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Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

First, a bit of humor —

THE VIRUS HAS HIT EVERYBODY REALLY HARD.

My neighbor got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

SOME LESSONS I’VE LEARNED — AND AM STILL LEARNING!

1. I’m feeling much better about being an introvert. In some ways, for me this has been a dream. Social distancing — what could be better than that!?

2. I really need human companionship — far more than I realized pre-pandemic. Yes, it’s great to use my laptop to view the Sunday morning church service (and I love that I can fast forward past the sermon’s boring parts), but it’s not the same. Will we ever feel free to shake hands, hug one another, and (God forbid) greet one another with a holy kiss?

3.  Being retired, I have a lot of time. Time to get serious about Bible study, devotions, producing blog posts worth reading, connecting with others who are already socially and geographically distant to me.

4. Lastly, plagues are nothing new to the Lord. I’ve done a preliminary study of plagues in the Bible and I’ve found the following (read at your own discretion — there’s a lot here!):

In Exodus, chapter 5-11, God sends plagues on Egypt for not releasing His people. We have the plague of blood (Ex. 7), the plague of frogs (Ex. 7), the plague of gnats (Ex. 8), the plague of flies (Ex. 8), the plague on livestock (Ex. 9), the plague of boils (Ex. 9), the plague of hail (Ex. 9), the plague of locusts (Ex. 10), the plague of darkness (Ex. 10), and the plague of the Firstborn (Ex. 11).

Moses and Aaron said to Pharaoh, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.” (Ex. 5:3). Sometimes God sends a plague — on His own people!

God’s plagues against Egypt were not just for the purpose of getting His people freed. God says in Exodus 9 that if Pharaoh does not listen, “I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth.” In fact, in Exodus 9:15 God says, “For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.”

In Exodus 32 we read that “the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.” God’s people are not immune from His judgment! He threatens to send both “the sword” as well as “a plague” against His people for their breaking of His covenant (Lev. 26:25). The priestly tribe of the Levites were given by God to make atonement for the people “so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the sanctuary.” (Num. 8:19). God struck His people “with a severe plague” in Numbers 11 for their demand for meat.

We learn in Numbers 14:36-38 that “the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it— these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord. Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived. In Numbers 16:49 we learn that “14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.”

Numbers 25 has the following story: 6 Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand 8 and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; 9 but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.

The book of Deuteronomy has much to say about God’s threatening His people with plagues. In 28:21 we read, “The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess.” In 28:22 we are told: “The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish.” We are also told in 28:59 that “the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.”

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We don’t want to think of God as One who inflicts diseases and plagues upon His own people, but listen to these verses from Numbers and Deuteronomy:
Numbers 31:16
“They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people.

Deuteronomy 28:21
The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess.

Deuteronomy 28:22
The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish.

Deuteronomy 28:59
the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.

Deuteronomy 32:24
I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.

We have the infamous passage:
2 Samuel 24:13
So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come on you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”

2 Samuel 24:15
So the Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.

2 Samuel 24:25
David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

1 Kings 8:37
“When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come,

1 Chronicles 21:12
three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord—days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”

2 Chronicles 7:13
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,
Psalm 78:50
He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague.
Jeremiah 14:12
Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.”
Jeremiah 24:10
I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.’”
Jeremiah 27:13
Why will you and your people die by the sword, famine and plague with which the Lord has threatened any nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?
Jeremiah 29:17
yes, this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten.
Jeremiah 34:17
“Therefore this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.
Jeremiah 38:2
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives; they will live.’
Jeremiah 42:17
Indeed, all who are determined to go to Egypt to settle there will die by the sword, famine and plague; not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.’
Ezekiel 5:12
A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.
Ezekiel 5:17
I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed will sweep through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I the Lord have spoken.”
Ezekiel 6:11
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Strike your hands together and stamp your feet and cry out “Alas!” because of all the wicked and detestable practices of the people of Israel, for they will fall by the sword, famine and plague.
No social distancing will help! Ezekiel 6:12
One who is far away will die of the plague, and one who is near will fall by the sword, and anyone who survives and is spared will die of famine. So will I pour out my wrath on them.
Ezekiel 12:16
But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Ezekiel 14:21
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments—sword and famine and wild beasts and plague—to kill its men and their animals!
Ezekiel 28:23
I will send a plague upon you and make blood flow in your streets. The slain will fall within you, with the sword against you on every side. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 38:22
I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him.

Hosea 13:14
“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion,
Amos 4:10
“I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord.

Revelation 6:8
I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

Revelation 9:18
A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.

Revelation 9:20
The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk.

