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The Random Dance of Evil

Photo by: mae noelle

As the suffering deepens in the Bama Amr district of Homs, Syria, waves of violent pre-spring storms have caused at least 27 deaths in several US states, with many injuries, whole communities devastated, thousands homeless, and countless traumatized.

While most people in the Middle East and US Mid West will enjoy a normal weekend, an uncounted number of families and neighbors will remain stunned and confused by the random nature of evil.

Sudden destruction often leaves us with the unexplained differences of those who were either in the right or wrong place as bullets fly and tornadoes dance. No one can say why some are taken and others are left.  Yet over and over, numb survivors talk about a good Lord who determined that it was not their time to go—while others mourn losses with questions that heaven is not answering.

In such circumstances, Mother Nature and a Father God seem to be acting, but not talking.

Photo by: mae noelle

In what may be the oldest story in the Bible, the whirlwind that took the lives of Job’s children is allowed by God and caused by Satan. In the end, God finally speaks words of peace from another violent storm.

Down through the centuries, countless commentators have analyzed what God said and didn’t say. All are left with the conclusion that God answered the questions of Job with questions of his own.

While by nature we would rather have answers, my guess is that most of would agree that questions sound different when asked by someone who knows the answers that he lovingly and wisely is not ready to give, and even more… when the same Father eventually shows us how much he is willing to suffer for… and with us.


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135 Responses to “The Random Dance of Evil”

  1. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Not sure what you want us to talk about here Mart?

    All, I know is and Job knew it as well, is that life is meaningless without God.
    Just one look at Ecclesiastes can drive you into despair, although, like the cut flowers, when read as a whole it makes you realise why Jesus came to save us from such a pointless existence.
    God has a habit of asking us questions when we are in a bad place. He asked Adam “why are you hiding?” when He knew the answer. He asked Elijah “what are you doing there in the cave?” etc.
    Jesus often posed a question to provoke a responce that would be self explantory and explain a higher, more Spiritual meaning.

    Every event, whether man made or an act of nature, can only be fully understood when Jesus is at the centre of our lives. “All things work together for good to them that love God”.
    Without Jesus all life & death is pointless.

    Bob

  2. s2inkzoo says:

    Yes, the tornados and devastation makes us wonder why there is natural evil in this world. We see the pain and suffering it causes. The loss. Why does God allow it? I know I don’t understand it. I do have faith that God knows much more than I can know or comprehend. It brings me back to thinking about the cross and that there “surely was another way!” (than God having to suffer and die for our sins).
    Over the years, I have run into situations that I wonder why did God allow it? Yet,I when I have further though about my thoughts, I realize that I am really saying that “I know how to do it better than God”. Then Job 32:2 comes to mind “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”

  3. yooperjack says:

    Mart: The earth and nature are groaning if we mere mortals are in the way we will be crushed. As far as Syria goes, those people over there are crazy; they kill their own people and for what reason, seems like Satan may be at work there.

    I believe we all have an appointment with death, an appointed time if you will. I died 3 times so far (heart stopped), 22 years ago. One thing I know for sure, it doesn’t hurt and every body new it but me; what a bummer that was. LOL My wife saw the bright light and was told to go back her time was not yet. That same year my son was born. So who has understanding?

    The Bible is like science the more you learn the more questions come alive; there is no end to the journey just keep on seeking. I think we are given by God what we are able to handle.

  4. saled says:

    Today’s topic reminds me of a line in a Will Smith movie that I watched last night. A woman who is taken out of a terrible situation and given a beautiful, safe place to live for herself and her children, asks, “Why me?” And Will Smith’s character angrily replies, “Don’t ever ask that question.” By the end of the movie, the viewer knows why.

    I think we all ask why me during the personal storms and blessings in our lives. And like Mart says, our loving and wise God is not ready to give us the answers. As a teacher, I recognize the power that is found in asking the right questions. Events like tornadoes and wars are occasion for really big questions.

  5. SFDBWV says:

    Like perhaps many of the 37 million other Americans in the wake of the storms last night I watched the weather channel last evening heart sick over the suffering I was seeing and hoping my loved ones would be safe from the approaching weather.

    This morning relieved that we have none of the unpleasantness that so many others will have to deal with I am once again left to wondering how I can extend a helping hand to those people who are facing unimaginable conditions and loss.

    As Mart has stated many will be thankful for escaping destruction and some will thank God for that, while others will ask God why they did not.

    Either way God gets the credit as well as the blame.

    If we are to relate God to such circumstances, we first are faced with the uncomfortable task of realizing that there have always been floods, earthquakes, tornados, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions and such *natural* disasters since the foundation of the world. These conditions are part of the world we live in and without question people are killed from these events who are both *good* and *bad*.

    We see in Luke 8: 25 that the wind is under the authority of Christ and in Revelation 7: 1 we see God’s angels holding back *all* winds, can you imagine there being *no* wind blowing anywhere at all?

    Point is that God is God and we are not. And that sometimes all the preparations for being safe from natural disasters aren’t enough, but what really matters is our being able to face eternity under the protection of the blood of the Lamb of God.

    This is why it is so vital to instruct your children from birth to the wonders of God and the gift of eternal safety He offers, because there are no guarantees in this life only the guarantee God offers through Christ as to speaking to our spiritual life and the special life to come after the resurrection.

    Steve

  6. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… where you see “The Random Dance of Evil,” and the stunned and confused by the random nature of evil, and I see the random evil in nature. Everything is perspective when it comes to nature and evil. But, where God is involved, then all nature and all evil are part of his perfect design.
    There is a very evil part of nature and a very good part, all finding a perfect balance, as some must give up their lives so others can live. The food chain is a good example of that death and life in nature.
    I do not see “the evil” in a STORM, as much as I see the nature of the storm as just being destructive by its nature, it is not evil. A storm is a storm, a flood is a flood and both have a destructive nature, but are they also evil?
    Now man is another story, he is created in the very Image of God, which is good and not evil, but also now directly opposes God due to our inherited nature.
    That inherited opposition is the “evil,” that a storm does not have. It only has its directed nature, as it lives without freewill and choice.
    Three things oppose God, Satan which is Evil, the World System which is Evil, and of course “Self” with its inherited evil sin nature.
    Nature on the other hand goes where God allows, but man with his freewill goes where he wants, and that is a big difference in perspective, to me.
    We all need a Saviour, we all need the Holy Spirit’s Help, and we need an Almighty God to show us both good and evil, so we can choose His better way!
    Syria, like the storm has no more evil in it than any man there, or than in any man here, for we are all created in one image, the Image of God, by God! Gary

  7. cjaway1 says:

    Sometimes the answer is that a finite mind cannot understand an infinite God.

    Charley

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    Destructive Power unleashed by God is not evil, but destructive power unleashed by man serving himself is!

  9. oneg2dblu says:

    Satin serving himself, and the world system which also serves itself, is where evil lies awaiting.

  10. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart aand BTA friends,
    These are some of the verses that came to my mind as I read this topic and the posts:

    Acts 17:26 -28a”And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,

    27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being,…

    v. 27 It is God’s desire that people would seek, grope for, and find Him. Grope suggests searching for something in darkness…of evil, lack of comprehension, tragedy.

    The Bible tells us that God allows circumstances to happen because He wants people to find Him. Jeremiah 29:13 and He is not willing that any of His people created by His power and redeemed by His grace should perish:2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 18:23, 32; John 3:16.

    “Our heavenly Father we could never comprehend Your ways, but we know that they are perfect. By faith Lord, help us to see You as loving, sovereign, and holy. Lord forgive us for our doubts and lack of faith when darkness surrounds us. Help us, Lord, to be joyful, prayerful, thankful, and faithful in every circumstance- that Your name will be honored and magnified in our lives. Lord as we have the opportunity help us to help others around us- with your presence,power, provision, and wisdom guiding us – so that they will also find You. May this prayer and the meditations of our heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and Redeemer. Amen.”

  11. yooperjack says:

    Gary that was a very good post.

    When the warm air from the south hits the cold air from the north it starts to spin; get out of the way or die.

    Talk about evil people in Syria; in this country every day someone is killed by shootings, babys being killed by parents and on and on. Evil is live and well in this world but it’s not the weather.

