• Tonie Roberts

I received a beautiful blooming Christmas cactus in December of 2018. My plant bloomed again the Christmas of 2019. To my surprise the plant has had blossoms twice this year. But it’s not Christmas yet!

Like my Christmas cactus, the world is in what feels like an out of season experience. The question is are you blooming out of season – so to speak?

Sounds strange I know at a time like this - expecting something good to happen. But something good can happen. It's a matter of your willingness to bloom now! The Bible says that to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastics 3:1). Pause for a moment and think on that.

Now, here are two questions for you. What season are you in? Have you re- considered your purpose during this time? Remember, some have gone on to glory recently. But the Lord has you here now during this unfamiliar season for such a time as this.

The distractions around us are countless. The news is a sore spot for me. I need to be aware of what’s happening for prayer purposes. But I’ve found it easy to lose focus when I’ve allowed the gloom and doom of the media to saturate my mind. In order to bloom in this season, one thing is certain. We need to focus more on Jesus, and what He has to say than ever. His news brings hope that fosters blooming.

As you focus more on Jesus, expect an assignment. In fact, this may be your time to complete an old assignment that you had no time to complete prior to covid. When you begin to work on your task, you’re going to bloom!

Maybe this is your opportunity to spend more time with the Lord, AND with your family who always seemed too busy before. Bloom with them now, creating precious memories that will last for years to come. That’s blooming out of season!

Has the Lord prompted you to start a business, but you had no time to research and develop a plan? Now you have time to do both. Do it and bloom in this season!

Maybe it's time to get your degree online. You didn't have the time before but now you do. Move forward and bloom!

Are you lonely? Consider calling the elderly to check in on them an offer an ear. You may be surprised at how your loneliness disappears as you focus on being a blessing.

What are you waiting for? Don’t wait for covid to end, and your life to begin again. Bloom now!

But God would say to you “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19) Bloom NOW!

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  • Tonie Roberts

Gran Canaria, one of Spain's Canary Islands, is situated right off the coast of West Africa, so strong winds often blow sand onto the island and forms dunes on the mini desert area known as Maspalomas.

You can literally walk through it and feel like you're in the Sahara. But just like in actual deserts, if you continue walking for a few minutes, you'll stumble upon one of the island's most beautiful beaches.

Well, this year has felt like that in reverse. Last year was like being on the breathtaking Maspalomas beach: the sun warmed me, the breeze soothed me, and the sound of the waves reminded me of God's constant presence.

Then 2020 came crashing in: the wind and sand blinded me, I was stripped of all I knew, and left to trek barefoot through the hot desert with no camel or water in sight and nothing but a face covering that I was told would keep away the death causing elements.

It's been almost 4 months since Covid19 overturned our lives. 4 months is nothing but it has seemed like a lifetime because of all the alterations we've had to make. But that's what God's timing is like - a day can be like a year and sometimes we need that time to think, process what God is saying, and make necessary changes in our lives. In Maspalomas Gran Canaria, you are only walking in the desert for a short time before you reach a gorgeous beach. But sometimes God's plan requires us to tread through the desert a little longer.

In the Bible, the desert represents a season of learning, and sometimes a season of trial or testing. During the desert years what is familiar to us is stripped away so that we can focus on and draw closer to God.

After Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he went to live in the desert for 3 years (Galatians 1:17-18).That's a long time to be in the desert but that's the amount of time God required him to be there in order to change and prepare him for ministry. When Paul returned, he was eager and excited about sharing his testimony and God's word with everyone.

We are all tired of socially distancing and long to get back to normal. But Covid isn't over yet. We might need to remain in the desert a little longer. So make the most of your desert journey. Spend time with Jesus on that sandy trek. Remember that God provided manna for the Israelites when they were in the desert (Psalms 78:24, John 6:31) - He will also equip you with daily provisions to get you through this sandstorm.

Whether this lasts a few more weeks or a few more months, make sure that in the end you'll come out changed and renewed and ready to share your testimony of all God did for you on this journey.

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  • Tonie Roberts

Once I decided that I was going to walk by the Word of God and do my best to make His Word final, I believe that was the most important decision I’ve ever made.

Not too long after that, I decided that no matter what happened, whether I felt like it or not, I would try my best to walk in love. Because the Bible clearly says “faith worketh by love.” (Galatians 5:6) It won’t work any other way.

Those two decisions—to operate by faith in the Word of God and to walk in love—are the two most important decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

Then recently, God revealed there was something I’d been leaving out. It was the force of joy! I heard within my “inner man” that I should just walk by faith and love and just leave joy asleep in my spirit. It’s too important. I soon came to realize that joy is an essential part of a life of victory. Without it, I might have an occasional triumph, but I wouldn’t be able to sustain them. They’d quickly slip away.

I learned that joy is what gives us the strength (Nehemiah 8:10) to hold steady when the circumstances get rough. Joy gives us the ability to laugh in the devil’s face when he starts trying to knock us off our faith. It gives us a kind of staying power that will make us winners over and over again.

We need to make a commitment to God that we’re going to walk, not only in faith and in love but also in joy. We have to make it a point to rejoice in the Lord always...and there won’t be anything the devil can do or say to steal our victory!

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

– Philippians 4:4

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