What And Where Is God?

12 05 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

God is “Infinite Intelligence of which our own intelligence is merely a part.”  I wrote those words many years ago.  The entire recollection of my experience with God is as follows:

I had essentially a “near-death” experience some years ago, similar to what others have described, during which I experienced God . . . as an intense bright light at the end of a tunnel, and as Infinite Intelligence of which our own intelligence is merely a part.  God was neither masculine nor feminine.  My mother had died months before it happened, and I felt her presence and I knew she was with God.

From that moment forward, I have never doubted that God exists, or that God created everything—heaven and earth and everything in between.  However, I continually seek to understand how God operates in my life, on a day-to-day basis.  The closest I have come is my belief that God acts through us as faith, inspiration, prayer, miracles, and perhaps most of all, love.  I believe that in expressing love, each of us is God in expression.[2]

In my mother’s Bible, she marked a passage that I discovered after her death:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 26:3 (King James Version).  In other words, God will keep you and me in “perfect peace”—not just peace alone—if we keep our minds focused on God, and trust in God.

Also, another passage from the Bible is important to me as well:

[W]alk by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (King James Version).  It was cited in a message that I read one day, which I have read almost every day since.

Its complete version reads as follows:

As a child, I needed someone to steady my bicycle when I first learned to ride on two wheels.  As a teen, I had a parent or teacher in the car beside me as I learned to drive.  In each case, there came a time when I had to let go of the need for support and put my faith in my own abilities.

Now when I have a decision to make or feel that I am being called in a particular direction, I might seek the advice of friends, family, or a professional, but I know that my strength comes in putting my faith in God within and trusting the guidance I receive through prayer.

As I pray, I let go of any doubt or fear or any thought of unworthiness, and I place my trust in God.  Each step I take is a step in faith, for even though I may not know what the outcome will be, I know without a doubt that God is with me and all is in divine order.

I walk by faith with my heart open to the fullness of God’s love, and I receive the promise of unlimited possibilities and the assurance that every situation in my life will work out.  The highest and best blessings are unfolding for my loved ones and me.

I surrender to God’s love and walk by faith.[3]

God is as close to you and me as our next thought or breath.  God is present in a child’s laughter, and the rustling of leaves on a tree, and a bird in flight, and the love expressed by one human being or animal to another.  What is God?  Infinite Intelligence, and Love.  Where is God?  Here, there, and everywhere.[4]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g.www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles

[2] I added at a later date:

Once prior to that experience, and again many years later, I survived an auto accident that might have killed me, and I did not fall from the side of a mountain when I was hiking and had very precarious footing, which might have killed me too.

[3] This entry was for the “20th Day of Lent,” March 15, 2007, which appeared on page 33 of a booklet entitled, “Enter the Garden: Spiritual Preparation for Easter 2007,” which was published by Unity (see www.unity.org).

[4] Also, it worth remembering that all life is a miracle; and why be afraid of tomorrow when today is all we have.


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26 responses

12 05 2010
naegeleblog

For A Lovely Woman Named Cynthia Whose Faith In God Will Help Her

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner wrote a book many years ago entitled, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” My distillation of what he said is that more often than not the bad things that happen are a result of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.

But where was God in the midst of the most horrific events imaginable, such as wars and the like? Why didn’t God prevent them? God gave man free will, for good or evil. God was present, providing meaning to events that seem so random and unfathomable and hurtful at the time, and giving us the courage to go on, as Rabbi Kushner has written.

We do not fail God, nor does God punish us—or so I believe. And yes, God blesses each of us in very different and special ways. The fingerprints of no human being are the same as those of another; and so too, our paths to God are unique and very personal. No one has all the answers, or is even close.

There is no “magic” way to follow the yellow brick road. And yes, some things—like the loss of a child, the onset of a catastrophic illness, or being shot and disfigured—can never be explained or understood fully. They leave gaping holes in one’s heart and belief system. It is so easy to blame God, or to believe that God has deserted us or is punishing us when bad things happen.

If you have not read Rabbi Kushner’s book, I urge you to do so. I bought it and set it aside for several years, and did not read it until I was ready to do so.

See http://www.amazon.com/When-Things-Happen-Good-People/dp/0380603926 (Rabbi Harold S. Kushner’s “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”)

Also, I am reminded of the verse, “Footprints in the Sand,” by Mary Stevenson:

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.”

