Entitlement Extreme!

The USA just cut all funding to UNRWA.  BBC news (1.Sept.2018) carried this headline: “Palestinians brand US aid cut to UN group ‘a flagrant assault’.”

An “assault”?!  What?!  Behind this comment I see an entitlement mentality that is very deep rooted in their society.  Why do the Palestinians feel that we have to support them?

And, as long as I’m asking a couple questions, here are a couple more.

Why is there a UN group (UNRWA) devoted to a refugee group of a single people, while all other refugees in the world are handled by a different UN group?

Why is UNRWA still around, and continuing to expand its own charter to include more and more Palestinians?

Why is UNRWA still active in the West Bank and Gaza when both those areas are independent Palestinian controlled and run areas?

Okay, just so you know, UNRWA is an UN group devoted solely to helping Palestinian refugees.  It began formal operations on 1 May 1950, not quite two years after the surrounding Arab countries invaded the newly formed Israel (also formed by UN mandate).

Now I don’t disagree that the Palestinians need help, I just question what is really going on?  There is something really fishy (to use some slang) going on.  The above questions point out some of this, and the Palestinians suggestion that we (the USA) somehow ‘owe’ them support is beyond understanding.

The comment from the Palestinian leaders is consistent with the type of language they use to fire up the media to champion their cause.  The phrase ‘a flagrant assault’ is an emotionally laden phrase that immediately puts most people on their side.  (So why does the media fall for this and use such tactics themselves when they champion a cause?) Such emotionalism is usually used to provide a smoke screen over what is really going on.

Personally, I find UNRWA as being counter productive.  There doesn’t seem to be any impetus for any of the surrounding Arab countries to absorb the Palestinians (actually, a couple countries blatantly said ‘no’) even though this is the norm for refugees from other areas.  Neither is there any impetus for either the rulers of Gaza or the West Bank to set up and run a decent infrastructure as they receive so much international aid.

Yes, there is a problem.  But the problem isn’t that the refugees exist and how can they be brought back to ‘their’ land; the problem is why are there still Palestinian refugees and why are they being used as pawns in the push to drive all Jews into the sea?

This is a hot topic among many so I hope to see other’s commenting!

  • Yosef

 

Changing Words; Changing Ways; Changing God…

A recent article in the BBC news is about body scanners being used in some Los Angeles (USA) subways.  Subway officials apparently touted the new scanners as ‘voluntary,’  but those refusing to go through the scanner won’t be allowed on the subway.

I don’t know about you, but to me that is a complete changing of the meaning of the word ‘voluntary.’  It has been made into its exact opposite: ‘required.’

This isn’t the only example of words having their meanings drastically changed recently.  It’s happening somewhat frequently, especially by special interest groups wanting to spread their philosophy of life and its rampantly done in politics.

Isaiah 5:20 states, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, …” (ESV).

So what should believers in God and followers of Yeshua (Jesus) do about this?

First, learn to recognize when, where and how this is happening.  Then learn the truth.

Why, you ask?  Because, over time, the new definition of word will become the accepted norm, even when it is against God’s word, or at the expense of a group of people.

Take the onslaught against Israel as an example.

Israel is called ‘apartheid’, yet nowhere in Israel’s laws or culture do you find a people group discriminated against.  That is what ‘apartheid’ means, such as what one had in S. Africa where it was encoded into law that one group of people was lower then another.  We all know that ‘apartheid’ is bad, so when a group accuses Israel as being an apartheid state because of the Palestinian situation, you, as a reader, immediately associate a negative thought with Israel even if there is no truth to it.  (If you want to claim that Israel is an apartheid state because of the lot the Palestinians are in, you desperately need to read about real apartheid, such as what was happening in S. Africa some decades ago.  That was apartheid.  And also about the history of the Palestinians.)

Another example is how we redefine words in the Bible to fit what we want to hear.

Paul writes, in a negative fashion, about people observing different days, seasons and years.  A typical reader, who has heard and is perhaps even knowledgeable in Christian theology, will immediately associate this reference as Paul speaking against observing God’s sabbath or feast days.  ‘Days, seasons and years’ is changed to “Sabbath, feasts, and other ‘Jewish’ observances.”  The whole context of who the letter is being written to, Paul’s beliefs, and Paul’s actions is completely ignored.  The letter is written (mostly) to Gentiles, and the Gentile world back then was full of all sorts of observances of days and times and season.  That was a normal part of gentile life!  And Paul himself is seen observing both the Sabbath and some feast days in the book of Acts!  If he really meant to speak negatively about those things, then he disqualifies himself as someone to be listened to.

Lastly there is Yeshua’s use of the word ‘food’ in the gospel of Mark, where it is written, “…by this he declared all food clean.”  Ignored is the immediate context of what is being written about.  Ignored is also the fact that Jews back then weren’t sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for someone to tell them that pork was to be eaten!  They didn’t even consider it food, just as I don’t consider worms, ants, or insects as food even though others do.  When someone says ‘food’ to me, I don’t start thinking about those things at all.  Not even a smidgen.

In the same way, when the word ‘food’ was mentioned to the ancient Jews, their thoughts were about those things they considered food (which were those things God called clean)!  They would have immediately understood that Yeshua (Jesus) was stating that the washing of hands before eating had no impact on whether a food was clean or not clean, as the Pharisees were claiming.

