The Jews Killed Jesus, Didn’t They?

-point to ponder-

Whole denominations of the Church have been taught that God rejected the Jews, because they were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. They ignore the fact that Jesus willingly laid down His life, and that the Jewish religious leaders (not the multitudes of Jews who followed Jesus), in complicity with the Gentile Romans, put Him to death.

by Nancy Petrey

Care RootsThe fact that the Church has Jewish roots escaped my notice as a Christian until twenty years ago. I had a rude awakening when I attended an “Israel in Prophecy” Conference. I was shaken to learn that the “Father of the Protestant Reformation,” Martin Luther, the one who wrote the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” had also written a booklet, “Concerning the Jews and Their Lies.” This booklet was published by Goebbels in 1936 and became official Nazi propaganda![1] I learned that Luther was influenced by replacement theology, the belief that the Jews had killed Jesus, so God had rejected them as His chosen people and replaced them with the mostly Gentile Church. Replacement theology, a deadly virus, would give God’s covenants, promises, and blessings to the Church and leave the curses to the Jews. The process that cut off the Jewish roots of the Church began around A.D. 135 and was made official by Constantine at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. At that time pagan practices took root instead! Anti-Semitism flourished in the Church and found expression in the Crusades, the Inquisition and, finally, the Holocaust.

Whole denominations of the Church have been taught that God rejected the Jews, because they were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. They ignore the fact that Jesus willingly laid down His life, and that the Jewish religious leaders (not the multitudes of Jews who followed Jesus), in complicity with the Gentile Romans, put Him to death. However, a distinct Hebrew Roots movement began emerging in the mid-1990s.[2] Today many Christians are getting reconnected to their Jewish roots, as God has revealed to them the tremendous debt the Church owes to the Jewish people through whom we received our Messiah and the Scriptures. Attention has now been given to Paul’s admonition that we “wild branches,” Gentile believers, have been grafted into the Jewish olive tree, and that we should not boast against the natural branches, the Jews. It is the root which supports us. We have received our nourishment from their cultivated tree.[3]

Since my attendance at that conference in 1995, I have become aware that the Church was born on a Jewish feast day (Shavuot/Pentecost), and Jewish apostles, including Paul, spread the gospel. The first fifteen bishops of the Church were not only Jewish but relatives of Jesus Christ![4] There were possibly no Gentile members until ten years later.

My little book of forty pages, Why Christians Should Care About Their Jewish Roots, is a great resource for Christians to help them align with God’s purposes in the end times, thereby preparing the way of the Lord as He returns to Jerusalem. Don’t forget that Jesus was born King of the Jews and died as King of the Jews. Our Messiah is Jewish! How fitting that the King of kings and Lord of lords will reign over the world from Jewish Jerusalem, another proof of the Jewishness of Christianity.

Every pastor should have a copy of this book, not only for the reasons already stated but to help his people become aware of and guard against a new form of anti-Semitism, which is anti-Zionism. Replacement theology and Palestinian liberation theology[5] have combined to give birth to the BDS  movement (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel, the Zionist nation.  Some churches and Christian leaders have bought into the Palestinian narrative – “everything’s Israel’s fault.” Exposing the error of this disguised anti-Semitism was one of my objectives in writing the book. Be aware that those who bless Israel are blessed, and those who curse Israel are cursed (Gen. 12:3).

Did the Jews Kill Jesus? What is your answer to that question?   My answer is that all of us who claim Jesus as Savior and Lord, both Jews and Gentiles, are the ones who killed Jesus, because He died for our sins. He willingly gave His life, so we could be forgiven and have eternal life.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Jews_and_Their_Lies

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_Roots

[3] Romans 11:11-32

[4] Dr. Ron Moseley, Yeshua, A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Early Church (Baltimore: Messianic Jewish Publishers, 1996, p. xviii), p. 11 citing Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History.

[5] Based on social justice as seen through the eyes of the poor. Detractors call it “Christianized Marxism.”

Have You Thought About Your Legacy?

