I am incredibly grateful that, as a newborn believer, I was taught to read the Word of God every day. At first, I would sit down each morning, open my Bible, and read wherever it opened. However, my motives were not always the best. I read because I was told this is what God expected, and I wanted to be obedient. But I also wanted to check the box on the back of the offering envelope. In those days, we had offering envelopes with a checklist of things on the back that we should do each week. We were expected to pray, read our Bible, talk to others about Jesus, attend Sunday School, attend worship services, and give. And we were expected to check those boxes so the pastor would know we were doing what we were supposed to do. Those were all things a good Christian did. So, I dutifully read my Bible to “check the box.” For me, those early days were more about God establishing a habit in me of being in the Word daily than it was about me getting to know God.
About a year later, my mentor taught me a simple method to help me be more intentional about my daily Bible reading. They shared with me that they read five Psalms each day, beginning with the Psalm of the day. For example, today is January 11, 2021, so I would read Psalm 11. But they read a total of five Psalms and a chapter of Proverbs each day. The way to do this is to read the Psalm of the day, today being Psalm 11, and add 30 to the date read Psalms 41. Then add 30 and read Psalm 71, then 101, and finally 131. Since Proverbs has 31 chapters, we would read the chapter corresponding to the date, or for today, chapter 11. I would often write down things I learned about God or truths that struck me.
Over the years, I have learned to read with a purpose by slowing down and engaging the text interactively. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.
However, today I was captivated by Psalm 11.
David is in a desperate situation. He was surrounded by the wicked, and his life was in danger. Despite his circumstances, David stands firm because of his confidence in the Lord. It was a confidence born out of years of walking with God from the time he was a young shepherd boy in the fields to his present situation as King ruling Israel.
His well-meaning but fearful advisors counseled him to “flee like a bird,” in other words, “run!” But David refused to run away from danger. He marveled at the suggestion from the fainthearted advisors because running denied his faith in the Lord, and they should have known better. He wondered where their faith was when they counseled him to run.
When faced with the temptation to flee or not to flee from the wicked who surrounded him, David held fast to his faith in the Lord. Instead of fleeing like a bird to a mountain where he would be safe, he fled to the Lord for refuge. Escape was out of the question! He made that point crystal clear in his message to them. “In the Lord I take refuge!” (v 1)
Out of their fear, his advisors began to argue the facts of his situation in order to convince him to do so.
- The wicked slander and stalk-like predators for the kill.
- They lie in ambush with their tongues ready to hurl abuse at the godly. (v. 2) (Cross-reference Ps 10:8-9)
- The wicked lurk in the dark. The battle is not out in the open where you could see it. Evil is ubiquitous and yet not easy to spot. The wicked are treacherous, stealthy, and intent on maligning and making the godly fall. They are intent on making anarchy a way of life. (Ps 10:7-10, 37:14)
- The foundations are destroyed. These foundations refer to the law and order of society established by God at creation. This is the belief that God is sovereign over all of His creation and is sustaining the order of the world. God’s justice and law are being replaced by self-rule resulting in anarchy/chaos.
The fearful focus on their surrounding circumstances and ask, “What can the righteous do?” That is a horizontal focus. David, however, has a vertical focus, as we see in verses 4-6.
David was a strong leader; whose confidence was in the Lord. When the fainthearted asked, “What can the righteous do?” David responded that the righteous can trust in the one and only source of secure government – the Lord who
- has not left His holy temple.
- is still on His throne in heaven.
- is sovereignly ruling over His creation.
- sees and examines closely the activities of both the righteous and the wicked.
- tests and refines the righteous.
- hates the wicked and people who love violence. God is opposed to all who choose wickedness and violence in opposition to His will.
- will reward each according to their deeds.
- will destroy the wicked.
- will allow the upright to see His face.
David tried to help the fainthearted advisors see their circumstances from God’s perspective. Like a good leader, David wanted to move them from a horizontal focus to a vertical focus so that they would not be overwhelmed.
The kind of Godly confidence David displayed can withstand trials, persecutions, and temptations. David not only knows the truth about who is Sovereign over all the earth, but he also lives the truth so others may know God. Jesus also had confidence in the Father when He faced Satan’s temptations and the hostility of people. We can trust God to do what He said He would do!
Confidence in the Lord is a mark of Christian maturity!
