2020: The year that wasn’t?

As I write this, it’s April 22, 2020. People around the world have been staying at home to stunt the spread of, or flatten the curve of the deadly coronavirus. We’ve all been bombarded with news reports, daily press conferences from government officials, fake news and news that’s not so fake. At times, I just want to stay in the house, watch videos and hope that the whole thing will go away mysteriously one night while I slumber.

As I think about the year 2020, I realize that years are often defined by what occurs within their calendrical confines. When many of us think of the year 2001, we think of the bombing of the twin towers in New York, 2016 brings to mind the election of Trump as POTUS, the bombing of Pear Harbor conjures up the year 1941 (if we have some appreciation for history that’s more than fifty year past). We’re now into the fourth month of the year 2020. There have been countless events individuals, communities, governments have had to cancel because of the dirge of the coronavirus. At this point, we have no definitive knowledge of when this thing will lessen its dreadful effects on our lives.

My family had several memory generating events on our calendar for this year: a trip to Ghana, West Africa, our annual Fourth of July family gathering with lots of family, another family gathering during the Christmas Holidays are just a few. It’s things like this that give year’s their meaning, their identity. When I think back to the July weekend of 2019, I still feel as though I’m enjoying the family outing we had at my cousin Junior’s spread. It was one of the largest ones we’ve had. There were five generations present. The old folk were relaxing under shade trees in the hot and humid weather conditions, but the kids were running and skipping and having fun to no end. The weather didn’t bother them at all. My mom wasn’t present. She died the year before. Her last surviving sibling was there. I’ve christened her with the moniker, clan matriarch.

As we go through the rest of the year 2020, there will be families all around the world, who will regrettably have to cancel celebrations that would work to define the year. There will be school graduations, anniversary gatherings of all kinds, family reunions, and yes, even going home celebrations of loved ones who will no longer occupy a space at the dinning table. Well, maybe 2020 won’t be the year that wasn’t; however, one thing is certain it won’t be defined by what many of us would rather remember.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

The church building hasn’t carried us for 2,000 years

Note: The blog that follows takes its inspiration from an article written by Brian Tome (link to the article is below). A friend of mine shared it on Facebook, and I couldn’t resist sharing a thought or two. I hope it produces some thoughtful reflection.

For quite some time, I’ve had conversations with people who would belittle the value of the internet and social media. Many saw them as a pure waste of time. My argument always was that social media was simply a tool like the printing press or any other technology that has been introduced to society through the ages. It’s the manner in which one uses a new technological development that counts. The radio, the television, the automobile and so on were demonizes by many at the time of their initial introduction to society. Now, we see them as instrumental in our paying homage to the Creator.

This current pandemic has presented both us and the demons who war against us an opportunity. Satan, no doubt, revels in hearing the complaints from people about being isolated, raring to get out and about, especially back to the church building. He recognizes better than many of us that our connection with God and with each other should be characterized by Spiritual energy; energy that strengthens us and carries us through times like these. Of course, we are by nature social animals who thrive on the physical intimacy being in close quarters provides; however, what we’re going through now is temporary. Those of us who have been saved by the sacrificial blood of Jesus are already living eternal life; therefore, temporary, dark episodes like the coronavirus should have no negative effect on our relationship with God. When it does, the enemy rejoices.

I’m glad to see many, who yesterday saw little use for social media, have now recognized the value in it. It, as the pencil is used for writing, or the calculator for ciphering, can be used for much higher purposes than promoting popular culture. Staying connected in conducting the work of the Lord can indeed be furthered when physical gatherings aren’t possible.

Of course, I miss the gatherings at the Ole Church House, but they will be again. In the meantime, I should do all I can to do as Christ commanded: Worship in Spirit and Truth. This has little to do with physical intimacy.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.


The dichotomy of it all

I’m retired. I’ve been retired for seven years. As the pandemic continues its attack, being home hasn’t caused that much of a problem for me as some people are reported to be experiencing. However, even retired folks like the freedom to go whenever they wish without having to worry about some virus lurking about. I cannot make the unplanned run to Home Depot or Lowes as I used to. As a retired person in Arkansas, I’ve always enjoyed spring. Spring is that time of year when things are coming to life. Last night was one of those rarified nights. The temperature got down to 33 degrees, cold for April 14. The pollen has been thick as usual, covering everything; however, I noticed this morning that it wasn’t as bad as it has been. With the weather being as beautiful as it was, I decided to wash our vehicles. I made a good decision. After leaving the SUVs in the driveway for the rest of the day, there was little pollen dust on them.

