Tag Archives: Moses

Whose idea was that?!

Apparently the Book of Numbers should really be called “In the Wilderness” (the meaning of Ba’midmar (במדבר), the Hebrew title). At least that’s what various sites on the Interwebs tell me.

So why the change? I’m not sure, but it is too bad they didn’t go with the more interesting sounding Hebrew version. For people who don’t read the Bible the current title makes it sound like it is all genealogies and such. Yes, it starts with a census, But consider these great passages that you miss out on if you don’t read it:

  • A test for adultery
  • The Nazirite vow
  • Elders appointed to aid Moses
  • The quail. Lots of quail.
  • Miriam and Aaron oppose Moses
  • Spies going into Canaan
  • The people’s rebellion
  • Korah’s rebellion (referred to in Jude)
  • Moses strikes the rock
  • The bronze serpent
  • Balaam and his donkey
  • Driving out the inhabitants
  • Cities of refuge
  • Much, much more!

Seriously, don’t miss the Book of Numbers — or anything else in the Bible. Like I’ve said, if/when you get to Heaven it will be awkward if you haven’t read every author’s books (“Oh, uh, hi Amos . . . look over there!” [Runs away again]).

Better yet, think about how you’ll tell Jesus all the excuses you had for not reading it regularly, and at some point reading it all. (Yeah, I’m fine using the carrot or the stick to get you to read more!)

Just read it. Every day.

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Time management

alarm-clock.jpgI am a mixed bag on time management.  Some things I do really well, which creates plenty of time to do a variety of things.  But then I’ll waste some of it because I’m not prioritizing well.  And by “waste” I don’t mean that it is bad to just do nothing sometimes and rest.  I mean that I end up doing things that aren’t that important, like TV or Internet surfing.

How is your time management?  Remember that if you aren’t doing what you say you want to do (Bible study, prayer, family time, reading, exercise, volunteering, etc.) it is because you consider that the least important thing you actually do is more important than the things you say you want to do.  You may not have those conscious thoughts, but it is an accurate assessment.

In other words, if you are not reading your Bible and praying daily it is because you have decided not to.

A couple of tactical things help me: The O-H-I-O (Only Handle It Once) approach to emails and tasks works well when I use it.  Instead of going over a message multiple times when I’m not sure how I want to handle it, I try to deal with it the first time (respond, file, etc.).

On the flip side, knowing when to carefully analyze a situation to anticipate consequences saves a lot of time at work.  As I like to say, I don’t like to overkill things but I do like to kill them.  By that I mean that I want to get it done right the first time and not have to waste time later because a “shortcut” left someone out of a communication loop.  Sometimes you have to “brake to go faster.”  The discernment to know when to do it is the key.

I also take a Zero-Based Budgeting approach and analyze all that I do.  I realized a while ago that watching sports took a lot of time and didn’t bring that much enjoyment anyway, so I’ve cut it out almost completely.  The Steelers won the game?  Release mild amount of endorphins.  The Steelers lost?  Great, I just wasted 3+ hours of my life.  That isn’t an indictment of sports watching.  If you aren’t consumed by the process and have a net enjoyment, or perhaps it is a family activity, then good for you.  But if watching your college team lose spoils your weekend then you have a problem.  (Friendly reminder: Those “student athletes” and pros some people worship probably don’t care about you at all and are likely to have vastly different worldviews.)

Consider these words then try this exercise by Randy Alcorn.

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff which life is made of.”

Over three thousand years before Benjamin Franklin said those words, Moses said these:

Teach us to number our days aright,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

The New Testament speaks the same message: “Redeem the time,” or “Make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5b).

Something simple that every Christian should know about the Quran

Please read this short but extremely important article: The Qu’ran says the Bible is not corrupt.  This is a great message to share with Muslims who have been told that the Bible has been corrupted.  Using their own “holy book” we can point them back to what should be a common source: The Bible.

The short version: The Quran itself claims that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel are from Allah and that Allah’s words cannot be changed.

Here’s a sample:

The Muslims repeatedly claim that the Bible has been corrupted and that the Qu’ran is the only trustworthy scripture in existence. This is why Muslims often attack the Bible. But this cannot be acording to the Quran. The Quran says that the books of Moses, the Psalms, and the gospel were all given by God.

