In Isaiah chapter 10, the rich and powerful were oppressing the poor and powerless. God accused the powerful of turning government policy to their own benefit, deliberately harming the poor, the needy, the widows, and the orphans. The very people charged with protecting the weak were depriving them of their rights. That is despicable in any society, in any era, yet it has happened often. In Isaiah 10:3-4, God asks three questions and quickly gives the answer. “What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. (NIV) There will be no hiding in the day of judgment. There will be no use for the ill-gotten wealth. We ought to heed the warning. Those three questions apply to all people everywhere in every age. Consider them to your own benefit. Ignore them to your own detriment.

The first East Texas case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Gregg county and Better Business Bureau recommends preventive and proactive strategies to avoid workplace outbreaks. As of March 10, Texas has had a total of 13 travel-related cases of coronavirus across the state. The COVID-19 virus is a respiratory illness transmittable through person-to-person exposure. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe fever, cough and shortness of breath. BBB reminds employers to have a plan in place and to communicate that plan with their employees.

It was in August of 1872 when the International and New Orleans Railroad first pulled into Jacksonville, TX. It certainly was a day that changed the life of the residents of the new Jacksonville forever. The railroad brought access to new markets for our agricultural products, the seeds for new manufacturing companies like the Aber Box and Basket Factory, and the opportunity for vast economic and personal growth. The railroads also brought new communications, like the telegraph, new people from places they had only heard about, and new customs and mores. But, one of the first things the railroad brought was something no one wanted – influenza.

Better Business Bureau warns small business owners of recent ransomware attacks on East Texas agencies. Hackers encrypted files and denied access to computers demanding money for recovery rendering them inoperable. Ransomware is a type of malware which targets computer systems, essentially holding files and critical information hostage until the victim receives payment. BBB advises both businesses and consumers to be vigilant in their cybersecurity practices to avoid being hacked.

All the Minor Prophets revolve around a crisis. The crisis in the book of Jonah is within Jonah’s heart. God called Jonah to be a missionary and Jonah had an anti-missionary heart. That is the crisis of the book. God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and proclaim that judgment had been passed and punishment was coming swiftly. Clearly this was a missionary assignment. Jonah was not told to proclaim repentance or be punished; however, the judgment could have come with no warning whatsoever. God obviously wanted the people of Nineveh to know what was coming and Who it was that was sending it. That is an act of missionary mercy on God’s part. Jonah hated Nineveh and thus did not want to go. When he finally succumbed to great pressure from the Lord and went, it was not willingly or cheerfully. Against his will, Jonah eventually went to Nineveh and proclaimed the message. A great repentance occurred. God held off on the punishment. Jonah got angry.

A few years ago, Kathy and I were traveling by train in Italy from Assisi to Sorrento. I struck up a conversation with a fine Italian gentleman from Genoa who was also traveling with his wife and who spoke no English. It was a good opportunity to practice my Italian. He was an insurance salesman and they were going to visit her mother who was ill. During the course of our visit, he mentioned that he had traveled in the states and one of the things he liked was that in any hotel room, the light switch is always in the same place! Needless to say, this is not true in Italy. As might be expected, our conversation turned to food. My new acquaintance noted that he did not care much for the cheese in America. His expression to describe the taste was “plastica.” When you travel in Italy, one of the first things you notice is their flavorful cheeses.

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