<![CDATA[Carol's Piece of Mind - The Guest Room]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 20:41:38 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[RESURRECTION EGGS]]>Fri, 25 Mar 2016 20:35:19 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/resurrection-eggsPicture (Source: Gospelhomaker.com)
My mother used to say, I hate Walt Disney.
What? Who could hate Walt Disney? And then she’d add, Have you ever watched children’s faces when they watch his movies? They usually are not having a good time. They are sitting on the edge of the couch, anxious and afraid. Sorry Walt Disney fans, but to some extent, this is true. My little sister used traverse our backyards to her friend Debbie’s house, where they would listen to a record of Bambi, and every day for at least a week, she returned home awash in tears, gulping, Bambi’s mother died, because, I assume, every day she thought the outcome would be different.
Yesterday a friend posted a video of her four-year old daughter explaining the story of Easter using Resurrection Eggs, an illustrative teaching tool of which I was unaware until yesterday. Evidently, you fill an egg carton with a dozen brightly colored plastic eggs, each containing an item that represents a part of the Easter story. Facing the camera, my friend’s daughter dutifully held up a nail. This, she said, is what the bad guys used. Then touching the point with her finger, she solemnly added, Ouch. She cracked open each egg and held up several items in succession: a piece of saltine for the bread at the Last Supper, a piece of string for the rope used to bind Jesus’ wrists, a bit of sponge for the sponge soaked in rancid wine, a piece of a rose bush for the crown of thorns, a stone for the boulder in front of the tomb. Finally she cracked open the last egg which was empty—BECAUSE, she proclaimed triumphantly and loudly, HE WASN’T THERE!
During my weekly call to Mom, I mentioned this video because it had some very funny bits: the sponge had been soaked in beer and the thorn was to make sure he was dead!, said with much emphasis on the word “dead.” The rope was because back then they didn’t have these (here she mimed handcuffs). Mom didn’t laugh. Very quietly she said, How old is your friend’s daughter?  I replied, four. Then she said, Isn’t that a little young to hear such a graphic story? Of course, she’s right. In our cleverness we have completely overlooked whether or not what we are doing is appropriate.
In 2004, Mel Gibson directed The Passion of Christ. At the time, I worked for the Paulist Fathers. One of the priests wrote an article for his parish newsletter explaining why he had no intention of seeing the film. The beauty of the Bible, he said, is that it is elegantly understated; it doesn’t say, for example, Christ writhed on the cross, moaning in pain. This quiet recitation allows everyone to bring to it his own experiences, making the story personal. The priest was also afraid that once Christ’s suffering was committed to film, that would be the image we would forever carry with us. (Having never seen the film, I can’t know if that is true, though I tend to doubt it.) Nevertheless, there is such a thing as being too graphic. I just finished reading a novel that seemed to delight in shocking me with evermore depravity. Perhaps this is the world we live in today: ISIS beheads or burns captives alive and, inured to brutality, we write debased books and tell the Crucifixion story to four-year olds instead of letting them believe in Easter Bunnies.
Thanks for the attitude adjustment, Mom. Children should be children for a little while. The beer on the sponge isn’t really funny.

© Scwolfrom 2016. All Rights Reserved.

<![CDATA[Blood Donor Campaign Gone Awry]]>Thu, 25 Feb 2016 22:11:54 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/new-york-blood-centers-marketing-campaign-beyond-meanPicture
Anyone who donates blood knows you receive a new card after each donation, so it was no surprise to me when I received a card from the New York Blood Center following a donation I made in January. However, this time instead of the usual card, I received a “Gallon Club Card” with the accompanying note:
"We are excited to present you with your New York Blood Center Gallon Club ID Card. It’s one way we can recognize and thank you for your loyal participation as a blood donor and support of patients in our community. We encourage you to use this card as the preferred form of identification when you donate blood.”

