The Fear of God

The Bible reveals that the beginning of wisdom and knowledge is the fear of God. But this phrase, “fear of God,” has become a bit of a misnomer. The word fear denotes afraid of or threatening. So many unbelievers, today, view acknowledging a higher power is a threat to their freedom. As a result, they live in darkness with the shades drawn, blinded to the evil surrounding them. Christians understand the fear of God means standing in awesome respect of His power and majesty.

In Exodus 19:17-19, God wanted the Israelites to understand He was real and powerful. So, He asked Moses to lead them to the foot of Mount Sinai, and this event occurred…

“Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.  Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.”

If we read the scriptures just before Exodus’ verse 17, we discover the Israelites knew several days in advance they would experience God. Most of the people laughed it off and thought Moses was a joke. But as predicted, God terrified them when they witnessed His presence on Mount Sinai. The Lord speaks of fearing Him in the Bible to stop sinning, not because He is a cruel god. He wants us to understand we should run to Him when our enemies approach us.

Image attribute by Sweet Publishing/FreeBibleImages.org

Moving ahead thousands of years later, what attitudes have changed today about God since Mount Sinai? Did mankind learn anything from the Israelites? My opinion is the world’s lack of faith has steeply declined, and the fear of God is nonexistent. People are unbalanced in their understanding of the Lord. They’re naïve, or perhaps uneducated, so they follow the weakest link on earth – Satan.

God is sending many signals to the world today of His power – pandemics, earthquakes, and other catastrophes. Still, many continue to ignore His signs. Just as the Israelites, they, too, will cower in fear when He returns and it will be too late.

Mentioned 365 times in the Bible, one would say the fear of God proves a point: it is time to adhere to God’s commands and not your own decisions. Take delight in fearing the Lord so you can walk in obedience and have the joy of a clean heart. It builds confidence for the judgment day, arriving soon. Fear of discipline helps us not to make mistakes. As we obey Christ, we remain in His love, and His joy will be forever in us.

The fear of God, and respecting His almighty presence, will build your eternal salvation. God bless you!

“They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.”  Jeremiah 32:38-40

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Futuregate Is Here

COVID-19, tyranny, SocialismThe following account is fictional but unfortunately is not as far-fetched as it might seem. There are already proposals for similar actions by the Democratic Governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee. This could migrate to national status should something akin to the ridiculous “Heroes Act,” aka H.R. 6666 [yes, that is the number] be passed into law.

Sometime in the not-so-distant future:

“Today’s the day, isn’t it?” Margaret Claybourne asked across the kitchen table to her husband, Henry.

Henry nodded and replied, “Yes, it is. Don’t worry Maggie, it’s all going to be ok.”

Those words meant to reassure his wife were as much to bolster Henry’s courage as well. He pretty-much knew that things were definitely not going to be “ok” in the foreseeable future, but he couldn’t think about that right now.

“I hope you’re right, Henry, but I’m still not convinced. They’re probably on their way here right now!”

Yes, Henry thought, They are on their way. ‘They’ won’t be placated by talking, we already know that. He was reminded of his co-worker and buddy Pete who initially tried to resist the authorities with his protestations. He remembered that Monday morning Pete wasn’t at work. He never returned to work and no real explanation was given. His supervisors told Henry that Pete had quit, but that wasn’t the friend he had known for the last 15 years. Pete had a wife and two kids and he walks away from his largest means of support?!  

“Yes babe, they are probably on their way, but we have a little time. So, we’re going to pray, and then we’re going to run.”

Maggie trusted her husband implicitly. She knew he had been planning something like this for a while but Henry hadn’t given her many details. Whenever she asked he would always say, “It’s better if you don’t know in case something happens and one of us gets caught.” But now that it was real, she wanted to know. Maggie looked Henry straight in the eyes and then bowed her head as he began praying aloud.

Coronavirus, lockdowns, tyranny“Lord, we come humbly to You, knowing that all things are in Your hands and nothing can take You by surprise. We rest our hope in You and believe You will lead us through this trial. Give us guidance, wisdom, and courage for what lies before us now. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Henry stood up from their kitchen table and started toward their bedroom. Before he could get three steps, Maggie said, “Ok Henry, it’s time I knew a little more about this. I know we’re running, and I know why we’re running. But where are we going? C’mon baby, fess up.”

Henry turned and gazed at his wife of 25 years. To him, she seemed hardly changed from their wedding day, though she often complained of carrying a few more pounds and the few wisps of gray that intermingled her raven hair.

He walked around the table and gently clasped her small hands as she stood. Her dark brown eyes stared up at him and Henry gave her a wry grin.

“Have I told you lately how beautiful you are?” He asked.

