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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Freemasons are coming!

Ted Olsen at Christianity Today says the campaign of Evangelicals against secret societies in the 1800's was a bust and they declined on their own. [It was actually a presidential campaign issue too.] My response: maybe the campaign did work by keeping potential members from joining. He thinks that perhaps our churches' current social reform campaigns are doomed to irrelevance also. He doesn't name them though. Abortion? Global warming? So it was a vapid article. But the fire was lit under the Freemason pot and they are commenting like mad hornets. It's fun to read how innocent they claim to be. Personally, I've known a marriage sacrificed out of loyalty to Freemasonry over Jesus.

JKR reveals secrets and postscripts on Harry Potter

great interview copied at muggle.net
important stuff like
Katieleigh: Does hermione still continue to do work with spew and is life any better for house elves!
J.K. Rowling: Hermione began her post-Hogwarts career at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
J.K. Rowling: where she was instrumental in greatly improving life for house-elves and their ilk. She then moved (despite her jibe to Scrimgeour) to the Dept. of Magical Law Enforcement
J.K. Rowling: After a few years as a celebrated player for the Holyhead Harpies, Ginny retired to have her family and to become the Senior Quidditch correspondent at the Daily Prophet!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Christian internet radio

Before I tell about a new favorite of mine I need to do my PSA duty for our church's station which can be heard at WCSE.org. Sometimes I only want to hear loud and aggressive music written and performed by believers for God and the family which TheBlast.Fm currently serves quite nicely.

book report - The Shaping of a Christian Family

Elisabeth Elliot, former missionary and prolific author, weaves a wonderful account of her family from her grandparents to her grandchildren. The focus is mainly from her parents' courtship through the raising of 6 children to seeing them marry and raising their own children. It has taken me a long time to read it. My dear wife commended it to me last winter. Although it follows a chronological theme, it doesn't flow like a novel. It reads like a devotional. The nuggets of wisdom lay all over the pages and a quick read will not do the book justice. I can hardly think of an audience that wouldn't benefit from it. In fact, I'm about to thrust it on my 11 year old daughter. It covers dating, courting and adolescence. My only quibble with Ms. Elliot is her assertion of the fallacy of teenage-dom. She and her brothers were sent off to distant Christian boarding schools in their teens, where they behaved very well. My quibble is that she does not speak from experience necessarily regarding the teen/parent home life. However, she does make the case of Christian boarding school very appealing in this parent's eyes.

As a crop of new babies have sprung up in our church I'm intrigued with a book she recommended called My First 300 Babies, by a mid-wife. Most parents thought us cruel for putting our babies on a feeding/nap schedule, but impressed with how well we slept and kept our relationship a higher priority. I also enjoyed her references to Ryle's book The Duties of Parents written in 1888, full text here. The older I get, the more I appreciate the lack of new stuff under the sun.

What then is the old stuff then when it comes to parenting? Train a child up in the way they should go and when they are old they won't depart from them, Proverbs 22:6. Check out this mom of 9's thoughts on the subject. It starts from day 1 and ends when they fly the nest. Don't wait on training until they are a little older. A regimen with expectations above what other children their age are doing will go a long way. One recent highlight from our family. We rent movies, but if possible we make the kids read the books before viewing the movie. They have an incentive to read. My older 2 thoroughly enjoyed reading Eragon, and were terribly disappointed in the movie. I'm teaching them the value of the text over the television and they are getting it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

chatting with the LDS

Keith has an update on his second meeting with the LDS boys. Gems include...

They agreed with us that the Bible is still applicable, but still insisted that someone needs to get current messages from God so that we will know how to live better lives.

I asked, “OK, then can you give us some examples of one of your prophets giving us current information that we need that isn’t already found in the Bible?” Elder J. was stunned into silence and looked at Elder T. They both looked at each other and really didn’t know what to say. Finally Elder J. brought up the Word of Wisdom and said that Joseph Smith had a new revelation about a health code.

I didn’t want to reveal what I knew about the Word of Wisdom, but that “revelation” was given in 1833. Hmm… 174 years is not exactly what I would call, “current.” I just said, “Joseph Smith? That was a long time ago. I’d like to hear some examples of one of your prophets giving some important information that you have heard personally and needed to know, something within your life-time. Is there anything recently that isn’t already found in the Bible?”

barefoot running update

12 miles, barefoot, no blisters.
doing a sprint triathlon next Thursday and a 12 mile race next Saturday

Thursday, July 26, 2007

an apologetics bookmark

I don't "bookmark" sites anymore. Usually I will add their feed, unless they are old school. This site is old school but worth returning to at some point, Contend for the Faith. I appreciated the book report on Sailhamer's Genesis Unbound which presents historical creationism.

