Mary Cantell

Masks: to wear or not to wear?

Wear a mask! Don’t wear a mask! COVID-19 is a virus; no, it’s a bacteria!

Between the CDC, WHO, OSHA and the word on the street, COVID-19 is the scariest contagion that has come down the pike–ever.  Is it really? Even above SARS, H1N1, and the Spanish flu of 1918?  Enough to stop an economy even? Does an election season in the U.S. have anything to do with the new cultural enemy?

There have been a lot of poignant statements and interesting perspectives recently conveyed about COVID-19, including the  concern regarding the safety and efficacy of masks. Studies on the efficacy vary from clinical trial to outside the laboratory, and much more information is needed to come to any considerable consensus. But one thing has been brought to light.  Now, even mask WEARING has been recognized as having a down side. Breathing in one’s own CO2 is not healthy. While many wish to convince or even convict one to wear a mask, some are unable to; namely, asthmatics, the overweight, and those with breathing issues. The top American organization for occupational safety and hazard (OSHA) cites the following about masks:

• N95 masks: are designed for CONTAMINATED environments. That means when you exhale through N95, the design is that you are exhaling into contamination. The exhale from N95 masks are vented to breathe straight out without filtration. They don’t filter the air on the way out. They don’t need to. Conclusion: if you’re in Target and the guy with Covid has an N95 mask, his Covid breath is unfiltered, being exhaled into Target because it was designed for already contaminated environments, it’s not filtering your air on the way out.

• Surgical Masks: These masks were designed and approved for STERILE environments. The amount of particles and contaminants in the outside and indoor environments are CLOGGING these masks very, VERY quickly. The moisture from your breath combined with the clogged mask will render it useless. IF you come in contact with Covid and your mask traps it, YOU become a walking virus dispenser. Every time you put your mask on, you are breathing the germs from EVERYWHERE you went. They need changing often. The surgical mask is not designed for the outside world and will not filter the virus upon inhaling through it. It’s filtration works on the EXHALE. Like a vacuum bag, it only works one way, but likely stops after 20 minutes, rendering it useless outside of a STERILE ENVIRONMENT.

• CLOTH masks do not filter anything. You mean the American flag one my grandma made? Yes. The one with the flowers that looks so cute? Yes. The old scarf,  cut up t-shirt, the bandana. None offer FILTERING whatsoever. As you exhale, you are ridding your lungs of contaminants and carbon dioxide. Cloth masks trap this carbon dioxide the best. It actually risks your health, rather than protecting it. The moisture caught in these masks can become mildew ridden over night. Dry coughing, enhanced allergies, sore throat are all symptoms of a micro-mold in your mask.Cloth masks are WORSE than none. It’s equivalent to using a chain link fence to stop mosquitoes..

In  researching each mask’s designed use and purpose, there is little if any info on their use in the way of “viral defense.” Some say masks are being used to provide false comfort and push forward a specific agenda. Others believe it’s a measure of social control and is just the beginning test case for a future exercise in tyranny on a bigger scale. Some also say that if masks were important in saving lives, then we should wear them constantly all the time lest someone gets sick by our not doing so.  Where does it end?

Whether you believe masks are for the SICK who have a contagion or not, or you just can’t breathe in one, or if you just don’t buy into the hype or any other reasoning, if so, let each person be subject to one’s own conscience through God’s conviction. For the saved by grace, there should be no fear one way or the other. Are not the number of hairs on our heads known? Likewise, the days of our lives. Will our lives be spared or not spared by the Coronavirus mask or non-mask wearng? Living in fear negates one’s faith. Trusting in the Lord for one’s days is where we should be focused.

There’s a lot of false and inconsistent information circulating, all perpetuated by the media, and to buy into everything is not always prudent, especially if the information changes from day to day.

 

Father of fathers

What an awesome responsibility it is to bear the title of father. Being a father is more than just having children. The job requires time, patience, discipline, and sacrifice. Above all, love.

It’s a tremendous undertaking to rear a child. The task can be daunting, especially when a man does it in his own strength. Many times, a father will fail. We need to pray for them to seek their Father in heaven for the strength, wisdom, and courage to fulfill their earthly role.

