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Friday, November 8, 2013

Boundaries of Life
 Life without boundaries would be a homogeneous mass governed by entropy and going nowhere.


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Life with boundaries
has differences that result in variations, change, the potential of development and expectation.

·         A child without boundaries becomes an impossible menace to adults,

·         An adult without boundaries becomes a menace to society,

·         A society without boundaries becomes a menace to the world,

·         A world without boundaries…just doesn’t work, does it?


If this is true then the real challenge is in knowing what the correct boundaries are, and being able to understand how we relate to them.

When people started to interact with each other, they started to setup rules that everyone had to follow, didn’t they? (I know we were not there but it seems logical and pretty obvious this happened, right?)

These rules were probably not always appreciated, but they were refined and adapted until the more powerful majority could impose them on others, aligning society towards order and progress.

Some societies adapted better than others and I think if we look around ourselves we see much of this happening today.

What do we chose to make the boundaries in our life is important to us isn’t it?

Many years ago two of the people connected to Jesus were about to write down the genealogy of Jesus (that’s the list of relatives going back in time).

These two men planned out what they were to write and both interestingly bounded the genealogy completely differently.

Matthew decided to start and end his list with Jesus. He starts saying

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah,  and ends saying

Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

I think he wanted us to know Jesus was the Messiah. The one who would save the world! The list is bounded by this as Matthew wants us to know the effect of the world is bounded by the power of Jesus and we need not be concerned that we are not within the control of God.

Luke on the other had does something different. He starts his genealogy with

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry

and ends it

the son of God.

Luke shows Jesus and God are the boundaries to the list. So like Matthew, he is showing all inside the boundaries are controlled and supported by God, but Luke is saying a bit more as well. He is showing how Jesus is fully man, and man is fully established by God. He takes his list back to Adam, and then back to God.

It is good to know where we are in the universe, that we are rooted in the spiritual power of God who controls everything and looks after everything and supports everything (even the Higgs boson) by his incredible power.

We are not a mass of matter moving with entropy to the greatest state of disorder. We are design, empowered and bounded by God who gives us variety, ability to change, the potential of developing and great expectations.

Isn’t that a great thought for today?
Fri, November 8, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Matthew, who was he?

 

justicescales.jpg

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? ~ Jesus Christ

 

Twelve guys followed an extraordinary man. One of these was Matthew and he wrote a book about this extraordinary guy.

 

Who was this Matthew?

 

Where did he come from?

 

Why did he follow Jesus?

 

Where did he go?

 

Let’s see what we can discover from the bible texts. Let’s start with what Matthew says about his meeting with Jesus in the book he wrote.

 

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. Matthew 9:9

 

Matthew labels himself as a tax collector or more accurately a Publican.

 

The publicans are interesting is that they were established greatly in the 1st to 2nd century A.D. and were public contractors. The Romans used them to supply their military, to control building projects and to gather taxes. They really came into their own in the 1st Century A.D.

 

Publican’s were part of the Roman tax farming scheme. This was a method of collecting taxes where the tax capacity for a region was auctioned to bidders. This value bid was considered a load from Rome and the bidder had to raise the tax. Anything over the amount could be kept by the bidder. This did not make the publican a popular person in his community. Nobody liked taxes, even in those days.

 

Now the interesting thing is that Jesus didn’t do much to convince Matthew to join him!

 

Consider this...you are sitting at work and a guy wanders up to you and says “follow me”, what would cause you to get up and do exactly that?

 

I guess he had enough of his tax collecting, right?

 

He seems to have no problem leaving the job. From our understanding of the tax farming system, this meant that he probably had collected all the tax he needed to pay Rome as that would make the leaving a bit easier wouldn’t it. That is a guess but a reasonable one. Him being a tax collector, also suggests he was not a soft easy going type of guy does it? How may arguments do you think he got into daily? Let’s remember that in those days people were far more physical and likely to hit out at someone who displeased them.

 

It therefore seems likely that Matthew was not a gentle soft type of person either, probably more one of the big bruiser types would make more sense.

 

These publicans were the type who would get given the money simply because they looked like they could take it if it wasn’t given to them.

 

To get this tax collecting job also meant the person needed to be smart. Estimating what people could give and arguing for it meant that a quick mind, high levels of observation and calm thinking in tough situations was a necessity.

 

Notice that on being invited to join Jesus, he invites Jesus into his home.

 

Eating with someone in the Middle East in those times was a way of showing respect and friendship. You simply never ate with people you didn’t respect of disliked. It was not something you did. This was culturally much more significant in that day than it is today.

 

So within a few hours of getting to know Jesus, they are eating together, and more than that some of Matthews crowd had joined them. Matthew 9 continues...

 

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

 

I guess that these people felt comfortable around Jesus because Matthew was around Jesus and probably (again an educated guess) they were also comfortable around Matthew.

 

This suggests that Matthew also has a way of making people feel comfortable with himself and had an open home. This in turn suggests he was probably good at his tax collection career.

 

What would make a successful man change his ways so much?

