Wolves Among the Sheep

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This week we have watched demonstrations and riots across the United States. There have been legitimate protests and illegitimate riots. Many of those demonstrating peacefully have been blamed for the rioting and looting that took place. Why? Because people couldn’t tell the difference between the sheep and the wolves. 

So, how do we recognize the wolves among the sheep? At times, they may look pretty much the same, but a closer look will show us they are two completely different species.

Sheep travel in flocks. They are plant-eaters and docile. Sheep do not think for themselves and follow whoever is leading them. Sheep will trample the grass they are walking on but do not leave a trail of destruction behind them; the grass will grow back on its own. Sheep are awake during the day and sleep at night. 

Wolves travel in packs. They are carnivores and rapacious. They have a leader and a malevolent plan for  chaos and violence. They rip and tear their prey and leave a trail of destruction behind them. They will steal and kill without a second thought. Wolves  are nocturnal, they may hunt during the day but primarily come out at night to attack their prey.

We have been watching wolves among the sheep. Let us be clear-eyed and discerning. If you can’t tell the difference between the two, then study the species until you can. One may seeming look like the other but they are not the same and we would be well served knowing the difference.

One thing is for sure, the sheep have been seeking peaceful meaningful change in our society. The wolves, on the the other hand, have wreaked havoc and are seeking the destruction of it. 

Image by SarahPickertArt.

Courage

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Have you ever wondered what is wrong with the human race? How can we continue to hate and hurt each other? You’d think that after a while (several thousand years) we would have learned our lesson…apparently not. The killing of George Floyd this week and the subsequent riots (notice I didn’t say protests) are an indication of the hatred and malice that exist in the human heart. 

When I watch the events taking place on the streets of some of our major cities, I just shake my head. I am saddened by the lack of leadership within the ranks of the rioters and it makes me miss some of my heroes. Take Mahatma Gandhi, for instance. He helped liberate his country from English colonialism. His philosophy of non-violent protest changed an entire nation. It took a lot of courage and character to react non-violently in the face of senseless violence but he became the Father of modern India and an example to the whole world.

Gandhi influenced another of my heroes, Martin Luther King Jr. He also believed in non-violence and through his preaching and example, he was able to lead this country out of the dark ages of racial segregation. It took courage and character to  stand toe to toe with the police but he and his followers were able to do it. They received the respect of the majority of Americans who wanted the insidious doctrine of racial segregation legislated out of existence.

If we want to honor the memory of George Floyd and every other American who was killed unjustly by a police officer, we must behave in a way that commands the respect of the people. The vast majority of Americans were appalled by the murder of George Floyd and were more than anxious to see the perpetrators brought to justice. However, the burning, looting and wanton destruction of property have elicited a different reaction to this tragedy. 

Now, all the American people can see are violent protests and angry mobs pillaging and looting. The tragedy of George Floyd is being obscured by the riots and the spotlight that should be on his death has now been shifted to the angry mobs. Make no mistake, it doesn’t take courage to torch a car or loot a business. It takes opportunism, greed and disrespect for the property rights of others.

Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. threatened the status quo. Their courage in the face of evil was a shining example of how society could be changed by the practice of non-violent protests. The agitators who are leading the violent protests will not change society; they will only leave a wave of destruction in their path. Nothing will justify their behavior and they are certainly no example of courage or character. 

Image by truthseeker08. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Dead Relics

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Photo by Mau00ebl BALLAND on Pexels.com

“Henry Ford believed the soul of a person is located in their last breath and so captured the last breath of his best friend Thomas Edison in a test tube and kept it evermore. It is on display at the Henry Ford Museum outside Detroit, like Galileo’s finger in the church of Santa Croce, but Edison’s last breath is an invisible relic.”  Elizabeth Alexander, “The Light of the World.”

For the past few months, humanity has endured the pandemic. It has been worldwide, impartial as to race or sex and devastating to the elderly and infirm. The virus has caused fear to be rampant among millions and millions have sought security in a variety of ways. Some have sought security in their religion, others have sought it with their friends and family, while others have been at a loss as to where to find it. Some have even sought their security from dead relics.

What are dead relics? Dead relics are material items from the past. They may be parts of bodies, clothing, pieces of art, wood, rocks, or strands of hair to name just a few. Some ascribe an almost magical force to them, hoping they have the power to keep one safe. In some cultures, people wear them on their bodies or around their necks as a talisman. You’ve seen the pictures in National Geographic and so have I. 

