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God Hates Us?!

Photo by: Brian Kingsley

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, followed a week later by a chilling nor-easter, the New York Post yesterday boldly declared, “God Hates Us… but we have an angel.” The front-page headline was combined with a provocative picture of a Victoria Secret model.

From Steve WV

In trying to read between the lines, my guess is that the message combines a sense of cheeky, cynical frustration combined with the awareness of voices that will undoubtedly declare that God is judging the US east coast.

From Steve WV

 

At this point I’m recalling a couple of different occasions when Jesus responded to the question of whether bad things happen to those who are more sinful than others. It happened once when his disciples asked whether a certain man’s blindness had occurred because of his own sins, or because of the sins of his parents (John 9:2-3). Jesus’ answer was that they should not link the man’s blindness to anyone’s sin, but to rather to something that God wanted to do to show his own glory.

From Steve WV

On a separate occasion the Teacher responded to news of two events that resulted in multiple deaths. One involved Pilate’s killing of an undisclosed number of Galileans. Another involved the deaths of 18 Jerusalem residents who died when a tower fell on them. Anticipating the assumption that those who died were worse sinners than others in their community, Jesus resisted the implication and said, “unless you repent, you will also perish” (Luke 13:1-5).

The other text that comes to mind is in Romans 1 and 2 where the Apostle describes the downward spiral of sin that begins with willful rejection of the light that God has given of himself in what he has made. Next comes the creation of self-made god-substitutes in our own likeness, followed by a long list of sins.

The surprise comes, however, when after describing all of these sins as worthy of judgment, Paul catches an unsuspecting victim. Sort of reminds me of what happened when I used a live trap the other day to catch chipmunks that have been taking over my garage. Second time I found the trap tripped I found two sparrows that I quickly released.

In the Romans story, however, it appears that Paul’s surprise catch is intentional. He goes on to write that whoever takes his list of sins as an occasion to judge anyone else is making a big mistake. According to Paul, those who judge are as guilty as those they judge (Rom 2:1).

So what are we to make of all of this? Seems like it is worth talking about. How do we process our tendency to conclude from our circumstances either that “God hates us” or that “God loves us”?

PS Thanks to Steve from WV for sending us some pictures that give us a bit of an idea of what he, Glenna, Matt and his town have been wrestling with since Sandy.


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46 Responses to “God Hates Us?!”

  1. His Sparrow says:

    It seems to me that on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst, all sin is a ten. There actually is no 1-10.

    Due to God’s perfect holiness…

    My sin of gossip, cutting someone off on the freeway, kicking my goat when she steps in the milk pail is just as abominous as the highly noticeable or ‘public’ sin changing our society day by day.

    God doesn’t hate me, we know He hates sin. He was also capable of correcting the whole situation through Jesus sacrifice to pay the price of sin. He also loves me so much that He didn’t make me perfect, but gave me that double-edged sword of free will.

    Ooh, I love you Jesus!

    His Sparrow

  2. SFDBWV says:

    While I am trying to figure out how to reduce the size of the pictures I sent to Mart I want to take the time to catch you all up on us here as well as address Marts subject.

    Yesterday afternoon several line trucks from Pike County Kentucky rolled into town and began the task of repairing and restoring power to everyone, including resetting poles and in my own personal case simply tightening one up.

    The lead foreman told me it was their desire to see to it that all power was restored by dark, and by dark it was.

    Thank God for these men and for their dedicated work.

    In this case God answered prayers and sent the people we needed in order to return to whatever normal is for each of us.

    The snow that is here on the ground will remain until spring as winter is here even if the calendar doesn’t agree yet.

    It is ironic also that “trick or treating “ got canceled out this year; instead people will be celebrating Thanksgiving with a little more thankfulness.

    Steve

  3. SFDBWV says:

    “God Hates Us?

    My son Matt struggles with this question all the time. In his perfectly sensible logic God must hate him or else why is he in the condition he is in.

    Of course it is silly to think that God sent a storm to punish anyone, yet it is very interesting that those who are not actually *religious* are always the first to accuse God of doing so, as in the newspaper Mart mentioned.

    The only times I can recall from Scripture where God sent destruction, was the flood in which he promised to not do again. And of course the fire and brimstone he sent to rain down on Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Then there were the little storms in which Jonah, Peter, and Paul had to endure. None though sent to destroy property and lives.

    However there is something in us all that makes us feel as though we are being punished when disaster comes. I suppose because so many of us give over to God the control of every aspect of existence and rely on Him to keep evil from us, so when it comes we feel we must have done something to deserve it.

    I think this a human condition and not so much a reaction from God.

    Here in town in our little storm results, one fellow I talked with said he must live on the wrong side of town. As he also was without power last June when that line of thunderstorms swept through West Virginia and knocked out power for many for a week.

    What the Power Co. had did after this storm hit was come into town and put power back on where they could without doing any immediate repairs, planning then on returning as time allowed to repair and restore the rest.

    So there were streets and sections of town that had power after 4 days and some that had to wait until yesterday. This fellow had to wait.

    If one thought God was punishing anyone, the Methodist Church was one of the structures that had to wait for 10 days while the Church of God had only to wait 4.

    When I see the total destruction the people along the coastal US had to suffer, we were inconvenienced but spared anything the likes of which many there suffer.

    Prayers for these people for sure, but people have a way of surviving and becoming stronger for the experience, so I am sure from the ashes of this disaster, God will bless many.

