Book Review: A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days by Jonathan Bernis

I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers and I have to tell you…it took me a while to get through, Gentle Reader.  The book itself has a lot of great ideas and teaching but there were parts of it that I didn’t so much as struggle through, but they didn’t apply to me.  This was my stumbling block.

Jonathan Bernis’ A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days helps Christians understand that the word of God is still applicable to Jews as it is to Christians.  Mr. Bernis is a Messianic Jew.  I appreciated the explanation of what a Messianic Jew is and how he came to be one.  This is a question that I have had in recent years.

There is history of both the Jewish nation, the Christian religion and how the two, both Jew and Christian have been intertwined through out the ages.  It opens the door to further reflection on how both Jew and Christian have moved away from the what Jesus wanted, what God wanted, and how they can come back together so that He can come back to Earth and rule.

My challenges with this book include how to talk to Jewish friends about Jesus.  I don’t have Jewish friends so this was rather unnecessary for me…but, if I ever happen to be involved with a Jewish person, then I will have a better understanding of how they view Jesus.  I have a better understanding of how to answer questions if they had any of me.

A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days was an eye opener into the Jewish mindset, how Christianity has hurt God’s Chosen people, and how we need to prepare, both Christian and Jew for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I Thought You Were A Religious Type…

Seriously.  I heard these words recently.  Said.To.My.Face.

And I am not proud to admit, it was because I dropped the F-bomb in conversation while talking about a certain line from a Hank Williams Jr. song where the audience yells back at the singer during the refrain.  I have actively worked at getting myself to stop cussing.  It has been a truly hard habit to break.  I believe I set the example for my girls and my boy, and I don’t want them walking around cursing and cussing and sounding like pint-sized truckers.

I also truly believe that when we actively cuss or curse…we ARE cursing that very thing which we are talking to.  I have cussed at my parents (behind their backs), my friends, my husband, my children…my job.  I used to cuss ALL.THE.TIME.  Is it any wonder why bad things happen???  Especially when our words over those very things are an act of cursing?

Curse: as per Google.com Search results

Noun
A solemn utterance to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.
Verb
Invoke or use a curse against: “the family had been cursed”.
Synonyms
noun. imprecation – oath – malediction – cuss – anathema
verb. swear – imprecate – execrate – anathematize

So then the person who overheard me say this word looked at me, a kind of sly smile in their eyes…”I thought you were a religious type and didn’t say stuff like that.”

Whoa, whoa, WHOA!  Back THAT truck up.  Whoever said I was a religious type?  Just because I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?  Because I will pray over you…no matter when or where?  Because I love God?  Because I regularly attend church…now that makes me a religious type?  (Gentle reader, how can I pray for you today?)  Because I want my children to grow up knowing that their heavenly father (and earthly one too) loves them beyond measure?

I am not quite sure how I managed to give out the impression that I am “religious” but I thought it was funny…and aggravating.  But really?  I asked myself why I had such an issue with this label.

And I suppose it’s because their version of “religious” and my version of “religious” are two completely separate things.

First off: I don’t even like the term religious because to me it denotes something bad.  It’s a preconceived notion that you are better than everyone, that your poop don’t stink…and that you have the right, the authority to judge everyone and everything.  Religious to me means hypocrite.

Second: It means goody two shoes.  Which I am not and have never claimed to be. (Crap! Now I have that song by Adam Ant stuck in my head…)

Third: It just frustrates me.  I mean, my love of God and Christ personifies me as this untouchable…non human?  Sigh, gentle read, sigh.

An Extremist?

While talking about this with my husband he dropped a little word of knowledge; he recently read an article from blogger Peter Kirsanow from the National Review Online.  Kirsanow writes that a slide from a U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training states that all religious types are extremists, including Catholics and Evangelicals.  Here’s what Kirsanow posted:

The Archdiocese for the Military Services notes with concern that a U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief lists Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity as examples of “religious extremism” alongside such violent groups as al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the KKK (no word on whether the Department of Homeland Security concurs).

The Army states that the training was an isolated incident. No explanation as to how this allegedly isolated incident could have occurred in the first place.

 

Wow.  Beyond words.  Just.Wow.

If we are handing out labels…

I think the better term would be “churched”.  I don’t know if that is a term already, and if so, then I am stealing it from someone and giving it another meaning altogether.  (Churched does has a meaning.)

Churched: noun…A person whose faith is grounded in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Who believes that there is only 1 True God who made the universe.  Who studies the Bible and believes it to be the Word of God.  Who attends church, any denomination.  Tithes faithfully.  Gives selflessly.  Prays over you anytime and anywhere.  Ah, gentle reader, the list could go on and on.  I am sure if I gave it even more thought, I could make it into a verb, adjective and adverb.

So, I think the next time someone calls me “religious” I am going to tell them to call me what I really am…at least according to my government… an extremist.  Or maybe I should ask them to define religious.  Or maybe…I should tell them “Yes, yes I am.”  I am sure that will go over like a fart in church.

Blessings be on you gentle, reader.

Love, the extremist!

Psalm 118, a Hymn of Thanksgiving

It’s good.  Really good.

You should read it gentle reader.

A few years ago I read a blog about “Life Verses” and I didn’t understand what that really meant.  This wonderful writer was talking about how her pastor talked about “life verses” and how they could positively impact our lives.  Those verses from the Bible which speak to our heart of hearts.

Then, funny enough… I looked around my house and there were life verses everywhere.

In my foyer, I have John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

In my living room, I have 1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud

These words, these vows…my husband and I spoke over each other years ago…for which I did not remember until I viewed my wedding video again after 14 years.  Sigh.

In the basement, I have Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

Something I have told my husband and children for years without thinking about it.  It was just habit to do so.

Oh dear and gentle reader…I do have life verses.  Amazing.  Who’da thunk it, right?

Do you have a life verse?  I bet if you look hard enough…it’s there.

Blessings be on you today, gentle reader.  Blessings be!