In reading the Christmas story, this stands out to me, “And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn,” (Luke 2:7)Jesus’ birth was foretold so long in advance, but yet no one made a reservation. Jesus was born in a barn! It wasn’t that it was prophesied for Him to be, it’s simply because there was no room in the inn.Have you ever stepped out in faith to follow what you thought God called you to do and it ended up not going as well as you thought it would? So often when we step out and things are hard, we begin to think that it must not be God’s will. But remember, Jesus was born in a barn specifically because there wasn’t room in the hotels! Some of you need to hear this, God has called you to do something, and you’ve been caught off guard because things are hard. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean God hasn’t called you to it.This is such an incredible story of shepherds who weren’t even looking for Jesus having an angelic encounter: “In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’” (Luke 2:8-14)Have you ever been in a season in your life when all your friends have amazing God stories from conferences and church? But you’re in a season of raising four kids, working two jobs to support your family? You may feel turmoil because you want to be at the revival meeting and it seems like others are getting breakthrough while you stand beside and watch.I want to encourage you today: the Lord knows how to find you wherever you are. You aren’t going to miss Jesus. Wherever you are, the angels will come when you’re doing what you’re called to do! God is not going to let you miss your moment.Scripture: Luke 1:26-35, Hebrews 2:14-18, Galatians 4:1-5, Luke 2:41-51, Luke 2:4-20, Matthew 2:1-6, Daniel 4:9, Genesis 1:14-15, Matthew 2:7-12, Romans 1:20, Psalm 19:1, Matthew 2:13-15, Matthew 2:19-23, Matthew 4:12-17, Luke 3:23, Romans 8:14.
In reading the Christmas story, this stands out to me, “And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger,
Published on December 23, 2021Written by The New York Post
In March 2020, a profile of the typical COVID victim emerged from Italy. The average decedent was 80 years old, with approximately three comorbidities, such as heart disease, obesity or diabetes.
The young had little to worry about; the survival rate for the vast majority of the population was well over 99 percent.
That portrait never significantly changed. The early assessments of COVID out of Italy have remained valid through today. And so it will prove with the Omicron variant.
The data out of South Africa, after five weeks of Omicron spread, suggest that Omicron should be a cause for celebration, not fear. Its symptoms are mild to nonexistent in the majority of the infected, especially the vaccinated; hospitalization rates are over nine times lower than for previous COVID strains; deaths are negligible.
That assessment will only be confirmed as the United States and other Western countries gather their own data on Omicron.
Yet the public health establishment and the media are working overtime to gin up Omicron hysteria. The official response to the Omicron variant provides a case study in the deliberate manufacture of fear. The following strategies are key:
1. Create a group norm of fear
The media want you to believe that everyone around you is scared out of his mind, and thus you should be, too. Man-on-the-street interviews quote Nervous Nellies exclusively. A Dec. 17 New York Times article headlined “As Virus Cases Surge, New Yorkers Feel a Familiar Anxiety” trotted out a parade of paralyzed city residents:
“Monday I wasn’t even thinking about [Omicron], and Thursday I’m in a panic,” said a 59-year-old woman on the Upper West Side. A teacher at Manhattan’s New School confessed: “It’s literally all I’ve been thinking about. I’m really heartsick and worried.” A 36-year-old woman in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, said: “It’s scary — it feels like we’ve been here before.” A 62-year-old woman in Queens reported that her travel and outing days were over: “I’m going to go home, I’m going to stay home and just keep to myself.”
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Are there any New Yorkers who are not panicked? Presumably, but you would not know it from the Times’ and other outlets’ coverage. Needless to say, dissenters from Omicron fear in the rest of the country are beneath notice. The point of these one-sided quotes is to spread and normalize panic as the only reasonable reaction to the variant.
2. Buttress group fear with expert opinion
The only public health experts whom the media quote are those determined to put the most dire spin on Omicron. They stress worst-case hypothetical scenarios and dismiss actual good-case evidence. At best, they may grudgingly admit that Omicron symptoms are disproportionately mild, but rush to assert that there are still many as-yet-unrealized grounds for worry.
“Even if Omicron causes less severe cases, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems,” the director-general of the World Health Organization said. “I’m not counting [Omicron’s lack of severity] as good news just yet,” a disease ecologist at Georgetown University said. “Even if infection is mild in many individuals, it’s not going to be mild in everyone.”