So, be it in every day life, politics, or reading our Bibles, be aware of changing what words mean!

Shalom,

  • Yosef

 

Free to Say Anything We Want!?

The media is full of news about people using words to hurt.  Trump haters and Trump supporters both vociferously attack one another.  People are taken to court over using a word or phrase others don’t like.  Political correctness is being imposed by those that want it.  How is a follower of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) supposed to respond to this?

Well, first of all, we need to realize that “freedom of speech” is not a Biblical concept.  Not at all.   Rather, we are told to:

  • Don’t bear false witness (don’t lie about others; don’t repeat gossip; don’t disparage another’s reputation; don’t exaggerate when bearing witness to another’s failings).  See Exodus 20:16.
  • Don’t mention other gods.  See Exodus 23:13.
  • Don’t call anyone a fool.   See Matthew 5:22 – spoken by Yeshua (Jesus).
  • Encourage one another.   See 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
  • Only talk in an edifying manner.  See Colossians 4:6.

In this we can see that as people of God, we don’t have ‘freedom of speech.’  Rather, we are told to control our speech and words in all circumstances.  In this way we show ourselves to be full of the Holy Spirit and to be written in His “Book of Life.”

This doesn’t mean that we can’t share opinions, if done correctly.  Discussing differing opinions, be that in life, politics, or religion, sharpens our understanding and often shows us where we may be wrong.

It is when we ignore the above that things happen like what has happened in the last few weeks: tempers flaring and violence, such as: a teenager had his ‘pro Trump’ cap ripped off his head (and the perpetrator isn’t even charged with assault); another teenager is reprimanded for having a ‘pro Trump’ T-shirt on in school (not in violation of the dress code); a known charity personage has to resign because of a misunderstood comment about burkas.  (By the way, I use these examples because they are fairly recent, not because I’m trying to make a political point.)

True freedom comes from walking in God’s ways, and His way is to use encouraging speech!  And doing so also shows love to one another.

So, watch your tongue, and encourage one another in Messiah Yeshua!

Shalom,

  • Yosef

Migrant Crisis in the USA

The migrant crisis has been dominating news media for many days now.  Everyone is hollering that children should not be separated from their parents, or locked up with their parents.  This ‘crisis’ brings many hot issues together, and this posting is too short to address more then one issue.  So, does the Bible give any guidance at all about the issue of separating children of illegal migrants from their parents? 

In answering this question, two scriptures (among others) are considered.  They are:

You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them. Numbers 15:29 (ESV)

and

…But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by law as transgressors.  James 2:9 (ESV)

The discussion is in the forum (click here to see the discussion; click here to sign up).

Check out the discussion and give your opinion.  Mostly, think about how a follower of God and Yeshua (Jesus) should respond to this issue.

  • Yosef

Hypocrisy from Politicians and Media

There have been two events recently that I want to comment on.  Things such as this are happening more and more frequently.  I can’t comment on them all, and as this blog has just started, I have to start somewhere.  So here goes…

The ban of incoming Muslim immigrants has been likened to the internment of Japanese citizens during WWII.  Amazingly, some people and media are keeping the two separate, as they are separate issues.  The one is banning people from entering the USA.  The other is rounding up and interring people, citizens included, that already live in the USA.  (One of the problems here is that both occurred at the same time during WWII, so some people apparently can’t separate the two issues.)  To liken the one to the other is a deliberate flaming of emotions to get a response.  It is the exact type of thing targeted by these words from God,

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16 – ESV)

Whenever we deliberately twist facts to emphasize the point we want to make, it is the same as bearing false witness.  We need to watch our speech!

The other incident is in the backlash of where the Red Hen restaurant asked the White House press secretary to leave.  She was there with family members.

In the backlash a certain senator from California, a democrat, is calling for people to rise up and protest against them directly.  (Do note, however, that many other Democrats publicly disagreed with her).  Her call to protest is surprising as there are still many incidents of people being refused service for one reason or another, or people refusing to serve.  The incident of the baker refusing to make a special order wedding cake for a gay couple comes to mind.

Aside from the fact that the senator’s call for protest brings to my memory the ugly, and occasionally violent protests from Democrats against Republicans that were happening when President Trump was campaigning and shortly after he was elected, her call is screaming hypocrisy.  It is sad when such a leader in the congress and on the political stage makes such a comment.  It also brings up into light the whole question, again, as to when we, as citizens, can refuse to deal with particular people or groups based on our beliefs.  Courts have ruled several times that public companies must serve people irregardless of lifestyle.  Does this extend to ones political belief?  According to the California senator, not only does it not extend to one’s political belief, but violence is okay when going after those of the opposing political belief.

We are called to pray for, and obey, our Government.  We can protest – that is a right in this country.  But we need to be careful to not step over the line and not commit murder (which, when Yeshua (Jesus) explained, includes even calling one another names – see the sermon on the mount in Matthew chapters 5 to 7), and not bear false witness.

Believers in this country need to repent on behalf of their country and pray for peace in our country.  More then that, we need to start paying attention to both the commandments, “do not bear false witness”, and Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5:22, “whoever insults his brother will be liable to judgement.”

  • Yosef