    Steve

  4. bratimus says:

    It is not that God hates us, would think God is more angry with us. Just like a child telling their parent or parents that they hate them do to a punishment that was set for a wrong that was done.

    Do you think if God sat down with the New York post with His coffee, that He is going to be thrilled that headline.

    I would take the storm as more of a warning set forth by one of God’s angels, and not a Victoria secret model.

    I would say that the headline is proof enough why God is so angry with us as a people.

  5. BruceC says:

    Steve,

    I am glad to hear you have power again. My brother in north New Jersey was out for a week but all is well there too.
    Your story about the snowfall reminded me of a few things that have happened here over the 41 years that I have been an “upstater”. The first year here we had about 12 in. of the stuff midway through May when all the leaves were out. What a mess! But the warmth the next day helped it go away fast. In 96 we got 12” on Halloween(we got a smile from that!) and it continued all winter ending in 220” of total snowfall. Just about five years ago we received 39” in a 24 hour period. My health was better then but it still took 12 hours to snow-blow the driveway.

    I guess the New York Post doesn’t know that we live in a fallen world full of fallen people (we included as we are saved by God’s grace) and that bad weather, war, and other nasties will occur until the return of the King. Just the fact that a lingerie model is termed an angel shows our fallen nature. But even as believers we too; like King David, may feel that God forsakes us. But let us also do as he did and looks at God’s love and grace through it all and His unchanging character and sovereignty.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  6. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    I am one whom God has allowed continuous disaster in my life, testings like none other. We live in a fallen world and I believe if we whole heartedly seek Him, praying as Jesus did before every event, and we pray as a nation this way, we wouldn’t be in the economical, immoral disaster we are in. As far as storms, we can’t say but merely guess that He has allowed this, 911,to bring us to our knees. The disaster He’s allowed in my life has brought me from an abusive realtionship, to my knees, to a repentive life. I believe He’s also used me as a testing tool as I went and am going through storms unlike others. I’ve never had good church support other than, “we’re praying for you.” Here’s what the last church I was a very active member in and also saved/unsaved people on Facebook in the last year and a half: They saw joy, they saw dedication, they saw a Spirit led teacher who wrote their children’s bible lessons and activities, they saw one small voice standing up for the Lord, they saw unbelievable strength that could only have come from God. You see in all this, I was alone trying to run the house with a very sick husband who had so many medical incidents last year that the seven near deaths were some of the easier incidents than the almost constant mishaps of some sort with him. Add in a teen who chose some wrong paths, myself having to physically aid in lifting 250 lbs of a man, place wheelchair in/out car on the average of 3 times a week, lift dialysis bags, set him up on that nightly, and along with all this we were dealing with paranormal activity. (I don’t even watch scary movies.) We were alone in the ER when he died in my arm. I didn’t put a plural on that because the Lord strengthened me long ago through trials to do all this not only with one arm (lost the other at a young age) but also with my good arm that has painful nerve damage due to a fall off a ladder. Along with that, three pelvis breaks that healed incorrectly, shoulder damage, ruptured disks and a foot injury. My good arm, my back/neck, shoulder, pelvis didn’t hurt any more than the norm and I refuse pain meds. He who lifted me above all this kept me afloat and joyful. People saw His strength through me and commented many times. It is my hope that I not be remembered, but when the time comes for disaster that He who loves us dearly will do the same for you. Lastly,remember John the Baptist. Far more important than me. Look what God allowed there.

  7. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve…Forgive me, but I’m taking the liberty to use your words out of context, by giving them another life.

    “In this case God answered prayers and sent the people we needed in order to return to whatever normal is for each of us.”

    That was a great analogy for the needed “earthly power” that was returned to man.

    Too bad that so many Christians today, take the power and the spirit we needed in the person sent from God, the Holy Spirit, just so they can return to their normal?

    Unfortunately, that is just how many of the deceived and falsely taught Christians live!

    Now, stealing some more words from another context, giving them a new life originally meant for the hard work ethic of athletics, and we can apply them to the Holy Spirit in us, where they take on a whole new dimension:

    “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!”

    Christians that feel they are now living so free and in their ongoing sin, actually any sin, all sin, and now sin so freely as if being unchallenged and unchanged, the very deceptive fruit of receiving a particular message of salvation, so popular today.

    There is only one doctrine that qualifies today, where sin is never again compromised or challenged, and that is the OSAS doctrine of Eternal Security, the Preservation of the Saints if you will, if it is wrongly taught and received.

    Then, it takes all the well choreographed context of the Holy Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation given to us about all this sin, with all its warnings, teachings, and history of the devastating effects of sin on the human condition, and on this whole earth where we now live, now all denied and have become totally useless and void for changing us, when there is no need to change anything, as each falsely taught Christian, returns to their normal.

    I wonder if any of us who freely sin now because of that one doctrine, OSAS, being all good in its original context, all powerful, but which many times is falsely taught today as a license for some to go back to their normal, or where they always were living, before their salvation.

    If how we live, what we do, what we say, what we feel, what we worship, what we marry, even what we think no longer matters, be it right or wrong according to the word of God, because that is just our sin seeking normal, then why would God send those who He has already saved and already forgiven, His Holy Spirit, the helper?

