“We tend to think of blessings in terms of prosperity rather than the high-quality relationships God makes possible for us.
No matter what our economic situation, we can love and respect the people God has brought into our lives. In so doing, we give and receive blessings.
Love is the greatest blessing.”—Life application study Bible
“Much of the New Testament was written by someone who tried to destroy the lives of all Christians everywhere. God chose that man and blasted him off his donkey with a laser beam for a reason: to make it clear that nobody could read that book and think themselves a worse sinner than the man who wrote it. Paul himself said: ‘here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst’ (1 Timothy 1:15).”—Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)
“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.”—Marianne Williamson (via danielasarahy)
“The core of
your true self
is never lost.
Let go of all
and the becoming
you’ve done just
to belong. Curl up
with your rawness
and come home.
You don’t have to
you just have to
let yourself in.”—D. Antoinette Foy (via foymeetsworld)
“Every single time I’ve lowered my guard, dropped my pride, and approached God confessing my need for him, he meets me. He never turns me away, embarrasses me, or rejects my vulnerability. He relentlessly extends himself to us and willingly restores our identity in Christ. Don’t be confused—our identity is secure. It’s not security He’s restoring, but our mindset so we can live in the boldness that comes with knowing who we are. It’s a heavy proclamation, but it’s true—that we have been made the righteousness of Christ.”—LB, To Taste & See (via yesdarlingido)
Fear. It is a terrible emotion. It paralyses our rational thinking. It sometimes has a root, has substance, comes from a real situation but most of our fears are mere shadows; things that might or could be. Fear is often related to tomorrow, found in the unknown, coming from a position of…
James what are you feelings about the Gaza/Israel situation? On one hand I understand that Israel had to defend itself against terrorists but what about the innocents in Palestine getting caught in the crossfire?
PS. And what is the Biblical/Christian view? Do we support Israel no matter what?
This is a great question.
But before I answer, let me say that Christians can disagree on this topic and still be Christians. It’s not an essential belief of the faith, so it’s not something we need to divide over.
But since you asked for my opinion, I’ll tell you honestly.
A short history of Israel and Palestine
In AD 70, Rome attacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. This forced the Jewish people to scatter across the globe in what is known as “The Diaspora.”
Over the centuries, many other nations fought for control of the Promised Land. The Crusades are the best-known example, but most recently it was controlled by a “British Mandate”.
Meanwhile, the Jewish people established themselves in other countries—especially in Europe. And though they assimilated well into these other cultures, they also preserved their Jewish heritage and religion.
But following the anti-Semitic horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, the world decided the Jewish people needed their own country again. So, in May of 1948 the United Nations set up the new political state of Israel.
The only problem was that the land wasn’t exactly empty. Palestinian people were already settled there. And they had lived there for generations with homes, families, farms and businesses.
In order for the new Israeli state to be established, the Palestinian people had to be forced out. And that’s exactly what happened. Israel and the UN removed the Palestinians from their homes and forced them into refugee camps and settlements in Gaza.
Ever since then, the Palestinians have been fighting back, the Israelis have been defending themselves …and both sides have committed horrible atrocities against each other.
So that’s the context of the situation. But the more important question you ask is about how Christians should respond. Do we support Israel no matter what?
A lot of Christians would say yes, and their reasons tend to fall into three categories:
Some believe Israel is politically important, because it is the only democracy in the Middle East (and therefore the United States’ best ally there).
Some believe Israel is historically important, because it has a role to play in the End Times.
And some believe Israel is spiritually important, because the Israelites are the Biblical People of God.
The Bible never tells us that Christians should support democracy. In fact, it doesn’t give us a lot of political direction one way or the other. So Christians can support Israel for being a democracy if they want to, they just can’t argue that their reasons for doing so are Biblical.
The Bible has more to say about the End Times, and people like to dissect and debate the prophesies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation …but I try to avoid these discussions.
