Friday, January 15, 2016

Jeremy and the Joy of Giving

For some time now, I've been painting pictures on plywood. I did several in the "Winnie the Pooh" theme for Mac's nursery, followed by a couple for son brad. Those included a Ferrari F40.

Then there was the Disney Singers I made ... all 4' by 5' of them ... for Brian's front yard Christmas decorations. Plus a mini group of Pooh characters for our spare bedroom, above Mac's likely napping spot.

Painting Brad's Ferrari F40 gave me the itch to make one for myself. Now the first Ferrari in my memory is the 166 Barchetta, made in the early 1950's. In fact, it's also the first real live one I saw in person (and touched) , in 1957. It happened to be parked at a bar on 16th Street in Indianapolis the night before the 1957 Indy 500, and was owned by a well-known race driver. According to a little brass plaque on the dashboard.

So, I went out and got a 2' X 4' piece of plywood and proceeded to paint it. when a friend in another state saw it, she said her son would  love it. So I packed it up and sent it to him.

I told her, when she showed me this picture, that it was plenty of payment for painting the picture.





Any kid that likes Ferraris is fine in my book, and his smile just says soooo much..

Then a couple of weeks later, I got a letter from Jeremy. And his mom said it was his idea to write it, and what to say, etc. etc. and not hers.

Here's his letter, which I am going to frame:




Now. we're all familiar with what the church refers to the joy of giving". But tossing dollars into a giant pot from which others are helped doesn't particularly bring gladness to the giver, or maybe it was just me. But nonetheless, I think we need to correlate our giving directly with the joy it brings others, particularly in the church's preaching and teaching. And that goes beyond just having one of our own folks tell us how good it was that we gave.

A couple of simple examples from our own lives. After our first Mission Trip to Haiti in 1970, we agreed to support a Bible Student by the name of Vitellius Jacque, for his remaining 2 years of study.

Big deal. It was $5.00 per month. 

Five bucks!

We went back in 1974, and the field director there stopped the bus at L'ory and pointed out a local church to us and said "That's Vite's church!" The $5 suddenly got really real. 

And joyous.

We supported a couple folks in Russia, after my second mission trip there. And still today we're Facebook friends with them, even though the amount was inconsequential to us.

I said all that not to get props from anyone; God's given us all the joy and comfort and assurance we could have ever asked for. And more. But I relate those things to show the value of focusing not on what we give, or the joy we're supposed to receive, but rather on the joy we bring to others via our giving. 

Jeremy's mom brought a ton of joy, to a lot of people, through her personal ministry, where they formerly lived. From what she's said, maybe a Ferrari 166 Barchetta painted on 1/4" plywood returned the favor, via her son.

Jeremy, he of the happy smile.


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

OF CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM

I don't know a lot about Islam, I know more about Christianity, and do my best to live according to the Biblical prescription for an abundant life.

I posed a couple questions to Russell Moore, on Facebook, and I think I want to ask them here, as well.


  • What is a "Radical Christian"?
  • How would you tell if someone were a "radical", as opposed to a "nominal" Christian?
  • How would you define a "Radical Muslim"?
  • How would you tell if someone were a "radical", as opposed to a "nominal" Muslim?
  • How many people, who are not of the Muslim faith, know all the tenets of the Islamic faith?
  • How many Christians ... say, as a percentage ... are "radical Christians?
  • How much of the Christian faith can you determine by observing a "nominal" Christian?
  • How much about Islam can you determine by observing a "nominal" Muslim? 

Ask yourself this: Is it normally the desire of a pastor that his flock be composed of radical Christians? Does he preach to help his members attain that?

I would like to have a chat some time with someone who has read the entire Koran, and can tell me what it really says. What instructions it really does give to its followers.

I fear we nay be shadowboxing with the election and immigration and Donald Trump and the refugees, and in fact with the future of our nation until and unless we really, really have the answers to those questions.

Oh yes. I lied about "couple" questions. Sorry....


Monday, December 07, 2015

IT'S BEEN 31 YEARS, BUT NONETHELESS.......

...it is quite prominent in my memory.

In August of 1984, the company which bought out the insurance organization at which I'd been employed for 9 years, bought out the last 19 months of my contract and sent me home.

With a really nice paycheck.

The first thing we did was bide our time for a month or so, awaiting the birth of our grandson, Matthew. That was too good to miss, so we stayed right here.

The next thing we did was to plan a real vacation. Our vacations, with our kids, had been limited to visiting relatives, pretty much since we'd been married. Like 25+ years. But then, with Matthew here, home & healthy, Peg and I decided we'd go on a real vacation.

