Freedom and Faith Must Not Be Cast Aside to Fight a Viral Foe [Video]

CCP CoronavirusThere is an old curse attributed to the Chinese that states, ‘May you live in interesting times.’ It is somewhat ironic that the entire globe is going through some very dangerous ‘interesting times’ because of the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP Coronavirus.

The obvious danger is the danger of death from the disease. The less obvious danger is what is happening within the government, particularly in America, at various levels in the name of combatting this virus.

The economic dangers were referred to in the previous piece. However, there is a far more insidious process in operation by the Leftist powers-that-be in America that holds devastating consequences for both faith and freedom worldwide should it succeed.

The Threat to Religious Faith

CCP CoronavirusThe threat to the basic 1st Amendment freedom of religion has so far been confined to various individual states that have issued “stay at home” orders to the citizenry. The order has included any gatherings of more than 10 or 5 people, and some orders are aimed at eliminating any assembly of people at all.

This means that gatherings for church services in a single building are basically forbidden by government authorities. This has come to a head especially in a couple of spots within America in the last few days.

The most publicized of these threats has come from the mayor of the most affected city in America, New York City. Mayor Bill DeBlasio directly threatened to close down places of worship, i.e. church buildings and synagogues, if they violated his orders.

…de Blasio singled out synagogues and churches saying he would shut them down if they continued to meet during the coronavirus outbreak. “[Law enforcement] will inform them they need to stop the services and disperse,” de Blasio, a Democrat, said at his March 27 press briefing. “If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently.”

It is the final word in the mayor’s statement that is tantamount to a direct violation of at least two parts of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the freedom to worship as one sees fit, and the right to peaceably assemble. Temporary closure for a determined amount of time is acceptable, but a permanent closure is not acceptable and no one has the authority to circumvent the Constitution least of all a local mayor.

Lest you believe that this is an empty threat, take note of the arrest of one pastor who was determined to hold services despite orders such as these in other places. Moreover, this happened while such orders allow other businesses to remain open, as was seen last week in Florida.

Florida megachurch pastor Rodney Howard-Browne is defending himself after he was arrested for holding services Sunday in defiance of government orders aimed at curbing coronavirus. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister charged him with “unlawful assembly” and “violation of public health emergency order,” but Howard-Browne’s conservative legal team, Liberty Counsel, …argued in a press release that Hillsborough County’s orders issued March 20 and 27 included exemptions and exceptions used by businesses that also should apply to the church. Staver said Howard-Browne and his Tampa church took “extra precautions” and went “above and beyond” to be in “full compliance with the administrative order which allows any business to operate under the 6-foot restriction,” [Liberty Counsel Presiedent] Staver argues. …In addition to following the 6-foot rule, the church staff wore gloves, gave every person hand sanitizer as they entered, and spent $100,000 on a hospital-grade system that provides “continuous infectious microbial reduction (CIMR) that is rated to kill microbes, including those in the coronavirus family.”

I would contend that this particular church assembly far exceeded the health requirements of Hillsborough County’s order and further I doubt any of the other businesses exempt from it could match those same precautions provided by the church. In reality, the church was in full compliance with the law except where the law forbade the assembly altogether.

Moreover, the church was also in compliance with biblical requirements. They were in submission to man’s law [Romans 13] except where that law violated the Word of God for His church.

Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. [ESV]

Threats to Second Amendment Rights

CCP CoronavirusIn various locales, the Leftist opponents of the right to keep and bear arms are using the CCP Coronavirus to justify incursions upon the Second Amendment. The two most populous states in America are in the midst of lawsuits for their attempts to close down all gun stores in California and New York.

The Trump administration recently designated gun stores as ‘essential businesses’ that should be allowed to remain open during our ‘National Emergency’ because of the CCP Coronavirus. However, both the governors of California and New York are ignoring this designation using their authority to continue to keep gun stores shuttered.

Other states such as Maine, New Jersey, and Connecticut initially tried to close gun stores, however, they realized this was unwise and have backed off of those demands. The governors in those states either have received much better legal advice than the Chief Executives of California and New York or Govs Newsom and Cuomo believe their assessments and proclamations should overrule the U.S. Constitution.

There is a natural question that surfaces from those not familiar with the importance of gun stores to 2nd Amendment rights. Gun stores are not the same as any other retail business.