Torah – “We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers,” (Sura 2:87).1

Psalms – “We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms,” (4:163).

Gospel – “It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong),” (3:3).

. . .

We see that the Qu’ran states that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel were all given by God. With this we Christians heartily agree. But, the Muslims claim that the Bible is corrupted and full of contradictions. If that is so, then it would seem they do not believe the Qu’ran since the Qu’ran says that the Word of God cannot be altered:

“Rejected were the messengers before thee: with patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their wrongs, until Our aid did reach them: there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those messengers,” (6:34).

. . .

This means that at that time the Bible, which was in existence, could not have been corrupted because the Qu’ran states that God’s word cannot be corrupted. The question I have for the Muslims is “When and where was the Bible corrupted, since the Qu’ran says that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel are from Allah and Allah’s words cannot be changed?”

Update: I should have just linked to this: According to the Qur’an, the Qur’an is false.

–The Old Testament (the Book) and the Gospels (the Injil) were written chronologically prior to the Qur’an.
–The Qur’an claims that the Book and the Injil are the Word of Allah.
–The Word of Allah cannot be changed.
–The manuscripts of the Book and the Injil prior to and in the time of Muhammad and at the time the Qur’an was compiled bear the same message as the Bible we have today.
–The Bible makes theological claims in direct opposition to the theological claims of the Qur’an.
–The Qur’an insists we can and should trust the Bible (which is God’s Word and cannot be changed or corrupted).
–Since the Bible came before the Qur’an, and the Bible is the incorruptible word of God, then anything coming after the Bible which claims to be the Word of God but is different from the Bible, it is therefore false and not of God.
–Therefore, if the Bible is accurate (from 2, 3, and 5) then the Qur’an is false (from 2, 3, 6, and 7).
–Put more briefly: If the Qur’an is true, then the Bible is true, which means the Qur’an is false — and by extension, so is the religion of Islam.

And here’s another great set of resources for sharing the truth with Muslims.

—–

Bonus: Another simple but crucial thing to know about the Quran is that it makes a clear historical error about the death of Jesus. This passage explicitly denies that Jesus died on the cross:

And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of GOD. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him – they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him. Instead, GOD raised him to Him; GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.

Quran, Sura 4:157-158

That is a very clear claim that Jesus did not die on the cross, whereas we know from the Bible and even secular history that Jesus did die on the cross. Then one guy came along over 500 years later with a radical new story about how Jesus didn’t die on the cross, though he had zero evidence behind it.  Zero.

When I speak with Muslims I always bring this example up matter-of-factly.  First I clarify with them that this is what the Quran teaches.   They always agree, except one guy who wasn’t familiar with it (I showed him the reference and I think it helped plant some seeds of doubt).

Then I just explain why I hold the view that Jesus died on the cross: Lots of testimonies written close to the event and plenty of secular historians backing it up vs. one guy over 500 years later with an alleged vision from God.  No serious historian would consider the Islamic version to be more credible.

Is it possible that Mohammad was right about Jesus not dying on the cross?  In a hyper-technical sense, I suppose so.  But you’d have to throw every historical event ever up for grabs using that approach.

This isn’t some small issue, either.  It is an essential claim for Christianity and a key error in the Quran.

Roundup

Study Suggests That Wimpier Men Hold Liberal Views — Of course they do!

Don’t Make it About Barack Obama — He isn’t running for office again and is very unlikely to be impeached.  Use his scandal-fest to attack big government and Liberalism, not Obama.  That will help in many elections.  One of their excuses (read: lies) is that government is too big for Obama to know enough about it.  So just agree with them and point out how we need to make it smaller and less intrusive in our lives.

From the “What could possibly go wrong?” category: IRS official in charge during Tea Party targeting now runs agency’s Obamacare office

BABY DIES AFTER MAN ALLEGEDLY TRICKS GIRLFRIEND INTO TAKING AN ABORTION PILL — Of course this is ghastly, but so are all abortions.  I wish the people quoted would have also noted whether they are anti-abortion if the mom wants to have the unwanted child killed.

Friendly reminder: If someone uses the “tea bagger” pejorative against you, just ask them what it means. Then point out that they must be homophobic if they are using the slang for a gay sex act to demonize their ideological foes. Shouldn’t the gays be as offended as if they called you the “f” word?  Haters!!  Hate speech!!

