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Jonah Jonah


I don’t think I’ve used this video yet, but it’s one of the first songs I heard by ApologetiX, and as Larry the Cucumber would say, “I laughed; I cried; it moved me, Bob.” Just wait until you hear what they say the whale thought Jonah tasted like. Oh, and listen all the way to the end because they tag a couple funny lines on. If you want the full lyrics, there’s another video at the bottom with no images but all the lyrics.

So what do we know about Jonah–from the song or otherwise? We know he’s a minor prophet with his own book in the Bible. It’s a short book with four chapters that tell us a story of God’s abundant grace and mercy. It opens with God’s request to this Hebrew who is a faithful servant of God until God asks him to minister to the ungodly. He runs and says he’d rather die than to see God have mercy on Nineveh.

As Jonah sleeps on a ship at sea, God stirs up a storm, and even those who don’t serve Him figure out why. They don’t want to throw Jonah overboard because they don’t want his blood on their hands, but they do what they must to calm the storm. Just in case, though, they make an offering to God to repent to Him. In the meantime, it takes three days of Jonah floating in belly acids and darkness to figure out that God is also having mercy on him for his disobedience. He repents to God and declares that salvation belongs to The Lord, and God speaks to the whale to vomit Jonah onto dry land.

This time, Jonah obeys God and preaches to Nineveh. He is okay with it as long as he is berating them for their sin and threatening them with disaster, but when they repent, he gets upset. Imagine that. Imagine preaching “Hell” to someone you’ve seen thoroughly disrespect God and seeing them seemingly get away with their behavior because the price of their sin is taken away. Hopefully, if we have experienced God’s grace in our own lives, we will be happy for those we can help get delivered from eternal damnation.

Jonah should be glad at their repentance, but he isn’t. God, however, is glad to be merciful to people He created, and their repentance is beautiful to Him. In one of Jonah’s tantrums, God tries to explain this to him by comparing the pity Jonah himself showed for a dying plant with God’s love for a dying people. I’m thinking that Jonah never really understood it, but the job he did to bring about repentance of the people of Nineveh mattered enough to be included in the gospels Matthew and Luke and the ministry of Yeshua.

In Matthew 12:41, Yeshua even said to the Pharisees that the people of Nineveh would rise up in condemnation against them because Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah and the Pharisees refused to repent even though Yeshua was the greater prophet.

God hasn’t changed, and His mercy hasn’t changed, so He sent the same message into the midst of people in sin, and He desired the same result. He even upped the ante and provided a perfect sacrifice to give them the best chance ever. The grace and mercy at Calvary were so great, it overflowed from those who rejected it to give whosoever will an opportunity to receive it now.

The Prophet greater than Jonah is still here, and His blood still flows from Calvary. Listen to His heart as He looks over Jerusalem and weeps (in Matthew 23:37)…

 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”

The plan that started with Jonah still exists, and Yeshua still has love for Israel. Read all of Romans 11 for the whole story. I like the way it reads in the Contemporary English Version. Here are a couple verses from Romans 11 in the CEV…

  • 1a) Am I saying that God has turned his back on his people? Certainly not!
  • 11) Do I mean that the people of Israel fell, never to get up again? Certainly not! Their failure made it possible for the Gentiles to be saved, and this will make the people of Israel jealous.
  • 15) When Israel rejected God, the rest of the people in the world were able to turn to him. So when God makes friends with Israel, it will be like bringing the dead back to life.
  • 25) I will explain the mystery of what has happened to the people of Israel. Some of them have become stubborn, and they will stay like that until the complete number of you Gentiles has come in.
  • 28a) The people of Israel are treated as God’s enemies, so that the good news can come to you Gentiles. But they are still the chosen ones, and God loves them.
  • 29) God doesn’t take back the gifts he has given or forget about the people he has chosen.

What a promise! God doesn’t forget, He doesn’t change, and He doesn’t stop loving us. He still loves His chosen ones, and He loves those of us grafted into the root of the chosen. I’m thankful for what Jonah started way back then because it opened a door for what is offered through the blood of Yeshua now.

