A pilgrimage that adds meaning to life

The Spirit of Truth

 

 

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

 

 

What does this mean? It is that believers lay prostrated waiting for the Holy Spirit to guide then in all truth?

Maybe!
More likely is that the test is to compare what is being taught with the clear teaching of the Bible.
The Bible alone is the Word of God; it alone is inspired and inerrant. Therefore, the way to test the spirits is to see if what is being taught is in line with the clear teaching of Scripture. In Acts 17:10-11 the Berean Jews were commended because, after they heard the teachings of Paul and Silas, they “examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” The Bereans were called “noble” for doing so.
Testing the spirits means that one must know how to “examine the Scriptures.” Rather than accept every teaching, discerning Christians diligently study the Scriptures. Then they know what the Bible says and therefore can “test all things and hold fast to what is true.” In order to do this, a Christian must “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

A Pilgrimage that adds meaning to life

A Pilgrimage that adds meaning to life

By

Jose de Carvalho

 

 As promised in my previous post I would comment on the ten plagues of Egypt before the Exodus event, more specifically the television programme which claimed that they were natural phenomena and not orchestrated by God – these are my thoughts:

It is true the plagues were natural phenomena that could have occurred naturally. Since all the plagues are common to that area, they themselves are not miraculous.  The miracle is how the phenomena is multiplied, all manifesting in that one season, with the exact prediction of their beginning and end and their limitation to just the land of Egypt.

 The 10 plagues

1 Waters in the river turned to blood – challenge to Osiris, the river god of Egypt

2 Frogs in the land – associated with the goddess Yeqt, the frog god of Egypt

3 Lice, mosquito’s, gnats

4 Flies

5 Live stock diseases – Hathor, the mother goddess of Egypt, the cattle god

6 Boils – a sign of a curse for disobedience from God

7 Hailstorm – destroyed crops, challenge to Isis, matron of nature and Seth, the of Egypt god of the desert and storms

8 Locusts finished what was left of the crops – a further attack on Isis and Seth

9 Darkness – a demonstration of Gods power over the son, the most potent symbol in Egypt and a direct attack on the Pharaoh himself, since he was considered to be the incarnation of Amun-ra the sun god of Egypt.

10 Death of the first-born – affecting the Pharaoh himself and finally capitulating and letting the Israelites go.

Paraphrased from Barker and Schultz (1988:739-740)

The miraculous plagues showed that God is supreme

as each of them was a direct challenge to one of the gods in Egypt. At each plague God demonstrates that the Egyptian gods specially Amun-ra, the  “Lord of truth, father of the gods, maker of men, creator of all animals, Lord of things that are” are powerless, as He is the creator and thus has power over all created things.

 If any of this enriches you, stay connected and travel with me as we migrate in this pilgrimage of finding ‘what adds meaning to our lives’.

 works cited

 

Barker and Schultz 1988. in Elwell WA and Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House

Hayford JW 1991. Spirit filled Life Bible: New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

A pilgrimage that adds meaning to life

 

A pilgrimage that adds meaning to life

By

Jose de Carvalho

I was watching a program on TV about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt screened either on National Geographic Channel or the Discovery Channel. I’m not sure, as it is now four in the morning and for obvious reasons I cannot remember – the coffee smells good though. I, like many of you could not sleep, so I decided to put pen to paper writing down the thoughts that were keeping me awake (a tip from a very good friend of mine that happens to be a psychiatrist, dealing with insomniacs on a regular basis!). The question that I was pondering on was ‘did the exodus event really take place?’ The programme questioned its existence based on the fact that there is no archaeological evidence of such an event. I really don’t blame anyone for questioning this on the basis of the lack of evidence. The question is, is there a reason for this? The Biblical account in the Book of Exodus provides some possibilities for the lack of any trace of millions of people that departed Egypt approximately 3500 years ago! (Exodus Chapter 1-13:16). This is where you will probably come in with a response like, ‘Bible stories!!! Should be left in Sunday school’ and for the more intolerant let us, we’ll add ‘stupid stories’ to the response.

 Now these are my thoughts:

Is it possible that the reason why that there are no trace is that God intended it that way?

The departing steps of the Israelites were taken solely depended on the promises of God to Moses and had to be taken by faith. Does this maybe indicate that any steps that we may take to find the God of the Israelites requires that we should step out and take these by faith – is this the lesson to be learned? I have difficulties in accepting any arguments based purely on faith so, I am searching for a reasonable argument. I found food for thought in an article by Howard, where he comments as follows:

The Exodus account is not just a story – it is part of Israel’s history even if it does not make sense to us – it still remains their history.  We have a similar situation in South Africa.  We grew up learning a very different history to the one our kids are learning now in school.  Some of which the population have difficulties in making their own, still it does not make it obsolete or less relevant. The true account of our South African history is based on the experiences of different parties, from a totally different angle, yet it is still true…it happened. The crust of the matter is that the history of Israel is not just history, these events are essential to understanding God as He reveals Himself directly through these events in history.

 In the final analyses, God is dealing with man through history – revealing something of His character in these stories.  So don’t be to quick to dismiss them.  It elicits a response from all of us, both at the literary level (it is not morally neutral) and at the spiritual level (it demands commitment and changed lives). The Biblical account makes claims that are central to the core of our faith.  Jesus’ death at the cross and resurrection is a historical fact, (recorded and confirmed in countless extra Biblical references) without which Christianity does not exist; this is the importance of Biblical historicity. We have to believe that the Bible accurately records the events in history and that God reveals Himself through them.  They are fundamental for us to know Him, to know His Will and for us to respond as required by Him – all of it building our faith, trust and dependence on Him, paraphrase from memory (Howard 1993:30-57).

 Well that is me for today.  If the article was not for you in a spiritual sense, then I hope that it was literary stimulating just like you would consider the work of lord of the rings.

The account of the miraculous deliverance of Israel, Exodus 1:1 – 13:16

 

In the Bible the book begins with the seventy descendants of Jacob who joined Joseph in Egypt. During the birth and early life of Moses the Israelites enjoyed prosperity in Goshen, Egypt until a new dynasty that was not friendly and threatening to God’s people. In order to stem the growth of the Hebrews, the Egyptians forced them to hard labour, enslavement and ordered all boys to be killed at birth. Chapters 1-6 end with God promising deliverance of His people through His divine power. Chapters 7-12 record ten plagues that God afflicted on the Egyptians – in anguish Pharaoh drives the Israelites out of the land.

 The same article dismissed the ten plagues as natural phenomenon. It could have been, but in my opinion it was ordained and controlled by God, thus proving that the God of the Israelites is the God of Creation.

 In the next article I will evaluate and justify the above statement. If any of this enriches you, stay connected and travel with me as we migrate in this pilgrimage of finding ‘what adds meaning to our lives’.

Works cited

Howard DM 1993. An Introduction to the Old Testament Historical Books. Chicago: Moody Press.

Hayford JW 1991. Spirit filled Life Bible: New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.