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Issue No: 541     Published: 05 Mar 2012

THINKING GREEK OR HEBREW? continues

We are looking at the differences between the Jewish (Eastern) and Greek (Western) ways of thinking, so that we can better understand the ways and teachings of Jesus. (See the last 6 weeks issues of PGIM!)

FAITH

Greek (Western)
We see faith as being intellectual. We express faith in creeds and doctrine, using support texts to support and prove our beliefs.

This speaks particularly of men, specially those with a theological interest or training, who primarily happen to be the ones in ministry and those of major influence in churches and denominations. Unfortunately creeds and doctrines differ, depending upon the supporting texts used and human interpretation of them. This gives rise to division in the church. These people concentrate on the Epistles, for the foundations of doctrine are found there.

Women, on the other hand, both in the natural and the spiritual, are much more relational. We will see shortly, that this is more akin to the Hebrew approach to faith. This helps explain why 2/3 of the church are women and that they are more ecumenical than men, for they look at things from a different perspective.

While theology, organisation and order have their place, they are currently given too much focus over and above a genuine relationship with Jesus.

Eastern (Hebrew) Hebrews see faith as relational and personal. They express faith in terms of their relationship with God rather than as a rationalisation.

There are two occasions recorded in the Gospels, interestingly both involving Gentiles, that Jesus used to show the Jews who had lost faith, what faith is all about. These are.....

The Faith of the Centurion

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” 7 Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour. (Matthew 8:5-13)


And.....

The Faith of the Canaanite Woman

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:21-28)


Faith comes through relationship with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, not by observance of the Law (or having 'correct' theology).

10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:10-14)

A TESTIMONY FROM DAVID My faith has been built upon experiences where I have had to trust the Lord, not upon theological learning. The most memorable one for me, which has carried me through more recent difficult times, was when I went to Africa for 2 months on 50 cents a day! Had I thought about it rationally, I wouldn't have gone! But after spending all but $2 of my $30 in the first week, the Lord starting providing. I left Africa 7 weeks later 'cent-less' but having been provided for, for the time I was there. My faith was increased dramatically through this amazing experiential relationship with Jesus!

SOME SPIRITUAL IMPLICATIONS FOR TODAY

1. We talk about being 'born again', about developing a personal relationship with Jesus, then argue about a pre or post-trib rapture! No wonder so many quickly lose faith! We need a new emphasis on discipleship, a sharing of day to day life experience, to build up personal faith experiences in new believers.

2. The church needs to understand that relationship - with Jesus and each other - is more important than fine points of theology, about which there will always be disagreement.

3. Individually, we need to spend time with Jesus, being prepared to listen to Him, letting Him change our life, and be prepared to take risks, to step out in faith, as He guides us.

4. To understand that trust, not logic, is the true foundation of faith.

(To be continued next week.)

Acknowledgement: http://www.followtherabbi.com

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FROM THE WORD

Faith or Observance of the Law

"You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." (Galatians 3:1-14)

By Faith

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." (Hebrews 11:1-40)

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DAVID'S DOODLINGS

FAITH

143. Present faith is built upon our past experiences of its results.

144. Faith is like a baby – it needs to learn to crawl and to walk before it can run.

145. Faith is like dropping a stone into a pond. The small circles enlarge with time.

146. A single step of faith is necessary to start the marathon of life.

147. One step of faith is worth ten thousand words of talk about it.

148. Faith is but one small step for God, but viewed as a giant step by us.

149. The dropping of a small stone in the centre, ripples the entire pool of faith.

150. As we build a reservoir of faith experience, so our power generation capacity increases.

151. Enacting God-given faith is easy, for He never lets us down.

152. FEAR is the inability to affect the unknown.

153. FAITH is the ability to prevent the unknown affecting you.

154. ULTIMATE FEAR is the uncertainty of future hope when death threatens.

155. ULTIMATE FAITH is the certain hope of life after death.

254. You can't truly live by faith until you have nothing else to live on.

255. Our faith is like the air we breath. It is only the current breath that gives life.

256. As we build our faith, so faith builds in us.

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CRANWELLS CARTOONS

7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. (Jonah 4:7)



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TUESDAY TEACHINGS

THIS WEEK: A REVELATION OF……. SERVANTHOOD AND LEADERSHIP

This week we are going to radically challenge the principles on which the church is currently based.

Who is meant to be leading the church? Who should be doing the work?

Let's find out more!

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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." ***

459. POOR GEOGRAHY
A little girl from Minneapolis came home from Sunday school with a frown on her face. "I'm not going back there anymore," she announced with finality.

"I don't like the Bible they keep teaching us."

"Why not?" asked her astonished mother.

"Because," said the little girl, "that Bible is always talking about St. Paul, and it never once mentions Minneapolis."