And here’s the Jonah Jonah video with lyrics…

December 6, 2014 Posted by | ApologetiX, Bible, Bible Study, Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choose Your Daddy


One of my favorite songs by ApologetiX is the parody of “Who’s Your Daddy” into “Choose Your Daddy.” J Jackson does a great job of imitating Toby Keith in vocals, and the song teaches a great lesson in a fun way. The video with this song is at the bottom of this post, and the lyrics are in the comment section if you view it at YouTube. Yesterday’s post mentioned not being able to eat from both a tree of life and a tree of death, now we get to choose who we want to lead and guide us to our provisions and destinations. Do we work for riches and believe they will be the answer to all our problems, or do we work as unto the Lord?

The choice comes out in multiple ways in our lives. Do we choose to care what our friends think of us, or do we choose to care what God thinks of us? Do we go for the good, or do we always make sure to go for that which is God? Do we seek miracles, or the Maker of miracles? Religion or relationship? God’s word or the doctrine of men?

As I prepared this writing, it occurred to me that if the love of money is the root of evil, and if we are not to strive to serve money, then prosperity messages that point to money as being the prosperity don’t add up. (Pun intended.) Biblical prosperity must mean something very different from money or God would be gifting us with something that sets us up for failure. Besides, if prosperity were about money, then how could people who live in countries where money doesn’t flow freely ever expect to receive God’s blessings of prosperity? And, if our country faces a market crash, will God’s children cease to be prosperous in His eyes?

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 22:1 that a good name is to be chosen over great riches. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:14 that he rejoiced in the ways of God’s testimony as much as in any riches. Riches are not necessarily bad, but we read in Psalm 62:10 that if riches increase, we should not set our hearts on them. Now, here’s what Chip Brogden of The School of Christ says about choosing which master to serve…

Infinite Supply Image for November Fifth

Infinite Supply Image for November Fifth by The School of Christ
Click on the image to open a new tab/window to view the article online and leave comments if you like.

November 5

Serving Two Masters?

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
MATTHEW 6:24

The context of this passage is talking about mammon (the love of, and the endless pursuit of, wealth). But the principle applies to everything else. There can only be one master in your life. You can only serve one thing at a time. You are not free to do as you please. Even if you say you serve no one, you are still serving Self. So which will it be? Jesus says if you love Him then you will hate everything else. What does that mean?

It means that you will allow nothing and no one to take the place of the One you love – not for a day, not for an hour, not for a minute. If our love for the Lord is strong then we will learn to hate everything which competes against Him. We will despise anything that seeks to hinder our relationship with Christ.

Source: Embrace the Cross by Chip Brogden

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I love the author’s point here that there can only be one master at a time for you to serve. Trying to serve more than one would be like trying to play on competing teams, or serve in competing armies, at the same time. As Chip teaches, we learn to hate everything that competes against Yeshua. Even if that competition shows itself within the church, be it in evident sin or the apostasy we’re warned about coming into to us unawares, we need to watch. If it competes against our Lord and His truth, we must reject it and turn only to Him. Micah 3:11 puts it this way in the New King James’ Version

Her heads judge for a bribe,
Her priests teach for pay,
And her prophets divine for money.
Yet they lean on the Lord, and say,
“Is not the Lord among us?
No harm can come upon us.”

And while this sounds like it should be talking about a group that doesn’t know God at all, unfortunately, it is talking about priests of the house of Israel. Of course, we know from Torah study that God warned of those days, but it’s still painful to read about these blind people who work miracles for money and then claim it’s the Lord.

The good news after all of this is to put everything in a category. Does it draw you and others closer to God or farther away? If it draws you to God, and if it helps you draw others to God, then choose it over those things that put a wall between you and your loving Savior. Avoid evil of any kind, and choose the Daddy that loves you and laid down His life for you.

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Nonfiction, School of Christ | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ApologetiX’s Apologetics


If you’ve read very many of my posts, you’ve probably come across at least one with a video from the group, ApologetiX. Today, I’m going to share with you why I like them so much, and I’m going to share their plea for support and prayers.

First, for those who don’t know, this group of musicians, singers, and writers is a multi-talented band that has been declared a cross between Billy Graham and Weird Al Yankovic. They take songs from different generations and styles, and they change the lyrics to those which uplift Christ. They do their best to imitate the original songs in music and vocals to the extent that you often have to listen carefully to hear the lyric change before you realize it’s a parody.

