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Friday, February 8, 2013

Oldest recorded archeological inscription of the word “Yahweh”, is Egyptian!!!


Oldest recorded archeological inscription of the word “Yahweh”,  is Egyptian!!!
YHWHInscription.jpg

This is the account of the heavens and earth when they were created, in the day that Lord God (Yahweh Elohim) made earth and heaven. Gen 2:4

I guess very few people are aware that the bible uses a number of different words for God.  It seems to be something that is not emphasised too much.

Our modern churches don’t really spend time explaining this  to us as the explanation of it doesn’t fit easily into that standard time slot of 25 to 30minutes provided by most churches to give a message.

Also, why discuss boring things like names?

Ask any mother or father if they found naming their child a boring process. Not likely!

Names are chosen and given for a purpose. Think of our own names. Do we use them exactly as they are given to us? Not always right? We shorten them and people even rename us with nicknames. Husbands and wives give each other pet names and sometimes teachers use our full name to enforce discipline.

Names are important and giving someone our name to use is handing over a piece of control of our life isn’t it?

When God gives us his names, he is giving us a gift of communicating with him in a specific way.

In the bible in the first part or book called “Genesis”, God is initially called “Elohim”. The first chapter uses this name in the creation account where it explains how everything in our universe came into being as a result of Elohim(God).

Firstly let’s understand there is only one God and the bible makes that very clear

Deuteronomy 6:4 NIRV  Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is the one and only God.

and

1 Timothy 2:5 NIRV There is only one God. And there is only one go-between for God and human beings. He is the man Christ Jesus.

One God!

Yet there are many words describing this God (like we have different names describing us).

“Elohim” is the name translated in most English translations as God. It is the wonderful. awesome. all-encompassing creator name of God. It resounds with an understanding of all aspects of God unified in that one name. It is the authority name, probably like the name on our birth certificate.

“Yahweh” is the more personal name. It is the relationship with mankind name. It is the formal relationship God has with man that is translated as Lord in many English bibles.

There is a third name of God, “Adonai” which is a respectful submission to God name. Probably somewhat  as if we imbedded the "master" or “sir” into the name.

It is interesting that Yahweh and Elohim are combined in the chapter of the bible where God starts to talk of his relationship with man. Perhaps God wants us to know for sure that the awesome, all mighty God that he is, is also the personal relationship God he is as well. Perhaps that’s why in Genesis 2:4 the combined term "Yahweh Elohim" is used.

Now that we know these names of God, we can look at an interesting artifact that was found that was inscribed with the name Yahweh, but before we go there, let me also point out that the name is not really “Yahweh” but rather “YHWH”, since the ancient Hebrew did not include vowels in their language.

Now, the artifact...

There is a 1400BC inscription (see hyperlink) that the site refers to as “discovered in the temple built by the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III in Soleb, which is in modern day Sudan. The text refers to a group of wandering followers of YHWH, possibly the Israelites.[1]

This inscription refers to YHWH.

Soleb was a temple dedicated to Amon Ra an Egyptian God. It was not in Egypt, but rather in the land we now know as Sudan. This writing of it is in Egyptian hieroglyphic text.

This temple was established by Pharaoh Amenhotep III around 1400 BC.

So why is this interesting?

Well, it shows the interactions of the ancient Hebrews and Egyptians. The inscription apparently reads “the Land of the Shasu of Yahweh”

Weird right?

Is it just a chance occurrence that they used YHWH or is it deliberate? My opinion is that it is deliberate.

Who or what is being described?

Again that is not conclusively known, and is probably why many texts about YHWH in archeology discussions  leave this aspect out. Yet it is interesting!

This piece of evidence supports the early date of the Exodus, another reason I think so few people acknowledge its existence. This is not a popular date to support today as most people support the later approximately 1200 BC date. (Maybe I will blog about these two different viewpoints one day. This is another interesting investigation.)

Many people may not like to hear YHWH was mentioned in 1400BC, but the evidence exists!

Ignoring it does not make it go away!

This brings me to my comment on honesty and truth, and facts.

We really need to face evidence provided to us with honesty and integrity. This means that when things are shown to us that goes against our current beliefs, we should not fear investigating them should we?

God is truth! He wants is to look for and desire truth. We should do so with honest open hearts shouldn’t we?

Let’s ask ourselves how much we are like God in the way we desire truth as we do our work and have our conversations today. Do we really speak truth or do we just say we do?

Hey, have a wonderful truth filled day!



