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Feb 3, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 34

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Conquest and Judges

You led Israel triumphantly into the Promised Land.  They failed to teach their children, and instead did what was right in their own eyes: Help me to keep my eyes on you and teach others what is truly right.

Reflection

By thoroughly defeating Jericho, Ai, and other cities in the central region, Joshua has driven a wedge among rival kingdoms before they can band together against him.  He now takes on kingdoms in the north and south separately (Numbers 10-12).

Today’s Reading

Joshua 9-12

Today’s Question

It is not known what exactly happened when “the sun stood still, and the moon stayed” (10:13).  What does this incident tell you, regardless, about God?

Join the discussion below!

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  • God can do all things. Though it may seem ridiculously impossible, all things were created by God and must bow to his perfect will.

  • “And the sun stood still…” Joshua 10:13 This battle must have been one of such importance to Our Lord in order to show the people at that time, the Israelites would be known as the warriors of God and his laws. Again, I can see that this is a battle between good and evil. Joshua asked God to help him win this siege that needed the light of day. Our Lord accommodated Joshua. By performing this amazing miracle, the Israelites’ faith in God was again, renewed! While reading it, I felt my faith renewing as well!

    When I ask for assistance, I don’t get miracles but I can feel God’s love and support in so many other ways. God is such a caring Father for us all!

  • This miracle of the sun is not the only time God used the sun to state an important point. On Oct. 13, 1917 more than 70,000 people witnessed a miracle of sun as well. It seems on certain occasions God can and does use nature to state his point. Because of the event in Fatima in 1917, I believe this event could have happened in Joshua 10: 13 as well. In Joshua, God is stating that the Israelites are his chosen people. In Fatima, that we must all turn to God as Mary was telling the children. (This event happened during World War I, isn’t it interesting that this is during a war as well)…

    • While I was in Medjugorje on a pilgrimage I witnessed the “miracle of the sun” on a number of occasions. It grew bigger and pulsated like a heart, with all different colors shooting out from it. A lot of people there witnessed it. It was awesome. God is the Creator of creation and the Controller of it…..He can make anything happen! Mary has been appearing there since l981, calling her children to return to her Son. There is an urgency in her call. Looking around our world, I can certainly understand her urgency…there is so much evil and hate going on. God has sent her to warn us, just like He did in Fatima. I pray everyday for the conversion of hearts…that we as a Nation will humble ourselves, repent, turn from our evil ways and return to our Lord. I fear what lays ahead of us if we don’t listen, and instead choose to wallow in our sinfulness and pride.

  • Joshua’s prayer was not for himself but for his people and God answered, thereby giving everyone the clear sign that He was with His people and Joshua. This tells me that God will answer even the most improbable and humanly impossible prayer. It reinforces my belief in the power of prayer.

    Sometimes, God answers our prayers with a no or not yet, or His yes is followed through in an unexpected way. Having thought about stopping the sun or moving a mountain, I probably won’t pray for either to happen as they seem such trivial things compared to praying for souls. The Bible and Church teachings gives many of us the joy of knowing (without hearing or seeing) that our prayers are answered with a yes. I can think of nothing more improbable or impossible than asking for the deepest sinner to be opened to God, repent and convert/revert, yet I wouldn’t want a day to pass without that prayer rising like sweet incense to God.

  • The God of the Isrealites, the Father of our Lord Jesus and Our Father is an awesome and faithful God who performs one miracle after another for His chosen people back then. Surely, He will continue to provide and care for us too who believe and trust in Him.This miracle of the sun standing still and the moon must be a constant reminder that God is always in the midst of us, regardless.

  • God is always there for us but we just need to always make sure we are looking for him and seeing the miracles and answers he gives us. He knows Joshua has been faithful to him and faithfulness provides all of us with the love and mercy of God expresses in miraculous ways. God works in amazing ways. There is nothing his power cannot do if we just believe and are faithful to him.

    • Yes Mark, once again in Chapter 10:25 it is stated…be firm and steadfast….I keep seeing that throughout Joshua and feel that the Lord is trying to make me see this as there are so many times I falter in my belief that only He knows what is best for me. I want an answer to my prayers now instead of waiting faithfully for His chosen time.

      • Yes, once again, God has to remind us to be firm and steadfast.
        But as you will see, His answer will be worth the wait and better than you expected! In my time of waiting, I continued to praise and give thanks even for the “bad things”. For out of everything that happens to us, God can use it for good.

        “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” (Colossians 3:15-16)

  • God operates outside of time; God is the Creator and Ruler of the Cosmos; nothing is impossible for God. No darkness can overcome the light; it will shine through us, as well, if we listen, obey and act in full faith on God’s promises. I think of Psalms 95 and 96 when I read Joshua 10:13.