-point to ponder-

In this post, Nancy Petrey combines the legacy of the church—its Jewish roots—with her personal legacy of a Mizpah. She asks us what legacy will we leave behind? This is a question well worth pondering. ~EDN Editor

Jewish Roots

by Nancy Petrey

This idea of a legacy kept popping up over a period of time, until I decided to get some things down on paper that my family would never know about me unless I told them. I wanted them to understand the special call God had given me, so they could embrace it themselves and pass it on to succeeding generations. I reasoned that unless I gave an account of where God had led me and what He had taught me, they may have just passed off my travels and activities as eccentric behavior or merely a phase I was going through.

God called me to be a Mizpah for Israel twenty years ago, and it hasn’t been a passing phase. I have been a watchman and a witness. I wrote it all down just like God told Habakkuk to do: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it” (Hab. 2:2). My “vision” was published as Jewish Roots Journey, Memoirs of a Mizpah, and you can even read it on your tablet! It is in paperback form also.

God revealed so many things to me and woke me up to see that Christianity is Jewish, Jesus is Jewish, the first church was Jewish, the Bible has Jewish authors, and Jesus is coming back to Jerusalem, the Jewish capital, and will rule the whole world from there.

As a result of my call, I have made seven trips to Israel, have studied Hebrew, have led Israel prayer groups and Passover Seders, supported Jewish ministries, hosted speakers from Israel, obtained a master’s degree in Religious Education in Middle East History, and have taught community Bible studies.

As I tell of my experiences both in and out of Israel, I include scriptural nuggets of truth. I point to fulfillment of prophecy in the increase of Jews making aliyah (immigration to Israel) and show how the Hebrew alphabet is a picture language, portraying the Messiah, plus more.

Some of the things that have happened to me in my journey make for interesting reading. The reader can find out what happened when —

  • They laughed at me as I received my Master’s Degree diploma.
  • I was invited to go onstage and dance at a folk music program in Jerusalem.
  • Janice and I were searched, interrogated, searched, and interrogated again at the JFK airport waiting to board the plane to Israel.
  • I confronted the thief who picked my pocket in the Old City!
  • Janice and I each received a check for $3,333.33 to pay for our trip to Israel.
  • I actually visited ancient Mizpah on my second trip to Israel.
  • Jennifer Griffin of Fox News called me from Jerusalem and said it was too dangerous to come to Israel because of an increase in suicide bombings!
  • Janice tells about the time she had a vision of Jesus in the synagogue!

My book is part of the legacy I am leaving to my children and grandchildren of how I have put my faith into action and have passed on to others what I learned about the Jewish roots of the Church – past, present and future. And the future part is really getting exciting in these days!

I pray that my family and other people will be inspired by my Jewish roots journey and will catch the vision and “run with it!”

            Every person is leaving a legacy. It can be positive or negative. What is your legacy?


If you’d like to purchase this book go to: http://direct.energion.co/authors/authors-n-s/nancy-petrey/jewish-roots-journey

What is Your Favorite Role in Relation to Jesus?

-point to ponder-

We are disciples, friends, worshipers, servants, children, sheep, joint-heirs, subjects, ambassadors, soldiers, and the bride of Christ. These are wonderful roles, and God makes it possible for us to fulfill them all. But we must not lose sight of God’s overarching purpose for the Church – He is seeking a wife for His Son.

Habitation of Honeyby Nancy Petrey

As Christians there are many roles we play in our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are disciples, friends, worshipers, servants, children, sheep, joint-heirs, subjects, ambassadors, soldiers, and the bride of Christ.

These are wonderful roles, and God makes it possible for us to fulfill them all. But we must not lose sight of God’s overarching purpose for the Church – He is seeking a wife for His Son. The Bible begins and ends with a marriage! God performed the first wedding ceremony in joining the “first Adam” to his wife Eve.

