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Absent Amens

Chapter 41

Good Monday Morning to this week 40 of 2020


The sanctuary was empty after M. had finished preaching, this a new normal for preaching during the pandemic, one pastor from a big church writes about the absence of the Amen.

“I have had some of the most powerful times of worship preaching in a sanctuary with no people,” he said. Preaching without a congregation became “an undistracted offering to God” without the temptation “to respond to what I’m seeing in the pew.”

There is a story of a meeting between two converts to Christianity, perhaps an Indian
and a Pacific Islander-one of whom was reading in his own tongue the
Christian Scriptures. Communication between them was impossible, till
one of them thought of summing up his mental attitude with an exclamation” Hallelujah,” whereupon the other at once heartily replied ” Amen.” The Hebrew expressions had, of course, been naturalized in both languages.

The word “Amen.” The fundamental idea is “stability, steadfastness, reliability.” “Amen”,
in the Arabic , “safe, secure,” while in Hebrew “Amen” an indeclinable particle meaning verily, truly, so be it, a strong agreement or confirmation with/of something.

In the Old Testament. The first thing that strikes one about the use of
“Amen” in the Old Testament is mostly Exilic or Post-Exilic.

Benaiah, replies: “Amen Yahwe the God of my lord the king say so too! “
Jeremiah says to Hananiah: “Amen! Yahwe do so!” and “Amen Yahwe ”
Nehemiah tells us that the “congregation” pledged itself in the matter of the poor brethren by a solemn “Amen”
Tobias and Sarah were left alone he prayed, and at the end of his prayer
“she said with him, Amen
Gabael prayed and blessed Tobias, all who were present said, “Amen”

Jeremiah replies to the word” that came to him from Yahwe in the phrase:
“Amen Yahwe ” In this cases “Amen” is a kind of conversational particle, and stands by itself, prefixed to an exclamatory sentence, expressing a wish, ” So be it!”
In the later literature the “Amen” tends to become more and more liturgical

Rabbi Jose tells us that “Amen” has three powers:
1. Acceptance
2. Acquiescence (consent, approval)
3. The secret of “Amen” God, the faithful King”

If “Amen” was in common use outside of the temple, and especially in the synagogues,
it would naturally be retained by the early Christians. At all events, I Cor. I6 shows that it was in liturgical use in the days of the Apostles as a well-known formal
response of the whole congregation. In one place in the “Amen” does occur
and is immediately preceded by Maranatha. This naturally calls to mind the “Amen” as in “Come Lord Come”

German kings and emperors early began to append “Amen” to the introduc-
tory and concluding formula of state documents.

By a rather strange fate, however, this word, which, as we have seen,
originally invariably stood at the head of a sentence, is now
also frequently used in the sense of the very last of any
matter in hand. H. W. HoaGG

Could it be that Covid-19 is bringing the “Amen” back to the beginning
of our thoughts and preaching with a refocusing of God-centered speeches? In any case it need not be absent, not in our prayer, not in our speeches, not in our daily lives not even in all that we are challenged to read see and listen “online” during this pandemic.

Wishing you a blessed week!




Ever tried 2,000-year-old Dates?

Chapter 40

Good Monday Morning to this week 39 of 2020

A while ago a friend travelled back from Tel Aviv and brought us some dates to the office. What a delicious taste. Dates, Khurma, Dátil, Tamar… This tasty fruit has a lot of names in different countries and comes from one of the most vicious plants in nature. It’s a vital food source for people living across the Middle East and North Africa. And the trees bearing it have been growing alongside some of the world’s most ancient rivers for thousands of years. Although the date palm, with its lush, sweet fruit, is even more than that.

A 100-grams serving of dates provides these nutrients: Calories: 277, Carbs: 75 grams
Fiber: 7 gramsm Protein: 2 grams, Manganese: 15% of the RDI, Potassium: 20% of the RDI
Magnesium: 14% of the RDI, Iron: 5% of the RDI, Copper: 18% of the RDI, Vitamin B6: 12% of the RDI, Rich in Fiber beneficial for controlling blood sugar, also an excellent source of antioxidants ….

back to the report I saw this week …. Nir Hasson | Sep. 14, 2020 | 6:01 AM

Ever tried 2,000-year-old dates? Now you can, thanks to these Israeli researchers. Researchers celebrate – and sample – the first fruit of palm trees germinated from ancient seeds from the Judean desert

On Friday, an unusual ceremony was held on a hilltop overlooking the Old City in Jerusalem’s Abu Tor neighborhood. It included the Jewish Sheheheyanu prayer recited on momentous occasions, as well as the traditional offering and tithing ceremony. At the heart of the ceremony was a small package of dates.

