Leave a comment

New York Times calls on U.S. administration to drop peace efforts

Haaretz posted an article this evening concerning the NYTimes call for the U.S. administration to drop peace efforts. I agree. It’s long past time the United States stops wasting it’s time. We need to call Kerry home or send him where his presence is really needed, and immediately cancel the recent multi-billion dollar “gift” allotted to Israel.  

U.S. President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should drop their Middle East peace efforts and “move on and devote their attention to other major international challenges like Ukraine,” the New York Times wrote in an editorial on Tuesday.

Instead of continuing to promote peace negotiations, the paper wrote, the United States should “lay down the principles it believes must undergird a two-state solution, should Israelis and Palestinians ever decide to make peace.”

According to the New York Times, those principles should include “a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with borders based on the 1967 lines; mutually agreed upon land swaps that allow Israel to retain some settlements while compensating the Palestinians with land that is comparable in quantity and quality; and agreement that Jerusalem will be the capital of the two states.”

The paper noted that the administration’s effort to broker a deal in 2009 “ran into the obstinacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and resistance from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.” Since then, it continued, “members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition government have tried to sabotage the talks.”

Saying that Obama made the right decision to give peace a try, the paper stated that “it is apparent that the two sides are still unwilling to move on the core issues of the borders of a Palestinian state, the future of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees and guarantees for Israel’s security.”

The New York Times placed the blame for the collapse of the process squarely on Israel, attributing it to Israel’s failure to release the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners, as agreed, and its announcement of 700 new housing units in Jerusalem.

The Palestinians’ response of applying to join 15 international organizations was legal, the paper said, noting that they “did not seek to join the International Criminal Court, a big fear of Israel’s.”

The New York Times concluded by saying that “an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is morally just and essential for the security of both peoples.” But achieving it will require determined and courageous leaders and populations on both sides that demand an end to the occupation. “Despite the commitment of the United States, there’s very little hope of that now.”

 

4 Comments

Hebrew-Roots?

The message quoted below appears at Charisma under the titleChristians Rediscovering Passover

For Jews and Christians, the Passover season is a special time for reflection on the rich spiritual truths contained within this remarkable holiday. Indeed, we can all observe the command to remember the incredible Israelite deliverance from bondage in Egypt…

For Christians, the events of a momentous Passover some 15 centuries later have given added meaning to this holiday, so that the truths of the first are reinforced in the latter. Deliverance from Pharaoh’s taskmasters became freedom from slavery to sin. The blood of a lamb on the doorposts became a typology of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Yet the parallels between Pesach and Easter were lost for centuries to most Christians when the early church fathers deliberately severed our faith from its Jewish roots. In time, this hostility to Judaism produced vicious blood libels against Jews at Passover.

Today, however, multitudes of Christians are rediscovering our Hebraic roots. Indeed, Time magazine recently identified growing Christian interest in our faith’s Jewish heritage as one of the 10 top trends of our day.

Even respected Jewish scholars have started joining Christian theologians in rediscovering the “Jewishness” of Jesus and the Hebraic origins of Christianity. One notable expert in this regard is the late Prof. David Flusser of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, considered the leading Orthodox Jewish expert on the Second Temple era and Early Christianity…

Flusser placed Jesus within the Pharasaic tradition and viewed Him as among the great sages of his time, such as Hillel and Ben-Shammai. But Flusser concluded that the Galilean preacher went boldly beyond the classic Judaism of that day, for instance by proclaiming the advent of the kingdom of God and espousing a radical ethic of loving one’s enemy.

As a result of such groundbreaking scholarship, the Feast of Passover is one occasion when the lineage and cultural identity of Jesus as a “son of the covenant” now holds so much more meaning for Christians. In fact, nothing reattaches Christians to their Jewish roots faster than realizing the Last Supper was actually a Passover seder meal being led by a Jewish rabbi. (all emphasis mine)

What is wrong with this message appearing at a Christian website folks? Well for one thing the article, written by an ordained minister of the Gospel (David Parsons) appears to think it was wonderful (astounding!) that the late Prof. David Flusser viewed Jesus as “among the great sages of his time”….and that Jesus “went boldly beyond the classic Judaism of that day”. What he fails to say is the late prof. never came to faith in Jesus Christ, nor ever accepted Jesus as the Messiah. In other words, Prof. Flusser, a devout Orthodox Jew, went out into eternity lost. 