There are several problems with placing our confidence in dead relics but here are just a few. Have you ever visited a holy site and people are selling relics? Do you really think they are what the sellers claim they are? I mean really, how many pieces of the cross of Christ are there? If I bought one and kept it near me hoping it would protect me, I would only be deluding myself. The truth is that many “sacred relics” are fraudulent, packaged only to make money for the seller.

As we move forward and attempt to reintegrate into society, we each must ask ourselves a few questions, “Where am I getting my security from? Is it coming from the living God or from dead relics?” These might seem like odd questions but in reality we must come to terms with them as we move forward. Security is a primary human need and we will all seek it in one way or another depending on our belief system.

We have a choice though. There is a living God waiting for us to seek Him and ask Him to be our Protector and Friend. We only have to ask, it’s our choice. Dead relics or the Living God? 

“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.”  Jeremiah 10:10.

The Race to Create a Covid19 Vaccine

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Photo by Absolute Charm on Pexels.com

Have you ever been to the horse races? If you have, you know there is always a tremendous amount of excitement in the air. At times, the air feels almost electric depending on which horses are running. Today, if you are part of the scientific community or big pharma, you can feel that same excitement in the air. The race to create a viable vaccine for Covid19 (SARS-Co2) is on and the winners will soon be announced.

Those entities which come up with the vaccine first and are approved by their governments will receive millions if not billions of dollars. Make no mistake, this race is real and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Within the next several months, more than one company may rollout a viable vaccine. According to an article I read, the hope is to make it available to frontline healthcare workers first, essential workers next and then possibly to the general public. Some are talking about having a vaccine available for children that will use a microneedle. It will leave an invisible mark on the skin that can be read by an infrared scanner. If you are over fifty, there may not be a vaccine available for you in the beginning. Research will have to be done to determine the the safety of giving the vaccine to those with diminished immune systems as those who are over fifty are presumed to have. 

Each person will have to decide if they are going to take the vaccine or not. At the moment, it will be an individual choice but some employers may require it in order to work for their company. Certain vaccines are already required by healthcare agencies and this one may not be an exception. If you want to travel to certain countries, you may be required to have an Immunity Passport in order to cross their border. Germany is already talking about the concept and it could become law in the near future.

If a person is going to take the vaccine, it will be important to find out some information before taking it:

1. Who produced the vaccine and what is in the vaccine made of?

2. Where was the vaccine produced, specifically which country was it produced in?

3. Are there any biomarkers in the vaccine?

4. Will any of the vaccines have an RFID chip in them?

5. What are the possible short-term side effects of the vaccine?

Because the rollout of these vaccines will happen so quickly, no one will know the possible long-term side effects of the vaccines. It will also be difficult to tell how long the immunity will last or if multiple injections will be needed to establish or maintain immunity. Even as many governments are hoping these vaccines will be a silver bullet to protect their populace from Covid19, there are still many questions that need to be answered about them. Each of us should be diligent about doing our research before we take one.

The race is on and the research is going at breakneck speeds. The stakes are high, not only for the producers but for those who will be receiving the vaccines. We will soon hear who has crossed the finish line and will be receiving the prized billions. If I look through my binoculars, I can almost see them nearing the final turn as they race to the finish line. Can you?

Who’s Pulling the Strings?

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“The Puppet Masters only concern is how well they can manipulate their marionettes.” Steven Redhead

Since about the middle of January, I have been hearing about the Coronavirus outbreak. Towards the end of that month, I heard a molecular biologist talk about the virus. She referenced an article in “The Lancet” published January 24th. That article studied people in Wuhan who had contracted the virus, some of whom had no connection to the wet market.  She also stated that the researchers found that some parts of the RNA sequence of the virus had been genetically manipulated.

I found the article in the Lancet and read it but could not find the information about the genetic mutation of the virus. She may have referred to another article but I missed the reference. Since then, I have heard varying scientists talk about where they believe the virus initiated. Their opinions are varied and I believe many of them are working in good faith. Others, I am not so sure about. What concerns me in the scientific community is the existence of a hidden money trail. Who are the researchers receiving grant monies from and how does that influence their opinions? In other words, who is really pulling the strings? It is a legitimate question and one we should ask when we evaluate the information we are being given. 

“If you have the ability to see the things behind the scenes, then you have the greatest talent one can ever have because there is almost always something else behind the scenes.” Mehmet Murat Idan

As we move forward in the process of dealing with this virus on a societal basis, we need to be able to identify its origins. We will then know what we are really dealing with. Is it a man-made virus or is it a virus that just happened to be transmitted from a horseshoe bat to a human? This virus is exponentially contagious, able to spread around the world in record time, kill our most vulnerable citizens and destroy our economies. We have a responsibility to find out the truth when dealing with something so insidious. 

