God Shows No Favouritism – Part I

The prompt to write this blog came unexpectedly while reading a short but unusually candid post, from, of all sources, FaceBook . This thought provoking, bold  post was from an old family friend we have known for many years.

The basic premise of the FB post was a lecture she had heard about the full participation of women in the life of the church. She recalled how as a young student, she had to come to terms that pursuing a career as a pastor or evangelist was not really an option for her, being that women were not accepted for those roles. She felt that it was positive to be discussing these options and that hopefully, the next generation of women have more opportunities and not face similar barriers.

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What is in a name?

If I am to give a title to my latest blog post, I will call it in the form of a question, ‘What is in a name?’ For the Scripture reference I have selected St.Luke’s gospel chapter 10:1-10. Jesus met Zacchaeus while passing through that great city of Jericho. Zach, a short gentleman was barking up a Sycamore tree just to get a closer glimpse, if not a better or closer view of the Lord. I am amazed at the Lord’s timing! Continue reading

Different Strokes for Different Folks

I am sure You have heard  this old proverbial saying “different strokes for different folks”. There are certainly many interesting characters in the Bible that would fall under the “different strokes” category.  Allow me to go further and write the Good Lord also gift wraps and individually dispatches them, whether a preacher, man or woman! No wonder St. Peter confirmed it further clarifying that “God is no respecter of persons.“ (Acts 10:34).  With these lingering thoughts I considered writing on, who else, none other than Jonah. Continue reading

“Sir, we would see Jesus” (Part I)

Sir, we would see Jesus? What a beautiful one-line request, simple, yet genuine, from a group of Greeks to see Jesus.They approached the right guide whose name was Philip, one of the early disciples of Jesus, to facilitate an audience. Philip possibly had a Greek background and was able to speak their language. By the way, the name “Philip” means “a lover of horses” in Greek.    

Before I go any further, here is the Scripture connected with my title for this post; John 12:20-23:

20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The  same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying the hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified”.  

1. What struck me first was the brevity of the reference, just three verses. That was it? As one can instantly notice, there is precious little information about these enquirers and their single request; no details as to their names, background, where they came from originally etc. Who advised them and prompted them? What was the outcome of their meeting with Jesus? Notice the response of Jesus “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified”(more on this later).   

2. The location and neighbourhood may throw some light. Jesus grew up in Nazareth which was part of Galilee. Historians narrate that Galilee at the time of Jesus and Philip was a mix of “(a)Greek Speaking (Culture and philosophy), (b) pro-Rome and (c) openly Jewish place”. Evidently these Greeks had heard about Jesus and his teachings. They must also have heard about the miracles, particularly the latest, the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 12:9).

Surely, they were not thinking now of Socrates, Plato or Aristotle  but rather, they were determined to grab the opportunity of a lifetime to meet Jesus the Saviour of the world!

3. This is very interesting! Again, historians assert “the Greek language played the role the English language is playing today. It was understood by many different cultures all around the world. It was possible that the Galileans spoke no fewer than three languages: Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew. It is commonly believed that Aramaic was the primary language”.

These factors underscore one important point. Almighty God always has a master plan. While Hebrew was the religious language of the Jews and was primarily reserved for prayers, religious teaching, and communication with other Jews, the Greek language was popular and prominent at that time. It was the language of business, education, and for communication with foreigners (because it was a widespread language. By the way, let us not forget our own English Bible owes a lot to the Greek Bible.

4. Jesus’ response -“the hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified!  This sudden expression of joy is remarkable. Jesus after thirty years of labour, study, selecting, training disciples patiently, is now seeing the very near fulfillment of the cross and Salvation! (If time permits read John 12:23-33).

The point I stress is, God sent his Son “in the fullness of time” not only for that corner of the world but for the whole world. As I often  underscore, Christianity is not provincial but universal “God so loved the world” (John 3:16).  

Was this simple request by the Greek to meet Jesus the start of world evangelism? The Gospel, the “good news”, the LIGHT can no longer be kept “under the bushel” or for that matter, held within the four walls of a temple, town or nation! A Believer cannot and should not miss the length, breadth, height and  depth of our Salvation accomplished on the Cross. Could one foresee the prophetic significance in the huge veil inside the temple at the Holy City being torn from top to bottom after the crucifixion of Jesus; another sign of the “evangelical explosion”? Jesus recognized it instantly! (Matthew 27:50-51).

The “summum-bonum” of the Gospel, as evident from the simple keen desire of the Greeks to see Jesus, was not just the opportunity to see a prophet, teacher, healer, miracle worker, or even Jesus raising one from the dead (Lazarus). It is the most spiritual, God given opportunity to realign or reset our life, not only in this present world but also for all eternity. It is the glorious combination of the the love of God, the plan of God and the grace of Jesus Christ.

St. Peter, a close disciple of Jesus, coined a unique phrase; “unspeakable joy and full of glory”, when he wrote: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with “Joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).  Hallelujah!

This reminds me of an old hymn by Barney E. Warren -1867-1951. (quoting only 2 verses to save space and word count)

I have found His grace is all complete,

He supplieth every need

While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,

I am free, yes, free indeed.

Refrain:

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,

Full of glory, full of glory;

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,

Oh, the half has never yet been told.

I have found the pleasure I once craved,

It is joy and peace within;

What a wondrous blessing, I am saved

From the awful gulf of sin.

Notice Philip and Andrew did not have to entice or drag the Greeks to Jesus. The Greeks approached Philip! In closing, there are many still seeking and constantly asking the same question, quietly and prayerfully: “Sir, we would see Jesus”. The sweet response is still the same: “Come and See”, e.g. Philip to Nathanael ! Yes, Jesus commissioned; “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel (good news) to every creature” Mark 16:15”. We will do well to consider the other equal part; “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord of hosts”, a Scripture verse tucked away in the OT, Zechariah 4:6.

It takes humility and a contrite spirit to spread the good news and address seekers especially millions in various countries, people of other customs, colours, and cultures. Respect them and abhor using terms such as a “dark continent”, “blind”,  etc. Remember “I once was blind” – Amazing Grace” !

Learn from Philip how softly he communicated to Nathanael’s caustic response, “come and see” (John 1:46) The following words are commonly attributed to Francis of Assisi, (1182-1226): ”preach the gospel, if necessary use words ”.

Since I started this post with an old hymn, allow me to close with another, which is both poetic as well as deeply spiritual- by Frances Havergal 1835-1876 :

Like a river, glorious, Is God’s perfect peace,

Over all victorious, In its bright increase;

Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,

Perfect, yet it groweth, Deeper all the way.

(Refrain)

Stayed upon (Jehovah) Christ Jesus,Hearts are fully blest;

Finding, as He promised, Perfect peace and rest.

 

Every joy or trial, Falleth from above,

Traced upon our dial By the Sun of Love.

We may trust Him fully, All for us to do;

They who trust Him wholly, Find Him wholly true.

 

Songwriter/King David put it in his own poetic style “O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusteth in Him” ! Have and enjoy  “unspeakable joy and full of glory”.

 

God bless,  Danny Paul

Jesus the Perfect TimeKeeper

I understand giving Jesus, the King of Kings, a title or a professional name as the “perfect time- keeper” may sound ridiculous, if not irreverent. As a youngster I found my way into the airline business. With a job in Swiss Air, my training taught me the importance of keeping on time. You may laugh at this, but If a flight at my station was delayed for more than three minutes, I had to show cause for the delay, in writing, with a copy to head Office in Zurich, Switzerland. Boy, did I ever learn a  Great lesson for life. I am sure my readers have similar experiences on “time keeping”. Continue reading

The Matchmaker

Have you ever watched the classic 1971 movie “The Fiddler On The Roof” ? In my opinion, it was nothing short of a masterpiece. The producer, director and actors artistically combined a bit of history of the typical Jewish immigrant family in the old Russia. You might recall Tzeitel the eldest daughter of Chaim Topol singing “Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match, Find me a find. Catch me a catch” ? Continue reading

Magi and Jesus

This post is all about the Three Wise Men from the East. Even after years of singing that beautiful Christmas Carol “We three kings of Orient are”, many still have lingering questions, such as:

  • Who are those wise men from the east ?
  • Where from the east ?
  • Who told, inspired and challenged them to take that long arduous travel, determined, come what may, to see and worship infant Jesus the Saviour of the world?
  • Were there only three or was that number based on the three special gifts they brought?
  • How did they, living far apart, get together and travel? And that too without a travel agent, Expedia, Trivago, or tour organizers?

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Sir Branson on Relationship

Wondering what in the world has Branson got to do with Danny’s blog? Read on.

Sir Richard Branson is a successful business magnate. He started, owned and operated, among others, the famous Virgin Airlines thirty years ago. He is now planning Virgin Galactic into space in 2018. The business community worldwide admires his spirit of adventure and business acumen. Besides, he is a philanthropist. I respect him personally for another reason. I started my career as a teenager in Calcutta in Airline operations back in 1954; first with the Indian Airline Corporation and later with SWISSAIR. That was a long time ago, when twin engine Douglas C-47 or DC3 were the “state of the art” commercial aircrafts, with a seating capacity of twenty-one. Morse code telegraphy in aircrafts was then the latest communication gismo. Those were the days, Sir Branson! Continue reading

A Tender Plant and Root out of Dry Ground

I wrote this post last April but have been reviewing it once in a while as well as, and I hate to confess mea culpa, for being lazy till now to post it.  

One of my favourite piece of classic music is The  Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi. I am sure many of my readers admire this famous Baroque music as well. Each season has its own charm; mine is Spring. As the cold winter moves out and the spring moves in, one cannot help but delightfully experience sunshine, warmth and joy. From nowhere the birds keep coming, chirping and singing. The buds keep popping up and the scenery changes from white to green, at least in Canada, eh? Isn’t there an old song called “Spring is in the air?” Continue reading

The Process of Trust – Part II

This is the follow up to my post #114, dated 15 July 2017, on the subject  “Trust Matters”

Trust is defined as “the firm belief on the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something” – google. There are, of course, minor difference of opinions among pundits on the interchangeability of words between trust, belief and faith.  The importance of our trust in God is the main theme of many religions, worldwide. Continue reading