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Passionate Grace

Is it Any Wonder They Call it… Amazing Grace – a Ragamuffin Blog

What if….? The Power and Promises of God that bring Peace in Uncertainty

FEAR
In recent weeks the entire world seems to have been caught in grip of its cold steel tongs.

What if I or my loved ones contract Corona Virus?

What if _________ becomes president of the United States?

The stock market is plunging – How can I feel secure?

The wheels of the world seem to be coming off as we fly at breakneck speed over some unseen precipice.

BE STILL

“Be still and know that He is God!”

“Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

PEACE – SELAH

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

SELAH – PEACE

“Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.

Be still, and know that I am God.”

There is a God in heaven who rules over the affairs of men. Those who trust in Him are glad. Even in great storms when the waves swamp the deck of our little boats – our anchor strikes firmly on the rock.

HIS PROMISES:

“I will never leave your or forsake you”

“Fear not! I am the one who helps you.”

“I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no Savior.”

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

“”Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

“Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

TRUST HIM!

These are God’s promises to his people – to all who are His. Instead of giving in to fear turn your eyes to the One who alone rules over all things – to the one who has provided redemption and life and joy and peace that endures through any towering waves in this life.

If you don’t know this God – Seek Him today while he may be found – Call upon Him and you will find He is very near.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;

God is a refuge for us. Selah”

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Life as a Symphony

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Life is like a frenetically played William Tell Overture. It gallops by at breakneck speed punctuated by shocking staccato notes that make us gasp in pain and pleasure and then concludes as a dramatic dissonant chord with unplayed notes hanging in the air.

But this is but a beginning. More – it is but the faintest breath of a beginning – the opening bars of an ongoing symphony.

And when the page is turned we will find the notes resolve and are played with a sweetness that we could not have imagined previously. The scale of time will extend like the vanishing point of a master painter’s watercolor sunset. And we will wonder how we ever lived any other way.

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Monday Morning Armor

It is Monday
– My oldest son is in the final stages of getting a job
– My second son just moved out by himself and starts college today and needs a job
– I have a son in running start who also needs a job
– My 13 year old is in public school and needs to have a good year in school
– Christie is homeschooling to youngest two which is great but requires a lot from her
– I have good news to deliver at work today
– The Moses Lake branch is in the final push of winning the cup for the year
– It is the end of the year at the bank and the stress level across the division is higher than normal
– I have a ton of work to do to prepare for the new fiscal year
– I would like to try something new with my division this year but I’m not sure how to implement it – and will required a lot of creative energy to work through
– I have friends in difficult places in their lives and I am burdened for them
– In my own life I feel restless and unsettled this morning.
– I have internal questions around my ability, stamina, adequacy to be enough for my family, friends, colleagues, church – and even for myself.

This is a typical stream of consciousness that hits me right away in the morning – especially Monday mornings. It seems as though the expectation of me in life is to make it all work and walk through unfazed by its challenges. But I know from a long history of looking internally to my own resources for help that they are in fact inadequate. And so am I – at least on my own.

Yesterday I taught on Psalm 33 and discussed specifically this “morning battle” Here are a couple thoughts that particularly struck me.

The Psalmist begins with praise. Praise requires me to look outward and away from my own self reliance. Praising God when you are feeling overwhelmed is hard but also even more needed.

Secondly as the Psalmist begins to describe the power of God he says: “He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.”
The Psalmist MEANS for this to strike awe in me and it does. God is heaping the depths of the ocean and containing them like we do grain in a grain bin (which happens to also be beyond my ability). This reality is meant to fill my heart with awe and fill my mouth with praise.

But then he says this: “No king is saved by the multitude of an army A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety Neither shall it deliver ANY by its great strength.” This means my own resources (even if were a king with a mighty horse and great army which I’m not) are INSUFFICIENT to meet my problems BUT the God who scooped the ocean into grain bins….. He “might” have the strength, knowledge and wisdom to. But will he help me in my need?

Psalm 33:18: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.

Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in you.”

Anxiety piling up? Feel stretched thin? Worried? Worn? Defeated? – Lift your gaze in praise! Look away from your own resources and look to the maker of ocean storehouses. Look with awe and delight at the creator this Monday morning. And remember that for those that know him – who hope in his mercy (and if you don’t you can right now) – He is our help and our shield.

Monday Morning Armor = God: Ocean-Container

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A Prayer for Monday Mornings

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It is Monday morning and the week ahead looms in my mind – so much to do. Some things I am eagerly anticipating, others feel like a weight. All the worries and cares in my life rush in – especially on Monday mornings. What shall I do?

I will cast my cares on the Lord for he cares for me!

I will consider the birds chirping around my house this morning and remember they neither sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, but My Father feeds them

I will remember my Father knows my needs and so I am free to seek Him and His kingdom above what he provides.

I will not borrow from all the potential troubles ahead but give today’s cares to the Lord

I will lift up my heart to the Lord and not be anxious – trusting in his provision and care for me as a good Father.

I will remember that even in difficulty, stress, embarrassment, failure, loss – You are my refuge and strength and nothing can separate me from Your love.

So Lord I give You this day and this week with eyes turned to You – incline my heart after You – may this week by Your Spirit be used to shape me increasingly to the image of Your Son and may I find this week, in ways I have have never experienced before, that in YOU alone all my longings are met.

In Jesus Name

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A Letter to my Son and His New Bride on Their Wedding Day

Dear Steven and Kendra,

It is your wedding day.  In many ways it has been a long time coming, but at the moment it seems surreal that the day is here.  It is an exciting day and I am hopeful that everything goes smoothly, but even if something doesn’t, don’t let it steal the joy of this moment.

I haven’t had the chance to talk to either of you much about marriage, but I have a few thoughts I would like to encourage you with as you embark on this new chapter of life – one that extends through the rest of your life. Forever and always is not guaranteed and will require significant effort, grace and humility to have a chance. 

