April 28th.

Deuteronomy 15 / Ecclesiastes 7 / Acts 5-6

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And it shall be, should he say to you, "I will not go out from you," for he loves you and your household, as it is good for him with you, you shall take an awl and put it through his ear and into the door, and he shall be your perpetual slave. And to your slave girl, too, thus shall you do.

What is a servant/slave, and what does that one's life look like? How is it different than the free man's life? What do people love? What does God say that all men live to serve, even though they consider themselves free? Can we just turn ourselves into a dependent servant by calling ourselves that (trying to fulfill some necessary obligation to say that because we want to get something), or are we always independent because it's our nature to be that way and we're bound to the natural creation via that nature? Why would we want to call ourselves servants—because we want something from God and we read that that's what He requires? Can we just turn ourselves into something we inherently are not, like training to do a job or learning a hobby? Is it easy, or even possible, to change our nature? What is the relationship between children and servants, adults and servants?

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them.  "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Why are people the way they are? What do people generally want to get/have/find in their life? What makes a person satisfied? Why are there so many secret problems all the time with everyone that are not disclosed except to those who are around them so much that they come out some time or another? Where do they come from, and do they matter? Why do the humans live to hide those problems, and therefore who they really are, what they really want to do down deep in their secret places, from everyone else?

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

What are some of the general ideas of the motivation behind commands given by God to His people, which might uncover a general guiding philosophy about what He wants, and how does that combat the way people seem to be at their core, as humans (why commands are necessary)? Do the words adequately described the propensities of the humans and explained the origins of their nature? Do they show what the humans are, what they are driven to be, and why?

"Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid."

Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me."

Then they asked him, "Where is your father?"

"You do not know me or my Father," Jesus replied. "If you knew me, you would know my Father also."

Because of their detachment from the Holy One, aren't the humans just given over to having to create their own little tower of babel in their futile attempts to reach up into the heavens and get to the God who obviously does not want to be found by them? Aren't all the humans, like all the animals living and dying around them, just all orphans who live and die without a knowledge of the Father that the Son had—so much so that nothing was important to him except choosing the right, because that meant he remained close to the Father? Or does their declaration that they (and only they) know the way to God stand true just because they themselves all agree that that is so?

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Animals are free to go where they want, to fly here and there, to build their nests and eat what they can find. But are they free? Are they free when it seems they are driven by some unseen force that makes them fly to a certain place at a certain time, and then back again another? Are they free to go in and out of heat whenever they wish, and are they free to respond to that in the other or just ignore it?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

The humans think they are free, but are they or are they equally as driven by an invisible force so pervasive and yet hidden that they can't even see or notice it, because it's just they way they are? Is the drive to stay alive confined to just eating every day so that we don't shrivel up and die? Does it spread outward in the other areas of our lives, to the mental and emotional existences we all live in? Can we see man's nature with our eyes? Can we observe his thoughts or emotions?

Whatever wisdom may be, it is far off and most profound—who can discover it?

So I turned my mind to understand,
to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.

This only have I found: God made mankind upright,
but men have gone in search of many schemes.

How is the spirit of God as it is written about and preserved associated with God's nature? How is the ruler of this world as it is written about and preserved associated with the nature of the humans? Is it on the same type of level, existing but unable to be seen with human eyes? If we think that moving from child to adult is difficult, how hard do we think it will be to go the other way?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.


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