Cut Off

It’s a bad thing to be cut off.

In the week since Hurricane Harvey brought extreme weather to the gulf coast of Texas, we’ve seen heroic rescues of people cut off by flood waters.  Families have been lifted out of these deep waters by helicopters, boat and monster trucks.  Many owe their lives to the sacrifices of National Guard members, local police and fire personnel, the “Cajun Navy” and countless other volunteers.   

It is a serious thing to be cut off.  The situation is dire.  You may not survive without interventions like these from outside the situation.

I want to talk about what it means to be “cut off.”

I attend a Torah study with some Jewish friends. Recently we were studying Numbers 9, where you can find the 2nd Passover in history.  (The first Passover occurred in Egypt, on the night before the Exodus began.)  This was a year later. Passover is mandatory for the Jewish people.  Unless you were unclean (Numbers 9 cites several men who were unclean and couldn’t participate in this Passover because they had just buried a friend), or on a journey, you were expected to celebrate the Passover.   And if you could, but failed to, observe the Passover, you were to be “cut off” from your people.  “…that person shall be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the Lord at is appointed time.  That man will bear his sin.” (Numbers 9:13, NASB)

I asked the Rabbi, “What if a young man rebelled and sowed his wild oats for a few years, and later felt the emptiness of his choices, could he return?”

The Rabbi said, “No,” he would remain cut off from his people.  I remember a brief silence following.  I wondered if any of my Jewish friends in the room had ever missed a Passover.  I know the Rabbi’s answer jarred me – it was very bad news to hear someone say you are “cut off.”  It’s a permanent thing.

Interestingly, the scripture applies this term to the Messiah.

The prophet Isaiah described a person who, like a Passover lamb, was led to slaughter and “cut off from the land of the living” for the sin of His people. (Isaiah 53:8)

The prophet Daniel foresaw that before the Messiah would reign in victory, he would be “cut off and have nothing.”  Interestingly, Daniel saw that a short while later the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. (Daniel 9:26)

The Messiah was “cut off.” But it was in our place.

Jesus is that Messiah who rescues all those who have been “cut off.”

The gospel of Matthew cites another prophecy of Isaiah that is fulfilled by Jesus.  “The people who were sitting in darkness [cut off] have seen a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and the shadow of death [i.e., cut off], upon them a light dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)

All who are cut off can now be restored and brought near again.  They can be grafted back into the olive tree, adopted back into the family, welcomed back in the household, the garden of God.

I was once cut off but no longer.  I received this mercy.  And I did not deserve any of it.

You do not have to remain cut off.  Rescue is available.   That is why we say that the Messiah is also our Savior.

There is nothing quite so glorious as a rescue.  Snatched from an impossible situation and placed on firm footing.

That is the glory of the Cross of Jesus.

Pas Fini!

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under PAS FINI

What’s Wrong About “Black Lives Matter”

For a constructive answer to this question, read this article, The “Black Lives Matter” Slogan Ignores Self-Destructive Behavior, by Derryck Green, Project 21. (Project 21 is an initiative of the National Leadership Network of Conservative African Americans.)

A few quotes from the article:

“Activism advocating that black lives matter could have much more moral authority, and could be taken much more seriously, if it focused on actions devaluing black lives. These have very little to do with white cops and everything to do with self-destructive black behavior.”

“We are killing our own at an alarming rate.”

“If we don’t take our own lives seriously, why should we expect or demand that anyone else do so?”

Find the full article here:

http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21NVGreenBlackLivesMatter90115.html

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Civil Discourse

Why Give Thanks?

Why give thanks?

When we daily enjoy the fruits of heaven.

Wonderful created blessings showered upon,

Food, music, beauty, life, consciousness, skills, love.

Every good thing comes from the Giver.

But they are tastes, mere shadows.

We are designed to enjoy God, restless until we find Him.

Each path to God must come to Jesus, sooner or later.

Because only Jesus could pay what we could not.

His death for ours.  Raised to life, also ours.

Do you know Him? Are you right with Him?

He is good to you, calling to you, waiting for you.

Will you stop and listen?

Will you invite Him in.

Doubts? Ask Him for light.

What reason is sufficient for ignoring His goodness?

Give thanks to God!

Leave a comment

Filed under What I Believe

Trying to Make Sense of the Islamic Terrorists’ Carnage: Not Just a Political and Military Battle

The following post is from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous.  Written, January 25, 2015.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts his voice, the earth melts.  The Lord Almighty is with us;   the God of Jacob is our fortress.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.   He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;   he burns the chariots with fire.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the Nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear… [1]

Trying to make sense of Islamic terrorists’ war against the freedoms and values we adhere to and enjoy is a formidable challenge.  It is confusing; especially when Islamic terrorists make no delineation between the Body of Christ and Western civilization.

When it is plain that Islamic terrorists will not compromise, there leaves no room for peaceful negotiations without an exchange of money which just provides more fuel for their fire.  So when political means to bring an enemy to the table to negotiate a solution fails, then military measures are employed.

Islamic terrorists’ plans, values and vision are so intensely held by the adherents that they are willing to die for their cause.  Nation states’ military means to eradicate their damnable aspirations are simply a strategy that cannot prevail by itself. By no means am I saying nation states should not employ military options.  However, it cannot be the only means to defeat such an insidious, horrific belief system which is an antithesis to God’s Kingdom.  The Church has the greatest role. [2]

Evil ideals have worn Nazi uniforms, informed Stalinists purges, fostered Congo’s culture of rape, banished Africans to slave traders’ death ships, strapped bombs on vests of eight year-old girls, etc. all throughout history and will continue as long as Jesus Christ tarries.

