06 September 2005

Katrina is not the Judgment of God

The enormity of the disaster in New Orleans is something that I can't get my "arms around." Literally, one of America's great cities is gone. My brother in law live (s) (d) in New Orleans and lost everything. They have returned to Texas where they lived until a couple of years ago. But to lose everything that you spent your life accumulating, like kids' awards and projects, wedding pictures and so on.

We can debate whether the Federal government acted quickly enough or that the problems were at the state level. I think that no one really knew what was going on and then the levees went. BTW, you remember that New Orleans is actually below sea level.

What is the Christian to do as we see all these crises. First, if you can volunteer and help the Red Cross, etc., in the disaster area, then go. Most of us will have to restrict our involvement by helping to raise money for the Red Cross and so on. My suggestion is that you give through your church's world relief organization or a Christian group such as World Vision or LCMS World Relief, so that the message of Christ is brought to the suffering at the same time that their physical needs are being met.

After that we have to learn to look at disasters theologically , that is, what does the Word of God tell us about such things.
First, this is not a sign of the end of the world. For Jesus promised that we will have to deal with such tragedies.

Matthew 24:3-15 GW As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, "Tell us, when will this happen? What will be the sign that you are coming again, and when will the world come to an end?" (4) Jesus answered them, "Be careful not to let anyone deceive you. (5) Many will come using my name. They will say, 'I am the Messiah,' and they will deceive many people. (6) "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Don't be alarmed! These things must happen, but they don't mean that the end has come. (7) Nation will fight against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. (8) All of these are only the beginning pains of the end. (9) "Then they will hand you over to those who will torture and kill you. All nations will hate you because you are committed to me. (10) Then many will lose faith. They will betray and hate each other. (11) Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. (12) And because there will be more and more lawlessness, most people's love will grow cold. (13) But the person who endures to the end will be saved. (14) "This Good News about the kingdom will be spread throughout the world as a testimony to all nations. Then the end will come.

Second, Jesus tells us to focus our attention on what is eternal. Notice how Jesus tied the various disasters to the proclaimation of the Gospel. It is as if Jesus is saying that we need to focus on what is important. What is eternal is what matters, not the tragedies of the day. The tragedies of the day are important and are opportunities for Christian love to be shared with the world. But they are only the beginnings of the End. We have to remind ourselves that everything will eventually be destroyed and be lost. That is an old-fashioned point of view, but it is still the truth. The life we have here is only temporary and that our life in heaven with the Savior is eternal.

Matthew 10:28 GW Jesus said, Don't be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell.

No, Jesus is not talking about the Devil! He is talking about Himself, the Judge of the Living and the Dead before whose throne we must appear on Judgment Day. Our Christian duty is to do what we are able to relieve the suffering, to care for the homeless and the hungry. We need to share clothes, water and the other needs of daily life. In a time like this we have to read the Book of James.

James 2:14-17 GW My brothers and sisters, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith but doesn't do any good things? Can this kind of faith save him? (15) Suppose a believer, whether a man or a woman, needs clothes or food (16) and one of you tells that person, "God be with you! Stay warm, and make sure you eat enough." If you don't provide for that person's physical needs, what good does it do? (17) In the same way, faith by itself is dead if it doesn't cause you to do any good things.

As the physical needs are being met, so must the Spiritual needs be met. The Gospel must be preached even there. People need to have Pastors and Teachers to help them understand and to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This is a vital time and the losses are horrendous. But it is also a time to put our faith into action as we meet physical and spiritual needs of millions of people. The needs of the people effected by this storm have to be met, all their needs.

God's love in Christ reaches down to those in need through His people, the Church. We are Christ's hands who are doing the work of Christ.

Doc Steve

Friends, sorry about asking all the commentators use the 'copy the letters' safeguard on the comments page. I actually got spammed with the usual garbage. That's the webworld we live in. Doc Steve


At 9:00 PM, Blogger digitaldiva said...

Timeless truths, indeed. Nicely stated.

At 6:52 AM, Anonymous fatmagülün suçu ne 1. bölüm izle said...

thank you


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