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Friday, December 13, 2013

Sorting through the “work” parables
studying.jpg Sorting through the “work” parables

The internet defines a parable as

“par·a·ble noun a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.”

Jesus told many parables and a listing from the internet http://www.rc.net/wcc/parables.htm lists them breaking them up into categories.

How these parables can be grouped is interesting...

-Work and wages (19 parables)

-Nature based (14 parables)

-Showing division or splitting into groups (10 parables)

-Weddings based (9 parables)

-Lost and found, father and sons (8 parables)

If we assume these parables reflect the amount Jesus emphasised the importance of aspects of life we can perhaps deduce what is most important to him.

Maybe this categorization shows that God wants us to look to how we deal with life activities as a first priority. Then to respect his creation and learn from it secondly. Next to ensure we are in the group that loves and trust God, and then to enjoy the experiences of being with God and finally to ensure we tell others about God and accept them into his family.

This is perhaps a different emphasis to that we find portrayed in our celebration gatherings isn't it?

Having God in mind as we work is the primary focus it seems and I have put together my short summary of the parables of work and wages and will perhaps address the other categories in later blogs.

PARABLE descriptionKen's understanding of the main encouragement of the parable
The Servant Entrusted with Authority or The Faithful and Unfaithful Servants (Matt. 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-46) Use our skills wisely
The Money in Trust or The Talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27) Use our skills wisely
The Discarded Salt (Matt 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34 f.)Use our skills wisely and allow others to see this.
The Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-12) Revised!Use our skills wisely
The Wicked Vinedressers (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16)Do not be evil in work, lets use our skills wisely.
The Waiting Servants (Luke 12:35-38; Mark 13:33-37)Be ready eternal life with God is worth everything we ever gain in this world
The Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44)Eternal life with God is worth everything we ever gain in this world
The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45 f.)Eternal life with God is worth everything we ever gain in this world
Master and Servant (Luke 17:7-10)Do our duty
The Defendant (Luke 12:58 f.; Matthew 5:25 f.) Settle debts before it's too late
The Laborers in the Vineyard or The Generous Employer (Matt.20:1-16) God rewards justly even if we don’t think so
The Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21) Eternal rewards trump gain in life
The Body's Lamp (Matthew 6:22 f.; Luke 11:34-36) Focus on God's good, not satans evil
The Two Builders (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49) Trust Gods words to succeed, reject them and fail
The Patch and the Wineskins (Matt. 9:16 f.; Mark 2:21 f.; Luke 5:36-39) God moves with time, each time has its own working relationship with God
The Householder's Treasure (Matthew 13:52) Balance new and old understandings in doing God's work
The Unforgiving Official or The Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:23-35) Forgive, or be punished.
The Two Debtors (Luke 7:41-43) Great forgiveness enables great love
The Lamp (Matt 5:14-16; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16, 11:31) and The City Set on a Hill (Matt. 5:14b) Be seen to do what God wants

 
Notice how God emphasises more than any other aspect the fatc that we should use our skills wisely. (The first 4 categories)

This is the prime thought in this category of parables.

We each have different skills, we are expected to use them fully.

Do we use our skills fully in a Godly way?

The next most important aspect is to be ready for eternal life with God and know it is worth everything we ever gain in this world. All our greatest achievements in this world are less than what we will experience in heaven and we can’t take these achievements with us when we die can we?

How do we measure our achievements?

Are we heading to the right type of eternal life?

Doing our duty and settling our debts with others and God before its too late is described in two parables.

How in debt are we to others?

How in debt are we to God? Do we ask forgiveness frequently and turn to doing good so as to limit our sin and ensure we are living righteously?

Next, do we understand that God always rewards fairly even if we don’t understand it fully. Are we willing to accept this?

God is great and sees everything in its specific place. We see little, so we need to trust Him.

We need to also focus on God’s good, rather than on the evil around us.

Let’s be people who downplay the evil in the world to promote and replay the good. We need to do just the opposite of our media that replays the evil and downplays the good.

We need to give people space to live in different timeframes.