“Don’t try and charm me with compliments Henry Claybourne,” she shot back with a slight grin of her own. She wanted to sound firmer but in spite of herself inside she felt a flutter as his rugged face looked down on her. How can he still do this to me after all these years? 

“For now,” Henry replied, “We’re going to Dave and June’s place. I don’t know how long we can stay, but so far, that’s the next step. So go get our case and make sure to take your ‘dead’ phone and put it in the safe sleeve. I’ll take care of my phone here. Then meet me in the basement”

Maggie knew this part pretty much by heart. They had gone over the routine for “bugging out” many times. They had known months ago that they might have to escape both pursuit and detection. The only things she hadn’t known was when, where, and how it was going to happen.

9163272008_ed8c049ee6_wThey found out the “when” two days ago. Messages from the state authorities appeared on their computer and both cell phones. Since all phones and computers were now legally compliant, the state had access to them at any time.

Monday they were directed to, “appear at State Testing Center No. 64 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 7th at 2:00 pm. Failure to appear will result in a warrant for your arrest and law enforcement will take you into custody and bring you to the Testing Center.”

Last month new laws went into effect that established a ‘Mandatory Test Protocol’ or MTP for the entire nation. Everyone was subject to random testing at any time so as to ensure ‘fairness.’ Tests were to be administered to the entire populace and would be repeated for all every month thereafter.

At the first testing, each person would also be “tagged” for tracking. Their movements were to be followed, recorded, and reported to the authorities on a regular basis.

Before the passage of the nationwide law, various states across the country had been using similar systems, including New York and the close neighbor of Nevada, California. The small group of ranchers and others, mostly from their church, that the Claybournes associated with was prescient enough to begin preparing to disobey the new laws many months ago.

Henry remembered just when he committed to that same course of action. Pastor Jim preached on the text of Galatians 5:1

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery  Galatians 5:1 [NASB]

Pastor Jim spoke of how this spirit of freedom moved the early Americans to shake off British tyranny. How because of the biblical truth that all people are equal in the eyes of God the new nation endured a horrific Civil War to free our brothers and sisters from bondage and that we must not let our freedom be ravaged now.

Henry and Maggie owned a small ranch that was about 200 miles north of Vegas. It used to be that the closest law enforcement would have come from Tonapah, but it went under two years ago and was basically a ghost town. Henry thought.

Henry figured that any law enforcement officers would have to come from Vegas or Reno. Since the Testing Center was in Vegas, that’s where the LE would be sent from to find him and Maggie.

If his truck hadn’t left home by 9 am, Henry knew that LE wouldn’t wait till 2 pm to dispatch some officers. Almost all vehicles were tracked by the state, as well as phones, so they would be heading toward his place by 9:15 am at the latest.

Henry checked the time. It was 9 am, so they should get a 4 to 5-hour headstart on any LE.

tyranny, lockdowns, COVID-19Just then Maggie came down the stairs holding their ‘bug-out’ case. The case was slightly larger than a typical ‘carry-on’ bag for an airline, with a dull grey finish of burnished aluminum on the outer skin.

The case contained a change of clothes and some toiletries for each of them, a first-aid kit, some emergency rations, and various short-term survival basics. Maggie walked up to Henry and handed him the case.

“Last chance to back out babe. If you decide it’s too great a risk, I’ll stay here with you and we’ll face the music together.”

Maggie gently placed her hands on either side of her husband’s face. “We’ve already had this conversation. You know I couldn’t stay with any measure of good conscience. We’ve prayed about this more than once, and we know this is risky, but it is the right thing to do.”

Henry kissed her lightly on the lips. “Ok then. Now let me show you how we’re getting out of here.”

He strode toward the north wall of the basement. Maggie looked at the old plaster wall bordered by two concrete support beams and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. She saw Henry produce a small device similar to a laser pointer and aim it at the beam on the left.

A small vertical line began to form in the center of the wall. To her amazement, Maggie then saw the wall separate in the middle and slide open like an elevator door revealing an opening shrouded in darkness.

Henry pushed a second button on his ‘pointer’ and a row of overhead lights came to life. The lights receded back along the now visible tunnel until they faded from view.

Maggie’s jaw went slack as she looked at Henry with astonishment. “I know this didn’t come with the house, so…how?”

“This is what Dave, Pastor Jim, and I have been working on for three months. Well, mostly Dave and Pastor Jim, though I helped out a little with these doors and the connection of the tunnel to the mine shaft.”

“What…the mine shaft?!,” Maggie exclaimed.

“Dave discovered an old mine shaft vent a few months ago just inside his property line. He explored it and saw that it ran under our ranch and we managed to connect the shaft to the basement by boring an escape tunnel and here we are.”

