Thursday, September 01, 2005

As Sorrow Permeates Your Being

So many people with whom I have spoken with (since the devastation and aftermath of hurricane Katrina has been broadcast from our TV sets over the last few days) have expressed shock, horror and sympathy for those affected by this terrible disaster. In fact, there are many ongoing debates on various blogs and message boards where people are discussing whom or what is to blame for it.

When natural disasters happen, people come up with all kinds of theories and views about it and most ask the question, "why"?

Amidst all the pain and suffering, I tend to focus in on the spiritual aspects of an event such as this. America will come to the aid of the victims and survivors. Their physical needs will be attended to. There will be counselors to help them with the psychological damage they will be experiencing.


To lose a loved one in a disaster such as this causes unimaginable grief. I only wish that more people had taken the dire warnings more seriously and had gotten out of the city.

To lose everything one has except the clothes on one's back is an emotionally shocking experience.

I have friends who lost everything in the San Diego wildfires a few years ago and I saw firsthand how it can change a person and their outlook on life.

I was going to post links to some significant articles that I have found but have decided to copy and paste each article here.


Then, I will copy and paste a blog post written by a dear Christian friend named SaltnLight because I found it to be particularly excellent for a time such as this.

Christine
*******

Did God Send the Hurricane?

This natural disaster is bringing together a perfect storm of environmentalist and religious doomsday sayers.

By Deborah Caldwell

What caused Hurricane Katrina to slam the U.S. Gulf Coast? Was it a typical late-summer tropical storm caused by wind, water, and heat? Mother Nature crying out on behalf of the earth’s pain? An angry God?

Depends whom you ask. All along the theological and political spectrum, Katrina has crystallized people’s fears into a now-familiar brew of apocalyptic theories similar to what we saw after September 11 and after the Asian tsunami several months ago.At least one New Orleans-area resident believes God created the storm as punishment because of the recent role the United States played in expelling Jews from Gaza. On Sunday evening, Bridgett Magee of Slidell, La., told the Christian website Jerusalem Newswire that she saw the hurricane "as a direct 'coming back on us' [for] what we did to Israel: a home for a home." Stan Goodenough, a website columnist, described Katrina as “the fist of God” in a Monday column. “What America is about to experience is the lifting of God’s hand of protection; the implementation of His judgment on the nation most responsible for endangering the land and people of Israel,” Goodenough writes. “The Bible talks about Him shaking His fist over bodies of water, and striking them.”

Meanwhile, spiritual and political environmentalists say that massive hurricanes such as Katrina, along with the Asian tsunami, are messages from the earth, letting humanity know of the earth’s pain. These hurricanes are caused by global warming, environmentalists say, which are the result of using too much fossil fuel. They see the catastrophic consequences as a kind of comeuppance.

Katrina forced oil workers to evacuate rigs in the Gulf of Mexico; meanwhile, seven oil refineries and a major oil import terminal have been closed. The Gulf Coast region is home to a quarter of U.S. oil refining. As a result, Common Dreams, a liberal website, wrote Monday: “Oil may be achieving a new impact on daily news, people’s pocketbooks and world history--perhaps even the end of history and the world.” James Howard Kunstler, author of “The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the 21st Century,” predicted in his Monday blog: “It seems possible to me that we will be seeing gas station lines all over America within the week.” In another area of his website, Kunstler writes: "We are entering a period of economic hardship and declining incomes...The suburbs as are going to tank spectacularly. We are going to see an unprecedented loss of equity value and, of course, basic usefulness. We are going to see an amazing distress sale of properties, with few buyers. We're going to see a fight over the table scraps of the 20th century."

Stephen O’Leary, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and an expert on the media and apocalypticism, says, “God’s got a two-fer here. Both sides are eager to see America punished for her sins; on one side it’s sexual immorality and porn and Hollywood, and on the other side it’s conspicuous consumption and Hummers.”

