Did you HEAR the meaning of Covid-19?  

COVID-19 is an acronym. In its full form, COVID-19 stands for CO ronaVI rus Disease of 2019.

The coronavirus disease of 2019 was given the abbreviated name of COVID-19 by The World Health Organization (WHO) in a Press Release on February 11, 2020.

A good friend of mine wrote a very short blog (unlike my always long, designed to make you think blogs) evaluating the question of  WHY did this pandemic hit our world? It sums up two sides rather well,  It went like this:

                   Pray To (insert deity here) For Delivery From The Coronavirus! (?)

Person A:   “We must pray to (God, Jesus, Allah, THE LORD, Ancestors, etc.) to save us from Coronavirus!”

Person B: “He could have simply prevented the Coronavirus from afflicting us in the first place.”

Person A: “He wanted to test our faith.”

Person B: “What would we think of a father who set his child on fire to see if they would cry to him for help?”

Person A:  Blog Post courtesy of L.C. Moss.

Since this pandemic and world shutdown, there have been many conspiracy theories, political finger-pointing games, and a myriad of opinions on this topic.  I found the most contrasting views of all citing two terrible responses to two different awful tragedies. 

In one case, an LGBTQ party was held in Miami in March.  Some attendees contracted Covid-19, and to date, several have perished. (1)  Some religious leaders (2) used the case as validation that indeed, God’s judgment of sin is the reason why this disease has turned into a pandemic.

On the other spectrum, a Pastor attended mardi gras in New Orleans who stated the virus was hysteria; later died of the disease before reaching his home on the way back. (3)  A Pastor in Virginia challenged the lock-down and held a healing service.  He died two weeks after holding the regular service against recommendations.  (4)   Those who have differing views from the first group had plenty of comments and questions asking the question, so what do you church-goers have to say about this pandemic now?

Average Joe’s Portico will never claim to have all the answers. In fact, this writer probably creates more questions than answers as he dares to challenge people’s thoughts from multiple sides.  I seriously though think there is a meaning hidden in the name Covid-19 itself, some will HEAR it, and some will just keep on turning a deaf ear…

If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, every post is written in two parts. You have just read the portion challenging the mind, body, and soul.  In The Portico, I seek to tap into your spiritual side, but only IF YOU DARE.  Tap the Red Line Below to hear the Part 2 much deeper Spiritual side of the story.  (For additional info – read the ‘Do You Dare’ Tab)

(1)Sun-Sentinal April 10, 2020 (2)Counterpunch.org 3/27/20 (3)BBC.com 4/6/2020 (4)foxnews 4/14/2020
If You Dare, Click to Enter Into Joe's Portico (To See Part II of This Story)

Did you ever wonder how God speaks to people?  Well, aside from the 1,000+ examples in the Bible where He demonstrated communicating to people in a myriad of ways, the best verbal example is in the old testament in a book called ‘Kings.’   Despite the positioning of people in powerful places, the primary references of people God ‘spoke to’ or communicated with regularly were people that were called prophets.  One man, who the New Testament states was in line with Moses as having many in-tune conversations with God was a prophet named Elijah.  Elijah is one of only two people mentioned in the Bible to never die (Enoch is the other for you trivia game players).  Moses, we know when he spoke with God, turned totally white (see the movie The Ten Commandments), so conversations with God face to face were quite rare.

 But an encounter with God is described in 1 Kings 19.  Elijah had led an amazing miraculous life as a word warrior.  Just before this discussion in chapter 19, a battle of other ‘prophets’ had taken place How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.”  

Long story short (because I know most will not read the link joined to ‘hobbling between two opinions’ that tells the whole story) Elijah and the prophets of God subdued 450 prophets of doom.  He also happened to command the sky to rain, amongst other miracles. While proving God’s power and existence he caused a fire to start on a water-soaked pile of wood consuming an animal sacrifice, astonishing the prophets of both sides. 

Despite all that and many other miracles Elijah had seen in his illustrious life, a queen named Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah (she had control of those 450 and was ticked off they were gone).  Elijah, in a moment of memory loss, let fear and anxiety take over him.  In a flash, he turned from warrior to worrier and took off and hid in a cave.  If you kept on reading the link under hobbling, you’d find that God sent an angel who found him later starving in a cave.  The angel gave him some magic angel bread that allowed him to have enough strength to walk for 40 days to Mt. Sinai (the same mountain where Moses got the 10 commandments and turned white, and all the people were too afraid to talk to God, so they had to have Moses be the go-between to hear what God had to say).  A 4o-day protein bread – imagine how many of those you could sell at any price.