A good friend in California told me about a real deal on week-long vacations to Oahu, departing Los Angeles, and we immediately grabbed one. Plus, I had accumulated enough Frequent Flier miles to get us to & from L.A., so for a week-long stay at the New Otani Kaimana Beach hotel in Waikiki, we had us a killer deal.

The hotel was a dream. It was just a mile from the Eastern end of Waikiki, at the far end of Kapiolani Park. That's the place where the Kodak Hula Show was held (we did attend, but it has since been discontinued).

Our room's balcony overlooked Diamond head and the end of the Park, and the hotel restaurant was my favorite-ever restaurant.

The restaurant is worthy of explanation. It was the Hau Tree Lanai, and it was separated from the beach by a 3' tall ornate concrete railing. On the hotel side, it bordered the open lobby, and the restaurant's only light was Tiki Torches on the railing, and Christmas tree lights all through the Hau Tree, which spread out and formed the only ceiling of the restaurant.

Every evening, we'd sit there just before sundown and watch the sun sink into the Pacific, and see the "Dinner Cruise" boats drifting offshore. It was by far the most beautiful natural scenery I have ever personally seen.

We did the other stuff tourists do, including an hour-long sailplane ride for yours truly. Which I video'd, yes I did, the WHOLE thing!

On Sunday, we went to the Pearl Harbor Visitor's Center. As we learned, it's closed on Sunday, but the building itself was in two halves, and the patio between was open to the waterfront, so we walked on down and sat on a bench directly across from the Arizona Memorial.

It was breathtaking. I recalled WWII, and sitting there looking at the Waianae Mountains, thinking that's where the Japanese airplanes flew, to attack the fleet and the aircraft, on that peaceful Sunday morning. I was simply mesmerized.

The next day, we came back to see the Memorial. It, too, was unforgettable. The film was inspiring, the memorial itself was awesome .. and I mean it inspired real awe ... but the highlight, for me, was talking to a volunteer there.

He was a vet and had been there December 7, 1941. To speak with a Pearl Harbor Veteran was, in itself, an unforgettable experience. But the big part was what he told me.

He'd been sick and in the infirmary that morning. The building was marked with a huge red cross, and located on the ocean end of the harbor . He was standing at the window when he heard the first action, and he saw a Japanese airplane that had been hit by anti-aircraft fire. It was trailing smoke & flames, and headed straight for the infirmary. Where he was standing.

He told me that, as the plane approached the building, the pilot made an obvious maneuver to miss the building. He said it passed so close that he could see the face of the pilot. Who had intentionally maneuvered to miss the hospital.

He said it suddenly put a whole different light on the attack and the attackers. Now, I don't know if I would have had any feelings of benevolence toward the attackers, but he did.

And he was there.

I think the Christian community could use a dose of whatever he had. We seem to attach motives and feelings to others, that we think we'd have were we in their shoes.

Sometimes we even do that with God.

In the end, we're not in their shoes, and we're certainly not God. Any more than we were standing at the infirmary window on December 7, 1941.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

NONSENSE AND THE VALUE OF LIFE

The shootings in San Bernardino were and are terrible. It is, I suppose, expectable, but still sad, that we are already hearing politicization thereof, with reference to gun rights and the NRA.

It seems unthinkable to me, that the same government that refuses to even hint at a link between a "religious group" and terrorism seems to want to paint all gun-owners with the brush they won't use on the domestic terrorists.

Ask yourself who it is that is teaching the value ... the preciousness .. of human life, today. The church is, but the government and schools sure aren't!

Might we expect that 8 years of support for the right to kill babies would lead to a lessening of regard for life, among some segments of the population?

I think so.

It is obvious that the thing that stopped the bad guys with guns, in San Bernardino, was the good guys with guns. And have you noticed that there's also a total lack of media attention paid to civilian incidents in which a good guy with a gun saves himself and/or his family from mayhem at the hands of bad guys?

I sure have,. But we have to hear about those through privately-told stories.

Don't tell me that the criticism of the media for being liberally biased doesn't have a firm foundation.

Among other things, our governmental leadership seems oblivious to the fact the criminals will always have guns, and it's already illegal for them to have them, and governments are powerless to control that!

In light of that, I am quite happy with the feeling of security I get from having a loaded .357 in a hidden-but-handy spot in my home.

Put all the laws concerning background checks and gun ownership you want, on the books, and the crooks will still get guns the way they always have. They'll steal them or buy them on the black market.