In the back of the book we see the “second Adam,” Jesus Christ, and His wife at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It is significant that Jesus did His first miracle at a wedding, turning water into wine. This was no happenstance. It demonstrated His priority of ministry. But why turn water into wine? Maybe the answer is found in a song the Lord gave me. When I was arranging my collection of poems and songs into a book, Habitation of Honey: Poems and Songs, I realized that there was a recurring wedding theme, so I placed “The Wedding Feast” at the end of the book to sum up that theme. The back cover accentuates the theme with a beautiful chuppah (wedding canopy) and the chorus of this song:

The Wedding Feast
(You Are Aged Wine)
~ Song based on John 2:1-11 ~

Have you ever heard the story of the wedding in Cana of Galilee?
Have you thought much about the stone pots that were used for the wine?
They were sitting there waiting to be used; they had great capacity,
But till Jesus came they were empty as they could be.
There was a wedding, and Jesus had them filled to the brim with water.
He said, “Draw some out. Take it to the master of the feast.”
When the master of the feast tasted the water that was made into wine,
He called the Bridegroom and said, “What you have done is so very fine.”
The world serves their best wine at the first and saves the worst till last,
But Jesus has a better idea: He ages His wine.
And as the days grow long, and you don’t feel so strong, He will come to you,
Fill you up with Living Water, and He’ll change you into finest wine.

CHORUS 1:
You are aged wine. I’ve been saving you a long time.
You are aged wine. You are a wonder and a sign.
You are aged wine. To everything there is a season and a time.
The Bridegroom has had a long fast. He’s saved the very best till last!

 You were that water pot that was empty till Jesus came your way.
At the wedding of your spirit, you were filled with Living Water, just a pot of clay.
Now He’ll pour you out, and you’ll quench the thirst of a dying world.
He’s saved the best till last. You’re the finest wine that He has!

CHORUS 2:
You are aged wine. I’ve been saving you until the end of time.
You are aged wine. You are a wonder and a sign.
You are aged wine. The King is coming soon, He’ll say, “You are Mine.”
The Bridegroom at last will have His bride, and He’ll take you to His side.
He’ll take you up into the air – for this day you must prepare –
To His throne in New Jerusalem for the wedding feast of the Lamb!

Words & Music by Nancy Petrey, June 12, 1995, © October 23, 1995;
Revised September 13, 2009

            This song is an encouragement to Christians in their sunset years, whose greatest days of service are still ahead. So the book closes with anticipation of the arrival of our Bridegroom, which should be the focus of every Christian’s life.

 The most exciting aspect of my relationship with Jesus is that I am the bride of Christ. What is yours?


Charting a multi-faith course

-point to ponder-

"There's nothing like the personal experience of one who has walked in your shoes. If you are in a mixed-faith marriage, or counsel those who are, LaRochelle's insights can be a sure guide through these tricky waters."  ~EDN Editor

by Robert R. LaRochelle

What advice would you offer to couples who are in interreligious situations? What might be some ways of navigating through these differences successfully?

CrossingIn A Home United, I offer several suggestions for dealing with this reality. I would love to read what you have to say. In addition, if anyone has concrete, real life experiences you would like to share, I would really encourage you to post them.

I need to say, however, that ‘interreligious situations’ covers a multitude of possibilities. One might mean Christian-Jewish, Catholic-Protestant, believer-agnostic or atheist, Buddhist-Muslim, Jewish-Hindu, or a good number of other possibilities. I would be very interested in having us share personal experiences or comment on what we have learned in real life pastoral situations.

By way of self-disclosure, as I say in this book and in Crossing the Street (Energion), I am a Protestant clergyperson and I am married to a Roman Catholic. In Crossing the Street, I detail a lot of my journey. This journey includes the movement in my own life from active ordained Roman Catholic to Protestantism. In A Home United, I touch upon these questions I ask here. I believe sharing from your personal experience can really enliven this conversation and I look forward to reading and commenting upon what you have to say!!


Is love enough for any marriage?

-point to ponder-

Robert LaRochelle ask us to discuss these questions that need to be addressed by couples seeking to commit to one another: possible children, finances, each other’s personality, relationships with families of origin. What do you think? Would you add to this list (as he does in his book)?

by Robert R. LaRochelle

 Home UnitedHow important is it to discuss the subject of religion BEFORE you are married? In what ways might religious matters become issues over the course of a marriage?