A firearms purchase of almost any kind must be accompanied by a background check of the individual making the purchase. Assuming there are no problems with the check, the purchaser must go to a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer, i.e. a gun store, to pick up his merchandise.

As writer Cam Edwards explains,

Once gun stores in a state are shut down, residents of those states lose the ability to acquire arms, and in some states, they may not have the ability to purchase ammunition either. You can’t ship a gun to your home, and you can’t download a gun to your e-reader. In states that require background checks on all firearms transfers, there’s simply no legal way to acquire a firearm without going to a gun store.

During these trying times, some places are letting some criminals out of prison and allowing even some violent crimes to be committed. It is reprehensible and dangerous to use this crisis for removing an individual’s right to defend himself and his family especially with the elevated risks of the situation today.

The Threat of Government Tracking

Perhaps the most insidious threat to liberty has come in the form of a portion of a strategy proposed to combat the CCP Coronavirus in America. The following video contains a lot that has already been covered in this article.

However, the potential for widespread government surveillance as a “phase” of the battle against CCP Coronavirus, and even worse, is revealed toward the conclusion of the video.

The danger of this effort to track citizens’ movements by whatever means should be apparent. The Orwellian implications of such measures pose a grave threat to both life and liberty in the not-so-distant future.

Understand that this tracking is to be accomplished without the permission of the individuals being tracked. As Laura alluded to in the video, this smacks of ‘big brother teaming up with big business,’ and poses some frightening scenarios if we continue in the current direction.

Moreover, if the state can monitor all your movements, they can also control your movements to a level and with a preciseness that would rival the current situation in China itself, via the efforts of the CCP.

CCP CoronavirusThis cannot abide. It will indeed turn us into a “nation of snitches” as the power of the state is employed to coerce people to turn others into the government. How long before that progresses and friends turn in other friends, and perhaps family members turn against each other?

It is one thing to speak of battling against this microscopic enemy with all our resources and determination, however, any liberty-denying measures must be used only with a guarantee that they are limited and very temporary.

The trials faced by the entire globe because of the CCP Coronavirus are monumental. America must not allow her heritage of liberty to be forfeited in the war against this pandemic, or the hopes for liberty everywhere will be dashed as well.

We must instead unite as one nation under God and call upon His grace and wisdom in this hour of need. Faith and hope in Him will bring us through stronger than ever before.

Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.      Romans 5:2-5 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

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

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Brian Westcott’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Charles Fettinger’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Anthony Crider’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Charles Hutchins’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

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A Stone of Faith

Sometimes in life, our faith in God waivers in and out. We might roll our eyes when confrontation is before us and shun the real strength we prayed for in difficult times. But then we return to the very spot we waivered from in the beginning. Our Almighty God always remains with us, though, with welcome arms and forgiveness of our bad decisions.

Last night my eyes were opened a little wider by a word God whispered to my conscience. I woke in fear of trying to comprehend His message. So I picked up my Bible for protection and tried to find the meaning of the word He sent me. As many knows, I’m a man of great faith. I’m not a Bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I do my digging when times like this are derived from God.

Before I tell you what the Holy Spirit spoke to me, you must know this word is written in scriptures only three times. It was used in the Old Testament in 543 B.C. by Samuel. He, too, was a man of great faith who led the Israelites to a battle with the Philistines for over forty years. The Israelites lost twice, but then Samuel looked to God and set up an Ebenezer between two mountains. He said, “Lord God, You are my stone of faith, my rock I shall not break.” (1 Samuel) Scriptures say, “The Lord thundered loudly against the Philistines that day and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by the Israelites.” From that day forward, Ebenezer became the name of an altar for God to protect the Israelites.

So the bigger question is, why did God send me the word Ebenezer? Is it because I, too, am fighting two personal battles, and God came to tell me it will be Ok? Is it to inform you that your struggles are being watched over by the Lord? Yes, all the above is true! Remember, your enemy is not greater than God. He can make miracles occur with a stroke of His hand.

My word for the day, Ebenezer, is the moment you realize you could not have made it through the fires without God’s help. Your faith is like a stone, and only God can bring you through these impeachable battles.

