Messianic- Jewish- Gentile- current- 2013
1969 CLIFF DIVING
Jack n Jill went down the ….
Actually- Obama and Boehner went over the cliff ….
Yeah- last night the Dems in the senate passed a compromise of sorts.
But- we did actually do the ‘cliff’ thing- the house has not passed it yet- but it’s not as bad as the media made it sound.
I fell asleep early and didn’t catch the whole scoop- but from what I saw it looks like they are gonna raise taxes on those who make over 400 grand a year and try and settle the rest later.
It really was just kicking the ball down the road- and letting the president get some of what he wanted- though those on the hard left- and right- are not happy.
Okay- the past few weeks as I have been doing the halfway house with my friend John David- I have been kind of teaching a chapter of the bible each week to the guys.
It is funny how every chapter I read for the week seems to have some type of personal ‘word’ for what we are doing with the house.
For instance- a couple of weeks ago the chapter was Jeremiah 33.
I told the guys the other day that I felt it was no coincidence that a lot of the guys we are working with at the halfway house are all relatives of David.
John David was a long time addict in the area where I live- he has 5 or 6 generations all living right around me.
I helped his brother’s [Andy] granddaughter the other day- her name is Kayla.
Plus- she has a cute 2 year old- so I see her every now and then.
At the house- we have Little Charlie- Big Charlie- John Boy and Andy.
All related to John David- minus John Boy.
So- I felt like it was a family thing as well as an open ‘house’ for others.
So- Jeremiah 33 speaks about the promises of God to ‘David and his house/family’.
It says there will never fail to be a family member who will be a part of ‘this house’.
Now- the promises are actually speaking about the Davidic covenant/promise that God made to the great Jewish king- King David.
These promises play a very important role in the history of salvation.
I wrote on this a couple of posts back- basically God promised king David that he would set a Son upon David’s throne- and this Son would hold the position ‘forever’.
The Apostles in the book of Acts saw this promise as being fulfilled thru the death and ascension of Christ to the right hand of God.
So- that’s what the chapter in Jeremiah is actually speaking about.
But I also felt like the Lord was giving us confirmation about what we were doing as well.
It is important- very important- to make this distinction.
When people begin ‘seeing’ themselves as the actual fulfillment of some bible promise- like the prophet Jeremiah was actually- in context- speaking about them- then that’s not good.
David Koresh- right up the road from me in Waco- made this tragic mistake- and we have all seen the end result.
Koresh believed he was the fulfillment of verses found in Revelation- he took his new name- Koresh- from an actual figure in the Old Testament [king Cyrus].
When people go down that road- it’s not good.
But- to apply stuff like the way I was doing Jeremiah 33- I think is okay.
Now- when I shared this chapter with John David- I told him a funny thing happened when I read it.
All the promises to David and his family being involved with ‘the house’.
Well- in my bible- it does not say David.
It says ‘John David’.
John- are you going Koresh on us?
I told David about a year ago I heard a preacher say ‘this year- start personalizing the promises in the bible- write your name in the spot when a promise is made to someone else’.
So- I did that for about a week and quit.
But- it just so happened that this chapter was converted to say ‘John David’.
Yeah- I simply wrote my name over ‘David’ and all the promises were to ‘John David’.
Okay- was going to teach a little more about these promises and how they are spoken about in Acts chapter 15- the first church council.
Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.
For now- just hold tight- we have to finish repelling down the cliff.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1968 7 PRINCES TO THE RESCUE
I want to try and comment on Micah chapter 5- an Old Testament prophet.
But first a few other things.
Last night I was watching Fox news- and Greta mentioned the top stories of the year.
Lots of the news shows do this every year.
I thought- in general- that it’s harmful to re-tell the school shootings- over and over again- right at this time.
In our media world there is a sort of voyeurism that takes place- we want to see- hear- the actual events- over and over again.
Sometimes after a tragic event- maybe it’s already a few days old.
And some network will get hold of the actual 911 call- and run that as the news ad during the day.
‘Hey look- tonight we have the actual call’.
Oftentimes it’s the call a parent made when she found her kid was killed- or some other tragedy.
We do not need to air that type of stuff.
Anyway Greta said she thinks that ‘Africa will be the top story of this new year- not the Arab Spring’.
Okay- I know my liberal friends are mad at me- some ‘un-friend’ me and stuff.
Because I have been hard on the Dems.
But this time I’ll be hard on Fox.
Who remembers the Arab Spring posts I did last year?
The 3 nations that ‘sprung’ were Tunisia- Egypt- and Libya.
All these nations border each other on the Mediterranean sea- on the North part of the African continent.
In short- all the Arab Spring nations are Africa- so far.
The only possible one that’s not African is Syria- and it hasn’t ‘sprung’ yet.
So yeah- we should not always believe what we see on the tube.
Okay- Micah 5 is the chapter for this week.
It has the famous prophecy that out of Bethlehem Jesus will come.
It speaks about Bethlehem as a small- po dunk type town.
‘You are the least in Judah- yet from thee shall he spring forth who is to be the ruler’.
Jesus hailed from the wrong side of the tracks in many ways.
Galilee was also a sort of underclass area- Jesus and his men spoke Aramaic- which was kind of a lower class language.
A sort of Ebonics of the day [ouch!]
Yet- from that spot where it seemed no good could come- yet good did come.
A couple of verses caught my attention.
‘Daughter of troops- gather yourself into troops’.
And ‘When the enemy comes into the land you will raise up against him 7 shepherds and 8 principal men’.
When I read these verses this week- I applied them to the halfway house ministry we started a couple of months ago.
Often times in scripture we read symbols- things that might use warfare imagery- yet they are not talking about ‘killing’ the way we think.
