Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Post Script to the previous “humor immunity” feature: If you can’t take one entire day of rest now and then in which to restore your mind, soul, spirit, and body, thereby boosting all your immunities, please set aside at least some time daily, if only a small amount.
Whether by accessing articles, books, poems, music, scriptures; engaging in art, craft, or humor; or by retreating from the ills of the world in the bright tapestry of God’s ubiquitous created glory, freely given, freely received, find at least a few moments to untether from technology and other stressors.
It will do you wonders–and increase your immunities and strength–on many levels.
For we likely haven’t experienced the worst, yet, prophetically speaking, but we are still encouraged to “look up,” or as noted in Luke 21:28,
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (KJV, link added)
For neither politics, rage, wars, famine, pestilence–or pandemics–can touch that.
To Today’s “Immunity Boosters”: Several Practical and Spiritual Survival Strategies
I wrote a series two years ago on the state of political rage. I am reminded of two key survival strategies from the series especially applicable today in this vastly different world, each strategy–and more, such as the “OODA LOOP“–is treated in excerpts, with 2020 updates, from the re-post below:
- the need to intentionally focus in order to remain in the “top ten-percent highly likely to survive” ( from the “10/80/10 Survival Theory” also cited in the re-post) by choosing and remaining aware of this strategy and acting on what you see, hear, and experience, whether the event is natural, geopolitical, and/or a psychological operation. (Side note: this is why no matter who or what the “enemy” is, you will be better able to remain out of the “base of the brain” where the urgency to “fight, flee, or freeze“–I would add “fume”–would otherwise keep you corralled and subservient. This then will help you as much as possible to access higher level critical thinking thereby enabling you to better resist the tyranny–and terror–of the urgent, and
- the greater need at all times, but especially in times of greatest stress, to intentionally focus on not only pratical but also spiritual survival strategies. Faith in the redemptive, restorative, and reparative work of Jesus Christ is the center of this strategy.
I am reminded these days of the pole shift phenomenon as I have been observing the “shift” of behaviors related to the state of political rage.
And it feels like a major shift in that regard has, indeed, taken place: down seems up; up seems down. Screaming seems to have replaced scrutiny; rancor, reason; and ad hominems, analysis, while rage seems doggedly triumphing over all.
Many shake their heads in deep–and growing–concern wondering whatever happened to civility? Debate? Where are the moderators in so-called town hall meetings scheduled to air concerns on all sides and address grievances but all too often the exact opposite happens as the proceedings quickly degrade into a verbal melee? If not worse.
Where is moderation, itself, in any form as political factions Balkanize themselves into hostile groups (the number increasing rapidly the further we get from intelligent discourse and self-discipline to un-examined entitlement for any and all who shout the loudest and intimidate the best. Film, commentary–and eulogies–at eleven and every hour in between)?
And, like magnetic field pole shifts, the nature of this political shift has taken place gradually, too. To cite two other apt analogies: the water has become gradually warmer to nearly hot, beneath the proverbial frog; the room has been painted in successively darker shades of grey until now it is nearly black…
For it isn’t as if one day political opponents were conducting themselves with respect for the others’ viewpoint and from there both sides worked toward, if not agreement, compromise (although it’s always a challenging process to say the least) and the very next day, hooded, armed black bloc rioters trashed store fronts, torched police cars, clubbed peaceful protesters, and changed the topic to fear and intimidation where nothing can be done. Police standing down. [Update 2020: or a global pandemic “causes” a swift shut down of the world economy while citizens are ordered to stay indoors in most places, losing jobs and entering a dangerous and easily-exploitable fear zone.]
No. This shift has been gradual–many believe orchestrated–as the highest hopes of true progress seem to have slowly but surely been replaced by the lowest common denominator of human behavior, as brute force (verbal, print, and physical) seems slowly replacing civility.
I am also reminded of the “10/80/10 Survival Theory,” discussed here, that refers to how percentages of the population will respond to a given crisis–such as the deterioration of political discourse and behavior to such a dangerous level: 10% will perish or be rendered helpless, 10% will have skill sets to survive, and the remaining 80% will “freeze” [update 2020: or be ordered to stay home] for several minutes or [much, much] longer (meanwhile what mayhem will ensue one cannot calculate).
