Archive for September, 2010

The Prophet Noah

Because we named our new son after the prophet Noah, I have spent some time reading the story of Noah and thinking about ways I can be praying for our son from the things I see in his life. As I have read the prophet Noah’s story (in the Bible it is found in Genesis 6-9), I have pulled out five things that I am praying for our Noah.

1. Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD

Noah lived during days of great wickedness. The Bible says, “The LORD saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God determined to judge the people of the earth for their wickedness, but he would save Noah, for “Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8).

2. Noah did all that God commanded him

God gave Noah the crazy command to build a giant boat in the middle of the desert. I cannot imagine the kind of ridicule he must have faced as he built that boat far from any water. It was not a small act of obedience and it was not a simple act that Noah could accomplish in a day and then go on being “normal.” It would have required lots of resources, lots of enduring of ridicule, and lots of faith. What was his response? “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22).

3. God remembered Noah

After the ark was completed God told Noah to get on with his family and all of the animals. Then the Lord shut him in and it began to rain and rain and rain. It rained so much that the entire world was flooded and all living things, animals and people, were destroyed. It was catastrophic. And there was Noah and his family floating on a truly endless sea. God did not forget him. “But God remembered Noah” (Genesis 8:1). He caused a wind to blow over the earth so that the waters subsided, the ark settled on dry ground and Noah and his family were able to come safely out.

4. God blessed Noah

After Noah came out of the ark, his first act was to build an altar and worship the Lord. God promised that he would never again curse the ground because of man. “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth'” (Genesis 9:1).

5. God established his covenant with Noah

The covenant God made was to never again destroy every living creature. It was a covenant of life. It was a promise of life. I am still amazed that God would come to our level and actually make covenants with us, that he would bind himself to promises made to creatures.

So I am praying:

  1. My Noah will find favor in the eyes of the LORD, that God will be pleased with him.
  2. My Noah will obey all that God commands even when others might thing he is crazy.
  3. God will remember Noah, that in the midst of all he encounters in his life the Lord will remember him and then act to bring salvation, deliverance and good into his life.
  4. God will bless Noah (see my posts on God’s blessing for what I mean by this [Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4]).
  5. God will establish his covenant with Noah and specifically that it would give him the new covenant promises so that Noah will be among his people and God will be his God, that Noah will experience the full blessing of all of God’s promises that are yes in Christ Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 1:20).

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The Prophets’ Story

The following video is a great telling of the story of the prophets leading up to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary.

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There is a new Muslim comic book superhero coming out soon. His name is Silver Scorpion. With the popularity of The 99 (who have worked with the Justice League), that isn’t so remarkable these days. What is great here is who thought it up. The Open Hands Initiative flew a group of disabled American youth to Damascus to meet a group of disabled Syrian youth. Together they came up with Silver Scorpion, a boy in a wheel chair who lost his legs in a land mine accident.

I love that this is the brainchild of Americans and Syrians. Aren’t they supposed to not like each other? And I love that this is the brainchild of disabled youth. Aren’t their lives supposed to be less meaningful?

I found it remarkable that none of the youth wanted his superpower to be something that cured his disability. Sharad Devarajan, CEO of Liquid Comics, noted, “They were empowered by their own disabilities, and they should not be seen as a source of weakness.”

Jaka, one of the American youth, said, “There’s a lot of hatred, and it really can be dispelled by just sitting down and talking to people and realizing you share experiences in common. That’s what happened when I started talking to one of the disabled Syrians. We both discovered that we had a love of basketball and … loved the same players,”

Abdulraham Hussein, a Syrian, said, “I like the American people as I found them friendly.”

A little face to face communication goes a long way in bringing people together. Read the whole article.

Related Posts:
Just the Way I Am
A Muslim’s Spiritual Perspective on Special Needs Parenting
The 99 – Muslim Comic Heroes

HT: Islamicate

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On March 2, 2009 GDS Knowledge Consultants hosted a Muslim Christian dialogue in Dubai. It featured Thabiti Anyabwile giving the Christian perspective and Bassam Zawadi giving the Muslim perspective. Both men did well in representing the two largest religions in the world. I especially appreciated the candor and grace that was evident throughout. Neither man was afraid to say what the other believed to be false, but both spoke with respect. You can watch the whole debate at GDS’s Youtube channel (it is in 22 parts).