Earlier I mentioned that I learned to read with a purpose by slowing down and engaging the text interactively. In doing so, my time in the Word was no longer merely an “academic” pursuit of knowledge. As I slowed down and interacted with the Word, both my mind and heart were engaged. In interacting in this way, the Word not only instructed and trained me how to be righteous, but it also reprimanded and corrected me in my thoughts and behaviors. But it didn’t stop there! The more I applied the truths I was learning, living in obedience to the Truth of the Word, the more I knew God intimately, and I grew spiritually. That growth has given me the confidence to stand firm in whatever situation I find myself in and to make Jesus known from those platforms.
Engaging the Scriptures
Here are some simple steps to help you interactively engage the scriptures.
Read Psalm 11 (It’s at the end of this blog)
Note: David is the one speaking, and he is speaking to his advisors.
This time mark LORD including pronouns.
(I use a triangle. However, you can color it, circle it, etc. The point is to slow you down and see what you are reading.) When reading scripture, I always mark God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Re-read it. (I know, you’ve already read it twice, but it’s ok, it’s God’s Word.)
This time mark
wicked, including pronouns and synonyms. I use a W over the word.
righteous, including synonyms with a circle.
Now the fun begins as you engage more with the scripture!
Make a list. Look at each place you marked LORD and write down all you learn about the LORD. For example:
The Lord is
in His Holy temple
Make another list. This time write what you learn about the wicked.
Now we will drill down a little deeper by asking some questions using the 5 Ws and H questions. (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?)
David is in a desperate situation surrounded by the wicked, and his life was in danger. What point does David make before addressing his advisors in verse 1?
What advice have his advisors given him according to verse 1?
Who are they worried about, and why are they concerned?
To get a better understanding of what the wicked are doing, read Psalm 10:8-9, and write down what you learn.
Note: These foundations in verse 3 refer to the law and order of society established by God at creation. This is the belief that God is sovereign over all of His creation and is sustaining the order of the world. God’s justice and law are being replaced by self-rule resulting in anarchy/chaos.
According to verse 3, what is the concern of the advisors?
Where is the focus of David’s advisors? Explain your answer.
From all you have seen so far, how would you describe/characterize David’s advisors?
What is David’s response, according to verses 4-6?
Where is David’s focus?
What do you learn about the Lord in verse 7, and how does that relate to the upright?
Something to think about
Do you look more like the advisors or David? What would others say?
Look at today’s culture. Do you see any similarities to the culture David was living in? Don’t just answer with yes or no, if so write out the similarities.
If so, what have you learned from Psalm 11 that will help you stand in confidence in an evil and corrupt society?
How mature are you? What do you need to do to grow in maturity?
1 In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
Last week we celebrated Christmas, and tonight we will ring in the New Year!
Some of you may have already taken down the decorations and put them away. Some of you will wait until later, in January. And then there is me. I may have been known to take mine down a bit later than the average person!
Christmas may be over, but it is not the end, it was actually the beginning.
Let’s take a look back for a moment at the beginning of beginnings so that I can explain what I mean.
From the beginning, God had a plan. On the first day of creation, God spoke light into the darkness! After creation, the earth was full of God’s peace, the kind of peace in which everything works according to God’s plan. The world was made for man with everything we could ever need or want to live joyfully in the presence of our Creator. We would worship God by loving Him and loving one another forever. The angels were also there at creation, and they shouted for joy! (Job 38:4,7)
But one day, Adam and Eve rejected God’s rule over them. We refer to their rebellious choice as “the Fall.” Their choice affected all of us. The result of rejecting God’s authority over us is that we are dead spiritually and will die physically.
Thankfully, even though our Creator hates our sin, and we deserve death, there is good news! God loves you and has a plan for you. We are a part of His master plan for redeeming His world and rescuing sinners.
The first Christmas day changed the world. On that day, hope was born! God tucked Himself up under the heart of a young virgin in the form of a baby. This baby was Jesus, God Himself. He came to renew the world and restore His people. Light stepped into the darkness, and that Light continues to cover the darkness today!
On this day, everything changed! An angel delivered to shepherds, just outside of Bethlehem, the message of the long-awaited Messiah’s birth.
