27 December 2014

#Ill Ride With You

According to new reports, the hashtag and the story of #IllRideWithYou was all made up by Rachael Jacobs. A clever and good thought, but not a real story that inspired her to invent the hashtag. As if Muslim women were the victims of the siege in Sydney last Monday. They were not the victims; innocent people in a cafe, and subsequent lockdown-causing-1st-world-problems... they were the real victims of the LoneWolf Muslim terrorist, Man Haron Monis.
Then a Kiwi woman has come up with "I'll walk" with you on New Brighton, New Zealand. Story here to help elderly and worried women not to feel isolated as they walk the beach. Again, another 1st-world problem. I pondered if Comanche or Wild Oats in the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race would have a flag that also parroted "I'll ride with you." I haven't seen it yet, though.

 So that got me thinking, as often happens, about the Lord of Heaven, who calls us to walk with Him. "Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.” (Genesis 17) OK, not a walk together, but a walk in front of Me, He said. So who walked with God? Enoch also from Genesis "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Yikes, that sounds permanent). Then there was Noah "Noah walked with God." (Gen. 6.9) Walking with God sounds like a 'walk in the park' or an evening stroll and I have lived only 63 years, but I find this aspect of my relationship with the Almighty one of the most comforting and appealing. He loves me and wants to be in relationship with me. This is one of the best ways to describe that desire. IllWalkWithYou.

And even in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, we read, "But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy." (The words of Messiah Jesus). #IllWalkWithYou ... that sounds like a commitment we should have, but what else does the Almighty say He will do with us?

 #IllTeachYou. God promises to teach us His ways. That's excellent and needful in these days. We don't know how to get along in Pakistan schools or in Martin Place cafes, or in Boxing Day sales. The psalmist records God's words to us, "If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore." (Psalm 132.12) Sweet! Even in the story recorded in the Ridley Scott movie "Exodus", we read in the original screenplay "And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do." (Exodus 4.15) I get that when I see Yeshua, the master teacher of the Jewish people, of whom we read, "Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?" (Mark 12.35) "These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum." (John 6.59) "These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come." (John 8.20) Yeshua clearly could have written #IllTeachYou  

#IllDieForYou. "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. but God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5.7-8) Taking the place of another in justice, that's almost unheard of. Taking the death penalty we deserved for our sinning against God...who would do that? Only Yeshua died for us, the just for the unjust. "Messiah also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit." (1 Peter 3.18)

 #IllRiseFromTheDeadForYou Wait, who rises from the dead? Have you ever heard of such a thing? But that's the story the 500 told and for which they died themselves. Listen to this testimony: "He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee." (Luke 24.6) "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon." (Spoken by Cleopas on First Fruits Sunday in 30 AD) (Luke 24.34) "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead" (Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2.8) "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils...Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen." (Mark 16.9, 14)

 #IllPrayForYou. Yeshua promises to intercede for us as he did for Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane. He continues to function as the High Priest as recorded in Romans 8.27-28 "And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God...Who is he that condemns? It is Messiah who died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." And the writer of Hebrews says of Yeshua, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them." (Heb 7.25)

 #IllReturnForYou. The best day ever will be the day when Yeshua returns. He will fulfill all the rest of the biblical prophecies for Messiah. He will bring justice. He will usher in the future and final Kingdom. He will restore all things and put all things under the feet of the Almighty. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14.3) Rest assured. He walks with us; He rides with us; He prays for us and on the evidence of His dying and rising from the dead, He will come again and bring in the final consummation of all things. That sounds like a New Year's Resolution to await. It's a promise He will keep. Praise Yeshua!

25 December 2014

Hope, beyond today


The burnt-out world is so clearly in view-- the troubles of today, the situations which drive us mad-- all front and centre, like this broken pair of trees. Is there any hope for what's ahead? Is there really any reason to be optimistic?

Consider the Sydney Siege less than two weeks ago where two innocents were murdered, or the Pakistani village trying to sort out 140 murders (most of whom were children), and the 8 dead children in Cairns killed by a crazed mother. Is there really hope on Christmas?

According to my friend David Mistzal in Lane Cove, hope to be real and valid has to have an object, benefits, and a means. He said that all three are in view in the story of Simeon, the Bible character. Simeon, according to the story, is an old Jewish man, who was visiting or maybe even took up much time in the Temple in Jerusalem. When he was there one day, about 30 days after the birth of Jesus (which many celebrate today on Christmas), he said his famous "nunc dimitis." It's recorded in Luke chapter 2 in the Bible.

David said that hope is found in an object, often in getting extra cash or finding a problem solver, but the real hope of the world, according to Simeon was Jesus. The Bible says, "Behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him and it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah." (Luke 2.25-26)

That consolation, that comfort, rescue, relief, was found in a person, not in winning a lottery. Hope was in the person of Jesus.

