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(November 12, 2013)

I have read that there are only two reasons to pray to God, to say thank you and to ask for forgiveness. That's it. Always appreciate, never supplicate. We don't have to ask for favors, or beg, or make deals. God knows our hearts, our minds, what we want and don't want. God knows what we're afraid of and what gives us courage. God knows everything about us even before we know it.

Sometimes it's hard to feel thanks, especially when desperate times come. I’m reeling at the size and ferocity of Typhoon Haiyan. It was a 1,150 mile wide storm with maximum 230 mile per hour wind gusts and sustained winds of over 190. That’s equal to an EF-4 to EF-5 tornado, the highest the scale goes. We saw first-hand the winds of Hurricane Sandy, 115 miles an hour max and by the time it made landfall, it had become a tropical storm. It did plenty of damage in the Northeast as it was. We can only imagine what winds twice as powerful would do.

I'm thankful so many lives were spared in the Philippines. I'm thankful there are wonderful doctors and first responders in the world. I'm thankful there are people to help the recovery effort. I'm thankful there are relief organizations. I’m thankful the typhoon wasn’t in this country, but being thankful demands a practical response. It’s one thing to be thankful in our hearts, but how do we show thanks?

Pray and pay. Thank God for our good fortune this time and pray for the Philippines and its people to heal. Then write a check to your favorite relief agency.