Revelation 11:6
They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2020 in plagues

 

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How the Virus Stole Easter! (a poem)

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2020 in Easter

 

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Virus-Driven Reading of the Bible — Some Satire from the Babylon Bee!


BURLINGAME, CA—Local Christian Tim Kabara has grown extremely bored during this whole Coronavirus quarantine thing. He has already watched every show on Netflix, done 6,000 push-ups, and read every book on his shelf—every book except for his dusty old Bible.

Kabara grew up in a conservative Christian family and goes to church every Sunday, so it only makes sense that this is the only book on his shelf that hasn’t been read. He is actually quite surprised that it’s still up there.

“Okay, fine,” Kabara said to himself—and to his grandpa, who is in Catholic heaven. “Let’s open this bad boy up, see what’s in here.” Amazed, Kabara read the Good Book for nearly six hours straight.

“Wow, so that’s the book of Genesis,” Kabara said to himself. “Only 820 pages left! I can’t wait to tell all my friends about this!”

It took Kabara a full sixteen hours of quarantine to read the Five Books of Moses, but after that, taking the advice of a good Jewish friend, he just skipped on over to the New Testament.

Kabara is now an entirely new person, thanks to the Coronavirus quarantine forcing him to read the Bible. He has learned some new things, like how to betray your friends, how to get away with murder, and whose feet to wash in an emergency.

Kabara knows deep down that if it weren’t for this year’s Coronavirus, he would have never read the Bible at all. So he did something he hasn’t done since that home run in sixth grade—he thanked God. “Thank you God, for bringing us the Coronavirus.”

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2020 in Bible reading

 

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TOO LATE! We Are ALL ALREADY Infected!

Our hearts go out to all those who have been infected with the coronavirus. And we should each take steps to stop the spread of this pandemic. Now we hesitate before shaking another person’s hand, give another believer a holy hug, or think about running whenever someone is about to sneeze. We all can’t wait until this virus has run its course and is no longer a threat!

However, there is a virus that all of us have already. The infection of SIN. We didn’t get it through human contact, but by being born as humans into this broken, fallen, rebellious world. We are SINNERS by nature — and by practice. And the answer to this worldwide pandemic is not self-quarantine (as much as we introverts think we might like such). Nor is there any human cure. No amount of money or scientists thrown at the problem will solve it. This virus is lodged in our DNA until the day we die.

This malady, this sickness, has infected our very persons. Like a newly-discovered tumor, it is far from benign. It is cancerous, invasive, progressive, and lethal. Outside treatment, even of a radical nature, will not help. Without an inner healing, we are helpless and doomed to debilitation, decay, and death.

Sin has infected each of us, down to our very bone marrow. The tests have come back; the doctor says, “I’ve done a thorough DNA scan on you. I’ve checked the results twice. Unfortunately, I’ve got very bad news. You’re infected, the disease is progressive, and it will kill you. It is only a matter of time. We do not know of any cure. There is no hope. I’m sorry. You should complete your will if you haven’t already done so. I can recommend a good attorney if you need one.”

Overtly moral and good people can’t see their sin. Their true nature is covered up by their goodness. But, one thing they lack is true forgiveness, a spiritual washing.

The only vaccine that can bring us spiritual health is . . . the death of Another in our place. The Great Healer, the Lord Jesus, took our sin upon Himself and “became sin for us.” He does not, at this point in time, eradicate the infection which is in us, but He has paid for the penalty of our SIN.

Give thanks today for our Great Physician, the Lord Jesus! Recognize that you will never meet another human who is not infected. Be prepared to share the CURE which is CHRIST.

 

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2020 in sin

 

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C.S. Lewis on Responding to the Coronavirus!

I’m taking some liberties here, friends, but C.S. Lewis wrote something about how Christians should respond to . . . World War 2. But if you substitute “Coronavirus” for “the bomb”, there is a lot of wisdom in his statement.

Before I give you the C.S. Lewis quote, I must share a small bit of humor with you. I’m not being insensitive to those who have been afflicted with the virus, and certainly not to those who have died from it. But we all need a bit of lightheartedness in the face of such devastating circumstances.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Your sneeze has now become a lethal weapon!

2.  Christians are to greet one another with a holy hug or holy kiss. We’re now relegated to a fist or elbow bump.

3.  Social distancing — which is being recommended to all of us — is an introvert’s DREAM!

4.  With the news of Tom Hanks becoming infected, it gives new meaning to the expression “Run, Forest, Run!” (away from other people). And in his new movie about Mr. Rogers, “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” becomes “Mr. Rogers All By Himself”!

Here’s the C.S. Lewis quote. If you substitute “Coronavirus” for “bomb,” you’ll get the point. [By the way, Lewis didn’t capitalize TENNIS. I did].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2020 in CS Lewis

 

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