After months of planning and anticipation, the day had finally arrived. We were planning to take a nine-day trip to Alberta, Canada, to visit family. The excitement was running high. Preparations had been made. Food and clothing were packed. As we gathered the last few items, I remembered a very important item: the envelope of passports and birth certificates. After retrieving them from the safe, I carefully counted to make sure they were all there. One short. I counted again, but mine was missing. I rummaged through the safe, assuming it had slipped out of place, but with no success.
Stanley R. Martin
On the Arctic tundra in Svalbard, Norway, about 800 miles from the North Pole, there are no gardens, no trees. Yet, deep beneath this barren surface lies the largest concentration of agricultural diversity anywhere on Earth.
Problems are a normal part of life. They vary significantly in intensity. Problems may be as minor as a sore toe or as painful as a dying parent. It could be lost van keys on a school morning or an interpersonal relationship problem.
As humans we tend to classify problems as bad, undesirable, and unwanted.
Problems have plagued mankind for millenniums. Prophet and peasant alike have asked, “Why?” We struggle to understand why a loving, all-powerful God wouldn’t fix our problems.
His work on earth was done. The time had come for Him to return to His Heavenly home. Shortly He would take His place by the side of His Father upon the throne of light and glory.
Accompanied by the eleven, He made His way to the Mount of Olives. But the disciples did not know that this was to be their last interview with their Master. As they walked, the Saviour gave them His parting instruction. Just before leaving them, He made that precious promise, so dear to every one of His followers: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt 28:20).
What had started as perhaps just an ordinary day for us, had become a day with a most unusual happening. We had been hearing strange stories of a rabbi in town. Everyone said he was a different sort of rabbi. His teaching was captivating, his demeanor was gentle and kind, but something was uncommon. We decided today we take some time off to see if we could find out more.
First Kings 21 records the story of two men whose choices and characters stand in stark contrast to each other. The one man said, in essence, “What I have is not for sale.” The other is described as having “sold himself to work wickedness.” It is the story of Naboth and his vineyard, the sulking King and his plotting wife, and the faithful prophet Elijah. It happened a very long time ago. The whole event sounds remarkably contemporary.
Since the creation of man, the desire of God has always been to have a relationship with man. He placed the desire for relationship and fellowship within man. When God placed Adam and Eve in the garden, He walked and talked with them in the cool of the day. He had fellowship with them. They had an intimate relationship with God.
Webster's defines intimacy as: belonging to or characterizing one's deepest nature; marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity; marked by a warm friendship developing through long association (intimate friends).