 

Perhaps it was seeing something amazingly different. Seeing a truly amazing man and wanting to learn from him. Matthew perhaps had the tie and money to devote some time to this, but it became an all-encompassing passion and he extended this past the initial following.

 

He followed Jesus all the time, saw Jesus after his resurrection and was there when he ascended into heaven.

 

Even the non-biblical writings refer to him. Jewish 3rd century writings called the Talmud Bavli refer to “Mattai” as one of five disciples of “Jeshu”.

 

Where could this guy, Matthew have grown up? The most likely spot is Galilee. He is linked to another disciple by reference to their father. Matthew and James are described as being the "son of Alphaeus".

 

Matthew 10:3 Says “Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;”

 

Mark 2:14 says “As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.”

 

We see he was referred to as Levi as well as Matthew. Whether these guys (James and Matthew) were brothers is conjecture. Perhaps they just had fathers with the same name, perhaps it was the same father, so your guess is as good as mine.

 

Later Christians such as Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria both indicate that Matthew stayed around Judea for a while teaching about Jesus before going to other countries. This was written in about the 2nd century A.D. so was perhaps accurate.

 

We have no real proof the 1st gospel was written by Matthew himself, but it is generally believed this is the case.

 

Matthew and Jesus are linked in history and will be forever. Even the Quran indicates that Matthew was an apostle and in Moslem tradition it is believed that Matthew and Andrew went to Ethiopia to teach about Jesus.

 

So what could change such a man among men’s life in such a way that he changed his life direction forever?

 

It had to have been of huge significance.

 

Jesus was the reason. Jesus is the reason for many of us to find our way in life.

 

Perhaps we need to consider the request directed at us by the simple words Jesus directed at Matthew “Follow me”.
Thu, November 7, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

He was the son, so it was thought...of Joseph,

He was the son, so it was thought...

 

...of Joseph, son of Heli

 

...of Mary, daughter of ....

 

...of God, who lives for ever and ever Amen!

 

 

It was thought! The genealogy in Luke 3 of Jesus starts with some interesting words in verse 23

 

 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,...

 

They are interesting as Luke is explaining that not everyone knew the truth. Not everyone at the time knew Jesus was the son of God. Many people thought he was the son of Joseph.

 

Yet we know because Luke has taken the time to investigate this ambiguity. Luke does not start his book with the genealogy as Matthew does. He starts it describing in detail the birth of Jesus. He runs his genealogy back from this birth to Adam.

 

Luke does this because it is important to understand the full facts of Jesus birth. Luke was a doctor, (See Colossians 4:14) a trained observer of people and he knew better than anyone that the heritage into which a child is born is critical. He also knew that mix-ups at births had disastrous consequences on families thereafter and would have been interesting in seeing if this occurred. He devotes a huge amount of his story to the events around Jesus birth showing they are aligned to what was known about the Hebrew messiah.

 

The reason is that Luke wants to make sure we know Jesus is the Son of God, not only the son of Joseph. Jesus has his true Father in Heaven, not Joseph on the earth.

 

He chooses to record the words of Simeon to Mary in Luke 2, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.

 

This shows Luke spent time with Mary since only Mary and Joseph would have known this. Joseph seems to have died during Jesus younger years so only Mary was left to discuss these things.

 

We never get told directly who Mary’s father was. This is something no-one will ever know for certain. The reason is that it is Jesus Birth that is the crux of history and needs the focus. Mary was important as the one who nurtured the young Jesus, but God is the one who built his manhood.

 

Jesus is the son of God, he is more perfect than Adam, he is totally sensitive to Holy Spirit and is God, he brought God’s peace to us on this Earth but not like the world understands peace, we need to not be troubled or fearful.

 

God is with us!

Wed, November 6, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Does not mentioning something we know... mean we are lying?
trees.jpgDoes not mentioning something we know, mean we are lying?

Omitting critical facts is as silly as taking a drink from an empty cup, isn’t it?

Not very satisfying is it? No thirst is quenched that way right.

But on stage, actors do this to ensure they are able to adequately perform and deliver their lines without having to be filled up with unnecessary fluids, don’t they?

There is a time for omitting information.

Think of a large woman who asks her husband “Am I fat?” and he answers “You are just perfect for me and I love you very much!” He has omitted information to convey a greater truth has he not?

Sometimes to convey a truth, one needs to take a person’s mind away from the facts to the presentation of the goal we are trying to get across to the other person.

We speak of “not seeing the wood for the trees” by which we mean that we fail to see a truth because we become overwhelmingly involved in the details.

Biblically is there any evidence for this omission of facts?

Yesterday ,I was discussing how the genealogy in Matthew talks of non-Jewish women. If we focussed only on the fact they were woman, we would not have seen the larger fact that it is the choice of a Jewish man in a male oriented culture to choose non-Jewish woman of faith in Jesus line to show us specific things about God.

Today, I want to discuss the generations in Matthew 1:17. Matthew says there are three sets of fourteen generations.

The interesting fact is that there is not! We know for example in the kings of second set of generations, there were at least three more. i.e. seventeen.

Did Matthew not know this?

I believe Matthew did!