There are many topics couples looking at a commitment to one another need to discuss. Among them would be: possible children, finances, each other’s personality, relationships with families of origin…and many more. In my book, A Home United: Strategies for Couples with Different Beliefs, I argue that couples need to put religious issues on the table for discussion. What do you think?

The viewpoint I espouse is a basic one: I would answer my own question by saying that it is potentially dangerous for the relationship if these issues go unaddressed.

How about having a discussion about this right here in this space?


 Here’s a link to Bob’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ahomeunited

Can mixed-faith marriages succeed?

-point to ponder-

This book is intended to encourage serious conversation between individuals contemplating marriage, preparing for marriage and those who are married. In it, I look at the strengths and weaknesses of these inter-religious relationships.

by Robert R.  LaRochelle

Home UnitedRecent statistics show that about 40% of all married individuals marry someone who comes from different religious backgrounds from their own. In addition, it appears that around 22 % of Americans are ‘ nones’, i.e. people without religious affiliation.

I’m often asked, “Do these religious differences pose potential problems that may arise within a marriage? And, might there be a positive side to these realities?”

My recent book, A Home United: Strategies for Couples with Different Beliefs, is based on the simple fact that the above numbers cited represent basic facts. The book is intended to encourage serious conversation between individuals contemplating marriage, preparing for marriage and those who are married. In the book, I look at the strengths and weaknesses of these inter-religious relationships.

It is my conviction that problems could occur in these relationships if they are not addressed honestly and openly. In this book, I offer particular, specific questions and encourage couples to discuss them. In addition, I suggest these questions as resources for those who work to prepare couples for marriage. I also think these questions will be helpful to those already married who may very much need to address the issues discussed in this book.

I would appreciate it if YOU would post your response to the questions I list above. By the way, in the book I make clear that when I am discussing married or engaged couples, I am being inclusive, i.e., I am commenting on same sex and heterosexual couples.


Devotion – Reading the ancient poet as Jesus would have read

-point to ponder-

We are privileged to discover just how creative the word of the Psalms is as we discover how it works in us. The work is a mystery within us, not our own doing.

by Robert MacDonald

PsalterHow can we begin to appreciate the gift that we have in the Psalms? They are more than just a random collection of poems. They are, when read together in sequence, a complex history of the people of Israel. This is a history that was written for all of us to learn from. As I noted in the previous post, they are written to form a community of the merciful who have learned mercy through their covenant with God. This is a community that has learned to behave as God behaves. You might ask if this has ever happened yet.

We are privileged to discover just how creative the word of the Psalms is as we discover how it works in us. The work is a mystery within us, not our own doing. A servant who is corrected and freed from bondage is both devoted and filled with praise. So let us move from the narrow place of Psalm 3 to the fullness of praise in the final 5 Psalms. This will be the result of meditation on Yahweh’s Instruction as described by Psalms 1 and 2, and reflected in Psalm 149.

To appreciate how the Psalms bring praise, read their full instruction from 1 to 150. In Seeing the Psalter, I have done just that. As we go through them in the sequence they have been arranged in, we appreciate how differing aspects of the story are revealed and we look for structural markers (and there are some that are quite obvious in the story as a whole). To outline the markers is relatively easy but they are not to be known just by some abstract reasoning as if answers were sufficient.

One cannot appreciate fear, lament, forgiveness, love, care, correction, or exile by just thinking about it. One must be immersed in the experience, learning from the one who has your best interest in mind and who knows your every quirk and the needs that you have that you don’t know about or even would want to admit. But there it is. We are known, exposed, and vulnerable. These songs are important for us so that we come to know Yahweh (יהוה, the LORD) as our courage, with the same passion as David expresses in Psalm 18:

I am passionate about you יהוה my courage,יהוה my cliff, and my fortress and my security, my God, my rock. I will take refuge in him, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my retreat. Praising, I will call יהוה and from my enemies I will be saved.

