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Issue No: 534     Published: 16 Jan 2012

THINKING GREEK OR HEBREW?

One of the major causes of the church not truly walking in the ways of Jesus is that we don't truly understand what the ways of Jesus were, and are!

How can you say that, David? Surely we have learned theologians to research and teach, pastors who diligently study and preach the Word, day after day, week after week, year after year. We can have knowledge coming out of our ears from spending time hearing, reading or watching the gospel being expounded in so many different ways.

Yet we continue to miss the point, to misinterpret, to misunderstand, what the walk with Jesus is truly all about. How terrible. How sad. For me, and for you.

How do our misunderstandings arise then?

It is because we come from a Greek rather than a Jewish mindset. And the two are poles apart. In reality, for 2000 years now we have assumed Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Peter, Paul and all, thought in the same way, but with different conclusions, to the many famous Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Plato, those who are responsible for the thought processes underpinning our educational system, and Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, to name but a very few. The Old Testament was translated into Greek in the 3rd century before Jesus, while the New Testament was written in Greek. Unfortunately, much of the intrinsic meaning and understanding of the Jewish culture in which Jesus lived and ministered, was lost in the Greek translation, in the way of thinking of those of us in a Greek thought pattern, dominated world.

Put simply, if we start out on the wrong road, we are most likely to arrive at the wrong destination.

Over the centuries, some people have had truths revealed through revelation from the Holy Spirit, but generally, these ones have been rejected by the established church, which has preferred to continue in intellectual, religious ways, leading to division and even hatred between believers through different, man made, interpretations of Scripture. "Jesus still weeps!"

In more recent times however, in particular since the re-establishment of the State of Israel, a greater understanding of historical Jewish ways is starting to emerge, being available to those with a desire to seek out truths that have been lost or ignored for the past 2 millennia of the Christian church.

Over the next few weeks we will look at some of these cultural differences and see how they impact our understanding of what Jesus really was all about. It should be life changing!

We need to learn to understand and think in an Eastern (Hebrew), rather than in our traditional and typical Greek (Western), way. The Gospels, being about the life of Jesus, are written from an Eastern, Jewish perspective while the writings, particularly of Paul, have much more of a Western perspective, as he was writing to a primarily European audience of Gentiles.

WRITING STYLE

Greek (Western)
We think in abstract ideas, using logic, definitions, bullet points etc., to explain our ideas. Prose is our favoured median of writing. We are fact based. For example, Paul's outline of the qualifications for eldership.

5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:5-9)

We love doctrine ahead of love itself! We kill each other, formerly literally, now mainly verbally, over it! Doctrine has become more important than Jesus in defining our relationship to other believers!

Eastern (Hebrew) Hebrew thinkers express truth in a concrete fashion, building word pictures and telling stories. Poetry is their favourite form of expression. Imagery and symbolism are used extensively to explain their ideas. eg. Book of Revelation - written by Jesus through John.

3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. 5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” (Revelation 6:3-6)

Jesus taught in parables, in word pictures, making spiritual applications out of every day activities. The most famous is the Parable of the Sower.

3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:3-8)

And we are all familiar with the beauty and powerful poetry of the Psalms, particularly those of David. What an amazing word picture of God's comfort and love in times of trouble is found in the 23rd Psalm.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. (Psalm 23:1-4)


SOME SPIRITUAL IMPLICATIONS FOR TODAY
1. Jesus is not about theology as such, of which there will always be differences, but relationship with Him and leading a godly life, of us representing Him in the world. He is interested in character, as expressed through the parables, rather than theological knowledge. (Ask the pharisees!)

2. Be careful not to translate imagery and symbolism literally, looking instead for the spiritual principles that undergird it.

3. Grasp hold of the emotions expressed in the Psalms, Lamentations and other spiritual songs, for the feelings expressed, the problems experienced and overcome, are as applicable now as they were when they were written.

4. Following Jesus is relational and experiential in the Hebrew, not theoretical, philosophical or theological as in the Greek.

(To be continued next week.)

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FROM THE WORD

HEBREW STYLE

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: ”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”" (Luke 10:25-37)

Song of Moses

"And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel:

Listen, O heavens, and I will speak;
hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.