[1] http://bibleandarchaeology.blogspot.ca/

Fri, February 8, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Is eating good rich food and drinking wine wrong?
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"I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board." ~ Henry David Thoreau

 
 If you have ever been on board a cruise ship, you will understand what rich food and drink is all about. There is an abundance of foods and drinks. The staff pampers to our every culinary need on this boats.

Yet, banquets like this are not meant to be an everyday occurrence. For some they are a once in a lifetime event, for others a periodic event.

 In the modern first world people are eating more and more rich food which cumulates as fat on their waistline and contributes to increased visits to the doctor in middle and old age.

Today the Bloomberg Businessweek states Aging baby boomers are fatter and sicker than their predecessors were at the same age, says a new study that’s raising alarms about the future costs of health care and disability”[1]

They quote a study published online on Feb. 4 by JAMA Internal Medicine, that they indicated says “boomers were less likely to report excellent health and to do regular exercise, and more likely to suffer from obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and other maladies. To pick one sorrowful example, they were twice as likely to use a “walking assist device,” such as a cane.”

It’s not just baby boomers, we are all likely to pick up trouble if we make rich foods and drinks a way of life.

Yet, it is wonderful to have a short rest from tiresome life, filling a few moments with a wonderful feast.

God knows this! That’s why so many of the Christian festivals include foods and drink.

One of my favourite chapters in the bible (Isaiah 55) starts...

“Come, all of you who are thirsty.
    Come and drink the water I offer to you.
You who do not have any money, come.
    Buy and eat the grain I give you.
Come and buy wine and milk.
    You will not have to pay anything for it.
2 Why spend money on what is not food?
    Why work for what does not satisfy you?
Listen carefully to me.
    Then you will eat what is good.
    You will enjoy the richest food there is.
3 Listen and come to me.
    Pay attention to me.
    Then you will live.

In this writing God is describing his goodness by describing rich food in amongst the normal foods of life. Rich foods are good in moderation, but the less rich foods must be the normal way of life.

Notice how Isaiah starts off his description with water. Something too few people drink. We comprise of a lot of water in our bodies. This is a basic necessity. Not sugared drinks, just water. We need to ensure we drink a lot of water each day!

Next Isaiah talks of grain. This is the next aspect that we need. Our daily breads. Grain breads are better and more healthy aren’t they. Those white breads should really be considered a rich food!

Working up to the really rich foods, the next mentioned is wine and milk!

I guess we need some context to get this fully.

 In ancient days they often mixed wine and water to kill off bacteria(they didn’t know about bacteria, but had found they were more healthy if they drank mixed wine and water). Wine was also considered to be medicinal in nature in biblical times (see 1 Timothy 5:23 NIV Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses)

This was an important miracle working follower of Jesus Paul writing to a younger man Timothy.

As a side issue notice that Timothy had frequent illnesses. He was Paul’s disciple so Paul could have healed him of these if god wanted it. Seems like God didn’t automatically heal every illness, right?

Okay milk is considered the next item. Calcium to build strong bones comes from milk.

Only after the necessities are described does Isaiah move on to talk of rich foods.

We can enjoy rich foods, but not as common everyday experiences unless we have supernatural bodies.

Yet, Isaiah is only using this talk of food to link us to the spiritual message he is giving.

He turns from this to explaining...

I will make a covenant with you that will last forever.
    I will give you my faithful love.

Covenants are something us as Christians consider to be the agreements God set up, and which are implemented and fulfilled by Jesus.

Isaiah gives advice...

Turn to the Lord before it’s too late.
    Call out to him while he’s still ready to help you.
7 Let the one who is evil stop doing evil things.
    And let him quit thinking evil thoughts.
Let him turn to the Lord.
    The Lord will show him his tender love.
Let him turn to our God.
    He is always ready to forgive.

Changing our ways is possible. Waiting to long however does not do us good!

That’s why he says “before it’s too late”. Thinking back to the discussion about rich foods. If we are eating rich foods continually, perhaps we need to change our diet before it’s too late.

The greatest joy comes from doing what God wants at the right time.

We need to know the what and when of life to enjoy life fully.

Thankfully God has sent Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us out of trouble like he lead the Israelites out of Babylon.

The joy we will experience is explained by...

“My people, you will leave Babylonia with joy.
    You will be led out of it in peace.
The mountains and hills
    will burst into song as you go.
And all of the trees in the fields
    will clap their hands.

Food is good, but the company is what it is all about! Having God as our friend and providing for us is the optimal way to experience joy. Now isn’t that a wonderful thought to add to our day today!
Thu, February 7, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Who I am, is tied to where my home is, isn't it?