One of the tragedies of our time is we have too many religious people who have never made this distinction.
And even in the church we hold to many ideas- that come from images about war- that are only symbols- but some teach them as actual war.
In the book of Revelation the apostle John talks about the Christians overcoming the enemy.
It talks about a battle- Jesus on a White horse- a sword coming out of his mouth.
When Evangelicals turn these into actual war prophecies- they do damage to the truth.
I mean the image of a sword from Jesus mouth is understood as the Word of God.
So Jesus ‘slays his enemies’ with the word of God.
Does Jesus actually kill them?
No- when people accept the message of Christ- they get baptized.
Baptism is a type of death to the old man- and life to the new.
So- the images of those being killed by ’the sword from Jesus mouth’ should be seen in this way.
[Or as a type of end time judgment that Gods word carries out- Jesus said ‘the words that I speak to you’ will judge you in the final day.]
Revelation says those who ‘died the first death and had part of the first resurrection’ the second death has no power over them.
All who are in Christ have died a sort of ‘first death’ on these- the 2nd death [when you die] has no power.
The writer of Hebrews says Jesus delivered us- who thru fear of death were all our lives in bondage.
Those who have died the first death- who have joined themselves unto Christ and are ‘crucified’ with him.
Yeah- on these the 2nd death has no power.
Okay- I could go on and on like this- but the point is we as believers need to be careful when we teach the verses that speak about killing- death and swords.
Often times they are not to be taken literally.
So- when I read that God raises up ‘7 princes’ against the enemy.
I realized- at the halfway house- there are a total of 7 of us working together in the ministry.
I liked that- God uses people- princes- to come against the enemy.
Okay- back to Revelation.
There is this image of Jesus with 7 stars in his hand- and it says these are the 7 angels of the churches.
Some see these ‘angels’ as church leaders.
The Greek word means messenger- and it can mean angels or people.
The point is- Jesus has these people- these chosen ones- and he uses them as ‘weapons’.
That is- those who are sent into the world with the message of the gospel- these are in a way soldiers for the Lord.
But they don’t go out and kill people in the literal sense- but when they carry the message of the Cross- and when others believe in that message- then yes- those who believe and are baptized have died in a way.
The apostle Paul says ‘I have been crucified with Christ- never the less I live- yet not I but Christ lives in me’.
So yeah- when the enemy comes in- God sends messengers against him.
These messengers too have ‘swords’ in their mouths- they speak the Word of God.
And yes- every so often they ‘kill’ people- that is- those who hear the message- they die a sort of ‘first death’.
They die to the old man- the old nature.
They are raised with Jesus also- to walk in a new way.
Yeah- on these- the next death will have no power.
NOTES- I also wanted to mention yesterday’s ruling by Supreme Court justice Sotomayor.
She ruled that the Catholic owners of Hobby Lobby must either provide birth control thru their company- or start paying a 1.3 million dollar a day fine.
I remember when the debate was going on about Obama Care.
Many good people—Bishop Tim Dolan from N.Y. and others.
They were assured by the president himself that the religious views of Catholics would not be trampled over by the new law.
Yet- since the law passed- many Catholics have already been affected by the law in a negative way.
As most of you know- the church teaches that birth control is not an acceptable practice for Catholics.
Now- being raised as a Catholic- and now a Protestant- I do realize that many Catholics do not obey this rule.
But- others do.
It is sad that the Obama Care law does indeed trample over the rights of Catholics.
When a law forces a Catholic to provide something that goes against their conscience- that’s wrong.
The president and his supporters swore that this would not happen- tell that to the owners of Hobby Lobby as they start writing checks for 1.3 million- every day!
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1966 WERE WALKING TO ZION
Merry Christmas to all [and happy holidays to you politically correct types].
I debated on posting today- you’re normally obliged to do some type of Christmas thing.
But last night I was thinking about an experience that one of the guys at the halfway house shared with me- and I thought maybe we’d go with that.
And if possible- turn it into some type of Christmas story.
Okay- over the past few years I have developed all sorts of images- scenes- bible verses- they are here in my office and in my backyard.
These are simply reminders for prayer.
For instance- in my yard I have this gazebo- it has all the names of the guys I have prayed for- for years.
I have the thing looking like a modern day Tabernacle of Moses.
Yeah- in the Old Testament we read about this Tent system that God ordained when the people were in the wilderness.
It’s called the Tabernacle of Moses.
It was simply this 2 room portable tent- with various items of worship in and around it [the courtyard was the outer area].
So- in my ‘remake’ I have sort of the same things- I even covered this gazebo with outdoor hanging material- you know- like a tent.
I also started playing my harmonica every day- I started this about a year ago.
Now- I’m no musician- but I read some verses over the years that seemed to incorporate this type of harmonica ‘prayer’ in with regular type prayer.
Okay- last thing.
This last year I started making staffs- yeah- you know- things that people carry around while they are walking.
I even brought one or 2 down to the mission- I was carving on them while hanging out with the guys.
So- right now I have 5 of them- and they surround all these spots I mentioned.
So- that’s sort of the imagery that I feel the Lord gave me- ways to see the community of people when praying for them.
Okay- I’m talking with John Boy the other day.
John Boy is one of the first guys to stay at the halfway house.
He’s dying of cancer- and he kinda came with the idea that he would die while staying with us.
John was an addict for most of his life- and is trying to ‘die clean’ [those are his exact words].
So- when I take the guys into town to run errands and stuff- I take John too.
He loves getting out- you can see his pictures on my Facebook page- he’s the one holding the ax.
So John tells me this story- this dream he had about 20 years ago.
He was climbing this mountain [journey in life] and when he gets to the top- he could see all the other people climbing their mountains too.