  12. jacky says:

    The experience of evil, whether natural or accidental, may threaten to numb our senses. But they also serve to remind us that something is very wrong with our world. We live, not in a perfect, but a fallen world. I think in this sense only, they serve our good.
    I think one thing that is important is to be able to find an understanding avenue to let out all the emotions and find comforts for our hearts and minds, so that we can come back to ourselves and pick up the pieces of our lives.
    But as we heal up, we also need to thank God that we are not emotional lepers. We are made to know that most of the mutilation seen in lepers are not caused directly by the disease, but are injuries self-inflicted by the sufferer. The bacterium destroys the nerves that carry the sensation of touch. So a leper may put his hand in boiling water and not feel much. The loss of a loved one, or health, or belongings in a natural disaster or conflict can bring us to the end of ourselves in pain. But we can reach for the comfort of friends and sympathizers, and most importantly for the comfort that God alone can offer.
    So while we pray “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”, we also pray “even so come Lord Jesus”.

  13. poohpity says:

    To come to a place in our faith walk that no matter the circumstances we are able to trust and praise God. 1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV

  14. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Gary,
    Sometimes I copy and paste a post to my desktop because it speaks to me or explains a point so well, your post of 10:50am is one of those.
    Thank you!

    There have been lots of prophetic words regarding this age, but my gut, the Holy Spirit within me, call it what you will, tells me that 2012 is the year events start to “hot up”.
    God said He would “quicken” these days otherwise none would survive.
    Natural forces, which are not evil but destructive, will enhance mans ability to be evil to himself and open the way for the evil one, satan, to take control.

    Thank God for Jesus and His Ark of Salvation and His soon return to establish His Rule of Peace and calm on the Earth.

    Bob

  15. bratimus says:

    Matthew 24:4-8

  16. poohpity says:

    I think the evil that comes from satan or man is their desire to be like or be God rather than accepting their place in this universe as they are. Satan seems to have wanted to be worshiped and the same goes with man kind. Jesus who had every right to be worshiped became lower than the angels and suffered.

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    royalpalm… your prayer resonated in my heart, and when I served it up, reading it aloud again, out of my mouth did it bless all who heard it! Gary

  18. poohpity says:

    Yes, thank you royal.

  19. narrowpathseeker says:

    I am wondering if God gave us all the answers if we would soon think we knew as much as God and get more full of ourselves instead of getting to the business of rising above ourselves. The more I don’t understand the more I understand the importance of trusting God. As the ever progressive evil and frightening events that we encounter in this generation, trusting God seems the only reasonable thing to do.

    Gary, as so many have said already…your message was profound! I got the feeling you had just spent some very quality time talking to the Lord. Great message!

  20. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you all. It comes to the thing Trusting God, He will not let anything happen that cannot be turned around into something good, and that only because of the Cross of Jesus.
    Why does it take me sooo long to learn that?

    Talking about evil, reading the bible we start at Genesis 1 then 2, and so on. This story so bewilders me, God is talking about how everything came to be, but NO mention of Lucifer Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezechiel, the great archangel. Nothing about him being thrown to the earth, Luke 10:18 nothing about him from then being called Satan.
    It just looks as if God ignores the whole thing. It looks as if God wants to say: Do not put so much emphasis on the bad, look at Me (Jesus) and be saved. Isaiah 45:22

  21. yooperjack says:

    Did you all see and hear it? On CNN a woman was praying and speaking to a tornado to move away from her home in the name of Jesus. It sounded like she may have been praying in the Spirit as well as in English. In the name of Jesus the storm has to obey. What faith she has; believe without doubting. To see that on CNN was such a blessing. She was standing with her hands raised to Heaven. You can see the storm over her shoulder out of the window.

    Her home was spared but most of the town is destroyed.

  22. remarutho says:

    Good Evening Mart —

    I do not believe Bashar al Assad is a random perpetrator of evil. In my opinion, he has such a tight grip on his own twisted perception of reality, he actually believes he has the right to shell and bomb the citizens of Syria. Neither the men, women and children of Homs — nor the nation of Syria belongs to President Assad.

    The evil in this case is intentional, not random.

    Noone can make a moral judgment call when natural disaster strikes. In the case of 7,500 + deaths in Syria, I believe we must take sides. The man Assad is doing wrong.

    Maru

  23. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Yes I agree Maru, it is time to take sides and stand and be counted in the battle against evil.
    Yet again the two aspects of Islam are tairing each other apart(Shi’a and Sunni) and blaming it on “western” provication.
    It is about time we persuaded the Russians & Chinese to back action before Israel takes matters into it’s own hands.
    I think we sometimes forget how closely packed this area is and that Damascus is just down the road from Jerusalem.

    Bob

  24. bratimus says:

    With Syria the US and NATO allience has to take some responsiblity, due to the lack of responce towards Syria.

    Syria had protesting when the Arabia spring started, but if i recall the protesting kicked up a knotch when US and NATO went into Lybia with the no fly zone. Lybia might be a bigger mess now then it was not to much is said on Lybia now. I still think Lybia was just a arms show to see everyones fighter jets, because at the time the US, Briton and Fracne were trying to sell fighter jets to other countries.

  25. poohpity says:

    Jack, wouldn’t have been nice for her to not only pray for the protection of her home but if she was in fact praying in the name of Jesus it would seem she would have prayed for the protection of all those homes in the path of the tornado not only her’s. That to me would have shown more of a spiritual aspect.

    bratimus, it seems if more people were to take responsibility for the mess over there and in all the countries at this time rather than pointing fingers stuff may get done.

  26. poohpity says:

    We only have tidbits of truth fed to us and some of that is so mixed with biases that we really have no idea of all the complexities that are happening in Syria or any other place around the world. Living in countries that have democracies our blessings are really beyond words. Living in the middle east when bombs and war is part of everyday life is something we can not even comment on because we really have no clue. We do have One very important responsibility and that is prayer and more and more everyday it would be beneficial to stay in constant prayer.

  27. narrowpathseeker says:

    Jack, thank you, I went to CNN website and watched the video of the woman praying away the storm, but there was no follow up on it. Pooh, I heard her say at one point “take it away from this town” and some things I couldn’t understand and some times she seemed to be praying in tongues. It must have been a terrifying experience. I don’t know what I would have prayed while this thing was coming at me. It seems to me to have the courage to stand there and pray that she is of strong faith. When we are praying in tongues, doesn’t the Holy Spirit pray what we don’t know to pray?

  28. poohpity says:

    I did not mean for it to sound like I was judging her in anyway so please forgive me because I have no idea either what I would do and it would have probably been better to say I am just glad she prayed. :-( We just never know what the real story is because we only get snippets in the news and they at times twist what the reality is. Another time of it being better to keep my mouth closed so forgive me again I was wrong.

  29. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart & Friends —

    Friday, Namik Tan, Turkey’s Ambassador to the U.S. stated that whereas Syria has been an ally of his nation, his government now feels it is vital to offer asylum to at least 10,000 Syrians who have fled their nation to escape annihilation. Refugee camps have been established on the Turkey side of the Syrian border.

    Ambassador Tan states his government awaits only the word of the U.N. to take more aggressive action to protect civilians from Syrian military attack. Both the Red Cross and the Red Crescent are seeking access to
    Bama Amr to care for wounded citizens.

    Prayer must guide people of conscience to act on behalf of compassion and justice: clean water, food, shelter, clothing and medical attention. China and Russia are mistaken in their veto.

    Maru

  30. yooperjack says:

    Narrow: You got it that’s what praying in tougues is: “When we don’t know He does.” It’s amazing to see faith like that woman has, it’s rare today but some people have the gift.

    In 2002 I had a simular expirience with a storm. It’s amazing when we trust God how He is there for us. WOW!!! We love you Jesus!!!

  31. poohpity says:

    One thing narrow and Jack we are taught to pray the Word of God over things to claim His promises but this prayer included asking God to take the tornado away like he did for Elijah. You may read 1 Kings 19:11-13.

  32. poohpity says:

    I was wondering if you know what syncretism is and was wondering if it may apply to this situation? Just curious.

  33. katiemendham says:

    Hey Uncle Mart, have you seen the film The Tree of Life? It is a beautiful film and is has many parallels to the book of Job (opens with a verse from Job 38 too), and does a nice job of coming to terms with the difference between grace and nature and finding peace even when evil does seem so random. Reminds me of what you were saying. And I completely agree that the notion of a suffering God changes everything.

  34. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, I was just confessing that I also like to think I would react one way or another in any given circumstance but I have found that if one of those circumstances come upon me unexpectedly my reaction varies. One time a loved one fell off a ladder onto the pavement and I just stood there saying OMG OMG OMG..shaking …I couldn’t move!! It seemed like several seconds before I could run in to call 911 and then I couldn’t talk straight. BUT, God heard my OMGs and all turned out well…not even any broken bones. Other times in equally traumatic events I have reacted quickly and seemed to remember everything I should do….like a toddler with a baby carrot lodged in her throat. AND I can still get caught up in thinking someone should have done this or that, but when the Holy Spirit reminds me I turn back. No need to apologize to me…seems to me you and the Holy Spirit worked it out just fine.