  • I noted that the sun standing still was not the only intervention by God in this event. He had caused a great hailstorm which had killed many of enemy. The whole series of events was caused by the treaty made by Joshua without consulting God. How God would have responded is up for speculation. My thought is God may have said go ahead. At any rate the Gebeonites recieved a great Blessing from God They did become slaves of the Israelites but that really proved a Blessed salvery. My thoughts turned to the headings in several where Paul identifies himself as Paul Slave of Christ Jesus.
    “The sun stood still at Gebeon” What a blessing for the Gebeonites

  • Every morning watch the sun rise (whether cloudy or not) From January 13th until 9:12an January 30 We were in a dense fog when the sun finally broke through the fog it seemed like a miracle God is working miracles in our world constantly we only need to be aware of them.

  • A personal miracle of the sun is happening now. The snow has ceased and the sun is drying the snow on my ramp so I will be able to make it down the ramp for Bible Study tonight. A “parting of the snow” one might say”

  • “The sun stood still and the moon stayed” Joshua 10:13 tells me that God hears and answers our
    prayers – and with God everything impossible becomes possible. It also reminds me of a line in Matt 7:11 ‘how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask him’. Our God is a faithful God. l can recall many times when I’m racing against the clock trying to do 101 things and sometimes (not always) – time does stand still and I get things done. I ask pardon Lord for the many times I haven’t acknowledged your presence in me and taken things for granted and not said thank you.

  • My views on the miracle on Joshua, is more likely to be authentic despite the fact that there were many investigations made in the past and that they were not all in agreeable as authentic. My strong reliance in its authenticity is in effect identified by the Church it to be authentic because they consider it as part of the Holy Bible’

    Today, however, any identification of authentic miracle it necessarily undergo a rigorous investigation, test and evaluation by proper authorities.

    Bishops evaluate evidence of an apparition according to these guidelines:

    1. The facts in the case are free of error.
    2. The person(s) receiving the messages is/are psychologically balanced, honest, moral, sincere and respectful of church authority.
    3. Doctrinal errors are not attributed to God, Our Lady or to a saint.
    4. Theological and spiritual doctrines presented are free of error.
    5. Moneymaking is not a motive involved in the events.
    6. Healthy religious devotion and spiritual fruits result, with no evidence of collective hysteria.

    Judgment can find that an apparition shows all signs of being an authentic or a truly miraculous intervention from heaven, that it is clearly not miraculous or there are not sufficient signs manifesting it to be be so, or that it’s not evident whether or not the alleged apparition is authentic.

    If a Marian apparition is recognized by the bishop, it means that the message is not contrary to faith and morals and that Mary can be venerated in a special way at the site. But, because belief in a private revelation is not required by the church, Catholics are at liberty to decide how much personal spiritual emphasis to place on apparitions and the messages they deliver.

    Canon Law and the Obligation of Obedience by the Faithful

    As the bishops are entrusted with the responsibilities of discerning and
    ruling on apparitions as stemming from the nature of their office, so
    there are fundamental responsibilities on the part of the members of the
    diocese. First, they are to obey their bishops when the latter act as
    Christ’s representatives (canon 212), that is, when they teach formally
    or establish binding discipline as pastors of a particular church. This
    obedience owed to the bishops in their capacity as leaders of particular
    churches is intended to promote the common good. Canon 753 also speaks
    of the “religious assent” owed to the bishops’ teaching authority, which
    means a special quality of respect and gratitude, along with critical
    awareness and good will. Hence, there should be intelligent obedience to
    ecclesiastical authority in the matter of alleged apparitions.

  • Miracles are a call to faith, like that event in Joshua. Traditionally understood, a miracle is a supernatural sign or wonder, brought about by God, signifying His glory and the salvation of mankind. As a sign, a miracle is perceived by the senses and makes present the supernatural order, God’s governance of nature,
    and His loving plan of salvation.

    • Faith does not need miracles but miracles do strengthen our Faith and show the majesty of God and that God is in charge. Many Eucharistic Miracles and books by Joan Caroll Cruz, many of hers that you can get from TAN, wonderful Catholic religious publishers as are so many like Our Sunday Visitor (they have now their yearly sale on religious books at outstanding savings), Ignatius Press, EWTN Religious Catalogue, Franciscan Media located in Cincinnati, Ohio, Autom and so many more places you can find online. Bob and Penny Lord (now deceased) has a collection of wonderful videos that you can get, Miracles on the Cross, Miracles on the Eucharist, the Saints, and so forth.

      http://www.autom.com/

      http://www.bobandpennylord.com/

  • Hindsight being 20/20 we know this was not the only time the sun has been used as a miracle. God controls the moon sun and stars, so this would be a valid request so Joshua could complete his victory and also be another great miracle for the Israelites to witness; the sun and moon are interrupted from their natural recourse. And as a witness to this you would come to understand the omnipotence of Almighty God. By God’s will the running waters of the Jordan rose up like rocks; at His bidding the strong walls of Jericho fell down; and by His command the light of day was prolonged. Nothing can resist God’s omnipotence, nothing can inhibit the workings of divine Providence.