When you get to the top- you see all these roads leading to one central thing.
It’s a tent- a ‘tabernacle of Moses’ type [I asked what type because John is an American Indian- he told me it was not an Indian type].
As all the trails are leading to the tent- all the people are carrying staffs [Hmmm?]
As they near the tent- you smell incense [which I forgot to mention- I’m always burning them- even now].
And last but not east- there is this beautiful sound of a harmonica playing from inside the tent.
John does not remember what the song was- I took his bible and outlined my ‘harmonica song’ from the book of Revelation [it says those who overcame the beast stood on a sea of glass and had these harmonicas/harps. There are multiple verses in the book of Revelation that I get the idea from- but the actual words I use are in chapter 5 starting in verse 9].
I marked the song and asked him to read it later.
Yeah- I felt in many ways Johns dream was prophetic- it had meaning.
Okay- now the Christmas part.
We read in the bible that Jesus was the bread of life who came to us thru the Virgin Mary.
He was born in a lowly stable [ark- box]- yet was Divine in nature.
A type of the Ark of the Covenant that was in the Tent of Moses- it held the 10 commandments [Deity- Gods character- inside a fleshly tent].
Jesus was God and man- not half God and half man- but fully God and fully man.
That’s why the images with the ‘Moses tent’ had both Gold and precious metals- as well as the skins of animals- showing a combination of deity along with humanity/flesh.
Over time the tent system would be replaced with a temple- that was basically the tent in a more permanent form.
This temple- built 2 times [really 3- King Herod built the 2nd temple into this grand masterpiece right before the time of Christ- it was the temple that the disciples referred to when speaking to Jesus].
This temple had a huge veil- a blanket type material that separated the 2 rooms on the inside.
This veil represented separation from God- sinful man could not approach a holy God.
The high priest went alone once a year behind the veil- and he would offer the blood of a sacrifice for the sins of the people.
During the crucifixion of Christ we read that an earthquake shook the ground- and the ‘veil of the temple was torn apart- from top to bottom’.
This signified that thru the Cross we now all have access to God- no more veil.
Yes- the whole thing pointed to Christ- there are entire books written about all the things in detail- how they all have meaning.
But for today- I’ll end with that picture in my mind- my friend John has reached the top of the mountain- he hears the harmonica playing- he smells the incense from the room.
Oh- one more thing.
John said when he got to the tent- in his dream- that everybody left their walking canes outside.
There was no more need for them.
John the Apostle tells us that in that day there will be no more crying or pain or anything like that.
Yeah- we will leave our canes at the door.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1965 JUST ASK
I should have covered this chapter last week- but I’m behind a little.
So let’s start the week with a famous verse.
“Call unto me and I will answer thee and SHOW THEE great and mighty things that thou knowest not”.
This chapter deals with the restoration promises that God made to his people in the Old Testament.
The other week I did a few posts about the main meaning of the bible- the message of Christianity.
One of the main themes of the bible is the promise of a coming Messiah- someone who the Jewish nation was looking for- he was a future deliverer.
In this chapter the prophet talks about the promise made to King David- that there would be a Son from his genealogy that would someday sit on the throne of David.
In the New Testament we see the promise fulfilled thru the coming of Christ.
If you carefully read the book of Acts- the main preachers [Peter and Paul] speak about this Davidic promise being fulfilled thru Jesus.
Jesus came from the lineage of David and he was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God.
Okay- Jeremiah is preaching to the Jewish people during a time of captivity- the people are in bondage- again [Remember Egypt?]
In order to encourage them he tells them God has not forgotten the promises he made to them.
He says he will restore them- he will fulfill the promise to David- and there will ‘never fail to be someone form David’s house to sit on the throne- a Branch will grow up from David’.
When the apostles Paul/Peter talk about this promise to David in the New Testament- they say it must be speaking about the resurrection of Christ- because it says a Son [Jesus] will sit on the throne forever.
How can there be a king who takes the ‘job’ forever?
Because this king has an everlasting life- seated in the position.
So- the whole chapter is simply a reminder to a depressed people- people heading for their own ‘fiscal cliff’ and yet- there is still hope.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about getting a special ring from a friend- it has the words ‘Trust God’ on it.
So- with my history of losing rings- I made sure that this one stays on most of the time.
I only take it off when I shower- and it goes back on.
The other morning I woke up- and the first thing I realized was the ring was gone.
I mean I looked all over for it- turned the house upside down- went to the van- traced my steps- the whole 9 yards.
So- after about an hour- I knew what needed to be done.
We all know- but we get mad- and we don’t like to do it.
Yup- I prayed.
‘Lord- this week I’m reading Jeremiah 33- and it says to call unto you and you will show us stuff we don’t know- so here it goes- what happened to the ring?’
So- my daughter says ‘dad- someone will find it- it will show up’.
Yeah- I knew I had to wait- but I really did not want to.
So- I’m thinking ‘who will find it?’
Then- when I wake up the next day- I’m doing some dishes the morning- and I have a thought.
When I was at the halfway house I worked on the toilet- and I’m sure I took my ring and watch off.
Now- I had the watch- but maybe I left the ring?
I called the guys and asked around- there were a bunch of people there that day.
I waited a couple of days- and when I went to the house- sure enough little Charlie found the ring.
See- the verse doesn’t say ‘call unto me and I will bring it back’- it says ’I will show you things you don’t know’.
I didn’t know I took the ring off- I didn’t remember it- so the answer was God showing me something I forgot.
Okay- try and read the chapter this week- it’s a great chapter.
Pay attention to the promises that God is making to the people.
The promises that God will work thru their families- he will restore the things that are broken- fix stuff.