The lead singer, J. Jackson, has fantastic talent and ability in being able to imitate a variety of voices and vocal styles. He blends those with a touch of humor while trying to write the new lyrics to rhyme with the original ones, so the crossover is smooth and harder to detect. If you attend a concert, you’ll get to see him in a variety of costumes, and he puts on a great performance. But, he doesn’t end with the musical show. An audience of many who would never attend a traditional church will be entertained, but they will also hear some strong words of God both in the songs and after. J shares his personal testimony, encourages people to give God Almighty a chance in their own lives, and then offers an altar call.

I will tell you that I am not normally fan-type of person (dedicated follower), but when I can see sincerity and love for God in action, I can get behind the ministry that presents it. I feel this way about ApologetiX. I love the strong biblical messages in their songs, including the liberal use of Scripture verse locations. I love that each set of lyrics also comes with a history on the writing of the song. If you check their music page, you can click on the lyrics for songs in the left column. In the window that pops up, you’ll see both the lyrics and story behind the song’s writing. By the way, you can also listen to the mp3 music from that page for free if you are a member of the fan club.

From the home page, you’ll also see the recent news and a few past stories. This is where you will see the updates on music, but you’ll also get a glimpse of the heart of the band. If you want to know even more of their hearts, become a fan club member and agree to receive their newsletter. Within a variety of their pages and newsletters, I have become aware of some of the band’s financial needs, so without any prompting from them, I just want to share some ways you can help. Before I do, I just want to share that I have seen them go through years of performances and CDs, and they are always straightforward and honest. If there were ever a group to support, I would wholeheartedly recommend this group who has faced many challenges yet will stop and help stranded motorists as they travel from one concert to another.

So, below are a few links that you can use to either purchase their products or support them in other ways. They use PayPal for a pay portal, so it’s safe and convenient–especially if you’re already a PayPal user.

  1. Get free downloads for any donation amount at http://apologetix.com/store/store.php#MustSeemSilly
  2. If you want to donate online, read the how-to page at http://www.apologetix.com/news/news-details.php?news_id=2696 where you will also find a donation link.
  3. More downloads for donation at http://www.apologetix.com/news/news-details.php?news_id=2706
  4. Limited time Buy One CD Get One Free Offer at http://www.apologetix.com/news/news-details.php?news_id=2774
  5. Instant download of their songbook with lyrics for every song from 1993 to 2013 in an interactive PDF for $20 at http://www.apologetix.com/store/store.php#songbook
  6. Tis the season to get The 12 Downloads of Christmas for $8 at http://www.apologetix.com/store/store.php#christmas
  7. And a letter from a fan that sums up much of what I feel for the group and explains why I would dedicate a full blog post to their support… http://www.apologetix.com/news/news-details.php?news_id=2782

If nothing else, please keep this band and their families in your prayers. They are a ministry like any other, and serving God while spreading the good news is their primary purpose. You can buy their music from places like Amazon (ask me for links and I’ll donate any commission to them) and iTunes, but I’m guessing they get a bit more by purchasing directly from their website. Whatever you do for them, do as unto the Lord, and may God bless you for blessing His children. In the meantime, enjoy the history of their band in the top video and one of the first of their songs I ever heard (Play that Funny Music Right Boy) below…

October 29, 2014 Posted by | Nonfiction, Slice of Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pray Now, It’s A Lost Art


Prayer, Conversations With God by Flickr User Evan Courtney, CC License = Attribution

Prayer, Conversations With God by Flickr User Evan Courtney, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

There’s nothing like fellowship with like-minded Christian friends. In fellowship tonight, we talked about what it means to have a real relationship with The Lord. Just as I was mentioning that all real relationships involve some heartbreak, my friend Debbie was thinking in her mind about the times she’s been on her face weeping before God. We talked about how that happens, not because we are burdened or crying out for some kind of favor, but because of the brokenness we sometimes feel in God’s presence. When our flesh gets in the same room with the living God, we can break under the awesomeness of His love, and that’s just how it should be.

In a real relationship between real people, we have ups and downs, hard days and easy days, good times and not-so-good times. We have days where we feel so close that we almost feel like we’re actually one in body and mind. We also have days where we feel so distant from each other that we may wonder if the other person knows us at all. We share in all these times because we have made a commitment to be there no matter what, and we will usually find that upon reflection, we’re glad for that commitment. After all the hours, days, weeks and years, those who are truly in love will say it has been worth it all.

