Getting somewhere requires effort,
faith to push on,
it's easy to screw up,
Friday, August 19, 2011
Should we ignore the “Sabbath” day guidelines? They are out of date aren’t they?
Fri, August 19, 2011 | link
"We're asking just let us know you want to take the day off."
years ago, in many countries of the world that claimed Christian heritage, the stores were closed on Sundays.
Wow! Times have changed!
Was this right or wrong?
Are we doing the right thing now by allowing stores
to be open?
Sometimes it’s easiest
to look at what the bible says rather that specifically debate the topic directly. So that’s part of what I plan to
John 5 [NIRV] says this
Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath day. So the Jews began
to oppose him.
Jesus said to them, "My Father is always doing his work.
He is working right up to this very day. I am working too."
Hmmm! Jesus broke the Jewish lore by helping and healing people on the Sabbath. He says God never stops working either.
Interesting isn’t it? We so often think of Jesus as doing nothing wrong and forget what a rebel he was in a passive
So Jesus did what others considered work on a day of rest!
But we also
read the commandment
"Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy.
So was Jesus breaking his own law?
It appears so, but it depends on what keeping
it Holy means right?
This is heavily re-emphasised in
Exodus 31:14 &
15 "Keep the Sabbath day.
It is holy to you. Those who misuse it must be put to death. Those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their
people. Do your work in six days. But the seventh day is a Sabbath. You must rest on it. It is set apart for me. Those who
work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath. They must celebrate it for all time to come. It will be a covenant
that lasts forever.”
Pretty significant law in those old times right?
We see a
slightly different slant in Leviticus
That day is a sabbath for you. You must rest on it. You must not eat anything
on that day. That is a law that will last for all time to come.
Here we see the statement “that
day is a Sabbath for YOU”. The problem here is that a special Sabbath was being
addressed not a normal Sabbath. (Special Sabbaths were national feast and worship days)
if we want a definitive statement from Jesus it occurs in Mark 2:24-28
One Sabbath day
Jesus was walking with his disciples through the grain fields. The disciples began to break off some heads of grain. The Pharisees
said to Jesus, "Look! It is against the Law to do this on the Sabbath. Why are your disciples doing it?"
answered, "Haven't you ever read about what David did? He and his men were hungry. They needed food. It was when Abiathar
was high priest. David entered the house of God and ate the holy bread. Only priests were allowed to eat it. David also gave
some to his men."
Then Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath day was made for man. Man was not made for the Sabbath day. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day."
This is the crux of this matter!
The Sabbath day (one rest day out of seven) is made for man.
for us the Sabbath was put into place. We are not created to work and keep working. We need to have a day away from normal
work type activities.
That is also the day we should spend focussing on our God
and how he loves and helps us. It’s also the day we do some introspection
and evaluate what we have done in the last week and how we measured up to our objectives and God’s guidelines. [Do you
do that on your Sabbath?]
Jesus is the Son of Man. He knows what we as humans are able
to do and not do while staying true to God! He says
he is in charge of determining what is okay and what is not okay to do on the Sabbath.
We have to be aware
that God loves us sufficiently that he wants us to honestly be able to do what is necessary to stay in a comfort zone on the
Sabbath, but not to do things that are unnecessarily taking us away from
God on that same day.
Each of us have to answer to God on our use of the Sabbath.
Generally, I try to be very careful of what I do that I consider work on the Sabbath. Not every week has my Sabbath
on the same day. It could be a Sunday, or a Saturday. I know many in church leadership take Mondays. Whoever we are and whatever
we do, the rule still stands. . .
One day of rest in seven is God’s guideline for our own good. We as mankind are not created to only obey rules (like the Sabbath rule).
We are created to follow God in love. God wants us to honour him
by resting one day in seven and Jesus will judge whether we have done this or not.
No-one else will!
How about we plan to have one good day of rest a week?
for our own good!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The written words of God do not give eternal life!
Thu, August 18, 2011 | link
"They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion;
but they that dislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion"
I am sure that is what most people think I am speaking heresy when they read the title
statement is backed by Jesus words, so it seems to be true. See John 5:39-40
[NIRV] where Jesus is reported as saying this. . .
