Choose Faith or Choose Fear

It’s a cold, cold night. The winter storm is coming. Tomorrow is supposed to be -35 degrees. I am warm inside the house. I let my dogs out for 5 minutes and then bring them back inside. They whimper because the ice is frigid. It hurts their paws.

The storm is coming.

I could worry about everything. Will my car start? Will I make it through the snow and ice? What about the storms at work? What if someone else gets Covid? What will we do? What about this? What about that?

What if…What if…What if…

2022 is not starting out well. We are stuck in a bad, bad approaching storm. Think about the economy, think about Covid, think about the supply chain shortages, think about this, think about that…..think about all the bad stuff on the news…….get all filled up with anxiety and fear. Get all angry and frustrated and all worked up.

Or…..

choose to stay calm. Choose faith. Not the crazy blinding stupid faith that totally ignores the potential dangers. No the kind of faith that informs the serenity prayer.

Lord, help us to accept the things we cannot change and give us the courage to know the difference between what we can and what we cannot do.

I went to Galilee when I was 21. It was a study abroad for a summer. We took a rickety old metal bus up to the Golan Heights for the day and then on the way back, we stopped at an outside cafe. We got the wild notion to swim in the Sea with our clothes on. I still remember the joy of that moment swimming in the Sea with friends.

It really wasn’t that big, the Sea of Galilee. You could see the other side….much like a big Missouri lake. I wondered then what the disciples were so afraid of when the storms tossed their boat around and the waves threatened to come over the sides. Why did they panic? Jesus was asleep in the boat and they came to him and asked him to save them. Now, I realize that they probably didn’t know how to swim. That would be scary for sure.

Anyway, he got up and told them to have faith and then he calmed the waters to ease their minds.

We’re all kinda stuck in a Galilee boat and we don’t know what to do and we’re worried that this dang disease is gonna drown us. But remember what JFK said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Fear causes anxiety and procrastination and arguing and in-fighting and endless stupid drama which only serves to compound our problems. It causes the blame game and finger pointing. People stop fixing things and looking for solutions. Instead, they just throw shade and throw each other under the bus in an attempt to save their own hide. Every man for himself like we’re on the Titanic and there’s only one lifeboat left.

Admit it. You’ve done this. I’ve done it too. But this time…

Relax. Stay calm. Stay the course.

We’ll get out of this.

The man who wrote the song Amazing Grace was once in a storm too off the coast of England. He tied himself to the boat and he asked for mercy. He came through the storm and gave up his profession of slave trading. He went on to become a prolific preacher and hymn writer and we still sing his songs to this day.

It’s getting colder and colder outside. I could sit here and worry myself to death about the endless possibilities of what could go wrong. Or I could sit here and write something encouraging.

I choose to write.

St. Jude

Have you ever been a little down and out about something and you needed help but didn’t know who or where to turn to? Have you ever been stuck in an impossibly hard situation?

I recommend praying to St. Jude Thaddeus. He is the patron saint of impossible causes and is said to help those in need of urgent assistance.

Saint Jude is one of the twelve apostles seen at the Last Supper depiction. He is said to be the bridegroom actually of the Wedding at Canaan. He is also the patron saint of other things like the Armenian Church and after the death/resurrection of Jesus, he preached the gospel throughout many areas of the Middle East along with Simon the Zealot.

Saint Jude is also a martyr.

You may have heard of him before here in America because he is associated with the St. Jude’s Hospital that helps families with children that are very sick. The national shrine to St. Jude is located in Chicago.

Recently, my family was having some trouble and I found a little prayer to St. Jude online. I didn’t really know much about him before this. So I prayed to St. Jude for a few days for help.

A few days later, my husband received a bonus from work, enough to pay off some long standing credit card debt that we had been burdened with for three years. That is why I had started writing in the first place, to help my family out financially.

Due to this bonus, we are doing much better financially. The word Jude actually means “bringer of joy.” I believe that St. Jude has brought much joy to our family today.

So, if you are ever in trouble and need some assistance, I recommend him personally.