There is no official instruction guide for fatherhood, though the instruction book for life—the Bible—has everything one needs to accomplish the job. And what better example to follow than that of our heavenly Father who, by his grace, has given us more than we deserve. That is, not to spoil us, but to show us the riches of His glory.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord ~ Ephesians 6:4

Men, young and old, whether a father or surrogate dad, have been given a generous task and privilege. With the Lord as the role model and his word as the guide, they have all that’s needed to achieve the responsibility of being a great father.

Social justice or God’s justice?

I hate bigotry and racism, yet for all America has been through in the past 250-plus years, it seems the country will never be able to cleanse itself completely from the stain of slavery. It’s as though we’re still wearing the cloak of its memory like a flag made of permanent press fabric.

While slavery is no longer a business practice in America–and what a bad one it was–for all of its egregiousness, some do not understand that it didn’t always involve white men as slave holders. Both black and white were owners of slaves as well as slaves themselves. While this arrangement is no longer, it also appears that some would have white people to be perpetually guilty over it.

African Americans suffer from the lack of access to avenues of wealth building some would say. Perhaps if the politicians who run the inner cities would have the integrity to not allow their soft bigotry of low expectations to prevail, maybe the underclass would stop their self-fulfilling prophecies of thinking they’re not smart enough even to scratch themselves without the help of government handouts and welfare checks.

Though inner cities have become haven of systemic racism, how is it that not all poor people are defined by it? How is it that people of every race, color, gender and creed are not all bound by racism? Does one’s choices have anything to do with our life’s direction?

In every generation there are grievances and struggles. It’s not a black vs. white thing. Jews, Irish, Italian, Polish, just about every nationality has been shunned and vilified. There will always be something to protest. But to think that anyone can change the heart of another man to become less racist or less bigoted is futile. Only God can change a foolish heart.

The founding documents of America plainly state that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL AND ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS; AMONG THEM ARE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Why do some people allow others to have power over them if we’re all equal?

For all of the foibles of the original framers, who, like all of us, were fallible, their idea of happiness had a larger meaning than to be giddy and carefree. Happiness maintained a sense of morality and as the Bible states, blessed (happy is the translation in the original Greek text) is the man who seeks after God. Ergo, this is where one finds true happiness. They had it right.
What does God require of us but to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.. Until there is civil justice for the least of humanity–the unborn–the cries for civil rights sound like noise. If the voiceless creations of God in the womb–two cells equals life–cannot be heard, who of us can demand any other civility for our own lives? Aren’t we all created equally?

Whom do you exalt?

Do we light a candle to put it in the closet or hide it under the bed? No, we put it high and lifted up on a candlestick so the light may shine.

The word of God tells us to let our light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Oh, magnify the Lord with Me, and let us exalt His name together ~ Psalm 34:3

The psalmist, David, entreated the people to exalt the Lord together. In a trial while dealing with King Achish, David underwent a struggle for his life. Although, he made a weak defense of feigning insanity to escape from him, David was certain that the Lord was the cause for his deliverance.

Singing to the Lord, praying, praising, thanking, teaching, preaching, witnessing for Christ daily in our walks are all ways to magnify the Lord. Lifting up his name is the least we can do for the loving savior whose light lives within us. Why keep it under a bushel?

Looting of Souls in America

What’s happening this weekend on city streets in America has little or nothing to do with the death of a black man.  George Floyd was murdered in cold blood as we all saw through the horrific video. Soon people began to protest and spontaneous eruptions from disenchanted folks erupted all across the nation.  What may have started out in one city as a peaceful protest against police brutality, soon erupted into a chaotic frenzy in several cities. The protests, however, had little or nothing to do with George.

These demonstrations are always more than what they appear to be. History bears out the ginned up fanaticism that escalates well beyond the boundaries of mere picket protesting. Time and time again they’ve been hijacked by insidious agitators who are paid to come out every few years when a tragedy like the egregious death of a black man at the hands of a white cop happens. It makes the news because it feeds the narrative of racism. It fans the flames as the escalation of burning, looting, and pillaging plays out.

These looters don’t give a damn about George Floyd. This is a mass indictment of the poor, who are being exploited into thinking this is their “right” to “social justice” by lawlessness and pillaging. No, this is social injustice.