  35. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, I am sorry I am not connecting the dots in 9:34 nor 9:55 posts.

  36. SFDBWV says:

    I have very much enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts. Yesterday I spoke only of the weather related disasters that had hit so much of the USA and purposely not concerning the man made disaster unfolding every where in the middle east especially now in Syria.

    Seeing China and Russia play the spoiler in Syria is of no surprise to me as I believe they to be mentioned in scripture as major players in the end times events.

    Whereas I clearly see the moral wrong in the killing of civilians in the conflicts we are seeing via the world’s news media, I am reminded of history and how many countries worked out their internal differences with out the interference of outside forces.

    The American Civil War, which we like to romanticize, seen the deaths of several hundred thousand men and an un-numbered amount of civilian casualties as well.

    Should have England and France stepped in and forced a peace keeping truce in the interests of stopping the carnage?

    The USA gets a bad reputation around the world for forcing our will upon other nations some believe by bullying them or threatening them. I would suppose that would depend on whether you are on the receiving end of the bullying or need the might of the USA in order to help you.

    At the end of the WWI the newly established League of Nations could do nothing to stop the conditions that set up WWII and what has the United Nations done to stop the murder and starvation of millions since their establishment?

    This is due in part that most other nations respect the sovereignty of each other and are supposed to not interfere in internal matters.

    What some of you may see as *democracy* rising in the Middle East could also be seen as the rise of a consolidated Islamic rule all across the region. Not the freedom western nations see as the individual rights of people, but rather the foundation for an intolerant theocracy bent on the destruction of Israel.

    Maru I applaud the efforts of Turkey to open its border to refugees and the offer of humanitarian aid. They have been trying to join the west economically as well as intellectually while being a predominately Islamic country for quite some time. However they too are very intolerant of Christianity within their borders.

    I believe we are witnessing the unfolding of the establishment of the coming of the *beast* the infamous *Anti-Christ*, and that the world will applaud his arrival on the world scene as peace keeper and economic genius. If we believe the message given by the prophets of Israel and even the very words of Jesus, we should recognize the political events in the Mid East for what they are and be aware of the coming of the “great and terrible day of the Lord”. The Book of Joel is a good read concerning the matter, so are all the prophets.

    Steve

  37. abraham99 says:

    Gary, I enjoyed your posting and it reminded me that much good comes out of the decimation left by the tsunamis, earthquakes, wars etc. I read that many of those left destitute in both Asia and Japan responded to His Call in the aftermath. Numerous Chinese turned to J’shua after the Boxer war. Many Jews in Israel are tired of the wars with their longtime enemies; tired of wondering when Messiah will return but a number of youth are seeking with open hearts for the true Messiah and coming to know Him. As CS Lewis once said “It is God’s megaphone to the ears of a deaf world”. Psalm 18 comes to mind.

  38. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Steve! Wanting to join the west is a sorry excuse to care for people who are fleeing a non-strategic target area! Do you suppose that NGOs and relief groups would be struck dead by the hand of God if they entered the area and set up triage tents? Granted, the medical and aid personnel might be bombed by the Syrian government.

    I do not believe striving to care for the suffering is a waste of effort — or that it is opposing the outworking of history’s plan. Rather, we might hope to be different from the nations who curse another nation, and withhold nourishment from them because of hatred. I refer to Ammon and Moab in the old testament.

    The fact that bringing aid to Syrians is complicated should not stop us, in my opinion.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  39. SFDBWV says:

    Maru, certainly humanitarian aide should be offered to the suffering of the Syrian refugees. There is a difference between that and arming their rebels for the continuance of bloodshed.

    For the sake of discussion, if we do believe the events in the Mid East are all part of the events leading up to the emergence of the Anti-Christ and so the return of our Lord; then we also have to believe just like in Job God is in control but allows Satan to do the evil necessary to bring about the conclusion of the story.

    No I don’t believe that the hand of God is going to strike at relief aide, but if the Syrian troops were to, would you then expect God to stop that from happening?

    Do you think it only for the love of others that Turkey offers help? Why then are they bombing the Kurds in the south of their own country and in Iraq? Have they offered humanitarian aid to the Kurds they have been killing?

    The best place for the armed enemy of the Syrian government to hide is to mingle among the innocent and so put them in harms way. Warfare is ugly and brutal there is no denying that.

    During WWII America and her allies killed hundreds of thousands of civilians on purpose in order to break the will if the enemy to continue war.

    I don’t want to be misunderstood here; I am all for trying to broker peace between the combatants as well as offer humanitarian aide to refugees. However who ever ends up winning the war America will once again be hated by the very people we attempted to help. Our people targets for murder and kidnapping because we are friends of Israel and are Christian.

    Christian peoples are being murdered by governments all over the world right now, where is the political outcry for our brothers and sisters facing death just because they are Christian?

    No we concern ourselves with the wellbeing of Moslems and their civil strife, thinking we are *nation building* when all we are building is the gallows for our own children.

    Steve

  40. yooperjack says:

    If it wasn’t for Israel and *OIL* we would not of heard of the Middle East. How often do we hear anything about about Africa?

  41. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Steve, in my view, Islamist extremists are not Muslim. By the same token, armed white-supremist enclaves are not Christian – nor are extreme Zionists Jews.

    Turkish action in Kurdistan reads the same as U.S. action on the southern border with Mexico. The worldly mind plays into Satan’s evil tricks. And appearances are deceptive. National governments rarely curb warfare, since it is equivalent to increased employment in every sector.

    I cannot join in the crusader’s cry, “God wills it!” If we sit inside houses of worship and sing “It Is Well with My Soul,” will we be tacitly approving of the violence around us? I cannot claim that brutality from any group toward any other is simply “my faith becoming sight.” The arms industry rears its ugly head on every front.

    I am saying so should humanitarian aid come to these open wounds in the body of humanity (God’s children). Medical personnel need long respite from this work – since it is demoralizing to run in and sew up the wounded only to see them bombed or shot after they return to their homes…I still believe humanitarian agencies should be there.

    Lord knows it won’t be solved here today; but there are “sides” in the struggle, and each must do his/her best to follow their conscience…

    Blessings,
    Maru

  42. poohpity says:

    I wonder if we fully understand the implications of obedience to Jesus who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matt 5:9 NIV. It goes on to say hate those who hate you and fight those who disagree with your faith if they are not for you they are against you so kill ’em. John 20:21; James 3:18 NIV. Feed and help those who only believe as you do, your neighbors and friends. Matthew 5:44-47 NIV.

  43. poohpity says:

    This reminds me of all those arm chair quarterbacks who sit in the comfort of their homes and coach the ball game. Many have no idea about anything but what is fed to them through the media of which they trust in more than truth. Those who say the same things and give the reason for things as Job’s friends did with no knowledge at all of the bigger picture but throw around careless words and feel if they were in charge things would be different. You bet they would be different but not necessarily better but neglect the thought of all those who have died but have never heard the Good News because they were to busy coaching from the confines of their small environment.

    Jack, I get information from Africa every week in an email from friends who are there. If I do not know what is going on then I search for the latest not only from Africa but from Kosovo, Ukraine, Papua New Guinea, Romania, and others because I have friends on the ground doing mission work. Gee we even have DOD to hear and see what is going on in the Middle East or other Christian News Media that has people on the ground sending back real news with truth.

  44. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, you scared me for a minute there…..until I realized you were being facetious.

  45. SFDBWV says:

    Maru I will agree in part and let the matter settle there.

    Seeing that the topic title is the *Random Dance of Evil* I am inclined to see natural disasters as somewhat random, but armed rebellion or conflict as anything except random.

    When I say somewhat random I mean that if you live on the coast of Japan you should expect to endure earthquakes and tsunamis in you lifetime and either be prepared for it or move away from it.

    There are people right now living beneath volcanoes knowing that they could erupt at any time, yet choose to live there.

    Tornadoes can happen almost anywhere, but there are areas that are prone to them. What precautions do people make in living in them?

    No I think that rather some people take the *random* chance that they won’t have to do anything. Then if it does look for blame or reason only after the fact.

    Then there is California, people make a joke out of expecting *The Big One*, yet go on with there lives as if it can never happen to them.

    Just for the record I did not see the CNN video of the woman praying in part in tongues to the tornado bearing down on her. I do believe in the gift of tongues and I do believe in asking God to keep disaster from you and your loved ones.

    That is a daily morning prayer from me toward God in asking for His protection from evil in all its forms for me and my loved ones. I also sometimes ask for the same for my country and my little town, only to hear that little voice in my heart say “no not completely”.

