Tag Archives: God

Just saying: There Is No Such Thing As Humanity Without God and The True Meaning of Christmas

 

Secret-Stonehenge

Humans are as unique in the animal kingdom as Christianity is among world religions. Evidence strongly suggests that humans are fundamentally different than other animals. I believe that our very uniqueness as a species indicates the existence of God.  It seems to me that humanity as a concept for higher moral behavioral traits can only exist if humans were created in the image of a higher power. Without God there is no humanity.  For we would no longer be a unique creation, but would be no better, no worse, no more special than any other animal. We would not understand mortality.

Without a moral soul from God there would be no right or wrong…only survival of the fittest.  Our sole focus would be to do whatever it takes to obtain our next meal and propagate the species. Nothing would deter the violent methods needed to be successful at either of these two tasks.

There would be no such thing as a conscience.  You couldn’t afford to have one anymore than a lion, tiger or shark can afford a conscience.  The softer human traits like love and kindness would have been evolutionary death sentences.  Just like any other animal on this earth, we would merely be another link in a food chain where only the strong survive.

Of course, if here is no God there would be no need for religion. However, even the earliest humans sought out gods and practiced forms of religious rites. They had burial ceremonies for their dead and offered sacrifices to either win favor or appease gods. So seriously did they seek out gods, that not only human, but child sacrifice was commonly practiced throughout the world. In some cultures on a massive scale. A rather counter-productive evolutionary trait.

Generation after generation, culture after culture, religion after religion, humans have sought out gods.  In all of the other religions of this world people seek God. Only in the Christian faith does God seek people.

The God of Christians does not ask for sacrifice, he asks for obedience.  What does he require of us? Jesus summarized all of the commandment’s into two.  To love God with all of our heart, soul and mind, and to love one another as we would like to be loved.

The Christian God does not ask for sacrifice from us, he sacrificed for us.  In the birth of his only son Jesus Christ in Bethlehem over two millennia ago, God sought to save us, just because he loves us.   John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God seeking us is the true meaning of Christmas. Sadly, if you don’t learn about the birth of Jesus the Christ and ask him into your heart you are missing out on the only part of the holiday season, and life, that brings real joy and peace.

Jesus is the Christ in Christmas.  Without him all you are doing is having one big commercial gift exchange.  Great for the economy, not so great for our world or your soul…..just saying.

 

 

 

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Children’s Story: The Very First Christmas

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Every Christmas Eve I would read three stories to my children.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is first,
That mean ol’ Grinch is really the worst.
He stole all the Who’s pudding and presents with glee,
Then he went back and stuffed up their tree.
The Who’s celebrated Christmas when the Grinch thought they shouldn’t.
Stop Christmas from coming? Even a mean ol’ Grinch couldn’t.

Next, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” is read,
after the children have been tucked snugly in bed.
Their eyes aglow with happiness and joy,
As they hope Santa brings their favorite toy.
When, what do their curious little ears hear?
A television announcement, “Santa’s sleigh drawing near!”

Then, it is time for the last story to be read.
Heads go down on pillows and the bedtime prayer is said.
The moment has come to tell of  Joseph and his Mrs.
Now it’s time for, “The…

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What Is On My Mind Today? Forgiveness, Free-will, Evil and a Thankful Heart.

 

cat

I have never made any secret of the fact that I am a Christian. So, for the past several years, when attending Church has been impossible due to pain, mobility issues or my severely compromised immune system from chemotherapy treatment, I have turned on my television and watched, “The Christian Worship Hour” every Sunday morning at 8 a.m  on Channel 23.

Each week Pastor Harold Salem delivers a great bible-based sermon.  This robust ninety-six-year old minister, former sheep rancher and bull rider from Aberdeen, South Dakota, is one of the best gospel preachers I have ever heard.

Pastor Salem always preaches that we should open our Bibles and read them.  He also always recommends that new Christian converts should begin their Bible reading with the Gospel of John.  Last January, I decided to take his advice and began reading the entire Bible…cover to cover.

The New Testament was a quick read and a source of great inspiration and comfort. I have almost completed reading the Old Testament, and have just a few of the books from the minor prophets to finish.  I will start reading the Book of Amos today. I hope to finish reading the Old Testament shortly, so that I can begin re-reading the Gospels before Christmas during Advent.

