Faith factor | Good News Sierra Journal, Momma Bear, the Sheriff and the Mystery Man |

Faith factor | Good News Sierra Journal, Momma Bear, the Sheriff and the Mystery Man

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; I have a new definition of Super Mom for you. Stephanie Decker gazes out into the face of death and the fury of a tornado bearing down on her home and children in Marysville, Indiana. Her children cry that they donand#8217;t want to die. Instinctually she throws a blanket over them in the basement, covers them with her own body, holding them close. Then as her home collapses and disappears around them in the fury of 175 mph winds, she is left with crushed and severed legs, ultimately battered by golf ball-size hail, yet with children who are safe and unharmed. and#8220;You get a momma bear out there and theyand#8217;re vicious, theyand#8217;re going to do what they have to do,and#8221; said Stephanie. After recording a good-bye message to her husband on her cell phone, she herself was rescued by a neighbor, who happened to be a local sheriff, using his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. In a triumph of the human spirit, sheand#8217;ll be up and walking with prosthetics in a few months, but her real reward was given in person by her husband when she first came out of surgery. and#8220;You get to watch your children grow up.and#8221; Those ancient words are still being played out, arenand#8217;t they? and#8220;Greater love has no one than this, that they lay down their life for their friends.and#8221;

OK the British have done it for us once again. A London think-tank, the New Economics Foundation, has summarized all the happiness research down to these simple five tips, so for the love of God pay attention here and do a little personal inventory. I have translated them from English into American, and donand#8217;t blink or youand#8217;ll miss them. Connect with people around you, be physically active, focus on nature, keep learning, and give of your time and resources. That last one turns out to be a very good barometer for the health of America. Americans alone gave $347 billion to charity in 2011, up 7.5 percent over 2010. Yes, we are still a big-hearted people even in tough times. And there is the encouragement from the One who said, and#8220;Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.and#8221;

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is still alive, even though it is believed an execution warrant has been issued. His crime, apostasy! International pressure apparently has had some effect, and the issue is something on which even American liberals and conservatives can agree. Thatand#8217;s a shocker right there, isnand#8217;t it? The White House had this to say, and#8220;Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people.and#8221; When asked by the Iranian judge to return to the religion of his ancestors, he replied, and#8220;I cannot.and#8221;

It all reminds me though of the old Sunday School story where three men were ordered to bow down and worship idols or be thrown into a fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Danieland#8217;s original rock band), replied to the king, and#8220;We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.and#8221; And remember, there was that fourth Mystery Man, the One they once called the Unknown God, who was in the furnace with them, the One that made the blazing furnace of no effect. Heand#8217;s the One who made this simple plea, and#8220;I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…and#8221;

and#8212; Randy Allen is a Sierra Sun columnist, worship musician, and former teacher. Heand#8217;s lived in Truckee for 30 years

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