In some ways, these are mainstream feelings: In a recent CNN poll, 55% of those responding believe that global warming is causing the severe weather we've experienced recently, which is a kind of admission that a huge hurricane is part of the wages of (environmental) sin. Meanwhile, most polls show that 40% of all U.S. adults believe the physical world will eventually end as a result of a supernatural intervention, perhaps with a literal Rapture, Tribulation, Antichrist, and Battle of Armageddon described in the Book of Revelation. Nearly half of all Americans believe the Middle East will be “heavily involved” in the events surrounding the end of the world. And 40% believe the end of the world will come in their lifetime.

The rush to doomsday thinking, O’Leary says, is related to our need to process emotion in the face of suffering. “The mass media confront us with emotion that is almost impossible to process, and the only way we have to deal with that is to put it in terms of the drama of apocalypse and redemption--you transform suffering into a story of God’s plan. If you don’t have that, then what you do is turn off the TV and have despair.”

It’s not just conservative Christians who tune in to this cycle of apocalypse and redemption, however. New Agers and left-wing environmentalists subscribe to a theory that the world is undergoing what they call Earth Changes--a time when, because of humanity’s degradation, the climate severely reacts. Many of these believers say the United States will be almost completely submerged in seawater when the Earth Changes are complete.“

When people leave behind the Christian version of the apocalypse, they don’t quit being apocalyptic,” O’Leary says. “They switch brands.”

Even the media, perhaps reacting to their own cycle of hype and emotion of this moment, have been priming the doomsday pump. The normally bloodless Associated Press wrote this description: “When Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans on Monday, it could turn one of America's most charming cities into a vast cesspool tainted with toxic chemicals, human waste and even coffins released by floodwaters from the city's legendary cemeteries.”

Interestingly, last year’s string of Florida hurricanes didn’t seem to cause much doomsday rhetoric. But Katrina is different for a few important reasons: It’s much larger than usual storms; it hit a region that is home to one-fourth of U.S. oil production at a time when Americans are feeling tremendous anxiety over rising fuel costs; it happened a couple weeks after Israel pulled out of Gaza; and it conjures horrific images of fetid water contaminating a city with a Sodom and Gomorrah reputation.

The thought of this region, or even the nation, being somehow punished for its sins, conjures twin feelings of excitement and dread among apocalyptic thinkers. On one hand, they seem delighted that a divine plan appears to be unfolding. With horrific events such as this, they believe, God (or Mother Nature) has shown them the world is so evil that it is closer than ever to the end of human history--which means they will spend eternity in a happier place. Yet they also believe God (or Mother Nature) is punishing Americans. That gives rise to their urgent need to stave off destruction through prayer, scolding, and trying to convert people to their way of thinking.

It’s worth noting that end-times fever also broke out during the Persian Gulf War, around the turn of the millennium five years ago, and then around September 11, as it has many times in history. Each time it happens, Americans (and humanity for millennia before) become convinced the End is upon them because they’ve sinned and that God or Mother Nature is angry.

Yet if people actually read the Bible, they can just as easily find an alternate view of the divine, a view that is diametrically opposite the wrathful avenger. The Book of I Kings reads: “Behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind and earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”

*******

HURRICANE KATRINA DESTROYS NEW ORLEANS DAYS BEFORE "SOUTHERN DECADENCE" 8/31/05

PHILADELPHIA - Just days before "Southern Decadence", an annual homosexual celebration attracting tens of thousands of people to the French Quarters section of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina destroys the city.

"Southern Decadence" has a history of filling the French Quarters section of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars. Last year, a local pastor sent video footage of sex acts being performed in front of police to the mayor, city council, and the media. City officials simply ignored the footage and continued to welcome and praise the weeklong celebration as being an "exciting event". However, Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin.

On the official "Southern Decadence" website (www.SouthernDecadence.com), it states that the annual event brought in "125,000 revelers" to New Orleans last year, increasing by thousands each year, and up from "over 50,000 revelers" in 1997. This year’s 34th annual "Southern Decadence" was set for Wednesday, August 31, 2005 through Monday, September 5, 2005, but due to massive flooding and the damage left by the hurricane, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has ordered everyone to evacuate the city.

