To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Coronavirus’ Category

Boost Your Immune System

I was speaking with a friend recently with expertise in the field of immunology, microbiology (and all of that kind of thing), about the vaccine to combat the spread of the coronavirus. One thing that struck me in what he said was that the vaccine would be an addition to our immune capacity.

Now, I am not a medical expert in any way and I hesitate to venture into a field where I have no expertise. But as a lay man it just reinforced the view that one of the key things we should all be doing at this time when the Covid-19 virus continues to create mayhem in our communities and around the world, is boosting our immune system.

Our immune system is the anti-aircraft system which acts to shoot down the viral enemies which are seeking to invade and destroy our bodily functions. It seems sensible to make sure that the anti-aircraft immune system is as strong as possible to thwart the onslaught of the coronavirus and any other malevolent viral attack for that matter.

So get boosting your immune system would be my thought for one of the best things we can be doing at this time. To that end seek out what might be good ways of doing this.

Just my thought. And so back to getting on with the:

  • Echinacea
  • Cod Liver Oli
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Cider Vinegar (with the mother)
  • Metatone
  • Raw Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Raw Onion
  • Turmeric
  • Manuka Honey
  • Magnesium
  • Parmesan Cheese

The North Korea Test

I have been musing on our response to the present restrictions imposed upon us by our government in England. In particular I am pondering upon how I would interact with a North Korean believer in respect of my response to our present situation.

So we have a North Korean believer who is seeking to live for the Lord and thereby enjoy fellowship with other believers. This article here gives some details about the lengths they would go to. Imagine meeting such a believer and explaining to them about the opportunities w have to fellowship at the present time in this country.

Now I do not want to minimize the intricacies of working through our situation so as not be responsible for unnecessarily facilitating the spread of the coronavirus. However, within the legitimate use of the opportunities that we have, how zealous am I to seize every opportunity for fellowship.

If I scorn or despise the using of Zoom, or other technological means, which can link me to fellow believers in the church, would I be ashamed before a North Korean believer who would be just so thrilled to have anything of that ilk so as to link with other believers.

And when I am indifferent about seizing the opportunity to physically fellowship together with others in the services at my church, is that not shocking in the light of what our North Korean fellow believers put themselves through to enjoy such fellowship.

Now in mentioning about the matters above I do not want to speak too hastily. There are many reasons why believers, particularly in the vulnerable category should not be physically attending church at the present time. But I do want to probe at my attitude. How important is it for me to work out the mandate to: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Heb. 10:24-25)?

Whether it is with regard to online meetings or “in person” meetings could I look a North Korean believer in the eye and say “I am making best use of what is available to me to engage in church fellowship”. Or in the presence of such a fellow saint would I be ashamed?

Who Might Get Us Through?

One comment that has haunted me throughout the Covid-19 outbreak as been that of Prince Charles from early April after he had recovered from the illness. You can see the speech here. The particular part to draw your attention to is 3 mins and 40 secs in. In that section he says “we need to have faith in ourselves and in each other.”

Such a statement I found to be somewhat alarming and expressive of where we are at as a nation. As we draw to the end of 2020 we face an uncertain future, but there is optimism that the vaccines for Covid-19, which haven been developed by various sources, will lead to a transformation of the situation and restoration of our “normal” lives.

The alarming prospect is that we are very likely going to emerge out of the outbreak congratulating ourselves on having done so well to get through. It is a source of dismay that there has not been any sense of a turning back to God in the West generally and in our nation in particular. There has been no sense that we need God to help us through and out of our predicament.

I would want to make it clear that the providing of a vaccine, through the wisdom and capabilities of dedicated scientists should be a source of thanksgiving to God. However, I fear that there will be none of that. It will be, to put it in Prince Charles words, because we have had faith in ourselves and each other.

As a result a major opportunity has been missed. God has shaken us over the last nine months and we have refused to listen. We have refused to make any connection between our sinful wanderings and the turbulences of a coronavirus outbreak.

God is not mocked by our ignoring and rejecting of Himself. His grace has been shown in this shaking. We have refused to take heed. Should it be that we get through, it seems we will laud ourselves and not God. So as we venture into 2021:

  • Might it yet be that there might be a turning back to the Lord.
  • Might the church turn back to our God and cry out to Him to revive His work.
  • May the zeal of the Lord fall upon us to passionately reach out to our communities.
  • And in your wrath remember mercy dear Lord.