We all need those types of promises.
And if you are stuck- pray the verse- verse 3- and see if the Lord will show you something.
Maybe not an outright miracle- but just a thought- something you might have overlooked.
Often times that’s the answer to the prayer- it works.
1961 What is the main message of the bible?
I want to continue with the strain of thought from the last post.
But first- some politics.
Yesterday Susan Rice pulled herself out of the race for Secretary of state.
Obviously the president felt it would be bad to have her at the center of a huge nomination process- being she’s at the heart of the Benghazi scandal.
Okay- what’s the big deal?
Yes- once again- some on the left side of the aisle [not all] have accused the other side of not being ready for a Black woman secy of state.
Yes- the pundits were out saying ‘when will the Repubs ever be ready for anyone but a White male holding the office’.
You know- for the money these guys get [MSNBC] you think they would maybe educate themselves on the main subject of their job.
We haven’t had a White- male secretary of state for around 20 years [last one was Larry Eagleburger].
As a matter of fact- the last one a Repub president had- just happened to be a Black woman – with the last name of Rice! [Condi].
Sad- these race baiters are destroying the fabric of the country- and they are doing it on the altar of vanity.
Sure- they think [make it sound like] they are the defenders of the minorities- but they hold an elitist attitude- one that has scorn for the rest of the country [outside the media market of NYC].
At the end of the day- they misinform their viewers- they believe that their racist charges are true- and they incite a sort of ‘reverse racism’ by creating an underlying distrust of those who are not like them.
Okay- in the last post I discussed the main message of the bible- what the main purpose is.
Over the years- as Christianity developed- the church had councils and meetings to hash out various controversies.
Over time- these meetings produced the historic creeds of the church.
Now- as a Protestant- I am not an ‘anti- traditional’ one.
I have read- taught- studied the creeds and the councils- and I’m on the side of those who hold to the creeds.
But- this has tended to cloud the main message of the New Testament.
Which is called The Good News.
What was the message the Apostles preached in the book of Acts?
The bible says they ‘preached the word’.
This was not simply a ‘bible message’ per se.
That is- they were not doing what many modern preachers do- simply going thru the bible to find various verses- about all types of subjects- and then making application.
No- they were preaching Christ- they were telling the world of their day that Christ came as the promised Messiah and died and rose again.
Then they told the people if they had faith- and they became followers of ‘This Way’- they would be justified by God- in a way that the law would not be able to do.
This is the heart of the New Testament message- that people are now saved by faith in the death and resurrection of Christ- as opposed to the old way of Law.
This is the basic message- what we call the good news.
But- like I said above- in the world of politics and religion- this simple message has been obscured.
Many people reject Christianity because of the hard line creeds and statements that came out of the church councils.
Many object to the way the Church has defined the doctrine of the Trinity.
Now- I’m with the creeds on this- but I do understand how Muslims- Jews- and even many Christian ‘groups’ have also had problems with the historic definition.
A friend asked me the other day about the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Now- at first I had no idea why he asked- but I told him I try and take a much more gracious position then you might hear from the average Christian teacher.
I told him they did break away from the historic position of the Trinity- but I also told him there have been many believers- all thru the history of the church- that have done the same thing.
I did a quick review of the Arian controversy [not Aryan- like the racist group].
In the early centuries of the church there was a famous Catholic bishop by the name of Arias.
He held to the same belief that the present Jehovah’s Witnesses do- that Jesus was not God- in the same sense that God the Father is God.
Okay- eventually the church overruled him- but there was a time where this belief was widely accepted- and taught- in much of the church.
Till this day there are entire groups of Christians that never rejected this initial belief- and they have been around since the days of Arius.
So- when discussing this with my friend- I tried to say I do understand how other religions have a problem with the historic way we have defined the Trinity.
He then told me his dad- who was a heathen his whole life- married a wonderful Jehovah Witness woman later in life- and he has become a devout believer.
So- in a way he was glad to see that even though the church does not believe the same way his dad believes- yet at the same time- there have been- and continue to be- many sincere believers who have had the same ideas as his dad and step mom.
Okay- said all that to say this.
Many good Muslims- who try to serve the Lord to the best of their ability- they see this doctrine as the major point of Christianity.
That is- they do not see the main message spoken about in the New Testament as the simple truth that God sent Jesus as the Messiah- more than a prophet- though a prophet he was.
But he came as the fulfillment of the promise that God made all thru out the history of Israel.
That someday a Messiah would come and he would not just die for the Jewish nation- but for all people groups.
And that all those who are struggling to please God thru their own obedience to the law- they are now free from ‘the law’ and can come to God based on the obedience of Christ.
Now- this would later become a debate- both in church history- and in the pages of the bible itself.
We read in the New Testament that some were accusing the apostle Paul of teaching that we can go out and sin- break the law- because we are now under grace.
Paul defended himself against this charge- and said we- as children of God- do God’s will.
He did not teach it was okay to break the commandments.
But- he did teach we are not justified- made acceptable in the sight of God- thru our doing of the commandments.
He taught that this system of trying to please God thru the obedience of the law was flawed from the get go.
Simply because all men are sinners- and no man could ever keep the law 100%.
Therefore God made a New Covenant with man [as opposed to the Old Covenant which was based on the law and works].
In this new ‘deal’ Jesus dies for the sins of the whole world- and all who now believe are forgiven by God and have eternal life.
This is a free gift that God gives to man based on the death of his Son.
Jesus said ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son- that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life’.
This is the Good News- this is the main message of the bible.
When I hear people of other faiths- or even people who have joined various sects of Christianity- when I hear them have sincere objections to the Trinity- or to some other doctrine- I try and bring them back to this main message of the bible.
