Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Iran’s water crisis stokes another round of protests

The 42 years of Islamic fundamentalism proved that this so religious system is as corrupt like any other system where people in power try to earn as much they can for themselves (at the cost of the population).

We shall have to face not only political refugees but soon more ecological refugees.

Democracy for Iran

By Struan Stevenson

July 26 (UPI) –Prior to the 1979 revolution, Iran’s population of 34 million people relied on a stable water supply, sourced from millennia-old underground canals and aquifers. The Iranian revolution, hijacked by the mullahs, changed all that.

The theocratic regime handed control of the nationalized water industry — and indeed over 80% of all other business, industrial and service sectors — to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the regime’s equivalent of the Gestapo. The IRGC answers directly to the elderly supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It pays no tax and corruptly siphons vast financial resources into its own pockets and into financing proxy wars and terrorism across the Middle East and further afield.

The IRGC members use oil revenues stolen from the Iranian people to race ahead with the clandestine construction of a nuclear weapon and ballistic missile delivery systems capable of reaching Tel Aviv, Israel…

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Religious Resistance against vaccination

In the United States we can see a great tendency not to go for vaccination because according to lots of Christian citizens God would protect them.

Millions of white evangelical adults in the U.S. do not intend to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Tenets of faith and mistrust of science play a role; so does politics. Also in Calvinistic Holland we can find lots of people who do not want to be vaccinated.

Some people also come with the most absurd stories, like the government placing a chip in people or having vaccinations with “aborted cell tissue.” Others claim to have received a divine message that God was the ultimate healer and deliverer

“The vaccine is not the saviour.”

Several religious people find they do not need the vaccine because God designed the body to heal itself, if given the right nutrients. They are also convinced that it shall be the Will of God to decide who becomes ill or not and if they shall survive this pandemic.

Across white evangelical America, reasons not to get vaccinated have spread as quickly as the virus that public health officials are hoping to overcome through herd immunity.

There are about 41 million white evangelical adults in the U.S. About 45 percent said in late February that they would not get vaccinated against Covid-19, making them among the least likely demographic groups to do so, according to the Pew Research Center.

“If we can’t get a significant number of white evangelicals to come around on this, the pandemic is going to last much longer than it needs to,”

said Jamie Aten, founder and executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, an evangelical institution in Illinois.

Those who refuse to have a jab forget that they are putting the lives of others in danger, the same as they are putting people at risk by ignoring the request not to have a public meeting with too many people. Several church groups can still be found to have public church services, with people coming very close to each other and by singing loud.

In the States

“The sheer size of the community poses a major problem for the country’s ability to recover from a pandemic that has resulted in the deaths of half a million Americans,”

the Times warned.

“And evangelical ideas and instincts have a way of spreading, even internationally.”

Though not all pastors advice their flock to stay away from vaccination.

Many high-profile conservative pastors and institutional leaders have endorsed the vaccines. Franklin Graham told his 9.6 million Facebook followers that Jesus would advocate for vaccination. Pastor Robert Jeffress commended it from an anti-abortion perspective on Fox News.

“We talk about life inside the womb being a gift from God. Well, life outside the womb is a gift from God, too.”

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, tweeted a photo of himself receiving a shot.

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Related

According to Pew Most White Evangelicals Don’t Think COVID-19 is a Medical Crisis

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Zijn Liefde kent geen grenzen

Velen geven blijk van opgesloten te zitten, maar grijpen deze kans niet om zich even ernstig te bezinnen. Al maanden hebben wij nu allemaal tijd gekregen om na te denken over zin en onzin van dit aardse bestaan en over de waarde van onze relatie met de medemens, maar ook met de natuur. Vraag is hoe veel mensen tijd genomen hebben om na te denken over onze relatie met de Goddelijke Schepper en Toelater van al die dingen die wij mogen hebben en waarmee wij ons mogen omringen?

Vandaag kijken wij even naar een reactie van een familie op zending in Costa Rica, waar bijna het hele schooljaar de kinderen online les volgden.

Ze hebben het alle drie gehaald en goed hun best gedaan ook al was het niet wat ze zelf zouden kiezen. Graag willen ze weer terug naar het ‘oude’, naar het gewone klaslokaal. Maar goed, dat gaat hopelijk volgend jaar veranderen.

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Te onthouden:

Het Evangelie kent geen grenzen. De liefde van God, de waarheid van God zit niet aan gebouw vast, maar ook niet vast aan een plaats, maar woont in Zijn volk.

  • Velen vergeten dat dit juist een tijd is waarbij het zo belangrijk is om elkaar via het internet verder te bemoedigen en de Blijde Boodschap verder uit te dragen zodat meerderen het licht aan het einde van de tunnel zullen kunnen zien.

De Coghis in Costa Rica

De regels worden steeds strikter. De vijand lijkt steeds dichtbij te komen. Dit virus ken geen grenzen en gaat waar het heen wil. We worden er sterk op gewezen om afstand te houden en als we dat niet zelf doen dan wordt het ons opgelegd. Maar…

De liefde van God kent geen grenzen

Niemand kan met geld de grens nog oversteken, ze zitten dicht. Vandaag is hier in Costa Rica aangekondigd dat als je een verblijfsvergunning hebt als buitenlander en je nu het land verlaat dan kan het zomaar ineens zijn dat je die verblijfsvergunning verliest. Ik weet niet precies waarom dit is aangekondigd en waarom deze strikte regel, maar we leven in rare tijden.