Well, it’s the same with God. We have ups and downs, hard days and easy ones, good times and bad times. We have days where we sense that God is walking right alongside us every step of the way, and we have days where, like King David said, it seems the heavens are brassed over. If we truly love God, we will make it through all these times because we are committed to Him just as we are to the humans to whom we have pledged our love.

In the relationship business, commitment is the key to keeping things together, and communication is the key to keeping them together in a pleasant way. With our spouses, and even with our friends, we don’t grow closer by being distant from each other. We fellowship, we share our dreams and hopes, we share our stumbling blocks, and we do our best to help each other walk through both valleys and mountain top events. We always try to talk to each other before we make judgment calls because we give the benefit of the doubt as we trust our partner or friend will do for us.

So, why don’t we do the same thing for God? With God, we often make rush judgments. It’s a blessing. It’s a curse. It’s a punishment. It’s a lesson. It could be any of those things, or it could just be life, but we can’t really know unless we ask God what He thinks. But, if we are not in the habit of talking with God, we may not know His voice as well as we should when it comes time to listen. His word promises that His sheep know His voice and listen, but why does a sheep know its shepherd’s voice? It knows the voice it hears on a regular basis. Here’s how The Message Bible states it in John 10:1-5

“Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

See, it’s all about being familiar with God’s voice. To do that, we must have communication with Him. We must pray, and we must listen. We must read His word to see what He tells us from there. When we worship Him, we may hear His voice even better because He inhabits the praises of His people. Prayer is not about rubbing the magic lamp just because we need God’s assistance (though He is there for us and willing to be our very present help in times of trouble), it’s conversation. It’s our time to draw nearer to Him, to get to know Him better, and just to spend time in His presence. As the ApologetiX song in the video below says, “Pray now, it’s a lost art….God is listening, you know.”

October 28, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Devotion, Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Bring Me Cows


Cattle on a Hill by Flickr User thskyt, CC License = Attribution

Cattle on a Hill by Flickr User thskyt, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

There was a time in my life when I thought I wanted to become an animal trainer, so I went to a presentation at a school for that. When I asked about financial aid, I was told with a wink, “We can work something out.” I never went back. I was much younger (and much thinner 🙂 ) then, so it wasn’t the only time someone tried to manipulate me for my affections. “Be my girlfriend, and I’ll give you a nice home to live in,” said a few guys who were old enough to be my father, but I wasn’t interested in them no matter what their offerings.

Most people like to be wanted for who they are, not purchased for what they can give, and I think God is the same way. He doesn’t have a price on His love. We can’t, as it says in the song in the video at the end of this post, pay off The Lord.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 26:12 through Deuteronomy 26:15, Moses tells Israel how to offer the three-year tithe on produce. At four verses, it’s a short enough reading that I’m going to paste it, but since you can click to read it in the Complete Jewish Bible, I’m going to paste it here from The Message Bible

Every third year, the year of the tithe, give a tenth of your produce to the Levite, the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that they may eat their fill in your cities. And then, in the Presence of God, your God, say this:

I have brought the sacred share,
I’ve given it to the Levite, foreigner, orphan, and widow.
What you commanded, I’ve done.
I haven’t detoured around your commands,
I haven’t forgotten a single one.
I haven’t eaten from the sacred share while mourning,
I haven’t removed any of it while ritually unclean,
I haven’t used it in funeral feasts.
I have listened obediently to the Voice of God, my God,
I have lived the way you commanded me.

Look down from your holy house in Heaven!
Bless your people Israel and the ground you gave us,
just as you promised our ancestors you would,
this land flowing with milk and honey.

God wants an offering that comes from a lawful heart, so the statements that accompany the offering are a chance for the one making the offering to proclaim his love for his Creator. His prayer, like the words above, might say, “Lord, I love You so much, I’ve kept every one of Your commands; I haven’t changed anything about any of them, and I haven’t forgotten any. I set this special offering aside for You, and I didn’t use it for anything else because You’re special to me. Look down to me as I look up to You in praise.”