The letter closed with a reminder that one is eligible to donate every 56 days and they looked forward to “serving” me soon.
I don’t know about you, but the whole idea of a gallon of anything that isn’t gas and going to be leeched from my body pints at a time is pretty disturbing. Using a gallon as the unit of measure simply sounds excessive, or greedy even (a friend of mine says “gross”).Their website now depicts several different cards that designate bloodletting status. For example, I was sent a white card, which means I’ve given somewhere between 1 and 4 gallons. A red card means you’ve donated less than 1; a gold is somewhere between 5 and 9, and a black is over 10. But what’s the point? It’s not like anyone sees these cards. In fact, donation centers now place “privacy screens” around where you fill out the questionnaires because, you know, someone might want to know if you’ve had unprotected sex with a needle-user. More than once. In Austria.
Evidently, gone are the days when one was actually paid for a donation. Gone are the days of free cholesterol and glucose-level screenings. Gone are the days of a receiving a sticker or pin that says BE NICE TO ME, I GAVE BLOOD.  Now  we are sent letters with souped-up donation cards and the reminder that we can give more, and soon.
And here I thought if I reached a gallon—which would take over a year even if I gave every 8 weeks, and I don’t—I might get, I don’t know, maybe a box of donuts.

Scwolfrom 2016. All Rights Reserved.


<![CDATA[Do You See What I See?]]>Tue, 22 Sep 2015 02:14:49 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/do-you-see-what-i-seePicture(Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)
Said the night wind to the little lamb.

Ah, the press, the overweening media, is still treating us like lambs. Imagine that. They persist in telling us that what we see is not, in fact, what we see.

George Stephanopoulos, host of Good Morning America, was perplexed. During the Republican debate, Carly Fiorina excoriated anyone who would support Planned Parenthood having watched the tapes of “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’” Stephanopoulos frowned as if it pained him to say, analysts (a lofty reference to mere viewers or toadies) had watched all 12 hours of the Planned Parenthood tapes and could not find the clip referred to by Ms. Fiorina. Oh. Well. That makes all the difference. There are 12 tapes chronicling the changing of medical procedures to enhance fetal organ procurement, of executives speaking with blithe indifference about the pricing of fetal organs, and footage of a whole fetus either lying on a steel gurney or cradled in blue medical gloves. Still, Mr. Stephanopoulos suggested that Ms. Fiorina had “misspoken” for dramatic effect. How’s that for a speciousness? He didn’t contest what was on the tapes, only that Ms. Fiorina didn’t see what she says she did.  Does that mean the rest of us didn’t either?

The Iran Deal. Let’s just state the obvious: We. Got. Nothing. And yet, yesterday as I was randomly scrolling through radio stations, I landed on NPR and this bit of lunacy: They opined that since a majority of Americans do not favor the Iran deal, they thought it would be worthwhile to present the Iranian point of view by interviewing Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament. One of Larijani’s complaints?

"There is this paragraph, called a snapback, and it means the sanctions can return immediately. And nobody can veto this. But that is not true for us. We cannot return to the situation that we were in the past. I mean, to the point that we were before the implementation of the agreement. Let me give you an example — for example, when we removed the core of the Arak reactor, we cannot put it back." 

I don’t know about you, but I am A-OK with that.

Mr. Larijani continued. “It is my belief that even during the negotiations, the Americans tried to bully us, and they forced several things upon us.” As far as I know, the US paid millions and millions to keep Iran at the negotiating table, and will soon free up over a billion in frozen assets. If Iran is suspected of violating any of the deal’s provisions, a commission made up of eight representatives of the signatory nations will have 35 days to resolve the situation. If a resolution of the alleged violation cannot be reached, the matter will then go before the UN Security Council where, in a particularly clunky bit of business, a new resolution must be passed that says sanctions will not be reinstated. This resolution must be passed by unanimous vote within 30 days. If it is not, the sanctions will automatically be reinstated. Simply put, this “deal” gives the Iranians more money, time, and cover to pursue their nuclear ambitions. Most Americans understand this. Nevertheless, media outlets like NPR are doing their best, you know, to pee on our legs and tell us it’s rain.

