Monday, September 26, 2016



Meeting your maker is an ominous phrase that is used to imply a first introduction upon passage into eternity which we hope or believe will be our eventual fate.  But we don't have to wait that long.  Our first introduction in not likely to be as dramatic as that the apostle Paul experienced when he was knocked to the ground on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-5),

Most of us are likely to experience our first awareness of meeting God the way the Old Testament writer did in the gentle breeze following the dramatic natural phenomena he observed.  Others recognized the physical grandeur of the world and the living inhabitants as his works.  Many still feel a sense of awe in quiet moments observing the same things,


You don't have to wait for a desperate death-bed plea to meet God.  But you have to recognize that God is unlikely to use a burning bush or some other dramatic sign of his presence.  You can avoid meeting God personally by convincing yourself the circumstance was a chance happening or a psychological aberration.  So what are the circumstances likely to give you your introduction.

I suspect an old-fashioned tent revival meeting with a dynamic preacher could be a start.  But my experience makes me think a more gradual spiritual  growth may be more sustainable.  I think there may be some ground rules for making spiritual progress.

Ask for God's help in your journey.
Don't blame God for your problems,
Ask for God's help in dealing with your problems,
Thank God for the good things in your life.
Do what you can do for yourself.
Do what you can do for others.

I think I have had multiple reintroductions to God acting in my life.  One that is available to most of us is to find God in scripture.  I never completed reading the Old Testament after several attempts.  The historical books were a bit much for me,  But Psalms, Proverbs, and some of the shorter books were more manageable.

It is worth trying what Charismatics call "cracking the book".  Open the Bible to some random page and read the first thing that catches your attention.  It was amazing to me how frequently a passage came up that seemed to address an area of personal concern.  I seldom do that anymore, it has been supplanted by daily readings of Old and New Testament texts assigned according to a liturgical calendar.  A booklet with accompanying reflections is often inspirational.


"My Evolution Blog" was my first post.  Then (May 9, 2013) I was perhaps too excited to put my name and the date on the blog.  Perhaps I was a little skittish about security concerns and retaining my anonymity.  I was 84 at the time and had already lived five years beyond what I had expected after diagnosis of a blood disorder.  I thought the Lord had given me a little more time to complete the manuscript upon which this blog was based.

Well this blog, which was to substitute for publication of the manuscript, was finally started after a remarkable stop of another health problem.  Now, over three years later, I am well recovered from hernia surgery that had been put off for many years.  It is relatively minor surgery, but my lack of enough blood platelets means surgery is more risky.  A platelet transfusion just before the operation minimized the blood loss although my blood hemoglobin dropped about 20%.  I look at the numbers on the printout  of my blood count etc. and realize why physicians are concerned,  But I feel fine in an age adjusted way and am content that I have blogged about the main things I thought I had to say about evolution and God.  So now I will probably continue with things I find of interest and think some of you may share my thoughts.

Earlier in the day I thought I might blog about a few "zingers" I might provide the two main candidates for their first debate tonight.  But I thought I better do the above, three earlier versions of it had already slipped my mind.  I thought they were great, but I went to bed and did not remember them clearly the next day each time.  So now I will return to other topics for my next blog post.

Joseph Engemann      Kalamazoo, Michigan    September 26, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016



 Wonderful people can come upon hard times physically, emotionally, and through various disabilities associated with accidents. aging, diseases, injury, abuse, poor choices, and various personal and natural disasters.  Some are chronic conditions that may have solutions or relief in ways not understood by the afflicted.  Family members may come to need help with the situation as much as the one perceived to have the disability.  I decided to share my views through this blog when I became aware of someone close to me who was trying to help a couple with a problem.  I wanted to talk to the couple to share some of the things in this series of posts.  But I was not in a position to do so, and I thought there were many more people needing the same coaching, so these posts might meet the needs of more without the abrasive aspects of my personality interfering.

When social agencies are not sufficient, and even when they are, prayer is worth considering.  The five following posts (posted over five preceding dates) are somewhat geared for the more serious personal problems, but God is there for us for much lesser things, often without our asking.  They may be helpful early in the process before the individual(s) become the subject of a family intervention, or if there is no one to intervene.

The anecdote about the driver almost late for an important appointment and circling the rows of the filled parking lot thinking “God if you find me a parking spot I’ll make a big donation to charity”, then as the corner is turned revealing an open space continues thinking “never mind, I found one myself,” may help us see how we operate when needs are satisfied.  Solutions arrived at through requests for divine help can easily become past history, especially when a natural event can be seen as the cause.  Before modern medical help for childhood asthma was available I was not able to even think of praying when I was gasping for breath during severe episodes.  But those times passed relatively quickly though they seemed like an eternity.  I don’t have all the answers, so you should be able to surpass me in your understanding.  Having something to think about is a beginning.

The five following posts listed were posted in reverse order so they would be archived in proper order for those who proceed down the sequence from this one.

Post 2 – Eligibility may help you realize everyone is created by the same God and is loved as a child of God.

