What a divisive few weeks. U.S. President Trump called North Korea’s Kim Jung Un “Little Rocket Man.” Jung Un responded by calling Trump a “dotard,” an archaic word for senile old man. This past weekend the National Football League saw more action off the field than on as Trump and commissioner Roger Goodell traded insults over players protesting by taking a knee during the national anthem. So, here’s my nonpartisan divisive issues issue: [Continue reading]
I’m sure my friends in Mexico and the Caribbean are feeling like human tetherballs as two earthquakes and two Category 5 hurricanes have struck them this way and that. And my friends in Texas and Florida are still battered from dual hurricanes and those in the west are still recovering from destructive wildfires.
For those unfamiliar with this violent game (“head injuries on a stick”), a volleyball is hung from a tall metal pole with a rope (tether). The players on opposite sides of the pole try to hit the ball—one clockwise, one counterclockwise—until one player winds the ball all the way around the pole so that it is stopped by the rope. A steel pole. A heavy ball flying directly at the contestants’ faces. What possibly could go wrong?!
Maybe you, too, have felt like life is punching you in the face as you reel in the opposite direction, then you’re struck again and propelled the other way. You’re in constant motion, being struck this way and then that with health crises, financial hardships, relationship problems, etc. etc. There is hope. [Continue reading]
The United States has experienced massive wind and flood damage of Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma as well as widespread destruction of western wildfires. And the death toll of the combined natural disasters is expected to rise. Grief is not only a reaction to loss of life, but a loss of property, security, routine, creature comforts, and more prompting deep feelings of grief.
Photo from The Salvation Army
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Two small numbers—9/11—have become shorthand for an infinite number of emotions: the shock and disbelief of watching the terrorist attack on live TV, the horror of watching the twin towers collapse upon themselves, the national grief as the number of confirmed casualties grew to over 2,800, the growing realization that we are no longer beyond the reach of terrorist attacks, and perhaps most of all, the fact that those who remember where they were on that date, will never, ever be the same. Here are some hopeful and helpful posts about that day of horror 16 years ago.
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Today, Sunday, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day.
Each year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and 25 times that number attempt to take their own lives. I have had thoughts of suicide as I struggle with clinical depression. Here are some posts I trust are helpful if you or a loved one are dealing with suicidal thoughts.
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Reasons for fear
• The rogue nation of North Korea just detonated a possible hydrogen bomb and is threatening that it can now strike the United State mainland with nuclear devastation.
• Irma, a “catastrophic” Category 5 hurricane with possible sustained winds of 225 mph, has Florida in its sights.
• Children of illegal immigrants, who are currently protected from deportation under the so-called “Dreamers” executive order by President Obama, may see that order rescinded by President Trump.
Reasons for hope
• Fear not Guest post by my daughter
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Happy Labor Day! Here in the States, we’re celebrating labor by taking the day off!
However, not everyone loves his or her job, so I have in my right hand, direct from CareerCast.com, today’s category: Ten top worst jobs in America. The company took a look at 200 jobs and ranked them based on a variety of criteria, including “income, outlook, environmental factors, stress and physical demands.” (Of course, my first question was “Am I on the list?” And second, “Where does “survey-taker” rank on the list?”)
Questions of why always swirl in the wake of natural disasters. But like the popular game show, “Jeopardy,” the answers are in the form of a question.
What can I know?
Every situation is a life lesson.
I’ve worked up way too much spiritual perspiration trying to answer why my second-grade teacher committed suicide, why I was laid off from the perfect job in publishing—twice—or why bad things happen to such good people as you and me.
I have learned that while why is often a futile question, God is more than willing to answer other questions. I can also find the answer to . . .
How can I grow?
Remember the “purpose” in Romans 8:28, “all things work together for good,” is found in verse 29: To “be conformed to the image of his son.”
How can this situation make me grow more like Jesus?
Who can I show?
Second Corinthians 1:3-6 has become one of my favorite passages in encouraging me while I’m going through terrible times:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer (NLT).
Who can I comfort with the comfort I have received?
Let’s all comfort the people of Texas and Lousiana in our best way possible whether personally assisting, giving to the Salvation Army and other reputable relief organizations, or simply praying. Everyone can help!
Adapted from The Psalms of Asaph: Struggling with Unanswered Prayer, Unfulfilled Promises, Unpunished Evil, which should be out the end of this month.
Are natural disasters “acts of God”?
Photo from Houston Chronicle
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