Islamic terrorists’ ideals embody the forces and values of the hordes of Hell.  Their ideals are voiced by Satan as the ventriloquist. Satan took the form of a serpent in God’s garden Eden.  In this Day, the god of this age [3] among a myriad of his evils is riding herd among Islamic terrorists – puppeteered-dummies.  I am not saying Islamic terrorists are robots without the culpability for their behavior and doctrine; unless they repent and turn to Christ, they will die in their sins. [4]

How do you defeat such evil and monstrous plans, values and vision?  You defeat it with the Gospel.

God and His Word will defeat Islamic terrorists and their ideology.  “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” [5]   That is the future and something that is developing, but we live in the meantime.

In the meantime, the Church is emboldened and commissioned by Jesus Christ to pray “your Kingdom Come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” [6]

God implores us not to fear: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. [7]

The Church has been commissioned to send its Body to where Christ has not yet been proclaimed. [8]

Carnage brings spiritual confusion and questions.  I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. [9]   First things first for the Church are our Father’s glory to be manifested among all the Peoples of the earth and His Name to be known among all Nations [10] .    We are to send workers to the most difficult places on earth.  Jesus told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. [11]

A Christian serving the Syrian refugees in the Middle East could count on one hand the number of Syrians who came to Christ within his midst prior to the civil war in all the years he and his family served.  Since the war’s inception a few years ago, he has seen and heard about hundreds of Syrians who have come to Christ.  (That is only what he has seen and heard.  May the number be in the thousands, Lord?)

Mao’s diabolical regime in China was a major impetus to probably greatest harvest in God’s history to date.    Islamic terrorists’ ideology might never die in our life time; but we have absolute certainty that its ideals will be crushed and vanquished by God by the End of this Age.  The things that will prevail are God, His Word, His love, and His purposes to defeat Satan, and sin altogether. [12]    Then…

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. [13]

Peace to you…

 Notes:

[1] Psalm 46:6-7, 9-10, 1-2b

[2] Ephesians 3:10 – His intent was that now, through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

[3] 2 Corinthian 4:4 – The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  Ephesians 2:1-2 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

[4] John 8:24

[5] Revelation 11:15

[6] Matthew 6:10

[7] Isaiah 41:10

[8] Matthew 24:14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

[9] John 4:35b

[10] Habakkuk 2:14  For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

[11] Luke 10:2-3

[12] John 12:31  Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

[13] Revelation 21:3

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Thoughts

Show Your Faces ISIS

ISIS murder proudly with masks over their faces.

Boys, not men.  Never grew up.

Real men own their actions, show their face.

 

If God is on your side, show your face.

If your God is great, he can protect you.

If your God is great.

 

You dole out momentary suffering to others,

to earn everlasting torment for yourselves.

That’s not smart.

 

You’re in over your heads.

Mohammed can’t help you.

Only Jesus can.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Thoughts

Washington Didn’t Deserve This

When the capital of the United States was named after our first president, it was intended to be an honor for the man known as the “father of our country.”

That was then.

Now the name “Washington” is a byword.   I won’t even waste the effort to cite examples of the corruption, dishonesty and excess.  They are legendary.

We, the people, have let our national government become a disgrace to its good name.

George Washington doesn’t deserve this.

We should spare further abuse of this name by renaming our capital city something more fitting to its character.

What do you think?

 

Note: I’m fed up with the moral bankruptcy of our federal government.  Certainly not every representative is individually so, but the “tone at the top” of the USA is evidently morally deficient.  I wrote this piece after hearing the news that Harry Reid said on an interview today that he is not sorry he spread lies about Mitt Romney’s taxes during the 2012 presidential campaign.  All that matters to him is that Mitt Romney lost.   But Harry Reid is just one in a seemingly endless parade of such things.   Source: Washington Examiner  http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/harry-reid-is-proud-he-lied-about-mitt-romneys-taxes/article/2562300

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Thoughts

A Viktor Frankl Story

I’ve been reading Viktor Frankl’s classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning.  He was a survivor of Auschwitz.  He saw evil I have never experienced firsthand.  In that man-made hell on earth he also saw things that defy the darkness, things that seemed to be glimpses of heaven touching earth.  For example, this excerpt I read last night…

“… the story of the young woman whose death I witnessed in a concentration camp. It is a simple story. There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented it; but to me it seems like a poem.

“This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. “I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,” she told me. “In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.” Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, “This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.” Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. “I often talk to this tree,” she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. “Yes.” What did it say to her? She answered, “It said to me, ‘I am here — I am here — I am life, eternal life.'” (1)

What do you think of that?

A young woman talking to the branch of a tree, and the branch seeming to speak back to her?

It said “I am life, eternal life.”

I remembered that the Messiah is referred to as the “Branch” in the Old Testament (see Jer. 23:5, 33:15-16; Isaiah 4:2, 11:1-5; Zechariah 3:8, 6:12-13)

Somehow, the branch was a source of hope of life to this young woman that the worst of persecution could not touch.

Is it possible the Messiah Himself was speaking to her in her most unthinkable anguish?

Is it possible His presence is what ultimately sustains us in our times of greatest need?

 

(1) Source: From Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Copyright © 1959, 1962, 1984, 1992 by Viktor E. Frankl. Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, Boston (www.beacon.org). http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/voices/frankl.html

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under My Reads