"You study the Scriptures carefully. You study them because
you think they will give you eternal life. The Scriptures you study give witness about me. But you refuse to come
to me and receive life."
It’s not the words
in the book that give the eternal life, otherwise anyone that reads them would immediately be able to have eternal life, and
that is not what happens.
It is bringing ourselves to the point of accepting and believing in Jesus, to the extent that we want to do what he suggests, and then the love of God grows deep within
I just watched a movie on Netflix called “Bulletproof Monk” about
a Buddhist monk. The whole premise of the movie is based on him spending his life traveling around the world protecting
the ancient Scroll of the Ultimate, which if anyone reads, would make them all powerful. (Total nonsense but entertaining!).
Sometimes I think we treat the bible the same
way, we think if we chant a verse or two at the appropriate time, the incantation will cause a supernatural event.
We are being no better than witches and the Satanists
who read the “our father”(Lord’s prayer) backwards, because they think it undoes it!
is not rational thinking, or logical and the one thing I do find is that
the closer I get to Jesus, the more rational and logical my thoughts are. Although in some strange way I also grow more emotional
Jesus is the door to true spiritual life and YES, we do need to read the bible to
understand Jesus and the one he reflects, our Father God.
the words of the bible help us with this!
We must however, never forget, it’s not the words but the relationship
that is in the balance.
Do we tip into the pool of love and compassion and wonder of Jesus, or do we dip into the dry legalistic reading of words, sentences, semantics and drop away from
truth which is only found in Jesus.
I want to have Jesus more each day, have Holy Spirit show me the words I need
to grasp for that day. I need to have life in a day full of vitality and joy. A
day totally dedicated to Jesus, the one I love! In so doing I want to try to live the right way, asking forgiveness for where
Now that is life!
I do hope you can enjoy it that way as well! So let’s read the biblical
words but go to Jesus!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Buying a home! Ever notice how sales people treat us?
Wed, August 17, 2011 | link
Grabbing a wallet or cheque book, we head out to town, the mall or the nearest place where our dollars will
be accepted with a smile by someone in sales.
It’s amazing how pleasant people
are when they are after our money isn’t it?
That same person would not give us the time of day normally, but when we have dollars, it’s different.
Yesterday I went to Yorkdale
mall as I needed a new suit for work. I was dressed in cheap rubber sandals, shorts, and a T-shirt. My son
was dressed similarly and he wanted to buy a dress shirt for a wedding. It was interesting that although there was about three
attendants in the store, not one approached us or wanted to help.
That was because we looked
like the type of people who don’t buy at those type of stores. Anyone seen “pretty woman” where Julia Roberts dressed like a prostitute goes into a store on Rodeo
drive in Hollywood and gets shunned.
That was my experience at this store, except when I finally corralled an attendant and
demanded assistance to buy a Calvin Klein suit, the $’s got the better of him and he was then most helpful,
ignoring my inferior appearance.
Lesson learned, I up scaled my dress just a tad and switched the shorts for a pair of black jeans and the sandals for canvas sneakers.
Now I was suitably under-dressed for my next experiment in
testing the salespeople of our world. I was in the market for a condo and planned on visiting many presentation centers in the city in that regard.
Why do I dress down for
the environment when I go to buy something?
Simply because I want to try and determine if the person helping me is
spinning me sales talk, or if they are really trying to help me.
Those who react adversely to my appearance are generally the high powered sales people and so those are the people I would rather not deal with! A genuinely helpful
person is much more appreciated!
Thinking of this, I was wondering how many people are accosted by Christians who have an ulterior motive in addressing
Are we really honestly
just loving people and letting God deal with them and their lives, or are we trying to push them in a “godly”
direction as determined by ourselves.
I hope it’s the former!
That’s my objective! I want to provide what people may need to understand God, but leave it to them and God
to form the relationship that can only develop between two people. God did that for me, it’s the least I can do for
So, today I want to watch my language and conduct to be sure I treat others right. Where I have failed in the past
I ask for forgiveness and I know that if I allow Holy Spirit to guide and lead, I will go the right way. Hope you have the
Have a wonderful day!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Jesus is so very difficult to understand sometimes, isn’t he?
