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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Do You Want to Love and Walk on Water, Or Hate and Drown Like So Many Others Do Today?


CRISIS AVERTED?

     Well, the good news is that the BP folks got the oil leak plugged, but we have to wait and see what long-term affects it will have on the Gulf of Mexico’s sea life and the people living on its coastal regions.

     We are not out of deep waters yet, the oil spill could have long-range ramifications on not only those people living within a 5 hundred mile radius, but the ecological imbalance the disaster portends could be more than monumental.


     The BP oil crisis reminds me of the on-going embers-turned-to-roaring-flame immigration debate that has dislodged much of America’s historic resolve, especially when it has been hit by three to four different back to back crisis’ within a year’s time. I speak about the real estate, financial, unemployment and immigration reform issues, which have panicked most Americans as never before; not since the stock market crash of 29 and the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, have we been more perplexed.


     For those of us who can remember, it was America’s resolve that overcame the market crash and it was also her resolve that brought about victories over Germany and Japan in 1945. America’s gut and gumption tenacity has been worn on her sleeve to be viewed by the rest of the world with much admiration. This is a country that has always had faith, if not in its government’s leaders, at least in its people and its God!


     I don’t know if times they are a changing, but it seems like way too many Americans (not all of us) are starting to buckle under some of the existing pressures as never before. Nowadays, it’s not just minorities and anti-war protestors who are manning the picket lines and protest marches throughout the country, most of the people we see crying out for help are the Norman Rockwell folks we seldom hear from, more so now as never before.

     Usually, these folks would be the only faces one would see at the annual Macy’s and Christmas parades, and the not as often celebrated Easter Parade, where we could hear the children singing the “Easter Parade” song as they marched down Countryside Lane and Wonder Avenue, with pastel-colored dresses and their multi-colored chocolate bunny and egg baskets.


     No! Today we have predominately white folks marching for their rights, forming alternative political (tea) parties and anti-immigrant hate groups such as Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC), with several media personalities either leading the pack or at least some who have lit a fire under the normal “let’s-stay-home-and-watch-the-soap-operas (or Oprahs) and the burgeoning reality shows like Bachelors-Who-Hate Bachelorettes-who-are-Survivors-That-Came-in-Second-on-America-Idol- But-Were-to-Poor-to-Own-A-Home-Until-Home-Improvement-Hacks- Stormed- Their-Middle American Cities-with- Nary a Neighbor being the Wiser.

     To get these folks out of their mortgaged-to-the-hilt-homes to demonstrate in front of the White House, and various state capitols, throughout the nation, it used to require major, life-threatening events like Katrina or the Northridge, California Earthquake on January 14, 1994. I know, I lived 3 miles from its epicenter. Remember. These folks are the ones who have been the backbone of this country from its inception, those who believe primarily in God, country, the American flag, mom and apple pie….and the English language.


     These folks are now deathly afraid about their finances and sincerely believe that their future should be secured by the government or someone with lots of money; and in the interim they need someone to blame for their perceived sad state of affairs. Now they feel they must stay active by focusing on certain government leaders and immigrants (or both) because…..well….they are easy targets to lay blame. The sad part of this reaction and attitude towards problems that everyone is experiencing, some more than others, is that so many of these folks manning the picket lines are Bible-thumping Christians, people of faith, just like me!

     Speaking of water, all of this reminds me of that well known story in the Bible about Jesus walking on water, which can be found in the Book of Matthew, Chapter 14. Boy, What a miracle that was; to walk on water?

     What many folks are not aware of about this story is that Jesus' walking on water was not the more important message. That He walked on water is awesome, an amazing miracle that it was; but the main message of this story is about Peter’s reaction. The writer is actually trying get across a more profound message to its readers; a story about the lack of faith many people experience under stormy conditions.  

     The story follows an incident that Jesus and His apostles experienced after He had just finished feeding five thousand people with a mere five loaves of bread and two fish, which to me is an even a greater miracle! Let’s pick up the story from that point on.

     22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

     25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

     27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

     28“ Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

     29“ Come,” he said.

     Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

     31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
     32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”  (Matthew 14:22-32)

     The point the author of Matthew 14 was really trying make was not that the apostles witnessed an amazing miracle as Jesus walked on the water towards those on the boat; it was rather what happened to Peter, who asked the Lord to beckon him to meet Jesus out in the water, who was actually walking on the sea himself!


     You can almost hear Peter as he took his first few steps and found him walking on the water just like Jesus! “Whoa! Get a look at me guys,” beamed Peter, “I’m walking on water just like Jesus!”

     But, as Peter continued his water-walk toward Jesus, the wind suddenly became strong and violent. As it grew stronger, Peter began to sink in the water and he immediately cried out: “Lord! Save me!”


     Jesus quickly grabs Peter by the hand and prevents him from sinking into the deep waters, and shook His head: “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

     Well, one can certainly understand how Peter got all shook up when the storm suddenly got violent; that’s enough to shake anybody’s faith.

     Yes, we Americans are living in a period of horrific times, inundated with one catastrophe after another. Our high tech achievements make it easier to see the thousands of calamities happening throughout the world; devastating earthquakes that have leveled tall-building cities to the ground, economic chaos throughout the world, almost incurable diseases in many nations, and storms a thousand times more fierce than the one Peter experienced, destroying basic needed resources to care for millions of injured people by these increasing horrors.
     Yes! Our America is a nation blessed by God. It has not experienced the pains other far off places experience daily. Our nation needs to thank God for those blessings, and to recognize that its people do not suffer as others do. It must also be mindful of what Jesus told Peter: "Yes, Ye of little faith."


     Whenever Americans begin to realize that those issues of immigration reform we face today will not destroy our country’s culture, values or economic prosperity, but they can actually shore up its resolve. This is when this country will begin rebuilding itself anew.
     But more importantly, during these contentious times we are experiencing today, we (Christian Americans, especially) should be reminded that as Peter looked intently into Jesus’ eyes, when he actually was walking on water, had he kept his eyes on Jesus, instead of looking at the storm (regardless of how it became more violent) he could still be walking on water today!

     Now, I know that not all Americans believe in God (and it shows in various parts of the country, and in certain states and cities); but those of us who do believe in God, need to stand up and be counted, pray for each other as all of us Christians should do, to strengthen our faith in God as well as our faith in all of our fellow human beings, whether they arrived here with papers or not, but who have proven their worth and work ethic in the fields and at other low-paying jobs for decades. 


     OK, guys, we know that many Americans will continue to spew out their hatred for Hispanic people (it's not just about them crossing the border illegally), and so many American-born Latinos know this very well. They not only sense it, many are already feeling its escalating impact.
     Nevertheless, do we Christ-loving, God following citizens want to continue to move America’s ship forward by using flaccid political oars to get there faster, or do we persevere those similar sea storms we have overcome in the past with God’s love and America’s humane resolve?
     Good!     Then let’s pray at all times and make sure to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus before we sink our standards of love, patience, fairness, understanding and charity any lower than we have so far.

     “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Forgives us our sins as we forgive others for theirs, and lead us not in to temptation, but delivers from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen!"


For more information about this blog and the author’s two books (The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation) please click on Joe Ortiz
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