Mounting evidence suggests President Obama preparing to “divorce” Israel. What are the implications if he does?

Serious times call for serious truth, and serious prayer.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

MEME-ObamaAbandonIsrael(Central Israel) — Is a divorce coming between the President of the United States and the State of Israel?

Once, it would have been almost preposterous even to ask such a question. Today, however, it feels like it’s a matter of “when,” not “if” Mr. Obama will formally abandon American support for the Jewish State. And the situation is rapidly going from bad to worse.

Readers of this blog may recall that I posted this column on January 14, 2015: “Will President Obama abandon or fully turn against Israel in last two years in office, amidst ISIS & Iran threats? Exclusive poll results.” According an exclusive poll I commissioned late last year, a remarkable 47.4% of Americans fear the President will turn against Israel soon given that he won’t ever face the voters again. I suspect the number would be much higher today

As I traveled through the U.S. in January and February on The Third Target book tour…

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Can’t Complain…

“How are you?”

That phrase is used many times per day in polite conversation. It’s a greeting that many say, without even thinking.

What are the appropriate responses?

“Fine”, “Well”, or…one a lot of people use, “Can’t Complain”.

This morning when I was at my favorite coffee shop (Bigby Coffee on Stadium Drive), I asked the Baristas that question, and one of them answered “Can’t complain…” then she continued, “Actually, I could…but they frown on that here!” We all chuckled, but it got me thinking…

Why do we complain?

What effect does it have?

Does it actually change anything for the better?

No! In fact, I think the truth is that it actually has the potential to make things worse!

Think about it: When you’re around people who complain, what is your reaction?

I would bet there are two: 1) We tend to complain also…and the ‘downward spiral of negativity’ picks up speed; or 2) We tend to view the complainers as more negative and pessimistic, and probably respect them a little bit less.

As we’ve been thinking about a lot together, Jesus said “You (His followers) are the light of the world…let your light so shine before men that they would see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven”. (Matthew 5:16)

So…are you ‘letting your light shine’, or are you adding darkness and negativity to your world?

Would anyone you work with, go to school with, hang out with or (as in this case) have coffee with, say that you are a ‘positive’ force in their world, or do you simply do what many others do–add negativity to it?

Think about it:

If we are (by His grace) followers of Jesus Christ, THE Light of the world, and If He has assured us by faith that we are forgiven, adopted into His family and assured that He walks with us and cares for us in this life, and leads us toward an eternity with Him…what do we have to complain about?

Now,  does that mean there’s nothing that is negative in our lives?

Of course not.

Does it mean we should never address those things head-on and try to fix them?

No!

Complaining, however, doesn’t help anything. It doesn’t change anything positively.

Rather, it adds to the negativity. The darkness.

 

Around here–Bigby Coffee on Stadium–the morning crew does a GREAT job!

They are positive, friendly, enthusiastic…they know people by name…they are a positive part of many people’s mornings (including mine).

Sara, Kendra, Elijah, Sherry and others are great!

 

YOU, as a Christ follower, have the opportunity t0 be different. You can ‘Shine the Light‘.

Do it!

The world needs more light…and you (and I) who walk with Jesus have ‘THE’ Light within.

Let it shine!

#ShineTheLight

Invest Wisely! (Matthew 6:19-24)

Do you have financial goals?

Are you doing anything with your money?

 

Many people in our culture are blessed to have Retirement Plans, whether they’re 401-k’s or 403-b’s, Roth IRA’s, etc.

Most are looking toward ‘retirement’. They are hoping to be able to travel or simply enjoy  ‘The Good Life’.

…but how much is necessary? Is it ever ‘enough’?

Should we always be saving ‘more’?

 

Others are at the opposite end of the spectrum, and are just wishing they could save $100 and keep it!

 

In either case, it may be that we’ve bought into a lie…the Lie that ‘Our hope, our peace, our security…is in money.’

 

I heard of a couple the other day who were both making good money, and rather than adopting the philosophy of most of our culture and buying a bigger house and a newer car as their salary increased, they set a cap. They determined what they would need in order to live well and live wisely, and they’ve determined to use whatever they make over that ‘cap’ to invest in other things–the Church, Good Causes, Generous Giving–all for the glory of God.