Monday, July 23, 2007

10 C's #5: Honor your parents, part b

As in all institutions, clever hair splitters had found religious reasons to avoid honoring parents which really irritated Jesus.
Mark 7:9-11
Then he said, "You reject God's laws in order to hold on to your own traditions.
For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.'
But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, 'Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I could have given to you.'
You let them disregard their needy parents.
As such, you break the law of God in order to protect your own tradition. And this is only one example. There are many, many others."(NLT)

Of course, the weaseling was in regard to money. Jesus was irritated that these religious leaders preferred people, and offered them a salve for their consciences, give their cash to them, as God's representatives, than use that money to care for their parents. There is no religious exemption, because it is the religious duty to honor our parents. There is never a caveat regarding the merit of the parents. They raised us, we owe them honor. Honor sometimes cost money as well as pride and convenience. Dishonor of parents is so important it deserves capital punishment. Who knows how often this was enforced in Israel. It is never recorded in the Bible.

When we honor our parents we honor our God. When we dishonor our parents we disobey God and disrespect his choice to give us to them. Forgive us for our hubris Lord.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Keith chats with the Mormons

Keith Walker is a missionary to those trapped in cults. He loves it when they come to his door. Here is an excerpt from a great report.

Although we spoke about many other things, there was another important issue that I want to discuss here. Elder J. paraphrased numerous verses in both the Bible and Book of Mormon. One of them was Matthew 7:20- Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. The context is speaking of how to identify false prophets, but rarely does a Mormon know that. Elder J. said that we could determine the truth of things by examining it's fruit. In this case he said that we could examine Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

He then transitioned into telling us to pray about the Book of Mormon to find out if it is true. Prior to this discussion, I never had thought about these two ideas as a contrast. I asked, "If we are to test the truthfulness of a religion or person by examining their fruit, why are we told to pray about the Book of Mormon?" Elder J. said that God wanted us to try for ourselves but once we get to a place where we need help, we can ask God. He gave an illustration of our daughter asking for help with a math problem. As a good father I want our daughter to try and figure it out for herself, but once she gets stuck, she can ask me for help.

I started talking about how I like the idea of examining fruit, but that I also thought that praying about the truthfulness of Mormonism is a misuse of prayer. For instance, if Elder J. didn't study for his math exam and just asked God for the answers, God is not obligated to give him the answers. Both LDS missionaries agreed with me on this point. I took it a step farther and gave him a scenario.

"If one of the sister missionaries from temple square told you that God told her to have a physical relationship with you before marriage, and that to know the truthfulness of her revelation, all you need to do is pray about it, would you pray about it?" He admitted that he would not pray about it because God has already spoken about this and he knows that it would be wrong. I give this illustration to Mormons often and it helps them to see that prayer can be misused.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

10 C's #5: Honor your parents

Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (NKJV)

As Paul points out, this is the first commandment with a promise (Ephesisans 6:1-3). Paul points to the enhanced refresher version of the 10 C's in Deuteronomy 5:16
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. (NKJV)

When Moses gives his review in Deuteronomy, he's talking to a mostly new generation, and giving them promises right before their invasion of Israel.
This commandment takes on a new tact from commandments 2 and 3, no idols and no misuse of God's name. Both of those commandments come with threats. This one comes with an incentive, the promise. Why a carrot this time and not the stick? As a parent myself, I know that I have to carry a stick all the time and sometimes wield it, figuratively of course. When the children refuse to treat each other in the way they want to be treated I am called upon to bring justice. I can bring mercy too, especially in offenses against me. Our family is also in a financial position to offer small material incentives for performing chores around the house. But I cannot offer my children a long and blessed life. None of my rewards compare to God's. Of course, many people are satisfied with far less than God's blessing. However, some families can offer so little to their children in regards to incentives either due to poverty in the material, spiritual, psychological or emotional realms. What material incentive can a Darfur mother offer to a child? What spiritual incentive can an atheistic parent offer? What psychological incentive can a clinically depressed or schizophrenic parent offer? What emotional incentive can an abusive parent offer? God makes an offer that is independent of the condition of the parent!