De meeste beslissingen, moeten we geloven, zijn om de mensen te beschermen, maar er zullen ook beslissingen tussen zitten waar we niks van snappen. En toch temidden van al deze beslissingen, temidden van een realiteit…

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Draag zorg voor je eigen immuunsysteem

Tijdens deze coronamaanden is er al heel wat gesproken over het immuun maken of ons lichaam verdedigbaar te maken tegen bacteriën en virussen.

Vanaf dat wij ontworpen worden staan wij onderhevig aan wat door onze aardse makers (onze ouders) wordt door gegeven. Wij worden onlosmakelijk verbonden met de erfelijkheid via onze ouders en voorouders. Maar zodra wij ter wereld komen staan we voortdurend bloot aan talloze micro-organismen die ons op elk moment kunnen aanvallen. Denk maar aan virussen, bacteriën … Daarom heeft de mens een erg efficiënt verdedigingssysteem ontwikkeld waardoor hij al miljoenen jaren kan overleven en evolueren. Hoe kun je dit geniale systeem een handje helpen? Welke voeding eet je het best om ongewenste microben af te weren?

Velen vergeten dat wij zelf veel in de hand hebben bij het ons verdedigbaar maken tegen vijanden van buiten af. De Schepper heeft ons voorzien van een uitstekend werkingsmechanisme.

Om een efficiënt schild op te bouwen en een goede tegenaanval te kunnen organiseren, moeten wij gewoon voorzien dat wij ons houden aan de wetten van de natuur en daarbij zo veel mogelijk natuurlijke stoffen eten en chemicaliën vermijden. Alle extra toegevoegde industriële chemische stoffen zijn eigenlijk overbodige stoffen die ons lichaam extra kunnen belasten.

De voeding zou een bijzonder apart geplaatst  (heilig) gebeuren in ons leven moeten zijn, waarbij wij volledig bewust zijn van wat wij ons lichaam bezorgen. Wij moeten er op toe zien dat ons lichaam alle grondstoffen verkrijgt die ons systeem nodig heeft om ons wapenarsenaal goed te onderhouden.

Hoe bescherm je jezelf dus het best tegen ongewenste bezoekers?

Draag zorg voor je darmen, de ‘longen’ van je immuunsysteem!

80% van je imuuncellen bevinden zich in je darmen. Ze zijn verspreid over de volledige darmwand, die daarbovenop wordt beschermd door een slijmlaag. Dat zegt genoeg over hoe belangrijk dit orgaan is in het beschermingssysteem van je lichaam. Je darmen bevatten ook tal van micro-organismen, zoals bacteriën, virussen en gist, maar laat je niet misleiden! Deze bacteriën zijn niet ongezond. Integendeel: ze zijn zelfs heel nuttig. Hou je darmflora dus zeker in topconditie.

  • Kies voor gefermenteerde voeding zoals yoghurt, kefir, kaas met rauwe melk, gefermenteerde dranken zoals kombucha, vruchtenkefir, zuurkool, met melkzuur gefermenteerde groenten … Al deze producten vind je gebruiksklaar in elke biowinkel.  Ze bevatten goede bacteriën die essentieel zijn voor gezonde darmen.
  • Eet ook vezelrijke voeding om je darmflora een boost te geven. Zorg ervoor dat elke maaltijd voor minstens de helft uit seizoensgroenten bestaat, zoals asperges, broccoli, venkel, pastinaak, aardperen (als je ze lust), knoflook enzovoort. Als begeleider kies je voor granen of iets soortgelijks, zoals eenkoren, rijst, gierst, quinoa, boekweit … Beperk dit tot maximaal een kwart van je bord als je niet erg sportief bent 😉
  • Eet minstens twee keer per week peulvruchten, die je voor het koken een nachtje laat weken.  Vergeet ook de zaden en noten niet, zoals lijnzaad, chiazaad, amandelen, walnoten … De vezels en micronutriënten die ze bevatten, zijn bijzonder voedzaam.

Omega 3, de natuurlijke ontstekingsremmer!

Omega 3 is essentieel voor je immuunsysteem en om chronische ontstekingen tegen te gaan. Gelukkig zit je voeding boordevol omega 3, zodat je ten volle kunt genieten van de voordelen die deze stof te bieden heeft.

Neem elke dag twee eetlepels koolzaad- of walnootolie en/of één theelepel lijnzaadolie. Eet twee tot drie keer per week vette vis, maar let op: roofvissen zoals verse tonijn en zalm bevatten ook veel zware metalen. Die eet je beter niet meer dan een keer per week. Sardines, ansjovis, makreel en kabeljauwlever zijn betere keuzes. Bij het aperitief of in rillettes: zo eet je snel en eenvoudig je portie vis. Bovendien bevatten ze vitamine D en zink, twee voedingsstoffen die een belangrijke rol spelen in je immuunsysteem.

