Downfall of the Welfare State

Downfall of the Welfare State

Matthew 25:29-30

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

These verses follow “The Parable of the Talents” which I have written about before.  (Using Your Talent)  The parable is about wasting a life, the gift of life, through covetousness, worry or fear.  In verse 29 Christ sums up this law of nature, or the law of the balance of the universe.

But reading these verses also brought to mind another thought which I wrote down as not to forget.  My note was: “downfall of the welfare state”. Continue reading

Preconceived Expectations

Preconceived Expectations

In the Second Book of Kings, Chapter 5, there is the story of Naaman and Elisha.

Elisha was the understudy of the prophet Elijah and when Elijah slept with his fathers, Elisha became the man of God, the prophet.  Naaman was the commander of the army for the king of Syria and he was held in high regard by his king.

At that time the Syrian army had been making raids into Israel (see how long this stuff had been going on in the Middle East) and one of the captives was a little girl who ended up working for Naaman.

Naaman is described in the Bible as a valiant man, but he was a leper.  The girl from Israel knew of the prophet Elisha and told Naaman’s wife about him.  The little girl told her that Elisha could cure her husband. Continue reading

Take What Belongs To You and Go

Take What Belongs To You and Go

Matthew 20:14-16

Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”

In Matthew, Chapter 20, Jesus tells his followers the parable, “Laborers in the Vineyards”.  If you haven’t read it or are not familiar with it go and read it now.  I’ll wait.

Ok, here’s a recap if you decided not to read it. Continue reading

What’s Wrong With A Census?

What’s Wrong With A Census?

1 Chronicles 21:1-7

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.  But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel.

When I first read these verses I didn’t understand why God would be displeased with King David taking a census.  I thought, what is wrong with knowing how many citizens you have to rule.  Countries, including our country, take a census every so many years to determine population growth, changes in demographics, etc.  Where is the sin it this?

Then, as I read it again, I realized David was getting the number of soldiers he had under his command.  Okay, again what’s wrong with that?  Eisenhower needed to know troop strength for both the Allies and the Axis.  What commander wouldn’t want to know this?  That is vital information for strategic and logistical planning.

I also wondered why David’s top commander bulked at this request.  What did he know that David didn’t know?  How did Joab know David was committing a sin? Continue reading

One Astray

One Astray

Matthew 18:12-14

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Chapter 18 begins with the Disciples asking Jesus a rather odd question, or at least it seems odd to me.  They ask, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  I’m not sure what they are asking.  Are they wondering if Moses, Elijah, or Isaiah holds the most power?  I don’t know, but it demonstrates that the Disciples, like all of us, couldn’t truly forsake worldly thoughts and ideas.  It shows a thinking of class warfare.  The poor versus, the middle, versus the upper class, versus the royalty.  And it reveals a concern about what other individuals think. Continue reading

What Goes Into Your Mouth

What Goes Into Your Mouth

Matthew 15:18-19

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

In Matthew, Chapter 15, the Pharisees and Scribes had come to Jesus to ask him why his disciples break the traditions of the elders by not washing their hands before they eat.  Christs asks the Pharisees and Scribes why do you break the commandments of God for the sake of your traditions.  Jesus sites the prophesy of Isaiah 29:13:

Continue reading

A Woman To Be Praised

A Woman To Be Praised

(Today marks 40 years since we said, “I do”. Here’s to 40 more.)

Proverbs 31:1

The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him

I did some research on King Lemuel.  I didn’t know who he was and I thought King Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs.  Some scholars think otherwise, but I guess who wrote the book isn’t as important as what is in the book.  After reading their arguments I still believe it is the work of King Solomon.

It turns out that King Lemuel was really King Solomon just using another name much like he does in the book of Ecclesiastes.  In that book Solomon only refers to himself as “The Preacher”.  And so it is likely that the advice being given to King Solomon is from his mother Bathsheba.

As I read Proverbs 31, I came to verses 10 through 31, which in the English Standard Version of the Bible is titled, “The Woman Who Fears the Lord”.  And as I read them I thought of my wife.

Today June 16, marks the fortieth year of my life with this woman as my wife, and there is none other in this world with whom I want to spend my remaining days. Continue reading

The Road To A Good Life

The Road To A Good Life

Deuteronomy 8:5-10

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

What got my attention was verse 5:

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.

Verses 6 through 10 goes on to elaborate the reason for this “discipline”.

Anyone who has raised a child can relate to these verse, just as I did. Continue reading

The Power Of The One

The Power Of The One

Matthew 13:31-32

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.  It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

This is one of the many parables told by Christ.  Most commentaries that I read about these verses interpret the story to mean, one person sharing the words of The Gospel will grow and spread around the world and be given to all of mankind.  It is referring to the growth of the Christian faith, from one to 2.2 billion.

I agree with all of that, but once again my take on this was not about the masses but about the one, the individual.  Christ is talking about the power, the gift, which has been given to each individual by God. Continue reading

The Vessel Spoiled

The Vessel Spoiled

Jeremiah 18:1-4

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

When I read these verses I had a thought that immediately came to mind.  So I wrote down the chapter and verse numbers and the simple thought that came with it. Continue reading