    And if this indeed happened, would also demoralize the Amorites. I believe the Canaanites, like the Egyptians, worshipped the sun and moon as gods, and the fact that these heavenly bodies obeyed the command of Josue, the servant of God, ought to have proved to them that the God of Israel was infinitely more powerful than their self-made deities which, far from being able to help them, were compelled to help their enemies. By asking the sun to stand still you would asking for the day to be prolonged. This would give Joshua the time he needed to get the job done. It could also be considered a canticle of victory since the sun and the moon were omens in those days. Would this also be a first for God listening and answering man’s request? It appears God condescended to grant Joshua’s request. God always listens, in fact his words to Moses was “I have heard my people…”. He continues to hear us today and will stop the moon or the sun for us, if we will only heed his word.

    • The Aztecs at the time of Cortes coming to Mexico were worshipping the sun god, Huitzilopochtil, chief among many, as they believed that nature were gods to protect their crops and seasons for bounty. They would sacrifice many to the cutting out their hearts while they were alive as today as abortion amounts to the same thing. The Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, appeared to a humble peasant, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in the 16th century. The silver rose commemorating this bringing by God through the “Cana asking ‘woman’ to help the people,” continues to bring many to God as it is brought around the world. Consult the latest issue of Columbia Magazine of the Knights of Columbus. They do not have the 2015 issues started on the website but there are archived issues that have many good articles.

      http://www.kofc.org/en/columbia/archive/columbia.html

      We ask St. Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe to pray for us, to pray for this country which is in its last hour before the hand of God will come upon us with chastisement due to all the sins, especially abortion, promiscuity, same sex marriages and so forth. St. Juan Diego, pray for us!

  • Joshua’s prayer was of a huge request. God is the almighty and powerful living God. I must believe. Joshua’s miraculous request was honored giving me reassurance that God does listen to our smallest needs and to those on greater scale, it all lies in the faith and trust we have in Him. I so believe in Him, but truly need to trust and believe in him at a far greater extent. What a blessing to read this passage before heading off to fulfill another day for and with God!

  • I sit here trying to think of an appropriate comment about God’s miracle of the sun and moon. But I am so sickened by the description of the Israelites slaying 31 Kings and all their tribes, that this is the only subject I can address. God wanted his people to have the Promised Land. Why not turn those peoples’ hearts so they leave enmass and migrate to some other land? Wouldn’t that have been a merciful miracle? Why must all these people have been slaughtered? God can do all things. He could have given these people the opportunity to convert to Judaism (while honoring free will) and their lives could have been saved. This violence to win land for the Israelites is beyond my comprehension.

    • I haven’t read the Bible in such detail for several years and reading this Book and that of Numbers, I was reminded of the horror I felt with the literal slaughtering of all that lived in these kingdoms. Even though I know it didn’t happen, I continually hoped that it would be like Sodom and Gomorrah where if just a few faithful were found then the city would not be destroyed. These few were not found to save the city but those who were faithful were allowed to leave the city prior to its destruction. Much like Rahab and her family – she was an island of faithfulness to God and was spared when the city was utterly destroyed. Did these cities have no faithful at all?

      As to turning their hearts, the Egyptians did not turn away from their pagan ways but they were given many options to show their obedience to God. God is omnipotent so knew what would happen but don’t your provide these pagans in the Promised Land with the opportunity turn toward God?

      I have less trouble dealing with the killing of the warriors than with the killing of the woman and little children – the children are so innocent; why destroy them. Yes, God is trying to purge the paganism from the Promised Land but several alien tribes were allowed to embed themselves in the tribes of Israel when they settled on their inheritance – these were people of pagan background and they will come to lead many of the Israelites back to idol worship in the not so far future. These events seem to be setting the Israelites up to fail and God knows they will eventually.

      I join you in concern that our all-loving, every-merciful God has ordered such killing at the hand of man. I know there must be an explanation but it escapes me.

      • One thing’s for sure… it’s a wakeup call to us today. We have to pray for our country and its people… we have to pray for our political leaders… There are many people of faith in the US but there are too many faithless people, self-absorbed and captivated by the idols of our time. Our government is becoming increasingly Godless. Prayers are desperately needed. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, pray for us. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

        • I came across a prayer that was supposedly given by St Michael the Archangel petitioning God’s protection over the United States and it’s citizens.:
          “Heavenly Father, Please take dominion over this nation once again. Place your Hand of Protection over all its citizens wherever they may be. Protect this country’s borders, its natural resources and all freedoms. Reconcile the soul of this nation with your Divine Will. Inspire each citizen to pursue peace.
          Father, please preserve this nation in all Truth, and free it from any abuse of authority. Amen”

      • I wonder if these children had been offered up to pagan gods, just as we baptize our children and offer them up to God. Maybe that is why they had to be killed. Just a thought. As for all the people being slaughtered in a lot of the cities, I wonder if they would have been spared if they had surrendered and come to Joshua like the people in Gibeon….where a few of them, realizing that they would be defeated, came to Joshua (in deception) and offered to be servants to them if Joshua would make an agreement with them to spare their lives. After three days on hearing of the deception…Joshua still honored his agreement and spared not only Gibeon, but also Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim that also contained Hivites.
        I remain puzzled why Joshua didn’t get in trouble for keeping the agreement after he learned of the deception. These people were among the nations that God had commanded to exterminate. I would have thought he would have annulled the agreement since it was made under false pretenses….and he made it without seeking the advice of the Lord.