Ebenezer is as powerful of a word today as it was with Samuel in the Old Testament. We all bear our crosses, and as Christians, we must realize it is only God who protects us. Our awesome Father will come to our rescue in times of need. All you have to do is humbly pray for His help. May your Ebenezer be an altar as it was for Samuel. God bless.


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Between a Rock and a Hard Place

God can change your course of history. Have you ever been between a rock and a hard place, where you have to make a choice between two unpleasant options? I grew old from throwing stones, so I conceded to stay in prayer.

I’ve found myself at dead-ends of lonely highways, and at the edge of cliffs I thought was a gentle shoreline. I drove in storms where no man ventured, unaware I was being protected by God. Do you, too, look at your world and question how you ended up where you are today?

Second-guessing our world allows Satan a place to rest in your life. No rest for the weary may have more meaning once you understand the complexity of the verse. Being placed between a rock and a hard place is best described as a vice on your spirit. God will not allow our hearts to be bound if we continue in loving prayer. We can apply God’s command by choosing His way…

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him.”

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

How does God give us direction? He guides us by the wisdom of the Bible and wise biblical counsel from His servants. It addresses every complexing situation in life. Sometimes, though, answers may not be clear through scriptures. Search out guidance in a library or Christian websites to gain a piece of broader knowledge.

“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

Maybe you’re afraid of deciding about something which you may regret later. Everyone has to make choices, and my friends, our Father’s abundance of grace and mercy freely flows to His children. His forgiveness is unending.

I give God the glory! The mighty savior’s strength protects us from the storms. He knows we face situations of being caught between a rock and a hard place. But in the sanctuary of His safety, He delivers answers within the ferocious winds and the sigh of calm waters. The Lord’s love abounds among the fear. He mends the broken threads of Satan’s fury for His way is forevermore.

I pray your prayers will make miracles happen when you are between a rock and a hard place. Wouldn’t you rather find peace in a quiet harbor than on a violent sea? Pack a paddle and head for the Lord!



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Covenant of Faith

God set forth an impossible undertaking when He challenged my capabilities to be the best at something I never imagined possible. But then it occurred to me – how many others seem to be on a quest for Jesus? They do not realize the disillusionment of the deserts.

I often wonder how some people got started in life. What made them so great in their lifetime? For example, Nicodemus in the Book of John became a legend in the Jewish community as a ruler and teacher of Israel. Then there was an Indian lawyer called Ghandi, and a lady named Mother Teresa. Closer to home was a little boy called Billy, who took his Bible to school every day. He was such an avid reader, and he never gave up his desire to serve the Lord.

But many others are true to their heart, and they never waver from God’s ministry. In my personal life, it’s a profound feeling of a great success to serve the Almighty. It comes with abounding rewards and grace. Now I should ask, where is the Holy Spirit in your life?

It could be too easy to stop my ministry of writing. I’d load the kayaks in the back of my pickup truck and head to the lake. Not a bad idea, but God puts His trust in me to bring others to His kingdom. My reward for faithfulness? I am so blessed in every waking moment. I’m sure my words may confuse you, but my closest friends and family know my priority is to serve the Father.

Too many believers “toe the line” in their commitment to serve our Lord. They pray for answers but give up when there’s no immediate response. Sometimes we look for answers within this world only to discover God is already working on our healing.

If you want to see faith at work, then don’t look at a three-piece suit parading up on a stage, shaking a Bible at our Almighty. That’s blasphemy – no! Let’s examine the heartbreaking scenes of the Bahamas. A mother stood in a bathroom with her three children praying to God for help in the disastrous times of Dorian. Do you think God didn’t hear her heart? (See the video below) Prayer is the only ammunition to combat evil.

https://youtu.be/SOHeYhT0LPw

With the mighty force of just one young mother, who guarded her three children in a bathroom, she brought together the strength of nations, ready to oblige her mission. What a world we could live in if we understood the destitution of our mental thoughts! Hopefully, many received the message for it was a great example of God working through His people.

God challenges us to be successful in His glory if we stay in prayer and never give up hope. Do not render your patience. As we kayak in God’s calm waters, do not evade the fact the calm waters are His too. He wants everyone to be successful and filled with hope. We shall armor ourselves in the covenant of faith for God ordained it to be ours.

God bless you, my friends, and all the survivors of Hurricane Dorian.