Covid Totalitarianism

There seems something eerily unsatisfactory about Kate Burley being forced to take leave of absence on account of her breaching Covid guidelines. You can read here about it.

Her statement seems Orwellian in its kowtowing to Big Brother. And so she says:

“I have today agreed with Sky News to step back from my broadcasting role for a period of reflection,” Burley wrote.”

It’s clear to me that we are all in the fight against Covid-19 and that we all have a duty to stick firmly by the rules.”

It doesn’t matter that I thought I was Covid-compliant on a recent social event. The fact is I was wrong, I made a big mistake, and I am sorry.

This whole response is virtue signally of the highest order. I have to say it reeks of a degree of fake repentance. Forgive me if I am reaching hasty conclusions, but it does all seem somewhat forced. Sky News acting to protect their reputation etc.

So what about the bus driver who has his lunch in the cafe near the bus depot with a fellow driver. Is he going to be sacked? It is all well and good to be encouraging people to keep to the rules for the greater good. But to start to shame those who do break the rules into having to take leave of absence from their job seems draconian.

Now if we have a politician who has framed the restrictions being seen to break the restrictions then there is flagrant hypocrisy and that should be dealt with. Due sanction should be taken against someone of that ilk.

Precedents are being set that anyone who transgresses the zeitgeist will have to pay the price. Getting a tacit acceptance of this in the DNA of the nation makes us susceptive to falling under the all controlling power of more malevolent influences.

We’re All Law-Breakers And Hypocrites Now!

Coming into 2020 I would have considered myself to be a law-abiding citizen. I’m not so sure now? The restrictions that we have been subject to in the UK since March 23rd 2020, consequent upon the coronavirus outbreak, have led to all kinds of dilemmas about how we live amidst the multi-faceted and changing requirements as set down by the government. Where you can go? Who you can meet with? With how many and in what context? Are some of the questions to be wrestled with consequent upon all the laying down of all the rules for us to follow.

And then there are the “musts” and their “shoulds”. There are those things which are of law and those things which are of guidance (some of which is strongly given). I have written about those here.

So I am left somewhat wearied and befuddled as I try to work through all of these things. Recently, I was venturing to think about taking a left turn through a “no left turn ” sign. I momentarily thought of how I may as well disobey this requirement given that I am not following other government instructions now. I don’t want to go that way! I don’t want to be comfortable with going against the stipulations of our governing authorities. I want to be found adhering to the Lord’s call to “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution (1 Pet. 2:13a)

It’s a general phenomenon though is it not? Dare I say the vast majority of us in the UK are now found to be hypocrites and law-breakers. As we seek to work through the restrictions we are all falling foul of them in some way. Yes some of us a more flagrant violators than others, but we are all probably violators. And then there is the aspect of just simply not knowing what the rules are at the present time because they have changed, once again.

I fear it may well be one of the long-term consequences of Covid-19 that the respect for the law and the determination to abide thereby has been eroded. We have dodged and weaved through the prevailing regulations in 2020, so why shouldn’t we continue to do that, is how we might well reason it out? This would not be a helpful or healthy development.

But we are where we are? Amidst the whole regulatory regime of the present moment I feel a call to seek to live reasonably. Implementing every minutiae of the rules seems to be a recipe for an unnecessary wearying investigation and self-examination. And we do need to be wary because an overly officious attitude to following the rules can lead us to fall foul of the greater rule of our God which is You shall love your neighbour as yourself (Matt.: 22:39).

I fear as well that with our response to the regulatory system that has been spawned by Covid-19 we have been left with a “how can I manoeuvre round the regulations” mentality rather than a “how can avoid the spread of Covid-19” mentality. That being the case, something must be not quite right.

I am not at all comfortable with being a law-breaker and a hypocrite. I want to cultivate a godly spirit of submission to authorities. A rebellions spirit is a foul thing. As the Lord says in 1 Samuel 15:22b-23a:

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to listen than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
    and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.

Oh Lord please may your mercy be upon us and may we know great grace and wisdom to live in this present time.