    I see a “slight conflict” in the context of sinning freely with the Presence of the Holy Spirit now inside each believer? IMHO Gary

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    AmazedbyHis grace… Hearing your story, your living testimony, is the living Fruit of the Indwelling Holy Spirit, that very Gift from God, the Helper that sustains you. You have blessed me so much today with your sharing. We keep on Praying because it is clearly working in your life, and ours!
    In His Love, Gary

  9. oneg2dblu says:

    Sorry, 11:01 I meant Perseverance of the Saints… as in never falling away! Gary

  10. Bill says:

    Hi Mart,

    This is another deceptively simple post. There are huge implications behind it, and lots about it to discuss.

    You wrote:

    “So what are we to make of all of this? Seems like it is worth talking about. How do we process our tendency to conclude from our circumstances either that “God hates us” or that “God loves us”?”

    The answer to your question lies in our fundamental understanding of the Bible and our belief in who God is. And what his role is in our lives.

    For example, my in-laws are die-hard fundamentalists who assert that God is behind everything that happens. Everything. What we’d term good or bad. Weather. Births. Murders. Feast. Famine. War. Peace. Success. Failure.

    The basis for their beliefs is, in part, the book “The Sovereignty of God,” by Arthur W. Pink (1889-1952). You can find a free pdf of it online at the ChapelLibrary.org. Or, it’s likely in most large Christian book stores. It’s a staple of Orthodox Presbyterian theology around the world.

    They also embrace teachers like John Piper. And their pastor, who tells them that everything that happens is God’s doing. And I mean that literally. If I walked into the room and shot my brother-in-law’s son, he’d say (at least, theoretically — previous to the event) that it was God’s will. God orchestrated it to happen.

    That’s crazy, in my opinion. My suspicion is that such people haven’t truly put their theories to the test, haven’t really encountered any tragedies, haven’t had to doubt their haughty position. So, for now, they assert that God controls all that happens.

    Therefore, they (and many who believe as they do) probably conclude that Sandy was, indeed, God’s doing. Perhaps even his wrath. Or it was a “lesson” to be learned. It’s God’s way of getting our attention.

    Again, I don’t think that’s correct. To attribute death and destruction to God in the New Testament era doesn’t seem to fit his character, or his promises to us. Prior to Jesus, God had issues with the world and decided to wipe it out a time or two. But Jesus was his wrath, his punishment for sin. It’s gone now, along with God’s need to destroy or kill to get our attention.

    I think seeing an event — especially a natural one, but it could also be a nut bag who goes on a rampage and kills dozens of people with a rifle — and trying to determine God’s involve (or even blame) is a fool’s errand. It helps no one. And it only makes us look really, really goofy in the eyes of the world.

    Think about it. Who wants to be part of a religion with a God in control who kills people or destroys their stuff to get their attention? No one. Yet, we continue to spout “That was God’s judgment” or “God must hate us”…and the world recoils in horror. Rightly so.

    One can become paranoid trying to figure out God’s role, and what lesson is to be learned. I know people who see something happen (like the devastating loss of a job, or the death of a son or daughter) and they immediately feel guilty, wondering, “Did I cause that, Lord? Was this my fault?”

    I’ve brought up the subject of Zen before. Some got what I was saying. Others did not. Regardless, I’m bringing it up again.

    One of the reasons why so many people are flocking to alternative religions/ideologies/philosophies — in this case, like Zen — is because it does not ascribe fault to a situation. It just accepts what is. It embraces reality, without question.

    The difference is remarkable.

    For example, a Christian may look at Sandy and say, “God must really hate us.” Or, “I wonder what God is trying to tell us?”

    A Zen practitioner will look at Sandy and say, “Bad storm.”

    While the Christian is trying to determine who’s at fault for the storm, a Buddhist may already be on site trying to help.

    I am NOT advocating Zen. I am explaining how others view the world. I think we can learn something from such a worldview of acceptance and, then, action to help.

    Bottom line: I don’t ascribe blame for Sandy. I see it as a terrible storm. I see it as an opportunity to help. Nothing more or less.

    I think if we make it more than that, we risk driving ourselves crazy…and the world away from us.

    Bill

  11. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    I also am grateful of the news from the areas struggling under the disheartening aftermath of Super Storm Sandy and this recent nor’easter. My prayers are with you all. Thanks for the pictures.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “So what are we to make of all of this? Seems like it is worth talking about. How do we process our tendency to conclude from our circumstances either that “God hates us” or that “God loves us”?”

    I immediately think of the words of the writer of the Letter of James. He calls for believers to “doubt their doubts.” It seems to me he restates the core meaning of our being, namely that the “Father of lights” gave us life. Not only have we received the good life of this world – but especially we have received life in Christ by our new birth. James writes:
    “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose, he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.”(James 1:17, 18)

    The central theme of our every action, every word, is that Jesus Christ is raised from the grave – because the prison of death could not hold him. This is extraordinarily, supernaturally the best news in the cosmos! The Lord is calling us to occupy the place he has given us while his purpose is being worked out around us – gratuitous, provocative would-be “angels” watching over us notwithstanding. God loves the whold creation — which was declared not just “good,” but “very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

    Blessings,
    Maru

  12. remarutho says:

    meant to write “God loves the whole creation.” Slip of the keyboard. Maru

  13. poohpity says:

    Mart, you wrote, “He goes on to write that whoever takes his list of sins as an occasion to judge anyone else is making a big mistake. According to Paul, those who judge are as guilty as those they judge (Rom 2:1).” Jesus gave a good example of how our individual hearts should be in (Luke 18:9,10,11,12,13,14 NLT).

