“The sky is falling!” The Chicken Little syndrome

The story of “Chicken Little” is, sadly, the story of many Christians today.

To refresh your memory—or in case you are too young to have heard of Chicken Little—here’s the story in a nutshell (pun absolutely intended): Chicken Little is walking around and an acorn falls on his head. He looks up, doesn’t see anything amiss, and he panics. “The sky is falling!” He runs down the road, and gathers others to go tell the king that the sky is falling.

Christians do the same thing.

They see:

  • violence
  • microchips
  • vaccines
  • earthquakes
  • political parties
  • persecution
  • corruption
  • evil influences

And they run down the road crying, “it’s the end times!” “It’s the mark of the beast!” “They’ll never vaccinate me!”

Are we in the end times? Possibly. I honestly even hope so. Personally, I would love to be part of the gathering that doesn’t experience death and goes zooming up to meet Jesus in the Rapture.

It is interesting that the apostles of the New Testament thought Jesus’ second coming was imminent. Let’s read 2 Peter 3:3-14. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation (verses 3-4). Sounds like today, doesn’t it? Scoffers? Lots of them. People looking for pleasures? By the boatloads.

Let’s read further. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished (verses 5-6). This obviously reminds them of Noah’s flood.

Now for some prophecy: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (verse 7). God will destroy this earth with fire, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1).

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (verses 8-9). God’s timetable isn’t ours, and He isn’t limited by time at all. I love that last verse! The Lord mercifully gives the world more time to turn to Him.

This is interesting to everyone, Christians and non-believers: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (verse 10). This obviously is speaking about the ending judgment.

In light of that, what should Christians be doing? Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless (verses 11-14). We’re supposed to be godly, have good reputations, and be peacemakers. Now, that’s practical!

The Rapture of the church is described in another passage. Let’s read it together. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (go before) them which are asleep (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15). This is good news! Those who have died in Christ will go first. We have hope of this resurrection.

What will happen? It’s dramatic: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

I love this last verse: Wherefore comfort one another with these words (18).  Christians are supposed to be calm and share this peace with each other.

Paul, Peter, Jude, and the author of Hebrews instructed believers to be watching and waiting for Jesus’ coming (1 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 1:13; and Jude 21).* The clear teaching of Scripture indicates that Jesus’ coming in the clouds for believers could happen at any time. The disciples believed that back in their day, and we believe it today.

So, is the sky falling? Chicken Little and his gang are running to warn the king. (Watch out for falling acorns!)

Should Christians panic? No, not at all.

But, we should definitely look up. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).

Jesus said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

* Thomas D. Ice, Liberty University

Be honest. What are you selling?

People are trying to sell me something. I want them to be honest. What exactly are they selling?

I don’t know.

Instead, they say:

  • “My hair has never been thicker.”
  • “Come to my party.”
  • “These drops! I have lost X number of pounds already.”
  • “This lipstick doesn’t rub off. You can kiss your kids and husband as often as you like, and it’s still fresh.”
  • “Just drink this every day, and all your gut problems will be solved.”
  • “My lashes didn’t even show up, but just look at these results.”
  • “I used to be sick, but now I have boundless energy.”

I often see wonderful before and after pictures. They make me sincerely happy for those people. I mean, who wouldn’t want to look like that after two to four months?

But, my problem is that I have no idea before what or after what.

I get it. The seller wants me to click on their page, follow them, etc., and sooner or later—most likely later—they will actually tell me what they are selling and—drum roll—after that, tell me the price.

Sellers, I admire you. I might even like your product, were I to try it. But, let me tell you a secret. I appreciate honesty. Don’t be sneaky. I actually have gotten sales pitches from some people for years–and I still have no idea what they are selling. I know it has something to do with lifestyle and weight loss, but I am not sure if it’s supplements, exercise routines, or what. A shame!

Be up-front, in-your-face honest.  Say, Here is my product. It is called this name. It is marvellous. It will make you healthy, look like a million dollars, help you lose weight naturally, or it’s a great buy.”

