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If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray (Part One)

The text, for those who have trouble with a rather individual cursive, reads as follows: Scandal after Scandal. No institution safe....

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Western Wall. A new video from Aish for Jerusalem Day.

Aish.com have produced the following video. What intrigues me is the emotional power it has on non-Jews. The Druze get a mention.

Christians do not need the Temple. However, that does not mean that the Temple does not need to be built. Many Christians, and I am one, see it as a necessary part of the re-building of Israel and its return to faith as well as a necessary prophetic fulfillment of God's Word. I'll post on that in more detail another time.

In the meantime, the video shows the Western Wall today but also that marvellous day in 1967 when Israeli troops re-united Jerusalem. June 7, 1967 (28 Iyar 5727) This year (2013) it will be May 8.

I am sure that there are many Jews and Christians who never really understood why you didn't build the Temple then. 

One point of dispute. The video identifies the Wall, the Kotel and the Land as the heart of Israel. The Heart of Israel should always be the LORD, the God of Hosts.

Monday, 29 April 2013

The Hamas Education of children in Gaza

Jake Wallis Simpson in the Telegraph blogs on the futility of a one-state solution. Whether you agree or disagree with his arguments or his facts, he does seem to understand the nature of the problem quite well. Buried in the piece are some telling observations. He also includes a YouTube video which pretty much says it all.

Hamas are responsible for the militarisation of children in Gaza. Hamas means 'zeal' in Arabic. In Biblical Hebrew it means 'violence'.

When I was a cadet at school, we did field exercises. It was the middle of the Cold War but were never taught to hate Russians. Our simulations were strictly neutral, even when we were in West Berlin.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Muslim Arabs in the Isaeli Army.

Yet another article proving that Israel is not an apartheid state. This one was picked up by Israel Today from a surprising source - Al Arabiya! It features a Lt. Col. in the Israeli army who is a Bedouin Arab.

It proves that the Arabs know that the accusation of apartheid is a propaganda lie. But you won't read about this in western mainstream media, so blog it, share it, tweet it, Google+ it, tell the world what is really happening.

Friday, 26 April 2013

The devolution of 'Divinity' - or how to undermine a Christian education and Zionism

So what has a Christian Education got to do with Zionism? Once this would have sounded like a stupid question. Even anti-Semites would have recognised the connection between a Christian Education and a belief that Israel should be back in the Land. 

For US readers and others where religious education is not part of the curriculum, I will need to give a little background. For those looking for detail, I suggest Googling 'History of Education Acts UK'. For the rest of us, the UK was slow to take the education of all the nation's children seriously. The Churches had a played a large part, but  could not provide a universal system.

In 1902, an Education Act was passed as a result of the instigation of one Arthur Balfour. Yes, Israel, that Balfour! The argument over religion was between the denominations and not over the inclusion of Christianity. After all, the King James Bible had helped shape the English language.

There have been Christians in the British Isles since Roman times. Although the Anglo-Saxons were, mostly, evangelised by Augustine sent from Rome, the Celtic Church already existed and had made substantial inroads in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the North of England. This latter area, being not only my place of origin but a producer of many saints and clergy even to this day.

The subject was often called 'Divinity' and would be taught by clergy or suitably qualified persons. It was, and is, the one subject protected by law. This gave rise to the belief that it was compulsory. Actually, it was not and is not. Parents could and can withdraw their children from the subject if they have sufficient reason.

When I started school in the late 50s, the subject was usually called Religious Instruction. All pupils had a 'Statutory' lesson of, at least, one period a week. This, although intended as a minimum, soon became a maximum. Getting suitably qualified RI teachers was always a problem.

Somewhere along the way, it became known as Religious Education. Certainly, by the time I left my secondary education in 1971 it was RE. It was also still Christian and automatically included teaching about the Old Testament (Tenach).

After Bible College, when I went to train as a teacher, something had begun to change the nature of the subject. It was now called Religious Studies. My education degree included that component. It was not automatically Christian, and many RS teachers were not Christian believers, or even believers in anything at all.

Religious Studies now included Comparative Religion. Moral Instruction began to pass to a new subject, often called PSME (Personal, Social and Moral Education). This was not Christian unless some of its teachers were Christian. 

Unless a school was denominational, RE departments were under increasing pressure to teach Comparative Religions even when there were no children of other faiths in the school. 