      • Yes, the Canaanites who are allowed to stay become embedded in the worst way, like the leaven that spreads throughout the dough. Their Pagan ways will infect the Israelites.

    • I often think the same thing “why so much violence” but then I remember what four hundred years of living in Egypt did to the Israelites, they took on Egyptian ways and their gods. As we see Israel will quickly revert back to Egyptian ways. (golden calf, gold jewelry) Israel was still too vulnerable to let other inhabitant into their midst. Not doing the Lord’s will causes curses for 3 & 4 generations

    • All the peoples of Canaan were not destroyed. The Gibeonites had heard (as had all the nearby peoples) of the great miracles the God of the Israelites had done. They appealed to Joshua (abet in a deceptive manner) and God permited a covenant with the Israelites. Indeed they became slaves of the Israelites but slaves were permitted circumcision.
      Also if one believes in the eternal nature of life, death is not the end. It is my belief that many of the innocents put to the sword are today in heaven or purgatory.

  • Sure there are many ways we can interpret that passage. To me, I see it as God listening to the needs of the faithful. Joshua wasn’t praying for a tangible item or for a victory in war, he was praying for the tools to accomplish gods will (more daylight, etc.). I see this as a real challenge for me. Not to pray for tangible or specific things of my will but rather for the strength, spirit, hope, and perseverance to accomplish whatever God’s will and my situation may be. To not pray for what we perceive we need as opposed to strength, perseverance and discernment for what God desires for us.

  • One of my children was in the hospital for a few days and is better. Thank you, God. I fell as if I can now devote time to this wondrous bible challenge.
    I am amazed that God obeyed a human! This demonstrates how important the Israelites and the promised land was so momentous and significant for His plans for the future.

      • Thank you so much, Margie. It was touch and go with my daughter for a while. God is one amazing entity! I’m glad I am on His side!!

    • What a day of joyous thanksgiving for you and your family. Just think… He also has significant plans for your child’s future! Praise be to God, who hears our prayers. May all that we do give glory to His Name.

      • Marianne, Bless you. My daughter is still very ill, but she has an inner strength that comes from God’s graces and prayers from so many groups. I only wish I could understand the reasoning behind her debilitating disease. It’s not in the cards for me to know so I pray and hope all will be well with my sweetheart.

        • You might find the following a comforting “explanation” for your daughter’s debilitating disease…
          From “Turning Our Hearts to God”, Lent 2013 daily reflections, activities and prayers, by Patricia Livingston…
          Even in unspeakable agony, in John’s passion account, Jesus is in control. Fulfilling Psalm 69 by taking the sour wine, he has done all he was sent to do. His final expression of love is complete. He hands over the spirit of his life.
          This is very different from most of our experiences of pain. One of our worst agonies can be the total powerlessness we feel. One discovery has helped me more than I can say. My sister Peggy was diagnosed in her 50s with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As the cognitive and motor difficulties increased she said to me, “The nuns taught us to ‘Offer it up’. I am offering it up, but why would God want it?”

          By sheer grace I found Pope John Paul II’s encyclical On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering. He says that in the mystery of the Body of Christ, a suffering person in any part of the world and in any time in history shares in the work of redemption. We serve the salvation of our brothers and sisters. This meaning made all the difference to Peggy. She handed herself over in love.
          (NOTE: The author refers to Pope John Paul II’s Salvifici Doloris # 27, shown below)

          Saint Paul speaks of such joy in the Letter to the Colossians: “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake”(88). A source of joy is found in the overcoming of the sense of the uselessness of suffering, a feeling that is sometimes very strongly rooted in human suffering. This feeling not only consumes the person interiorly, but seems to make him a burden to others. The person feels condemned to receive help and assistance from others, and at the same time seems useless to himself. The discovery of the salvific meaning of suffering in union with Christ transforms this depressing feeling. Faith in sharing in the suffering of Christ brings with it the interior certainty that the suffering person “completes what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”; the certainty that in the spiritual dimension of the work of Redemption he is serving, like Christ, the salvation of his brothers and sisters. Therefore he is carrying out an irreplaceable service. In the Body of Christ, which is ceaselessly born of the Cross of the Redeemer, it is precisely suffering permeated by the spirit of Christ’s sacrifice that is the irreplaceable mediator and author of the good things which are indispensable for the world’s salvation. It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls. Suffering, more than anything else, makes present in the history of humanity the powers of the Redemption.

