Jesus painting in religious Sikh college

I’ll talk more about Germany soon.

I moved away from Harrow close to London this month.  I visited today as I went and sat a computer exam course at this small college.   This works like this, if you do a course with Microsoft, you get given a list of test centres and you can choose to sit your exam at a one near you.

So I went to this place at 8.30am today, knocked on the door and a religious Sikh gent opened the door. I got shown up two flights of steps to a room to get my ID checked and turn out my pockets, as phones, wallets, keys, watches and everything has to be left in a locker.

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Pictures of these Gurus on the wall.  Seen similar ones in small shops run by Sikhs.

I confess I don’t know much about the Sikh faith.  I do know they have multiple gods, and at least three of the small convenience stores near my old Harrow flat are run by Sikhs, and sometimes has slow drumming music playing.   I think they are all ethnic Punjabi from the same named part of north India.

I think Sikh people who accept Christ are a rarity, but I do know one who became a Christian.

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This picture was on the wall here, when coming up the stairs.   Its in Chinese!

There is God the Father, a dove (Holy Spirit), Mary, Jesus and someone else (John the baptist?)

I like to look up languages using newocr.com which is a cloud based way of reading different types of languages and throw the results into Google translator.  Alas my picture is too blurry to make out.    There is ‘…10 11’ at the bottom suggesting a bible verse at the bottom.

I’d love to know what Sikh people think of Jesus.

As Chinese is an Asian language, maybe a gospel message from Chinese Christians would be more interesting than teaching from Christianity from the west.   The acceleration of the gospel in China as reported by secular and Christian media alike gave me the urge to visit in 2017.

I can’t quite get right in front, but the Sikh college is just to the left of this church.   I hope the Sikh community will get a chance to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.  I’ve just looked up that Jesus in Punjabi is pronounced ‘Yisu’ similar to Arabic and Chinese words.

Here’s one of my favourite bible verses I looked up in Punjabi for any Sikh and Punjabi friends reading this blog:-

ਯੂਹੰਨਾ 3:16 

16 ਪਰਮੇਸ਼ੁਰ ਨੇ ਜੱਗਤ ਨੂੰ ਇੰਨਾ ਪਿਆਰ ਕੀਤਾ ਅਤੇ ਉਸ ਨੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣਾ ਇੱਕਲੌਤਾ ਪੁੱਤਰ ਵੀ ਦੇ ਦਿੱਤਾ। ਤਾਂ ਜੋ ਕੋਈ ਵੀ ਜੋ ਉਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ ਰੱਖਦਾ ਹੈ ਨਾਸ਼ ਨਾ ਹੋਵੇ ਸਗੋਂ ਸਦੀਪਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਕਰ ਲਵੇਗਾ।

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Great teaching from Derek Prince on spiritual gifts

This is a long but great teaching.   There several other parts afterwards.

In the last few years I’ve come across situations where I need to pray in a different language (gift of tongues) over a dangerous situation.  I’m still fairly new to this, and my current regular church doesn’t speak on it.  In the past I’ve been put off by other teachings on this subject.

Derek Prince is one of the best teachers on this and this is great resource for ordinary Christians looking to move forward in their spiritual life, not just for those in academia or theology circles.

I find it best to copy this to your iPod or other MP3 player using something like convert2mp3.net and listen on a bus ride as I have done.

 

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

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.

Jeremiah 31 – The Tanakh’s warm up to the New Testament

I forgot to mention that verse from the Joshua Aaron worship song I posted a short while back.

This is by far one of my favourite passages from the Tanakh (Old testament)   its like a kind of ‘warm up’ to the New Testament of what’s planned through salvation through Yeshua (Jesus)

Jeremiah 31 : 31

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”

This bit is mindblowing, soon even atheist Jews in Israel will have God revealed to them!

35 This is what the Lord says,

he who appoints the sun
to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
to shine by night,
who stirs up the sea
so that its waves roar—
the Lord Almighty is his name:
36 “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,”
declares the Lord,
“will Israel ever cease
being a nation before me.”
37 This is what the Lord says:

“Only if the heavens above can be measured
and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
will I reject all the descendants of Israel
because of all they have done,”
declares the Lord.

Here, the Lord is abundantly clear that the Jewish people have a part to play, with the modern nation of Israel, with Jesus’s return in the new future.