Immigration meant that in the cities more and more pupils were from non-Christian religions. We began to see mosques, gurdwaras, mandirs, viharas, etc. being built. For those not familiar with these terms, they are as follows: Mosque - Islamic and roughly the equivalent of a synagogue (Jewish); mandir - Hindu temple; gurdwara (door of the Guru) Sikh and again a meeting place not a temple; vihara - Buddhist depends on the form of Buddhism.

All the above faiths, together with Christianity and Judaism had to be covered in that one period a week. This was not fair to any religion and academically, so unsound as to be a serious challenge to the intellectual integrity of an educated and conscientious teacher. Most teachers were now trained in RS and were pretty ignorant of the basics of even one religion.

The result was a superficial study of the beliefs and practices of all religions without any real understanding of why and how these faiths worked. Pupils and teachers came to conclusion that all religions were the same, which is New Age thinking or Hinduism without the Indian culture. Unsurprisingly, Muslims are now setting up their own schools citing Jewish and Christian denominational schools as a precedent.

RS is rarely taught to any intellectual standard and without any academic rigour. 

We now have a generation of young adults who have no understanding of the Christian heritage of the UK, no knowledge of the Bible, no knowledge of the Jewishness of the Old and the New Testaments and no knowledge of the history of Israel before 1947.

They have no defence against the twisting of history and the Arab claims to rewrite history. When   Hanan Ashrawi first claimed that Jesus was a Palestinian, I laughed in amazement that she even thought any one would believe her. Surely her credibility as a sane person was destroyed? Apparently not. We get a little game playing with the term Palestinian for those of us who know that Jesus was, and is, Jewish. Anyone else, including the propagandised people of the West Bank and Gaza, assume it means that Jesus was an Arab and /or a Muslim.

By the way, I often had to teach children that Jesus was not a Christian but a Jew. That was ignorance, now they are deliberately lied to.

I no longer teach my subject in schools. I am a preacher and a Bible teacher.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Second City Vision

This dry and barren city.
                                         This Northern Nineveh  
A man might walk
                                          From heart to edge
In one single signal day.
                                          Here are worshipped
Idols, wood and stone
                                          Gold and silver.
Here are fashioned
                                          Weapons of war.
Here is poverty
                                          Haunted by violence.
There is affluence
                                          Afraid of the poor.
Here is a melting pot
                                          Of all the worlds' races
There is a nightmare
                                          Of blood on the streets.
And there are preachers
                                           Pouring out God's Spirit and Word
Fuel on a sun-dried fire.

O for a match,
                                            A windborne spark!
A prophet of God
                                            Who has burned
                                            On his heart.
A spirit touched by coal
                                            From the high altars of heaven.
A city turned to God,
                                            A blazing fire.
In the rich West
                                            God's heart for the poor.
And the rich are so poor,
                                             His heart is even for them.
A city,
                                             A whole and holy city,
Blazing with Christ's love.

 © G. I. Goodson 18.2.88 All rights reserved. This copyright over-rules the Creative Commons copyright. No permissions granted.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Your own worst enemy - and this friend is spitting fire.

Israel Today has this article on what could be a major archaeological find, if anyone was allowed to excavate it. It is the remains of a palace that could date back to David. It is in the in the Judean hills in territory claimed by the Palestinian Authority. The Antiquities Authority is worried about political sensitivities and jeopardising the peace process. 

Israel is colluding in the suppression of its own history in the Land.

In the short term, it could be problematic, but as one famous Jew said, You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free'. He was speaking of Himself as the Messiah, but it also applies to lesser non-incarnate truths.

It does the Arabs no good to have the truth about Israels' history hidden from them. Strengthen the hands of those who want to live in peace in the Land. Tell the truth.

What sort of hasbara is this? Sometimes Israel really is its own worst enemy.

And this is Apartheid?

One of Daphne's themes is refuting the Big Lie that Israel is an apartheid state. Here is another example from 'Israel Today' as well a link to one of Daphne's posts.
Arab Muslim is new head of Jerusalem's top emergency room

This gentlemen is an Arab. 

He has just been appointed as head of  Jerusalem's top emergency room. There is a full interview at the Jerusalem Post as well as the article in Israel Today.

Daphne has posted on an Israeli Christian Arab who has just won their version of 'The Voice'. It's worth a listen!

