“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
For anyone who has been faithful but yet felt weary, discouraged, or weak… this is a promise you can rest on…
Verse 4 “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with
divine retribution he will come to save you.”
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Let us remember that these were words spoken to a troubled and possibly frightened group of disciples. They, like us, needed the assurance of peace. Peace is an essential part of a healthy life, but only those who have peace with God can have the peace of God.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The ONLY antidote for fear and discouragement is the awareness of the presence of the Lord.
For forty years, Joshua experienced a gigantic visual from God as He led the Israelites. Joshua knew of the presence of God…
“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by
night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the
pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”
The angel appearing to Mary:
Luke 1:30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God."
Luke 2:10-14 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."
You who fear him, trust in the LORD— he is their help and shield.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Israel will be in captivity because of their sin. In their sin, God has punished them BUT He has not rejected them! This is a good lesson for the modern day believer. Seven times in chapters 41-44, God tells Israel “not to fear”. God calls Israel His “servants”. A servant of the Lord is a position of honor. God calls Israel “descendants of Abraham”. He calls Abraham “His Friend”.
A friend is even higher and closer than a servant.
What does this mean? It means God, Himself, will “strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Psalms 34:4 - I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Coronavirus Live Updates: Officials Rush to Respond to a Drumbeat of New Cases
Mask-clad commuters make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station in Tokyo on Feb. 28. Tokyo's key Nikkei index plunged nearly three percent at the open on February 28 after US and European sell-offs with investors worried about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
People wearing face masks leave Tokyo Disneyland on the day it announced it will close until March 15th because of concerns over the Covid-19 virus, on Feb. 28, in Tokyo, Japan.
Passengers remain onboard the MSC Meraviglia cruise ship in Cozumel, Mexico, on Feb. 27. A cruise carrying 6,000 people which was turned away by Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after a crew member tested positive for flu, has docked in Mexico.
More than 83,000 people in at least 53 countries have been infected, and more than 2,800 have died. New infections outside China are now outpacing those within the country, the site of the first and by far the largest outbreak. “This virus has pandemic potential,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, warned late Thursday. “We are actually in a very delicate situation in which the outbreak can go in any direction based on how we handle it.”
Even as countries prepared for the likelihood of significant outbreaks, early missteps raised troubling questions about how nations will handle a flood of cases — even those with robust health care systems. A whistle-blower complaint in the United States outlined how federal health care workers had interacted with quarantined Americans without proper training or
Leaders in Italy and South Korea defended their handling outbreaks — the largest outside China — even as the number of cases in those countries continued to grow. Markets slide as virus spreads across the globe.
European and Asian markets tumbled again on Friday, and futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street, as investors became even more concerned about the potential harm to worldwide economic growth from the spread of the new coronavirus.
Germany’s DAX index was down 2.9 percent, and Britain’s FTSE lost 2.7 percent. The losses followed a 4.4 percent drop in the S&P 500 on Thursday, the worst day for American shares since 2011.
Investment bank economists issued increasingly glum predictions of how much the coronavirus outbreak would hurt economies around the world. “The more countries that are faced with fighting a pandemic, the wider the potential for economic disruption and potential for increased recessionary risks,” Tai Hui, the chief market strategist for Asia at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said in a research note on Friday.
The declines in Europe followed another grim day of trading in Asia. Shares in Japan fell 3.7 percent, and the main Hong Kong index fell 2.5 percent. The virus continues to cause havoc for some industries. The Geneva International Motor Show was canceled after the Swiss government banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 people at least until mid-March. European car companies are already dealing with plunging sales in China and supply chain problems, and now they are losing one of their premier marketing events.
New infections are reported across Europe as the virus deepens its grip. Italy, the epicenter of coronavirus in Europe, continued to pose problems for the rest of the Continent on Friday, with Northern Ireland and Wales experiencing their first cases on Friday, both of them tied to travel to Italy. Nations that only had a handful of cases at the start of the week continued to see new infections. The number of cases in Germany had nearly doubled by Friday afternoon, to 53.
France registered 20 new cases, bringing the total there to 38. The French health authorities were focusing on a cluster of 14 cases in the Oise region of northern France. Of particular concern are three infections on a military base in the city of Creil whose origins are unclear.
Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, said on Friday that a woman returning from Milan was the first confirmed case in the French city. The city had previously cut short its annual carnival over virus fears. About 2,000 school children who had recently returned from trips to at-risk areas like Italy or China were asked to self-isolate for 14 days, said the French education
minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer.
Switzerland reported nine new cases — bringing its total to 15 — and then said it was banning all gatherings of more than 1,000 people until March 15. The Geneva International Motor Show, an important annual automotive trade event, was among the gatherings that were abruptly canceled.
England reported two additional cases on Friday, both contracted in Iran, bringing the total in Britain to 19, health officials said. Both patients were being treated at the Royal Free Hospital, a specialist infection center in London.
Three countries in Eastern Europe — Belarus, Estonia and Lithuania — have also reported their first cases. All appear to be linked to travel to either Iran or Italy, the principal hubs of the virus outside Asia.
Nigeria records the first infection in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria on Friday confirmed its first case of coronavirus, raising fears of how an outbreak could wreak havoc in Africa’s most populous nation and across the continent. The case, confirmed by the Nigerian Health Ministry, is the first confirmed infection in sub-Saharan Africa. The ministry said the patient was an Italian citizen who had returned to Lagos, the country’s largest city, from Milan on Feb. 25. The Nigerian government said in a statement that the patient was stable, did not have “serious symptoms” and was being treated at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, a suburb of Lagos.
