All Things For Good

July 2, 2020
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Recently, I've been thinking about the blessings that have come out of the self-isolation due to the current lockdown. For one thing, I have been grateful to God for the gift of time to improve the PresbyCan website. In early May, I began with a desire to purge, for the first time in over 7 years, inactive registered PrayerLine users from the list of almost 700. During the process of keeping track of the approximately 145 active users, I noticed that people were switching back and forth between pages after they had clicked on each "I Prayed For You" button. When I listed all the information on one page, people reported that PrayerLine was much more convenient to use.

However, I also discovered that about 13 percent of the clicks on the "I Prayed For You" buttons were being generated by search engine robots, such as Google and Bing! Since robots can't pray, I changed the buttons into ones that the robots couldn't activate. Now, the numbers beside each PrayerLine request accurately indicate the level of prayer support.

Having already spent about three weeks on these projects, I remembered that the desktop version of PresbyCan is hard to read on smartphones and tablets. Twice in the previous half-dozen years, I had tried to fix this, but gave up because I couldn't make the side columns go below the centre column in the way that I wanted them to! This time, through persistence and research, I succeeded, and smartphone and tablet users will notice a big improvement.

Then, a reader alerted me that her browser was warning her that the PresbyCan website was "unsafe" to visit. I was able to correct the errors, so that potential readers will no longer be dissuaded from visiting our site.

Such tasks have taken five weeks, but it has been a blessing to have such absorbing and exciting projects to improve the website during this lockdown. I believe that God can use anything for good, because this is my favourite verse:

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (NKJV)

If isolation and sheltering in place have been a depressing trial for you, begin to think of the blessings that have come into your life that couldn't have happened without this lockdown. For what can you give thanks to the Lord? The Lord can use for good even the things that we consider evil. When we give Him thanks, we are expressing trust in His goodness, and affirming that faith actually releases His power to bring about changes in us and in our circumstances.

Prayer: Lord God, alert us to the good in our lives that You are accomplishing — or might accomplish — through what looks evil, so that we can give You thanks in all things. Amen.


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About the author:

Robin Ross <rross@telus.net>
Mission, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great job thank you.


    Thanks, Robin, for your diligence.


    Great job Robin!!! And exemplary attitude!


    A good word, Robin. Thanks for your hard work.


    Thank you for all the work you have done on this site.


    Thank you for your efforts, I really enjoy this site every morning.


    I thank God for you, then, Robin, and your faithful attention to this ministry.


    God bless you, Robin, for your dedicated, diligent work. Yes, unexpected good has come through this lockdown period.


    Thank you, Robin, for your dedication to the PresbyCan Daily devotionals. You have been so faithful to this ministry. God bless.


    Yes, Robin, I too appreciate what has happened because of Covid. It has slowed us all down and we certainly were in need of that!!


    Thank you, Robin, for reminding us to look for the good. And thank you for all the work you do to make the Daily Devotional the blessing it is.


    Thank you for all your hard work and the improvements you’ve implemented to the site. There truly is so much to be appreciative of and to count our blessings for. Thank you


    Robin,
    I guess I’m one of the 145 regular viewers. I thank you for all you did/do for the site.
    Blessings.


    Hello Robin
    Thank you for the devotional and all the work you do to help us and so many others.
    God bless.


    THANK YOU, ROBIN, for all the work that you and Lynn have done to Reach out to the world with God’s messages! We dearly need it!
    (Ontario)


    Amen Robin. I’m glad you were led to get so much accomplished for the glory of the kingdom, amidst a difficult time.
    Blessings.


    Thanks Robin. The lockdown has done some of us more good than harm, it’s been a blessing in disguise.
    God will bless you and reward your kingdom labours in Jesus’ name.


    Thank you for your commitment to this ministry. It is how I start my day and on the rare occasion that it hasn’t arrived in my inbox, I go searching for it on the website.
    Many blessings.


    Thank you, Robin, for all the work you and the team do for the body of Christ. Thank you also for reading the devotionals daily.
    Stay safe and God bless you.


    Hi Robin:
    Thanks for all the work you do on our Daily Devotional. It is such a great message to get everyday.
    Blessings.


    Thank you, Robin,
    The improvements are much appreciated, as is your strength of commitment to keep this going on a daily basis, which can be so demanding.
    May God bless you and your work


    Thank you for your months of hard work on behalf of all who read, and you serve. Your words are so true, as many of us have learned new technology and ways of doing things in our daily lives. The blessing of time to catch up has been a great gift for above.


    Many of our church members receive your Presbyterian Prayerline daily. These daily emails inspire and encourage us in faith and daily focus.
    THANK YOU for all your efforts in establishing and maintaining the Prayerline.
    Romans 8::28 is one of my key verses.