But that 100 percent mildness standard is unrealistic. There are outliers in any disease and any treatment; the question is: What is the predominant reality? The zero-risk, zero-harm standard for public policy adopted for the first time with COVID has proven a social, economic and public health disaster.
At worst, the favored experts do not even pay lip service to the evidence militating against panic. An epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told the New York Times: “I think we need to be prepared for the possibility that this could be at least as bad as any previous wave that we’ve seen.”
There are apparently no circumstances that would warrant a less-than-totalitarian response in advance of any actual disaster. The yearning for more draconian lockdowns and more control over the private sector is palpable.
3. Manufacture epistemological uncertainty and insist on that uncertainty as long as possible
The media intone repeatedly that much remains uncertain about Omicron, including how likely it is to cause severe disease. But we already have a good picture of that likelihood from the South Africa experience: very unlikely.
Nevertheless, the director of the influential Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Christopher Murray, is determined to assert that we know little to nothing yet: “The most challenging question is severity,” he told the Times.
4. Bury both good news and dissenters from the bad news
The South African data should lead any coverage of Omicron, yet it has barely been reported. Though only 27 percent of that country is fully vaccinated, less than 2 percent of new cases are requiring hospitalization. And that number is undoubtedly too high, since many reported COVID hospitalizations were admitted for reasons other than COVID.
In countries such as the United States, with much higher rates of vaccination, the breakthrough infections from Omicron will be even milder. Omicron will be an ideal vehicle for achieving herd immunity, conferring protection without tears on the vast majority of the infected.
The South African doctor who first reported the Omicron variant has declared herself “astonished” by the world’s reaction to the new strain, which is “out of all proportion to its risks.”
“Patients typically present with muscle pain, body aches, a headache and a bit of fatigue,” Angelique Coetzee wrote in the Daily Mail on Dec. 13. “After about five days [those symptoms] clear up, and that’s it.”
The only patient with severe symptoms whom she has seen over the last month had HIV, pneumonia and other comorbidities.
Coetzee has been nonexistent in the non-conservative press. Just as we are supposed to believe that everyone around us is universally spooked, so we should believe that there is an unbroken expert consensus about the likely disaster that is Omicron.
European health officials are warning of an Omicron spike, we are told. State and local health officials are urging that holiday gatherings be held outdoors and that all participants get vaccinated, boosted and tested; partygoers should wear masks.
Are there no experts who think that Omicron is not an emerging threat? Apparently not, if you read the mainstream media. If any dissenters do break through, they will be as demonized and silenced by Big Tech as the lockdown skeptics in the scientific community were at the start of the COVID era.
5. Omit relevant context
We hear constantly that 1,300 people are dying a day from COVID. By comparison, about 2,000 people die each day from cancer and 1,600 from heart disease. Their deaths get no coverage. COVID was the leading cause of death in the United States only in January 2021, even among those 85 and older. Since then, it has ranked as the third-most-frequent cause of death both in the overall population and in the elderly.
To read the press coverage, however, you would think that nothing approaches COVID in fierce lethality and that all public resources should be directed to stopping its spread, no matter the costs to the education and socialization of children, to physical and psychological health, and to economic opportunity.
Restrictive COVID policies exacerbated sickness in the highest-ranking categories of mortality, a toll that will only grow.
Patients put off lifesaving cancer screenings, having been spooked away from medical facilities.
Obesity worsened, as gyms were shut down and people barricaded themselves at home, packing on the pounds. Those ever-bigger fatties will be tomorrow’s coronary casualties and COVID victims.
Even those 1,300 daily COVID deaths are an overcount, since public health reporting counts deaths with COVID as deaths from COVID.
Someone who was dying already from cancer will be deemed a COVID death if he happens to contract that more newsworthy disease at the end of his life.
Someone who dies of old age will also be counted as a COVID fatality if infected at death.
The average life expectancy in 2019 was less than 79 years. But the New York Times’ maudlin COVID obituaries report the deaths of nonagenarians as COVID fatalities, as if those oldsters would have otherwise lived indefinitely.
A 91-year-old jazz pianist was included last week in the “Those We’ve Lost” series, even though he was a stroke victim with numerous long-standing health problems that the COVID virus merely exacerbated.
