Tag Archive | Jehovah

‘Tis The Season…

Currier and IvesOnce again, the season of thanksgiving and joy are upon us. A week from today we will celebrate Thanksgiving, then begin the final stretch leading up to Christmas. As we think toward turkey feasts, holiday lights, Christmas trees, and seasonal music, our thoughts are filled with the love, joy, and goodness the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons bring. The memories of Christmas past, Currier and Ives, and “sleigh-bells in the snow” are a vivid contrast to the images we see in the news today…

The riots in Ferguson, MO.

The brutal beheadings at the hands of ISIS soldiers.

The recent synagogue attack and massacre in Jerusalem.

The continuing news about the ebola virus.

Stories like these are difficult to hear, not matter when they happen. However, they seem to be even more heartbreaking when they happen during the season of “peace on Earth, and good will to men”. And whether it is personal loss and tragedy, or something that is playing out on the national and/or world stage, the main question is the same…

“Why did God allow this to happen?”

Maybe you have experienced loss or tragedy during this time of year, or know someone who has… I know I sure have. So, what do we do when these times come? How do we respond during difficult times? Here are a few things that may help…

Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. Since the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, there has been a curse upon the earth (see Genesis 3-5). Bad things happen, and while sometimes there are things and people we can point our fingers at, sometimes there’s just not. It may sound trite, but sometimes the non-explanation is the only explanation.

Salvation from sin and death does not mean we “dodge the bullet” here on earth. Being a Christian does not make us immune to tough times. The Bible says that “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). As believers in Christ, our eternal home and reward are in Heaven — this world is just a stopping point along the way. “Keeping your eye on the (eternal) prize” can make a huge difference in your earthly perspective.

It’s ok to not have all of the answers. For all of the many ways that God reveals Himself to us through His word, there are things in the mind and heart of God that remain a mystery. Job said…

Can you search out the deep things of God?
Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? ~ Job 11:7

Faith is such an integral part of the life of the believer, for “without faith, it is impossible to please God” (see Hebrews 11:6). That which we can see, touch, and understand implicitly requires zero faith. One of the very things that gives Him joy is the fact that, even though we don’t have all the answers, we can have faith that He does.

You’re not alone. He knows how you feel, for He has known immeasurable, crushing loss as well. Maybe you are saying, “Where was God when…?” I’ll tell you the same thing I would tell anyone: He is in the same place He was when He watched His own Son suffer at the hands of His creation, and die a cruel and miserable death on a cross — for me, and for you. Our sins put Jesus on the cross, and if anyone deserved to be rescued from that horrific death, it was the sinless Lamb of God. Yet God loved us so much that He refused to intervene (see John 3:16). He knew that those events had to play out in order to make a way for our redemption.

thanksgiving cornucopiaSo, whether you have always experienced the picture perfect holiday season, or your Thanksgiving and Christmas experiences have been, in some way, tainted by tragedy, I pray that this season, you will find peace, joy, and FAITH that the One we give thanks to and celebrate has not taken His hands off the wheel, and has your best interests at heart.

Happy Thanksgiving to you… His favorite!

Pastor Ron

The Survival of Israel

RP & PauletteHere are a few notable quotes:

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
~ King David

“No man should escape our universities without knowing how little he knows.”
~ J. Robert Oppenheimer

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
~ Albert Einstein

“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”
~ Groucho Marx

“Too many young musicians today want to win polls before they learn their instruments.”
~ Benny Goodman

“One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.”
~ Golda Meir

Mt. ScopusWhile a seemingly unrelated group of quotes, the one thing that they have in common is that all came from the mind, experience, wit, and wisdom of Jews. Each person quoted is Jewish. In fact, when listing the accomplishments of notable Jews throughout history, the list would include multiple Nobel, Pulitzer, Oscar, Tony, Grammy, and {insert name of award here} Award recipients. There is no denying the contribution the Jewish people and culture have made to our world. And why not? There is no other national group that has endured the mistreatment, disdain, and abuse that the Jews (and nation of Israel) has. No other nation has ever been carried away captive, yet returned to their homeland. No other nation was considered dead, and yet rose again.

Dachau 2I have stood on the Temple Mount, walked along the streets of Jerusalem, and broken bread along the Sea of Galilee. I have stood at the gas chambers and ovens at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. I have seen both the rich history and horrific tragedies endured by the Jewish people. Having seen the evidence on both sides, one may ask the question…

What is so special about Israel and the Jews?

Dachau 1Well, my friend, The answer is both simple and mysterious. The short answer comes from the promise that God made to Abram (later Abraham), the father of the Jewish people:

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
  ~ Genesis 12:1-3

Garden of GethsemaneWhile we tend to focus on verse 3, we often forget the promise made in verse 2… the promise that has the potential to affect the rest of the world… “thou shalt be a blessing.” Not only does God promise to bless the people (nation) that blesses Israel, but He states that Israel “shall be a blessing”. There is no denying the truth of that verse. Look at the rich history of contributions made by Jews in every area of society. Albert Einstein, Selman Waksman, Louis B. Mayer, George Gershwin, Jonas Salk, Niels Bohr, and the list goes on and on.

But I digress…

Wailing WallThe fact is that Israel is God’s timepiece. Whether you are talking about end-time prophecy, or the movement of hundreds of thousands of troops in and out of the Middle East, Israel is the focal point. Israel is the apple of God’s eye, and when you hear people preaching “replacement theology”, blaming, or speaking out against Israel, you should run (not walk) the other direction. If “the power of life and death are in the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21), and God “will curse him that curseth thee” — well… you do the math.

This Sunday on Ron Phillips from Abba’s House, I will be talking about Israel’s Survival. I invite you to watch on one of the many fine stations and networks listed here.

If it is not available where you live, you can also watch directly from our website. It will be available on-demand after 8:00a.m. on Sunday, October 20. Just click here.