  1. Fairy tales are illusory. The vows you make today, as I know you are aware, mark a covenant before God.  This covenant is a sacred promise to not forsake the other no matter the adversity you face.  And you will face adversity.  From financial strain, to job demands, to relational difficulties, to child-raising, to where to live, to….  Life is both beautiful and challenging.  Whatever challenges you face they need not drive you apart, though they do for many.  Adversity faced in isolation drives wedges between you, but adversity faced with your spouse is, many times, the instrument God uses to forge you into one.  You need each other.  Steven you need Kendra – yes, as the man you are the leader and protector, but this does not mean you are meant to bear every burden alone, to not share your difficulties, your questions with Kendra.  She is your partner in this life – including its struggles – don’t rob yourself or your marriage of availing yourself of this God-designed help in an attempt to isolate Kendra from the storms of life.  Huddle together in the storms and find your strength in God together.  Kendra, don’t be afraid to give Steven your counsel and your insights he needs them as you need his. While marriage is not like a fairy tale – there is something stronger that is found in marriages that thrive – joy forged on the anvil of difficulty.  This kind of joy in each other and together found in God, is the mortar that will cause your marriage to last.
  • Be quick to forgive and slow to anger.  One of the challenges of having two human beings marry is that we are sinners.  This means that you will at times hurt each other.  Sometimes the offending party won’t even know they are hurting the other.  I remember when Mom and I first got married – I was so excited to sleep in the same bed and cuddle with this “the woman for whom my soul craved” and having mom unceremoniously remove my arm from her person and roll AWAY from me.  I felt rejected.  Mom felt hot. She didn’t mean to make me feel rejected she just was too hot.  My sense of rejection was based on expectations that were unmet.  Unmet expectations could be its own point but I’ll include it here.  You both have expectations you are bringing into the marriage that the other person is probably completely oblivious to.  You may not even be able to speak to what your expectations are, but you have them nonetheless. The process (possibly life-long process) of working through your expectations and desires of your spouse and their expectations and desires of you is best accomplished by non-defensive, open communication.  When those expectations go unmet and undiscussed they will often create anger, resentment and frustration – even sadness.  So when (not if) that happens be quick to forgive – quick to listen – be patient with each other – look to see the best in each other rather than the worst.  “Love covers a multitude of sins.”  The people closest to us have the most power to hurt us and so when one party feels offended our human tendency is to close ourselves off.  DON’T do this.  Move towards your spouse even if they have hurt you in understanding, humility and love and you will find that almost any offense can be overcome – more just as in adversity – these offenses if shared and responded to appropriately – will draw you together.
  • Pursue each other until death.  I was trying to say this to you a few weeks ago Steven, but I’ll try again here.  The wedding day is not the finish line or the peak or the highlight of the marriage.  The wedding day is glorious – the bride dressed in white – the groom looking with eager expectation – the wedding party celebrating the union – BUT for all its glory the wedding day pales in comparison (or should) to the glory and beauty and joy of a life lived together in pursuit of each other.  What I mean by pursuit is for you Steven – that men enjoy the hunt, the chase but often lose interest once the game is caught (not that you are game Kendra, but for illustrative purposes only).  But as I stated before, the wedding day is the starting line not the finish line, and the race that is to be run continues for the rest of your lives together.  As much as you now know about each other, as much as you now are captivated with each other, there is so much more to learn.  Discuss life together – music, movies, God, philosophy, books, animals, nature – Invest time in each other.  This gets harder when children come.  And children are precious BUT the center of your family is always the two of you.  This is the priority and should not be neglected.  Continue to date (again easier now then when the children come) eventually you may have to schedule a date night.  Put your phones down at dinner.  Invest in experiences.  Go and do things together.  Steven, you have the McLain sense of the extravagant, but this does not have to cost a bunch of money to be enjoyable and Kendra sometimes it is ok to spend the money for the experience 😊.   Make it a practice to continue to move toward each other and you will find that the love you have now is great but is replaced by deeper love in 20 years.  This is one of the greatest joys of marriage – to be with someone who knows you at your worst and sees the best because they know, like no one else, who you are and love you. 
  • Smell the Roses.  Don’t be in a such a rush to “arrive” at some notion you have created of a “destination” that you don’t enjoy what is going on in the moment.  Life is not a future destination – you are living life now – enjoy it.  Life is not defined by money or jobs or success or house or kids.  These opening notes in the symphony of marriage are incredibly precious.  You both have goals and aspirations and dreams about where you are going.  But don’t make the arrival or achievement of those goals the place where you expect to begin to enjoy life.  For one is very likely those goals will change over time and what is important to you now will be different in the future.  But even more importantly, not to be trite, there is really no arriving in this life, instead it is about the journey.  Enjoy these early days.  Find friends to share life with.  Join a church and be part of a Christian family. Laugh together.  Enjoy being broke (if you are).  Don’t stress about every problem.  Learn to enjoy these moments together even if they don’t quite measure up to where you hope to be.   You can live your whole life in pursuit of “arrival” and miss all the beauty and joy of the trip.  I’m 42 – I haven’t arrived – and I wish that at times I wouldn’t have been so focused on not having what I wanted and more focused on enjoying my wife and boys and the little things of life.  Ambition can be a good thing – but it can also rob you of the simple joys God has given. 
  • A Three-fold Cord is not quickly broken.”  Marriage is meant to be a human picture of a larger reality.  Over and over in the bible, the love God has for his people is compared to love of a groom for his bride.  Everything I’ve mentioned above while essential I believe to a “forever and always” marriage is ultimately not enough if God is not included in the center of your relationship.  The bible pictures this as a “three-fold strand” which means that God is woven into the joining of the two of you.  This has several implications I believe for how we thrive in a marriage.  First it means that neither you Steven or you Kendra are the other’s ultimate answer to the longings of your heart – instead you point each other to Christ who is.  Second it means that while the marriage is the paramount relationship above all other relationships on a human level, your relationship with God is of the highest significance over even the marriage relationship.  Instead of making the marriage weaker by virtue of it being of second importance to knowing God, when we place God first the marriage is strengthened.  Just like your relationship with each other – knowing God requires investment of your time.  Reading your bible, going to church, spending time with other Christians are not “religious duties” to be done to look good or be good – they are means to know your maker.  And just as you cannot in this life get to the end of all there is to know about each other though finite beings, you even more cannot reach the end of knowing the infinite God.  Paul says in Philippians 3:8 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  Your pursuit of knowing Jesus, or better said your surrender to His pursuit of you is your highest calling and greatest good – His love is truly forever and always.

Lastly, I want to say a few things to each of you.  Steven, you are my first “arrow” into the world.  I am proud of the man you are becoming.  You have been given gifts that amaze me – you can do almost anything well the first time – you have great thinking abilities – you can teach others.  These have been given to you so you can serve God and others – find opportunities to use them.  Be patient with yourself as you find a career – it will come.  I love you and am looking forward to a life-long conversation with you (as least my lifetime 😊).  Kendra, I am glad to embrace you as a daughter.  I have waited a LONG time to have a daughter and I could not imagine a better one.  You and Steven have contrasting strengths – his boldness – your reflection – his fiery logic – your compassion.  These, I believe, will serve you well in strengthening each other.  He has found his match in you and I am grateful.

The bible says a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.  This is right and true.  However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come around…frequently😊.  While we don’t want to overstep in anyway – our door is wide open to you at any time and Mom and I both desire to see you as often as possible.   And if visiting is not an option we would love to talk by phone. 