“This is amazing!” shot Maggie as she stared wide-eyed into the lit underground space headed north.

“How far do we go inside this?”

“About half a mile straight north and descending 100 feet along the way and then into the abandoned mine for 5 miles and we come up and out just inside Dave and June’s fence. It’s lit like this all the way.”

They looked at each other and Henry took Maggie’s hand and stepped toward the entrance. He froze after a step and looked upward at the basement door.

“What’s wrong?”

Henry replied with his finger to his lips. “I heard something outside,” he whispered. He crept up the stairs and put his ear to the door.

Henry heard the sound of a firm and calm voice amplified with a bullhorn. “Mr. and Mrs. Claybourne, this is CDC Enforcement. We are here to take you into custody and escort you to the Testing Center for mandatory testing procedures. Please come with us peacefully or we will be forced to enter and obtain compliance with or without your cooperation.”

What?! How did they get here already? 

“Let’s go, babe, now!” Henry said as he grabbed her hand and they raced inside the doors. He pushed another button on his ‘pointer’ and the doors closed behind them as they began to run.

*  *  *

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The New American Standard Bible: Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, AMG International, 1990

The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, Fleming H. Revell Publishing, 1977

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Etan Liam’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of playability_de’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Quotes Everlasting’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Giant Sloth’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

 

Send in the Doves

I took a reprieve from yard manicuring and sipped on a glass of tea. Without warning, three doves flew down to join me and fed on the seed my love scattered about the ground the previous day. They were only a few feet from my chair. Amazed and with exuberance, I surmised there must be a message in their trusting action. Am I being watched, I wondered? Is my every move being noted and written down for judgment day?

In scriptures, the dove is often used to represent aspects of God’s spirit, instructing our lives. It is a symbol of peace, but it held much more significance, for it affirmed Jesus as the Messiah. As John baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in bodily form like a dove – the anointing of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, other heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; Matthew 3:16

Also, Noah experienced a connection with these birds. Following the Flood, he sent out a dove. It flew out over the sea but then returned to the ark. Noah waited a week before he left it go again. This time…

“…the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.” Genesis 8:11

The third time Noah sent out a dove, it did not return, revealing the dove had found a new home on the land of the earth. The message here? God had made peace with the earth and mankind.

Image courtesy of FreeBibleImages.org

The Lord held doves in greatness. One biblical event describes Jesus angrily driving out all the merchants from the Temple, including “those who sold doves” to worshipers (John 2:16). The happiest of birds, it identifies and represents divinity and purity, as Jesus acknowledged by His anger.

So, do you think God sends in the doves to confirm our faithfulness or as a subliminal sign He is near? It’s easy to comprehend because, after all,  signs from God are clear as the day is long.

I want to share a personal event in my life. I married my wife on a beach in Destin, Florida. Standing on a platform next to the tall grasses and sand dunes, we recited our sacred vows. At the exact moment the Justice of Peace declared us man and wife, three doves flew out of the grass and over our heads. We will never forget it!

At first, we believed it was our deceased parents showing their approval, but now we view it differently – it was the Lord! To this day, His abundant blessings affect our life.

So, Lord, send in the doves! I built my sanctuary in honor of You. It gives me the strength for all things of which I can do to serve You better. I keep one eye on my blessings and the other on Your arrival. Standing like a soldier, I shall remain in prayer and feeding the doves You sent to watch over me this morning.

I love the days I can share Christ with all my readers. So many seeks the Lord, but He joins me in my daily thoughts. Call on our Lord, and He will send doves your way if you just have faith and pray.  What a merciful Father, don’t you agree?

Send in the doves, Lord, and baptize us with powerful wings and life ever after.

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God’s Glorious Creation

Women are God’s glorious creation who fit perfectly into His grand plan. She expands His temple by giving birth and training her family to live adult, productive lives. How incredibly valuable mothers are to the Lord! But this nurturing reality didn’t exist for women in biblical times.

When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them equal reign of the earth. But as the forbidden fruit was eaten, so too, was the woman’s rights to help dominate the land. As the Judaism religion developed, they overplayed this scene – women had no rights. Their primary purpose in life was to give birth, raise children in the Jewish faith, and attend to all the needs within the home and for her husband. She was never to be seen outside socializing with others, nor within the temple walls.

However, under Mosaic Law, Israeli women enjoyed an honorable status, and men recognized their rights. Though husbands were head of the household, the wife could freely express her religion and work a job.

So, who made the world change their view of women? Jesus loved the female genus, and He highly respected them. He healed their ailments, allowed them to travel with Him, and made disciples of a few. To express their importance to Jesus, He even chose a woman to bear witness to his resurrection (Mary Magdalene).

