figured it out. I’m here to tell you today, that you and I are surrounded by Jesus!
So what’s next?
I encourage you to pray this verse over you every day. With your own words and faith, pray out loud this promise to remind you of who God is and who you are to God. This is a BIG way to receive the promises of God! We pray them, we speak them, so we receive them.
Praying and speaking is active faith to believe that what God says is true. So as we do this on a daily basis, it begins to shape our outlook and how we feel in the middle of this crisis. If we don’t do this, then it’s easy to be overwhelmed and focused on everything we see, thus we forget what He says.
So today, please begin to read this promise, pray this promise and stand on what He says! No matter what’s happening around you and I, what’s happening in you and I can be totally different. So where there’s chaos, there can be peace. Where there is sickness, there can be healing and where there is strife, there can be love. This is because of who we have on the inside of us. This is because of Jesus!
So be encouraged today. You’re surrounded! You’re going to get through this and God is for you, not against you. He knows every need and feeling you have and He is working on it right now to show you how much He cares.
This is another reason why I believe, the best is yet to come!
Have a great week,
PD


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