Another marvellous poster-style image from the ElderOfZiyon .

I think they should be printed and posted all over the country, and especially in churches.

Escape to Oz and a signal honour.

As the marvellous Daphne Anson leaves Blighty for the sunnier climes of Oz , she has flattered me by cross-posting the first three posts in my occasional series on why I am a Christian Zionist. She has added honour to flattery by including The Almond Rod on her blogroll. The Almond Rod is but a little candle amongst some of the luminaries of the blogosphere on Daphne's blogroll, but it is very gratifying. 

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, the miles will disappear when Daphne returns to blogging in a short while. We have never met personally, but as an efriend she has been a great support and encouragement to this blog and its author.

Thank you Daphne, and I hope that my future blogs will justify my inclusion on your blogroll. I look forward to more of your informative and inspirational blogging.

May the LORD keep you safe on your journey and give you peace in your new home.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Conviction or Condemnation? Advice to Cranmer and others.

Perhaps Your Grace should consider this:

Do you feel battered, bruised, manipulated, wronged and devastated? Then you have been bludgeoned by the Enemy. Seek healing and return to the fray.
Do you feel convicted, cut to the heart, burdened with a guilt that can only be purged at the Cross? Then you have been cut by the Word of God and convinced by the Holy Spirit.
I'm betting on the former.

The Enemy can only destroy. God cuts only to bind up and heal.

The Enemy will hit us with lies that if they were true would be utterly destructive of our Christian witness and ministry. He will twist, distort, bend, misrepresent, suppress the truth and suggest a falsehood. Moreover, he will use those we thought were our brothers and sisters in Christ.

All this is persecution and the Cross. The servant is not greater than His Master.

The Enemy will tell you that you have wilfully and/or thoughtlessly given offence. He will not tell you that he has deliberately, and with malice aforethought, taken offence.

Goodson's Law and other useful observations

When the consequences of incompetence become indistinguishable from the consequences of malice, it is wiser and safer to assume malice.

It's a corollary of Ockham's Razor but applied to the machinations of bureaucrats,  politicians and other manipulators and schemers.

Then there is Hallam's observation:  That, somehow, the apparently incompetent succeed in achieving their agenda.

My father told me that 'People promote themselves'. By which he meant that, not only do they blow their own trumpets, they promote people like themselves. Which is fine if you are dealing with the good, the wise and the benevolent; not so good, if your boss/line manager is incompetent and foolish.

Find yourself a boss like  you; not a boss you like. It's not always the same thing.

Finally, I was taught as a young Christian that: The Devil always overreaches himself. He does too.

Playing by the rules when your opponent doesn't even recognise them.

Nobody likes playing against a cheat, but at least a cheat knows the rules.  The problem that Israel and the West face today is an enemy who is playing a different game by a different set of rules. Furthermore, those rules are not applied with an even hand but favour the one side only.

This does not mean that we should cease playing by the rules. Our Judeo-Christian heritage is what makes us great; it is also what has made us humanitarian. If we abandon our rules we will abandon any claim to having a better society and we will also abandon our humanity.

Pick almost any headline from English language media, and wherever there is egregiously bad behaviour you find a commandment that has been broken or a doctrine that has been ignored.

Take the case in the USA of the monstrous Dr. Kermit Gosnell (sic) documented in many places, but very well here by Brother Ivo on Cranmer. The case is being carefully ignored by the Mainstream Media or twisted as an example of what will happen with back-street abortions?!

Then there is the disrespect accorded to the remains of Baroness Thatcher which I posted on a few days ago here.

Or again, the way Israel fights with one hand tied behind its collective back and very well documented, by Gil Solomon in J-wire. Thanks to Daphne Anson for highlighting this excellent article.

And finally, one left-wing Bishop is seeking to silence Cranmer here.

More on this theme later.

Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day?

This is a bit late for the UK , but I hope it will be of interest to other readers, especially in the USA.

Friday, 19 April 2013

First steps in Zionism - Part 3: 1967 and all that!

These are my memories of what it was like to be 14, at school, discovering a personal faith, discovering the Bible and being confronted with the amazing feat of arms that was the Six-Day War. It's my history as I remember it. I will try to be accurate but it's not journalism or general historical analysis. It's about how I became/discovered I was a Christian Zionist.