This evil unrest is always churning and chomping at the bit to ensnare weak and restless souls, the lost who have no foundation and no hope. and will continue to perpetuate until people see the value of their lives does not rest upon the approval of man but of their Creator. The only thing holding them down is themselves.

The breeding of thuggery

Tragedy stalks humanity every day. It’s life in this fallen world. We die from waterborne diseases, opioids, pestilences, cancers, accidents… Now, it’s a virus.

In the midst of this most recent global pandemic that is the most sensational of all viruses in recent history, there’s an even more insidious contagion brewing. It’s not new, though. The Nazis and Soviets had it, and Chinese Communists still have it. It’s not a sickness one can inherit and not everyone is affected. Sadly, neither medication nor vaccines will temper this illness.

As people define the current health situation, there is no one-size fits all approach. Some doctors claim the virus is no more virulent than the common annual influenza, which, sadly, kills upwards of 60K people a year. In fact, initial models from the CDC had predicted upward of 240K people dying; then the model’s data were retracted twice as the numbers proved to be inaccurate. The latest prediction of deaths is down to about 63K, the equivalent of the common flu virus data.

But why all the initial hype over a new virus? No vaccine yet? Despite the flu vaccine, there are still tens of thousands who perish. There’s been H1N1, Sars, Mers, to name a few others. They’ve also killed. But never has the US economy shut down because of them. Had the media been so concerned before?

In the name of safety for all concerned, state-by-state lock downs to remain quarantined at home has been the course of action. But one has to ask for how long? It’s been close to two months now of being home bound for most states, while society is fracturing due to the closing down of schools and businesses. Millions of jobs have been lost.

While everyone is sequestered, there are the personal tragedies of peoples’ deaths in the news. The heartbreaking story of a husband and wife dying six minutes apart, another a day apart, or the Facebook pictures depicting a day in the life of a doctor or nurse and their personal experiences with witnessing death. Our hearts bleed. We wish it weren’t so. But viral deaths are only the latest deaths.

There’s a common sense need for protection and safety for the sake of health, and there’s also a line where that protection turns into control. Oddly, while some Walmart stores are open, other mom-and-pop hardware stores are closed. Abortion clinics are open while hospital elective surgery opportunities are shut down. One can buy lawn furniture at big box stores but not the cushions that go on furniture. One can buy alcohol and lottery tickets but not tomato seeds. How is this protection?

There are church pastors in Florida, who’ve been arrested for conducting services, and there are people who’ve attended church services in their cars in parking lots who’ve been fined. There are parents who’ve been seen playing ball with their child in the park who’ve been fined and handcuffed. Fines have been imposed by people sitting in cars watching the sun set in California. A man was recently arrested for praying outside of an abortion clinic. Conducting private services like haircuts in their own homes have become the business of the police department now. How is this common sense?

While the dissenters to the seemingly never-ending mandates speak up, some wish to project their own personal animus by shaming them. While we all, understandably, bemoan COVID-19, some cast aspersions of “selfishness” toward others and decry as heartless those who see the virus as something more than a contagion or something with a political motive.

Squelching the dissenters into silence is the new contagion. It’s called emotional thuggery. It appears those who wish to make it all about the virus are myopic. They cannot see beyond the personal tragedy of the virus victims into the many other victims also in peril—those who’ve lost their livelihood, business, job, not to mention the desperate and suicidal. The price of closing down the nation’s economy eventually will affect us all in one way or the other.

Those who have differing opinions about how to deal with the virus for themselves and their families are encountering push back. They’re being ratted out by their neighbors. Isn’t this what happened in Nazi Germany? Does anyone remember the story of Anne Frank? How is this helping anyone?

Pictures and stories of those affected by COVID-19 are tragic. And those who use them to intimidate others into submitting to the rigors of a heavy-handed mandate to hunker down inside our houses should think again. Sympathy over the tragedies of those who’ve succumbed to a vile contagion while keeping an eye on the civil rights of American citizens are not mutually exclusive.

Locking in place forever is not a solution; it will kill an already fragmented society. We must not allow emotion to rule our lives. Empathy is necessary, but to become subject to control is something else. If we’re going to be mastered by death, then we’ll never be able to live.

There was a famous man who once said, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. But there is something more to fear:  those who manipulate others’ fears in order to control them. America is not Nazi Germany nor the Peoples’ Republic of China. At least, not yet.

