American by Day

I was really looking forward to reading this book because I liked Norwegian by Night so much. This book is not as good but is well worth the read for some different reasons.

Derek Miller is an American who now lives with his family in Norway. He has a PhD in International Relations and uses that in his day job. His fourth book will be out this year.

In Norwegian, the 84 year old Sheldon Horowitz has been moved from his home in New York to live with his granddaughter and her Norwegian husband. He rescues a boy from a gang of Balkans who kill the boy’s mother.

Horowitz was a sniper in Korea. Now he has to use his skills to travel across a country he does not know without money and without being able to talk to the boy. Why? Because the Balkans want to kill the boy as well. Horowitz succeeds but dies in the arms of Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård.

In American by Day, Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård is sent to upstate New York by her father to find her brother who has gone missing. Much of the same whimsical humor laces this book, but Miller did spend more time pointing out that America has a race problem, and we eat fattening food.

She arrives in time to learn that her brother has confessed to killing his girlfriend, a black professor, and then disappeared. She is forced to cooperate with Sheriff Irving Wylie, owner of a master’s degree in theology to find Marcus before the police find him and shoot him.

Even with the preaching, this is a good read, much better by far than Stasi Vice.

Mike Lawrence

To Know God is Eternal Life

Photo by Ihor Malytskyi on Unsplash

 

Acts 1:6-14

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

John 17:1-11

Psalm 68

The first five verses of John today is a prayer by Jesus asking God to glorify him. But don’t ignore the first words: After Jesus said this..NIV It is illegal (or should be) not to look back and see what happened before these words. In chapter 16, Jesus is beginning to prepare the disciples for his imminent death. The chapter ends with these words: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. NIV

Verse 2. For you gave him authority over all people, so that he might give eternal life to all those you gave himGNT God gave Jesus authority over every human. Jesus gives eternal life to everyone whom God gave to Jesus. Jesus claims no credit for saving us. By his death and resurrection, we receive eternal life, but only because God gave us to Jesus. The human Jesus never claimed to be greater than God.

Verse 3. And eternal life is this: to know you, the one true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the MessiahCJB The Bible since Genesis has stressed that being close to God is our salvation. Jesus made that closeness easier. Jesus gave us a picture of God. He gave us examples of how a Godly person behaves. As followers of Jesus, we must not lose sight of the true goal—to be close to God the Father of us all.

Verse 4. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to doNIV The entire life of Jesus was God’s plan. Even though we know next to nothing about Jesus for his first thirty years, we do know God was always with him. Jesus never felt the absence of God. I believe that is why Jesus was sweating blood in the Garden the night of his arrest. He understood that he had to go the final steps alone. And not just to die, but to enter Hell and face the Great Liar without feeling God within him. After 33 years of that comfort, can any of us really understand the emptiness Jesus experienced? But he finished the work.

Verse 5. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existedESV We try to understand the relationship between the Father and the Son. In our world, the father is always senior, even as he becomes feeble in age. But God’s Son seems to be an equal in Heaven. On earth, Jesus generally called himself Son of Man, but rarely accepted the title of Son of God. Clearly, Jesus wants us to see him as a servant, as the Messiah. He wants us to act in that same way, as servants. We should not claim any glory until our work is finished and God grants us whatever glory He may want us to have.

Verse 6. I made your name known to the people you gave me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your wordCJB Jesus now turns his prayer to his followers. He repeats the claim that God alone chose them. Whenever we read that Jesus said, ‘come, follow me,’ we must remember he did not pick the person. God told him to invite the person.

Verses 7-8. Now they realise that all that you have given me comes from you—and that every message that you gave me I have given them. They have accepted it all and have come to know in their hearts that I did come from you—they are convinced that you sent mePhillips Jesus knew that most of his followers would leave him after the arrest. He knew of the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter. He knew the rest would hide in fear. Yet, he said, they are convinced.

Verse 9.  I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yoursESV This is a special prayer. It is for the handful of men and women who were true believers and who would have to face the world and be persecuted for their efforts. He was praying for Stephen who would be the first to die and for John who would be the last. I think we can believe that we who have come to him lately are included, but he was thinking mostly of the people he spent three years with.

Verses 10-11.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are oneNIV How could Jesus say that glory comes to him from us?

Stay close to God. That will give glory to Jesus.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence