February 13, 2005

Sunday Carnival

from - smijer

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I've just finished browsing this week's Carnival of the Godless over at Science and Politics. It's a somewhat smaller collection, but still a good one. They included my pitiful attempt at humor with my Interview with God post. I guess I need to stick with straight writing.

I chuckled at Bob's post. Friends and family who are Christian and easily feel insulted: please do not click the link. I'll just sum it up for you. Bob take's umbrage over those who express the sentiment that God is specially watching out for them when they avoid a tragedy (that others were devastated by), or that God heals football players' legs in time for the Superbowl while leaving children in wheelchairs all over the world. Anyway, it reminded me of an e-mail I got from a friend at work... I'll reproduce the e-mail here:

Saved From a Fiery Furnace

By Debbie Harper and Tim Branson
The 700 Club

CBN.com – The fire was still 15 miles away when Bill Walton first saw smoke rising over the ridge of his 80-acre ranch in Trinidad, Colorado.

"The fire department's answer to us was that they had a crew, it was under control, and there was no danger. They said the house was far enough away and that we were in no danger."

But Bill felt differently.

"As I was tying my shoes, I just felt God speak to me, 'Bill, you need to evacuate. You need to get everything out of the house.' I was just going on what was in my heart, what I felt like the Lord had told me."

pic1.bmpBill's feelings were confirmed when his wife, Natalie, felt the same way. Together they agreed to get all their belongings out of the house.

"I got clothes, pictures, and baby things that were precious to me," says Natalie, "and I just shoved them into the car."

Using a horse trailer, cars, and trucks, Bill, along with his brothers and friends, started packing the house. The fire kept getting closer. By the time they finished loading everything, the fire had crossed the ridge and was moving toward the house. The fire department came, but it was too late. The fire started crowning, and the volunteer firefighters had to evacuate.

"The firefighter explained fire was going from treetop to treetop burning down, and the heat gets up to 2000°F. That's what was happening when we evacuated," says Bill.

The fire gained momentum and came down through the canyon. Bill and his father went to the top of the ridge to see what was going on. While they were up there, they got a phone call that said the house was gone.

At the same time the flames raged through their property, a group of children from their church in the Colorado Springs area stopped and prayed:

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"Dear God, help Pastor Bill's house."

"Dear Lord, You said there is great power in the name of Jesus."

Bill had called Kevin Moore, senior youth pastor of New Life Church. Pastor Moore explained Bill's absence to the children.

"The reason he's not here is because a fire is threatening his home, and he asked that you guys would pray, " Pastor Moore told the children.

One by one, the children earnestly prayed for Bill and Natalie:

"Dear Lord we know you are in control of all things."
"Just put your angels around, put a hedge of protection."
"Please pass by his house in the name of Jesus."

pic3.bmpAfter the fire cleared the area, Bill went back to the house, driving through the charred land. As he drove down the driveway and came around the corner, he saw the most unbelievable sight… their bright yellow house was still standing.

"It was so amazing. The house was still there -- untouched! There was just such joy."

The fire had miraculously stopped at the house and hadn't touched it. From all reports, the house should have been consumed, like everything around it.

A firefighter told Bill the last thing she saw.

"She said it looked like gas was being poured on the roof, flames were everywhere, and she knew we had lost the house."

Bill showed CBN just how close the fire had come -- just a few feet away on all sides.

"When the flames came down, they consumed everything and burned the retaining wall, which was just a few feet away from the wood siding on the house. The heat was 2000°F only five feet away."

Firewood only a few feet away from the blaze remained uncharred. The flames were that close on all sides. And the heat was so intense that it melted a lamppost.

Could it be possible that a few prayers could stop such an inferno? This family believes it is possible.

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"We are modern-day Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We believe God still has fire-retardant power," says Bill.

Natalie's first thought was for her unbelieving parents. " 'See what prayer does.' "

Bill and Natalie believe this testimony of God's power will inspire people's faith, including the faith of the children who prayed.

"Their prayers made the difference, in that their prayers are very special to God, and God hears them and wants to answer them. He wants to encourage them and build them in their faith in the area of prayer," says Pastor Moore.

Adds Bill, "What we have seen happen, as a result of this miracle, is that people's faith is being inspired to believe God for even greater miracles. It's a great testimony that God's hand is still moving."

Since this wasn't a chain letter, but something my friend (he's a preacher) had picked up off the internet and thought would be nice to send to me, I didn't give it the chain letter treatment. I did reply, though... in the spirit of Bob's post. Here's what I said, verbatim:

I love this. It reminds me of the story of the little boy who was praying that his dad would stop beating him and his mother… and he did! Just after his mom died of an accident with the iron, the daddy went away to live somewhere else.

'Course, I'm very happy that this home was spared. I've never personally endured a loss of a home from fire, but I have known several who have, and each of them testifies that it is a terrible ordeal. So it's good that their home was spared, but somehow I don't think this same congregation is praying so hard for all the other families whose homes will be lost this year, nor does anyone really believe they could stop those losses if they did.

Before I go, one other fun quote from the Carnival:

I just hope that after the fundamentalist Christians defeat evolution that they go after entomology next. I’m tired of all these bugs.

- Hank Fox

Next week, Philosophy, et cetera hosts, and the following week, it's my turn! Hooray!

Update: In what can only be a sign from Bob, it turns out Alice has another housefire story which I just read after completing this post, in which she and her husband play a role in limiting the scope of a tragedy. Great job Alice & Greg!!

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Posted by smijer at February 13, 2005 09:57 AM
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Synchronicity!

univar.jpg Posted by alice on February 13, 2005 11:31 PM
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