Disappointment? Protection!

I found an apartment complex that had all th amenities Carl and I needed and wanted. It had special rent consideration for senior citizens and to top it off it was 8 minutes from my daughter’s home. When we went to check out the Vizcaya apartments, we discovered our income exceeded the upper limit allowed to get the discount but not enough to afford to live there. Disappointed, we continued the search. With the assistance of our daughter’s real estate agent we found another one about 15 to 20 minutes from our daughter, The Marquis. This apartment is a little smaller but provides a comfortable living space including good neighbors. 

It is now several months later.  Hurricane Harvey just visited Houston and it’s suburbs. This was our first time actually living in hurricane force winds and rains. The windows shook, rain drops sounded like rocks thrown against the windows and tornado warnings were ongoing and we were on the mild side. With all that the water never rose more than ankle deep in the parking lot and drained fast. 

Harvey deposited so much water that Vizcaya flooded up to the 3rd floor. Had we gotten that apartment we would have lost everything. Do you think it was coincidental that we couldn’t get an apartment there? I think not. God saw our future and protected us. Just a reminder that what was viewed as a

disappointment was actually the hand of God protecting us. 

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I just can’t see My Leftovers

It is so easy to fall back into bad habits and worry. I have a mountainous list of things to do in a short period of time. “I just can’t see how” it will all get done. There is a financial component that “I just can’t see how” I will get it paid on time. The problem here is not how it will get done or the cost. The problem is “I just can’t see.” My answer to my real problem popped up in my bible study this morning.

Mark 8:18-21. My paraphrase

Y’shua (Jesus) said to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” They thought he was talking about bread. They forgot to get some for the trip. Y’shua knowing this asked them, when he fed the 4000 and the 5000 what happened? He reminded them that not only did he supply the need but there was an abundance of leftovers. The unspoken questions, I believe, are why would I be warning you about the Pharisees’ bread. Even more so, why are you worrying about not bringing any. Don’t you yet know, I will supply the need?

That was the message to me. With all that I have done for you, especially in the last year and half, all the miracles you have experienced, all the needs met, why are you worried about all you have to get done and how much it will cost? Don’t you yet understand WHO your supplier is? I have supplied your need and you have had an abundance of leftovers. 

Do YOU need to be reminded of your leftovers? Are you worrying about things you know full well Y’shua has the authority to handle? STOP.

We have an abundance of leftovers.

The Tradition of Men

Have we laid aside the commandments of God for the traditions of men? This was Y’shua’s main complaint against the Pharisees.  Do we care more about what our particular denomination says rather than what God says? Even the non-denominational churches have traditions. Do we care more about our evangelical conservative view than the views of God? What are we teaching the world about the God we say we serve? Have we become like the Pharisees of old? Are we the Pharisees of the present? What would God say about us? I challenge you to examine yourselves to determine if you have laid aside God’s commandments or maybe are selective in the one’s you obey for the traditions of men.

Mark 6

6  He answered and said to them,

“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

7  And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

8  “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men–the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

9  He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.”

Just something to think about.

The bold is mine.

The Kingdom is At Hand?

For a long time  some terms used in the Bible puzzled me. This is one of them. From a Christian perspective I knew or thought it was referring to the presence of Jesus the Christ but John the Baptist was not a Christian. Christ wasn’t even a Christian. They were both of Hebrew birth, Jews. They both went to synagogue, read  or heard the scrolls read, learned the Torah and the Prophets. So what did this term mean to them? I have read some theologians thoughts that they were referring to Daniel’s prophecy regarding the kingdom that was eternal that would destroy all human kingdoms. I can imagine in light of Roman oppression this would be, certainly be something the Jewish nation would be looking forward to.

I did  a word study, of course, and this is my understanding of the phrase. The reign or rules of God is here. You would think that would not be necessary to say to a group of people whose very national existence is based on the rules of God. Apparently something was missing. Just like many of us today, we know the rules of our beliefs but we do not apply the rules in our daily lives. We pick and choose what we want to obey and then get mad at God when we don’t get what we want or things don’t work out as we planned. So it seems, Y’shua came to teach how to truly live the rules so that God rules. If this were not so, would John have preached, Repent or Reform? Would Yshua have said Repent or Reform? Some things needed to change.