When the first angel finished the message, the sky exploded, and the angelic choir sang praises to God and glorified His name once again! They first sang at creation, and now they are singing at the beginning of the new creation.
God had a plan from the beginning. The angels and shepherds were part of executing that plan, and so are we! The angel brought the message of redemption to the shepherds, who shared it with everyone they saw. We, too, have been given the gospel to share with those God brings into our lives.
The angel’s message reminds us that everything God does is because of His great love for people. God knew that the best gift He could give us would not fit in a box wrapped in colored paper. The greatest gift He could give us is unconditional love. The greatest need people have is unconditional love. Only God alone could do that. But first, there was a barrier between God and us that needed to be removed. It was a barrier created by our own sin and rebellion.
God showed us how much He loves the world by giving His most priceless gift – His only Son – so that that we may have a new life, eternal life, life from now to forever. Christ overcame the sin that separates us from God. Jesus is the gift! Gifts, by definition, are received, not earned. A person receives it by believing and trusting in Christ. When we receive Jesus Christ, we become children of God (John 1:12-13).
God’s purpose in sending His Son is salvation, not condemnation. God does not delight in the death of the wicked. (Ezekiel 18:23, 32) God’s greatest desire is that everyone would be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9)
It was because of love that God created man in the first place. Why? Because love needs people to love! In other words, love always requires tangible expression. Because of this love, God put a plan in place to rescue us from the destructive path we chose. Love sent Jesus into our world. Hope was born.
Tomorrow is the beginning of a new year.
The days following Christmas, with all the lights of the season still shining around us, is an excellent time to share the gospel. Use the coming New Year celebrations to open conversations about New Year plans. A discussion of New Year resolutions can lead to gospel sharing opportunities. We are called to love God, and because we do, we will love people. The best gift we can give those God puts in our path is the gift of His Son so that they too can be reconciled to God and have a new beginning and eternal life. Loving God and loving people should define our entire life.
So far, we’ve seen two occasions where the angels gathered to sing praises and glory to God. The first was at creation and then again at the new creation. Jesus came into the world He created to restore us to God, our Creator. Someday we will sing our song of praise in the throne room of heaven (Revelation 5). And as we live in the meantime, we know that angelic praise teams are singing! “There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
There is a lot of hatred in this world. People are angry, hurting, and desperate for real love. If we are called to be God’s hands and feet, leading people to reconciliation with Him, then love is our most powerful tool. In this new year, don’t just say you love someone; prove it!
This is part 2 of What in the world are they thinking?. To put you in context you may want to go back and read the previous blog, if you haven’t already.
We are living in times that seem to be increasingly evil. Times where right is wrong and wrong is right. As I scan through the news I often ask myself, “What in the world are they thinking?” Recently, as I watched current events unfolding, I found myself asking that question once again. This time God reminded me of Psalm 36, which I had just studied. I had read through the psalm several times but I just wasn’t grasping what it was saying, so I went back and drilled down a bit more. I thought you might need the answer to this question too, so I decided to do a short interactive study together.
You may be asking yourself what I mean by interactive study. This kind of study is a hands-on approach, not simply reading the text, to help students become more engaged with the text, and retain more of what they read. It is a tool to help students strengthen problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which will help you know and understand the author’s purpose for writing. In this short study we will be
- marking words – which slows you down to really see what is there.
- making lists – to lift the text off the page in order to see it more clearly as well as help imbed it in your mind.
- asking questions of the text, Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?
(I suggest you either print this off and work on the copy, or you can mark right in your Bible.)
At the end of the day you will be amazed at how much more you pick up!
Context helps us better understand the circumstance in which something is written. So let’s take a look at what was going on when David wrote this Psalm.
David is no stranger to the schemes of the wicked, often he found himself in the midst of his enemies. I am sure he probably asked God that same question! (What in the world are they thinking?) Overwhelmed by the lifestyle and the wickedness of the ungodly as they plotted their schemes, David knew he had to refocus, and he knew where to find relief. Remembering God’s character and how He had worked in his life in the past, David responded to his circumstances by praying. The Lord answered his prayer with an oracle concerning the sinfulness of the wicked surrounding him.
Let’s get started.
- With that in mind read Psalm 36 without stopping. (We are using the ESV translation)
1 Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.
5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise.
Drill down a little deeper
What did you notice on your first read through?
Read verses 1-4. Who is David talking about?
