Metaphors

Jesus used many metaphors, and one of the most common was comparing himself to food and drink. We need these to survive and won’t live long without them. It is the same with humans and Jesus. Without him, we will not live eternally because God is life itself and if we spurn him, we have actually chosen death.

In Isaiah chapter 55, God calls to us, pleading with us to come to him and have life:

He says, “Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters. You who have no money, come and eat! Come buy wine and milk at no cost to you.

Why do you spend money on what is not bread, and work for what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me and eat what is good and you will delight in the richest fare. Give me your ear and come to me; listen that you may live. I will make an eternal pact with you; I will give you the faithful love I promised to David.

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the evil ones their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord and he will have mercy on them, and to our God for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As the rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish – so is my word that goes out of my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

(Now God speaks about the future life in heaven.)

“You will go out in joy and be led in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Instead of a thorn bush will grow the juniper, and instead of briars the myrtle will grow.

This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign that will endure forever.”

(The first verse of Isaiah 56 is apt in these days of injustice.)

“Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my goodness will soon be revealed.”

Love in the Old Testament.

I believe that whatever God said to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament was also a message to all God’s followers. I’ve been reading the book of Isaiah recently. I was reminded why this book was one of my favorites, even when I was in my twenties. The beauty of God’s relentless love shines out of this book.

These are some verses that have lifted me up the last few weeks:

“I have held you up since the day of your birth. I have carried you since you were born. Even to your old age and grey hairs, I am he. I am he who will sustain you. I have made you; I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

“Look, he (God) tends his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms; he carries them close to his heart and leads those that have young.”

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even young people grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”

“Do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will hold you up by my righteous right hand.”

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear. I will help you. I myself will help you.”

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”

“I have swept away your sins like a cloud. Your sins, like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God and there is no other.”

“If only you had paid attention to me, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast? Will she have no compassion on the child she has borne? Even though mothers can forget, yet I will not forget you. Your name is engraved on the palms of my hands. Your ways are always before me.”

I heard someone on a podcast say that God didn’t tell people in the Old Testament that he loved them. I’m not sure why he would have said that. The Old Testament is full of the love of God. Many times God said he loved us. The angel Gabriel told Daniel he was, “greatly beloved.”

No, there is lots of death and war in the Old Testament and people don’t understand why all that happened and seem to be afraid of the God of the Old Testament. I was that way too.

I knew from the way Jesus acted God was full of love, so I studied why these killings and wars happened. Now I understand God’s purposes. It was in mercy for the thousands of innocent people who lived among cruel, murderous people that he stepped in and stopped what the evil ones were doing. And I, for one, am grateful he did.

Eunuchs, Widows and Divorcees.

Eunuchs in ancient times.

I’ve noticed in the Old Testament that often God calls out to people who are lonely and rejected. He knows how they feel, enters into their thoughts and tells them he can fill the emptiness inside them.

eunuch (noun) · eunuchs (plural noun)A man who has been castrated, especially (in the past) one employed to guard the women’s living areas at an oriental court.

He tells the eunuchs of ancient times:

Let not the eunuch say, “I am but a dry tree.”

For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,

who choose what pleases Me and hold fast to My covenant—

I will give them, in My house and within My walls, a memorial and a name

better than that of sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.    Isaiah 56:3-5

He speaks to women who cannot bear children, to the widow and to the woman who is divorced. (These events were considered disastrous and shameful in ancient times.)

 “Shout for joy, O barren woman, who bears no children;

break forth in song and cry aloud, you who have never travailed;

because more are the children of the desolate womanthan of her who has a husband,” says the Lord. (I’m not sure what God means by this. Perhaps in heaven these women will be given children to raise.)

“Enlarge the site of your tent, stretch out the curtains of your dwellings,

do not hold back. Lengthen your ropes

and drive your stakes in deep. For you will spread out to the right and left;

your descendants will dispossess the nations and inhabit the desolate cities.

Do not be afraid, for you will not be put to shame; do not be intimidated, for you will not be humiliated.