Post 3 – Expectations may prepare you for answers to your prayer that aren’t exactly according to your specifications.

Post 4 – Who to ask may help if you are intimidated by approaching God directly.

Post 5 – How to ask may give you some comfort in the form of your plea.

Post 6 – Saying thank you has benefits.

Joe Engemann      Kalamazoo, Michigan     September 14, 2016



Your eligibility for receiving a miraculous cure or other aid came with your birth as a child of God.  Do you think the only God created you with an evolutionary process of near infinite complexity and duration and then would give up on you?  Not a chance.  is an early post that may give you a reason to think God loves you.  If you read the Bible you can see how even people with serious failings were and are loved by God; but that is not an endorsement for deliberately failing.  Jesus makes statements showing that God desires salvation for all of us.  Luke 4:38-44 is a gospel reading that tells of Jesus curing many with no indication of his using an interrogation process or evaluating them.  Moses and David play significant roles in the history of God’s people and each was involved in the killing of another person.

To determine your eligibility for divine help, use the following check list and check items that describe actions you did without being forced to do so,

Have you ever? -

___ smiled at someone
___ helped someone without being asked
___ complimented someone
___ put a penny in a donation receptacle
___ donated a million dollars to charity
___ helped in a soup kitchen
___ put a dollar or a dime in the Salvation Army bell-ringers pot
___ said a prayer for someone else
___ said thank you
___ voted for the best candidate

Count the number of checks.  If 0, keep trying.  If 1, you are eligible.  If 2 to 10, you are still eligible.

Remorse for past moral failings is often expressed by prisoners who seem to accept their confinement.  Unfortunately, the legal system is not geared up to return them to a free life, execution or confinement is still continued, but they are often more content (I have no statistics to support this statement, just a lifetime of reading news accounts and magazine articles of such instances).

People in danger of death during wartime and peacetime personal disasters that usually do result in death have appealed to God and received remarkable and miraculous rescues.  I used to keep such things in a file, but most were a bit long to include here, even if I could find them.

I have been the recipient of a few things that I put in the miraculous category because they were so swift in timing and duration.  Because some involved personal failings and/or are of embarrassing content I will not relate them.  If you have such things, talk to Jesus about them, he already knows more about it than we do.  Then don’t dwell on the past, accept the present, and just revel in the future.

Joe Engemann    Kalamazoo, Michigan     September 13. 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016



Answers to prayers may not come in the form we expect.  It may not be just a joke when someone says “I got the answer to my prayers, it was “no”’.  The answer may vary in its time scale.  If you are praying to find a suitable life partner, don’t insist that the next person to ring the doorbell will be the one.  It is possible that you won’t get the hoped for answer to your prayers, but later realize how fortunate you are that your prayers weren’t answered to your specifications.  The traffic jam that made you miss the plane that crashed may be in that category of answers.

Cure, relief, or the outcome you want is likely to be the outcome most pleasing to you.  But other answers are also worthwhile.

Acceptance of the unwanted condition is a satisfying outcome.  It should not be just giving up, but it can be a happy life anyway.  If you are not miserable and dwelling on your problems, the people around you will be happier and it should make you happier too.  But keep the prayers going, maybe better times are coming.


When acceptance is based on a fatalistic view of the world it may provide some degree of release from anguish.  But true peace may be within reach if you consider how many of the first apostles suffered worldly woes and martyrdom.  They knew the worldly life was temporary and expected an eternal spiritual life with rewards far beyond worldly suffering, even though their vision of that world was clouded by earthly limitations.  Being witness to the life, teachings, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus made that belief and their expectations a certainty.  The certainty is not about the details of the future as seen by those who think in terms, of health, wealth and wives, those may be meaningless as our relationship with God reaches fulfillment.

If your expectations aren’t met, I hope you will at least have happy surprises.  I’ve heard it said, if your goals are met, you’ve set your sights too low.

Joe Engemann    Kalamazoo, Michigan    September 12,  2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016




The need for an intercessor is a natural part of our individual developmental history.  Our parents arrange things for us when we are young.  Unfortunately, some of us never become independent.  In church we learn about a God so supreme, yet invisible to us, we may think we need someone that speaks his language and is on intimate terms with him and thus has the opportunity to submit our requests.  We often turn to some of those listed below to do so, although we can, and maybe should, go directly to the source.

Family and friends

Those closest to us probably already know about our problems and needs, already are concerned for us, and may already be praying for us.  Praying with them may be a step ahead of the problem because, as Jesus said, “where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I also.”

Saints and Holy People

Saints are known intercessors as they are recognized today.  Like Mother Theresa, who completed the process of official recognition with canonization September 4, 2016 after investigation and acceptance of the second miracle, and a first one earlier needed for beatification, there are undoubtedly other instances of miracles to her credit. 