Once the process has begun, no one will want to give up on it, even as its extremes become clearer. One is in the presence of the One whose character is ultimately reliable (Psalm 146) even if one could ascribe futility to the children of humanity as David does in Psalm 144: humanity is like futility, its days as a shadow passing away.

Because we become overly familiar with the Psalms in our favorite translation, I have left my readings in unpunctuated and sometimes foreign-sounding English. This will encourage slow reading and pondering. Here is an example of how I have laid out the text. All my English words are chosen with the help of computer programs that I have written to assist me with concordance, parallels, and the music of the text, about which much more could be said. This is Psalm 146. Note how the poet describes the character of his Lord and God, Yahweh (יהוה verses 7 to 9). It is this character of God that we see clearly in the person of Jesus.

הַֽלְלוּ־יָ֡הּהַלְלִ֥י נַ֝פְשִׁ֗י אֶת־יְהוָֽה 1 Hallelu YahPraise יהוה O my being
אֲהַלְלָ֣ה יְהוָ֣ה בְּחַיָּ֑י
אֲזַמְּרָ֖ה לֵֽאלֹהַ֣י בְּעוֹדִֽי
2 I will praise יהוה in my life
I will sing psalms to my God while I still exist
אַל־תִּבְטְח֥וּ בִנְדִיבִ֑ים
בְּבֶן־אָדָ֓ם ׀שֶׁ֤אֵֽין ל֥וֹ תְשׁוּעָֽה
3 Do not trust in princes
in a human child
where there is no salvation to it
תֵּצֵ֣א ר֭וּחוֹיָשֻׁ֣ב לְאַדְמָת֑וֹ
בַּיּ֥וֹם הַ֝ה֗וּא אָבְד֥וּ עֶשְׁתֹּנֹתָֽיו
4 its spirit goes forth
it returns to its humus
In that day its gleams perish
אַשְׁרֵ֗י שֶׁ֤אֵ֣ל יַעֲקֹ֣ב בְּעֶזְר֑וֹ
שִׂ֝בְר֗וֹ עַל־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהָֽיו
5 Happy the one who has the God of Jacob for its help
Its reliance is on יהוה its God
עֹשֶׂ֤ה ׀ שָׁ֘מַ֤יִם וָאָ֗רֶץאֶת־הַיָּ֥ם וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֑ם
הַשֹּׁמֵ֖ר אֱמֶ֣ת לְעוֹלָֽם
6 who makes heaven and earth
the sea and all that is in them
keeping truth forever
עֹשֶׂ֤ה מִשְׁפָּ֨ט ׀ לָעֲשׁוּקִ֗יםנֹתֵ֣ן לֶ֭חֶם לָרְעֵבִ֑ים
יְ֝הוָ֗ה מַתִּ֥יר אֲסוּרִֽים
7 doing judgment for the oppressed
giving bread to the hungry
יהוה releasing the prisoners
יְהוָ֤ה ׀ פֹּ֘קֵ֤חַ עִוְרִ֗יםיְ֭הוָה זֹקֵ֣ף כְּפוּפִ֑ים
יְ֝הוָ֗ה אֹהֵ֥ב צַדִּיקִֽים
8 יהוה giving sight to the blind
יהוה consoling the disturbed
יהוה loving the righteous
יְהוָ֤ה ׀ שֹׁ֘מֵ֤ר אֶת־גֵּרִ֗יםיָת֣וֹם וְאַלְמָנָ֣ה יְעוֹדֵ֑ד
וְדֶ֖רֶךְ רְשָׁעִ֣ים יְעַוֵּֽת
9 יהוה sheltering the guest
orphan and widow he relieves
and the way of the wicked he subverts
יִמְלֹ֤ךְ יְהוָ֨ה ׀ לְעוֹלָ֗םאֱלֹהַ֣יִךְ צִ֭יּוֹן לְדֹ֥ר וָדֹ֗רהַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ 10 יהוה will reign forever
your God Zion from generation to generation
Hallelu Yah

Also for each psalm and sometimes for sets of psalms, Seeing the Psalter presents tables that reveal repetition patterns of the words in the text. Here is the table for Psalm 146.