Similarly the benefits are there in the same passage.

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." (Luke 2.29-32)

The great benefits and ministry of the baby would be the bringing of hope and light to a fallen world, and although the boy was only an infant at the time, the old man saw in him the salvation of the world. After all, the boy's name Jesus is in Hebrew Yeshua which means 'salvation!'

Finally, the hope has to come in a certain way, and that hope was given us in the cross of Jesus. Although the birth is required so that a life can be lived, and a man cannot die unless he's first been born, we rarely think of the death of Jesus at this season of the year. His birth is so fun and cute and carol-filled. But in the text we read

Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2.34-35)

The old man was predicting that later on, a sword would pierce Mary's soul, as she watched the spear slice open Jesus' side, as they pierced his hands and feet (see Psalm 22.16) and stabbed him in the head with a crown of thorns.

So hope is in view, even in the picture above. The trees have little hope of restoration, but the mountains declare something more.
The Psalmist said, "Unto the hills I will lift up mine eyes, from where does my help come?" (121.1) Many only look to nature for their hope and thrills. But the Psalmist continued, "My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth." (verse 2)

Simeon understood that. He waiting in the Temple. His wait was worthwhile. He saw the salvation of the Lord in Yeshua. You can do that also.

The baby in a manger sweet and cute, wrapped in cloths will give way to the living Saviour, if you call on Him, born is the King of Israel. A light to lighten Gentiles and the glory of His people Israel.

Merry Messiahmas!

23 December 2014

Anticipation


What's just around the corner for you? The sun is rising; the day is beginning; the hopes for the future, even though most of us think 'the future' at this point is only going to last 8 hours or so... it's all in view.

Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense and thrillers. He said, " There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."

Aristotle said, "Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil."

So sometimes anticipation is good and other times, not so good.

What do you anticipate today? On what do you base that anticipation?

I look forward to meeting with Jewish people in the shop. I look forward to being used by God to bring peace and joy to others because of His love for them and His desire to meet them in ordinary life. I anticipate people scurrying to find gifts and to hurry to get to a break from work. I imagine that the world will be better because I'm still alive. This is, for me, "hope."

What do you anticipate today?

22 December 2014

Purpose of the candles

We are writing today on day 5 of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Some wonder if Hanukkah is the Jewish Christmas or Advent since there are candles and gift giving. Also they share the same time period most always falling in December. Also in public squares there are both Christmas trees and Hanukkah menorahs. There are 12 days of Christmas they sing, and 8 days of Hanukkah. Certainly there are similarities, right?

Quick history lesson: The Jewish people were suffering in the land of Israel back in 168 BC under the Syrian Greek King Antiochus. He made life difficult for them. He issued a series of decrees forbidding circumcision, the keeping of Shabbat, and the study of Torah. One day his people set up statues/ idols of Zeus throughout the land of Israel and made the people, including the Jews, bow down to them. He even went so far as to sacrifice a pig in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Not good for public relations with Jewish people. (Jews don't eat pig products and spilling wrong blood in the sacred place would have desecrated the place.)

A Jewish family named the Maccabees rose up and withstood the status quo, raised a small militia to fight against Antiochus and after three years pushed them out of the Temple area. The revolutionaries dedicated the Temple back to the Lord God and that's the end of the story. The Hebrew word for 'dedicate' is "Hanukkah" so the holiday (Dedication) is a reminder every year that sometimes the little guy can beat up the bad guy (Compare David and Goliath) and God can win victories for His people who trust Him.

Then the questions arise about candles and 7 or 8 or 9 of them at that.

According to the legend, the priests found a bit of oil, only enough to light the menorah (7-branched candelabrum) for one day, but after 8 days the lights still flickered. By then the priests were able to consecrate new oil and normalcy returned to the Temple. So since the oil lasted for 8 days, we celebrate the holiday for 8 days. Also since oil was so 'central' to the holiday then, we eat foods fried in oil like potato pancakes (latkes) and doughnuts (sufganiyot).

So why 9 candles or 7 or 8?

The eight days of the 'miracle' are noted by lighting 8 candles. The bonus candle is titled the 'shamash' or servant candle. The candles are normally allowed to burn out on their own after a minimum of 1/2 hour, but if necessary they can be blown out at any time after that 1/2 hour.

Why the shamash candle? The Hanukkah candles are for pleasure only; we are not allowed to use them for any productive purpose. We keep an extra one around (the shammus), so that if we need to do something useful with a candle, we don't accidentally use the Hanukkah candles. The extra candle is at a different height so that it is easily identified as the shamash.

Hope that helps!

16 December 2014

Hanukkah - Dreidel - music video by Jewish a cappella group Shir Soul - ...

Hanukkah medley and sung a cappella by a great all-men quartet, with fun dreidel spinning to boot. 



Happy Hanukkah tonight everyone. Celebrate Light in the Darkness.

15 December 2014

When is trauma 'terror?'

"A gunman is holding up to 50 people hostage at a cafe in Martin Place in Sydney. At least one offender took hostages at the popular Lindt chocolate cafe, which has several entrances, just before 10am. Some members of staff could be seen wearing their shop aprons and standing with their hands up at the windows. There is also a black and white flag being held up in a window. It is [believed to be] the Black Standard, a jihadist flag. The incident has not been branded a terrorist attack yet, but police have confirmed they have “moved to a footing consistent with a terrorism event” in their response.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told reporters this afternoon it remained a hostage situation “but we are ready to escalate if we need to”. They did not have “direct contact” with the hostage-taker." (news.com.au)

This took place on the morning when further terrorist activities and raids happened in Beecroft in Sydney's northwest. This morning a Sydney man was taken into custody on suspicion of terrorism-related offences after a morning raid from counter-terrorism units of the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police. AFP confirmed a 25-year-old Beecroft man was arrested by the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) as part of continuing investigations into the planning of a terrorist attack on Australian soil and the facilitation of travel of Australian citizens to Syria to engage in armed combat.

Are these two episodes related? We will soon find out. So when is a terrorist action titled 'terrorism?'

Certainly there is plenty of trauma happening in the CBD just now and for the last 8 hours. And people who think "Lindt chocolates" will remember the episode of this morning for years to come. So with the Islamic flag and the hostility, why are we afraid or reluctant to title this 'terror?'
Time will tell, but I think the counter-terror squad ought to be brought in. We are praying for the government, the mayor, the prime minister, the police, and all in authority. We also are watching our back in Bondi. You never know.

11 December 2014

To tell the truth

When I was a kid in the US, black and white game shows filled the afternoon and early evening time slots on the television. One of my favorites was a 'solve the mystery' game of choosing between two imposters and an honest person in a show called "To tell the truth." Bud Collier was the host, and sometimes (as in this episode) Merv Griffin sat in for him.Within 7 minutes the truth was revealed.

See the episode and guess who is the Aussie Reg Evans who saved President John F Kennedy back in World War 2.  To tell episode 1961 (Also in this episode is a set of twins who are bat boys for the new Minnesota Twins baseball team and a cattle photographer). Regular panelists during the 14-year run of the show were Don Ameche, Orson Bean, Johnny Carson, Ralph Bellamy, Polly Bergen, Kitty Carlisle, Peggy Cass, Bert Convy, Hy Gardner, Phyllis Newman and Tom Poston.

The great thing about this fact-finding game is that within 7 minutes you discover truth, the crowd applauds, prize money (up to $1,000) is awarded along with a carton of cigarettes, and it's all nice and neat.

If only finding out the truth could happen in the world today, some 53 years later, with such ease and in such a time frame. Do I dream or is this a delusion?

Today I read a report from Israel. Actually just mention the word "Israel" and immediately lines in the sand are drawn, sides taken, and opinions delivered. How is someone supposed to have a reasonable conversation with another when 'truth' has already either been stated or withheld?

So today I read this about photography. And journalistic honesty. Photo truth from the Jewish Forward newspaper. The photographer is questioned and answers about staging pictures. I think about this often when I'm trying to capture a moment on a golf course, or in a concert, with a baby or family, a wedding...you get it. The tough thing about photojournalism is readiness and patience. And if you miss a moment, be honest-- you missed the moment.

Here's the real photo story about the two Israeli boys. True story The whole episode came to the fore in the Gaza conflict last August. What is the truth about what's going on, or was going on, or will be going on in Israel?

I hear that a lot lately in the US news which I often monitor from here in Sydney. Michael Brown is the black man in Ferguson, Missouri who was killed last August. The 'hands up' commentary by the Rev Al Sharpton and repeated by thousands country-wide is supposed to replicate a scene from last summer, but it's also not the truth. The Grand Jury sorted that out well, and the testimony and evidence is all available. Or is it? Even today more evidence is yet to be revealed. And each of us who wonders wants to know, did the Grand Jury get it right? We actually set ourselves up to be the jury ourselves. Dear CNN and BBS, please send all data to me. I will be deciding and will reveal my decision in due course. Thank you.

BBC has a bit on Grand Jury here

And even as I was driving to work today, I heard on the news about a Palestinian leader, Ziad Abu Ein, who was killed today in the West Bank. The story from the Arab side is  published here.

Who is this man? This from the Israeli side of things today. JPost report

Ziad Abu Ein was sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli court in 1982 for his role in a bombing that murdered two Israeli teenagers in Tiberias in 1979. He was released in 1985 in prisoner swap.

Just for fun: a joke

Reunion Lunch
A group of chaps, all aged 40, discussed where they should meet for a reunion lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms Hotel because the waitresses had big breasts and wore mini-skirts.
Ten years later, at age 50, the friends once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms because the food and service were  good, and the beer selection was excellent.
Ten years later, at age 60, the friends again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms because there was plenty of parking; they could dine in peace and quiet, and it was good value for money.
Ten years later, at age 70, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had a toilet for the disabled.
Ten years later, at age 80, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms because they'd never been there before.


Too true...

 

09 December 2014

Democracy vs religion: Hand in hand or face off?

Clay Christensen has been on staff for 20 years at the Harvard (Boston USA) Business School and has conducted a TED talk, but nothing is as important as this 90-second message about a Chinese student and US, and how it all works.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/YjntXYDPw44

 I hope you ponder the message, especially as religious conversation intensifies as if often the case in December with Hanukkah and Christmas among other events.


 For more info about Christensen, read below:
Before joining the faculty of Harvard Business School (HBS) in 1992, Christensen worked for the Boston Consulting Group and then served as chairman and president of Ceramics Process Systems Corporation (now CPS Holdings), a firm he co-founded with several MIT professors in 1984. In 2000, he founded Innosight LLC, a consulting and training firm which describes itself as "focusing on idea generation, strategy development, commercialization, and innovative process development." In 2005, together with his colleagues at Innosight, he launched Innosight Ventures, a venture firm focused on investing in India. In 2007, after incubating the processes for six years, Christensen co-founded Rose Park Advisors LLC (named after the neighborhood in Salt Lake City where he was raised), an investment company which applies his research as an investment strategy.

He serves on the board of directors of Tata Consultancy Services (NSE: TCS), Franklin Covey (NYSE: FC), and Vanu, Inc.

He worked as a consultant and project leader with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) (1979–1984) and was instrumental in founding the firm's manufacturing strategy consulting practice. He took a leave of absence from BCG to serve as a White House Fellow (1982–1983) as an assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries, Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole.

At the HBS, he currently teaches an elective course he designed called "Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise", which teaches managers how to build and manage an enduring, successful company or transform an existing organization. Christensen received an Extraordinary Teaching Award by the MBA class of 2010. He also teaches in many HBS executive education programs. Christensen was awarded a full professorship with tenure in 1998, and currently holds five honorary doctorates and an honorary chaired professorship at the National Tsinghua University in Taiwan.

Christensen is the best-selling author of five books, including his seminal work The Innovator's Dilemma (1997), which received the Global Business Book Award for the best business book of the year, The Innovator's Solution (2003), and Seeing What's Next (2004). Recently, Christensen has focused the lens of disruptive innovation on social issues such as education and health care. Disrupting Class (2008) looks at the root causes of why schools struggle and offers solutions, while The Innovator's Prescription (2009) examines how to fix the American healthcare system. The latter two books have received numerous awards as the best books on education and health care in their respective years of publication. The Innovator's Prescription was also awarded the 2010 James A. Hamilton Award, by the College of Healthcare Executives.

01 December 2014

Identity confusion (Michael Brown, Baruch Goldstein, and you)

Michael Brown was the black man shot in Ferguson, Missouri. Some sorted out who he was just by the color of his skin. Racism works to no one's advantage or credit. He is not to be confused with Dr Michael L. Brown, the Jewish believer in Jesus whose website is here . I wonder if people have confused one Michael Brown with the other?

I remember back in 1994, when an American-born Israeli physician and religious extremist, Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Arab Muslim worshipers and wounding another 125. This was called the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron. At that time I had a former colleague whose English name was Bruce, but for 15 years he had gone by his Hebrew name, Baruch Goldstein. Was that the same? Nope...identity disparity. I'm sure my friend, who passed away a couple years ago, used to hear bad things about the other Goldstein who was killed by the rampaging crowd into which he was shooting.

Identity theft...it's a big deal in the world and a major cause of frustration and expense at checkout counters and on the phone with marketers. Whom should I trust when I give out my PIN or my credit card information? With whom should I be secret or from whom should I hide my punching data? It's a worry, and so many are frustrated by the lack of trust in the world today and those who caused us to be so distrustful.