 

 

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“I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped.”~  Frederick Perls

 

Home is a place where we can feel secure, loved and completely known. It is not a geographical location and not necessarily a place with walls and a roof. It is the place our heart resides in comfortable moments when we have respite from tension and stress and our hearts are allowed to roam freely, testing our emotional state and finding it complete and stable.

Home is the place where every great journey starts from. It is also the place where every great journey ends. It is best filled with love and companionship.

To Christians, home is all that, but more importantly, is the place where we relax with God and accept his peace and joy into our hearts.

Home is the place where we can appreciate God fully and easily experience his promises.

We know we are loved by God.          Romans 5:8 But here is how God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us

We know we are accepted whether Jew or non-Jew. Acts 15:8 God knows the human heart. By giving the Holy Spirit to non-Jews, he showed that he accepted them. He did the same for them as he had done for us.

We know we are God’s children who he loves John 1:12 Some people did accept him. They believed in his name. He gave them the right to become children of God.

We know we are Jesus friends John 15:14  You are my friends if you do what I command

We know we are complete and have everything we need  Colossians 2:10 Because you belong to Christ, you have everything you need. He is the ruler over every power and authority.

We know we are free and forgiven Colossians 1:14 Because of what the Son has done, we have been set free. Because of him, all of our sins have been forgiven.

 This and much more, gives us confidence and completeness.

Do you want a home where you can rest and find these things?

The first step is connecting correctly with God. The second is to pray for and love your family deeply. Sometimes that can be difficult, but as God works it becomes easier and easier. The most difficult of relationships can be improved with Gods power.

Know that home is resting with God and that it can be with you anywhere. Once that is achieved, then we are always ready to start and end the great adventures of life from where we are.

After all, good journeys start and end at home right?
Wed, February 6, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why am I so sad?

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“The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.” ~ Jim Rohn

 

Sadness is not always an illness, sometimes it is a reaction to tough circumstances, or our failure to take action in a way we may later evaluate as being very important.

How often do we see a sad dog? Not often right?

It seems that man’s best friend is probably a good friend that is rarely sad because dogs are so very loyal and always seem to be glad to have us around.

The slightest move of reconciliation brings them bounding back to us and harsh words seem to make them cringe.

How do they do this? I guess we cannot really know unless we become a dog and spend time with them to find out, but can I suggest it is because they have an inbuilt hope. They always are hoping for the best and ignoring the tough times around them. They also seem to always want company.

Sadness does the opposite to us doesn’t it?

We tend to want to be alone in our unhappy corner of life and want others to just go away. At least, that’s one of the reactions of sadness. We tend to want to alienate others and wall ourselves up from interactions that may cause us pain.

The bible has a beautiful psalm that discusses sadness. Here it is...(psalm 42, NIRV)

A deer longs for streams of water.
    God, I long for you in the same way.
I am thirsty for God. I am thirsty for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with him?
My tears have been my food
    day and night.
All day long people say to me,
    “Where is your God?”
When I remember what has happened,
    I tell God all of my troubles.
I remember how I used to walk along with the crowd of worshipers.
    I led them to the house of God.
We shouted with joy and gave thanks
    as we went to the holy feast.

My spirit, why are you so sad?
    Why are you so upset deep down inside me?
Put your hope in God.
    Once again I will have reason to praise him.
    He is my Savior and
my God.

My spirit is very sad deep down inside me.
    So I will remember you here where the Jordan River begins.
I will remember you here on the Hermon mountains
    and on Mount Mizar.
You have sent wave upon wave of trouble over me.
    It roars down on me like a waterfall.
All of your waves and breakers have rolled over me.

During the day the Lord sends his love to me.
    During the night I sing about him.
    I say a prayer to the God who gives me life.

I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go around in sorrow?
    Why am I beaten down by my enemies?”
10 My body suffers deadly pain
    as my enemies make fun of me.
All day long they say to me,
    “Where is your God?”

11 My spirit, why are you so sad?
    Why are you so upset deep down inside me?
Put your hope in God.
    Once again I will have reason to praise him.
    He is my Savior and my God.

Sadness can be countered with hope and companionship of other Christians.

It is best handed to God and in prayer to ask Him to reveal his love. Then the love that comes must be accepted and acted upon.

Sadness for a little while may be okay since it gives us time to reflect and regroup our emotions, thoughts and will but if it goes on for a long time (a month or more) then it is serious and could be depression.

I have written about how there are times where sadness becomes depression and how we can feel in that circumstance in my blog Depression, courage and “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain”! There is perhaps some help there for those suffering in this way.

Yet most of us do not drift into depression if we place our hope in God. If we wait expectantly for his love and desire it.

