We Withhold From Ourselves

We Withhold From Ourselves

Matthew 13:10-15

The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

 

The Disciples of Christ asked why he was teaching the masses in parables, which for many, were difficult to understand.  They wondered why Christ did not tell all the followers and all the leaders of his coming, his purpose, and the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. Continue reading

Sentence Of Death From Birth

Sentence Of Death From Birth

2nd Corinthians 1:9

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

When I read this verse I knew I wanted to write about it.  It wasn’t clear on my thoughts or how to explain them. I knew this verse meant something to me.

I turned to reading the commentary written about this verse by John Gill. Continue reading

Habits and Diligence

Habits and Diligence

Matthew 12:43-45

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order.  Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”

After I read these verses I wrote the verse numbers on a slip of paper that I keep on the nightstand by my bed.  I keep paper and pen there for just such an occasion.  The note that I wrote about these verses was just two words; habits and diligence. Continue reading

When Our Drink Is Gone

When Our Drink Is Gone

Hosea 4:18

When their drink is gone they give themselves to whoring, their rulers dearly love shame.

I knew what this meant to me when I first read it and wrote down the verse.  But I thought I would read what scholarly people think of it and compare my thoughts with theirs.

The scholars and theologians say this verse deals with the tribe of Ephraim, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, that has become a bunch of drunks, alcoholics, the people along with their leaders.

That may be true for the times this book was written but here is my modern day assessment of this verse.

Society today loves its “feel good”. Continue reading

Sheep and Wolves, Serpents and Doves

Sheep and Wolves, Serpents and Doves

Matthew 10:16

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Just a quick post about this short, simple and eloquent verse.

In the verses preceding this verse, Christ is instructing his disciples before they are sent out to preach the word of God.    Christ sends his messengers out into the world with nothing, no worldly things.  He tells them that while they are traveling and delivering the gospel to receive nothing more than what they need to sustain life.  Christ instructs them to forsake worldly items and desires. Continue reading

Special Mediocracy

Special Mediocracy

Luke 17:7-10

Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?  Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?  So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’

This is a lesson for many of us today.

So many of us feel we should be rewarded for just showing up in life and we teach this to our children. We start this “you are special just for showing up” at a very young age.

Participation trophies, attendance awards, etc., these are meant to make the mediocre special.

No wonder we now throw around hollow and meaningless compliments like pennies in a wishing well.

This feeling of mediocracy as something to celebrate spreads into our adult lives.  We have a government that swears by it and promotes it. We have mass media that follows suit. Continue reading

Silent Dogs

Silent Dogs

Isaiah 56:9-12

All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
    all you beasts in the forest.
His watchmen are blind;
    they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs;
    they cannot bark,
dreaming, lying down,
    loving to slumber.
The dogs have a mighty appetite;
    they never have enough.
But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
    they have all turned to their own way,
    each to his own gain, one and all.
“Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
    let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
and tomorrow will be like this day,
    great beyond measure.”

The heading of these verses in the English Standard Version of the Bible is “Israel’s Irresponsible Leaders”.

Isaiah is speaking to Israel who has stop walking in the way of the Lord.  Isaiah is pointing out that their deviation from God and righteousness is coming from the top down.  He is speaking of leaders who have turned from doing what is right for the people and are only doing what is best for the leaders’ own benefit.  And of course if you have read some of my previous posts you will know that I see this ancient commentary on society as being as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. Continue reading

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Isaiah 44:9-20

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?  Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.  The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.  He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.  Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.  No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

The English Standard Version of the Bible titles these verses: The Folly of Idolatry”.

Isaiah speaks of how we take man-made objects and give them powers they do not possess.  We turn them into false gods that meet our human expectations.  We do this today just as it was done in the time of Isaiah.  It is done within the conventional organized religions, where symbols are professed to deliver us from evil.  And there are those who claim that some man-made objects can possess evil powers.  These are obvious examples of idolatry.  But many of us fall to the folly of idolatry in a more subtle manner. Continue reading

The Heart Can Be Deceitful

The Heart Can Be Deceitful

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?

Jeremiah is talking about how we try to rationalize away our sins.  He is speaking of man’s heart.  A heart that is filled with worldly desires.  A heart that he talks about in Jeremiah 17:5:

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.

A heart that trust man, one that draws strength from flesh.  A heart that is filled with desires of the flesh cannot be filled with the Lord. Continue reading

Every Man Under His Vine

Every Man Under His Vine

1 Kings 4:25

And Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon.

When I read this it reminded me of my post “Candy Cried” which referenced the scene in “Of Mice and Men” where all the misfits were gathered in one place and talking about their collective passion.  All they wanted was a little piece of land to call their own.  A place in life to work and reap their rewards, a place to be left alone. Continue reading