A collection of past contributions…
Listening to the Harris County Sheriff and Constables Dispatch on the scanner radio app I hear reports of roads being impassable, high water rescues, wrecker calls for stranded drivers, inquiries about boat availability and water depth, computer issues, and reports of some looting. Emergency services desperately try to help those needing assistance in Hurricane Harvey flooding. It’s encouraging to hear the dispatcher calmly coordinating so many police and rescue units. It goes on and on. Houston is in Harris County, and almost 1600 people are listening to this report with me.
Is this for entertainment? For curiosity? No, this is for opportunity to help from a distance. How? By interactive prayer. While the dispatchers send rescuers all over Harris County responders risk their lives to save others, we can be praying for them right now! For God’s help and protection; for adequate resources, for effective intervention, for their success as it turns dark in Houston. Some of the victims have ignored warnings, but others, like those with disabilities and many elderly, are unwilling participants in this drama.
This is just one opportunity to help. We have many opportunities to help by prayer every day. Other drivers, truck drivers, other shoppers and their children, people we encounter with disabilities, coworkers, road workers. Anyone we meet along our pathway. We may never know the effect of our prayerful attention, but by our paying attention to those around us we have the unique opportunity to interactively impact their lives for good. There is a promise in the Bible in the New Testament book of James about prayer. James 5:16 in the Amplified Bible says “…The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].”
So jump in there and participate in your own disaster response! It’s needed. Right now.
My dad had a lot of practical wisdom for my early teen years. One of his tidbits was, “If you ever ask a girl out and she turns you down, remember it’s her loss, not yours.” I wasn’t very big on dating at the time, but I remembered his statement. It may sound arrogant, but dad was helping me avoid falling victim to other people’s opinions (including girls’). Too often we allow what others think about us, or what we think they think about us, to determine our opinion of ourselves. This creates unnecessary frustration, confusion, and anger. Unnecessary because others’ opinions have so little value in themselves. Those who are at vulnerable points in their lives where they are trying to better understand and define themselves can feel especially victimized.
Working in retail, I see many examples of how people treat each other. It is disturbing when an impatient parent publicly berates a teen son or daughter. Sometimes the hurt is visible in the young person’s face and manner. That parent is not helping their teen at all. Often the one needing recalibration is the parent, not the teen.
What determines our value as an individual person? It’s not others’ fickle acceptance or rejection. It’s because of our “intrinsic value”, value because of who we really are at the core, like how pure gold has intrinsic value. And it’s because of our “destiny value” or better, “destination value”, what we will still become. Discovering those two values trumps all other opinions about us. A proverb expresses it very well, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts the Lord will be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25) Find your value in what God has made you, not in what others think about you. Opinioned people come and go. God’s love and presence stay with you forever.
I had a lot of respect for Mr. Goldfarb. He was Science Department Head at George Washington High School in Philadelphia for many years, and he taught our Physics classes. He made Physics interesting and fun. We did conservation of momentum experiments, light table interference projections and other neat stuff. But the session that I remember best was the one on optics when we studied the rainbow. That was a watershed day for me. I made a discovery that would influence the rest of my life.
We were using the blackboard to illustrate how a rainbow is formed by a number of total internal reflections of sunlight within a water droplet. The prismatic effect enhances as the light finally exits, refracting at specific angles. The different colors, having been separated after internal reflections come out in specific order at slightly different angles. Get enough of these droplets together (rain), and the sun in the right place relative to where you stand, and you get a rainbow. OK. That makes sense.
But then it hit me! “Mr. Goldfarb, then there must be another rainbow made by a different number of total internal reflections?” “Yes, David, there are.” I was elated! As we further discussed the secondary and tertiary rainbows with the explanation of their reversed color orders, I was the happiest kid in that school that day. Why? Because I had learned firsthand that applying proven scientific principles opens the door to new discoveries. I had made a new personal discovery, and that was huge fun!
It’s also fun to make new personal spiritual discoveries by applying proven spiritual principles. God’s love and faithfulness, already learned, can build more faith for new experiences if properly applied. We can discover new spiritual rainbows when we choose to remember the beauty of God’s past sufficiency.