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CLARITY – 4-1-20 Meanwhile…

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-1-20

Meanwhile...

What’s Happening: “It is quite difficult finding any news article that does not feature a prominent reference to COVID-19, as if that was the only thing happening in today’s world, but life goes on,  storms still hit (https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/29/weather/tornadoes-severe-storms/index.html),  wildfires still rage (https://www.yahoo.com/news/editorial-californias-wildfires-arent-going-120017412.html),  earthquakes still strike (https://www.yahoo.com/news/magnitude-4-8-earthquake-hits-012154346.html),  and battles are still waged. Case in point: Israeli planes launched eight missiles on Syrian positions yesterday, reportedly at Shayrat air base in Homs province…few details were given (https://www.yahoo.com/news/syria-air-defenses-down-missiles-182200993.html). 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “It seems like no one is in control, let alone God!”

Biblical Response:  “Eau contraire’ (French for ‘on the contrary’), God is very much in control…things happen that we consider negative (and assume that God was just asleep – which flies in the face of Ps. 121:4 – ‘Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.’ (NLT) There are several considerations for the occurrence of calamity (I’d like to recommend an article to you: (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/plans-will-fail-without-friends?utm_campaign=Daily+Email&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=84666612&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9vgJy6Uff0MZ1YPYtMLH6_FsrUF7LQvYFJdC8bQn225VbhA17XVChQna2mG-KfQZAJ1cv5X7Uun8guaNtg-bkgd-oE2w&_hsmi=84666612)

  1. We live in a fallen world (read Gen. 3).
  2. We are experiencing collateral damage from our own stupidity (Gal. 6:7).
  3. We are experiencing the collateral damage of someone else’s stupidity (Luke 13:4).
  4. God is trying to reap justice (2 Kings 2:24)
  5. God is disciplining (Rom. 4:9; Heb. 12:7)
  6. He is trying to say something (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
  7. It is a combination of one or more of the above…God is known for His efficiency.  

“Christians? We believe that God works in mysterious ways (Isaiah 45:15), but often the ‘mystery’ is just our unwillingness to see what is pretty obvious.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to see that You have the whole world in Your hands; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 3-26-20 When It Rains, It Pours

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 3-26-20

When It Rains, It Pours

What’s Happening: “As if struggling with a worldwide pandemic (the COVID-19 panic), a storm, and a 7.5 earthquake were not enough, residents of Russia’s Severo-Kurilsk community also  had a tsunami warning which came on the heels of the earthquake at 5:30pm Wednesday. Thankfully, the tsunami fear was short-lived. Warnings for British Columbia and Hawaii were contemplated but cancelled. Japan never issued a warning, though the earthquake was close (https://www.yahoo.com/news/magnitude-7-8-quake-strikes-031749739.html). ‘At 1757 local time (0657 GMT), the threat was removed,’ said the Sakhalin Tsunami Centre. ‘Since the tsunami was small, but was observed against the backdrop of the tide and a storm, we maintained the warning for several hours.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Should I buy earthquake or tsunami insurance?”

Biblical Response:  “Unless you live on an island lowland in the South Pacific, probably not…which brings up the whole concept of trying to insure against disaster…so-called ‘acts of God’ (in the ‘Prosperity Gospel.’ there is no room for ‘bad news’ – of course, it’s really a matter of perspective…before the Red Sea was parted, it was a curse, an impasse that blocked the children of Israel’s escape from Pharaoh’s army – for the whole biblical story, read Exodus 14 -. Then God parted the Red Sea, and it was a blessing that made it possible for them to cross on dry land. Then as they saw Pharaoh’s army follow them, it was a curse again. Then, as the walls of water came crashing down on the army and drowning their pursuers it was a blessing again. How God endures such a wishy-washy obstinate people as us is as wonder! …Oh, wait a minute, the ground did open up and consume some of the nay-sayers – Num.16:1-32 – but that wasn’t a loving God was it?!)”

“Sometimes, in our pursuit of avoiding the economic repercussions of ‘disasters,’ to level out the playing field, so to speak, we become subject to the very poverty we were trying to avoid. Kind of a different perspective on being ‘insurance poor,’ huh?” 