Being outside today was good for my soul. The skies had that all-blue, cloudless appearance of a great fall day. The northerly wind made perspiration almost nil when I exerted myself physically. After washing the cars, I puttered around the house, accomplishing little, but enjoying the weather. At some point, I found myself sitting on the back deck, doing absolutely nothing but looking at the tree line on the other side of the creek that runs about 20 yards or so between our privacy fence and its bank. It was quiet. My meditation wasn’t interrupted by even the chirps of birds. I think Ari (our Shi-Tzu) was enjoying the time as much as I. She functions as my canine appendage, closely shadowing my every move.  They say dogs choose the human to whom they want to be attached. Ari chose me the first day we went to pick her up, and she hasn’t let go since.

Yes, today was a beautiful day. One that made me forget for a little while what the whole world is reeling from now. The deadly coronavirus. For the time I was outside today, I felt coronavirus free; free from all the news updates of people infected, on ventilators, deceased. As quickly as Ari and I came back into the house, the dark side of it all hit us squarely in the face again. The television was on and news updates about the coronavirus were ubiquitously filling the interior space of our abode.

Today the beauty of spring provided an effective mask, obscuring the unseen, powerful demon lurking about, waiting to conquer and destroy. Sometimes, we can take refuge from our unseen demons, by retreating into the beauty all around us that only God can provide. That pocket of peace and calm exists somewhere between the dark and the shadow-conquering light. You should take time to find it for yourself, especially now.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.


Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Everyone is telling us that we are going through troubled times. We cannot turn on the television without hearing something about the worldwide pandemic. Those of us who feel a sense of responsibility for the welfare of not only ourselves, but for others too, are following the advice of doctors and scientists. When we look at the calendar, we see that it has not been awfully long since things have morphed into this nightmare. We ask ourselves when it will all end, or for that matter will it end.

Finding hope during all that we are going through can seem like a fatalistic exercise; however, it all depends in whom our hope lies. The Apostle Paul, the writer of the Book of Romans tells us in verse 12 of Chapter 12 that we are to rejoice in hope. He is not suggesting that we lend ourselves to some mental exercise, where we try to psyche ourselves into to ease the reality of the times. He is saying rejoice in the One who is hope. That person is Jesus. With all that is going on now, we can take stock in the promises of Jesus. One promise He has made clear is that He will be with us no matter the circumstances. Of course, those of us who have placed our life in His hands can be certain that no matter what happens, we will be with Him eternally. This is not some by and by when I die promise. Eternal life started the minute we accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour.

When we place our hope in Jesus, we can weather any storm, any tribulation that forces its way into our lives, coronavirus included. Realizing this, brings about a calming sense of patience that ramps down the tumultuousness of whatever tribulation we might be going through to a simmer. This cannot be done without staying connected with Jesus via prayer; prayer that surpasses mindless recitations. This kind of prayer is characterized by opening our very souls to Jesus, letting Him see the raw emotions we might be feeling, the need for His help in getting us through the darkness.

You want hope, turn to the One who is hope.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

Running: a calling to reminisce about

To be able to run, run as fast as you can, run until your chest stings, run with joy and excitement, is something I haven’t done in years. When I was a young child, I would run without purpose. Running seemed to be a part of being a child. Running was done on a whim, without any degree of deliberateness. It was always more fun when done with friends or with my cousins. We would run after each other. We would run in circles. We would fall to the ground in complete exhaustion, reenergize ourselves with a smidgen of rest and get up to run some more.

I never really cared that much for team sports when I was in school. Football, basketball, those all-American sports that every kid felt they had an inalienable right to, seemed somehow alien to me. The most exposure I had with these athletic pursuits was in gym class. They always felt awkward; like one of us was the left shoe trying hard to fit a right foot. For some reason that I cannot explain even today, I enjoyed the running associated with them.

As I grew older, progressing through junior high school, senior high and graduating, running became less of a companion to me. There was less reason to run, not that I ever needed a reason any of the times I had done it before. While in college, I spent most of my time studying and participating in a small amount of social activity common to being a college student. I had little need for running. Running hardly ever crossed my mind. I took up smoking while in college. It seemed like the cool thing to do.

Three years or so after graduating college and starting a career in public service, I quit smoking cold turkey, picked up a pair of running shoes and hit the ground running five miles per day. Running at this point in my life, at the age of 26, was like going back to visit an old friend. I continued to run religiously through the years. Then:

In 2,000, I received a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma. This changed the trajectory of my life. Running was still a calling to me; one I couldn’t answer. My inability to answer the calling was amplified at age 62, when I had to have a hip replacement. Although I had read accounts of people who resumed playing tennis, running or some other hard impact exercise after a hip replacement, I feared tempting shortening the life of the foreign object in my body. Instead, I chose riding a bicycle as a substitute for running. Now, after almost eight years, I’m biking with the same commitment as I gave to running.