The past three mayors of New Orleans, including Sidney Barthelomew, Marc H. Morial, and C. Ray Nagin, issued official proclamations welcoming visitors to "Southern Decadence". Additionally, New Orleans City Council made other proclamations recognizing the annual homosexual celebration.

"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge," he continued.

New Orleans is also known for its Mardi Gras parties where thousands of drunken men revel in the streets to exchange plastic jewelry for drunken women to expose their breasts. This annual event sparked the creation of the "Girls Gone Wild" video series.

"We must help and pray for those ravaged by this disaster, but let us not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long," Marcavage said. "May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God," Marcavage concluded.

"[God] sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:45)

*******
WHERE IS THE CHURCH? A few years ago I was ministering at an atheist gathering in Washington, D.C. During this meeting, I heard a few words spoken from the platform that I cannot forget. The atheist told the hundreds gathered, "The church is a sleeping giant!" This statement is certainly true, but sad. When the church is silent, sin is celebrated openly and publically. Awake, arise, and obey the Lord!

*******





AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
by Judge Roy Moore
America the Beautiful, or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims' pride; I'm glad they'll never see.
Babies piled in dumpsters, Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.
Our children wander aimlessly poisoned by cocaine,
Choosing to indulge their lusts, When God has said abstain.
From sea to shining sea, our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God's love
And a need to always pray.
So many worldly preachers tell lies about our Rock,
Saying God is going broke so they can fleece the flock.
We've kept God in our temples, How callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool, And Heaven is His throne.
We've voted in a government that's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges
Who throw reason out the door,
Too soft to place a killer in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
Before he leaves the womb.
You think that God's not angry, That our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
Before His judgment comes?
How are we to face our God, From Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do, But stem this evil tide?
If we who are His children, will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face and mend our evil way;
Then God will hear from Heaven
And forgive us of our sins,
He'll heal our sickly land and those who live within.
But, America the Beautiful, If you don't then you will see,
A sad but Holy God withdraw His hand from Thee.
*******
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

*******

(Note: The following was written prior to the storm hitting the Gulf coast.)

Katrina - The fist of God?
- By Stan Goodenough - Jerusalem News Wire

Today is going to be a terrible day for millions of people in the United States as Hurricane Katrina comes roaring ashore on the northern Gulf Coast of the country.

Hopefully, prayerfully, despite the worst-case scenarios being predicted by many weather experts and others in the media, there will not be an enormous loss of life.


But even if no one dies, the thought of hundreds of thousands of people having to leave their homes in the last 48 hours to stream out of the hurricane's path, not knowing what they will come back to – what will happen to their neighborhoods, their houses, their possessions, almost everything they hold dear – is a terrifying thought indeed.

Untold numbers of people are about to be made refugees. Life, as many in the south-eastern USA have known it for generations, is about to change, painfully and dramatically.

For millions more citizens in the "greatest nation on earth" – those who are not physically near the advancing storm – their existence is also about to take a turn for the worse.

Katrina has forced oil workers to evacuate rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, stopping the production of 600,000 barrels of oil a day. Seven oil refineries and a major oil import terminal have been closed.

Oil prices have already gone through the roof, soaring to a record high of $70.80 a barrel of crude since last Friday. Things could get much worse.

The US is particularly sensitive to oil price hikes. While comprising just five percent of the world population, Americans daily consume 20 million barrels of oil – 25 percent of the world's total.

Two weeks ago, the monster Katrina was not on any radar screen, although the 2005 hurricane season, which began in July and will not peak until September, had already seen a record number of hurricanes.

On August 14, citizens in the United States, like people around the world, heard about the issuing of an order for the forced evacuation of Jews from parts of Israel's biblical land.

For six days they watched as thousands of weeping people were pulled and carried from their homes, forced to leave their gardens, parks, communities, schools, towns and synagogues, everything they had spent decades building; banned from ever returning again. Those scenes were soon followed by pictures of bulldozers and other earth-moving machinery pulverizing the just-vacated homes into heaps of dust.

