“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
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
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’
These verses are referred to as The Parable of the Ten Virgins. It tells us to be ever vigilant for the return of Christ. No one, and I mean no one, knows when or where. You must stay vigilant, disciplined and be prepared.
But I found another meaning in this story, another lesson to be learned. Continue reading
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
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
In this verse, Paul sums up who we are as individuals.
Whose approval do we seek every day? Is it our parents’, our spouse’s, our boss’s or maybe the approval of our peers? Are we trying to fit in with the crowd, trying to be cool and hip? Are we doing what others expect of us?
We want to be respectful of others and we certainly don’t want to harm others, but who are we trying to please? Are we trying to please the world, or God?
Maybe we’re distorting our intrinsic sense of righteousness in order to fit in with the world? Continue reading
2 Corinthians 10:12
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
In this verse, Paul tells us that we are all individuals. Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, to compare each other and make judgements about individuals as compared to others or the group, well that’s just vanity. It’s folly, like the old phrase apples to oranges. Continue reading
1 Corinthians 7:17
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
The Bible verses I cite are taken from the English Standard Version. In the ESV, titles are given to different sections. The section which verse 17 begins is titled; “Live As You Are Called”.
I really like that title, and I think that could be the mantra for every one of us. It’s like a mission statement for each individual. Paul is telling us that we are all unique individuals and each one of us has our own talents, quirks, ways of thinking and no one way is the only right way; except the way of love and righteousness. Continue reading
1 Corinthians 2:10 -11
…these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
God is within each of us. We do not have to search the world for God, we only have to look no further than our hearts. That is where God dwells within each and every individual.
Paul confirms this in the verses above. Continue reading
I was reviewing some of my previous posts when I came upon “The Individual”. In that post I cited various verses in the Bible that focus on the individual and the Kingdom of God being the individual.
We are all individuals, each a unique being given the gift of life by God. The individual is responsible for themselves, their actions and the subsequent consequences of those actions. But what made me decide to write about the individual one more time was the painting that I chose to associate with that previous post. Continue reading
but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and no one shall make them afraid,
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
When I read this verse, I thought that I had already written about it. But as I reviewed my previous writings, I discovered the verse I had already written about was this one from 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.
I referenced this verse from 1 Kings in my post, “Every Man Under His Vine”, and in that post I referenced another post which was titled, “Candy Cried”. The thought in these posts and verses, is of an individual having a place in life to live as an individual, a place to sow and reap the fruits of their labor. Continue reading