For you will forget the shame of your youth and will remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

For your husband is your Maker—the LORD of Hosts is His name—

the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.

For the LORD has called you back, like a wife deserted and wounded in spirit,

like the rejected wife of one’s youth,” says your God.    

Isaiah 54:1-6

And for those who long for the deep love of a man/woman, the Lord even compares himself to someone who is full of longing to be with his love:

Listen! My beloved approaches. Look! Here he comes,

leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.

My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.

Look, he stands behind our wall,

gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice.

My beloved calls to me, “Arise, my darling.

Come away with me, my beautiful one.

For the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.

The flowers have appeared in the countryside; the season of singing has come,

and the cooing of turtledoves is heard in our land.

The fig tree ripens its figs; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.

Arise, come away, my darling; come away with me, my beautiful one.” Song of Solomon 2:8-13

I love picturing Jesus running to my house and looking through the window to see if I am home. He sees me and asks me to run away with him! Wow. God’s love is exciting!

These verses have always made me smile and they give us insight into God and how he feels about those who need him, which is everyone. God doesn’t seem far away when we meditate on words like this.

God’s Relentless Love.

I’ve written about how God sent Isaiah to warn the tribe of Judah, which included the city of Jerusalem, against forming alliances with Assyria. Later on, the King of Judah sent emissaries to Egypt for help.  Isaiah told them they should trust God to save them because he said he would, but the people wouldn’t believe and said, “See no more visions! Give us no more visions of what is right! Leave here and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”

God said to them, “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and deceit, this sin will become like a high wall that is cracked and bulging. It collapses suddenly, in an instant.”

He said, “In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength. But you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ “Well then, flee! Your pursuers will be swift. A thousand of your men will flee at the threat of one…”

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you and he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of Justice. Blessed are those who wait for him.

I was moved at the words about God in the last paragraph. He tried to save them from war, he begged them to trust in him to save them, but look at what they said back to God’s prophet! They showed utter contempt for Isaiah and for God.

And yet… God longed to be good to them. He would still show them compassion.

I know a lot of people don’t like to read the Old Testament, but along with the killing and wars there are a multitude of verses that speak of why God is doing what he does and how much he wants us to belong to him. He wants to bless us in this awful world. That doesn’t mean he will always heal our illnesses or make sure we have lots of money. No, his blessings are higher and greater than that.

His blessings are gifts from heaven, a heart that is changed to be like his heart, full of love and goodness. We can become a blessing to the world by helping others. We can have peace and joy, even in the midst of a Covid-19 crisis, even if we have lost everything this world has to give, and even if we die. What I find to be the greatest blessing is telling him all my problems and worries and then just leaving it up to him to take care of. It is wonderful to know he is walking beside us, behind us and before us all the years of our lives.

Fear.

These are trying times for everyone. We can’t see the future and feel powerless over the COVID-19 virus. We are used to having some control over our lives and that seems to be gone. Most of us have lives of trying to cope with problems without the virus; with the virus, life can feel overwhelming.

I am taking care of my 92-year-old mother. The doctor recently prescribed morphine for her because her constant angina wasn’t letting her sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. I’ve been trying one pill, then two pills. If she doesn’t have enough food in her stomach before taking the pill, she gets nauseated and sometimes vomits. I’ve found the solution in giving her a bowl of cereal before she goes to bed; that seems to work the best with one pill at night.

My heart overturns sometimes when I look at my mom. She is so weak and fragile and feels yucky a lot of the time. I wish none of this was happening to her, but I am powerless over her illness.

Each day I pray for God’s strength and he always gives it to me. But last night I watched a video online that showed a woman in her 90s who got the virus and lived through it. I’m so glad she did, but what she described was truly awful and painful. I began to feel deep fear about getting the virus. I’m not afraid of death, but I am afraid of pain.

As I was praying later that night, I was reminded of the many people in the Bible who were close to God and suffered greatly. It felt like the Lord was telling me I shouldn’t expect a life with no suffering; he never promises that.  Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

When I think of how David was running and hiding from King Saul for 20 years, I can understand why he wrote Psalms of sorrow and fear. When I think of Daniel and his friends being taken away from their homes and families in Jerusalem and made to be slaves for the king of Babylon, I think of the long journey there. They were forced to walk for miles and miles before they arrived. Perhaps they saw their parents and siblings killed when Jerusalem fell. Their faith in God was surely tested.