This simple message of Christ dying for the sins of men- and freeing man from the struggle of trying to please God by keeping the law- that’s the old Testament that is no longer in force.
Paul the apostle wrote the Corinthian church and he said he was worried that satan was blinding their minds form the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.
I have found this to be true over the years- many people have all types of objections to Christianity.
Some have to do with politics and the Western world.
Some have to do with the way the church has come to define certain doctrines.
But for the most part- many of these well meaning objectors have never really understood what I just showed you- that none of these things are the main message of the bible.
No- the main message of the bible is that because of Christ we now have a New Covenant with God.
Not one that is based on our ability [or inability] to keep the law.
No- that was doomed from the start- no man could do it.
But this New Deal we have is completed in Christ- we can come boldly to the throne of grace- because Jesus made the way.
1960 MY APPEAL TO ALQAEDA
I woke up early the other day- around 1 am [I have had this problem for years].
Right before I woke- I had one of those dreams that you feel are significant.
I was with a friend- Huey- and we were on top of a building.
To get down you had to climb down a rope from a tree- Huey jumped on the tree and almost killed himself- he managed to escape but hurt himself real bad.
Later that day- in ‘real life’ [no more dream] he called me- he had some ride he needed or something [Huey is one of those guys that always has something going on- but seems to never accomplish anything. A few months ago he asked if he could store some of his stuff in the room at my house- I use the room for the homeless guys. Sure enough- he’ll come by late at night- needing something- I felt I needed to learn some patience with my buddy].
The phone he was on was breaking up bad- but I told him quickly about the dream- that he needs to be careful about something [you know- I thought maybe it meant danger- not an actual fall!].
So I haven’t seen him in a couple of days- but wanted to know how he was.
His brothers- who I’m doing the halfway house with- haven’t heard from him.
So I’m walking to my van at the mission- and I see Huey for the first time since the dream.
‘Hey- how you doing’?
He was in severe pain- maybe a broken rib.
I just fell off of a pier and hurt myself real bad.
I told him ‘didn’t you remember the dream’.
Listen to my dreams.
Okay- not really.
The point is God uses us- all of us- in community.
That means in the bible the various gifts of the Spirit- they are intended to function this way.
We have [in modern church] more of an individual style of the gifts.
Maybe we attend a church- or go to some function- and often times we want to hear what God said – ‘thru the prophet in the house’ type of thing.
But actually these types of scenarios lean too heavily on one person.
You might have a gifted young man- a real go getter- maybe the pastor of a church.
Okay- good- but if the format is trying our best to hear God- mainly thru the speaking gift of one person- then thats limited- it really is not the way ‘church’ was done in the bible.
Okay- enough of that.
I have a couple of things I want to write on- but can’t do them both.
I want to write a post- just to Al Qaeda.
Yes- not one of those ‘got ya’ type titles- but a real life post to members of Al-Qaida.
What would possess you to do such a thing?
This last year I have had a lot of web hits from countries where many Muslims live.
My blog changed a function a while back.
It shows me- not on the site- but in the private section- how many hits we get.
A while back I stuck a thing on the site to see what countries view- but I realized the hits were much more than what that Fidgit thing was showing.
We were goin up a few hundred every couple of days.
Grant it- that’s not much- but it’s more than I thought.
We just passed 37,000 hits the other day.
So- I also noticed that the posts where I mention Islam- or some type of political thing- they get the most hits.
So- being I already said this much- might as well make this the Al-Qaida post.
I’m grateful to have Muslim friends who read the site- I’m grateful if some are Al-Qaida.
My appeal- what I try to do over the years- is to simply see both sides of a thing- to try and understand the others view- and then do my best to present the Christian idea.
Now- when I was talking to a friend the other day- Islam came up.
I told him ‘did you know that Muhammad- the founder of Islam in the 7th century- had many of the same protests that other Christian groups would later voice too’.
I explained that Muhammad’s rise in defense of the poor and down cast [by the way- that’s actually a biblical characteristic of prophets- in the bible] were similar to Christian movements that would rise later on- like the Salvation Army.
I went on to show that he also felt like the growing use of statues in Christian worship was a violation of the commandment that says you should not make images/idols.
Now- to my Catholic friends- I have taught the entire history of the use of art- and yes- statues- in Christian worship.
I have also taught against the Iconoclasts- those Protestants who destroyed the statues in the Catholic churches- during the times of the Reformation [16th century].
So- I’m not ‘Catholic bashing’ at all.
The point is- Muhammad had some of the same objections- based on the bible- that later Protestants would have.
Gee John- I never knew this? That’s why I teach it- it helps to have less of a negative view of Muslims as a whole.
So- after I try to look at some of the good things that Islam has done [Hamas- in the Palestinian area. Why do they garnish so much support among the populace? Because they start hospitals- they feed the poor- they start welfare programs for the kids. Do they do this as some sort of trick- a way to gain the hearts and minds of people? No- they do this because it’s a basic tenet of their faith].
Okay- then what do I say to any Al-Qaida on the site?
I say that the historic divisions- the things that divide the East from the West- many of them are actual misunderstandings.
Yes- some of the religious objections were misunderstandings.
The classic one.
Muhammad believed that the Christians worshipped 3 Gods- what we call the Trinity.
But he thought the believers worshipped God- Jesus- and Mary-the mother of Jesus.
That’s of course not the trinity- this is simply a misunderstanding.
Christians believe that there is one God- in 3 persons.
Those persons being the Father- Son and Holy Spirit.
But the biggest thing I like to show my Muslim friends- my friends form other faiths- is that the message of the Cross- it’s one of grace.
Christians believe that Jesus kept all the commandments of God- then he died to pay the price for our sins.
