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CLARITY – 6-29-20 Much Ado About Not Much

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 6-29-20

Much Ado About Not Much

What’s Happening: “Two COVID-19 milestones were passed Sunday: 500,000 deaths worldwide, and the largest daily total of new confirmed cases at 10 million. The U.S. is by far the largest contributor and Brazil is second with half as many new cases as the U.S. Spikes in Italy, France, and some African countries after re-openings are blamed for some of the numbers’ increases. This has led to backing off reopening plans in Texas, California and Florida, with Governors so ordering. Schools in the fall and sports are still up in the air (https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-virus-cases-stabilize-italy-053531808.html). Quoting from the Associated Press article: ‘COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks,’ said Gov. Greg Abbott, who allowed businesses to start reopening in early May but on Friday shut down bars and limited restaurant dining (75% capacity down to 50%) amid a spike in cases.” 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “I guess I and my family need to shelter in place, huh?” 

Biblical Response:  “If that will make you feel safer…I guess never driving a car  (or riding in one) will keep you from dying in a car crash. Don’t get me wrong, each death is tragic, but 500,000 worldwide is only .00007143857% 10,000,000 new cases is only .001428571%…not much compared to population  and other pandemics (AIDS – 2005-2012 – 36,000,000 deaths; Category 2 Flu – 1968 – 1,000,000 deaths; Asian Flu – 1956-1958 – 2,000,000; Spanish Flu – 1918 – 20,000,000 to 50,000,000; the Black Death {Bubonic Plague} – 1346-1353 – 200.000,000, etc.). 500,000 is not to be sneezed about (pardon the pun) but still not huge. Let’s keep things in perspective.”

“Christians?  We think every death is tragic…it is, after all, the cessation of decision-making- about-eternity (Heb. 9:27). Still, Christians need to be about faith, not fear (1 John 4:18). People have a tendency to react, not act; to shoot first and ask questions later. Instead, we need to be bastions of stability and reason…not fear mongers. We need to rejoice (what a great time to be alive!). Evangelism ought to be easy: we can offer a solution to the madness!”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to remember that no plague ‘can come nigh our dwelling’ (Ps. 91:10 – don’t forget the qualification of verse 1); in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com.’ If he’s not in Twitter/Facebook/Email jail, he also tweets/posts.

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CLARITY – 4-22-20 Go Left at Madagascar

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-22-20

Go Left at Madagascar

What’s Happening: “You might not know where Mozambique is (East Africa, on the mainland Indian Ocean coast, just west of the island of Madagascar – south of Zimbabwe, east of Tanzania), but they recently (April 7) lost 52 young people who refused to join the ranks of Islamic jihadists. The terrorists are locally known as al-Shabbab, though they would say they are part of the Islamic State. They are attempting to establish a caliphate, but police say they are chasing them to exact justice. Yesterday’s AFP article chronicles a two-year old rampage (https://news.yahoo.com/fifty-two-villagers-killed-jihadists-northern-mozambique-183053657.html). Quoting the article: ‘For more than two years the jihadists mainly targeted isolated villages, killing more than 900 people, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Another reason I’m glad to live in America!”

Biblical Response:  “Me, too…but we have to be careful that being born here (an event over which we both had no control) doesn’t make us too arrogant to help…or at least pray (Rom. 12:15).”

“Fear apparently had no effect on those young people, at least they would rather die than be a part of the jihadist’s reign of terror. I, for one, applaud them. Until more people are willing to have the courage of their convictions, fear will continue to make folks do things they would rather not. Shouldn’t we fear? Yes, but not like you think (Matt. 10:28):

‘And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ (KJV)”

“Christians? Oh, we believe in fear. Godly fear. In fact, godly fear might lead to faith (this is  exactly what Jesus was trying to say in Luke 13:4). This kind of fear leads to wisdom (Ps. 110:11; Prov. 4:7,10:11). The terrorists are looking forward to 72 virgins. Won’t they be surprised?!”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, while we don’t need to be filled with foolish faith, we don’t need to be filled with foolish fear, either; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com.’ If he’s not in Twitter/Facebook/Email jail, he also tweets/posts.

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CLARITY – 3-18-20 Taking Advantage of Chaos

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 3-18-20

Taking Advantage of Chaos

What’s Happening: “AG Barr, yesterday, directed U.S. attorneys to consider coronavirus-related cyber-threats and those stoking fears during the COVID-19 outbreak a priority for prosecution. Apparently, there has been a concerted effort to spread disinformation and panic amidst the recent pandemic, but Barr wouldn’t name a specific foreign power. The latest numbers put those infected over 180,000 worldwide with over 7,000 dead…over 4,000 in the U.S., with dozens dead….if these numbers are to be believed (https://www.yahoo.com/news/barr-tells-ap-fbi-probing-214947042.html). ‘Our primary role right now is to investigate,’ Attorney General William Barr said. ‘The FBI is very active, trying to determine who is responsible for these things.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Shouldn’t I go to the store while I still can?”

