Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” The first question I have whenever I read this is: “Can I as a 21st century Christian Gentile, not a Jewish person and not living when it was written — not being Joshua — can I take a promise made to Joshua and apply it to myself?” My answer is yes for three reasons.
We are called to be salt and light, to live and think differently, so how come so many christians on all sides of the political divides (on both sides on the Atlantic) are succumbing to the anger and rage characteristic the spirit of this world?
Mike Bickle presents some challenging thoughts on how to live in the opposite spirit and sees the increasing turmoil as an opportunity for the church to show a different way
"There are facts, there are opinions, and there are lies," says historian Deborah Lipstadt, telling the remarkable story of her research into Holocaust deniers — and their deliberate distortion of history. Lipstadt encourages us all to go on the offensive against those who assault the truth and facts. "Truth is not relative," she says.
(Here is a short story I wrote fourteen years ago in memory of my great-aunt Bessie. I have re-published it to give some background to the London Jewish walks I will be recommencing, starting on March 6th)
It was significant that Bessie's birthday this year fell on Passover, as her story was as much a triumph over adversity as her forbears' celebrated release from bondage. As was customary, the extended family were gathered, a pyramid of generations, with Bessie at the apex and a multitude of tiny ones, crammed at opposite ends of a table that grew healthily each year. It was also customary to invite a stranger to the seder table and this year Bessie had intrigued us with an elderly gentleman, apparently a friend from the day centre, who was sitting politely and quietly to her left, next to Sadie, my mother. I was there as family scribe. To me she had entrusted her many secrets and to me she had given the responsibility to tell them, well all bar one, anyway.
It's well known that Christianity sprang from a Jewish context. While there may be controversy about Jesus' Judaism vs. the traditional Judaism of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Judaism in the first century, there's no doubt that Jesus, his family, and followers were practicing Jews, as recorded in the New Testament. Biblical scholar Lawrence H. Schiffman, Judge Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Director of the Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies at New York University (NYU), takes this understanding to a new level. He identifies citations in the New Testament that others have glossed over without recognizing their unique significance. On March 26-27, 2015, at a conference at NYU, "Integrating Christianity and Judaism into the Study of the Ancient World," Professor Schiffman delivered a talk titled "The New Testament as a Source for the History of the Jews and Judaism."
It's official! Well, that is, according to the report released by former senior judge, Baroness Butler-Sloss. The thin end of the wedge is getting thicker...
Few themes in the Bible are repeated more than this: When a nation turns their back on God, that nation begins a downward spiral, heading finally to its destruction. It is not a comfortable subject to think about. And yet, the Lord tells us, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up… because your redemption draws near.” However, to ignore the subject of unrepentant nations falling into chaos is not, I believe, an accurate read of the way God wants us to respond.
“Hey Average Joe, did you see this map?
“Look where Israel ought to be it says Palestine. And it says it was called Palestine 4000 years ago! It’s as if the Jews never lived there. Can that be right?”
replied Average Joe,
“It must be right. After all it is in the Ancient Egypt section of the British Museum!”
Once again Britain shows her antisemitic sentiment.
I had the opportunity to visit the British Museum in May. Loved the Egypt exhibit. We had spent four days in Egypt in 2009. Sadly the last safe year for tourists. Egypt is an extraordinary country with thousands of years of history-glorious history. We saw the Pyramids and the Sphinx and rode on camels! Think about the ingenuity of the people who built these monuments, only with manpower, no machines. We visited The Temple of Karnac and the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. We went into the crypts. Filled with marvelous murals that speak to religious beliefs. We walked through the Egyptian Museum-in Egypt!
And then the Egypt Exhibit in the British Museum.
And the map jumped out at me. “Palestine”?
How could that be?
So I wrote to the museum to express my concern
By Kit Eglinton, Saltshakers
As a younger Christian I served with Open Doors in the Middle East which was an amazing privilege both to serve and engage with believers from cultures vastly different to my own. However my greatest surprise was to find how many evangelical Christians in countries like Syria, Egypt and Turkey had adopted a western church culture. For example at my first visit to a small evangelical fellowship I was astounded to see all the men had discarded their very practical daily clothing in favour of western suits and ties - in 40' C. No wonder local Muslims viewed Christianity as a western religion. Where did they get the idea that to do church properly you have wear a suit and tie? It is not my place to challenge anyone else's 'norms' but it did and does make me think about my own. What do I consider to be necessary, what can be changed; why do I do what I do, and, by implication, expect others to do?