It has been very good for me to read the Bible.  After reading most of the Old Testament there are many passages that I still do not understand. Some, still freak me out a bit.  Especially, the first five books of law, sacrifice and justice. At first, those books seem so restrictive, uncompromising and in many ways very harsh.  When put into the context of the time in which God gave humans these laws, it becomes quickly apparent that God was and is always only interested what is best for us.  Like any loving parent, at times he has to say no and provide rules for guidance for our own good.

I have learned that if humans had chosen to follow God’s intent, they would have been at peace with their neighbors, safe within their borders, and enjoyed health, happiness and many other benefits. Throughout the Old Testament, God shows more patience than humans deserve. And, time and time again he overcomes his disgust, disappointment, hurt and anger to forgive and welcome back into his loving arms human sinners.

For the repentant sinner, God’s forgiveness is complete.

Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Jeremiah 31:34

“No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

As former Sunday School teacher, youth mentor and confirmation teacher and continual sinner myself, I think teaching and practicing forgiveness as demonstrated by God, “to remember their sins no more,” or taught by Christ, to “Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us,” is in practical terms almost impossible.

Forgiving people is hard.  Sometimes, I don’t even want to forgive.  But, I have learned that while it is nice to be forgiven, it is much better to forgive and forget.

As an artist who can paint precise and subtle details of a landscape from memory, it is very hard for me to forget anything.  I learned long ago that keeping a list of old grievances stored up, only hurt myself and is a complete waste of time and energy.  That type of attitude is a recipe for bitterness and could be the text book definition of self-defeating.

True forgiveness requires forgetfulness.  Forgiving and “remembering no more” lets the forgiver heal and avoid living a life drowning in anger and resentment.

While God expects us to forgive, he does not require Christians to play the victim or be victimized.  Not at all.  Yes, we are instructed by Christ to forgive 7 X 70 times; however, he also says there comes a time when you dust off your feet and move on.   The Bible does not condone abuse.  Jesus himself instructed that the second greatest commandment, the first being loving the Lord thy God, is to treat everyone as we would like to be treated ourselves.

One of my all-time favorite stories from Pastor Salem is about forgiveness and how God meant for it to work.  The story goes like this….there once was a young boy who had a very beloved cat.  The boy and his cat were inseparable, then one day the boy’s pet cat died.  His mother knowing how much the cat meant to her son, helped him bury the cat in the backyard with appropriate honors.

As they were covering up the cat with dirt, the little boy grabbed his mother’s hand and frantically pleaded with her if they could please just let the cat’s tail stick out.  That way if his cat wasn’t really dead, he would see the tail move and could get him out of the grave. Well, the mother thought this would be all right.  So the cat was buried with the tail sticking out.

Everyday the little boy would check on his cat’s tail to see if it was going to move.  After several days, he just had to check on the whole cat…so he dug his pet up.  After inspecting the dead cat, and seeing that it did not look very good, he and his mom, again, buried the cat. Still he wanted that tail to stick out.

A week went by and the little boy again felt compelled to dig up his cat to see if it was really dead.  By now the cat was really looking bad.  After inspecting the dead cat, the little boy turned to his mother and said, “I guess, I need to bury the cat, tail and all.”

True forgiveness means burying the cat…tail and all.  It has been my experience that after I practice forgiveness, the blinders of bitterness come off.  All of the angry energy produced by the hurt is gone and I am filled with the most wonderful sense of freedom and thankfulness.

I am thankful that I have spent so much time in the word this year. After reading almost the entire Bible, I am left with no doubt what-so-ever that there is a God and he is a God of love, whose sole intention from the very beginning was for humans to live joy-filled lives.

I also learned that God did not make evil, but he did make evil possible. God knew that true love is a gift that has to be freely given.  He desired our love, and chose to risk rejection by allowing free-will or choice.  God cannot and would not ever promote evil. That would be impossible, because evil is against his very nature.  However, he does permit evil, as a consequence of human free-will choices.

Even when humans choose to reject God and turn to evil or sin, he promises to never forsake us or leave us.  When we ask for his forgiveness, through repentance, he washes us clean, time after time after time, without end.

God makes each day of our lives an opportunity to forgive and “bury the cat.”  To heal  the wounds and scars of the past and start over. He offers us not just one life, or nine-lives like a cat, but eternal life.   For that I am ever so blessed and grateful.

