Getting somewhere requires effort,
faith to push on,
it's easy to screw up,
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Thanks George Clooney!
Thu, March 15, 2012 | link
guy in the street says Christians are doing good work, it doesn’t go far, but when George Clooney does, it ripples out
in a wide wash of publicity.This week he went on record as saying that in Sudan, the Christians were doing good
work. In a country of ethinic violence and killings, people really have to care to help. They have to take risks
The article says he pointed out that “In a one-on-one interview,
Clooney told CBN News that Christian ministries play a key role in helping those suffering.”
"They lead the work a lot of times here,"
he said. "When we were at the Darfur rally it was ministers. It was a lot of people of faith that had been working very
hard on this."
Here in our western world we don’t always see the power of God the way those
in need see it! We also don’t seem to have to rely on the power of Holy Spirit as much. When our lives,
livelihood and physical bodies are under threat, then we do. This happens much more in the third world.
It isn’t surprising that people who go to areas where great
poverty is being addressed by loving caring people find Christians in among them. God asked us to do this. We do it for love!
We do it sacrificially because Christianity is a sacrificial religion. Not animals but ourselves!
Let’s remember that Clooney is simply making the work evident.
It is the hard working people in the streets of Sudan who are doing it!
Bringing this closer to home let us ask ourselves who is doing the work of helping
those in need in our communities.
Who is in need around us right now?
What are we doing to help?
I think we can all learn a little from this public figure.
. . How about you and I go and do it today?
Doing the right thing
is the right thing to do!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Was that description of Jesus’ tomb accurate?
Wed, March 14, 2012 | link
The Ancient Middle East had a specific way of burying their dead that is significantly
different to modern Western practices.
The bible says. . .
Mark 15:42-46 (NIRV) It was the day before the Sabbath. That day was
called Preparation Day. As evening approached, Joseph went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Joseph was from the
town of Arimathea. He was a leading member of the Jewish Council. He was waiting for God's kingdom.
Pilate was surprised to hear
that Jesus was already dead. So he called for the Roman commander. He asked him if Jesus had already died. The commander said
it was true. So Pilate gave the body to Joseph.
Then Joseph bought some linen cloth. He took the body down and wrapped it in the linen. He
put it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
An alternative version is . . .
Matthew 27:57-60 (NIRV) As evening approached, a rich man came
from the town of Arimathea. His name was Joseph. He had become a follower of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus'
body. Pilate ordered that it be given to him.
Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut
out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb. Then he went away.
is this according to the archaeological evidence that is known today?
Let us consider that Jesus was condemned, not under Jewish, but Roman law. This was why he was crucified!
If it was Jewish law that was being executed, the likelihood was that he would have been given one of the jewish
modes of execution. “Four modes of execution were given in the court: stoning, burning,
slaying [by the sword] and strangulation.” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 7:1).
This means Jesus method of death was an authentic Roman death as the bible indicates.
The Jews buried the victims of Roman crucifixion
as was mentioned by a non-biblical historian, Josephus: although
the Jews used to take so much care of the burial of men, that they took down those that were condemned and crucified, and
buried them before the going down of the sun.
This report aligns exactly with the biblical account!
at that time it was only wealth Jews had rock cut tombs.
The poorer Jews could not afford these extravagances and were instead buried in
a trench grave.
This was one which has a shaft with a chamber
off the shaft dug in earth. The body was placed in the earthen chamber which was sealed with mud brick slabs. This would have
been the only grave Jesus’ relatives could have afforded.
The bible however points out Jesus was given a grave among the wealthy. Matthew says a “new” tomb.
Why mention “new”?
The Jews re-used
their tombs! The bodies were placed in tombs until the had
decayed sufficiently that only bones were left. Then they placed the bones in ossuary’s (from about 10-20 B.C. they
switched the practice of putting them in a rock “room” called a charnel room for putting them in a stone box called
Jesus was placed
into an unused tomb as distinct from one that had been used before.
was a custom for many years. See 2 Chronicles 34:28 "You will join the members of your family
who have already died.”When Jesus was removed from the cross just before the Sabbath, they
needed to get it into a tomb quickly. There was not time to dig an earthen trench tomb and so a different
plan was made as the body needed to be buried within 24 hours and the Sabbath would have stopped this since you couldn’t
bury on the Sabbath.