But these weren’t ordinary dates. They were the first dates to ripen from date palms grown from seeds that are more than 2,000 years old. Over the past 15 years, a project has been underway in Israel’s southern Arava region to revive ancient species of date palms germinated from seeds found at archaeological digs in the Judean Desert.

In 2005, a preserved 2000-year-old seed sprouted. It is the oldest verified human-assisted germination of a seed (the claim in 2012 of a 32,000-year-old arctic flower involved fruit tissue rather than a seed. The palm, a male tree named Methuselah, was about 1.5 metres tall in June 2008, by November 2011 it was 2.5 metres high. As of February 2020, Methuselah had reached 3.5 meters

Deuteronomy 8.8 (KJV)
A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;

2. Chronicals 31:5
As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, olive oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything.

There is a blessing on bringing the first fruit as written in Proverbs 3:9-10
Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

God, El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty, our all-sufficient and all-powerful sustainer who triumphs over every obstacle and all opposition. Not only is God the source of our provision and but also of our needs, but he can bless that provision too.

In the case of bringing the dates as first fruit we see the enriching blessing it brings to those that eat and enjoy them!

Wishing you a great week with all the provisions available.


Unmasking Hope

Chapter 39

Good Monday Morning to this new week 38 of 2020

For many of us, these are very confusing times. We’re challenged to constantly choose the lens we look through life and hope with.

“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” – C.S. Lewis

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 5:1 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

1. Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.”

We live in a fast-paced, instant gratification oriented society. Complex ideas, thoughts and emotions have been compressed into megabytes. We have become fairly incapable of assimilating large chunks of information and constructing our own complex thoughts, feelings and opinions. We are at the mercy of rapid-fire newsfeed to shape our perception of reality. The result of this is desensitization toward important issues and sadly, individuals. It’s so easy to throw out statements like “ It’s been 19 years since 9/11, they should be getting over it!” and “That homeless guy could just get a job if he really wanted to.” This compresses an individual’s life journey into one judgment. We don’t want the discomfort, and we don’t want to take the time to understand complicated societal, political and human issues that allow us to honestly address a person’s misfortune or life situation.

The Soul’s Conflict with Itself, as written in Psalm 42:5 that is exactly what you have, the soul arguing with itself, preaching to itself. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God!”

Eric Christiansen made the film “Unmasking Hope” and quotes: We need society to rise up and tell their stories, change starts in the heart. What lens do we choose to look through, to not only see ourselves?
Unmasking Hope chronicles the extraordinary stories of trauma survivors who know of their spiritual, physical and emotional pain. From survivors of 9/11 and mass shootings, the film goes behind their masks to experience the abuse, social stigma, and moral injury that have scarred their souls.  Taken on their journey from seclusion to inclusion, we realize that the aggregate stories of these brave individuals share a powerful message of HOPE, inspiring us to unMASK hope and be who we were born to be.

The Soul’s Conflict with Itself, as written in Psalm 42:5 that is exactly what you have, the soul arguing with itself, preaching to itself. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God!”

As CS Lewis put’s it “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”

Psalm 33:22  Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Wishing you a blessed with this perspective of Hope!



Chapter 38

Good Monday Morning to this new week 37 of 2020

The story of Elijah has some of this in it – the unrivaled God. In 1 Kings 18 …. He answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father’s house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now therefore have all Israel assemble for me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.

it goes on ….
Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord; the god who answers by fire is indeed God.’ All the people answered, ‘Well spoken!’ Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, 

then came the test ….
So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, ‘O Baal, answer us!’ But there was no voice, and no answer. 

now it was Elijah’s turn ….
Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come closer to me’; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; Elijah took twelve stones …

Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt-offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.’

God is unrivaled!

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Romans 1. 20

God is unrivaled!

His deity; divinity; divine nature, or essence. The word is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. The truth of the unrivaled God, His supremacy, or supreme divinity of God, was exhibited in the works of creation, or that he was exalted above all creatures and things.

If he wasn’t unrivaled … God would be

common, commonplace, comparable, imitable, indistinctive, matchable, equal, equivalent equal, comparable, matched, paralleled ….

God is unrivaled!

He possesses unrivaled influence, His movement is lead with much grace and dignity, His Kingdom is advancing with mastery. Jesus son of God, man of courage and decision also unrivaled in his humility and approach to the suffering and needs of this earth, He takes on this great challenge of Earth one step at a time and advances with unrivaled tact and vigor.

God is unrivaled!

Wishing you a great week as you join in with the steps of this unrivaled God.