May the joy of a thankful heart be yours as we move towards our national holiday set aside to thank a loving God who only and always wants to shower his beloved humanity with blessings.

 

 

 

What Is On My Mind Today? Holiday Jingles…Too Many…..Too Soon!

grandma and reindeer

This news story caught my eye about how psychologist’s studied the effects of Christmas music and concluded that playing holiday tunes too soon can have a negative impact on mental health.  I  have provided the link below to the news article.

Actually, I get this. Not so much the part about the tunes triggering too much thinking about all of the to do’s for Christmas, but more about them triggering thoughts about the  have not’s and who’s not of Christmas.  This time of year, mourning losses whether, health, job, material, relationship and especially the death of a close family member or friend, become exponentially hard. Along with the brightness and fun of the season, comes kick in the gut emotional darkness as heartache silently, and sometimes not so quietly, screams…why me?

Depression during this time of year is common, real and an increased mental health concern. If you, or someone you know, are suffering from depression, it is so very important to see a doctor. Depression is a disease. Treatment is available. Suicide is preventable. Speaking from experience, there can be contentment and happiness after loss and depression.

The holiday season can be very short for some and never-ending to others. Non-stop holiday music does seem to make the never-ending line move slower.  The best way to help speed up the never-ending line, is to give those caught in it the most precious of all gifts….your time.  After all, isn’t that what Christmas is really about?  Loving people.

Christmas is a Christian holiday.  It is a celebration about the greatest gift of love.  God’s holiday focus wasn’t on stuff or to do’s, it was solely on bringing his beloved, fallen and often evil, human’s peace, joy and eternal salvation by simply believing in his son as their savior.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

Please note that God said…”everyone”.

Hugs, to my many loved ones and friends who I know are going to be in the never-ending line this holiday season. I am sorry for your losses and continually pray that the peace the passes all understanding fills your heart and mind today and everyday as you struggle to climb your mountains.

And, should you come to visit me during the holiday season, there is a good chance there will be lots of cookies and…disco music.

Letters From Grandma Pat: Cat Warfare and The Battle of the Black Death

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Dear Kids,

I am glad that you had a safe and Happy Halloween.   Please know that your parents’  idea of a “Daddy” or “Mommy” tax on candy collected on Halloween or Easter did not  originate with myself or your grandpa.  We would never have expected or accepted anything from our children more than what they were graciously willing to share.  At any rate, don’t eat all of the candy in one day….you, your stomach and teeth will regret it.

So, when you got home did you dump out all of your candy out for an inspection?  I bet your cats thoroughly checked out each and every piece.  They always remind me of the poor souls who had to taste all of a king’s food, to make sure it wasn’t poisoned.  I bet those folks wished they had nine lives like a cat and I bet you don’t know about the time cats saved all of humankind by winning the “Battle of the Black Death.”

Seriously,  we all know that cats do not have more than one life on this earth, so how did this myth about the nine lives get started? An Old English proverb says that, “A cat has nine lives.  For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays.”  However, the nine lives myth is much older than this proverb and even merry old England itself.

The myth that cats have nine lives has been around for centuries. Even the famous English playwright William Shakespeare referred to it in his play, “Romeo And Juliet.” He wrote, “Tybalt: What wouldst thou have with me? Mercutio: Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives.”

Actually, no one knows for sure when this myth got started, but historians believe it may have begun in ancient Egypt where cats were sacred. In fact, their goddess Bastet was pictured as being half cat and half woman.  Ha! The first cat woman!

Cats in Egypt were revered in life and greatly mourned after they died. They were mummified, just like people, and had their own tombs.  Interestingly, a cat tomb with over 80,000 mummified cats was discovered at Beni Hassan in Egypt in 1888.  That’s a lot of cat mummies.

The ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Greeks thought that number nine was special…even magical. Ancient Egyptians believed that their god Atum or Atum-Ra took on the form of a cat whenever he visited the underworld or as we call it today….hell.  During one of his visits to the land of the dead, Atum gave birth to eight other gods.  Therefore one life, became nine.

