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Posts Tagged ‘Moses’

Free from the law

August 20, 2019 Leave a comment

Despite more than 30 years as a Christian, I could never quite process that and understand exactly what it meant. Finally, thinks clicked, thanks in part to a long-time mentor.

The Bible gives many types of laws: Noahic Law (you can now eat meat, capital punishment is in order), Mosaic Law (ceremonial for sacrifices, dietary for what Israelites could and couldn’t eat, moral for things they were prohibited to do, various laws, some of which are still applicable today). The different prophets also gave laws.

Jesus came and discussed the law in a new light. Paul talked about how Jesus’ sacrifice freed us from the law.

The purpose of the law, I finally realized, is to show that we can never measure up to God’s standards of holiness. And because of that, we’re sinners.

By becoming Christians, we are no longer bound to the law. However, there are laws we obey because we love God and want to serve Him and become closer to Him.

If there’s one law to obey, it’s Matthew 22:35–40. Jesus said we were to love God with all our heart, might, mind. We were then to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus then said all other laws and the prophets hinge on this commandment.

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

Do you serve God or a god?

January 18, 2019 Leave a comment

Years ago, a college friend told me that he no longer believed the New Testament was God’s Word. Too many changes over the centuries, most of them for political reasons.

Oh, brother, I thought. Using that logic, how can we really know Plato really wrote what’s attributed to him, or that Hammurabi really created those sets of laws, or Percy Bysshe Shelley didn’t plagiarize someone else’s work?

Is your faith in men, or is it in God?

This was a friend who led a prayer group at college, was studying for the ministry, and seemed to truly love the Lord. He served God then, and now, I’m afraid, he serves god.

Sometimes life beats us up and we react accordingly. Some are resilient and bounce back, some aren’t. Others simply were never really strong in their faith and easily get choked by the thorns.

This friend reminds me of what God asked Moses in Genesis 18:14 in one of the world’s great rhetorical questions: “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”

In Matthew 23:35, Jesus says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Either God lied or He didn’t. Either He preserved His Word or He didn’t.

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

How should you read the Bible?

December 28, 2013 Leave a comment

I can describe “how” in two words:

In context.

Those on the right who quote passages in Leviticus to condemn homosexuality should also be aware of passages that describe what we’d consider odd, inexplicable Mosaic laws dealing with slavery, sex and what animals were fit and unfit for food (if you love bacon, guess what–it would’ve been considered unclean).

Those on the left who quote passages in Acts to justify socialism or communism should also be aware of what the Bible says about not eating if you haven’t worked or those who take for themselves what others have earned.

I do believe the Bible is God’s Perfect Word, but I also believe that some rules God gave at various times were exclusively meant for those times and those particular circumstances.

For now, as I read, I consider the audience, the customs of the times and whether the command qualifies as an absolute from God or something He chose for that time.

Richard Zowie lives in the Texas Hill Country and is a reporter for the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. The views expressed in this blog posting do not necessarily represent those of the Standard newspaper staff, editor or publisher. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Chronological adventures reading the Bible: Abe then Job

February 6, 2013 Leave a comment

This year I’m off to a slow start on my Bible reading–I blame it on myself–and am reading the Bible chronologically. I read Genesis up to the point where God commands Abram to “Go west, young man!” and am now reading the Book of Job. Currently, Job is in misery, wishes to die, wonders why God would allow this despite all the righteous stuff Job has done, and if alive today, would consider his friends’ advice as much of a help as, to quote that delicious simile of Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s, an air conditioner on the ice planet Hoth.

“Richard!” you gasp. “You’re not reading the Bible in order?!”

Nope.

While Job is listed right before Psalms and roughly in the middle of the Old Testament, it actually is considered the Old Testament’s oldest book. Whereas Genesis and the other four books of the Pentateuch were probably written by Moses around 1500 B.C. (a ballpark estimate, indeed), Job was probably written a millennia or two sooner.

I find this an interesting approach, to read the Bible as it takes place rather than reading it in traditional western order. We must realize, of course, that while the Word of God is divinely inspired, neither the book order nor the chapter stops are.

Not an easy read, but I find Job a fascinating book. A man does everything right and still suffers misery and wonders: Why?

Job was probably not written by Job, so it’s most likely that he never knew during his time on earth about the dialogue between God and Satan. How God bragged on him and how Satan challenged Job. And how God allowed all those terrible things to happen to Job, knowing he would bend, but not break.

More thoughts as I continue reading.

Richard is currently working on a blog posting (probably several parts) about his experiences in Baptist churches. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

A Tale of Two Pastors

March 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Of all the churches I’ve attended, two pastors stand out in my discussion of today’s topic.

At one church, the pastor ran into a problem. Besides his duties as pastor (preaching, teaching, counseling, ministering), he also wanted to to be directly involved in virtually all of the church’s programs and advisory boards and have them answer directly to him. (I believe he even tried to have a seat on every single committee). To many, including myself, he wanted total control. When the church did not give that to him, he resigned and took up a pastorship elsewhere. He has since resigned from that church and is now at yet another church.