Science is supposed to be based on facts. Research into the RNA sequence of this virus should produce similar results no matter where the research is done. Unfortunately, after listening to different scientists, that does not seem to be the case. Because of that, we must seek to find out who is pulling the strings so we can know which information is the most reliable. Then we will be in the position to draw informed conclusions.

Bulletproof

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“I thought I was bulletproof or Superman there for a while. I thought I’d never run out of nerve. Never.” Evel Knievel

We’ve all come through the last two months together and now states and countries are starting to open up. Throughout this process, I have noticed several different attitudes towards the Corona Virus. Some people feel they are absolutely bulletproof in regards to COVID19, especially the young. This group may not think about washing their hands after going out in public. Others are concerned, maybe don’t feel entirely bulletproof, but don’t think there is much to worry about. This group is probably washing their hands at the very least. Still others, depending on their age and comorbidity factors, are taking the threat seriously and are washing their hands, social distancing and wearing masks. This group feels the least bulletproof of all.

I don’t know about you, but I have probably been in each of these groups at one time or another during this process. Initially when I was thinking about and praying about it, the Lord gave me a deep peace. I took that to mean that I didn’t have to worry about the virus. I was a bit cavalier about wearing a mask although I did wash my hands after going out in public. About three weeks into the shelter in place order, I ate some fish for dinner that for some reason didn’t agree with me. That evening I was sicker than I had ever been. I felt nauseated the next day and was careful about what I ate for the next week. The lesson here? I was not bulletproof. 

I have no idea what the peace the Lord gave me meant. Was I going to be spared from the virus? Was I going to get it and be healed from it? Was I going to get it and die? I don’t know the answer to those questions but I did begin to take the threat more seriously. I started wearing a mask in public, was more careful about social distancing, washed my hands for a longer period of time and disinfected surfaces when I came in from shopping. To encapsulate my thoughts I give you a quote that I really love:

“We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm.” Damian Barr

As the country opens up and we are given more freedom, we need to respect each other regarding our response to the threat of this virus. If the median age of death is 82, then the virus has taken many who were a lot older than that. Yes, it has affected some who were younger, but in general the young are pretty much bulletproof. The rest of us, depending on our age and comorbidity factors will have to think about our response going forward as retail stores, salons and airlines open back up. 

What am I going to do? I don’t know. I will just have to move through this process one step at at time and make my decisions from there. I do pray for protection for myself, my family and friends daily and I trust the Lord will take care of each one of us. I will not however, regard myself as bulletproof. What about you? What has your response been to this virus? 

“I returned and saw under the sun that – the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” Eccl. 9:11

Photo by Mike’s Photos. Courtesy of Pixabay!

Shoulders

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“If He carried the weight of the world on his shoulders; brothers and sisters, I know He will carry you.”                                        Scott Wesley Brown

A few weeks ago, I started looking at shoulders. Shoulders, you say? Yes, shoulders. I started looking at the shoulders of our government leaders and I thought about the weight they were carrying on them. They are tasked with promoting the general welfare of the citizens under their authority. This must have been a staggering time for them while dealing with the Covid19 Crisis.

I especially think of one governor I saw on television last week. His state has lost the most people to this disease and he looked shell-shocked. I thought of the sleepless nights he must have spent worrying about those under his care. This disease has left a lot of people at the top feeling helpless in many ways. After all, how do you fight a disease that you don’t yet have a viable treatment for? I also thought about some of the mayors in this country; some of their cities have a greater population than a lot of our states.

There’s not much we can do to help them other than to pray for them. Scripture encourages us to pray for “all in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” All, you might ask if you are a political partisan? Yes all, regardless of political affiliation. But you don’t know who is in charge of our state, you might say to me. That’s right, I don’t. However, the Bible is clear on this issue, “All” apparently means all.  

Before you rush to take another pill for your hypertension, think about it this way. Everyone (all)  in authority needs wisdom, strength and divine guidance. At the time this was written, Romans were under the authority of their Emperors. Some of the Emperors were notoriously cruel, unjust, believed they were divine, and held the power of life and death over their citizens. There was a lot to disagree with the way they governed but believers were instructed to pray for them nonetheless. 

The next time we see one of our government leaders on television, let’s take a closer look at their shoulders and see if we can discern the weight they are carrying on them. May it stir compassion inside of us so that we are motivated to pray for them. Maybe, just maybe, our prayers will help lighten their load a bit. 

Scripture Reference: 1 Timothy 2: 2. Image courtesy of Pixels.

