Significant Flooding in Alagoas & Pernambuco Brazil: Several Killed, Many Missing

 Recently received email from my mother-in-law who lives in Maceio, Alagoas, Brazil.  The cities around Maceio have been devastated by flooding. One article reports that over 180,000 people have been displace and the flood is being described as the “Northeastern Tsunami.”  The flood is attributed in some articles to the flooding of the Mundau River and the breaking of dams such as one near Rio Largo from recent torrential rainfall. The areas impacted by the flooding are areas often of extreme poverty. 

My mother-in-law sent some pictures in a email but did not report the source of the pictures. They have been uploaded here:  Here is what my mother-in-law had to say:

Look at what a destruction we had in Alagoas! They have a tsunami like Katrina. We are working hard to help thousands of people that lost all that they had. For a while they are needing clothes, shoes and food, etc They are sheltered in Schools, Churches, Relatives´home, friends and others. We are seeing a mobilization from Government: Federal, State, Cities Hall  and the people in general, including also Churches to help. Our Fellowship Church is working hard, recruiting foodstuff, and other goods, like mineral water, etc. They are without drinkable water also. There are still many disappeared. Families that have lost relatives. Sure there are still many bodies under debris. They say wherever you go, you feel  the  bad smell  that  is terrible from cats, dogs, and people died. The situation is chaotic, painful,dolorous and hard.  We guess it will take about 8 or more months to build part of what was destroyed. Prayers are  necessary also to calm those people and their families. Let´s pray, OK? A big hug and love. Sonia

So keep the area in thoughts and prayers. If I learn of anyway to provide assistance to the area the information will be posted on this blog. In the meantime pray. Ultimately the number of natural disasters and manmade disasters will continue to increase. These are all birth pangs, but understanding this factor should make one more aware of time is ever drawing short and there are many who need to hear the Good News of the Gospel.  Pray for the Churches in these areas to be able to share God’s love in the midst of fear and suffering.

Here are some videos highlighting the flood devastation:

Passion Week Musings: The Olivet Discourse

In terms of Passion Week, after causing great disruption at the temple and driving out moneychangers and merchants the next documented event is that of the Olivet discourse. Jesus took extended time to give last words to the crowd of disciples. The discourse was his last public teaching. He spent time speaking in prophecy and parables. His teaching included the commentary on the ten virgins and the five talents. He also provided warning to remain in truth and warned of deceivers. He prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem and the times leading up to His second coming. It is worthwhile to take time to read the varied accounts of the Olivet Discourse found in Mark 13, Matthew 24 and 25, and Luke 21. Jesus is quick clear that there is great difficulty and tribulation coming before His return both in terms of Israel and those in God’s kingdom. He makes it clear that there are signs to attend to and that love can grow cold and people can and will be deceived. Also emphasized in the discourse is the importance of our actions following what we say we believe.Through all of what Jesus talked about, there is one point that catches my attention today.

Jesus summed up his discourse with a call to stay awake. The book of Mark ends the account of the discourse in Mark 13: 34-37 (ESV): “It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning– lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” So Jesus emphasizes the importance staying awake. The point is further clarified in the way Luke’s account wraps up the discourse in Luke 21:34:36 (ESV): “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” So Jesus does give clear directive that there will be pain, loss of self control, and distractions of life that can draw one away from attending to the Gospel.

There are endless varieties of pain; endless ways to lose self; and unyielding array of life concerns that can take the focus and result in failing asleep and failing to attend to the matters of a servant in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is noteworthy that in many circles within the Body of Christ are calls for revival and suggestions of revival happening in one location or another. In this discourse, Jesus warns not to go chasing from one location or another. He simply directs us to stay awake. Staying awake is actively attending to the matters of the Kingdom of God. It is found in loving others and attending to the various signs as they occur. It is taking focus away from pains, pleasures, or tasks of life and instead seeking to be about the Father’s business. No one else can supply what is needed, rather staying awake involved actively worshipping in spirit in truth. It is depending on the fuel of God and investing what He has given in order to spread God’s kingdom. His Kingdom is not of politics, it is not about relief of suffering, it is not about giving us all we want and reducing the cares of life. Rather, his Kingdom is about loving God and loving others fully and letting others know that there is only one way, one truth, one life, and one gate; JESUS! So stay awake and if caught up in the varied elements of life that lure and entrap like the Siren’s call of myths, WAKE UP! For Jesus return is always and ever SOON! He is the soon and coming King. We have all we need and all that is need for true revival is for each of us to wake up and actively use what God has given.