No, the author doesn’t mention this, instead he uses the example of this late Prof. to encourage his Christian readers to rediscover their “Hebrew-Roots”.  

As I commented at Charisma, the great need in Christianity today, isn’t “rediscovering” Hebrew-Roots, it’s REDISCOVERING our call to preach and teach The Gospel Message of Jesus Christ, so there are less Prof. Flusser’s. 

Forgive me if anger is detected in my words, but articles like this, posted at Christian websites, make me feel like biting through nails.

*Please see the newest post at ApologeticsIndex: (The) Hebrew Roots Movement

1 Comment

Hope and Comfort: The Resurrection

“…if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” – (1 Corinthians 15: 12-20)

Amen. Christ was indeed raised from the dead! I love Paul’s words as he continues in verse 35:

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”  How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.  But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.  Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.  There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.  The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. – (35-44)

Many Christians don’t celebrate Easter…and I understand, but for me personally, this time of year (the Easter Season) is one which reminds me of the death and resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ, and also the hope we as believers have in not only our own bodily resurrection, but in the resurrection of those in Christ who have gone on before us: family and friends.  Little things this time of year, serve to remind me as well. Out my living-room window there is a dense woods, who’s trees stand ugly and barren during the winter months. I had only commented on just how barren it all looked last week, to someone on the phone. Two days ago, I woke up to budding trees and new leaves on the same trees and scrubs, which only one week ago, looked dead! New Life had sprung! I rejoiced and thanked God at seeing this evidence of “life”. Spring and Easter time brings out joy in me, for it renews hope. It’s as though God takes special pains to remind me of  yes, Jesus’ death, but also of His resurrection and of the promise of a future resurrection! As I looked out at those new tender buds which had “suddenly” appeared over-night, I could almost hear Him whisper, “don’t go by what you ‘see’…yes, those woods did appear to be dead, but see, they really were not dead at all: and neither are those who await you”

Paul continues by writing,

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (51-58)

Amen. What a wonderful promise and comfort this is my friends. We WILL, all those in Christ, hear that trumpet and put on immortality: Both those alive at His coming, and those “asleep”. One day I will see my Mom and Dad again, and my precious daughter;  And all those who have passed from this world who were in Christ.

Today I thought of these verses and of the reunion which awaits us when reading an article at Christianity Today. Why Resurrection People Remember the Dead

It blessed me and I pray it has the same affect upon you.

When I was a child, a family in our church lost their daughter in a tragic car accident weeks before her high school graduation. For years after Vicky died, my mother kept in contact with her parents, mentioning her in conversation long after our community had stopped talking about her.

On one occasion, my mother asked, “Do you ever wonder what Vicky’s children would look like?” Talking about the dead in this way makes a lot of people uncomfortable. But for Vicky’s parents, it was a breath of fresh air—healing air. At one point, Vicky’s dad told my mother, “You are the only one who ever mentions Vicky’s name. Everyone else is afraid to.” He and his family were pained by losing the memory of Vicky, so speaking her name was for them a source of comfort.

Death is a cyclical reality in all communities, and often families are forced to travel the grieving journey alone. After his young son died, a close friend of mine said, “Pretty soon Isaac will fade from most people’s memory. And any future children we have will never know him. Instead they will associate him with times of the year when Mom and Dad are sad—his birthday, the day he died, and Mother’s and Father’s Day.” My friend was not only grieving the loss of Isaac; he was also grieving the loss of his memory in the community. Forgetting Isaac meant deep alienation for his family.

A year after Isaac died, another family from my circle of friends lost their little girl, Poppy, in the third trimester of pregnancy. As with Isaac’s father, Poppy’s parents were afraid that Poppy’s memory would be lost. In a tender moment, Poppy’s father said, “I am afraid to lose the pain over Poppy’s death, because pain is the only connection I have to her.”

His words reflect a deep truth about our Christian faith. They are words of protest against the forces of death that had extinguished Poppy’s life and now threatened to take her memory as well.

Protesting Death

Nearly three decades ago, philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff issued a protest over the death of his son, Eric, in a hiking accident. “Death is shalom’s mortal enemy,” wrote Wolterstorff in Lament for a Son. “Death is demonic. We cannot live at peace with death.” For him there is only one response until death is finally overcome:

I shall keep the wound from healing, in recognition of our living still in the old order of things. I shall try to keep it from healing, in solidarity with those who sit beside me on humanity’s mourning bench.