I hope your have a great honeymoon – enjoy every minute of it – Alabama is a great honeymoon destination from what I hear – snakes everywhere (and knowing your love for animals, Kendra, I’m sure you’ll love it) 😉 

Ok time to get ready for the big day – “May the Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make his face shine upon you and give you peace.”

Dad

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Just 62 Miles Away…

There is a place that is not even as far away as Wenatchee is from Moses Lake that is so different an environment no one could live there. In fact any human going there would almost instantly die. I’m talking, of course, about space. The Kármán line that divides our atmosphere from outer space is about 62 miles away. Here – the air we breathe, the nature we enjoy, the warmth we feel are taken for granted, and the thought that we live in a little bubble of air surrounded by a much vaster and totally alien environment is given little thought.

I was thinking of this in relation to the kingdom of God. I see and take for granted this world and its systems. They are as natural as breathing. My commute to work, spreadsheets, interaction with my colleagues, playing Frisbee with my kids, eating supper, driving my car, engaging in political discussion, paying the bills….all this is completely normal and natural. And yet surrounding and underlying all of this “normal world” is a God who rules and reigns over all things – whose mighty angels engage invisibly in the affairs of men. If I had eyes to see I would be overwhelmed by this spiritual world.

Many of us, myself included, can be tempted to just focus on what we can see. The things of this world are the only reality we consider – and we give little thought to there being a whole other world just under the surface that if we spent anytime at all looking for it – we would catch glimpses of it. And just like this earth is a fragile bubble of air – so this natural world is fleeting in its current state – and the world to be that is even now being formed is a more solid reality.

All this is to say why I read my bible and books on God and post quotes on facebook. It is not because I am trying to impress you… it is because through these things I gain glimpses of another world – a world more real than this one. As CS Lewis said it is through the word that “we espy heaven.” I long for the rule of God – to be captivated by him – and I post things that help me glimpse who he is and what he does. When I see him – it helps me see this world in a different light and I am transformed by what I see.

It is easy to just breathe in the normal world, but I have found it does not satisfy. Lewis again: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” We are made for another world and that world is just a breath away – closer than Wenatchee – Oh Father give us eyes of faith to see.

Hebrews 11 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. “For he (Moses) endured as seeing him who is invisible.”

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An Open Letter to William Shatner in 24 Tweets.

I have long appreciated Star Trek and Captain Kirk. As a result, over the years, I have watched or read numerous interviews with William Shatner including this recent one. I have noticed that he frequently brings up the topics of death, the afterlife and God. And I have often thought I would love to talk to him and discuss how he can find the answers he seems to be seeking, in Jesus. In lieu of that I sent him 24 tweets in the hopes that God would see fit to show himself to Bill, through his Word, even in a medium as imperfect as twitter. Here are those tweets.

Bill, I write this with great affection and longing for you – You have asked these questions in many places over the years I have followed you “What have I done?” “Why am I here?” “What’s going to happen?” “Is this the end?” – What does life mean?  What is death?

And as David accused Kirk – “You’ve never faced death before” perhaps you feel somewhat like Kirk – You know death is inevitable – at 88 you feel it – yet in many ways have cheated death. You have tasted all this world has to offer but you also taste its inability to satisfy you.

CS Lewis wrote “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” As Spock aptly noted “There are always possibilities” Perhaps the answer to your questions lie in a possibility….

I’m sure over the years someone has presented Jesus and Christianity to you. For whatever reason – Jesus has not captured your attention – maybe the messenger was flawed – maybe you find His story implausible – Maybe you hate the judgement of religion – I don’t know… but…

Here are some things I have found to be true and give me hope facing my own mortality – more than hope – joy – happiness even in my sorrows. Every good story must have a villain – Kirk must have his Klingons. And in the story of the human race – we are the villains.

Now I know this may sound like religious stone casting – but I’m including myself – I am broken – not good – not righteous – and the Bible indicts all of humanity as sinners Romans 3:10 – “There is NONE righteous…. no not one” Romans 3:23 “The wages of sin is death, BUT…

Let me leave that “but” hanging for a minute, because until we realize our diagnosis is bad and justifiably so the “but” is just sentimental meaningless drivel of religious people. Jesus said “I did not come to those who have no need of a physician but to the sick” not because

some are sick and some are not – but because all of us are sick but not all of us recognize it. Most of us believe that if there is a God he will accept us because we are “not too bad.” We compare ourselves with others based on our intentions and decide “I’m ok.”

And maybe compared to other sinners we are mildly better. But our maker is not a fellow sinner – he is a holy, perfect, radiant in splendor, dwelling-in unapproachable-light being – If we were to come into His presence in our self-evaluated, not-too-badness – we would be undone

If you were to compare not to others or by your good intentions, but instead to a perfect being-pure in every way- you would cry out like the Prophet Isaiah – “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips …for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Scripture has this diagnosis “It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.” If that judgment is by our creator and he is in fact perfect and his requirement of us is perfection-because no one imperfect can stand before him…What will his judgement be of you?

I don’t ask you this as someone better than you – save for one thing I would stand condemned, with you and all of humanity. I ask because as I stated before – unless we understand our plight, our condition – we will not understand the meaning or need of the solution.

The sacrifice of Spock to save the Enterprise is silly, unnecessary-a waste, even embarrassing-if the context of what is at stake not understood. If it truly is life and death-and the stakes could not be higher then the sacrifice is understood for what it is-absolutely essential.

Your soul is of great value. Jesus asks “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own soul?” … You have been a man who has, more than most, tasted what this world has to offer and, I suspect, found that it is not enough to satisfy you…

Your soul need not be lost. Let’s come back to the “BUT” “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”There is salvation for your soul and it is found in one person-Jesus. He says “I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father BUT by me

Jesus is not one path of many – He is the Only path to the Father and to eternal life. That is his claim. So here is what us Christians call the “Gospel” – Gospel just means “Good News” It is a proclamation of what God in Christ has done for sinners like you and me.

  1. “BUT God demonstrated His own love for us – EVEN while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 – What this means is that God our creator saw our rebellion, our sin and our failure and instead of moving away from us condescended to send his Son to rescue us.
  2. Jesus, who is God and one with the Father, came as a man, humbling himself as one of his creatures and lived the perfect life that we have not, died the death we deserved so that all those who trust in Him alone will be raised to life as he was raised.

II Corinthians 5:21 says “God made Him (Jesus), who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God.” So our just penalty for our sin (death) was borne by Christ and his perfect righteousness is given to us because God is rich in mercy.

