Is the Coronavirus From God or Satan?

 

I don’t want to keep everyone in suspense. The coronavirus is from Satan, but there are some provisos attached to this answer.

You see, God is the Creator of heaven and earth. He gave authority to Adam to rule on earth. Adam sinned and in his rebellion, Satan ended up being the god of this world.

All of this is basic stuff, sort of Christianity 101. Yet, there is a verse we often overlook –

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word. (Psalm 103:20 AMP)

Satan is a fallen angel. But even though, he is the ruler of this world, he must still work within the framework of God’s commands and the voice of God’s word. Thus, Satan can only do what God allows him to do.

Okay! Okay! This may hurt your heads a little and your theology a lot, but stay with me on this.

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:25-29)

I believe the coronavirus is one of those shakings the Lord is allowing to hit mankind, and especially, His Church to show us our frailties. Is our faith truly in the living God? Or in our finances? Or in ourselves? Or in what?

This is the time for us to check our hearts before Him and then –

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

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Inside Israel

Greetings, dear sisters and brothers, fellow living stones being built into His temple for His glory.  May He be seen and glorified and blessed and may you be encouraged and blessed!  May we look at Him more and more that we might become clear as windows for Him to be seen in us.

About a week ago, many rabbis called for the country to meet at the western wall and to pray for God to intervene and drive back the Corona virus plague.  Many thousands did show up in the pouring rain of the evening to ask for God’s mercy.

As I watched the evening news, one of those rabbis who called for the prayer was asked by the reporter, “What they thought that they could accomplish by praying?”

The rabbi smiled at the reporter and said,”The scientists and doctors can search for a cure and prevention…and we must do what we CAN do…but we can pray.  Pray we must, for we are called to be a light to the nations and the nations are in deep trouble.”

And in trouble, we are.  All of us.

I don’t know if any of you are too young to remember that things (ie; people) weren’t always THIS polarized. That there really WERE times in which there was a certain right and wrong that wasn’t questioned and when it was the bad guy who crossed the lines and not the poor misunderstood guy. And yet, there WAS compassion, not the hardness of heart that there seems to be today in response to the other side, but reason in society as a whole.  That is NOT to say that it was idyllic by any means, but it was NOT upside down as it is today.

Some of you, like me, might be old enough to remember plagues and epidemics and stories of dark days in times past.

I do NOT want to step on any toes here or get into any arguments. I see my defined task (in Hebrew the word is taf-keed)  in these letters is “what you see… write.” The older that I get the more I have seen and a certain perspective forms as the time gets longer that I have walked this earth.

You know that I grew up in New York City just after WW2.  My Dad had had polio when he was 2 and by his own confession he had been spoiled because he survived.  I never did see the spoiled side of my dear hard working father who endured so much with a grateful heart. The polio left him badly crippled in the legs, with a deformed back and injured lungs from which he suffered for the rest of his 68 years on this earth.

When summers came in New York, a great fear descended upon the parents  because of polio, which struck down children all summer long.  Parents were terrified. Each year there would be more classmates to visit in the “iron lung” or who would appear in heavy iron leg braces or wheel chairs. It was part of my childhood, and although we children didn’t share the fears of our parents, we SAW their fear.

In the winter it was “the grippe” that claimed the lives of countless.  Sometimes schools were closed.  When I had the measles we were quarantined (as was every family with measles). I remember the first day that I was well enough to see the tape across our doors and the sign saying that no one could enter or leave the premises until the health department cleared us.  Groceries were left outside the front door and my mother made face masks out of old sheets.

I remember the cracks in the ceiling turning into snakes and screaming with fear as my fever rose.  My sister and I were polio pioneers as we were given the first experimental polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk himself (we had a photo and a button).  My father had suffered so much. It was the least that we could do.  When the vaccine worked, it seemed as if the world was rejoicing. This terrible scourge had been beaten and the fear could lift and we children could actually go swimming in the summer heat without fear of polio!

Recently I stumbled across a video that made me wonder how I could speak about this.

Last January, I nearly died from influenza and pneumonia.  During that time, The Lord opened to me 1 Chronicles 21. I saw how David stood before The Lord between the death angel and the people of Jerusalem, a perfect intercession after David’s tremendous sin resulting in God’s judgment against the people of Israel.

I was left with many questions and much seeking.  Last January was not the first time that I had influenza.  Before the flu shots were discovered I had it once as a child and twice as a teen- young adult.  People use the word flu lightly for any viral infection, but influenza is no small thing.  The video is powerful and worth watching.  It is the documentation of the influenza impacting Bristol Bay Alaska in 1919, the influenza from which my husband’s grandparents all died, leaving just his mother and father as orphaned children who met in the orphanage.