Proverbs 31: 25-30 expresses God’s deep love for mothers:

God also gave guidelines to husbands and children:

“Honor your marriage; keep it pure by remaining true to your wife in every way.” Hebrews 13:4

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect…” 1 Peter 3:7

“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 6:20

Mothers mold their offspring with love and integrity. In moments of illness, strife, or despair, their children remain foremost in their thoughts. They adorn their families with our lasting memories. Mothers, the Lord chose YOU to rear His creations and to love them as you love His Word. You are truly a gift.

To all the mothers who grow God’s kingdom, may you have a blessed and Happy Mother’s Day! Know you are so special and loved!

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A Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. The United States Congress asks people “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” Though praying should be an everyday occurrence in our homes, on this day, many faiths will take part in the annual event. Rev. Billy Graham initiated this day in 1952, so please join me in prayer.

Dear Lord,

Our Father in Heaven, we come together in humility, asking you to bring salvation to all those who are in prayer today.

Please guide our clergy, missionaries, and others blessed to spread Your Word. Comfort the souls with broken spirits and cast out the germs that try to infiltrate their hearts. Many walk our land with little or no faith, and they desperately need led to Your spiritual being before leaving this life.

Lord, lead us to the still waters and green ferns during this tumultuous time of upheavals around the world. We pray for the safety, and immeasurable responsibilities of our leader, President Donald Trump. Father, please endow him with Your wisdom and comforting arms. Speak to all the members of our congress and other political positions. Guide them to make better decisions based on the country’s needs and not their own. Help America to once again come together in unity.

Many families have suffered job losses and deaths because of COVID-19. Lord bless them with Your peace and reassure their souls. Keep us healthy and shield us from harm, Lord.

We pray, Father, for the churches in America to unify under Jesus Christ’s name. Help us see all religions in the cross’s light. We pray to be more humble, gentle, and patient with one another. Bless us, Lord, with the unity of the Holy Spirit through the bond of peace.

Lord, please be our shepherd! Jesus Christ is the Only Savior, and our only hope in this world.

Amen

Further Considerations for The Coming ‘New Normal’ [Video]

Chinese Communist Party, COVID-19, liberty,faith

In the previous article, we examined some of the changes that may await us as the cloud of pandemic panic and lockdown slowly lifts from the global atmosphere. We have seen that the reactions to the pandemic, such as the ‘lockdown’ are even more perilous than anything the Chinese Communist Party has inflicted upon the world with the coronavirus.

The colossal failure of the certified government ‘experts’ and the faulty policy of ‘lockdown or else disaster,’ are becoming more evident each day. However, those concerns are not the only thoughts that should be considered as this radical realignment of society forced upon most of us concludes, hopefully very soon.

Considerations for the National Election

Leftist, COVID-19, economy, electionsDespite the recent imaginings of former Vice President Joe Biden, the election in November of this year will happen and President Trump is not going to cancel the election. This national election is of paramount importance and the COVID-19 panic is already having an effect on what the shape of the voting will look like.

The Left is not letting this newest opportunity for election manipulation to fade into the ether. The largest push now from the Democrats is for “mail-in voting” as a way to vote and not be endangered by the CCP coronavirus.

The huge problem with voting by mail is that while it may be both convenient and safe for the voter, it is rife with fraud that makes the election results untrustworthy at best. What makes this more troubling is there is almost no way to prove that such election fraud is occurring even under the most suspicious of conditions.

Elections officials from all political stripes acknowledge that mail-in ballots are far more vulnerable to fraud. Stories of political operatives who routinely scam senior citizens out of their absentee ballots are so widespread that the term “granny farming” was coined.  Even the New York Times, when reporting on suspicions of election fraud in North Carolina last year, noted that “absentee ballots are especially susceptible to manipulation.”

One of the premier private organizations involved in assuring that our elections are ‘clean,’ is Judicial Watch. A very worrisome area JW discovered even before the Chinese Communist Party caused Coronavirus pandemic appeared was how many states had not cleaned up their voter rolls.

This wonderful organization has taken it upon themselves to do the work of the Department of Justice by pressuring states to abide by the legal requirement to update and clean voter rolls on a regular basis. Moreover, JW has even had to take some states to court over their refusal to obey the law.

The fight to keep voter rolls within states and counties honest continues to this day and has expanded to a nationwide battle for election integrity.

Judicial Watch announced in January that we found at least another 2.5 million extra names on voter rolls across the country. A Judicial Watch analysis of data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission found that there are 378 counties in the U.S. that have more voter registrations than citizens old enough to vote. The 378 counties had a combined 2.5 million extra registrants over the 100%-registered mark. We’ve notified 19 counties in five states—California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, and Virginia—that we intended to sue unless they take steps to clean up their voter rolls. Stay tuned.

