A Messianic Jewish Response to Christians Who Naysay Christmas

Really good article by Sandra Templinsky via FIRM web site http://firm.org.il/learn/a-messianic-jewish-response-to-christians-who-naysay-christmas/

For me, as well as spend time with family, I’ve used this Christmas to go out and fellowship with a non believing Jewish friend who is seeking answers about his spiritual life, see a non believing friend who works in computing (like me) who might visit a church for the first time, and encouraged fallen away Christian friends who are back in church on fire for Jesus again.

No other time of the year reinforces the message of our Messiah so strongly.   In a world where secularism is trying to mute the message of the gospel, this season still has value to remind the non believing world of the Saviour of the World!!!

I’m troubled by the number of people who decide go against this holiday, and I am not talking about Jewish people, more Christians who are confused which set of holidays are relevant for today.

Friends, you don’t have to celebrate Christmas but look at the HUGE value that this season has, aside from all its commericalised trimmings, from its core value as a wild guess at Jesus’s birthday, to celebrate the life of the Messiah!!   I have no desire to compromise any of God’s word, but don’t be a religious hipster who looks down at everyone else during this season, just look at how many people may be on their own at this time, and pop around and see them!

Titus 3 : 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

Romans 14 : 5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

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New towns to be built in Israel’s desert

 

Sunset_in_the_Negev_Desert_near_Yeruham_Israel-635x357

I saw this article a month ago:-
Cabinet approves plan to build 5 new Negev towns.  Housing minister praises acceptance of proposal, invokes Zionist vision of settling the desert http://www.timesofisrael.com/cabinet-passes-plan-to-build-5-new-negev-towns/

I was reading Jeremiah 32 today;
Jeremiah 32 : 42 “This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them. 43 Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate waste, without people or animals, for it has been given into the hands of the Babylonians.’ 44 Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”

Here is the western Negev.   A big empty space!

The desert has a mere 8% of Israel’s population. With a highway containing Beer Sheva being the main desert city.   Sde Boker and Mitzpe Ramon (which I visited in 2013 before I left) being quite small.

Israel will be needing to fit a lot more people in the country with Jewish people needing to flee France and Belgium as issue of radical Islam spirals out of control.   Please pray that these whole new communities will built quickly and homes and jobs will provided for the incoming new immigrants.

Religious Jews wish to evaluate if Jesus is the Messiah of Israel

Read this article on Israel today this week on some announcements a group of Orthodox Jews are getting together re-evaluate if Jesus is the Jewish Messiah.

Original article here;
http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/28027/Default.aspx

This comes from a organisation called the Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation.  This is a wonderful community centre and synagogue I visited in Efrat in Israel that welcomes Christian groups to chat with Jews.

More on their web site here http://cjcuc.com/site/

Please pray for those event.   There has been much hurt for hundreds of years from people calling themselves Christians towards Jews, with an open heart this may be trigger a revival for salvation for Jewish people all over Israel and beyond.

For those of us who are Christians who love Israel and the Jewish people, covering these people and community with prayer is a must at the point.

Does Star Wars The Force Awakens contain bible influences?

For some years people have seen analogies from Star Wars to the bible.

I’m sure its only a matter of time until some theology bloggers start analysing The Force awakens. I thought I would start the ball rolling. 🙂

  1. A friend of mine who lives in London, I’ll call him S. He is from a Jewish background and was in a prison in a Muslim country and after being in there for years and subject to horrendous abuse, had a real life encounter with Jesus and accepting him as his Lord and saviour, the Lord gave him instructions to get out of the jail past the guards and walk free.
  2. Brother Yun was arrested by security police numerous times and was thrown into prison three times for sharing the gospel in communist China……    ….Once, Brother Yun was paraded through the streets with a red cross tied behind him for half a day. When night fell, he was locked and left alone inside a large interrogation room. The wooden cross was taken off his back but his hands were still tied up. All of a sudden, the rope that was used to tie his hands snapped by itself. He immediately walked out of the interrogation room and walked through the courtyard in the midst of onlookers. Nobody stopped him or said anything to him. It was as if God had blinded their eyes and they did not even recognise who he was. 
  3. reyIn the new Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens, the newest generation Jedi, a young woman called Rey, is attached to a chair with shackles in a locked jail. Through using the ‘force’ she repeatedly asked the Stormtrooper guard to unlock her and let her free. After the third attempt the guard obeys her and she walks away.
  4. Acts 5 : 17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.
  5. Acts 16 : 22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.  25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.  35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”  37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” 38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.

