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31 Responses

  1. Paige says:

    Amen. Amen.

    The Name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it, and are saved. Proverbs 18:10….

    My fave verse: Nahum 1:7 the LORD is good; a stronghold in times of trouble. He knows those who take refuge in Him..

    “In Him”….my only hope. My hope is built, on nothing less……

  2. Michael says:

    Amen, Paige…amen.

  3. Cash says:

    I’m a runner. Not an exercise runner. I’m a Miss Kitty runner. When things are tranquil and everything is peaceful, I can trust. But when…”the doctors report is as loud as the garbage truck, the bank statement as fearsome as getting caught under the street sweeper,” I do the same thing…bolt upright and flee due to my anxiety.
    I have not learned that I am safe on my Master’s lap. I would like to say I have, but the truth is far from that.
    I think anxiety is a subject that we experience more and more in these days of terrorists that cut peoples’ heads off and clowns that run for president (on both sides). It’s hard to cast all your cares upon Him when you can’t even sit still enough to quiet your mind.
    Thank you for this, Michael, I will be be chewing on this for awhile.

  4. Michael says:

    Cash,

    I only learned how not to run when He took my legs out from under me…

  5. Cash says:

    Michael,

    That scares me even more! 😉

  6. Michael says:

    Cash,

    It should… 🙂

    The last few months did me in…the first discovery of the heart problem, then other problems associated with it, then the lack of a fast, simple cure shook me badly.

    Adjusting to my new “normal” has been worse.

    Then I watched Trey and my “family” leave for three months to try and find their own cure in Germany.

    I can’t fix me, I can’t fix them, and it’s all on God.

    Today, that seems like a good thing.

    Tomorrow, I might feel differently.

    It’s all a process, my friend.

  7. Em says:

    ” It’s hard to cast all your cares upon Him when you can’t even sit still enough to quiet your mind.” this is a real reality – we were discussing this in my home this morning – our present societal demands are so intrusive that it doesn’t give one time to sort out one’s thoughts, let alone concentrate on the Eternal…
    those of us who older and off that treadmill – we, who truly can remember a slower world even in the midst of a world war, need to pray for all you youngsters caught up in the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson’s dreams… how on earth did we think that we could micro manage the whole world when one life is almost more than we can handle?
    or so it seems to me … today

  8. Michael says:

    Em,

    There’s much wisdom in what you just wrote…

  9. pslady says:

    Love this!

  10. Cash says:

    Em,

    Life is so complicated now. One wrong move or an appliance going out can leave us thousands of dollars in debt. The food we eat causes us to be so unhealthy. There are wars and rumors of wars (not referencing the eschatology). I think I yearn for a simpler time when people did have faith and everyone just kind of accepted that. A time I could sit at the Father’s feet and listen instead of bringing so much worry and stress to Him or just simply running away like we talked about before.

  11. Em says:

    Cash, it is strange today – a good part of my childhood was spent during WW2 and there were wars and rumors, bomb drills at school, gas rationing, food stamps had a different meaning then … and yet there wasn’t the stress level the sense of impotence that one has today… i’m sitting here rehearsing in my mind all the bureaucratic hoops that one is expected to jump through today and so much more – even in the workplace… i think that it makes one feel like a non-person – as if one is simply a mindless appliance expected to perform like a toaster or something

  12. Miss ODM says:

    There are some things we just cannot run from – – like health issues. This is where my belief in the gifts of the Spirit is challenged. The gifts are given freely for the building up of the Body, yet those claiming the healing gift won’t put out without a seed sown into their already overflowing bank account. You have friends who claim to operate in the gifts — why don’t they send one with the gift of healing over to you? Where are the elders who can anoint the sick with oil and join in fervent prayer. May the God of all Comfort comfort you and make His presence known. I wish I lived nearby – I’d come over with some homemade chicken soup and a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on. I’ve been on that road before. I will be praying for you. I loved this kitty observation.

  13. Michael says:

    Miss ODM,

    Thank you for the kind words.
    We do anoint with oil and pray for healing…and we’ve seen God answer more than once.
    He may answer us again…today He’s given peace in the storm.

  14. brian says:

    nice article. thanks for posting it.