    Great way to think about this challenging time, Robin! Thank you so much for all you do. The devotional site is a blessing to so many. I was one of the people who were going back and forth for the Prayerline and what a difference it has made since you explained it to me. Wonderful work. God bless you and all you do for others!


    We are so very grateful for all the work and effort you put into this project. It was rewarding before the pandemic and still is. The diversity of stories and shared professions of faith never ceases to amaze me, and it is with joy and anticipation that I read it daily and have encouraged others as well. Thank you for enabling us to share our faith.


    Dear Robin,
    Thank you so much for working as hard as you do for my favourite devotional site. I appreciate too the changes you have made. I find reading it on my iPad much easier.
    I hope you are feeling great with the Lord’s healing.
    God bless you and keep you safe and healthy.


    Dear Pastor Ross,
    Thank you, Robin, for this encouraging devotional and for all you do for the PCC Daily Devotional, the website, and Presbycan.ca. Your efforts are truly appreciated. Everything does go more smoothly now.
    Again, thanks for all you do.


    Congratulations on all the work you have done to the website… and thanks. As for us, well, the big garage closet was the first thing we tackled.
    Thank you, Robin, for your efforts on behalf of those who find the PresbyCan website meaningful. As a matter of fact, I seem to have made some new friends via the devotionals and prayer requests.


    Thank you, Robin.
    It is really a blessing to have someone like you over-seeing the website.
    Keep up the faith and keep safe and healthy.
    May God always be at your side,
    (Quebec)
    p.s. I always enjoyed your submissions; keep them coming.


    Wow! Appreciating all you are doing! Yes, the last few months have been a time of prayer and work around our property. Our last “big” project is done. So blessed to have health, time, and strength and funds to go ahead with that! Getting acquainted with on-line in a much greater way has also happened. The music available, the speakers and possibilities for zoom. It is easy to focus on what we don’t have but things have changed in some good ways. Thank you for the reminder.


    Thank you for summing up my feelings about the social distancing time so well. I’m the Clerk of Session in our small church and took advantage of my extra time available to go through files and do a lot of purging and organizing. Although missing in personal contact with others in our church family, we have maintained telephone and internet-based connections really well. It has been a Sabbath time for me. God has kept my fears to a minimum, and I am relaxed and rested.
    (ON.)


    Greetings Robin,
    Thank you for submitting this morning’s devotional and thank you for the time and years you have devoted to overseeing the Presbycan devotional setup. I have noticed the improvement in the setup of the “I prayed for you” section. Our Lord is so good in overseeing the timetable in our lives and in this situation of the isolation time, He truly found a method for you to utilize time in a very productive way to benefit many followers of the Daily Devotionals.
    Blessings for the job you have accomplished.
    (B.C.)


    Dear Mr. Ross:
    Thank you for all the work you do to make Presbycan Daily Devotional such a pleasant prayer line to visit each day.
    My day isn’t complete until I visit this prayer line each day, pray for the prayer requests, and sing along with the music for today.
    For some reason it goes to my junk mail each day, but I just move it over to my inbox. The odd time it will show up in my inbox, and then it goes back again, but only a minor problem.
    Thanks once again to you, and all the people that makes this prayer line possible.


    Hi Robin
    Your devotional is the verse I have been using through this isolation and have been enjoying doing tasks around the house that were always being kept for another day, not helping others like you have been doing.
    Wanted to let you know that I appreciate all the work you do regularly keeping our devotionals coming.
    I read them on the computer but am sure many will be very happy to have better access on their smartphones and tablets.
    Blessings.


    Hi Mr. Ross,
    Thank you for your devotional this morning. To tell you the truth we don’t really feel isolated during this pandemic. Just like you had a chance to do a lot of work on the PresbyCan website. I had a similar situation. My old computer was in the process of cratering and decided to get a newer one. The result was that the writing program changed, and I am in the process of learning the new program. The I do the books for our daughter’s business, and the accounting program I had was not compatible, so I had to get a new program. So far, I have only learned what not to do. But since we can’t go to preach or visit, I have time to figure it all out. There is a reason for everything and something good has come out of all this.
    Blessings.


    Dear Robin:
    Thanks for all the work you did on the website.
    Romans 8:28 is my life verse.
    I have been using this time to knit, and have been playing the piano again, relearning some of the pieces I learned in my childhood. I have enjoyed it.
    I keep in touch with friends by e-mail and have had some ZOOM family times.
    I’ve been watching live-stream services from my church. I don’t think we will be in a hurry to go back to regular services. Some churches have reopened but I am told there is no singing or speaking and people are ushered to their seats so that physical distancing is in place. Doesn’t really sound like church to me. I don’t think they are wearing masks, but I do when I go shopping.
    We are having a heatwave, so I am thankful for AC and much more.
    God bless.


