19 April 2008

Passover 2008

It's Shabbat, a day of rest and tonight is Pesach, a day to remember the deliverance, the lambs, and our exodus from Egypt. What a great weekend. The Ten Commandments tell us to remember the Sabbath day (for two reasons). First, in Exodus chapter 20, we read to keep Shabbat “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. " OK, so every week we remember the Creation of the World and we remember The Creator.

And we rest and don't do the ordinary things.

But in Deuteronomy we read the reiteration of the Ten Commandments and are told, in chapter 5, "the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. "

In other words we have two reasons to remember and observe and keep Shabbat.

First God is Creator.
Second God is Redeemer.

Excellent ideas to ponder.

These are not contradictory remarks; they are conjoined. God as Creator made the world and in the Exodus of the Jewish people in about 1500 BCE, we see His involvement to redeem the world. This culminated in Jerusalem about a millenium and a half later, in the person of Y'shua.

Now get this. Y'shua showed He was Creator over and over in his earthly ministry. He healed the lame man (Matthew chapter 9) by declaring him forgiven and only God can forgive sins. Y'shua healed the blind man (John 9) by bending down and making mud and putting it on the blind man's eye sockets. He was demonstrating his own nature as Creator (see Genesis 2) when God made man out of the dust of the earth. He taught the angry crowd about His being God (John 8) when again he bent down and wrote in the dust the sins of the accusers of the adulteress. (Jeremiah 17, Exodus 31, 32).

Y'shua is Creator, the Banger behind the Big Bang, and the Uncause Cause of the Universes.

He also is the Passover Redeemer who delivered all Israel from Pharaoh and all people from Satan and the Curse of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The House of Bondage is broken open. He was announced as the Lamb of God by his cousin John (John 1.35) and died for our sins, to save us from the slavery of sin.

No wonder this will be a great weekend for us. Shabbat reminding us of Creation and Redemption, and Passover on its heels. Enjoy. Celebrate. Remember. Rest. God has done great things for us. All.

09 April 2008

KU winning was not a miracle


I so enjoy the newscasters here in the US, especially here from where I'm writing in Kansas City. They inserted an entire section into the Kansas City Star this morning about the Jayhawks, as they should. The KU basketball team won the men's national championship in an overtime victory last night in San Antonio. It was a great game, with the best two teams in the tournament performing well, and giving the crowd, both there in the Alamodome and around the globe watching on television, a series of thrills.

Unfortunately, the Star's headlines editors entitled the insert section, "Miracle II." Throughout the articles writers sprinkled the reports with "miracle three-pointer" and KU was "in need of several miracles."

Now I'm a die-hard fan. And proud of it. I still have the 1988 final game between KU and Oklahoma, the game that never stopped, on video tape at home in Sydney. But let's get our terms right. The last shot by Mario Chalmers with 4 or 5 seconds left in regulation was not a miracle. It was a great shot, a terrific shot, an unlikely shot, but not a miracle.

You see, if you throw the ball at a certain angle, with the right speed, and the right length, it will go in. That's what science tells us. It's all about repeatability. That's why the Memphis fans should be upset at their Tigers for failing to hit the repeatable free throws at the end of regulation.

A miracle, let' see. What would a miracle have been for KU? Perhaps the appearing of a 6th man on the court, unseen to the referees, or even to the TV audience, but one who body blocked the Tiger big men and as a result allowed easy lay-ups for the Jayhawks. Or how about a time when the ball was physically going out of bounds, bouncing clearly off a Jayhawk, and for no apparent reason, the ball changes directions 180 degrees, increases speed, and kicks off a Tiger. Now that would be a candidate for 'miracle.' See? It's the unexplainable; it's the unrepeatable; it's the invisible.

I guess I'm a bit guarding of the term because, and get this, I DO BELIEVE in miracles. But every day is not another miracle. Every sunrise is not a miracle. Having a baby is not a miracle. It's the natural; it's the ordinary; it's the repeatable.

So when I read about people having cancer and being healed without a drug or battery of radiation, I sit up and listen. When I hear about Red Seas parting or manna falling from heaven in the Passover story, I take notice. God is the author of miracles, and He loves to shake things up a bit. And He will do things for you, as well.

Do you trust Him? Why not ask Him for help today?

05 April 2008

Nomophobia

I'd never heard this word before. On the radio the other morning, they commented on this. My first guess was 'fear of the law.' And that would make sense in that I often take my foot off the accelerator when I see a policeman. But that's not what they meant.

They described this new phobia as "Fear of Being Out of Range on your cell (Mobile) phone." (No Mobile Phobia) No doubt this word is not American as US people title their mobile phones, "cell phones." Maybe it's an Aussie word. We'll see.

And I've certainly experienced this phenomenon. What if, when I'm driving here in the US, or between Tamworth and Armidale, someone tries to ring me and they get a 'out of range' commentary from the telecom provider. Oy! Oy vey! This would be so bad, as I spend a lot of time in my car or in the train or ... such.

So I immediately understood their 'new' word of the day. Nomophobia. May it not happen to you.

But what may be more significant, and more of a worry, is NoGophobia. That is the fear of not being able to hear from God. (French: you may need to call it NoDophobia, obviously) After all, when we cannot get a signal to Telstra or AT & T, no worries, God can always get through. I'm sure Billy Ray Cyrus has written something about that. But what if He couldn't? What if we had done something to prevent His communication with us?

Ouch, that wouldn't be good, at all.

So, this April, think about God getting through to you, let Him speak to you. Let His word dwell in you richly, and don't worry about being out of range. He knows where you are.

After all, that's a great comfort.