Despite the steady number of flights and the growing relationship between China and African countries, the only previously confirmed infections on the continent had been in Egypt and Algeria. Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Nigeria’s minister of health, said in a statement that the country had been shoring up its preparedness since the virus started spreading in China and that it would respond with all available resources. Africa has very few confirmed cases, but experts have already expressed concerns about how the continent would cope with a wide-scale outbreak.
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and the W.H.O. have worked with African nations to improve surveillance and testing. Currently, 26 laboratories on the continent are able to test for the coronavirus, up from two in early February. Dr. Ngozi Erondu, an associate fellow in the Global Health Program at Chatham House, an international research group in London, said it would be crucial for all African countries to enhance scrutiny of all travelers, especially those coming from countries with documented outbreaks. “Staff at points of entry must realize that Covid-19 has no ethnicity or nationality, so personal biases must be checked,” she said, using the name of the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Japanese province declares a state of emergency. Officials in Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, declared a state of emergency because of the pace of new infections there, the national broadcaster, NHK, reported on Friday. The governor of the prefecture, Naomichi Suzuki, called on residents to refrain from going out over the weekend, the broadcaster said. School boards on the island had already moved to cancel classes, even before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s request on Thursday that all schools nationwide close for about a month. Japan has more than 200 cases of the new coronavirus and four deaths, in addition to more than 700 cases and an additional four deaths from the Diamond Princess
cruise ship, which spent two weeks quarantined while docked in Yokohama. The latest death, reported on Thursday, was a man in his 80s on Hokkaido who had pre-existing conditions, the governor told reporters . Fifteen new cases were also reported in the prefecture on Thursday, bringing the total number there to 54, the highest in Japan. Two of the new cases were children under 10, officials said. Japanese officials are facing increasing pressure to take action amid discussion of canceling the Tokyo Olympics , scheduled to begin in July. Major events have been canceled or postponed around the country.
Mongolia’s president placed under quarantine after visit to China. President Battulga Khaltmaa of Mongolia and other government officials have begun a 14-day quarantine after returning home from China, the state news agency Montsame reported on Friday. Mr. Battulga and the other senior officials including the foreign minister visited Beijing on Thursday and held meetings with the leader of China, Xi Jinping, and Premier Li Keqiang. The Mongolian president said he would donate 30,000 sheep to China in support of the country’s fight against the epidemic, according to Chinese state media, which hailed Mr. Battulga as the first foreign head of state to visit the country since the outbreak. The president and his team were immediately taken into quarantine upon arriving in Mongolia as a precautionary measure, Montsame reported.
South Korea races to test more people. The number of people infected with the coronavirus in South Korea shot up to 2,337 on Friday, as officials struggled to get a handle on the outbreak, which has also become a political crisis for the country’s leader, Moon Jae-in. Since Mr. Moon raised the epidemic alert to its highest level on Sunday, the government has sent score of health workers to Daegu, the center of the largest outbreak outside of China. Nearly 85 percent of the cases in South Korea have been found among members of a large, shadowy church in the city. Although smaller outbreaks have popped up in other cities across South Korea, including Seoul, the capital, health officials said that their war against the virus hinged largely on how quickly they can win the battle in Daegu , South Korea’s fourth-largest city with 2.4 million people.
In Daegu, health officials’ most urgent job has been to test nearly 1,300 members of the Shincheonji Church, who have reported potential symptoms of the virus, as well as those people with whom they have been in contact. In the past few days, workers have tested up to 1,000 people a day, accounting for the sharp rise in the daily tally of patients. “We have not finished our testing of Shincheonji worshipers in Daegu yet and as the statistics from there reach us, you will see daily increases in the number of patients,” said Jung Eun-kyeong, head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a sign of the epidemic’s toll on business activity, including the entertainment industry, the K-pop supergroup BTS canceled a series of upcoming concerts on Friday. The coronavirus “outbreak has made it impossible at this time to predict the scale of the outbreak during the dates of the concert in April,” the boy band said in a statement.
Chinese censors pull the popular game Plague Inc. from App Store. China’s internet censors have removed a game from the local version of Apple’s app store that allows players to create a lethal viral epidemic that spreads across the world. Ndemic Creations, the developer of the game, announced on its website on Thursday that the authorities had pulled Plague Inc. for violating Chinese laws. The British-based company said it received a notice that the game “includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China.” Ndemic said it wasn’t clear whether the move was related to the coronavirus outbreak. The company said it was reaching out to Chinese officials to find out how it could bring the game back. “We have a huge amount of respect for our Chinese players,” it said, “and are devastated that they are no longer able to access and play Plague Inc.”
Plague Inc. became one of the most popular paid apps in China after the Wuhan outbreak. In the game, users can create a disease, choose the country where it originates and select the way it spreads, like transmission via animals, insects or water. Players accumulate points in the form of DNA that they can spend to make their disease more contagious or lethal. “You will get more DNA as you infect and kill people across the globe,” the game’s tutorial tells players. Ndemic, which says the game has over 130 million players around the world, had
previously defended Plague Inc. as a way to educate people about how diseases spread. “We specifically designed the game to be realistic and informative, while not sensationalizing serious real-world issues,” it said on its website last month. Online, some Chinese players said they found the decision puzzling. “All these years it was legal, now suddenly it is illegal?” wrote one Weibo user. Another writer added, sarcastically, “the best way to conquer fear is to not look at what you’re afraid of.”
In these uncertain times, let's revisit those passages listed at the top of this page. Seek the Lord and trust that He will hear us and deliver us from all fear.