  15. Reuben says:

    One of the major factors in my transition to anti-theist has been animal behavior. I have to say, this article underscores a major reason why humans create things that animals simply don’t seem to have the ability to imagine. We place concepts such as safety on things that we fabricate, while lower functioning animals just want to get away when there seems to be a lack of safety. We don’t know if lower functioning beings have the ability to imagine, but it is obvious that imagination is counterproductive in many ways. The superiority of instinctive flight when faced with danger is something that humans lost as a result of imagining that a god somehow protects us, and we do that while believing that same god will destroy others. The gods that humans create are in fact selectively protective, the same way humans are, the same way cats are. So we see that the gods we created are no better than we are when it comes to presumed priorities.

    Cats run to places where they believe they can be isolated and the large predators are not capable of following them there. So they run to a place of safety that is really observably safe to them. The trash truck can’t get to the crawlspace under the house, it never has before, and this is a rational solution when faced with danger.

    Humans have very little to fear but things like biological failures like cancer, natural disasters, or what other humans can do. Those things are typically out of our control. We have control over most other things like lower functioning beings, we are in fact at the top of the food chain, but we still become irrational, and need to believe there is a crawlspace we can escape to where our “demons” cannot fit. We call that crawlspace god. But imagining that place of safety is not exclusive to christians, as people like me run to alcohol, drugs, eating, or even display behaviors of pursuing fearful scenarios as an escape from fear, like a race car driver, or a sky diver, facing fears by creating them. Christians would call these things substitute gods…

    Cats would call it the crawlspace.

  16. Em says:

    we do learn from animal behavior a great deal about the human “animal”
    i won’t belabor the point with the myriad of examples running through my head right now…
    i do disagree that humans have very little to fear – in the natural – most of us (me included) do is press on in denial mode, i.e., my money’s safely prudently wisely invested, the market will recover (always has), the electric lights come on when i turn the switch (always have), eventually someone will fix the potholes in the road before the road collapses (always have), etc.
    i also disagree that belief in God is a construct of our own making… the difference between a made up god and the God of our salvation is basically one of honesty… am i looking for a “higher power” to blame for my troubles and praise for my good fortune or am i searching for the One with whom i will have to give an account at the end of my days…
    we humans, Christian or not, are very, very good at displacement and denial… Jer. 17:9

  17. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    That’s actually a pretty sound, plausible theory.
    Where it breaks down for me is that it leaves no place for faith or the supernatural.
    Of course, such things cannot be measured or standardized…their reality cannot be affirmed by anyone except the one experiencing them.

    I always have wondered how my faith would hold up in hardship, especially the possibility of death.
    I have always maintained that I was drafted into Christianity, I would never have enlisted…would that be able to sustain in a crisis?

    Strangely enough, It’s holding up real well.

    I don’t know if I have ten years, ten days, or ten minutes left here.

    My only fears are of leaving people behind and leaving things undone.

    The God I worship has been present.

    I know the history of the church as well as you do.
    I know the current state of the church as well as you do.

    Jesus is more real to me than all that I know.

    It is pointless to argue these things and I won’t…it is more than I’m able to do simply to live them out in a way that those closest will see that I’ve had company on my journey.

  18. Em says:

    i wish we all had an uncle to come sit beside us and encourage us with true truth as Paul did for this man a long, long time ago… 2 Timothy 2 … why do we use Scriptures as a hammer when the gentleness shown here is what it means to share Christ and encourage others

  19. mk says:

    This is a really great thread. Michael, you have no idea how your article ministered to me last night at 2 a.m. when I awakened. Two days ago my dad fell and fractured his femur. By yesterday afternoon, I was receiving a call that he was being airlifted to another hospital – that if he didn’t receive a pacemaker, he wasn’t going to survive…and he tried to deny the pacemaker until my sister and uncle convinced him he needed it. I was in a dentist waiting room 1100 miles away and burst into tears as I was learning the story. Thankfully no one was around me when I lost all compose. I was struck with utter fear and shock. My first reaction was doom and gloom then I called a friend for prayer. I didn’t have the strength or faith in the moment to “rest” in the chaos coursing through my mind. I can relate to the running and retreating, thinking I can handle things on my own. But the truth is and what I discovered, is that the couple friends that surrounded me and my dad in prayer yesterday reminded me that God is in control and His hand was in everything that was happening. Your words last night was a gentle reminder to place my trust in Him. Always.