Write wicked in the left hand column just below #1. (This will help you see clearly which group you are reading about)
Mark all references to the wicked, including pronouns, and make a list of all you learn about them. (I use a colored pencil to color the word. It makes it easier to see)
When was the last time you used transgression in a sentence? It is not a word we commonly use. When you see a word when reading your Bible that you are not familiar with you can google it or look it up the old school way using a dictionary. Transgression is “something that is against a command or law. It can be a failure to do your duty. A sin is a transgression against God.”
According to verse 1, what speaks to the heart of the wicked, and how much influence does it have?
Our belief systems determine our behavior. What is the basis for the beliefs and behaviors of the wicked in this verse?
What kind of relationship do they have with God? How does that effect their belief system?
Read back through your list about the wicked. How does what you learn about the wicked help you better understand the answer to the question, “What were they thinking?”
Now read verses 7-12. What group of people is David talking about in these verses?
Write believers in the left hand column just below #7.
Mark all references to the believers, including pronouns. Also mark the wicked in the same way you did in verses 1-4.
Make a list of all you learn about the believers in these verses.
Add any new insights you saw regarding the wicked from this passage, to your list on the wicked.
From what you read in this passage, what do believers base their beliefs and behaviors on?
How is this different from what you learned about the wicked’s belief system? Explain your answer.
Go back and read verses 5-6 again and mark God/Lord and pronouns. (I often use a triangle)
Write God in the left hand column just below #5.
Read verses 7-12 again and mark God, including pronouns.
Make a list of all you learned about God.
In verses 5-6, what are God’s character qualities you see here? How are they described?
How available are these character qualities to believers? Are they limited? Explain your answer.
Steadfast love – The Hebrew word the ESV translates as steadfast love is checed, and is also translated as ‘love’, ‘faithful love’, ‘lovingkindness ‘, ‘gracious love’ or even ‘mercy’ in other translations. The word is hard to define because it a deeper kind of love. It is a unique covenant love that only God can give. That love protects believers from the hostility of the wicked. It is a love, a mercy, a compassion that we can trust in regardless of what our circumstances may be.
A love that never changes, never fails. Always promised, always true.
According to verses 5-9, where can believers find relief from the hostility they are surrounded by?
How will fully understanding that truth help you live by faith and not in fear when you are overwhelmed by the culture you are living in?
David ends the psalm with a prayer in verses 10-12. What is he asking God to do?
In verse 12, what does David see will happen to the evildoers as a result of their wickedness?
Some things to think about
There are two philosophies and lifestyles contrasted in this Psalm, that of unbelievers and believers.
The philosophy of the wicked is based on the absence of their fear of God. Because of this, the wicked continue doing evil with no pangs of conscience, and no sense of impending judgment. The unbeliever soothes his own conscience to hide his sins. His speech is deceptive, divisive and immoral. They plot their evil schemes from the time they get up in the morning, throughout the day, and continue even after they go to bed at night. The wicked have no sense of responsibility to God for their actions, or fear of punishment, because of that they cease to “be wise and to do good.” They are totally self focused.
David’s philosophy of life (and that of believers), is to be based on their fear of God. In contrast with the corruptions of the wicked, an obedient believer’s life is characterized by
- their security in the Lord.
- abundant provisions.
- their lifestyle and understanding of God’s presence.
God’s steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness and justice are inexhaustible resources for believers. Through them God preserves man and beast throughout life, in blessings for believers.
Despite the wickedness surrounding him, David found relief by focusing on God’s attributes, enabling him to not be distracted from what God has called him to do.
In the face of the circumstances that surround us, it is really easy to become overwhelmed by the wickedness. We don’t have to be! We can train ourselves to respond to the evil as David did by
- Responding with prayer.
- Refocusing on who God is and what He does. (In doing, so you will go from a horizontal focus, fixated on your circumstances, to a vertical focus, your eyes fixed on God.)
- Remembering what God has already done.
- Resting in the knowledge that God will do what He said He would do.
In doing so, you will not be distracted from what God has called you to do!
Stand firm! Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go! – Joshua 1:9
Last Monday morning I woke up to the following headline
Looters smash business windows along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile
after police-involved shooting
A Sunday afternoon shooting of the man who had opened fire on officers, set off a firestorm of misinformation spread across social media. The reports alleged a police-involved killing of a black teen on the city’s South Side late Sunday afternoon and appeared to encourage people to head downtown to create violence.