Word / Gloss 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Vs Stem
הללו hallelu 1 הלל
הללי praise 1 הלל
אהללה I will praise 2 הלל
בּעודּי while I still exist 2 עודּ
אדּםּ a human 3 אדּםּ
לאדּמּתּו to its humus 4 אדּםּ
אשׁרי happy the one 5 אשׁר
עשׂה who makes 6 עשׂה
אשׁר that 6 אשׁר
השׁמּר keeping 6 שׁמּר
לעולםּ forever 6 עלםּ
עשׂה doing 7 עשׂה
שׁמּר sheltering 9 שׁמּר
יעודּדּ he relieves 9 עודּ
לעולםּ forever 10 עלםּ
לדּר from generation 10 דּור
ודּר to generation 10 דּור
הללו hallelu 10 הלל

The tables allow us to see something of how the poem is constructed. They are all produced automatically with parameters to select which words and verses to include or exclude. This often reveals the thinking of the poet. We communicate with a mind perhaps 2500 years older than ours.

No one stops reading the Psalms once started. I am now rereading them and imposing punctuation. Also they occasionally change as I work with more and more of the patterns of word usage in the whole Hebrew Bible.

I also work closely with what may be the original music that was associated with these poems and the rest of the Hebrew Old Testament. I have the music for this Psalm and for many other parts of the Bible on my blog: http:\\meafar.blogspot.com. The Psalms are not just a story, but a love song, his song with me in the night. (Psalm 42:8)

By day יהוה will command his loving-kindness, and in the night his song with me, is a prayer to the One of my life.

This is an indication of how Jesus, always in the bosom of the Father, learned from these same poems. There are many such indications in the Psalms. So many, I cannot number them. So I read and reread to make them truly my own.


Grow under the direction of the Most High

-point to ponder-

Knowledge is a subjective thing. We are the subject, and it is our knowledge that we are thinking of, and our growth. But how do we know what constitutes maturing rather than degeneration?

Psalterby Robert MacDonald

The question in my last post was ‘how do we know?’ It’s a multi-edged question since I have not included a direct object for the verb know? In my original context, you might think it was ‘how do we know that we are not mad’ as the Roman governor, Festus, said of Paul. And I noted that the Hebrew for mad is the same letters as the Hebrew for taste. These words are homonyms in Hebrew. They take part in the word games that the Hebrew poets played as they lament, ponder, and celebrate their history in the love of the instruction of Yahweh, their God.

Knowledge is a subjective thing. We are the subject, and it is our knowledge that we are thinking of, and our growth. But how do we know what constitutes maturing rather than degeneration? We all think about knowledge, but as Paul in 1 Corinthians reminds us, knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Maturing, surely, is being built up, rather than being puffed up.

David begins the Psalms (Psalm 3:1) with great concern about his troubles: Lord, how multiplied are my straits. Many arise over me. David has many troubles. The Psalms begin with the narrow place that David finds himself in. He continues in verse 2: Many say of me, There is no salvation for him in God. Selah.

So think about this. No salvation. Has that accusation ever been said against you? Do you even imagine it yourself at times? Look at this from two points of view: On the one hand, we have the authority of the situation we are in. For David, it is according to this psalm, a situation with respect to his son, Absalom, whom he loved. In Paul’s situation as we have been considering in the closing chapters of Acts, it is his submission to the Roman system and his appeal to the emperor. And for us, we have our own immersion in our own culture, whether it be right or left, rich or poor, liberal or conservative, reader or scholar, and so on. On the other hand, we have the ultimate appeal to God. For David, note how the psalm speaks of his salvation, his safety, as ‘in’ God. Paul also writes of his own faith that is ‘in’ Christ.