At Mt Sinai, still in 1 Kings 19 God came and spoke to Elijah as described here:

“But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.  And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Did you HEAR? –   “there was the sound of a gentle whisper.”   1 Kings 19:12

So chapter 19 describes all the ways that surely should catch people’s attention.  Tornadoes, hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes, fires like in Australia and California, etc… but God spoke in a whisper to Elijah in chapter 19.

Do you know that the Hebrew alphabet (of which the old testament was written in Hebrew) has both a letter meaning and a number meaning?  Two or more views at a time yes, but in no way is it ‘hobbling between two opinions’  like the prophets and my friends’ blog reference.  Personally, I do not for one second believe God hobbles on anything; He does give us much to think about, though. 

I borrow from a few sources that: ” the number 19 representation in the Hebrew alphabet includes exactly two things: faith and hearing.   The 19th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is kof, which literally means ‘the back of the head.’  The word picture has to do with hearing God’s voice in ‘the back of your head (mind).’   The Hebrew word for ‘voice’ is kol, which begins with the kof.  When God spoke to Elijah, it was not through the tempest, the earthquake, or the fire, but the ‘still small voice.’  “

Continuing on is an explanation that must be covered because communication is NOT a one-way street:  “Kof is one of the letters made by two marks. Hay is the other. The lower mark of the kof is man calling God.  But God also calls man. With the upper mark of the kof He whispers very softly to see if you are really listening. kol d’mama daka. A voice that is still and small, God’s voice, bat kol. Like an echo. Always listen.  “Such is kof. The voice by which man allows God to be present by calling: Holy (Kadosh).”

Jones and Bullinger’s notes go on to say:  “It is significant that this Hebrew letter is in two parts. The first pictures God reaching down to man by speaking to him; the second pictures man responding to God by faith. This is the force behind the number 19. It has two parts to it: God’s voice and faith. Hence, it requires God to make a declaration before man can respond to His voice.” 

Having studied this numbers thing, I note – there is no exact proof of numbers representation.  Some scoff and say ignore it, I suggest, listen and keep your eyes and ears open, and maybe God will show you things that your stubborn and staunch religious views and teachings have put a veil over your heart and spirit.    I review a dozen resources, of which some have different interpretations.  The above reference is found in Stephen E. Jones synopsis).  Adding a little extra dose of evidence for the 19 = faith and hearing, Hebrews chapter 11 is known as ‘the hall of faith’ which lists one-by-one old testament stalwarts of faith.  It is no coincidence that there are, guess how many listed?  – good guess — exactly 19!

Another view on the #19 is interpreted as God’s perfect judgment.  Both have evidence as being correct.   God has told me (I see some smh’ing going on, whatever) this post is to open ears.  If you need to be told to change, aka repent, then you need to hear it from God, not me or anyone else.  If you are doing 99% right, do what He tells you to be 100% or if only 20% then bump up an additional 80%.   Covid-19 to some is a blown-up farce, whatever, it still has had a worldwide effect no matter what your hobbled opinion is.

Your mind is probably zoning, listen to this timely release of a song that perfectly portrays the ‘Did you HEAR’ title:

 as there is much more to understand.  

The information age has provided only a glimpse proving this old testament described back of the head voice system.  While shouting and yelling gets people’s attention and can incite the hobble-minded to do just about anything;  peace and change come from the portion of our brain in the back.  Doctors are now able to scan our brains and have revealed that we have a built-in system for a path to a higher power:  Dr. Andrew Newberg, neuroscientist and author of “Why We Believe What We Believe,” conducted tests on nuns, Buddhists and Pentecostals.  His studies and others reveal that our brains are wired for more than just the 5 senses.

