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23 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Listen for these two words this Sunday:

    Grace and peace to you…

    “The apostle’s greeting is new and unknown to the world. Before the Gospel was preached, this greeting had never been heard. These two words, ‘grace’ and ‘peace,’ encompass all that belongs to Christianity. Grace loosens the bonds of sin, and peace soothes the conscience. The two demons that torment us are sin and the conscience. But Christ has overcome these two monsters and has crushed them underfoot, in this world as well as the next.” The world is unaware of this. That is why it cannot teach with any certainty that sin and death have been defeated and the conscience pacified. Christians are the only ones who have this teaching and have experience in using this weapon in defeating sin, despair, and eternal death. This doctrine does not come from the use of free will; neither is it an invention of reason or human wisdom, but it has been given from above.” – Martin Luther (Commentary on Gal. 1:3)

  2. Michael says:

    Be praying for those who have lost all in the California fires…I have friends who have lost homes and others watching the wall of fire approach.

  3. Em says:

    Last August my daughter awakened me at 3 am: “mom get up, you’ve got to come outside and see this.”
    We are in a narrow canyon and in the black of night, we were surrounded by an orange glow. On one side the river separated us from the flames and on the other side (300 ft. from the house) glowing in the dark, like blue fireflies the helmet lights told us that an unseen crew of brave men scurried lighting backfires to halt the fire’s progress dowmhill… We had 10 sprinklers going full on (thank God for a good well and pump) round the clock. Yes, we had evacuated for four days, but old timers stayed put (most of our neighbors have been retired forest service employees). We prayed for no wind and God stopped it – that made the difference.
    Where there were dense evergreen stands, there was no way to stop the fire… Those firefighters in California are smart and brave, but wind and dense dry shrubbery are beyond controlling.
    The conflagration on the far hill seems surreal and those folks who waited or were not told to leave in time are victims of the illusion that home is their safe place, perhaps. I don’t fault them and i do pray for those who have survived, but lost their homes or, worse, their lived ones… God have mercy! Indeed God be merciful to them.

  4. Em says:

    lived? no, loved… tablet bloop again

    Controversial question – is it bad theology, in light of recent hurricanes, fires and volcanoes, to think that God is lifting His restraining hand of mercy in a warning to us? In light of the direction popular and prevalent mores in our nation have taken? Too fundy? Too … evangelical? ?

  5. Michael says:

    I think it’s bad theology.
    Was the “black death” Gods judgement on Europe?
    Our morals are still better than most empires…all empires fall.

  6. Jean says:

    Completely bad theology

    Luther said of such attempts: “That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened.”

  7. Michael says:

    I think the judgement of the nations is eschatological but I’ve said that before…

  8. Xenia says:

    These things might or might not be the judgement of God but they should make us all mindful of our own deaths.

  9. Em says:

    I think of the scripture to the effect that it is by God’s mercy that we are not consumed…. KJV O.T. and i am not thinking of God pouring out judgement, so much as Him distancing Himself and, thus, opening a hole for the devil to get to a nation and wreck havoc…

  10. CM says:

    Another things that we live a fallen universe tainted by the fall.

    Also, are really getting more disasters now, or is it our perception due that fact we have much more instant access to the news of these disasters? Hurricane frequency is effected by the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation.

    Yes, sin is increasing, but could it not be explained by the fact there are a lot more people (sinners) now?

  11. Michael says:

    When I read history…I’m not even sure sin is increasing.
    We’ve always been a bad bunch…

  12. The New Victor says:

    “Hurricane frequency is effected by the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation.” Speaking of The Atlantic, Wait until the next Bond Event, will far dwarf and human contribution to climate change.

    Mortals focus on immediate suffering, understandably, yet everyone dies. No one is exempt.

    Speaking of nations and judgement, my buddy did a tour and a half in Afghanistan. He saw the Bacha Boy culture which disgusted him. He also saw neighbors looting the remains of the bombed houses of families rather than helping the families as neighbors.

    It came up or of the blue but my ex this afternoon (I was invited to a birthday party for her neice) how much she hated trump and though she knew it wasn’t right, never wished more strongly for someone to be dead. That white men were shooting people, not Mexicans. I kept my mouth shut.

    I’m flying into Portland this week for a few days. I wish I had time to drive out to the gorge to see my old stomping grounds after the fires. I’ll bring my kids there for vacation in a year or two. It will be good to get out of this smoke.

    My buddy, who lives in port Townsend, called me today. His old boss, a funeral director, barely made it out of Paradise in time with whatever they had in their car…

    I don’t know how much PG&E is responsible, but they trimmed another tree in power lines two homes down from me yesterday. I called them over a year ago when my tree was causing the back power lines to send down sparks in a 15mph wind. That was two weeks before the first Napa Fires.