Normal

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“Normal is just a setting on your dryer.” Patsy Clairmont

As the shutdown begins to end, we hear the word “normal” bandied about in practically every newscast. People are setting timelines about when our society will return to “normal.” Others think we will be living with a “new normal.” Still others wonder if our lives will ever return to “normal.” Of course, no one really knows the answers to any of these questions. I certainly don’t, but I would like to share a few observations I made during this abnormal time.

When 9/11 happened, I remember driving to the office late in the morning. I had to stop at the bank before I went and as I walked in, a television was on. The people looked like they were in a daze. No one said anything, they just stared at the television as the scenes played out over and over again. I didn’t sense any fear just bewilderment.  When the Covid 19 crisis hit and we were all faced with a partial shutdown of the economy, the response was different. The first day I went to the grocery store, most of the people had a look of fear on their faces. They were not looking at one another but were furiously shopping trying to fill their carts with the necessities. Except for items that were fresh, i.e. milk, cheese, fruit and vegetables, the shelves were about empty. I don’t know about you, but I had never experienced this before.  To say the least, this whole scenario has been instructional for me to walk through.

We have all learned some things during this crisis and I hope we do not forget them when our lives return to “normal.” Here are a few of the topics we each have had to come to grips with:

1.  Control – We learned we really have no control over anything. It was a shock to most of us to have the government make decisions about our lives that we had to abide by, no questions asked. We have now seen this happen once and we should be aware that it could easily happen again. 

2. Security –  If we were counting on anything on a human scale to be our security, that rug was ripped right out from under us. We learned that our jobs, bank accounts, stocks, health, food supplies, and even our precious store of toilet paper would only take us so far. This crisis showed us there is no earthly thing we can hold onto for our security.

3. Mortality – We had to come to grips with the fact that we are mortal. If anyone of us believed differently, this virus showed us that we have been believing a lie. Yes, it was harder on the elderly and those with comorbidity factors, but many young healthy individuals succumbed to it also. 

These were not the only life topics we had to deal with. Each one of us can think of at least one area that we especially struggled with during this time. Personally, I found that having faith in God kept me from living in fear. Knowing that God was in control of my life was my security, and that He would be there for me should it be my turn to die, gave me a deep and abiding sense of peace. I know many of you experienced this also.

But if that wasn’t your experience and you haven’t settled some of these life issues yet, I encourage you to do so before the shutdown ends and life returns to “normal.” Please know that the Lord is waiting for you to turn to Him and ask Him for His help and guidance. He will gladly be there to take control of your life, be your security and take you to Himself should it be your turn to leave this earth.

Image by gerd altman. Courtesy of Pixabay.

What Time Is It?

 

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There are twenty-four different time zones on the earth. We each will have a different idea of what time it is based on the time zone we live in. We understand that is how we measure chronological time on the earth. Chronological time is not the only way we measure time though; there are many different units for measuring time. On one end of the spectrum  is Geologic time where we measure the age of the earth by eras and at the other end of the spectrum is Planck time, where we measure how long it takes for light to travel one Planck in a vacuum. 

Another completely different measurement of time is Prophetic Time. Prophetic Time is a Biblical measurement that measures the amount of time between when a particular prophecy is given and when that prophecy is fulfilled. For example, when Jesus came to earth the first time, His birth, life and death were a fulfillment of over one hundred Old Testament prophecies. Some of the prophecies had been written hundreds of years earlier, and yet, He uniquely fulfilled each one throughout his lifetime. The people living in those days literally saw prophecy fulfilled during their time on the earth.

Those of us living today might be living in another significant time of prophetic fulfillment.  There are dozens of prophecies that speak of the return of Christ to the earth, i.e. His Second Coming. Some of these prophecies were given over two millennia ago. The Bible speaks of a seven year period of time known as “The Tribulation” that takes place prior to His return. It also speaks of a “Time of Sorrows,” that proceeds those final seven years. This “Time of Sorrows” consists of earthquakes, famines, wars and rumors of wars, pestilences, death, inflation and false Christs.

So if someone were to ask me, “What time is it?” and they were referring to Biblical prophecy, I would answer them this way: From my vantage point, I believe we are pretty far down the road on the Prophetic Timeline. I would say that I believe we have entered into  the”Time of Sorrows.” Watching the earth deal with COVID19 on a world-wide scope has gotten my attention. Listening to the people from ID2020 explain how they want to give everyone living on the earth a digital implant has made me sit up and take notice.  Seeing governments put draconian measures on their populace has opened my eyes to how easy it is to fully control the world’s population.  These events show me how the next events on The Prophetic Timeline could soon come to pass. 

What do things look like from your vantage point? How would you answer if someone asked you where we were on the Prophetic Timeline?