Does Every Man Know He Is Made to Be Eternal ?

A few days ago I was thinking of a quote on a greeting card I once sent to a friend some years ago. I was wondering if it was from the Bible and thought about googling it. In the course of my day the idea slipped my mind as often happens, I guess, to many of us.

Recently not able to attend Mass, I looked up the daily readings for today on line. And sure enough found that very quote was in the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Bible. The reading is familiar to me and many others, at least we remember the beginning. You could spend time pondering each of the eleven verses. The quote follows:

Eccl. 3:1-11 1) For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven, 2) a time to be born & a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3) a time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up; 4) a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; 5) a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; 6) a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away; 7) a time to rend and a time to sow; a time to keep silence and a time to speak; 8) a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace; 9) What gain has a worker for his toil? 10) I have seen he business that God has given to to the sons of man to be busy with. 10) He has made everything beautiful in its time; 11) also, He he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

The passage is a reflection of King Solomon on life. The verse I am speaking of is: 11) also, He has put eternity into man’s mind. The reason this particular verse remains embedded in my mind is just that I believe it is present in the mind of every one of us and a path to realizing the existence of a Creator who must care about us to have put it there. Solomon was said by God to be the wisest man on earth but even he fell away from the path set before him by God for a time. Even men today who claim to be atheists seek eternity by freezing their bodies to preserve themselves. Or foolishly refuse to think that they will eventually die, and act accordingly; it may be the reason many seek power over those who seem weak to them. And with free will each of us chooses to do good or evil. Our bodies are mortal and our souls immortal. Christ came that we might have life in eternity forever.

When I hear what is happening in our country, I keep asking: Why would this fleeting life be more important than eternal life?

Poem: No Fear

And why would you fear? Because to fear you must fear something. And what is it that you would fear? For what has greater strength than Him, Who guards you soul? For all the day He battles to save you from darkness; and His light blinds the enemy.

He holds you by a thread so strong, nothing can rip the cord. For the string of His love never fails, but holds tight in the midst of adversity. He allows slack for you to wander here & there. Yet He tightens the bond in His own way when you are in peril of being lost. Just as He was ever there in His own Son’s life

He is ever present to us, His cherished ones. He bathes our garments in the blood of trials. He crucifies our selfishness and pulls us up to Him. For the bond was always there.

November 13, 2003 DJ Pasternak

Hadar’s Son: Sequel to Daybreak Novel

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­Chapter 1 The Journey

The time of the olive harvest arrived and I awoke at the first light of day and went to fetch water at the well. Lowering the goatskin into the cistern, I recalled the story Abraham told me a week ago when he came from Jerusalem. The old friend of Cousin Jonathan still lived in the Holy City with his father Simon, his wife Marianne and their two sons. He belonged to The Way and often related tales from the life of Yeshua, the Messiah.

Yeshua was known to associate with sinners even the loose woman from Samaria He met at Jacob’s well. As Abraham often repeated, the Messiah looked into the heart and knew the longings of those He met while He walked on the earth. He saw the ambitious, pompous longings of a great many Pharisees and religious leaders. But when He met the Samaritan woman who had lived with five husbands and now a sixth man who was not her husband, Yeshua saw an open heart.

Pulling up the goatskin, I saw my own reflection in the water of the shallow well. A picture flashed in my mind from five years ago when my family and I were baptized by Philip the Evangelist. My siblings were all married now. Only I remained to care for my parents. The eyes looking up at me reflected the strain of being tied to this place. If the Messiah looked into this heart of mine, He would see the yearnings residing there. I wondered if Yeshua would condemn the selfishness in me?

“Matthias, hurry. We have much work to accomplish this day,” Father said interrupting my day dreams.

“Coming, Father,” I said feeling guilty for the desire to leave my parents, especially since they were the kindest people and most deserving of my devotion.

I loved the family who lived here: Aunt Avigail, my grandparents and cousins, and also the family of Matthew of Cana who owned the groves where we worked. They were relatives of Cousin Jonathan’s wife Sarai, whom I never knew because she died before my birth. In spite of the loving family and friends surrounding me, I could not help thinking about what lay beyond this cluster of humble dwellings a few miles from Jerusalem.

4All of us belonged to the Way and believed in Yeshua. Sometimes we journeyed the few miles to Jerusalem and met with Peter, the Apostle chosen by Yeshua to lead the Way. Yesterday Father announced that we would join Peter and a group of believers in the Holy City on the day after the Sabbath. We knew some of the Jewish leaders, the Sadducees and Pharisees and also Herod and the Romans sought to wipe out the ‘cult of Yeshua’ and persecutions were taking place in the city. However, being in the presence of Peter and the others who actually spent three years with the Messiah, the Son of God, was worth the risk.

In fact my friends and I were drawn to the adventure. We had several narrow escapes from discovery by outsiders, even one time by a Pharisee. We had heard the story of a Greek speaking deacon named Stephen who was stoned at the Sheep Gate some time after Pentecost when the Spirit came upon him and three thousand others. I remembered Father telling us how Cousin Jonathan and his friend Josephus of Capharnaum witnessed the martyrdom of the deacon. This happened just before my uncle left for Caesarea where Philip, also a Greek speaking deacon like Stephen, was to eventually join him.

All these thoughts ran through my mind as Father and I walked toward the groves. A week ago we had observed the feast of Atonement, the Holiest day for Jews. This year the ten days of reflecting on my sins centered around this burning desire to leave my parents and meet Cousin Jonathan in Caesarea.

I wondered if this dream of mine came from the Spirit of God or was it my own fantasy, my own desire. For now, obedience to take care of my parents kept me here. Yes, I must spend these precious days with them for this was only one season of my life.

“Come Matthias. Grab hold of the other side of the cloth. This tree must have been here since the time of Abraham. The wood looks as old as Methuselah. Son, here take the stick. You seem far away in thought but it is time for work not day dreaming.”

“Yes, Father. There is a time for everything under the sun.”

I held the stick tightly and swung at the branches above my head. The olives rained down unto the cloth we had spread beneath the tree. I stepped to one side but the first falling fruit pelted my arms and oil dampened my skin. The olives continued to fall and oil from the bruised fruit soaked into the cloth. After two more swipes, Father and I dumped the olives in a basket and squeezed the oil from the cloth into a large flask. This oil would be used to burn in the menorah of the Holy Temple.

Wielding the sticks at the branches continued throughout the daylight hours. We stopped only for water as the sweat dripped from our bodies. The work was exhausting yet gratifying. Aunt Avigail often came to the groves with some flat bread, goat cheese and figs. We would sit with her a few minutes and take sips of sweet wine she brought. My aunt was quite different from my father. You might even say she was overbearing at times, while his manner remained steady and mild. I was more like her but sometimes wished for a portion of my father’s serenity.

When I glimpsed Aunt Avigail coming toward us through the trees, it did not surprise me. However, reaching us we saw she carried no wine or food and stood before us breathless and trembling.

“Avigail, what is it?” Father asked gently gripping her shoulders.

“Hadar, it’s, it’s Jonathan!” she gasped. “He is ill, gravely ill.”

“Cousin Jonathan in Caesarea?” I asked.

“Yes, he has the fever. Philip sent a messenger for someone to come. He may die,” she said. Looking at Father tears came into her eyes. “I’m sorry, Hadar. So sorry. You must go.”

He turned away and began sobbing and said,“I can’t go. Not now, my dear sister. The olives won’t wait.”

Father looked at me and with some effort said, “I will send you, Matthias.”

What About Biden?

What about our president? We see flags for and against him. On our road a few houses away there was one of those flags using a common word to you know what him. I stopped and asked who put it up, sadly I had never met this neighbor. His reaction was unexpected because he said, “I am sorry. I didn’t want to offend anyone. I’ll take it down.” A few days later it was gone.

Every time someone says something to the effect, Biden did this, Biden did that, he is ruining our country, I cringe. He does nothing, but say the words put into his mouth, sign the mandates set before him, hand out money, follow the polices, of evil misguided people who plan to save us from the rising oceans, the blazing sun, the crazy ideas that there is indeed a God.

The thing I cannot understand is why? We are all mortals and will not live here on this ‘dying’ planet forever no matter how many billions/trillions we have or how many degrees there are after our name.

There is a saying among commoners, uneducated folks like myself, about money: You can’t take it with you. But it seems it is being used as a means of power for a hidden plan to save us from ourselves. Pray for our president that somehow when he is no longer useful to those who pull the strings, he will turn to the One and only who is working to fulfill His plan, not one that is fleeting but eternal.

‘You can Quote Me’: Reagan Continued

Here it is Sunday morning again; how the weeks of summer fly by. I did not want another week to go by without continuing the blog about Pres. Reagan’s speech to Evangelical Christian in 1983. It is even more crucial today and this is my way of conveying his message now through Quotes he used then:

Pres. Reagan: …a commitment to freedom and personal liberty, that freedom prospers only where the blessings of God are avidly sought and humbly accepted

C. S. Lewis: The greatest evil is not done now…in those sordid dens of crime that Dickens loved to paint. It is…not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result; but it is conceived and ordered, moved seconded, carried and minuted in clear, carpeted, warmed and well lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.

Whittaker Chambers: The crises of the western world exists to the degree in which the west is indifferent to God, the degree to which it stands alone in communism’s attempt to make man stand alone without God.

Pres. Reagan: I believe we shall rise to the challenge. I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages–last pages even now are being written.

William Penn: If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.

Alexis de Toqueville: Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness, did I understand the greatness and genius of America, America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

Perhaps this last quote is the source of another we have heard in most recent time, by a most unlikely messenger, not exactly angelic: Make American great again! Four words that require four more: Make America good again! Who knows if, how, or when? Who was it that said? No one is good but God alone.

Time to go to Church!!

Pres. Reagan’s Evil Empire Speech

It was a beautiful morning; cooler and clearer than the past week; Sunday morning, when as usual we prepare to attend church, for us, Mass. As often happens a pop up from the American Greatness site entitled A Token of a Managerial Age Bewails Trump’s Surge, a political commentary by conservative Roger Kimball. I would suggest you look this up.

But my focus here is on his mention of a speech by Pres. Reagan on March 8, 1983 known as the Evil Empire Speech. I skimmed Kimball’s article and googled the speech. Major concerns at that time are echoed by those of today: ten long years of abortion and government funding for the procedure, prayer taken away from the public schools, parental rights, etc. The speech can be found on the Voices of Democracy The US Oratory Project given at a National Association of Evangelicals gathering.

Since the speech is ten pages in the print out and includes a great deal of information my best method of conveying his message here, is by way of quotes: those he used to illustrate his message and some from Reagan himself. They will be in my next blog, coming soon. Perhaps written on a Sunday morning to come.

What About Trump?

When Donald Trump ran for the Republican nomination, my husband and I cringed when he insulted, belittled, and disparaged his opponents. I was routing for Marco Rubio who was young, idealistic, and credible. But in spite of this Trump somehow trumped the field. I really doubt any President was ever more controversial, arrogant, or unpolitical.

We vowed not to vote for him but in the end I grew to ‘love’ him. It wasn’t really him but his enthusiastic American followers, the thousands of them who came to, it seemed, that many rallies. In his last week before the election I watched four rallies in my beloved Pennsylvania. They were my people; coal miners, construction workers, farmers, etc. They were supporting an America we knew and wanted back.

I am not sorry for my vote. It seemed we were on our way to being GREAT AGAIN! I just don’t know: Am I crazy. Is he ?

Why would or could anyone withstand the ridicule and outright campaign to destroy him? Could he possibly win again? I believe it is in God’s hands and He has used unlikely people to do His work. And work Trump did, for his four years in office digging us out of the swamp. A builder, a flawed human being but somehow lovable and capable..

Who are they trying to fool?

Have you noticed at some point down the road a pound of coffee became 14 ounces, then 12 on down to now 10.5 ounces. I blinked thinking ice cream cartons got thinner, etc. etc. Last week I needed sugar but the usual 5 pound package was 4 pounds. I made lasagna for our grandchildren Thursday and realized the noodles were shorter by an inch. I also bought white sliced bread for the children and noticed the slices were a third smaller. The only thing that remains the same are the prices; although, don’t you know, prices are going up because of inflation.

Is anyone fooled by any of this? Every company is following suit. The price is the same for the 16 oz coffee and the now 10.5 oz coffee. My grandfather, a wise man, had a saying: If you do something long enough you get used to it, even hanging.

Something that never changes and that’s the ingenuity of dishonest people, as attested to by the following verse from the old testament.

When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, to make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger and to cheat with dishonest scales? Amos 8:5

I’m telling you, it’s hard to get used to shorter lasagna noodles. Well, maybe not. I haven’t checked the size of lasagna pans lately!

Lost & Found: a Poem, a Prayer, a Plea

Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved; there can be no world peace unless there is soul peace. Peace of Soul by Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen (page 1 first sentence)

Sometimes I wonder what I will find scattered around the surfaces of my home: the desk. tables, etc. The other day I found a scrap of paper with quotes from a favorite book of mine, Peace of Soul by Fulton Sheen (only one of which was legible). On the other side of the 8 x 4 scrap was a poem I wrote one morning probably sitting on my side deck as the sun came up.

Come Lord Jesus; wake up my soul. Remove the weariness: inspire, challenge, instruct. In seeking, open the door to finding. The great gift given in reward for silence, sacrifice of time. That in quietness with you there is peace and love. No regret, but hope in all things for the good.

Finding Hope In McDonald’s

On the way home from visiting friends in Maryland we were thankful to stop for late lunch at a McDonald’s. The table or actually tables next to us were taken up by a family with about ten young children including a baby, and their young parents. Mommy was sitting in the center distributing food. Daddy was going back & forth with ketchup, straws, napkins etc.

It wasn’t what you would call chaos but lively. In other words full of life. It made me think of our recent travels. A young man throwing a ball to his dog in the hallway of our motel. Dogs barking at night from somewhere in the motel. Huge dogs coming to lunch with their owners.

Seeing that family in Mickey Dee’s made me think. We hadn’t seen any children in the lovely hotels but many young couples with dogs. Nothing wrong with pets. In fact they are great and provide much happiness for people. But somehow in seeing that family, I saw hope; confidence that these parents had to bring many children into the world believing each of them would bring something the world needed. That something is love.