My Welsh friend Bennett earns a bit of a living helping people whose lives were lost by identity theft. At least I hope he does. This info from the Australian government:

Definition of identity confusions
A set of standard definitions were developed by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre's Proof of Identity Steering Committee for use by law enforcement throughout Australia (ACPR 2006:15):
  • The term identity encompasses the identity of natural persons (living or deceased) and the identity of bodies corporate
  • Identity fabrication to be used to describe the creation of a fictitious identity
  • Identity manipulation to be used to describe the alteration of one's own identity
  • Identity theft to be used to describe the theft or assumption of a pre-existing identity (or significant part thereof), with or without consent and whether, in the case of an individual, the person is living or deceased
  • Identity crime to be used as a generic term to describe activities/offences in which a perpetrator uses a fabricated identity; a manipulated identity; or a stolen/assumed identity to facilitate the commission of a crime(s).
What does identity crime cost in Australia?
Recent estimates by the Attorney-General’s Department indicate that identity crime costs Australia upwards of $1.6 billion each year, with the majority (around $900m) lost by individuals through credit card fraud, identity theft and scams.
More alarmingly, identity crime continues to be a key enabler of serious and organised crime, which in turn costs Australia around $15 billion annually.

So when I hear another Baruch Goldstein or Michael Brown is doing something, it means one thing, but identity theft is quite another for the federal police.

And what does it mean to you? Or to the Almighty?
I think about the identity of God, you know, the Creator of heaven and earth. And how some people get that right, and others, well, less right, or downright wrong. When someone says, "The death of that cricket star just wasn't fair" they are saying that the fairness or justice by the which the Lord of all evaluates things is wrong. And what does that say about themselves? That they are taking the identity of the Almighty for themselves. When someone says, "That person should live" or "That person should not live" and the reality is otherwise, they are assuming command of the issue of justice and determining that God doesn't have it quite right, thus making themselves God. Identity Theft!

Often we use the term 'fair' or "justice' to mean, "I want this to happen", therefore anything less than that is unacceptable. That's assuming the character of Justice for ourselves and thus making ourselves to be God. See how that works? I do not mean to demean the aching for justice which is both inherent in humanity and certainly should be a fruit of the Spirit of God working in those who love Him. But I mean the telling of God that He is wrong.

Let's get this right. Yeshua is God's Son, born in a manger in Bethlehem. No other person comes close to being His Messiah. No other person comes close to fulfilling all the prophecies listed in the record of the Tenach.  And once we get His identity correct, everything else falls into place. Or at least it begins to do so.  Have you sorted out that question.... "Who is Yeshua?" Keep looking and you will find Him. I believe that.

Happy December.



 

24 November 2014

Boycott, Divest, Sanctions(BDS): Consider the down side



BDS is an acronym for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. Some churches even joined this noisy global movement which seeks to stall Israeli life. In response, Meyer M. Treinkman, a pharmacist, offered to assist them in their boycott as follows:

Any Muslim who has Syphilis must not be cured by Salvarsan discovered by a Jew, Dr. Ehrlich. He should not even try to find out whether he has Syphilis, because the Wasserman Test is the discovery of a Jew. If a Muslim suspects that he has Gonorrhea, he must not seek diagnosis, because he will be using the method of a Jew named Neissner..
A Muslim who has heart disease must not use Digitalis, a discovery by a Jew, Ludwig Traube.
Should he suffer with a toothache, he must not use Novocaine, a discovery of the Jews, Widal and Weil.
If a Muslim has Diabetes, he must not use Insulin, the result of research by Minkowsky, a Jew. If one has a headache, he must shun Pyramidon and Antypyrin, due to the Jews, Spiro and Ellege. Muslims with convulsions must put up with them because it was a Jew, Oscar Leibreich, who proposed the use of Chloral Hydrate.
Arabs must do likewise with their psychic ailments because Freud, father of psychoanalysis, was a Jew.
Should a Muslim child get Diphtheria, he must refrain from the “Schick" reaction which was invented by the Jew, Bella Schick.

Muslims should be ready to die in great numbers and must not permit treatment of ear and brain damage, work of Jewish Nobel Prize winner, Robert Baram. They should continue to die or remain crippled by Infantile Paralysis because the discoverer of the anti-polio vaccine is a Jew, Jonas Salk.
Muslims must refuse to use Streptomycin and continue to die of Tuberculosis because a Jew, Zalman Waxman, invented the wonder drug against this killing disease.

 Muslim doctors must discard all discoveries and improvements by dermatologist Judas Sehn Benedict, or the lung specialist, Frawnkel, and of many other world renowned Jewish scientists and medical experts. In short, good and loyal Muslims properly and fittingly should remain afflicted with Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Heart Disease, Headaches, Typhus, Diabetes, Mental Disorders, Polio Convulsions and Tuberculosis and be proud to obey the Islamic boycott."

 Oh, and by the way, don't call for a doctor on your cell phone because the cell phone was invented in Israel by a Jewish engineer.

OTHER NOBEL CONSIDERATIONS (Compare and contrast):
Meanwhile I ask, what medical contributions to the world have the Muslims made?"
The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000; that is ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world's population.
They have received the following Nobel Prizes:
Literature:  1988 - Najib Mahfooz
Peace:  1978 - Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
1990 - Elias James Corey
1994 - Yaser Arafat:
1999 - Ahmed Zewai
Economics:  0
Physics:  0

Medicine: 1960 - Peter Brian Medawar and 1998 - Ferid Mourad
TOTAL: 7 SEVEN

The Nobel Prize is an annual, international prize first awarded in 1901 for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. An associated prize in Economics has been awarded since 1969.Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 850 individuals,of whom at least 20% were Jews, although Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world's population (or 1 in every 500 people). 


Overall, Jews have won a total of 41% of all the Nobel Prizes in economics, 28% of medicine, 26% of Physics, 19% of Chemistry, 13% of Literature and 9% of all peace awards.

Jews have been recipients of all six awards. The first Jewish recipient, Adolf von Baeyer, was awarded the prize in Chemistry in 1905. As of 2013, the most recent Jewish recipients were James Rothman and Randy Schekman (Medicine); Arieh Warshel, Michael Levitt and Martin Karplus (Chemistry); and François Englert (Physics), all in 2013.

Jewish laureates Elie Wiesel and Imre Kertész survived the extermination camps during the Holocaust, while François Englert survived by being hidden in orphanages and children's homes. Others, such as Walter Kohn, Otto Stern, Albert Einstein, Hans Krebs and Martin Karplus had to flee Nazi Germany to avoid persecution. Still others, including Rita Levi-Montalcini, Herbert Hauptman, Robert Furchgott, Arthur Kornberg, and Jerome Karle experienced significant antisemitism in their careers.

The oldest person ever to receive a Nobel Prize was Leonid Hurwicz, a Polish-American Jew who received the 2007 prize in Economics when he was 90 years old.

Other issues of comparison and contrast:
The Jews are NOT promoting brainwashing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non-Muslims.
The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants.
There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church.
Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.

 Perhaps the world's Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.
Muslims must ask 'what can they do for humankind' before they demand that humankind respects them.
Otherwise all you have is #OneWayReligiousTolerance and that’s not going to help anyone.

22 November 2014

Muslims' prayer in DC--no big deal, right?

David Lazarus wrote this piece for the internet service Israel Today.co.il  and I had to share it today...

"It looked like a chilling scene from a Last Days, anti-Christ-takes-over-the-world disaster movie. Hundreds of Muslims take over America’s most notable church, prostrate on their prayer rugs as their unified chant echoes out in full volume: “There is only one god, he begets not and I bear witness that Muhammad is His only servant and Apostle."

Only this was not a movie. This was the scene, last Friday, for the first time in history, at the iconic National Cathedral in Washington, where orthodox Muslim clerics were invited to lead an Islamic prayer service. A congregation of hundreds were lead by an Imam in declaring that “god has no son, that Jesus Christ cannot be his son, and that there is no god like Allah.”

Only a single middle-age woman jumped up in the middle of the service and shouted, “America was founded on Christian principles. . . . Leave our church alone!” She was escorted quickly out of the church by security guards.

The National Cathedral in Washington, DC has been an extremely important symbol of the Christian roots of the United States. The cathedral was designated by Congress as America's "National House of Prayer." The church has hosted a number of inaugural presidential prayer services, including Franklin Roosevelt and both presidents Bush.

The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, took to Facebook in reaction to the Muslim prayer service:
“The National Cathedral in Washington, DC–one of the most prominent Episcopal churches in America–will host a Muslim prayer service to Allah. It’s sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible, who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins. Jesus was clear when He said, 'I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me' (John 14:6)."

The Islamic service at the cathedral was ostensibly intended to promote interfaith dialogue. Its organizers said that they hoped the service would “help correct some Americans’ misperceptions of Muslims as extremists and reinforce tolerance among faiths.”

However, it is hard to understand how a Christian church opening its sanctuary for Islamic prayers that renonce Jesus Christ contributes to interfaith tolerance. Muslims would never allow a Christian to preach the Gospel in a mosque. Palestinian Muslims continue to ban all Jews and Christians from praying at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It would appear that “interfaith dialogue and tolerance” are just more code words calling for Muslims to rise up and conquer.

The Washington Post reported that the Islamic prayer service was closed to the public because of security concerns. Armed guards checked every person and every bag of those in attendance.

Islam is growing rapidly around the world, and is now the third-largest religion in the United States, behind Christianity and Judaism, with an estimated 2.6 million American Muslim citizens."    Here's the link to the published article itself Lazarus' article

What's wrong with a prayer meeting? Isn't that all we want from each other? Let people pray in their synagogues and churches and mosques and come out loving each other. That's right, isn't it? All religions are the same, aren't they?

