This is an exciting day. This morning I started writing my morning devotionals again. They have been kind of hit and miss for the last two months after I got sick and then recovered and then went on a two-week vacation. But today was worth writing about and I want to expand on my thoughts here. It is Rosh Hashanah today and tomorrow. It is the Feast of Trumpets. This is a celebration that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Call Him Yeshua HaMessiah. Call Him Savior and Lord. Whatever you call Him, today is a day that belongs to Him. It is a day to give Him honor and glory and praise. There is so much that God has revealed about Himself and His plan through this day. When Paul says that we will be changed at the last trump, he was talking about this day. Awake and celebrate, you who love the Lord of Hosts. I was reading a question and answer at Torah.org and saw this interesting bit of information. In question number six it says this:
Question: Why do we blow the shofar?
Answer: Since Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the creation of the world, it follows that it is also the anniversary of God being sovereign over the world. Rosh Hashanah is a coronation of sorts, and thus we trumpet the shofar just like at a coronation ceremony.
Insight: In truth, Rosh Hashanah marks the creation of Man, not the world. The actual creation of the world took place five days before the first human beings were created. In Judaism, the creation of the entire universe is marked by celebrating the creation of the purpose of the world: the free-willed human being.
The word shofar is related to the Hebrew word, l’shaper. The word l’shaper means “to beautify.” The call of the shofar reminds us each of our own calling, the calling to live beautiful lives. Why does our King decree the celebration of holidays and the performance of mitzvot, commandments? Only as a way to guide us in the process of beautifying ourselves and the world we live in.
I absolutely love reading the Internet Monk site. He often provokes and challenges me on things and/or says something that I have thought for years but never considered verbalizing or writing down. He has a post now called The “Real” Prosperity Gospel that absolutely nails something that has bothered me. It is something I tried to get at rather clumsily a while back with a post about speaking the whole truth. Here is the part that had me nodding my head and shouting “AMEN”:
The real prosperity gospel isn’t the overt appeal to wealth. It is the more subtle appeal to God guaranteeing that we are going to be happy, and the accompanying pressure to be happy in ways that are acceptable and recognizable to the community of Christians we belong to.
The real prosperity gospel is the belief that God will- must?- keep things at a level where it’s still possible for us to follow Jesus without overt appeal to rewards in this life. The real prosperity gospel is revealed not in the promises of a yacht or a large home, but in the unspoken approval of a level of prosperity that allows us to live the Christian life on our own terms. It is the ratification of our private, sometimes entirely secret, arrangements with God of what his “goodness” means.
For years, one of my favorite Bible verses has been Jesus’ promise to his disciples in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Continue reading
Categories: Apologetics, Christianity, church, Discipleship, End Times, False Teachers, Gospel, Grace, Heresy, InternetMonk, Kingdom, Messiah, Persecution, personal, Salvation, theology, Truth
In a continuation of a running theme here on the blog, I have a new and interesting observation to pass along. I owe much thanks to my good friend Eric for pointing me in the direction of this little tidbit. It turns out that a couple of years ago, the Hubble telescope spotted a strange object in the sky. The scientists observed it for about 100 days, but could never figure out what the object was or where it came from and then it disappeared and left them with a bigger mystery. We are just getting the news now because it was published in a scientific journal. You can see the news story about by clicking on the link above. Now, what does this have to do with signs in the stars you say? Well, it turns out that the mystery object appeared in the sky in the constellation Bootes. I have been intrigued for years with the notion that God placed His Gospel in the sky as a witness to all. It fits with Paul’s statements of Romans 1 that all men are without excuse, because interestingly, the zodiac and collateral constellations seem to be much the same throughout most people groups. It shows that they have a common beginning and history and could be traced to an early message of God and His plan for us. Indeed some people have made a case for this. An excellent book on this subject is The Witness of the Stars by E.W. Bollinger. It can be read for free online is available at philologos.com. The section having to do with Bootes can be found in chapter 1, but I will give a quick rundown here. Bootes is referred to as “the coming one”. He is described like this: Continue reading
A few years ago, I preached a sermon with this title. Lately, I have been thinking more about this. I have been reading a lot of blogs discussing what is wrong with the modern church and what we can do to fix it, and I think one of the problems that is the most troubling is the phenomena of inoculated Christians. Let me explain what I mean by the term so we have something to work with. The type of inoculation I am speaking of is a reference to the process of “immunizing” against a more serious threat. The dictionary definition is something like this: to introduce immunologically active material (as an antibody or antigen) into especially in order to treat or prevent a disease <inoculate children against diphtheria>. I can hear people already asking if I think Christianity is a disease, and I am not suggesting that it is, but the analogy is very appropriate. In many churches today, a weakened form of Christianity is being taught and preached and lived. It is a Christian message and life that is devoid of power and effectiveness. Those exposed to the message become more resistant to the full blown message of Christ, and in most cases feel that they have already “done that” so to speak. Many of them will never develop a “life-threatening” case of Christianity. They will never feel that they actually have to do all of those things that Jesus said. Jesus said that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him. This is a radical message and if we truly believe it, there is no way that most of us would have lives that are as normal as they are. What does this have to do with the problems in churches? It is very simple. If most of our church congregations are inoculated Christians, then they are not Christians at all. They have a form of Christianity, but not the power. Actually, I think that I read that in the Bible somewhere, perhaps 2 Timothy 3:1-5 Continue reading
Lately, I have run into a few examples of a Christian behavior that must surely puzzle the vast majority of people who are not followers of Jesus Christ. It is the tendency of some Christians to fervently seek to convert other Christians to their beliefs about ______________(fill in the blank). Can we find any Biblical justification for doing this? Even as I write that sentence, I have to cringe because one of the recent examples of this behavior came from a post I wrote about sticking to the Bible itself. From what I can gather, mostly by guessing since the person never answered most of my direct questions, I attracted the attention of an online personality who is intent on proving to the world that John didn’t write the fourth gospel and that believing that he did is tantamount to heresy? or false doctrine? or maybe endangers your eternal salvation or something. Even when I told him that I agreed with him, he continued to badger me because I suppose I didn’t agree enough. What this was supposed to accomplish is beyond me and I tried to find out what the author of those comments wanted to accomplish, but it went as one of those unanswered questions. Continue reading