The Democratic Left has been using these tactics for many years. In the midst of this pandemic panic, they are sure to attempt election fraud with renewed vigor. The fact is that despite JW’s efforts, many of the lawsuits will not be acted on until after November of 2020 and extra vigilance will be needed at the polls for this crucial election.

Possibilities for the Future of Education

Leftist, COVID-19, economy, SocialismTwo particular education arenas in the public and private sectors have had some revealing light shed upon them during the national lockdown in America. One is the arena of education at home aka ‘homeschooling.’

The necessity to educate children at home during the primary through high school years because of the closure of public schools has enlightened many to just how difficult that task can prove to be. However, it may have also opened some parent’s eyes concerning what their children are learning, or not as the case may be, in the public school system.

The unintended benefit of this factor might be that more parents embrace the concept of school choice, including choosing homeschooling as an option. At the least, it should render them more willing to be involved at a greater level in their local public school system.

The second education arena has been at the level of the university, or “higher” education in America. One revelation for all to see has been the shameless greed of prestigious institutions like Harvard who clamored for ‘stimulus bailout’ money while holding a 40+ billion dollar endowment!

Of course, most of these high-dollar education establishments presumably provided video lessons for the students. However, I haven’t heard of any who have said they will offer a discount on tuition instead of keeping the full amount while their professors and administrators continue to receive their paychecks without a reduction.

However, perhaps a more lasting development might be some growth in online college-level courses that many students have no doubt taken advantage of during the lockdown. Some should discover that many of their in-person classes not measurably better than those online and that they can also get much more real education for a fraction of the cost by using the resources already available through the internet outside of the university system.

Prepare for More Encroachments Upon Freedom

COVID-19, freedom, economy, LeftismAs the shackles of lockdown are loosened, one would expect that politicians and government authorities at all levels would also loosen their grip upon the movements and freedom of their citizens. Yet, for the most part, this doesn’t appear to be the case.

In fact, the appearance being put forth by various state and local authorities reeks of tyranny and strongly implies these particular people desire permanent dictatorial power for themselves. Perhaps the most infamous to date has been Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer who has extended her lockdown orders until the end of May in direct response to protests against her earlier orders from on high.

A lesser-known star in the tyranny club of governors is Gov. J.B. Pritzker [D] of Illinois. A recording of his response to an important question reveals the Leftist attitude toward liberty for individuals.

He responded to a question from a reporter about his wife being allowed to engage in “non-essential” travel to Florida despite a mandatory ‘stay-at-home’ order that he had issued.

First of all, I want to say that in politics it used to be that we kept our families out of it. My official duties have nothing to do with my family. So, I’m just not going to answer that question. It’s inappropriate and I find it reprehensible, honestly, that uhh, that reporter wrote a story about it.

This is a very disturbing statement. Gov. Pritzker is demonstrating a dictatorial level of abuse of power, which is typical of the power-hungry Left in America. If anyone thinks that these tyrants are going to give back power to the electorate without a battle, you are seriously mistaken.

Witness the recent statement by failed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She pined for government-run universal health care in light of the pandemic panic that would only extend the tyrannical claws of Socialism further thus gutting individual freedom.

it [the response to COVID-19] needs to be part of a much larger system that eventually — and quickly, I hope — gets us to universal health care. …So I can only say, “Amen,” to everything you’re saying, but also to, again, enlist people that this would be a terrible crisis to waste, as the old saying goes.

A crisis such as this pandemic is fodder for Leftist’s dreams of power and implementing Socialism as the means to obtain that power. Of course, true Socialism is incompatible with true faith, thus the most practiced faith in America is being attacked with new fervor in the name of helping people stay ‘safe’ from the virus.

Watch as this pastor is placed under house arrest for refusing to not preach to his congregation at church services in a clear violation of the 1st Amendment.

This targeting of Christianity, in particular, has one aim. It is to destroy any hope of deliverance from any crisis unless that deliverance comes from the government authorities.

Should that goal be reached, then the ultimate Leftist fantasy of a completely Socialist government will be at hand, and tyranny will soon follow. For only if the idol of the state is put in place of God can any kind of Socialism come to pass.

President Trump has repeatedly and rightly stated that in America, “We worship God, not government.” The Left wants to use the coming ‘new normal,’ as a way to turn that statement backward.