          In that “cosmic” struggle between the spiritual powers of good and evil, spoken of in the Letter to the Ephesians(89), human sufferings, united to the redemptive suffering of Christ, constitute a special support for the powers of good, and open the way to the victory of these salvific powers.

          And so the Church sees in all Christ’s suffering brothers and sisters as it were a multiple subject of his supernatural power. How often is it precisely to them that the pastors of the Church appeal, and precisely from them that they seek help and support! The Gospel of suffering is being written unceasingly, and it speaks unceasingly with the words of this strange paradox: the springs of divine power gush forth precisely in the midst of human weakness. Those who share in the sufferings of Christ preserve in their own sufferings a very special particle of the infinite treasure of the world’s Redemption, and can share this treasure with others. The more a person is threatened by sin, the heavier the structures of sin which today’s world brings with it, the greater is the eloquence which human suffering possesses in itself. And the more the Church feels the need to have recourse to the value of human sufferings for the salvation of the world.

          PnkyB4brain, this seems to me such a profound explanation for the seemingly senseless suffering in the world. It is the most comforting “explanation” I’ve ever heard!

          For further reading of Pope John Paul II’s Salvifici Doloris, please visit the web site
          http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2salvi.htm

          • Thank you for the information. I will read the articles you mentioned and hope that it makes sense to me. On the most part I know I am powerless and I put this pain and hurt that my daughter is going through in God’s Hands. Then, my stubborn brain takes it all back, thinking I could alleviate the pain! I know I cannot accomplish this but it’s a struggle within me that I have been having problems with for quite a while. I don’t think I am a controlling person, but I can well understand where that foible can originate. No, I think I am just impatient and need to learn or relearn how to be patient with God and His timetable, not mine. Thank you again, Marianne. You are an angel!

          • It’s perfectly normal to want to take away the pain and suffering and struggles of the ones we love. There’s a passage in “My Utmost for His Highest” (Oswald Chambers):
            “WHAT IS THAT TO YOU?”
            “Peter . . . said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘. . . what is that to you? You follow Me’ ” (John 21:21-22).

            One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s plan for others. You see someone suffering and say, “He will not suffer, and I will make sure that he doesn’t.” You put your hand right in front of God’s permissive will to stop it, and then God says, “What is that to you?” Is there stagnation in your spiritual life? Don’t allow it to continue, but get into God’s presence and find out the reason for it. You will possibly find it is because you have been interfering in the life of another—proposing things you had no right to propose, or advising when you had no right to advise. When you do have to give advice to another person, God will advise through you with the direct understanding of His Spirit. Your part is to maintain the right relationship with God so that His discernment can come through you continually for the purpose of blessing someone else. Most of us live only within the level of consciousness— consciously serving and consciously devoted to God. This shows immaturity and the fact that we’re not yet living the real Christian life. Maturity is produced in the life of a child of God on the unconscious level, until we become so totally surrendered to God that we are not even aware of being used by Him. When we are consciously aware of being used as broken bread and poured-out wine, we have yet another level to reach—a level where all awareness of ourselves and of what God is doing through us is completely eliminated. A saint is never consciously a saint—a saint is consciously dependent on God.

      • Thank you, Tracy for your well wishes. You all are so dear to me and have become my special friends of God.

  • First and foremost, pnkyB4brain, I am so glad to hear your child is doing better, this must have weighed heavily on your mind. Glad you are back.
    As I think back on our other readings, in both Exodus and Numbers, Moses made requests of God several times when trying to quell God’s anger against the Israelites while he asked for mercy to be shown or for a sign from God to quiet their murmuring. This request from Joshua is a bit different from those of Moses but still in the vain of working to accomplish God’s commands and meet his ends. This passage definitely shows the power God possesses.

    I don’t have much to add after Anthony’s excellent commentary on the reading – I learned a lot from his thoughts.

    Elaine, I have commented to your concerns below about the slaughtering of the tribes; I, too, was taken aback of the absolute destruction of man and beast.

  • When I saw that word “obeyed” in there (10:14), I had a hard time with it. It just does not fit for me. When they translated this into English for NAB & NABRE, I think they could have used a much better word.
    For obey to fit, Joshua would have had to tell/command God what to do. I went back and re-read it, and I don’t see it that way. I think both the RSV and the RSV2 both use much better English translation in this verse:
    RSV = … the Lord harkened to the voice of a man…
    RSV2 = … the Lord listened to the voice of a man…
    To me, I see it more like God was keeping a promise or answering a prayer/request… It was an AMAZING miracle, but still just God keeping his promise to Moses/Joshua that he will always be with them and help them defeat their foes.