See http://www.footprints-inthe-sand.com/index.php?page=Poem/Poem.php

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4 09 2010
naegeleblog

Stephen Hawking Baldly Asserts That God Did Not Create the Universe—Which Is Rubbish

The Wall Street Journal has published a rambling book excerpt by Cambridge professor Stephen Hawking and Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow entitled, “Why God Did Not Create the Universe.” This is nonsense. Even Einstein believed in a higher power . . . and Hawking is no Einstein—or Newton or Aristotle.

See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704206804575467921609024244.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEADNewsCollection; see also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/stephen-hawking/8515639/Stephen-Hawking-heaven-is-a-fairy-story-for-people-afraid-of-the-dark.html (“Stephen Hawking: ‘heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark'”) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2106025/Stephen-Hawking-visits-California-swingers-sex-club.html?ITO=1490 (Physicist Stephen Hawking frequents sex clubs); but see http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god

It is tragic what has happened to Hawking physically, but as he approaches the end of his life, it is no time to blame God for his infirmities. He should be reveling in the wonder and splendor of God’s works, not denying them. Men (and women) are not “the lords of creation,” as Hawking and Mlodinow would have us believe.

Hawking is like the emperor in Hans Christian Andersen’s fable, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Everyone was afraid to challenge him until one little child said at last: “But he has nothing on at all.” Sadly, the same is true of Hawking’s latest fanciful observations. Yet, nowhere in the article do Hawking and Mlodinow deny that God exists.

See, e.g., http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes

Hawking and Mlodinow are like two atheists baying at the moon.

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13 10 2010
Timothy D. Naegele

Chilean Miners Rescued

What a miracle!

See, e.g., http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11489439#video

In a world beset by wars, economic tsunamis, and other calamities that destroy the human spirit, this rescue effort is truly a breath of fresh air.

God did not create the miner’s problems, but it is truly a miracle that they survived and were rescued!

. . .

In an interview with miner Mario Sepulveda, he said:

‘We were in total darkness. The heat was oppressive. We all felt the Devil was down there with us. We prayed and prayed. It was a dark, black hole. We were buried alive. We were all so scared. We begged God to help us. We were worried we would starve to death or that the water would run out and we would die horribly from dehydration.’

. . .

[W]hen the drill broke through, the men ‘danced around the tunnel like crazy things’.

‘We then all believed we would be saved. The Devil was down there and so was God. I didn’t see either but I felt both. They were in a battle for our souls. And God won.’

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1321230/Chilean-miners-World-exclusive-interview-Mario-Sepulveda.html

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26 01 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

True Heroes In Life

Patrick and Patty Horan

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Tucson, which killed six people and injured 13, media attention has turned to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and her seemingly-miraculous recovery. USA Today has an article about Army Captain Patrick Horan and his wife, Patty; and his road to recovery after suffering brain damage similar to that of Giffords, having been accidentally shot by an Iraqi soldier in July 2007. The article is worth reading.

See http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-01-26-head-wound-patient_N.htm

My mother was sick and in a wheelchair, and almost died when I was a kid. Yet, she recovered after having her right leg amputated, and went on to live a full life. Indeed, she and my father are my only heroes in Life. I suspect that Patrick and Patty will be heroes too—to lots of people whom they do not know—just like a lovely woman named Cynthia is a hero as well.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/#comment-426

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23 04 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

78 Percent Of All Americans Believe Jesus To Be The Son Of God

The highly-respected Rasmussen Poll has found that “78% of all Americans believe [Jesus] to be the son of God who came to Earth to die for our sins.” It added:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that only 13% of Adults do not share that belief. . . .

Seventy-four percent (74%) believe Christ was resurrected from the dead, while 14% disagree. Another 11% are not sure.

Eighty-three percent (83%) also believe that the person known to history as Jesus Christ did actually walk the Earth roughly 2,000 years ago. Eight percent (8%) do not believe this to be true.

. . .

Women tend to believe more strongly than men in all cases.

As in past years, Evangelical Christians believe more strongly in the divinity and resurrection of Christ than other Christians do. Among Evangelicals, 100% believe Christ was the son of God, and 98% believe he was resurrected from the dead.

Eighty-six percent (86%) of other Protestants and 87% of Catholics believe Jesus is the son of God who came to Earth to die for our sins. Eighty-four percent (84%) of Catholics believe Jesus rose from the dead, as do 82% of non-Evangelical Protestant adults.

Those who attend religious services more regularly feel stronger about the divinity of Christ and His resurrection than those who attend less often.

See http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/holidays/april_2011/78_believe_jesus_christ_was_the_son_of_god

Regardless of one’s religious beliefs—or if there are none—I believe each of us is a child of God.