No one wants others in their lives who are only there to buy affections. They want to be wanted. We all want to be wanted. We don’t want gifts with strings attached that make it seem like the gifts are not really gifts but payoffs instead. God feels the same way, and He deserves our best. He wants us to come to Him with love great enough that it stirs us to holiness for His sake. He wants us to bring Him gifts that we choose for Him out of love, not just leftovers we couldn’t give to someone else.

By the way, God doesn’t hate cows, but He would rather have your pure and true love than every cow on every hill in the world. Besides, He already owns the cows on a thousand hills, so keep it simple; don’t bring God cows, bring Him your heart.

And now, enjoy this ApologetiX parody of ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” called Don’t Bring Me Cows

August 31, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus, The Word


I find it difficult to go very long without finding one of the ApologetiX parodies that lines up with something in the reading portions. I’m so impressed with a band that can teach strong messages from the Scriptures and still make them fun to learn. In this video, they parody the theme song from the movie Grease and do a great job with the new lyrics. They teach about the blessing of having Yeshua (Jesus) in our lives in spite of what the secular theories try to teach about Christ being bondage to people. And they also talk about confession, faith, divine grace, and searching God’s word. The lyrics are on the YouTube page, and you can also find them here.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 4:41 through Deuteronomy 4:49 (the end of the chapter), we begin with Moses separating out three cities on the east side of the Jordan River that will be used as cities of refuge. He names Bezer in the desert for those from the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead for those from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan for those from the half-tribe of Manasseh. These cities will allow those who have killed accidentally and without hatred in their hearts to have a place to run for mercy and to live without fearing for their lives.

After Moses names the cities, the reading proclaims, “This is the Torah which Moses placed before the people of Israel–these are the instructions, laws, and rulings which Moses presented to the people…” Said in another way, “This is the Word of God.” It goes on to describe how God delivered the people out of Egypt, the victories they won, the kings they defeated, and the borders of the new land God is giving them to possess.

God gave Moses the word to give to Israel after they were delivered from their bondage in Egypt. I hadn’t really put that together before, but it wasn’t the words of God’s law that originally set the people free. God’s love for His people came before His commands to them. The laws and commands of God have their own delivering power, but their best power is what they can do to prevent us from going into (or back into) bondage.

What sets people free from bondage to sin now? First, it is the love of God for His people. Few unbelievers will get an understanding of that from just the written words, so God gives each of us a testimony to share with the circle He places us within. Our testimony of God’s love toward us works to draw people away from the darkness and emptiness that steals their joy of living. It draws them toward a place of repentance. That place of real, heartfelt repentance when they first meet Jesus the Word heart to heart is when their chains fall off and they find themselves set free to walk away and avoid the sins that have plagued them (go and sin no more).

Once people have stepped out of their initial “Egypt” of bondage, they need direction just as the community of Israel needed direction. The written word of God gives us the direction to continually walk a path that leads away from bondage. For the Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus the Word gave them a more excellent reason (His love) to follow the laws and commands that had become their own form of bondage. He wants us to study His written word to find wisdom to lead ourselves and to teach and lead others. And, He wants us to stay in communication with Him as our Living Word to help us walk in the joy of His holy presence. The lyrics at the end of the song above say it perfectly…

Research the Word, yes the Word that you heard
It’s God’s truth, it’s God’s teaching
(It’s the truth, I mean it)
This is the time, it’s the place, it’s the moment
Now Jesus is waiting receive Him
Jesus, the Word, yes the Word, yes the Word…

July 28, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learn Some Deuteronomy


We’ve now traveled all the way from Genesis 1:1 through Numbers 36:13. we’ve learned about God’s creation of all things, the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, an earth gone wild, and an earth destroyed by water leaving only Noah and his family. From there, we’ve met Abraham as the father of righteousness, Isaac as Abraham’s son of promise, and Jacob who became Israel. And from these leaders and patriarchs, we have seen Israel become a people in bondage, Moses become their reluctant deliverer, the leadership of Egypt destroyed for their sin, Israel delivered from their bondage in Egypt, Israel forced to wander because of their unbelief, and God use Moses to lead multiple generations of Israel from victory to victory. Now we begin a new book in their lives; the book of Deuteronomy which means “a copy of the words” in Hebrew.