    I do not know in my own life how I could expect something that even God’s own Son was not exempt from and that is suffering. God’s love is eternal and for all creation; 1 John 4:9,10; John 3:16; Romans 8:39. I do not remember even one of those who were close to God as in prophets, Kings and disciples who did not suffer in one form or another. We were never promised freedom from suffering, trails and tribulations we are however promised someone to walk with us through it “all”.

    God’s creation also cries for freedom; Romans 8:19,20,21,22. God also causes the rain to fall on the just and unjust because it is after all His creation which He provided for and has hand in it all. If as believers we were to go through life without problems I think that would give us quite a big head and the thoughts of being superior to others and we are not. We are to humble ourselves under the hand of God and take as Job said the good with the bad knowing that God is right there with us walking through the flames until that day we go home to be with Him. If everything went good here all the time we would not desire to go to a better place cause this would be it.

  14. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… I think God loves us, for He created all things, and He loves all His Creation!

    God is Love!

    I just looked up and read Maru’s statement.. oh well I’ll keep going knowing we are all walking together.

    However, aren’t all things both darkness and light also all under His control?

    Does He separate Himself from Acts of Nature, storms, or are they Acts of God displayed in Nature?

    He gave us free will to believe whatever WE want!

    He gave His Word to show us what He wants, His son to show us how much He wants it, and His Spirit to Help us to see why!

    Today, He gives us Grace to yet walk in our ways, and His Son to show us His way, and His Word to pick us up, and His Spirit to help us get there!

    There is no Greater Love than that!

    Some will see the darkness of the storm and others the new light revealed after it!

    In His Grace we still get to choose! Gary

  15. SFDBWV says:

    We met our new Pastor today; he seems like a very nice fellow and anxious to take on the task of pasturing, so prayers for Phillip.

    Amazed by His grace, your struggle is yours and your cross to bear, I am pleased that you bear it with such faith; we know, you and I, that at the end of the road is rest and peace and a reward we can not properly imagine, thank you for sharing your testimony.

    The attack form nature, the elements and mankind’s devices will come and do so from the hand of Jesus Himself as He opens the seals and pours out wrath upon mankind.

    This last storm is only a foretaste of the wrath that is to come and when it does, amazing as it is, people will shake their fist at God and curse Him, just like now.

    Something I have learned from being Matthew’s father is that no matter how angry he gets sometimes, I understand his pain and his sorrow and see only that when his hurting and disappointments drive him to anger. It only drives my love for him deeper.

    Jesus said of the Father that if we know how to give good things to our children, just think how much better He is to care for us and our wants.

    There is a lot to learn about God’s love and it is not to be really compared to our own experiences, but this I know, His love for all of us is stronger than our confusion and anger directed toward Him.

    He understands, He feels our pain, He forgives us and He loves us…all in spite of ourselves.

    Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

    Steve

  16. Loomis says:

    I lived through a hurricane and had to deal with heat and lack of power and water. Initailly I was trying to get my aged aunt and uncle to move to a safer loation. They wouldn’t budge. Dealing with a strorm followed by cold would be scary.
    As with many of your blogs they are insightful and thought provoking. Thanks. Steve’s pictures were awesome.

  17. fadingman says:

    The point I see in the Luke 13 passage is that we should not base our ideas of our status towards God based on our situation. Bad events are no more a sign of God anger than good events are a sign of God’s pleasure. Jesus said everyone is deserving of the bad things, but God in his goodness and mercy gives us plenty of time to repent.

  18. poohpity says:

    That is how I see it too, fadingman ;-)!!!

  19. SFDBWV says:

    Mart’s subject reminded me of the complaints that Solomon had concerning something he had observed in his lifetime.

    In Ecclesiastes Solomon wrote of the vanity of life and noticed that whatever happens happens to everyone, good or bad and even to the beasts.

    It upset him to see good people lose and bad people win, and observed that there is nothing new under the sun.

    It still upsets and confuses us today when we see bad things happen to good people, when we think somehow that bad people deserve what they get and we Christians don’t.

    Right away experts gave the impression this was a first of a kind storm, directly in contrast to Solomon’s advice that the former things are forgotten and that there is nothing new under the sun.

    Life is a battle field from the moment we come scared, crying naked and unhappy from the comfort of our mothers; we enter a world of inequality and unfairness, of struggle and strife the only thing equal for us all is that we all live in this world together at the same time.

    Bill likes to bring up Zen philosophy and I appreciate seeing how it agrees with Jesus’ teaching that what really matters is how we react to life and how we react to the needs of each other.

    Why is a question that for many the answer will only come when it is time to be able to understand the answer. Unacceptable to many the answer sometimes is the simple circumstance of life.

    Trees fell all around my buildings and my truck from this storm, yet missed by inches from falling on them, I give God thanks for that; should I have then blamed God had any damage been sustained had trees fallen on my buildings or truck?

    A philosophical question with only a philosophical answer.

    As I look around town, all escaped injury or serious damage and for this I will rest by giving thanks to God and have comfort in that.

    Steve

  20. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Steve – the pictures you sent speak volumes. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and your pictures do bring into focus what you are going through.

    Pictures of frozen landscape are so pretty to look at with everything coated in white, but I know from experience that what they are really saying is: “It’s cold out there!”