It's worth remembering that in 1967 many people still had personal memories of WW2. Grandparents and some parents had served in the Forces. Most had done National Service and nearly all had lived through the War. We knew what the Germans had done. Back then we were less fussy about German /Nazi distinctions. We knew that the Jews deserved a homeland and we knew, to some extent, the Bible.

The Four 'Rs were reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic', and religious instruction. This latter meant Christianity and, because Christians revere the Old Testament/Tenach, there was some familiarity with Judaism and with the Geography etc. of the Holy Land. We knew things that these days some people actually question, such as the reality of the Temple in Jerusalem until AD 70. I'll post later on the change in terminology and the undermining of Christian Education in the latter half of the 20century. (Not a thesis, just a blog-post!)

For those who want a timeline and a history of the build-up to the war, I suggest that you go here . It's quite amazing how different political attitudes were then.

I vaguely remember Nasser taking the straits of Tiran (Gulf of Aqaba). Everyone knew that a regional war was was imminent. What no-one expected was a different kind of Jew.

The school I attended had a Combined Cadet Force. The best in the North-East, then and now. US reader, please do not make the mistake of interpreting this as being the same as your ROTC. It's very part-time, more fun, more relaxed, less intense, in short, more British. It's not full-volume, buzz cuts, calling sergeants 'sir' (good grief!!!) etc. Voice of command, yes on parade, hair - just above the collar, and our lot were so arrogant ( I'm sorry to say) that we never saluted anyone under the rank of Major. I'm not sure how we got away with it. The point being we appreciated the feat of arms that was the Six-Day War.

Instead of Saul cowering in his tent, or the dreadful images of the Holocaust, we had an army of Davids, young, fit and victorious.

Some of us thrilled to see this, and when we saw those same soldiers reunite Jerusalem and praying at the Western Wall, it felt like we were watching the Bible come to life.

And then, as part of my growth as a Christian, I discovered Obadiah. to be precise 1:20 . Zarephath, half-way between Tyre and Sidon. I wondered if we might see conflict in the Lebanon in that area? Obadiah got that one right, but possession is yet to come. Given the persecution of non-muslim Arabs, I still expect to see them look to Israel for protection.

To summarise, at this point I believed that:

The Jews had a right to live in their historic homeland;
They had a right to self-determination - rule themselves;
And they had a right to self-defence.
This made me a Zionist, if I but knew it.
It also made me a patriot as every nation has these rights.

I also believed that I was seeing the fulfillment of prophecy .
This made me a religious Zionist.

Finally, it seemed to me that this heralded the return of the Messiah.
And this made me a Christian Zionist.

Nothing, that I have learned since, has changed these basic convictions.
There is much more to come, but these are still my first steps in Zionism.

Learn more about these pictures here.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Hope springs eternal - as do flowers and pussycats (almost)

In a sombre world, on a sombre day and on a mostly serious blog, here is something that I hope will cheer your spirits ( that's all of you with your own spirit each,  not one of you with additions):

The lawn has since disappeared - :-). We have also inherited another cat - :-(

If you click on the picture, and have the right software, it should get larger.

I was going to do another post, but it's late and I realised that I should leave you to enjoy the beauty of creaton.

Every blessing,


Monday, 15 April 2013

The British? Museum. Still rewriting History.

WorldNetDaily correspondent Pamela Geller has just caught up with Daphne Anson and Ian G of  TheAlmondRod.

Prior to my blog appearing, Daphne kindly posted an account of my email correspondence with The British? Museum.

In an article which references Bat Ye'or, Ms. Geller  has documented further examples of the Museum's departure from scholarship and rationality.  http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/dangerously-rewriting-history/

In Daphne's blog you can read the Museum's justification of  the use of the term 'Palestine' to describe the Land at a time when  the PA did not exist.

"I am sorry to hear that you did not find the exhibition engaging. In archaeological and Egyptological discourse, ‘Palestine’ (and ‘Syro-Palestine’) refers to an area (broadly from the north of Sinai to Kadesh, and from the Mediterranean to the current Jordan border), not a present or past state. Similarly ‘Nubia’ is an area that overlaps the boundaries of several historic polities, including today. “Israel” is generally used to refer to the modern state, and “Israelites” as the group of people first mentioned in ancient texts on the stela of Merenptah in the 13th century BC. There is no reference to Arab peoples, or the Palestinian Authority in the exhibition, which would of course be inappropriate given the timeframe covered. Please accept our apologies if the wording has caused any offence. Neal Spencer, British Museum"

And from my reply,

 I don’t accept that Palestine is a scholarly term, in common scholastic use and (especially since 1947), referring to a particular or general area. You draw its border at the Jordan, but the British Mandate included Trans-Jordan (now the Kingdom of Jordan) and I have maps that include what is now part of Syria. In other words, the term you are using as a general scholarly term is, in fact, politically defined.