    Also when Elijah was told to stand before the whirlwind it is to be noted that God was not in the whirlwind, but rather as a still small voice in Elijah’s heart.

    I can’t help also while in the story of Elijah, that in obedience to God he killed all the priest of Baal.

    If we wish to take up the subject of evil as an intellectual exercise we can, but expect differing opinions, surprising revelations and some arguments. I wish we would not argue, but that may be also asking too much,

    Steve

  46. abraham99 says:

    If the ruling Assad sect is overthrown there will be a flood of Syrians/the Alawite sect into Israel because they know that they cannot enter Iraq or Lebanon. Israel’s army chief has said that all displaced Syrians seeking asylum will be allowed into Israel. Quite wry when you think of the offer to their enemies…..and they haven’t even read the New Testament!!!

  47. poohpity says:

    But is that not really what others have said? They say they believe what the bible teaches, yet?

  48. poohpity says:

    The bible teaches that some are better off dead or maimed than to cause sin, does that not apply to each one of us, but the suffering servant died for all humanity.

  49. abraham99 says:

    Messianic Jews do a lot of work amongst the refugees in Israel and who knows how many of the Syrian refugees will answer to the Call of Christ, if and when Syrian revolution drives them into Israel. God always brings good out of bad……Satan is defeated!

  50. poohpity says:

    Wow abraham if our attitudes toward every person were that they may be a future believer and brother or sister in Christ I bet we would treat them better.

  51. poohpity says:

    It seems the attitudes of segregation are alive and well in the hearts of believers today.

  52. davids says:

    I think we are in dangerous waters and ought to come closer to shore where we still can touch the ground.

    Although one woman was captured praying and survived the storm, we should not forget that many died. Among them, quite probably prayerful believers or their loved ones. Let’s not follow the media and televangelist angle that God’s judgement and mercy are laid bare in such events. As Poohpity says, we are at risk of playing the role of Job’s friends.

    Switching subjects, none of us are qualified to address the geopolitical issues about Syria. Russia has a major warm-water port in Syria. It is like the base of the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain. The US turned a blind eye to the repression of the majority there last year. Russia is playing its game and so is Turkey.

    Not knowing all the underlying interests, we risk reading into events the story we want to see. So I agree that we should speak for compassion for all those Jesus died to save: everyone.

    Jesus did not utter a word against the Romans or their leaders that oppressed the Jews through force. Rather, he spoke against the religious leaders that led people away from God.

  53. yooperjack says:

    davids: like poohpity you most likely didn’t see the CNN clip. Sometimes like Jobs friends we would be better to say nothing instead of putting our foot in our mouth. Like you and poohpity have on this CNN clip.

    I was praising her faith in standing infront of that bay window and doing what the Word of God tells us to do. Not like some people that have knowlege but no faith. They run their mouth when things are going good but as soon as the going gets rough they run and hide like a scared cat.

  54. Mart De Haan says:

    Hi Katie,
    Good to hear from you. Yes, there are strong parallels to the Tree of Life. I found the movie very compelling. We talked about it some at http://beenthinking.org/articles/the-tree-of-life/

  55. poohpity says:

    But Jack I did see the video. It seemed strange for being in such a frighting situation the friend with her was very calm. When people use their own recording devises one never knows how close or far they are from the tornado. It is not bad to pay attention just like the verse she used on the tornado had nothing at all to do with Elijah making a tornado go away he had nothing to do with it. I can not remember one time in scripture where a human being ever made nature do anything but that doesn’t mean there is not one.

  56. poohpity says:

    Human nature does ruin many things and makes excuses for it’s shortcomings while grace makes everything beautiful and worth living this life no matter what we encounter. Oh to trust God enough to allow grace in every area and that includes not asking God questions we do not have the capacity to understand the answers.

  57. yooperjack says:

    Poohpity: Jesus, spoke to the storm and the storm became calm, is one time nature was changed by a human being. Who was it that stopped time in the OT?

    That may have been the only verse the woman knew that had anything to do with weather. You don’t have to dissect everything. Rejoice in the fact that she is alive and her house is still standing; admire her faith and boldness.

    Are you and davids Baptist; that would explain allot to me and I will leave you two alone because I will understand where you two are coming from? Baptist, are so judgmental and that is a fact. I’ve been there.

  58. yooperjack says:

    poohpity: Oh! By the way who was it that stoped the rain then started it up again later. Maybe you will remember if you read the whole Bible 20 times.

    Good night. LOL

  59. poohpity says:

    Only God and Jesus, also being God, had control over Mother Nature. I dissect things because there is much deception all around us by having the foundation of God’s Word we all will be able to see truth and recognize lies. As far as a religion I do not belong to one denomination I belong to the body of Christ. A majority of time I compare all that I hear from the mouth of a person to what scriptures says because I believe what the bible teaches as truth and have learned not to trust very many people unless they have earned it.

    You have admitted several times that it is hard for you to change because as you said you can not teach old dogs new tricks so could it be possible that the judgmental side of you has not changed but is still there.

    If you feel the need to attack the reading of God’s Word for anyone then my heart is grieved. I personally point people to reading the bible rather than listening to anything I say because I know and trust what God says about allowing God’s Word to richly dwell in a person because through it God transforms lives be renewing their minds.

    How do you know whether I have not praised God for her life or home being spared? It is easier to think the worst of me isn’t it?

  60. BruceC says:

    Again, the blog is degenerating into spats.

    “Baptist, are so judgmental and that is a fact. I’ve been there.”

    Why you make a statement like that brother?? If I used such a broad brush such as that to paint my home I would be done in five minutes. Is that statement not judgemental in itself? In my life experience I have found a different persuasion of doctrine to be much more so than any Baptist church I have been to.

    There may be folks out there that just read this blog and comments like that may keep them from participating.
    We need to careful what we say to one another and yet at the same time not give up our core beliefs.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  61. yooperjack says:

    BruceC: You’ve been around this blog long enough to know the games Poohpity and I play. It’s called “Stupid and Stupider”. She sets it up and I dive in if I’m bord.
    Didn’t you see the LOL at the end of my post last night.

  62. yooperjack says:

    Poohpity: That is why we ask in Jesus name to calm the storms because we can not do anything in our own streghenth. But in the name of Jesus nothing is impossible if we believe without doubting. The person taking the pictures may have had the peace of God come over them thinking they were going to die, that’s why they may have been so calm. I happen to me 30 years ago when I thought I was going to die in minutes, it’s amazing yet weird.

    Sorry poohpity, davids set that one up but he pulled you in. See I can say the “S” word. LOL

  63. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    Mart, you wrote:
    “Yet over and over, numb survivors talk about a good Lord who determined that it was not their time to go—while others mourn losses with questions that heaven is not answering.”

    Watching a public TV program last evening that analyzed the quake/ tsunami that devastated the east coast of Japan, I am in awe of the powerful forces at work in the earth. There are stories of both sorts: the tragic and sudden loss of loved ones; and the miraculous escape of some who found themselves out of reach of the water and debris.

    There is nothing to “know” about why tens of thousands of people are wiped out in a few minutes. God is not saying…as you point out, Mart. The psalmist David wrote: “O LORD, what is man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his/her days are like a passing shadow.” (Psalm 144:3, 4) In pondering such a reality, it seems to me we have most of all the opportunity to worship our Creator God – in grief or in joy.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  64. yooperjack says:

    Poohpity: One more post and this game is over.

    They say: “Once a Baptist always a Baptist” so maybe your right I’m doombed to be judgmental for the rest of my life. AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! LOL LOL LOL I love those Baptist even with their flaws.

  65. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    My Church is happy clappy so do I have claws? lol

  66. yooperjack says:

    No way Bob, hope you do a little shouting in your praise and worship too. Those *claws* would be helpful but you don’t have any. They may even hurt when you happy clappy. LOL

    Mark 11:23 NKJV is very interesting.

  67. SFDBWV says:

    I would hope that most of us have been following the story through the tornado ravaged towns and people that only a week ago were alive in a different world.

    I am always amazed at how one home can be utterly destroyed into nothing but rubble and only a hundred feet away sets another with no damage at all.

    It was a mixture of emotions for me to learn of the little 14 month old baby they had found *10* miles away from her home laying in a field had died; a mixture of emotions because her entire immediate family had also been killed, so in truth she has joined them.

    We are seeking information pertaining to churches in the area of the disaster so as to see how we can donate to the very people affected.

    Interesting seeing the comments in place that we have centered on two; one a Methodist church that had its roof torn off while people huddled in its basement for protection and another being a Baptist church that is actively asking for donations to help the people in their area and have an account set up with a local Bank for that purpose.

