Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Form and Freedom

 How do you evaluate life? What grid helps you to make sense of what you see, feel and experience?

Many things have a tension between form-structure and life-freedom.  Too much structure and life is crushed, oppressed, and snuffed out.  Too much freedom and chaos reigns, which also threatens life.

Law or morals represent form - social structure, and human rights represent freedom and the opportunity to pursue rewards. Rewards meaning that which grants us life and freedom from oppression or even death. However, too much freedom invites people to be addicted, selfish, and abusive. Too much form also invites people to abuse power, be critical, condemning, and oppressive. Martin Luther said the church can fall off either side of the horse. A wise person has the ability to define danger and yet love others, even when they pose a threat.

When I was in post graduate studies, I heard of a third-world story of a woman struggling to make a living.  In the third-world country she lived in, the government often did not protect property rights and seized people’s land.  A Christian ministry of attorneys, did work to allow the people to own their own land.  Because of this ministry, this woman was able to purchase an acre and a half and then was able to grow enough flowers to support her family.  The inability to create a structure that supports your life, is a struggle for many people in this world where freedom and human rights are oppressed. When there is no rule of law, often times rulers abuse their power and oppress others.  This woman was able to gain a structure through law that protected her and gave her the freedom to own property, make a living, and get her basic needs met.

How do we live in a society where people can steal our life from us, whether that be from abuse of power like with George Floyd or the homeless stealing out of stores in Seattle? (Seattle is dying - documentary).  How do we create a balance of form and freedom so life can flourish? Too much freedom allows tyrants whether criminals or people in power to be unjust or sinful towards others. Too much form stifles change and often keeps systemic evil in place. Rigid self-centeredness creates structures that deny others needs and oppress them rather than creating a system where all can flourish. Depravity is often denied in a postmodern world where everyone’s opinion is valid, but the elite attempt to rule. For example, in the South after the civil war slavery was replaced by sharecropping, which kept ex-slaves in debt and tied to a rigid system that denied them basic human rights, education, financial freedom, and personal development. Change was slow to come about, but oppression and freedom motivated many to leave the South for better lives in the North and the West. (The Warmth of other Suns the epic story of America’s great migration)

What grants us a balance between form and freedom?  The founders understood this tension and believed they could create a social structure that facilitated this balance, but they could not do it alone.  They believed that a republic could only function when its people were self- governed or had developed self-control. (If You Can Keep It) They believed this was only possible when virtue was developed and believed this was dependent on religion. Why? Because faith says that everyone is accountable to a moral God, not just themselves.  Psychologists and sociologists would say that family and culture play an important role in developing a person of good character today.  Structure alone cannot govern behavior, like governmental laws and policies.  What shapes identity and character is multi-faceted, family, education, cultural context, religion these are the arms and legs or bones of those social structures.     

Dependency on external controls like policies and rules initiated by government may over emphasize external control.  Internal control from being a person who has developed character and self-control is the counter balance for external control.  Externals usually have to do with others providing control, safety and benefit and internals have to do with the individual taking responsibility for self -control, safety and benefits.

The area I have studied the most lately is economic injustices.  There are still institutions that prey on the vulnerable with lending at interest rates as high as 204% in our state.  These are systemic injustices.  We eliminated payday loans in our state which were charging interest rates of 390%.  I believe that government policies should limit the interest rate and protect people from oppression. I also believe that the church and families should do interest free loans while teaching people how to manage money, self-governance. I also believe that the poor can often take personal responsibility for budgeting , debt reduction, and wealth development in their own lives through commitments to grow, learning, resources, and self- governing.  So, a heart change and character development can make a difference because a person can always spend more than they make.  I have many stories of people who have changed from being deeply in debt to having personal financial freedom and wealth, through learning and applying debt reduction and wealth development. They need a passionate vision to motivate them to gain new life and the determination to follow through with their vision .

Years ago, I ran a group with 20 single moms in it, all of which did not make more than a $1000 a month.  One mother shared with me that she had saved $15000.  I asked her how that could be? She was extremely frugal and resourceful and told me in no uncertain terms how she saved this money.