  21. SFDBWV says:

    A beautiful day here in Bayard, but as usual my time is crunched. I started cutting tree tops out from my upper parking area and road after getting Matt out of his shower and to the computer when our dear friend Kathy called and ask if now was a good time to come cut our hair….Of course any time she can come is the right time.

    So I came back down to the house and rearranged the living room into a barber shop, and awaited her arrival.

    She is one of the angels God sent to Matt and I soon as Matt came home from the hospital back in September of 1999. She will take no money from us and always comes and takes care of Matt and I any time I ask.

    She and her husband are wonderful people and work hard at their local church in Mt Storm.

    Soon as she left I put Matt back in the shower to wash his hair again and then started getting his dinner ready for the oven.

    My neighbor came over and borrowed my pipe dyes in order to put in some new gas pipes, and I got him set up.

    Matt is kicked back in his easy chair watching TV and I am taking a moment to write this.

    Glenna is down visiting with and tending to the needs of my mother in law.

    Does God hate us? I have to say God loves us very much and I thank him all day long for all he gives to us.

    Just a peek into our lives, it is what I like to share with you all, a bit of ourselves.

    Blessings to all

    Steve

  22. Bill says:

    Steve,

    Thank you for sharing. This is what life is all about — opening up, sharing, being human.

    I don’t know what the temperature is here. Maybe 50 degrees. It’s overcast. But warm, for a change.

    My wife and I took a walk. On the trail, we saw a small snake just sitting there, chilly and stiff. I picked it up and we held it in our hands. We like snakes, for some reason. We always try to catch one, hold it for a while, and then turn it loose. This snake was cold to the touch and seemed to enjoy sitting in my hand.

    After a few minutes, I let it go on the side of the trail, out of harm’s way.

    It’s good to be outside, whenever possible. The grandeur of God’s creation seems to be more evident outside. Being inside a lot, I take it for granted.

    Your writing inspires me. Thank you.

    Bill

    P.S. Thank you for sharing the photos. Snow. It’s my least favorite of water’s possible states…and Winter my least favorite season.

  23. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    Thank you Gary and Steve, I’m glad to have purpose in Him. I recall a atory that may have been an old ODB. By the way, I believe the Lord has used RBC as a tool in my growth all these years. With tremendous trials unlike any I know, I was able to maintain sobriety with out any support except for the Lord. (30 yrs sobiety now.)As my FB states: I have all I need to succeed, I have the Lord.
    The story was of a Pastor called to preach after a storm had destroyed a town and many had died. He had no explanation to his friends as to why God allowed. He stared at a bookmark his mother had made him. As he flipped it over, he had his answer from the Lord. He showed the backside of the cross to the congregation. It was tattered with a mess of string. The other side showed a beautiful embroidered cross. His message concluded that in this messy world we will not see the bigger picture that is being created until heaven. If we focus and trust in the Lord, each sewn stitch in our life in the Lord can be beautiful as we wait for the finished promise.
    For those who lost everything, I have to. It was a tough lesson, but I wouldn’t trade anything for the gain I had in Him. It may take awhile to come to this level, but you will have a tremendous growth that you will love. Study, focus, apply. He eventually blessed me with belongings again til my cup runneth over, and over. (I’m too attracted to the clearance signs everytime!)

  24. SFDBWV says:

    When Matthew and I get up in the morning it is still dark, this morning I was treated to see rising over the eastern horizon a crescent moon with Venus just off to its left. So bright and commanding they seemed almost to be alone in the sky.

    When I went outside to feed the critters the sky was beginning to lighten up into that steel blue color and indeed there was that heavenly picture dominating the eastern sky.

    God created the most inspirational beauty for all of us to view, take in and enjoy; all of man’s art is only a weak attempt to copy what God has already created.

    Today is Veterans Day, and there will be many tributes to our veterans shown on TV and in parades, parks and even the pulpit as we remember the sacrifice others made on our behalf.

    War is an ugly matter and the men and women who stand in the front lines live in that ugliness so that we do not have to; remember our veterans today and pray for those still in harms way.

    Steve

  25. aarvidi says:

    I am far away from America, in Malaysia, and would like to comment.

    I have problems with life, but Jesus is there. I seek comfort and I cry, but in my inner thought, I think things can’t get worst. He is there with me – Thank you Jesus, I am protected by YOU. Thanks.

  26. phpatato says:

    Good Morning Steve

    Today in Canada is Remembrance Day. I will be helping my sister bundle up Dad so that we can attend the ceremony at a local Cenotaph. He is 96. I think I told you that he served in the Second World War as well as in the Korean Conflict.

    He will take with him to his grave almost all of the memories of those terrible years. It was a rare occasion that he spoke of anything that happened. As his children, we may have heard him recount less than a handful of his experiences. Mom would have had a few more but she too kept silent because I think it hurt her too much to tell us what he endured.

    Today, I will not only think of those who served and still serve today, but will say a special prayer for their spouses, who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so much in keeping the home fires burning and becoming the anchor of support and stability in everyday life back home. They are unsung Heroes in my book.

    Rainy this morning but the temps are expected to reach a high of 14c. Right now it is 3c. So often on Remembrance Day it is usually cold with flurries.

    God Bless

    Pat

  27. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart & Friends –

    Welcome, aarvidi! Thanks be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the apostle Paul puts it. How good to hear your witness from so far away from me — and from many who respond as friends of Mart here!