As Christians- we don’t teach against the 10 commandants- but we don’t use them to gain acceptance with God- the acceptance we have with God comes because of the death of his Son on our behalf.
In actuality- this message is a great relief for all people who live ‘under the law’.
That is- if your Muslim- if your Al-Qaida- you too can take this.
Yes- Jesus died for you too.
That’s the appeal I make- I’m not asking my friends from other faiths to convert- if they want to- fine.
But that’s not my appeal.
I’m saying to all my friends- this message of the Cross- this is for all people.
Heck- if you want to stay Muslim- stay- but just accept the reality of this post.
Yes- Jesus is spoken about much in the Quran.
The prophet Muhammad respected Jesus.
Jesus can become- should become- all that he was intended to become- that is he died for you guys too.
Right now in the Muslim world there is a movement going on- it’s highly debated in Christian circles.
The movement is many Muslims are receiving Christ in this way- and staying Muslim.
Yet- they are accepting the Christian view of the death of Christ on their behalf.
As somewhat of a scholar type guy- yeah- I see where the objections arise.
But as a real world person- who is glad that I get many readers from countries where I know many Muslims live.
To you- go ahead- accept the benefit of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Many Muslims have already done this- many more will.
If you want to keep the other good points of Islam- fine.
But don’t see acceptance thru your ability to keep the law- no one can ultimately live up to that standard.
Jesus was the only one who never sinned- his death on our behalf allows us to come into the presence God.
He died for all- Muslims- Jews- Hindu’s’ the list goes on and on.
In today’s world- many of the objections against Christianity are really objections against Western Imperialism.
A thing I too reject.
That’s not the heart of the Christian faith.
You can receive Christ- and keep objecting to all the political ideas of the Western world.
Heck- Jesus railed against the money changers [the rich capitalist pigs of the day].
In some ways- Jesus was the ultimate Revolutionary who spoke truth to power.
Yeah- many radical’s- even Al-Qaida could respect him for this.
That’s my appeal to Al-Qaida today.
Glad some of you might read- keep reading- that’s the point.
NOTE- There is a famous prophecy about Jesus in the bible- it says ‘Gentiles shall come to your light- and kings to the brightness of your rising’.
This also applies to the ‘rise’ of the church- the people of God.
But in context- the gentiles are all the nations [even various religions- some are called Denominations] that are not Christian- not considered benefits of the Covenant of God.
The apostle Paul teaches us that we are all now part of the covenant of hope- we all now benefit from the promises of God [Ephesians].
The point being- the bible speaks about other groups- other nations- seeing the reality of Jesus and his kingdom- and that these too will come to the ‘brightness of his rising’.
1951 ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE [and the media write the script]
This past week we have seen media bias on an unusually large scale [that is it’s rarely so blatant].
The current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been reported in the strangest of ways.
Say if you had 2 kids throwing apples at each other.
You would ask ‘how did this start’.
And say if we found out that Timmy had small apples- and Billy had big ones.
Now- Timmy knows Billy has better apples- that he can launch them with greater precision and power- yet Timmy thinks if he plays his cards right- that maybe Billy won’t throw in response [Or that his new friends might come and help him].
So Timmy throws about 300 apples in a short period of time.
Finally Billy has enough- he takes his precision throwing skills to the table and slams Timmy.
After a few days of getting slammed- Timmy’s friend [little Morsi from around the corner- lives on Egyptian trail] gets involved.
Morsi says ‘damn you Billy- stop it- Timmy’s my friend’.
Billy has only one request- tell Timmy to stop throwing.
Morsi is really not a go between at all- in all his talks he keeps saying he’s on Timmy’s side- he calls Billy a cold blooded apple thrower- and little Morsi does not even recognize that Timmy actually started the whole thing [the recent apple throwing].
So- the big brother on the block finally steps in.
Yeah- the guys from USA Street enter the fray.
They have recently praised the guy from Egypt Street- they have made all sorts of statements saying he’s really a heroic figure- he’s willing to reach out to both sides and play the mediator.
Yet- in fact- he has not done this at all.
But the boys from USA Street have to make it look that way- or else they too will look bad- after all- they were behind the Egyptian street boys rise to power [in many covert ways- like calling for Mubarak to step down ‘yesterday’].
So- USA boys have a plan- they have friends that write comic books [called news paper reporters].
These friends will write and say anything to help their friends who are currently the bosses on USA Street [the Obama team].
So- they wrote all types of articles praising the new leadership role of Morsi- they made it look like Obama and his risk in backing Morsi was worth it- after all- Egypt has emerged as the new mediator in these affairs.
Well the truth is- all of this is a big lie- a true comic strip if there ever was one.
Yes my friends- I have rarely seen bias on a scale so large.
These last few days the articles reported that ‘both sides have demands’ [Israel and Hamas].
They reported ‘a cease fire is now in place- but there are rockets that continue to be fired into Israel- will Israel use this as an excuse to be the first to break the cease fire’.
If the other side [Timmy- Hamas] are firing rockets after the so called ‘cease fire’ what do you call that?
You say ‘o- Hamas broke the cease fire’.
But no- the media made it sound like these rockets had a will of their own- they were fired into Israel- after the cease fire- which according to them- both sides were still abiding by.
I mean this stuff is laughable- they must think we are absolute morons.
The truth is- Israel and the Palestinians have a long feud- and this post is not to say one side is totally right- I at times have said we also need to see the true plight of the innocent Palestinians- yes- some are very good people- they are not all Hamas.
But- the recent violence is a direct result of Hamas deciding to send rockets into civilian areas of Israel.
No nation- that has the capability to fire back- would sit back and not respond.