Here is the trailor:

The highlight for me was Thabiti’s closing remarks. In Bassam’s closing remarks he passionately encourages those attending to read the Qur’an because it will change their life for the better. Thabiti acknowledged that he had read the Quran and that Bassam was right, it had helped him. He then said, “The Qur’an did good for me, but doing good for me isn’t how we enter heaven.” His statement showed great respect to Bassam and to the Qur’an in general, but it highlighted our common human problem – the need for salvation. Simply being better will never be enough, regardless of whether it is the Qur’an or the Bible that makes us better. Adding more good works doesn’t remove our sin (see my recent post, “Would You Drink It?”). We need a Savior.

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Via Islamicate:

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In this short video Hussein Rashid and Joseph Cumming share their thoughts on the Ground Zero mosque controversy. I found Joseph’s comments to be very helpful in thinking about how Christians should respond. How does loving our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39) impact our view on this? How does Jesus’ command to do unto others as would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12) impact our view on this?

HT: Become Like Children

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Updated About Page

I updated my about page. I now thank God for my wonderful wife and four beautiful children. Noah Dustin was born on September 8th. I hope in the coming weeks to write some posts about the prophet he is named after and about his name’s meaning (rest). For now, enjoy this picture:

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Stephen Hawking’s new book, The Grand Design, makes the claim that we don’t need God to create the universe. Hawking writes, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”

This is a great example of where Muslims and Christians come together in agreement. The universe has a Creator.

Usama Hasan has a Muslim response to Hawking. Here is a notable quote and his conclusion.

Hawking’s “spontaneous creation” is God-by-another-name: our atheist friends, like theists, have many names for God!

In conclusion, it should be remembered that Hawking is a brilliant scientist.  Science does an excellent job of describing Nature, or as a theist would say, how God creates.  But science can say nothing essential about why we are here and how we should live our lives: only true and balanced faith and religion can answer those questions, with Messengers of God to show us the Way.

James Anderson has a Christian response. Here area a couple notable quotes:

If Hawking thinks there is some law or principle that explains the very existence of the universe, he must have in mind a metaphysical law rather than a physical law. Unless I’m much mistaken, the law of gravity is a physical law. It appears that Hawking intends to leave behind physics (a subject on which he is eminently qualified to speak) and enter the realm of metaphysics (a subject on which he has no particular expertise, so far as I know).

In any case, it’s unclear how a multiverse explanation could provide a satisfying answer to the question at hand, namely, why our universe exists at all. If the existence of our universe is explained by the existence of the multiverse, the problem (once again) is only put back a step. Why then does the multiverse exist at all?

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A Little Perspective

Image viaMark Shea:

It’s easy as pie to generalize to millions of people the crimes of a few. We Catholics have had it done to us. And we can have it done to us again. So we should be bloody cautious about insane schemes to do it to 18 million fellow citizens.

The grotesque excuse “But the the first amendment is dead, and Islam killed it. There is no ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘freedom of religion’ with the threat of Muslim violence hanging over your head” is rubbish. Cancelling the rights of 307 million people because you are, by your own admission,afraid is neither patriotism, nor courage, nor Christian fortitude. It is cowardice. And it is extra-special cowardice when you are ready to cancel your most precious national heritage because you are afraid of a speck.

[From Chart Of The Day via Islamicate]

Note: Even though the population of American Muslims is probably quite high and there are other Islamist terrorist groups, the point of the diagram remains.

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From Faith World (March 31, 2010):

Prominent Muslim scholars have recast a famous medieval fatwa on jihad, arguing the religious edict radical Islamists often cite to justify killing cannot be used in a globalized world that respects faith and civil rights.  A conference in Mardin in southeastern Turkey declared the fatwa by 14th century scholar  Ibn Taymiyya rules out militant violence and the medieval Muslim division of the world into a “house of Islam” and “house of unbelief” no longer applies.

Read the whole thing.

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