As a matter of fact, my husband’s uncle had been a teenager and told me years ago how everyone in his village had died leaving him and his small sister (my husband’s mother) and his future wife (a child at the time) alive.  When they were well enough to leave the bodies behind, they walked out of the village, aimless and starving and they met Jesus on the tundra. The Lord strengthened these orphaned children and showed them the way to walk to where people were still alive.  It was a powerful testimony to me, listening to him speak in the cold Alaskan darkness, a story to me –  untold. But he wasn’t the first one to tell me about that influenza.

My mother was born during it in 1918 in a hospital in NY.  I grew up hearing how my Grandmother clutched her newborn baby, praying that she and her baby would live, as death wagons clanged through the streets night and day picking up bodies.

I am not speaking of ancient history, and yet this generation has thankfully little experience with plagues and illnesses of massive proportion…until now.

Israel’s borders are not completely closed, but our health ministry has called upon the public not to travel unless absolutely necessary.  Some young people are taking it lightly, but more and more are not, as there has not been known before a virus that could spread this rapidly, live for 9 days on inanimate objects (even the sidewalk) and not show infection for weeks.   Great lengths have been gone to to restrain its spread, but should it spread it has the potential to infect virtually everyone…and that would shut everyTHING.

So I ask (and I am sure you do too) “What are you saying, Lord?”

I have no doubt that plague is a sign of God’s judgment.  It is written through out scripture.

I KNOW the promises in Psalm 91 and others, nevertheless I can not take The Word of God as a magic potion. It is The Word of GOD and HE IS GOD!  I heard an interview with some Christian tourists who were in the Old City visiting from the U.S. When asked if they were afraid (Jerusalem is FULL of tourists from all over the world including China, South Korea, Italy and all of the most infected countries), they laughed lightly and one said, “If God told us to come we will be fine.” 

And you and I know this to be true.  But there was a lightness in her speech (as in taking it lightly) that stopped me.  In South Korea the center of the epidemic has been one of the most charismatic Churches.  The precious doctor who became the whistle blower in China and so sadly died  was a young vibrant Christian – a strong believer walking with The Lord – with an 8 month pregnant wife.

God’s Word is sure and true but it is not a magic potion and we are flesh and blood. I BELIEVE that He is saying something to us and my question is: “LORD!  HOW DO I PRAY INTO THIS!  HOW DO I NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED!”

Ever so many years ago I remember someone telling me that not a hair on my head would be harmed and I had just been reading about the believers being killed in droves in Africa and there was a discrepancy.  I am NOT a  fear-monger NOR AM I FEARFUL…but I DO feel that He has made a distinction between HIS KINGDOM and the kingdom of this world and I had BETTER be walking IN HIS KINGDOM WHERE THERE IS NO DEATH, BECAUSE THIS BODY OF FLESH WILL DIE.

I stumble constantly (oh Lord of mercy!) but I have LEARNED TO TURN AND LOOK UPON HIM!  I stumble and fall but I MUST get up and run to Him and kneel at the cross again and again and AGAIN.

Oh sisters and brothers, I DON’T know how it is where you are, but for me today, riding the train where so many were coughing and sneezing and getting off at the shuk with Chinese tourists and standing to buy tomatoes between a young couple of tourists speaking Italian, ALARM BELLS GO OFF and I NEED to know how to pray NOW.  NOT that I will be just fine for if I am in Him and in His kingdom, whether I live or die means little to me…but HOW TO PRAY.

To pray for our elections on Monday which are alarming…:

To pray for our borders with Hamas and Hizbollah which are boiling…(although this virus may be closing borders all around us that no human sanctions could!)

To pray for our collapsing health system (atleast we don’t have to pray concerning drought right now)

AND HOW TO PRAY MERCY IN HIS JUDGMENT…

Oh for a heart like King David’s who was able to prevail because of his broken humility and his heart that KNEW GOD.

Sincerely,

Your sister J

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 4)

The following is an excerpt from my soon to be published novel – Still in the Fight:

Most people who have met Dylan and me would assume that we must have been cut from the same small-town cloth, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Dylan’s parents were two of the sweetest people who have ever lived. Love and peace permeated every corner of their home. Meal times for Dylan and his sister, Darla, were filled with lively conversations about what happened during their day. All who sat around the table, even guests, were encouraged to contribute. Family problems were handled in love, rather than anger. Both parents attended Dylan’s and Darla’s school events, cheering them on from their seats. Because of the loving atmosphere provided by his parents, Dylan grew up to be a confident, loving adult.

By comparison, fear filled our home because of my dad. Although he was a successful real estate broker, he hated his career, his life and himself. He took out his anguish on my mother, brother, sister and me.  We never knew what would trip his trigger, but when it happened he would turn into a raging madman, slinging four-letter words and accusations at everyone. It usually climaxed with him slapping us around.