Before we get into the reading, here’s a cool video (with lyrics) from my favorite Christian parody band, ApologetiX, called Learn Some Deuteronomy, which is a parody of Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard…

Now, in today’s reading from Deuteronomy 1:1 through Deuteronomy 1:11, we begin a new week and a new portion of Torah. Today, we start Parashah 44, Hebrew D’varim meaning “words” in English. We begin with the words that Moses spoke to all Israel from the far side of the Jordan River, on the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year. The reading says that Moses took it upon himself to expound the Torah of everything God had told him to speak to them. In other words, he wanted to leave them with a summation of what he felt was important about their time together–the words from The Creator to His children.

Moses begins with reminding Israel that God was the One who spoke to them in Horeb and told them they had stayed long enough on that mountain and that it was time to move on. God told them to turn and take their journey up to the hill country of the Amorites and all their neighbors in the Arabah. God then directed them to the lowland, the south (the Negev), the coast, the land of the Canaanites, and then to Lebanon as far as “The Great River,” the Euphrates.

Moses continued to speak to the people who were now at the entrance to their promise, telling them that God said (in verse 8, Amplified Bible), “Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their descendants after them.” He went on to bless them with the reminder that God had multiplied them, and that their numbers had grown, so they were now like the stars of Heaven for multitude. He added (verse 11 AMP), “May the Lord, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you as He has promised you!

I don’t know about you, but I can hear the love as Moses speaks to this people he’s been leading for so long. He is like a proud parent who has watched his children grow, bear children of their own, make mistakes, repent, mature, and finally get to that place where he could close his eyes and entrust them fully to the hands of God. All Moses wants for this nation now is for them to continue to grow and be blessed from now through eternity.

What Moses wants for these people, and the fact that Moses spoke face to face with God, tells us that Moses bore the heart of God toward these people. God also wanted nothing more than to bless them, make them grow, and bless them some more from then through eternity. That He made them blind for a time, so He could build another flock of the Gentiles, does not mean that God has changed His desires for His children. He still wants them blessed for eternity, and this is why the two flocks will become one when He grafts Israel back into their own root. He is using those of us not born into the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel to continue to multiply Israel. We have a bigger family than we can ever imagine.

And now, I will share one more ApologetiX video with you since it is another one about Deuteronomy. This one is called Ronomy, and it is a parody of Del Shannon’s Runaway. It doesn’t have lyrics, and they’re short, so I’ll start with those…

As they walked along they numbered two million strong
With all of their wives and all their young
And as Israel walked out of Egypt some things went wrong in the desert
That’s why they took so long
In the book where it began, Israel found itself in Egypt’s land
Bid adieu in Exodus, straight through Leviticus and Numbers
They wa-wa-wa-wa-wandered
While, while, while, while, while they went astray
And they wound up their desert stay in Deuteronomy
A-ron-ron-ron-ron-ronomy

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Devil Went Down to Jordan


This title is from one of my favorite parodies by ApologetiX. Yeah, I know, I probably say that about almost all their videos I share, but they really are one of my favorite bands. I mean, where else can you hear the tunes you grew up with, Bible messages, praises to God, and have an altar call all in the same concert? I really respect their ministry, and my love for their music is just icing on the cake.

Today’s reading comes from Numbers 32:1 through Numbers 32:19, and begins with the descendants of Reuben and Gad speaking with Moses and Eleazar about their great quantities of livestock. They gather the community leaders together to present a proposition to them about the land The Lord conquered on the side of the Jordan River across from that which God has promised to Israel. They have noticed the land is perfect for all their cattle, so they are asking if it would be okay if they just took that land instead of having to cross over.

Moses gets pretty frustrated with these guys and begins to tell them the stories of their forefathers and why they wandered in the desert for forty years instead of inheriting their promise. He explains that what the men are asking right now is akin to the sins of their fathers that stirred up the anger of The Lord. He also explains how it is not right for them to just want their own provision and comfort in a land where the enemy has already been defeated only to let the rest of the tribes go across Jordan and have to fight for the land in which they will dwell.

The sons of Gad and Reuben get the message and present an alternate idea. They say they will go ahead and build stalls for their cattle and fortified cities for their women and children since they are not part of the armies anyway. All the fighting men will then join their brothers on the other side of the Jordan River and help them fight for their promise. They say they will not only march at the front of their armies, but they will continue to fight until the rest of Israel has taken possession of their inheritance. They claim, however, that their inheritance has fallen on the east side of the river.