Pimp je bord

Antioxidanten zijn een echte schat voor je gezondheid – én ze zitten in tal van ingrediënten. Geef ze dus een mooi plekje op tafel (en op je bord, natuurlijk). Gekleurde planten zitten boordevol antioxidanten. Denk maar aan bosbessen, braambessen, rode uien, pruimen, rode bieten, gekleurde wortelen, kiwi’s, avocado’s, zoete aardappelen, granaatappelen, kolen, alle soorten noten… Daarnaast vind je ze onder meer in groene thee, cacao, specerijen, olijfolie en oesters. Zorg dus voor kleur op je bord en experimenteer naar hartenlust met verschillende smaken.

 

Gooi het dus over een andere boeg en versterk je immuunsysteem vanaf vandaag dankzij deze eenvoudige tips die je elke dag kunt toepassen.

➡️ Wil je meer weten over dit onderwerp? Lees dan het Franse boek ‘L’Alimentation spécial immunité’ van diëtiste en voedingsdeskundige Véronique Liesse. Hierin vind je ook tal van eenvoudige, efficiënte recepten die je zelf kunt klaarmaken.

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Een deel van dit artikel is geschreven in samenwerking met Sylvie Dejardin, voedingsconsulente en partner van het Europese FOOD-programma. Dit programma is erop gericht werknemers, werkgevers en restauranthouders bewust te maken over gezonde, lekkere voeding, vooral tijdens de middagpauze.

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Let’s make a wish

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Let’s make a wish that we as humans appreciate what we have and make a step towards making this Earth,
this Universe a better place to live in.
Lets take care of ourselves and those around us.
Thank the valiant efforts of doctors and healthcare workers
along with researchers of the world making a breakthrough in vaccine,
showcasing the resilience of human spirit.
With our positivity, let’s heal the Corona Positive, absorb all the pain and emerge powerful.

So my four wishes for this year –
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay masked and stay strong!

~ Jyoti Batra {Why you need to think before making a wish in 2021}

 

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Some Hope for 2021

Karla Surguine cried when the clock struck twelve on January 1st, 2021. She writes:

It never crossed my mind that I would be emotional about the moment wretched 2020 would turn to history, but my heart was relieved to see a conglomerate of pain walk away. I am not a believer that a different day immediately improved things; we are still in the midst of everything 2020 brought for us. However, I know for sure that 2021 is the year of hope. We hope that things will get better from here. They will not be as normal as a year ago, but we expect this year to bring healing to our bodies, hearts, and pockets. {My Hope for 2021}

At the beginning of the year, we all have a lot of resolutions or plans we want to realise in the new year. On the 31st of December many are waiting and counting down, ready for a fresh start and a New Year. Every year we want to have certain things of the previous year to be put in a bin to forget very quickly. 2020 brought us something we shall not easily forget, though we would love to see it soon over.

It’s crystal clear that 2020 was not as promising as we expected it to be, that was a year filled with challenges and hopes for a better future that we so craved to come as soon as possible and now it’s finally here but how can we manage to leave that outdated/shadowy mindset behind in order to bring up a fresh one that can take us exactly where we wanted to go in the former year but couldn’t utterly achieve? {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

How many people do not spend their whole life stuck in situations where they wish to escape.  This last year was for many more a year we all want to leave behind. Though so quickly it shall not let us go loose. We must understand it is still going to be here for some while. So we shall have to be patient.

writes:

Last year was a hard/different year and even if we don’t see many changes in the beginning of 2021, we have to be positive and think that we learn some things in the hardest times, and that good times will come. The good thinks we learned should be remembered and applied in 2021 (and maybe for the rest of our life) but there are always more things that we can try to be better. {Our 2021 Resolutions…}

For many 2020 has shown the importance of finding bliss in the little things and of being able to be with our beloved ones, trying to stay save and uninfected. Many of us could find in 2020 so much more time for themselves, because they did not have to go to work or could not open their shop. The obligated time for oneself could enrich us. The time of isolation could also be for many a time for reflection. We clearly see the result of it, by having even people starting a new business in this crisis time. Others found now the time to work in the house, doing renovations, or working more in the garden; All the green fingers seemed to have come out of the soil.

2020 surprisingly was also a year many could find renewed energy to things that bring them pure happiness, learning that change is okay, and setting boundaries in order to be their best self. Many people their eyes opened how they were the other years taken by their job full of stress, more working instead of living.
2020 brought them down to earth to reconsider. It was really a year of reflection for many.

Marcella Marie confesses:

I often get so caught up in work, stress, + daily to-do’s that I forget to take a moment to look around me and appreciate everything that I have. This is something that 2020 has taught me to do, and I am so grateful. I hope to carry this mentality into the coming year, because it has shown me what is most important in life.{New Year, New Manifestations}

Ranjani writes:

With a deadly virus lurking in unexpected corners, it was critical for everyone to maintain a good physical health. But it did not suffice, did it? To sustain those prolonged durations of lockdown, distancing ourselves from our loved ones, isolations and taking responsibility of our dependents despite our precarious emotional states, achieving and maintaining a state of harmony of the body, mind and emotions had become inevitable. {Entering a new decade with old values!}

We can look negatively to those lockdowns, or we can be glad we still could make the best out of it and stay healthy. She continues:

we are a lot calmer than what we were a year before and have embraced the uncertainty, albeit gingerly. {Entering a new decade with old values!}

2020 was for many a year that showed reasons enough to be thankful.