While this was taking place, a small tropical depression was forming near the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean. Slowly, as the air began to revolve, the nonthreatening weather system began moving in the direction of Florida.

Yesterday, we in Israel watched as American officials, including President George W. Bush, ordered the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans and its surrounds. That small depression had turned into a frightening fiend. Now we are seeing on our television screens up to a million people being forced to leave their homes. People are weeping on camera, mourning that they are going to lose "everything we own; everything we have worked for."

As today unfolds we are bracing to see wind and water pounding homes, whole communities, into the ground. Is this some sort of bizarre coincidence? Not for those who believe in the God of the Bible and the immutability of His Word.

What America is about to experience is the lifting of God's hand of protection; the implementation of His judgment on the nation most responsible for endangering the land and people of Israel.

The Bible talks about Him shaking His fist over bodies of water, and striking them.

While the "disengagement" plan was purportedly the brainchild of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the United States of America has for more than a decade been the chief sponsor and propeller of a diplomatic process that has dangerously weakened Israel in the face of an overwhelming, growing threat to annihilate her.

In the context of the last 12 years of peace-process history, and not withstanding the desire of many on Israel's left to go ahead with this process, the Sharon disengagement plan was something that was forced on Israel, primarily by the United States. "It is a fact that Israel's very existence is in grave danger, because of our nation's sponsorship of 'land for peace' plans, which have led her to the brink of war," writes US author William R. Koenig, in his 2004 book Eye to Eye– Facing the consequences of dividing Israel. (21st Century Press, Springfield MO, ISBN 0-9728899-9-X).

On the cover, a grim-faced President Bush is shown looking warily at a massive hurricane threatening his country. Koenig writes, in a book listing major natural and man-made disasters experienced by the USA during its peace-process efforts in the Middle East: "America is now experiencing the consequences (curses) of Middle East policies, which have been opposed to God's Word and to the preservation of His covenant land."

As this "storm of a lifetime" wreaks its rage on the southern United States today, non-believers may be tempted to shake their fists at God. Others will cry out for mercy. Will God hear them?

Our prayer is that He will. "Pray for us. Pray for all of New Orleans," a weeping woman resident of the city pleaded on an international television network Sunday evening as Katrina barreled its way towards her.

Many in America couldn't have cared less about Jews being forced out of their homes and losing everything they have built. Here in Israel, many Jews will be feeling for the Americans who are now facing similar tragedies, tragedies brought about by the forces of heaven rather than through the political power of men.

Can't you see the link, America? Won't you see the link?

*******

SaltnLight's blog post:

Katrina: God's purpose for her

The strongest, most devastating storm in the history of the USA. That is what they are saying about hurricane Katrina as it subsides from the areas of the South where she destroyed everything in her path. Bodies of people’s pets float in the flood waters that broke through dikes in, Louisiana, over flowed in Mississippi and parts of Georgia and Alabama.

Some will ask, “Is this punishment from God for our sin?” Others will ask about God’s judgment. As I watched the news and saw the pictures I couldn’t help but hear mention of how in one town there was the “toppling of a church”. Of course we know there were probably more than one such toppling but it came to me during this newscast, Matthew 5:45(b) He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

How quick we seem to be to believe that God is some ogre who waits for the time to pounce on us. With that said I must add that, there will come a time when He will judge mankind for the evil which we demand our “right” to pursue. His way is not as we may do. He isn’t interested in beating us down for each and every wrong we do.

God created a good world, but evil entered because of the first man's and woman's deliberate choices. God does not, however, withhold the normal blessings of life from those who oppose His will. He allows them to function in His world in order that He might lead them to see His love and experience His forgiveness. Since God treats evil people with kindness, we should also. They are a part of the world He created, and we should seek, by every means possible, to lead them to His love and way of life.

I believe that things like Katrina are permitted to happen to shake us from our slumber. God has not lost his control over our world. He has a leash on Satan and the enemy cannot do more than permitted by God. God has a message for us, we are going in a very suicidal direction due to many of our demands. We demand things that God has already condemned. Where is this condemnation? In the very Book that many have chosen to call antiquated and outdated. This book is like the instruction booklet that we have in the glove compartment of a new car. Like that booklet, we often do not open it until something terrible happens.