When God's commands and promises are conditional only between Him and you, regardless of the behavior of those in between, He entreats us to respect the office despite the sinner who resides in it. There have never been sinless parents. Children, juvenile and adult, have the opportunity to love the sinner but hate the sin. Some American Christians question the utility of this aphorism, especially in regards to loving our homosexual friends, co-workers, and neighbors, but we practice it constantly in our families.

What makes parents worthy of such honor? They have been given an opportunity by God to participate in creation. God presents himself as Father to us. He calls us children, those who believed in his name (john 1:12). Jesus is portrayed as God's only-begotten son (John 1:18). A family is a symbol/shadow/type of the relationship God has with us. The way we interact with this shadow, our parents, reveals our insufficient understanding of God.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

more of my Deathly Hallows predictions

Last month I made my wild accusation of Snape being a type of Judas Iscariot. Since I have one more week until all guesses are revealed foolish, and I am a fool, I want to make a couple more tenuous assertions. Ms. Rowling has said in an that obviously Dumbledore is not Christ, which makes these predictions even more tenuous, yet I plow on.

As the Hogwarts Professor makes pains to point out, Rowling is not writing an allegory, but writes with symbols. She has mentioned her intensive study of alchemy as she worked on the books and John Granger has written a couple of books explaining those alchemical symbols.

Some of the symbols I see are Biblical New Testament characters. I'm reading the Half-blood Prince now and am enjoying the pains Rowling takes to show Snape in the act of premeditated betrayal. Me makes an Unbreakable Vow with Malfoy's mother and aunt to protect Draco and finish what Draco will surely fail to do. Snape asserts he knows Voldemort better than Bellatrix Lestrange and she asserts otherwise. Yet after Dumbledore and Harry finish reliving Dumbledore's first visit to Tom Riddle in the orphanage to invite him to Hogwarts he tells Harry that Riddle/Voldemort trusts no one and let's many think they are in his confidence, though they never are. This self serving character who is trusted by Dumbloedore despite all contrary evidence is not unlike Judas who was given the money bag for the disciples and used it for his own private purchases. What fool would choose Judas/Snape to be part of the disciples/Order of the Phoenix? The same one who would choose Saul/Paul/Draco to replace the defector. So I further predict that the repugnant Draco Malfoy will actually have a conversion and join his enemies Harry Potter and the Order. The theme of redemption is a strong one in Hogwarts. What does that make Harry and crew? Perhaps Potter is code for Peter. Perhaps Ron rhymes with John. But what of Hermione Granger? As a symbol, gender may not be important. The inner circle of Jesus' disciples were three, Peter, James, and John. James was an early martyr in the church history. Perhaps Hermione dies in DH. If gender does matter, then perhaps her name rhymes with Salome, or she is Mary Magcalene, neither are known to suffer tragic deaths in church history.
So who are the two who die in DH then. Voldemort and Snape. How would Voldemort die. I think Harry steps through the veil in the Ministry of Magic by choice out of love for those who he lost, Sirius and parents, and the Horcrux of the scar on his head "dies" which kills Voldemort, yet Harry is freed to return out through the veil.
It has been fun rereading all 6 books. She is such a good writer. She is very funny, writes a good mystery, and a good thriller. She's done well and I hope she finishes well.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Latest Persecution of Indian Christians

from Compass Direct News
Karnataka – Subhas Chalawadi, allegedly a member of the Hindu extremist Bajrang Dal, and 15 others beat Dyamappa Chalawadi and his wife Geetha on July 4 in Baloga village, Khanapur taluk, Belgaum district, Karnataka, according to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). Evangelist Santosh Basappa and a pastor from Trinity Church in Baloga were visiting the couple when the group led by Subhas Chalawadi barged into their home and dragged Dyamappa Chalawadi out. They kicked him and hit him with wooden sticks on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet. Some of the assailants pulled his wife by the hair and pushed her against the wall, and Basappa told Compass they grabbed her arm, hit her on the shoulders and back and told her, “We will kill you and your husband if you continue your Christian prayers.” Khanapur police refused to register a complaint from the couple, saying “there are no bleeding injuries,” said Dr. Sajan K. George of the GCIC. Dyamappa Chalawadi became a Christian in April, while his wife Geetha received Christ a year ago.