Jeremiah and Isaiah both suffered greatly because they spoke out for God. They did what God asked them to do yet were jailed. Jewish history says Isaiah was sawn in half by King Manasseh. Jeremiah was hunted down and hated by the rulers of Jerusalem. It is only because of the king’s mercy that he stayed alive until the city fell.

In the New Testament, the disciples of Jesus were persecuted and all died from murder except John. Paul writes about the Thessalonians who had all their property taken away because they became Christians. Thousands lost their lives to different emperors of Rome.

These are some of the sufferings of Paul that he wrote about in 2 Corinthians:

In my frequent journeys, I have been in danger from rivers and from bandits, in danger from my countrymen and from the Gentiles, in danger in the city and in the country, in danger on the sea and among false brothers, in labor and toil and often without sleep, in hunger and thirst and often without food, in cold and exposure. Verses 26,27

…in harder labor, in more imprisonments, in worse beatings, in frequent danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. Verses, 23-25

For myself I can say, I don’t really know what it is to suffer like Paul. Still, I have my own sufferings and I know God sympathizes with me; he walks with me through my sufferings; he gives me strength to bear up under them but he doesn’t always take them away.

I believe Jesus is returning very soon. If that is so, the COVID-19 virus is only the beginning of suffering at this time. I was reading Isaiah chapter 24 this morning and came across the condition of the world at the time of the end:  4-6  

The earth mourns and withers;
the world languishes and withers;
the highest people of the earth languish.


The earth lies defiled (polluted)
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore, a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,
and few men are left.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:21-26 For at that time there will be great tribulation, unmatched from the beginning of the world until now, and never to be seen again. If those days had not been cut short, nobody would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short.

At that time, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible. See, I have told you in advance. )

So if they tell you, ‘There He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

In Daniel 12:1-4, it says “At that time Michael, the great prince who stands watch over your people, will rise up. There will be a time of trouble, the likes of which will not have occurred from the beginning of nations until that time. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.

And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, but others to shame and everlasting contempt. Then the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.

But you, Daniel, shut up these words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will roam to and fro and knowledge will increase.”

One of the best things Jesus said was, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have itself to think about. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

I heard something online today that made me smile. It was, “I am not a strong rock, but I stand on one.” Amen to that.

The Waters of Shiloah or the Euphrates River. All of Us Must Choose.

The Euphrates River
Photo by
: Jayel Aheram from Iraq,USA.

Forasmuch as this people refuses the waters of Shiloah that go softly … the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many.’ ISAIAH 8:6, 7.

In the days of Isaiah, the prophet of God, Ahaz was King of Judah. The 10 tribes of Israel along with Damascus joined forces to take over the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. Ahaz and the people were frightened. They knew they couldn’t beat back the great force of those armies.

Isaiah came to Ahaz with these words from God, “Listen to me, and keep calm; don’t be afraid; don’t let your heart be easily moved. Aram, Ephriam and Rezin have plotted your ruin saying, ‘Let’s invade Judah; let’s tear it apart and divide it among ourselves and make Tabeel king over it.’ “But the Lord says, “It will not happen…” and God adds, “If you do not stand in your faith, you will not stand at all.”

The message was longer than this, but God was telling King Ahaz that if he trusted in him, God would protect Judah. But Ahaz did not believe in or listen to God. He had his own idea, which was to ask the kingdom of Assyria to come to his aid. So, he made an alliance with a ruthless, godless people.

Because of Ahaz’s choice, God tells him that eventually the king of Assyria will turn to fight against Judah itself.

 “Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoiced in Rezin and the son of Remaliah,

the Lord will surely bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates —the king of Assyria and all his pomp.