Our government is rapidly proving the old adage:


"NONE OF US IS AS DUMB AS ALL OF US".

Come to think of it, I think the voting public in our nation has already done that.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

FACING ELEPHANTS

1) I'm getting old.

Now ... there are several other points I've come face-to-face with, in the recent past. In addition to the obvious thing of age ... I'm 77 ... there's also arthritis, titanium knees, and a host of other vagaries that come with advancing years.

But there's also another factor to consider. From 1975 to 1984, I traveled extensively, on business. The four corners of the country and lots of places in between. And regularly to London.

Plus, Peg and I traveled somewhere special every year, generally March 13th to 20th. The 13th is our anniversary and the 20th is her birthday, so that was a handy way to cover both with one trip.

We went to Cancun, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Jamaica, Germany, and probably some other places I've forgotten. When I add them up, I've been in 126 airports on 3 continents!

So .. the elephant I faced this last week was that I really don't want to travel, for pleasure. Which it isn't, any more, anyway. I came to this realization while at the Alabama Baptist State Convention's annual meeting, this year in Daphne. I decided this mainly because we had an ideal hotel, 3 minutes from the meeting site, and I still did not enjoy the trip one bit. Oh, I saw a few good friends, but they're mostly local and I can see them here in town, much more easily than I can, after traveling 200 miles.

I don't like travel any more, unless it is for a purpose. Such as being part of the State or National SBC, which I have done several times. But which brings me to the other point.

2) I've already said it.

But the SBC leadership won't face it. Their elephant is the failure of the churches, for the most part, to make disciples. Which happens to be ... hello .... the Great Commission.

I say that because, according to numbers published in The Alabama Baptist a few years ago, attendance in SBC churches, in the 6 big population areas of Alabama, is 33.28%. When you consider that attendance includes pre-schoolers, children who aren't counted as members, and other visitors, I think it's safe to assume that fewer than 3 out of 10 members are in church on any one Sunday.

Oh ... just by way of information, other reporting denominations' attendance is 53.97% of membership. Hmmm .... so much for the SBC's collectively being the "crown jewel of God's plan to evangelize the world." Which, yes I did, I heard someone say about the SBC.

Ask yourself what would happen, to your employer, if 3 out of 10 employees showed up for work, except maybe the days before holidays (so they could get holiday pay).

I have also asked Sunday School Teachers, Deacons, individually and in meetings, why you have to be baptized to join a Baptist church. No one, in 6 years, has ever given me the right answer!

I see absolutely no evidence, nationally, that our churches are effective at making disciples.

The IMB cutback raised a mighty uproar, mostly concerned with we ought to be ashamed. That churches ought to give more. But what I have heard no one, at any level, say is that God is our source of supply! 

And He still does pay for what He wants done!

Not only is God our financial source, but He also has supplied us with every person who has ever walked through our doors, down our aisles, into our baptistries, and onto our membership rolls. And I've already stated what we seem to be doing with them. 

Or not doing. And remember ... God sent them to us ... every one ... to make disciples!

I said as much from the floor of the Convention, when we were discussing the "alternate descriptor" ... "Great Commission Baptists".

I also said this, personally, to people in the highest levels of management within the SBC. Again, both Alabama and nationally.

Add it all up and I think the plain fact for me is that, unless something new arises, on some other front, which indicates to me that I should attend the conventions again, that my tour of duty in all things SBC, has come to an end. I want to concentrate the energies and ideas I do still have, on the mission field in which God has placed me. 

Right here at home.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

BEZALEL, OHOLIAB & THE CHURCH'S "VISION"

I am almost always amused, but (sadly) no longer surprised, when I hear church folks talking about the "vision" for the church. It is almost always based on the perceived needs of the community surrounding the church.

I think we get it backwards.

Go back to the Exodus and ask yourself how much of what Israel did was based on the needs of their surroundings. I think you'll conclude that it wasn't, much; God had other ideas for them. He spent quite a bit of time ... and in the Bible ... a number of chapters ,,, explaining how their task was to build the Tabernacle. Of course, the people in the pews, so to speak, didn't have a clue; they were down on the flatlands celebrating a golden calf.

The most interesting part is that Moses had been given a ton of instructions about wood, fine cloth, various metals, precious stones, and all manner of finery. Which would take skilled craftsmen to develop and turn into the altar, poles, drapery, rings & things, and all the other stuff that made up a portable Temple.