Newberg is quoted in a ’07 Cnn article   “When we think of religious and spiritual beliefs and practices, we see a tremendous similarity across practices and across traditions.  The frontal lobe, the area right behind our foreheads, helps us focus our attention in prayer and meditation. The parietal lobe, located near the back of our skulls, is the seat of our sensory information.  It’s involved in that feeling of becoming part of something greater than oneself.  The limbic system, nestled deep in the center, regulates our emotions and is responsible for feelings of awe and joy.  Newberg calls religion the great equalizer and points out that similar areas of the brain are affected during prayer and meditation. Newberg suggests that these brain scans may provide proof that our brains are built to believe in God.”

Most of us have experienced highs from alcohol, drugs, or for the healthy-minded a runners high.   Do you think it is possible that our body, soul, and spirit desire a greater capacity then what we see, hear, feel, smell, and touch?   Why would we ever think for a moment, that God does not want to be a part of our life, when He created us in His image and created us to have a relationship with Him?   Relationships require two-way communication?  Why do I have to feel like I need to apologize when I say ‘God told me’ something?   Who is it that really is out of touch?  Interestingly, most Christians scoff more at the words ‘God told me’ than non-Christians do.

Do you HEAR yet what Covid-19 means?

We all are not in the same boat, but we all are in the same storm.  While God might have something to say to the world, I think He is more concerned with us individually.  I hear Him saying I have a message for you average Joe, that is ME.  It is also for all you other average Joe’s and average Jo’s also.   While we don’t know if it was Him or the devil (does it matter?) when things happen our first reaction should always be, dear God, what are you telling me in this situation?   What must I do to be on the same page as You? I am sure I am off kilter.  Whether it is far off or a little,   I want to know – how far?   I often pray, Lord tell me what I need to do differently?  I have never not heard Him tell me when I am off base.  He doesn’t answer me when I ask what stocks to pick, so out of respect of the great gift of the Holy Spirit, I don’t ask. It is not a game, although God does have a sense of humor and communicates in many ways with me.

Jesus, who some false teachers claim never said a negative word and in their Bibles and have the word repent blacked out, had this to say when a few awful things happened:  ‘ Just at that time some people came who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus replied to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans because they have suffered in this way? I tell you, no; but unless you repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways and live changed lives], you will all likewise perish. Or do you assume that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed were worse sinners than all the others who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways and live changed lives], you will all likewise perish.”   Luke 13 1-5 (amp) 

You see the repent definition explained by the Amp version.  When something awful happens like this pandemic, all of us need to look at ourselves first (not at the rest of the world) and make sure we are in good standing with God.  Those who do not know God at all, it is an opportunity to realize our status needs a major turn and no matter how religious you are, there is always need for adjustments.   No one is immune, I think I give a decent coverage of what falling short and turning around is about in my personal story from 40 years ago.   Maybe the fear, angst, and difficulties you are going through is God whispering to hear Him out.  I know I had a stage when it was greatly needed in my life.  Today, I need Him more than I did 40 years ago, or at least it seems like it. 

But I will bet the self-righteous were all looking (or at least at the start of the epidemic but now turned pandemic) at the outside of the church people as needing to change.  Yep all the bars, stadiums, concert halls, businesses, restaurants, all were shut down; all of the worlds idols.  But that darn two-opinion coin hobbles the ‘them’ statements, because all the churches are also shut down.  The traveling prophets, apostolic teachers, the evangelists, and worship leaders have all their venues shut down as well.

We really don’t want to go to the old testament definition of 19 do we?  Exodus 19:19 says  “And it happened, as the blast of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with a voice of thunder.      

But ‘we will not be stopped’ say the bold and fearless. 

Here’s a portico shaker: I keep waiting to hear just one, just one, Minister/Pastor say – This shut down is from God, me and my family are going into the prayer closet as He has called us to evaluate (or gasp, Repent) and seek Him and hear His voice. We’ll see you when it’s over. I have taught you how to know God and hear from Him, now’s the time to apply it!  But, instead what do we see – many churches and some leaders were off immediately building home studios and scrambling to make sure their following continues.    I wonder if they say to themselves – How will they survive without me?  

The book of Revelations repeats a statement 11 times, ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says.’  The number 11 from that numbers doc I told you about earlier means disorder, imperfection, and from another source – Chaos.   While not every situation is in chaos, the Bible both shouts and softly speaks that we must constantly be in whispering distance of God’s voice to keep ourselves aligned.   Whether the chaos is created by our own mistakes, or those out of our control, we should always see what God has to say to each of US about the situation.  I have the utmost respect for all Pastors and the service to God to people they do.  I just wonder though if some on the deep word understanding side found their way to the deep Spirit side and vice versa if a better balance could be found.  I grew up Catholic and admire their adherence to honoring communion, which at times is lacking in other denominations.  We all can learn from one another and if we’re hearing the Fathers voice, perhaps some tweaks can take place in this time of being ‘grounded’.

Once again, it matters not how the situation came about (whether God Himself brought it on, ‘the devil was given permission’, or the devil who ‘controls’ this world is wreaking havoc) , God always makes things work out for the good.  A big denote there, the full Romans 8:28 verse oft quoted says: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Did you Hear what Covid-19 is Saying yet?  Here are some standalone items to Hear for yourself.  Make your own opinions.

“For there is nothing that is hidden that won’t be disclosed, and there is no secret that won’t be brought out into the light! 23 If you understand what I’m saying, you need to respond!”   24 Then he said to them, “Be diligent to understand the meaning behind everything you hear, for as you do, more understanding will be given to you. And according to the depth of your longing to understand, much more will be added to you. 25 For those who listen with open hearts will receive more revelation. But those who don’t listen with open hearts will lose what little they think they have!   Mark 4:22-25  

“From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.”  John 4:23-24 TPT

“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears. You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death”  Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.” 

No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect.

You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.

Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!   

When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.”  Hebrews 12:14-29 NLT    Do we think hearing God should ever be taken lightly? Honestly, I was asked to write this blog 3 weeks ago, I have fought fear on finishing it up since that moment.  I take it serious. 

Work seems to contradict freedom and grace.   It does not, because I have the living loving God filling me with both power and joy combined together to live a holy life, with Him now.  Going through difficult times and still filled with joy is possible when we have a coach, teacher, comforter, and motivator filled with care both by my side –  better yet, living inside me.  I have an understanding Lord sitting at the right side of God explaining that my troubles are harder than they may appear to God because Jesus, while in the flesh knows about it firsthand.  “Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.”   1 Peter 3:22 NLT  

Several years ago, I heard something from God.  Doggone, even I can’t type it without a roll of the eyes, did you roll yours?  He did tell me to start up a web-site and call it Average Joe’s Portico.  The theme was that anyone, any young or old average Joe can and should hear from God.  You don’t have to be a priest, pastor, ceo, president, or whatever to have ears to hear and a voice to speak.  But everyone except those with a title have a voice, the rest of you need to be quiet and submit to us much wiser people. (Note, I am not talking about disrespecting authority)

When someone, anyone that is, gets even a little power it is a threat.  When someone gets a lot of power and it is against what one thinks is right, whole groups, even nations get upset and can go to the extent of trying to stop it.   Think about what is happening with Covid19 and how it is being dealt with.  It is without a doubt a major power fight filled with contempt, conspiracies, all about control.  Lots of con’s. 

Jesus made some statement’s that caused this in John 10:31: ‘When they heard this, the Jewish leaders were so enraged that they picked up rocks to stone him to death.’ 

In last month’s blog which also covers getting closer to God in the post called How-To-Worship-at-Home  (Read it!)  I mentioned the same type of thing saying  – What tremendous Good News it is to know that anyone can have a relationship with God.  Anyone can have a conversation with Him.  This information is exactly why Jesus was killed when He made the statement in John 7.   “37 – Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me!  Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink!   It is what caused an uproar – “43 So the crowd was divided about Him. 

Jesus did not learn His lesson and expanded it further causing them to pick up stones, it was all about that #19 thing that goodness, anyone can hear and speak with God, NO WAY!  Here’s the whole excerpt:     it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in Joe’s Portico (oops sorry it actually says the portico of Solomon.)   24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26 But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.

 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:23-30 (Nasb)

Perhaps it is the statement that I and the Father are one that set off the religious leaders the most.  I do not think so; if Jesus had said My shepherds hear My voice they would not have been upset because they themselves would have assumed, yes, we important people are the shepherds. 

But no.   Jesus, probably in a whisper said,

– My sheep HEAR My voice –

Have you figured it out yet?   Did you HEAR what Covid-19 means,  yet?

Please share your comments, your thoughts may be what others are afraid to say.  Anonymous posts are allowed, but subject to good taste.