The families of Isaac, Poppy, and Eric will not be fully healed until the trumpet sounds, the dead are raised to life, and Death our final enemy is trampled underfoot. Only then will we shout the protester’s triumph: “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55). Only then will memories cease to be the only tie that binds us to our loved ones. Only then will we be delivered to complete shalom—to wholeness, joy, and peace with each other.

We proclaim that our deceased loved ones who trusted Christ are in the hands of a loving Savior. This is central to biblical faith. Yet on this side of the Resurrection, memory also plays a central role in keeping hope alive. Remembering our loved ones who have died is part of our Christian understanding of hope.

I was asked to officiate at Poppy’s memorial. Those gathered voiced the hopes and expectations that were bound up in her life and stolen from us. This gave way to words of grief, pain, and anger over the loss of her life. Then came for me the most difficult part of the service: commending Poppy into the hands of our loving and just Savior. (Why had I not seen before that these moments deliver the sting of death most intensely?)

In the fragility of that space, I tried not to rush family and friends through the process. Yet I knew that we could not remain in that space indefinitely. A couple clouds passed behind the tall trees on that bright sunny day, a stark contrast to the grey cloud of grief that loomed over us as we sat in silence. After a few minutes, each person was given a poppy. They were invited to bring it forward and place it on the table next to a picture of Poppy’s tiny feet lying next to her parents’ wedding rings. This was our symbolic act of letting go of Poppy’s life and entrusting her into the hands of God.

Then we took Communion together. Never before had I noticed how fitting the ancient Christian practice is after a death. It neither leaves us without hope nor rushes us past the gruesome reality of death. Paul’s words,”For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes”(1 Cor. 11:26, emphasis mine), cultivate hope by enlisting us in protest against death until it is trampled under foot (1 Cor. 15:25–26).

Mourning rituals are rare in modern Western society. Instead, death comes to us like a passing advertisement displayed on a website: The news flashes and we pause for a moment before returning to our day as if nothing happened. Having spent all my life in evangelical communities, I have encountered few activities that engage churches in the process of facing death and remembering the dead.

But this has not always been the case. In a little book, For All the Saints?: Remembering the Christian Departed, New Testament scholar N. T. Wright describes the role Easter Lilies have played in a liturgical approach to remembering the dead. In the weeks leading up to Easter, churchgoers are invited to bring lilies into the sanctuary as a way to remember their loved ones with “grief, gratitude and Christian hope.” As the lilies tangibly call to mind those who have died, the worship practice makes space for grief and hope to reside together, leading our longings to stretch out for the Resurrection. Practices like this usher the believing community into a healthy memory of the dead.

Longing for Victory

Every year on the anniversary of Isaac’s death, I return to his grave. I do this as a way of observing what the Jews call Yahrzeit, an annual memorial of a loved one’s death. When I arrive at the cemetery, I sit in my car for a few moments, then ask God to help me glorify him by remembering Isaac. At the foot of his grave I begin rehearsing the memories I have of Isaac and the joy he brought to the community. Invariably my memories run out too soon—he was only 17 months old. And so I kneel down to pull away the weeds that have crept over the headstone where his body lay. In this space, the grief over Isaac and the anger over his premature death cultivate in me an inexpressible ache. The longer I remain in this place surrounded by markers of death, the stronger the cry of “Maranatha: Come Lord Jesus!” grows. I pray that Christ would bring his resurrection life into the world soon.

Practices like these are not simply a salve for individual grief. Rather, they help us corporately align ourselves with God’s battle against death, Satan, and sin. They reach into the past, embrace the memory of the dead, and rush forward in hope for a day when we are united with the historic community of faith in renewed bodies at the final resurrection. As often as we proclaim the Lord’s death and sing the word “Maranatha” in church, we join with heaven’s protest against death’s grip on all creation and cultivate a longing for God’s victory to be complete. O Death, we keep our wounds of grief from healing knowing that your defeat is sure! The scars on the body of the resurrected Jesus assure us that pain will not be the only tie that binds us to the Christian departed.

Cory B. Willson is a Ph.D. candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary and co-founding editor of Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue journal. He and his wife, Monica, serve at Grace Brethren Church of Long Beach.

Just musing today…

5 Comments

Adam, Where Are You?

Our friend Adam came upon an old post from 2007 which included a few brief words and the lyrics (and link) to the song, “Adam, Where Are You?”