Hundreds of people descended on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile of upscale stores early Monday, with vandals smashing the windows of dozens of businesses and making off with merchandise, cash machines and anything else they could carry, and some pulled up with U-Haul trucks.
With tongue in cheek, someone said, “Nothing screams justice, like looting a Louis Vuitton store!”
“Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said Monday that officers responded to a call about a man with a gun in the Englewood area; once spotting the man, they pursued him on foot after the man shot at them, police said, the officers returned fire.” – The Washington Post
Latrell Allen, 20, was charged with attempted murder Monday for allegedly firing on officer.
I watched in disbelief to a scene that is becoming way too common. In my heart I asked the Lord, “What in the world are they thinking?”
In these days of Covid-19, protests, riots, cries calling for the “De-funding” of police, conspiracy theories, fake news and political scheming, I have asked this question a lot. As I read and listen to the news each day, I am tempted to stop paying attention to all things news in my life.
But recently, God reminded me of the sons and daughters of Issachar, men and women who understood the times and knew what Israel should do. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
The sons of Issachar understood the times they lived in, but they also understood the political and spiritual times. They were a unique group of people that could discern what God was doing and when He was doing it. They excelled in knowledge of God’s law and were full of wisdom. The sons of Issachar were so sharp, and so spiritually in tune, that the whole nation depended on them to know what they ought to do and when they ought to do it.
Their ability to discern the times and seasons was an incredible advantage:
- That ability gave them inside knowledge and understanding of God’s activities.
- They were not taken by surprise when things happened.
- They had influence as a result of their unique ability to understand times and seasons.
- They knew what Israel should do and when it should be done.
- The nation followed their example.
The answer is not to stick our head in the sand! Rather, we need to be like the sons and daughters of Issachar! We need to understand the times we live in, excel in the knowledge of God’s Word in order to be wise and spiritually in tune with what God is up to.
So, what does that have to do with my question and where do I start?
God answered my question by refocusing me. He took my focus off the horizontal, the headlines I was consumed with that morning, and reminded me of the truths I read last week in Psalm 36, He changed my focus to vertical. As I remembered what God said in His Word, my focus went from horizontal to vertical.
Start by becoming like the sons and daughters of Issachar.
- Immerse yourself in the Word of God, not just reading it, but prayerfully studying it.
- Pray. Ask God to give you wisdom, discernment and understanding. Also, ask Him what He is up to in the circumstances you’re engulfed in.
- Become familiar with current events. It’s only as you filter your circumstances through the truth found in the word, you are able to understand what is going on around you.
- Take that understanding and apply it to your daily life.
- Help others refocus and see God’s hand at work.
As I said earlier God took me back to Psalm 36, which I had studied the week before, for the answer to my question. I often read a couple of Psalms daily to set my focus for the day, its a practice I started as a young believer and have continued to do. I read the Psalm that coincides with the date, then add 30 to it and read the next one, until I’ve read to the end of Psalms.(Ex. last week on August 6 i read psalms 6, 36, 66, 96, 126. If I have time I may read the Proverb that coincides with the day)
Last week as I read Psalm 36 I just wasn’t grasping it, so I read it a couple of times and then decided to study it rather than simply read it. It was only after engaging the text in that way did I see what the Psalm was really about. Others who had written about the Psalm focused solely on God’s steadfast love, which is amazing. But, God showed me much more!
Rather than tell you what I learned from studying it myself, which is like feeding you already chewed food, I suggest you read it for yourself. If you are having a hard time grasping it, like I did, and want to see it clearly for yourself I am going to include a link to a Bible study which will walk you through Psalm 36 enabling you to see truth for yourself. The Word is powerful, when we see truth for ourselves it is imprinted on our hearts forever.
Click here –> Take a closer look at Psalm 36
Facts not Fear, has been the mantra about Covid-19 over the past few months. It’s ubiquitous! However, despite its presence all around us, I can’t help but think it doesn’t have the impact it once did. In these days of Covid-19, it is easy to become myopic in our approach to the days we live in. In fact, as I listen to the media, read social media posts, and engage in conversations with people literally around the world, I am convinced that fear, not facts, is the rule of the day.
