Sunday Faith News/Views 5-1-11 @ Maggie’s Notebook

Religion and politics make perfect sense to me. In these Sunday Faith news and views posts I brings news and views of both, concerning the other, or each individually.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama Tornado

In news is the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and their hundreds missing in the tornadoes last week; a new mentoring concept for Christian social entrepreneurs, a thriving Pentecostal church in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the overturning of a 2010 court ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

In views, are the questions of what you really believe in God’s Word. This is a unique look, asking uncomfortable questions.

Christian Belief:

Do you really believe what you say you believe? Asked another way, do you really believe what you believe you believe when it comes to God’s Word? Carl at GOD’S ANSWER is always Jesus asks how we know we believe? Do we actually believe only a part of God’s promises? Carl touches on the many questions we must ask ourselves, because as he says, one day we will be required to prove our beliefs.

I want to give you one that he mentions that I think about the most often, and especially when I am asked to pray for others. Carl asks:

Okay … what about healing? When someone tells you when you’re sick …”By His stripes you are healed” … do you believe it? Really? Then why do we make excuses when we aren’t healed every time?

We know that our prayer cannot heal those we pray for all the time. If they could, there would be no death for some people, because so many of us are earnestly, sincerely and passionately interceding for returning health for our loved ones and friends. But sometimes, maybe even often, they die anyway. Is our prayer a failure? Did we we not pray or petition “hard” enough, or “often” enough? Does their death mean a lack of our faith?

I dealt with this a long time ago for myself, and I don’t know if I answered my own concerns about it correctly or not, but I do know I could not, and have not come up with another answer that makes sense to me or feels right in my heart and mind. I don’t believe my faith was inadequate. I just believe God’s master plan did not include my mortal request for His immortal purpose.

Matthew 24:36 New International Version:

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

…”but only the Father.”  It doesn’t say the Father knows but may change his mind if I pray, although he may. I cannot know His Will about receiving one of my loved ones into His House – but I do believe he cares that I care deeply about that person. I can know His Will about sin, but not about the life of others. Having said all that, my heart feels full of joy to know that my prayers of supplication on behalf of someone else were a part of that person’s healing, and if God didn’t need my prayers, the result is the same. I was a part of an important effort to benefit a loved one, and I believe God can only love that from me, and not find guilt in me because my faith was not great enough. (I have purposefully stayed away from discussing prayer for one who is elderly, ravaged by disease, or a well-used and worn-out body, and ready to be with his/her Father.)

Feel free to leave your own thoughts on healing in comments.

Beyond the question of healing, Carl asks if we are willing to “bet our lives” on what we believe, and are we willing to bet the lives of our children on the same? This is an important discussion about how we raise our family, and then even when the children are grown and gone, how our own belief and actions are still impacting them and their families. Please visit GOD’S ANSWER is always Jesus for a list of beliefs to get us started questioning and understanding our own belief or disbelief. As Carl says, we ARE betting our lives on one, or the other.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama and other storm areas:

Fox News is just reporting that 454 persons are still missing in the Tuscaloosa area after the devastating storms in that area last week, although some of those reports may be duplications. In that city, 39 are confirmed dead. Efforts are still underway to check the massive amounts of rubble for dead or injured. Lots of prayer needed for these people who are how homeless, losing everything, and prayers for the severely injured. When something so terrible like this happens, we must remember that many of the emergency workers, hospital staff, volunteers also lost family and homes and yet they are desperately needed in their communities. Power is still out for as many as 30,000 people, and water safe for drinking is needed.

Alabama alone reports 254 death. Mississippi and Tennessee each report 34 deaths, 15 in Georgia, 5 in Virginia, 2 in Louisiana and one in Kentucky. Source: LATimes

Here is a resource to pass on to any of those in the affected Tuscaloosa area. A woman has started a “lost and found,” effort. You won’t be surprised to know that Facebook is playing a part (read the whole story at ABC News)

Patty Bullion watched the wind blow debris onto her lawn: family photos, a diploma, baby pictures, yearbook pages from a town miles away, a stock certificate from Tuscaloosa.

As the collection of mementos began to amass on Bullion’s property, she said she started to feel that these memories scattered by the tornado needed to be reunited with their rightful owners.

