March 25, 2017

Does the Bible Condone Illegal Immigration?

A rabbi and a priest led a protest gathering at the San Diego/Tijuana border. It was a Judeo-Christian defense of illegal immigration. The priest cited the principle of Christian charity while the rabbi compared it to Israel's sojourn in Egypt (Exodus 22:21).

Catholic priest Roger Vermalen Karban posted an article this week titled,

The Bible Tells Us So: Concern for Immigrants is at the Heart of Faith

The title of the commentary reveals the author's bias, and since I have recently posted an article on this topic I will only touch briefly on one or two points. Specifically, his citation of the prophet Malachi:
One of the last of the scriptural prophets -- Malachi -- couldn’t be clearer: I (Yahweh) will be swift to bear witness ... against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says Yahweh of hosts (3:5).
My response:
Why is it so difficult for people to understand that the issue is not about immigration, but unlawful violation of a nation's borders? 
As sojourners in Egypt the Jews were not illegal immigrants. They entered lawfully at the invitation of Pharaoh (Genesis 45:17-20).  
Today, the issue is that 11 million foreign nationals have entered the United States illegally.  
Ancient Israel did not have open borders. A sojourner in Israel represented one of three classifications -- indentured servant, traveler, or proselyte (typically a Gentile who converted to Judaism.) Their residency was in accordance with Israeli law. Generally, a sojourner might best be described as a naturalized citizen.
In contrast, millions of "immigrants" have violated the laws and sovereignty of the United States by illegally crossing the border and residing in the country.  
The author's quotation of Malachi 3:5 is misleading. With regards to the "oppression of aliens" I would argue that the United States has been more than hospitable, generous, and tolerant. The Hebrew word גֵּר (ḡêr) can mean alien, stranger, foreigner, immigrant, or sojourner -- all of whom were expected to abide by the laws of Israel. 
Guwr, from which ḡêr is derived, means properly "a guest". Illegal resident aliens are not exactly invited guests -- certainly not like Jacob and his family. 
To cite the Bible in defense of illegal immigration is, frankly, dishonest and deceitful.
Nancy Pelosi recently held a town meeting where, speaking in defense of illegal immigrants, she noted that they just wanted to come here and work hard.

What was that? They want to come here and work hard?

How can they obtain a job if it is unlawful for an employer to hire an illegal immigrant? Why did Andrew Puzder, President Trump's nominee for labor secretary, withdraw his nomination? Because it was revealed that he hired an illegal immigrant. The Democrats feigned disingenuous outrage while yet clamoring for free and open borders.

No, illegal immigrants cannot be compared to the Jewish sojourners who dwelt in Egypt. Their story ended in Exodus out of Egypt. I don't see 11 million unlawful residents parting the Rio Grande to return to Mexico.


Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, she said that Americans can breathe a sigh of relief that Trumpcare which would have impacted them directly was withdrawn from a House vote.

Impacted them directly? Isn't that what Obamacare has done? I can't afford the premiums and deductibles. I can't choose the plan I want. And I can't see the doctor of my choice.

A caller to the Rick Roberts radio show complained that his son's doctor visit cost over $1,000. The man said he couldn't afford to pay, and asked if they had a cash price.

Yes, $200.

Why the difference? Because insured costs factor in a lot of paperwork, authorization and reimbursement.

For the record, I'm glad the Republican bill was not considered. The government -- and insurance companies -- have to get out of the health care business. We need a free market system like the guy who paid $200 for his son's office visit.

Historically, medical care has been a target of totalitarian regimes. It's all about denying you the freedom of choosing the best health care options for you and your family.

The insurance model tacks on a heavy premium because the insurers are in it to make money. That's all well and good for their financial health, but not so much for your physical health.

I'm just sayin' ...

Copyright © 2017 Messiah Gate

March 20, 2017

Remembering Joey Martin Feek

[Editor: In 2016, readers of this blog were most touched by the series of articles we posted on the life-ending journey of Joey Martin Feek. It has been one year since her passing, but millions of people were blessed by her story of courage and faith. The following post, A Proverbs 31 Woman, was our most-read article last year.]

I have shared with my readers the faithful journey of Joey Martin Feek as she battled the aggressive cancer that finally ended her life. Her husband Rory made the announcement on his blog:

My wife’s greatest dream came true today. She is in Heaven.

The cancer is gone, the pain has ceased and all her tears are dry. Joey is in the arms of her beloved brother Justin and using her pretty voice to sing for her savior.

Joey said:

I pray that one morning I just don't wake up. But I don't fear anything because I'm so close to God and we've talked about it so many times. I know he's close. And I know he loves me. I'm really at peace. I still believe there's healing in prayer. 

I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed I’d discover I was healed, But I realized I was healed in a different way. I was healed in my relationship with Christ, because it just drew me closer.

Joey was just a small town girl (Alexandria, Indiana) who loved horses and cowboys. Her dream was to go to Tennessee and get discovered on Music Row in Nashville. That's where she met her future husband, Rory. He was performing at the iconic Bluebird cafe, and Joey fell in love. "I'm gonna marry that man," she told friends. But when Rory started talking about his daughters, Joey thought her feelings were mistaken.