All 5 of these stories isn’t by using lock picking or getting out through a ventilation duct.  Each one is escaping from a prison was only through faith.

#1 ‘S’ has not put his incredible testimony in print or on the web, only from when I listened to his tragic but ultimately heartwarming story.  I’m trying encourage him to write a book.

#2 Brother Yun is one of the most famous pioneering Christians in China (I really need to buy this soon) http://www.inspirationalchristians.org/biography/brother-yun/

#3 spoilers here  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_The_Force_Awakens

#4 Acts 5 : 17

#5 Acts 16 : 22

According to the bible believers destroyed of $11m of occult books

Was reading about a bogus pastor that was looking down on Christians for celebrating Christmas and Easter as being Pagan, but he partly owns a record shop selling Buddhist, Hindu, New Age and drug related items.  I’ll explain in another post.

I was reading that the scriptures talk about some of the believers who were Jews and Greeks realised they needed to get rid of witchcraft related books, which were very valuable.   I did some calculations;

Acts 19 : 17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, (Asia minor = modern Turkey) they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.[c] 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

Footnotes:
Acts 19:19 A drachma was a silver coin worth about a day’s wages

Average 2015 salary in UK is £26,500 per annum = £157/day
50,000 x 157 = £7,850,000
According to xe.net today’s figures this is US$11,697,297.30

The books the early Christians destroyed were worth over 11 million bucks!!

Christmas is an opportunity for the gospel

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People grumble that Jesus wasn’t born on 25th December – they are probably right.

The same people tell me that ‘someone on the internet’ told them that various Pagan gods were born on the 25th.   I think thats equally impossible to prove.

Despite all its added on layer of artificial commercialness, I still like Christmas.

Where other time have I have I heard my religious Muslim work colleague singing “away in a manger” in the school I was working in and my Hindu next door neighbours also have their 12 year old daughter playing Christmas songs on the piano.    I also hear the Salvation Army singing songs at Charing Cross railway station.

Please tell people to stop whining and look out for our neighbours who maybe on their own this season and visit them and see how they are, and maybe look for opportunities to share your faith in Jesus.

This week  my church encouraged us to bring someone new along to a carols event would be a perfect non-threatening opportunity.  There’s many at my church I greatly look up to who do a secular job in London’s city centre in finance, insurance, construction and legal companies who invite people they work with.  One friend of mine brought four people from his department, this is hugely admirable.

But equally as well as bringing new people to Christ, we should look to bring back Christians who have drifted away.    I got the opportunity to get someone along who walked away from church a year ago.

Today I was reminded by this scripture.

Jude 1 : 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Paul doesn’t believe in Once saved always saved.   So neither do I.   I have felt a burden to disciple and bring back those who have stopped going to church or got into other religious systems and strange teaching.  (easy to do in London)   I didn’t go out of my way to do this, seems sometime the Lord brings people to me and I try and point them back to Jesus.

I like the fact there is one holiday that is impossible to ignore about the Messiah of Israel a week before we start a whole new year.

Norway – Bergen’s forest of Christmas

funnicular train

Getting to the forest is just a short ride on a funicular railway, ie: a wonky diagonal shaped train designed to go up steep inclines that no other vehicle could climb.
At the top (theres 2 stops in the middle) there is a cafe and a place to look out over the city.

top of railway

forest2

Strolling around this forest just above the city takes you away from the bustle of Bergen.   A lot of the forest floor is covered in this very attractive thick moss.

forest lake s

DSCF8737Theres quite a few nice lakes here.   As I had to later catch a plane home I didn’t hike here very long.

As the Scandanavians have a reputation of being great authors and story tellers, there was a lot of sign posts with quips on them.   I think they are part of a game or quiz people sign up for.

This is seems like a good place for the more serious hiker to visit, it was a tiny but drizzly as you can tell from grey looking skies.

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Another Norway is famous for!   The Christmas tree!

