A Salvation Story

April 8, 2014
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Matthew 5:44 – But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (KJV)

Recently, my new friend, the wife of a Messianic rabbi, shared her late husband's testimony and the life story of his parents, Ernest and Elizabeth Cassutto, chronicled in the book, The Last Jew of Rotterdam. Set in World War II Holland, theirs is a powerful, heart-rending story of survival, salvation, and forgiveness. It was during the darkest days of the Nazi regime when these two individuals saw the light of their Jewish Messiah revealed through the Hebrew prophets. Ironically, as Ernest spent many days imprisoned in a cold, isolated cell, his only valued possession, a Bible, was the means whereby he was able to experience true freedom.

For me, the most moving part of the story occurred after Holland was liberated. At that time, Ernest received a phone call requesting his presence at the deathbed of his Nazi captor, Herr Bartels. What happened next brings to life the meaning of today's Scripture. However, only through the Saviour's love and grace was Ernest able to overcome the pain and hatred of his persecutors. In obedience to God's command, he went to his former enemy and prayed with him. Then, before this dying man lapsed into a coma, these were his last words: "Thank God you came. Thank God you said my last prayer with me. Thank God you came."

My friend is still working hard to continue her husband's ministry to the Jewish people. And this amazing testimony is now being translated into Hebrew for the holocaust survivors living in Israel. But it is a story with a message for everyone, both Jews and Gentiles alike, one that should be heard because it illustrates the truth and power of God's Word, even in the midst of evil.

Is there someone in your own life whom God wants you to forgive? Are you a prisoner of bitterness and resentment? Have you given your heart to the Messiah of Israel? I hope that this memoir will inspire you as it has me. Only when we allow God's love and forgiveness to fill our hearts can we truly be free from the injustice and evils of this world.

Prayer: Lord, may our love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV) Amen.

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About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks, again!

    Encouraging words Lori. God bless.

    Wonderful word today Lori.

    Amen! Lori.
    Thank you for writing to us.

    Thank you Lori.
    God Bless and be with you.

    Beautiful message of hope and forgiveness.
    Thank you Lori.

    Hi Lori. As I finished reading this today, I thought “just what I needed to learn today”.
    Another good lesson. Thank you Lori.

    Very well said, Lori. The story of persecution is very real in my life and heart. God will bless you for honoring your new found friend with the writing of this devotional.

    Good morning Lori, Thanks for sharing that beautiful memoir with us.
    A great way to start the day.
    Forgiveness is a beautiful gift.

    Very good Lori. We don’t know how many times we will have to forgive in this life, but for the Jewish people to forgive the people who persecuted them, is a real miracle of God. This helps me to forgive some of the things I thought were bad, but pale in comparison to the horrible treatment that these people endured. Thank you.

    Thank you Lori for your presentation. It dealt with an extremely difficult subject for it seems most people, that includes we who claim to be Christians, find being forgiving is so troublesome, so challenging to our conscience, to our emotions. Prayer certainly comes in handy when asking for leadership as we struggle to implement kindness towards those who have done us wrong. Addressing God is the only pathway to give us any form of that real peace along with insight. Again thanks.

    Dear Lori:
    As always a beautiful message assuring us only when we allow God’s love and forgiveness to fill our hearts can we truly be free from the injustice and evils of this world and the feeling of loneliness, despair and resentment we carry when we are caught up in hating someone for a hurtful or even tragic situation we feel they have caused in our lives.
    Elizabeth is indeed blessed to have you as her friend, you will be a pillar for her and a blessing many times over. Your Christian walk and strength will give her the support she needs to carry on her husband’s ministry, we will remember her in our prayers.

    Dear Lori,
    Such a wonderful story. May God keep us all in fellowship with one another and keep the forgiveness flowing in our Lord’s name. He forgives all of our iniquities. We are urged to pass it on. And to ask for it when we need it.
    Keep writing.

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