    David the psalmist wrote:
    “Weeping may linger for the night, but oy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:4, 5) May this Sabbath morning bring you all the consolations of the blessed Holy Spirit in your life and in the life of your Christian fellowship there.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  28. remarutho says:

    Meant to write, “joy comes with the morning.” Maru

  29. SFDBWV says:

    As a student of many things I am always amazed at some of the ideologies and thinking of commanders in the college of warfare.

    During the American Civil war Napoleonic warfare practices were in place despite the arrival of weapons that made such warfare tactics obsolete. The results were tens of thousands of casualties in every major battle.

    When the world went to war in 1914 the war colleges still practiced tactics that would inflict death at unheard of numbers with no regard as to the individual solder as he was a casualty of necessity.

    We still use phrases from these wars that got their start from the men in the field of battle and in the trenches.

    I especially enjoyed the tavern scene in the trilogy of the “Lord of the Rings” when the four little Hobbits sat amongst the Shire’s revelers and toasted themselves as they looked at each other and knew that none of those around them had a clue what they had done, didn’t care and were oblivious to the fact they all owed their happiness and wellbeing to the events that these four little men had been such a major part of.

    They said nothing to others and didn’t need to say anything amongst themselves as this brotherhood understood what didn’t need to be said.

    So today we salute all the fallen as well as all the survivors of war, for none are ever the same again.

    Pat many thanks to your father and his comrades in arms, and yes sometimes we forget the silent suffering of those who kept the home fires burning and families together during those times of war, can’t say enough how important they were and are.

    Steve

  30. SFDBWV says:

    Aarvidi welcome as well to the conversation. I am certain you live amongst troubles there in Malaysia unlike any those of us who enjoy living in the Americas do. You are already blessed for standing with Jesus means that you have already won the battle. Many thanks and prayers for you and those you love.

    Steve

  31. oneg2dblu says:

    Today the flag attached to the house sways gently in the morning breeze as the temperature gently rises to 80, and everything seems normal. All is well in my Melbourne, Florida.
    But, in the North East, my old dwelling place, many others do not have this same normal going on in their lives.
    They unfortunately have many unmet needs, cold temps, dark homes, no water, no food, no medical supplies,
    as thier homes are being looted. They wake up in shelters filled with the unknown of their new reality.
    For them I need to pray, for their reality is certainly not acceptable, expected, or going back to normal today.
    They suffer the throes of a war they were never perpared to endure, to fight an enemy the have never known.
    As a Veteran I can put myself in their fear for the moment, and know they will be restored again, although normal is not in sight today.
    My flag flies for them, all those who will fight the battle, all those who have fought the battle, and for those who now suffer in the battle.
    We need to pray for them!
    May the God of all Creation hear our prayers today!
    Gary

  32. poohpity says:

    aarvidi, thank you for sharing the most important thing, Jesus and his faithfulness even when things look so bleak. It is in Him we find our joy and peace in this troubled world. “Our faith may be tested so that we may trust His faithfulness” ODB

    To all the veterans out there; you know what it is like to lay down your lives for something greater than yourselves, thank you.

    To all the family members; thank you also for giving up someone so dear to you for something bigger than yourselves.

    Thank you never seems like enough so that is when we reach out to help and that may show a little bit of our gratitude by the actions we take when you deserve so much more.

  33. davids says:

    Mart asks, “How do we process our tendency to conclude from our circumstances either that “God hates us” or that “God loves us”?”

    Some have already drawn the line from Veterans/Remembrance Day to the people that have been suffering in parts of the US. It is a useful link.

    Bad things happen. Although those who have recently suffered from a storm might feel that they have been singled out, the truth is that bad things happen in all places all the time.

    There are murders, rapes, assaults, and thefts; there are abused children, abused spouses, crimes, sins, and hurt going on in this world every single day. The fact that some hurt is concentrated in one place for a short period does not alter the basic fact that there are people hurting in many places.

    Given this fact of life, how do we respond? To the victims we must respond with lovingkindness, as Christ would have us do. To the situations we respond with justice, as much as possible within our faith. This might mean through the court system, or in extreme cases through war. May God bless those that offered love and also those that served the course of justice.

    Sorry, I have not taken the time to back all this with scripture. I hope that I have not offended anyone’s feelings of the faith. As Bill says, I might be wrong.

  34. poohpity says:

    David, when you understand the heart of the scripture there is no need for exact references. ;-)

  35. kingdomkid7 says:

    Claudia, so sorry the flu chased you down. I pray you’ll bounce back quickly! I love the snowy pictures, Steve. Those pictures speak volumes about the power of God. I know too well the temptation to blame God for difficult situations and things, as I used to do that a lot when I was blind. I’m around a lot of folks who still do that. I now understand they are just speaking from their pain. Still, I am overjoyed that our God understands that pain, is patient with us and will see us through even our questioning of Him when (we think) we are drowning in sorrow. That’s His love.

  36. aarvidi says:

    Thank you dear friends for responding to my comment. I like the reference to Psalm 30:4 by Maru, thank you.

    God bless you all.

  37. revjim says:

    “Does God Hate Us?” This is a very important question.
    We may be suprised at how many really believe that God Hate us! [not just the lost but believers also]

    When I hear this question, my thoughts go immediately to: John 3:16–”For God the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Who said that, Jesus did.

    So, God does not hate us.