Today we are witnessing the coming together of people all over the country, in aide for and prayer for the people who have been so affected by this storm. We did the same after 9/11. Even so, it must frustrate the angels of glory to see how soon we seem to forget the God who loves us. The God we can find it in our hearts to pray to in the face of evil yet, we take for granted and push away throughout the other happier times.

God is our Creator and wants to be our Father. He stretches out His arms to take us into them and heal our brokenness. He wants to wipe the tears of sadness from our eyes and replace them with laughter and joy unspeakable.

Why wont you run to Him today and stay with Him forever??

Not just for the moment as sorrow permeates your being.

*******

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12
"...And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire..." Jude 1:22-23

13 comments:

Jan said...

Do you folks really believe God caused Katrina the hurricane as punishment for our sins?.........geezz....just unfricking believable. All this tragedy and devastation to prove a point...I think not!!


However, Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin.

"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city,"

I believe that things like Katrina are permitted to happen to shake us from our slumber. God has not lost his control over our world

Thomas said...

Hey Christine,

I'm a bit confused by the simultaneous posting of the rather sensible article about hurricanes not really being a sign from God or the onset of the apocalypse, with the entirely predictable stuff about Southern Decadence and (surprisingly) Gaza. As a gay Jew (and atheist), I feel flattered yet embarassed by God's decision to create major weather patterns in honor of the sinfulness of my various peoples. I hope that next time He chooses to recognize me in ways that do not result in thousands of poor people drowning in their own waste water.

Seriously, right after this hurricane I was wondering how you, Christine, would cover this awful catastrophe. How would you explain away the contradictions of an omnipotent, benevolent God? How would you bring the gays into this?

It's clear that you solve this problem by worshipping a non-benevolent deity. We all create God in our image, and you have done so as well, fashioning a God who isn't very nice, who's a little bit cranky, and who's totally obsessed with buggery.

Other people solve this problem in other ways -- Catholics view suffering as a divine mystery, Buddhist regard all as impermanence, and Zoroastrians see the world as a battlefield between two omnipotent but antagonistic foes. I personally view hurricanes as the occasional product of thermodynamics, cyclonic wind patterns, and solar-heated water. Civilization is a thin veneer, thinner, indeed, thanks to the unimaginable incompetence of our vacation-happy federal government. We are creatures of chance, tossed about by gales of atoms, victims of fources utterly beyond out control and utterly indifferent to our fates.

And then, in Christine-ianity, there is the theory that human misery is the fault of the gays. And those liberal Jews. But mostly the gays.

If that's what gets you through the day, good on you. I've got bigger problems to deal with than you, crazy lady.

Susan Smith said...

As Jan mentioned, God IS in control. It is so easy for me to look at others with a magnifying glass and view myself through rose-colored glasses.

This is also true about our view of other countries. We must be very careful if we wish to remove a splinter of sin from another's eye, because we might have a forest of logs in our own. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Hello Jan and Thomas,

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and reply to it. Even when people disagree vehemently about tragic events, their causes, and the circumstances behind them, I still think it is good to have a dialogue about it.

Thomas, you stated that you were confused as to why I posted several different opinion pieces about this tragedy. Note my statements here:

"In fact, there are many ongoing debates on various blogs and message boards where people are discussing whom or what is to blame for it."

"When natural disasters happen, people come up with all kinds of theories and views about it and most ask the question, "why"?"

"Amidst all the pain and suffering, I tend to focus in on the spiritual aspects of an event such as this."

I have noticed that the two of you pounced on me for posting the Marcavage article. In fact, a fellow Christian teenage writer named Kyle Williams has posted a new article at WorldNetDaily condemning the arrogance of the views expressed in that particular article. Of course, he is entitled to his opinion. So are both of you. So am I.