Ephesians 2:4 says “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”

The grace of God alone is able to rescue you, my friend. Not your goodness or efforts to do right. Titus 3:5 “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy”

So the meaning of life and death is not found in ourselves or in our accomplishments or failures. Our souls are not designed to find the answer to our longings in our work or possessions or accolades. The longing that CS Lewis references can only be satisfied in knowing Jesus

He is your maker – and despite all your failures, and sin, and pride he has come that you may have life – eternal life – with your maker and designer – with the one who formed you and loves you. The question is What will you do with Jesus? Will you trust him alone to save you?

I don’t know, Bill, if you will even see this and if you do if it will make any sense at all to you. But I know this is my only hope in life and in death. Jesus is the answer to the Kobayashi Maru scenario. And I am praying that you will find peace for your soul in Him.

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Psalm 23 – McLain Paraphrase

The One who is LORD over all things is my shepherd
I will not lack any needed thing

He causes me to rest in a place of abundance and beauty
He leads me to a place of peace and tranquilty where the waters are unmoving

When I am worn, He Himself is the fresh life to my soul,
He directs my steps to walk in right paths for the Glory of His great name

Even in the midst of the darkest night where danger lurks all around me, I remain unafraid because I look up and see You are still with me

Seeing Your limitless strength and power comforts me
You prepare a feast for me and invite me to sit with You even while those who hate me look on enviously

You pour Yourself so richly and undersevedly into me that my spirit overflows with joy

I am convinced that I shall never be without Your abundant goodness and lavish mercy no matter what happens in this life

and I know when I die it will merely be an ushering into Your presence where I shall most gladly live forever.

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A Response from a Calvinist Woman to Andy Stanley

My wife, Christie, listened to the recent discussion between Andy Stanley and Dr. Flowers and felt compelled to write a letter to Pastor Stanley.

“Dear Pastor Stanley,

This morning my husband was listening to an interview you did with Dr. Flowers a couple of days ago.  He came across it through a Twitter post.  I later went back to listen to the entire thing for myself.  I have never listened to either of you before, but felt drawn to offer you my point of view on an area that you stated ignorance of, which is how someone (particularly a mother) who believes Calvinist teachings could, with honesty, teach their own children or be part of children’s or student ministry. 

By way of introduction, I grew up in a GARBC church (you may or may not be familiar with this relatively small group of Baptists).  I remember my mother teaching me that God “didn’t want us to be robots” and emphasizing our free will in coming to Christ.  I have never been part of a truly Calvinistic church, although my understanding of Scripture through plain reading has led me to believe Calvinistic doctrine (I would affirm all 5 points of Calvinism).  I am not a “Reformed” person and don’t claim to know all that they teach.  In fact, I am presently a member of a charismatic church where my theology doesn’t fit with most other people, but where I know God is working and the Word of God is preached. I understand people can be seeking God sincerely and come to differing understanding, but it doesn’t mean I have to hold my firmly held convictions loosely, and there are doctrines which are so crucial to me that if they were taught in opposition to my understanding of Scripture would cause me to leave to minister elsewhere. 

That said, I do believe in God’s sovereignty in election because it’s what I see clearly in passages such as Ephesians 1 or Romans 9 (I see his divine sovereignty in many other places as well, but I realize I don’t need to load you up with “proofs” on the matter).  Listening to the discussion this morning, I disagree with the idea that believing in God’s sovereign election and enablement of belief would cause a person to have a lower view of evangelism or ministry preparedness.  I have taught children for years and earnestly desire them to see the beauty and glory of God in all his magnificence and grace.  I can’t even imagine a person who believes in God’s election putting that forward as the main thing for someone to understand in order to come to Christ.  That doesn’t even come up in my Gospel presentation, but God’s divine work enables me to go out at all.  Honestly, if I felt it was my persuasiveness on which their salvation hinged I would be petrified to speak for fear of doing it wrong.  Believing that God enables us to come to him and has chosen to use flawed instruments for this purpose gives me the ability to present to them the Gospel, knowing that no matter how well I prepare (and I spend a LOT of time in preparation every time I teach—I want to give God and others my very best and represent my Savior well) I will miss something but He will take my sincere efforts and multiply it for his purposes. 

I am a mother of six sons, and I can affirm that it is not only men who believe that God sovereignly determines those who are his.  I do believe that if any of my sons rejected the faith, God would have a purpose in it and would be glorified in some way.  That does not blur the lines between evil and good, making evil good and good evil as you stated—but recognizes that everything serves to glorify him, including punishing the sin we bring onto ourselves through our own decisions/actions. Belief in God’s sovereignty in salvation doesn’t dismiss our own will/choice in the matter.  This is a false representation of my beliefs (and, I would expect, the beliefs of most Calvinists).  The Bible clearly teaches both the sovereignty of God and the will of man (for example, Proverbs 16:9, Genesis 50:20, Exodus 4:21/Exodus 8:15).  It is not one or the other separately, but in the end we understand that no matter how I freely choose (freely being limited by my own sinful nature apart from God’s intervention), God will work his purposes. His will supersedes mine, to his glory.  In regard to a child wandering from the faith, even if my own heart was breaking and I begged God to bring them back to Himself, I would trust him.  How could I possibly even pray for Him to bring them to salvation if I didn’t believe he could sovereignly overcome their unbelief?  I was struck by your example of your church member, Amber, praying for God to show truth to her parents.  That alone shows that we are utterly dependent on God to do the work of revelation and salvation in our lives—he uses us, yes, but we are helpless apart from his ultimate work in opening our minds/hearts to be able to see and love Him.

 I believe that Christ died for the ones the Father has given him (John 6: 35-40: John 17:6, 9-12, 24-25). Yes, a Calvinist can preach with intellectual honestly through the book of John.  I believe in sovereign election, and that God ordains the use of the folly of preaching to reach the lost.  As a mother, I struggle with the same things every parent does—things like second guessing myself, being discouraged when I don’t handle things well, hoping the best for my children in spite of my shortcomings—but because I know God uses all things for his purposes and that he works all things together for good for those who are called according to his purpose, I trust that even my failures can be used to as an example to my children of the loving grace of God to rescue even a screw-up like me (or them).  I can trust them to him.  I do my best, but am freed from the burden (should they choose to reject Christ, although I do my best to show him to them experientially) that if I had only done/said something differently they would have made a different decision.

It is my belief in the sovereign election of God which enabled me to have the courage to step out in faith and lead Good News Clubs in local schools (granted, I generally downplayed some of the material that I viewed as rather legalistic and emphasized more strongly the beauty of our sovereign God stepping into the mess of humanity).  I don’t trust myself to be eloquent enough to convince anyone of anything, and if I believed that it was up to me to do it right, I would likely have stayed home for fear of “doing it wrong.”  Trusting that God can use my feeble efforts and overcome my shortcomings to reach children for adoption into his family gave me the courage necessary to step out in faith and preach the good news of God’s Son coming to take our place, paying for our sin and reconciling us with the Father.  I teach the children in my own church as well, with the confidence that God will be the one to soften anyone’s hearts and enable them to love him while knowing that his chosen method of doing so is the sincere preaching of the Word to them.