This declaration simply states for me that God is in charge and if we claim to be His, then His rules need to be lived daily. Yshua the Living Word of God showed the difference between what the Pharisees and Priest taught and lived and what God intended.

So change your way of thinking (Repent) for the rule of God is here.

Here, right now.

Live accordingly.

Did God Condone Slavery?

Context determines the understanding of so everything. The other day I was told the Bible condoned slavery. Several scriptures were cited on which this understanding was based. At that moment I knew it didn’t but I couldn’t speak to those specific scriptures. I also knew that those scriptures were used to justify slavery in the name of Christianity in this country. I told her to consider until I could better discuss this that “I believe everything in the Bible is true but not everything is God’s truth.” I meant I believed it was a true accounting but not reflective of God’s principles, intent, or standards.

God’s principles are the truths “that serve as the foundation for His system of belief or behavior or for His chain of reasoning.”

So I went back to those scriptures to read ithem in context.  Then I went to an Orthodox  Jewish website to get the Judaic perspective. Sometimes we lay our Western perspective on the statements made or things done by other cultures. This usually leads to a misunderstanding and fallacious arguments. This is the site if you would like to read it for yourself. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/slavery.html

How is the word slave defined? The word slave is translated from the word Hebrew eved and that means worker or servant.

Leviticus addressed several categories of slavery. The one that pertains to non-Hebrew servants are called aliens. So what is the status of non-Hebrew slaves (servants). (If you go to this website there are a few Biblical reference that you may be unfamiliar with. These books carry different names in the English Bible but the content is unchanged.)

  1. Member of the household and share in the household benefits.
  2. Property of master forever unless the person is redeemed or freedom is bought
  3. Must adhere to Mosaic law
  4. May purchase property of their own
  5. May inherit the master’s estate
  6. Can purchase own self’s freedom
  7. Killing of a slave is punishable in the same way killing a freeman would be punished even if the master kills him.
  8. Master may not rule ruthlessly over slaves
  9. Master shall not mistreat them; shall not wound them 
  10. The workload should never exceed physical strength
  11. A fugitive slave must not be returned to his master
  12. No one can be kidnapped and sold into slavery. That’s a capital offense.

There were consequences to the master who violated these rules.

As you read this list I hope you see that the practice of slavery as we know it and as we observe it in other cultures was not the intent of God. He specifically set forth guidelines that with the exception of being owned for whatever reason, the person was not to be mistreated and is cared for by the master as other family members are treated. One of the Hebrew theologians even said that slavery was not God’s plan because we were created in His image and He would not desire to enslave His ultimate creation. My paraphrase.

As you might expect, there were periods where even the Hebrews wanted to behave like the other nations but that was eventually stopped and slavery became basically extinct in that culture.

So the question is why was slavery even allowed?

God knew Israel would eventually forget that they had been slaves and treated terribly at the hands of the Egyptians. Therefore, He gave them rules that would remind them of that experience. I believe God basically said, “If you are going to participate in this, this is the responsibility you have for caring for this person.”

So I can say emphatically, “No,  God does not condone slavery.”

This is a man made construct born out of the evil hearts of mankind.

 

 

 

 

You Talking About Me?

It is believed Malachi prophesied after the exiled Israelites had returned home and the wall  and the Temple had been rebuilt. Sacrifices had been resumed. They seemed secure but were still under Persian dominance. The people had become disillusioned because some of the prophecies of wealth and independence had not been fulfilled. The prevailing thought was “God did not love them so why serve Him?” The priests who were responsible for the spiritual well-being of the people were now corrupt. They did not teach the people the laws of God. They did not insist that the people obey the laws of God. The sacrifices to God had become less than their best and had become just something to do to say we observed the ritual, but did nothing to reverence God. Why sacrifice if what you are sacrificing is defective or of poor quality?. And they stopped tithing.

As I read about these conditions, I felt Malachi could have been talking directly to us. Many of us are disillusioned and don’t believe God loves us. We don’t see His promises being fulfilled in our lives or so we think. Church is just something to do to check off the box.Oh and what beautiful buildings they are.  Many of us who say we believe don’t really reverence God. We don’t give Him our best. We give Him inferior sacrifices and complain about tithing. We, too, have corrupt priests, preachers, pastors. They don’t teach God’s laws or guide us to righteousness. They teach “getting all you can and give it to me.”

Here is the LORD of Host’s answer through Malachi to Israel and to Us.

I do love you. You are still here. I haven’t destroyed you.

To the priests, et al. I am not pleased with you. You bring me defective offerings and I will not accept them.

Paraphrase: You despised my name among the nations. You profaned the offering.You gave to me less than your best and I won’t accept it.

I am a great King.

My name (my position, authority and character) will be reverenced.

 

 

When Enough is Enough

God’s Grace is not a new thing. From the very beginning, Yahwe has shown grace to mankind. When Adam sinned, He could have let him stay in the garden, eat from the tree of life, and live in separation from God forever. Can you imagine being spiritually or emotionally separated from someone you’ve enjoyed a peaceful, loving, fulfilling relationship with, but still in their presence, forever? Grace and love placed him in a position to be potentially forgiven and potentially having a restored relationship with his Creator.

When mankind decided to build a staircase to heaven, Yahwe could have wiped them out but when He decided enough was enough, He confused the languages instead.

The prophesy of Malachi tells the priests of Israel that God is not pleased with them. He gives them a warning of what would happen if they did not change their behavior. Essentially, when He had enough, He would send His messenger to alert them to His coming and His judgment. Grace.

When John the Baptizer and Y’shua came on the scene, grace abounded. Have you every wondered what specific sins might have been committed by the people that John so passionately cried out for the need for repentance? Have you ever wondered why Y’shua was so hard on the religious leaders? Everything enumerated in Malachi was being done in Israel at that time. Was it the first time? No. Why now? God decided He had Enough. When it is enough warning comes and then the judgement.

Grace gave the religious leaders three and a half years to change their way of thinking and their behavior. When enough was enough, Y’shua was crucified and then resurrected; the judgment.

So what was Israel doing that required Malachi’s warning? Stay tuned.

Matthew 4 – Basics

Sometimes when you think you know a narrative you tend to over look some interesting and enlightening facts. I am trying to look at this text with fresh eyes to see what I am really being told.

Matthew 4:1-11 The Temptation

I never noticed or realized the first two temptations were accusations against the man Y’shua. “If you” was the accusation. The response was thrown back to the authority of God’s word.  The final temptation went straight to the original intent. Satan (Adverary) vs. God. Who will you worship? Y’shua dropped the mic. He said get out of my face It is written you only worship God and Him only shall you serve. Why would the Word of God bow down to God’s Adversary? Please!!

Matthew 4:14 Galilee of the Gentiles

Where is this? I always thought Galilee where the tribes of Jacob settled. We usually forget there were non-Jews there before they came and others moved in later. Looking at Strong’s it says it is a circle of Gentiles or circle of nations, non-Jews. He went to them and declared the authority of God is here. This was the light brought to them. This was the gospel He brought to them.

I also noticed

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee,

and preaching the gospel of the kingdom,teaching in their synagogues,

(the good news of the reign of God Matt 4:23 Youngs’ Literal Translation)

and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

24 And his fame went throughout all Syria:

and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments,

and those which were possessed with devils,      (possessed or controlled by evil spirits, spiritually ill)

and those which were lunatick,                                  ( mentally ill)

and those that had the palsy;                                      (paralytic, physically ill)

and he healed them.

The text goes on to say that large multitudes followed Him from Galilee, Decapolis (ten-city region in Syria), Jerusalem, Judea and beyond Jordan. This is widespread awareness of Him. All of this seems to be in the first year of His ministry.

How did I miss so much?

Tradition or Truth?

When I was a kid I asked my Sunday School teacher why did Herod kill all the children two years old and younger? If Jesus was a newborn, why didn’t he just kill newborns. I don’t remember her answer but I it must not have made sense to my young mind. I was persistent enough for an answer I could understand that it got me expelled from my class for being disruptive. I was keeping her from teaching her planned lesson.

That question remained until I research it for my self. Here is what I understand to be the reason he killed children as old as 2 years old.