    Your care for those who come to our website really touched my heart. I am continually sending folks to the website (and suggesting that they might want to consider writing devotionals, as well.
    How thankful I am the site is SO intelligently set up and run and the devotionals are well said and varied. I am SO grateful to every single writer and devotional. Presbycan devotionals are worth doing, every single smidgen. I have a feeling that so much of its existence owes a huge debt to you, Robin. And your high standards and tact and tech know-how, (let alone your faith and contacts).
    I have a morning/evening devotional book by Max Lucado called, ‘Grace,’ of which I was a bit wary. You mentioned him one day and allayed all my concerns. He is a very dear soul and thank heavens I found that out.
    In 12 step work I am always running across Christians with problems who come back to faith. I mentioned Presbycan to them as a possibility for them to mature in the Spirit through writing one, (which as you know is not easy, due to the high standards). At any rate, thanks so much in particular for offering more insights into Presbycan to which I owe so much, not the least of which is helping me continue in so many ways to learn by example.
    Grateful.


    Dear Robin,
    I think you do terrific work for which we are all very grateful.
    Having been imprisoned at home, since St Patrick’s day 17th March, we discovered many new methods to keep in touch with church friends.
    Thanks to Zoom, although we have no Chaplain at present, but we have run several weekly church services thanks to savvy church parishioners and members from Africa, India and West Indies, and it has worked terrifically well, and our Sunday services have in excess of 120 participants via zoom. The wonder of it is we have chaplains who are in Sydney or in Dorset running the services as if we were all in one room.
    We have used the close confinement to walk along the hedges, uphill towards the road or downhill towards the lake of Geneva, in France where we live, on the inside of our property, and not only do we keep fit, we have also watched all the leaves and buds unfold in our flower beds as we went round.
    Then as the weather was excellent we wanted to walk along the lake, but that was out of bounds, we had to have a signed form stating our name and address and the reason we left the house at what time, only allowed within 1km of the house if on foot or one person per car to go to the chemist or doctor wearing masks all the while and following the way in and way out as marked on the ground.
    Something we can tell our grandchildren about when we will be able to see them, if at all this summer, but thank goodness for WhatsApp allowing us daily chats.
    Many thanks and kind regards.


    Thank you for all your work on this site. My husband and I appreciate the daily devotionals!


    Thank you for all of your hard work. You are a blessing to the community of believers. I have appreciated all of the contributors to this ministry.
    Take care and may God continue to bless the work of your hands.
    Blessings.


    Robin,
    Thank you so much for all that you do to make PresbyCan such a meaningful devotional and prayer facilitator. I am an 88-year-old pastor who was introduced to PresbyCan several years ago by a 95-year-old who was still active with her computer. I have been so blessed by your devotionals and prayer helps in clicking “I Prayed For You” and many times sending a message of encouragement. I know of no other devotional that has all of these helps. I keep telling others about your great ministry.


    Robin,
    Do I ever relate to this.
    Many people said, “Are you going to try putting out a next issue?”
    At first, I thought, it will just be too hard without our regular “event” advertisers, among them many organizations and politicians.
    But then I realized, politicians with no events would have unspent budgets, perhaps instead they could do ads offering encouragement, support, and information?
    The enthusiastic response has been great, helpful to our readers and also in carrying us through.
    Without the virus I would not have done anything like that.
    PS That verse is a favourite of mine too.


    Thank you for your commitment to this project. I have been painting the house through these changing times and I have certainly enjoyed the daily readings as a pleasant constant throughout. Enjoy summer in BC.
    (Manitoba)


    Thanks for the time spent to make things work better for those using the site. I am presently on a learning curve using Windows 10 after having Windows 7 for years! Many things are different and often I don’t know what to do next! This morning I could not get to the prayers page when I pressed on the link, I prayed for you. I will get my daughter here when she awakes to set me a right! Great fun being a life learner! Have a great weekend and thanks for all you do and the staff also. It is such a joy to awaken to the Daily Devotional site! Peace.


    Time well spent, Robin.
    My husband loves the Daily and we often discuss it.


    Hi Robin
    Thank for minding the technical details that keep this wonderful daily up to its best.
    I really appreciate the dailies and the alertness of the editing team.
    You folks are great.
    Thanks for keeping it going!
    (California)


    Dear Technical and Oversight Editor:
    Thank you for your devotional and for your email of May 26, 2020 about clicking on the prayer line.
    Also thank you for all your work on technical details of getting the devotions to me.
    (New Brunswick)


    Dear Robin,
    Thank you for all your efforts to make the daily devotionals available to us every day to help us stay positive, have an attitude of gratitude, feel supported by so many others who write the devotionals and to start our day focused on God and building our relationship with him. I am glad that you took the time to improve it for others and your persistence and knowledge. May many blessings come your way as we slowly start to open Canada back up to a more normal living.

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