Holy people you know personally may be effective intercessors.  Historically, there seems to be one or more Saints for every need.  I think that there are so many people beseeching the Blessed Mother of Jesus with remarkable success that I came up with the thought that there were too many for her personal attention (although I have no idea what Saints in Heaven are capable of doing personally); it seemed logical that God was listening in (he knows all of us and our inmost thoughts) and grants things to us to show his love for us and for the intercessor we have chosen.  That was perhaps in my subconscious when I brought St. Ann, the grandmother of Jesus, in as my go to Saint when asking for miracles.  Grandmothers have a special place in the hearts of children, so how could Jesus refuse her request or intercession?  I still ask Jesus to show his love for his parents and grandmother, as well as my parents and many others in heaven as well as for family and friends there.

If you give something to charitable organizations, they often share your address with other similar organizations.  The pleas for money are often accompanied with requests for your prayers and monetary contributions and the promise that you will be included in their prayers.  They have honed their appeals to touch your heartstrings, and I suspect the most extreme or effective ones are prepared by hired consultants that will do the job regardless of the merits of the organization.  I am inclined to limit my responses to ones I know are effectively pursuing the designated charitable cause.  Scams can often follow natural disasters faster than reputable charities in making their requests.

If you give to a fake charity it is possible God will reward you for your good intentions.  I am sure he will reward you for your good intention even more so when it is a legitimate charity.


Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

God is the source of all good, the Creator of the world and all that is in it.  God is the lover of his creation including each of us.  God demonstrated his exceptional love for us by becoming human for us and redeeming us by his suffering for us, all things foretold in the Old Testament.  He is with us always inspiring and guiding us via his Holy Spirit if we are willing to listen.  As the world goes on, with outcomes resembling the chance events we consider are explanations of the course of worldly events, God is willing to make special concession to his ultimate creative result on planet earth; we can ignore similar possible events on billions of other planets in the universe.

So, as the one that made the rules governing the universe, God is the one that can ultimately insert miraculous events without disrupting the creation he made.  Don’t worry about it.  God knew it would happen over twelve billion years ago when he created the universe.  As the ultimate spiritual being, God is outside of time by our perspective, eternally aware of the whole scope of time.

Ask away.  And grow closer to God (from your point of view).

Joe Engemann     Kalamazoo, Michigan     September 10, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016



Humility not defiance

It is certainly easier to ask God for help when you believe he exists.  Mouthing words that are not believed is not going to fool God.  There is nothing you can do that will.  If things like that don’t work, child-like defiance won’t either, even though Jesus said “let the little children come to me”.  The biblical “fear of the Lord” that is recommended for our attitude was more “give God the deserved respect”.

Realize there is no way you can bribe or threaten God to get your favor answered.  Realize God will do what is best for you.  Realize God is waiting for your request, if it comes from an intercessor or group praying for you, it may be granted quicker if humility due to asking others accompanies your request.  The more you fill your life with good works and actions showing (to yourself) your love for others, the more God will likewise treat you.  For the busy mother the attention and love given her family is worth more than joining a dozen organizations doing good work.  Regardless of our vocation in life, the “Golden Rule” is a practical guide to ethical conduct pleasing to God.

Sincerely and repeatedly

When you are desperate, sincerity is not likely to be missing.  When you are not desperate, frivolous requests should be self-evident.  If you keep asking, it is probably not a trivial request.  If it is important, keep asking; I think that is clear from the parable about the man knocking on his friend’s door at night after it had been locked.  Repeated requests may evolve into a request more likely to be granted.

Can you think of how a granted request would make you a better person?  Maybe you can include that improvement as part of the request.  You certainly shouldn’t want your request granted if it would be detrimental to you or others.

Joseph Engemann     Kalamazoo, Michigan     September 9, 2016

Thursday, September 8, 2016



“Thank you Lord” may not be part of your vocabulary.  Even when it is, if you are like me, it may be seldom said.  I wonder, if I had said it more frequently in the past, would I have the need to make requests for help.  From things I have read, some in scripture, I think God is pleased to have us make frequent requests.  Most of us, when free of depression, have many things we should thank our Creator for – life, family, friends, health, home, freedom, and country.  But life being what it is, we all will have things we think need attention or improvement.  There are many things we may want beyond healing or miracles that are worth asking for divine help to attain, so whether you need a parking spot, a better job, or improvement in a relationship, it is a good idea to enlist God’s help.

For past help, present conditions, or prayers answered, it is never too late to say thank you.

This post will be the last of six.  I intend to post the others (5, 4, 3, 2, and 1) very soon.  This will make the six appear in proper order for those accessing this blog after a week or more.  One will be the introduction to healing and miracles, two will discuss eligibility (all are eligible), three - expectations, four – who to ask, five – how to ask, and six –  saying thank you for answered prayers.  Then I should be back to evolution topics.

To prepare yourself for the project, you might contemplate the one infinite God by considering the creation that he made and knows from the most distant reaches of the universe to the smallest subatomic particles.  Before you dissolve in panic before the infinite pure existence that made everything, realize that he knows and loves you better than you do.  Don’t worry about his creation in the many other habitable planets throughout the universe, just realize that his love for you is personal and understandable through his son, Jesus Christ.  We all share in that love.  That is reason for an enormous thank you.

Joe Engemann      Kalamazoo, Michigan      September 8, 2016