This completely trashes the concept of “fulfillment theology” (or replacement theology, or supercessionism) common opinion that says that God’s covenant with the Jewish people is finished.   Jesus fulfills the law but one of the biggest revivals will happen back in the land where it all started.

Interesting sign, turn around left and you can see the Golden Gate where Jesus will return (blocked up with Muslim cemetery in front)  to the right the Mount of Olives where he will stand.

Leonard Nimoy quotes the most famous Jew who ever lived

When the late Star Trek actor passed away a few weeks ago, I looked at some recent comments he made on twitter.   One that caught my eye was this:-

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Nimoy was an Orthodox Jew and to the best of my knowledge wasn’t a believer in Jesus, but I thought it was touching he would refer to a passage Jesus used on the sermon on the mount.

Matthew 5 : 1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes
He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I remember a while back, he revealed the Vulcan hand gesture with fingers 1&2 and 3&4 together but seperated in the middle was based on a Jewish Rabbinic thing.

Why apostle Peter would be a really bad Pope today

Recently I read the Pope has a bit of jolly visiting the holy land, which when visiting Beth Lehem, the Palestinian authority put on a nice show for him showing how they were dedicated to peace. You know, showing Jesus’s step-father Joseph with a Keffiyah (Arab headscarf) and other assorted propaganda that make out Jesus to be a Palestinian. Sigh.

I’ve been perplexed to figure out how Catholicism is influenced from the bible.  Someone the other day told me that Peter was the first ever Pope.  Peter is a well known figure that I’ve been reading a bit recently.

In actual fact I think that Peter would be a really bad Pope, at least put into the context of modern day Catholicism.

Peter is quite a passionate sort of chap, he is someone with a temper, good at talking to people and is a pioneer and building churches for the gentile believers.   He has his qualities and faults.

Peter has faith issues! (at least early on)

He doesn’t cope well with walking on water and sinks when hes asks Jesus that this idea doesn’t quite match up with laws of physics. I can see what he means I don’t swim at all, as I’m terrified of water and the idea of drowning. I’ve never managed to swim since several bad experiences as a child.
Jesus challenges Peter, by asking him to feed my lambs. In all honesty, I’ve never figured out exactly why Jesus was being a bit cryptic here. It seems he’s just asking him to check if he really loved him.  After denying Jesus 3 times which was highlighted by the rooster that crowed, Peter realises the terrible mistake he has made.

In Matthew 10 : 32-33 Jesus says Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.  Harsh words indeed.  Peter went on to achieve a lot later.

Its interesting that St Peter’s church in Jerusalem, has a rooster on top of it.  I wrote about this three years ago.

Peter is blunt!

The Pope does a lot of meeting and greeting of heads of state and senior members of other religious groups. On the PR front, Peter would probably get into a lot of trouble.

Christians who prefer only fluffy teaching would most probably consider him ‘judging’ at lot of the time. Peter doesn’t have time for cute Christian rubber wrist bands and that kind of rubbish, he’d rather get into with prayer and fellowship, in fact he’s really quite harsh with false teachers, which is why in the brief 3 chapters of II Peter has number two devoted to the charlatans and phonies in the church.

Peter has his own transport!

I’m pretty sure Peter would not need his own chariot and someone to drive him around in a custom bullet proof automobile. Peter is a fisherman so is used to getting his hands dirty and operates and services his own boat along with his friends.   Wonder if Petey took his fish to market on a horse, or if there was another person in the distribution channel who bought from the side of the lake and sold it to the other parts of the country?

Peter is named a rock by Jesus!  

Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Its really interesting here that Jesus is told people mistakenly think that other biblical figures, some then and some from the OT were thought to be the Messiah.    From here, Peter meaning rock becomes his name rather than Simon.

Peter tells Jesus hes also a rock!

Peter’s own writings from 1 Peter, the metaphorical stones Jesus used in changing Simon to Peter, Peter uses from the books of Isaiah and Psalms.

See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:6 / Isaiah 28:16

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 1 Peter 2:7 / Psalm 118:22

A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” 1 Peter 2:8 / Isaiah 8:14

Peter commits violence!

When Jesus is taken away and arrested, Peter hacks off the Roman soldier’s ear! Jesus then heals the soldier of this heavily bleeding cranial trauma, and carries on with the death sentence that’s issued to him.

Peter and Paul once had a disagreement over theology!

Oh dear, and people think troubles in the church are a modern thing, and going back to Hebrew roots will give us a more pure more authentic experience right?   Not quite.  Arguments of the same issues were in the first generation believers.   Here I think this was down to someone having an idea that out of Gentile believers and Jewish believers, one was more important than the other.   Galatians 2 talks about this.

Peter has a calm balanced approach to Eschatology!

Yes, he talks about end times and the earth burning up in 2 Peter 3 but in quite relaxed way, but warns against scoffers, ie: those who are denial about how moral standards would deteriorate before Jesus’ return.  I think today Peter would encourage us today to stay firm in our faith and moral standards but no need to listen to daft conspiracies on Youtube.   I might be wrong but don’t think I’ve seen any mention of the Pope looking forward to Jesus’ return or the worldwide troubles that would be associated before hand.

Instead, The Pope could try and mimic Peter

vaticanstampMaybe the Pope could take up fishing. By getting yourself to the level of a simple occupation that provides food and income, and a still quiet place like the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) would give you ample opportunities to mentor young believers, use the quietness to reflect and seek God.   Society tends to put a big artificial layer of complexity on religion, in terms of our relationship with our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I don’t really see a need for a man in his own palace in Rome which has an authority with its own special postage stamps.

So dear readers I hope you can read and be enthralled by Jesus and his disciples and the impact they made and not see them set today as people set in a context they were not meant to be.

Take out coffee and Transfiguration

These don’t seem like related subjects do they?

I didn’t think so, until the beverage I got from Aroma had this interesting message on top of it:-

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It’s made in a factory in Tavor (Mount Tabor, V and B are often interchangeable in Hebrew) funny as this is also the mountain considered to be the most likely place of Jesus’s transfiguration.

It’s also an exciting sounding place I’d like to go.  I am waiting for two new PCs to arrive at work, then I need to visit Karmiel to install these are some other maintenance then I will visit some of these places.

I think the town at the foot of Mt Tavor is Arab.   I’m now curious if the little hole is to let the heat out slowly, of it could be a symbol of something implied over Tavor? 🙂


Actually now you can see it on Google Street Map View!!    I’m not sure if this ‘spoils’ visiting biblical places or not, you could see it like a spoiler in a movie or trailer to get an idea what to expect – in this case Mount Tabor on your computer is more of the latter as you can’t see much pass the car park when you get to the top.

Matthew 17 (I have added some colours for emphasis)

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

The climb up the hill goes in a zigzag fashion which looks not too difficult to do, or you can go up in a car or bus.    Interesting enough, although three shelters were erected on here, there are two churches (Catholic and Orthodox) at the top today.   Its not guaranteed if Tabor is the exact place of the transfiguration, but seems the most likely place by biblical historians.    The other mountain in the north, Mount Hermon is covered in snow a lot of the time, I think Jesus would of mentioned this if it was there. 🙂    This part of the world has had earthquakes so maybe the shape of the landscape could of been different then, which Jesus mentioned in Matthew 17 : 20 that mountains aren’t necessarily a permanent fixture.

Related: My quick glimpse of Mount Tabor in September

Reformed skinhead spends fortune to erase tattoos of hate

Read this encouraging story today about a man who left a skinhead group, and wanted to rid himself of his facial tattoos, which had a lot of Nazi related symbols at the cost of $35,000.

http://news.yahoo.com/reformed-skinhead-endures-agony-remove-tattoos-162205881.html

The article didn’t state exactly why this man decided to come out of this kind of life style, maybe a good impression for his son, but did spot the picture of Jesus in his family’s home and the cross worn by his wife. 🙂

Albert Einstein on Jesus

Albert Einstein was offered the job of being first prime minister of Israel, a lot of people thought he was an atheist although from Jewish background, thought this was a fascinating glimpse of something he said though!

(saw this on a blog called DailyMinyan – hope you don’t mind me quoting it :o)
Interviewer: To what extent are you influenced by [the teachings of Jesus]?
Einstein: As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.
Interviewer: You accept the historical existence of Jesus?
Einstein: Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. How different, for instance, is the impression which we receive from an account of legendary heroes of antiquity like Theseus. Theseus and other heroes of his type lack the authentic vitality of Jesus.
Interviewer:  Ludwig Lewisohn, in one of his recent books, claims that many of the sayings of Jesus paraphrase the sayings of other prophets.
Einstein: No man can deny the fact that Jesus existed, nor that his sayings are beautiful. Even if some them have been said before, no one has expressed them so divinely as he.
(From interview with G.S. Viereck)