As I concluded in the article above:

God is as close to you and me as our next thought or breath. God is present in a child’s laughter, and the rustling of leaves on a tree, and a bird in flight, and the love expressed by one human being or animal to another. What is God? Infinite Intelligence, and Love. Where is God? Here, there, and everywhere.

And in the footnote that followed:

[I]t worth remembering that all life is a miracle; and why be afraid of tomorrow when today is all we have.

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23 04 2011
Mary

Thank you for the information and your opinion. Quite meaningful and nice to read on this Holy Saturday.

I have been reflecting today and found this verse from Revelation. I like it immensely and it helps to know those who deal with pain, will one day be free from it. From the book of Revelation 21-4:

He shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out in pain, for the former world has passed away.

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28 07 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Cancer-Stricken Father Beats Disease By Stopping Chemotherapy Because God Told Him To Do So

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported:

With a ten per cent chance of survival, he needed a miracle—and that’s exactly what God gave him.

Jacob Berger, from Indiana, was diagnosed in 2002 with stage four cancer that was spreading from the upper part of his throat to his brain.

With the size of the tumour, doctors said the chances of him being alive in three or four years was ten per cent.

. . .

Berger is now cancer free after, he said, God spoke to him and told him to stop his treatment. He did, and he attributes that message to his life and says he is living proof that beating cancer sometimes takes more than medicine.

Not only that, but when he was undergoing aggressive chemotherapy and radiation to shrink his tumour, he became sterile. Or so he thought.

He now has two children and another on the way.

Speaking to ABC, he said: ‘I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like God told me to stop taking the treatments, and told me it was over now.

‘I had confidence that my prayers were going to be answered, and that God was a healer and was going to take care of me.’

He listened to the divine advice and when he went for his next MRI, he learned his cancer was gone.

. . .

Although he believes divine intervention worked for him, he would never recommend that anyone stop their treatments.

He told ABC: ‘I’ve personally ministered to people with cancer and told them don’t refuse what doctors are saying, don’t just be ignorant and not go to the doctor.

‘I tell them to let them confirm that God is moving in their life.’

Dr Renato LaRocca, Boger’s doctor and director of the Kentuckiana Cancer Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, said the odds were against Mr Boger’s surviving.

He said that while his four treatments played a part in his recovery, he can’t explain why Mr Boger is still cancer-free nine years later.

He said: ‘Maybe his immune system woke up, maybe there was a lot of mental and spiritual depression, and once he got that focus, that’s what helped, but I never underestimate the power of the mind.’

But Mr Berger is defiant.

He said: ‘It was absolutely a miracle. The bone that had eroded has been replaced by brand new bone and there is no scar tissue.’

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2019403/Miracle-Cancer-stricken-father-defies-odds-beats-disease-stopping-chemo–God-told-to.html; see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2105122/I-willed-Timothy-beat-cancer-In-diary-extracts-raw-emotion-SHANE-SPALL-reveals-film-star-husband-overcame-terminal-cancer-fulfilling-vow-deathbed.html (“[H}usband overcame ‘terminal’ cancer and is now fulfilling a vow he made to [wife] on his deathbed”)

I know miracles happen, and that turning to God in prayer works, because it has happened to me more than once. For example, in anticipation of a painful divorce and the prospect of not being with my two kids full time whom I loved deeply, I developed unbelievable anxiety attacks and thought that I was losing my mind. My doctor prescribed Valium, which I took until it was “doping” me up, and then I stopped. I had no idea that they were addictive too.

One day driving home from work, I got a sense that I must turn my life over to God, and I did; and that made all of the difference.

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8 08 2011
Mary

It is difficult for me to reply to this one. Without a doubt when stricken with a major crisis in our lives, many of us turn to God. Perhaps He has been with us always in every aspect of our lives, but when the “big ball drops”, we CLING to Him. He embraces us and holds us in the “Palm of His hand.” He does not judge our past, but rather welcomes us and of course never wants to lose us either.

Science and Faith abide with each other, but that is not what is professed in a secular society. As I read about this man’s life and and what he did, I cannot in good conscience suggest others do the same. I have never directly had a call from our Lord saying “Mary do this or do that, or this is what will happen in your life because I have directed it to be so.” Never have I been instructed as this man has to not do something. He believed, and it appears he received instructions not to continue chemo, which we know is often used to prevent cancer from spreading and killing the recipient. It goes against medical intervention and healing in today’s cancer remedies. Why this man even had children when on all accounts he should have been sterile.

I don’t have answers, nor does he (the man written about), nor does the medical profession in this situation. I do have faith though. So did this man. But I would do everything medically possible to help someone get well for I believe through my faith journey that in this time of medical advances, our Lord would expect me to use all the expertise man has accomplished to help “make me well.” In our country we have the best means of doing so, and we are called upon, or so I believe to use those sources throughout life. Other countries don’t have the resources we do in all medical advances. We must use our talents for that is what is expected of us…………………and that means helping others get well.

Personally, I lost a brother to Cancer many years ago. He never blinked an eye when it came to the role his faith played in this sickness. When he went for his check ups, he could only marvel at the small children who were also there, energized, happy and examples to him of how one could make it through this struggle in life. He knew he would not see the same children again for their days were numbered. How appreciative he was to have lived several years before being stricken with a not yet curable disease. The children were always on his mind as he dealt with his sickness. I wonder, was that a miracle too? He died unexpectedly one day in August and my father’s words to all of us were, “we had him 12 years longer than originally thought. We just thought because of how well he was doing that he was cured.” The extra years were miracles. There had to be days when life was bleak for him, but he never let on. He showed us how to benefit from medicine, never taking an eye off the ball of our Creator. His doctors shared with us that he fought the invasion of cancer to the hilt and they believed his faith and family helped him through excruciating times. He showed peaceful strength. Jerry knew the Lord was always there. His calmness and great love for life indicated it always. So yes, I believe God is always with us, even when we question if this is so. As my brother once said to me, “He doesn’t want to lose you, Mary.”

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9 08 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Mary, for sharing your thoughts . . . and especially your thoughts about Jerry.

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7 10 2011
Katherine

Sir,

Thank you for sharing your writing. There is a wonderful book called The Hiding Place about two sisters in a concentration camp. They smuggled a bible into camp, and held bible studies with the other inmates. In giving thanks one sister thanked God even for the flea investation. It turned out the guards wouldn’t go into their bunks because of the fleas.

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7 10 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Katherine, for your comments.

Yes, indeed, God works in often “mysterious” ways.

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8 10 2011
Mary

WOW, thanks Katherine for sharing a book with us. I will have to go out and get the “Hiding Place.”

Recently I attended a Memorial Service honoring a friend of mine’s father. My friend does have faith, but needs many prayers to help through this difficult time. You see, he has lost his mother, brother, sister, sister-in-law and father in the past two years, and is the only person remaining in the core family. At fifty eight years old, he finds himself without a family. This is a tough time for him. While knowing all of his losses, I couldn’t help thinking of those who lost their families during the Holocaust, so I have gained from your writing Katherine.

I’m praying my friend will not give up nor forget that our Lord is always there helping him, even when he doesn’t understand why all his family members were taken suddenly and quickly. Please pray for him.

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8 10 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Only God Is Perfect

None of the rest of us are.

A number of years ago, I had a law clerk who worked for me while he was a student at UCLA’s law school in Los Angeles. He was excellent, and ferreted out solutions to legal issues that none of my other talented law clerks could; and he remains a dear friend and someone whom I trust completely to this day.

Before he entered law school, he received his engineering degree, and had been an engineer in Saudi Arabia. One day when I was “hyper-critical,” and being a consummate perfectionist, I “climbed all over him,” verbally, for a relatively-minor mistake in a legal brief that he had drafted for me.

He stopped me mid-sentence, and asked if I knew how the Oriental rugs were made that are sold in Saudi Arabia, and I said “no.” He answered that they were made by hand or by machines; and that a mistake is made in each and every one of them, intentionally. He asked if I knew why this was so; and of course I had no earthly idea why.

He said that those who make the rugs believe that only Allah, or God, is perfect.

Indeed, he added that the Arab, Persian, or more generally, Islamic rug makers will always put a small flaw in their work, often in a corner. Other craftsmen will do the same in their trades (e.g., a mason making a wall will put a slight flaw in an out-of-the way portion of the wall). This is to show humility before God, his own maker, and the Master Craftsman of all Master Craftsmen.

I have remembered what he told me ever since that day; and each time that I have gotten angry or impatient with myself for some mistake or shortcoming, or with others, I try to remember what he said.

Only God is perfect; none of the rest of us are.

It is sobering, humbling and humanizing to realize this. :-)

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8 10 2011
Katherine

God gave us life and free will. Also forgiveness, which we ALL need.

Mary, I have offered prayers for your friend.

It seems to me often God will let us experience troubles in order for us to learn how to help another person. When my son was an infant, he was ill. The only way to give him medicine was drop by drop inside his cheek. Many years later as my father lay dying, I was the only one of my brothers or sister who knew how to give him the medicine to ease his passing.

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9 10 2011
Mary

Thank you, Katherine, for your prayers on behalf of my friend. I believe prayer is powerful in many ways. My friend shared this with me, so I will with you. He talked with his doctor, telling him he could not stop crying. The doctor said, now you are supposed to cry, let the tears come. After my friend told me this, I asked if he remembered that the priest read the passage that had the words, “the Lord is close to the broken-hearted.” He said “thanks, Mary, for telling me that because I don’t recall all that was said at the funeral service. Your remembering those words helps me right now.” I truly believe He is closest to us when we are in the most pain or suffering. It seems you do too. How wonderful it came full circle for you to minister to your father that which you had done for your sick infant. No matter the age, God surely plays His role in our lives. May your father be happy in heaven.

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19 02 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

The Parents And Child Who Have Refused To Give Up

Ryan Marquiss and sister

UK’s Daily Mail has a wonderful article about young Ryan Marquiss of Pennsylvania and his family, and how they have persevered. The photo above is of his sister and him.

He was born with his heart outside of his body, and only half a heart. Yet, doctors at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. never gave up; and Ryan and his parents never did either.

Please read the story. It is a miracle—and testimony to faith, and never giving up.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2103342/Boy-worlds-survive-born-heart-outside-body.html

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5 03 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

The Miracle Of Henryville

Tornado

In an article entitled, “Terrified mother loses her legs after throwing herself on her children to save them from deadly tornado that flattened their home,” the UK’s Daily Mail reported:

Stephanie Decker, 36, lost one leg above the knee and the other above the ankle, yet her son and daughter escaped without a single scratch after the tornado flattened their Henryville, Indiana home.

Henryville was nearly entirely flattened by a series of tornadoes that ravaged the South and Midwest on Friday, killing 39 and leaving thousands homeless.

But while the Decker family lost their ‘dream home’ to the severe weather, they are celebrating their safety. Mrs Decker is now in a stable condition at University Hospital in Louisville, her husband said.

‘What I told her was: “You’re alive and you get to see your kids grow up,”‘ Joe Decker told the Louisville Courier Journal, adding: ‘There’s no way anybody should’ve lived.’

Decker told the paper that he had texted his wife from his workplace to tell her a tornado was heading for their three-story home.

She rushed their eight-year-old son Dominic and five-year-old daughter Reese into the basement, where she lay across them to protect them from the storm.

Speaking to the Courier Journal outside his destroyed home, Mr Decker said his wife, who is using a ventilator tube, typed out what had happened by using an iPad in the hospital.

She said she saw part of the house collapse on her and pulled her daughter out of the way.

‘She doesn’t remember anything after that,’ Mr Decker said.

Dominic then alerted the neighbours who came to find Mrs Decker, even though many of their homes had been crushed to the ground.

One neighbour, Brian Lovins, a Clark County Sheriff’s officer, used a tourniquet to stop severe bleeding and drove her until he could flag down an ambulance, which took her to hospital.

The home, which was partly built by Mr Decker and his wife’s father, is now completely destroyed, with a bathtub 200 feet away in a nearby field, the Courier Journal reported.

The house ‘took about nine months to build and about four seconds’ to fall, Mr Decker added.

Writing on Facebook on Sunday night, Mr Decker said the ventilator has been removed and his wife is now breathing on her own and will undergo further surgery this week.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2110513/Henryville-Indiana-tornado-2012-Stephanie-Decker-loses-legs-saving-children.html

So tragic, yet what an heroic woman. May God bless her and her family forever!

. . .

Once again, one wonders where God was when the deadly tornadoes struck, killing and injuring so many. Perhaps the best explanations are set forth in Rabbi Harold S. Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”

See http://www.amazon.com/When-Things-Happen-Good-People/dp/0380603926 (Rabbi Harold S. Kushner’s “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”)

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11 04 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

Miracle: Mother Finds “Stillborn” Baby Alive In Morgue 12 Hours After She Was Pronounced Dead

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported:

A ‘stillborn’ baby was found alive in a drawer in a hospital morgue by her distressed mother 12 hours after the girl was declared dead, it emerged today.

Analia Bouter was 26 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to her fifth child prematurely at a hospital in Resistencia, in Argentina’s northern Chaco province.

But after medical staff told her that the infant was born with no vital signs, her distraught parents went home with a death certificate.

Twelve hours later Analia and her husband decided to go to see their baby’s body, which was being kept in a refrigerated drawer at the Perrando hospital morgue.

Mrs Bouter told Argentina’s Clarin newspaper: ‘That night, we went to the morque. We wanted to take a photo of our daughter. But when a worker opened the drawer we heard a cry and she was alive.’