  13. Em says:

    well, i am willing to concede that there is an explanation for the long term weather cycles, but i’m not sure knowing how it happens indicates that God is not involved in it happening
    on our side (Pacific) they tell us the ocean is warming and then they tell us that the civilized world is the cause ? ? ? not sure i’m convinced of that… Swedish scientists have discover a large number of active volcanoes under the south polar ice cap – who knew? and the world has a plethora of nuclear power plants now… i wonder where all the waste is being dumped (old lady ponder, haven’t heard anything) and, growing up in California there were fires in the hills at this time of year – we referred to those winds as the Santana (devil) winds then… so it is possible that the increasing population is the cause of the impact on peoples’ lives … dunno … old timers up here blame the government (state) for the destruction of the wildfires. They say that the approach to letting nature take its course is the ultimate cause. They tell of fires breaking out in the surrounding mountains and everybody pitching in to fight them while still small… today, they let them burn until they’re really big … why?
    perhaps, God is simply letting history play out disasters of our own making building to the grand finale before our Lord’s return? But, i am pretty sure that the frequency is increasing, at least on this north American continent. Although it is somewhat placating to say, it isn’t just our instant communication ability that makes it seem so…

    One thing we can say – in one way or another – is amen to the motto you’ll find hung in some pleasure boats: “Oh Lord, Your ocean is so big and my boat is so small.” Ultimately, the planet is not ours to control, nor is human nature, i guess. That is not to say that we can’t be wiser than we seem to be now… pray for wisdom? i think so… 🙂

    God keep

  14. Jerod says:

    Is it simply normalcy bias to think that God doesn’t use his creation to warn us?

    For instance, an Anglican and most Christians would say that the Eucharist is a physical manifestation of a spiritual reality. Also with baptism. Like Naaman.
    “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

    What were the environmental events surrounding Christ’s death on the cross, if not weather, or, even more absurd, signs in the heavens and earth?

    He did those things for a reason. What was it the Centurion said after he had seen all those things?

    “Now, when the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying: Truly this was the Son of God.”

    I think I remember you saying that you aqcuiesced to preterism a long time ago. Does that let you dismiss Em too easily out of hand?

  15. Jerod says:

    The waste wasn’t being dumped and it wasn’t getting shot into space… they let it go in the Pacific, like a toddler playing in the water.

  16. Michael says:


    I hope you’re not talking to me…I have never been anything close to a preterist.

    I’ve gone over this before…I believe that in this age Jesus has come to seek and save the lost, not bring eschatological judgement.

    Furthermore, I think anyone with a decent history book would see that we are living in a golden age compared to most of history….there has never been a better time to be alive.

    The plagues have been conquered, medicine and pain control advance daily, and so does technology.

    Climate cycles have gone on since the beginning.

    If we view God as father, we view Him as a parent.

    When good parents discipline their children, the children know why they are being disciplined.

    If, for example, the fires are a picture of Gods displeasure, why is He angry?

    What sin did the town of Paradise commit?

    I know of at least two pastors whose homes burnt down and one of my closest friends in ministry was anticipating his might too.

    What did they do to offend the Almighty?

  17. CM says:

    Remember the rain falls on the just and unjust alike. The converse is also true (the lack of rain effects both the just and unjust).

    We live in a fallen universe, and all of creation is affected as Romans Chapter 8 states.

    It seems to me these fire-and-brimstone pronouncements of disaster X on entity Y for sin Z tend to ignore this rather obvious fact (think of the doozies Pat Robertson has made for example).

  18. Michael says:



  19. CM says:

    Also tied into this is the idea of common grace.

    Providential care in creation (such rain for watering plants), human advancements in medicine, etc.

    God works in the ordinary. As Michael said, we are living in a golden age compared to most of history. How often do we thank God for clean drinking water, modern medicine and doctors, modern sanitation, etc.?

  20. Jerod says:

    My mistake. Confused you with Phil.

    I think what CM quoted is food for thought on both sides.

    Just cause disasters happen does not equate to judgement
    But neither does the absence of them mean there is no judgement.
    Didn’t Jesus say that at his return people would be getting married and given in marriage? He seems to say we’ll feel pretty hunky-dory.

  21. Jerod says:

    My wife and I were just discussing that God wields in the ordinary. Nice to find common ground.

  22. The New Victor says:

    I just talked to my buddy who is originally from California. He’s lived in three other states in his army career. He said that those states conducted regular forest burns, unlike we do in Cali and he doesn’t understand it.

  23. Em says:

    in Washington they do what is called prescribed burning – setting fire to the underbrush so that the forest floor is free of combustible material – but it is dangerous if the wind comes up, the area is too dry or humidity too low or the ones doing the burning are not really competent… sometimes the fire does get away from them… we are trying to recover from a recent approach by some naturalists who were put in charge of forestry and said, don’t do anything, let nature takes its course… no logging, no clearing etc… disastrous results … some of the most beautiful hiking country in the world was turned to cinders a couple years back and the resultant silt that flowed into the streams in the spring thaw put the salmon population in danger also…
    i wonder if the brush in California is just too large for the process of burning the underbrush? … it is one thing to set fire to small (less than 4 ft. high) scrub and something else to try to control larger shrubs, oak and such… dunno, tho … this last week’s devastation is beyond horrible … have we gotten to the point where we think reality is what we see on these screens, not what is out our front doors?

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