At my first read-through of this, I couldn’t figure out why Moses would have gotten so angry at these men for wanting to stay across the river from their brothers. I was thinking it wasn’t very nice of them to want to split themselves off, but at the same time, if it made sense for their cattle, and it was an area they had fought for, I thought maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. It took me reading again to realize the problem wasn’t with the land as much as it was with the fact that their brothers helped them to fight for the land they now wanted. How dare they leave their brothers to fight alone just because they were now comfortable?

I guess it would be like being saved and only staying in touch with your church family and other Christians and leaving the lost to find their own way. Oh wait, too many people actually do that don’t they? I believe we call them “rabbit hole Christians” because they just go from one Christian rabbit hole to the next with no stops (in the “world”) in between. But we overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony because our testimony is what can win others to Our Savior. Don’t forget that your example in Yeshua (WWYD) is that He shared meals with tax collectors (known for their dishonesty) and sinners. Be willing to fight for the souls of others, and don’t let the devil walk into your “Jordan” (promise on this earth) and convince you to sit comfortably while the rest of the world goes to Hell.

P.S. I’m not certain how all the lands fall today, but I found an interesting site that talks of the boundaries of the promised land from God’s promise to today. Take a look at http://www.differentspirit.org/articles/boundaries.php and comment what you think about the Scripture reference from Joel at the bottom of the page. I think it means God is not very happy with those currently in charge of our country.

July 10, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Counting Sheep


Counting Sheep by Flickr User Tim Green, CC License = Attribution

Counting Sheep by Flickr User Tim Green, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

I once bought a mattress set just because I could get one of those Serta Counting Sheep with it. Actually, it wasn’t just any counting sheep, it was a pink one to honor survivors and victims of breast cancer. I found a picture of one amongst someone’s collection of counting sheep at Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/houndstooth4/6831677590/, but you have to visit there since it has an all rights reserved copyright on it. I gotta wonder, though, what the sheep in the picture above thought of being written on. They don’t look like they mind too much. 🙂

Anyway, in today’s reading from Numbers 29:12 through Numbers 30:1 (in the Complete Jewish Bible) and Numbers 29:12 through Numbers 29:40 (in the Amplified and other translations), we conclude another week of Torah with instructions on celebrating the feast of Sukkot. The feast begins on the 15th day of the 7th month on the Jewish calendar, and it runs for seven days. The details for the celebration are repeated from older readings, but since they have a countdown included in the sacrifices, I’ll list those just so you can do like me and see the totals offered. God told Israel to sacrifice as follows…

  • On day one: 13 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day two: 12 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day three: 11 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day four: 10 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day five: 9 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day six: 8 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day seven: 7 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.

The eighth day, Simchat Torah, is a festive assembly that also includes sacrifices, but this time it is 1 bull, 1 ram, 7 lambs, and 1 goat. All these sacrifices are in addition to the regular vows and voluntary offerings, and they all require lambs that are in their first year and without defect. Every sacrifice also has a grain and drink offering that accompanies it.

If you’re like me, you noticed the countdown of the bulls from 13 to 7, and maybe you even counted all the animals to see how many were sacrificed in one week. If you didn’t, don’t worry. Here’s the counts I came up with: 70 bulls for the first week plus the 1 on the festival day is 71; then 14 rams plus 1 is 15; then 98 lambs plus 7 is 105; plus 1 goat. That’s a total of 192 animals in addition to the regular offerings.

I know that God doesn’t do anything arbitrarily, so I’m certain there are specific reasons for the numbers of animals He told Israel to sacrifice. Two things I noticed about the bulls. First, I don’t read where they were required to be without defect like the lambs. Then, I noticed the bulls in the week of “Tabernacles” (Sukkot), numbered seventy. When Scripture speaks of “the nations,” it is referring to the 70 nations that were not Israel.

Did God have Israel sacrifice that number of bulls each year to represent His mercy toward non-Jews to allow them to become converted? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that He has always had mercy on all men–before, during, and since the formation of Israel as a nation, and it would not surprise me to find that an exact number of bulls was sacrificed to represent an exact number of gentiles who were saved before Yeshua shed His blood for all mankind. Tabernacles (or tents) represent our temples of flesh, so it would be the perfect feast to represent salvation for all by sacrificing both bulls and clean lambs. Whatever it meant then, I do know the blood of Christ now makes us all lambs in the flock of God, and we are counted as children in God’s family.