Biblical Response:  “That’s just the kind of panic our enemies want. The Tulsa, Oklahoma Mayor (effective midnight last night) just ordered all restaurants closed. Will that slow the spread of the disease? Probably. Will it slow the local economy? You bet! Is the trade-off worth it? Depends on to whom you talk. If you talk to the thousands of wait-staff, the cooks, or the business owners who may be forced to layoff or close? Maybe not. If you talk to those who’ve lost a loved one to the disease? Absolutely! Like I’ve said before, all tragedy is local. I can see both points of view. What’s the proper course? It’s above my paygrade. Still, there’s nothing to be righteously gained by undue panic. Unrighteously gained? Well, that’s a different story.”

“Let me explain. In an apparently unrelated report, a Tennessee man bought up 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer to sell on Amazon. He only donated them to a local church when pressured (https://www.yahoo.com/news/tennessee-man-stockpiled-17-700-165315947.html) The Attorney General of Tennessee threatened investigation for price-gouging.  It seems that profiting from crisis is not exactly kosher.”

“What does the Bible have to say? The qualifications for leadership preclude any unrighteous gain (1 Tim. 3:3,8; Tit. 1:7; 1 Pet. 5:2) Then there’s the whole concept of believing a lie. Spreading panic, conspiracy theories, and fear-mongering are ‘verboten’. ‘Truth stands the test of time: lies are soon exposed.’ (Prov. 12:19 LB)”

“Christians? We are called to be the calm it the midst of the storm (Rom 12:18

‘If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.’ (NASU)”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to be rock-steady, not given to fear or panic; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 3-10-20 Not As Bad As

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 3-10-20

Not As Bad As

What’s Happening: “Comparing the H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) or Zika or SARS or MERS may add a little more context to Coronavirus (COVID-19), and make it a little less scary (you hear that Wall Street?) The infection rate of some is higher (the Swine Flu at 700,000-1.4 B to 113,000 for COVID-19 [so far]) but the death rate may be lower (.02% for the Swine Flu compared with 3.4% for COVID-19). If the article yesterday in Business Insider had come out last Friday, the Stock Market may not have had a record decline yesterday (of course, then, there also was the precipitous decline in oil prices). To quote Shakespeare, ‘much ado about nothing’ (https://www.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-compares-sars-swine-flu-220500804.html). ‘It has been more widespread than SARS and MERS. More people are getting infected,’ said Aria Bendix, senior science reporter for Business Insider. ‘But less of those people who are getting infected are actually dying from it.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “So why is everybody making such a big deal of it?”

Biblical Response:  “Because bad news sells. Because fear of loss is a greater motivator than hope of gain. Because the Democrats want something to replace their failed anti-Trump/Russia/Impeachment/ narrative (and news of Biden’s latest gaffe is…well. not news…and embarrassing). Here’s the dilemma: on the one hand, we need to be vigilant and wash/disinfect/etc., but we don’t need to needlessly panic. It’s hard to be relevant without contributing to the chaos. Remember, ‘fear has torment (1 John 4:18), so to be fearful is to be tormented…which sells more disinfectant, masks, etc…and less crowded consumerism. Which is another reason your 401K went down.”

“Christians? We believe in caution (2 Pet. 1;12), but also in not letting fear overcome the truth.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to have the appropriate level of concern, but not to be overtaken by an unreasonable fear; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-26-20 Panic-Demic

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-26-20

Panic-Demic 

What’s Happening: “The coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing fear and panic across the world: the stock market fell 1,800 points in Monday and Tuesday’s trading…the jumping from 39 cases in the U.S. Friday to 53, after you figured in the repatriation of those infected on a cruise ship docked Japan didn’t help….the attendance at Shen Yun (‘Chinese’ dance troupe) performances in Utah might also be affected. Currently the number of confirmed cases worldwide is nearly 80,000, with deaths numbering over 2,600. Is the fear worse than the reality? (https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-coronavirus-cases-jump-again-195046974.html) An undated press release dispelled the rumors: “Shen Yun Is Not From China, Shows In No Way Affected By Coronavirus.” You could see how the fears sparked by rumors have created their own reality.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “I’m getting a mask!”

Biblical Response:  “Far be it from me to discourage that…but it’s probably just a fear-filled reaction. Sure, the deaths are over three times what SARS was, but there were only 15 deaths outside the epicenter in Africa (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). Who profits from panic? News organizations and stock-market-short-sellers. Bad news sells much better than good news. Why? Probably the instinct to survive. The Bible says ‘fear hath torment’ (1 John 4:18). It’s this torment that ignites our fight-or-flight reaction. And it’s easier to run than it is to develop a vaccine.”