I think Moses knew that, and I think God knew that Moses knew it. So, God spoke the words of Exodus 31:

1 "Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 5 and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6 And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent, 8 the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, 10 the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood; 11 the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, they are to make them according to all that I have commanded you.”"

Filled Bezalel with the SPIRIT, and gifted him all all sorts of crafts. Sounds like the Bible's first specific instance of Spiritual gifting, to me.

 Hmm .. I have to think that God knew the purpose of the ekklesia at that time, and had already put the people in their midst, who could carry out the vision. And the "people" didn't include the preacher, other than to deliver the message.

 I have seen many instances of a church announcing a "vision" for the church, and I'd hazard a guess that they were based largely on leadership's perception of the needs of the community, observed looking outward from the church. But back in Moses' day, the vision wouldn't have had much to do with sand & rocks. It had to do with the enabling of worship as God desired.

For the perceptive among them, they might have known that, by the presence of Bezalel and Oholiab.

Oh. That's right. God had to reveal that, and The Holy Ghost wasn't here yet. Hence, direct prophetic revelation.

Fast forward to today. Might it make sense that the "vision" God has for the local church is hinted at by the people God has placed in our midst ... see 1 Corinthians 12 & Romans 12 for details ... rather than by what church leadership sees when they look out the windows, at the community?

It does, to me. But I have never seen a church's "vision" based on the discerned and discovered giftedness of the individual members.

You'd think we'd learn ... some of the most beautiful ministries I know of came from the rank & file, when they had a holy concern for an area that wasn't being addressed.

Maybe it's time for some inward examination, and seeing a vision of more than 15% or 20% of the church's attendance using their gifts in the Kingdom work.

Maybe discipleship is needed among the membership, and maybe moreso among leadership.

I think so.

Monday, October 19, 2015

TWO THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW AN HOUR AGO:


  1. Why I really haven't had any ideas that "coalesced" into a whole Blog post, for a longer while than usual.

  2. This............... from my good friend Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmauel Baptist Church, Enid, OK.

Jesus Is the "New Israel" in God's New Agreement

Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians have very little in common. The English usage of the adjective Judeo-Christian may make a person think that evangelicalism and orthodox Judaism are similar. We really aren't. Admittedly, Judeo-Christian sounds more pleasant to the ears than Islamic-Christian to most American Christians, but there's about as much in common between religious Muslims and evangelicals as there is between religious Jews and evangelicals. Yet, for many wrong reasons, some Christians believe it is "of God" to support Jewish attempts to extricate Muslims from Jerusalem, tear down the Dome of the Rock -  a major Islamic shrine - in order to  rebuild the Jewish Temple, re-institute Old Covenant blood sacrifices, and re-establish Old Covenant Festivals outlined in The Law (the five books of Moses).

I don't get it.

"Kiss the Son..." (Psalm 2:12) is the instruction of God for all peoples during these New Covenant times, both Jew and Gentile. It matters not if you are born in the land of Israel, a Muslim land, a secular land, or even a so-called "Christian" land, every single human is instructed by God to embrace Jesus Christ. To come to Christ by faith, and to declare "I have no righteousness except Him" is the essence of "good news," and it is the only way by which anyone will ever experience right standing with God and eternal blessings from God. Orthodox Jews oppose the proclamation of faith in the Person and work Jesus Christ as much as Muslims do.  For evangelicals to support the re-building of a Jewish Temple, the re-instituting of Jewish institutional sacrifices, and the re-establishing of Jewish annual Festivals -- all of which Jesus Christ caused to disappear (Hebrews 8:13) -- strikes me as anti-Christ.

God established a New Covenant (agreement) with the world through the obedience of His Son. The Old Covenant was made with one nation (Israel) and is now gone (disappeared).  Whereas in the Old Covenant, the nation of Israel experienced God's blessings through their obedience to the Law, as well as God's wrath for their disobedience to the Law, in the New Covenant God's blessings are only received through not being ashamed of "the Christ of God" (Luke 9:20) and putting one's trust in Him. This why our obedience to God in the New Covenant is called "the obedience of faith" (Romans 16:26). We believe in Jesus Christ, embrace Him, refuse to be ashamed of Him, and claim we have no righteousness of our own, but only that righteousness which is found in Him.

That's why evangelicals who spend their time attempting to explain why it's necessary for Jews to re-institute the rituals of Old Covenant, constantly promoting the religion of orthodox Judaism -- while at the same time denigrating orthodox Islam -- may have completely missed the beauty of Jesus Christ and the good news (i.e. "gospel").