Finally, there is the recent media coverage concerning Mohamed and The Clock Incident. Here’s what we were made to understand: In Texas, a 14-year-old Muslim boy wearing a NASA T-shirt was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. School authorities were summoned, then law enforcement, then Mohamed was taken away in handcuffs, questioned for three hours and released. (An aside: years ago weren’t some kindergarten and grade-school youngsters suspended for drawing guns on paper or pointing a finger, cocking a thumb and yelling BANG?) The media and President Obama immediately rallied to champion poor Mohamed against Muslim-haters, who, it was insinuated, are legion, especially in Texas. President Obama tweeted “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?” Interviewed by the media, Mohamed played his part. “I felt like I was a criminal. I felt like I was a terrorist. I felt like all the names I was called [in school]. . .”

But what’s this? There are those who claim Mohamed’s “invention” is really an old 1980’s clock radio with the casing removed, and that his little escapade was a ruse to do exactly what it did: lay the groundwork for a lawsuit. (My more sinister brain is wondering if all teachers will now be loath to report clocks-that-look-like-bombs. Good grief, I hope not.) Let’s see how long it takes the media to report this development—if they do. After all, their job is to tell us what we see: Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with selling fetal parts; the Iran deal is good—it’s this or war; and Mohamed is an innocent victim of rampant anti-Muslim sentiment. I confess, I must need new glasses. I just don’t see any of it this way. 

 Scwolfrom 2015. All Rights Reserved.

<![CDATA[Dear Stephanie *]]>Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:54:20 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/dear-stephaniePicture(Image Source: affectionforconfection.com)
I met your Dad today. He cupped my hands in his two when I said I was sorry. They were oddly soft for being so large, and my cool, air conditioned hands were warmed being enveloped in his. He’s a tall man with light hair that wisps in the breeze. His eyes behind glasses are blue and kind. We talk. I ask questions I have no business asking, but cannot seem to rein in my curiosity. He answers them and asks only one in return: Did I see anything? Hear anything? Even though we share an apartment wall, I did not. A brief disappointment shadows his eyes. I look up. My cat is leaning out the window. I point to her and say, I live there, that’s Carrot. Your Dad smiles. Oh, that’s your cat? Stephanie took a picture of her she called ‘Cat on a Roof.’ She showed me it on her cell phone. . .but the police have that. He gives an apologetic half-shrug. I ask how your Mom is, your sister. We have to get Annie squared away. She’s getting married in September, you know, and Stephanie was her maid of honor. But she’s doing okay, she’s doing okay. We’ll figure it out. He looks up at your curtained window. Well, I’d better get going.

Dear Stephanie,

Your Dad came back today with your Mom. I was outside on my porch stringing shells when I saw them back their station wagon into a parking slot. Carrot is outside, too. Your Dad yells over, There she is! and I am not sure if he is referring to me or the cat, but he lies down full length on the grass and plays with her. Your Mom says, We have Frieda with us, so that’s a help. She’s a pretty woman, her eyes hidden behind oversized sunglasses. I’m relieved that your parents have taken your kitten. She turns to your Dad and says, Frank, we’re running late. They leave then, walking up the sidewalk to your apartment, carrying empty cartons and Chinese takeout. I note the small blue mason jar crammed full of your cigarette butts is still on the porch.

Dear Stephanie,

Well, I was wrong. I thought your Mom or Dad had taken your car back to Pittsburgh because I no longer saw it outside my window. Actually, they only moved it across the parking lot—a kindness, I think, to free up the spot for the commuters. Anyway, your parents are here again today and I came upon them as I emerged from the recycling shed. Your Dad has the trunk of your car open and pulls out a 6-pack of Poland Spring. Should we take this? he wants to know. Your Mom turns to me. We’re looking for receipts. Stephanie bought $200 of clothes right before. . .she gazes off, continues. We found them in a shopping bag, all with their tags. I nod. I’m sure they’ll take them back. My aunt works for Target and you don’t even need a receipt. I linger a moment, but there is nothing more to say.