    If any of you are interested and Mart allows it I may share what we have found in a way to donate. I hesitated all morning to even mention this much as I in no way want to be seen as seeking donations from any one for any thing.

    Steve

  68. Regina says:

    Good Morning All,

    Hope all is well in your lives. I’ve been away for awhile… busy with the usual… ministry, work, chores, etc. Also noticed that when I don’t take my vitamin, I don’t have as much energy. Off work today (State Testing in the ISDS where I work), so I have some time to visit with you all. I’ve missed chatting with you. I haven’t heard very much on the news about the pre-Spring storms in several states. I haven’t been watching a lot of news (but didn’t really hear anything when I did watch it).

    My Pastor talked about it yesterday and he explained that what our neighbors (in the states that are experiencing rain storms) are going through right now should cause us to be more grateful for the blessings that we have in our lives (the daily blessings that we receive). Well, getting ready to read some of your comments right now (read the intro comment before typing my comment).

    Sunny and beautiful in Texas today (54 degrees right now/mid 70’s later on)

    Love to all…

  69. yooperjack says:

    Bob: Hope you raise your hands to the Heavens as well. NKJV Psalms 28:2, chapter 134, 47:1-2, chapter 95 and 98:8 even the rivers clap thier hands but not a Baptist; well maybe in the South they get happy.

    It’s really wierd because we all read the same Bible but some read it but don’t do it. Why is that?

  70. SFDBWV says:

    I would like to write an addendum to my last comment. I will not share any information here as to where or how to donate to tornado victims. If you want to, ask your own church how you may if you don’t attend church then go on line and seek information for your self.

    Jackie apparently you’ve never been in a predominately black Baptist church.

    Steve

  71. SFDBWV says:

    I should also say most of the Southern Baptist churches as well, no matter the racial predominance.

    Steve

  72. yooperjack says:

    Steve: No I have not but seen them on TV. They know how to have Church brother. WOW!!! Singen, dancen, clapen and shouten praises to the our Lord. I bet God has a smile on His face when He hears them.

  73. SFDBWV says:

    Jackie here in West Virginia as well as parts of Kentucky we have Pentecostal churches that dance with rattle snakes, as proof of their being filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Many people get bit some die some just remember the experience, cautiously.

    One thing about it they are as serious as any congregation anywhere about their faith in Christ, they just go about it their way, and I say whatever brings you closer to Christ I am in favor of.

    They call this the *Bible Belt* for a reason.

    Steve

  74. yooperjack says:

    Steve: Good piont. But, I’ll take a good ol happy party over a funeral any time. I know my Lord likes a party.

  75. poohpity says:

    The random dance of evil is explained in Galatians 5:19-21 NLT

    Evidence of the Holy Spirit is found in Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

    Then the a very important part is the end of that chapter Galatians 5:25-26 NLT

    Those who handle snakes take one part of the bible which was what happened to Paul on the island of Malta when a snake bit him and he lived but Jesus said, “It also says not to put the Lord your God to a foolish test” Matthew 4:7 NLT

  76. narrowpathseeker says:

    Yooper, I can confirm Steve’s comment on Baptist churches and right here in New England as well….of course not all, but most definitely some of the predominantly Black Baptist churches.

    I belonged to a Baptist church with a fairly prestigious congregation with a Pharisaic aire. Had that been the only Baptist church I had ever attended I would probably agree with your views. However after attending an event in which several area churches participated, I couldn’t help but notice that the Black Baptists worshipped boldly and meaningfully and made the rest seem “wimpy” and even “false”.

    Another woman and I decided to attend one of their services but we were not sure we would be welcome. We walked in quietly and took a seat in the back near the door. A group came to get us and escorted us to the front where we were asked to stand and tell what had brought us there. I had previously been very timid in church(not out of church)but stood boldly and said that I had recognized that they had something I wanted and I had come to get some of it(bold faith) That was met with more…Praise the Lord and Amen’s all at once than I had ever heard in my life. They danced, clapped hands and shouted for hours during every service there. When I went back to my church and practiced what I had learned, it was met with such self righteous indignation that I almost burst out laughing. I don’t remember the name of the famous painting where a very stern old man and woman are standing with a hoe or pitchfork and look like a smile would crack their faces. However, that particular day I faced a whole congregation with the facial expression of that man and woman.

    I don’t think we can judge ANY group of people as a whole.

  77. SFDBWV says:

    Narrowpathseeker, in my opinion worship is missing in many churches and I may even say here in our too technical study of scripture and life.

    Many of us here like Yooperjack and pooh try to put out a little humor now and then, I even try to myself but what is missing is *worship*.

    My ole Pastor’s wife Nelly liked that part of the service’s best of all as she would just play the piano and let the Spirit lead, soulful moaning and groaning, and allow the Spirit to take control.

    Some may say that the best worship is the strict obedience to God’s Word and for them that may work, but it was David who danced naked before the Lord in worship and when Pentecost came the Disciples were thought to be drunk.

    Many people talk about pride, but that is all that keeps them from standing up in church and say amen or dance in the aisles just because they feel the joy of the Holy Ghost and yes clap their hands to music and allow for their natural selves to *worship* the Lord.

    Just like Lee Ann Womack says in her song, “I hope You Dance”, when the Spirit moves us where ever we may be, that, I hope we don’t let pride keep us from dancing, singing and *worshiping*.

    Steve

  78. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Even our “stiff upper lip” is begining to quiver.

    God, The Holy Spirit, is on the rampage over here.

    Whatch this space!

    Bob

  79. poohpity says:

    I was wondering this morning and thinking that there are so many people who live on the San Andres fault. They have purchased land and built houses knowingly on this fault then when it erupts or changes and earthquakes happen then they blame God for the destruction.To me it seems the same for the tornado belt people knowingly buy land in this area which is very well known for being tornado ally yet when the tornadoes happen they blame God for the catastrophes. Or those who buy land in a flood zone they are warned before yet they still do it.

    I think that also applies to scripture there are so many warnings and consequences for certain behaviors yet people still do them and then blame God. The bible has warning that we will suffer trials and tribulations just because we live in a fallen world or go through things as Job did with no questions answered by God because He does not answer to us.

    If we truly trust God then we praise Him in all circumstances because of who He is. God gave us brains and is willing to supply us with wisdom when asked so with that in mind what would make one buy land in tornado ally, on the San Andreas fault or in a flood zone knowing what may happen because they are warned. It would seem a good buy maybe not such a good buy after all.

  80. poohpity says:

    That is what is so wonderful about what Jesus did. He knew before hand all the choices we would make and how many times we chose not to use our brains yet still suffered and died for us. All I can say to that is WOW!!

  81. yooperjack says:

    WOW, narrow what boldness you possess you went from a happy celebration with live people worshiping the Lord to a morgue full of dead bodies. LOL Maybe you need to change Churches.

    Steve: I don’t like snakes or bugs of any kind. To build a doctrine around snakes and poison is a little weird to say the least.

    To me music is the language of the universe and everybody can smile and make music. We can make a joyful noise to the Lord and He loves it. I love those southern folks who can get together with some instruments and play Blue Grass, the Old Black Spirituals and Southern Gospel. They talk funny but boy can they sing and play them instruments.

  82. SFDBWV says:

    Jackie one more little smile then I must leave the computer alone.

    The Egyptians of old worshiped the Scarab beetle; they thought it spontaneously emerged from its burrow. Of course the scarab beetle is also called the *dung* beetle as its sole purpose is to find dung and roll it along to its burrow in order to lay its eggs on for food for its larva.

    I don’t need snakes or bugs in my worship, but then I worship the creator not the creation. And when I think of what it was that the Egyptian thought was worth worshiping and honoring, I am very glad to not need critters in my worship at any time.

    Steve

  83. narrowpathseeker says:

    Jack, that was many years ago…I am no longer a member of that church. I worship mostly at the river behind my house but whenever I take up yet another round of church searching I always choose the bold and joyful worshipping kind.

    Steve, we share the same opinion on some churches. I’m ashamed to say I was once one of those people that was more concerned with adhering to the concerns of the ruling “Christian” majority than in what might please God. On the other hand I was totally ignorant to the concept of what(outside of the more obvious) might be pleasing to God.

  84. poohpity says:

    Being part of a church group has so much more than just worship, there is fellowship, accountability, learning and areas of service. There is something so wonderful and awe inspiring with the gathering of the saints under one roof, no matter what that roof may look like. When people are left to their own devises although there are benefits to a time of solitude with the Lord over longer periods of time can cause harm and alienation. It seems we really need each other for this journey there is nothing as warm as a hug or a smile from a friend who you know cares. When people are alone it seems they more often than not get angry, hardhearted and depressed. I have always understood that we were meant for a relationship with God and with others.