She was full of life and had structure with character traits like self- discipline.  She was creative and resourceful. She had the freedom to make changes in her life and was very persevering. This woman expanded her universe by taking initiative, risk, and finding resources.  She had passion and structure and was an amazing woman who had gained financial freedom with little income. 

People need healthy structures that help provide for life, but as the founders of our country believed these have to be created and maintained for life to thrive. These are both based on healthy character and healthy social systems for life to do well. Life is not just about fighting systemic evil, but about dealing with our own evil so we grow and can trade good for evil.

I have a Fractured Fairy Tale and Bible Study on Form and Freedom. To view it go to http://www.community-renewal.com/form-and-freedom.html.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Deliverance from COVID

 How are we ever going to see this virus stop plaguing us? Is this a spiritual issue?

In an age where what we see is much more prominent than what we don’t see we may be missing the spiritual story behind the narratives of today. The scripture consistently points out Israel’s relationship with the God of creation, which was a spiritual reality. He was a God who did not want them to mingle with people who did not know Him. He was concerned that they would lose their focus on Him and become “worldly.” That meant that they would ally with evil and be stained through their inability to stay separate from the tribes and their religion surrounding them.

Today we are steeped in multiculturalism. Wrong or evil is defined by the culture we live in, not necessarily by the God of the Bible.  It is a cultural sin to not be inclusive or to be “judgmental” of different cultures. However, believers whether Jews or Christians were to be first of all loyal to their God, whether that was offensive or not. To be used by God meant they had to separate from worldliness and “Be holy as [God] is holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) The objection today is that isolation is not loving, and Christians are called to be loving. That is very true! If a believer can’t be godly when around others who are practicing ungodliness they are bringing sin into the camp like Israel did and there will be negative consequences if that is not recognized and confessed and repented of, as Phinehas did, which stopped the plague on Israel (Numbers 25:1-13).

In the Old Testament God’s judgment fell on Israel when they ignored their God and what He required of them. Plagues were a part of that judgment and eliminated when Israel turned back to God.  Often these stories were very hard and even harsh in relationship to the judgment of God. It is easy to see why we today stay away from the narratives of God’s judgment. Plus, people use these stories to justify judging others harshly. But do they tell us something that can help us solve problems like the plague of Covid-19? God is a loving God and sent His son to die for our sins, so how could there be judgment? The Old Testament says that the land gets polluted from the sins of the people (Psalm 106:38). It also says that Israel was destroyed by their own sins (Psalms 106:43).  Could it be that the Church today has slipped into being too worldly and ignoring God in ways that bring His judgment or even a plague like Covid? Perhaps our sin is being too religious as the nation of Israel was when the prophets began their critiques of them before they went into captivity with Babylon (Isaiah 58). They isolated from human need and ignored God’s imperatives to care for the poor. They were not salt and light as Jesus called His kingdom to be and the religious leaders were too isolated from sinners who needed to know a loving God. As a part of the Church I know I have fallen short and been too worldly and brought shame on the Kingdom. What if there was a corporate repentance in the Kingdom of God, in the Church? Would the plague lift from our nation, from our world? We as believers know that there is grace in the New Testament because of what Christ did for us, but that may not stop judgment from falling on unrepentant sinners. “That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. But if we examine ourselves, we will not be examined by God and judged in this way…” (1 Corinthians 11:29-31) The scriptures say that God brings plagues on people, not all the time, but sometimes (Psalm 106:15). The Old Testament accounts can be as I have said harsh, but I think that is to help us to see the gravity of sin and why Christ had to die for our sins. God’s desire is not to be punitive, but to love us. “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his (their) ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23) He does require us to turn and be separate from worldly sins. “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)  

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Presidential Debates 2020

Both parties have polarized into their oppositional positions.

Donald Trump attacked and defended himself. He broke the rules and bullied his opposition.  He came across as arrogant and lacked a positive thought out planned stance towards issues.

He needs a Fenelon in his life if he is to have a credible faith in Christ. Fenelon, a Roman Catholic French Archbishop, discipled princes in the 17th and 18th centuries, and led them into taking up their own crosses as an act of devotion and service first to Christ. His discipleship of leaders off set the temptation to abuse power, which was great in the life of any monarch.