She said she ‘stepped back and fell to my knees’ after she ‘saw her stretching,’ the mother added.

‘My baby was born at 10.24am and at 11.05am was already in the drawer. She spent 12 hours in the freezing cold of that morgue. I saw for myself the ice on her body.’

Mrs Bouter said that her pregnancy was normal until she suddenly went into early labour on April 3.

She said: ‘At first the doctors said that she was born dead, then said she had died shortly after birth because she was too small to survive.

‘I don’t know who is to blame, and I’m not thinking about it at this moment. The joy of knowing she’s alive is covering every other feeling. I’m a Christian, and I believe this was a miracle of God.’

And she said that her daughter is ‘getting stronger by the minute’.

The parents, who were going to call their daughter Luciana Abigail, said she will now be baptised Luz Milagros, which means Light Miracles.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2128032/Analia-Bouter-finds-stillborn-baby-ALIVE-morgue-12-hours-pronounced-dead.html

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14 05 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

The Power Of Hope

An article in the UK’s Economist about this subject is worth reading.

See http://www.economist.com/node/21554506

Hope and faith in God are needed today, and will be required during the balance of this decade, more than at any other period in our lifetimes. People will be tested like never before.

Compare http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2160 with http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath both articles)

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18 05 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

What Is An Evangelical Christian?

I was asked recently:

Can you define an “Evangelical Christian” from just the run of [the] mill “Christian”? The reason I ask is that I’ve seen so many different definitions that I want to know YOUR definition so I can see where you are coming from.

I answered that the question was a good one; and I set forth what I believe are some of the characteristics that seem to apply to “Evangelical Christians,” recognizing of course that one size does not fit all. In making these comments, it is not my intent to belittle them or make light of their beliefs. It is wonderful that they believe in what they do.

First, among Evangelical Christians, there seems to be a need for “personal conversion,” or the notion of being “born again.”

Indeed, hand-in-hand with the need for one’s own conversion seems to come an imperative to convert others, and a belief that anyone who is not “born again” is somehow a lesser being, inferior and “defective.”

I find the notion of someone trying to force his or her views on someone else—much less a person’s religious beliefs—to be repugnant.

Also, my guess is that many if not most “born agains” have not “experienced” God—or Jesus—in any near-death or other similar experience. Yet, they hold themselves out as being superior to other Christians and “pious.”

Years ago, I had essentially a “near-death” experience, similar to what others have described, during which I experienced God. For a long time after it, I seldom if ever talked about it to anyone, because it was very personal—and it changed my life in many ways.

I did not write about it until I encountered so many Americans and people of other countries who genuinely did not believe in God or that God exists, and who were searching for some answers and meaning in their lives, and something to hold on to in troubled times.

Indeed, if I had not had my experience, I too might not believe that God exists today or have any faith at all. Certainly no “born again” or Evangelical Christian could convince me of that when such a person had never experienced God, but was merely reciting “platitudes.”

In the only article that I have written on the subject, which appears above, I do not try to convert anyone, or to hold myself out as a superior being—and others as lesser beings. The article was written so that “non-believers” in God might at least keep an open mind to the idea that there is a God after all, or some Higher Power than all of us.

Second, among “Evangelical Christians,” there seems to be a high regard for biblical authority, and a need to actively express and share the Bible. Once again, in many cases, this entails the imperative to convert others—or the notion of being “born again.”

Third, there seems to be a mixing of politics and religion, certainly in the United States. I believe strongly in the separation of church and state.

Fourth, in making the comments that I do here, I would be remiss if I did not add that I believe strongly in the idea of freedom of religion, which undergirds our great country’s strength. America is the world’s only true melting pot.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life/

With religious freedoms comes the freedom to believe or not, and then to choose what to believe. Most if not all of us are on a life-long individual path or journey to “belief,” and no other person is on that path with us. At the very least, it is a fascinating path to be on.

I have friends who are Christians of many different denominations, Jews, and other faiths; and I believe it is wonderful that they believe in anything. I am genuinely pleased about their beliefs, but generally keep my beliefs to myself. I certainly do not try to “convert” any of them.

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28 05 2013
PalomaGenios

Awesome…I missed all of this on your blog. I knew God linked me here for a purpose!

May God keep you strong Mr Naegele. He has work for you to do yet!

Gary

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28 05 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Gary.

And God has work for you too.

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27 07 2013
4 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Nigerian Man Survives 3 Days At Bottom Of Atlantic

Nigerian Rescue

The Washington Post has published an AP article that states:

About 100 feet down, on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, divers had already pulled four bodies out of the sunken tugboat. Then a hand appeared on a TV screen monitoring the recovery.