And with that, I bid you Shabbat Shalom, and enjoy this video by ApologetiX with a parody of the song “Barbara Ann” called “Baa, We’re Lambs”…

 

July 4, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resident Bush


Okay, I’ll admit it, I used to love the Candid Camera show. I love seeing people’s reactions when something that should not talk suddenly has a voice. My grandfather has had a variety of talking toys throughout my life, and the talking skull was almost always good to make someone jump out of their seat. (Of course, the farting Indian–Chief Running Out of Water, since we lived in Arizona–was quite fun too.)

Anyway, of all the tricks, I don’t think anyone ever pulled off what Moses went through in today’s reading from Exodus 3:1 through Exodus 3:15. He was out tending sheep for his new father-in-law, Jethro, when he looked across the desert and noticed a bush burning. As he watched it, the bush did not burn up like he would’ve expected, so he decided to go check it out. Before he got up to it, a voice spoke from the midst of the burning bush telling him not to come any closer and to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground.

I would hope I would’ve been barefoot and face down in an instant if that happened to me, but we don’t read what Moses did at that point. We do read that God continued to speak to him. He told him He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that He heard the pain of His people crying out to Him. And then He told Moses that He was sending him to Pharaoh so he could lead God’s people out of Egypt. Okay, if I was on my face, now I think I’d be standing up again, and I think I’d have a puzzled look on my face while I said, “Who, me?” with a giant question mark showing in my features.

Moses did say, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to lead the people out of Egypt?” And God told him that He would be with him and that the sign he was doing the right thing was that they would worship God right there on the mountain where he stood.

I guess Moses got the idea that he was going since the next thing he asked was who should he say sent him. God told him to say that I Am Who I Am had sent him and then went on to give Moses His actual memorial name. I’ve been using the name Yahveh in much of my writing, and I explained previously about the name and the Tetragrammaton, so I won’t repeat it, but I do want to include a video here by my favorite Christian parody band, ApologetiX. In this video, they use YHWH and Yahweh instead of YHVH and Yahveh, but that’s because of our Americanized alphabet where “v” and “w” were at one time interchangeable, so it really is the same thing. Of course, I think their song might have been easier to sing with the “v,” but it’s still enjoyable to watch them parody YMCA by The Village People, and the person who did the YouTube video included lyrics and some cute play-acting. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas Eve to everyone.

December 24, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Son of My Pain


Today’s reading is a bit of a long one from Genesis 35:12 through Genesis 36:19, but the bulk of the story is in chapter 35 with 36 being mostly the genealogies of Esau. Before that point, though, we read about Jacob’s travels after meeting with God again at Bethel. While they were traveling toward Bethlehem, Rachel went into labor and had a very hard time delivering. As she was giving birth, she named the child Ben Oni for “Son of my Pain”. And then she died during the birth.

Instead of the negative name, Jacob (who knew the power of names) named his son Benjamin instead which means “Son of the Right Hand” or “Son of the South.” He then buried Rachel in Bethlehem and set up a memorial stone on her grave. That site is the place of her memorial and grave to this day, according to Scripture, and I think it may actually still be there as of this writing.

It is just after this event with Rachel that we read of a sudden change of reference from Jacob to Israel. Even though he had been given the name change and had the name restated by God in a second meeting, Scripture was still referring to him as Jacob until this point. I don’t know if the change had to do with the birth of his last son, the death of the love of his life (who may have always called him “Jacob,”), or the death of his father, Isaac, who was buried by him and Esau as part of today’s reading. But from this point on, it appears he is always called by the name that represents him as one who prevails with God. For everything he has been through, that is actually a huge statement.

Now, before I totally finish up here, I want to share another piece of ApologetiX fun. (Can you tell how much I like this band?) The video below is a parody of “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynard Skynard. It is called “Sweet Oholibamah” which is the name of one of Esau’s daughters. I tried to find a video with lyrics but was unable, but there may be some lyrics on the ApologetiX website.

November 21, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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