“I got on Facebook right after the storm,” Bullion said. “A friend of mine who lives down the road posted that it was raining pictures — falling out of the sky.”

That posting gave her an idea, she said.

She created a Facebook page and started posting images of the items found outside her home, hoping people might log on and find something that belonged to them…

In just over two days, the page has “over 50,000 hits and over 500 pictures or documents that have been found by people,” Bullion said. A number of items have already been claimed, but many more remain unaccounted for — memories stuck in an oddly modern digital lost-and-found.

As with Katrina, it feels insurmountable, but we know with God all things are possible.

Christian Business Mentorship New Model – Praxis:

The Christian Post reports a new concept for mentoring “high-potential” social entrepreneurs. Read the article for all the interesting details and their Facebook page.

A group of successful Christian non-profit and business leaders began accepting application for the inaugural class of the Praxis mentorship program this week. Praxis, a Greek term that means putting theory into action, is looking for driven yet humble social entrepreneurs to provide “world-class” mentorship and cash prizes to.

Praxis defines social entrepreneurs as people who look at big social problems and come up with creative ideas on how to build organizations or models that can tackle the challenges.

“Social entrepreneurs are similar to regular business entrepreneurs in the sense that they’ll run through walls, get things done. They’re scrappy and tough, they make due with very little resources,” explained Josh Kwan, the chairman of the board of Praxis, to The Christian Post.

But Christian entrepreneurs, he noted, have the added characteristic of “abiding faith that God has called them into this work.”

Twelve fellows will be chosen among the applicants to enroll in a six-month long program where social entrepreneurs will be closely guided by mentors on a one-to-one basis on how to formulate an effective operating plan, raise funds, and develop a brand, among other skills.

National Day of Prayer Constitutional, says 7th Federal Court of Appeals which overturned a 2010 ruling that the day was “unconstitutional:”

Obama issued his “proclamation” for the National Day of Prayer on May 5th.

“Let us be thankful for the liberty that allows people of all faiths to worship or not worship according to the dictates of their conscience, and let us be thankful for the many other freedoms and blessings that we often take for granted,” he stated.

More from the Court:

The court ruled that Wisconsin-based atheist and agnostic group Freedom from Religion Foundation lacked the legal standing to challenge the National Day of Prayer, saying that a “feeling of alienation” was not sufficient legal grounds for a lawsuit.

Judge Barbara Crabb

Remember this Judge’s name: U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, in 2010, struck down the federal statute making the first Thursday in May a National Day of Prayer – now overturned.

Pentecostal Church in Saudi Arabia? “Rejoice in the Church of the Lord” Congregation. Two Indian men, no trial, no Bibles, in a much-over-crowded prison and it is believed they are the only Christians among Muslim criminals:

Two Indian Christians of a thriving Pentecostal house church  in Saudi Arabia have been moved from pre-trial detention to a prison in the Saudi capital Ryadh where they are “forbidden to pray or read the Bible” and “suffer of a lack of food and medical attention,” an elder of the church has told Worthy News and its news partner BosNewsLife.

VasanthaSekhar Vara, 28, and Nese Yohan, 31, who are members of the “Rejoice in the Church of the Lord” congregation, were initially detained in January and received 45-days of “pre-trial detention” on charges of attempted Christian conversion, also known as “proselytizing”, said the church elder speaking from Riyadh  in a telephone interview.

“They were later moved from the police station to [a notorious] central jail in Riyadh without a trial,” he added.  He said it was not known when and if the trial will start. ..

Vara and Yohan were detained in January when they organized a Bible study group in one of the apartments where their 70-strong church of mainly Indian expat workers gathers, the elder confirmed. Thanks to Worthy News

God’s blessings and grace to each of you in the coming week.

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  • And Obama bows to these people?

  • God allows free will and therefore allows evil to happen. Sometimes the evil action can bring about a greater good in the end. I think the same can be said for healing. Sometimes it’s in God’s plan for the person to be healed and sometimes not. Plus, their is a such a thing as suffering, and more specifically redemptive suffering to be closer to Jesus. Would we really learn life’s lessons if their wasn’t any suffering in the world?

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