This is my 400th post!

I’ve never done a roundup, so here are 20-ish posts on this blog that fall into at least one ‘The Most…’ category:

The 10 most viewed posts in the past year

1. Making the most of it
Note to self: using very generic post titles will result in lots of search engine visitors.
2. God is…
I continue a chain of quotations on the subject of why the Bible uses so many pictures for God.
3. Looking for a Bible reading plan?
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first and only of my posts to get picked up on Twitter.
4. Jesus’ claims to deity
I posted this 2 days ago. Astounding.
5. Lies women believe about priorities
A post for those ladies who’ve said: “I don’t have time to do everything I’m supposed to do.”
6. Kings and prophets in the Old Testament
Apparently I’m not alone in needing to untangle all those names
7. Lies women believe about circumstances
Example: If my circumstances were different, I would be different.
8. Muy Bueno
Anyone looking for info on the WordPress theme I’m using must have found this post patently useless.
9. Lies women believe about emotions
Such as: “I can’t help how I respond when my hormones are out of whack.”
10. Reflections on 2 Samuel 1-10
The years of David’s reign before the incident with Bathsheba.
10. Lies women believe about marriage
This addresses, among other things, changing your spouse’s character, submission and divorce.

Honourable mention

The largest unreached nation in the world
You can read the follow-up to the initiative in the post: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. (Parts 2&3 are the best!)

The 5 posts I like the most (in chronological order)

1. He was what??
How could the apostle Peter be sound asleep on the night before his execution?
2. How did that happen?
How did Abraham get Isaac, 100 years younger than him, onto the altar?
3. Lost
The prodigal son had a lousy elder brother. Thankfully, we don’t!
4. Am I to believe that?
A historical fiction short story on the “explanation” given for Jesus’ empty tomb.
5. Don’t make me think (Part 1, Part 2)
My sometimes frustrating search for user manuals online. One post in two parts.

The 5 shortest posts in 2010

In these posts, I manage to make my point without the aid of images, videos or links to external content. I was too lazy to look up posts written before 2010.
1. What was the purpose of the law?
(40 words)
2. 3 things about holiness
(47 words)
3. One-liners on stewardship
(51 words)
4. Why do we have 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles?
(66 words)
5. 2 thoughts on Genesis 3:8-10
(85 words)

To satisfy curious minds, the longest post was 1410 words long. It is also the one most likely to bore you to tears 😉

Bonus: The most peculiar search term

“paul and nelima”

Jesus’ claims to deity

While Jesus Christ never stood up and said, “I am God incarnate,” He did and said some pretty outrageous things for a mere human. In no particular order…

He made claims about His ability to meet the spiritual needs of others.

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus said all this and more.

To quote C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.

He makes astonishing claims about His teaching

  • In Matthew 5:18, He says that not the least bit of the law of Moses would disappear. In Matthew 24:35, He says the same thing about His own words.
  • In Matthew 5, He repeatedly says, “You’ve heard that it was said… But I tell you…” He put His teaching on par with the Old Testament.

Additionally, Jesus taught on His own authority (Matthew 7:28-29). On numerous occasions in the Gospels, He prefaces his words with “Truly, truly.”

He claimed that He’d be directly involved in the events of the end of the world

He repeatedly said that He’d judge mankind on the last day (Matthew 7:22-23, 25:31-33; John 5:28-30). Only God can judge, but Jesus assumed this prerogative for Himself.

He identified actions towards Him with actions towards God

  • Knowing Jesus is knowing God (John 8:19)
  • Seeing Jesus is seeing God (John 12:45, 14:7-9)
  • Believing in Jesus is believing in God (John 12:44, 14:1)
  • To hate Jesus is to hate God (John 15:23)
  • To receive Jesus is to receive God (John 10:40; Mark 9:37)

Jesus also claimed that the destiny of humans depends on their response to Him (Matthew 16:24-26)

He forgave sins

Sin is an offense against God, and therefore only He can forgive it. Yet Jesus forgave the paralytic lowered through the roof (Luke 5:17-26) and the woman with the alabaster jar (Luke 7:36-50).

He made staggering claims about His presence

The temple represented the manifestation of God’s presence. Yet He claimed that He was greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6). The  only thing greater than a manifestation is the real thing. Jesus also claimed omnipresence (Matthew 18:20, 28:18), an attribute possessed exclusively by God.