If we think of this logically, whether they were coming from the Orient or Africa it took time to get to Jerusalem traveling by camel in a caravan. We don’t know how long they were in Jerusalem but it is conceivable that they did not see Herod on immediate arrival. After traveling a great distance it is likely they wanted to make themselves presentable, freshen up as it were, before they even went to request an audience. Then Herod had to grant it. Next Herod had to call the priests and scribes to get the information to give the wise men. The priests and scribes were sent away so he could ask the wise men in secret when they first saw the star. Then the wise men had to travel from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. That journey was 4.4 miles which took less than a day by camel caravan. Now we can speculate that it only took a few days for all of this. We can also speculate that they saw the star sooner than the birth night. But here is the clincher. In verse 16, we learn clearly that Herod made his decision to slay males 2 years old and under based on information gathered from the wise men. If it was the same night he was born that they left Jerusalem, why kill 2 year old males? Why not newborns? I believe they were not there on the night of his birth. Others have stated the same. I asked them why continue to promote the idea that they were present if we can see they weren’t. Tradition was their answer.

Tradition versus Truth: which is more important?

Matthew 2

  1. Yehoshuwa (Jesus)  was born during the reign of Herod the Great   Matt 2:1
  2. The wise men or magi saw the star in the east. (Were they in the east or the star east of them?  Matt 2:1
  3. The wise men went to Jerusalem to Herod to get the location of the child. Matt 2:2  Why didn’t they follow the star to Bethlehem? Apparently the star was not visible to them the entire trip. It made sense to go to the capital as it were to find the king. Could they have thought the child was the heir to the throne from the present king? Possibly.
  4. Herod sent for his priests to determine where the child would be born.  Matt 2:4-6 Why didn’t he know? Hadn’t at least heard the prophecy regarding the Messiah?
  5. He asked the magi when the star appeared. This gave Herod the first clue to when the child was born. Matt 2:7
  6. He sent them to Bethlehem based on the prophecy and instructed them to return to him with the exact location.  Matt 2:8
  7. The star reappeared to guide them to Yehoshuwa’s location  Matt 2:9
  8. The wise men entered the house where the young child and his mother were. Matt 2:11  House not stable.
  9. The wise men did not return to Herod and this angered him He gave orders to kill every child in Bethlehem, 2 years old and under, based on the time given to him by the wise men.  Matt 2:16

Matthew 2:16 (NKJV)
16  Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

What’s in A Name?

Before I begin, I want to state that I don’t believe there are any contradictions in the Bible. I do believe those things that appear to be contradictions are due to our lack of understanding of ancient writings, ancient cultures and the etymology of ancient words or languages. I am not a Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic or Latin scholar but I do know how to use tools that can help me understand the language. My purpose is knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 (NKJV)
6  For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

So I begin. Have you ever wondered why Jesus was named Jesus? Jesus is not a Middle Eastern or Hebrew name. Then there is the prophecy by Isaiah that his name should be called Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV)
14  Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Seems like a contradiction or error doesn’t it. Well I worked backwards beginning with the name Jesus to get its origin. I will be using the Strongs Talking Greek and Hebrew Dictionay for this activity.

The Greek transliteration for Jesus is Iēsous. This word is translated from the Hebrew word Yehowshuwa`.

Yehowshuwa` or Yehowshu`a, yeh-ho-shoo’-ah; from <H3068> (Yehovah) and <H3467> (yasha`); Jehovah-saved; Jehoshuä (i.e. Joshua)
It is more likely that our translation of His name would be Joshua or the Greek version Jesus.

Now Immanuel is a little less straight forward. If you look up Immanuel it is translated God With Us. That doesn’t help with why he is named Jesus and not Immanuel. I found the answer in the meaning in Hebrew of the word “name”.

name-shem- a primitive word [perhaps rather from <H7760> (suwm) through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare <H8064> (shamayim)]; an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character

We usually think in terms of the label that your parents give you at birth or the appellation part of the definition but we carry many other names. We called them titles. What exactly is a definite and conspicuous position? According to Dictionary.com conspicuous means to be easily seen or noticed; readily visible or observable; attracting attention, as by outstanding qualities or eccentricities. Position has several meanings but I believe these fit the context: status or standing; high standing, as in society; important status.

With these definitions Isaiah seems to be saying this virgin-birthed person will have a

clearly defined, readily observable, attention attracting standing in society, GOD WITH US.

I do believe as we read the reports of Matthew, Mark, John and the Luke, Jesus or Yehowshuwa` fulfills the prophecy. No contradiction.

That’s “What’s in a Name”

All questions and comments are welcome. I search for knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

Note: In future posts I will not use the name Jesus but Yehowshuwa` or Joshua.