Elderly people will worship differently to younger people. We need to have a balanced understanding, knowing that God loves all but also treats everyone differently in ways they understand and appreciate.

Let’s not judge others by our standards, but rather by God’s standards.

Nobody gets away with evil, God promises that.

We need to trust in this promise of God. Instead of trying to ensure people are punished we should rather try and expose them to God’s love in order to get them healed of the evil in their life.

We need to forgive or we will not be forgiven. That is clear from God’s word.

Lastly we must not be shy.

God wants us to stand out in our lives like shining lights for others to see.

These are the key aspects of the biggest group of parables. Do they work for you and do you work within these guidelines?
Fri, December 13, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Is evil real?
Perceptions.jpgIs evil real?

“Most of the bad guys in the real world don't know that they are bad guys. You don't get a flashing warning sign that you're about to damn yourself. It sneaks up on you when you aren't looking.” ~ Jim Butcher

I guess it’s interesting that of the creatures on earth that do evil things and know it’s evil, man is alone in the despicable category.Yet so many people try to discount evil. They want their free will removed and an excuse to do anything without being responsible. Evil to many is a creation of nerves and brain impulses in response to stimuli.
That is not the Christian perspective.

We know that that evil spirits are here to stay because in that last book of our bible, in the part where the start of Armageddon occurs it says...

“Then the evil spirits gathered the kings together. The place where the kings met is called Armageddon in the Hebrew language”-Rev 16:16

Evil spirits? Not people with evil thoughts.

The bible also talks about “spirits of demons performing miraculous signs” a verse or two previous to this.

Then Paul gives Timothy a young man advice “Run away from the evil things that young people long for. Try hard to do what is right. Have faith, love and peace. Do these things together with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Yes, human do evil and are influenced by it!

Evil is that enjoyment in increasing suffering, ignoring suffering, discarding the impacts of one’s own selfishness on others and can be summed up as doing things God would not approve of.

Evil comes with free will. To deny one is to deny the other.

I guess that’s the crux of the matter.

Do we believe we have free will?

Then evil exists since free will means a choice between options.

Now many of us simply have rough undefined feelings of evil that we try to avoid even thinking about.

As Christians we should know that is not enough. We need to understand that there are evil spirits that influence us towards doing the darker deeds of life continually. Fallen angels angry at loosing are determined to make mankind suffer and try to lead us into ungodly paths.

These paths would never be chosen by ourselves by choice, so the options are covered in pleasure so we lust after them. We bite into the crust of the wonderful looking apple like snow white, only to find a rotten core underneath and before we can undo our action, we are taken down by evil, which laughs and pays homage to Satan for the evil guidance.

Yes evil is real. But so is God and Jesus is our prince Charming who undoes everything and enables us to enter heavenly places, not because we have not been touched by evil and willingly been deceived, but because his love overcomes the evil and draws us into the Fathers kingdom

Today as a lie starts to form, let’s ask where it is coming from and resist.

When the greed suggests we push others out the way, lets give them space.

When evil pushes us to anger, lets calm and pray and ask God to guide us.

As James says “So obey God. Stand up to the devil. He will run away from you.” James 4:7

Evil may appear powerful, but appearances lie. God is the true strength of existence and Satan only tries to appear to us to be so. Let's not be deceived!
Thu, December 12, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Teens need friend’s

I was reading teen ink and came across this poem by a teenager…

The kids at school laugh.
 Is it the way I dress?
 Lacoste,
 Ralph Lauren,
 La Tigre.
 I’ve tried every designer out there.
 Staying in the house really saves me money.
 My stupid rich parents give me $50 a week for lunch.
 $50 times 36 weeks …
 what is that?
 $1,000,
 $2,000,
 $10,000?
 I should probably know.
 Straight A’s 12 years in a row and counting.

 With all of this,
or none of this –
 it depends how you look at it –
 all I need is a friend

 “All I need is a friend” by Ryan M., Mt. Prospect, IL

 Today, lets pray for Ryan and those teens that need a friend. What are Christians doing if they are not reaching out to young people like this? What is wrong wit our churches if they don’t encourage young people to love others.

