Will the bird flu become the next pandemic?

Will the bird flu become the next pandemic? April 3, 2024

According to the CDC, Avian influenza has infected more than 82 million poultry in forty-eight US states. H5N1 has also spread to marine animals, killing tens of thousands of seals and sea lions. Last Friday, we learned that it has spread to dairy cattle in the US for the first time.

Now a person in Texas is being treated for the bird flu after having direct exposure to dairy cattle presumed to be infected by the virus. This is the second human case of the illness in the US, but the first linked to exposure to cattle.

Authorities say the risk to the general public remains low, but when the virus is contracted by humans, symptoms can range from mild upper respiratory tract infection to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, shock, and even death.

In other news, the Biden administration is raising alarms about how malign actors could exploit electric vehicles, chargers, and rooftop solar systems to wreak havoc on the homeland. Multiple nations are especially warning about China’s capacity for cyberwarfare. One US official stated: “What is most alarming about this is the focus is not on data theft and intellectual property theft but rather to burrow deep into our critical infrastructure with the intent of launching destructive or disruptive attacks in the event of a major conflict.”

Here’s what these stories have in common: they illustrate the fact that what we cannot see can be even more dangerous than what we can see, since it’s harder to prepare for the former than the latter.

This principle is relevant to our souls and to the soul of our nation.

Why ads tell stories

This week, we’re exploring ways we can demonstrate the relevance of Easter Sunday by our changed lives every other day of every other week. Such a commitment can be our most persuasive apologetic in a relativistic culture that rejects objective truth claims but is drawn to the power of personal stories.

Advertisers and others in popular media know the persuasive attraction of this power. That’s why most commercials tell a story to sell you a product or service. It’s why reality television is so popular and why vocal competitions center on the stories of the participants as much as their singing abilities.

Of course, Satan knows the power of stories as well. That’s why he does all he can to keep us from being the change we wish to see. One of his most effective tools is to tempt us to commit sins whose consequences are unseen in the present, hoping we’ll be deluded into believing that they’ll remain secret in the future.

He knows better, and so should we.

“The more easily we will yield next time”

Here’s our problem: when we embrace the biblical promise that God forgives all we confess (1 John 1:9) and forgets all he forgives (Isaiah 43:25), we can be deceived into thinking we can commit “secret” sins, confess them, and be forgiven without consequences.

There are four biblical reasons we should reject this deception:

  • Sinful choices bring consequences that remain even after the sin is forgiven. A nail can be removed from a piece of wood, but the hole remains (cf. Galatians 6:7–8).
  • Every act of disobedience, even if confessed and forgiven, forfeits an act of obedience for which we would have been rewarded in this life and the next (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:12–15).
  • Secret sin never stays secret (Luke 8:17). Satan loves to lead us up a ladder of cultural influence so far that our falls, when they inevitably come, devastate us and our witness as much as possible.
  • Sin enslaves, as Jesus warned: “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34).

Billy Graham commented on this fourth fact:

The more we do it, the easier it is to practice lust, greed, hate, lying, stealing, or whatever it may be—pride, jealousy, anger. These things beset all of us. And the more we yield to the pressure, the more easily we will yield next time.

Three practical steps

Would you decide now that you want the Holy Spirit to make you more holy than you are today? If so, take these biblical steps:

  1. Ask the Spirit to bring to mind any “secret” sins in your life, then confess what comes to your thoughts and claim your Father’s forgiveness (Psalm 103:12).
  2. Now ask the Spirit to reveal any strategy by the enemy to tempt you into such sins in the present and in the future. When you face them, turn them immediately over to your Lord, claiming his power over sin and Satan (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  3. Claim your status as God’s Beloved, a chosen vessel through whom the Spirit can act to lead those you influence closer to Christ as a catalyst for the awakening we need so desperately (1 John 4:16).

If we take these steps each day, we’ll “live in such a way that the world will be glad we did” (Max Lucado).

The time to choose such a legacy is now.

Wednesday news to know:

Quote for the day:

“As we grow in holiness, we grow in hatred of sin; and God, being infinitely holy, has an infinite hatred of sin.” —Jerry Bridges

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