One thing that has been missed within the criticism of the article is the fact that the city was destroyed BEFORE the homosexuals arrived there. How many gay men and lesbian women would have lost their lives if they were there? Only God knows. But know this, God tells us in his Word that he does not delight in the destruction of the wicked. However, He has destroyed "wicked cities" like Sodom and Gomorrah. Remember the pleading of Lot with the Lord to spare the city if he could find 50 righteous people there? Eventually, the count went down to 10! Even those few could not be found.

God wants ALL to come to repentance! It isn't an issue of innocence, for NONE of us are innocent. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But the Lord is patient, His Word tells us, precisely because he does not want ANYONE to perish!

Perhaps some gay people arrived in New Orleans early for the festival. I pray that they escaped and are among the survivors. I grieve for those gay people (and anyone else) who died in this tragedy; especially if they had not already chosen to confess, repent of their sins and have the Lord Jesus Christ indwelling their souls before their physical deaths!

I plan to post a very detailed blog about God's love for us as well as His love for holiness and righteousness. Perhaps you might consider reading it when it is posted. It is my sincere hope that my new post will open your eyes, hearts and ears towards God's call for our need to repent.

As I stated in the beginning of my first post, I tend to focus on the spiritual aspects of events. I hope you don't mind if I share some thoughts about tragedies such as these and then lead into the spiritual aspects that I see according to what the Bible has taught me over the years.

Sometimes God rescues people from disasters on this earth, sometimes he doesn't. His Word tells us that He doesn't enjoy the destruction of the wicked, but wants all to come to repentance. The issue isn't innocence. It is holiness and righteousness which was taken out of man when man chose to sin and disobey God. The rain falls on the wicked and the righteous. Even many of the disciples weren't spared from dying horrific deaths and they were the 'recorders' of the Bible through the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit!

All of God's ways cannot be known to our finite minds (for we see as through a glass darkly), however, we are shown enough in general revelation of Creation, plus special revelation of God's Word which reveals the Person of Jesus Christ. Knowing Christ is to know what God requires of us from this life.

It is only in the end that we will see the mosaic of redemption and the "whys" of the timing of deaths. Right now I sincerely think we are seeing the "birth pangs" of the end times as revealed in the books of Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation.

The way I see it is that it doesn't matter how, when or at what age one dies. What matters is a person's spiritual state at the time of death. Infants and children who have not reached the age of accountability are not spiritually responsible for their own personal salvation. The Bible has several verses that reveal this fact.

When the tsunami hit, people were asking "why?" and "where is God?"; many were angry with God for allowing it to happen. Let's consider the following facts.

There were many warnings which went ignored and due to several human errors, the people in the area where the tsunami hit were not warned properly or in time. Some that were warned and took it seriously survived. One of the worst facts about the tsunami disaster is to find out that the warning system in place at the time had been deserted by those who generally would have been there to alert the people. If I remember correctly, many were on vacation. If you read through the archives of articles (WND is a good choice) you will find that a man put up posters warning about the seismic activity projection in the ocean and that a tsunami could occur as a result. The warnings to the government, resorts, and tourists all were ignored. One disturbing reason why proper warnings were not given was because of greed. The tourist industry didn't want to alarm the guests; especially if it didn't turn out to be an evacuation emergency. Hindsight may be 20/20, but greed often blinds people to what they SHOULD do for the sake of the safety of others.

The tragedy in New Orleans is something that people have been warning about for years if not decades. There was always the fear that if anything larger than a category 3 hurricane hit, the levy would be in danger of breaking. If the levy broke there, the city would be under water and completely destroyed precisely because it was built on ground which is below sea level. I just heard on Fox News as I was typing this that warnings such as this have gone unheeded for 30 years!

Maybe it wasn't wise to build the area in the first place? Was it wise to build a city on ground which is below sea level? Where was man's wisdom in this?

There was a mandatory evacuation for several days before the hurricane hit and the smart people heeded those dire warnings and escaped the tragedy. Those who thought they could ride out the storm now know what a terrible mistake they made in that decision. As was seen in several news reports before the storm hit, many people refused to leave their homes. People cannot be forced to do something that they refuse to do, no matter how many warnings and pleadings are given and no matter how dire the situation is.