458. MISPLACED IDENTITY
A Sunday School teacher asked a little boy, "Bobby, do you believe in the devil?"

"No," said the little boy. "He's just like Santa Claus. I think it's my daddy."

457. TOO BUSY
So few people know the Bible nowadays!

I was standing downtown waiting on a bus. It was raining cats and dogs. A lady was standing next to me so I tried to be friendly and make conversation. 'If it keeps it up, we'll all have to buy an ark," I said.

"What's an ark?" she asked.

'You mean you haven't heard about Noah and the great flood and all those animals?" I asked incredulously.

"Look, mister," she replied, "I've only been in town for four days. I've scarcely had time to read a paper."

FREE DOWNLOAD: You can now download the book 'Laughing At Ourselves' in PDF format at LAUGHING AT OURSELVES

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FACTS FOR FUN

LAST WEEKS QUESTION: What is the underlying meaning of the number '7' in the Bible?

ANSWER: Completion, Perfection, and Maturity (How did I get to my eighth birthday then?)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Which three of the United States are not states? Why?

Answer Next Week.

SOME FUN FACTS

1147. A GENTLE REMINDER?
Peter the Great was not so great in his wife’s eyes when he had the head of her lover cut off and put in a jar of preserving alcohol which he then ordered to be placed by her bed. (In summary - a pickled head by the bed)

1148. LATERAL THINKING
It is not unknown for Eskimos to use fridges to keep their food from freezing. (Wouldn’t need to use the Icebox however.)

1149. BY 'GEEP'!
The ‘geep’ is the offspring of a sheep and a goat. (Could equally well be a shoat)

A WORD PUZZLE FOR YOU

Make another word from this word using all the letters.

REFUNDED

Answer at the end of A David Musing

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BIBLE QUESTION - THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

9: Where was Matthew sitting when Jesus called him?

a. In a fishing boat
b. By a well
c. In a tax booth
d. On a donkey

Source: http://biblequizzes.org.uk

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IF ONLY I'D THOUGHT OF IT!

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

SAYINGS FOR YOU TO PONDER

!!!!!!! Some people can stay longer in an hour than others can in a week.

!!!!!! Church membership does not make you a Christian any more than owning a piano makes you a musician.

!!!!! You don't test the resources of God until you attempt the impossible.

!!!! Character is what you really are ~ reputation is only what others believe you to be.

!!! If you think that one person can't make a difference in the world, consider what one cigar can do in a crowded restaurant.

!! It's not the going out of port, but the coming in, that determines the success of the voyage.

! God didn't promise an easy voyage, but a safe arrival.

100'S MORE TO BE FOUND AT...

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TIL DEATH DO US PART

60. EXPENDABLE
The newly-married husband came home from the office to find his young wife in floods of tears. "Darling, whatever is the matter?" he asked.

"Sweetheart," she sobbed, "the most terrible thing has happened! I cooked my very first Beef Bourguignon for you, and I got it out of the oven to season it, and the phone rang. When I came back from answering the phone," she sobbed again. "I found that the cat had eaten it!"

"Don't worry, darling," said her husband. "Don't cry. We can get a new cat tomorrow."

61. YOU MUST BE A SAINT
Two women were discussing marriage, and one said, "We've been married twenty-five years, and every night my husband has complained about the food. Not one night without complaining about the food."

The other woman said, "That's awful. Doesn't it bother you?"

The first one said, "Not in the slightest."

Said the other woman, "You must be a saint!"

To which, the first woman replied, "No. Why should I object? Many people don't like the food they cook."

62. KINDNESS
A little girl asked her mother for a dollar to give to an old lady in the park. Her mother was touched by the child's kindness, and gave her the required sum.

"There you are, my dear," said the mother. "But, tell me, isn't the lady able to work any more?"

"Oh yes," came the reply. "She sells candy."

63. MARRIAGE IS A GAMBLE
Marriage is a gamble.
You start with a pair.
He shows a diamond.
She shows a heart.
Her father has a club.
His father has a spade.
There's usually a joker around somewhere,
but after a while he becomes a king and she becomes a queen.
Then they end up with a full house.

Come here just for a laugh at life.....

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BIBLE TRIVIA (Strange and Amazing Facts)

MOST MENTIONED ANIMAL?

The sheep. Mentioned over 400 times.

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

BBC Chief Admits Christianity ‘gets less sensitive treatment’

Mark Thompson, director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has claimed Christianity is treated with far less sensitivity than other religions because it is ‘pretty broad shouldered,’ reports Michael Ireland, Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service.

In an article in the Mail Online, the London Daily Mail newspaper’s web presence www.dailymail.co.uk, reporter Paul Revoir says the BBC chief “suggested other faiths have a ‘very close identity with ethnic minorities’, and were therefore covered in a far more careful way by broadcasters.”

Revoir reports that Thompson also revealed that producers had to consider the possibilities of ‘violent threats’ instead of polite complaints if they pushed ahead with certain types of satire.