There’s no such thing as not having anything to be grateful for, it might be the most modest thing we can possibly think of that it’s still going to count as something to be grateful for, so grab a pen and a piece of paper and go do some grateful thinking practice or just type it on your phone. Whatever you fancy! {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

Probably for most people things didn’t go the way they wanted them to go. All over the world, we got taken by the unexpected. However, one thing is for certain, all over the world, people are looking forward to some change.

A change in perspective holds the power to highly influence in your outcomes regardless of your setting point. So, perhaps adjusting the way we perceive things to be might not just give us the results that we want plus also helps us discern our dreams and hopes from a brighter perspective. {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

All people were taken out of their comfort zone. Most of us are not yet sure what perspective 2021 might bring. But we all hope we shall be able to put an end to this mighty coronavirus tickling our society for such a long time. For sure in 2021 we shall need another strategy than in 2020.

See, this is the moment when we are supposed to be courageous and driven enought in order to let go of the control and boredom and take over a whole innovative attitude on how to take actions that are just as reasonable and that can take you where you are intented to go. {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

Last few months we were allowed to go easy on ourselves and allowing us to have time for resting and even perhaps some time to go lazy (who knows?).

2020 was a rough year in which required so much of us to merely make it through to get to this point and so just for that we are deserving of the greatest amount of respect we could ever nurture for anyone…

So, please in the name of quality of life, the next time we find us beating ourselves up let’s remember that that inner, ugly and powerless voice has no inpact on our reality unless we grant it the strenght to. {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

One of the good things of 2020 was also that lots of people became more aware of the difficult position others are.

People, otherwise preoccupied with their mundane problems, turned crusaders in support of the less privileged and the needy. There are reports galore in the media of people donating their earnings to relief funds, supplying essentials, arranging transport services, serving food to frontline workers, volunteering along with health care professionals, working round the clock to bring relief to patients, supplying medicines and protective gears, sharing their resources and opening their heart, mind and arms to fellow humans, across the world. {Entering a new decade with old values!}

2021 shall not directly bring new days, but the hope might be here now that in lots of countries vaccinations have been started.

In our minds getting something done can be a huge elephant that we have to tackle when all we have to do is beat the potato sitting on us. What happens to our dreams? What happens to our environment? What about our friends? Do we just accept turning into a puddle of screens or a piece of that silver tape on our couch that will not budge? It’s not worth it. These mindless activities just cause emptiness and blend our free time away. Again, it’s not worth it. By shifting just a little bit we can move the potato off its position and gain some momentum. Potatoes aren’t particularly heavy. {The 10 Minutes that Will Change Your Life}

The time being we shall just have to make the best of the coming months. Therefore, take some good books with you and watch some nice films with your partner and your kids. Take some more time to play outdoors and to play some family games inside.

Deciding to pick up a book for a few minutes a day instead of my phone, will water me and make me very fruitful, enabling me to give to others. As a consequence, I hope to sleep better, try new things around my neighborhood, discover new interesting topics, learn a bit about art, and cook some new dishes. Reading will breathe newness and refreshment in me. {My Hope for 2021}

Choose for 2021 to

  • find happiness in the everyday
  • read more
  • set clear boundaries
  • continue to prioritize health + wellness
  • continue to grow
  • to make the best out of life

To end:

So often we try to work at ourselves to change ourselves. But is that always change for the good? More often we need to accept ourselves more and find a way to fit in this world of diversity. It is not bad to have plans for the future and to work at yourself, but always think very carefully about it and do not have too high expectations.

We don’t know what the new year has in store for us. But let’s pack some optimism and newfound values and lessons learnt last year in our benevolence bag and make headway with a big smile! {Entering a new decade with old values!}

Good luck.

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Find also to read

  1. In Coronatime thinking about death
  2. Today’s thought “A New Year” (January 01)
  3. The secular year coming to a close
  4. If you’re going to try, go all the way
  5. Good time to sort out your friends and contacts
  6. A new start when the lockdown comes to an end
  7. Do we need to learn to accept ourselves as we are?
  8. A living Word giving confidence
  9. We should use the Bible every day

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Related

  1. What has this #coronatime brought to me?
  2. Be yourself, Be at home
  3. Work from Home: Quarantine Time
  4. Complex dynamics and simple disappointments
  5. The good behind the bad and the ugly
  6. The 200 year present
  7. Hope & possibility
  8. New Year
  9. Fresh Start
  10. New Year, New Manifestations
  11. Alive in the future – dead in the past

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Grenzeloze Hopeloosheid

Vast en zeker kende het Coronavirus geen grenzen, maar ook heel wat mensen konden geen grenzen trekken voor hun gedrag en veroorloofden het zich om zo maar grenzen op alle gebieden te overkruisen, in plaats zich aan de corona-maatregelen te houden.

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De ellendigste tendens van 2020

December 2019 bracht een eerste tijding van een soort virus dat in een marktplaats zou opgetreden zijn. Volgens China dat dit nieuws liefst niet kenbaar had gemaakt was dat vreemde nog ongekende virus dat in december 2019 in de stad Wuhan was uitgebroken, het coronavirus, van mens op mens overdraagbaar. De dokter die voor dat nieuwe dodelijke virus had gewaarschuwd was eerder wegens zijn slechte nieuwsvoering opgesloten in de gevangenis. Maar door de snelle verspreiding van het virus dat ook na het Chinese nieuwjaar buiten China werd gebracht, kon men de feiten niet meer stil houden. In Wuhan waar  zo’n elf miljoen mensen wonen werd de hoogste besmettingsgraad waargenomen in China en moesten de mensen zelfs 76 dagen lang in een harde lockdown, waarbij mensen helemaal niet naar buiten mochten. (Dus heel wat anders dan hier, waar meerderen steen en been kloegen.)

De nieuwsuitzending doorheen het jaar brachten ons allerlei corona weetjes. Uren radio en tévé geweld gingen aan dat coronavirus verloren. Soms leek het wel of er niets anders in de wereld gebeurde. Natuurlijk mocht Donald Trump op het palmares niet ontbreken. Met zijn bagatellisering van de “Chinese ziekte” en andere absurde uitlatingen mocht hij ook wel ons televisiescherm bijna dagelijks bezoedelen. Hierbij deed hij ons wel meermaals de ‘zure’ lach op anders ernstige gezichten brengen.

Naar het jaar 2020 dichter bij haar einde kwam doken wel wat meer positieve berichten op om die onverwachte pandemie klein te krijgen. Overall in de wereld waren dokters en verplegend personeel druk in de weer geweest om mensen er bovenop te helpen. Toch kwamen over geheel de wereld heel wat mensen te overlijden. 19.581 Belgen en 11.529 Nederlanders verloren het leven, wat niets lijkt te zijn tegenover de 346 000 doden die de Verenigde Staten moest optekenen, waarvan er honderd duizenden konden vermeden worden indien de president de nodige maatregelen had getroffen. In Nederland was de bevolking in 2019 nog gegroeid met 132.000 mensen, tot 17,4 miljoen inwoners, aldus het CBS. De sterkste groei sinds 1975, maar nu leek een uitdunningsslag begonnen te zijn.

Heel wat mensen in de rijkere landen vonden dat hun vrijheden werden beperkt en dat ze het oh zo moeilijk hadden dat ze het niet meer aan konden. Wat zij zeker niet zagen of niet in hun geest op riepen was datgene wat heel wat minder in het nieuws kwam maar daarom niet minder ernstig was.

De ellendigste tendens van 2020, waarvoor ook 2021 geen vaccin belooft, is namelijk die van vluchtelingenkampen en -stromen, en harde politieke dijken en dammen.2020 bracht geen einde aan de vluchtelingencrisis waarmee Europa al enkele jaren zit mee te kampen. Ook al mocht de pers er minder over gesproken hebben mochten wij dit afgelopen jaar  een recordaantal van bijna tachtig miljoen medemen-sen op de vlucht aantreffen. Ruim de helft van hen is ontheemd in eigen land, dertig miljoen hebben een erkende vluchtelingenstatus, ruim vier miljoen zijn in afwachting van hun asielaanvraag. Veruit de grootste massa’s vluchtelingen worden – geheel conform een populair politiek devies – ‘opgevangen in de regio’. In Turkije (uit Syrië), Colombia (uit Venezuela), Pakistan (uit Afghanistan) en Uganda (uit Zuid-Sudan, Congo en Somalië). Op een strookje als Libanon wonen naar schatting 1,5 miljoen vluchtelingen naast 4,5 miljoen Libanezen – en dan gebeurt juist dáár een ramp van nucleaire omvang, waarna de regering aftrad.

Erg genoeg waren er asielzoekers die ten einde raad hun tenten in brand staken, in de hoop beter onderdak te krijgen. Dit bracht hen echter in nog grotere ellende, onder de blote hemel in nachten die alsmaar kouder en natter werden. De komst van het coronavirus maakte de toestand nog nijpender, daar de gewone bevolking rond de kampen die mensen als een mogelijkedreiging begonnen te zien en hen afhield om verder hulp te bieden. De Verenigde Naties bleef vragen om extra noodhulp ter waarde van 500 mil-joen euro voor huisvesting, voedsel en gezondheidszorg. De extra belasting aftrek die door de Belgische regering werd beloofd voor giften aan goede doelen zal hopelijk toch ook iets extra hebben mogen bijdragen. De cijfers zijn hiervan nog niet gekend. Wel is geweten dat veel donoren toch nog aarzelden, want bij vorige acties bleek dikwijls het geld en goederen niet toe te komen waar het hoorde aan te komen. Omtrent Syrië was men ook bang dat het geld en de goederen in handen zou vallen van jihadistische strijdgroeperingen. Die bleven nog lange tijd doorvechten, omdat Idlib de laatste provincie was die nog niet in handen van Assad was en nog een goed toevluchtsoord leek.

De corona-epidemie beheerste zodanig het nieuws in 2020, en zeker in april, toen het virus zich wereldwijd uitbreidde en dagelijks duizenden levens eiste. Nieuws dat anders de voorpagina’s zou hebben bepaald, werd helemaal naar de marge geduwd. Waar dat sinds 2014 een burgeroorlog heerst, die aan meer dan 112.000 mensen het leven heeft gekost, kwam nog uitzonderlijk één Vlaamse reporter ons toch nog wat schrijnend nieuws brengen.

Over Jemen, bijvoorbeeld, wordt weinig meer vernomen. In het land, in het zuidwesten van het Arabische schiereiland, woedt de strijd vooral tussen de rege-ring en de Houthi-rebellen maar voort. Door bemoeienis van Saudi-Arabië, dat de soennitische regering steunt, en Iran, dat de Houthi’s steunt, bleef het conflict daar maar meer mensen verarmen en kampen met voedsel tekort maar ook met een tekort aan medische zorgen. Na vijf jaar oorlog is de helft van alle ziekenhuizen en klinieken verwoest. Er is gebrek aan voedsel, medicijnen en kleren. Miljoenen mensen dreigen te verhongeren.

Ook al mocht het positief lijken dat ISIS of Daesh zware tegenslagen had opgelopen in het Midden Oosten, konden zij ondertussen in Afrika nieuwe uitvalsbases oprichten. Dit deden zij door samenwerking met terroristengroeperingen als Al-Shabaab en Boko Haram. Aanslagen in Nigeria, Mozambique, Congo, Kenia en Somalië, kwamen eigenlijk onvoldoende aan bod in de Westerse media. Algerije en Ethiopië kwamen iets meer in de kijker doordat zuid Europa weer een toename van vluchtelingen te verwerken kreeg uit die streken.

Volgens de cijfers van de UNHCR zijn zestig miljoen vluchtelingen langdurig op de vlucht. De kans dat vluchtelingen naar hun land van herkomst terugkeren, neemt al jaren af. In de jaren negentig keerden nog anderhalf miljoen mensen terug, de laatste tien jaar is dat gedaald tot 385.000. Meer dan zestig miljoen vluchtelingen verblijven in landen of gebieden waar voedselschaarste en ondervoeding heersen, en waar de gevolgen van klimaat- en natuurrampen zich laten gelden. Een aanzienlijk deel van de tachtig miljoen vluchtelingen is nog kind: naar schatting zijn dat er tussen de 30 en 34 miljoen.

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Wishing you a Happy New Year in this time of Corona

Happy new year! 

I do not now how the year 2020 went for you. For me it was like a rollercoaster ride having to bring over all the pages from the old Google sites into different multiple New Google sites.

It took months to transfer all the pages manually (because the website was to huge to convert,hence now divided in sites for each of the four languages.

It looks like the year took only two months, for me.

For everybody it was a year of isolation and perhaps also some coronastress. I have put on some corona kilos.

I do hope you were not to badly affected by the corona crisis.

We are not yet rid of this virus which took the whole world. With vaccinations started we may look forward to some better times. Though we shall still have to be patient until next Summer.

For now I send you and your family our warmest wishes for 2021. May this new start give each of us fresh inspiration and determination for the year ahead.

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2020 a year of having more idols but also more personal problems

The Spring of 2020 brought something new to the world which made everyone and everything coming to a standstill but brought also many to having psychological problems. At first, it seemed incredible to hear certain churches calling for their members to come to church, even when the governments asked people to avoid contact with many. Some pastors dared to go so far as telling people that if they would become infected with Corona that would be because they had not enough faith. Such saying we can only call “criminal”. Several Christian groups, mainly in Holland wanted people to believe that as faithful people would come to the service they would not be harmed because they would do what God expected from them.

Lots of people got in problem with their mind, having become pulled away from their social contacts by the lockdown. Depression, bipolar episodes, and anxiety attacks were hindermost in the running.

Because depression isn’t often discussed in churches, a great deal of misunderstanding has popped up in this year when there were so many more people with a lot of psychological problems, who could not be helped by medical staff.

We want people to believe that the first step is realising what this disorder isn’t:

“It’s not a character defect, a spiritual disorder or an emotional dysfunction. And chief of all, it’s not a choice.”

Also we want Christians to be aware that it is not, like some Trinitarian preachers wanted their flock to believe

a penalty from God.

When you do not feel well in your skin it is not that God would be punishing you because you would have done something wrong or that you would not have enough faith in Him.

We also must be aware that just because someone seems “happy,” that doesn’t mean they’re healthy or that they really would be happy. Look at the very popular Flemish influencer. Social media seemed to take more people in its ban this year. The advertising flow is drying up, so professional users of social media tell more about their concerns and they seemed for many to provide some good information. After the death of that 21 year old boy more than ever, several influencers came to understand their role in the youthgroups and to realise that good mental health is important.