I will proclaim the name of the LORD.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he......."

(Deutoronomy31:30-32:4)

The Woman and the Dragon

"A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea." (Revelation 12:1-13:1)

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DAVID'S DOODLINGS

THANKS GIVING, PRAISE AND WORSHIP

629. A true believer is thankful whatever the circumstances.

630. Praise gladdens the heart. Worship strengthens the soul.

631. True worship is reflected in positive actions.

632. Our actions reflect our true worship.

633. Thanksgiving brings forth praise. Praise leads on to worship.

634. With thankful praise, I worship my maker.

635. The freedom to worship is not truly appreciated until it is taken away.

636. God gives us praise and worship so they may be returned to Him.

637. Worship is available to all, but only availed of, by some.

638. True worship is a way of life.

639. Freedom in worship sets us free!

640. Worship is a gift made to be returned to the sender.

641. More worship, worship more.

642. One person’s curse is another’s praise.

643. Praise is an attitude, not an emotion.

644. Praise blesses both the giver and the receiver.

645. Worthy worship works wonders with worshippers wellbeing.

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CRANWELLS CARTOONS

TO THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22)











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TUESDAY TEACHINGS

THIS WEEK: 3 KINGDOM AGES
NEW TESTAMENT REVELATION


Each of the New Testament triad of hope, faith and love actually represents the particular focus of a kingdom age.

It's amazing how God works!

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LAUGHING AT OURSELVES

***Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused***

*** "Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others." ***

441. WHAT SHOULD A GOOD SERMON BE ABOUT?
About Jesus...and about 10 minutes.

440. MODERN MOSES
God called down to Moses and said, "I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that I've chosen you to deliver my people from bondage. There will be plagues of locusts and frogs and incredible devastation upon the land. Pharaoh's armies will chase you as you try to leave, but do not fear because I will part the waters of the Red Sea to aid you."

"And the bad news?" Moses inquired.

"You have to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement," God replied.

439. DEVIL'S BEATITUDES
Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians in Church ~ they are my best workers.

Blessed are those who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked ~ I can use them in my business.

Blessed are those who are touchy. Soon they will stop going to church ~ verily, they shall be my missionaries.

Blessed are those who sow gossip and trouble ~ they are my beloved children.

Blessed are those who have no time to pray ~ for they MY prey.

Blessed are those who gossip ~ for they are my secret agents.

Blessed are you when you read this and think it has everything to do with other people, and nothing to do with you. ~ I've got room for YOU at my inn.

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FACTS FOR FUN

LAST WEEKS QUESTION: What's the difference between a turtle and a tortoise?

ANSWER: A tortoise is a terrestrial turtle, one that lives entirely on land. Other turtles are amphibious, living on both land and water. (Has nobody taught the tortoise to swim?)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What is the connection of May Day to Robin Hood?

Answer Next Week.

SOME FUN FACTS

1168. ON THE STRAIGHT AND WIDE
The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies. (Unfortunately no-one realised that the interstate is also a ‘moving parking lot.’ Where would the cars park to let the planes land?)

1169. WHO TAKES THE CREDIT FOR THIS?
There are two credit cards for every person in the United States. (Why are credit cards always in debit?)

1170. CHICKEN WINGPOWER
The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds. (Why did the chicken fly across the road? To get to the other side without dirtying its feet.)

A WORD PUZZLE FOR YOU

Make another word from this word using all the letters.

INFIDEL

Answer at the end of A David Musing

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BIBLE QUESTION - THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

2: Who told Joseph not to fear taking Mary as his wife?

a. Angel of the Lord
b. The Shepherds
c. Mary
d. The Wise Men

Source: http://biblequizzes.org.uk

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IF ONLY I'D THOUGHT OF IT!

"""OTHER'S SAYINGS TO ENLIGHTEN, AMUSE, OR BEMUSE"""

!!!!!!! He who slings mud generally loses ground.

!!!!!! Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.

!!!!! I cannot do everything, but I can still do something.

!!!! If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.

!!! Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.

!! Measure your wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.

! On your birthday, send a thank you card to your mom.

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LIFE'S A LAUGH

28. HOW FAST?
Because I was processing my first accident report at the transport company where I worked, I was being particularly attentive. The driver had hit a deer on the highway, and the result was a severely damaged hood and fender.

My serious mood was broken, however, when I reached the section of the report that asked, "Speed of other vehicle?"

The driver had put: "Full Gallop."

29. PROBLEMS?
My wife, a flight attendant for a major airline, watched one day as a passenger with overloaded bags tried to stuff his belongings into the overhead bin of the plane. Finally, she informed him that he would have to check the oversized luggage.

"When I fly other airlines," he said irritably, "I don't have this problem."

My wife smiled and replied, "When you fly other airlines, I don't have this problem either."

30. HIGH STRESS
Getting away from their high-stress jobs, a couple spends relaxing weekends in their motor home. When they found their peace and quiet disturbed by well-meaning, but unwelcome, visits from other campers, they devised a plan to assure themselves some privacy.

Now, when they set up camp, they place this sign on the door of their RV:

"Insurance agent. Ask about our term-life package."

31. BE SURE YOUR SINS WILL CATCH YOU OUT!
For the second time in a row, I was forced to impose on the woman with whom I carpooled to our children's soccer practices. I phoned and explained that my husband had the car again, so I wouldn't be able to take my turn.

A few minutes before she was due to pick up my son, my husband showed up. Since it was too late for me to call and say I could drive after all, I asked my husband to hide the car in the garage and to stay inside. I also explained to my son that he shouldn't mention anything about his father's whereabouts.

Unfortunately, my husband forgot and was in front of our house chatting with a friend when my carpool partner arrived. When my son returned from practice, I asked him if she had noticed.

"Yes," he replied, "she asked me which of the two men in front of the house was my father. But don't worry. I told her I didn't know."

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BIBLE TRIVIA (Strange and Amazing Facts)

THE LONGEST VERSE.....

.....in the Bible (KJV) is Esther 8:9, with 90 words. The shortest verse is John 11:35, "Jesus wept".

Adapted from: '1001 Surprising Things You Should Know About The Bible' MacGregor & Prys

Brutal Warlord Repents, Turns into Modern-Day Paul

Teresa Neumann (January 2, 2012)

The greatly despised and feared warlord has now returned to Liberia, preaching the truth of Jesus Christ to his people and teaching the broken about God's infinite mercy and hope for mankind for sinners like himself.

(Liberia) - Joshua Milton Blahyi, a brutal warlord who confessed to killing nearly 20,000 people during Liberia's 14-year civil war, is now an evangelist who has dedicated his life to serving God and seeking forgiveness from those he harmed.

Joshua BlahyiAs reported by the Christian Post, when Blahyi was a young boy he was initiated as a tribal priest, participated in monthly human sacrifices for years before later being appointed as "spiritual" advisor to Liberian president, Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe.

So saturated in darkness was Blahyi, that he reportedly told the South African Star that he "met satan regularly and talked to him."

According to a Daily Mail report, Blahyi's life changed 180 degrees when Jesus appeared to him as a blinding light and told him that he would die unless he repented of his sins.

Now, The Economist Film Project, in conjunction with PBS NewsHour, has produced a "chilling documentary" about Blahyi's life, called "The Redemption of General Butt Naked" - named after the warlord's practice of going into battle naked.

Said Blahyi in the documentary, "It's only Christianity that can help this nation, because Christianity, it is the only belief, the only faith that tell[s] you to love your enemies, that tell[s] you to accept and forgive the one who hurts you ... only God is able to turn lives around."

His astonishing transformation had some questioning the warlord's sincerity, but most are stunned into belief by his actions. He freely admitted to his crimes before Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (not knowing what the consequences of his confession would be), he "tirelessly preaches the Gospel to everyone he comes across" and also, he is constantly seeking forgiveness from those his crimes affected.

(Photo: Joshua Blahyi via The Christian Post)

Source: Eryn Sun - Christian Post

Via: BCN www.breakingchristiannews.com

Via: OpenHeaven.com

DAVID'S DOWNLOAD

THE POWER OF THE CALL

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WAXING LYRICAL

All too often we don't consider the long term consequences of our choices in life. Choices made now will affect us for eternity.