Two years past when Joey attended a Singer/Songwriter's night at the same cafe, and Rory (by providence?) was scheduled to perform. Joey learned that he was not married, but a single dad raising two teenage girls. They started dating, and within four months became husband and wife. Rory said, "I couldn't believe that a woman like her would want a man like me."

Joey put her singing career on hold as she lived the life of a country gal on the couple's farm south of Nashville. She raised chickens, planted a garden, cooked, cleaned and mended, was mother to Rory's two girls -- she was, indeed, a Proverbs 31 woman. Even in her last days, Joey was preparing the seedlings for the Spring planting. Sadly, she won't be here to harvest their fruit.

Joey Martin Feek was an amazing woman. When Bathsheba was counseling her son, Solomon, on the nature of a worthy woman she certainly had someone like Joey in mind.

(Proverbs 31:10-31)

10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.

15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.

18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:

29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

31 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

Today, Joey Martin Feek is inside the gates of heaven singing for her Savior. Blessed be His name.


Rory's WordPress blog: This Life I Live 

Visit Us at WordPress

Copyright © 2017 Messiah Gate

March 17, 2017

Does Jesus Pray for the World?

The short answer is yes and no. Let me ask you this; is Jesus in any hurry to return? What did Jesus pray?

Okay, let's reboot. Dr. McGee asked the question -- what is the Lord's prayer? As McGee tells the story, two liberal Seminary professors were debating the meaning of the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:1-4). One said to the other, "You don't even know the Lord's Prayer."

"Sure, I do," replied the man. "It goes like this: When I lay me down to sleep ..."

The first professor replied, "Well, I'll be. I didn't think you knew it."

People are taught the Lord's Prayer in first grade Sunday School. You know, forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us ...

And my Bible even has a headline over the passage that reads, The Lord's Prayer. Folks, Jesus did not pray this prayer. Jesus had no sins to be forgiven.

Give us this day our daily bread ... what did Jesus tell his disciples when they brought him food at the Samarian well?

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, I have food to eat that you do not know about. So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” (John 4:31-33)

Lead us not into temptation ... yet Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

So, no, Jesus did not pray this prayer.

Luke tells us that one day Jesus was praying in a certain place, and his disciples came to him seeking to learn how to pray like John's. Jesus would go into the wilderness, or atop the Mount of Olives where he would pray aloud to the Father in heaven as on the day of Transfiguration.

Rabbis taught their disciples short prayers that could be recited from memory, and it is evident from the text that John instructed his followers how to offer supplication unto YHWH.

In this context, then, Jesus is asked to teach them how to pray. It really should be called the Disciples' Prayer.

In our last post I mentioned that John made no reference to the Lord's Prayer, but he does give record of what my Bible calls The High Priestly Prayer.

Jesus Christ is our High Priest. What did he pray about? We find the authentic Lord's Prayer in John 17.

First, how do you pray at church? At home? In your quiet time? Do you close your eyes and bow your head? The pastor always begins the church service, "With eyes closed and heads bowed ..." Why do we do that? Did Jesus meekly approach the throne of grace? How did Christ pray?

John tells us:

... and lifting up his eyes to heaven ... (John 17:1). Wait, Jesus didn't close his eyes and bow his head? But, you say, the Son of man has a different relationship with the Father than do we.

So, how did ancient Jews pray to God?

Psalms 120-136 are revered in Judaism as the Great Hallel, or Songs of Ascent. They were sung by Jews who made their annual pilgrimages up to Jerusalem.

Psalm 121 begins, I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2).

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! (Psalm 123:1)

And King David cried out,

My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net (Psalm 25:15).

But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless! (Psalm 141:8)

The Berean Literal Bible translates this passage from Hebrews,

Therefore we should come with boldness to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and may find grace for help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

A typical Sunday church prayer goes like this:

Lord (long pause), we just want to thank you, Lord, for, Lord, (short pause) bringing us together, Lord, and we pray that you, God, (short pause) would bless us, Lord, as we worship you, God, this morning.

And it continues for another five minutes with even longer pauses and Lord every other word.

What did Jesus say about vain repetition? The Aramaic Bible translates:

And whenever you are praying, you shall not be verbose like the heathen, for they think that they are heard by speaking much (Matthew 6:7).

So, what did Jesus pray?

Our Lord began his prayer seeking the glory of the Father. Then he prayed for his disciples, and concluded with a prayer for all believers.

Returning to my original questions, does Jesus pray for the world, and is he in a hurry to return?

I pray for them (disciples). I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours (John 17:9).

What, Jesus is not praying for the world? In this context, no, he does not pray for the world. But this was before the cross where he did ask the Father to forgive them (Luke 23:34).

For 2000 years the church has anticipated the imminent return of Christ. It may be another 2000 years as it appears that he is no hurry to return and rapture his body.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one (John 17:15).

There is an unfinished work left to done. Imagine, a world with no Christians. Ellicott wrote:
The Christian ideal is not freedom from work, but strength to do it; not freedom from temptation, but power to overcome it; not freedom from suffering, but joy in an abiding sense of the Father’s love; not absence from the world, but grace to make the world better for our presence; not holy lives driven from the world, and living apart from it, but holy lives spent in the world and leavening it.
Christians tend to be too sheepish. We need to approach God with confidence. Be relentless like the persistent widow in the parable of Jesus (Luke 18:1-8) so that when he does return he will find a persevering faith.

Copyright © 2017 Messiah Gate

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