On the time-line Palestine is used to refer to Canaan in 2055 BC. The area you define as Palestine would not include parts of Canaan!

It’s just too confusing.

Which is my point. It would have been simple to include a foot-note explaining where Nubia and Canaan were. In the case of Canaan; Israel, the disputed territories and part of Jordan. In the case of Nubia; parts of Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan.

In the meantime, your exhibition states that Palestine existed in 2055 BC. At best, this is poor scholarship, bad teaching and dangerously ignorant of politics. At worst, it is collusion with those who seek to eradicate Israel ‘from the River to the Sea’. ” (broadly from the north of Sinai to Kadesh, and from the Mediterranean to the current Jordan border) “.

It is not a matter of offence to me. I am not a Jew or an Israeli. It is a matter of scholarly accuracy and, also, sensitivity to the current and volatile situation in the Land." 

There is much more to read at Daphne's blog  and at Ms. Geller's article

You can find an account of 1001 Muslim inventions - sort ofhere .

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Respecting the dead - no matter who they are.

Whilst watching the news yesterday, the BBC interviewed a middle-aged man who asked why he should respect Margaret Thatcher in death when he had not respected her in life, or it might have been that she had not respected others when she was alive. 

Leaving  the claims and counter-claims to the verdict of history, it seems to me that there is a fundamental question about whom we should respect at the heart of this, and whether the dead are part of that category of those who should be respected.

There are those who like the Unjust Judge fear neither God nor man. It would seem that there are far too many like him in today's world. But fear is not the best of reasons for respect.

As with all things, we need to begin at the beginning, to wit: Genesis 1:26-27 . We are all, male and female together, created in the image of God. That needs some thinking about. I do not want to debate here what that means in terms of our make-up. I want to discuss what that means in terms of our status before God and before mankind.

If someone comes into your house and destroys your favourite picture of someone you love, how would you feel about it? When we sin against God or each other that is what we do. If I discover that you have been sticking pins in an image of me, it might not have had any magical effect on me, but it is certainly going to change my attitude towards you, if only because it reveals your heart, or, possibly, your mental state.

If the destroyed picture is precious enough, I may take the pieces and keep them together in a safe place. They are precious because they are an image of the beloved.

In Christian and Trinitarian terms, no matter how marred that image, we are precious because we are made in the image of God, the Beloved. Death is the final insult to that image and it caused Jesus to weep.

In Jewish terms, we are still in the image of the Almighty God, King of the universe. This is enough to raise the head of the lowest of sinners because even he or she is in His image and humble the proudest of princes because we are all sinners.

Respect is due to the person who bears that image, not because of the deeds or misdeeds of that person but because of the One whose image we all bear. This is the fount of ethics, justice and fairness. We respect them, because we respect Him; we love Him, because He first loved us.

If we are not made in the image of God, then we are worth only what we can earn and others are prepared to pay. If we are in the image of God, then we must live according to our full value and the worth He has placed on us. 

A corpse is the physical remnant, the mortal remains, of one, who in life was made in the image of God, no matter how marred that image.  That is why we treat the dead with respect, even when they are not known to us, let alone out of respect for those who grieve.

The fool who dances on the grave of one he considers his enemy demeans himself and disrespects the One who made them both.

A curriculum for war. What UNWRA is teaching arab children.

Israel Today carries an article about the the role of UNWRA in indoctrinating Arab children to hate Jews. It includes a link to a most interesting site which has produced the video shown below, amongst many others. It is shocking, but to those of us who are, or have been,  schoolteachers, it is appalling and heart-breaking.

'Behind the news in Israel' is the website. The copyright is as follows:

Articles and Special Reports on IsraelBehindTheNews.com are copyrighted. Readers should feel free to reprint, distribute and use the material herein, with citation and appropriate reference to Israel Resource News Agency. Copyright 2013 © All rights reserved.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Giving 'hasbara' a boost.