The Egyptians were not alone in thinking there was something special about the number nine. Tradition and religion made the Greeks think that the number nine had power for it was the trinity of all trinities. Not every culture credits a cat with nine lives. Spain has a tradition that cats only have seven lives, and in Arabia and Turkey the feline only gets six

It was the Romans who brought cats to Europe.  During their occupation of Egypt, the Romans learned to appreciate the pet felines for their mouse catching skills.  It didn’t take long before cats became popular European pets…that is….until the middle ages.  Poor cats!  Within a few centuries they went from being worshiped in ancient Egypt to medieval Europeans thinking they were a death delivering soldier of the devil.

Being born a cat, especially a black cat, in medieval Europe was just plain bad luck.  It is the only unlucky thing about a black cat.  Cats at that time were so terribly misunderstood.  Their nose-in-the-air attitudes and ability to survive falls that would have killed any other animal got them labeled as being other worldly and evil.

One guy, named Baldwin III, Count of Ypres, was so fascinated by a cats amazing ability to land on its feet that he decided to test the extent of this cat talent.  So, in the year 962 A. D.  he threw several cats off of a very high tower.  Well, the cats survived and ran away.  The experiment, with the poor unfortunate cats, was so entertaining, that the Belgian town made it an annual event and festival. Each year after a procession celebrating cat history, felines were thrown from an almost 230 foot tower.  Live cats were used until 1817, when the folks in Belgian decided that maybe, just maybe, this tradition was unkind and began using toy cats instead.

At that time, being thrown off a tower was the least of a cat’s problem.  During the middles ages, from about 1300 until the 1700, every few generations, a terrible disease called the Bubonic Plague would savage the cities and countrysides of Europe.  This disease killed up to 50 percent of the total population in some parts of England.  France lost up to 90 percent of its people in some areas.

The  Bubonic Plague otherwise known as the “Black Death” came to Europe in October of 1347 when twelve Asian trading ships docked in Messina, Sicily.  Crowds had gathered on the piers to welcome the ships when to their horror most of the sailors on the ships were  found dead and the remainder were terribly ill.

Before the ships of death had even reached Sicily’s shores, many Europeans were already frightened by the rumors that a “Great Pestilence” had ravaged the Near and Far East.  As early as the 1340’s China, India, Syria, Egypt and Persia had experienced the plague’s effects.  To protect the public from being infected by this horrible contagion, the death ships were immediately ordered to return to sea.

However, it was already too late. This disease, spread by flea-infested rats, had already jumped ship.  The plague had begun. Before it was over more than 25 million people in Europe, almost a third of its population would be dead.  Not only did this disease kill people, it also killed animals, including farm animals such as cows, goats, sheep, pigs and chickens.  So many animals perished that food and wool shortages occurred.

The plague is an ugly disease.  It causes its victims to run a high fever, vomit uncontrollably and experience an incredible amount of pain. Worst yet were the horrible black bleeding and oozing sores that covered the victim’s entire body.  These black sores are what gave the disease the name, “The Black Death.”   Its victims looked like rotting puss covered zombies.

Death from this disease came so quickly that a person could be healthy when they went to bed at night and dead before morning.  The nursery rhyme “Ring around the Rosy”  is believed to have been written about the symptoms of the Black Death.

Unlike today, in those days there were no doctors or medicines that could help the victims.  Panic ensued. People turned on each other, families abandoned their own sick family members, doctors refused help the sick, and priests refused administering last rites to the dying.

As in most cases of historical public panic, a scapegoat was needed. In this case it was….Jewish people and cats.

At the time the plague struck very little was known about how disease spread. So, people who under normal circumstances seemed to have perfectly well-functioning brains,  threw open all the doors and windows of their mental facilities to let reason and common sense escape and welcome in ridiculously stupid ideas to explain the illness.  Such as, that the plague of the Black Death was a punishment from a loving God.

While I would never speak for God or suggest he never has used a catastrophe or two to get our attention.  I don’t believe that disease is ever a punishment from God for sin, because Jesus paid the full price for all of our sins on the cross. Nor, do I believe that God tests the sick.  I think it is highly more likely that if a loving God is testing anyone, it is the people close to the stricken to see if they practice what they preach and meet the needs of the suffering with compassion, kindness and love.

No, I do not believe that the plague was a divine punishment. However, people during the middle ages were told differently.

In those days the most powerful authority in the land was the Catholic church.  Church leaders believed that the Black Death was God’s punishment. To end the plague, the church taught that communities needed to be cleansed of non-believers and perpetual troublemakers.  During the years of 1348 and 1349, violent panic-stricken mobs massacred thousands of Jewish people.  Many Jews were forced to flee to Eastern Europe to be safe.