Israel did the only thing that they could- they shot back.
Now- to then say ‘yes- the violence is a result of both sides having legitimate concerns’ is stupid.
Yes- the Palestinians do have real concerns- but the recent violence is a result of little Timmy starting the apple throwing.
I read a report that said ‘Israel’s demands are for the rockets to stop- Hamas wants an end to the embargo’.
Okay- I got that.
But when one guy starts shooting at the other- and the other shoots back- and you say ‘okay guys- what’s going on- what do you want’.
And when Billy says ‘I don’t want anything- Timmy just started throwing- I want him to stop’.
That’s not ‘both sides having equal demands’ no- that’s one side saying ‘quit throwing the apples’.
The truth is- this entire thing is a debacle.
President Obama should not have been in Asia- there’s too much going on at home [fiscal cliff] and he needs to have more involvement in the mediation.
Yes- when Bush was in office- and had an actual peace process on the table- when things hit the fan- Harry Reid- and many other Democrat leaders were on the floor condemning Bush for not being involved more.
This time Obama does not even have a peace process in place- he could not even call both sides ‘back to the table’ because there is no table.
One article showed a picture of the president on the phone- it said he ‘skipped dessert and rushed back to the phone’.
Making it sound like him and Morsi were these 2 jet setter type diplomats- in a world of ids fighting.
The reality is this thing was a huge foreign policy mess.
Hillary went in- she basically told Morsi what he had to do- and she [we] also made it sound like he won- he prevailed as a new emerging peace negotiator- this is all a false story.
Hamas agreed to stop firing [even though they were still firing!] because Israel has amassed a ground force and were ready to go in and demolish Hamas.
Yet- after the agreement- both the Palestinians- and Morsi- were celebrating a so called military victory over the ‘terrorist’ Israel.
Yes- Morsi and Hamas all held to this same line.
How can you call him a new peace maker- after he says and acts like this?
Yes my friends- we have seen the worst in media bias- in a long time.
We have seen the comic strip writers living up to their reputation.
Yeah- they all put on a big show for us- they wrote a script that had nothing to do with what really happened.
And they did all this because this time their friend was running the show.
The last time around [Bush years] well the script looked nothing like this.
NOTE- Why so hard on Morsi [the Egyptian president]?
Just yesterday he re wrote the ‘Egyptian constitution’ and took to himself more power than Mubarak ever had.
Many Egyptians took to the streets [they are there right now] protesting this power grab by an Islamic group.
Yes- Morsi and the group he’s affiliated with- the Muslim Brotherhood- promised to never do this.
There are Christians and other non religious secularists in Egypt who fear this move.
One of the reasons he did this was because he arrested- and wanted tried- many of his political opponents.
The judges in Egypt have a reputation of being independent.
Yes- they are not as good as our system- but they are pretty good- in that they are not simply tools of the leader- like in many other places around the world.
So- when Morsi wanted some of his political enemies tried- the courts said no.
They said there was not enough evidence to try them- or find them guilty.
So- Morsi made this move- and is replacing all the judges with his own men.
Yes- this move is worse than anything Mubarak ever did.
Yet- we find president Obama and his administration praising him as some sort of great peace negotiator.
Ah- what a web we have weaved in this mess.
1949 HEBREWS 9
Let’s make up for lost time.
I was wanting to review Hebrews chapter 9 last week- so let’s hit it today.
The book of Hebrews [in the New Testament] is one of my favorites.
Not only chapter 9- but the whole book speaks about how Jesus started a ‘new and better’ covenant [agreement] between God and man.
The Old ‘agreement’ [covenant] was called The Law.
It was based on man approaching God solely on his own effort- how well he did- how hard he tried to keep the commandments.
There are many good people today who still approach God based on this.
The New Testament says the law came thru Moses- but grace and truth came by Jesus.
Because of Christ- we can now approach God based on his merit- he kept the law and died for us.
Now- this does not give us an excuse to sin- but the new approach is one of grace as opposed to law.
Okay- Hebrews 9 says Jesus has fulfilled the Old Testament law to the tee.
He is now our new High Priest.
He goes into the presence of God for us- with his Blood- and he makes intercession for us.
In the Old Testament system the priests went daily [and yearly] into the tabernacle [tent] and did certain sacrifices.
They used the blood of ‘bulls and goats’.
The writer says these things could never make the worshippers clean- but they only served as examples until the ultimate sacrifice would be made.
That was Christ.
The writer says the real temple—the real presence of God is in heaven- and Jesus has entered into the true Holy of Holies on our behalf.
He says ‘this should purge us from dead works to serve the living God’.
In context the ‘dead works’ are the old works of the law system- with all of its animal sacrifices- and the New Way is this new priesthood established by Christ himself.
We don’t need the blood of animals as a sacrifice- we have the death of Christ.
I wrote an entire commentary on the book of Hebrews- on the blog.
It’s a great letter- and the main point of the letter is an appeal to the first century Jewish community- who were still keeping the ordinances of the sacrificial system.
The writer is trying to show them that Christ has put an end to the old system of animal sacrifice- and he has established this new ‘system’ [called the New Covenant] and it is based on the one and final sacrifice of Jesus.
This truly is Good News [the meaning of Gospel].
Today we have better covenant- a better way to approach God.
We don’t come to him based on how well we kept the law.
No- Hebrews says ‘let us come boldly into the presence of God’.
How can sinful man come boldly?
Because we come to God- not by our works- but on the merits of the sacrifice of Christ.
Yes- as simple as this sounds- Christ died for all- all can come- all who believe.
1948 WAR OF THE WORLDS [or world views?]
Once again I end the week with the dilemma of either writing on a bible chapter [Hebrews 9] or discussing world events.