When I observe runners on the street, I feel the calling, it’s strong, but I can only reminisce. Isn’t it our calling to do what we can, the best that we can?

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.


I’m sure I’m not the most observant person in the world; however, I do pay attention to things many people I know don’t bother to collect a clue about. That’s not meant to be judgmental. My powers of observation have kicked into high gear since we’re all hunkered down, trying our best to avoid being infected by the coronavirus. Here’s an example, I was watching a series on Prime Time this evening called Tales from the Loop. This is one of those slow-moving shows about people who live above some weird underground complex called the Loop. Things happen in this place that are super surreal. To be honest, I don’t know if this is a science fiction series or not. Thus far, it’s holding my attention.

One of the characters in the show said something that was quite profound: “You can always find light in the dark.” Now, doesn’t a statement like that get your cerebral juices churning? It’s metaphorical, symbolic, deep, and it represents so much of what we discover to be true at so many points in our lives. I’m hearing and reading so much about people being bored stiff while they are staying at home to protect their health and the health of others. What’s unfortunate for people like this is that they can only see dark. They can’t see the opportunities staring them clearly in the face to do other things. They remind me of what my kids used to say when they were little. Chris and I worked to give them a life so much better than we had. Of course, I’m referring to the material stuff. Let’s assume the love, protection, sense of self, etc. were covered. These little darlings would have the nerve to say they were bored, as they emerged from a room, dedicated to themselves, with every kind of entertainment gadget you could imagine. They had not the wisdom to see the light.

As we meander through the coronavirus event, seeing only the dark seems to be the worst way we can see ourselves experiencing it. I would hope that we all can see the points of light right there within our grasp. Here’s where I would normally give you examples; however, what is light for me may be a 25-watt bulb dangling from the ceiling in a room with no windows for you. Stretch your imaging software, and let it digitally connect with as many items as possible it’s programmed to play. Don’t be analogue.

I want to share with you an experience I’m currently enjoying. I’ve written about a trip Chris and I, along with my oldest child and two cousins had planned to take to Ghana, West Africa the last part of May through the first part of June. Although the trip hasn’t been cancelled yet, the probability of it isn’t looking good. I found a point of light the other day. I’m a member of two Facebook group that deals with issues related to Ghana. While on one of them, I made mention of my disappointment about not going on my planned trip. In response to that, a young man who lives in Cape Coast, Ghana, sent me a note through direct messenger. I responded, and we had a brief, joyful conversation. Since then, he has messaged me each day with a, “Good morning Mr. Hosea. How are you doing today?” Doesn’t seem like much does it? But it is. I’m having contact with a real person who lives where I’m not sure when I’ll be able to visit. He gives me real, close-to-the- ground information about how folks in Ghana are holding up with the global pandemic. Light? I think it is.

I’m old and blessed…you will be too.

A resurrected mind for Easter 2020

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Tomorrow is Easter/Resurrection Sunday 2020. This will be like no other Easter Sunday that I’ve ever experienced, if memory serves me correctly. On Resurrection Sunday, many Christians around the world will be locked down, in their homes because of the Coronavirus. What an irony. What a contrast to what Easter Sunday represents. To me it represents freedom. Christ had been locked down since Friday afternoon, after his body was carried to a borrowed tomb and a stone was rolled into place to cover the entrance. But we in the Christian community know that he didn’t stay there. On Sunday morning early something happened that changed the history and the experience of being a human forever.

I won’t be able to go to my house of worship to revel in the annual celebration of the resurrection Jesus Christ. I, along with those whose churches have the technical capability, will be watching Easter service on my computer. A few members of my congregation will go to the church, the place where we normally meet, and they will conduct a service for many of us to see. It won’t feel the same. I will probably feel a sense of being restricted. I will not be able to freely transport myself to my beloved church building, where I can participate in corporate worship and enjoy the energy generated by people of like mind and spirit.

Wait a minute. Didn’t Christ die for me to feel free from whatever ungodly circumstance with which I might be confronted? Didn’t the Apostle Paul fervently serve Christ even within the walls of a roman prison? Does my being home tomorrow prevent me from feeling the greatest sense of freedom any person can experience? Didn’t Christ die so that I might be free from all the damaged goods the world wants to offer me? Doesn’t the word of God tell me that I should worship Christ in Spirit and truth, and that where I am should have nothing to do with the freedom and liberty that only God can provide?