    A few years back, we had the worst ice storm ever in the Bootheel of Missouri. Most places were without power far two weeks our longer. We moved in with my mother who is up in years. We had a generator hookup to run the necessary things during that time. We were unable to get to our church because the power line and poles had fallen across every road coming into the little town where I pastor. [we live in a different town about 20 miles south] There were no telephones, cellphones, or internet. And yes, some people made the statement, “God really must be mad at us!!! But we have been tod that these things will happen. Please read Luke 21:10-19; Matt. 24:4-14.

    I pray for those in the East. I know if they place their trust in Christ Jesus, He will give you comfort and peace.

    God Bless us all.

  38. revjim says:

    Sorry about the Type-OOO, for some reason the curser kept jumping all over the place.

    revjim

  39. hangintherekiddo says:

    Let me start off by saying that my condolences and thoughts go out to those of you affected by Sandy and/or any other tragedy that has had a profound impact on your life. I’m not here to judge anyone or their faith. I just want to say some things that I think. Please be warned this might be a little graphic for some of you.
    First off, I was sadistically sexually and physically abused as a child, prostituted out a handful of times, and sheerly tortured with sharp objects for two men and a woman’s enjoyment. I have seen other children lay gasping in their own blood. I have been stood in bucket after brutal rape to drain and personally I feel more akin to a slaughterhouse animal than a human being. On top of that I have been homeless on and off. I’m in my twenties now and I finally have a decent place to stay.
    The point I’m trying to make is how do you not know God hates you? If He loves you He certainly has an odd way of showing it.
    I’ve been talking to a pastor for awhile now so I’ve been studying up on all of this a bit. Amos predicted an army would come from the west and destroy Israel for turning their backs on God and that they would rip the babies from the stomachs of pregnant women. Historically, the Aryans came from the west and did just that. They actually ripped the babies from the stomachs of pregnant women. That doesn’t really suggest love to me there. Also, you never read anything about or by Amos or any of the other prophets that predicted this after that. So did God kill them too even though they were righteous in His eyes?
    It’s very hard for me to keep trying this faith thing. I feel if there is a God we’re His ant-farm He’s bored with now or He is a egomanical sadist that enjoys the constant suffering of His creations and I’ve had enough of sadists. It’s very hard for me to fathom God as being beneveolent because He’s just not.

  40. oneg2dblu says:

    hangintherekiddo… life is unfair, cruel, dark, and evil for many who are born into this corrupted world. Your story is living proof of evil, and mine certainly pales in comparisdion with my life experiences growing up. But, we all feel anger, abuse, pain, loss, and suffering in our lives when the sinfilled world gets a good hold on us.
    God has allowed both good and evil to exist for a time as part of his plan ever since man’s failure to obey Him. According to the bible it all started in the Garden of Eden with the first man and still rules in the hearts of all mankind today, selfish desire called sin.
    That is the evil of nature gone wild, and the sin nature of man having its way, the result is death. That was never really God’s choice for Adam and Eve were to live forever,but have chosen disobedience by their own free will, the same free will of all mankind today.
    So, man’s natural life here and now represents that he be first born of man and suffer an inescaspable death in the perishable bodies we now live in.
    But, God gives all mankind as second chance and another birth which aviods the second death which is total separation from God for Eternity.
    It is only when man becomes Born Again through believing in faith that Jesus Christ is Lord. That Christ took upon himself all the sins of the world and overcame death on the Cross for everyone who will believe. Upon that way, and that way only, does God give us a New Life in Him, a life that will have all the Promises of the Bible assured, a life everlasting in the Presence of Almighty God where we then live in His marvelous light in Eternity. No more pain, suffering, loss, or death as we are transformed into our new bodies upon our death of the old sinful wreched ones we now inhabit.
    The Miracle of the Bible’s Promises are for All who will surrender self and Trust and Obey Him, Believe in Him, Worship Him, and Glorify His Holy name.
    But, none of that happens until you are called by Him into a belieling faith given in Grace that you can not earn or accomplish yourself or brag about, but only through His Way, like children do we come to know Him intimately and are Saved for Eternity.
    Don’t take my word on that, take His and accept the faith He will provide you to believe every word He has promised.
    God knows we all deserve this first death, for all have sinned and fall short of His Glory, but the New Life He freely gives us, through His Grace is a life that we do not deserve.
    Praise God that He loves us all enough to give us a second chance at Eternal Life with Him, through believing in Jesus Christ, His Only Son who died for us to have a new life.
    Truth is only a child could possibly beilieve all that because the itelligence of man gets in our way and can prevent us from ever believing in the first place.
    We can then cry Abba Father as we come before him as his child. Be Blessed, Gary
    Am typing on a small screen, snd expect typos!

  41. poohpity says:

    Oh my gosh sweetheart my heart brakes for you being tortured as you were. No one would want that for any human being. Right now you are in the midst of healing and I imagine going through PTSD. It is good to get out your anger at God and to keep sharing what is in your heart. I am so glad you finally have a safe place to be. Never hold inside the anguish, hatred and abandonment you have felt. You seem like a very strong young person as your name suggests.

    Thank you so very much for sharing your story of just how horrible human beings can be to each other, way worse than any storm can ever be. I can not seem to stop crying for you and I hope one day you will be able to experience the healing to your body, mind and spirit in the days to come. I can understand why you feel as you do towards God.

  42. Bill says:

    Dear hangintherekiddo,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    I have two things to say in response:

    1. I am very, very sorry for what happened to you. I can’t even imagine the agony you endured, so I won’t pretend that I do. Is there anything we can do to help you now?

    2. The Bible does not offer an explanation for what happened to you. Nor does it justify it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something.

    Here’s the deal: Bad stuff happens to people, sometimes really bad stuff. At times, it can seem that cruelty knows no bounds, that pain and suffering are unrelenting, that life just isn’t worth living…and that God is a colossal joke. Or a heartless puppet master.

    And you’d be right in thinking such things because God doesn’t say much these days.

    But we do. We speak — and act — on his behalf.

    People who believe in God get to be his arms and legs on earth. Most importantly, we are privileged to be his embrace, his offer of assistance, his meal preparer, clothier, and houser of the homeless.

    We cannot predict when bad stuff will happen. We cannot explain it once it does. But we can stand beside you to help you through it afterwards.

    That’s all we have to offer you…which is to say, everything. People who take the Bible seriously — and I mean really live it, not just quote it — will always cry with you, love you no matter what, and offer to help you.

    So, if there’s something you need, I’m sure you could contact RBC Ministries and they’d connect you with help in your area. If there’s anything we can do, just ask.

    But do know this beyond a shadow of a doubt: We care about you. Very much. We cannot ever take away what happened to you. We would, if it was within our power to do so. Unfortunately, it’s not. Yet, that should not be construed to mean that we don’t care, or that God doesn’t care. If he’s anything like us, he hurts just as much for you as we do. Probably more.

    Please keep us updated. Return often. This is a disparate bunch of people. We don’t always agree. But I doubt there’s a person here who wouldn’t do everything he or she could to help you.

  43. hangintherekiddo says:

    Everybody,

    Thank you for your support and not bashing me. I’m not so much disapproving of God as much as I just don’t understand Him at all and as much as I try to there seems to be this awkward and angry rift. I was sent youtube videos of “help for my life” and then I wandered around and found this site too. I’m in a really strange stage of my life right now. Of, course I too have probably just been focusing soley on God’s anger and nothing else which doesn’t paint the nicest portrait of Him.
    Despite these things and even though I struggle deeply I still work and I still support my brother. I have a place to live and I am able to do wonderful things like take a hot shower and sleep in a bed.I have a high school diploma. I’m very grateful for these things but I’m also very angry and troubled as much as I hate to admit it.
    One thing that has kept me going is the suicide of someone who I witnessed tortured. He made it to twenty and he overdosed. All that time I think of how he probably felt like he was nothing but meat and he died in agony, alone, and afraid. There have been days when I couldn’t get out of bed because of this. Another boy that went through this I heard is addicted to heroin now and also homeless.I hope it isn’t true. I really do. This is why I don’t understand God. Of, course that is just what I have seen and experienced. I understand that human suffering comes in all forms to everyone, everywhere in the world. I’m just starting to learn about God so I’m just trying to take it slow and think everything through very deeply.
    I really wish I could tell that boy and even the one who has passed “Hey! You’re a human being with thoughts and feelings that are valid. You’re funny even in the darkest of situations and you tried to fight no matter what he did to you. We cared for each other then wiping up blood, helping each other to dress, and we made sure we were all conscious and could walk. We were people, children who made the best of a horrid situation and we are still people. AllI want for us is to just live. I want us to live and be somewhat happy.”
    I guess I’m kind of ranting now but there’s something in me that keeps me afloat. Things are starting to get better. I’m trying to help that along but it’s hard. I think of all the kids out there who are just being shredded sexually, physically, mentally, and put through acts of violence that no one should go through. No one should be raped with a knife especially not a child. I wish there was a way that evil could end and don’t really understand why it can’t. At the same time I think there should be more resources for children and/or young adults treated in this manner. I really would like to be that person that steps up someday but I have to get myself together first.

  44. foreverblessed says:

    Hangintherekiddo, God bless you with Grace and peace and love from above, buckets full poured down on you.
    Thanks for sharing, it is amazing that you can write about it as you do, writing and not fainting. God must have given you power already to be able to do so. What a terrible ordeal, too hard to think about.
    It is good to get yourself together first, and it is also good to be honost in telling God you are angry. It is best to be real as you are before God, not hiding the anger, as it will come up later in life. Put your life in Jesus’ hands, He can heal you, heal your anger, heal you through and through and make you new, whole and as white as snow. This is a miracle in which we believe: evil overcome by Good. Let Him put yourself together again.
    I pray for you, and I am sure many here who read this story will pray too, and we will pray for all the other children you talk about. As we believe Jesus is the Healer, the Comforter, the Light that shines in darkness. No darkness is too great that He cannot shine His light on it.

  45. poohpity says:

    hangintherekiddo, to me you have such courage to not only share your story with such excellent writing skills but also to take care of your brother. You have not let what happened to you define who you are or what you can become. Turning to drugs is an easy escape but it does not take away the pain but only for a moment then one can allow the drugs to take more away than what has already been taken. You seem to have hope for a better future for yourself.

    There is One I know who suffered horribly by having His flesh ripped up so bad that He was unrecognizable as a human being and He was as innocent as you are. That person was how God came down in human form to give us a life to rise above all the cruelty suffered from the hands of others and that we sometimes do to ourselves but He understands suffering. He is the source of faith it is nothing we can obtain on our own and it sounds like you will be able to offer help and empathy for others who have gone through what you have. Keep up the good work and please stay around and let us know how things are going for you and know that all of us will be praying for you, your brother and other children who are experiencing that suffering as well.

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