Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shema


There are a few passages out of the Old Testament that are grouped together and called the "Sh'ma." In Judaism, it was recited as a morning prayer, as the evening prayer, for holidays, and a whole host of other reasons. Recently, I've been starting to memorize it, slowly but surely. There's one line in it, from Deut. 11:15 that says: "...you will eat and be satisfied." There's just something that strikes me about those words everytime I read them. It's not "you will eat and be full." It's not "you will have an over-abundance of everything." It's "satisfied."

I think as Christians in America, it has become all too easy to confuse the message of God and how He wants us to live out our lives with the American Dream. It's become all to familiar to associate the two together, when they are diametrically opposed. One is about a life of comfort and ease while the other is about living for a cause above ourselves and using our lives to see God's magnificent Kingdom be realized in our lives and the lives of those around us.

I'm not saying "stuff" is neccissarily bad. I just think we need to get away from the Joel Osteen satanic lie of "God wants to make you rich and live your best life now!" Our best life is the afterlife, when we're with God, and He wants us to use our time on this earth to show and tell others about Him. To be satisfied with what He's given us and do all we can for His Kingdom

Here is the Shema, in it's entirety (the italicized portion is part of the Shema, but not a part of the actual Hebrew Scriptures):

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Blessed be the name of His glorious Kingdrom for ever and ever. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul-then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.' "
Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What's wrong with the church?


Came across this quote earlier today from Phillip Yancey and thought it was tood good and too thought provoking to NOT share.

"The more unsavory the characters, the more at ease they seemed to feel around Jesus. People like these found Jesus appealing: a Samaritan social outcast, a military officer of the tyrant Herod, a quisling tax collector, a recent hostess to seven demons.

"In contrast, Jesus got a chilly response from more respectable types. Pious Pharisees thought him uncouth and worldly, a rich oung ruler walked awa shaking hishead, and even the open-minded Nicodemus sought a meeting under the cover of darkness.

"I [Yancey] remarked to the class how strange this pattern seemed, since the Christian church now attracts respectable types who closely resemble the people most suspicious of Jesus on Earth. What has happened to reverse the pattern of Jesus' day? Why don't sinners like being around us?"

Good thought and good question. Why don't sinners like to be around the Christian church?