Karnataka – “There is a great threat to the country owing to conversion initiated by Christians in the name of social service,” Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, a leader of the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), said on July 2, according to the Daijiworld News Network (DNN). Bhat was speaking at “an anti-conversion awareness” meeting organized by the Hindu extremist Hindu Janajagruti Vedike and Bajrang Dal in Kundapur. He claimed bias in newspaper reports by a journalist of Kundapur about an attack on priest Sylvester Pereira on June 25. “In the last 250 years, Christian missionaries have indulged in conversion through schools, orphanages, hospitals, etcetera,” Bhat said. “Hence, there is a great threat to Indian culture and thoughts.” The RSS leader also defended Ramanna Shetty, who assaulted Fr. Pereira. DNN quoted Krishna Prasad Adyantaya, managing trustee of Kollur temple in Karnataka, as praising Bajrang Dal leaders for foiling anti-Hindu acts of Christians. “Dara Singh, who burned Christian missionary [Graham] Staines [to death] at Orissa a few years ago, is a role model to us,” Adyantaya reportedly said. “There are many Dara Singhs in Kundapur who can foil the attempt to convert.” Hindu extremist Sangh Parivar leaders were also present on the dais.

Madhya Pradesh – A mob said to belong to the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on June 16 thrashed a pastor associated with BEAM India Mission in Anuppur district. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) identified the victim only as 52-year-old Pastor Khakha. Sam Mathew, Madhya Pradesh coordinator of GCIC, told Compass that 16 people had assembled for Bible study and prayer in Kotma block, Anuppur district in Madhya Pradesh. A group of 50 to 60 RSS extremists “barged into the prayer hall, grabbed Pastor Khakha by his collar and dragged him out of the church punching, slapping and kicking him,” Mathew told Compass. The extremists shoved the pastor into a jeep and took him to a Bhadra motor stand, where they pulled him from the vehicle and beat him. They then took him to Jamuna colony, near Government High School Square, where they again punched and kicked him. The extremists repeated the assault at nearby Chandini Chowk and at Sikh Gurudwara, finally leaving him swollen and bruised at the bungalow of the general manager of coal mines. Threatening to beat more pastors and Christian workers, they said they were connected to Bhopal’s RSS office, said Mathew. Police in Kotma block refused to register a First Information Report when Pastor Khakha tried to file a complaint. The GCIC has approached the National Human Rights Commission for immediate intervention.

unfortunately more like this at the link....
Pray for the persecuted and the persecutors, its hard for them to kick against the goads...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Missionary Lessons from the Marines

Guy Muse has been sharing lessons from the Marines applies to missions...
Curtis Sergeant wrote a helpful paper entitled, "What We Can Learn From The U.S. Marines". It is an instructive study highly applicable to missions strategy and thinking. Each of my next three posts will highlight one of the concepts, followed by how we apply the principle to our own church planting here in Guayaquil.

Parts 1 ,2, and 3

Friday, July 06, 2007

10 C's #4 Sabbath part e one more thing

I'm not sure I've made the point clear enough on what the 4th Commandment means today. I arrived at this on my bike commute when I asked myself, "Is this a breakable commandment today, and, if so, how did I violate it?"
This is a command to rest, cease and desist in order to remember God. I think my attempts at achieving righteousness based on my works violate this command. For example, in my high school and college days I would try to live very righteously a couple days before praying for something in my favor. In effect, I was trying to put God into my debt. Of course I was neglecting that my righteous acts are as filthy rags in God's eyes. As a parent now I can appreciate God's perspective on my children trying to put me into debt to them.
All my righteousness comes from Jesus.
Romans 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Galatians 3:11
Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."
Titus 3:5-7
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
I violate the Sabbath when I try to please God by my efforts instead of by my faith in Him. I violate the Sabbath when I view my acts as a means to God's blessing rather than a grateful response to His blessing.
The good news is that God offers rest and salvation and my cost was faith. He paid for it all by dying to pay my debt and set me free. God is good.

Biking, barefoot marathon and water balloons

On my bike ride home Tuesday some rowdy young men hung out the car as they drove up behind me and I suddenly felt a punch on my road side shoulder. But it wasn't a punch. They threw a water balloon at me but it hadn't burst. If it had I would have been happier as it was a hot ride. Instead they only left me with a sore shoulder. Since I knew I needed to forgive those who sinned against me, I gave them a thumbs up for effort. :-)

I ran a barefoot marathon this week, but it was over the past five days. This is the most I have ever run in a week, shod or not. I'm only suffering a small blood blister on the forefoot. There are only four more weeks until the local 12 mile race. I have five months until the local marathon though. I'm still biking every day to work. In order to beat the heat I go for my run right after my ride in. I hope that counts for something in the upcoming sprint triathlon at the end of the month. I concluded on this morning's run that since I'm such a slow runner, and incapable of finishing a marathon in an impressive time, the angle of running it barefoot compensates for my turtle-like ways. Barefooting provides an obvious excuse for a sloth's pace.