They are living comfortably, but are not trusting in their wealth for their security. They realize that their hope, their security and their peace lies in their relationship with God…and they want to live accordingly.

Jesus said:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[c] your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:19-24)

 

So…what are you investing yourself in?

Are you investing in Retirement Plans? Mutual Funds? Stocks, Bonds?

Is your ‘hope’ for the future in your financial wealth, or, are you investing in the Kingdom of God?                                                                         Serving the Lord with all you’ve got–including your funds, your talents, your skills, your personality and intelligence?

Truth is, no matter how much money you have–whether you’re ‘fully vested’ in your IRA, or whether you’re just trying to get through the month with money left, God has given you ‘raw materials’ to INVEST with.

You can Invest yourself in THIS World, or in HIS Kingdom.

Jesus made it pretty clear: ‘You CANNOT serve two masters…you CANNOT serve both God and money’.

Let me put it this way: No matter your money situation, you are investing in…something.

 

Invest Wisely!

 

 

What are YOU Looking at?

Have you ever been ‘locked in a good stare’?

Your brain may be elsewhere, but you’re staring at…nothing in particular?

My kids and I were talking about that the other day, and how…occasionally…the object that you’re absent-mindedly staring at…is another person!

When you finally realize it, you may have already locked eyes…how awkward and embarrassing!

In those cases, you certainly hope it isn’t an aggressive person who says “What are YOU lookin at?”

 

But I have a question for you: What ARE you looking at?

It’s no secret… the direction you look to is usually the direction you will end up going. The target is key.

Let me put it this way: You ARE looking at/aiming for/headed toward something!

The question is, ‘What’?

 

For a believer in Jesus, HE is our ‘target’. HE is our aim. HE is our destination.

Therefore, we need to ‘fix our eyes’–on Him.

 

We’ve talked quite a bit recently about ‘Letting the Light Shine’ through  us.

That is, that you and I can be the ‘vessels’ that the Light of Jesus shines through. We are His hands, feet, mouthpiece…His Body!

As the Apostle Paul wrote,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (see ch. 11), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV)

Throw off everything that hinders“–the stuff that weighs us down and holds us back from everything He wants for us; “and the sin that so easily entangles“–the stuff we struggle with and fall into–the sin.

Instead, we FIX OUR EYES on Jesus.

In doing so, our direction is changed, our path is altered, and our destination is more secure.

So, I’ll ask you again: “What are YOU looking at?”

#ShineTheLight

 

 

 

 

Show Off! (Matthew 6:1-18)

When you’re a kid and you learn something new, what do you do?

You show off!

Riding a bike for the first time without training wheels, learning to ride a bike with no hands, learning to dunk the basketball…all are things we ‘show off’! (ok, that last one is just ‘theoretical’–I wouldn’t know.)

But when it comes to SPIRITUAL things, Jesus says we should NOT ‘Show off’.

In Matthew 6, He mentions 3 important spiritual growth practices:Giving to those in need; Praying; and Fasting.

Of course He wants us to do those things–they show our heart for God and others, and our willingness to humble ourselves and put self-interest and appetites aside in order to pursue Him–but He wants to challenge our reasons for doing these things.

Jesus says “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)

Note the emphasis on “in front of others to be seen by them”.

Some people want to ‘appear’ religious, and they take care to do ‘spiritual stuff’ in such a way that they can get credit for it.

Their motive is mostly ‘self’. They want the admiration and attention.

I don’t think it means that we ‘always’ need to do these things in private, or that we should ‘never’ talk about these things–there are certainly times when we want to encourage others to take the same steps that have helped us, made us grow, etc.–but the motive is the big thing.

Should you give to the needy? Absolutely! Be generous!

Should you pray? Of course! Pray constantly!

Should you fast? Yes! It helps us focus on prayer and seeking God!

But should you do it SO THAT others will think more highly of you? Should you do it in a ‘public’ way SO THAT you get ‘credit’? Should you do it SO THAT God and others are ‘impressed’ with you?

No.

Don’t ‘Show Off’.