This way NokNok wants to teach young people that it is normal to not always feel perfect. Staff member Eline De Decker:

“Nobody walks on clouds every day. Sometimes you get up and immediately feel that it is going to be a terrible day. Sometimes you doubt yourself or feel insecure. Or are you stressed or disappointed with friends or family. That is normal.
And that’s all okay. ”

NokNok wants to convey that message clearly and shows young people between the ages of 12 and 16 what they can do to gain more self-confidence, have less stress and go through life as positivo.

Instagram has been around for ten years, and what the app has perhaps achieved best during that period is creating the illusion that users can “work independently” via the platform. Certainly influencers, people who live off sponsored photos on their Instagram profile, are an example of this bogus self-employment.
They live off Instagram, but much more for Instagram – they tweak their entire lives to create the best photos and videos. And once their Instagram goes down, they have nothing to fall back on.

With the rise of social media, the phenomenon of fanship has changed drastically. About ten or twenty years ago, an idol was someone you idolized by hanging posters on the wall, playing CDs, maybe watching movies or TV shows. The relationship fan-
Idol was pretty one-sided: the fan was occasionally thrown a treat – a new song, a TV appearance, a message about a wedding in a gossip magazine – and he or she had to settle for that.

But with digitization, the relationship between fans and idols has turned inside out,
British sociology professor Ellis Cashmore writes in his book Kardashian Kulture, in which he examines how celebrity culture has changed in the 21st century. No longer are fans from outside looking at the world in which their idol lives – they are right in the thick of it.

Certain churches used those idols also in church and wanted to attire people to their meetings by using a lot of music and disco settings. In 2020 we saw a continuation of the pulpits shrinking and even disappearing while bands and lighting have grown. But faith does not come from music, dynamic experiences, or supposed encounters with God. Faith is birthed through the proclamation of God’s Word (Rom 10:17).

Our assurance is threatened.
Whilst certain churches kept calling their flock to the church building, others tried to bring entertaining video presentations. All that attention or focussing on those idols and entertainement made many youngsters feeling even more alone, when there was no such church meeting any more. If we associate God’s presence with a particular experience or emotion, you can ask what happens when we no longer feel it.

We search for churches whose praise band, orchestra, or pipe organ produce in us the feelings we are chasing. But the reality of God in our lives depends on the mediation of Christ not on subjective experiences.

Musicians are given priestly status.
When music is seen as a means to encounter God, worship leaders and musicians are vested with a priestly role. They become the ones who bring us into the presence of God rather than Jesus Christ who alone has already fulfilled that role. Understandably, when a worship leader or band doesn’t help me experience God they have failed and must be replaced. On the other hand, when we believe that they have successfully moved us into God’s presence they will attain in our minds a status that is far too high for their own good.

Division is increased.
If we identify a feeling as an encounter with God, and only a particular kind of music produces that feeling, then we will insist that same music be played regularly in our church or gatherings. As long as everyone else shares our taste then there is no problem. But if others depend upon a different kind of music to produce the feeling that is important to them then division is cultivated. And because we routinely classify particular feelings as encounters with God our demands for what produce those feelings become very rigid. This is why so many churches succumb to offering multiple styles of worship services. By doing so, they unwittingly sanction division and self-centeredness among the people of God.

Scripture is full of exhortations to God’s people to sing and make music to Him. Our God has been gracious to give us this means to worship Him. But it is important to understand that music in our worship is for two specific purposes: to honour God and to edify our fellow believers. Unfortunately, many Christians tend to grant music a sacramental power which Scripture never bestows upon it.

Intense relationship
Those churches who by the years focused more on the show element of their services brought their members now in a situation where the lockdown is felt more as a restriction and limitation. Some even came to find that they could not serve God any more or did not give Him the full worship they had to offer Him. The fact they felt they could not serve their God any more made them feeling very bad. Instead of making them to understand they also could worship God in their own house in their own small bubble, some churches gave them even more a feeling of guilt by keeping to tell them they should not stop coming to the church building.

Against the lonely feeling they said what’s needed was the gathering and coming to feast again for God. But what is really needed is a loving community where people are encouraged to speak up and get help. And that speaking can be done by internet meetings and help can be giving by phone calls as well as by sending material by land mail.

People should know that when fear comes into their heart, they themselves can call to God. They not only should trust on the entertaining sessions of their church.

God Loves You

The fundamental message of the Gospel is that God loves you.
Do you understand?
God loves you. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, God will always love you. Dr. Kenneth Hutcherson describes it like this,

No matter what kind of situation you may find yourself facing, don’t be afraid, because God will always be with you and have your best interests in mind since He loves you.  Whenever feelings of fear creep into your life, turn to God for the help you need to overcome them and successfully navigate your circumstances.  Whenever you sense God calling you to do something that requires taking a risk, move forward without fear because God will empower you to do whatever He calls you to do.

It’s Alright to Feel Sad

No one likes to feel sad. We frequently try to avoid feelings of pain, or bury them under the weight of our daily routines. But sorrow cannot and should not be ignored. Accepting our sorrow doesn’t mean we’re weak, or a failure, it means we’re human. Just look what Ethan McCarthy of Christianity Today had to say,

Our faith is predicated on sadness. As we grow in Christ’s service, we begin to recognize ourselves in Christ’s sad gaze in the icons. The sadness of Jesus exemplifies the sadness of Christians everywhere, and through it the whole world is redeemed. For the sadness of Jesus is not an ultimate sadness: the Bible also promises the end of sadness, and the wiping away of all tears: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (Matt. 5:4).