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Fighting Goliath

The empty colosseum is packed full of reservations, and seats fill with great expectation. It’s a historical day spectators longed to watch, so bets are placed in back alleyways. Peasants mutter amongst themselves, “There’s no way this guy can win… just no way!” The upper echelon dressed in their finest apparel. Shoes are shined, and the gloves are donned. A gasp from the crowd signifies the arrival of dignitaries. Today, May 1, 1884, a significant event in history will occur!

Hours before the gates opened for the crowds, Moses Fleetwood Walker stood alone on home plate. He leaned on his personal bat and knew he would be fighting Goliath. Moses was the first African-American man to play in Major League Baseball. No black man ever stepped foot on a baseball field. It was a fight to be a part of this lustrous history-making moment. The battle is on!

Image of Moses Fleetwood Walker courtesy of Wikipedia. 1856-1924

We must face constant challenges in our life. Some battles we think we can never win, and yet some are so great as was the case for David. He walked into the arena to fight his opponent. Though David was a poor, peasant man, he was rich in his love for Christ Jesus. His strong faith, just like Moses, was on his side, so how else, but in God’s name, could he lose?

1 Samuel 17: 1-54

Moses Walker, too, stood at home plate and looked over into the right field. He knew what he had to do if he was going to conquer the masses. Would anyone accept a black negro playing baseball? Moses, like his protégé, was about to change the world forever and all by himself.

I leaned back in my chair and thought for a moment. Is there a way one man can make a difference in the world we share? I thought of Noah first, and then the Moses in the Bible. Some great inventors with blessed imaginations struggled with hardships. And… even Jesus ascertained the difficulty of changing the world. So, he encourages us to fight our Goliaths by staying in prayer. Believe God’s wonderful promise for He is always in control of your life. David knew he couldn’t lose if his faith stayed strong for we all must fight the earth’s serpents. This is how we can make a difference!

Many people suffer from health issues which only a miracle can cure, and some struggle with finances. Others fight the system while a few battles the governing authority despite their honesty. Every living thing on earth grapples with trying times, but it’s how you respond to the Goliaths that count. Remember, it is God’s purpose for you to experience the adversities. What will you learn from them?

The shouting now grows louder beyond the gates of the stadium. Moses Walker stands alone, just like the Moses’ and the David’s before him. Armored with only a baseball bat and faith, he is about to take on the world. How can he win? It’s simple –  God, perseverance, and prayer. He is ready for the pitches adversaries throw at him from every direction.

As the sun awakens the long shadows, cast your doubts out the window. Perhaps say this prayer with me…

“Father, we ask You to be here with us in our times of dissolution. Help us focus on our future. Give us protection, Lord, while we stay in prayer and think of you. Help us discern the lesson You wish to teach us through every hardship. Thank You, in the name of our Father, for helping us fight the Goliaths of everyday life. Amen.”

It is only God who can bring us a promise and our greatest gifts. Faith is the internet messenger which sends prayers far beyond our imagination. While we stand on our own home plate, remember… you can’t make a home run if you don’t swing! Give it your best, in the name of the Almighty.

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but the Bean could never split

Robustly rattling the shell,
i was gravely biding
for the groaning cracks
to surface the crust
but the Bean could never split.

A layer of tar
despised the Bean
swelling the germ
and softening the shell
with the molten fury
but the Bean could never split.

Thriving for germination,
my echo strikingly reverberated
within the caliginous tunnel,
screeching for the shell to break
but the Bean could never split.

Congested damp clogged the pores,
barring the seed from rooting
in the milieu of growth,
while i redundantly reiterated
to clear the illusion
but the Bean could never split.

The baggage of throes
coated the fettered seed
with aches forcing it to wobble,
when i finally hammered out the shell
and there lay the seed deceased,
thus how could the Bean split?

The Hardest Thing To Do Is… Listen

We found our way around the yachts parked in their cradles. An empty spot was right next to the dock. We quietly got ready to embark, and the cloudless skies made us wonder how far off heaven was from the pier. The snoozing seagulls perched on the post tops. As we set sail, the gentle breeze bellowed the fabric, and God became our propulsion. The shores of the water looked so endless. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and no place would I’d rather be than with my love and God at the helm. He created this perfect world of pristine water, and all we had to do was sit and watch Him work.