I hear those comments so often it's almost laughable. But as Lazarus points out in the article, the Islamic religion of peace and the prayers they offer bring no hope for such universal optimism. It's simply #OneWayReligiousTolerance gone mad yet again. Let's see if the mosques of Washington allow Christian ministers to come in and pray for the advancement of their religion or allow Jews to bring in holy objects and pray there... that would be interesting. But don't hold your breath. Their M.O. and their objectives are clear.  God, not Allah, help us all.

21 November 2014

Love the Lord, your God, with all your mind: How do we do that?


I don't remember ever hearing a sermon on this topic. I've heard that I'm to love the Lord, with everything I have, yes, but not ...'with all my mind.' So we pondered that the other night and came up with the following selection of thoughts and ideas...

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What prompted me to consider this and for us to address it was a reminder of the old US advertising campaigns, which popped out onto my browser one day recently. It showed the old motto of the United Negro College Fund. So you know the ad was from long ago. Since negro has not been used in US language since the early 1960s.  The ad shown here brought the motto to the fore: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

I gleaned from Derek Prince in the early 70s and also from Watchman Nee in his "Spiritual Man" books that the soul and the spirit were distinct. That is also indicated in these biblical verses:
 
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"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 )
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

The Bible is clear that even though our spirits are born of incorruptible seed, our minds (souls) still need to be purified, that is, cleansed:
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." (1 Peter 1:22-23)

Also "Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls." (James 1.21)

Our spirit is instantly reborn and made new the moment we receive Yeshua as Messiah, but the soul is not born again. Our souls are transformed by the renewing of our minds:
 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)

How do we love God with our mind?
Solomon teaches us:
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A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel (Prov. 1.5 ) and again later in the book of Proverbs:
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser,
Teach a righteous man, and he will increase his learning.  (Prov. 9.9)   
  

So if you think you know something, a wise man will keep learning, with his mind. Engage the brain, don't bury it!

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So, using our mind and increasing in learning gives us the title “wise.”


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John Piper says of this passage, to love God with our minds involves...
[©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org]
  1.  Dedicating our minds to knowing him.
  2. Thinking clearly and truly about him so that we don't have false ideas in our minds.
  3. Not being satisfied with merely an intellectual awareness of his attributes, character, and acts but intentionally devoting that mental effort to serve the affections (emotions) for God.

Piper says this, “If a person doesn't move from intellectual awareness of God and right thinking about God to an emotional embrace of God, he hasn't loved God with his mind. The mind has not yet loved until it hands off its thoughts to the emotions where they're embraced. And then the mind and the heart are working in what feels like such harmony, and you experience it as both intellectual and affectional love for God.”

Greg Simas a blogger says there are 4 ways to love God with the mind..
 1. Reason
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:”
To reason is to think, understand and form judgments by a process of logic. I believe that part of loving God with all our mind is loving him logically. For guys like me this is a relief. I enjoy strategic thinking and order. God has given this as a gift.
 2. Knowledge
Heb. 10:16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
To love God with all our mind involves taking time to fill our mind with God’s Word and to rightly agree with who He is. When we grow in truth we gain knowledge.
 3. Memory
Isaiah 63:7 “I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us.”
The Bible is filled with commands to remember. Memories lead to gratefulness and worship. When we use our minds to remember His kindness, faithfulness, patience, peace etc. we build a foundation of faith, hope and love. We are loving God with our remembrance.
 4. Imagination
Psa. 8:3 “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;”
Isa. 55:8 “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”


Don't miss this, the requirement is to love God with 'all' our mind. So don't be satisfied with minimal service, minimal prayer, minimal thinking or knowledge...press on!

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Finally, you are to love the Lord, your God, with all of your mind.
Personalize this. Own God. Be in relation to God. Not that you own him, but you have a relationship with Him.

That’s it.
Let me summarize:
1)   You shall love-- it’s a command.
2)   You shall do this, it’s for you, not the other guy, it’s your responsibility.
3)   Make God, your God, and know Him personally
4)   With all your mind, don't be satisfied with less
5)   Finally, with your mind. All the academics, the knowledge, the fear of the Lord, the imaginations and reasoning you can muster.

Hope that helps a bit. Hosea 6 says, "So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord!"


14 November 2014

Short Stories by Jesus. A critical review (Part 1)


A Jewish Journey Through the Parables of Jesus
by Rich Robinson

In this series of posts I want to make my way through Amy-Jill Levine’s latest contribution, a book on the parables of Jesus. Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi was published this year (2014) by HarperOne. (Aussie readers can buy it here Short Stories )

For those not familiar, Levine (hereafter AJL) teaches New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. She is, according to her Website , “a self-described ‘Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Christian divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt.’” She is also an Orthodox Jew who, as she says somewhere else, can be somewhat unorthodox. AJL is known as co-editor of the recent Jewish Annotated New Testament (Aussies buy that here ) and author of The Misunderstood Jew (Aussies: Misunderstood) (that is, Jesus). We interviewed her some time ago for our Havurah magazine and you can find that interview here.

