This morning I was reading 2 Kings 4-7 and something unusual caught my eyes. In chapter 5 the text speaks of a certain Naaman, a commander of the army of the king of Syria. The pagan king of Syria “was leaning” on Naaman’s arm.
Chapter 7, on the other hand, speaks about another commander, the captain on whose hand the king of Israel leaned.
Both of these military figures are faced with difficult situations, and they are also confronted by the Word of God. One is a leper (Naaman), and the other is facing famine and a siege. For both the only hope is Elisha, the man of God who speaks the Word of God.
What makes this juxtaposition of characters somewhat shocking (and really a rebuke to Israel and its people) is that the foreigner, the one on whom the pagan king of Syria leaned, believed the Word, obeyed it, and lived, while the Israelite captain did not believe the Word of God spoken through Elisha and died in unbelief.
A fairly long passage is dedicated in the Bible to the foreigner Naaman who believed and was healed. By contrast, the unbelieving Israelite captain (serving an unbelieving king – Joram son of Ahab) has a sad end, repeated twice in chapter 7 (vv. 17 and 20): … and the people trampled him in the gate, so he died, as the man of God had said…
There are many trials and exceptional situations in a man’s life. Help us LORD to believe you and your Word in a world and culture of unbelief.
Healing and life is only in a life of FAITH!
There is an excellent article by John Piper in the Taste and See series of Desiring God ministries about television.
You can Read it on their website.
I strongly recommend that you read this, because he does an excellent job in answering the following question:
“Piper says get rid of my TV, and Driscoll says buy extra DVRs. How do you reconcile this difference?”
This quote alone is worth your time:
“I think relevance in preaching hangs very little on watching movies, and I think that much exposure to sensuality, banality, and God-absent entertainment does more to deaden our capacities for joy in Jesus than it does to make us spiritually powerful in the lives of the living dead. Sources of spiritual power—which are what we desperately need—are not in the cinema. You will not want your biographer to write: Prick him and he bleeds movies.”
You can also read full article below:
One of my best students in the Biblical Aramaic class (Raj from India) has put together the following great list for Syriac resources. I find especially useful the first one, and the CAL (#9) ENJOY and use wisely.
This Sunday we were visited by Manfred Kohl.
Dr. Manfred W. Kohl – Dr. Kohl was born in Germany during the Second World War, and was educated in Germany, England, and the US. He earned Master’s degrees in Divinity and Theology, and doctorates in Historical Theology and Ministry. After serving as a pastor in Massachusetts, he had various leadership positions at World Vision. Manfred is now VP of Programs & Int’l Development with Overseas Council International (OCI), an organization that partners with more than 100 theological seminaries and Bible colleges in the non-Western world, equipping indigenous Christian leaders. Manfred does extensive traveling, speaking, and writing. His wife, Barbara, is a native of Nova Scotia, where they now live. They have two married sons and four grandchildren, all of whom live in the US. Manfred enjoys watching sports, reading, and carpentry.
You can find the message that he preached at Hallelujah English Ministry here.
The message is titled: Everything Changes in the Presence of Jesus and is based on Luke 24:13-35.
There is a great panel discussion about what it means to be a pastor with Tim Keller, John Piper, Crawford Loritts, Ligon Duncan and Stephen Um (chair). This took place at the 2009 National Conference of The Gospel Coalition.
Here it is: 2009 Panel Discussion . Enjoy and learn!
Obama is in the Middle East trying to mend relations with a part of the world that very much hates us. The first stop was in Saudi Arabia – without doubt one of the most repressive countries in the world, a country with almost zero religious freedom (rivaled only by North Korea).
As one who lived in a muslim country (Indonesia), with a more colorful background that W, he is supposed to be more qualified to mend relations with this part of the world, and understand better Islam. One only hopes that is the case.
My view is much more pessimistic about Obama’s knowledge of Islam and the Middle East, and also about the possibilities for peace.
I wrote a while back about PEACE in Islam (see the article rubric above) and my conclusions were not very encouraging. I hope I am wrong. Here, I will point out a few things and I would like to hear/read some opposing views.
A sad thing happened (and it is all over the news) yesterday when Tiller, a prominent provider of late term abortions, was gunned down in his church on Sunday.
See this interview with Tiller on FOXnews. This interview gives considerable support to the accusations brought against Tiller and justify his nickname “Tiller the baby killer.”