We must deliver the same answer to that effort that Peter and other apostles gave when punished and ordered not to speak the gospel in public by the government authorities of the time,

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”  Acts 5:29 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featrued and Top Image courtesy of Dickson Phua’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of kgroovy’s Flickrpage – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Steve Evans’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Kursat ve 39arkadasi’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

 

Like a Fragile Flower

Quietly the sun rises through the woods, giving me time to reflect on the world. Looking off into the branches of time, I wonder where life has quickly gone. I remember my childhood days of climbing the hills and running into the valley of flowers. What I wouldn’t do to return to a world where Shwinns was the fastest way to find our friends!

I often sit alone with my coffee and reminisce over the smell of its grounds. I would love to see the neighbors who undoubtedly have gone to be with Jesus in heaven. Oh, the younger years I took for granted! They can never be replaced, but in my solitude of living color are the names of the smiles I so profoundly remember.

But, I understand, now, it is our Father who grants us the privilege of recollecting memories. I guess everyone has that incurable desire to go back in time and recall our beginnings. I know some may not agree with me, but it’s okay to disagree, for we’ve all conquered our own adolescence.

Our powerful and almighty God, in all His awesomeness, handles us like a fragile flower. It is written in 1 Peter 1:24, “For “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,” So we sit in our own little world, cecum to the fact we are here because of His higher plan. And so God says we are to be born and live as prescribed by our heavenly Father.

We are part of His magnificent imagery. Where there was once a seed in the fertile soil, there is a blossom because of Christ. He comforts His fragile flowers thriving amongst the splintered branches. Even in the blowing winds and stressful times, He quenches His chosen ones.

In the circle of life, the petals eventually fade, and God cuts some lives shorter than others. Mourning the delicate flower which once stood tall for all to admire, we hold on to the cherished remembrances.

“For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”  Psalm 103:14-15

Like a fragile flower, the beauty of Christ and His Word bestows upon us the hope for a better future in heaven. View your memories through the gospel, and you will surely witness God’s grace at work. The experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for our future work with the heavenly Father.



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Strength of Faith

Shall I send you a card with best regards, or should I pray for Christ to defeat your battles in life? This world is our enemy, but God warns us not to cecum to the evil spirits lurking at every threshold. The Bible tells us God’s eternal power is the only strength to ward off those who offend us. Fighting battles on different fronts allow us the privilege of knowing Jesus Christ is our strength of faith.

During insurmountable battlefronts, Jesus protects us by being our shelter and protector. Psalm 91:4 tells us, “Under His wings, shall you trust and find refuge.” No matter the circumstances, He makes us inaccessible to the enemy. Many people walk unharmed through all kinds of dangerous situations today. Here are some biblical examples, too:

  • Paul, the Apostle, was brutally beaten and jailed, yet he could walk fifteen thousand miles to spread the word of Christ.
  • Daniel survived the lion’s den by his strength of faith in God.
  • When Moses was born, his mother set him afloat down the Nile river to stop the Pharaoh from killing him. God protected his life because He had higher plans for the infant.
  • God saved Noah and the ark from the greatest flood on earth. Noah’s strength of faith was rewarded with many future generations.

Often, I’ve struggled in a bitter war as enemies tried to impede my ability to move forward in life. The almighty Lord came to my rescue every time! Believers are temples of the living God. He goes everywhere we go when we are filled with His strength of faith. Your shield must be the Word of God – this is your part to receive His protection.

Ask God to direct your path each day, and in all circumstances, not just in the bad times. Let the joy of the Lord be your power of faith, for the only way to win life’s wars is by the strength of Jesus. Trample down the gates of evil and watch God take over the battle. His power is higher than any man who walks amongst us!

Let us pray –

Dear Father, I pray You will save me by Your precious grace so I may have everlasting life with You. Give me the fortitude to conquer the evil of everyone who seeks to harm me. I pray Your strength will be my fortress. Let me walk in Your footprints before me, so as not to falter or be misled into devilish corners. Bless me with a greater strength of faith, Your armor, so I am not held captive by the enemy. Thank you, Lord, for the battles Your awesome power has seen me through in life. Let my love in You now be my strength in faith and my forever fortress. Amen.



Considerations for The Coming ‘New Normal’

Chinese Communist Party, Coronavirus, COVID-19The White House has released its three-phase plan “Opening Up America Again,” to deal with the restarting of the economy nationwide after April 30, 2020. The plan is as detailed and precautionary as possible and commits to a very measured pace of the states coming online economically with the aid of the federal government.

The task of restarting everything that has been shutdown is perhaps the most difficult task America has ever attempted. After all, it is always much easier to destroy something than to rebuild it.

Moreover, in this instance, the nation has not simply shut down the majority of the economy. America has also created some very substantial new phenomena in the efforts to hinder the damage from the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, coronavirus.

Therefore, those who may be longing and calling for a “return to normal” are not going to see that longing fulfilled. To be clear, it is far, far too late to return to the pre-CCP coronavirus “normal” in any real sense.