In addition to the genocide of the Jews, cats were also targeted by the church.  A century before the plague, the church had taught that cats were evil. It was believed that devil worshipers and witches used cats to cast their spells…especially black cats.   This is where and when the superstition about black cats began.

Well, it didn’t take long before cats were feared and killed off by the thousands.  In some areas cat ownership was actually outlawed.  At one point during the middle ages cats had been almost entirely eradicated in England.

Humans often make poor choices and the attempt to rid Europe of cats was just that…a bad idea.  Cats kill rats. Rats had the fleas that caused the Black Death.  Therefore, when there weren’t a lot of cats, there were a lot of rats and a disease outbreak occurred.

Some humans ignored the law and kept their pet cats.  Other folks soon noticed that cat owners seemed to not get the plague as often.  It does amaze me that these cat owners weren’t immediately labeled as witches and burned at the stake.  Boy, did folks back then like burning witches at the stake, but that is another story.

For once, however, calmer heads prevailed.  It was decided that cats somehow protected their owners from the plague.  Primitive scientific research and thinking took place and it was determined that rats not cats spread the plague.

Of course with this discovery everyone wanted cats. Unfortunately,  there were not very many left.  It took awhile to re-populate the cat population. However, Tom Cats were up to the challenge and made every effort to impregnate every female cat they could find. (If you don’t know what impregnate means, ask your dad.) 

Due to the commitment to duty and impregnating excellence of the Tom Cats, it wasn’t long before cats were back at the job killing rats and controlling the spread of this horrible disease. Some say that without the rat killing skills of those medieval cats, humankind could have been wiped-out by the plague.  After all of the abuse from humans, isn’t it odd that cats helped save them.  Funny how life works out sometimes.

While cats helped humans land back on their feet after the plague, people still did not know why cats almost always landed on their feet.  It took until 1894 before science could explain a cat’s amazing talent for surviving a fall by landing on its feet.

French physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey conducted experiments with cats.  Unlike the Belgians, he dropped them from short-safe distances.  With the help of a camera that took multiple images very quickly, Mr. Marey demonstrated the secret to a cat’s amazing gymnastic agility.

As a cat falls, it instinctively begins a twisting action beginning with its head and ending with the tail called an aerial righting reflex. It takes only one second for a cat to complete this reflex action. Kittens as young as three weeks show signs of this ability, which the kitten masters when they are about seven weeks old.  However, a cat cannot land on its feet if the distance is too low for the cat to make its twist or if the fall is so high that it becomes a cat pancake.

Here is how a cat can almost always land on its feet:

1. First the cat’s head begins to rotate.

2  Next, the cat will arch and twist its spine so that its front and back legs are rotating in opposite directions.

3.  As the cat begins the roll, it pulls in its front legs and extends its back ones, making the front half of its body to spin more quickly than the back half.  Then, the process is reversed.  As the cat’s back legs swing around, they are tucked up into the body and the front legs extended to prevent over-spinning.

4.  The result of all this motion allows the cat to land on all four paws cushioning the impact of the landing.

I better never hear of anybody throwing a cat around and claim its a science experiment.  Cats can and do get hurt easily.  And, like all of God’s creatures, cats were put on this earth to be treated kindly and cared for with gentleness and love.

I guess cats have earned the right to ignore the concept of humility and strut their stuff like a Lion King.  After all, if it wasn’t for their ancestors killing a lot of rats none of us humans might be here.

Have a great week and I love you all very, very much.

Love

Grandma Pat

Artwork: Guarding His Herd

I have finally finished the oil painting that I have been working on for the past six months.  It is a large canvas…24 X 30.

The vision for this work began as a challenge to myself.  I wanted to paint a thunderstorm over the Badlands.  My goals were to create distance; capture the back glow of light in a storm and the roughness of the Badlands terrain; and to improve my drawing skills by including animals….Hereford cattle.

The biggest challenge of this painting was the sky.  I just could not get it right.  Then, I realized I was painting a Minnesota sky.  The clouds were too close.  Once, I got that right, the painting started to work.

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My goal with the cattle was to paint a very strong bull lovingly guarding his family.

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That is how I think of God.