Dear Stephanie,

The end of the month is four days away, so I expected your Mom and Dad sometime this weekend.  Again I was outside stringing shells and again they backed their station wagon in, but this time I turned my back and concentrated on making six piles of various like-sized shells. My presence feels intrusive now, and I do not want to be seen as morbidly curious. They do not say hello, but go directly into your apartment where they stay for a very long time. Some time later, your Mom comes into my peripheral vision carrying a single box out to the car. I expect your Dad to follow with boxes too, but he does not. When I return from a long walk, both your car and theirs are gone.

Dear Stephanie,

The apartment manager called me today. I’ve lived here so long, we are friends after a fashion. She asks, Have Stephanie’s parents said anything to you? They haven’t called the main office and we don’t know what they want to do. I haven’t seen any moving trucks either. I tell her I have no idea. When I spoke to your Dad the first time, he said he’d probably need a truck for the “big pieces,” but I haven’t seen or heard anything. Much like I didn’t see or hear anything the night you died, even though the cops were here, along with the coroner. It was quiet. No lights, no sirens. A friend had found you, called your Dad, called the police. An ambulance started down the drive, then turned away.

The first time we speak, your Dad says, Stephanie had gone through so much. She was such a strong person. She’d been clean a long time. We called and texted every day, but we should have visited more often. I interrupt. No, no. Whenever I talked with Stephanie, she seemed content. This--this (here I ineffectually wave my hand) was a miscalculation. She did not mean to do this. I feel a little ridiculous making this pronouncement since you and I were little more than acquaintances. Still, I cannot bear for your Dad to blame himself. 

I will close now, lovely girl. I will remember your head tipped back, your blue blue eyes half shut, your sultry voice talking to me through a scrim of smoke.


* All names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

© Scwolfrom 2015. All Rights Reserved.

<![CDATA[IF WE ONLY HAD SOME  JOBS]]>Wed, 18 Feb 2015 17:20:52 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/if-we-only-had-some-jobsPicture(Image Source: www.nnbd.com)

When  I heard what Marie Harf of the State Department said on MSNBC on Sunday, I couldn't get the Scarecrow out of my head.  

We could wile away the hours
Picking pretty flowers
Consulting with our god,
In our hearts we’d be less willin’ 
And indisposed to killin’
If we only had some jobs.

We’d  be lovin’ and so nice-ess
A brotherhood of ISIS
And not some murderous mob,
At our desks we’d be a-chillin’ 
As opposed to ruthless villains
If we only had some jobs.

Oh, we could tell you why
We behead and burn and stone,
If your Christian, Jew, or ­­Kurd,                                                               
Muhammad says you’re gone!

Marie Harf, well, she gets us
We’re bored religious zealots
With heads we like to lob,
We’d be less inclined to looting
And random deli shootings,
If we only had some jobs.

© Scwolfrom 2015. All Rights Reserved.

<![CDATA[EZEKIEL EMANUEL’S NEWS TO THE GREAT UNWASHED: LIFE MOSTLY UNPLEASANT AFTER 75]]>Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:13:57 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/ezekiel-emanuels-news-to-the-great-unwashed-life-mostly-unpleasant-after-75Picture(Image Source: theatlantic.com)
A little while ago, two pieces of incongruent information converged on my computer screen, and I’ve been trying to ferret out my feelings about one of them ever since.

The first was an email from a friend to say he had been diagnosed with malignant myeloma in August and that, despite aggressive chemo, it had already spread to his lymph nodes and possibly his liver. His prognosis is not good: the probability of surviving beyond two years is 17% at best. My friend is 52.

The second was an article entitled Why I Hope to Die at 75 written by Ezekiel Emanuel and published in the September edition of The Atlantic. A link to the 5000+ word piece was posted on Facebook with the admonition, “something we all need to think about.” Well, I have been thinking about it. And reading other opinions, and discussing it with family and friends. Because my first response to it is a keen resentment that this man—who vainly gushes about his recent trek up Mount Kilimanjaro—is 57 and healthy and has the almighty gall to say he hopes to die at, oh, 75. The mind-boggling hubris. The inanity of it. My father said, I’m sure he’ll change his mind at 75.  My friend Sr. Marie of the Sisters of Christian Doctrine snorted, He thinks he’s in control?