Like that dog I started this discussion with, the one who waits for the master and accepts his love with joy, we need to wait expectantly for God’s love and accept it with joy.

The difference is that we are really much more complex than dogs and so our mind needs to be aligned to the task with a decision of will to hope when we are sad.

We are also different from dogs  in that our master, God, never fails to love and is always available when we need him.

Unlike man’s best friend, we have immediate and intimate loving relationships with God if we open ourselves to them. It takes courage to pull down the walls we put up to protect ourselves from hurt.

A willingness to be hurt so that we can fully love is critical to recovery and the experiencing of love.

Then we can take on our day with joy. How about we try to remember this when we next feel sad?

Tue, February 5, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, February 4, 2013

Some of us never see the limelight, but we count anyway, right?
 
Regeneration.jpg

 

“I'm always honest, whether I'm in the limelight or not.” ~ Anne Heche

I guess that honesty is dependent on its definition and the limelight is not always faltering.

Popularity and being in the public eye appears to be a double edged sword.

The current super bowl probably emphasises this with about half of the viewers upset that the performance yesterday didn’t go their way and the other half ecstatic. Both teams had the limelight, all players were under scrutiny, some gained from it, and others reduced in popularity. The true winners were probably the advertisers that flaunted their wares wantonly during the game.

How much does it matter? What changed in the world as a result that will make a difference in twenty-years, forty-years, hundred-years.

Very little, right?

Sometimes however, things do change as a result. In the bible Luke writes that amazing book, “the acts of the apostle’s” about how a team of men with a world vision, quarterbacked by Holy Spirit took on the world powers in an almost impossible task and won.

Starting as unknowns, they became world influencing as they lived their lives for God.

Yet in the book of acts we get told of two men, one who became an apostle, and one who didn’t.

We almost never hear about them. Did they count? Did what they do even did matter?

Peter, in Acts 1, explains the need to replace that apostle Judas who betrayed Jesus and who then died a horrible suicidal death by saying...

“So we need to choose someone to take his place. It will have to be a man who was with us the whole time the Lord Jesus lived among us. That time began when John was baptizing. It ended when Jesus was taken up from us. The one we choose must join us in giving witness that Jesus rose from the dead.”

The crowd of believers must have struggled to identify a man to fill this position.

They probably prayed, discussed it among themselves, considered the scriptures and looked for a man who would reflect God’s glory. He would have needed to be a man that assisted those around himself, a man who would lead others to God.

Despite this we read...

So they suggested two men. One was Joseph, who was called Barsabbas. He was also called Justus. The other man was Matthias. Then they prayed. “Lord,” they said, “you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen. Show us who should take the place of Judas as an apostle. He gave up being an apostle to go where he belongs.”

They ended up unable to choose between two men.

Joseph or Justus  also called Barsabbas is not a man mentioned in the gospels about Jesus. We know he was present with Jesus since everyone seem to know he was. Yet there is not much known of this man. People believe he was one of the 72 disciples

“After this the Lord appointed 72 others. He sent them out two by two ahead of him. They went to every town and place where he was about to go.” Luke 10:1-24

There is also traditional explanations that say he went on to become the bishop of Eleutheropolis, a village at the time, around 53km from Jerusalem. Yet even this is not clear.

The other man was Matthias. Equally unknown to the modern bible scholars.

Acts 1 reports...

“Then they cast lots. Matthias was chosen. So he was added to the 11 apostles.”

This man became peers with Peter, John, James, Matthew, Mark and the other disciples by what nowadays we would do with a toss of a coin. God chose in that instant!

Yet we do not read of their exploits. They did their work quietly in the background!

Does this mean they were any less important?

Probably not!

Out of the direct eye of those opposing the church they could have achieved a lot.

Maybe they were not around where the writers of the day lived and noted achievements. The fact that Christianity grew and spread suggests these men did what God wanted of them to do despite us never receiving reports.

How much do we really need to be noticed to do our work?

Doing our work is the important part! Gaining from the joy of doing what God wants and sees.

Those teams that played hard to get into the super bowl and just missed getting to the finals also worked hard. They played hard! They just didn’t get into the limelight.

Similarly with ourselves in life! We need to understand that always being in the forefront and visible in what we do is not very important.

There would not be a super bowl if there were not other teams who took part in the series, but never made it to that event. These other teams in fact make the event what it is!

We in fact make important contributions to life, each one of us. God loves us uniquely and has a unique path for us to walk.

Let’s walk it today in the power of Holy Spirit with joy in our hearts knowing that whether we end up in the limelight of not is God’s choice not ours as was the case with Matthias and Joseph Justus.
Mon, February 4, 2013 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

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