Matthew was following another Jewish tradition of summing up information using grouping of numbers to signify something.

The first set of fourteen generations covers the patriarchs, prophets to judges.

His second set of fourteen generations covers kings and the last the prophets and priests (that is speaking in general terms).

The Jewish people liked multiples of seven and they also liked categorizing in that way. Perhaps what Matthew was doing was building a simple way to remember the key aspects of Jesus line so that it could be repeated through the years. People in those days needed to remember things since there was not the same access to writing things down. Caring people made it easy to remember.

Making three groups of fourteen made a simple partitioning of a lot of names into three easier groups to remember.

What was Matthew trying to achieve?

Perhaps he was giving an understanding that Jesus came from Jewish heritage, was a full Jew, and yet was the saviour of more than just Jews. That Jesus was preist, prophet and King!

That is the truth! It needs to be remembered and communicated!


Sometimes not clouding the message with too much detail enables it to be received more fully.

There was a good and clear purpose to his omissions. Nowhere does he say he listed all the generations and in his listing he shows Jesus to be of people, kings and priests.

A clear message to those of us who are following Jesus!

Omitting facts but conveying truth is fine. Omitting facts to confuse and cause the wrong conclusions to be drawn is not.

I think Matthew was communicating truthfully even if he left out some names in the list. Not everything we read in our bible can be interpreted correctly in today’s cultural perspective. Sometimes we have to put on ancient hats to enable us to see the truth in the bright light of biblical history.

Hey have a great day and chose the facts you reveal carefully to portray the correct perspective of truth.

Have a good one today and may our God bless you!
Tue, November 5, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, November 4, 2013

The women in Jesus Genealogy
hierarchy.jpgThe women in Jesus Genealogy

It seems strange I am spending time investigating a Genealogy, since I wrote about it in the last blog and have blogged about it before when I wrote Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi and why that matters, but this is interesting stuff!

Matthew was a Jew, and Jews of his era did not give women the vote, daughters were important as they could be traded for possessions and political gain, and a women’s place was in the home as a helper and servant as much as a wife and lover.

These were not times where women were given the respect they have today in first world societies. In fact, in many middle eastern and other countries of the world women still are treated in a similar way to the women of the biblical days.

Yet Jesus treated women with respect and taught his disciples to do so!

Not only that, when Matthew writes his genealogy he introduces women which was highly irregular.

Five women are mentioned in the bible genealogy, not only that, but Matthew (a Jew) writing a book to Jews, mentions four gentile (non-jewish) women in the genealogy.

Tamar was a Canaanite, Rahad was from Jericho, Ruth was from Moab, the wife of Uriah was a Hittite.

Was this a mistake?

 The only Jewish women mentioned was Mary!

Tamar is described in Genesis 38 and she did things that would be considered rather sexually explicit. Yet from her sin, comes the line that will one day become Jesus line. How can this be?

Why does Matthew add her to this important historical record?

To emphasise that Jesus came to save ALL sinners (People who do selfish, nasty and ignorant things against others and God) and there is no sin that is too great!

Tamar’s story is a story of a sinner brought into God’s presence by grace.

Next is Rahab, and in simple terms she was a whore. See Joshua 2.

She protected God’s people and lived by faith. This is critical to all of us sinners and Rahab models just how faith can bring about saving someone’s life. Matthew wanted us to get how important faith is.

Next is Ruth and there is a book about her in the bible. Yet Moabites were not allowed into God’s congregation. See Deuteronomy 23:3 No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation.

So God himself didn’t want the ancient Jews mixing with Moabites. Yet read Ruth 2:12 and you see Boaz explaining to Ruth that God has blessed her for giving her life to God and his people. She put herself out at the mercy of God and he saved her. It is not the law that brings us to God, it is our response to our heavenly Father that does. Ruth had no hope using law, none at all. Yet God took her and blessed her greatly due to her vulnerability and continually looking to God and what was right.
 
Ruth models living by faith to an extent that it overrides law and popular attitudes of those around her.

We can learn from that can’t we?

How about Uriah’s wife?

She is not named here, but if we know our bibles we know her name, she was Bathsheba. The woman that David contrived to get as his wife by having her husband killed at war by the enemy! Wow! God was not happy with David, and David was punished, but despite this, God allows his own son to come from David’s line as promised.

Why? Perhaps because God is a forgiving and loving God.

Bathsheba models a women who despite circumstances that are adverse is blessed by God.

Four non-Hebrew woman that are part of Jesus line are perhaps there to let us know that while not Jewish, we as Christians are also entitled to be of Jesus line, even if we are not Jewish by birth.

Matthew didn’t write all those women into his genealogy by mistake.

He wanted to elevate the points those women make. He wanted to elevate women in Christianity. He wanted us to know that men alone are not capable of supporting the Christian work on earth.

Finally his choice of Mary as the earthy mother for the son of God is a final proof of how important women are to God.

How important are women to the men of this world?

Do we respect our wives and other women the way God does?

Let’s rejoice that God loves everyone and follow his lead in a wholesome respect and love for the important women in our lives.

Have a great Day!
Mon, November 4, 2013 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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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?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

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