6. Flog the case count
If the media is obsessing about case count, it means that COVID deaths have been a terrible disappointment. COVID death rates have plunged over the last year and are barely budging in the post-Omicron era. But case counts are a particularly deceptive measure of pandemic severity, when so many of the new cases are mild to asymptomatic.
And despite the concerted effort to generate hospital horror stories, hospitalization rates in New York City, the leading wedge of Omicron, remain comparatively low. COVID hospitalization numbers are themselves deceptive for the same reason as COVID death counts: Being admitted to a hospital with COVID is treated as being admitted for COVID.
Nevertheless, the fear-mongering is paying big dividends. Like clockwork, events and businesses in New York City are shutting down, extending the demand for and dependency on government handouts.
Radio City has canceled its entire Christmas run of the Rockettes; expect Mayor Bill de Blasio to pull the plug on the Times Square New Year’s celebration.
Return-to-work schedules are being shelved and entire offices put back on remote work, another severe setback to the revival of Midtown Manhattan.
Outdoor mask-wearing in Manhattan is back up to about 90 percent, based on informal observation. Masked residents of buildings where virtually everyone is vaccinated are refusing entry to the elevator to their fellow residents (also masked), as if a three-second ride to the lobby will provide enough viral dose to be infectious. Grown men are using their knuckles to press elevator buttons.
Perhaps the rest of the country, particularly in red states, will act more rationally toward Omicron.
But here in the epicenter of blue-state dominance, we have turned the equivalent of the common cold into a potent weapon against the resumption of civil society.
See more here: nypost.com
Bold emphasis added
Header image: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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Have you ever questioned what it would look like to be surrounded by world-class leaders? Or to be a world-class leader yourself? I would propose that the greatest leaders of our day are not solely the president or the pope, rather they are the individuals in our everyday lives that inspire and ignite people to pursue and prepare for a vision or mission. Personally, I work and live in an environment where I am surrounded by world-class leaders that cultivate and equip others to do the same; an ecosystem of sorts that creates the finest leaders — no, they are not perfect, but I would argue that they are some of the finest leaders of our day. One of the greatest attributes of a world-class leader is the ability to raise up other strong leaders that can lead and carry out a mission and vision farther and wider than you have ever been able to do on your own. It is extremely rewarding to watch other people that I have led and poured into over the years step up to the plate, outrun me in the race and carry on the vision beyond my own ability. This week, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Chris Cruz, one of the leaders in our environment that was equipped and now equips powerful, strong, and faith-filled leaders all over the world.
I want to share with you some primary principles for young leaders that Chris Cruz shared with me. I hope these keys inspire and provoke you to become a stronger and wiser leader no matter your age and in turn help inspire others. I asked Chris Cruz some questions about what he’s learned as a leader and I believe his insights are key for any leader desiring to develop themselves or develop others in their leadership ability. You can also watch the interview on this
week’s vlog. What did you learn in your first year in leadership as a 22-year-old Revival Group Pastor (at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry)? What went through your mind, and how did you prepare?I realized the great risk that had been invested in me as a 22-year-old when I was asked to lead a group of 60 students that ranged in ages from 18 to 70 years old. I knew I might have had knowledge that was greater than many I was leading, but my wisdom could not compare to the years of life they had on me. I prepared the best I could for my initial year of pastoring in the school by devouring Paul’s letters to Timothy. Paul told Timothy to lead by example, so in my first year, I truly adopted this idea. I thought first I needed to make sure I was leading by example. I wish I could say leadership was as simple and as easy as that in my first year, but you could imagine the challenge of having to learn how to lead people that are far older and wiser than you.
The greatest key I adopted and still use today was asking a lot of questions. As a young leader, the challenge is to often think that you need to prove your capability when actually you need to prove your humility. The truth is, you are not going to have all the right answers or know all the right solutions, but
your ability to learn and receive input will be key to your success. I could not agree more with Chris – being a lifetime learner is a sign of great humility. How do you motivate people as a leader? First of all,
leadership moves at the pace of trust. If there is no trust we will move really slow, however, if there is a lot of trust you can move incredibly fast. The challenge as a leader is to want to motivate by gripping people by the arm to follow you in the vision, but without investing in their hearts there will be no reason for them to invest in the vision. In return, you will not have trust; you will have real conflict and artificial harmony.
