even more Hebrew worship

Worshipping with the Psalms in Hebrew (even if you only understand a few words) is amazing.

It says psalm 122 but its actuall 123 in my bible.

 

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.Psalm 123:2 (ESV)

 

2    הִנֵּה כְעֵינֵי עֲבָדִים אֶל־יַד אֲדוֹנֵיהֶם כְּעֵינֵי שִׁפְחָה אֶל־יַד גְּבִרְתָּהּ כֵּן עֵינֵינוּ אֶל־יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַד שֶׁיְּחָנֵּנוּ׃

 

Don’t think I linked to this one before but its one of my favourites. So simple yet so wonderful.

 

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.Psalm 42:1 (ESV)

     כְּאַיָּל תַּעֲרֹג עַל־אֲפִיקֵי־מָיִם כֵּן נַפְשִׁי תַעֲרֹג אֵלֶיךָ אֱלֹהִים׃

 

Its like when you sing it your soul finally gets to express itself. This is the meaning of life. Right here. You don’t make up your own meaning. It’s in a relationship with God and our souls long for it. It’s you have a long lost relative. A twin. Someone that you are connected to. That you belong with but were separated from. You don’t consciously remember but it affects you every waking moment.

This puts words to our souls longing to be reunited with God. That is now possible through faith in Jesus. This psalm written hundreds of years before Jesus came begins to be fulfilled in the relationship we have with God now, but the fullness of it comes when we Jesus comes again and we see him face to face. When we know him even as he knows us now.

Singing slowly like this is so good as it gives the meaning time to flow form the words. These  words are too full to sing quickly. There is an ocean of meaning in them that comes from the heart of God.

Pop songs are quite catchy. And they begin to get less shallow when they tap into love or hate in the way that they do. But nothing gets close to Spirit anointed worship of Jesus.

 

Have I got this right?

Recently I was a little wobbled in my conviction that God wants to supernaturally heal the sick and that in fact it is a priority for him. There is an argument that says that miracles mainly occur at moments of new divine revelation. Ie around the time of Moses, the prophets, Jesus and the apostles. Once these people and their words are authenticated by miracles the need for miracles tails off. Maybe you get a few when you take the gospel to new places but after a while the power and pyrotechnics die down and we are left with words.

Well, it maybe that miracles and healing take place when the Holy Spirit is powerfully working but my expectation is that he is powerfully working today. Pentecost was not just a flash in the pan it was the start of fire that spread around the world and burns to this day. It was the first deluge of an ongoing out pouring of the Spirit on all flesh.

Anyway, listening to Bill Jonhson is always encraougning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItLIUWPujg8

 

1)      God’s will is for us to heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead.

2)      Praying can be in place of obedience. There is a time to stop praying “please heal so and so” and step out and heal them

3)      “I do not hold God hostage for this one miracle. I am responsible to pursue these things”.

4)      “never go to bed at night without blood on your sword”

 

I just listened to an interview with him here  where he talks about stories of people getting healed and others who see it getting saved. That is good to hear as I heard recently that hearings tend to put people off Jesus by freaking them out. That does happen but the opposite also happens too. Phew. I feel a bit better now.

 

PS. Open letter from person who made Finger of God film to John McArthur and here is kick starter for his new film Holy Ghost.

 

Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird is a really addictive game where you fly a bird through a series of pipes. Tap the screen and the bird flaps and goes up. Don’t tap the screen and he starts to go down. Its addictivness is, I think, down to a combination of a few factors:

1)      It is a really simple idea.

2)      It looks really easy to play

3)      It is actually really hard to play

 

It’s a bit like threading a needle. There is the hole and there is the thread. It should be easy. But for some reason the cotton seems to veer away from the hole everytime you bring it near. It looks so easy and is so simple that you try again and again and again. The cotton must go through the eye because that’s what cotton and needles are made to do. Flappy bird is like that. The little bird must be able to go through the pipes.

Healing is a bit like Flappy bird. It looks really simple. You don’t need loads of training. You just pray or command healing in the name of Jesus. But it’s actually really hard too. Often you pray and nothing seems to happen. But it’s so simple you go for it again. Sickness must go in the name of Jesus. Jesus’ name is that powerful. Sickness is so not part of God’s kingdom. You don’t need to get more training or learn more skills. It should work! It will work next time.

Some people hate Flappy bird and give up. But others can’t stop and gradually they do get better. My high score went from 1 to 2, to 4, to 12 in a few days. I know children with scores of over 100. Something about it keeps you coming back to try again.