Mealtimes? Oh my! Those were tortuous occasions for the family because Dad demanded absolute quiet from us while he ate his meal. If for any reason, we children made a chewing noise or squirmed a bit in our chairs, he might smack us and send us to bed, berating us as we left the room. If he did speak and asked a question and then didn’t like our answers, he might slap us across the face right there at the table. Mom always sat in her chair with her head down like a timid titmouse, too afraid to confront Dad or defend her children. Her only solace was a bottle of Jack Daniels hidden behind the cereal boxes in the pantry.

Not only that, my dad attempted to molest me soon after my thirteenth birthday. I fought him off and ran into the bathroom, locking the door behind me. He never attempted to touch me again, but being alone in the house with him caused panic attacks to strike me so that I trembled and struggled to breathe. All I could think about during those times was the day his hands fondled my breasts.

What few friends or boyfriends I had were never invited into my home nor did I ever share the shame and pain I felt in my heart with anyone. Never once! Looking back, I now realize how fortunate it was for me to be a straight-A student because it kept prying eyes away from my life and our home.

My most awkward moment occurred on October 12th of my freshman year at the University of San Diego. My phone rang at 6:35 in the evening while I was writing an English essay at my dorm room’s desk. I answered, “Hello.”

“Hi honey.”

“Oh, hi mom.”

“I have some bad news.”

“Okay, let’s have it.”

“Your dad suffered a heart attack this afternoon and died before the paramedics arrived at his office.”

I did not say a word nor did mom. The dead air space continued between us for more than sixty seconds before I finally said, “Oh.”

Mom closed by saying the funeral arrangements would be made the next day.

“Okay, mom.”

I hung up, shed no tears and felt no grief.

Is it wrong to feel like this, I wondered. I shrugged off the question and continued writing my essay.

(Continued in Part 4)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 3)

In the beginning, God created the heavens, the earth and everything on the earth.

Next, He created mankind in His own image by forming man out of the dust of the ground and breathing into man’s nostrils the breath of life. Man became a living being.

So far so good.

Next, God decided that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and that he needed a helper, fit for his needs. God took a rib from Adam (the first man) and created the first woman. She was just what Adam needed and he called her Eve. 

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:25)

So far still so good.

The Bible doesn’t exactly say how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before the fall occurred in Genesis Chapter 3, but we are told that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. This third child was born after Cain had killed Abel.

My guess is that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for approximately one hundred years without disobeying God’s one command to them –

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Maybe Adam and Eve walked by the forbidden tree once a day for one hundred years. That would be 36,500 times. If Adam and Eve were like me, they’d be at least curious about how the forbidden fruit tasted. And 36,500 times of not eating or touching the fruit probably primed them for the serpent’s temptation when he said,

“You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Eve listened to the serpent and then ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to Adam who also ate it.

What happened next?

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” (Genesis 3:7-8)

Adam and Eve’s disobedience released two stumbling blocks upon mankind which help to foster fear, anxiety and depression: hiding from God and fear. We are still struggling with these issues today.

(Continued in Part 4)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 2)

Let’s call the first female ride-share rider Alicia (not her name). She was nineteen years old, very pretty with a nice shape, long blond hair, intelligent and a great smile.

As I drove, we conversed about her college experience and her move to a new apartment. Somehow, I asked, “Do you struggle with depression?

“Yes,” she replied, “I am one of those smiling depressed ones.”

“Really? How can a pretty, bright gal like you be depressed?”

Alicia went on to tell about her childhood. She had a domineering religious father who demanded his wife always wear a dress, spanked his children too hard and too often, abused his wife and did all of this while hiding behind a “Jesus loves you” attitude.

Her mother left her dad and then remarried another man. And guess what? The mother chose a man just like her first husband.

Alicia made up her mind as a teenager never to be a Christian, but God had other plans for her. Some friends coaxed her into attending a Christian youth group. She met the real Jesus and built a relationship with Him.

But so far, her Christians beliefs have not erased her damaged childhood. She still struggles with depression.

Let’s call the second female rider Stella (not her name). She was forty-three years old, divorced, a successful professional, very pretty, in great shape, intelligent, and a Christian with a big smile.

It took no time to learn about her depression.

She had just returned from an out of state job interview. The reason for seeking the new job was that she was sexually harassed at her present company. She put up with the harassment for a while because it was her boss, a partner in the firm. But she wisely kept all the texts and emails he sent her.

Finally, she became fed up and went to the Human Resources Department with her texts and emails. The boss was fired, but the company treated her as though she was the problem and the cause of a good man being fired. Former friends turned on her.

Stella went to a psychologist, trying to get a handle on her strange predicament. Her company then felt she was too unstable to handle her position because she needed counseling.

It then snowballed from there.