In a similar manner, when confronted with the gospel message, people need to consider whether or not to confess sin and repent and ask Jesus into their hearts as Lord and Savior. This can only be encouraged by others and cannot be forced upon people. Requiring more than what God has already revealed through general and special revelation in order to make the decision for salvation is an even more dire mistake than the terrible decision that people who refused the warnings about the hurricane made. The years of physical life are but a blip in time compared to eternity...

People can be fervently urged to save their physical lives when a hurricane is coming to shore just like they can be urged to save their eternal souls before physical death for all eternity. Free will enables people to say "no" to both suggestions. The consequences for such decisions are now evident in the physical realm (as in the case of the hurricane), and warned in the spiritual realm in God's Word, the Bible.

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

Christinewjc said...

My dear friend Susan!

I always love how you say so much in so few words (unlike me...haha).

Susan: "This is also true about our view of other countries. We must be very careful if we wish to remove a splinter of sin from another's eye, because we might have a forest of logs in our own."

Jesus is the only one who can remove those logs from our eyes! I should know...he has performed that spiritual surgery on me over the years...thats for sure!

I often pray that my words will be pleasing to Him. He is my audience of One! However, I also realize that we can never be perfect this side of heaven and those remaining 'logs' and 'splinters' in our eyes can be viewed as being left there to remind us of that fact!

I so appreciate you Susan, and the wisdom of God's love that you share here at my blog.

Love in Him,
Christine

Christinewjc said...

Thomas!

You are a genius. How did you know that 'crazy lady' is one of my daughters' favorite nicknames for me? ;-)

Thomas said: "If that's what gets you through the day, good on you. I've got bigger problems to deal with than you, crazy lady."

Of course I'm sure that she places a totally different meaning upon me by using that title than you do...

Susan Smith said...

On my bus to work here in Jerusalem, I had a Jewish friend who claimed to be an atheist, ask me why did God allow the holocaust? I answered that Hitler had a free will to sin and he was not satisfied with my answer. Trying to answer the "whys" in life is futile. God's ways and thoughts are above mine. God is sovereign and I KNOW HE can be trusted. God is love and Love NEVER fails.

I work with people from many countries and some seem to enjoy JUDGING the United States when tragedy strikes my country. I am not ashamed to be an American, because the United States is used mightily by God to make disciples throughout the world. God bless the USA! America is a beacon of hope for many in the world today.

It is almost my bedtime here so I will log off before some 'crazy lady' on the west coast gets me to laughing. Bless you Christine! In His Love,

Susan

Serena said...

hat was a great explanation, Christine. I'm bookmarking you and looking forward to that long article you intend to write. I've been mulling one for a while, too. I think for us humans it can be pretty difficult to understand the Sovereign of the Universe. I just know that He has every right to judge His creation however He sees fit to do it, that we deserve it and that somehow His love is not at all to be brought into question in doing so. I'm so grateful that mercy triumphs over judgment and that is proved at the cross when Messiah shed His blood for our sin. I know that what He says is true and that He is longsuffering and doesn't want any to be destroyed but that all would come to repentance. But that does not mean that He doesn't and won't destroy. He gives us warning over and over and over in our lives and we make the choices that bring on the judgment, not Him.
Love and shalom,
Serena

Christinewjc said...

Hello Serena!

Welcome to my blog! Thank you for your kind words about my post. I plan to go to your blog and read more of your writings, too!

I have both of my kids home from college for the long holiday weekend so my time on the computer is limited today.

Just wanted to say welcome and glad to see you here!

Love & God bless,
Christine

Saltnlight said...

To all:
It really matters not if God brought this disaster upon us or not or why if He did. What really matters is what are you going to do about your life from this day forward.

Whether you are homosexual, Jew, Gentile, Christian, Budhist, Muslim or anything in between or besides, are you going to continue living to please yourself?