Fortunately, once denial and indecision have passed, many of the 80% will figure things out and carry on in some way. But, while we are still shaking our heads, jaws dropped at the situation, enter actors of the next phase of trouble setting yet more distracting fires that scream for attention.
So the scene seems to be worsening.
What to do while calmer heads…[and critical thinkers]…try to prevail?
As a believer, and this is my focus, I opt for the view through a spiritual lens. I pray for discernment in this reality, and search for wisdom.
A key factor, I believe, in spiritual survival that aligns with physical reality (mental and emotional as well) is to employ the spiritual OODA Loop, of which I wrote here.
The acronym OODA stands for “the decision cycle of observation (situational awareness) orientation (what should normally be going on, here; what is different), decision (how should I best respond), and action (proceed accordingly).”
I pray for direction on how to observe, orient, decide, and act–spiritually.
Just now, as politics seem to have shifted nearly entirely from civility to chaos, fed by increasing rage [and, here in 2020, pandemic lockdowns which are causing some unintended, shall we just say though others would calculate intended, consequences such as loss of human rights], my focus is as follows so that I can overcome the “freeze” of inactivity prompted by incredulity so that mankind’s real enemy–Satan, the Devil of a thousand destructive faces and forces, cons and conspiracies–can have as little of the corner of the world in my care as is possible.
It takes constant diligence, however, and sold-out dedication to my “callings” as first, an encourager, and secondly a teacher. I can only pray that my contribution will result in good, not evil; promote peace, not destruction.
What helps me stay focused is to keep prophecy patterns in mind, some of which my sister Claire has charted on a series of free downloads, here. [Update 2020: since she began researching and writing this series back in 2010, never has there been such interest and so many downloads, dozens from around the world, of the charts as there have been the past several months.]
I am of the camp that believes–and observes–we are very likely on the precipice of end times, and the, “that which is different” part of the OODA Loop cycle that requires shifting one’s orientation is a new prophetic normal requiring new decisions and actions. A new focus. [Update 2020: not to mention a new worldy normal, since never has there been a global pandemic-fired economic catastrophe and loss of rights such as we are experiencing just now, and, economy experts agree, we are just beginning to experience the effects.]
If so, these are the days at the close of the last two-thousand years since Christ’s first earthly ministry that are treated in the Book of Revelation and many other places in both Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
This means that “men’s hearts” will wax worse; this is to be expected. [2020: And there will be a push for a one-world governing system mandating one-world health protocols. Consider: the World Health Organization, or W.H.O.–not a new entity.)
There also will come a time when followers of Jesus Christ (most of whom will have gone underground) will no longer be able to enjoy the freedom of expression they do now–at least in the West–though it becomes increasingly hard even here as the anti-Christ spirit fattens on all the rage and chaos.
So what this means for me, on my encourager/teacher perch, is to put forward “Jesus Christ and Him, crucified,” as St. Paul put it. because the time to do this may be limited.
Already, Christians, specifically White Christians, are being targeted for the trifecta of destruction: first, deride; next, accuse of generating the prevailing evils; lastly–eradicate. (Thus, the need to go underground.) [Update 2020: and now adding Christians as a compounding factor in the spread of the pandemic, and other ills. Anti-Christian rheoric has become much more blatant even in just 2 years.]
NOTE: I’m not talking about religion, i.e., man’s way to God, promoting just now a business model of churches that waters down the Gospel to a self-help treatise while encouraging everybody to “be the best you, you can be” as incredibly wealthy leadership counts coins in the vestibule…[although the writer of the 2020 NYT op ed would likely not be able to discern the difference].
I am referencing a relationship with Jesus Christ, free to all who will receive Him as Savior.
A spiritual reality that also includes many warnings about these days we are in, particularly if they are, indeed, the “last” of the era.
A reality that calls for keen observation, orientation, decision, and action that takes full into account the real enemy that is not flesh and blood, but principalities and powers , en masse, who have one goal and one only: destroy. And anger, some of which starts out righteous, [but] once ginned up into rage is a very good place to start [accounting] because it is blinding on many levels.
Thus, in order to pull myself out of the “freeze (of incredulity)” position, which I have observed is getting harder, I have opted to cut to the chase of the only ultimately saving grace there is in all this mess: Jesus Christ. Because when it all boils down, when the inevitable collateral damage of the kind of destruction rage inflicts as it bleeds from top down, bottom up; outside in and inside out, there will be only one way left to look: up.