Well, actually Mr. Emanuel does. Beyond palliative measures, he wants no medical intervention whatsoever once he reaches the advanced age of 75. Not even a preventative flu shot. (Although with an efficacy rate of 23%, I’m with him on that.) Unless you have the extreme good luck of being an “outlier,” Ezekiel believes it’s all downhill from 75. At that age, one’s mental acuity and physical abilities are, and have been for some time, on the wane despite heroic efforts to keep deterioration at bay. Once past our expiration date, we have little to offer society. Indeed, we owe it to the “sandwich generation,” i.e., those unfortunates taking care of both their children and aged parents, to graciously get out of the way.

His  arguments are couched in gentle and self-deprecating humor. Ezekiel understands how unthinkable most of us believe giving up is, he really does. In fact, his writing is so reasonable, so even-handed, you might just overlook some gems like these:

·         Our living too long places real emotional weights on our progeny. . .while children can never fully escape this weight even after a parent dies, there is much less pressure to conform to parental expectations and demands after they are gone.

·         We wish our children to remember us in our prime. Active, vigorous, engaged, animated, astute, enthusiastic, funny, warm, loving. Not stooped and sluggish, forgetful and repetitive, constantly asking “What did she say?” We want to be remembered as independent, not experienced as burdens.

·         But even if we manage not to become burdens to them, our shadowing them until their old age is also a loss. And leaving them—and our grandchildren—with memories framed not by our vivacity but by our frailty is the ultimate tragedy.

·         Once a country has a life expectancy past 75 for both men and women, this measure should be ignored. Instead, we should look much more carefully at children’s health measures.

·         The deadline [in Emanuel’s case, the self-imposed age of 75] also forces each of us to ask whether our consumption is worth our contribution.

So, why does this matter? Because Ezekiel Emanuel is not some random individual with an opinion; he was one of the minds contributing to ObamaCare.

Now it is true had I not received the email about my (likely) dying friend, I may have read this thoughtlessly, been mildly irritated at Mr. Emanuel’s arrogance. But as it happened, I did receive the grievous news about a friend desperately hoping to live and, on the same day, an article by someone blithely tossing away the gift of life because he doesn't wish to be perceived as doddering, he doesn't wish to be a burden, he doesn’t want to be remembered as anything less than vital and interesting. Silly man. My friend could tell him what he wishes may not figure into this at all.

Do you want to know what the kicker is? At the very end of his protracted argument about the advantages of embracing death prematurely, Ezekiel Emanuel infuriatingly writes this: My daughters and dear friends will continue to try to convince me that I am wrong and can live a valuable life much longer. And I retain the right to change my mind and offer a vigorous and reasoned defense of living as long as possible.

Really? Am I supposed to chuckle here at Mr. Emanuel’s verbal shrug of the shoulders, his Whoops! Guess I was wrong!? I think not. It’s a bit disingenuous to, at the very end, undercut the purpose of the article. He wrote this piece to advance the ObamaCare agenda. Most of us do not have the resources at our disposal that Mr. Emanuel has, and I’ve no doubt at 75 he will be tenaciously clinging to life and availing himself of every bit of medical technology around. With his overweening ego, he won’t be questioning his value to society. But it’s okay if we do. It’s okay if we question if we are a burden on society and our families. It’s okay if we question our usefulness. What Mr. Emanuel has written amounts to an unconscionable little push to those on the edge—the ill, the indigent, the elderly—the vulnerable ones who just might think he has a point.

We are the same age, Ezekiel and I. Fifty-seven. I am not nearly as well-written, learned, or clever, and I’m assuredly not as physically fit as he is. There is an underlying cruelty, unfairness, and falsity of positing self-sacrifice as noble, as being for the greater good. The truth is we can’t afford government-run, single-payer healthcare. Some will have to die. Ezekiel hopes it’s not him. He rather hopes it’s you.

© Scwolfrom 2015. All Rights Reserved.

<![CDATA[WHAT PASSES FOR LOVE]]>Thu, 08 Jan 2015 00:04:07 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/what-passes-for-lovePicture(Image Source: Filmsnmovies.com)
In the 2008 movie Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Guinevere Pettigrew says, “I am not an expert on love, I am an expert on the lack of love.” I might have said the same. It is important that I establish my lack of credentials right away, lest I err grievously in my understanding of how married couples interact.

Today I am musing on the exercising videos gone viral of Ellen DeGeneres and her partner, Portia de Rossi—and not because I’m lamenting my ability to view an incredible amount of claptrap daily that has nothing to do with me or my life. No, it has to do with what the media has decided to call a prank video by Ellen, and Portia’s prank video in response. All in good fun, right?

But neither is funny. What might have been a private, silly and self-deprecating moment for Portia was captured and broadcast to Ellen’s studio and home viewing audience—as far as I’m aware, without Portia’s consent. If I were Portia, I would have been hugely embarrassed, but beyond that, hurt. Hurt because I think love should make one feel safe. Instead, Ellen chose to embarrass her partner on national TV. Am I overanalyzing? Without a smidgeon of humor? Consider this: what could Ellen possibly have hoped to gain? The fawning approval of Jane Fonda? An easy laugh at Portia’s expense?

The word “safe” doesn’t figure in traditional marriage vows, but perhaps it should. Perhaps there should be a line somewhere that says we will endeavor to make a safe haven for our partners to be whoever they are, and that we will strive to love whoever they are with patience and kindness. We will not judge the innumerable ways they are different from us, nor will we question their needs, their shortcomings, their frailties. We will allow them to be, in a word, safe.

Portia responded to Ellen’s salvo by posting to her Twitter account a clip of Ms. DeGeneres jogging on a treadmill and singing along to Uptown Funk—badly. Now both of them have made the other feel unsafe. . .or not. Maybe my one-word description of what marriage should be is too naïve for Hollywood.

© Scwolfrom 2015. All Rights Reserved.

<![CDATA[Bulletin for Ms. Feinstein:]]>Tue, 09 Dec 2014 18:32:19 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/bulletin-for-ms-feinsteinPicture(Image Source: Independent.co.uk)
Maybe you need to take another look at Americans choosing between the inferno on the 37th floor of Tower One and jumping to their deaths; maybe you need to revisit Pentagon 9/11 burn victims talking about how they survived, or maybe you need to reacquaint yourself with the bravery of those on Flight 93 who perished to divert their plane from hitting the White House or Capitol.

As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I understand you didn't gather information from any CIA sources. Rather, when the CIA refused to cooperate (gee, wonder why), you simply "cherry-picked" the information that supported your position: Torture is bad. Well, there's a revelation. As if anyone is thrilled with the concept.

"Releasing this report is important step to restoring our values and showing the world that we are a just society" you said. Yes, I remember now that the entire world was dismayed over our brutish behavior. I'm sure everyone feels vindicated now.

The New York Times indicates at 81, this is your "signal moment." Prior to its release, John Kerry had requested that you delay issuing your findings (I use that term loosely) to mitigate the possibility of retaliatory measures against our military personnel abroad. In your self-righteous arrogance, you declined. Well, of course. We are talking about your "signal moment." 

Are you considering going after the drone program next? I mean, those things are lethal.

No doubt our enemies will get a good laugh out of what Americans consider "torture," because they do things like, you know, cut off limbs and behead people.

© Copyright Sue Wolfrom 2014. All rights reserved.

<![CDATA[APOSTASY: Causing Believers to Stumble]]>Fri, 19 Sep 2014 03:11:03 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/apostasy-causing-believers-to-stumblePictureSource: www.jesus-story.net
In recent years I have heard ministers in my own denomination cast aspersion on the authority of the Hebrew Scriptures, or the Old Testament as Christians refer to this part of our Bible. Yet, are these not the scriptures that Jesus taught from? When Yeshua, or Jesus, walked the earth, the New Testament did not exist. Peter, Paul, Luke and John, all authors of the New Testament, taught from the Hebrew Scriptures, just as their Rabbi Yeshua did. These modern day ministers say that we cannot rely on the Hebrew Scriptures because we no longer believe in stoning sinners or in some of the other harsh ways that God dealt with sin in those scriptures,  nor do we believe in all of the food restrictions, etc. I am very surprised that they don’t know that the saving grace of Yeshua had not come to be in the days of the Old Testament. Back then, the wages of sin was death. The Law could only point out sin...the Law could not save you. When Yahweh came to earth in the form of Yahoshuah, or Yeshua, He changed the way sin was to be dealt with. He became the final blood atonement for our sin and, by believing in Him, we are saved by His blood from sin. His very name, Yahoshuah or Joshua, means “Yahweh Saves.” By confessing and repenting we are forgiven. The Law, however, still points out sin. The sins in the Old Testament are still sins. Yeshua did not change what sin is.  The moral laws of God still stand. Yeshua said that He did not come to change one jot or tittle of the Law; rather, he came to fulfill or complete the Law. He did that by becoming the saving grace of the Law.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. --Matthew 5:17-20

When we try to change the laws of God we are guilty of something that Yeshua says is a grievous sin. Apostasy—or false doctrine and false teaching—is rampant in our churches today. All of those spreading this apostasy should pay close attention to what Yeshua tells us in Matthew 18:6-9,  “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!  If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.  And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”

And if you still believe that Yeshua didn’t teach from the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, then read this from the third chapter of Ezekiel and compare it to the scriptures above.

Ezekiel 3:16-21
At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.”

“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

I rest my case.


<![CDATA[WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS]]>Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:30:00 GMThttp://carolspieceofmind.com/the-guest-room/watchmen-on-the-wallsPicture(Source: pray4zion.org)
Why should we, as Christians, be praying for Israel right now? We are living in the End Times, and prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes. Can our prayers change God's plan? Should we even be praying to change things? I believe that we are to be praying in support of Israel, and here are the scriptures that came to mind when I began to ponder this. 

I believe that we are to be "watchmen" on the walls of Jerusalem. . .we are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem as the Bible instructs us. I believe that this means we are praying for the New Jerusalem and for Israel to come to know their true Savior. We are praying in support of God's chosen people, of whom by our belief in the Jewish Messiah, we are now grafted into.(Read Romans, Chapter 11) We are, by our love of Yeshua (Jesus), part of the House of Israel now. Our prayers for the sufferings of His people right now show our love and support of them. 

This is what God says to us concerning His people, Israel. . .“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-4, New International Version [NIV])

I also remembered a scripture about us being watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem. I believe we are to pray for God to comfort and strengthen the Jewish people and to show them the saving powers of Yeshua. We are to stand with them against the evilness of Islam. God uses our prayers to empower people. Our prayers show God that our hearts are with Israel. I have highlighted certain portions of this scripture, but read the whole chapter below, because I believe it says a lot to us about supporting Israel with our prayers. 

Zion’s New Name

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.

The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.

You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,[a]and your land Beulah[b]; for the Lord will take delight in you,
  and your land will be married.

As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.

The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm:
“Never again will I give your grain as food for your enemies,
and never again will foreigners drink the new wine for which you have toiled;

but those who harvest it will eat it and praise the Lord, and those who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.”

Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.

The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’”

They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted. (Isaiah 62, New International Version [NIV])

Our prayers, especially corporately, are so very powerful. In Revelation 5:8 our prayers are golden bowls of incense. “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.”

Then we read in Revelation 8 what happens when we pray. . . Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

We should be praying for the peace of Jerusalem. We should pray for comfort and strength for the nation of Israel and her people. We should pray for wisdom for the leaders of Israel. And we should pray that God will show those in Israel who have not accepted Yeshua to see their true Saviour...Sar Shalom...THE PRINCE OF PEACE!

Footnotes: Isaiah 62:4Hephzibah means my delight is in her. Beulah means married.