  • The power of God, the power of prayer, and we know our prayers are always answered, even for some we may have wished would have turned out differently, but it was still an answer for God’s reason alone. I finally resolved an acceptance to the violence of wars Joshua was commanded to complete. When I place the reasoning of it being a way to conquer “Satan” who keeps challenging God, I understand. It’s true, it’s hard to take when women and children are involved, but we don’t know how deeply Satan’s power is, when it came to idol worshipers in those times. When Rahab and her family were saved, it was all God had to hear, if she even uttered slightly “faith” in Israel, “faith” in the Lord. How many prisoner souls are saved when they face the death penalty, and finally beg for forgiveness from the Lord? God is not greedy, and embraces any human who looks up to the heavens, maybe the sun or the moon, and prays with a pure heart of “faith.” I have been in a deepest, darkest hour a few times in my life, and sometimes only able to utter, “God help me,” there is an immediate wave of strength to go on, and a light engulfs my heart.

  • No matter how much we humans try to control the natural world God is in control. And God performs miracles through his creation. Even in the last century there have been instances of weather affecting the outcome of key battles in history. I do believe that weather greatly helped win the June 6, 1944 invasion. I believe that the 21st Century person has been so blinded by technology and science that they have a hard time seening the Miracles performed by God, Sometimes I believe they think that they are the ones performing the miracles.

    • I have witnessed God’s miracles and felt the presence of His Holy Spirit many times through the beauty of God’s creation in the natural world. From the fallen tree that makes a cross in the woods outside my window to the crucifix captured within the full moon, and even the butterfly that landed on my finger one day. Perhaps it was symbolic of the transformation in my life. I wondered if it used to be the caterpillar I found in my house a few months earlier… and I set it free…

      Not quite as dramatic as the startling effects of weather literally changing history, but it does convey that God has the power to give us messages through creation… if we only pay attention.

      • Marianne. I have been a witness to another miracle this year. My Dr. has said it is a miracle that he can’t understand but I am completely cancer free. On April 1 of 2013. My Dr. said that there was a 100% chance that one or the other of my cancers would return within 18 months. That Dr. now believes in God. That is an incredible miracle.

        • Amen, the healing is truly is a joyous miracle Barbara Ann! And that the doctor now believes in God… that is the awesome power of the Almighty God… to Him be the praise, honor and glory forever!

    • A lot of the time the weather can not be controlled. It is just the way nature works. However, God did, as the Old Testament and even the New Testament shows, intervene by using the weather and nature such as the Red Sea (explanations given about it too), and so forth. Christ calmed the waters when the apostles were afraid on the boat. Yet, nature rebelled when Christ was on the cross dying. Many. in biblical times, had to suffer for their sins and God sent bad weather.

      I think of the “Miracle of the Sun” where the unbelieving people of the apparitions of the three children of Fatima had to suffer at the hands of the atheistic government in Portugal at the time to the point that they were scared into lying about the Truth of what they saw.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBIs8cuIwTo

      This certain day of 13 October 1917 showed all present who were dripping wet and in the mud before, and then when the sun came out, they were dry, that what the three children had said, was true. But this was no ordinary sun in the sky–it was a spinning sun to the point that all were frightened and afraid that they would perish. God worked the Miracle of the Sun. And it is documented too.

      Today, I believe that the many tornadoes and storms around the world are due to man’s sinfulness. The people of Asia have a very high infant man-made destruction rate and there are many tsunamis in that area of the world too.

      Nature is beautiful too when it does not get out of hand with mudslides, volcanoes, and so forth.God made man and all of his creation. When, I look at all of the beauty of the mountains, the setting sun, the marvels of lightning and thunder, the rain, the beauty of the plants and animals, the flowers, the moon and the stars, the snow on the trees in winter, the vast oceans, the plains and the valleys, the trees which are small and large like the Sequoias of the western United States, and so much more, I think of the majesty and awe of God. St. Thomas Aquinas, genius and chief theologian of the Catholic Church, says (and even after his “Summa” says that all what he wrote is rubbish in comparison to his faith in the wonder of God) tells us that God is real as he uses reason to show the existence of God in his 5 proofs–

      “l) The Proof from Motion. We observe motion all around us. Whatever is in motion now was at rest until moved by something else, and that by something else, and so on. But if there were an infinite series of movers, all waiting to be moved by something else, then actual motion could never have got started, and there would be no motion now. But there is motion now. So there must be a First Mover which is itself unmoved. This First Mover we call God.

      2) The Proof from Efficient Cause. Everything in the world has its efficient cause–its maker–and that maker has its maker, and so on. The coffee table was made by the carpenter, the carpenter by his or her parents, and on and on. But if there were just an infinite series of such makers, the series could never have got started, and therefore be nothing now. But there is something everything there is! So there must have been a First Maker, that was not itself made, and that First Maker we call God.

      3) The Proof from Necessary vs. Possible Being. Possible, or contingent, beings are those, such as cars and trees and you and I, whose existence is not necessary. For all such beings there is a time before they come to be when they are not yet, and a time after they cease to be when they are no more. If everything were merely possible, there would have been a time, long ago, when nothing had yet come to be. Nothing comes from nothing, so in that case there would be nothing now! But there is something now-the world and everything in it-so there must be at least one necessary being. This Necessary Being we call God.