Joe Bidden came across as a little less reactive than Trump but at times was using name calling to reach his one up position.  “I’m better I deserve to win,” which both parties use in this systemic evil that politics employs. Bidden takes the position that religion is privatized and wants things like family and faith to be out of bounds. So, he attacks morally on issues like systemic racism, but wants a boundary in terms of his son’s addiction and greed and his pro-choice stance, even though he is a Catholic.  He claims his private and public moral views should be separate. If Bidden is to have credibility for his faith it cannot be privatized and certainly only focused on party loyalty, rather than loyalty to his King.

Both parties seek alliances for getting elected. “We are the good guys they are the bad guys, vote for us.” So, religion is often there to validate their political views rather than to be subject to God and His will. I believe that the debates so far should bring us shame in America for the lack of civility and character of both candidates. Is there any other political system we could use to validate public servants? J God still rules even in the midst of a broken world. Both of the parties and candidates need prayer and God’s grace for the forgiveness of their sins, which I believe are obvious to all who watched the debate. We as Americans need prayer and God’s grace for us as a country and for our political leaders.  Please pray!

Thank you for listening!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Government Shutdown


In the last article I wrote about the Republican and Democratic party’s conflicts I asked for prayer.  Guess we need to pray more.  As a pastor and counselor it is clear to me that this is a dysfunctional system and they need help and do not recognize it.  That is called denial.  In most systems whether marital or business when an impasse is reached people call for a counselor, consultant or a neutral third party.  The problem with our government is it does not recognize its need for help.  It believes it has the answers but the results prove it wrong. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is one definition of insanity.  Do governments lose their mental health?  

This government shutdown, the longest in our history, is a conflict that is a win-lose or lose- lose and those losing are the government workers who are not being paid.  This is unacceptable collateral damage in a war where there needs to be cooperation by public servants that are not doing the jobs they were hired for. Sanctions against our own people only hurt us. This is not about who is right and who is wrong but from a Biblical perspective about arrogance and self- righteousness.  When too much power is granted there is usually abuse of power or ugly power struggles. In our country we are to be governed by the “rule of law.” However, the founders believed that we needed a culture of virtue in order to have a successful republic that creates and maintains a healthy functional government.  So virtues like humility, and respect are required to create a functional republic. 

As believers in Christ we are also called to speak out against evil and this system is becoming more and more evil.  We are to call on those in power to confess their sins and repent.  Both the Democrats and Republicans are creating hardship for others without doing anything corrective about their wrong doing.  In our country government is to be called into accountability by the people they serve. 

The arguing invites people to side with one group or another, polarization.  Sometimes taking sides blinds us to the wrongs of the people we side with and then we fail to be salt and light in situations that need moral and spiritual discernment. We become emotionally reactive rather than led by virtue and faith. Can you see the evil of this system?  Are you becoming a part of the problem or a part of the solution?  Have you withdrawn from the conflict and are not a part of the solution?

Many politicians are enmeshed in their own political party and believe they have to be loyal to their party by winning against the other party or they will not be reelected. They do not know that many of us want ethical and godly politicians in office. You can write letters to your congressmen and ask for a resolve of this conflict.  That working across party lines is not disloyalty to many in America. We want public servants to resolve problems not fight each other. Tell them to stop victimizing the innocent and work together on immigration reform in a way that solves the problem rather than creates more chaos.

Christians are called to overcome evil by doing good and serving the needy.  Many across the nation are organizing to help those who are not being paid in this government shutdown.  We can do this in our home towns and cities.  We can overcome evil by providing resources for those not receiving their pay checks.  We can start with ministering in our own congregations and neighborhoods.  Do you know a federal employee who is not receiving a pay check?  Is your church helping?

The Community Food bank and DES are both trying to be of service. 