  85. poohpity says:

    Steve if I ever use putting people down, name calling or sarcasm to be humorous please do not hesitate to call me on it. Hurting others is not funny to me at all nor do I find any humor in it. Humor is not funny when it comes at the expense of another. Per your comment of 1:36pm today.

  86. narrowpathseeker says:

    My ignorance strikes again!! I don’t know WHY, but I have always thought the word “infamous” was just another word for “famous”. I didn’t know that it had anything to do with being offensive or deserving of a bad reputation!!! I don’t know how many times I have used it in reference to famous but truly admirably good people!! I may have even used it on this blog at some time. If I did PLEASE FORGIVE ME…it was not meant to be offensive…I just found out a few minutes ago what it actually meant! I am very embarrassed as well as remorseful for possibly being slanderous to someone when I most likely intended to commend. YIKES!! This saying and/or doing stupid things just never ends for me!

  87. davids says:

    Jack, I have seen the clip. Her steadfastness in her prayer is impressive, but it reminds me of the old story about two boys running very late to school. The one says, “I have an idea: let’s stop and pray.”

    The other says, “I have a better idea. Let’s keep running and pray!”.

    I’ll be the one running and praying.

  88. yooperjack says:

    Bullying people is not funny at all but as we get older we do funny things. Like one day I was asking my wife: “What did you do with the pizza cutter”. I like stuff where I can find it. She said in the second drawer. I said: “It’s not there”. Then I looked down in my left hand down by my left side and there was that pizza cutter. That kind of stuff cracks me up. My hope is I never leave stove burners on or other dangerous stuff.

    People are funny, they do and say funny things. I’m hard of hearing and crack my daughter up all the time. Remember the grandpa in the “Bobsey Twins” chidrens books. Our teacher in grade school use to read them to us; we would laugh so hard. Now I’m that hard of hearing grandpa and laugh at myself.

  89. yooperjack says:

    davids: I’ll say a big amen to that one.

  90. yooperjack says:

    david: I’d be running either ahead or close behind you. I aint messing with no tornados.

  91. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Too Much News is numbing!

    We saw coverarage of the first wave of Tornados on the BBC but have heard little more.
    Like last year, they became so regular that it was no longer news.
    Like when it snows, it is so rare here we talk about it for weeks and struggle with it, the whole country stops for days, maybe only 6″ at a time.
    You lot seem to just live with it, 200″ or more in a few months.
    one mans disaster is just another mans rainy day, it all depends on what you get used to and your attitude towards it.

    Bob

  92. SFDBWV says:

    Evil; (ra) adversity-affliction-bad-calamity-displeasure-distress-harm-hurt-misery-sad-sorrow-trouble.
    (ra’a) the action of doing evil.

    When I place the word random in front of the word evil and then look at evils many other names, I see a broader opportunity for evil to be visited upon man other than *random* weather.

    When I look at the other Hebrew word for evil (ra’a) I see it as only being random as in collateral damage.

    Sickness, death, accidents, loss and so forth are all considered evil.

    We *dance* with evil every day in that like the poisonous snake that some pick up and handle, we handle it very cautiously, knowing the results of being too comfortable with what evil can bring.

    I had seen part of a movie on TV last week whereas the narrator was saying how the events of several people oblivious to each other set up the disaster of an auto accident that ended the career of a beautiful young dancer.

    Was it *random* or was it by divine intervention?

    The interaction and events of everyone effecting the events of everyone else, are they *random* or are they by divine intervention?

    The events of scripture certainly spell out the divine will of God being played out by the interaction of people.

    People want to have it both ways, they want to believe that God is in control of all the events of man, while at the same time blaming man’s free will for the evil done to innocent and guilty alike.

    Then a calamity such as *natural* disasters come along and we don’t know whether to thank God for sparing some and not blame Him for the evil played out upon the victims.

    Not knowing for sure if such matters are actually *random* or under the authority of God.

    Much more to discuss here if we want to.

    11 degrees f and snow this morning.

    Steve

  93. SFDBWV says:

    It has been said that the beginning of *wisdom* starts with the *fear* of God.

    One of the reasons God doesn’t tell us everything is because we have to have that unknown distance that still keeps us in *fear* of Him. Never really knowing for certain what God has on His mind keeps us on our toes.

    Knowledge, it is said, is power. God, it seems, gives us just enough power to get His will done and take us to the next step in His divine plan.

    Jesus called God our *heavenly* Father, knowing that we all have an earthly father so as to relate to us God’s place and ours in the relationship.

    Jesus Christ becomes our advocate as well as our reason to make God approachable. Do we approach God with reverence and fear or do we approach Him like an equal expecting Him to answer our questions concerning His actions or what may seem as a lack of them?

    To most of us our lives and the lives of our loved ones are the most important matter in our minds and hearts. We want to believe that to be the case as well in God’s mind and heart. So when evil in any of its forms visits us we become confused as to why would God allow this heartache and pain into our lives.

    How easy it is to just say we are being tested in order to grow. This seems insulting to me when I see the evil that some must endure even unto death or worse, and yes there is a fate worse than death.

    I think there are many more questions than answers and they always lead to the same conclusion, God is God and we are not. And just like Job said, some people feel it would have been better for them to never have been born than to suffer as they do.

    The only glimmer of hope being the promise of a better existence given as a gift for our acceptance of Jesus Christ and in contrast to a miserable life here among the evils of this world.

    Evil is not a happy subject is it.

    Steve

  94. yooperjack says:

    Steve: And then there’s the Devil and his bunch of demons we have to deal with; why didn’t God send them to Mars instead of Earth. Maybe……Naw!!!!

    Bob: We only have 172 inches so far 32 in the last week. Yesterday morning it was 3 degree F today it’s going to be 40 degrees, one weird winter.

    Our businesses rely on snow for dog sled races and snow mobiling many travel from bar to bar or in your case (pub to pub). Pit stops if you will. LOL

  95. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… looking at your 6:44 comment. I appreciate your wanting to turnover a word several times as to not miss some intention, but when it comes to the word “Evil,’ like the word Savior, or the word Worship, then the common vernacular becomes way off!
    We need God’s dictionary to define where we are to take words here in relationship to the world around us. Keeping every thought captive to Christ!
    So, Evil to me is that which sets itself up against God! Just a thought as I read you opening blog on the many terms used for the word evil. Opposing God is Sin… displeasure is a far cry from Evil in my book!
    Now, I may have jumped the gun, so I’ll continue reading your post now and see if I have violated myself. I know it is always good to measure the depth of the water before jumping in, but it looked so inviting…although evil as you explain it may lurk just under the surface, but have I sinned against God in jumping? :) Gary

  96. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Jack,

    We have had no snow in the southwest this winter and very little up north.
    So mild here I have only warn gloves on my bicycle for about 14 days since the season started and I ride before dawn each day.
    Daffodils are nearly over and Bluebells are about to flower.
    Bright sunny day 11C(52F) but was up to 17C(63F)last week.
    As you say “one weird winter”

    Bob

  97. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    We did have a cold blast from Siberia last month but it only lasted 10 days or so with warm air from the Atlantic battling with it and pushing it back east.

  98. oneg2dblu says:

    I may be just picking apart words here, what else do we have…but when we “Capitalize” them they do take on a different meaning.
    It is one reason why I like to spell the word savior, as (Saviour) with the “u” because the world then can not diminish it, or pick it apart from its true meaning, which must be held captive to Christ! Look it up if your dictionary still has it, as many don’t, but like the Ten Commandments, and the “In God We Trust” which is now missing in places, I do not want to miss my intention, like misusing the word Evil. :)

  99. refump says:

    I never understood why there is a need to condemn one style of worship from another. The people who like to clap & dance say that is true worship. If your worship is not openly demonstrative you are a fuddy duddy or you must not have the spirit in you. On the other hand those who don’t clap & dance look on those who do as attention seekers or as phonies. Why can’t we just worship the way we do without judging those who do it differently or casting aspersions on those who don’t have the ” true ” worship understanding that we do. I have been attending church for many years. I have attended many types of churches with a great variety of types of worship. I have struggled with both ends of the worship type spectrum. I have concluded that the type of worship that works for one does not always work for another. Let everyone worship the way they feel best give glory to God. The music & singing is just part od worship but we tend to place the greatest emphasis on it. Worship is so much more, isn’t it? Music has a way of playing tomour emotions so it tends to get most of the attention when it comes to worship. Let’s be careful that those emotions are not just for us to ” feel ” something for ourselves but they are directed to the GOD we are worshipping.

