Why do we need sleep? For some people, it seems like a defect. If God created us perfect, then why make us waste a third of our lives lying unconscious. John Piper, in A Brief Theology of Sleep has an interesting answer:
Psalm 127:2 says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved in his sleep.” According to this text sleep is a gift of love, and the gift is often spurned by anxious toil. Peaceful sleep is the opposite of anxiety. God does not want his children to be anxious, but to trust him. Therefore I conclude that God made sleep as a continual reminder that we should not be anxious but should rest in him.
Sleep is a daily reminder from God that we are not God. “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4). But Israel will. For we are not God. Once a day God sends us to bed like patients with a sickness. The sickness is a chronic tendency to think we are in control and that our work is indispensable. To cure us of this disease God turns us into helpless sacks of sand once a day.
God wants to be trusted as the great worker who never tires and never sleeps. He is not nearly so impressed with our late nights and early mornings as he is with the peaceful trust that casts all anxieties on him and sleeps.
Here’s a very interesting video that talks about some of the theological differences between Christianity and Judaism that have arisen over the last 2,000 years. Judaism, over that time, has changed considerably since the destruction of the temple in 70AD:
Paul Washer is easily one of my favorite preachers of today. I love how he cuts through all the junk and gets right to the message. Battle 4 Truth has a good collection of some of his quotes. A couple of my favorites:
“Here stands God on the day of creation. He looks at stars and He says “all you stars move yourself to this place and start in this order and move in a circle and move exactly as I tell you, until I give you another word. Planets-pick yourself up and whirl, make this formation at my command, until I give you another word. He looks at mountains and says “be lifted up” and they obey him. He tells valleys “be cast down” and they obey him. He looks at the sea and says “you will come this far”, and the sea obeys. Then, he looks at you and says “come” and you go “No! Does that bother anyone?”
“People tell me judge not lest ye be judged. I always tell them, twist not scripture lest ye be like satan.”
“I think modern life, including life in the Church, suffers from a phony unwillingness to offend that poses as prudence and good manners, but too often turns out to be cowardice. Human beings owe each other respect and appropriate courtesy. But we also owe each other the truth — which means candor.”
Looking ahead to the coming months and years, Chaput offered four “simple things” to remember.
“First,” he said, “all political leaders draw their authority from God. We owe no leader any submission or cooperation in the pursuit of grave evil.”
“In fact, we have the duty to change bad laws and resist grave evil in our public life, both by our words and our non-violent actions. The truest respect we can show to civil authority is the witness of our Catholic faith and our moral convictions, without excuses or apologies.”
“Americans, including many Catholics, elected a gifted man to fix an economic crisis. That’s the mandate. They gave nobody a mandate to retool American culture on the issues of marriage and the family, sexuality, bioethics, religion in public life and abortion. That retooling could easily happen, and it clearly will happen — but only if Catholics and other religious believers allow it.”
The third point to focus on when the beliefs of Catholics are challenged is that “it doesn’t matter what we claim to believe if we’re unwilling to act on our beliefs,” Chaput counseled.
Seeing Clearly puts up a great list of the teachings about Jesus in the Qur’an:
Jesus was born of a virgin (Surah 3:45-50)
Jesus is sinless (Surah 6:85)
Jesus is the Messiah (Surah 3:45)
Jesus performed miracles (Surah 3:49)
One of these miracles is especially interesting (although only attested elsewhere in the Gospel of Thomas). Surah 3:49 and 5:110 teach that Jesus created a bird out of clay while He was upon this earth.
Jesus ascended into heaven in bodily form (Surah 3:55)
Jesus spoke at his birth (Surah 19:27-35)
Jesus raised the dead (Surah 3:49)
Question for Muslims: since none of the above is true of Muhammed, how can he be called the greatest prophet?
[Whole list taken from Norman Geisler, “Jesus and Muhammed in the Qur’an: A Comparison and Contrast,” SBJT 8:1 (2004), 50-58.]