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I will not allow my traditional theology to take place of my God-given spiritual freedom tomorrow morning. I will experience a sense of resurrection tomorrow morning; a sense that although my body will be contained within the four walls of my home, my spirit will know the freedom Christ has given me. I will enjoy the height of worship, assigning worth and value to Christ in as much praise as if I were in my beloved church building. I’m living eternal life now, at home, and no virus can change that.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be to.


The global pandemic has interrupted the plans of millions of people. Many of us have finally got the message that were not in control. Jesus, though he had countless obstacles place before him, completed his mission despite them all. That’s an example of Godly control. Amen.

The Godly Chic Diaries

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

A good father sent a good son on this Good Friday– that’s today! It’s the good news, a love story that defines the true meaning of amazing Grace and an unfailing LOVE…

Today we commemorate our Lord Jesus Christ for making a great sacrifice and for freeing us, ALL FROM OUR SINS. He knew the price of those sins was death. He knew the source of those sins was YOU and since He couldn’t bear the thought of eternity without YOU, he chose the nails. By that act of selfless love, Jesus portrayed the STRENGTH, LOVE and FORGIVENESS that lies in the SACRIFICE he made for all of us.

Friends, I encourage you to let this weekend that’s marked in history be…

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Faith perfected by God, housed imperfectly

The faith of a lot of people is being tested right now. If you’re young (in age) or in faith or both, you might feel yourself slipping. You may be asking God why this is happening. You may be scared.  Don’t be alarmed. Faith isn’t a line that graphs upward all the time. It has depressions in the line sometimes, and at others it is fueled with such exuberance that it seems like a ninety degrees vertical line.

The thing is to stay connected to the source (Jesus) of your faith always, because He’s promised to be with you always. While you’re experiencing this period of unparalleled isolation, read (no study) the word; join a cyber church if your congregation hasn’t set up one; call someone who might know the answers to questions you might have; and don’t let this isolation be an isolation from God. And, oh yes, pray, even if it’s about the lapse in faith you might be experiencing.

The bottom line here is to stick and stay. Faith grows over time, even when you might feel that it’s not growing. Body builders, with bulging biceps didn’t get that way over night. As you exercise your faith, it will grow, and God will be pleased. (Hebrews 11:6 tells us that we must have faith to please God). Don’t be intimidated by the exhibitions of faith you see in others. God is the author and finisher (Hebrews 12:2) of your faith, not any other person.

Yes, these are trying times, and let’s be honest even the person who’s been walking with God for a long time is going through a test right now. It may be like a simple pop quiz to some, or an exam requiring complicated written answers to others. It’s a test none the less.

Stay connected to the source (for all of us), and God will see that we’re stronger on the other side.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

Roaches, most active during the darkest hour

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I just finished reading my Sunday newspaper. Of course, it feels awkward calling it a paper, since it comes to our home now via an iPad. My paper, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, decided a while back to cease the paper mode, except on Sundays, choosing to provide iPads to subscribers and electronic news content six days a week. So, let me get to the point.

There was an article in the paper this morning about fake police officers. Evidently, there’s been an increase in folks from around the country, who dawn themselves with attire like that of an official police officer, affix blue lights to their vehicles and proceed to stop unsuspecting citizens. The article reported the case of one morally bankrupt fellow who demanded $1,000.00 from someone because they were out and about in violation of the local coronavirus curfew.

During this dark time in world history, there have also been increased reports of ethically challenged individuals price gouging folks in need of some vital product or service. Our state’s attorney general is currently running a regular public service announcement advising people of the law about price gouging, asking folks who observe it to report it.

I have no proof; however, I suspect many of the people who raided store supplies of toilet paper and paper towels a few weeks ago were doing this in order to position themselves as sellers at some point. I recently saw a video on YouTube where someone was trying to interview a woman loading up her pickup to the brim with toilet paper and paper towels, which she had just purchased from a store. Except for some finely chosen expletives directed at the interviewer, there was little insight shared as to why this voluminous purchase was being made. The interviewer tried appealing to the woman’s sense of conscience, by pointing out that her actions would deprive others of the products. This only brought forth additional expletives.

Roaches from the insect kingdom lurk about in the dark (literally), and they scurry for cover when the light shines on them. Oh, but the two-legged kind ramp up their activity during the darkest hours of tragedy and human suffering; the presence of literal light aids them in their nefarious efforts.

The preceding doesn’t reflect my normal observations, which tend to be less negative, at least I hope so. But my chest feels a bit lighter now. I will say with strong conviction that most stories I read and observations I make are to the contrary of the two-legged roach kind. It is the innumerable acts of compassion shown by folks around the globe that will contribute much to getting us all through this, another dark hour in human history.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.