So, with that said, I would like to take a look at the facts we are given from a perspective that is often overlooked, in the hope of encouraging you today.
In photography the term ‘selective focus’ refers to a technique where the photographer selectively focuses on the subject of an image, essentially ignoring all other aspects of the scene. … The contrast of the sharp subject against the soft image background creates powerful, contemplative images. Yet, at the same time skews the image in a way that distorts or changes it, like in the way the image of the city is turned upside down in the selective focus shot, misrepresenting the image as a whole.
Context rules in interpretation
It is important to remember that context rules in interpretation. I have taught this truth regarding studying the Bible for nearly 40 years. However, it is also a life principle.
Let me illustrate this for you.
Your child asks you what R-E-A-D means. You ask them how it is used in the sentence; they look at you as if you have two heads. They read the sentence to you, and only then can you understand and give them an accurate interpretation of the word.
One of your children comes in crying, saying that their sibling just punched them. So, you call the other child into the room, ready to discipline them. When you investigate further, you find out that the tattling child actually destroyed a “building project” the other had been working on all morning. Understanding the context changes the way you handle it.
You see a Facebook post telling you about Christians being persecuted. You are immediately caught up in the emotion of anger and want to find a way to help. But then you find out the news is twelve years old.
Understanding the context changes everything.
We need to bring our emotions in line with the truth.
In recent months I began to realize I was gaining a very narrow focus of the culture of the day. It seemed as if everything was being filtered through the “truth” of Covid-19. I suspect I am not the only one that this happened to. I desperately needed to change my focus if I was going to live by the facts and not fear. I needed some help to know where to start. So, I responded to that need by asking the One in Whom there is no fear.
This is what came to mind.
- What if I approached the COVID updates from a different perspective than the media and other sources present it? (Looking at life rather than death)
- What if I start by putting it into context, rather than lifting it out of context?
- Finally, when I understand the facts in this way, I need not focus on the sources of misinformation, whatever they might be, but instead on the truth from God’s perspective.
So, I started doing just that, and have been for several months now. To help you see the truth for yourself, I want to show you what I found as I played with some numbers this morning.
It is possible we may survive!
Less than 2% of the US has contracted COVID, and 97% of those have recovered.
August 17, 2020
Population of the US – 331,240,477
COVID cases 5,410,000
COVID deaths 170,000
Hamilton County 367,804
COVID cases 6801
COVID deaths 61
If my stats are right:
In the US
1.63% of the population has contracted COVID
3.1% death rate from COVID
0.05 % of the US population has died from COVID
Only 7% of the COVID tests in the US are positive.
1.85% of the population has contracted COVID
0.9% death rate from COVID
0.016% of Hamilton County has died from COVID
98.37% of the US has not contracted COVID
96.9% of those who do have COVID recover.
97.15% of Hamilton County, TN has not contracted COVID
99% of those in Hamilton County recover.
When I refocus and look at Covid-19 in my county and my country from this perspective, rather than focus on all the media reports, articles or interviews with a variety of “experts” from the medical community, I get a better understanding of the truth. But head knowledge of the truth alone doesn’t affect change. Knowledge needs to be accompanied by action; I begin to bring my emotions (fear) in line with the truth and walk as though I believe it to be true. Only then will the fear begin to subside. With each step that I take, to control my emotions and change my focus, the peace of God that exceeds anything we can understand will guard my heart and mind as I live in Christ Jesus. The fear will be gone.
To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true.
So, when the reports of Covid-19 around you begin to stir up fear
Respond – by taking it to the One who has no fear, in prayer. – Philippians 4:6
Refocus – by looking at the truth from God’s perspective and not the world’s. This also means I need to stop focusing on the sources of misinformation that play to my emotions. Colossians 3:2
Remember what God has already done, and what He says He is going to do in regard to life. Do this by setting your mind on things above, not things below. Colossians 3:2
Rest – in knowing that God will do what He said He would do – Psalm 37:7
As I close this out, I do want to say that we aren’t to throw caution to the wind. We are still to be cautious. David and I continue to wash our hands (as we have done since childhood), practice social distancing, wear a mask when we leave the house or in situations where it is impossible to social distance. What we don’t do is fixate on the horizontal, instead we fix our eyes on the vertical, Jesus.