Depression settled upon her so that she felt her only hope was to move to another city.

Both of these females should have had everything going for them with their intelligence, looks and youthful energy. Yet, one was damaged in her childhood and the other was hit head on by an unwanted circumstance.

These two females’ depression illustrate two of the main causes for our fear, anxiety and depression.

(Continued in Part 3)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 1)

I struggle with writing a series about fear, anxiety and depression because I don’t really suffer from these disorders. It’s not that I’m uncommonly brave or anything like that. It’s just that from my childhood until now, I’ve always had an attitude of “something good is about to happen to me.”

This becomes somewhat funny if you take the time to read my testimony because the Lord saved me on the day I was going to commit suicide. It’s not that I was depressed or anxious on May 20, 1985, it’s just that I had run out of options to save my home, car and family. My life insurance policy of $125,000 seemed to be my only hope. So I thought of it at the time as a business decision – nothing more.

Now, the only time I have ever truly suffered from depression was when a Christian friend with good intentions leant me his copy of Deliverance and Inner Healing by John and Mark Sandford. The book blends scripture with the teachings of Jung and Freud to supposedly rid believers of buried memories. The authors’ premise seems to be that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Bible are not quite enough to set captives free.

I began reading the book on a Saturday afternoon. And after about a hundred and fifty pages,  I became severely depressed and confused. The book had convinced me that my Bible studies and prayers were wasted efforts and that I needed the insights of inner healing, as outlined in this book.

I decided to go for a walk to clear my head.

As I walked down the sidewalk in a foggy daze, a Christian neighbor looked out his window and saw me. He felt I was in danger. He rushed outside and asked, “Larry, what’s your problem?”

“I’ve been reading a book entitled Deliverance and Inner Healing and it has really confused my faith,” I answered.

“Oh, that book is filled with psycho-babble and sorcery,” he replied. Then, he proceeded to outline the history of Agnes Sanford, John and Paula Sandford, Karl Jung, Sigmund Freud, inner healing and more.

“Jesus is the way, truth and light. Period,” he said.

His words instantly set me free.

Thus, if my depression on that Saturday is a small example of what many suffer on a daily basis, wow! It makes me realize just how debilitating and tormenting fear, anxiety and depression must be for millions of people.

Two female riders on my ride-share travels this week inspired me to write this article. We will talk about them in the future.

(Continued in Part 2) 

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We Need Heroes (Part 3)

 

John Nelson Hyde was born in 1865. His father, Smith Harris Hyde, was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Carthage, Illinois.

John Hyde graduated from M’Cormick Seminary in 1892. He was not an impressive student until the death of his eldest brother who had volunteered for the foreign mission field. It was then that Hyde prayed: “I’ll go wherever you want me to go, dear Lord.”

In a short while, Hyde discovered a newfound passion for prayer. His soul seemed to be set aflame. Prayer ended up being his pathway to greater things and the foundation of his life and ministry.

In 1892, at the age of twenty-seven, John Hyde departed by ship for India to preach in the Punjab region. After being at sea for a few days, Hyde remembered a letter from a family friend. He opened it and read: “I shall not cease praying for you, dear John, until you are filled with the Holy Spirit.”

The letter angered Hyde because he felt he had everything he needed. He crumpled it up and tossed it on the deck. A few minutes later, he humbled himself and asked the Lord to fill him with the Holy Spirit, no matter what it might cost him.

At that moment, John Hyde became Praying John Hyde.

Hyde was not a good missionary at first. He was slow of speech, somewhat deaf and struggled at learning the language. To the dismay of his missionary mentors, he instead spent most of his time studying the Bible, rather than language. Hyde felt he needed to learn the “language of heaven” first before he learned how to speak to the people. (He eventually became an easy and correct speaker in Urdu and Punjabi.)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

God used discouragement and fruitlessness to drive John Hyde to spend days and nights fasting and praying for India and its people. His co-workers called him a fanatic and the “man who never sleeps.” Hyde ignored their words because he felt sustained by the Spirit, even though he had little sleep for weeks and hardly any food.

At the end of seven years, he had one solid convert. His missionary friends considered him unsuccessful, but once again, Hyde paid no attention to them. He continued to fast and pray, “Father, give me these souls or I die.”

Praying John Hyde persevered through his early years until he witnessed thousands of converts and revival break out in the second half of his twenty-year ministry as a missionary to India.

Hyde died in 1912 at the age of 47. Interesting enough, Hyde’s style of praying – intense travail – took its toll on his body. His heart moved out of its natural position on the left side of his chest to a place over on the right side.

Today, Praying John Hyde is known as the Apostle of Prayer.

I believe in the days ahead, we will see God raise up hundreds of prayer fanatics like John Hyde.

(Continued in Part 4)

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