Coronavirus And The Government Mantra

I am concerned about the mantra that is being relentlessly declared at the moment. All of the leading politicians seem to have been drilled to be “on script”. The mantra concentrates on the statistics relating to coronavirus. The number of cases, deaths and hospitalizations are focussed upon. And this is used to justify lockdown and the tier system. The simplistic and persuasive connection is made that the restrictions are needed to save lives and protect the NHS. Although fully understandable I fear this is cheap politicking to justify a set approach.

My plea would be that the collateral damage from the restrictions is acknowledged more than it is. Here are a few to mention:

  • The damage to the economy
  • Marriages (and other relationships) breaking down
  • An epidemic of mental disorders.
  • Obesity increasing
  • Deaths through people not being treated for cancer and other diseases. This is either because they are fearful about visiting hospital or the treatment is not available at this time.
  • Increasing suffering through addictions.

I know the judgement calls are not easy and I am not an epidemiologist, but please please could there be regard to these things.

I believe that there is certainly an argument that the cure for the disease will cause more harm than the disease itself. And yet all we hear is the simplistic mantra that there measures have to be introduced in order to save lives and protect the NHS.

What Do You Want?

What do you want? Right now the majority of people would say: “I want the whole coronavirus outbreak to be over so that we can return to our normal way of doing things.” There is much within me that shares that desire. And yet I wonder.

What I am wondering about is whether I am just letting my own natural inclinations drive me. Am I more interested in self-comfort rather than being determined to know what the Lord’s will is at this time? This will all be reflected in my prayers.

So as I think about the present disruption being experienced am I alive to desiring of my Father’s will? Thereby, I remember the cry:

your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matt. 6:10b)

If it is the Lord’s will to work to continue to disrupt our nation through the present coronavirus malaise, so that many cry out for salvation to the Lord, then I should want that. I should long with all my whole heart that people would find the forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Jesus Christ. I should be willing to suffer pain and disruption for myself so that this comes to pass.

When we observe what is happening at the present time there are many ways in which we, as believers, should be encouraged. We see people’s lives being shaken and therefore we can see great gospel opportunities like we have not had in a generation. May the Lord lead people to repentance and faith. Oh and may we be alive to the great gospel opportunities of this time.

Let us be prayerful and thoughtful about seizing these opportunities.

And let us ponder upon the question: What do we want at this time?

This China Caused Crisis?!

So I muse and I speculate and even perhaps flirt with conspiracy theory thinking. But here goes.

So the virus originates in a laboratory. I don’t believe there has ever been definitive confirmation that it is derived from bats and first afflicted humanity through that unspecified wet market in Wuhan.

Allow it to start in winter so that by summer the country could be operational again. Also make it coincidental with Chinese New Year because the country closes down for two weeks then anyway.

The death of a number of their own people was seen as collateral damage. This was deemed acceptable given the potential benefits that could be achieved.

The policy of “lockdown” was adopted because of the damage it could have through being adopted around the world as the way to respond to the pandemic. “After all that is how the Chinese controlled it” the adopters around the world would say as they floundered in their own responses.

So the virus spreads and deaths occurred and the countries around the world panicked. And of course they adopted “lockdown” to control their outbreaks.

As a result so many economies around the world have been wrecked whilst the Chinese got through and got back to normal. So the Chinese economy stabilizes and is re-established whilst in the West, and elsewhere, the governments flail around looking for answers. Lockdown is persisted with as the main policy, economies are paralysed and the governments’ furlough type schemes mean that the rest of the twenty first century will see them seeking to pay off the debt.

And of course this all provides a big distraction for the Western governments. This allows the Chinese government to march full steam ahead with its repressive polices against Hong Kong, The Uighurs and the Mongolians and Christians. Sinification has marched ahead whereby populations have their historic cultures obliterated to be replaced by the imprint of the Communist Party which operates to bring total compliance. President Xi being the god to be worshipped in place of all other gods.

A distracted West is just what you need to move such a process forward. This is because no-one is there to protest. The United Nations won’t hold debates to hold China to account. And if they do no-one will hear of them because New York is paralysed through the virus.

So out of a laboratory originated virus (?) comes a prosperous China ruling the waves, Africa and much everywhere else perhaps.

Oh forgive me for my musings. But I feel although I may be guilty of over-highlighting there is some plausibility in all this.