To reach your US representatives call (202) 225-3121. To reach US Senators call (202) 224-3121

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pray for Our Political System

Letter #1 by Randy Reynolds
Years ago I got a call after the Gabrielle Giffords' shooting and was asked to do a Sunday morning service at the Court House in honor of those who were shot.  The interesting theme from the media who came to film the service was, this was caused by the significant on- going political conflict in our state.  I however challenged this view because I knew of the mental health issues of the shooter.  In a systemic view of life everyone has responsibility for their part. The complexity of the issue however was that the political conflict in my opinion did not cause the shooting but systemic tension does usually engage the more marginalized in our community and increases their pathology, including their acting out.
Within a short time several politicians apologized for being critical of opposing party members and there was an initiative to create “civility” in political discourse.  So as a pastor I saw confession of sin and repentance taking place through God’s providence. As we have just experienced that repentance did not last very long.
The political climate has reached a peak and everyone I talked with has worn out their mute button trying to cut out the mud slinging that has dirtied their TV sets.  This systemic evil is contributing to the deterioration of our culture and does promote evil from both sides of the aisle.
The Book of James says, “In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.  But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.  And the tongue is a flame of fire.  It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body (the political body in America).  It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” James 3:5-6
So what do we do as Christians when confronted by systemic evil in our culture?  Are we to run and hide or react in anger or fear?  Are we to be passive? God has first called us to pray.  I believe we need to pray that God will forgive those perpetrating evil and bring them to repentance. Please pray for our politicians, those behind the scenes like the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee or the super PACs.  That they may come to a place of confession and repentance and come to know Christ or if people of faith that they submit to the King of the Kingdom of God.  Some of you may feel that this list may have an enemy on it, but we are to pray for our enemies as believers.  Also one leader said, “I have never met a person as evil as the system they were involved in.”  We all need God’s grace to help us find our way.
Please pray for an out pouring of God’s Spirit on our country and this city.  Please pray that the evil we experience will be uprooted as Christ has already defeated the devil.  Thank you for praying for our political system and that God will bring healing.  I’m asking that we pray for several months and then I will send another letter to do a follow up on this topic.  Included is a letter written by several men directly involved in this political process.
Thank you and you can pass this on to other believers
Randy Reynolds
Letter #2 by Ethan and Steve
 
During the 51st Arizona Legislature, we served Tucson’s 9th District at the state capitol. Ethan is a Republican. Steve is a Democrat. We shared a commitment to find ways of working together to serve the constituents we represented, despite our differing views on a range of issues.
That is the heart of what has made American democracy so resilient and admired around the world — the commitment of elected officials to find common ground across the partisan divide.  

This commitment and resiliency are being sorely tested during the political season in which we find ourselves.
Our countrys hard-won freedom is under threat — by a rising tide of tribalism, demonization of those with different views and backgrounds, and political violence.  

But there is a way forward. Our nation can be strengthened if we each recommit ourselves to the essential American values of empathy, welcome, and respect for ourselves and others. 
 
Even today, what unites us as Americans is greater than what divides us. 
In Arizona, our state’s greatest accomplishments were achieved when people with differing viewpoints, parties, and ideals found a way to reach beyond political differences to serve a greater good. They humanized and empathized with other people, even where they had significant differences.  

Economic development, transportation, education, public safety, public health, and water policy are not partisan issues. They are central to our quality of life, regardless of our ideological underpinnings. We all benefit when our elected officials work together to assure these basic services are well-managed so that we can take them for granted.
That’s why Democrats Carl Hayden and Mo Udall united with Republicans Barry Goldwater and Paul Fannin to support and build the Central Arizona Project, without which we would be in economic and existential crisis today.  These leaders disagreed on many issues but they all wanted to make Arizona a better place. 
 
We don’t and never will agree on every issue, including some important political and social ones.  But our common hope for a better future for Arizona and a respect for other people and the political process gives us a context in which we can debate and discuss our differences respectfully. 

Our founders have blessed us with freedom and democracy and a way of life that is fragile and must be protected.  To be a part of the American experiment is a rare privilege and our cherished freedoms must be earned by every generation, not only with battles against external enemies but by building internal cohesion that is more powerful than the seduction of petty tribalism that sets us against each other. 

There is no one correct answer for how society can progress, whether from the left or the right. Anyone who believes this is toying with the corrosive and essentially un-American forces of autocracy. Mutual understanding of differing views is the central tool that allows us to make our way forward. Together.

Now that the 2018 elections are over, we must focus on fostering unity amongst all our citizens, regardless of political beliefs and backgrounds.  Whoever you are, wherever you came from, however you voted, and whatever brought you to those votes, we are all Americans.