 

 

What Is On My Mind Today? Fear, Hurricanes, Fires, Earthquakes and God

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As a two-time cancer survivor I know a thing or two about fear.  One thing that I have learned is that fear can be addictive. The adrenaline rush of fear acts on the body much like an opiate.  Your heart and breathing rates increase as your fight and flight reflexes engage.

Sometimes,  fear feels good. Like the thrill you get when going on a carnival ride, riding a horse at a full gallop, or are jumping out of an airplane.  At other times fear can be overwhelming, such as when you get a cancer diagnosis or see your country ravaged by natural disasters or war.

Living in constant fear is awful, because fear is the worst of thieves.  It steals precious treasures…happiness, peace of mind and time.  What is worse, fear is contagious and has been weaponized.    Governments, religions and individuals often use fear to increase power, control people and receive attention.

Calamity begets fear. When disaster strikes, people, even unbelievers, feel the immediate need to put the fear of God in hearts and minds by communicating that the crisis is God’s fault, divine punishment for sinful living, or that the end of the world is coming and coming fast.

Whenever I hear that something is a sign of the end times, I find peace by turning to the Bible and re-reading the comforting words of Christ Jesus when he clearly states that no man will know when the end will be.  Only God knows, not Jesus, not any human.

Jesus further reassures us by instructing,  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Matthew 24: 4-7.  

There have been many, many wars, hurricanes, fires and earthquakes since Christ spoke those words almost two thousand years ago and humans are still here.   Are these the end times? I don’t know, nobody does.  What is important, is to believe that Jesus Christ is your personal savior, then, there is no reason to fear the end times. What is there to fear? Going to heaven and experiencing perfect love?

Can natural disasters be signs from God?  Absolutel!  The Bible tell us so.  The question is what is the message that God is sending?

Human’s cannot surprise God, he has seen it all before. I am pretty sure that:

  • God has been aware of humanity’s sinful ways since Adam and Eve disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden and then to make matters worse a jealous Cain put Abel under with a rock upside the head.
  • There have been hurricanes hitting coastal areas for as long as there has been oceans.
  • Forest fires have existed since lightening hit its first tree and man learned how to make fire.
  • Earthquakes in Mexico, or anywhere else, are never a punishment from God due to United States presidential election results, no matter what a Hollywood actress may believe.

This “disaster is a punishment from God” philosophy reminded me of when I was battling my cancer. I remember someone asking me what I thought I had done that God was punishing me so harshly.

After this empathy challenged person, who felt greatly blessed with good health and substantial wealth when compared to myself, a fifty year old woman stuck in a body cast, trapped in pain and a hospital bed in her living room, full of cancer and without a lot of good options, had finished suggesting that self-reflection and repentance on my part was necessary to appease an angry God, I responded.

My response then, would be the same as today, to those who suggest that disease and disaster are signs of an angry God.  I agree.  God gets angry.  He may use illness and other trials to test people, but, maybe, just maybe, he does not punish or test the sick, traumatized and devastated. Maybe he is testing the response of those around them.

Why do I believe this? Because, Jesus clearly tells me so in Matthew 25: 31-46

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I am a strong believer in the power of prayer.  God can and does do miracles through prayer.  However, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”   James 2: 14-17

God promises to never leave or forsake us. He always keeps his promises. Christians need not live in constant fear of the end times, physical or natural disaster.  It is during those times that we should look to our Heavenly Father and take stock of our blessings. Call on him for faith, strength, courage and to grant us the peace that passes all understanding. Then, it is time to bravely roll up our sleeves and get to work helping those who need assistance.

I will always have a healthy fear of God, but I have no interest in being a “Chicken Little, The Sky is Falling!” christian. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it best, “The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” 

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Prayer is a powerful. Please pray for those affected by the hurricanes, wild fires and other natural disasters.  Then, volunteer, give blood, or donate at:  

The Salvation Army Disaster Relief   https://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/

Red Cross Disaster Relief: https://www.redcross.org/donate/disaster-relief?scode=RSG00000E017&gclid=CjwKCAjwos7NBRAWEiwAypNCe1F5-3X-x10xxZ_UJsDexvntU8pdxkfDJIPYaFVxOIE98y5BQb92uRoCK3EQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CIGEldnxmNYCFRU5Twod-6cAMQ