At another church, I felt led of the Lord to use my love for perusing used books to ask the pastor if the church library needed any books that I could donate–should I find them–while looking around at yard sales and Goodwill stores. The pastor told me to talk to the library committee since they handled that.

This second pastor had his priorities right.

Pastoring isn’t just a full-time job–it is 24/7. One college friend and Facebook friend named John told me his Dad made himself available to be reached at any time by his congregation.

I am reminded of the story of Moses and Jethro in the Old Testament. Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law) in Exodus 18 told Moses he would burn himself out if he tried to handle all the matters before him regarding the Israelites. Put men in leadership to hear the cases and only hear the ones that they can’t solve, he told Moses.

Just as Moses did this and could focus on what needed to be done, I suspect a pastor needs to do that. Find godly, talented men and women in the church and place them in leadership over the church’s many ministries. If there is a problem, have them talk to you about it. If not, let them do their job so you can focus on–yep, you guessed it–preaching, teaching, counseling, ministering.

Richard Zowie wonders what real ministers think of this thought of his. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Acts 7: Stephen is martyred

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I actually read this passage on Monday and am, sadly, just now blogging about it. Getting off my duff, I plan to return to daily blogging about Bible reading. Later today or, most likely, tomorrow, I’ll blog about the next chapter of Daniel.

Acts 7 is a fascinating chapter, in that it’s the first Biblical recording–post crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus–of a martyr.

That martyr’s name, of course, was Stephen.

In his sermon, Stephen preached a sermon summarizing the Old Testament from Abraham, to Moses, down the line and eventually ending in the New Testament with Jesus. He concentrated heavily on Moses, particularly his early life and when he was receiving the laws from God on Mt. Sinai.

Bluntness was a normal practice in the early church’s preaching, and Stephen was no different. He referred to the authorities in the temple in verse 51 as “stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears.” Notice he did not say they were physically uncircumcised. All obedient male Jews then were. He was telling them they were crude and stubborn in their ability to listen and hear what was being preached, and if they were truly open and receptive, they would’ve seen that Jesus’ life was a fulfillment of Scripture. Instead, the authorities and their ancestors chose to persecute, torture and even kill the messengers who called for obedience unto God.

And then Stephen looked up to the sky and described seeing Jesus at the right hand of God. A death sentence. They took him outside the city and stoned him.

Like Jesus at His crucifixion, Stephen showed compassion to those who stoned him. In his final words in verse 60, he asked God not to lay this sin at their charge.

We also see in verse 58 that Saul held the outergarments of those who went to kill Stephen. Saul had yet to become a Christian and transform into Paul, but I have to wonder what went through his mind at this time. Perhaps seeds were being planted and watered as he saw this Christian die for their faith.

Richard Zowie, a Christian for 28 years, operates several blogs. Post a comment or e-mail richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Acts 3: Peter heals a lame man, preaches, and, no surprise, gets into trouble

January 31, 2010 Leave a comment

About the reading: I read this passage of Scripture this afternoon after finishing work. It was very nice to stretch out on my bed, get off my feet and read and jot notes. Doing this daily Bible reading is like getting reacquainted with an old friend I haven’t seen in a very long time. Too long of a time. I’m hoping to discipline myself to read the Bible early in the morning during the quietest time in our house. It’s certainly a prayer request, since I’m much more of a night owl rather than an early bird.

Of all the New Testament saints, Peter is one I identify with the most: impulsive and energetic with a lot of regret thrown in. Well, you know how a Christian should handle regret: whenever Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.

That being said, Peter and John headed to the Temple, presumably to begin preaching. Before they arrived, they see a man born lame who was asking for donations. For a Galilean fisherman, Peter really responded eloquently in 3:6: “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

 

“I don’t have any silver or gold, but I have something I think you’ll really, REALLY like!”

The lame man arose, and walked and was indeed very excited. He headed into the temple, jumped around and did a lot of shouting. He was, no doubt, the world’s first cheerleader. It must’ve absolutely shocked the people in the temple that this same man who’d just been down on the ground asking them for donations was now able to walk!

As the people continued to be astonished and as a reporter from the Jerusalem Post began interviewing witnesses while also asking the formerly-lame man to do a quick jump into the air for a picture, Peter used this time to preach a sermon. He asked the people why they’re so surprised and why they seem to think that he and John had anything to do with the healing when it was really the Lord God of Israel who did it.

Ever the man with effective icebreakers, Peter then reminded the people that in their ignorance towards the truth they crucified Jesus while allowing a murderer like Barrabas to go free. Peter, again, no doubt astonishing the crowd with his Galilean accent as he preached, gave them examples of many prophets who foretold of Jesus. He even quoted Moses in Deuteronomy.

Jesus gave the command for His disciples to preach the Gospel, and that’s exactly what Peter did. We’ll find out soon that some in the temple were no doubt less than happy with Peter’s preaching.

Richard Zowie has three other blogs on WordPress and has been a Christian since October 1981. He sees himself as having some catching up to do in terms of Bible reading. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.