WE CHOOSE

Life comes, life goes,
Brings peaks, and lows.
We surely reap what we sow!
Our tide does ebb and flow.

When I look back on what I've done,
I see the storms, but also the sun.
For I have done good, at times been bad,
Sometimes am happy, sometimes am sad.

No, the time past I cannot now change,
But my future, yes, I may rearrange.
What will I do? Where will I go?
I may think, but God does know.

Will I put my life in His hand?
On His Rock, my days to stand.
Or will I build my house on the sand?
And His will for me, not understand.

Today I am charged to live the call.
Am I prepared to give Him my all?
Or will I continue in my earthly ways?
Seeking my own pleasure, all my days.

My time may well be short, it may be long,
Before joining Jesus, forever to belong,
What will He say that glorious day I see His face?
Knowing I've been saved, by His amazing grace.

Will it be, "Well done good and faithful servant",
Or will I seek my actions to quickly recant!
For on that day, I will surely see
The result of choices, made by me.

The past I can't change, the future neither,
But by my today's actions I can either
Build His kingdom here upon the earth,
Or make my own! My decision, my worth.

What will I do? Where will I go?
Will it be wheat or tares I sow?
Today I now have the choices to make,
Of what direction my life will take.

You too, my friend, today are in the very same boat,
To be a sheep of the Shepherd, or to be the goat.
What will be your choice of 'the way' to live?
All your life to Jesus, will you now give?

One day we will meet together with Jesus in heaven,
Having lived lives of fruitfulness, or of leaven.
The choices we now make on earth today,
Do determine what role we will play.

Let's now look towards
Our heavenly rewards.
The choice is mine,
The choice is thine!

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A DAVID MUSING

Most weeks are 'normal', what ever that may be for you or for me. Life goes on in the same way it has for past weeks, months, or even years. While we know God desires us to change, we resist it, preferring to carry on in our old, either good or bad, comfortable ways.

Then suddenly, something, usually unexpected, happens, to bring about change to our life!

It has been that way for me, both in the natural and the spiritual, this past week. While I cannot go into details at this time, two separate developments, initiated by others, have occurred, that are likely to have significant effects on the lives of Kathy and myself.

Sorry for the mystery, but all will be revealed as things come together.

My encouragement to you, this week, is to hold out, with hope, not despair, for His visions, for your God given desires (His, not yours!), to come to fruition. We need to wait for His timing. Then to be available when the time comes.

For it is amazing what God can and will do for those who are available and obedient to His call.

Until next week.......

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD.

His servant and yours

David Tait

Today's 'Word Puzzle' Answer: INFIELD

TODAY'S 'BIBLE QUESTION' ANSWER: 2a. Angel of the Lord. (Matthew 1:20)

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ABOUT US

WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES is a non-profit, non-denominational, Bible based ministry located in Hastings, New Zealand. A ministry dedicated to developing discipleship, fostering unity amongst God’s people to achieve the Great Commission, and in doing so, preparing for Christ’s return. It is securely based upon the foundational principles of the Apostles Creed while recognising the wide and rich diversity of beliefs amongst Christians in other areas. In accordance with the Lord’s direction, materials produced by the ministry are available, free of charge, to genuine enquirers upon request. The ministry is solely funded by donations, as the Lord provides. A list of materials available (plus some fun!) is obtainable and freely downloadable from our website
wwj.org.nz or by contacting us as follows.

Walking With Jesus Ministries
7 Bull Street
Ahuriri
Napier
New Zealand

Phone: (06) 835 0567 International (+64) 6 835 0567

Email: enquiries@wwj.org.nz
Web: wwj.org.nz

Our role is to bless and encourage those in ministry while promoting co-operation and unity of direction amongst the body of Christ, as emphasised 3 times by Jesus in His longest prayer, immediately prior to His arrest and crucifixion. "… so that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:12, 21, 23-4) Our website is currently being developed to encourage your participation one with another, to share resources, and to enable you to promote events and items of interest to the body as a whole – and have a smile while doing it!

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