We aren’t going to get back to “normal”

coronavirus, economyDuring the state-imposed national economic cessation, there have emerged a number of changes both cultural and political that could remain in practice after the threat of this latest pandemic has passed. These factors mean that we aren’t going to get back to what was considered ‘normal’ life in the future.

The most noticeable adjustments will come from the cultural side of the societal scale. Those will imprint our national psyche toward a new kind of ‘normal’ that will have both advantages and disadvantages attached.

These variations of cultural habits could range from no longer routinely greeting each other with a handshake or a hug to routinely glancing over our shoulders to determine if we are being watched by drones. After all, such overhead surveillance has already been used in more than one location in America.

When a drone identifies a group of people collected together, such as individuals quarantined in their backyard, it says, “you should not be congregating in groups.” Consequences for refusing to abide by the drones in Elizabeth, NJ include a court summons or a $1,000 fine. In Lewes, Delaware, the police department is using drones to fly over bike trails and beaches. According to a local news station, the Lewes PD Chief said the state may use the drones in the future to enforce out-of-state quarantine protocols. Anyone with an out-of-state license plate would be subject to the drone.

Another case of some rather oppressive measures comes from the great state of Montana. One county is now requiring people to wear armbands or wristbands to be able to go shopping!

In what might be one of the most over-the-top and draconian responses to coronavirus yet seen in Montana, Valley County is mandating that people wear government-issued pink arm bands in under to purchase products inside of stores. The measure, enforced by the Valley County Health Department, insists that store-owners keep customers out unless they have the pink arm-bands, which denote the customer has been in the area more than 14 days and submitted to quarantine protocol. According to the flier produced by the Valley County Health Department, out-of-towners who lack the government-issued armbands will be prohibited from stores and residents are notified to call law enforcement if they do not comply.

It is more than a little disturbing that state and local government officials feel free to violate basic constitutionally guaranteed human rights so easily. It is frightening to see how many individual citizens are willing to assist them by ratting out their neighbors.

One police officer I spoke with told me his department has gotten multiple calls reporting couples—couples!—for walking down a sidewalk without maintaining a six-foot distance. Leave aside that these couples sit on the same couches, eat at the same tables, and sleep in the same beds, presumably within six feet of each other. Assuming one of these couples actually had the virus, the responding officer who is forced to “investigate” their afternoon constitutional is likely to have contracted the virus from them, and will pass it on to whoever he interacts with for the rest of his shift.

coronavirus, economyIt seems there are always these kinds of people lurking in society who long to serve as the ‘hall monitors’ for the rest of us. Now they have been given some hopefully temporary power to be a serious nuisance for everyone else while they happily engage in restricting liberty.

However, not all the news is bad news concerning the responses to the CCP Coronavirus pandemic, whether by the government authorities or individuals in local neighborhoods. One example is that at least six states in America, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas are planning to begin ‘reopening’ on or before April 30, 2020.

The governors of these states realize that their citizens will act responsibly with proper precautions if they are able to go back to work and that delaying reopening any longer will cause more misery than the virus ever will. I believe the results of these actions will show that reopening the economy in all the states is essential and that it must be done very soon.

One of the more encouraging local stories comes from a small creamery  in Wisconsin.

Sassy Cow Creamery, located in Columbus, Wisconsin, and owned by brothers James Baerwolf and Robert Baerwolf, is keeping a refrigerator outside the creamery that is fully stocked with milk and other dairy products. The creamery has called this refrigerator “the kindness cooler” because it is available to anyone in need, and it is open until the end of the pandemic.

The idea of getting back to normal has a tremendous amount of appeal especially considering the condition of America before the pandemic panic. However, the ideal shouldn’t be a return to normal but a movement toward a better ‘new’ normal for the future.

We must learn our lessons and re-learn our liberty for a new and better ‘normal’

There are several lessons we must learn in the light of the pandemic’s damage both to life and to liberty. One of the lessons we should learn is not to place our trust in the government and global “experts.”

Perhaps the greatest example of this was the [intentional?] incompetence of the famed World Health Organization. The W.H.O. was warned as early as the end of December 2019, that the CCP Coronavirus was a serious danger, and they ignored it in favor of Chinese talking-points.

Taiwan officials say they alerted China and the WHO on Dec. 31 that suspected human-to-human transmission of the virus was taking place in China’s Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, according to NBC News. That is the same day China first officially notified the world that the virus existed.

economy, coronavirusHad the world been aware of this threat on Dec. 31, 2019, it is certain the massive destruction of life would have been largely avoided around the globe. Moreover, the economic devastation of America and many other nations need not have happened.