There are things in each of our lives that are not good and God has given us the conscience to know what they are. Will you stay this way? Will you carry bitter grudges? Will I? Are you willing to say, "I am sorry"? Am I?

Many of you are intelligent enough to know all of what we see before our eyes did not just happen. It is too intricate and too beautiful.

Personally, no, I do not believe God caused the disaster known as Katrina but what I do know is this: He is in control of it and everything that is done is done because of His being in control.I cannot take my next breath without His ok and all of you are free to believe whatever you will.

If there is a God such as the One I worship, and I know there is, He will have the last say. He will not change with every wind of doctrine as some of you are accustomed to see happen in our laws etc. He will not wink at what He has condemned. They who practice them will surely die and be tormented for all of eternity, He said it I did not.

God brought the blindness upon the Jewish peoples, yet He has a remnant who will be His and will be saved. He knows them we do not. He alone will save whoever He wills to save and we only have one task. Tell them about Him and how He came to earth to save His own from sin.

If you can't stand the heat leave the kitchen please.

Saltnlight

Saltnlight said...

Hello Serena:
You have stated all very well and it is correct.

Our Lord has warned us many times and still the heart of man is so filled with pride he cannot hear. We say, "I don't need God, I have my knowledge." Yet we build our houses on the sand or in a bowl as in the case of New Orleans.

Serena I pray you will come here often and coverse with us. God's best to you.

Saltnlight

biscuit said...

you said
To lose a loved one in a disaster such as this causes unimaginable grief. I only wish that more people had taken the dire warnings more seriously and had gotten out of the city.
__

This comment and ones like it keep coming up.. and I really don't understand why people have such a hard time wrapping their head around the concept of POOR.
The people that did not leave didn't do so because they were stupid, or stubborn. They did not have the means to leave.. No cars, no money for gas, hotel rooms.. etc. We are talking about some of the poorest people in the nation.
So while you sympathize with those who have lost loved ones.. Please try to understand that it isn't that they didn't want to leave, they COULDN'T... and even though mandatory evacuations were ordered, they couldn't leave, and the officials hadn't made any plans to get them out.. buses should have driven down streets and picked people up. but they didn't.. and they were left to die.
So, please stop perpetuating this idea that the people who didn't leave were being stubborn... THEY COULD NOT LEAVE BECAUSE THEY WERE POOR. period.

Saltnlight said...

Biscuit:
What you say here is partially correct but much of the truth is that for many years people there have stayed in this fish bowl with the waters on the outside. Being warned over the years of how dangerous this is.

Also, before this disaster hit the authorities closest to the possibility of disaster did nothing to help them get out.

The governor was offered help by the President and she refused it, when she finally did something it was haphazard and not the mandatory evacuation that was called for. School buses sat until they were engulfed in water.

The rich affluent of New Orleans sat in their mansions and did nothing to help people get out.

Then is this something to proud of?
Homosexuals partied and paraded, as these poor people mourned the dead and gave up their pets and ways of life to a watery grave, instead of helping to relieve their pain and agony.

Here is a culture, if you will, that constantly tells us how they want to be accepted by others, yet this is where their priorities were. They were not toward the community they claim to want to be part of. Does this not tell all what is most important to this group of selfish people??

They have money to bring all sorts of problems to children in public schools, to bring lawsuits etc, Did you see Planned Parenthood or Glsen or Pflag etc. helping the poor and destitute of Louisianna or Mississippi etc.???? I think not.

God has shown us all through this horrid disaster who it is truly love Him and who it is do not. Those who truly love the Lord will show it in what they do.

And to top all this there were those who had been told to leave and were offered a way out but refused it.

Yes, I understand that they may not have wanted to leave their only reason for existence but is this a good decision or worthy of saying, “they were just POOR?” I don’t think so. They were confused and they were stubbornly hanging on to that which was about to be washed away.

There is blame to go around for sure but the facts are that we should ever tempt nature and live below sea level or trust man made structures to keep back the sea.

What is needed is for us to do that which has not been done before. If we are going to help them, their future needs to be built in safe places not back in the fish bowl. Lift them out and never put them back there again.