Israel Today has a brief piece about the possible start of an independent Israeli global news channel. Let us pray this is done properly and works. It will give 'hasbara' a much needed boost.

To stay informed, it is possible to register for email updates here: http://www.i24news.tv/

For those who haven't come across the term 'hasbara', and I needed to check it out, it's to Israel what 'Apologia' is to Christianity; to wit, an explanation of your beliefs, deeds, actions etc. It is not necessarily propaganda, although some will call it such. Like the word 'apologia' does not mean 'sorry', so 'hasbara' does not mean making excuses.

It is to be hoped that  i24news will have good, well-briefed English language presenters and reporters. Too often Israel has fielded heavily-accented spokespeople struggling with English and slow to respond to biased questioning.

I would like to see people of the calibre of Binyamin Netanyahu, when he did this sort of thing, and Danny Ayalon in more recent years.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Ancient stone structure beneath Sea of Galilee.

Apparently, a monumental stone structure about twice the size of Stonehenge is underneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee. No-one knows what to make of it or how old it might be. I've no suggestions, but it is interesting. It does show that we do not know as much about our ancient history as we like to think we do. What else lies hidden beneath  the seas of this world? You can read more here.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

First Steps in Zionism Part 2 - some reflections.

Of course, I've missed out a lot of what happened in the 40s, 50s and early 60s. I had only just become a 'teenager' in '66. How I hated that word! Teenagers this; teenagers that. Judge a whole generation because they had reached 13.

In the UK, I could just remember the orange juice ration for babies and my sister being weighed in at the 'clinic', which actually was the Methodist Church Hall. It would feature again in my early life.

Being a voracious reader, and my parents having subscribed for me to a part-work encyclopedia called 'Knowledge', I had some idea of the possible consequences if the USA/USSR confrontation had gone wrong in '62. I can still recall the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. I was aware of the Suez crisis but I couldn't have told you much about it.

Growing up in an English Market Town in the Durham Dales had a great many blessings and privileges; not least our very own Museum/French Chateau and a Public School, Grammar School and Secondary School. 

It wasn't idyllic, by any means, but it was a much better life than many, even in the UK, enjoyed.

We didn't hear much about Israel. As far as my generation was concerned, it was where it was supposed to be, where the Bible said it was, more or less. We knew nothing of the Balfour declaration or the machinations of T.E. Lawrence and the Foreign Office. My father's generation, having done National Service, couldn't comprehend why Irgun and other groups attacked the King David Hotel and hung National Servicemen, just young men trying to serve King and Country. 

Now, at a distance, I can only wish that we had kept our word. I think that there are apologies due on both sides.

I don't know that I really 'became' a Zionist. I think it is the word that best describes what I believe and how those beliefs developed. For me, and for many, Israel had every right to exist in its homeland. After all, a war had just been fought for the right of all of us to live freely and in our own countries. At least, that's what the people fought for.

More about Margaret Thatcher: Is this why she was Britain's first female Prime Minister?

God made it quite clear that those who bless Abraham will be blessed. Here's something about Margaret Thatcher that I never knew, she helped to save the life of a Jewish girl during the Holocaust. The whole article is here at Aish.com.

First steps in Zionism - a personal journey.

This is the first post in a series that will examine how and why I became a committed Christian Zionist. It is my  journey and my understanding.

Like many other brought up in the 50s and 60s, I went to Sunday School. This is different in the UK to what is found in the USA. 

At my home church we had a Lay Reader (non-ordained minister licensed to preach in the Anglican Church). He had the enormous privilege of going to Israel for a holiday. Back then foreign holidays were for the rich alone. We were just beginning to get used to the idea that working people might holiday abroad.

He came back with a slide show of places in Israel. He told us that here was where Jesus did this, or there was where David did that etc. etc.  Thus was born a desire, still unfulfilled, to go to Israel and see for myself. I was about eight years old. Many others were taught what I was taught, but they are neither Christian or Zionist.

Back then, I hadn't encountered the idea that scripture was unreliable. I never swallowed that lie.

In course of time (1966), I was confirmed into the CofE and stayed with the Church. It was through the writings of C.S. Lewis that I was shown the work of Satan and the saving power of Jesus the Christ. About this time, God was working in the lives of millions of young people (1967/8). This Revival was sometimes called the Jesus Movement, but I knew none of that. All I knew was the God  that I had personally encountered was the Jesus I read about in the Scriptures.  

I soon came to realise that if I believed the Gospels, I had to believe the Old Testament/Tenach. I didn't know it at the time, but I was now an 'evangelical' Christian.

For me, Jesus and Israel were inseparably intertwined - and I wanted to go to Israel all the more.

Next: 1967 and all that.

Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Kesteven: The rush to Judgement – as if our opinion counts.

The media are full of debatable facts and dubious opinions at the best of times. Currently, they are having a field day as they try to review the life, achievements and opinions of the late Baroness. Personally, I have mixed feelings. Was she a Christian? The estimable Cranmer  seems to think so. I never knew her and am not qualified to comment. 

Which is really my point. We should pray for those who grieve, that they will find comfort in Christ. We commit her to God and we leave judgement to God and to fools.

The scriptures tell us very little about the eternal destinations of most of the people mentioned therein. We know for certain that Judas, the son of perdition was lost, or do we? Paul uses the term about the Man of Sin.

We are more confident with the saved. Abraham, Moses, Elijah and the list in Hebrews which is still short, the Good Thief, Revelation tells us that there are 'myriads' in Heaven. All of which tells us of the saving power of Christ Jesus' sacrifice and none of which tells us of the final verdict to be passed on those we love.

All we know is that through faith in the Risen Lord we can be saved, that we are empowered to live far better lives and that we can have assurance of salvation. No other faith offers us this. 

As for others, we should seek to win them to Christ and for ourselves to have faith in the One who has gained salvation for all who will believe. 



Sunday, 7 April 2013

Easter is not about Jesus

Whatever made you think it was?

Easter is about bunnies and chicks, chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, family gatherings, holidays and Bank Holiday Monday traffic jams. Jesus rarely gets a look in. And why should He? It's not His Feast.

One of His Feasts is Passover/Pesach. Pesach is the Hebrew word from which we get the words 'paschal', 'Pascal', 'pasque' as in the flowers which are late this year, etc. 

It happens about the same time as Easter, but Easter goes back further. Eostre was a northern mother goddess of fertility, but variant forms of her name and general duties turn up all over the place. Our friend Nimue or Innana was also known as Ishtar. Elsewhere she was Astarte and in Ancient Israel you will find her in the Tenach as Ashtoreth. 

She is typical of the widespread belief in a mother goddess and is often associated with the horned moon (crescent) and the morning star (Venus). This is pretty much universal, with the exception of Arabia, where in pagan Arabia, the moon was seen as a god and since Mohammed, his family crest of crescent moon and star, has become the symbol of Islam.

It's worth noting that how symbols were used and how they are used now isn't always the same thing. They weren't always used in the same way at any given time.

Jesus is about Sacrificial Death and Resurrection. He rose again at the barley harvest. The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost/Shavuot another Spring-ish harvest. His return will be at Tabernacles/Sukkot, which is yet another harvest. It was also when He was born, but that is another story which I'm saving for later in the year.

Eostre, and all those other god and goddesses, sometimes have stories which, at first sight, look like Bible Stories. The Bible has something they don't. Firstly, it is a lot less fanciful and more prosaic, and , secondly, it has history on its side.

Jesus was, and is, a real person, and His life is referred to outside the Bible. He can also be dated and quite accurately. None of the other contenders has any kind of historicity and the events of their 'lives' have never been dated, even approximately.

Enjoy your chocolate eggs and bunnies, but give thanks to the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. He is alive!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Offensive religion and signs of hope. Not a story; just a scandal.

A friend recently attended a women's meeting at a nearby church and was told something I hadn't heard of. They had been addressed by a representative of the Red Cross. She informed me that the Red Shield of David had been replaced by a Red Crystal. This was something I had never come across before and thought it would be worth following up. 

Click on 'Read more for the rest of the article and images. For some reason Google /Blogger won't display them with all the other posts.

The Seven Words from the Cross.

When one pulls together the four gospels, these are the seven recorded sayings of Jesus before He died. Many Christians will know them, but for those who don't and for other readers, see below. They also help to create a chronological picture of the events on Good Friday. There are a substantial number of scholars who would dispute this, I'm not one of them!

6. It is finished (John 19:30; Psalm 22:31b).