And as for us, what must we be called ‘out of’ in order to be ‘in’ the salvation of God? There is no easy answer to this question. We may be fortunate or unfortunate in where we are born, but it is not our salvation. We have a lifetime of maturing – and perhaps generations – of putting aside the narrowness, the straits, that we are in, and in learning to love the enemies that we have constructed in our thoughts. And how do we know we are being matured by God, by Christ, by the Lord, by the Most High? A close reading of the Psalms will ground our faith in the God and Father of Jesus, the Anointed (Christ), because the Most High himself will be our teacher.

So from How do we know, we come to a new question: How do we grow? It is work to grow and it involves all of us. One of the things I note in my book on the Psalms, Seeing the Psalter, is that these poems have a purpose as a whole. And this is what it is in a few words. The poems have been consciously put together in sequence so that they might form a community of the merciful who have learned mercy through their covenant with God. This God knows how to ‘read’ these poems into us to show us how to accept mercy and to, in turn, be merciful. In doing so, the same Lord of Hosts will form us in the image of his child Jesus. And not only us, but everyone that we come in contact with, the whole body of our social fabric.

And as to how we know that the direction is building us up. We will know because the same God through us will deal with the case of the poor, and the judgment of the needy (Psalm 140:12).

Obedience to the heavenly vision

-point to ponder-

How do we know? We are not all given heavenly visions to ‘obey’ as Paul was. How do we know we are not mad in our pursuit of the calling that is in the Anointed Jesus? How will we be like-minded?

by Robert MacDonald
Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

PsalterSuch words we read in the New Testament. Paul claims he was not disobedient (Acts 26:19) but Festus interjects a few verses later that Paul is mad.

How do we know? We are not all given heavenly visions to ‘obey’ as Paul was. How do we know we are not mad in our pursuit of the calling that is in the Anointed Jesus? How will we be like-minded? Paul writes to the Philippians (3:14) that God will reveal our situation to us.

Now the question is: do we really want to know our situation? Take care. You may find things you did not want to know. But here is an excellent method, one that was used by Jesus himself in his own growth and maturing.

I was brought up with a certain inertia. You know what inertia is: it’s what happens to you when you are pushed in a particular direction, and you have to work to stop going in that direction. You may have had a good push or a bad one, but we all need to take charge of the momentum at some point in our lives. I reacted with a favorite word: No! No to the distortion produced by dangerous directions – take alcoholism for example, or to violent actions against others, or even to my own longing for I did not know what. ‘No’ came easily to me, but I really did not know a Yes that would satisfy. At some point I learned the gospel and learned the love of Christ that is without boundaries. But I had not been taught consciously of what I must do to enter into that glory.

The work which is explained in the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament is a work described for us as if we were overhearing a conversation between a father and a son. Unto which of the Angels did he say: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? (Hebrews 1:5 citing Psalm 2.)

This work includes our work, individually, mine and yours, and together, ours, caring for the work of God that is from the beginning and that is complete from then. We must become part of this conversation that we are overhearing. The conversation is an extended conversation that continues forever. In that letter to the Hebrews, the conversation is taken from the Psalms.

When I learned that the Psalms were where Jesus himself is in conversation with his Father, I knew that I must learn them more carefully. I knew when I discovered this, that I must hear that conversation in its original tongue. That meant learning a language that I knew not. (Psalm 81:6). Though I had discovered something of truth already, it was in the Psalms that God reached deeper into me and showed me more of how to live. It is there in that very personal conversation that we will find the truth of our situation, and complete the journey of obedience which God will reveal to us.

I could not find a book that would help me read them in sequence with a close reading that preserved the ancient foreign thought form in the way I wanted to see it. So I wrote it myself and called it Seeing the Psalter. It helps us see the story in the Psalms, and it slows us down in a number of ways so that we will not rush through the necessary time that we need for such hearing and obedience. Still, it is a beginning, but I am convinced we can continue in such a work.

If this be madness, Festus, it is a madness to be deeply desired, like David’s pretense when he feigned his madness in the face of Abimelek (Psalm 34:1). And he writes there in the 7th verse: this poor one calls and the Lord hears and from all his troubles he saves him. And later “taste and see that the Lord is good.” This word taste has the same letters in Hebrew as the word used for madness.