Jesus Christ is the New Israel

Most evangelicals read the New Testament and come across the phrase "the last days" and think it has to do with "the last days" of this world. Not true. The New Testament writers, all of whom were Jews, wrote of "the last days" of the Old Covenant! God was bringing to an end covenant He made with Israel. Through His Son, God was launching a New Agreement (Covenant) with the world (Hebrews 8:13). The Twelve original disciples of Christ knew they were in "the last days" of the Old Covenant, and this is why the Apostle John wrote in I John 2:18 that he was indeed living in "the last hour." Peter, when preaching on the day of Pentecost, quoted the prophet Joel and said Joel's words about "the last days" were then (in Peter's day) being fulfilled (Acts 2:17). Other passages like Hebrews 1:1–2 say the early disciples were living in "the last days,"  and that the "consummation of the ages" was "now" (the time of the early disciples) (Hebrews 9:26). Paul said the early Jewish followers of Christ were the people "upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (I Corinthians 10:11).  All the New Testament books were written prior to the collapse of Old Covenant Jewish worship (A.D. 70), and the early followers of Jesus - most of whom were Jewish - were prepared by Christ to anticipate the destruction of their Jewish way of worship "in the last days."

In A.D. 70 God brought the Romans to Jerusalem to destroy the Jewish Temple, end the blood sacrifices, and scatter the Jews, similar to the way He brought the Assyrians to Israel in 722 B.C.  to end the northern kingdom of Israel, destroy the false idols they'd built in the groves, and scatter the ten northern tribes. The judgment of God wrought in AD 70 was also similar to the manner in which He brought an end to Temple worship and the desolation of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. through the army of the Babylonians. Believing God ended the Old Covenant age A.D. 70 doesn't preclude a belief that Jesus Christ is returning one day to raise the dead, judge the wicked, give His followers the rewards He has earned for them  (i.e. "we are co-heirs with Christ"), and usher in eternity - all of which I believe. But what a proper understanding of the New Testament "last days" will do for you is help you put more of an emphasis on the Person and work of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom now rather than a nation whose covenant with God (the Old Covenant) has disappeared.

I support "national Israel" today because they are the closest thing to a democracy in the totalitarian despotism of the Middle East. I, like you, watch the news and feel sympathy and support for Israel because of the despotic enemies that surround them. However, to support "national Israel" because of a belief that God desires the re-establishment of an Old Covenant agreement with Israel is  - forgive my expression - to spit in the face of Jesus, the Christ of God.

Jesus is the new Israel in the eternal New Agreement that God has made with the world. God is now only concerned with whether or not people everywhere embrace His Son. That's why you can talk about your religion (i.e. "How you serve God, worship God, obey God, etc...") and the world will leave you alone. But the moment you begin to talk about Jesus Christ, all hell breaks loose. Jesus is the Christ of God, and even the demons of hell know you must embrace Him or face the wrath of God. When you promote national Israel over the New Israel (Jesus Christ), you are no different in your religion than any other anti-Christ religion. Faith that saves is Christo-centric. Faith that saves is "Christ centered" and not Old Covenant national Israel centered.

"This Is My Son, in Whom I Am Well Pleased"

Let me show you how Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the new Israel in the new, eternal agreement that God has made with the world.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, his parents took Him to Egypt to avoid the murderous plot of King Herod. Later, Jesus left Egypt with Joseph and Mary and settled in Nazareth. When Matthew recounts how Jesus was "called out of Egypt" (Matthew 2:15), he says that Christ coming out of Egypt fulfills the statement of Hosea 11:1 - "Out of Egypt I have called My Son."

Wait a minute! That Hosea 11:1 passage says:

"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son."

But the gospel writer (Matthew)  says that this statement from Hosea is fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus becomes the new Israel in the New Covenant. Unlike Old Covenant Israel, Jesus fulfills the Law - every jot and tittle of it! There are some evangelicals who believe that "the church" has replaced Israel in the New Covenant. Not so. Jesus is the new Israel.

Notice how the life of Jesus as the new Israel parallels the life of Old Covenant national Israel.

(1). The King of Kings was born in Bethlehem, the very place where King David was crowned King of Israel during Old Covenant days.

(2). After Jesus was born, He went to Egypt, just as national Israel fled to Egypt during Old Covenant days to avoid death (see Genesis 46:8) .

(3).  Both national Israel and the new Israel (Jesus Christ) were "called out of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1).

(4).  God gave the Law during the Old Covenant on a mountain (Sinai) through Moses; and He gave the new Law on a mountain through His Son (i.e. "The Sermon on the Mount").