According to the Mail Online article, Thompson said: ‘Without question, “I complain in the strongest possible terms”, is different from, “I complain in the strongest possible terms and I am loading my AK47 as I write”. This definitely raises the stakes.’

Revoir says Thompson added that religion as a whole should never receive the same ‘protection and sensitivity’ in the law as race.

The Mail Online article says Thompson was making his comments during a wide-ranging interview about faith and broadcasting, which included the furor provoked by the BBC’s decision to screen the controversial show Jerry Springer: The Opera on BBC2 in 2005.

At that time, hundreds of Christians rallied outside BBC buildings before and during the broadcast to protest about what they saw as blasphemous scenes such as Jesus Christ wearing a nappy, the Mail Online reported.

The Mail Online article said that at least 45,000 people contacted the BBC to complain about swearing and its irreverent treatment of Christian themes. Many said that no one would have dreamed of making such a show about the Prophet Mohammed and Islam.

Revoir reported that: “Thompson has now appeared belatedly to accept their argument. In an interview, he said Islam was ‘almost entirely’ practiced by people who already may feel in other ways ‘isolated’, ‘prejudiced against’ and who may regard an attack on their religion as ‘racism by other means’.”

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DAVID'S DOWNLOAD

A REVELATION OF…….THE SEVEN REVELATIONS OF THE LAMB

It would be normal to think of a victorious God as a lion. But Jesus came as a lamb, the Lamb of God

The incredible story of how the Lamb of God is foreshadowed 4 times in the Old Testament, comes as the Lamb in the New, sets our example and will return to claim His kingdom.

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WAXING LYRICAL

Back to the family! Mine wasn’t – and isn’t – perfect. But perhaps it is a lot better
than it seems when we are young! The frequent Father/Son conundrum!

GOD IS GOOD!

My Dad was a highly successful man
A Knight of the Realm was he.
His hand would be raised, "Yes, I can"
While others preferred to flee.

Loved three short words, which got on my goat!
‘God is good’ he would always say.
For a job well done - even when sick on a boat!
These three little words came into play.

Most of his life was filled with success,
As Mayor of Napier the city grew strong.
Excelled in his dealings with the press,
‘God is good’, forever his theme song.

Now I found these words so very frustrating,
Why ‘God is good’? –’Twas Dad who was reliable!
Like a scratched record, the words were grating,
For my heart, back then, was not set on the Bible.

For I had seen my Dad succeed,
He worked hard, his job to fit,
A brain and work was all you need,
‘God is good’ - not a factor in it.

So I got stuck in, all work and toil,
Never looked up, ploughed the soil,
‘God is good’, was never right for me,
Success comes, growing your own tree!

But my little tree fell to the ground,
Not a very nice time to be around.
Dad’s ‘God is good’, now struck a chord,
I ended up, giving my heart to the Lord.

So did a happy story end there?
Don’t worry, it has only now just begun!
‘God is good’, as Dad did share,
But applying it, that would be the fun!

Accept it?
Not this bit!
All beliefs?
No reliefs!
God is good?
Things go wrong!
Not so strong!
Life’s snares?
Who cares!
God is good?
On the treadmill
Always uphill!
Never win,
Back to sin!
God is good!
So frustrating!
Ever waiting!
Does He hear?
Where’s His ear?
God is Good!

What is going on? I cried,
Wouldn’t care if I died!
For your words Dad, ‘God is good’,
In you, the test of time they stood!

For at a time near the end of his life,
Things went wrong, he got into strife.
Yet, ‘God is good’ stayed on his lip,
Why wasn’t it in line with my trip?

My Dad he died, things hadn’t come right,
But he didn’t give in, to the end he did fight,
In ‘God is good’ he continued to trust,
From earth to earth, from dust to dust.

Yesterday, we took Mum to visit his grave,
Four years to the day since he died.
Simple words there, his memory they save,
But ‘God is good’ is what he cried.

Over this time I have now learned,
God’s love is given it is not earned.
Dad’s ‘God is good’, I too can trust,
As my life to Jesus, I give to adjust.

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A DAVID MUSING

By the time you read this we will be back home in New Zealand from our 'funtastic' holiday with our family here in Thurso, Scotland. But may be sleeping, so am writing this before we leave.

The world is such a small place these days. I can look up on the net to see how much money has been banked by each of our branches each day. People can email, text or call with problems or encouragement. Everything is instantaneous. Of course, it is easy to forget the 13 hour time difference and call in the middle of the night!

Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is on duty 24 hours a day too! He is just waiting for our call!

Am sure He doesn't have to deal with jet lag though!

Catch you next week from New Zealand.

Until next week.......

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD.

His servant and yours

David Tait

Today's 'Word Puzzle' Answer: UNDERFED

TODAY'S 'BIBLE QUESTION' ANSWER: c. In a tax booth

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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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