Everyone assumed it was another corpse, and the diver moved toward it.

“But when he went to grab the hand, the hand grabbed him!” Tony Walker, project manager for the Dutch company DCN Diving, said of the rescue in May.

Harrison Odjegba Okene, the tug’s Nigerian cook, had survived for three days by breathing an ever-dwindling supply of oxygen in an air pocket. A video of Okene’s dramatic rescue—http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArWGILmKCqE—was posted on the Internet more than six months after the rescue and has gone viral this week.

As the temperature dropped to freezing, Okene, dressed only in boxer shorts, recited a psalm his wife had sent him earlier by text message, sometimes called the Prayer for Deliverance. “Oh, God, by your name, save me. … The Lord sustains my life.”

To this day, Okene believes his rescue after 72 hours underwater was the result of divine deliverance. The 11 other seamen aboard the tug Jascon 4 died.

On the video, there was an exclamation of fear and shock from Okene’s rescuers, and then joy as the realization set in that this hand belonged to a survivor. “What’s that? He’s alive! He’s alive!” a voice can be heard exclaiming.

“It was frightening for everybody,” Walker said of that moment, speaking in a telephone interview Tuesday. “For the guy that was trapped because he didn’t know what was happening. It was a shock for the diver while he was down there looking for bodies, and we (in the control room) shot back when the hand grabbed him on the screen.”

Walker said Okene couldn’t have lasted much longer.

“He was incredibly lucky. He was in an air pocket, but he would have had a limited time (before) . . . he wouldn’t be able to breathe anymore.”

The full video of the rescue was released by DCN Diving after a request from The Associated Press. Initially, a shorter version of the rescue emerged on the Internet. The authenticity of the video was confirmed through conversations with DCN employees in the Netherlands. The video showing Okene was also consistent with additional photos of him on the rescue ship. The AP also contacted Okene, who confirmed the events.

Okene’s ordeal began around 4:30 a.m. on May 26. Always an early riser, he was in the toilet when the tug, one of three towing an oil tanker in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta waters, gave a sudden lurch and then keeled over.

“I was dazed and everywhere was dark as I was thrown from one end of the small cubicle to another,” Okene said in an interview with Nigeria’s Nation newspaper after his rescue.

He groped his way out of the toilet and tried to find a vent, propping doors open as he moved. He discovered some tools and a life vest with two flashlights, which he stuffed into his shorts.

When he found a cabin of the sunken vessel that felt safe, he began the long wait, getting colder and colder as he played back a mental tape of his life—remembering his mother, his friends, but mostly his wife of five years, with whom he hadn’t yet fathered a child.

He worried about his colleagues—the Ukrainian captain and 10 Nigerians, including four young cadets from Nigeria’s Maritime Academy. They would have locked themselves into their cabins, standard procedure in an area stalked by pirates.

He got really worried when he heard a loud sound in the water outside—sharks or barracuda, he supposed—fighting over something big.

As the waters rose, he made a rack on top of a platform and piled two mattresses on top.

“I started calling on the name of God,” Okene told the Nation. “I started reminiscing on the verses I read before I slept. I read the Bible from Psalms 54 to 92. My wife had sent me the verses to read that night when she called me before I went to bed.”

He survived on a single bottle of Coke.

Okene really thought he was going to die, he said, when he heard the sound of a boat engine and an anchor dropping, but failed to get the attention of its crew. He figured, given the size of the sunken tugboat, that it would take a miracle for anyone to locate him. So he waded across the cabin, stripped the wall down to its steel body and banged on it with a hammer.

But “I heard them moving away. They were far away from where I was,” he said.

By the time the divers found him, relatives already had been told there were no survivors.

Using hot water to warm him up, the rescue crew attached Okene to an oxygen mask. He was put into a decompression chamber and then safely returned to the surface.

Before the slow ascent began, a voice on the video could be heard asking Okene to give a thumbs up if he understood what was about to happen. Slowly he raised his hand and stuck out his thumb.

“Good job, my friend. Well done,” the voice says. “You are a survivor.”

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/man-survives-60-hours-at-bottom-of-atlantic/2013/12/03/cd1e432a-5c4c-11e3-8d24-31c016b976b2_story.html

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12 01 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Worth Watching . . .

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4 06 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

EVERY DAY IS SPECIAL, SO MAKE THE MOST OF IT

Athena Orchard

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported about a heartbroken family who found an inspirational 3,000-word message written on back of mirror after their daughter died of cancer:

A 13-year-old girl who died following a battle with a rare bone cancer left a heart-rending secret message hidden on the back of her mirror.