As a leader, I would challenge you to ask yourself the question, “Have I invested in the trust bank?” This goes both ways; as a leader, you need to invest in the trust bank and as a follower, you need to invest in the trust bank. When it comes time for a “withdrawal” if neither has invested, there will be nothing to pull from; the foundation will lay bare and the artificial harmony will fall to the ground as you realize it hasn’t been standing on a false foundation anyways. If all leadership is built on trust then the million-dollar question is, how do you build trust with people?There are key trust builders and breakers in leadership. One being, it is vital as a leader to create an environment where people have what they need to excel and feel safe; people need to feel capable of being fully who they were created to be. If we build an environment where people feel they need to wear a mask or fit a mold to belong, we have failed at allowing real conflict and we rather have built artificial harmony.
One of the keys to ensuring others feel capable of being fully themselves is when, as a leader, you model vulnerability; this creates an environment that isn’t afraid of conflict or imperfection, but that nurtures and repairs the cracks and bruises that are inevitable in life with people. Conflict is not what should scare you as a leader, conflict will be your greatest key to building real trust. A trust breaker in leadership is when your yes is not your yes and no is not your no. If I say I am going to keep that information to myself and I do not, trust will be lost as a leader. How did you learn to press into conflict instead of running away from it?I learned to press into conflict rather than run away in marriage, but also in my early years of pastoring. I realized that if I can lean into a moment’s pain, the gain of the long-term level of trust will far surpass the initial pain. The truth is, running into the fire isn’t a lot of people’s natural tendency.
As a leader when I realize the people that I have conflict with drawback into a cave, I step forward with the desire to understand. I begin asking questions like, “Have I done something to hurt you?” or “What are you feeling?” How do you inspire people to walk with you?It is important for leaders to understand your responsibility versus your influence.
The key here is to make it my priority to care for people’s hearts over influencing them to think a certain way or adopt a certain vision.
Metaphorically speaking this looks like me painting on a canvas with watercolors and the people can add with whatever medium they’d prefer to the canvas. I learned people tend to support what they help create. My prayer for you this week is no matter what lies you have believed about your ability to lead or to lead well that you would bring them to the Lord and ask Him what He believes about your leadership. One of our greatest strengths as leaders is our ability to lead with the Holy Spirit; He will be your greatest companion and strongest support no matter the circumstance you are leading in. I also want to encourage you this week, if you feel unnoticed or not seen in your leadership that you would hear the Lord’s voice and guidance in the journey and process of preparing you and establishing you as a leader. If you would like to hear more from Chris, you can find him on
Facebook, and be sure to check out his book
The Practice of Being with Jesus.Lastly, what are some keys for great leadership that you have learned? I would love to hear in the comments below.
“If the world hated me, it will hate you, too.” (John 15:18) Our 21st century, North American culture is a veritable “freedom utopia” for Christians, at least as far as it compares to the rest of the world. (So far, anyway. It appears that voters in the US signed themselves on for some drastic changes … Read more
There is a post in “The Times” out of the U. K. that outlines a plan to send 300,000 new bibles into Iran. It is true. Jesus is alive, is very real and very much on the move around the world. The chinese church is currently mobilizing 1,000,000 missionaries to evangelize the Muslim people in … Read more
I have to chuckle at how badly people can take something you say and mangle it beyond recognition. I recently had occasion to be a “victim” of misunderstanding on a recent post I wrote as a guest-blogger on another site. I wouldn’t have even written this post, perhaps, except an article that I wrote for … Read more
How do you get victory over besetting sins – a sinful habit or way of thinking? Many people know the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat over some particular struggle with sin; they feel good about themselves when they get it right; they beat themselves up over it when they get it wrong. … Read more
There are some things that happen and they stick with you. I remember a moment very clearly that was one of those “stick with you” moments. Actually, it was fairly recently, and I hope it sticks with me forever, for the urgency it created in my soul at that moment. I was listening to an … Read more
Being “Still” Is Not Doing Nothing Being still before the Lord is not inactivity. It is refined activity. Being still is choosing to “do nothing,” but not with the idea of merely shutting your brain off and disengaging to relax or unwind; it is a purposeful disengaging from all the “busyness” of life that distracts … Read more
I remember, back in 1994, hearing a bit of a hullaballoo about the “Toronto Blessing” (a revival that is purported to have broken out at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church in 1994, now known as “Catch The Fire“). It is one of those stories that, depending on your persuasion, leaves you with some very positive … Read more