The nefarious work of the Chinese government goes forward. But, and praise God there is a but, there is a God in heaven who is immortal and who is in control and working out all for His glory. And by faith we can know that the nations are just a drop in the bucket to Him. The schemes of the Communist party in China will come to nought. But Jesus shall reign where’re the sun does its successive journies run.

President Xi, like Chairman Mao and all other tyrants, will come and go. but spare a thought for the people of China and all the pain so many of them are enduring.

But our God really does reign forever and ever. And remember concerning the believers and the church of God in China that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Chairman Mao and his acolytes sought to exterminate Christianity in the 1960’s, but the church prospered. May the Lord yet do the same again as His people now suffer. Let us pray for the church in China.

Salvation By Vaccine

The gospel was preached by our Prime Minister on Monday November 9th in his press conference of which there is a snippet here. The message is that the vaccine is on its way and when it arrives all will be well.

Covid-19 has stricken many people physically, and many more have been stricken through the damage to the economy and their mental health. The impact has been phenomenal. The plight of our situation is real and well documented.

But now we have the prospect of deliverance from the plague and the prospect of a prosperous way ahead as we return to normal.

Now I do not want to downplay the mercies of our God in supplying a vaccine which may well save many lives. Neither do I want to get involved in the conspiracy speculation about what might be in the vaccine. What I do want to highlight though is what this all reveals about our society.

We are a nation that operates without reference to God or the soul. Saving the body and enjoying the here and now is what matters. What I can experience in the sentient part of my being determines everything. It’s all about what we can see and hear and how much enjoyment I can get therefrom. In such a situation Boris Johnson is the gospel preacher when he declares the coming vaccine.

Alas it is all ultimately a sham and a delusion. We are creatures with an eternal soul. We are made in the image of God and we function healthily when we are in fellowship for God. A healthy society focusses on God and our relationship with Him. A fear of God needs to prevail rather than a fear of plague and disease. We need to remember that  it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement (Heb. 9:27). And furthermore we need to note that the call which leads to true life is found in these words of our Saviour: “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (Luke 12:4-5)

What is the worst thing that could happen as an outcome of this destructive virus ? It is for us to believe the vaccine gospel, act in faith and receive the vaccine and get on with out lives.

God has spoken through Covid-19 to shake us (see my piece here on this) and we have ignored it and said we know a better way than His. I fear much for a people that would take the route of embracing the salvation by vaccine, but ignore, even reject, the true salvation of our Lord Jesus. After all He, and he alone is the deliverer from the wrath to come and that is the biggest peril we face.

Wrestlings

I alluded to some of my perplexities about the present situation here. Following on from that here is an excellent piece from Andrew Haslam which in a very coherent way would express many of my present persuasions about our present dilemmas. Most helpfully he frames them within a theological context.

So I would have many reservations about the governmental approach at the moment. However, I am without expertise in epidemiology and therefore I am reluctant to “shout my mouth off” too vociferously.

But where does that leave me as a citizen of the United Kingdom and as a church leader? Do my persuasions about government policy lead me to a life of rejecting the present restriction? This is where the issue of submission comes into play. I am called to adhere to Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. I honour God by submitting to those in authority and that includes their policy of lockdown at this present time.

This leads us to ponder upon the issue of submission. I may not agree, but I am called to submit. I can make my representations to the one(s) in the authority position, but in the end my call is to submit

Moreover, for the present policy of lockdown to work there has to be a commitment of the whole population to appropriately obey the restrictions. Although, I would in one sense sympathise with a mass disobedience to the policy that would scupper the possibility of the policy of lockdown being effective.

Notwithstanding the above, the prevailing attitude in this lockdown is markedly different to the first one earlier in the year. In the first lockdown there was a very significant uptake of sticking with the rules. In this one there is far more scepticism about the value of lockdown. This has been exacerbated by the scandalous use of statistics to justify the lockdown about which see the former Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, speech here.

Oh there are so many dilemmas. Here is a further one, as a pastor how does my work of seeking to care for people and therefore be physically with them interweave with my need to be thoughtful of withdrawing from inappropriate social interaction.

There are so many dilemmas at this time. In the end we must seek to honour the Lord, commit all to Him, live by His Word and pray to Him for wisdom in reasonably living through these days to the glory of God.

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