It will overflow its channels and overrun its banks. It will pour into Judah, swirling and sweeping over it,

reaching up to the neck; its spreading streams will coveryour entire land, O Immanuel! Isaiah 8:6-8

God compares his rule over Judah to the, “…gently flowing waters of Shiloah,” to the king of Assyria who was like a raging river, overflowing its banks and causing ruin.

The waters of Shiloah is the spring of water that bubbles up near Jerusalem. It is the water that filled the pool of Siloam, where Jesus told the blind man to go and wash and he would see. It is the water source where Jesus came and proclaimed, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink!”

Alexander Mclaren writes:

“The waters of Shiloah that go softly stand as an emblem of the Davidic monarchy as God meant it to be, and, since that monarchy was itself a prophecy, they therefore represent the kingdom of God or the Messianic King. The ‘waters strong and many’ are those of the Euphrates, which swells and overflows and carries havoc, and are taken as the emblem of the wasting sweep of the Assyrian king, whose capital stood on its banks.

But while thus there is a plain piece of political history in the words, they are also the statement of general principles which apply to every individual soul and its relations to the kingdom, the gentle kingdom, of our Lord and Savior, or swift Euphrates in spate. That is what the rejecters have chosen for themselves.

Better to have lived by Shiloah than to have built their houses by the side of such a raging stream. Mark how this is a divine retribution indeed, but a natural process too. If Christ does not rule us, a mob of tyrants will.”

Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, “Whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.    John 4:14

I pray all of us will choose the gently flowing spring that flows from the throne of God.

Why Does God Judge the World?

What do you think of people who lie to send innocent people to jail? What do you think about people who kidnap children and sell them for sex? What do you think of someone who would steal medical masks from a clinic, which happened at my daughter’s work place? What do you think of a man who would cheat a widow out of her inheritance, which happened to my grandmother? What do you think of someone who sexually abuses his daughter, which happened to me? What do you think of the rich who steal from the poor? What do you think of people who murder for money or revenge?

Would you want one of these people to be your best friend? Would you want to live next door to them? Do you think any of them would be happy in heaven, where everyone is in agreement with God’s laws and content with a peaceful, happy life with those they love?

Some people say, “Everyone will be saved.” This does not agree with the Bible. We have one life here on earth. One life to decide if we will love the good and hate the evil. One life to turn towards the light and turn away from evil. As the apostle John writes about Jesus, “…in him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” God’s light shines into every person’s heart, no matter where they were born or what they believe, and their eternal life depends on what they do with that light.

The Bible is full of warnings about the Day of Judgement, when God will show humanity why they are not allowed in heaven. I do not believe God will torture bad people in a place called Hell. I’ve written about that before. It says in the Bible hell will be destroyed in a lake of fire. I believe the imagery of fire means total destruction. It is clear in the Scriptures the wicked will be ashes under the soles of our feet. They will simply be no more. (Malachi 4:3)

God wants everyone to come live with him in heaven, but he knows, and we should know, that everyone who is dangerous to peace and love have no place there. He doesn’t magically make all people good, since that would mean we would all be robots with no choice at all except to worship him. He doesn’t want wind-up dolls who say, “I love you.” He wants those who come to him to get to know who he is and what he stands for.

 Over 50 years, I have studied the Bible. I have come to see the reasons God condemns the guilty, those who have never been sorry for what they have done to people. The pain and sorrow wicked people have brought to the world is incalculable. I decided to write a list of some of the reasons God finds them guilty.

They sacrificed children and adults to their gods, usually in the most horrific ways. The Canaanites put living children and babies in the red-hot arms of Baal. And we know how the Aztecs sacrificed people.

Nations fought against other nations to take their land and to have their people as slaves.  When the Midianites put Israel in subjection, they would come and raid their fields so the people of Israel went hungry.

They took bribes and robbed widows and orphans of their land and money.

They murdered people for money and land.

They lied about the innocent so they were found guilty and put to death.

They lied about the guilty so they could go free.

They committed sexual sins along with their worship of other gods.

They changed God’s laws and made up their own.

They persecuted believers of different churches. They killed them and tortured them. They had no tolerance or love for those who believe differently.