“Christians? We believe in so-called ‘acts of God.’ While we agree that God favors His children, we also believe He uses our predicaments to discipline us 

‘… and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,  ‘MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;

FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,  AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.’ (Heb. 12:5-6 NASU)”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, let us embrace Your discipline as proof of Your love…You’ve gotten our attention now; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 1-13-20 Promises Not Kept

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 1-13-20

Promises Not Kept

What’s Happening: “President of Haiti, Jovenal Moise, remembered yesterday with sadness the tragic Richter Scale 7 earthquake that struck Haiti 10 years ago (on January 12, 2010), killing over 200,000 and injuring 300,000 (and millions were left homeless). Immediately, the international community pledged billions in assistance…which never arrived and today they are totally unprepared for a similar event. It’s easy to promise…to fulfill…not so much. Bitterness ensues (https://www.yahoo.com/news/haiti-commemorate-deadly-quake-anger-bitterness-013011148.html). Moise said: ‘We ate together, we slept together, we cried together, we prayed together.’ But now,’ he added, ‘hatred and discord have filled our hearts … Today we need that solidarity, that unity.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “The promisers just wanted to look generous.”

Biblical Response:  “Maybe…perhaps there was more chaos on the receiving end than donors wanted to deal with. Whatever…follow-up is just as important as initial sympathy…and hindsight is always 2020 (sorry about the pun with the year). Governments and relief organizations cannot be blamed for a non-existent infrastructure – nothing in place to manage how repairs were to be made, priorities assigned, funds distributed,  Still, the people suffered…and continue to suffer. The job will not be done until the job is done. And now bitterness over unkept promises rules the day.”

“What should be learned by us, watching from the sidelines? Perhaps not to trust in a promise…it is only as good as the promiser (James 2:16-17)…which, unfortunately in this case, was not too reliable. And that aid should come with provisions for management of resources.”

“It’s great to learn these lessons, and all…but the folks in Haiti are still in need. Perhaps it is time to introduce them to the Promiser Who never disappoints (Rom. 3:3-5). Of course, they might get more than they bargained for: like fortitude, perseverance, character, and hope…and funds God never allows disaster without a purpose (Rom. 8:28).”

“Christians? We believe in the Promiser Who never disappoints. And we also believe in a God Who works through disaster. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves…and open up our wallets!”  

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us not to let ourselves off the hook too early; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’  Copyright © 2019 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 10-18-19 There’s a Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 10-18-19

There’s a Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On

It’s Happening: “In an article published yesterday in Science, the lead author of the study, Zachary Ross of the California Institute of Technology, said the 160-mile long Garlock Fault could produce a much bigger earthquake, an 8.0 or bigger temblor and might cause quakes across the state. The free alarm app recently made available couldn’t be more timely…download it now (https://www.yahoo.com/news/big-one-coming-california-fault-021152032.html).  ‘We really have to remind ourselves that California is earthquake country, So, it’s not just thinking about the largest, most damaging potential scenarios like events on the San Andreas, but remembering that there’s a potential for hazard pretty much all over the place,’ said Ross.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Who in their right mind would live in California?”

Biblical Response:  “Who indeed? I moved from that state years ago…though from crazy legislation, not from fear of earthquakes. The worst part of it all, is the unpredictability of quakes. Of course, there are many that think the political quakes are warning temblors of geological ones…that retribution is coming. I don’t know about that, but there is a scripture that speaks ‘that which can be shaken will be shaken, that that which cannot be shaken will remain’ (Heb. 12:27). What cannot be shaken? God.”

“Christians? We, too, need to build upon something that cannot be shaken. Our foundation might be tested, too (Matt. 7:24-27). Testing is nothing to be feared…if you are prepared.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to be able to sleep at night, confident of a Sure Foundation (Is 28:16); in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-6-19 The Big One

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-6-19

The Big One

What’s Happening: “Just when you thought it was safe to go outside…  There was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake at 8:19pm Friday in the same area of California as the 6.4 magnitude quake that struck Thursday. Although there were predictions and warnings of smaller quakes almost certainly to follow Thursday’s quake, few seismologists called for a larger one…making Thursday’s temblor really a pre-quake. As in the quake Thursday, there were minor damages, even some fires and power outages, but no major injuries. Still, it was the largest in twenty years (https://www.yahoo.com/news/strongest-earthquake-20-years-rattles-040709226.html). ‘There are significant reports of structure fires, mostly as a result of gas leaks or gas line breaks throughout the city’ (Ridgecrest, CA) said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services; still, there was ‘nothing but minor injuries such as cuts and bruises, by the grace of God,’ Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin reported.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Are they over now?”

Biblical Response:  “Probably not. I mean, we’re here, aren’t we? Seriously, this is not ‘the big one.’ These, however, may be the quakes spoken of in the Gospels (Matt. 24:7; Mark 13:8; Lk. 21:11), and preceding the end…but probably not. The other qualifications just don’t seem to be happening (read the above and surrounding scriptures). Do I know when the end is coming? Nope, but I know when it’s not. The Scripture says that the Gospel must be preached everywhere first (Mark 13:10)…we’re shy of that. I’ve got a friend of mine that works at Wycliffe Bible Translators and he tells me that they still have plenty to do.”

“Christians? Oh, we believe in the end…and we believe no one really knows when it will be (Acts 1:7). This impending doom, and not knowing when it will happen may give us the impetus for evangelism (2 Pet. 3:9). ” 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, let us be warned by these events, and roll up our sleeves and get to work; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 6-18-19 That Which Cannot Be Shaken

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -6-18-19

That Which Cannot Be Shaken

What’s Happening: “The southwestern province of China, Sichuan, was hit again. I say again because of the quakes of 2008 – 90,000 killed; and 1976 – 250,000 killed. This time the quake was only 6.0 on the Richter scale and 6 miles deep (the shallower the earthquake, the more the damage. 11 were killed and 122 injured, though aftershocks are still being reported (https://news.yahoo.com/strong-earthquake-hits-southwestern-china-161752310.html). The Associated Press reported: ‘The magnitude 6.0 earthquake collapsed a hotel in Changning county and damaged some roads, Xinhua said. Heavy rains were falling Tuesday morning.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “So, another earthquake kills 11. Big deal! I mean, I don’t want to be callous, but does that really matter to me?”

Biblical Response:  “Apparently not. Unfortunately, your sentiment is common. When poet John Donne penned the lines: ‘No man is an island…I am a part of Mankind…’ (Meditation XVII – 1572); he was obviously not speaking for you…then you didn’t lose a loved one, your house was not a pile of rubble. For many of us, we are myopic…if a problem doesn’t directly affect us…well, we just aren’t too concerned. Not jaded, exactly, but we have enough problems of our own, right? Maybe that’s why we have problems of our own.

The Lord is often trying to get our attention…if not through the calamity of others…then our own. He shakes our lives often to rid us of the junk…so ‘that which cannot be shaken’ may remain (Heb. 12:27).”

“Christians? Oh, we believe in God getting people’s attention. And we believe in commiserating with those whose attention He has gotten (Rom. 12:15).”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, awaken in us the empathy and compassion You have demonstrated to us and help us to comfort the afflicted…and listen to Your voice, regardless if it’s others’ afflictions or our own; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com.’ He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

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CLARITY – 3-20-19 Is Anybody Listening?

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 3-20-19

Is Anybody Listening?

What’s Happening: “Massive flooding in the Midwest causing several states to declare emergencies (https://www.yahoo.com/news/vice-president-mike-pence-visit-103643826.html), earthquakes in Indonesia, Mexico, Guatemala and elsewhere in 2018 and 2019 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes_in_2019), volcanoes causing their usual damage (https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/volcano_news.html), to say nothing about other natural disasters of local significance (mudslides in China, tornadoes in Alabama, wildfires in California, drought in Africa, etc., ad nauseum). Most blame these on global warming (or the more popular term – especially in the winter: climate change), but the question is: What is God trying to say? Or, especially among atheists, ‘is anybody listening?’ If you pay attention to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we only have twelve years to figure out what we are doing wrong.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “The sky is falling! The sky is falling! I mean, didn’t an unexpected  meteor just hit?”’”

Biblical Response:  “You and Chicken Little…but yes, one ‘just’ exploded over the Bering Sea about noon on December 18 – about a few meters in size – but with the force of 173 kilotons (about 10 times Hiroshima). It was only reported a couple of days ago because it went unnoticed  (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47607696). Fear and panic aside, the Lord might be trying to tell us something. The ‘what’ I’ll leave for the interpreters of those things, but that God still speaks through events is clear…though we may not be listening.”

“Christians? Oh, we believe in God speaking through events (Matt. 16:3-4). The real problem in listening comes from the din of our personal circumstances that competes for our attention. Shutting out that distracting cacophony is difficult, at best.”  

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to listen carefully to what you are trying to say…you gave us twice as many inputs for sound as outputs for a reason; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com.’ He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

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CLARITY – 10-11-18 Update

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 10-11-18

Update

 

What’s Happening: “Now the death toll (previously reported in CLARITY blogs of 9/29 and 10/4 – subdeo.com/) has risen to 2,045. The earthquake(s) and subsequent tsunami have displaced 82,000 people and damaged or destroyed 67,000 homes. I say quakes because they continue to hit the “Ring of Fire” islands of Indonesia with new quakes of 6.0 or higher, hitting Bali and Java recently.  Much of the world was focused on the Kavanaugh hearings or the progress Pompeo has made in North Korea lately, but all tragedy, like politics, is local (https://www.yahoo.com/news/indonesia-aftermath-devastating-earthquake-tsunami-slideshow-wp-190254814.html). One reaction was Kingkhan’s: …‘how can you try and help people who sabotage their own emergency equipment(?)’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Things are rough all over!”

 

Biblical Response:  “True…still, that doesn’t reduce our responsibility to be merciful (Rom. 12:15; James 2:16). The trick is, as the saying goes, to ‘walk a mile in his moccasins.’ Since I experienced the devastation and loss o life of a tornado on my own property in 2011, I have been particularly merciful (I highly recommend Samaritan’s Purse as a relief organization).

 

“Christians? It’s primarily our responsibility. I’m all for the Red Cross (was even on a board once), but their message of the Gospel depends more on their volunteers than the organization as a whole. Not so with Samaritan’s Purse…or World Vision, YWAM, etc. I REALLY want to help…long-term…eternally. Don’t you?

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to give true help, not just a band-aid or temporal help; help us to point the way, eternally; earthquakes, tsunamis and tornadoes come…after all, we live in a fallen world…but there is hope; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 9-29-18 Meanwhile in Indonesia

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 9-29-18

Meanwhile in Indonesia

 

What’s Happening: “Most people tuning in the Ford/ Kavanaugh circus missed the fact that an earthquake (magnitude 7.5) and a tsunami (6 meter waves) stuck Sulawesi, Indonesia, and immediately killed 384. I said “immediately” because the death toll is likely to rise (https://www.yahoo.com/news/strong-quake-tsunami-indonesias-sulawesi-island-kill-least-011405645.html).  ‘We’re now getting limited communications about the destruction in Palu City, but we have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying. There are more than 300,000 people living there,’ said the Red Cross.”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “The Ford/Kavanaugh hearings may be earthquakes/tsunamis of our own.”

 

Biblical Response:  “Anyone who knows the significance of what went on in Washington yesterday will probably agree with you, That doesn’t lessen the deaths in Indonesia. Both places were rocked, but the Indonesian Islands sit directly on an active volcanic zone: “The Ring of Fire”…of course, that also could be said of the partisanship in D.C. “

 

“Christians? We’re not unfamiliar with accusation, innuendo, or upheaval (Acts 4:1-17). And, we are told to commiserate with those who suffer (Rom. 12:15). We need to be soothers, not adding to the misery of others…in either disturbance.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us not to be unwitting participants…either by our lack of focus…nor in our narcissism; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent