Intermezzo Guest Blog: Keep Praying for Afghanistan

President Biden has abjectly abandoned our Afghan ally, leaving the tragic nation to the whims of demonic Islamist radicals.  In spite of Zabihullah Mujahid’s, (the Taliban spokesman) assertion that no one is to be harmed and private property is to be respected, the history of the Taliban’s brutal force of a perverted form of Sharia law suggests a bloodbath is coming, especially to groups like the Hazara who have longed for freedom and cooperated with the West.  The Taliban has a record of public torture and hangings, and other forms of execution, and subjugation of women to assure no popular uprising against them.

I will not be covering this unfolding tragedy on my blog, but encourage you to subscribe to All Arab News and All Israel News, outlets of Joel Rosenberg, to keep informed of what will happen.  If these events begin to clearly intersect with Biblical prophecy, we may return to this theme in this blog.  Even so, Lord Jesus, come.

All Arab News
August 16, 2021 02:52 AM

 


SURRENDER

Biden abandons Afghanistan, Taliban seizes control of country, Afghan President flees, all as 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches.
by Joel C. Rosenberg | August 15, 2021

2021-08-16 Taliban Takeover

Less than one month before the 20th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 — which led the U.S. and NATO forces to invade Afghanistan, topple the Taliban, and decimate Osama bin Laden’s terrorist empire — a nightmare is unfolding in that mountainous, tragedy-stricken country.

President Joe Biden has surrendered Afghanistan.
The Taliban has seized control of most of the country.
On Sunday, Taliban forces entered the capital of Kabul.
The Taliban is set to declare the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” in the coming hours.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country.

2021-08-16 NYT Headline

Most of the Afghan army is surrendering.
The U.S. embassy in Kabul has been evacuated.
American military equipment is falling into the hands of the Taliban.

Many Congressional leaders are furious by Biden’s decision to pull out all U.S. military forces from Afghanistan and to abandon the theater to the very radical Islamist terrorist regime the U.S. and her allies have been fighting for two full decades.

That’s the story at this hour.
We will have more coverage tomorrow and throughout the week as this major story unfolds.

2021-08-16 The Last Days of the TalibanTime Magazine cover from December 2001

 

Who Does God Love and Do I Love Them, Too?

God Loves His Adopted Children
This is an obvious one.  God loves His adopted children.  He chose you before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless.  He predestined you to be adopted into His family.  Of course He loves you; you are His, and He has provided an inheritance for you as His child (Ephesians 1:4-12)!  What parent would look on his adopted child and decide he/she was no longer wanted?

Jesus Loves the Little ChildrenAdoption carries with it even more significance than natural birth.  The adopted child was chosen!  There is a natural love of a mother, and usually of a father, for a child she carried for nine months (give or take), and in the context of the family, it takes either a sin-hardened parent or an unconscionably rebellious child to break that bond.  But for the adopted child, there is an extra layer of love because he/she was selected.  The parents could have skipped adoption; they could have picked a different child . . . but YOU were chosen.  That is how our heavenly Father looks at us.

We were once naturally His, but Adam’s and Eve’s rebellion broke that natural connection.  Then He sent Jesus, born of a woman, to make a way possible for us, His bastards, to be reunited with Him, and incorporated into His family once again.  And when we do what pleases Father, when we live holy lives, listen for His voice, obey the Spirit’s leading, what is there not to love!?  You are becoming like your Father and Brother, Jesus.  He loves His adopted children.

God Love Those Who Are Searching
Ah, but we were not always obedient children (and sometimes we are still not fully obedient to Him; He has not finished us yet).  There was a time that we were “seekers” after Truth.  Born of Adam and Eve, we were “bent,” inclined to their rebellion.  My wife did not understand “Original Sin” until she babysat for some missionaries’ toddlers.  One child would be playing happily along until another child would pick up a toy untended by #1.  Almost instantly Child #1 wanted what Child #2 had found for amusement.  No reasoning was able to dislodge the greed and selfishness that ate at the “innocent” toddler’s heart.

We were all this way at some point in our lives.  We were separated from our Father because of our sins, and our sin.  “Sins” here refers to those actions of disobedience to what is right.  “Sin” here refers to the natural inclination to those acts, at the bottom of which is pride, the sense that I should be fully in charge of my own life . . . and anyone else’s who is near me.

But somewhere along in our lives, we realized something was amiss.  Maybe a Sunday School teacher (if you are old enough to remember those days) told you about Jesus and His love for you.  Maybe a Bible teacher preached a sermon that the Holy Spirit amplified to your heart and mysteriously He made the written word become the Living Word in your desires.  And so you sought His forgiveness, and you were found by Him who was searching for you even more than you were searching for Him.

Possibly a friend of yours spoke with you over coffee or at a leisure event.  Maybe a conversation on a bus with a stranger sparked your interest and you began to seek what would fill “the God-shaped vacuum” in your life.

Blaise Pascal“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
– Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425)

God loves those who are searching, and if you search with all your heart, you have Father’s own promise that He will satisfy your search (Deuteronomy 4:29; Matthew 5:6).

The World
But God’s love extends beyond the borders of His adopted children and those who are seeking Him.  As we mentioned, when we ask for forgiveness from Him, we will find He has been searching for us more than we have been searching for Him.  The classic verse (you may know by heart) that confirms this is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus Loves SeekersWe do not understand everything about His love; we are not HIM!  There is a mystery to His love that is beyond our very small minds’ comprehension.  For He loves even the sinner, while he is still in his sin!  Not because He sees what we will become, because some of the world will not become what He desires them to be.  Nor do we understand how a sinner violates the will of a sovereign God, yet we know that He gets no pleasure from the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11) and that he would prefer that everyone would be saved from His day of judgment (2 Peter 3:9).

So He goes on loving, raising the sun on good people and on bad people, sending rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45).  He loves even His enemies, even those who refuse His love till their dying breath.  We do not understand it all, but He really, reeeeeally, loves the world!

The Unloveable
But there is one more category who are the objects of His love, and this is most important that we understand in order to begin to love the way He loves.  These are the lowest of the low, the outcasts, the “untouchables” in some societies.  These are the unattractive, the deformed, the diseased, the self-wounded disgusting people who smell bad, smoke cigarettes, have obscene tatoos on their faces.  These are the men with multiple wives, the Hindus with jewels embedded in their foreheads, the evangelistic evolutionist who argues for abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and rails against everything Christian in our history and culture.  These are the ones who tell lies about Christ-followers and try to make everything we do sound like we are the narrow-minded and bigoted.  These are the unlovable.

Yes, God loves them.  Put in the “them” anyone you avoid when you see them in the supermarket.  Count “them” as the ones you will not sit beside in an auditorium.  Look at “them” as the ones you would prefer to avoid looking at when you walk down the street.  God loves them!  Jesus Loves Osama.jpgBack in 2007, before Osama bin Laden had been found and killed, a pastor in Florida posted a sign similar to this one that popped up in Sidney, Australia, and received death threats from “Christians!”  I do not have the time nor interest to explore hypocrisy in this blog, but ask yourself, “Did Jesus die to save only those like me, or did He die to save those like Osama?” (Mark 2:17)  A moot point for bin Laden, as his fate is now in God’s hands, but what of the people different from you and me that God has brought into our communities?

Recognize the difference between despising the sins (or “the sin” that contaminates and identifies these “undesirables” to you) and loving the sinner.  Because before you came to know Jesus, you were as unlovable as any of those at whom we would now look down.  They are the deceived, not the Deceiver, and are in danger of losing their lives with no one telling them about the love of Jesus (2 Timothy 3:13).  Yes, God loves the unlovable, even you . . . yeah, He even loves me.

Theoretically, I may be disgusted by some of the people I can imagine, but when I meet them, I must love them with the love of Jesus.  The next time you see someone you find hard to love: the man wearing a miniskirt and heels, the woman with a hijab, the driver who cut you off from your right-of-way, remember who God loves, and love them the way He does.

Next week, , I will discuss how God’s love and holiness interact.