While usually a news-hound, I tend to relax on the weekend, preferring to watch movies, sew, read and generally chill out. Imagine my surprise when I idly checked a news site before bed last night, finding blaring headlines about a possible pandemic of swine 'flu.
We are living in both the best and worst of times to experience a true pandemic disease outbreak. The best, because we can instantly communicate the dangers, even as scientists and medics are working on remedies. The worst, because our advanced methods of travel provide easy ways for the disease to spread from region to region, country to country.
As always, there are people who will take the warnings to the extreme (Y2K, anyone?), stockpiling food and water, refusing to leave their houses. The truth seems to be that taking the same precautions we should be taking during influenza season anyway should suffice, at least for the time being.
Then there is the subset of people who see this as The End of The World as We Know It. Or at least as a sign the Tribulation is upon us, based in part on the following:
When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.
Rev. 6:7 - 8
The "pestilence" listed may well be a global pandemic that helps to wipe out a quarter of the population. But not to fear; it's fairly apparent the first three apocalyptic horsemen have not yet left the barn, so to speak.
Still, if it were the end, would you be ready?
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:21 - 26
..because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."
Romans 10:9 - 11