He performed miracle on His own authority

Unlike the Old Testament prophets, Jesus doesn’t credit God for the miracles He performed. He neither asks God for power, nor ascribes His power to God (Matthew 8:2-3, 8:5-13, 20:29-34). He doesn’t seem to mind that the miracles prompt the question, “Who is this?” (Matthew 8:27, John 7:31).

He receives obeisance

Many people ‘fall’ or ‘bow’ before Jesus, and He does nothing to stop them (Mark 5:33; Luke 5:8, 17:15-16). Other people in the Bible rebuffed such behaviour—Peter (Acts 10:25-26), Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:14-18), the angel accompanying John (Revelation 19:10).

He applies OT texts describing God to Himself

Psalm 8 is sung to God, and Jesus quotes Psalm 8:2 in reference to Himself on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:16).

He is a divine figure in His own parables

For example, Jesus places Himself in the parable of the lost sons (Luke 15:11-32), in the parable of the tenants (Matthew 21:33-45).

Conclusion

Maybe Jesus was a deluded madman. Or maybe He was a pathological liar. Or He was self-consciously aware of His deity, and we must make a choice whether to accept or reject Him.

Sources: Alistair Begg, Daniel Doriani/ Covenant Theological Seminary

What can separate us from the love of God?

Anyone who is in Christ, says the apostle Paul in Romans 8, is eternally connected to the love of God. Have a listen to the first 12 minutes or so of this sermon (total length 35:22) for the story of a Vietnamese Christian who learned this truth in an unforgettable way. Then repent of your lack of faith and rejoice in such a gracious God!

Making the most of it

These are my notes on a sermon by the same name, based on the opening verses of Genesis 39 and preached by Alistair Begg. Listen to the entire sermon (length 49:05).

There is no ideal place to serve God except where He has set you.

A. Joseph was protected
1. Joseph was protected by the presence of God. He was kept alive from the time his brothers threw him in a pit until now he’s in Potiphar’s house. While he wasn’t protected from the circumstances, he was protected in the circumstances. God often changes our attitudes to our circumstances instead of changing them. In this case, God was dealing with Joseph’s character— pride amongst other things.
2. Joseph was protected from man’s perversity. The silent killers of resentment, self-pity and bitterness didn’t get a hold of him.
3. Joseph was protected for a special purpose.

B. Joseph was prospered
In Potiphar’s service he was diligent, obedient, reliable, industrious and conscientious. He didn’t have to tell Potiphar that there was blessing on his life, Potiphar saw it for himself (Gen 39:3)

C. Joseph was promoted
Gen 39:4. A result of God’s being with Joseph.

Lessons Alistair learned from Joseph’s story:

  • When you shun trials, you miss blessing
  • When all you have is sunshine, all you get is desert
  • More spiritual progress is made through failure and tears than through success and laughter

“Every Christian should have a favourite Bible verse”

That’s what I heard a Christian leader say a while back, though not in so many words. (More on that in the ‘The Rest of The Story’ section below.) In order to write this post, I got thinking about my favourite biblical figure, book and verse.

My favourite biblical figure…

My favourite person in the Bible besides Jesus Christ is Daniel. He was a man who, in the words of Eugene Peterson, displayed “a long obedience in the same direction”. Daniel faithfully served Yahweh for decades, and what’s more, he did it while in a foreign land surrounded by pagans and simultaneously serving high political office. He found time to pray regularly and to read his Bible, and to act on what he’d read (Daniel 9:1-3). And he received a glorious promise from the God he served.

I can only hope that I, like Daniel, will not outlive my love for my God and Saviour. Continue reading

Are you an Islamicised Christian?

The Koran and the Bible have differing views on God, sin, salvation, eternity and more. In this interview Dr Keith Small, who’s a Christian and a Koranic scholar, suggests how Christians can unknowingly adopt an Islamicised approach to God:

  • By treating God as distant. Not treasuring a personal relationship with Him; dependence on mediators. In the Bible, sin is the barrier between God and man. In the Koran, the barrier is God’s transcendence.
  • By diminishing Jesus. He wasn’t just a prophet or a teacher, but God in the flesh.
  • By lacking assurance. Not resting on Christ’s finished work; depending on a works salvation, legalism and ritualism.

You can always listen to the whole interview (length 38:29) for more details. On the same site you can also find an introduction to Islam (length 1:18:01). Topics covered include what the Koran says about scripture, revelation, the nature of God, sin, the last judgment, heaven, hell, the resurrection, etc. The funniest bit (at around the 1h 10min mark) is what early Islamic commentators thought the word ‘messiah’ meant. Simultaneously hilarious and sad, as the guys in the studio point out.