Sometimes it is difficult to accept God is with us day in and day out. Just as sailing into the open blue, we do not realize we are always at His mercy. Many times our sails luff and we pray as though we ran aground. As hard as life is, even doctors can do little to relieve discomfort. In the distress of my wife’s health, I’m left standing in a vacuum for everywhere I look, I see the remnants of the doctor’s aura.

So, I turn to God and ask Him if He has a minute. The hardest thing to do is… listen and wait for His messages. Our faith is only part of the process. Listening for His answers and reacting accordingly is the trick, so we must have a seeking heart. We should talk to Him as though he is a brother and reveal our frustrations, fears, and doubts. God will teach us how to recognize the difference between His voice and just our thoughts.

Find a location to be with Christ and His great mercy. The Lord always has a place open to sit with me, especially on this endless journey my wife and I have encountered today. I wish I could run away and take her sailing to the place called heaven, but it’s not time yet. God gave us responsibilities we must partake and fulfill. Instead,  I will sit with God and try to understand what advice I need to listen to and praise His great gifts. He united the two of us for some much-needed healing in our difficult road of life. So, I will carry her in every way I can possible. In His strength, we will travel as far as the Lord’s work will need us to go for He isn’t done with either of us yet.

The hardest thing to do is listen for God’s words, but if you acknowledge His involvement in your life, you will always recognize His heaven sent voice. Praise God! It’s our intimate relationship with Him that counts.

www.danabicksauthor.com

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A Man Called Christian

My windows were wide open, but tears resonating from the house next door  hampered the refreshing molecules. I wondered… what kind of man makes a wife cry? The sobbing was an every night occurrence. He arrived home again and again, in the wee hours. She told me he worked late, but I doubted it.

He opened the door and kissed the kids goodnight while they stood at the mirror, brushing their teeth. Without a kiss for her, he told his wife he was going out back to work in the shop. “It relaxes me after a hard day’s work,” he claimed. She made dinner, so he grabbed the plate of food and headed to his hideout. The pain sharpened as a dagger twisted, once again, by his careless appearance. The back door slammed again and silence.

He locked himself away safely in the shed and pulled out a knife to snap off the top of a bottle buried in the chest. Whittling his world away, he hid his sorrows in the bottom of a longneck bottle. His state of mind included carving the names of his exes in the bottom of his soles so he could save himself from sin. Several hours later, he staggered to bed and slammed the door shut again. So, the screaming begun behind the blinds. It’s a horrible life for a wife to witness and endure, and only God could save the innocent from the terror of his conscience.

What kind of Christian man puts his family on a bus Sunday morning and stumbles to the shed for his own benediction? He opened another bottle for his personal communion. As he stared at the ground, he chuckled at the buried empties; meanwhile, a poor twenty-something mother of three, put on a face and filed into the aisle of a sanctuary. She has no money for the offering plate and seeks only the strength to make it home.

I ask God in heaven for His mercy. My heart is wrenched by a man named Christian who carves his past in the bottom of his boots. His days are numbered… he will soon discover if God doesn’t show His wrath first, then the bottle will. His wife bears a name she hates so much, and her three little ones will have to endure the legacy of their father’s misfortune. Are there prayers in heaven for a man who calls himself Christian? I wonder… 

The day will come when the blood he bled will be no more. Three little children will have to fend for themselves while their mother struggles to support their mere existence. Her sacrifice is to put on an apron and do her best every single day. The kids now sit on the porch and carve their past into the treads of their own little world. I watch and pray God will bless this mess – the man called Christian, now left beneath his unmarked tombstone. A coward at best, he carved his memory into his children, and his reputation branded them for life.

I have changed the names in this story. I ask God, in the name of Jesus, to save this family. God bless the innocent, abused wife who slaves her life away and waits for Christ’s return. She prays for the forgiveness of the hatred boiling inside her for a man she thought she knew named Christian.

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Allow me to ask you Christian women and men, does this resonate in your heart? Or does it familiar? Please use these verses to enlighten your soul and know you are not alone:

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19

“A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence” Proverbs 13:2

“Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways.” Proverbs 3:31

“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught” Proverbs 3:24-26

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” Isaiah 61:1

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