Athena Orchard tragically died last Wednesday after losing her fight with the terminal disease.

But just days after her death, Athena’s father Dean discovered a heartfelt note written in marker pen on the back of his daughter’s bedroom mirror.

The message was written after Athena was diagnosed with cancer—which she discovered after finding a tiny lump on her head in December last year.

Before she died, she penned the lengthy message which remained undiscovered until days after her death.

In her note, Athena talks about the disease which would later take her life, writing: ‘Every day is special, so make the most of it.

‘You could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day… Life is only bad if you make it bad.’

Last Christmas, Athena collapsed at home and the family began to fear there was something seriously wrong with her health.

She was diagnosed with bone cancer osteosarcoma and, in the following months, underwent intense chemotherapy to treat the disease in her spine, her left shoulder and her head.

She had to have a seven-and-a-half-hour operation to remove the tumour on her spine and wore a wig to cover her hair-loss.

Despite the difficulties, Athena’s note showed an unshakably positive outlook on life.

She wrote: ‘Happiness depends upon ourselves… Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story… The purpose of life is a life of purpose.’

Mr Orchard, 33, said: ‘It was a stand-up mirror in her room, and it was always lent up against the wall so we never saw behind it.

‘She never mentioned it, but it’s the kind of thing she’d do. She was a very spiritual person, she’d go on about stuff that I could never understand—she was so clever.

‘When I moved the mirror after she died I couldn’t believe it, I saw all this writing, it must have been about 3,000 words.

‘It’s so touching. When I first saw it, it just blew me away. I started reading it but before long I had to stop because it was too much, it was heartbreaking.’

Athena, who leaves behind six sisters and three brothers, wrote: ‘I’m waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to.’

She also wrote: ‘Love is not about who you can see spending your future with it’s about who you can’t see spending your life without. Life is a game for everyone but love is the only prize.’

Athena’s mum Caroline, 37, said: ‘We knew that Athena loved to write, that was part of who she was, it made her happy.

‘When we read the message it blew us away, Dean started to try and read it but then he just broke out in tears—when it got to the part about her illness, he couldn’t finish.

‘She was an incredible girl, so bright and so strong, she continually amazed me.

‘She was always positive, even when she was in the hospital she would be looking after me, making sure I ate and telling me not to cry.

‘We knew the cancer was very aggressive, the doctors had never seen anything like it. She fought it as long as she could but eventually she became too weak to get out of bed.

‘She was so beautiful and athletic, she loved boxing, it was horrible to watch her become gradually weaker.

‘We’re keeping the mirror forever, it is a part of her we can keep in the house, it will always be in her room.

‘Just reading her words felt like she was still here with us, she had such an incredible spirit.

‘We found a box of songs she wrote, we didn’t know she wrote songs, the words must have been important to her or she wouldn’t have kept them.’

. . .

‘EVERY DAY IS SPECIAL': EXCERPTS FROM ATHENA’S MOVING MESSAGE

Happiness depends upon ourselves. Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story.

The purpose of life is a life of purpose. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.

Happiness is a direction not a destination. Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young. You know my name, not my story.

You have heard what I’ve done, but not what I’ve been through. Love is like glass, looks so lovely but it’s easy to shatter.

Love is rare, life is strange, nothing lasts and people change. Every day is special, so make the most of it, you could get a life ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day. Life is only bad if you make it bad.

If someone loves you, then they wouldn’t let you slip away no matter how hard the situation is. Remember that life is full of ups and downs.

Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about. I want to be that girl who makes the bad days better and the one that makes you say my life has changed since I met her!

Love is not about how much you say I love you—it’s about how much you can prove it’s true. Love is like the wind, you can feel it but you can’t see it. I’m waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to.

Love is not about who you can see spending your future with, it’s about who you can’t see spending your life without. . . . Life is a game for everyone but love is the prize. Only I can judge me.

Sometimes love hurts. Now I’m fighting myself. Baby I can feel your pain. Dreams are my reality. It hurts but it’s okay, I’m used to it.

Don’t be quick to judge me, you only see what I choose to show you… you don’t know the truth. I just want to have fun and be happy without being judged.

This is my life, not yours, don’t worry about what I do. People gonna hate you, rate you, break you, but how strong you stand, that’s what makes you . . . you!

There’s no need to cry because I know you’ll be by my side.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2648394/Maybe-not-happy-ending-maybe-story-Heartbroken-family-inspirational-3-000-word-secret-message-written-mirror-daughter-12-dies-cancer.html (emphasis added)

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