(5). God told Peter, James and John to ignore Moses and Elijah, the great Law-giver and prophet of the Old Covenant, and to listen to "My beloved Son!" (akoute auton - "Hear Him"!"). Because HE is the Christ of God. We are to listen to Him alone! (see Luke 9:28-36).

(6). National Israel has a history of disobedience to God and failure to meet the conditions of  the Old Covenant. The new Israel, Jesus Christ, fulfilled every "jot and tittle" of the Law (Matthew 5:18).

(7).  Since the Law promised "blessings" from God for full obedience, and punishment for disobedience to the Law, national Israel experienced punishments from God throughout the duration of the Old Covenant (ending in AD 70). However, Jesus experienced and felt the full pleasure of His father ("this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased") because of His perfect obedience.

(8).  Before Jesus entered into His public ministry of mercy and grace, He endured 40 days in the wilderness; so too, before national Israel entered into Canaan, they spent 40 years in the wilderness.

(9). Jesus Christ was baptized at the very location (Betharaba) national Israel crossed the Jordan to enter Canaan.

(10). Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law's Festivals (born at Tabernacles, died at Passover, in the tomb during Unleavened Bread, raised on the Feast of Firstfruits, and sending the Comforter at Pentecost, etc...).

Because Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law in His perfect obedience, and passively fulfilled the Law in His substitutionary death (i.e. He paid the Law's penalty for sin), the good news is that whoever forsakes trust in their personal obedience and places their faith in the performance and work of Jesus Christ, the gift given to them is life -- real life that lasts forever -- which includes God's forgiveness of every sin, the crediting of Christ's perfect righteousness to my account (i.e. "God sees no sin in His people"), and eternal rewards for Christ's performance ("the meek will inherit the earth when the curse is fully reversed").

In this New Covenant time period, we are fully blessed by God, totally pleasing to God, and the eternally loved, adopted, and rewarded sons of God (by adoption) because of the obedience of Jesus Christ (not our own) and our faith in Him! As it is written:

But whatever was to my profit (as an orthodox, religious Jew)  I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ. (Philippians 3:7-11)

In Jesus Christ we have true Rest.

So, before you get all caught up in the questions of what how a person should treat modern, national Israel, may I suggest that God is only interested in how you treat the new Israel - His Son, the "Christ of God"?  Christ fulfilled the Law whereas national Israel failed the Law, Christ is pleasing to God for His perfect obedience whereas national Israel experienced punishment from God for their persistent disobedience; Christ is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" for all those who put their faith in Him (i.e. "the obedience of faith," Romans 16:26), whereas national Israel has gone down a path "that seemed right to man, but the end thereof is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12).

I believe any evangelical more concerned with one's treatment of national Israel than one's trust in the new Israel, Jesus Christ, is doing a disservice to the Kingdom of God and missing the Gospel itself by mixing and confusing an Old Covenant, replaced by a New Covenant inaugurated by the performance of the New Israel (Jesus Christ).  I close with the words of the brilliant John Owen on why an understanding of the New Covenant and its corresponding freedom to those who embrace the New Israel (Jesus Christ) will revolutionize one's life and worship:

For “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty;” namely, to serve God, “not in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the Spirit.”…And we may briefly consider wherein this deliverance and liberty by the New Covenant does consist, which it does in the following things:—

(1.) In our freedom from the commanding power of the law, as to sinless, perfect obedience, in order to obtain righteousness and justification before God…

(2.) In our freedom from the condemning power of the law, and the sanction of it in the curse. This being undergone and answered by Him who was “made a curse for us,” we are freed from it, Rom. 7:6; Gal. 3:13, 14.

(3.) In our freedom from conscience of sin, Heb. 10:2,—that is, conscience disquieting, perplexing, and condemning our persons; the hearts of all that believe being “sprinkled from an evil conscience” by the blood of Jesus Christ.

(4.) In our freedom from the whole system of Mosaical worship, in all the rites, and ceremonies, and ordinances of it; which what a burden it was the apostles do declare…
(5.) From all the laws of men in things appertaining unto the worship of God, 1 Cor. 7:23.
And by all these, and the like instances of spiritual liberty, does the gospel free believers from that “spirit of bondage unto fear,” which was administered under the Old Covenant.

Next time you experience a "spirit of fear" about the world's future, your personal failures, or the possibility of the loss of God's favor, you might check upon which Israel you are relying - the Old Israel which induces "a bondage unto fear" or the New Israel which brings life, liberty, and real happiness.