The Sound of Silence

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The Chesapeake Bay fueled my terror of lightning. One afternoon, a dark shadow hung over my Daddy’s boat before a bright flash bounced off a crab pot, and a sharp pain sliced through my arm as it hung over the side of the boat. For years after, Momma closed all the doors to the bedrooms and sat with me in the hallway during lightning storms. We leaned against her record/stereo player that we had to turn sideways to scoot around. Simon and Garfunkel, Motown greats, James Taylor, John Denver—whichever she was in the mood for that afternoon—drowned out the thunder.

Today, I heard again a remake of Simon and Garfunkel’s song The Sound of Silence, by Disturbed. I sang along to the words and returned to that hallway watching the water droplets slip down Momma’s tea glass, praying away the storm. You can hear the song by clicking below.

 

It was in 1965 Simon and Garfunkel released the song, The Sound of Silence. Simon claimed he’d written it as a twenty-one-year old in a dark bathroom while the water ran in the sink. He said, it was just a youthful yearning for someone to listen to me. I hear much more than that. The poetic lyrics warn of worshipping the pop culture gods we create, believing mass media, engaging with things instead of people, and not communicating. Hearing it today against the backdrop of the Corona virus the song seemed to be prophetic in a weird sense. Although the song is one of my favorites, as an abiding follower of Jesus Christ I hear the despair in its message because the song closes without offering any hope or light in the end…only darkness and silence.

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My daughter Bella and my niece Aubrey

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My niece Sunaeya

But here’s truth…Light isn’t quiet. Our Heavenly Father is still speaking throughout the storms of life. Throughout this quarantine at the farm, I’ve heard Him loud and clear.

On Passover night, I heard Him in the brilliance of a super moon, He said, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.” Luke 21:25-26 English Standard Version.

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Passover Moon

On an early morning walk I heard Him in the mixture of fog and sun settling over the pond. He said, “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud. And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to me for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22 (NIV)

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On a walk in the woods we discovered tons of wild blueberry bushes and I heard my God. He said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26 ESV

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My son Christian taking us to pick blueberries.

In the earnest prayers of my daughter as she points to a country on a map praying God will protect Australia from Corona. My Father said, “Whoever humbles himself (herself) like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4 (ESV)

Surrounding the farmhouse wild yapping sounded from every direction, as our dog Franklin sprinted into the darkness to fight off the coyotes alone, my Father said, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” Romans 8:19-22 ESV

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Franklin

In the garden planting tomatoes my God said, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you. Hosea 10:12 (ESV)

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And on a night when lightening flashed and thunder boomed, and the television screamed tornado, I stood in the swirling wind and heard my Father said, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

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The day of the tornadoes. The cows and birds were restless.

Masks can quiet prayers.

Fear can squelch faith.

Distance dims lights.

Don’t let it. Remember Who your Father is, and who He made us to be…

Communicators, Faith Builders, and  Lighthouses

Till next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Peace in the Pandemic

Preparing the Heart:

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The morning mist over the pond at the farm.

My boys are restless. I feel their bottled energy as they slug around the house with that wild look in their eyes as if they hear war drums in the distance but are forced in their barracks unable to join comrades in battle. My hunter runs off to hunt the woods daily. My fisherman runs off to catch those bass in the pond. My youngest son runs between the two. They’re biding their time in quarantine as best they can.

Meanwhile, beyond the farm fences, out there in the real-world, there’s a dangerous invader whose sticky barbs have infected every aspect of our lives.

The enemy loves to break everything at once.

Have at it, as long as he can’t break our knees.

There’s a quote in The Art of War by Tzu Sun, “Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.”

Which brings us to the question, what do we hold dear? Money? Time? Conveniences? Church? Education? Entertainment? Sports?

Satan has tampered with all of it. But here’s the thing…

God’s allowed it.