There’s a time to mourn and a time to live; there’s a time to gather and a time to sow. We must not lose ourselves in the process.

He is Risen!

This is where Jesus took on the sins of mankind when he was nailed to a Roman cross. Someone had to take the penalty and Jesus was the guy. He bore our shame and iniquity and they crucified him though he lived a sinless life. Can’t even imagine the suffering and anguish he endured on our behalf. Beyond the pale of anything man will ever experience. But this cross couldn’t hold him, and he’s alive right now at the right hand of God watching and waiting to return once more to earth to bring us all who believe home to live with him forever.

Thank you, Lord!

No God like Jehovah

There is no God like Jehovah. He is faithful and true to his word. He says what he means and means what he says. He is steadfast, immovable and consistent.

Who of us is consistent? Is anyone or anything? Life changes on a dime and today’s good thing is tomorrow’s bad. We say one thing today, and a week—even hours—later say the opposite. We forget. We’re human.

Inconsistency is so like the human nature of man. So, it’s tough to get our finite minds wrapped around the glory and infinite being we call God, who never changes.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? ~ Numbers 23:19

The infinite nature of Jesus and his incarnation and becoming our Emmanuel is utterly unfathomable, since he’s been around from before time began, and he is as steadfast and unchanging then as he is now.

To think the creator of the universe does not change at whims or predilections like man does, should give us all the more reason to depend on him—the one who is faithful and true—and hold his Holy Word above all else.

“Anyone else sense something odd about this Coronavirus? Election years have been associated with viruses in the past like ebola, sars, etc. But virologist findings say this virus isn’t nearly as potent as the others, yet it’s put the global community in a panic. Something is not right about this. Power of the media is amazing. Social experiment in the making?”

I posted the above comment on social media last week, and there’s two schools of thought, as always, as the dialogue began.  In fact, prominent names in the media are on opposite sides.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, leading physician of infectious diseases on a Sunday morning news show said we should NOT go out to public places like restaurants. While Congressman Devon Nunes on a Sunday morning news show said we SHOULD go out to public places like restaurants. Not to mention that the CDC, WHO, and the family doctors also cannot agree on a course of action that is in sync.

So what does one make of it? Is it hype or propaganda? A social experiment?

From a casual observation, it seems the rate of transmission of this latest COV-19 in America does not warrant the amount of fear that’s being irrationally spread. To be so concerned about this to the point of shutting down the  entire economy is absurd in my opinion. The ramifications will unravel a whole plethora of financial unrest for a massive amount of workers and business owners in the weeks and months to come that will affect everyone. Sadly, many churches have cancelled services as well.  We’ve NEVER responded like this before when H1N1 came…or SARS, MERS, Swine flu, etc. People have gotten the COV-19 while innocently inside their beds in a nursing home. Yet, we’re warned to stay inside.

As for me and my family, our faith is the overriding factor in all of this. As we are led by the spirit, so we should walk. I am not swayed by this latest contagion because I believe it’s politically motivated. An article online containing incriminating information just confirmed my suspicions this morning. In all of this, I look to the Lord.

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but one who has been tempted in all things as we are and yet without sin. Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” ~ Hebrews 4:14-16

Here I Am

In Genesis- we read: Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Can you think of anything more daunting?  When God spoke to Abraham and made his covenant with him, Abraham obeyed. His faith in God was reckoned to him as righteousness. Abraham took the command willingly and did not delay. No excuses, no hesitation; he got up early and stepped up to the challenge. His faith revealed how much he trusted God.

Of course, God did not condone pagan human sacrifice; so, when Isaac questioned his father as to what the sacrifice would be, Abraham responded that God would provide the sacrifice. God spared Isaac and made a substitute. Abraham took a ram and offered it up for a burnt offering, and the place of the sacrifice was called Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide).

Abraham, and later Moses, recognized God’s provision, and it pointed to the ultimate sacrifice when God would provide Himself. As Charles Spurgeon says, “In order to save us, God provided God. He did not provide an angel, nor a mere man, but God himself.”

Here I am was Abraham’s faithful reply. Would we all be so quick and ready to assume the commands of God as Father Abraham? Total surrender is the highest form of worship.