The Spiritual gift of teaching is hard work. There is a lot of technical stuff to learn and get your head round. It helps to have several years of training and familiarity with ancient languages and history etc. But healing seems much more simple. It isn’t, but it seems like it is and so each time you pray for someone you know something amazing could happen. Should happen. Must happen!

So far I am better at Flappy birds than healing but I just can’t put it down.

Thoughts on Psalm 8

A few thoughts as I read Psalm 8 recently:

1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

I know others have said it but when you look at the heavens through the Hubble telescope, it  is pretty glorious. Even then, night sky when it’s free from light pollution, is still stunning. God made all that to reveal how amazing he is. Wow! Take a look here http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/ for some amazing Hubble photos.

2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. (ESV)

מִפִּי עוֹלְלִים וְיֹנְקִים יִסַּדְתָּ עֹז לְמַעַן צוֹרְרֶיךָ לְהַשְׁבִּית אוֹיֵב וּמִתְנַקֵּם׃[1] (The Hebrew)

from the mouth of sucklings and ones who suck you have established/fixed strength (oz) for the sake of (in order that) your oppressors/ones who show hostility to you, to cause to cease/desist (hiphil) ones who hate and ones who avenges. (My literal translation)

 through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies (NIV)

So basically, God has enemies and the way he silences them, the way he deals with them, the way he overcomes their hostility, is through little babies’ praise of him. He takes weaklings and in their praise establishes his strength. As we worship Jesus a fortress is established that cannot be overcome. The ancient city of Troy was impregnable. The reason was its walls. Troy was ‘well-founded’ ‘strong-built’ and ‘well-walled’. Its walls were ‘high’ and ‘steep’. The only reason the city was taken was because they opened their gates and wheeled in a Trojan horse full of hiding soldiers. Well, the strong wall around God, set against his enemies, runs right through the praise and worship of the weak things of the world.  What a wall!

 

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

We should look at the stars, the galaxies, the nebula and feel very small. We should have that feeling. But then God’s love and care should hit us like a flash bang. Flash bangs are what special forces lob in before they go into a room, guns blazing. They leave the occupants blinded and dazed so they can be picked off easily. God’s love should leave you stunned. It is unfathomable, incomprehensible, mind blowing, heart overloading. The key thing here is that the one loving us, is the one who made the glorious heavens. This is the one who loves little old us.

5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour.

Again, we should feel small. We are small. But we should also feel that crown of glory pressed on our heads. It’s the crown of God’s love and grace. The value he puts on us. The cost that Jesus paid for us. Can you feel it? It is weighty. It kind of makes your neck wobble and you have to reach up and steady it with your hands.

6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

We have been given authority over everything. Something to remember when you find yourself in a field of bulls or pestered by seagulls. “Oh get away!” But it’s about more than throwing our weight around in London Zoo. We can tell mountains to move. Bodies to be healed. Spiritual oppression to let go. We can call people to respond to Jesus in repentance and faith.

The glory we have is not just in the love we have been shown, but the glory we have been given over the earth. In fact the ruler of this world is a snake to be crushed beneath our feet.

But wait a moment. How is all this possible? The NT tells us. Through faith in Jesus we are put in Christ. God was incarnate in Jesus, that is God became a man. And God was fully glorified in him. Jesus, as a man crushed Satan, resisting him and then triumphing over him through the cross. He rose again and then as a man he was given all authority. Jesus has the crown but in Christ we are crowned with his glory and his authority to now walk in and workout Jesus’ son ship and victory.

9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 

To right it is. Amen!

 


[1] The Hebrew Bible: Andersen-Forbes Analyzed Text. (2008). (Ps 8:3). Logos Bible Software.

Belief vs Faith

“Belief is a cognitive commodity, whereas faith is a spiritual commodity” David Carr

David Carr argues that belief based on evidence takes you so far, but faith enables us to see beyond the natural; beyond what we might expect based on evidence alone.