Here is a link to the prayer I found online to St. Jude Thaddeus. I promised through this prayer that I would spread the message about St. Jude, so here it is:

There is an interesting story associated with St. Jude. Supposedly during Jesus’ lifetime, he corresponded with a King Abgar of a nearby kingdom called Edessa. The king was personally afflicted with leprosy. The King requested that Jesus come to his Kingdom for sanctuary and the King asked Jesus to cure him of his illness. Jesus declined the offer in the letters because he said his mission on Earth was not there but in Jerusalem. But Jesus promised the King that after his death, a messenger would arrive to cure the King of his leprosy. And Jesus thanked the King for his faith.

Jesus took a cloth and imprinted an image of his face on the cloth. Much later afterwards, during St. Jude’s travels, he visited the Kingdom of Abgar and presented the cloth to the King to help him with his illness. This is called the Abgar Legend.

The Trumpet

These are passages of the Bible that are important to read at this time. Notice the similarities in numbers among some of the passages:

Exodus 12: 12-13

Psalm 91

Deuteronomy 30-19

Joshua 7: 10-12

Job 1:9

Romans 10:9

2 Chronicles 7:13-22

Ezekiel 33:1-6

Notice the repeat of the numbers. For example 91, 10:9, and 1:9 = variations of 19. Also, several of the texts have the number 3 repeated which is mentioned later in this piece.

Exodus 12:12-13 speaks of the Passover and the Blood of the Lamb. “I will pass through the Land of Egypt at night and strike every firstborn male in the Land of Egypt, both man and beast. I am Yahweh; I will execute judgements against the Gods of Egypt. The blood on the houses where you are staying will be the distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 30:19 uses the numbers 3 and 19 again. It is Moses’ message to the Isrealites. ” I call heaven and Earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”

Joshua 7: 10-12 refers to the Israelite defeat against Ai and explains why according to the Lord. ” The Lord then said to Joshua, “Stand up, why are you on the ground? Israel has sinned. They have violated my covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put the things with their belongings. This is why the Isrealites can not stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs and run from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from you what was set apart.”

2 Chronicles 7: 13-22 is the discussion between wise Solomon and God about the temple. “If I close the sky so there is no rain, of if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send the pestilence on My people and My people who are called by my name humble themselves and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. My eyes will now be open and my ears attentive to prayer from this place. And I have now chosen and consecrated this temple so that My name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there at all times. As for you, if you walk before me as your father David walked, doing everything I have commanded you, and if you keep my statutes and my ordinances, I will establish your royal throne, as I promised your father David. You will never fail to have a man ruling in Israel. However, if you turn away and abandon My statues and My commands that I have set before you and serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from the soil I gave them, and this temple I have sanctified for My name I will banish from my presence. I will make it an object of scorn and ridicule among all the peoples. As for this temple, which was exalted, everyone who passes by will be appalled and will say, “Why did the Lord do this to the land and to this temple? Then they will say, “Because they abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They clung to other gods and worshiped and served them. Because of this, he brought all this ruin on them.”

Job 1:9 explains God’s hedge of protection. Without the hedge, Job is tested. “Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Haven’t you placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, his possessions, and increased the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Job needed the hedge of protection.

Psalm 91 is a spiritual warfare prayer against pestilence. It also uses the numbers of 1 and 9 as does Job1:9.

Ezekiel 33:1-6 is a message for the watchmen, those who discern these words of wisdom. “The word of the Lord came to me, Son of Man, speak to your people and tell them: Suppose I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land select a man from among them, appointing him as their watchman and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows his trumpet to warn the people. Then, if anyone hears the sound of the trumpet but ignores the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but ignored the warning, his blood is on his own hands. If he had taken the warning, he would have saved his life. However, if the watchman see the sword coming but doesn’t blow the trumpet, so that the people are warned, and the sword comes and takes away their lives, then they have been taken away because of their iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.”

Romans 10:9 is a final message once again using the numbers 1 and 9. It is also called the Sinner’s Prayer. “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Conclusion to this message, these are very important:

Job 1:9 = pray for a hedge of protection around your family.

Psalm 91 = prayer against the pestilence, “the plague that stalks in darkness.”

Romans 10:9 = pray the sinner’s prayer. “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

All of these use the numbers 1 and 9 as does COVID-19.

Passover = pray for the blood of Jesus to cover your loved ones.