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Should You Worry about 'Kissing Bug' Disease?


Doctors warned this week about a disease from abroad that threatens the health of more and more Americans.  Not Ebola—they're talking about Chagas, known as the "kissing bug" disease.  Spread by blood-sucking bugs that bite people's faces during the night, the disease affects seven to eight million people worldwide.  It can lead to cardiac and intestinal complications and even death.  Researchers say the disease, once concentrated in Mexico, Central America, and South America, is spreading quickly in the U.S.


In the aftermath of Tuesday's mid-term elections, it's easy to think that the nation is turning Republican and the 2016 presidential election will follow suit.  Not so fast, according to political commentator David Gergen.  He is warning about the "Blue Wall"—18 states and the District of Columbia that have voted for Democrats in six straight presidential elections.  Together they account for 242 electoral votes, just 28 shy of the 270 needed to win.  Republicans have a "Red Wall," 21 states plus much of Nebraska, but it comprises only 179 electoral votes. 


Every Senate seat that was in question Tuesday was outside the Blue Wall.  In 2016, Republicans will have the more vulnerable Senate candidates.  And the Democrats' presidential candidate, if he or she wins the Blue Wall, will need only Florida's 29 electoral votes to win the White House.  All that to say, Tuesday's election may not mean as much as it seems today.  One news source even headlined, "How Hillary Clinton won the 2014 midterms."


My point is not to offer medical advice or political prognostications.  Rather, it is to observe that things are not always what they seem.  A disease that makes headlines may not be spreading as quickly as one you've never heard of.  Political success today is no guarantee of political success tomorrow.  Wisdom for each day and each decision is vital.


This fact is nowhere more urgent than in our spiritual lives.  The seven last words of the church are "we never did it that way before."  Past encounters with God are not sufficient for today.  Christianity is always one generation from extinction.  God has no grandchildren.  If Christians are to engage our culture for the Kingdom, we must be led every day by the only One who can change our world.


In Matthew 9, two blind men came to Jesus for healing.  After restoring their sight, he "sternly warned them, 'See that no one knows about it'" (Matthew 9:30).  However, "they went away and spread his fame through all that district" (v. 31).  Perhaps they assumed that exalting Jesus publicly is always the right thing to do.  But he has a plan for each moment, one we seldom understand at the time.


So the best way to begin each day is by surrendering it to his purpose for that day.  Then walk through your day praying about every decision as it comes, asking for the Spirit's wisdom.  When you do, "your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it'" (Isaiah 30:21).  And God will use you and empower you in ways you would not have imagined.


Would God say you are listening to his voice today?



Publication date: November 6, 2014


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