We are bound together by our belief that tomorrow will be a better place than today, a respect for our Constitution to settle our disputes, and a deep understanding that America can still be that shining city on a hill, an inspiration for all those who seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We hope you will join us. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Circularity and Justice


We get very upset when we hear stories of injustice and the unrighteous acts that create this pain and hardship.  Almost nobody likes to hear about bullies picking on the weak. In my life the predatory lending practices of payday loans and title loans have been where I have heard many stories of abuse.  I sat with a store manager of a payday loan office and heard him tell stories of how they were told to violate the harassment laws in order to intimidate people to pay their 400% loans.  They would threaten clients by saying if they did not pay they were going to prison, which was a lie.  The one who borrowed usually did not know the law and was threatened. I even heard stories of how the borrower embezzled money from their employer so they would not go to jail.  However they got caught embezzling and went to jail anyway.  Harassment laws were not enforced against these lenders and the predatory lending was perpetuating great injustices with the vulnerable. The bullies were hurting the little guys! Everyone was caught in a web of evil.  These stores target the desperate and illiterate and find a market that is profitable but exploitive.

In the discussion of justice some will say that those taking the loans are responsible for their own lives and should know better.  In a relationship each person has a part to play and the borrower does have responsibility for their part.  However in justice issues those with the most power are usually seen from an ethical point of view as having the greater responsibility.  So abusive power is unjust and the violation of human rights comes into play in these discussions.  God grants each person certain rights and these need protection from tyrants who exploit others for personal gain.  In third world countries political tyrants rule unjustly and property rights are denied and so economies often fail to develop because of this exploitation by rulers, more bullying.  The rule of law, that no ruler, whether king, bishop, business leader or military leader is above the law, protects the rights of the vulnerable.  This is one of the main views of justice.  It also sets boundaries on human depravity and the systems tyrants rule.  America set up its government based on a constitution, a government structure and the covenant of its people to respect and implement this rule of law.  So our rights and freedoms would flourish.  However when people are selfish and abuse their power injustice reigns rather than a just and righteous society.  Each person in a relationship is required to be responsible and virtuous for a healthy and just society. Proverbs 11:10 says “... that the city rejoices when the righteous prosper…” Why? Because the righteous are those who value justice and righteousness more than personal gain, so everyone benefits when they prosper.  We all need to grow in our value of justice and righteousness. The second half of the verse is also important, “They shout for joy when the wicked die.” Why? Injustice, evil, and wickedness is oppressive! Boundaries have to be set against evil. Madison when framing the constitution said, “There is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust.” (Godly Republic pg 36) So the godly need to face their own sin as well as not be na├»ve about the wickedness of others or the systems that perpetuate evil and oppression. God has paid a big price to restore us to healthy relationships. Therefore the victim needs to learn the snares externally as well as internally, so they make right choices and the predator has to not set them, both have a righteous part to play and evil to shun.

Justice also has to do with the way we are rewarded or punished in life.  What we deserve is not only about entitlements or rights but about what we have earned.  What is rightly coming to us because of the effort, competencies and risk we have taken.  Most social systems have a reward system and a punitive system that is implemented according to our behaviors.  A just reward is to be granted for our work and accomplishments.  A just punishment is given when we violate others, like in taking a life, abusing or stealing from others.  In the story of Branch Richey and Jackie Robison the issue of injustice is based on racism.  Jackie Robison is excluded from white baseball because of the color of his skin, however he is given the chance to prove that he deserves to be in professional white baseball if he can demonstrate competency.  He does not trade evil for evil when he crosses the color line but focuses on his performance and is supported by a white Branch Richey a man of power and position.  He gains a position in white baseball by performing well and earns himself, rookie of the year.  However, the resistance to inclusion, because of the injustices of racism, were pronounced and costly to both Jackie and Branch. The racist system is confronted through this alliance between Branch and Jackie. If Jackie had acted out with vengeance he probably would have been punished and excluded from white baseball.  Jackie turned the other cheek as Branch told him to do and outperformed many white baseball players earning himself a hard fought for position of dignity and reward in white baseball.

Evil and abuse whether in a family or a social system, like baseball, can become a vicious cycle of people hurting people and it does not matter whether it is perpetrated by a system or individual.