My desire, now, in this phase of prophecy–whatever it is– is to help point that way. Point to Jesus, because, along with His sacrifice for our sins, the “chastisement of our peace” (and not the false peace touted in end times, but the real and the eternal) was “upon Him”* as well.
There. On that bloody cross. Alone. As his last remaining ragged breaths exacerbated every scourge, thorn, cut, and wound inflicted* by hate and goaded by rage.
Indeed, Jesus was the only One Who could pay our price although He knew there would be those who would still reject what He did and what He offers for them–for you, for me–still today.
And yet, He forgave–forgives still…
The New American Standard version puts it thus:
4Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.…(Isaiah 53:4-6, KJV)
I reference the Jesus Who transcends time and every trouble known to–and generated by–mankind (sourced from “below”). The Same Person, both God and Man, Who took all the rage, rancor, and destruction on Himself so that we might then by faith in Him, have the only lasting peace, the eternal kind, what little of it we might attempt to cobble together here on earth notwithstanding, because given the darkness of the heart of men and women, such worldly “peace” does not last anyway–as history illustrates.
So, my Remnant friends, even if prophecy–and history–has yet to bring us to the actual “end of the era,” it may well be time to shift from concentrating solely on trying to subdue the most brilliant adversary any of us will ever know (who urges destruction from the shadows to battlefields in minds and hearts and city streets) to equal, if not greater, urgency on getting the Word of God out.
So that those who seek His guidance can overcome the real enemy–of us all–regardless of political stripe or any other temporal divider.
Again, while we still can, that is–in each our own designated calling–before overt expressions of a belief in Jesus Christ as the only Way, Truth, and Life, go the way of all other opposition to what prevails as “progress” in worldly belief systems. Specifically, prophetically, as related to the emergence of a one world government and one world religious system prophesied to oppose all things Jesus Christ.
The world is a mess, to be sure. It has always been. But, if we are indeed at the end of the era, it is a very specific kind of mess that will only gain more and more power as hearts wax worse–including our own, if we allow this.
But we are still called to peace–of the kind the world will not understand, as Jesus, Himself, prophesied when He promised He would send us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us […]
Nevertheless, a Time to Mourn
Of course, some of the “battlegrounds of division” will be families, loved ones, mothers/children, husband/wives, siblings, friends. This is the hardest to weather.
To this sad reality, what comes to mind just now to share with you, along with all my love and encouragement, are words from one of my favorite stories (made into a movie), “A River Runs Through It,” an autobiographical account of key events in the life of author Norman Maclean.
The words, his father’s, who was a minister (and these are from one of his sermons), stay with me and are of some comfort when I ponder the current state of destruction abroad–and at home.
Rev. Maclean was speaking in the painful, lingering aftermath of the murder of his son, Paul, a gifted journalist, who was not able to overcome a gambling addiction that finally caused his brutal death.
Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.
Those words haunt me.
But as a believer, they also give me hope, for with man certain things are impossible, but not with God.
[Focus: Jesus Christ]
For my part in this new norm–this distressing battle–all I can offer, but the best I can offer, is Jesus Christ and Him, crucified.
My focus has shifted.
And I pray I will be faithful, on my perch, to always “point north,” true north, as it were, to Jesus Christ.
For there is much work yet to be done.
While any of us yet can.
As hard as it can be at times.
For here is another prophecy that might come to pass sooner than we think:
Beloved brothers and sisters of the Remnant: join me?
*For a forensic analysis of exactly what Jesus suffered for us, read here.forensic analysis of jesus death more thorough.
**”work” as in “do what God wishes to be done,” as Jesus put it, “being about (the) Father’s business.” One of His tasks–and the most important, at the apex of spiritual history–was to die in our place so that we can be reconciled with God for eternity.
I often wonder if that’s one of the things Jesus kept His mind on while He was bleeding out–i.e., His great and extraordinary love for us–as part of the “joy set before Him”…
Post Script: I also love the theme song from “A River Runs Through It”. I link it here in the hopes that perhaps it may offset a bit of the heaviness in the world for you, too, today, and refresh your spirit, if a little bit: