Friday, October 31, 2014

Barricade or Blessing?

I keep my candy, and my kid, for our church harvest party. I just ignore the doorbell on Halloween.”

That's a quote, from someone I don't know, on Facebook last week. Halloween comes and goes, and so do rants about it. As usual. (I had my own last year regarding the “too old” question.)

The woman mentioned above seems to share a common opinion among churchgoing acquaintances. Jus some samples from conversations I “overheard” online last week:

Halloween is so dark/creepy/ugly.
The kids are too greedy/too old/ too overweight/too impolite.
Costumes are too gruesome/slutty/non-existent.
Why even open the door?

All possibly true. Yet the tone feels like Ebeneezer Scrooge landed in the wrong month and took up residence in, of all the places he never belongs but too often is found, the church.

Let me say, first, I don't care for gruesome. Not a fan of the macabre. Have never, ever felt an inclination to dress up as a bloodied zombie apocalypse corpse with a chainsaw. My kids were never allowed to dress like that, and they never wanted to. I avoid Party City in the fall like the doctor's office during flu season. Just don't need to see that.

So I get the distaste for handing candy to someone whose costume makes it all very unappetizing.

Also—I want to be clear that if you choose not to celebrate the holiday with your own children, that is your right to decide. No one gets to guilt you for that decision. All parents and all kids are different. You make the best decisions for your kids, and I don't think they'll be in therapy because they never got to dress as Sponge Bob.

So I understand a vote of family non-participation.

"Cow" and "adorable." Not two words
often seen together.
What I don't understand is the notion that we are better people if we turn off our porch lights and ignore our neighbors' kids. That God will be more pleased with us when we save our candy for church rather than making it an offering of grace to those who will never enter our church doors.

As if, somehow, handing out candy to costumed children at church is holier than handing it out to costumed children at your front door. I would suggest that maybe your front door is just as holy. Possibly, it's even more so.

I'd love to offer a few thoughts in answer to that final question—why even open the door?

Many years ago, waaaay back in college, I went trick or treating to collect money for UNICEF with my sorority. That was big back then. I don't remember what I dressed as, but I do remember the door we came up to with the handwritten sign that read, “Halloween is Satan's holiday. You are going to Hell.” Someone flunked “pleasant greeting” class at the Carnegie Institute.

Months of quiet witness to my sisters evaporated on that doorstep. It took months more before they would even listen to the idea that God could be more than they had witnessed that night. Again—anyone is entitled to that belief. But not the best way to express it on a night with the chance to talk to neighbors who come to you.

Maybe, instead of thinking of our front door as a barricade to keep the evil world out, we need to think of it as an altar to offer blessing and grace.

Seriously, how did we get them to be still
long enough to dress?
Maybe letting our light shine can happen better when we turn the porch light on for a kid who could be desperately trying to pretend he's scary because this world scares the heck out of him. Light always shines brighter when it's in darkness. Church fall events are great. Go. Invite people. But shining your light in an already lit up room doesn't do much for the total wattage in this world. Where is the dark?

They're kids at your door. Someone's kids. God's creation. They will grow up too fast, too soon. And that girl at your door dressed as Bimbo Belle or Sexy Snow White? She'll grow up even faster. Maybe what she really needs more than a modesty lecture or a gospel tract is a neighbor who knows her and takes the time to open the door. Maybe, on more than one night a year.

You don't have to like Halloween. It can be ugly, and yes, it can be satanic. But—it can also just possibly be redemptive, when we choose to turn a light on and open a door.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Instant Adoption

Do you know how wonderful it is that our adoption by God is instantaneous?


I wish that the adoption laws of men worked like the salvation of God. You see, the adoption process can take what feels like an eternity for adoptive parents. On Aug  22, 2012 God brought a little boy to my husband’s attention. I was in a little bit of a panic when he told me about this eight month old boy in Korea that needed a family. After much prayer, God made it obvious that He was calling us to adopt this little boy.

We spent six months filling out paperwork for various US agencies and having our home study completed. On Feb. 2, 2013 we went to our agency and signed the papers that were going to Korea. Then we waited. Every few months our case worker in Korea would send us health updates and include three pictures. We waited some more. Our file was in Korea, but not moving anywhere. In fact it wasn’t even submitted to the department that deals with adoptions.

Every six months, representatives from our agency visited Korea and they would bring back a video of our son. Those were the most bitter sweet videos to watch. We saw him growing up before our eyes. It was precious to watch him, and hear him giggle, but pure torture too.

It took over a year from the time that we sent our file to Korea to the time that it was submitted to the right governmental department. Then more waiting as we held our breath for two months to find out we’d been approved.

Next our file was submitted to the family court system for review. That took a week. Then another two weeks to be issued a court date for three weeks later. We had to travel to Korea to appear in court and answer any questions that the judge had. Then we waited with baited breath to hear that we had initial approval of the adoption. That was quick to come at a mere six days later. We couldn’t take custody of our son until we had final approval, but once that was issued, eighteen days later, the adoption was final and he was our son. We chose to make travel plans three weeks from the initial approval so that we could take our daughter, who is also adopted from Korea, and spend some time showing her around Seoul. Thankfully, final approval was issued on Oct. 10, 2014 four days before we left for Korea. On the 20th we received the adoption decree and picked up our son, officially adding him to our family.

Why did I tell you all of this? Well, I’m so thankful that our adoption into God’s family is instantaneous. We don’t have to fill out any paper work because we were already bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:20) We don’t have to wait for months on end, hoping to be approved by God. Our file isn’t sitting somewhere collecting dust until God gets around to it.

Just like we received the adoption decree, God tells us that we have been sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:30) Our adoption is final the moment we ask for forgiveness. I’m so glad that God doesn’t use red tape.

This is our first family photo, taken in the airport. If we look a little frazzled, I blame jet lag.

Unfortunately, this will be my last blog post, at least for a while. Our adopted son is our fifth child and it's important for me to spend my time bonding with him. I hope to rejoin the blog at some point. I will continue to write and perhaps when I have more time, I'll have plenty of thoughts to share. 

If you want to continue to follow me you can go here: 

My personal blog: (which I won't be posting on much right now either) 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

His Precious Blood (Part 1)

Excerpted from In the Cleft of the Rock: Insights into the Blood of Jesus, Resurrection Power, and Saving the Soul by Michael J. Webb

One of the most misunderstood and least taught about doctrines of the Bible is the blood of Jesus. It is also one of the most important fundamental truths of the Bible the devil hates without measure. Because of the power in the shed blood of Jesus, the enemy will stop at nothing to obscure, diminish, and ridicule its significance. Without the essential doctrine of the importance of the shed blood of Jesus, there can be no doctrine of the resurrection, and without resurrection there would be no Christianity.

In order to grasp the full significance of the blood of Jesus, we must start at the Creation, because it is in the Creation that God established all the fundamental precepts of the work of His hands.

God created man on the sixth day of Creation, along with all the animals in both the land and sea. Genesis 1:26 tells us that man was created in the image and likeness of God, and Genesis 2:7 says: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. In order for us to fully grasp what is being said in this particular passage of Scripture it will be helpful to use an expanded, more literal, translation of the Hebrew. And Adonai Elohim fashioned Adam, as a potter working with clay, out of the minute particles of the Creation, and intensely blew into his nostrils the living breath of lives; and Adam became a living soul.

We know from Scripture that Jesus created and formed the universe, and that it was He who did the literal work of creation. (Colossians 1:15-18; Ephesians 3:9; John 1:3) Thus, it was He, Adonai Elohim, the Lord God, who formed Adam.

According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, the etymology of the Hebrew word ‘adam cannot be explained with certainty. Typically, scholars relate the word to the supposed original ruddiness of man’s complexion. The word comes from the same root as the word for blood, which in the Hebrew is “dam.” There are at least four other Hebrew words used for man, with varying shades of meaning, but ‘adam is the only one used in the context of God creating man in His likeness and image.

Adam is not primarily a proper name, although it can be used as such. Perhaps the word Adam, in the context of the Creation, is in reality a combination of two ideas. God is often referred to in Hebrew in terms of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the aleph and bet. In the Greek, He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. If we combine the idea of God represented by the aleph with the Hebrew word for blood, “dam,” a more literal translation of Adam might well be “God’s blood.”

There are three Hebrew verbs used in the creation story–created, made, and formed. While they have overlapping similarities, there are distinct differences. The verb “formed” does not occur, relative to the creation of man, until Genesis 2:7 and it is the participial tense. This participial verb tense is clearly expressed in Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and we are all the work of your hand.”

The Hebrew word translated “dust” has varying shades of meaning as well. It can, and does mean dust, particularly in the sense of minute particles. And the Hebrew word for “ground” or “earth” is most often associated with the red arable soil. But it can also mean “the substance of Creation.”

Putting all the imagery together, we have the Master Potter forming, or fashioning, a living being out of the very minute particles of the Creation, and then imparting life with an intense blowing in of His breath.

In Hebrew, the word translated “life” is actually plural, meaning “lives.” The Hebrew suggests that what God was literally doing was imparting His Precious Blood into Adam while at the same time animating him with a spirit and a soul.

Thus, the breath of “lives.”

In Leviticus 17:11 we are told that “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Certainly, when God formed Adam, He gave him blood. At the very least it seems highly probable that the name associated with mankind would represent the very life-force which animated him.

God’s blood.

Let’s look at this concept of a “spiritual body” versus a “natural body” for a moment.

Scripture tells us that God made man in His image and likeness. We know that God is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John1:5) Light was the very first thing God created. (Genesis.1:3) Jesus is the True Light. (Revelation 21:23) The Glory of God is called the Light “which no man can approach, which no man can see.” (1Timothy 6:16) Finally, in the twinkling of an eye we will all be raised incorruptible and be changed in an instant. We will receive a glorified body. (1Corinthians 15:51-54) The same kind of body that Jesus had after His resurrection. This is what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he said there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. (1Corinthians 15:44) In all likelihood, we will look much like Adam and Eve looked before the Fall. The Glory of God will be our covering, and thus there will be no need for clothing. (Colossians 3:4)

The spirit realm, then, is the realm of Light.

It seems highly likely that when God created Adam (God’s blood) He created him as a being of light in some sense. We know that Adam had an incorruptible body until the Fall. It was not until Adam and Eve ate of the tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil that mankind became corruptible flesh in the sense that he is today.

When Adam (God’s blood) ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God’s blood (Adam) became contaminated with sin.

God had previously warned Adam, saying “But of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and Evil you shall not eat of it: for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:7) Yet, Adam and Eve did not instantly drop dead when they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A more literal translation of the Hebrew would be, “in the day you eat of it, in dying you will die.”

God was warning Adam and Eve that just as He had given them the breath of “lives,” His blood and His spirit, they would die twice if they ate of the one tree in the garden He had commanded them not to partake of.

First, and immediately, they would die spiritually, because they would no longer have access to His Eternal Life, the Tree of Life. They would lose the covering of His Glory. Eventually, they would die physically, because sin was at work in their bodies, which were no longer immortal bodies cocooned by the Light of His Glory, but mere mortal bodies of flesh and bone.

Next week, we’ll dig deeper and look further at one of the great mysteries of the Bible.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



Every Christian should participate in the discussion about our Lord’s return. It is that important! The apostle Peter described in his letters how things will be when the Lord returns. Based on the information he provided, he asked this very important question: “What kind of people ought you to be?”   

So let’s see what the Day of the Lord (the Lord’s Return) is going to look like. That day will come like a thief (when we least expect). And on that day, “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be burned up” (2 Pet 3:10). 

Peter’s question then is, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” (2 Pet 3:11a) He then gives the answer: “You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat” (2Pet 3:11b-12). 

So we need to:

·        Be Watchful – “If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him” (Lk 12:39-40).
·        Live Holy Lives – be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with God (2 Pet 3:11b, 14b). 

·        Speed His Coming with Evangelism – “And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (2 Pet 3:12; Mt 24:14)
·        Know the Word of God, be on your guard, and do not be deceived. (2 Pet 3:17).  
  • Store up our Treasures in Heaven, where there will be no fire, moth, rust, stealing, or any kind of destruction. (Mt 6:20).
So what kind of people ought we to be until His return?  We need to be living expectantly and watchfully, keeping on the whole armor of God, and evangelizing with zeal and excitement.  Even so, Lord Jesus come!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Who Understands our Sorrows?

Photo bye

“How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me,
When his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness!
Oh for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house.”
Job: 29: 2-4

I hit the replay button over and over to hear one of my favorite singers use the laments of Job as lyrics to a song. What was wrong with me? Why did this melancholy song comfort me so? Surely a praise chorus should better lift my spirits.
Even so I hung onto every word as the lyrics flowed over me.
Finally it dawned on me: I was sharing the grief of an ancient man. Comradederie of sorrows, fellowship of sadness.
I lived through many trials in the last few years. Finances lost, children straying, chronic pain endured and status lost. Often explaining our last few years is so burdensome that my husband and I keep it to ourselves. Who can understand our sorrows?

Job can. He experienced some of our pain but magnified many times over. And somehow it comforted me to hear, through Joanie Mitchell’s song lyrics, his[CS1]  eternal questions flung at God.

So I sing along, comforted I’m not alone in my hardship, and comforted that God isn’t shocked or even surprised at my questions. The problems don’t go away but they’re easier to bear.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trillions of Hours Not Serving Jesus

I could do so much more

There you have it, 319,148,263 souls. The estimated population of the United States. 

Now, I'm going to come up with my own estimate of how many of that total are saved. It won't be the 85% who claim to be Christian. It won't be the 50% or so who go to church. It won't even be the 30% who attend evangelical churches. I'm going to go with 10% of those who claim to be Christian and actually attend church more than twice a year.  That number is going to be around 50%. The reason I'm only counting 10% of those is because smarter folks than me have used that number. I'm personally a bit more generous and think it should be 33%, but I'll take the lower number for these purposes. So 10% of 50% equals 5%.

5% of 319 million is about 16 million. If those 16 million could devote one additional hour to kingdom work each week, that would be around 800,000,000 hours per year. Let's divide that by 2000, which is the approximate number of hours a person works per year if they have a 40 hours week and take two weeks vacation.  Divide 800 million hours by 2000 and we have 400,000 full-time employees for Jesus. 

Can anyone imagine what an impact we could have for Christ if we had an additional 400,000 folks working full-time in Christian ministry, JUST IN THE US.

But, you say, those 16 million are probably already working multiple hours per week as Sunday School teachers, Bible study leaders, counseling hurting souls, evangelizing, or even running a ministry of their own. Some are going on short term mission trips.

I would certainly agree. And many of those same workers have day jobs, too. But I look around me at my friends and neighbors who seem to be believers, and their fruit does show it, but I see them wasting multiple hours per week on activities that are of no value to them or the kingdom. In fact, many of those hours are counterproductive to themselves and anything Christ would endorse.

The sad truth is, I'm just like that picture. I work way more than 40 hours per week to bring home a paycheck. I am actively involved in ministry many more hours per week, and I have daily devotional time. But I probably spend at least 14 hours per week in front of the idiot box. 2 hours per day that could go to Jesus. Maybe I should consider offering at least one more of those hours each week to kingdom purposes. Bill O'Reilly, Peyton Manning, and NCIS don't need my viewership as much as God needs more of my work for His purposes.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Help Is Not a Four Letter Word

Because I am quite sure I look this wise while working.
Or because this is good inspiration, to think about the
greatest novel ever.
Microsoft told me it was 50,010 words. I am sure Bill Gates does not lie. So my consternation was great when, as I plugged in my novel writing word count total for National Novel in a Month the first time I enrolled in it four years ago, their word counter told me I had only 49,909.

Now, normally, 91 words would be a breeze for me. Some of you know this, as you often wonder when my blog posts are ever going to end. But you must realize, it was 11:55pm, and if the word count was not in by midnight, I would not “win.” Faster writing one has never seen. Nor worse, I can assure you.

Some background for the uninitiated: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo—you just want to be part of it to get to say that) is a month set aside each year (November) in which those who sign up manically attempt to write 50,000 words on a novel. Or, as they put it, “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon.” If they manage, by midnight on November 30th, they “win.” And I am nothing if not extremely determined to win once I set my mind, or pen, to something.

I did this four years ago because I had a novel sitting since spring that had three chapters finished and no more. It needed finishing. It wanted me to finish it. It sat there every day looking at me accusingly because I had neglected it, and I'm sure it was thinking it just might ask for a divorce soon.

Though I seldom write fiction, and I had not planned to join NaNo again this year, I have changed my mind. I will still write nonfiction. (That is OK. They have made room for all writers and let us participate, even we nonfiction factual sorts.) Why? The outside discipline helps visions become realities. And I need that.

Even at my age, there is nothing like peer pressure to light a fire. Which makes me think abut the value of something like NaNoWri Mo for all of us.

Where Is the Fire?

I don't know if it can be blamed on too many choices in our culture, too little direction, or too much independence. I just know an awful lot of people who want to light a fire in their lives, but they have no idea how to do it. And like my desire to finish my book wasn't going anywhere as long as there were other desires that were far easier to pursue, so their desires sit somewhere in a drawer, looking good, if a little lonely, but not at all productive.

See, pretty sure this did not happen with one guy.
God gives people big dreams in the Bible, and you know what I notice about them? The people who receive them don't seem at all afraid to tell others. Nor do they appear to fear asking for help in accomplishing their dreams. Joseph wasn't shy about relating his dreams. Abraham set right out for the land God sent him to, bringing his help along with him. 

Joshua told the people exactly what they needed to do to see the walls of Jericho fall, and Nehemiah explained exactly what they needed to build their own back up. Mary went to Elizabeth for support when God's dream seemed impossible. Deborah got an entire army behind her.

When God asks something big of his people, he knows they will require both encouragement and challenge to see it happen. Why are we so unable to ask for either one?

Enter me, sitting at my computer all day in 2010, after having slacked off at the beginning of the month and having had unplanned and unavoidable interruptions in the middle of it. Woefully behind in those 50,000 words.

I typed for nine hours. I took two breaks to scarf down some noodles generously made for me by Youngest Child and to watch the Grinch for twenty minutes so my brain could function again. I'm letting you know now, now this is not optimal. For mental health or your writing content. My personal favorite paragraph was the one that went:

"I have to take a nap! I have to pee! I'm not sure which one is more necessary. I am sure I have to sit here and can't do either one until I reach 35,000 words because I'm making myself, I can't get up, no, no, no, no, no--there. All done. Goodbye."

I hope I remembered to delete that one in edits.

And for what? Sure, I got a Tshirt, but we all know another thing to sleep in is not worth nine hours of insanity and carpal tunnel syndrome. No one was going to call me and razz me on the phone because I had fallen short by 4,000 words. So why? Because I signed on for it, I had a goal, and for as long as I have known me (and some days I forget how long that is), I have never been able to admit defeat easily. Plus, I knew if I quit, I wouldn't go back for a long time.

I went to the website at 11:35, ready to plug in my words and claim my fame. And the website said, “NaNoWriMo is over.” What? Hey—I have twenty-five more minutes! You cannot deprive me of my God-given right to twenty-five more minutes! I may have said some things to my computer a pastor ought not say. I was pretty tired.

After about twelve minutes of fiddling, I discovered my personal settings page and the fact that, though I had originally set it to Central Standard Time, it apparently had not taken me seriously. I have no idea what continent it thought I was on, but it was one where midnight had already passed by to the chagrin of unfinished writers in, maybe, Uganda or something. I changed the settings, went to my page, and tried again. Success! The page was open, and the words went in.

At which point I found that our word counters did not agree. I do think Bill Gates should trump in that one, but you can't argue with a machine. Especially with five minutes left until midnight. Went to my manuscript, put in a hundred more words of pure drivel, back to the website, and plugged it in. At 11:58. “Congratulations—you're a Winner!” never looked better. At least, I think so, since my eyes were not completely open.

Help Is Not a Four Letter Word

There is a lot to be said for structure and accountability from outside of you to get that fire going. Its not a thing to avoid but to embrace. This, from a woman who has avoided structure most of her life. There is a reason I get “random” on that personality test so many of us take. I don't like to be told what to do or have constraints put on me by anyone else. But when I avoid it, when I say, “I can do that myself”--I don't. It never happens. Those fires sit there in embers that won't ever make anything warm or burn any evil away from the world around me.

Who wants to say to God, “That dream you gave me? It just asked too much. I couldn't do it alone. So . . . I didn't do it.” He asks us to invest the passions we are given. That means taking them out, refusing to bury them in darkness, and facing the fear of saying, “Hey—this is what I need to do. Can you help get me there?”

Now, instead of buried talents, I have a book I wanted to write. Some of those 50,000 words in 2010 were very horrid, badly written words, but they were words I didn't have before. And that is progress. This year, I hope to have 50,000 more on another book God has given me the dream to write. Some will be dreadful. It will be difficult to admit when I'm behind, or to ask for someone to tell me if any of the words are any good at all. But it will be progress.

Thank you, accountability, for giving me something to shoot for. Thank you, God for giving me a personality that will not give up. Thank you, MacBook Pro, for probably having a more accurate word counter this year. Thank you, three cups of Earl Grey, for making any of those words possible.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What Does the News Say About the Latter Days?

Top News Stories of the Day 
UFO’s, Economic Collapse, War, and More

UFOs sited in Missouri, man attaches dynamite to a dog and blows it up (for you dog lovers, the dog survived and is being taken care of by a Good Samaritan who renamed him Rocket), a man bites off parts of another man's face, Greece's economic woes may eventually impact banks in the U.S. and an emergency U.N. meeting is called to deal with the crisis in Syria—these are just some of the news items of the day.
If I was an alien on a UFO visiting, I think I would hightail it and find another planet on which to take a vacation where there was more peace and less war. On a more serious note, how is it possible to listen to the news stories that bombard us day in and day out and not become depressed or despondent?
Many years ago at a Christian writer's conference, an editor asked me what I do for a living.
"I provide closed captioning for television," I told him. His eyes lit up as if there must be plenty of writing material in those juicy stories.
I laughed at him and shook my head. What good stories could I write? Oftentimes the news left me depressed. Perhaps the same sentiment was felt by Nathanael in John 1:46 when he commented about Jesus’ birthplace, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?"
But my response to that editor has always bothered me. Can I not find good in the world if I look for it? Does God not bring good out of evil? Can He not redeem the worst story I have ever reported?
Sometimes at night when I'm falling asleep, I will think back to something I captioned during the day and will be troubled. I won’t be able to get a disturbing image out of my mind. Perhaps it's Satan's way of attacking me—after all, if He can make me doubt God's love and providence, how effective can I be in my witness?
In my limited wisdom, all I can feel or see is the pain and suffering inflicted. And while I despise someone else’s gross behavior, as a sinner, I am just as guilty at hurting others. Sometimes I wonder how God tolerates it all. How can He not get angry? If I have a righteous indignation in my limited understanding, how much more so does God become angry?
In I Corinthians 2:7, the Bible speaks of God having a secret wisdom—a wisdom that is hidden, that not even kings and presidents and premiers can understand. Not only that, but He says that He “destined” to give that wisdom to us even before time began.
The Bible also claims that Jesus would not have been crucified if the rulers had understood what it was they were doing. That means it was necessary that the people not understand what happened to Him as even today we don't understand many of the things that happen in the world.   
When I am closed captioning and wonder, how could God let that happen, I remind myself that I am thinking this way because I don't have the wisdom of God. It's not like God sits up in the heavens wringing His hands and wondering how mankind screwed up His planet. Not only does He know, but whatever He has planned for us far surpasses even the most horrendous event that can happen in our lives.
It takes a lot of faith for those roots to go deep into the human heart. I Corinthians states, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." That means physically and mentally we can't know, but God has revealed it to us by His Holy Spirit.

In Matthew 24:12, when referring to the latter days and the signs of the end of the age, Jesus stated, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold..."
It's very easy to read this and flippantly think, "Oh, I would never do that. I will always love my neighbor, my family, my husband." No matter what happens, can we believe that? Is our love greater than that murdered child or broken heart or abused animal? Is God's love greater still? Even if I don't understand it now, it is enough to know that someday I will.
As Peter said in John 6:68, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." My faith must be strong enough to stand up to the worst of humanity because Satan is relentless. His fate is sealed and he has nothing to lose. Whenever I start to doubt, again, I remind myself it is God who holds the words of truth.   
One thing we can do in response to the news is be an intercessor. God never tires of hearing our prayers. Some of those suffering souls that get reported in news stories may not know the Savior, but we know as Christians the one who holds their future. We can be assured that God's love is deeper than their pain and great enough to reach across states, oceans, and continents.   

On a grander scale, I fear not so much a battle with weapons of mass destruction as I do the war imposed on Christian principalities and beliefs—Sharia law, government intrusion on privacy, and the validation of same sex marriage, just to name a few.
In light of that, some upcoming topics may make you uncomfortable. Please feel free to leave comments as I love to hear from you.