Tue, August 16, 2011 | link
Then, I noticed that Canadian East coast people speak a different English
from central province people. The westerners speak differently from both of these. Then the way American English
differs from Canadian English is subtle but it is definitely different. None of these are considered to be the queens English,
and yet we do understand each other fairly well!
"Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes
complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith."
Coming from Africa originally, from South Africa, one of the commonwealth countries,
the English I spoke due to my accent and cultural differences varied somewhat from the Canadian English spoken in Toronto
where we lived.
The difficulty is not really in understanding the words, but what they
mean in the new context. Our minds have to leave the place we learned to speak the language and migrate to the place
where we are now listening to it. Only then, do we have the ability to properly understand those words in their new environment.
I guess that’s why Jesus is sometimes difficult to understand!
words are clear but we don’t always get the context.
Let’s take a look at the
following excerpt from John 5 [NIRV] as an example
Jesus answered, "What I'm about to tell you is true. The Son
can do nothing by himself. He can do only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does. This is
because the Father loves the Son. He shows him everything he does. Yes, you will be amazed! The Father will show him even
greater things than these.
"The Father raises the dead and gives them
life. In the same way, the Son gives life to anyone he wants to.
"Also, the Father does not judge anyone. He has given the Son the task of judging. Then all people will honor
the Son just as they honor the Father. Those who do not honor the Son do not honor the Father, who sent him.
"What I'm about to tell you is true. Anyone who hears my word
and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He will not be found guilty. He has crossed over from death to life.
"What I'm about to tell you is true. A time is coming for me to give life. In fact,
it has already begun. The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. Those who hear it will live.
"The Father has life in himself. He has also allowed the Son to have life in himself. And the Father has given
him the authority to judge. This is because he is the Son of Man.
not be amazed at this. A time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear his voice. They will all come out of their
graves. Those who have done good will rise and live again. Those who have done evil will rise and be found guilty.
"I can do nothing by myself. I judge only as I hear. And my judging is fair. I do
not try to please myself. I try only to please the One who sent me.
us try to get an idea why this is difficult to follow.
First he says
Son can do nothing by himself. He can do only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does. This
is because the Father loves the Son. He shows him everything he does. Yes, you will be amazed! The Father will show him even
greater things than these.
In my simple way I get that it is saying that Jesus knows what Father God knows,
that Father God loves Jesus, but I have no idea what the greater things than “these” are or exactly what
the “these” are either.
I can assume the “these” is speaking of the miracles he has just done,
but since John’s gospel is not written chronologically (at least it doesn’t appear to be) what miracles are
being referred to is simply unknown.
It is above my abilities to understand! Maybe you can do better?
If you do, let me know in the comment section below or send me an email
Next Jesus says, The Father raises the dead and gives them life. In the
same way, the Son gives life to anyone he wants to.
I think I get this. . .Jesus has
the ability give life to people who are dead. There is a confusion here also but since the confusion is better described a
little later in this blog, I will leave it until then.
Next is . . .
Also, the Father does not judge anyone. He has given the Son the task of judging. Then all people will
honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Those who do not honor the Son do not honor the Father, who sent him.
At first look this seems simple to understand, right?
doesn’t judge, but Jesus does.
but if we factor in that the Father knows what the Son knows, it begs the question how someone can know exactly the
same thing as another and yet not form a judgement on what is known?
a bit more difficult to understand!
Then if God is one, how does he do this "split personality"
This is an impossible aspect
Moving along, I think we will get the next piece. We need to honour Jesus because
if we don’t, we are not honouring God.
Then Jesus says "What
I'm about to tell you is true. Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He will not be found
guilty. He has crossed over from death to life.
"What I'm about
to tell you is true. A time is coming for me to give life. In fact, it has already begun. The dead will hear the voice of
the Son of God. Those who hear it will live.
If we hear about and believe Jesus is who he
says he is, we have eternal life, BUT only if the person also believes that God the Father
That’s a piece that is poorly explained in churches today isn't it?
What do you think? Is that what it is saying?
Perhaps we often fail to point out
that we need to understand God the Father is the one who has eternal life and enables Jesus to have the same.
A subtle but important difference!
this is what gives us a life that is without death.