All these sins happened in ancient days and they happen now. But if a person comes to feel sorry for what he has done, he can come running to God and he will run to him. He loves all people, no matter what they have done. He knows we live in a world where we naturally drift towards evil, but he can overcome that in us. He can change our minds and hearts so we love what is good and hate what is evil.

How do I know this? Because it has happened to me, my family members and friends. I have seen it with my own eyes. Also, the Bible says it is true. If you are a person who doesn’t understand God and his ways, then please give him a chance. When you begin to pray and read the Bible, he will show himself to you. This is a gradual thing. Jesus talked about a person’s growth in understanding God. He said it is like growth of wheat. First the blade, then the head and then the mature grain in the head. (Mark 4:28) This is why people say, “Come as you are.” God doesn’t expect us to be good to come to him, because only he can make us truly good, little by little, day by day.

Although God does this, it isn’t how we are saved. We are saved by Jesus’ death. He took our place since someone must die because evil came into the universe. God chose himself to die. He is ultimately responsible for this universe. He brought it into being, and if the only way the universe can be cleaned up is for him to die, then so be it. He did it so those who agree with his government can come and live in it. After Judgement Day, every living being will be in one accord, every heart beating the same song, “God is good.”

A Neighbor’s Corona Virus Story.

“Therefore, my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.”  Psalm 143:4

The verse above is from a prayer by David.

Today, a neighbor talked with me while I was getting my mail. We were careful, standing at least 15 feet apart. She poured out her heart to me about her mother-in-law, who has all the symptoms of Coronavirus and nothing is being done for her. They aren’t allowed to take her to the hospital, even though there are empty beds. She is suffering at her home, all alone. She is quarantined and in pain, gasping and trying to get her breath. She is 83. The hospital told her family, “It isn’t time yet.” My friend told her mother-in-law to dial 911 (which they did once already and no one came), when she felt she was dying so someone would come get her body.

I think hospitals here are doing this because they have run out of tests for the virus, nurses are becoming infected and she is 83 years old. I can’t think of any other reason they would not even try to relieve her suffering. I see statistics on the news that the curve is flattening here in Canada. Well, that makes sense since they aren’t taking tests and are leaving people to fend for themselves and die alone.  I felt so sad for this family.

My sister and I talk about the virus every day. She lives in Washington State and I live in BC, Canada. We think she has had the virus already. She was very sick a week ago, but is back to feeling awful instead of horrible. She has a lot of health problems and never feels normal.

She and I are both negative people. We have always thought the worst would probably happen to us and people we love. We are “catastrophic thinkers.” Each event, we take to the nth degree of disaster. We don’t want any surprises. This has made life extra hard for us, but we have both been working on turning to God with these thoughts. Believe me, he comes through big-time.

You know how a person gets into that kind of thinking? My sister was threatened by a family member a few times by waking up with a sharp knife at her throat. I was abused by my father. If your life is threatened by someone close to you when you are a little child, you never feel safe again.

But this is where faith in God comes in. Not that we think God won’t let us get the virus and die, no, we just trust him to know what is best. If God doesn’t want you to die, you won’t. And if you are dying, he will be with you. This gives me peace. I wrote about this recently, but I feel I should share this again.

Also, there is hope for new medicine and a vaccine. I just read last night a university in Canada has experimented and found a drug that seems to help people get better from the virus. That made me so happy. I hope they will start using it on patients soon.

The prayer of David, at the beginning of my post goes on to say:

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works;

I consider the work of Your hands. I stretch out my hands to You;

my soul thirsts for You like a parched land.

Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails.

Do not hide Your face from me, or I will be like those who descend to the Pit.

Let me hear Your loving devotion in the morning, for I have put my trust in You.

Teach me the way I should walk, for to You I lift up my soul.

Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD; I flee to You for refuge.

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God.

May Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

This is a good prayer for this time in history. When we feel our spirit faint within us, consider the works of Jesus, stretch out your hands to him. Put your trust in him. Ask him to teach you how to live. Then rest in his love.

God says to all of us,Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you; I will surely help you;

I will hold you up with My right hand of righteousness.”