On another fitness angle, I'm still land-meat free. I gave up beef and chicken for Lent and have kept with it. I eat fish and dairy but mostly bread, rice and beans, fruit and salad with no apparent suffering in my fitness training. I recently read about work week vegetarians who are weekend meat eaters, which intrigues me. I may try that at some point.

Disclaimer: All of my bizarre fitness endeavors are not to be copied unless you are willing to take responsibility for your own suffering. Just because some guy on a blog says he does this stuff doesn't mean the stuff will work for you....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

10 C's #4 - Sabbath part d, conclusion

I'm an American. I have the privilege of living in a culture with Judeo-Christian roots. As part of this culture I enjoy a 5 day workweek, 2 day weekends, a few weeks of vacation yearly, sick days, paid holidays, such as July 4th. Having Sunday off was part of European Christian culture. Moreover, many of these labor innovations came in reaction to the oppression of factory life as people moved from an agrarian life and rhythm to the manufacturing life. Manufacturing is not affected by the seasons like farming is and hence there is always more the machines can do if the humans can keep up. Christians pleaded for the need for rhythm, partly as they understood Sabbath, in the lives of the factory workers, resulting in labor law protections. Christians recognize we are made with a rhythm, one given to us and modeled for us by our Creator. Greed opposes Sabbath. But greed destroys. Unrotated crops destroy fields. Fields that aren't rested don't produce. The same is true for animals and people. The same is true for armies.
God gave the children of Israel the command to set apart 1 day a week to remember their Creator and Deliverer who rescued them from slavery. He also threatened the severest punishment for neglecting the command. For the church today though, we are free to disagree with that command, just not wise.
I'm lazy by nature. Physical Sabbath comes easy to me. I don't know if in poverty I'd be tempted to neglect Sabbath. I like being adopted into a family that the Father desires all His children to rest weekly. I'm glad I'm a citizen of a nation that adopted the concept of rest from that Heavenly Kingdom.
Ultimately, the practice of Sabbath is the practice of faith. Sabbath answers the question of the universe's need for me, none thank you. Sabbath answers the question of the source of my provision, thank you Father. Sabbath reveals what sustains us, not my own efforts.
We don't live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:2/Deuteronomy 8:3
Where is Sabbath found? Not in a day of a week, but in the Saviour of our souls...
28 "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 (HCSB)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

10 C's #4 Sabbath part c

By the time Jesus arrived on the scene Israel's religious leaders had overcompensated for the past generations's sins and got mad over the trivial and more important things that Jesus and his disciples did on the Sabbath.
What things did Jesus do on the Sabbath?
He taught (Mark 6:2)
He healed (John 7:23, 9:14 Matthew 12:12)
What did his disciples do on the Sabbath?
They ate some grain. (Luke 6:6, Mark 2:23-28)
They prayed. (Acts 16:13)
Paul taught (Acts 17:2)

What was Jesus' explanation of the Sabbath?
Mark 2:27, 28

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath. 2:28 For this reason the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

How did he show they already practiced this?
Matthew 12:10-12
A man was there who had a withered hand. And they asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” so that they could accuse him. 12:11 He said to them, “Would not any one of you, if he had one sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, take hold of it and lift it out? 12:12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Duh! Of course. But he also put it in their hyper-religious understanding of circumcision and priestly duties.
John 7:22, 23
However, because Moses gave you the practice of circumcision (not that it came from Moses, but from the forefathers), you circumcise a male child on the Sabbath. 7:23 But if a male child is circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses is not broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?

Matthew 12: 5-8
Or have you not read in the law that the priests in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are not guilty? 12:6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 12:7 If you had known what this means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 12:8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

What did the church do or not do with the Sabbath?
Paul dismissed it! Wow that is brazen.
Colossians 2:16, 17
Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days – 2:17 these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ!