  100. SFDBWV says:

    Gary, all of the descriptions of evil I used in my opening comments this morning come from the Concordance and are the various examples evil is applied in scripture. I have gotten nothing from a dictionary.

    The only time I have capitalized the word evil is at the end of my comments and appropriately at the beginning of a sentence.

    I only capitalize words out of grammar when applying them to such words as God, or in reference to Him ect.

    I do not understand your confusion with what I have said nor do I understand your complaints.

    Steve

  101. oneg2dblu says:

    Bob in Cornwall… I really liked your use of words.
    “One mans disaster is another mans rainy day, it all depends on what you get used to and your attitude towards it.” Those are some wise words Brother!
    What if we get used to not seeing God’s Word around any more? Would that be a rainy day or a disaster? The U.S.
    Treasury just minted a coin with a blank space where “In God We Trust” used to be. Many public building used to have the Ten Commandments posted but they are very absent now…all in a land where men are getting used to having sin in their lives as just a rainy day. I think that is a disaster, but the government says it’s only raining… I say God should be Reigning here instead! Gary

  102. SFDBWV says:

    For those of you who have not been following the *Random Dance of Evil* concerned with the tornadoes that swept across the USA. I will bring this topic to light some more.

    The story of the little baby who had been found alive miles from where her family had been killed and whom also died has a deepening story behind the story.

    A neighbor had come to the trailer that the ill-fated family lived in and offered his house also a trailer but a double wide one on a foundation. He thought his house may afford better protection from the storm.

    He survived the impact of the storm, while his last memories of the young family he had hoped to help were of them all laying on the floor together praying for safety. They were all killed except as I said of the neighbor who had stepped outside to see where the tornado was.

    The little 14 month old baby picked up in the vortex of debris and wind and battered to death and left laying and dying in an open field miles away.

    Is this evil or just a random act of life on planet earth?

    Steve

  103. oneg2dblu says:

    To all…I see that current “rainy day” over here today in the U.S. as nothing but Evil in the hearts of man and its government, which currently hides itself away from God, or stands in opposition, with its being under a law of separation of church and state, but God is not a Church! Do you see how powerful the misuse of words can really be if reconstructed by the Evil just under the surface of the intentions of Mankind? Gary

  104. hera says:

    Mr De Haan, i love the phrase:
    In such circumstances, Mother Nature and a Father God seem to be acting, but not talking.
    and it is always about how to interpret the message of any “act” /action or event that happens in our lives..
    how do we understand them to be, how are we ‘supposed’ to understand them, according to the Bible, norms, etc.
    when bad things happen, esp. to me, i dont really ask “why me” for i realize of my many shortcomings, perhaps also sins,transgressions -whatever name we may use, but rather why am i experiencing it, for what purpose. as to people who “seem” to be playing with danger since they live in a dangerous area knowingly etc – well, i find that ‘outsiders’ view and perception are often kind of different from those who are “within” and sometimes people do not have that much “choice” in life – this can be read in the wide, widest sense possible; we as outsiders could say why do they do that knowing that such and such but sometimes life circumstances put us, or them, in situations as such so that they did what they did….
    kind of rambling here, am I … hehe… sorry, am not very coherent, just that i often see people do things that i questions, but then later on in life, sometimes i get the opportunity of understanding (answers) to the previous questions either by first hand experience or another way..
    anyway… i like that phrase above and hope Nature acts more and more motherly – as the name is Mother Nature.. motherly and nurturingly.. :)

  105. yooperjack says:

    refump: Emotions are an important part of who we are. Many will get emotional at a football game and act weird but are looked down on if they get excited about Jesus in Church. I believe that is weird and wrong. The whole Church service should be worshiping God. It’s not about us but Him.

    We don’t know who the real ones are from the phonies it’s all in our perception. Think about it?

  106. yooperjack says:

    Many times I just sit back and watch as maybe someone just got it and erupts in words of praise, or another is crying their heart out in shame as they see the light for the first time in their life. I think that is what God does He just sits back and watches His children worship Him.

    I think it is a shame when Churches became people pleasers instead of God pleasers. They have become- Dead men walking.

  107. poohpity says:

    This is just my opinion and we all know what they say about opinions they are like rear ends, some are better than others, but the all need to be covered up unless asked for. Anyway to me there is a big difference in natural disasters which I feel are not evil because I believe the absence of God is evil. They would be better off being spoke of in a different light than the Syrians and the suffering going on in the middle east now that is evil at it’s finest.

    People causing harm to other people is the absence of God. The on top of that blaming evil takes the responsibility from a persons actions which is what evil would have us do. Saying things like the blog has a mind of it’s own(the blog is an inanimate object) takes the responsibility off of the person who is not following the rules (just an example so do not get upset). Evil seems to be going against God’s intended purpose. Natural disasters are NATURAL happenings, evil is set on destruction by not paying attention to God or God’s plan for mankind which was to have fellowship with Him and it separated us from that.

    Blame is evil because it essentially is not taking responsibility for actions and the only way to restore a relationship with God is to admit we are wrong and ask for forgiveness.

    Nature is random, evil is not.

  108. poohpity says:

    Those tornadoes did not come into being to kill that was not their goal but the things that are going on with Syria are man’s desire to have things their way which results in causing harm.

  109. poohpity says:

    Also I was thinking that to say Mother Nature and Father God were not talking to me says there are two separate entities and I do not believe that. Creation was created by God but God in His infinite wisdom just as God allows us to go our way so does nature. It explodes and erupts because it is a living thing that changes and grows as we watch in amazement. It is not bad when it does the things we like but the minute it does something that we do not agree with it is evil.

  110. yooperjack says:

    The problem is when evil people don’t see their evil ways and think what they are doing is “OK”. You see it all the time on TV they’ll say: “I didn’t do anything wrong, they deserve to die”. Or, “She was a bad ten year old girl so we put her in the basement to punish her” For five years? Give me a break!!!

    I better stop, I’m getting carnel thoughts again. “Evil thoughts go away.” There, they’re gone, the phone just rang, no it wasn’t God. LOL

  111. poohpity says:

    Would it not be wise just to say we do not understand but in it all we will still praise God.

  112. royalpalm says:

    Hello, BTA friends,
    Thanks for the many excellent thoughts sounded out… regarding worship-yooperjack by God’s grace I “saw the light” in a Baptist school in the Far East where I came from. I admire those who worship God in joyous abandon because I do it in the quiet, relaxed way. These days I go to any church where Jesus is honored and God’s word is taught.

    It is easy to forget that our righteousness is a gift from God, given to us because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:9; Rom. 3:21,22; Roman 4:5;)

    When we are righteous before God, then we can truly worship Him. Incidentally, the first mention of “worship” in the Bible is in Gen. 22:5 in the account where Abraham determined to worship God by submitting to God’s command to sacrifice his son. Without this surrender to God’s will our worship is no better than the public display of the Pharisees during Jesus’ day, or the presumptious worship during Isaiah’s time. Isa. 29:13.

    Like everything, God is more concerned with the condition of and the motivation of our hearts than our outward actions.

  113. poohpity says:

    That is true Jack how many people do not see their evil ways but it does not mean just extreme evil like the little girl it is the little things each of us do everyday, pride, ambition, and others that seem menial but cause harm.

  114. yooperjack says:

    royal: You hit the mark with your last sentence.

  115. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… the concordance is a good place to look stuff up, but we csn’t get our theology from it. Now,I’ve jumped in again and now I’m swimming for my life!! LOL
    Perhaps I’m a little gun shy here but I don’t care what the concordance says or calls it, Satan, the world system, and the things of man that oppose God are evil to me. Was that Strong’s or was it a weaker version… LOL :) I hope you did not see evil intentions in my words. I liked pooh’s absence of God meaning though, it seemed hit me just right, as their is no absence of God in the weather, but to those who blame God for innocent killing in the storm, there is deffinitely an absence of understanding Him. I hope I’m done…

  116. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes I see my typos and mis-takes… but only after I post. :0 sorry!

  117. SFDBWV says:

    Isaiah 45: 7 states God created evil, Jeremiah 42: 10 states God repents of the evil He has done unto Israel, Jeremiah 18: 8 states that if a nation repent of their evil, God will repent of the evil He thought to do unto them.

    Gary as much as some would like to alter or change or ignore the Word of God, what is written is written. You cannot separate God from any of His creation.

    You can’t choose what you like to hear, and ignore the rest of the story.

    Steve

  118. davids says:

    The US was populated by many people that wished to worship God in their own way, without the government telling them that they ought to follow certain beliefs.