Note that this is also an effective question to ask when someone is punished for using other slurs against homosexuals.  I’m not advocating the use of the slurs, of course, but it is worthwhile to point out their hypocrisy.  The people reflexively using “tea bagger” are the same ones who go into full pants-wetting mode if someone uses other slurs.  For some reason those are worthy of major fines and even the termination of employment, while the Liberals get a pass.  Also feel free to ask if those using the term “Santorum” in a derogatory way are “homophobes.”

Socialism Leads to D.I.Y. Dentistry in Britain — Ouch.  The government can force you to  use their insurance plan, but they haven’t figured out how to force people to be dentists. This is the predictable and inevitable results of socialized medicine.

Wow, Sojourners finally posted on the Gosnell case! I’m glad to see that. Until now, searching for his name returned zero hits. It is harder to imagine a case more opposed to the “common good.” Killing babies, storing their body parts in jars, unsanitary conditions, pure racism (white women got better treatment than blacks and the clinic mainly targeted blacks), government officials deliberately not enforcing laws, Planned Parenthood knowing of the conditions there yet saying nothing — and then pretending to be aghast at Gosnell, and more.

We should never stop reminding people that Gosnell’s main crimes were killing these babies 30 seconds too late. He did a bad job of killing them before they were completely delivered, so he just finished the job outside the womb. But all abortions are just as immoral.

And he isn’t the “rogue” that this article makes him out to be. People who kill unwanted human beings for a living don’t seem to mind breaking the rules regarding how to legally kill unwanted human beings for a living.

Remember that Obama and Planned Parenthood are on record opposing the obligations of abortionists to save the lives of babies who survive abortion. And Planned Parenthood has been caught countless times hiding statutory rape and sex trafficking, yet they continue to get hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding and “social justice” groups not only give them a pass but they support the Democrats’ platform of taxpayer-funded abortions. The right to life should be the foundational principle of “social justice,” not an afterthought — or worse yet, something completely ignored or even opposed.

Deuteronomy 18 and Moses/Jesus parallels (and why they don’t apply to Mohammad)

  1. Born during the reign of an oppressive king (Moses with Pharoah in Exodus 1:8-14; Jesus with King Herod in Matthew 2:1)
  2. The evil ruler decree the killing of children that threaten the newborn’s life (Exodus 1:15-16; Matthew 2:16-18)
  3. The witnesses of the birth of the child obeyed God and therefore disobeyed the ruler (Midwives in Exodus 1:17-22; Magi in Matthew 2:12, 16)
  4. God protects the witnesses (Midwives in Exodus 1:17-22; Magi in Matthew 2:12)
  5. The newborn survived by hiding in Egypt (Exodus 2; Matthew 2:13-15)
  6. When the child grew older, God leads them to depart from Egypt (Exodus 13-14; Matthew 2:19-23)
  7. After leaving Egypt, water around them symbolizes a new era (the parting of the sea Exodus 14:13-31; Baptism, Matthew 3:13-17)
  8. Both enter the Wilderness for a considerable time of testing (Forty years, Exodus 16:35; Forty days, Matthew 4:1-11)
  9. Both expounds on God’s law to God’s people in a mountain (Mount Sinai, Exodus 19-20ff; Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7)

Links to Barack Obama’s votes on Illinois’ Born Alive Infant Protection Act — Obama, Planned Parenthood and Kermit Gosnell all agree.

Court upholds Obama Admin denial of asylum for German homeschool family — Millions of people can cross our border illegal and get lifetime welfare, but because this family probably wouldn’t vote for Democrats we won’t help them.  If only they’d claim to be gay they’d get a free pass.

House of Horrors 2: graphic photos show Texas abortionist killed living babies, say nurses — Kermit Gosnell was not the lone exception.  People who kill babies for a living don’t mind breaking the rules regarding how to kill babies for a living.

Canadian Supreme Court Rules Biblical Speech Opposing Homosexual Behavior is a ‘Hate Crime’ — This is inevitable with bogus “hate speech” laws.

Flight: The Genius of Birds – Official Trailer — great examples of Intelligently Designed beings.

His behavior is getting borderline comical.  He dramatically releases Benghazi emails in an attempt to appear cooperative, but the earliest is dates 9/14 when the incident happened on 9/11.  Uh, so, either no one sent any emails for 3 days (unbelievable, but very bad if true) or he has good reasons to hide those emails (believable, and a tacit admission of guilt).  And then he “fires” the IRS guy who was leaving next month anyway.  Great leadership, champ.