You asked how I could present a sincere invitation to them.  Simple.  I present the truth, as you stated, that whosoever will may come.  I understand (without needing to explain it all to others in my presentation) that apart from God stepping in to cause us to see him rightly, we are limited by our sinful nature to always choose to reject him but that, in his mercy and for his own purposes, he opens the hearts and minds of those whom he chooses (John 9:35-41; 2 Corinthians 3:12-18; Ephesians 1:17-21; 1 Peter 2:4-10).  I present the Gospel that Jesus has come to rescue sinners, not based on our worthiness but on his goodness.  I present to them the penalty of sin and the provision of our Savior.  It is up to God to use that in the hearts and minds of the hearers.  I always assume that unbelievers are in the room.  The fact is, the message is the same whether we are already a believer or not—Sin must be punished, Christ satisfied that requirement by taking our place on the cross, and because of his resurrection and the grace of God we can come to God for forgiveness, reconciliation, and the hope that he will transform us into his likeness (in part now, and fully when we see him face to face).  Both believers and unbelievers need to hear the truth of law and grace distinctly so that our hope is in God and not ourselves.  Unbelievers can be drawn to him and believers freed to cling to him even after we still sin.

I was actually stunned that Dr. Flowers indicated that an example of the pre-eminence of man’s free will was that Paul was striving to convince the hearers in Acts 28.  Of course, when we preach we want people to understand and turn to God, so we prepare and do our best, trusting God with the outcome.  Evangelism is so important—God has ordained the foolishness of preaching as the means for those who are called to come (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)! And preparation is important—we should be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:14-17).  Paul obviously did his best, but did not trust persuasive words to be the draw to salvation, but the work of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:1-5), and that is how I, as a Calvinist, approach evangelism and ministry as well.  It is not dishonest to recognize both that both God’s sovereignty and man’s choice work together in a way we cannot fully explain, but believe because God’s word presents it so.  The primary difference between us, I think, is which we believe to be the final determining factor in salvation:  God’s will or our own. I believe that the sinful nature in any person will cause them to always freely choose to reject God’s salvation, but that when he graciously chooses to open the eyes of that person (change their nature) to see him clearly, they will freely choose to love him.  I am comforted by the Bible’s teaching that while I am living out my salvation, it is God who works in me, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).

I recognize that this may be a somewhat lengthy answer to your question of how a Calvinist (particularly a woman/mother) can honestly present the invitation of the Gospel to children, students, or anyone anywhere else in the world for that matter.  I know others could more eloquently have answered you, and that I have not exhausted the matter, but I thank you for your time in hearing my perspective.”

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Fleeting

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The head is struck
A flash, a flicker, a flame
Illumination, heat, beauty
A beat
Nothing

The heart awakens
A beat, a beginning, a being
Meaning, passion, pursuit
A beat
Nothing

Let me not squander nor misuse
This briefest breath – this second’s song
And grant that I might firmly choose
To trust, though weak, that He is Strong

And when on Jordan’s banks I spy
This moment wains and death steals nigh
Let this flicker flame and shine with might
Reflecting Him the Brilliant Light.

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Grace – a Poem

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Mount Morality's slopes are too steep
They've been the death of many
To Mount Calvary will I fly
And there be rescued by my Savior's strength.
The Law's demands I strive to keep
But only find despair I reap
I try again my case to plead
Brought to my face in desperate need

Then the Gospel clear and sweet
Comes with power and blood-stained relief
By Sovereign Grace and Power untold
I'm brought with Joy to my Shepherd's fold

He now is all, my song, my life
Because of His great Sacrifice
Though in this Life I often Fail
His grace upholding will prevail.
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What is the Christian Gospel?

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What is the Gospel?

“God is Holy” – God is perfect in all of his attributes – glorious in all that he does. He is set apart – unique – His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts. He dwells in pure radiant unapproachable light. Nothing and no one can stand in His presence.

“We are not Holy” – We are messed up people. We lie. We cheat. We lust. We steal. We are angry. We hold grudges. We are selfish. We are arrogant. We gossip. We do not honor God. We do not love God.

“The Penalty for Sin is Death” – That’s bad news for everyone reading this, because we are all sinners – God doesn’t weigh our “good” and our “bad.” He declares that if we have ever violated his holy law in one place we stand guilty of violating all of His law and are subject to condemnation. We have violated in many places and our just penalty is eternal death in hell. Don’t let yourself deny this reality. Acknowledge your guilt before an infinitely holy God.

“Jesus Died the Death We Deserve” – Jesus is God in human form. He came to the earth, born of the virgin Mary and lived a sinless life. Even though he was God he laid aside the splendors of heaven and became a man and dwelt among us. He humbled himself and died a torturous death on the cross though he himself was innocent. In his death he paid the penalty required for sin – he became our substitute. Though we are the sinful ones, He took our sins on himself. Though we deserve the sentence of death, he died our death in our place.

“God Gives Us Jesus’ Life by Faith and Not by Works” – Not only did Christ’s death pay our penalty, but for all those who receive Him, God gives them the righteousness (perfection) of Jesus. So when we give up trying to prove ourselves good to God and instead acknowledge that we are broken sinners in need of a dramatic rescue – there is hope. God Himself has died for us paying our penalty and by his grace through faith imparts to us his perfection. For all who believe in Jesus stand not condemned not because we are good but because He is and He has given his righteousness by faith.

“Faith is Casting Yourself on the Lord” – As you consider these things – God’s holiness, your sinfulness, sin’s penalty and Jesus’ payment – you will be tempted to think is that really true? Is it really enough that Christ died for me a sinner? I have to contribute something don’t I? I am still tempted by these thoughts even though I have been a Christian for many years. But the truth declared in Scripture stands that salvation comes not to the one who works or is good, but to sinners who cast themselves fully on the grace and mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ who died to take away the sin of the world!

Isaiah 53:4-6:
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows
yet we esteemed him stricken
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace.
and with his stripes we are healed
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned – every one – to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on him
The iniquity of us all

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 4:4-5
Now to the one that works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.

II Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he (God) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.

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God of the Ordinary

If I could just have the passion and wisdom of John Piper, the fortitude and exegetical prowess of John MacArthur, the practical insights of Paul Tripp, the spiritual depth of Larry Crabb, the mind and theological grasp of Michael Horton, the thunder of Paul Washer, the grace of Brennan Manning, the knowledge of Tim Keller and the ministry reach of Billy Graham…Then…Oh then I would truly be satisfied….  And God would Really love me…
Or
Maybe
Probably not…
But maybe…
God uses ordinary people
Maybe God loves sinners
Maybe my chronic measuring of myself is a detriment to any ministry and hinders my sense of the extraordinary love of God for me.
And maybe the stamp of approval on my life will not be earned either by my actions or results but has been bought for me by His Son on the cross – Jesus who loved me and gave Himself for me..

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Do Not Fear – God Controls the Waves

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We tend to think of this world as something God wound up and set in order but that He does not involve Himself directly in everything that happens. Often we say this to “protect” God from being accused of being evil or unjust when a natural disaster strikes. That wasn’t God – that was just the earth being the earth. You will not find this language in the Bible and would be hard pressed even to tease out that kind of implication from Scripture. God is not afraid Continue reading “Do Not Fear – God Controls the Waves”

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Sovereign God or Sovereign Me?

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In Isaiah, Assyria is “the rod of God’s anger” against a godless nation. And God uses them to plunder and spoil the “people of his wrath.” And when God has completed his appointed purpose for the nation of Assyria,
Assyria says,

“By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I remove the boundaries of peoples and plunder their treasures; like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones.”

God says he will punish the arrogant heart of the King of Assyria and replies:

“Shall an axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!”

“Behold, the Lord God of Hosts will lop the boughs with terrifying power; the great in height will be hewn down, and the lofty will be brought low.”

How often have you said, “by the strength of my hand or my wisdom I have done it?” God replies, “Oh really – you have done it? You are an instrument in my hand to do with what I please. Will you give me the glory due my name or continue to claim that you are the greatest “axe handle” in the history of the world?”

Who do you worship a Sovereign God or a Sovereign Me?

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Does God Control Lightning Strikes?

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Philip Yancey writes in his book on prayer, “A hundred times a second lightning strikes somewhere on earth, and I for one do not believe God personally programs each course.” Why does Yancey say this? Why would it bother him if God was planning the path of every lightning bolt? Is he concerned about God being a micromanager? Is he concerned about God be accused of destroying or killing with lightning? Does he feel randomness to be more comforting than a God who destroys? Continue reading “Does God Control Lightning Strikes?”

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The Gospel – Destination to Inception

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1) Jesus is our destination – Knowing Him is our highest good and joy. He is what our souls were designed for and crave. Rom 5:11 Continue reading “The Gospel – Destination to Inception”

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The False Narrative of Systemic Racism by Police

Every unarmed black suspect killed by police in 2019 reviewed in attached video.

Total Unarmed Blacks Killed 2019: 9

Total Police officers in the USA: 686,665

Total arrests in the USA 2018: 10,310,960

So out of over 10 Million arrests – 9 unarmed black men were killed. Even if all of them were unwarranted (which they were not per the video below) the numbers would be and are proof positive that the police force in this country is not a systemically racist black killing machine.

YES – there are racists. YES – there are racist cops. YES – the killing of George Floyd was evil. YES – that cop should be charged and go to jail (which he has and is)

But that is not what people are rallying about.

They are rallying because of systematic injustice in the police system.

That narrative is absurdly false.

Those of you joining the movement and posting #defundthepolice are in error and contributing to the division and destruction of the country.

If black lives truly matter – and they do – these are not the actions to help them – these are the actions that will bring about all of our demise.

Please reconsider

Please choose the right

Please love your neighbor no matter their color or occupation

Please remember our hope is in Christ alone not in joining the new religion of white castigation, self-atoning obeisance, police-bashing, and intentional destruction of western civilization. These solutions are vastly worse than our current problems.

It is only through the hope of the Gospel that hearts are ultimately changed.

This is what we have to offer to the world:

Ephesians 2

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

One in Christ

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,d but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

https://www.statista.com/…/number-of-arrests-for-all-offen…/

Are We Safe Yet Washington State? Evaluating Covid 19 from a May 2020 Perspective

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In the last seven days initial estimates on Covid-19 related deaths in Washington State: 10

Two days had 0 deaths

LINK

The week before: 36 deaths

Estimated deaths from all causes for that same 2 week period in Washington State: 2282 deaths

 LINK (I took 2015 death rate and increased at the same ratio to account for the 2020 population increase)

This means that 2238 of the 2282 people who died in Washington State over the past 2 weeks (or 98.1%) died of something other than Covid-19 even with our “generous” counting methods.

A total of 749 people in Washington state died from Covid-19 through 4/26. 7 of those deaths were people under the age of 40 and 0 deaths under the age of 19 and less than 10% are under the age of 60.

396 of the deaths are among those age 80 or older. One of the worst aspects of our society is the devaluing of the elderly so I do not take these deaths lightly. But there are 247,928 people in Washington age 80 or older giving a mortality rate in the worst demographic of .16%. The overall mortality rate in the state is .01%

LINK LINK

Based on this data should all age groups have the same precautions placed upon them?

Here are the counties that are currently shut down – small business forced to close, churches not meeting, only essential travel, no hair dressers or barbers, no new construction – these counties haven’t had a SINGLE Covid-19 death in the entire month of April as of 4/26.

Asotin County, Chelan County, Douglas County, Grant County, Island County, Kitsap County, Adams County, Clallam County, Cowlitz County, Grays Harbor County, Jefferson County, San Juan County, Stevens County, Thurston County, Walla Walla County, Whitman County, Ferry County.

And here are additional counties that haven’t had a death in the past 2 weeks

Franklin County, Klickitat County, Lewis County, Spokane County, Whatcom County.

Friends – that is most of the state. May I ask a question?

Based on this data should we be putting the exact same restrictions on every area – rural and urban?

Is it really necessary for business owners to be losing their life’s work, for our constitutional and God-granted freedoms be forfeited, for our government to tether us to a massive debt?

Or could we open – now – in many areas? Could our most vulnerable be trusted to decide for themselves the risks they are willing to take? And could we allow the rest of us to return for the most part to business as usual?

Based on the data above the answer is “Yes!”

#UseYourVoice #ShareThis

Is it Time to Dial Back our Reactions to Covid-19?

For the fourth time in 2 weeks the “top projection study” has significantly revised their death projections downward. This is not due to the “shelter-in-place” order as that was factored into all of the projections they produced. LINK

Some observations:

1) Covid-19 appears to be more aggressive than the seasonal flu and requires caution especially among higher risk individuals. Though at least at this point the last season’s flu killed more than double the number of people Covid-19 has. LINK

2) In highly populous areas like New York the virus spreads faster and has the potential to overrun medical facilities. But in recent days the fears that there would be a massive shortage of beds even in NYC have been to shown to be wildly ill-founded. LINK

3) The over-all rate of death in the US is unlikely to be meaningfully changed versus the average year. In fact due to us not being out and about the death rate in the United States has significantly fallen believe it our not. Meaning far less people are dying than is normal. (see chart below based on NCHS Data)

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Questions I feel we should all be asking.

1) Why is this a one size fits all approach? For example in my home state of Washington – Ferry County – has 0 active cases of Covid-19 (they have 1 recovered patient). Why should traveling, golfing, restaurants, small businesses, and schools be shut down? In my county, Grant, we have 140 cases and 2 deaths.

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This is not hospital overrun or mass death. Why are we committing mass economic suicide? Did you know that there is only 1 county that has over 100 deaths in this state? King County – where as of today, 4/18/2020, 330 people have died with 4,865 tested infections. The population of King County is 2.25 million. 720 people died in King County from unintentional injury for the most recent year with data – more than double Covid-19 in our hardest hit region. LINK

I ask again – Why the panic? Why the suicide pill?

2) Of course the answer is “because we want to flatten the curve – we want to not overwhelm hospitals – and we want to reduce the death count.” Okay questions…

Hasn’t the curve been flattened and hasn’t the death rate been significantly below the projected models with mass enforced social distancing protocols? Answer is emphatically – Yes!

Have hospitals been overwhelmed throughout the country dealing with Covid-19 cases? No (NYC has been hit hard but even there the 2500 bed rapidly built hospital is only using 330 beds and the “experts” are saying they are over the hump) In many cases throughout the country medical staff are being laid off because there are not enough patients to pay their salaries.

One example – LINK

Please please note – this is not AT ALL to say medical staff are not nobly and heroically demonstrating supreme dedication and care to those with Covid-19. They ARE and I am grateful for what they show me about the people that make up our country.

And while fending off those who think of this as a zero-sum game – meaning either I join in on the panic or I hate old people – let me also say any death is tragic and I am grieved with all of you who have been affected personally by this virus. And I am grateful to serve a King who has conquered over death and to know there is coming a day for all who hope in Him where death will be finally trampled under foot.

Back to the article.

“We want to reduce death count.” Is what we are doing going to reduce the death count? How is immunity to a virus developed in a group? One way is via vaccine – this is apparently the only way from guys like Bill Gates (why is he involved?) and Dr. Fauci (a lifelong big pharma guy).

Here are some incontrovertible facts. 1) We do not have a vaccine. 2) The most optimistic reports state that it would be a least a year to develop and mass produce a vaccine. 3) We CANNOT survive as a country without business until a vaccine is developed. The obvious (to me at least) conclusion from these facts is that we must reopen the country BEFORE we have a vaccine. And when we do more people will get sick thus creating a “second wave.” Since the facts point to this conclusion why are we committing economic suicide before submitting to the inevitable? What will be different next week or month about the coronavirus? Will we have a cure then? Will Corona wink out of existence then? No! And if “no” what are we doing to ourselves?

Which leads me to my second point – vaccine is not the only way (or most common way) of developing immunity. The most common way is via people getting sick, developing immunity and thus protecting the most vulnerable. The good news with Covid-19 is that children seem to be thankfully, very little impacted and could help protect their grandparents from this virus. More good news 98% or more of people recover from this virus – MANY a-symptomatically. Forbes has a long article on this (and other points) which I will link here. LINK

But here is a salient point.

“Standard epidemic models, such as the Kermack-McKendrick model from 1927, emphasize that in the absence of vaccines and treatments, epidemics only conclude when herd immunity is achieved in the population. Herd immunity refers to the proportion of the population that is immune to the source of infection. When the proportion of the population which becomes infected and then immune is sufficiently high, the total number of infections stabilizes, instead of growing.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who advises the President on COVID-19, a vaccine for COVID-19 will not be available for at least 10 months. Therefore, the country is going to have to rely on herd immunity if it is to end the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. this year.”

Additional Questions:

– Why are we insisting on counting anything as a Covid-19 death even if that was not the root problem? And even if Covid-19 wasn’t tested for? There are many anecdotal stories of this out there plus the CDC has put the policy into writing.

“COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death.” LINK

And here is a doctor talking about it

Are we trying to peddle fear? If we published a Johns Hopkins style blip map of every way Americans or world citizens have died on a daily basis – would it inspire fear? And if we posted on every page of social media and the news the running total of deaths how would it not be rightly said that you are trying to peddle fear to gain power over people and to control their actions?

And that leads me to a final question for all of us.

How is it possible that we have so quickly surrendered the liberty and freedom that have long defined us as a nation?

We are not allowed to go to church even with social distancing. We cannot drive where we please (how driving is not social distancing I have no idea). Our small business have been forced to shut down. We are not allowed to go to work. Gun stores are shut down while abortion mills and marijuana stores are deemed essential.

Since when do we trust the government to be our parent? Are we the people really considered so dumb that we cannot think for ourselves? Do we not all -every day – make evaluations about risks and activities and then choose whether or not to participate in them? There is risk inherent in driving a car (the numbers suggest far more risk than corona) yet we have insisted on our freedom to drive. What we choose to eat and drink we are free to choose yet both again lead to far more death than Corona. If we were given rations and our freedom to eat and drink as we choose were encroached upon we would NOT tolerate it. So why rush to give up our blood bought liberties because of corona?

“We the people” is the opening line to our constitution. I am not advocating a war with weapons – I am saying we have the amazing freedom in America to exercise our freedom to speak. We have the freedom to learn and evaluate on our own. We have the ability to not just receive what is fed us. We have to right to say, “No! We do not want a 6 trillion dollar bribe for our silence.”

We want our business owners to have the freedom to unlock their doors. We want the freedom to worship as we see fit. We want the freedom to travel. We want the freedom to evaluate for ourselves the risks and precautions we will take – not have them thrust upon us in a one size fits all approach.

Life has inherent risks. The freedom to accept those risks and live life is part of what it means to be human. This is not a “throw caution to the wind” article – it is article pushing back on the idea that we must panic, we must hunker down and we must destroy our lives. And I hope to encourage you to use your voice to speak to your neighbors, friends and government leaders.

So Governor Jay Inslee – this is one voice asking that our freedom be restored.

#ShareThis

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Covid-19, Abortion and Seeking the Lord

Covid-19 is taking its toll on the US I feel it – the uncertainty, the fear, the mounting cases and corresponding death tolls, the economic uncertainty….

I’m a numbers guy – and I keep tracking every day – What is the death rate? What is the R0 rating? What are the projections?

And I am a God guy. In this case meaning I believe God rules over all things on heaven and on earth and does whatever he pleases. His rule includes Covid-19. So I am asking myself where is God in this circumstance? What does he have for me – for my neighbors and friends – for the world?

As I have reviewed the numbers I keep comparing Covid-19 with other deaths and I keep being shocked by what a tiny number it is compared to abortion. This is not to minimize the devastation of the virus. We are rightfully saddened by the deaths it has and will cause.