 Didn’t Jesus say 2 Timothy 1:7
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

 And

 Mark 12:29
Jesus answered, “Here is the most important one. Moses said, ‘Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Deuteronomy 6:4,5) 31 And here is the second one. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18) There is no commandment more important than these.”

 How about we do it rather than talk it?
Wed, December 11, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

“man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”
Crackers_Salty.jpg“man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”

Where does that quote come from?

Most people will say “the bible”. Those with more knowledge will say the bible from the book of Matthew chapter 4 when Jesus was in the desert and answered Satan after fasting for a long time.

“man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

However this is not totally correct!


It is true that Jesus said this at this time but that is not where it comes from. Jesus was quoting another part of the bible which has as it’s theme the message that man should not forget God. He was quoting Deuteronomy 8.

This piece of writing, probably written in Moses time, has a few interesting statements one of which is…



Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

Do you notice why Jesus uses this piece of writing?

There is a correlation…wilderness with desert, forty years with forty days, humbling and testing, hunger!

If God can use Old Testament effectively, I think we can do the same.

We need to familiarize ourselves with these ancient writings to gain the better understanding of what Jesus wants us to know. Without understanding this reference Jesus was making, that time in the desert is maybe just a little weird and strange. When we see this we see great parallels with Jesus life. It shows us the desert is a transition point in Jesus ministry.

It was a motivator to Jesus. Probably the tempting was itself a motivator. As the Israelites were tempted on leaving Egypt, and they failed the first time, Jesus is tempted and doesn’t fail.

Also, it’s worth seeing a few other things that same piece of writing says…

“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you”

…is also good advice for us, as is ...

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

These all lead to this warning…

“Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God”

The emphasis is mine!

The core requirement is not to forget God, or forget to listen to what he tells us.

The warning against getting too satisfied and forgetting God is one that I think the first world would do well to hear.

God is not going away, but wealth and comforts can make people arrogant.

Let’s remember lest we forget and fool ourselves. God is not a fool or a person to pushed around. We might as well try to personally move mount Everest if we think that.

No!

We must respect God. We need to remember his guidelines for our lives if we are to be blessed. Then, if we do this he pours out his blessing on us making sure our needs are me and giving us a vibrant and interesting life.

God is good, very good, but we need to make sure we remember what he says. That includes reading his writings, even the oldest of them. So perhaps we should look at an Old Testament reading plan for the near future.

Have a wonderful blessed day remembering our great and loving God!
Tue, December 10, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, December 9, 2013

JESUS WEPT
JESUS WEPT

Two Words, timeless wonder.

How can two words communicate so much? The context is important.

 Where were they said, when and by whom?

John, the guy Jesus loved and entrusted his mother’s care to, reports this. Jesus arrives in the town of Bethany to find a dear friend had died.

Mary and others are crying. When he is directed to where his friend was buried Jesus wept.

God crying?


This is the same God who saved the world?

Crying?


This brings up questions.

·         Couldn’t God have known this was going to occur?
·         Couldn’t he have simply changed circumstances to stop this occurring?

These are questions that anyone who has a sick or ill friend or loved one asks.

In these two words come God’s answer.

While God, Jesus was also fully human and humans do not have knowledge of everything that will come or how it will. Do we? So probably Jesus only saw what the Father revealed to him through the Spirit.

Jesus probably had never turned to the question of his friend’s life and asked his Father to reveal this information. He was caught unaware as we are often caught unaware by circumstances.

Did it hurt him?


We don’t cry without there being pain or emotions involved.

Jesus suffered grief, probably being moved by the grief of those dear to him that was around him.

God experiences emotions. This is what makes God so special and dear to me. I know God can love since I know God cried.

These two words explain the compassion and love of Jesus. They explain his humanity.

The fact he brings his friend back to life explains he is God.

Aren’t we privileged to know that our God is not a cold calculating God but a warm loving person?

I know I thank him for that and I pray you do too!
Mon, December 9, 2013 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
Click here to order Rift in Evil (ebook or Paper available)
  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
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Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
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