The church in Jerusalem asked the Gentile church to observe just a couple things and the Sabbath was not one of them, Acts 15:29.
Where is the significance of the Sabbath for the Christian then? It was a shadow of the rest in God and a ceasing from our own efforts to attain righteousness.
Hebrews 4:9-11
Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. 4:10 For the one who enters God’s rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. 4:11 Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.

The shadow is a physical rest, which is wise to practice but only physically. Practicing Sabbath does not change our level of righteousness. The reality in Jesus is that we can rest from the impossible task of generating our own righteousness in order to live in fellowship with God forever.
Paul points out the ability of the law to reveal our sins but not save us from our sins.
Galatians 2:19-21
For through the law I died to the law so that I may live to God. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 2:21 I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!

He then drives the point home a couple verses later.
Galatians 3:2,3
The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3:3 Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?
All quotes from NET

Sunday, July 01, 2007

10 C's: #4 Sabbath part b

What's the deal with needing a commandment to rest?
Partly it's a gift. The children of Israel were enslaved for 400 years. They had worked every day. Now they were freed to rest.
"'Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.
Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any kind of work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do.
Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out with amazing power and mighty deeds. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NLT)

Not only were they to rest but also anyone and anything in their household. They were not allowed to force anyone to work as they were no longer forced either. In fact, they even had to give their land rest every seven years and every 50 years.
For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield,
but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.
Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed. Exodus 23:10-12 (ESV)

God even assures them that there will be plenty of food growing without their effort.
When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. 3 For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 The Sabbath of the land shall provide food for you, for yourself and for your male and female slaves and for your hired servant and the sojourner who lives with you, 7 and for your cattle and for the wild animals that are in your land: all its yield shall be for food...11 That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. You may eat the produce of the field...19 The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and dwell in it securely. 20 And if you say, What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop? 21 I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years. 22 When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating some of the old crop; you shall eat the old until the ninth year, when its crop arrives. Leviticus 25 (ESV)

That is such a cool deal from God. He offers them a year off every 7 years. This is so much better than any French vacation plan where workers get the entire summer off every year. What did it take on their part? Faith. If they would only trust God, He would provide for them. However, they neglected to command to rest. Before the exile the major prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel all warned the people.
"Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day. Honor the LORD in everything you do, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly. If you do this, the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and give you your full share of the inheritance I promised to Jacob, your ancestor. I, the LORD, have spoken!" Isaiah 58: 13, 14
21 This is what the LORD says: Listen to my warning and live! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem's gates on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, 23 but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention and would not respond to discipline. 24 "'But if you obey me, says the LORD, and do not carry on your trade or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy, 25 then this nation will continue forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem... 27 "'But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.'" Jeremiah 17
8 Inside your walls you despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest..."15 I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness. 16 And when you have been dishonored among the nations, you will know that I am the LORD." Ezekiel 22 (NLT)

God knew the children of Israel would violate this command, the command to relax.
32 ‘And I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled over it. 33 ‘You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste. 34 ‘Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35 ‘All the days of {its} desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths, while you were living on it Leviticus 26 (NET)
They ended up in exile for 70 years for the 70 Sabbath years they never kept. Sadly, Leviticus and Deuteronomy predict all their sins and the consequences. They couldn't keep the command to relax even after the exile. They didn't learn their lesson.
15 During those days, while back in Judah, I also noticed that people treaded wine presses, brought in sacks of grain, and loaded up their donkeys on the Sabbath. They brought wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of stuff to sell on the Sabbath. So I spoke up and warned them about selling food on that day. 16 Tyrians living there brought in fish and whatever else, selling it to Judeans - in Jerusalem, mind you! - on the Sabbath. 17 I confronted the leaders of Judah: "What's going on here? This evil! Profaning the Sabbath! 18 Isn't this exactly what your ancestors did? And because of it didn't God bring down on us and this city all this misery? And here you are adding to it - accumulating more wrath on Jerusalem by profaning the Sabbath." 19 As the gates of Jerusalem were darkened by the shadows of the approaching Sabbath, I ordered the doors shut and not to be opened until the Sabbath was over. I placed some of my servants at the gates to make sure that nothing to be sold would get in on the Sabbath day. 20 Traders and dealers in various goods camped outside the gates once or twice. 21 But I took them to task. I said, "You have no business camping out here by the wall. If I find you here again, I'll use force to drive you off." And that did it; they didn't come back on the Sabbath. Nehemiah 13 (MSG)

At some point after this they "got it." But then they over did it.