We also now
know it was common to wrap the body in a linen shroud. Jesus’ body was wrapped in that way.
Archaeology backs up the bible account of Jesus burial
with many circumstantial facts.
was Jesus body never found? The bible says it is because
he rose from the dead. Thats a subject of a different blog, but it is similarly accurate in its details.
Isn’t it wonderful that God gave us all these facts to discover if we are patient and look?
We have a wonderful God who wants us to be able to find him and
follow his guidelines for a successful life.
How about we do that today, and if someone says Jesus death is a story that was made up, gently explain to them why
we as Christians don’t think so! Too many non-Christians and Christians would have to be liars to have this story
Good and evil and are we kidding ourselves?
Wed, March 14, 2012 | link
Last night I had dinner with a guy who suggested that
good and evil were arbitrary, selected by cultures to foster their own values and selected by individuals to make themselves
It took me a short time to suggest that
perhaps even without being spiritual in my argument I could perhaps counter this thought by appealing to those around who
were a wonderful complex group from Africa, Eastern Europe (with Russian experience), and a Canadian that had Chinese experiences.
I argued that the measure of culture is in how it cares for the poor, the unfortunate and the damaged in it’s society
and that a society that doesn’t do this is lesser in some way than another that does.
Even the person arguing against me agreed this to be true
and the evaluations of different countries of which this group had lived in (which was a large number of very different political
and dictatorial ideologies) also agreed.
I then suggested that caring for these people was a “good” thing as evaluated
by everyone, and it was ubiquitous in the world amongst “good” people.
Seeing he was losing the argument, my friend suggested
the only reason people help others is to feel good about themselves.
Another at the table pointed out when he has to help a neighbour sometimes it’s
the last thing he wants to do, he is tired and negative to doing so, but does so because it’s the right thing to do.
Only afterwards does he feel glad he did so!
I think we all know in our hearts that Good and Evil are not arbitrary! Even more so, we all know bible is right to say. . .
Isaiah 10 (NIRV)
Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from
To whom will you
run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
as Christians, Jews, and any others who hold to the Old Testament as written by God must make sure to look after the rights
of the poor, widows, fatherless and others who are not always treated right in our society. We should befriend strangers and love our enemies.
That is “good”.
God is the ultimate one that determines “good” and “evil”. Whether men like my friend feel that this is an arbitrary choice or not makes
absolutely no difference. We know we must do these things. We know that ignoring these things and abusing authority (take
Hitler as an example) are in the wrong. God’s truths are absolute, not relative!
Today let’s remember
it is not the outcome of our actions that should be a measure of our success, but rather our attitude and way that we do what
we do! Let us go spread a little “good” around even if we don’t feel like
it. That way we increase the eternal value of those around us, and our eternal value in the universe.
Have a wonderful day!
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Comfort words! The comfort of knowing before things happen, that they will!
Forth telling, fortune telling and soothsayers are people that make a lot of money out of people who want to know
that will happen before it does. (I think most of these
are not really capable or they would win the lotto every time, but that’s just my opinion)
Tue, March 13, 2012 | link
Why do newspapers and magazines often have horoscopes, why are
people so interested in what a dead guy by the name of Michel de Nostredame had to say?
We are inherently inquisitive of what will happen and want to see things unfold
when they are predicted in the past.
I think our enjoyment of achieving flight is probably a collective
sigh of relief at proving all the people right who believed it could happen and wrote their thoughts down over the years.
We like to see things come into being in an almost planned way, don’t we?
One of the most comforting predictions ever written are the following words from Isaiah
family is like a tree that has been cut down.
A new little tree will grow from its stump.
its roots a Branch will grow and produce fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on that Branch.
He will help him to be wise and understanding.
will help him make wise plans and carry them out.
He will help him know the Lord and have respect for him.
Branch will take delight
in respecting the Lord.
He will not judge things only by the way they look.
He won't make decisions
based simply on what people say.
He will always do what is right
when he judges those who are in need.
be completely fair
when he makes decisions about poor people.
When he commands that people be punished,
it will happen.
When he orders that evil
people be put to death,
it will take place.
will put godliness on as if it were his belt.
He'll wear faithfulness around his waist.
It is comforting to see Jesus originated from that root of Jesse and that these words spoken by this guy who lived in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah had
his words come true hundreds of years later.
