Posts tagged " america "

Abundant Gratitude

November 21st, 2018 Posted by Susan's Musings 15 comments

I hope that you are too busy preparing for a grateful Thanksgiving with relatives and friends to have time to read a long Musing. We are looking forward to welcoming two of our grandchildren (5 and 8) from out-of-town who will remain with us for the weekend after joining us for a Thanksgiving feast at the home of gracious friends.

Like many Jews around the globe, I utter a formal prayer of thanks for the privilege of living another day as soon as I open my eyes every morning.  Additionally, I have also been trying to highlight one aspect of my day for which I am  grateful before going to bed at night.

I would like to share three events in my life from the past week that illuminate why I am so grateful and humbled to live in this wonderful country.  My Musings often focus on problems, but I do believe that the number of Americans whose values I share is still larger than the number whose values I see as dangerous.  That’s why I am optimistic about this country continuing to flourish as a beacon of goodness around the world.

  1. On Thursday night, my husband and I were privileged to be invited to a house-warming for Pastors Liz and Larry Huch’s new home in Texas. These courageous and visionary  leaders of New Beginnings Church, along with the people who surround them, give us hope. Their guests, of course, represented many races and nationalities, unlike the stereotype I read about in the mainstream media, but don’t recognize. Strong in their Christian faith, on the following Sunday, members of this church donated their fourth ambulance to Israel’s emergency medical response organization, Magen David Adom.
  2. On Sunday night my husband and I were guests at a banquet for B’nai Zion, an Israeli organization that funds a major hospital as well as a number of other charitable initiatives in Israel. The honorees were two couples, both devoted Christians. One of the couples, Pastors Cyd and Ricky Texada, are long-time friends of ours and we look up to them and their senior pastors as examples of loving-kindness and steadfastness.
  3. While we were traveling, our office received a phone call from a man we have not yet met.  Pastor Mark J. Pudlowski was calling with a sense of urgency to ask for my husband’s advice. It seems that near where he lives in Pennsylvania there is an old Jewish cemetery that is no longer in use, is somewhat hidden, and that has been neglected for many years.  He wanted to know if it would be offensive in any way for a group from his church to go in and clean up the cemetery. Not only is it not offensive, but it is a warm and loving action to take.

A few weeks ago, a lone and bitter man killed eleven Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue while shouting his hatred for all Jews. Many of the doctors and nurses who treated him for his wounds at a nearby hospital were Jewish.

The murderer’s vision of America is not the America that I know and love. The hate-filled college campuses that spread resentment and violence are not the America that I know and love.

There will be many days in the year ahead to fight for certain ideas and against others. The United States is in a tug-of-war for her soul. For one beautiful American day, let’s focus on what is good and right and much more common throughout the land than we often realize.

I wish you all a joyful Thanksgiving and may you always have much to be grateful for in your lives.

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The Too Few Flue

April 12th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

“I earned more money last year than my father/grandfather made his entire life!” Have you heard people saying that? I have; many times. It often means that the speaker is astounded at having earned more money than he ever expected to and the polite way to express this sentiment is by comparing it to a previous generation. Many people maintain a mental money-making number that they believe deep in their hearts to be the unspoken upper limit of what they think themselves capable.

Were it not so, nobody would ever be surprised at how much money he made. On the contrary, if our expectations were really limitless, we’d always view our revenue as merely okay. Better than last year this time, perhaps, but nowhere near what is possible. But we don’t think that way. Instead most of us think upper-limit rather than limitless. Instead of planning next year’s income in terms of “Let’s see how high we can make it,” we think in terms of “How close might I get to my goal?” The trouble is that the goal is almost always far lower than it might have been. (more…)

Should I be in business with a sinner?

April 7th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 1 comment

Question:

I have been a born-again Christian for 35 years. During that time a health and wellness company I worked with as an independent contractor/nurse for 25 years, decided to sell.

They offered the company to myself and a homosexual man. I was always service and he was the sales arm of the business. I went ahead with the partnership, and the business has been blessed beyond belief. The business allows me to bless others by helping educate them to lead a healthy life. 

My partner knows I am a born again Christian, but I do not judge him. I have taken the stance of hating the sin, but loving the sinner. Do you feel this is wrong for my husband and myself? 

Thanks,

∼ Patti

Answer:

Dear Patti,

Congratulations on owning and running a business that fulfills you and blesses so many. We’d like to expand your question so that it covers multiple examples rather than only the one you mention. God-fearing people could have the same concern about a business partner who publicly sins in any number of ways, not only the sin you describe.

(more…)

Is God just?