      4) The Proof from Degrees of Perfection. We all evaluate things and people in terms of their being more or less perfectly true, good, noble and so on. We have certain standards of how things and people should be. But we would have no such standards unless there were some being that is perfect in every way, something that is the truest, noblest, and best. That Most Perfect Being we call God.

      5) The Proof from Design. As we look at the world around us, and ourselves, we see ample evidence of design–the bird’s wing, designed for the purpose of flight; the human ear, designed for the purpose of hearing; the natural environment, designed to support life; and on and on. If there is design, there must be a designer. That Designer we call God.”

      http://www.catholicforum.com/forums/showthread.php?3633-St-Thomas-Aquinas-5-proofs-of-God-s-existence

  • Sorry to jump over the sun and land on all of the killing of resident kingdoms, but this bothers me. This may have been covered already, and if so, sorry to bring it up again, here.
    How do we reconcile the bloodshed with the sanctity of life?

    • I share your opinion. All the killing is also difficult for me to understand or comprehend. (Along with a few other things in the Old Testament). Before January, I had never really studied the OT before. It is almost as if it were a different God back then compared to the New Testament. So, I just keep plugging along, reading another 4 chapters every day, hoping to get to a part where it all comes together. I suspect that won’t happen till we get into the N.T.. I have to keep reminding myself that this is the word of God. Have Faith! Continue Onward!

      • I wonder about this too. Why God commanded stoning of the unjust to take place and the killing of those who disobeyed. I read somewhere that the evil doers such as those who had taken the booty for themselves instead of letting it for the Lord as mentioned in Joshua were doing a terrible transgression to the Lord and that evil among the people had to be eliminated. I think too that the laws of the Israelites were there for the people to obey as mentioned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, no matter how harsh, they had to be carried out, and others would see that they could not get by with wrongdoing either. Throughout history, capital punishment has existed. The Inquisition might seem harsh too but the statistics spoken about are not what they actually were, and the Catholic Church receiving and continued to receive much blame is unfounded just like the falseness of many books about Galileo (Church was against his theology and not his science) and the Crusades get a bad rapping too. Many good books about these things seen in the true light. I read one place that stoning was not as cruel as other methods of death. Practically speaking, this source said, stones were easily available and a hit in the head would be the end of the person. The crime being punished too had to be a public thing. The Babylonians were quite cruel in that they would boil their victims. The Romans were savage with their crucifixions. which other cultures used too. The Reformation during the time of Henry VIII would inflict much pain with hanging, cutting down, victim still alive, drawing and joints from sockets displaced, and intestines taken out, and still alive and then quartering of the body parts. Torture throughout history was very barbaric and still used today in places. Like St.Stephen being stoned unjustly, these practices mentioned are not just either. Christ came to bear all sufferings and bring us peace and happiness, to bring us forgiveness and reconciliation to Him.

        • This link was recently posted by Anthony. I read through it, and got a LOT from it!!!!!!!!!!
          http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201004/201004_138_canannites.cfm
          As I have seen many times already, English translation of the bible, especially the OT often give us misinterpretations of what happened back then. (I sure wish I was a bible scholar and could fluently read all those ancient languages)
          I still resort to: Even when it “seems like” the God of the OT is not like the God of the NT… He most certainly still is the same God!

  • EWTN this morning is having court appointment against the HHS Mandate. Let us all pray for positive response. O Lord, hear our prayer!

  • Feast Day: February 04 St. Jane Valois, pray for us! (1464-1505)
    Princess and daughter of King Louis XI of France and Charlotte of Savoy. Her father wanted a son and was disappointed when she was deformed. Five year old Jane was sent to live with other people. Jane was good and gentle. She knew Jesus and Mary loved her. She trusted in the Lord to use her for good things. She gave herself to Jesus alone. Her father forced her to marry the duke of Orleans for political reasons. She saw this as God’s will. She was a faithful wife for 22 years. The duke became king eventually and sent Jane to live by herself far away. She said, “God be praised! He has permitted this that I may serve him better than I have up until now.” She prayed throughout her life of penances and acts of kindness. She gave her money to the poor. She founded the Sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She died in 1505. As we read the Bible, we pray with St. Jane to help us respond to hardships with an insight to the spiritual. St. Jane of Valois, pray for us!
    There are many websites online where one can say the rosary.

  • God suspended nature-not causing the sun to set so that Israel’s war could continue and they would defeat their enemies. God showed Israel again that he was on their side by working mighty miracles.

  • A priest not long ago told me about Indulgentiarum Doctrina (norm 18) of Pope Paul VI

    n.18To the faithful in danger of death who cannot be assisted by a priest to bring them the sacraments and impart the apostolic blessing with its attendant plenary indulgence (according to canon 468, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law) Holy Mother Church nevertheless grants a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they are properly disposed and have been in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime. To use a crucifix or cross in connection with the acquisition of this plenary indulgence is a laudable practice.