Isaiah 41:10

Let Go and Let God.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

I’ve read this verse many times, but I found out something I didn’t know before. A person who knows the Hebrew language said that “Be still…” means, “Loosen your grip. Let go.”

He said, “know that I am God,” means, “Experience God.”

Both interpretations are lovely, but I think “loosen your grip,” gives us a lot more to think about. What do we hold onto that we should let go? I think it means let go of your worries, sadness and perhaps your plans. You can do that by experiencing close friendship with God. When we know him better and better each day, we will learn how to trust him. We can then have a mind that is quieted by God.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7

I’ve thought a lot about how peace guards our hearts. When you are full of peace, the daily irritations, and even big disappointments don’t bother you as much.

I’ve been ill lately because my mother, whom I take care of, wasn’t sleeping well. So, for a couple of weeks I didn’t get enough sleep. Then two of my teeth were pulled and I had a headache for a week. Lack of sleep and pain made me feel really sad. Did I have peace of mind? I think so, but I will say sadness was in my heart. I’ve learned to give my sad feelings to God and I asked him to help me care for my mother. He helped me each day.

I tell you this because of course there are things that happen that will make us sad. Sometimes we can feel sad for a very long time. Jesus felt sadness, so it is not a sin to feel that way. But I wanted his comfort, wanted to feel his arms around me. He did comfort me as I prayed, and I’m thankful.

There has been a lot of talk in Christian circles on how to go through grief and yet have joy at the same time. Jesus did that too. He grieved for his people Israel, yet because of the “joy that was ahead, he endured the cross, despising the shame of it.”

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2,3

Feeling very sad and yet having joy about Jesus and one day being with him forever is a paradox, I guess. It is hard to wrap my mind around, but I am going to keep trying. I do know one thing, sadness alone leads to despair and God doesn’t want us to go there.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.Psalm 43:5

God and the Virus.

Well, it has been an interesting year so far. Of course, the virus is the big thing, but then there are the other trials of life on top of it. My mother has been having more health problems and sleeping problems, my oldest daughter’s marriage is over, my husband is waiting for back surgery and I had two teeth pulled out last Friday and have felt sick ever since. Also, I need new glasses only 6 months after getting new ones. I turned 70 the other day and I still need to lose weight. I started dieting when I was 11. (There have been slim years and other not so slim years. Lol)

Jesus said, “Love not the world…” I can honestly say I do not.

The virus and God. I’m sure there are people saying God sent this virus because we are such terrible people and he is punishing us. This theme comes up whenever there is a disaster.

Does God punish people? The Bible shows us that he does do that sometimes. But unless you are a prophet, you don’t know why anything is happening. I think we should leave all speculation behind. This virus came by eating unclean animals or some germ-warfare escaping from a lab.

I live in Canada and we are getting more virus cases every day. Pretty well everything has shut down. My husband is working from home; thousands upon thousands of people have been laid-off their jobs. Our government is going to make sure those who cannot work from home are taken care of. I’m happy about that. It is always the working poor that suffer the most.

My mom, who is 92, my husband and I are vulnerable to this virus. If we ever get it, we could easily die. We all have serious health issues. But we aren’t afraid and that’s all because of Jesus, his Father and the Holy Spirit. They live in our hearts and the three of us believe if we die, we will be with God in person (a hugely exciting thought); if we live, then God has a good reason for that. I don’t think anyone on earth dies without God’s permission. You can read about that in the first chapters of the book of Job. Satan was only allowed to do so much to Job. He was not allowed to kill him.

One thing about this virus is it may make people stop and think about how short life is and perhaps some will start praying and learning about God. People will have time now to meditate on their lives and the meaning of life. Our culture is so full of busyness and distractions, we hardly have time to think. Also, I am sure there will be a baby boom in nine months!

All I can say is that if you want peace of mind during times like this, give your life to God and he will flood you with his peace. He is the one full of love, goodness and peace. We are the ones filled with worry, fear and hatred. He will fill you with himself, if you ask him, and keep asking him every day. This exchange is not a one-time thing. It is a daily thing. We need him every moment of every day.