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Unfortunately, many times we push God behind those things we hold dear. And once God is pushed out of that space inside us reserved for Him, a vacuum is created that is filled with something dirty. On a personal level, it doesn’t have to be a virus it could be a god we’ve created on our own. That thing that started out innocent enough, maybe even it was once a good thing, until we poured our everything into it. We should all ask ourselves, is there anything or anyone we think about more than God? Is there anything or anyone we hold more dear than our Heavenly Father?

So why has dirty Corona taken over the world? Every country has pushed God out. To mention a few…

In the United States, we’ve decided to abolish absolute truth. The Word of God has become debatable around the campfires, while we shoot holes through passages establishing God’s authority on mankind. We’ve even allowed some pastors to dispute the Word of God from the pulpit. We’ve made vulgarity and sinister evil into entertainment. We’ve given Hollywood and the secular music industry the power to dictate the standards of morality. The ones who are courageous enough to take a stand for absolute truth, are pushed by political correctness to the front lines to be squelched.

Throughout the European countries beautiful churches stand empty. Worshipping God has become old school. Some churches have even been sold to be turned into restaurants, pubs, or even a skate park. Can you imagine skating on a ramp while Jesus watches bleeding from the cross? (Netherlands) In Italy, while church pews remain bare, hordes willgather to hear the Pope. Are they worshipping God or man?

China…I’ll never forget an article I read in Marie Claire featuring a dead baby girl lying in the city gutter on the street. The journalist snapped pictures of people walking on by, even stepping over her, not one person appeared shocked to see a dead baby lying there. It seemed as if this was an everyday occurrence. Until an elderly man stopped. He placed his hands on his hips and looked down for a moment. Relief, someone cared. The man went into a nearby store, came out with a black trash bag, and threw the body in it before tossing her into a dumpster. It was a perfect illustration of their cultural position on the sanctity of life.

Before we Americans pat ourselves on the back for how we regard human life, we are heading in the same direction. In the United States we’ve killed 50 million babies since abortion became legal. Case in point, in January, Governor Andrew Cuomo was so proud of passing expanded abortion rights in New York, he lit up the One World Trade Center in pink. Was he celebrating the increase of infant death? Three months later, he’s battling the highest death rate for Corona in the United States.

Corona is the natural consequence of our pushing God out of His place of authority. He’s the Decider of life or death. It is unfortunate that all citizens suffer the consequences for a nation that has thumbed its nose at God.

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How do we prevent Covid 19 from destroying our peace or taking our joy?

Believe it or not, we can look to the source of the virus for that answer. While many churches have become bloated, boastful, proud entertainment hot spots, they lack any true power to fight the spiritual forces of darkness. Meanwhile, the humble underground meetings of devout Christians in China whose members risk everything to worship have become a beacon of light for the rest of the world to follow. We now have to worship in our homes. We are being humbled and just maybe God wants His church to transform in the process.

We fight Covid 19 in the humble repentance and surrender of what we’ve held dear. Surrendering those things to our Heavenly Father as an offering and placing Him back in our lives where He belongs as Lord will equip us to handle any weapon the enemy uses against us. It is in the surrender we find peace, joy, and contentment no matter what our circumstances. Healthy or sick.

“Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:2-3 English Standard Version.

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Tomorrow Passover begins, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the plague that entered Egypt. The Israelites protection from the plague came in obeying God’s command to sacrifice a lamb and paint the blood over their doorway. Then God told them to remain inside. If they remained inside protected by the blood barrier the angel of death would pass them by.

Today, there’s power in the blood of the perfect Lamb Jesus Christ. He provides our protection from the barbs that stick. Besides, He’s a God who’s familiar with the pain from barbs and can be trusted with your life.

Won’t you hide yourself in Him?

“Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.” Isaiah 26:20 ESV

If you’ve never given your life to Jesus Christ and proclaimed Him to be your Lord and Savior. It is not too late.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17 ESV

Won’t you accept Him today?