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Honesty - Part I

     Honesty is an increasingly rare trait these days.  For example, Rick Porcello was the Detroit Tigers pitcher on Saturday's game.  He faced 11 batters in the first part of the first inning.  After throwing 47 pitches, he had two outs, but he had given up nine hits and walked one batter.  He was charged for nine runs including a grand slam home run.  He was pulled because of his ineffectiveness.  The Tigers were playing against the Los Angeles Angels who have a 6-10 record, or a .375 winning percentage.
     "We played the game all right," Leyland said. "We just got ambushed."  Ambush is hardly the right word in a baseball game.  All the fans and players can see the batter.  Rick Porcello's comment after the game was "Today, I felt like I threw the ball fine. . . I struggled a little bit with my command, but it wasn't all that bad."  I threw the ball fine?  Not all that bad?  Charged for nine runs in one inning?  Only get two outs? Faced eleven batters in 2/3 of an inning?  Porcello became just the second Tigers pitcher since 1916 to give up nine earned runs without getting out of the first inning.
      Oh for an honest man.  St. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:25:  "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body."

Coelacanth and Evolution

     In our local paper we find out that the scientists are trying to find out how the coelacanth learned how to walk.  The coelcacanth is an amazingly complex fish.  The coelacanth genome sequence is 2.8 billion units of DNA.  Two billion, eight-hundred million is 2,800,000,000 units.  Interestingly, they have about the same number of DNA units as a human.  According to the article, the lung fish, another "early walker," has 100,000,000,000 units of DNA.  So why is it that man has 35 times fewer DNA units than the lung fish?  According to the article, there are coelacanth fossils that are four hundred million years old.  We have four hundred million year old fossils and the living fish.  I wonder why some of those fish did not get the word that they were supposed to have evolved.  Finally, it is interesting to see the evolutionist squirm.  Earlier last century the coelacanth was hailed as a forerunner to the first fish that walked.  The fossils were there to prove it.  Then in 1938 they caught the living fossil, who had not evolved.  The internal structure that was supposed to show that they were different, was not there.
     So let us praise God who has made such a wonderful fish - and praise God that the number of DNA units is not what makes man unique.  It is the fact that we are created in God's image, not the number of DNA units, that makes us unique.

Beauty of God's Creation

Today was a perfect spring day - 70 degrees - red bud in full bloom.  (Although red bud is called red bud it is more of a fuchsia.)  The tulips are in full bloom, as are the dogwoods, and the first azaleas have burst into full color.  Supposedly dogs can see only faded colors and then only in yellow and blue.  They can't see red.  But God the Father has created us to see the green grass, the yellow forsythia, the blue sky, the fuchsia red bud, the red and white tulips, and the white and pink dogwoods.  Praise God that He gave us the ability to see color.
picture of flowering red bud
Photo from accessed on 14 Apr 13.

The Blind Man Sees

St. John the Apostle tells the story of the man blind from birth being healed in the 9th chapter of his gospel.  But there is another story, and that is the story of his going from unbelief to belief.  In verse 9 he describes Jesus as "The man they call Jesus."  Jesus is Greek for the Hebrew word Joshua, which means Savior.  In verse 17 the blind man states that "He is a prophet."  When questioned again by the Pharisees he states "If this man were not from God, he could do nothing" (verse 33).  Later Jesus asks him "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"  The Son of Man is not human as we think when we hear those words.  It is a reference to Daniel 7:13:  "There before me was one like a Son of Man, coming with clouds of heaven . . . He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."  The blind man's response was "Lord, I believe and he worshipped Him.' 
      May we go from thinking of "a man they call Jesus" to "Lord, I believe."

Miraculous Signs

     This morning's sermon was on how the man born blind from birth now sees (John 9).  In John's Gospel, Jesus's miraculous signs prove definitively that He was the Christ by the daring audacity of them.  John only records seven signs, but each one has tremendous power and often witnessed by many.
    In John 2 at the wedding of Cana He turns 120-180 gallons of water into wine.  How many tasted the wine?  Maybe one or even two hundred people?
    In John 4 He heals the royal official's son at a distance.  He did not even have to be in the same city.
     In John 5 He heals a lame man-one who had been lame for 38 years.
     In John 6 he feeds five thousand men with bread and fish.
     In John 6 He and Peter walk on water.
     In John 8 He heals a blind man (of at least 30) who had been born blind.
     In John 11 He raises Lazarus from the dead.
Any one sign would have been spectacular and Jesus declares that He is the Christ through these seven miraculous signs.  May we follow the signs to Him and may we worship Him, as the man born blind from birth did.

Odds and the Lottery

Sunday's Virginian Pilot had an excellent little article on the lottery.  According to the latest study (2008), the poor, those earning less than $13,000/year, spend 9% of their income buying lottery tickets.  Further, the chance of winning is miniscule.  If you go to the Virginia Lottery and type in "chances of winning" there is no answer in the frequently asked questions!  So let us go to the California Lotto Jackpot, where the odds are 1:18,000,000 (one in 18 million).  If you buy 50 tickets/week you would have to live almost 7,000 years to win.  It is basically a tax on those who are not good on math.  Fran Liebowitz reportedly said "I've done the calculation, and your chances of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not."  So put the money in your pocket, or even better yet, donate the money to your local church where you will do real good.