Tell me the price. Don’t make me faint dead away when I finally see it. Tell me up front that your product will be this price each month for the rest of my life—or that it will cost me X dollars right now. I am fine with knowing, and I might not even faint if you tell me at the beginning. (No guarantees, though.)

I don’t sell anything.

But, I have a wonderful product. It’s called salvation from sin. Everyone needs it, because all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

It’s already paid for, but it cost God everything. He gave His only Son on the cross, bearing our sins, because He loved us that much. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed (1 Peter 2:24).

He offers it to everyone. Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9b).

Those who receive His gift can be saved. 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).

They can go to heaven. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:2).

I’m not selling anything, and I’m being honest. This is the truest truth there is.

There is no other way of salvation. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Jesus provided salvation. He offers it as a gift, when we repent of our sins and accept what He did in our place. Now, it’s entirely our decision. A precious gift.

What are you selling? Be honest, and tell me.

Crushing hard on …

Back when I was a child, people had crushes on other people. These were goofy pre-adolescent ideas about someone—usually only shared with our giggling girlfriends.

Some years pass, and I heard “Crushed it,” to mean, “You did it very well.” Okay….

Now, I see “Crushing hard on __________.” What goes in the blank? A thing, room, or an object. I’m surmising that this saying is close to “woot” (want one of those) from a couple of years back. Correct me if I’m wrong.

So, people are “crushing on” pocketbooks, clothing, home furnishings, and even cars. Does this mean the new objects of our emotional, adolescent-like loves are mere things? Wasn’t it bad enough when we crushed on our teachers and other older, unattainable, handsome men? (Yes, I did, and yes, I’m not exactly proud to admit it. Thankfully, if the objects of my crushes ever noticed, they never let on. They were far out of my teenybopper league, anyhow. You may giggle, if you want.)

But, things?

Crushing hard on things?

Maybe it’s only a figure of speech, but it’s concerning. Our affections should be twofold—on God first and others after Him. They shouldn’t be on things.

We’re not supposed to love things.

  • Jesus said, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
  • Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).
  • Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15).

Now, I enjoy beautiful things. I have some pretty objects, mostly that I received as gifts from my family or from other thoughtful people. Some were wedding gifts. I believe that God gives good gifts to His children, and he lets us enjoy beauty here on the earth.

I have known several people who have suffered fires in their homes and lost literally everything. Some of my acquaintances have had their homes broken into and been robbed of their valuable items. Do you know what each one of these people said? “At least we were not home when it happened, and we have our family.” Or, “Thankful that our family wasn’t harmed, though this shook us up considerably.” What was most important? People.

It wasn’t easy to lose everything, and it wasn’t pleasant to be robbed. But, people are more important than things.

I personally don’t think anyone needs to crush on anything. That’s twelve-year-old, silly behavior.

Our love, though, needs to go primarily in two directions. Jesus said, And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:30-31).

The next time you’re tempted to “crush on” a thing, remember the most important things: God and people.

That’s where our affections belong.

Naming … and shaming

A crowd walks through the streets with placards proclaiming “Black Lives Matter.” Watch what happens when someone says, “White Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter.” Chants of racist fill the air.

Can’t everyone matter?

Parades and special weeks proclaim “Gay Pride” or just “Pride”—to represent all LGBTQ people. Google features a drag queen. Anyone who posts “Straight Pride” or “I am for traditional marriage” is vilified as a homophobe.

Isn’t it okay to prefer one lifestyle?

Many people wear masks for Covid19. Others don’t, saying masks aren’t effective. Some wear them because they’re required. Other people balk, citing the freedom to make their own choices. Asthmatics may choose not to wear a mask because it restricts oxygen. 

Can’t people choose what they wish to wear or not—unless it’s the law?

A lot of churches closed their doors for the pandemic. Some of them still haven’t opened because of the legal restrictions in their countries or areas. Other churches opened with special social distancing seating, sanitizer, and following health guidelines. Quite a few pastors refused to close the doors of their physical buildings at all, citing religious freedom. There has been much discussion on this matter.

May individual, independent churches decide—unless it’s the law?

We won’t even start about politics!

I believe it’s a sad state of affairs when a person cannot speak his mind without everyone else coming down on him. It is awful that one statement is valued and another parallel statement gets mocked. Why is only one viewpoint acceptable? Is there no room for thinking and expressing ideas?

Doesn’t God’s view matter?

The truth is:

  • God made every single human being—of every hue—in an incredibly purposeful, detailed way. Each was made in the image of God. (Psalm 139:13-16; Genesis 1:27)
  • He created male and female and instituted marriage. (Genesis 1:27; 2:22-24)
  • We are to be considerate of others. (Luke 6:31; Philippians 2:3)
  • The Lord wants us to follow the laws of the land. (Romans 13:1-7)
  • God wants us to be kind. (Ephesians 4:32)

Even when we differ, we should be kind. How can Christians hope to win the lost if we’re not nice?

I believe strongly on some of the subjects I mentioned and not so strongly on others. For example, I don’t care who wears a face mask.

But, even if I don’t agree with a person, he or she can still be my friend. I have friends and relatives in every category above, and I respect them as people for whom Jesus died. They are created in the image of God, just as much as I am. I pray for them and care about them.

Jesus said, And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these (March 12:30-31).

Let’s go out and love our neighbors—even when they disagree with us.

May we present our opinions with grace and back them up with biblical truths.

Jesus said, Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10).

You matter to God. He wants your affection, and He wants you to share that love with others.

Getting used to the new normal

Spanish news, American news, British news … they’re all talking about “the new normal.” Of course, no one has a clue what that means. There’s not one definition and not one recommendation, but we’re all supposed to get accustomed to things being different.

I had to laugh about a month ago when the climate activists were rejoicing about no smog in major cities like Beijing, Rome, Madrid, etc. where there were major shutdowns. Great. No pollution.

People are all shut up in their homes.

They cannot work.

People cannot drive anywhere unless it is critical to their wellbeing.

Look how it’s helping the climate. Animals in our streets. More bees.

We saved a lot on fuel for our car these past months. Of course. We couldn’t go to church or anywhere.

Is this the new normal? Forbidden to do anything or go anywhere?

“People aren’t spending extra money on clothing,” one news medium touts. “Isn’t that wonderful?” Well, when people aren’t allowed to leave their homes and the clothing sections of supermarkets are roped off, it’s not exactly a hard choice.

Then, we have the new social distancing normal. No one even knew what social distance was until recently, but these guidelines are hilarious, too. Some think it’s a meter (yard) and a half. Some say six feet. I heard a polititian say twelve feet today on the news. Where’d he get that?

Social distancing means we can’t hug, kiss, or touch. Our old people can’t have visitors. If you ask me, that’s just distancing, nothing social about it at all.

We went to church for the first time on Sunday. Our people sat a little farther apart than is prescribed by law. All of us wore masks. We sanitized our hands as we walked in. I waved to the others. There was no mingling, no fellowship, and no talking or hanging around before or after the service. It sure beats virtual meetings, and we’ll accept it for now.

But, the new normal?

Not normal. Not at all. Spanish society is all about touching, warmth, and relating to each other. Friendships. It’s one of the things I love about living here.

I have yet to go to the grocery store—after ten weeks—and I haven’t been in any large town. I am only now allowed to ride with my own husband in our own car. Woo hoo!

New normal.

No one would accept this forever, and I don’t think it will be forever.

Plexiglass divisions at restaurant tables? Puh-lease!

Yes, be careful. Wear a mask, if need be. Take care of others and yourself, and please wash your hands often and well.  If anything becomes a new normal, I hope it’s the handwashing thing. Just saying….

People were designed to relate to each other. Even before Adam was made from dust, God had planned a helper for him. God wanted the world populated and full of people. He wants us to care, fellowship, Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15).

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing (Ecclesiastes 3:1-5).

Sounds like today, doesn’t it? This is one of those times to refrain.

God knew all about pandemics in the past, and He wasn’t taken by surprise by this one.

As to a new normal?

I sincerely hope we learn to value what’s most important—especially our families and church gatherings—and we cut out some of the extra time-eaters. I hope people wash their hands more and contaminate less.

But, I also hope the new normal is close to the old normal … if normal even exists.