The Clinton Compromise

-point to ponder-

Now the Democrats find Hillary Clinton their main candidate in serious trouble having run afoul of the law. Once again, we get a long line of excuses that are shown to be false, only to be replaced with new excuses. There is also the suspiciously timed, extremely large donations, to the Clinton foundation from those with business before the Secretary of State.

by Elgin Hushbeck

DemocracyFor all but the most dogmatic Christians, living in the real world is full of compromises. This is probably one of the reasons monasticism has played a significant role in the history of Christianity. There is something appealing about cutting oneself off and just living as Christ would want us to live, free from the temptations of the world.

Whatever your theological stance on these issues, most Christians do not have the ability to cut themselves off so completely and often; we are faced with having to make compromises. This can be particularly true when it comes to influencing our society as citizens of a democratic government. (Note, I use democratic in its broad sense that would include a number of types of democratic governments including a republic, and not just direct democracy). Rarely do we have a choice between candidates we can fully support, and often we are trying to choose the better of two evils.

Some try to avoid the choice by not participating. But this is also a compromise. We abandon our duty to be good citizens, and we abandon our ability to shape the society. For me, the famous line “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” sums up the problem I have with such a view.

The opposite of not participating at all is always supporting “your side” no matter what. In the last 45 years, both the Democrat and Republican parties have faced just such a choice. For the Republicans, the choice came in the early 1970. While many rallied to President Nixon as the Watergate scandal began to unfold, seeing it as the result of political attacks and a liberal media, eventually a point was reached where it became clear that Nixon had committed obstruction of justice. In short, whatever role politics played in the accusations of his opponents, Nixon broke the law, and that could not be acceptable in a President. As a result, a delegation of Republicans led by Senator Barry Goldwater went to the White House and demanded that Nixon resign.

The Democrats faced their choice in the mid-1990s with the Clintons and their numerous scandals from their time in Arkansas, violating campaign finance laws, shady trade dealing with China, and of course the claims of philandering, sexual harassment and even a rape charge.

Like the Republicans and Nixon in the early days of Watergate, Democrats rejected all of these as politically motivated attacks, despite the fact that there were a number of convictions of those close to the Clintons.  Then, like Nixon, eventually it became clear that Clinton had committed obstruction of Justice, but in addition, and unlike Nixon, he also committed perjury. Yet rather than a delegation of Democrats going and asking Clinton to resign, a large number went to hold a rally of support. Their guy was to be defended no matter what. As a result, Clinton survived impeachment, though he was the only President who had to negotiate a plea bargain so that he would not be arrested upon leaving office.

Such things are rarely one-off events. If people know there will be no consequences for bad actions, they are much more likely to act badly. Thus in the current administration, several officials have been caught lying to Congress with no consequences. James Clapper, when confronted with his lie, passed it off as the “least untruthful” answer. But then the President himself has been shown to have lied on numerous occasions, perhaps the most notable being “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” something documents released showed the administration knew was not correct from the start. Then there is the more recent claim that the deal with Iran would have anywhere-anytime inspections, only to have Kerry say that was never even sought.

Now the Democrats find Hillary Clinton their main candidate in serious trouble having run afoul of the law. Once again, we get a long line of excuses that are shown to be false, only to be replaced with new excuses. There is also the suspiciously timed, extremely large donations, to the Clinton foundation from those with business before the Secretary of State.

Now, despite earlier claims to the contrary, we know that Clinton’s emails did contain classified material. Given that so much of what the Secretary of State does is classified, it would have been extremely surprising if they hadn’t. So she broke at least some laws, and the FBI is investigating. Aggravating this, General Petraeus recently plead guilty to giving his biographer/mistress classified material (reportedly his schedule – which as CIA Director was classified). What Clinton has done is far worse.

For nearly two decades Democrats have closed their eyes to the long list of scandals that surround the Clintons, and the Clintons’ lawlessness has been spreading through their party. Winning, not character, was what matters. But compromising on issues of character is different than compromising on political positions. Perhaps for the Democrats, the bill is coming due.


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