This leaves the spiritual reason some Christians support Israel: The Israelites are the Biblical People of God. And while I have a lot more respect for this argument, I don’t necessarily agree with it.
This definition applies in the Old Testament. Some people who weren’t biologically Jewish were included with God’s People because they had faith—people like Rahab and Ruth. Other people who were biologically Jewish were excluded because they didn’t have faith—people like King Saul and King Ahab. And God’s Old Covenant with the Israelites even defined His relationship with them in terms of their faithfulness.
So the People of God have always been those people who have put their faith in God through Jesus. It’s not about race or nationality, it’s about faith.
This means the current nation of Israel isn’t necessarily the People of God, and we Christians have no Biblical obligation to support it or its government.
I Support Peace
Back to Israel and Palestine—At this point, both sides have legitimate reasons to be upset. The Israelis have now lived in the land for a couple generations and consider it to be their home. And the Palestinians have been displaced by the Israelis for a couple generations and still want justice.
But both groups have reacted to this tension with increasing violence. There have been so many raids, kidnappings, bombings and civilian deaths over the past six decades that neither side can be considered blameless against the other. And the best efforts of outside governments—which caused this whole mess in the first place—haven’t been able to end the warfare.
At the moment, Hamas, a Palestinian authority/terrorist group, has been firing missiles into Israel, and Israel has been firing missiles back. It’s not the first time it has happened, and it probably won’t be the last.
But that’s what we get when governments try to fix the world by force.
No matter what, I can only support peace. So as long as both sides insist on using indiscriminate violence against each other, neither will have my support.
As I said at the beginning, Christians can disagree on this topic. So I’m not interested in debating it with anyone who disagrees with me. You asked for my opinion, and I gave it. Feel free to take it or leave it.
The world doesn’t give peace, for it doesn’t have any peace to give. It fights for peace, it negotiates for peace, it maneuvers for peace, but there is no ultimate peace in the world. But Jesus gives peace to those who put their trust in Him.
“Even in the midst of my self-centered thoughts, God still loves me. He still never let me go. He still helped me in my times of crises. He continues to pour out to me His love, until I realize that NO, everything that I am now is not my own doing. I am here— I reached this far— because of Him. He has been faithful, and He never stopped once, because His grace never depended on what I did. It was constant because His love for me was constant. Thank You, Father.”—godsradicaldaughter (via godsradicaldaughter)
We all have a shadow side, the part of us in which our fears and insecurities and greed and terror and worst suspicions about ourselves reside. It’s a churning, restless, dark place, often containing truths that can cripple us with just a fleeting thought. When I talk about the God who is with us, for us, and ahead of us, I’m talking about our facing that which most terrifies us about ourselves, embracing it and fearing it no longer, refusing to allow it to exist separate from the rest of our being, resting assured that we are loved and we belong and we are going to be just fine.
….this is what Jesus does: he comes to integrate, to make whole, to take all the bits and pieces and disintegrated parts and bring them together, reconciling us to ourselves and to the God who never stops inviting us forward—the God who, reintegrating and reintegrated, finally truly is all in all.
”—Rob Bell. What We talk about When We Talk About God (via contrariansoul)
If you can’t gracefully admit and accept that you’re wrong about a certain topic around people you consider friends and take it as a valuable learning experience, but instead feel belittled and shamed, you’ve either surrounded yourself with the wrong people or your ego is too big.
When it comes to dating and marriage, I think most folks imagine this fairy-tale world where you magically find the exact right person, fall head-over-heels for them just like in the movies and then have the kind of wedding that would wind up on everyone’s pinterest boards.
“Give it to someone who gives it to you back, in the same way, at the same time, at the same level. If you ever have to fight to be noticed or seen he’s not the one.”—Sethie from TrueGraceLoveLina on saving yourself for the right person (via 31women)
I meet some people who are not exactly bad people: but at times they talk about someone for too long, or they always backpedal to make sure they’re right about everything, or they’re a bit too overly cynical, or they have unusually unfair expectations, or they defend themselves with a barrage of…