The justice argument can quickly polarize into justice that is about rights or justice that is about a person’s responsibility.  If the emphasis goes too far towards rights and entitlements a perspective may develop where human effort and personal responsibility gets over looked.  If the emphasis goes too far towards personal responsibility, the person abusing power or the systemic evils may be ignored.  Justice almost always has a relational context that is circular in nature and everyone is called by God to be just, humble and merciful, as well as face their own sin.  Micah 6:8

A closing story just happened.  This morning a 78 year old woman was to bring in her last interest free payment on a micro-loan that we had given her.  She lives in government housing and was in debt.  When she came in she informed us that she had gone to a new car dealer and leased a new car. The sales man tells her, according to her version of the story that they are going to make her a deal that will work for her. The salesman’s job is to get her a car. She has about $30 to $50 dollars extra a month in her budget.  We have been working with her for a year to get her debts paid off.  The car dealer leased her a new car and required her to pay car insurance and a lease, which put her way beyond her budget.  She signed a contract so she felt personally responsible for the monthly payments, which she cannot afford.  The car dealer never looked at her budget to see if she could afford this lease.  It was not his responsibility or was it?  He as a sales person was to lease her a car, which he did.  Was he abusing his power and trapping her in a contract that exploited this 78 year old woman?  When we went and talked with him about his part ethically he said, “We did nothing wrong.” Was he one of the wicked that she should have been distrustful of? Was she guilty of stepping into this trap? He said, “It is all her responsibility.” Was he guilty of setting a trap?  She believed it was all her fault. Isn’t there the issue of each person doing what is right and just in this relational transaction?  How could they treat each other with respect? 

Ezekiel says, “Today even common people oppress the poor and rob the needy…” (Ezekiel 22:29)  Injustice may come from evil social systems and the irresponsibility of people at the same time.

We really do affect each other and need to know and care how we affect others to break the cycles of injustice.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Vegas Evil


How do we respond to the horrors of a shooting like the Vegas shooting?  Do we have compassion and care for those injured and the families in grief?  Do we spiritualize this event as a warning of the evil to come when a nation turns from God and opens its doors to evil?  Does not Vegas advertise as sin city and “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”?  Well this is not staying in Vegas this is the worst mass murder in the history of America!

Jesus’ response to pain and suffering was compassion and provision.  He demonstrated that God cares for those who suffer.  Well then why did He let this happen?  Is there another story perhaps that a nation that does not revere God invites evil and perpetuates it?  Could it be that the Kingdom of God, the love of Jesus comes through faith and without faith evil reigns?

Stephen Paddock did not seem to be allied with a religious group, a political philosophy, or have a history of mental illness.  He did have a father that was a criminal and self-absorbed in his criminal pathology.  Stephen was a wealthy professional who was accomplished from the stories we heard.  So what if he had become a Christian and confessed the sins of his father and been aware of the spiritual warfare behind the scenes that bind people to evil and its purposes, would this story be different?  Scripture says that the devil blinds the eyes of the unbelieving. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)  Could there be spiritual answers to very real problems that we see and experience in this life?

 When we secularize our view of the world we deny spiritual realities.  Everyone has a grid for defining problems and answers that go with their definitions.  For example some may say the problem here was liberal gun laws and the solution more restriction.  For others if the first report of radical Muslims claiming credit would have been true or real would have felt this was the problem and stricter immigration laws the solution.  We look through our own lenses and define problems, but spiritual things are unseen.

In the book of Ezekiel there is a warning that evil will come and destroy when people turn from God and that those called to be prophetic are required to warn that something bad is coming. (Ezekiel 34:1-9)  The warning is stern and it is a call to turn back to God and repent, but it also communicates that God does not want people to suffer.  However they will if they do not turn to Him and someone has to warn them.

Jesus calls disaster birth pains.  They are to warn us of coming disaster and draw us to the One who loves us.  They hurt and get our attention.  Jesus wept over death and the consequences of a nation that had abandoned its God.  When evil reigns lots of good people are hurt because the evil one takes pleasure in bringing destruction and stealing people’s lives. (John 10:10)  He as evil incarnate invites people to do his will and as we can see it is done.

We need healing, compassion, and a revival.  Please work and pray for peace in our nation!