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I really wanted to learn about how Norway was occupied by the Nazis, and how there was a underground resistance, I think the main museum on this is in Oslo which is some distance away.   It turns out that the Christmas tree installed every year at Trafalgar Square is a gift from Norway to the UK for helping them in the war.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafalgar_Square_Christmas_tree 

I was in Trafalgar Square this week (mid December)  with the Christmas tree on display with London’s Jewish community crowded around a stage and a large menorah (although with electric lights)   as there was a concert for the Jewish holiday of Hannukah which is just before Christmas, this was nice to see two symbols of the holidays together.

Norway – The city of Bergen – Days of the week – Norway and Judeo/Christian influence – Bergen’s fish market – Electric automotive Utopia – Bergen’s forest of Christmas

Gospel of the Jewish Messiah hitting secular Israeli media

Saw this great article today from local Israeli believer news site and magazine Israeltoday.co.il

The mainstream secular Israeli news site Walla announces in Hebrew about the growing number of Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus in Hebrew) in Israel and how the New Testament is a continuation of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and how Yeshua fulfilled the commandments as promised.   It is quite unusual for this to appear on mainsteam Israeli media.

http://familyguide3.walla.co.il/item/2914039 (In Hebrew only)

Somewhat strangely the video can only been shown in Israel.   Maybe I’ll try this with a proxy (such as this one which is Israeli technology) later. The internet is probably the best tool to provide Israelis with the gospel of the Jewish Messiah.

Please pray that more and more Jewish people will be drawn to their Lord and saviour.

 

Norway – Electric automotive Utopia

 

Tesla Motors Brings Revolutionary Supercharger to Europe With Launch Across Norway

This is a Teslar, one of the most best but relatively common electric cars in Norway at the moment.   This relatively unheard of car brand has only really taken off in recent years.

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I was actually quite amazed how Norway has so many different electric cars driving around, that pure electric vehicles make up 13% of new car sales now.   I saw Nissan Leafs, Renault Zoes, VW e-Up and e-Golfs, and outside a government office there were two Peugeot Partner vans plugged into a street mounted charger point.   I used to drive a diesel version of this vehicle in my last work place and I never knew an electric version existed.

In Israel they had a good go at selling a electric vehicle using the Renault Fluence ZE model (which is a saloon version of the Megane mk III)  but the company who ran the system “Better Place” eventually went bankrupt and Israeli motorists for some reason stuck to buying crummy Mazdas instead.

The best effort Europe and North America has had at towards moving away from fossil fuel based vehicles and taxes of petrol has been the ever popular Toyota Prius hybrid electric vehicle which has a reputation of the dullest car in history despite its popularity, and hated by car enthusiasts.

broken electric carI think Norway has had some electric cars for a while with some years before acceptance by the Norwegian people, I saw a few G-wizz and similar tiny plastic cars which look awful.   I spotted this vehicle which appears to be partly dismantled and few others in driveways which appear non-functional, maybe because of enormously high cost of a new battery assembly?

Interesting links on Norway’s electric car success
http://jalopnik.com/heres-why-the-tesla-model-s-is-the-1-selling-car-in-no-1651261025 

Norway – The city of Bergen – Days of the week – Norway and Judeo/Christian influence – Bergen’s fish market – Electric automotive Utopia – Bergen’s forest of Christmas

Norway – Bergen’s fish market

bergen market pano sI found that Norway is the biggest exporter of fish in the world.   I thought it would interesting to see the history of how production of fish has changed over the years and its impact on the economy and society.

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So on the bus ride into the city centre there was a fish market on the electronic screen.

This odd looking building on the top left, has a upmarket restaurant in the top wooden part, with a glass walled ground floor with an open fish market.

This isn’t a general type of fish market but really a smaller place to show case all the premium type seafood products.   Everything here is really expensive.

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DSCF8679sLive lobsters ready to take home, with rubber bands on their claws.

This place is great, but I was hoping there was a huge place to buy all different types of fish directly from the port.   It seems you have to go to Stavanger to do this, which is 2-4 hours drive away.

I found an interesting bakery in Bergen that has pastries with fish in them and breaded type fish products.  Everything in Norway is really expensive so I didn’t actually visit any restaurants beside a bar which did burgers.

Norway – The city of Bergen – Days of the week – Norway and Judeo/Christian influence – Bergen’s fish market – Electric automotive Utopia – Bergen’s forest of Christmas