Let me start with a few news items.
I find it funny how the media has been covering some recent events.
I also find it degrading that MSNBC has begun a new era- yes- for the first time I can remember- they are now continuing to go after the losing side’s candidate- even after the race is over.
Yes- They have been doing shows- I guess we should start calling them skits [they are performers you know].
And they are blasting Romney for anything he says- even as a private citizen- and they are using his life- I guess for ever- as a talking point.
I guess we will continue to hear about Ann Romney’s MS- her use of horses- you know- O’Donnell can’t stop mocking the woman.
Her kids- watch out- MSNBC will get you too!
This is so sad.
Chris Matthews had on Jim Clyburn the other day [a Dem congressman] they were discussing the issue of Susan Rice [UN ambassador].
She’s under fire for her statements about the Benghazi attack.
To be fair- it does seem like some on the right misread it- Petraeus did testify yesterday that she did not change the Talking Points.
But they were ‘scrubbed’ by the Intel community- not the White House.
This was the big issue- who removed the part that said Al-Qaida were part of the attack.
Anyway- Clyburn tells Matthews that- don’t forget- they are going after a young ‘BLACK WOMAN’.
Matthews says ‘go on’.
Very sad indeed.
There were [still are] very legitimate questions about what Rice said.
Why did she present talking points that basically said the opposite of what they knew? [even if she’s not at fault- they were still not accurate].
She did go on in the Sunday interviews and say Al-Qaida was on the run- yet the truth was they were part of the attack.
Even if she is innocent- yet she did present a false narrative.
If this is business as usual- than we still have a problem.
I was at the mission the other day and some girl asked one of the older guys who works there ‘what are you reading’.
He told her a news article from the NY Times about the Palestinian- Israeli fighting.
She asked him why Israel was bombing the Palestinian area.
He really didn’t have a good explanation- right at hand.
So I contributed a brief synopsis [which he later thanked me for- as well as the girl- just to say it wasn’t rude].
I told the girl that Israel began this recent action [it’s the largest military action against Hamas- the group that they are fighting- in years].
Because Hamas started shooting rockets into Israel about a week ago.
They sent around 300 rockets in- with no response.
Now- as someone who has tried very hard to be unbiased about the middle east question [for instance I have written in defense of the Palestinians many times- something that is the minority position in Evangelical circles].
Israel had no choice but to respond.
But some in the media are making it sound like Israel is to blame.
CNN said ‘this all began when Israel killed the top Hamas leader’.
Yes- many of you have seen the dramatic video of the guy being taken out in his car.
But this was not the ‘start’ of the violence.
If someone bombed your house- say 3oo times- and then you shoot them with a gun.
Well- who started it?
There is a very important story that should be told- that takes a little time- but the media is not telling you.
Let’s give it a shot.
First- I’m not blaming Obama.
But elections do have consequences.
Over the many years of the fighting about the Palestinian question- Hamas- the group that won the election a few years back- took power.
Now- they are actually branded as a terrorist group by the U.S.
They now feel emboldened to act- to make an all out attempt to raise world awareness- by these initial attacks- and they are hoping for their own Arab Spring.
Why are they doing this now?
Understand- Hamas is actually an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood- the group who has now risen to power in Egypt.
The new Egyptian president- Morsi- has already sent a team to the Palestinian areas- and they are backing Hamas.
Obama has been very friendly with the Muslim Brotherhood- and very cold to Israel [though he denies it].
After the re-election of Obama- it’s only natural for Hamas to think they have much more leverage now- see?
Now- that took a couple of lines- why couldn’t the media have told you that narrative?
Fahreed Zakariah- a CNN analyst who I actually like.
He was asked about the release of a guy who killed some Americans- Iraq was holding him- they let him go.
He blamed the problem on Bush [yeah- you can use Romney on MSNBC- CNN will use Bush].
He said that Bush was too willing to work with the radical Islamist groups- and he allowed them to gain some power in Iraq- and that’s why this happened.
He also said Obama came in and tried to fix it- but it was too late.
I find it interesting that Fahreed- who advises the president- has been part of the entire ‘new approach’ to the Arab world.
Yes- Obama [for good or ill] had very high hopes of starting a new relationship with the Muslim world.
He sincerely felt if he could reach out to certain groups [Muslim Brotherhood] than he might be able to change the tone in that part of the world.
He has made more effort- at normalizing relations with Muslim groups- than anyone in the history of the presidency.
I just showed you how some of these efforts might be the root cause of the aggression right now with Israel and the Palestinians.
Yet- in the middle of the greatest effort ever made to reach out to- and work with radical groups.
One of Obama’s top defenders said ‘the reason Iraq released the guy who killed our men- is because Bush was too cozy with radical Islamist groups’.
This would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
I try to be fair in my analysis of these things.
When you are simply a cheerleader for either side [MSNBC on the left- Fox- some- on the right].
Then you lose all credibility- because people know they can’t trust you with a fair analysis.
But if we can’t- as a nation- as a globe- see behind the lines- see what’s really going on- then we will continue to blame one side- or the other- while not really seeing the root cause.
Yes- there are questions still to be asked.
Maybe the president’s noble attempt at reaching out to radical elements was doomed from the start.
Maybe one of the reasons we are seeing some of the worst violence in the Palestinian areas has to do with this.
But for one of the president’s biggest cheerleaders- who has himself criticized Bush many times for his hard stance and ‘unwillingness’ to see the Muslim side.
For him to say one of the problems is Bush was too chummy with radicals- it’s beyond belief.
Yeah- but if we don’t blame Bush- who else could we blame?
Just switch to MSNBC- they’re still blaming Romney.
Yeah- that will work.