I find this view on faith and belief very interesting and it articulates a tension that I have experienced when talking and thinking about it. On the one hand, when responding to Richard Dawkin’s, “faith is believing in the absence of evidence” I want to reply that there is lots of evidence for faith. There are philosophical, physical and historical arguments for God’s existence all based on good evidence. However, I remember being at a conference where Rob Rufus spoke and he stressed that faith is not evidence based. Rather, it’s something supernatural. I guess the two come together in that evidence and reason get you so far in terms of trusting that there is a God, but there is a gap. Different people look at the same evidence and come to different conclusions. There are no knock down watertight arguments for the existence of God. There are, in my opinion, some very good ones, but no perfect proofs as such. “Belief” in David Carr’s sense runs along the reasons and the evidences for God, and then faith leaps the gap onto God. Faith is God’s gift and gets you airborne from possibilities, even probabilities, to certainties. Belief points you to the reliability of God and his word, but then faith moves your confidence from reason to revelation. From standing on the arguments and evidence,to standing on God and his word. In this sense the arguments that got you there could appear to crumble or be undermined, but you would not budge from your conviction in God’s faithfulness. You now see something even more substantial and real than the evidences that pointed you in the right direction.

I’m not sure if faith and belief actually mean different things in English or the Bible, but this is a helpful distinction for resolving of the word “faith”.  Faith is based on what God has said. Sometimes that is based on clearer evidence than at other times. Another distinction could be made between belief/faith based on evidence, and belief/faith based on what God says.

Even if the words faith and beliefreally mean much the same thing, Carr points out two different aspects of faith/belief that are really helpful. But Ah! There are actually two Greek words in play here. πιστεύω “Pistew” for faith and  δοκέω “dokew” for believe or think.  The latter seems to have more of a mental rational element to it and, as Mounce says in his Complete Expository Dictionary, can “simply denote human thoughts or opinions”.

Then it seemed good (dokew δοκέω ) to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, Acts 15:22 (ESV)

And do not presume (or think – δοκέω) to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Matthew 3:9 (ESV)

Pisteuw is used for saving faith, but also for what seems to be mental assent (ie not a special gift from God).

just as Abraham “believed (pisteuw πιστεύω) God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Galatians 3:6 (ESV)

You believe (pisteuw πιστεύω ) that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe (pisteuw πιστεύω) —and shudder! James 2:19 (ESV)

There are some other Greek words, all of which seem to have more of a rational cognitive meaning.

Ὴγεομαι Hegeomai which means “to consider, think , regard”

Λογίζομαι logizomai which means “to count or think or count against”.

Νομίζω Nomizw which means “to think or suppose”.

Φρονέω Phronew which means “to think, set ones mind on something, have in mind”.

So, while πιστεύω is not simply limited to a spiritual “faith in God” sense (why would it, the word was probably in general use before the NT was written) it is helpfully resolved into two senses.

Ok, so how does this relate to healing? Well, I think there is evidence that God exists and that he is trustworthy. Belief, therefore, gets me to a reasonable probability. Faith gets me to a place of confidence. Not so much 100% certainty if that means no doubt or niggles or space to at least consider alternative hypotheses at all, but I’m not sure that definition works for anything. But faith is more than placing a bet. Biblical faith I think is more than what is needed for Pascal’s wager. There is a solidness about it. A supernatural element to it. A presuppositional feel to it, whereby the object of faith becomes the basis for all our thinking. Reason comes to stands on faith in this respect. I think it was C S Lewis who said something like “it’s not that what I see reveals God to me, rather it is by God that I see anything at all.” I can’t find it on the internet so maybe I’m wrong on that. Anyway the thought is a good one. Once we have faith, reason has a stronger foundation as we see more clearly the reasonableness of the evidence that points us to God. (see my New Year’s sanity check http://marcustutt.wordpress.com/category/series/sanity-check/)

In terms of healing, I have seen people get healed and heard their testimony so there is some evidence that people do indeed get better through prayer. But I have also seen a thousand times more often that prayer does not seem to make a difference. Belief based on evidence, in this sense, would certainly not cause me to press forward and throw myself wholeheartedly into praying for people to be healed. The Bible also strongly raises an expectation for people to be healed in the name of Jesus. To a certain extent it increases my belief, presenting as it does more evidence (resting on the existence of God and further evidence for the credibility of the scriptures) that God responds to prayer. However, through reading God’s word something more can happen. A course-of-life altering conviction has come upon me that God does and will heal in the name of Jesus. It is a conviction that is impervious to disappointment and discouragement and stands defiantly in the face of the strongest evidence against it. I think that’s David Carr’s “faith” and I think it is Dawkin’s “faith” and I think it is Hebrews 11:1 “faith”. It is prepared to fly in the face of the strongest contrary evidence because it has made visible something unseen, but more real. It is utter foolishness to those without it and with good reason. In fact, it is almost a defining characteristic of faith that others should think it totally crazy. If your course of action seems reasonable to most rational people then it may not be Carr’s “faith” but his “belief”.

