A Low Whisper

A Low Whisper

1 King 19:9-15

There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.  And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.

The prophet Elijah has fled to a cave to hide from the persecution of Jezebel.  Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab who did not walk in the way of the Lord.  Jezebel had slaughtered the prophets of God, except for one hundred who Obadiah, the overseer of Ahab’s household hid in caves. Continue reading

The Seed, The Individual

The Seed, The Individual

Matthew 13:18-23

“Hear then the parable of the sower:  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.  As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,  yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.  As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

At the beginning of Matthew Chapter 13, Jesus tells the crowd, The Parable of the Sower.  If you like, go to your Bible, either book or online, and read the parable.  I’ll continue assuming that you are familiar with it.  And if you are familiar with the parable, then I am going to assume you are also familiar with the explanation that Jesus gave to his disciples as referenced in the beginning of this post. 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

Iron On Iron

Iron On Iron

Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens another.

Today I’ll depart from the New Testament and go back to the Old Testament.

One day while on my way to a gig, as I was driving through a section of town on the same road I use at least once a week, I noticed a banner.  It was strung to a fence that was protecting an old hotel that was being refurbished.  Part of the sign had the general contractor’s name, phone number, website, logo, etc.  That was on the left side of the sign.  On the right side was the verse from Proverbs that I referenced at the beginning of this piece.

Now maybe I noticed the verse because I was stopped at a red light, but I don’t believe that was the first time the light stopped me at that intersection.  I know they hadn’t just put up the sign because I remembered the contractor’s name and logo on the sign.  Something on that day made me look at the sign and read the verse. Continue reading

The Good News

The Good News

Matthew 11:4-5

And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

These verses are the response of Jesus to the question posed by John the Baptist.  The question was, are you the Messiah?  John was in prison and had heard about all the deeds of Christ and so he asked his disciples to ask Jesus this question.

Jesus does not say yes I am.  Jesus tells the disciples that through his work one can know that he is the one to come, he is the Christ. Continue reading

Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask, Seek, Knock

Matthew 7:7-10

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?

 

Ask and it will be given…

Many think, that according to this verse, all you have to do is pray really hard and voila, there it will be.  Then after taking this naïve approach, they are extremely disappointed when it doesn’t appear before their eyes or happen as planned. Continue reading

Doing Good

Doing Good

1 Peter 3:17

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

I read this verse and the first thing that came to mind was one of my favorite old sayings; “No good deed goes unpunished.”

There is no known origin for this phrase, although it’s been attributed to the likes of Billy Wilder, Andrew Mellon and Oscar Wilde. Continue reading

The Individual II

The Individual II

Matthew 7:4-5

Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Many who read these verses would say that Christ is telling us to not judge others and their actions.  I agree.   But I had a different train of thought when reading these verses today, and it’s the same thought I’ve had throughout the New Testament and the Bible.  It’s the teaching and emphasis of the individual and the individual’s self responsibility. Continue reading

Gentle And Quiet Spirit

Gentle And Quiet Spirit

1 Peter 3:3-4

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

These verses are about the inner beauty of a person, and many of us were raised being taught to not judge a book by its cover.  Obviously that saying is true, otherwise it wouldn’t have lasted so long. Continue reading

Eating The Sour Grapes

Eating The Sour Grapes

Jeremiah 31:29-30

In those days they shall no longer say:

“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

When I read these verses two words came into my head.  We’ll talk about that a little later in this piece.

In ancient times it was thought that the sins of the father, or the “eating of the sour grapes” as referred to in these verses, were paid for by their children and their succeeding generations.  When the Israelites we’re conquered and carried off to Babylon the children were paying for the sins of their fathers.  But many of those children were also eating the sour grapes.  Much like their fathers, the children continued the idolatry and worshiping of false gods.  They continued the abominations practiced by their parents. Continue reading