That I get! What I don’t get clearly is “The dead will hear
the voice of the Son of God. Those who hear it will live.”
Is he talking about the physical
dead at that time. Is he talking of the spiritually dead then and now? Is he talking about both?
It could be any or all of these!
Now the bit "The
Father has life in himself. He has also allowed the Son to have life in himself. And the Father has given him the authority
to judge. This is because he is the Son of Man.
This is fairly understandable,
except for exactly what he means by “Son of Man”.
seminary, I found a lot of people thought they understood this, but for me it was strange because sometimes Jesus is referring to himself as “Son
of God” (see a few lines back in the same writing) and sometimes he says “Son of Man”.
There has to be a difference!
To me, perhaps he is
talking of his human form when he says “Son of Man”, and his spiritual form when he says “Son
We all need to decide on this for ourselves
right? What’s your opinion?
Whatever it is, we choose we need to check it out against all the usages of these
terms in the bible.
That takes time. I am only part way through that process!
His next statement is "Do not be amazed at this. A time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear his voice. They
will all come out of their graves. Those who have done good will rise and live again. Those who have done evil will rise and
be found guilty.”
This does perhaps reflect a little light on a previous statement “The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. Those who hear it will live.”
context is however slightly different and so we cannot be sure they refer to the same thing.
Here at least we know he is talking of the physically dead because the living dead don’t normally
live in graves.
The definition of good and evil require much reading of the bible and perhaps even an understanding
of the Old Testament covenant term usages of these words.
They definitely do not have the simple modern context of those words “good” and “evil”.
That makes this sentence equally as difficult to understand without much study!
Now for the really amazing statement
"I can do
nothing by myself. I judge only as I hear. And my judging is fair. I do not try to please myself. I try only to please the
One who sent me.
Jesus tells us he has no ability to do anything that is not of the Father.
I guess this is why we say they are one and the same! Yet we know the Son does different things to the Father, so how can this be?
brief look at these words has probably shown us we do not have the context of God.
We are more
like an immigrant in a foreign country trying to understand the words, their context and what they show us we should do.
We are strangers in the spiritual world, travelers in a space that will take us a while
to comprehend even slightly.
God has organized for us to have eternity to do this learning provided we take
the little we can understand, accept and use it.
Like foreigners, we will slowly adopt God’s
culture, understand his language more clearly and be able to do more in the spiritual realm.
today, I will take what I do understand and use it while I try to understand more about the rest.
I do hope
you can do the same!
Monday, August 15, 2011
Love must be honest and true
Mon, August 15, 2011 | link
Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out
all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end. ~Author Unknown Consider that heart symbol (♥). It looks nothing like
a heart at all (this probably fortunate since a heart is not a great looking object).
we consider how many of our symbols of love in the western world are fakes it’s a wonder we know about any truth in
love isn't it?
No one knows where
the symbol originated, but the most pleasant description is the necks of courting swans. Other explanations are buttocks or
other parts of women. Inverted hearts in heraldry have been associated with testicles. A math equation representing the heart
Yeuch! We use these as symbols
of love? Is this not a strange way to show love?
What about Cupid, that chubby
cherub with a bow and arrows?
The word means “desire” which is a positive start!
Cupid was the son of the roman gods Venus and Jupiter.
But what does a naked little boy with bows and
arrows have to do with love, unless we are talking of a very distorted and horrible sex practice?
said, true love is defined well in the bible.
This weekend as a group
of older teenagers and young adults were discussing how we could love others, the following came up with a bible exerpt as
a clear mission statement.
I think this is a great definition, see what you think
must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves.
Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.
When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray,
be faithful. Share with God's people who are in need. Welcome others into your homes.
those who hurt you. Bless them, and do not call down curses on them. Be joyful with those who are joyful. Be sad with those
who are sad. Agree with each other. Don't be proud. Be willing to be a friend of people who aren't considered important. Don't
think that you are better than others.
Don't pay back evil with evil.
Be careful to do what everyone thinks is right. If possible, live in peace with everyone. Do that as much as you can.
Now that’s a challenge
for today isn’t it?
If we lived this version of love, I think we could communicate love very effectively.
Have a great day!
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