Oct 29, 2018

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Jesus Rules Out Revenge

Jesus Rules Out Revenge

“The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favour,— . • “(Isaiah 61:1-2) I want to share with you an insight which contrasts the Old Testament with the New. Take a look at Isaiah 61. There Isaiah’s idea of the Day of the Lord would be when God would bring justice for the Jews and vengeance upon the gentiles who oppressed the Jews. There had been a long history of oppression in the Bible from the Egyptians at the time of Moses through the Romans at the time of Christ. Please read 2 Kings 5 and Luke 4: 17-19. There you can see how Jesus deleted part of Isaiah 61. This was a new teaching. Luke tells us that when Jesus came to his home town of Nazareth and entered into the synagogue, at first he was honoured and asked to open the Torah scroll...

Jun 26, 2018

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The Fire

The Fire

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we shall not fear” (Psalm 46:1-2a) Bob and Mary had been travelling all day. It was late and their little son Peter was very tired. Bob shut and locked the steel door to their hotel room on the 14th floor and retired to bed. But soon they smelled smoke. When Bob opened the door a crack he saw fire in the hallway. They decided it was safer to stay in their hotel suite. The air got hotter. They looked out their window and saw there was no balcony or fire escape.  They heard screams from other hotel guests outside in the corridor. They began to pray for help. They thought at least the strong steel door to their apartment would protect them. Wouldn’t it? The walls got hotter and hotter. Their son, Peter, crawled onto his mother’s lap and began to cry. They were desperate. Suddenly, they saw a fireman in their room spraying a water hose on the walls to keep them from crumbling. Soon firemen broke through...

Apr 8, 2018

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Nicolae and the Villagers

Nicolae and the Villagers

“Hear the words of the Lord, O house of Jacob and the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord, ‘What wrong did your ancestors find in Me that they went far from Me?…The priests did not say ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those that handle the Law did not know Me.’” (Jeremiah 2: 4-5, 8) As we look towards Passion Week I want to share with you a very old tale*, but one that is just as relevant, if not more so, as re-cast (and arguably re-molded) by me, as a World War II story. Here is the tale: As the Nazis rolled eastwards through the Carpathian Mountains of the Ukraine they came to a village. In this village lived a young man, who was a fugitive, hunted by the Nazis. The villagers liked him well enough. In fact, they had often listened to him speaking to them. Some wanted to protect him. But as they knew (and we the readers know) protecting such a fugitive might mean death to his individual protectors, or even the destruction of the whole village. So the people went...

Nov 19, 2017

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The Christmas Gift

The Christmas Gift

“On entering the dwelling, they [the 3 wise men] saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. ” (Matthew 2: 11) It was the week before Christmas, and everyone in the house was busy getting Christmas gifts together and placing them under the tree. The Smalls were a poor family, so this year they had chosen names and each person was to receive only one gift from a family member. They had gone to the market and bought the best tree that they could afford. It was only 5 feet tall. That was shorter than anyone in the family except Mary, who was a six-year old. But at least it was a perfect tree; that is, one without a bad side. Some of the boxes were large and some were small; some stout and some were elegant; and some were better wrapped than others. On Christmas morning when the family received their gifts they found that there was one extra gift. But who was...

Nov 19, 2017

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Truth

Truth

Whenever in scripture –both the Hebrew and the New Testament –the word we translate as “truth” relies foundationally upon the Hebrew word “emeth” The Greek equivalent word is “alaytheia.”  “Emeth” is a very difficult word to translate into English, because it comes from a very different culture than ours. Most often when we translate this word from either Hebrew or Greek we mean veracity; but sometimes we mean fidelity i.e. faithfulness. “Amen” another Hebrew word is closely related to emeth; it affirms as a statement of truth in the phrase “so it is!” Here is an example of how emeth can be legitimately translated differently in English. The Psalmist wrote, “I have spoken of your faithfulness [or your truth] and your salvation from the great congregation” (Ps. 40:10) Interestingly, the symbol that best expresses the meaning of emeth is the rock. You can build on rock. You can rely on rock as a secure foundation for your existence. “Emeth” in...

Oct 9, 2017

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The Thanksgiving Visitation

The Thanksgiving Visitation

“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:3) In my opinion our faith is enhanced by faith-related legends. According to the Webster Dictionary a legend is “a story coming down from the past, especially one popularly regarded as historical, although not verifiable.” (bold italics added) Legends may or may not be always strictly biblical, but they are important, as they teach our children virtues we want to them to learn. Saint Nicholas and Robin Hood are other famous examples of virtuous people in legends.  Hassidic Jewish rabbis have given us legends, too. To understand this story you need to understand two new concepts. First:  What is a “shabbos goy”?   Because Orthodox Jews are not permitted to work after dusk on a Sabbath, shabbos goys are employed to help prepare food and serve dinner, etc. during the Sabbath.  Second:  What is a “tzadik”? The rabbis teach that God has appointed 36 “tzadiks” to serve Him in the world. Tzadiks ...