In fact, I believe that once this is examined reasonably, with the correct facts, the six-week shutdown of the American economy will prove to have been one of the worst policy decisions we could have made. President Trump, you may remember, was in favor of opening up after 15 days, a blow that our economy reasonably could have weathered.

Instead, because of the insistence of the public health ‘experts’ on Vice President Pence’s Coronavirus team, the President went against his own instincts and extended the lockdown to April 30th which has brought about terrible economic consequences for tens of millions of American workers and business owners. We are now in a full-fledged Depression, a self-induced economic coma, that the federal government will have to print money by the trillions to halt and reverse, the ultimate results of which nothing is known because it’s never been done before.

The public health experts within America have also been wildly inaccurate in their predictions about the spread and lethality of the virus primarily because Drs. Fauchi and Birx have been relying upon figures produced by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation [IHME] from the University of Washington. Perhaps using figures from an organization funded by China sympathizer Bill Gates was not such a wise idea.

In addition to learning important lessons from this state-imposed nightmare, we all need to re-learn our liberty as human beings. There are some indications that many Americans are realizing this and standing up against political tyrants in various states and localities around the nation.

Justin Caruso from The Daily Caller reports, Protesters gathered Thursday in front of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond demanding that the state be reopened. Virginians protesting stay-at-home orders due to CV are following the lead of other protesters around the country. This week, protests occurred outside state capitols in Michigan, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

Citizens must re-learn and stand up for constitutional rights especially the first and second Amendment guarantees in the Bill of Rights. Some churches are realizing this and have already been fighting local and state tinpots who wish to deny the right to assemble in worship, even while taking innovative steps, such as drive-in services for their worshippers.

Coronavirus, faith, economyThus we come to the most important liberty we must re-learn, our liberty from sin and despair through Christ. It is my hope and prayer that one of the few benefits of the lockdown has been a turn, or return for some, to a serious examination of faith in the LORD.

In the midst of this pandemic panic, fear drives many toward seeking security, but we will never find real security in the arms of the government. We cannot allow this crisis to push us to invest our total trust in the state for that road leads only to slavery.

We must instead be all the more driven toward embracing our liberty and security in Christ. Faith in His provision will carry us through any hardships that may surface in the coming ‘new’ normal and keep us free in every way.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 [ESV]

D. T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Torley’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Joshua McKenty’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Morgan’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of NurseTogether.com’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Sharon Tate Soberon’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published at TIL Journal

 

Our Faith is Being Tested

The brisk wind stirs my mind, and I ponder our current events. Shelves are empty in the stores, and a virus plagues us. Quarantined from life, it seems it’s against our nature not to roam freely with our adventuresome instincts. My excitement usually comes in the early light, but boredom sets in now as it rains throughout the day.

Are today’s trials set in place by God’s admission or schemed by Satan? Everyone has their hands tied, and the world has come to a screeching halt. No God in heaven would wish this on His chosen people… or would He? Perhaps He is telling us to take a stand. Our faith is being tested!

In the biblical scriptures of Matthew 24:6-8, Jesus speaks of the End Times events as “birth pains.” Besides food shortages and economic collapse, He also spoke of viruses and locust infestations. Throughout the Bible, God sent plagues and pestilence to deal with his own people.

Medical science has proven the coronavirus natural host is bats, and the Chinese consume them in the form of soup. Did you know the Bible labels bats as forbidden meat? China detests Christianity and persecutes believers in their country. It is undoubtedly interesting COVID-19 figures today show that over 21 million Chinese have died from this virus. Is this a message from God? It is probable He is putting you on alert.

You may ask why a loving God would allow the death of His children from a pandemic. This is a wake-up call for those who refuse to repent their sins or surrender to Christ as their Lord and Savior. After all, history repeats itself.

All the wealth and knowledge of mankind will not stop our Lord’s intentions. Are you concerned for your safety? Staying home helps… or does it? Yes, it can UNLESS it is God’s will for this to happen. I cannot affirm the coronavirus positively is such a plague, but be aware of the signs. What I write for you today may shed light on the secrets of the future.

The Lord is watching and preparing our new home. Life, at this moment, mirrors biblical prophecy, and our faith is being tested. Trying to make sense of an incomparable condition is better left to those chosen scholars of God.

Should you fear the ultimatum, or should you remain faithful? This disease is a test of our personal faith in Jesus Christ. Let Him be your refuge for peace and comfort. It is so essential in these times you pray for His protection, study the Bible, and ask for healing.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

A final thought –  a man recently delivered some lumber to my home, and he had a profound point of view on faith that I need to share with you. He said, “You can’t line dance to gospel music.” Thanks, Ira! Great perspective! Stay in faith, everyone… you’re being tested!


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