After bad times better times

2020 may not have been an ideal year, but we should know there have been lots more worse years in the past. When looking at those horrible years of illnesses, pains, horrible situations and wars, we should see that we did not have it as bad as some want us to believe.

Hope is a frail thing, but it’s hard to kill. If you’ve found yourself struggling in the valleys of life, please don’t give up. Surround yourself with friends who will comfort you and mourn with you. If you’re suffering from depression, have courage and make an appointment with a doctor. Above all, remember that God loves you, and that will never change.

2020 has been a year where a lot more people had psychological difficulties. The helplines got a lot more calls. Lots of people were struggling with depression.  More than 1 in 5 youngsters this year had difficulties with the isolation brought unto them. Christians should see signs and then should come to help.

Every suicide is a tragic end to a life that’s precious to God. If you’re willing, God can empower you to help save the lives of people he loves from ending their lives before they’ve completed the lifetimes he intends for them. Here’s how you can help prevent suicide by reaching out to struggling people you know:

Recognize warning signs.

The American Association of Suicidology says that people who are at risk of committing suicide often display warning signs such as: communicating a desire to kill themselves, looking for ways to kill themselves (like seeking access to guns or medications), expressing a lack of purpose or hope in life, demonstrating dramatic mood changes, behaving in significantly anxious or angry ways, sleeping too much or not sleeping enough, feeling trapped in a challenging situation, taking reckless risks, abusing alcohol or drugs, and withdrawing from relationships with family and friends.

Listen well and offer unconditional love, like God does.

Pay attention to the troubling thoughts and feelings that people share with you. Listen carefully to what they express, and ask them questions to clarify and seek more information. If suicidal people know that you’re genuinely interested in them and that they can trust you not to judge them, gossip about them, or avoid them when they tell you something disturbing, they’ll likely open up to you. Ask God to help you love suicidal people unconditionally – like He does – and that will give them hope they desperately need while struggling with embarrassment and shame.

Pray specifically.

Let people know that they can count on you to pray for them about every specific issue they’ve shared with you. Ask God to bring them the help and healing they need, and pray in Jesus’ name against any form of evil that may be attacking them spiritually.

Give people a fresh perspective on themselves and their problems.

Suicidal people often become so preoccupied with their own failures and the problems in their lives that they blow them out of proportion. When that happens, they feel overwhelmed and can’t see how they can ever find solutions to their problems or find relief from their suffering. Mistakenly thinking that there’s no hope for them to experience better lives, they then may choose to simply end their lives. If someone tells you that she hates herself or feels like a burden on others, you can encourage her by pointing out specific ways she has enriched your life. When someone you know is distraught about a problem that seems insurmountable, you can gently and respectfully point out other aspects of her life that are positive to help her gain a better perspective. Refrain from giving unsolicited advice, which can seem judgmental to someone who is struggling. But remind your friend that there’s plenty of good in her, and in her life, despite the bad aspects that trouble her. You can also point out that every problem – no matter how severe – is temporary, but suicide is permanent. Encourage suicidal people to give themselves time to see how their problems can resolve in unexpected ways, rather than prematurely ending their lives.

Strong churches don’t “fix” depression.

Even large churches may not have the framework currently in place to deal with mental disorders. So, what’s needed?

“Healing comes from a prayerful, loving community that seeks to truly understand major depressive disorder and related conditions, and one that develops a positive response.”

Depression can feel like a huge weight that keeps pulling a Christian down again and again. Breaking free from the clutches of this disorder may seem impossible, but Margaret Ashmore (of the Association of Biblical Counselors) says that one of the most important things a sufferer can do is “the next thing”:

“So ‘doing the next thing’ might mean getting right with someone you’ve wronged, making restitution on outstanding payments, putting away once for all that website or magazine which feeds a monstrous, lustful appetite, taking back a purchase of self indulgence whose only outcome was more debt – you will have your own list. I certainly have mine. But be assured, this principle alone can take you from a shrugging Atlas with the weight of the world on your shoulders to that of renewed vigor and reviving refreshment….”

“The choices we make to obey despite our feelings or to give in to the downward pull of a fallen world filled with fallen people – mean everything.”

If you suffer from anxiety of depression, you’re not alone.

The one true source of freedom: Jesus.

People who kill themselves are trying to break free from their pain. But suicide just makes people dead, not free, and it actually causes more pain by spreading grief around to deceased people’s loved ones. Tell struggling people you know that while suicide can’t make them free, Jesus Christ can. Jesus is the way to God. He is the mediator between God and man, and having been here on earth as a man of flesh and blood, he very well knows the pains man can have to face.

No matter how difficult, certain things may look for us, when we pray to God we may find solutions to get over those difficult situations.

 

(With parts of articles by a.o. Todd Pruitt, John UpChurch, Ryan Duncan, Whitney Hopler of Crosswalk.com)

 

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