    This plenary indulgence at the point of death can be acquired by the faithful even if they have already obtained another plenary indulgence on the same day.

    http://www.ewtn.com

    http://www.vatican.va

  • Ash Wednesday is around the corner, 18 February 2015. Good time to think about the Shroud of Turin. The expert on the Shroud of Turin is Barry Swartz. He has a web site–

    http://www.shroud.com

    Barry Swartz has been working with the Shroud of Turin for over 30 years, maybe 40 years. His web site has much information. The Middle Ages was seen to be the time frame of the Shroud of Turin. There was a time when samples were taken from it and it was declared a forgery. Did something go wrong? It surely did and still many like Nickels today is on the wrong side. But Nurse Sue Benford would not give up. She saw on the History Channel something strange or peculiar about the samples taken from the Shroud. That piece of cloth taken as a sample was not herring bone that the entire Shroud is made of. It is a patch that religious sisters had sewed on it to mend it. This was done during the Middle Ages. Carbon 14 Dating tested material not from the Shroud during the time of Christ but a piece during the Middle Ages sewed on it and how they got that certain spot for the testing, only God knows. Sue Benford contacted Barry Swartz of http://www.Shroud.com. She asked for a photocopy of a piece of some of the herringbone tweed of which the Shroud is made out of. She wanted to look at the patterns of cloth on this sample site for a comparison. She found that there were irregularities in this.

    Sue Benford had cancer as a child and she got better with a struggle. She had many talents such as winning the world championship weight lifting in the class of 98 pounds. Fortitude and stamina. She was relentless in her pursuit to prove that the Shroud was by no means a medieval forgery which still many promote today. Barry Swartz knew Joe Marino, a monk who was a fan of the Shroud back to 1977. He collected every book written about it. Sue Benford and Joe Marino got together and submitted a paper to the authoritative “Chemistry Today”. It was presented at the Shroud Congress in 2001. Many scientists accepted it. But there was one more–Ray Rodgers, very important man. Thank God for the intuition of females! The Carbon dating of 1988 only came out in “Nature” and not in a scientific journal before this time in 2001. Flawed was the Carbon dating. It was no wonder that the use of the patched piece would be inaccurate in the testing. This nurse contacted Ray Rodgers who was a chemist. He was from the original STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) experts. Rodgers was the head of the textile division. Barry Swartz was the one who gave him a phone call. Rodgers was not likely to believe it but had to have it proved to him. He said, “Oh that’s nonsense, give me five minutes and I will call you back, I got to get original slides and I will tell her what baloney she is studying.” Hours passed, maybe three or four, and Rodgers called Swartz, (who is a Jew and at first did not believe, but he has been an advocate ever since his studies, a guest on Mother Angelica Live, and a promoter of the Shroud of Turin as the real burial cloth of Jesus Christ; it does not have to be believed but the evidence is astounding and what more wonderful to have something like this to enhance our faith). Rodgers said that there was cotton all over it and how he missed this. To say in different words, it was the patched material and not the herring bone weave material of the Shroud that the scientists used and this was their testing on it). Ray Rodgers did not have long to live, about three years, for he had cancer. Rodgers had been ready to give up but he chose to meet with other experts. Over a period of three years, his study now proves that the job done by the sampling was entirely flawed. The carbon dating labs were not flawed. They had done their job but only on the wrong material, the patch that the sisters had sewed on the Shroud. What was done originally in 1988 was done on a medieval patch work. And that is why it was called a medieval forgery, and sadly, believed by some today as that. (There is also the “Sudarium of Orvieto,” which is the face cloth of Jesus Christ and it has been proven to match all of the face blood stains and marks of the face on the Shroud.
    Johnette Bencovic has a series of five shows on her “Women of Grace” archives of over 20 or 30 years of EWTN programming and webinars and so forth. Around Lent and Easter, this presentation is re-aired on her program, and if you get a chance–watch it! You can go to You-tube to watch various programs on it too.
    .

  • Just from the Vatican, Pope Francis calling for prayer solidarity beginning 8 February against the horrible universal “human trafficking” of children, women, and men. He invokes the powerful intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped and brought into slavery in 19th century Italy.

    http://www.news.va/en/news/first-international-prayer-day-and-reflection-on-h

    Feb. 8, the International Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking:

    “O God, when we hear of children and adults
    deceived and taken to unknown places for
    purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, and
    organ ‘harvesting’, our hearts are saddened and
    our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are
    ignored through threats, lies, and force.
    We cry out against the evil practice of this modern
    slavery, and pray with St. Bakhita for it to end.
    Give us wisdom and courage to reach out and
    stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits
    have been so wounded, so that together we may
    make real your promises to fill these sisters and
    brothers with a love that is tender and good.
    Send the exploiters away empty-handed to be
    converted from this wickedness, and help us all to
    claim the freedom that is your gift to your
    children. Amen.”

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