Hadn’t thought of this song in awhile…it was one of my favorites by Don Francisco. Thought to share it again tonight…maybe you’ve never heard it?

12 Comments

A Miracle

Something happened a few days ago which I must share, for to me it was a miracle! First, I just thank God so much for intervening in this incident…Thank you Lord for your ministering Angels.

I have, what I call ‘that darn bum leg’, aha. My kids get aggravated with me for always referring to one of my legs as that ‘bum leg’, but that’s what it is. It’s actually nerve damage caused by the back problems. It can cause days when I ‘stagger’ alot and have to use a cane (which I hate!) or hold on to walls or furniture to get around. Other days, it’s fine. Just depends on if the nerve is acting up.

Anyway, two days ago I became a little dizzy in the bathroom and started doing the staggering routine, when I suddenly fell into bath-tub. There I was, in the tub with part of my legs and both feet sticking out over the edge, wondering how I got there and how I was going to get out. The leg refuses to bend very far, so I knew getting out was going to pose a problem.  Can’t explain exactly how I got out but I did. Frankly, it’s kind of hazy.

Here is the miracle though; not a mark on me…and not even a tiny bruise the following day (yesterday). It was very strange for it actually seemed like I fell in slow-motion. Isn’t that weird? And I would have sworn I had grabbed the shower-curtain when going down into the tub, I “thought” I heard it rip. But no tears in the curtain either. 

You can believe it or not but I know “someone” caught me as I fell. It was an Angel of God. There is no other explanation for the lack of any bruising or broken bones…or for how I didn’t crack my head on the tub.  I was also calm as a cucumber folks.

Today I’m praising God for loving and caring for me so much that He dispatched help in my time of need. 

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

2 Comments

Thank you Adam!

Anything I post here automatically gets posted at my facebook page (the title, a few words, and the link), and this evening Adam, after posting a comment under one of the recent messages (from below)over at facebook, let me know the comment “thingy” wasn’t working here at wordpress. Took me a few minutes of checking before I found the box, allowing comments, had been turned off.

Anyway, just wanted to give a shout-out to Adam. Thank you brother. Will be keeping an eye on it now, in case it happens again.

God bless you

 

Leave a comment

Sad Comment

God has led me recently to spend more time at a number of Christian Zionist and Dispensational-led websites. I praise God for the opportunities He has opened up which is enabling me to ‘speak’ to a few people. Don’t get me wrong–it’s not all “a bed of roses”. Aha. But I have actually sensed, in my spirit, a calmness which washes over me when attacked. And a love for my attackers. By this, I know the Holy Spirit is with me on these sites. 

And folks, what a field ripe for harvesting, these sites are! My goodness! If you can take the verbal attacks, (some can be very nasty), go visit these websites. Spread the good news of the Gospel message! Plant a few seeds, etc…

Anyway, I read a sad comment today at Israel Today (though an Israeli news site, it’s primarily a CZ hang out, and many articles are geared toward their interests). It’s not the first time I’ve read a comment like this, but for whatever reason this time it grieved me so deeply I had to stop and pray for the person who made it immediately. It was left by someone calling himself ‘Tony’ and was in response to an article about “what modern rabbis are saying about the carpenter from Nazareth” .

Tony’s comment is typical of that held by many Christian Zionists. Even some within the Hebrew-Roots movement believe this as well; 

“It’s all about Israel. First the Jew and then the Gentile. Jews do not need to convert to Christianity as they walk in obedience with the Torah the Word of God..”  

I only left a very short reply, in the hope of getting a longer reply back. I’d truly like to get into a discussion with “Tony”. But that’s up to God….

It’s heartbreaking to read that people who profess to know Jesus, believe there is “another way”. For I don’t believe most are knowingly and purposefully setting out to deceive people, it’s only that someone deceived them, and they in turn are now deceiving others. How tragic, how sad. 

Possessing the Treasure

Κατέχοντας ο Θησαυρός

paul the slave

2 Corinthians 1:6-9

Gralefrit Theology

Trying to explicate the inexplicable

Pursuing Truth

Eschatology studies, discussion forum, and more

For the Love of His Truth

A Christian Blog about Fundamental Biblical Facts

SettledInHeaven.org Blog

A text & video blog striving to honor Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through Bible lessons, devotionals, Sunday School studies and small group studies.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 439 other followers