There are many things I like about Levine’s writing, not least that she’s entertaining, even cheeky in a good way, her prose engaging and above all challenging. And she is committed to unearthing wrong-headed interpretations of the New Testament that are anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic—interpretations that can be found in evangelical circles, though born more of ignorance than malice. Sometimes it takes an outside voice to shake things up. Those whose fashion or haircut choices make them resemble Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory can benefit from the honesty of someone who knows clothing and hairstyles—witness the various “Makeover” reality TV shows. AJL, at least in the area of Jesus’ Jewishness, wants to “make over” how Christians read the New Testament. And in many respects, she succeeds.

In this new book she tackles Jesus’ parables. In the days to come I’ll make my way through the book and interact with what AJL has to say on the subject. Could it be that Jesus’ “short stories” are The Misunderstood Parables? Come back here and find out with me!


 -- Rich Robinson
For more information about Rich, Senior Researcher of Jews for Jesus, click Robinson 



All the rest of Rich's posts about AJL are here on his own newly-created blog
Richard Robinson's Blog

Is that a real mitzvah?

The man in this video is Scott Rogowsky. He has a twice a month live show in NYC, as well as a series of videos and each one has irony and humor and repetition. I think my friend Bennett Arron would have as much fun as Rogowsky if he had a video guy following him around all day. But the point of this is to discuss the idea of a mitzvah.

What is a mitzvah anyway? By definition, it's a commandment. But by practice, the word means 'the completion of a commandment', thus a religious activity which complies with something in the Jewish religion. So handing out food to homeless people is 'doing a mitzvah' or wrapping oneself with leather straps (tefillin) in the morning and praying certain prayers is fulfilling the commandment of doing so, thus 'performing a mitzvah.'

In the video below, according to Rogowsky, after 10 hours of walking in New York City as a Jew, during a Jewish holiday named Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), many Jewish men accosted him and tried to get him to 'do a mitzvah.' Of course, the whole thing is probably staged, but still the video got me thinking. Watch it first, and then I'll comment.

See VIDEO

I've had Jewish religionists approach me in various locations worldwide, here in Sydney, and in Melbourne, in Moscow and in Israel, in Washington DC, and Baltimore...all asking me to do some religious activity and thus 'do a mitzvah.' One in Sydney even told me that he could help me put on the leather straps in 30 seconds and 'voila, that would be it.' Wow, a discount, a rapid fulfillment. One man I know told me that he was actually told he had become 'Bar Mitzvah' by some rabbi on the streets in Sydney, because he repeated some words he didn't understand, while donning a kippah (skull cap).

This is shocking on so many levels.

And the real question I have is 'is that a real mitzvah' anyway? If we say words we don't understand, and use props we don't regard as significant... if we jump through certain hoops of others' invention but it's not from our own heart, is that doing good? Is that honoring the God who wants us to do good things?

Yeshua taught about something like this with "When you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you and when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him" (Matthew 6.5-8)

I remember back in the 1970s when people in orange saffron robes would chant 'hare rama' and "hare krishna' and try to get others to say those same words. "Please, say 'hare krishna'" they would beg. As if my saying a phrase about which I was clueless and which had no meaning to me would somehow incant meaning and bring their deity to the moment. Those four syllables were just a combination of syllables which were empty and void to me. I get it-- they had great meaning to those robed people, but to me they were empty. Why would I ever repeat them?

There are people who want others to 'ask Jesus into your heart' and be saved. I've honestly never seen the phrase "ask Jesus into your heart' in the Bible, but I understand what these born-again evangelizers are asking of others. The more biblical phrase would be 'repent of your sins and be born again by the blood of Jesus.' But that might be too much for some people. So perhaps the evangelizers are trying to make the Gospel more marketable. Perhaps they are simply asking people to do what they themselves did those days/ months/ years ago. I really do not know what is working in their minds. But jumping through another's hoops of religion without the meaning and the conviction in your own heart... it will never work.

Perhaps that's why the apostle Paul said "if you confess with your mouth Yeshua as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (Romans 10.9-10)

It really does take the heart. No wonder Solomon the king of Israel said, "Guard your heart, for out of it proceed the issues of life." (Proverbs 4.23) Paul again wrote something similar, "not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Messiah, doing the will of God from the heart." (Ephesians 6.6) That's the key in any and every mitzvah.

Will you take this to heart? That itself is a mitzvah!