March 16th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I have a friend in his mid 50’s who has come to Christianity in the last 12 years, He has a hard time resolving how God treated certain people groups in the Five Books of Moses and the Prophets Bible that were destroyed or killed by God’s command.I have tried talking to him about the sovereignty of God and the Protection of God’s people, but he still struggles with it.

He believes God was unjust. A new perspective from you would help greatly. 

Thanks,

∼ Robert W.

Answer:

Dear Robert,

Why go so far back? Isn’t it unjust when a baby is born with a painful disability or when some are born into free and wealthy countries while others are born to areas where repression and starvation threaten? We understand that your friend might try to distinguish between God commanding that the enemies of Israel be killed and innocent children suffering and dying.  However, there really is not much of a difference is there? Nothing happens without His say so.  After all, for an omnipotent God, commanding something very visibly is not that much different from invisibly directing that a particular child should suffer. Is your friend fine with what he sees around him today?

(more…)

I did not grow up poor

March 10th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools 2 comments

Have you noticed how fashionable it is among politicians to proclaim the poverty of their childhoods? I was brought up in a two room house on the wrong side of town. I grew up in a one room house outside of town. Well, my family lived in a tiny log cabin near the forest. So what! Me and my brothers and sisters all lived in a tent eating berries we picked in the forest. And so on… If you believe them, you’re more gullible than they are duplicitous.

Well, I enjoyed a more than comfortable middle class childhood, thank you very much. And that was a good thing not only for me as a child, but also for me as an adult. I know how wealth is created by strong marriages and strong values. (more…)

Why are Jews so liberal?

January 14th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

Rabbi, my wife and I have been enjoying your Blaze podcasts, and have bought some of your products. Thank you and Susan both for the high quality of the content.
My question is about Jews and liberalism. You are obviously an independent thinker, and appear to hold conservative values. How is it that most Jews seem to be staunch liberals? How can they support liberal agendas if they have been exposed to Ancient Jewish Wisdom?

∼ Robert P.

Answer:

Dear Robert,

(more…)

The 3rd Great Awakening

December 30th, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

How quickly time speeds by. It is already a year since I last fulfilled my responsibility as president of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians by soliciting your support. It’s time for me to do so again. Instead of just asking for your help, I would like to deliver to you something of value in exchange.

Here is a fun question worthy of dinner table conversation: The book of Exodus, chapter 17 verses 8-16, describes the warlike Amalekites attacking the newly emerging nation of Israel that was weakened by a few hundred years of brutal slavery. Israelite victory is clearly going to take a miracle. (more…)

Race to Judgment

December 2nd, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Some people find that praying comes naturally, but for me that was not true. I am not embarrassed about this; after all, I did not grow up naturally able to navigate a sailboat or cook an omelet. I had to be taught these things. But nobody taught me how to pray.

One thing I had been taught was that praying is not just another word for begging. When they say there are no atheists in fox holes the are not really talking of praying; they mean begging. And begging only corrodes the soul. Either the passerby carelessly drops a quarter into the outstretched hand or he ignores it and hurries on by. Either way, the beggar is demeaned. By contrast, true prayer is uplifting. (more…)

Money & Marriage Maketh Man

November 25th, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools 1 comment

Try persuading today’s university students that making money is both dignified and moral. That’s what I did last week when I addressed 13,000 students at the Liberty University Convocation in Virginia. I not only told them that making money was a virtuous activity but I proved it. And they whooped, hollered and cheered. But remember, this was not Dartmouth, Yale or University of Missouri. There’s hope for America down there in Lynchburg.

My dear friend, the late Jerry Falwell, founded Liberty University in 1971. It is a beautiful campus populated by God-fearing young scholars who play as hard as they pray. Their Flames football team competes successfully in division 1 of the NCAA in the Big South Conference. (more…)

Rabbi, there’s a conflict in your teachings.

October 8th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I’ve noticed two major themes in your writing and speaking that, when taken together, create a dilemma. These are the themes of income being associated with the production of value for others, and the fact that the values of society are becoming less and less moral as civilization has deteriorated recently.
 
So this would mean that people who have the same values as the rest of the world will be more successful and make more income. How do we therefore live our lives conscious of the monetary implications of what we choose to provide for other people, while at the same time holding firmly to generally unpopular biblical principles?

∼ Isaiah

Answer:

Dear Isaiah,

We love this question and especially from someone with your name. The prophet Isaiah spoke the truth, yet God’s prophets were frequently rejected both by Israel’s enemies and by most in ancient Israel as well.

If we read you correctly, you are integrating our main principle with the increasingly degraded condition of society.  Taken to its extreme, we think you might be asking, what if, for instance, society wants degenerate entertainment and by delivering to society exactly what it desires, you would make money?

(more…)

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