“Christians? No need to panic. We believe we’ll have exactly the number of days we are supposed to (Ps. 39:4). This is no blind optimism that would have us taking unnecessary risks, but a quiet confidence that yields to the peace of the Lord’s purposes.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us not to give into the temptation of the world’s panic, but rather show others our hope for a better tomorrow; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 8-21-19 Watchful But Not Rattled

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -8-21-19

Watchful But Not Rattled

What’s Happening: “North Korea keeps testing short-range missiles (https://www.yahoo.com/news/pompeo-says-north-korea-missile-125513626.html), China keeps threatening the Indo-Pacfific region where U.S. and allied bases are located (https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-could-render-us-military-104141882.html), and now that both Russia and the U.S. have abandoned the INF (Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement), the testing of those intermediate missiles has been resumed by the U.S., launching its first ground-based missile from California since the early 80s (https://www.yahoo.com/news/pentagon-conducts-1st-test-previously-182317892.html). All this to challenge America’s undisputed leadership militarily: A report has described the US military as an ‘atrophying force that is not sufficiently ready, equipped or postured for great power competition…’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Another arms race…great! Next we can expect our taxes to go up or our deficit to increase!”

Biblical Response:  “Or both. Still, threat-of-force seems only to be deterred by further threat-of-force. Why is that? Because you’re dealing with natural men (Is. 53:6) and fear is the denomination of terror (1 John 4:18). As long as we (metaphorically speaking) ‘trust in horses’ (Ps. 20:7: Is. 31:1), we will be in an arms race. Maybe we should just increase our vigilance (Ezek. 33;3)…through increasing our satellites, I guess…that might be cheaper…still, as long as you’re dealing with natural men, maybe it’s just not possible to completely eliminate the possibility of armed conflict. There will never be peace on earth until the Prince of Peace rules in the hearts of all men. Sounds like heaven. Exactly!”

“Christians? Oh, we believe in dealing with men as they are, not the way you want them…but we also believe in calling those things that are not, as though they were (Rom. 4:17). Hopeful, but not naive.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, give us wisdom, but help us to look positively…You know, ‘trust, but verify’…but trust; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-31-19 Bluster

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-31-19

Bluster

What’s Happening: “In a display of anger/warning, North Korea launched two additional missiles about 150 miles, splashing into the Sea of Japan yesterday (they launched another a week ago). Although these are only the 2nd and 3rd missiles launched since Trump’s much-ballyhooed impromptu meeting with Chairman Kim at the DMZ, many think they are to send a message of displeasure at the U.S.’s  resumed military exercises with South Korea – till recently, annual. (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49173514). ‘North Korea will continue to vent its anger by testing missiles… in the coming days before [the] drills begin in early August, It’s a message to Washington and Seoul: stop joint exercises or we will continue to show off our own offensive military capabilities,” said Harry Kazianis of the Washington think tank, Center for the National Interest.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “So you’re saying I shouldn’t retire to Hawaii just yet, right?”

Biblical Response:  “No, I’m not really saying anything. If ‘Chicken Little’ would quit getting his ‘knickers in a twist’ every time somebody threatened…well, maybe there would be a few less anti-anxiety pills sold! (Phil. 4:6)  Seriously, these moves are just like many of Kim’s others…just so much bluster. Maybe he thinks it gives him leverage against the sanctions or a bargaining chip at some future summit, but he has yet to understand Trump (no condemnation, as few do). Maybe Kim just wants Japan or Europe or whoever to pressure Trump into relaxing sanctions – they don’t understand Trump either. He just backs up rhetoric with actions.”

“Christians? Oh, we believe in integrity. Sure, we’d like the President to be more accurate, but you can’t fault him for lack of action…or for taking someone else’s bluster too seriously. As Christians, we are to guard ourselves against hypocrisy (Matt. 23:13-31) …and baseless fear (1 Jn. 4:18).”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to be as wise as serpents, but gentle as doves (Matt. 10:16); in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 1-16-19 Not Quite Secure

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 1-16-19

Not Quite Secure

What’s Happening: “Although local Nairobi, Kenyan authorities claimed everything was secure in the upscale hotel (close to Westgate Mall where 67 died in a terrorist attack in 2013) following the terrorist attack on Tuesday (which took at least 15 lives – responsibility for the attack was claimed by al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab), there was another explosion and  more gunfire today (https://www.yahoo.com/news/latest-civilians-run-away-attack-nairobi-hotel-140256886.html).  Quoting the latest Associated Press report: ‘Kenya’s Interior Ministry has said authorities are “mopping up” the scene but have not given details on the fate of the attackers. It is not known if any are still at large.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “And I should care, why?”

Biblical Response:  “As John Donne said; “…any man’s death diminishes me…” (from: “No Man is an Island’)…that is why. Besides, as long as terror is allowed to reign, people will make decisions based on fear. It’s true anywhere…including the good ol’e U.S.A. (9/11). ”

“Christians? As much as we tout ‘faith,’we are not exempt from fear and the torment it brings (1 John 4:18). What are we to do? The previous scripture hold the key. We must realize that a God Who loves us will ultimately protect us. Yeah, but you say tragedy still occurs. Yes, it does…and God’s hates it more than we do…this is a fallen world and justice may make hell necessary…but mercy makes heaven possible, too. Thank God, He loves us!”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to realize that ultimately love and mercy triumphs over fear and death; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent