Now More Than Ever

Did you tell him goodbye?

That was the rhetorical question that my colleague asked me. I was speaking of a man whom I picked up as he was begging on the streets and ask me to drop him off at a homeless shelter. When he got into the car, he related to me his recent hospital discharge for pneumonia.

It was a short ride. The aroma and the other parts of the story made it seem long.

As we approached the homeless shelter a crowd of men stood outside waiting for the doors to open. It was getting cloudy and cold. Their tattered coats and layers of clothing would offer extra comfort in the crowded sleeping areas. It was clear that personal hygiene was a problem. Clustered together, they shared body heat and of course any viral and bacterial infections borne by coughing.

Did you tell him good bye?

It reminded me that more than likely I had left this man in a place where he was likely to suffer a more serious illness for which he had been recently treated.

Now more than ever, ministries like Miriam Medical Clinics are vital for serving the poor. We cannot diminish the epidemic or pandemic, but we can address the co-morbidities which allow weaken the immune systems of the poor.

Please join us.

Give so that we can give.

Dr. Michael Johnson Medical Director Miriam Medical Clinics
1237 Spring Garden Street Philadelphia PA 19123

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Matthew 25:44‭-‬45 KJV

Cyber Hugs the New Norm

One thing is certain that we cannot meet, congregate, join or even stand close to even our closest family, friends or colleagues without risking giving or receiving the infection.

All official medical professionals are strongly advising to keep social distancing as the new normal.

For the sake of clarity we need to be mindful that this state of affairs will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Unless the all clear is sounded by official government scientists this is to be the case.

No matter what communication you hear from politicians, friends, Google searches, Facebook be aware that you are at risk of being infected and spreading infection.

It is with this in mind that I have picked up the phrase cyber hug. That is if you want to congregate, meet, fellowship even party, consider the risks. Is it worth losing life? Use you phone, Skype, videoconferencing, Facebook, email, text messages to contact and connect.

Unless it is an absolute essential to meet you must remain isolated. This is important whether you have symptoms or not. This is important whether you consider yourself sick or not.

Cyber Hugs are the new norm.

Until the all clear from the CDC keep away except for essential activities.

If I Survive

I awakened suddenly
Face stained with tears
I knelt by my bed
Confessed my fears

Asked God’s forgiveness
Asked for more grace
Lord let me survive
Then argued my case

If I survive
If I should live
I’ll buy less stuff
I’ll learn to give

I won’t complain
That life’s unfair
Most have much less
I’ll learn to share

I look at things
I have in store
Stuff never used
And I bought more

I won’t hold grudges
Learn to forgive
I’ll practice kindness
Lord, let me live

The crisis passed
I survived the plague
Forgot my promise
My memory’s vague

Ecclesiastes 5:4

When you tell God you’ll do something, do it—now. God takes no pleasure in foolish gabble. Vow it, then do it. Far better not to vow in the first place than to vow and not pay up. Don’t let your mouth make a total sinner of you. When called to account, you won’t get by with “Sorry, I didn’t mean it.” Why risk provoking God to angry retaliation?
Ecclesiastes 5:4‭-‬6 MSG

Finding fresh fear

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Mark 4:39 KJV

We used to go decades or at least 5 years before we could find a fresh fear. Growing up I was used to hiding under my school desk as we practiced nuclear devastation and the consequences it would mete on our cities.

There are those of us who could not afford an underground shelter and the Subway stations were at least a 1/2 mile away from our homes. Those in the suburbs had underground shelters full of food and water. They were ready to emerge after nuclear destruction to a world that had no infrastructure or safe air.

And then of course there were the riots and the sixties that were occurring all over our nation.

Those fears kept us unven for prolonged periods of time, however, we had also long periods of respite between them.

The 911 attack paralyzed us. The financial crisis of 2008 didn’t help.

It seems that fresh fear comes at increasingly shorter intervals. We move constantly from Enola, swine flu, Middle Eastern respiratory virus, South Asia respiratory virus, and now the Corona virus.

It isn’t enough that I am fearful of being shot by showing up to church going out to shop getting on an airplane or even playing on the school playground. Fresh fears are everywhere.

Then of course we fanned the flames of discord and dissent nations against nations with prolonged wars and our environmental problems of global warming.

Simple things like HIV and AIDS or tuberculosis don’t seem to really matter. We can quickly get over the tsunami, tornado, hurricane, earthquake and mud slide because it recedes into distant memory with the never ending forest fires, landslides and mass flooding. The locusts, famines and mass rapes and kidnappings are things we can get over after a good meal.

The tainted spinach with E. Coli and heroin overdoses don’t matter.

We keep experiencing fresh fears. Christians keep saying that the world is coming to an end within their lifetime. We are supposed to be the people who expect the world to end and not be afraid.

This fresh fear reminds me that God is still in control of all creation. He has never left us alone to the winds of fate although we may be caught up in the storms of life. Indeed the storms of life can destroy our bodies. However, our souls are not within the storm. Our souls are in His hands.

For every fresh fear I must find fresh faith. I must find faith that no matter what event unfolds.

God would not leave us to this ever assorted and never ending cycle of fresh fear. He has promised never to leave us alone.

If someone tells you that the world is coming to an end just nod in agreement. Indeed the world will come to an end. But no one knows the day or the hour.

Encourage one another. Withhold the embrace until the all clear is sounded. But until then, when fear comes to the door send faith to answer.

For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Hebrews 13:5 KJV

When to Worry What to Do: Coronavirus

There is real reason to be concerned about the current Coronavirus outbreak. Let’s define some terms

Epidemic is the occurrence of an incident or illness at a single epicenter or site.

Pandemic is the occurrence of multiple incidents of an illness at multiple sites around the world.

Coronavirus is now a pandemic occurring around the world. It is dangerous. It does kill.

This pandemic is unexpected, untreatable, unpreventable and at present uncontrollable. It can be lethal, but by all current information, those at greatest risks are the elderly, infirmed and those who have significant risk factors that compromise the immune system.

The data from China: The death toll skews old even more strongly. Overall, China CDC found, 2.3% of confirmed cases died. But the fatality rate was 14.8% in people 80 or older, likely reflecting the presence of other diseases, a weaker immune system, or simply worse overall health. By contrast, the fatality rate was 1.3% in 50-somethings, 0.4% in 40-somethings, and 0.2% in people 10 to 39.

An attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference — a major annual right-wing gathering held in Maryland this February and attended by President Trump — tested positive Saturday for the novel coronavirus, the host organization said as the U.S. death toll rose to 19.

When to worry and what to worry about as listed below. We have no control over this virus. But we can control our own behavior and help limit the spread. For the Coronavirus we must:

If you have any symptoms as the common cold, including cough, sniffles, fever, headache you most likely have a viral illness. Coronavirus is one such illness. It is indistinguishable from all the other viral illnesses except by special testing. Special testing is not readily available. So, you must follow these guidelines:

a. When presented with symptoms, avoid crowds, congregations and gatherings.

b. Avoid being with the elderly, or chronically infirmed. (Heart failure, lung disease, chemotherapy)

c. Talk by phone to your physician, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider to alert them of your symptoms.

d. Always use the common personal hygiene methods of thoroughly washing your hands frequently after every contact.

e. Cough into your flexed elbow, not into your palm.

These are things over which we have no control listed below.
43 deaths lightning strikes 16,000 gun deaths 40,000 deaths 788 deaths 18,000 at home accident deaths

We should prepare for the things over which we have some control. 2017 61,000 deaths

1. We should get influenza vaccination (over 6 months of age)

2. We should get pneumonia vaccination (over age 60 years or with chronic illnesses)

3. Eat healthy

4. Don’t smoke

5. Watch your weight and diet and exercise

6. Staying healthy lowers your risk. Coronavirus 2020 USA 20 deaths

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Fate Fear and Faith

Fate came to my door
Said I have bad news today
Why don’t you let me in
And hear what I have to say

I stopped and stayed real quiet
I tried hard to ignore
I scrunch down behind the couch
Laying silent on the floor

But fate just kept on knocking
I know that you are here
I knew someone had to answer
So I beckoned my friend fear

But just as fear arose
To go and welcome fate
Faith said no I’ll do this
And he did not hesitate

Faith met fate at the door
And made him turn around
Saying in no uncertain terms
Fate you are out of bounds

With those words fate scattered
Looking for another home
And he took fear with him
So he would not be alone

I then sat back relaxed
In a peaceful atmosphere
When those two come a knocking
I tell them only faith lives here

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38‭-‬39 KJV

Another pharaoh

Lord send us another Pharaoh
Who supports things that we believe
Who backs the causes we like
We can’t wait for this one to leave

A Pharaoh who will easily comply
A leader in whom we can trust
And not like this present guy
He should look and think like us

God answered this selfish request
You speak with arrogant pride
Until your sin is addressed
Your evil is like the other side

I send every Pharaoh disdained
The choices are Mine not yours
And I will do it again and again
I do right I don’t even scores

Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
Exodus 1:8 KJV

And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
Daniel 2:21 KJV

Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
John 19:11 KJV

Human Handlers

She held the phone far away from her head. The man’s voice carried across the room making us all shudder.

‘You had better not say anything to those doctors. They don’t need to know nothing but what I say they should know.’

She shook and sweated as though he would be able to climb through the cell phone and strike her.

‘I haven’t told them anything. Please don’t shout at me.’

Just get the damn antibiotics and get back to work. I own you.

She clicked the off button and sat silent.

The interview was over.

It is impossible to have a real clinical encounter with a person who is being trafficked for sex. The pimp or handler is always just a phone call, door knock or frightened memory away.

She wouldn’t allow me to examine her. He might know somehow that she was touched. She was pregnant once and the other doctor told her to keep the baby. But if she had kept the baby, she would be no good on the streets.

He said he loved me. Are you judging me?

I sat and just listened. It was impossible to defend myself or protect her. Yes I did believe that she was abused and xploited. But trying to address her infection and the issues of her handler is impossible.

Just do your best to help her. Let God handle the human condition. He does this best.

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
John 8:11 KJV

Your Own Dirt

I told the preacher man
I tried so not to hurt him
Would a good God create man
And then suddenly desert him

Just let me in the lab
I can show you I can do it
As for this creation
There’s really nothing to it

Creation is a myth
A story of no worth
The worlds just came to be
Evolution gave us birth

The preacher unimpressed
Said don’t you be so curt
If you plan to do creation
You start with your own dirt

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Job 38:1‭-‬4 KJV

A Passion for Lepers and Whores

I have a passion for lepers and whores
The people the world does abuse
The people most everyone ignores
Those who are weak and easy-to-use

I have a passion for those left behind
The disabled the weak and the frail
It is they who are first on my mind
And so it is you I compel

Go search for the lonely and lost
Look for those who feel left out
I did pay the ultimate cost
That is what My death was about

I died for the worthless the fools
Because by My Father’s measure
He sees them as precious jewels
They comprise heaven’s true treasure

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. 1 Cor1:27

For I was and hungered and ye gave me meet: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was naked and ye clothed me I was sick and ye visited me I was in prison and ye came up to me Matt 25: 35-36