When I step out and pray for the 100th person or for the 100th time and still nothing happens, it looks really foolish. But I can genuinely see something real that is there for the taking. I can see health and wholeness in the kingdom of God.

Before I finish this I should probably put the word faith back together. De-constructing it has been helpful but the reality is that both aspects often work together in an inseparable way.

And one final note. Shortly after writing this I listened to Wayne Grudem saying pretty much the same thing in terms of the truthfulness and authority of the bible. There is good evidence to point to its truthfulness and authority over our lives, but at some stage the bible itself  becomes self authenticating. The bible is ultimately true not because a higher authority says it is – there is no higher authority – rather is it true because it says it is. Yes it is reasoning in a circle but that’s got to happen at some point or we have an infinite regress. The buck stops with God.

PS. Interesting quotes from the interview

“Faith is a gift”.

“We only see ourselves in the level of failure we are in at the moment…”

“the Bible says that faith is the tangible evidence of things not seen but hoped for. Well that’s a contradiction because evidence can’t be invisible. And tangible means you can feel it and touch it. So the bible says that this invisible faith is more real than what you can touch. ”

“We are not born for failure… The big questions is what is success?”

“Faith does not take you to what you could be, it takes you to what you could never be. If you could do it, you would not need faith, you would only need belief”.

“Faith is not an illusion. Faith was a crutch until I was able to walk. It was getting me better.”

“Faith enables you to achieve what is impossible for you to achieve”.

“you grow out of illusions but you grow into into faith and Christianity”.

“you can’t describe faith, it’s invisible”

“If I stayed in football I would be on about £300,000 a year by now so why would I give that up if faith is an illusion”.

If faith is a gift then how do you get it? “well, you find the person who is giving it… Talk to God and get to know him… ask”.

“faith is the real thing, drugs are the substitute”

How do you build it? “the bible talks about exercising faith. You grow it by using it”.

“there is a lot of things that I do now that faith has taught me, so I don’t now have to draw on faith to do them..but it’s there if I need to go a bit further”

“Belief rests on top of faith… for example I have prayed for 33 women for whom it was impossible for them to have babies. Every one of them has had a baby. Now, that is easy for me to pray for so I believe that it can happen. It was faith, now it has become a belief. But if you said to me how about a man who is blind, who only had one leg and is deaf, do you think his leg is going to grow back? I’d say no. My belief ain’t going to do that, but then again my faith isn’t going to either. Because I haven’t got it up that far yet.”

“If a boxer gives up boxing he balloons (puts on weight).  Faith is also keeping you where you are. A lot of people have faith to get there but not many have faith to stay there. What’s wrong with staying there… we are living in a world where we have lost the ability to stay.”

“I wanted to walk out of football, I wanted to walk out of relationships and I wanted to walk out of the church.”

“Some things we are genuinely frightened of. We are going to face issues in our lives that frighten us. If you admit it, you can confront the fear.”

David Carr says he used to be physically sick with fear before business meetings, but of course as he pushed through they got easier.

Healing testimonies

Here are some healing testimonies:

Healing testimony on the streets:

9 mins 5 secs. Eye goes from 50% vision to 80% to 100%.

14:25 “it says these signs will follow those that believe, not those being prayed for. So the believing believer is the one responsible for the faith otherwise how are we going to touch [people of other faiths or none]…..my faith trumps their unbelief”. Todd White

This was taken down. I think this is the same clip of a lady receiving her sight. View it from the start:

A man testifying about being healed from deafness:

A women testifying to receiving her sight (It’s a bit loud!):

A quieter testimony of eyes opening:

And another:

And another

Lame walking:

Brother Yunn at Bethel:

3:00 Revival in North Korea:

Bill Johnson:

“She had entered God’s one step program” Bill Johnson

“Grace does not overlook sin it empowers righteous living”

Anyone know about Manaseh Jordon? He seems to be getting people’s names as words of knowledge:

With Benny Hinn:

 

 

There are space ships in our gardens

When I posted the film “there is a space ship in my garden” I assumed it was a unique event. Or at least that no one else would be whimsical enough to do such a thing, but I was wrong.

It just goes to show there is nothing new under the sun and also that I can hold my head up high in this exclusive garden CGI club.

PS.

I always thought that I was the only child who’s dad helped them build a spaceship.

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