Scary enough?

Has 2020 been scary enough for you?

Someone even suggested canceling Halloween, since the horror is so real. They have a point.

Covid, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, landslides, flooding … it’s been one of those years. Nobody wants more horrors.

The mainstream media tries to keep us in fear. I have no idea what is true and what isn’t. Is anyone telling the truth? Who knows?

It has been a difficult year. In January, we were looking forward to blessings. Instead, we got shut down at the beginning of March.

That’s one way to look at it.

Thankfully, there’s another way to see 2020 (the pun just happened).

  • God never changes. For I am the LORD, I change not (Malachi 3:6a).
  • He is faithful. Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God (Deuteronomy 7:9a).
  • The Lord is active in the affairs of His people. The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men (Psalm 11:4).
  • God rules the world. He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah (Psalm 66:7).

This doesn’t mean that Christians won’t go through some lean years. These have always happened, and they always will—until the milennium, which will be amazing. (See Revelation 20:2-6.)

Until then, Christians need to trust the Lord. I am preaching to myself, too.

Our family has seen so many answers to prayer since this all started that it’s impossible to ignore the Lord’s hand in our lives. We praise Him.

A friend shared this verse, which seems especially appropriate in this scary year, 2020: In the fear of (respect for) the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:26).

Are you God’s child? But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).

If you have received Jesus as your personal Savior from sin, you have this place of refuge. Be encouraged today.

If you would like to read more about the good news of salvation, you might enjoy this post.

Alone: when you can’t visit Grandma

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a huge problem in nursing homes and retirement homes because of the corona virus measures. People cannot visit their loved ones, and when they do, sometimes they are separated by Plexiglas partitions. No hugs, no touching.

Those with Alzheimer’s and dementia are especially affected by these measures. They can’t understand what is going on. They even forget who their family members are.

And, they are dying. Alone.

Charles Caleb Colton said, “Sometimes a hug is worth a thousand words.” The meme I saw shows two Teddy bears hugging. How much more than a thousand words is a hug for someone who feels abandoned.

I read recently about a husband and wife who are only allowed to see each other something like once a week, and then, they have to be at a distance with a staff member sitting between them.

Something is terribly wrong.

People need their families. They need visits. Elderly people need caring and touching and love.

So do the rest of us, for that matter.

I understand that older people are more vulnerable to Covid19 than the young. They often have underlying health issues, and they’re physically weaker. It would be awful for them to get the virus.

But, it isn’t right for homes for the elderly to be closed off to visitors. It also isn’t right for people not to have any visitors in the hospital.

Social distancing—and I understand the logic behind it—isn’t normal, either.

Jesus physically touched lepers, blind, crippled, and the dumb. He reached out to them. He took the dead by the hand when He raised them. They felt His caring through His touch.

In the early church, people greeted each other with a holy kiss, just as we used to in our church in Spain. Hugs between brethren are normal. Pats on the back or touching an arm are good for us. They are encouraging, warm, and connecting (pardon the pun).

Please understand I am not advocating throwing out all health rules during a pandemic. But, there is a real problem—possibly even worse than the disease—when we can’t visit family, especially our elders.

I don’t know what solutions to advise either. Masks can be very confusing to a confused person. Probably a clear face shield would be better. Wash hands and surfaces. Make sure the staff is healthy. Do everything to keep our elderly people well. But, let them see their families. A huge part of geriatric health is mental health, feeling loved, and the warmth of family.

Someone suggested she would rather die and be with her spouse than to be separated and lonely.

Many people who had Covid and were in the hospital said the hardest part was the loneliness, going weeks without visitors. Several of my personal friends couldn’t visit their handicapped children for months. This is clearly not right.

I think that part of honoring our father and mother is visiting them in their old age.

Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:32).

What do you think?

Any ideas on how to best handle this problem?

Have you or a loved one experienced this? Please feel free to share.

A contentious person–and how I almost became one

How glad I am for God’s Word and prayer.