But, how many of us, myself included, have anything approaching what we feel about Covid-19 directed towards the loss of life via abortion.

The map below shows the total number of deaths in the US from Covid-19 at 3,902 as of this morning. And what an alarming number that is. And yet for March 2020 alone in the US more than 78,000 babies have been aborted. That’s more than 20 times the cumulative total of Covid-19 deaths. 20 times!

I posted yesterday from Amos 3 – God asks his people this question – “Does disaster come to a city unless the LORD has done it?” It is a rhetorical question and the answer is No. The Lord is in and rules over even disasters. And as in Amos he has something to teach us.

In Job 37 it describes God’s rule over the destructive elements of the world and the section concludes with this needed truth: “whether for correction or for his land or for love, he (God) causes it to happen.”

What God’s purposes in this crisis are I can only speculate. Abortion has been a blight on our national conscience for over 40 year. Millions have been killed on the altar of convenience and self-absorption and very few of us bother to consider it much less care. We refuse to look.

There is an invitation in the middle of the the judgement that Amos declares and it says “Seek the Lord and live.”

“Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.
Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. “

“Seek me and live;
but do not seek Bethel,
and do not enter into Gilgal
or cross over to Beersheba;
for Gilgal shall surely go into exile,
and Bethel shall come to nothing.”

Seek the LORD and live,
lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,
O you who turn justice to wormwood
and cast down righteousness to the earth!

He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning
and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the LORD is his name;”

There is hope beyond Covid-19. There is hope for a calloused nation that causally murders its young and most vulnerable. There is hope for you and me – sinners though we are.

This is the hope I need and my friends need and the world needs. It is a hope that goes far beyond the hope of Covid-19 going away. Infinitely greater hope. Jesus said “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28.

Yes fear Him because he rules over all things. It is before Him that you will give an account.

But then Jesus adds,

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

Perhaps Covid-19 is an opportunity for repentance- yes of our national sins – and yes of our personal sins. The invitation of God is clear “Seek the Lord and LIVE!”

https://dailycaller.com/…/coronavirus-map-united-states-de…/

https://worldpopulationreview.com/…/abortion-rates-by-state/

Covid-19 is taking its toll on the US I feel it – the uncertainty, the fear, the mounting cases and corresponding death tolls, the economic uncertainty….

I’m a numbers guy – and I keep tracking every day – What is the death rate? What is the R0 rating? What are the projections?

And I am a God guy. In this case meaning I believe God rules over all things on heaven and on earth and does whatever he pleases. His rule includes Covid-19. So I am asking myself where is God in this circumstance? What does he have for me – for my neighbors and friends – for the world?

As I have reviewed the numbers I keep comparing Covid-19 with other deaths and I keep being shocked by what a tiny number it is compared to abortion. This is not to minimize the devastation of the virus. We are rightfully saddened by the deaths it has and will cause.

But, how many of us, myself included, have anything approaching what we feel about Covid-19 directed towards the loss of life via abortion.

The map below shows the total number of deaths in the US from Covid-19 at 3,902 as of this morning. And what an alarming number that is. And yet for March 2020 alone in the US more than 78,000 babies have been aborted. That’s more than 20 times the cumulative total of Covid-19 deaths. 20 times!

I posted yesterday from Amos 3 – God asks his people this question – “Does disaster come to a city unless the LORD has done it?” It is a rhetorical question and the answer is No. The Lord is in and rules over even disasters. And as in Amos he has something to teach us.

In Job 37 it describes God’s rule over the destructive elements of the world and the section concludes with this needed truth: “whether for correction or for his land or for love, he (God) causes it to happen.”

What God’s purposes in this crisis are I can only speculate. Abortion has been a blight on our national conscience for over 40 year. Millions have been killed on the altar of convenience and self-absorption and very few of us bother to consider it much less care. We refuse to look.

There is an invitation in the middle of the the judgement that Amos declares and it says “Seek the Lord and live.”

“Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.
Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. “

“Seek me and live;
but do not seek Bethel,
and do not enter into Gilgal
or cross over to Beersheba;
for Gilgal shall surely go into exile,
and Bethel shall come to nothing.”

Seek the LORD and live,
lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,
O you who turn justice to wormwood
and cast down righteousness to the earth!

He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning
and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the LORD is his name;”

There is hope beyond Covid-19. There is hope for a calloused nation that causally murders its young and most vulnerable. There is hope for you and me – sinners though we are.

This is the hope I need and my friends need and the world needs. It is a hope that goes far beyond the hope of Covid-19 going away. Infinitely greater hope. Jesus said “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28.

Yes fear Him because he rules over all things. It is before Him that you will give an account.

But then Jesus adds,

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

Perhaps Covid-19 is an opportunity for repentance- yes of our national sins – and yes of our personal sins. The invitation of God is clear “Seek the Lord and LIVE!”

https://dailycaller.com/…/coronavirus-map-united-states-de…

https://worldpopulationreview.com/…/abortion-rates-by-state/

Kobe Bryant – 1978-2020

Along with many of you I am shocked and saddened by Kobe and his daughter’s death as well as those others who were in the helicopter with them. No matter when it comes, death is shocking. But when it comes like this to a young man and young girl – to a celebrity – suddenly – it is even more shocking.

But as shocking as it is to me, I wonder how many of us consider that our days are also numbered. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. While shocked when an event like this happens we struggle to bring the reality home to ourselves. We naively believe “this will never happen to me.”

But it will – at some point or another – all of us face sudden death. “It is appointed to men once to die and after this the judgement.” Were Kobe and Gianna prepared to stand before a holy God today? I pray they were. But perhaps the more appropriate question to ask ourselves is – Are we? Am I ready?

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

If you mind immediately goes to evaluating whether or not you are a good enough person – could I just encourage you to consider a different answer? The Bible says that NONE of us are good. NONE of us stand a chance before a holy God – because God is perfect and nothing and no one imperfect can stand before Him.

Kobe wasn’t perfect. Gianna wasn’t perfect. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. And the Bible says the just penalty for our imperfection or sin is death.

There is One who is perfect and His name is Jesus. Every other religion says be good enough – work your way to God. Christianity says God comes down to us. Jesus – the perfect, spotless Lamb of God – came to dwell among us – to die our death and be resurrected to triumph over sin, death and the grave.

We are joined to the life of Jesus, not by working for it, but by believing that the gift of God to sinners is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” II Corinthians 5:21

“Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”
Romans 4:4

This is my hope and I hope that it is yours as well. But if it isn’t – I pray that you do not let this tragic reminder of our mortality go to waste. Turn to the Lord and you will find him welcoming you with open arms.

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