  20. Michael says:

    mk,

    Blessings on you, my friend…and we’ll be praying for your dad and you.

  21. mk says:

    Thanks Michael very much. 🙂
    Blessing to you too.

  22. Reuben says:

    Michael,

    Do you remember when you told me to run? The irrational thing would have been to stay, obviously. The rational response to the fire I was in was to run. I ran, but running at that time in my life seemed irrational. I can taste the fear, I know precisely the enormous pressures that were on me. My whole identity had been destroyed, and every last atom of my human existence told me to cling to who I had become. But I heard you, and I did the rational thing, and I ran, and the running changed the course of my life entirely. You don’t know what that meant to me, to my survival, and even though you are locked in a circular reasoning that destroys humans ability to live, you want to protect people. You want them to be safe. That is an amazing thing. It is a testament to a level of human behavior that stands out among human behaviors.

    I told god to leave me, I slammed the door. I found out I am still good. No evil suddenly overtook me. I still love people, still want to protect them, still want to keep them safe. It is unfortunate that you need god to be good. You and I both know how the level of evil only became exponentially worse when god had power in people’s lives.

  23. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    God is good.
    People can be, and often are, evil.
    People often use God as an excuse for their evil.
    God is still good.

    If this is foolishness, it is the wisest folly I know and I will die believing it.

    My hope is that I live it well enough to make it plausible to others.

    I have to go buy a box to send another care package to Germany…much love to you and yours, my friend.

  24. OCDan says:

    Micheal,

    God has given you an incredible gift. I mean that. Despite all the chaos in the church that you expose, it really is articles like this that you shine God’s glory the brightest. I love how Ms. Kitty can teach us so much.

    It is amazing how as the apex of God’s creation, we are so pathetic without Him. You always remind me of that and sometimes even bring tears to this grumpy middle-aged curmudgeon. This one and its thread is one of them.

    I am not a power trip guy, but I do like having my ducks lined up. I struggle with worry and yet Jesus said not to, ergo, I am sinning. Besides, He has never forsaken me or left me and He has gotten me this far, what me worry? Yup.

    Micheal I needed to read this. Thank you brother.

  25. OCDan says:

    Michael,

    A little late comment on the topic, but I loved the Steve Brown sermon on When Jesus Leaves the Church.

    It has been a looooong time since I have heard such beautiful teaching. I realize that I am a sinner and need grace, but I have not heard such sweet grace proclaimed in church for a long time. Too much fire and brimstone, not enough forgiveness.

    Thank you brother.

  26. Em says:

    there seems to have been a thread of meanness infesting church gatherings from the very beginning… what seems to make it worse is the impersonal, amoral atmosphere of the corporate model today…

    when looking into my maternal grandfather’s roots – his parents came from Sweden – i had wondered why his parents chose the church affiliation here in the U.S. that they did (Swedish Missionary Tabernacle of Chicago) and not the historic Swedish church. i learned that the State church (denomination unimportant) catered to the “upper class” – special pews etc., making most Swedes second class citizens even on Sundays…
    the New World was a new beginning in more ways than one… for a while, anyway

  27. Michael says:

    OCDan,

    Thank you for the kind words.
    These threads always amaze me, because I’m the only one that knows how they came about.
    When I got up yesterday morning I had nothing to say…and I don’t make these things up.
    I don’t read fiction and evidently I can’t write it either.
    I sat down in my chair and the cat joined me…I was just going to post Open Blogging and be done with it.
    That’s when we heard the sweeper…and God gave us all a message.

    He uses even empty, dirty vessels…

  28. Em says:

    “He uses even empty, dirty vessels…” sometimes i think… sometimes, i do 🙂 isn’t it strange how offensive we are to those who think that we think we ARE righteous?

  29. OCDan says:

    Michael and Em,

    Hey if God can use an ass, well, it wouldn’t be the first time that I have…

    Well, you get the point.

  30. Erunner says:

    Michael, once more you’ve written a gem that fits perfectly with my blog. I just posted it. Thanks for the wisdom you share!!

  31. Michael says:

    Thank you, Erunnner…I hope it is of some help to your readers.

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