I recently read something controversial that I felt I needed to answer right away. When I prayed about answering, this verse came to mind: But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God (1 Corinthians 11:16). The context of this verse is the controversy about headcoverings and long hair for men and women. It’s not worth arguing about.

Another verse about being contentious says, It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman (Proverbs 21:19). An additional Proverb says, A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike (Proverbs 27:15).

I don’t want to be a person no one wants to live with or a source of water torture. Quickly, I put my plan to respond to this person to rest.

The Bible uses another colorful illustration about being contentious: As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife (Proverbs 26:21).

No one wants to add fuel to a problem.

You may have thought about times when we’re supposed to contend. Contend means “to strive against.” We’re to contend for the faith (truth, pure doctrine). Defend it.

But, being contentious means arguing for the sake of argument, stirring up strife, nagging, and adding fuel to the fire. In short, it’s being a real pain.

This never helps the cause of Christ.

Jesus gave us this example: He held His peace.

As I get older and—I hope—more mature, I am learning that most controversies don’t require an answer. People have already made up their minds. It is totally useless to argue.

Many of the subjects are silly, too. Who cares if the sky is actually blue or if it is a reflection of certain bands of light and only perceived as blue? We could argue all day. Is it blue? Yes. But, who cares whether it is actually blue or the perception of blue?

We’re supposed to defend the gospel and sound doctrine. But, most battles don’t call for our participation.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9).

Let’s be peacemakers instead of contentious.

I’m glad I prayed first.

Whatever you do

I was reading Colossians 3, a powerful chapter of instruction for Christians, and the phrase “whatsoever ye do” popped out at me. It reminded me immediately of this first verse in 1 Corinthians.

Let’s read the three verses, and then we’ll find out what we’ve learned.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Colossians 3:17).

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Colossians 3:24).

Whatever we do, we’re to do it:

  • to the glory of God—This means that our actions actually convey honor and glory to God. Do they?
  • in the name of the Lord Jesus—Our words and actions are to be done in Jesus’ name. Are we living so that all our actions and words are done in the name of Jesus?
  • giving thanks to God—Thanksgiving is the mark of a Christian life. Do we give praise in all our words and actions?
  • heartily—”From the soul” is the Greek word’s meaning. Do we do everything from the heart?
  • to the Lord and not men—Pleasing God should motivate a Christian’s walk and talk. Are we God pleasers or men pleasers?

Every one of these verses convicted my soul. My actions, thoughts, words, and motivations fall far short of this ideal.

I am praying that whatever I do today gets closer to these high goals and that something will bring Him glory.

It’s a start.

Ears

Have you noticed what happens to people’s ears when they wear masks? Now, even the finest ears are sticking out or bending over at the top.

My husband thinks the market for plastic surgery to fix outie ears will be at its peak after the corona virus scare is over.

I personally find the whole look hilarious—covered mouths and funny ears. Gotta laugh. Just loosen the straps, folks. Or, push them back a little.

Some people wear their masks on their chins, like weird Santa beards in kooky colors, but we were talking about ears, weren’t we?

God created ears, one on each side of our heads. Brilliant, really. He could have put them anywhere. After all, He’s the Great Designer. But, He balanced them, cupped them to capture sounds, and even made us stereo. How cool is that?

In Scripture, God talks about different kinds of ears, none of them post-Covid bent over. These are from the New Testament:

  • Dull ears—Jesus said, For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Matthew 13:15).
  • Deaf earsHaving eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? (Mark 8:18)
  • Resisting, stopped up earsYe stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord (Acts 7:51, 57).
  • Itching ears that believe fables instead of truthFor the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
  • Hearing earsBut blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear (Matthew 13:16).
  • Healed earsAnd he (Jesus) took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain (Mark 7:33, 35).
  • Ears to hear ScriptureAnd he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears (Luke 4:21).

In contrast, God’s ears are always open to His children: For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers (1 Peter 3:12a).

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.