 

 

The Evidence

Last Sunday, I taught on Matthew 5:14-16: 

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” 

The encouragement for KCC was that we should all cooperate with the Spirit of God within and ‘Let the light shine’!

I mentioned that the power–the LIGHT–is not from us…it’s from God within us, and we are merely the vessels He uses to shine His light through. As we read in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7:

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[b] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”

So, we know that He wants to ‘Shine His Light’ through us.

How do we do it?

For many of us, we tend to think of our Christianity as a system of beliefs or behaviors. We think that, as long as a person believes the right stuff, or does the right stuff (and avoids the wrong stuff), that is all we can ask.

Beliefs and Behavior ARE important…and far too many churches are minimizing those too often. They are going one extreme error, as if ‘it doesn’t matter’ what you believe or do…what matters is how nice you are.

That’s wrong.

Yet, for me, I know that my tendency is to lean toward the other end of the spectrum–as if beliefs and behaviors are the only things that matter.

That is an error also.

What is “The Evidence” that you are a Believer in Jesus Christ?

As we consider how we can #ShineTheLight together, let’s remember these words:

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35)

As one person reminded me last Sunday in church, “If being a Christian was a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

It’s been fun to see people from KCC ‘nominating’ those who are “Shining the Light”. Keep it up! Keep Shining Jesus!

Check THIS out:

The Law…and More! (Matthew 5:17–48)

When He came on the scene, Jesus taught a refreshingly different approach to, and understanding of, God the Father.

He taught that God wanted a relationship with His creation! He loves us and wants us to come to Him in faith and trust.

There were many around at that time–religious leaders, especially– who did not welcome Jesus’ approach. They thought He was disrespecting the history of their people, and corrupting the Law of Moses. They must have thought that Jesus was changing everything, and they were (understandably) antagonistic toward those changes.

Jesus wants to clarify them: He did not come to abolish the Law!

Matthew 5:17-18: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

Jesus is not about getting rid of the Law of Moses, but rather, He has come to (finally) fulfill it!

The Pharisees looked at the Law as a set of guardrails–to keep them and the people from going outside of God’s will. And to make it more sure, they made the rules even more restrictive, coming up with a code of conduct that guided the people–or more accurately ‘hemmed them in’. In the Pharisee’s minds, the Law was all about ‘prevention of sin’ and what to do if sin happened.

Jesus came to introduce a whole new level of connection to God–one that far surpassed the Pharisees. He said “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 20).

“Surpasses that of the Pharisees”?!

That had to sound IMPOSSIBLE to the people who heard it–the Pharisees were THE Standard of religious behavior!

He then proceeded to explain some of what this looked like:

Instead of just settling for ‘do not murder’, it was more–seek peace with your brother. Seek to check yourself, even if you’re ‘just’ using unkind words.

As to Adultery, it wasn’t only about ‘not committing’, but it was more–don’t even allow yourselves to lust in your heart!

As to Divorce (which was pretty easy for men to do), Jesus set the standard much higher: Don’t divorce, period! The only exception is due to a spouse’s marital unfaithfulness.

As to Oaths and Promises, be a person of your word–don’t make a big show of the Oaths you take. Just make sure that your “Yes is yes, and your No is no” (v. 37).

As to dealing with enemies who mistreat you, don’t think ‘An eye for an eye’, but rather go much further: LOVE your enemies! Actually be generous with them!

In these, and many other ways, Jesus set the bar much higher than the mere ‘sin management’ of the Pharisees. In fact, He said Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (v. 48)

So, what are we to do with this?

Are we just supposed to ‘suck it up’ and try harder?

No. In fact, Jesus alone–Himself–is the only one who could ever fulfill this standard.

And that’s the point: He DID!

He fulfilled the Law–on our behalf!

Therefore, it is no longer about “measuring up”–we can’t!

It’s about God’s gracious acceptance of Jesus’ self-sacrifice to pay for our failure to measure up.

Now we don’t try to ‘Keep the Law’ out of fear, instead we try to follow Jesus’ example out of love and faith!

Jesus is the ONLY One who could measure up–and He did! He fulfilled it!

Now we can follow Him because of our love and appreciation for Him. We will not do it perfectly, but as we allow the Holy Spirit to work within us more, we will actually come closer!