    If the majority of the US population should become Catholic, or Mormon, or Athiest, then I don’t want that majority to tell me what to believe or their prayers in my schools. That’s all I will say on that subject.

  119. davids says:

    The subject is the Random Dance of Evil. Evil is more random than many suspect.

    We are focusing on storms that killed around 30 in an area populated by millions. We are talking about a couple thousand deaths in Syria, a country of millions.

    In both places, many more people die every year from cancer, auto accidents, and the effects of poverty and ignorance than those that die of the causes that we focus on.

    For them, the randomness of death and suffering is just as real. Back to Mart’s main point, suffering is part of life, and a central point of our faith is that Jesus suffered too, for us. I think that is what we always need to carry forward.

  120. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… we certainly can pick and choose, every day, every thought, every word, and every deed, and hold it Captive to Christ. I do not arugue a point, only bring one to the foreground of understanding. Yes, God has allowed Satan to roam the earth, God has allowed the world system to exist, and yes God allows man to have his free will choice, and when it opposes God, then I call it evil. A broader definition may encompass many things… I know to whom I must repent, but I wonder to whom does God repent? Who then forgives Him?

  121. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… I relent!

  122. yooperjack says:

    Gary: when you ask to whom does God repents? You put Him in a box with the rest of us. He is not in a time zone as we are. He repents to no one. He is the “I AM.” We can’t even look at Him and live and you ask: “Who forgives God?” Did lighting strike you yet? “REPENT” my brother.

  123. poohpity says:

    Jack it was Steve who said that, “God will repent of the evil He thought to do unto them.” There is a big difference in repenting and relenting. Gary was asking Steve, “but I wonder whom does God repent?”

  124. poohpity says:

    Jack, Steve has believed for as long as I have known him that a Holy God created evil from Isaiah 45:7 KJV. Several have tried to have him think about it in another way but he has never relented of that belief.

  125. poohpity says:

    The KJV was translated from Latin into English rather than from Hebrew into English. English Bible History is a very interesting read for those interested to further your knowledge of our today’s bibles.

  126. yooperjack says:

    Gary: I was joking about the lighting and you need not repent. I had no idea what you and Steve were talking about today. I reacted to that one sentence I took it out of contexts.

    Foot in mouth must go to bed will be better in morning. LOL Good night.

  127. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart & Friends –

    Mart, you wrote:

    “Down through the centuries, countless commentators have analyzed what God said and didn’t say. All are left with the conclusion that God answered the questions of Job with questions of his own.”

    We cannot add to or take away from what is given in Scripture. The huge smack-down of the Babylonian exile is evidence that God permits retribution – and that it is just. God makes all calls as the One who generates reality. (Isaiah 54:15, 16, 17) God never fully explains God’s self because there is no need to. (Isaiah 55:8, 9)

    The refining and “proofing” God performed in Job as an individual, God also performed in Israel through Nebuchadnezzar. All these judgments are far beyond human approval or understanding. God’s reasoning is “because; therefore” not “if; then.”

    It seems to me that, as God’s people, we do best to examine our own hearts – whether we are due for correction or not – (Psalm 139:23, 24) – questioning ourselves, not our Creator. God’s perfection is beyond anything a person can think of.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  128. SFDBWV says:

    John 1: 1-4 is the written Word of God, either you believe it or you do not. In verse three it is stated that all things were made by God.

    I do not put forth what I think, but rather what the written Word of God has to say.

    I already explained the many names evil has according to scripture. In Genesis 2: 9 we see God plant a tree “of the knowledge of good and evil”.

    So we can know then that at this point in creation, evil already existed. If you want to understand just what is meant by evil in this verse then go to a Hebrew dictionary and see what it is that is understood as evil.

    What you find is the same word used almost exclusively throughout scripture; I gave these explanations in an earlier post, call it what ever other name you want, it is still considered evil by the Author of the scriptures.

    I will again give you the written Word to further inform; Isaiah 45: 7 says what it says, disagree with me if you like but how can you disagree with what God has said Himself?

    Jeremiah 42: 10 states that God repents of the *evil* He has done. Argue with me if you like, but here God is *using* evil in one of its many forms.

    Has God stooped to being under the influence of a foreign power? I say not.

    Satan can do nothing without God’s allowing it, even to the place of lying to you and allowing for him to deceive you (Genesis 3: 4-6).

    God has authority over evil, can speak to the wind and calm it, can speak to sickness and heal by casting out the evil, and as demonstrated by the resurrection has authority over the evil of death.

    I am accused of having a closed mind to this subject by those who have closed their mind to believing what is plainly written in scripture concerning the matter. That is fine if that is the limit of their understanding I have no issue with that or them.

    God is bigger than our understanding, and I am not going to judge another for not being able to understand God or be able to *completely* explain Him.

    I have said what I have said and will rest on the matter; I will not argue nor push my belief on anyone. Funny isn’t it that in a land where the freedom to worship is so highly regarded that such a prejudice exists in the insistence of accepting what others *believe*.

    If you don’t understand how God repents (Genesis 6: 6) then how is it that you repent? To repent is simply to be sorry for your actions and not repeat them.

    Steve

  129. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… we all have a “running interpretation” of words in our minds. Apparently, (my brother hates that word) some words don’t “sit well” when used a certain way by others. Here we take those same words and “walk them” through each other, hand in hand, as we learn from each other what perspective another has. If that is good or evil, depends on how we feel, sometimes challenged, sometimes threatened, sometimes helped, or guided. But, we all get to use only what we know and are willing to share.
    Nothing is to degrade another, lessen another, but only to bring our interpretations to light. God is Light, and it is true that darkness is also His Creation, and we can all thank Him for it, as we also must “walk in it” seeing only by faith. We adore each others faith here as we allow others their words, or the pages get quickly darkened by our inky mess, or stickled but loving objections, but if we hold all things Captive to Him who creates even our faith, then what we create here is really His, because We are His! We all bring nothing but love in Christ! Is love good or evil? I guess that depends on which end your feelings are capable of feeling. Which was more loving… giving Adam and Eve a place to choose right from wrong, or never giving them the option to choose? You get to choose your interpretation, and we get to choose ours. It’s all good, because God is good! In His Love,Gary

  130. foreverblessed says:

    That was very very polite Gary, thank you very much, in God’s love, it is love that binds us together.
    Sorry I am too tired to move on and start thinking about another topic. God bless you all!

  131. yooperjack says:

    Steve and Gary: God created evil all right that is just the way it is. BUT, just like Smith and Weston makes guns we can use them for good or evil. With good and evil it is also our responsibility to do good or evil. “Free Will” lets us chose to whom we will serve God or Satan. Who knows maybe they’re still debating who of us is for God and who is for Satan; like they did with Job. It makes me wander sometimes.

    As far as God repenting or relenting, it’s not the same as you and I repenting for our sins; that is turning from our wicked ways. God almost spoke the human race out of existence in Genesis 6:6, just one word from Him and we would be extinct. I’m glad He was just grieved and not angry. The first part saddens me that God was “Sorry” He made man. Is He admitting He screwed up when He made man? I wouldn’t blame Him I think “Free Will” was the mistake.

    He sure has patience because He doesn’t want anyone to parish. Yet it’s sad that billions will parish if Jesus was to return today.

    This is why I can’t understand Heaven; we have a new spirit, a new heart but if God doesn’t give us a new soul, eternity is a long time to live with a bunch of self righteous people. I know we will get a new body but the Bible is not clear about our souls. (Mind, Emotions and that trouble maker Free Will.) Will we still have Free Will in Heaven? That would not be good.

    Who understands Gods ways?

  132. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    isaiah, 55:8

  133. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Isaiah 55:8

  134. royalpalm says:

    Bob, I like Isa 55:8-11 but for this topic, Isa. 55:8-9.
    Because we only have an infinitesimal idea of God’s thoughts, it is necessary for us to be humble and be open to correction. In God’s forbearance sometimes He reveals His purpose for things we cannot understand like the hardening of the heart of Israel, His chosen people. This mystery He graciously revealed to Paul in Romans 11. As we ponder other mysteries like the tragedies in the topic “random dance of evil” what we choose to believe and how we respond is a testimony of our faith. Personally, I like to rest in God’s goodness, so I’ll say Amen to Paul’s conclusion in Romans 11:33-36.

  135. royalpalm says:

    Isaiah 55:8,98 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
    9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    So are My ways higher than your ways,
    And My thoughts than your thoughts…”

    Romans 11:33-36 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
    34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has become His counselor?”
    35 “Or who has first given to Him
    And it shall be repaid to him?”

    36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

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