A simple but important point about theological Liberals

From Mark on Facebook:

What does Jesus say about those who don’t believe Scripture?

“But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:31.)

That applies to all those Leopard Theologians who think the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.

Casting stones

As nearly every Bible translation points out in the footnotes, the passage in John 8 about the woman caught in adultery isn’t found in the earliest manuscripts.  Therefore, it may not have been in the original writings of the Bible.*

It is a memorable passage and doesn’t contradict other doctrines, but neither does it add anything that isn’t taught elsewhere.  The problems start when people twist the passage to say things that aren’t there.  Here’s the text:

The Woman Caught in Adultery — John 8:2 – 11

Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst  they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”  This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.  But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus stood up and said to her,”Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

If someone drew the conclusion that Jesus was once again clever and outwitted the Pharisees who were trying to trap him, that would be fine. Or that He upheld the law on capital punishment (you must have two witnesses). Or that He outed their hypocrisy in not bringing the man. Those would all be good.

The main misuse of the passage is by those who exclaim, “He who is without sin can cast the first stone!,” when trying to shut up anyone making a judgment they disagree with.  But as you may have noticed, that objection is self-refuting and ironically hypocritical: They imply that all judging is wrong, but they are judging you for judging.  But there is more.

Jesus was referring to real stones that would kill the person. Real stones thrown at a real person until he or she was really dead.  Criticizing someone else hardly rises to the level of killing him by stoning. Flippantly equating death by stoning with mere criticism is beyond hyperbole.

And even if Jesus said the part about not casting the first stone, it wouldn’t have meant, “Never say adultery is wrong!”  Note that the passage also says, “Go and sin no more.”

Those advocating the “judging = casting stones” view typically make all sorts of judgments, including advocating hate speech / hate crime laws.  But shouldn’t they be consistent and not judge anyone for anything, ever?

The passage is also misused to oppose capital punishment in principle.  But again, Jesus upheld the law: If there had been two witnesses present, stoning would have been appropriate at that time.

Keep in mind that any criticisms of this post will be considered stone-casting on your part.  And you know how wrong that is!

* Skeptics like Bart Ehrman like to say that this passage and the “long ending” of the Gospel of Mark reduce our confidence that the original writings were the word of God, but they are really proof that the system works.  Based on the work of textual critics on literally thousands of ancient manuscripts, we can be very confident about what the original writings said.

Two of my favorite role models

Last week I wrote about the importance of retirement plans — not the financial part, but the activity part.  We should never retire from Christian activities, though they may change over time.  We should finish strong, just like Moses, Joshua, Paul and so many others.  Don’t succumb to temptations.  Don’t destroy what you’ve worked so hard for.  Don’t sit back in self-indulgence.

Then on Saturday I was reminded of two of my favorite ministry role models.  I was doing a monthly visit as part of Kairos Prison Ministry and got to see Mike and Vic (pictures below).

You might think that white guys in their 80’s wouldn’t be able to connect with much younger guys (roughly 50% black, 25% Hispanic, 25% white), but you’d be wrong.  The prisoners seem to instantly bond with them and develop meaningful relationships over the course of the weekend and the follow-up sessions.  They have an authenticity and a genuine love that you just can’t miss.

They are as humble as can be, even though they are the most popular volunteers in the unit.  The prisoners go nuts whenever either one is introduced.

Neither are in perfect health, so they could just stay home on Saturday morning.  But month after month they get up early to come out and serve.  And when they work the Kairos weekends they work very long days, often getting to the prison at 6:30 a.m. and not leaving until 8:30 p.m.  But they do it with a smile and never complain.

They are both quick-witted and fun to listen to, having lived full and exciting lives.  Mike has been married for over 60 years (to the same woman, as he likes to add!), and I think Vic has been as well. I’ve seen Vic’s wife working on the outside teams during the weekends, and I’ve seen Mike’s wife come to the closing ceremonies.

These men never fail to encourage me.  If they can keep marriages intact for 60+ years and still love and serve in the name of Christ into their 80’s, so can I (God willing!).   This is how it is supposed to work.

Mike & Vic, I pray that God blesses you with the strength to serve many more years!