Then we can look at another part of his predication, Isaiah 9:6-7 ,
A child will
be born to us.
A son will be given to us.
He will rule over us.
And he will be called
Wonderful Adviser and Mighty God.
He will also be called Father Who Lives Forever
and Prince Who Brings Peace.
authority of his rule will continue to grow.
The peace he brings will never end.
He will rule on David's
and over his kingdom.
He will make the kingdom strong and secure.
His rule will be based on what is fair and right.
will last forever.
The Lord's great love will make sure that happens.
He rules over all.
Taken together, it gives us comfort that God was telling people what would happen before it did. The comfort is increased as God also says that a time will come when we will
all live with him forever. The fact that the past came true gives us trust that the future will as well. Then we have Jesus
who walked the roads of the middle east and explained how we should live and communicate with God. The one prophesied about
became a prophet, was a king and priest and was the first Rabbi ever.
God is good! He wants us to gain comfort from his love and relationship
with us. It’s up to us to allow ourselves to gain
that comfort by reading and considering the words.
Then, we go out into the world and live courageously, knowing the base of our life is solid.
That’s my plan for today. What’s
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Who was the first “Rabbi” in history?
Sun, March 11, 2012 | link
Sometimes it is interesting to look back in time to find origins of
common terms.The term “Rabbi” applied to a person describes a Jewish scholar, teacher, or leader that
studies or teaches Jewish law. The Rabbi’s lead the
Jew’s in cultural and religious life.
The rest of us as are “goy”, or gentiles (that word means “peoples” or
“nations” and refers to non-jews).
We hardly think of this word or consider it!
Most of us in this world are the “peoples” according to the Jews and most of us don’t
really consider ourselves to have any sort of Jewish root in our lives. In fact, many would find any such thought appalling.
Christians to many Jews may be labelled as “Jew haters”. Many of
Jewish origin think of Christians and the holocaust with a similar mindset. Atrocities against the Jews permeates
the minds of many Jews and divides Jew from Christian. Similarly Christians label (incorrectly) Jews as Christ haters,
remembering the incident prior to the death of Jesus in Pilates court.
Traditional hates reiterated by youth and perpetuated through the years!
I say this with emphasis, since for many, these differences
have led to people wanting to segregate themselves into separate cultural divisions.
This is not amusing!
I grew up in South Africa where apartheid was in place and was
so wrong! The whole world condemned it! I find it despicable
and so should most. Yet it was status quo for a long time.
Yet the division in attitude and teaching of fathers to sons around the differences between
Jews and Christians is also apartheid. The word “apartheid”
for those that are unclear of its definition is one that stands for “separate development of peoples”, cultural
division. It implies the keeping of purity of one’s culture by the segregation of peoples.
Christians should not hold to such policies because God wanted us to go into all the world to make disciples and that means
going to all people. God’s love is for all people. Also, let’s face facts. . .Jesus was a Jew!
In fact in the early church era, Jews and Christians
were so similar that Christians attended the Jewish weekly celebrations as well as their own.
Much of the New Testament is very Jewish and to understand it actually
requires a deep knowledge of the ancient Jewish world.
We should have great love for our Jewish friends
since it is their nation that was chosen by God to bring the messiah to us!
Now for Jewish people who read this I have another interesting fact. Do you know that the first use of the word “rabbi” ever (in the history of written word) was
used to describe Jesus!
Levine writing in an archaeological magazine reports “Jesus himself was a Jew; he is, in
terms of dates of documents, the first person in history to be called “Rabbi” (John 1:38, 49, 3:2, 6:25).”
Amy-Jill as a Jew and not one who sees
Jesus as the messiah says this “For me, personally, the more I study the New Testament,
the better informed Jew I become. I can fill in the gaps in Jewish history that I never learned in Hebrew School; I can see
the options open to early Jews and better understand the paths they chose; I can hear in many of the teachings of Jesus a
helpful restatement of the Scriptures of Israel. I do not worship the messenger, but I often find compelling his image of
the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Jesus was the first Rabbi in history! Perhaps as we learn greatly from him, it would also be good to heal the hurts of the past between Jew and
Christian. Today as we move into our diverse worlds to work and play, let’s remember that and appreciate each other.
It’s what God would want!
If you want to see a short blog describing a perspective on what I believe click here
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May you be blessed today!