Recently, we listen to a clergy trying to assure us that there is a God. I, too, engaged in speculation about God in a 30 minutes sermon. It has been an endless quest. Like Philip, we too, asked, "Lord, show us the Father (God) and that will be enough for us"(Jn.14: 8). Jesus' answer was, "Anyone that has seen me has seen the Father"(Jn.14: 9). Jesus had faith in mind. "Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me" (Jn.14: 1). This, to me, means stop speculating, start trusting.
We are number conscious. We judge success by numbers. We regard churches as growing by their constant increase in numbers. We gather around people with distinction and appeal. Paul the Apostle faced a similar situation. He posed this question, "I follow Paul and another, I follow Apollos, are you not mere men?" He added, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow" (I Cor.3: 4,6). Israel, as a nation, was regarded as God's people and this is what Elijah the Prophet was told, "I reserve seven thousand in Israel - all those who have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him" (I Ki.19: 18).
Marriage in our world is so out of wack that it is refreshing to read about love making when it was romantic and divinely guided at the same time. We find such a lesson on marriage in Genesis 24. In those days, the parents chose the brides for their sons. Before they did, they consulted their deities. Abraham consulted his God and was instructed to get a wife for his son Isaac from his people and not from the natives. He could not allow his son to return, so he had his servant swear that he would go and find the one God had chosen. He told his servant, "that he (God) will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son."
Jesus was teaching in the Temple and what He was talking about disturbed the priests. They demanded to know who had given Jesus the authority to interfere in their affairs. Jesus never answered the question directly; but, He let His deeds show who was delegating Him and why. God's people had abandoned God's law and lost their way. He was sent to restore both. The Greek word in question is "exousian." The word grants powers to a human that are equal to God's power. By itself, the term is difficult to explain. It has to be treated in a larger context and that is precisely what the Evangelist John has done. In our rendition, we shall use the Greek "exousian" instead of our English equivalents like power, authority or right, because the Greek includes all of these and much more. "To his own he came, and his own accepted him not; but everyone that accepted him, that believes in his name, he will enable (exousian) to become children of God - not by a bloodline, nor by the will of the flesh or the will of man but begotten of God" (Jn.1: 11-13).
Gehazi was in the service of the prophet Elisha. He was the prophet's bodyguard and messenger. He disobeyed orders, made one mistake and suffered for it. He had a problem with wanting something, he did not deserve. He did not want much, but it was enough to cause him to lie and to cheat. Because of it, he could no longer be trusted (II Ki. 4-5).
A week ago, an email from a friend asked us to share their grief with them. Maru had departed this world and left them with emptiness and sadness. What we heard was heart warming. We asked Craig and Yukiko to tell us about Maru. Here is one reason why God created animals, especially dogs. Here are their stories. Craig writes, "Both I and my wife had no children, so we bought a dog. When we picked him up, he was so cute. We liked him and he liked us. At the beginning, it was somewhat difficult. There were a lot of things we had to do and learn as new owners. He needed shots, food, a leash, a bed, toys, etc.
"No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better'" (Lk.5: 37-39).