Don’t Follow the Crowd to See Jesus on Earth.

jesus

When I am on Christian social media, I have noticed many believe Jesus will come to earth and appear in his temple. I have read some say Jesus will walk upon the earth again for the thousand years mentioned in Revelation.

I feel inside me Jesus saying, “Warn them, warn them.” I could be wrong, but these are the thoughts I had this morning. Jesus warned us there would be false Messiahs and false prophets.

“…Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light.”  2 Corinthians 11:14  

“It (the beast) performs great signs to cause even fire to come down to earth in the presence of men.” Revelation 13:13

Like Israel misunderstood Jesus’ first coming, many Christians misunderstand Jesus’ second coming. The disciples thought the Messiah would come to fight their enemies and make Jerusalem powerful. They were taught that and they believed it.

Even when Jesus returned to heaven, the disciples were expecting to be rescued from Rome.

Acts 1:6

Then they gathered around Jesus and asked him, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He told them it is not for them to know times and dates the Father has set up.”

The teachers back then read the verses that apply to the new heaven and new earth, where righteousness dwells. They thought the Messiah would bring that to pass. God will indeed rule earth and the universe. But that will be after the holy city comes down from heaven and lands on earth, as it says in Revelation. That will be the great judgement day when the wicked are raised and punished for what they have done. The Bible says what they have done to others will be done to them. Then they will all die the second death. They will hurt others no longer.

Jesus’ followers asked him about his second coming. This is found in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. I haven’t put every verse here. We all need to read and understand for ourselves.

Luke 21

Jesus said:

25“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Matthew 24

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Revelation 1:7

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him…”

Acts 1:11

“Men of Galilee, they said, why do you stand looking into heaven. This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Mark 14:62 At his trial Jesus said:

“…and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 

Years ago, I had a dream. I looked out my dining room window and saw it was a desert land outside. Then thousands of people were walking past my house. I went outside to see what was happening. I looked toward where the people were walking. There was a large, beautiful, white building with pillars. There were women in front of the building dressed in white. I decided not to follow the people.

I looked out my window again and all the people were gone. I went out the door and saw the building swallowed up by the sand. It was gone and so were the people.

 

 

 

The Pride of Satan. The Humility of God.

Many Bible scholars believe Isaiah 14 is written about Satan and his fall from heaven. Some don’t. Personally, I do think it is about him.

I was listening to a sermon last night and the preacher said we should notice how Lucifer keeps saying, “I Will,” and wants to rise higher and higher.

Martin,_John_-_Satan_presiding_at_the_Infernal_Council_-_1824

“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! (Lucifer)

You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens;

I will raise my throne above the stars of God;

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.

Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate:

“Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble,

the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities

and would not let his captives go home?”    Isaiah 14:12-17

 In Ezekiel 28, there is more written about Satan. There is no one else who is like the person in these verses:

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“ ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

You were in Eden, the garden of God;

every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,

topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.

Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.

You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.

Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.

So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub,from among the fiery stones.

Your heart became proud on account of your beauty,

and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.

So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries.”

This part speaks of his death:

“So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you,

and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.

All the nations who knew you are appalled at you;

you have come to a horrible end and will be no more. ”

If we contrast the words of Jesus with the words of Satan, we can see how Satan wanted his own will. He wanted to rise higher, be in God’s place and rule the universe. Whereas Jesus came down from heaven, became a man and did his Father’s will.   Ezekiel 28:11-19

Jesus came down.

Our_Lord_of_Asia 

Painting by Uber User: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Uber_painter&action=edit&redlink=1

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”   John 6:38

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

“Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” 

“…and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”   Philippians 2:6-11

Know Thyself.

Lilien_Hiskia

Many times I have not known myself. When I was in my twenties and divorced, my ex-husband had a girlfriend and lived with her. My daughters would go visit and I hated the fact my ex wasn’t married and living like that. I thought, “I would never have someone come sleep with me with  my daughters in the house!”  Two years later, I did just that.

After a few incidents like that, I was finally humbled to realize I was capable of any sin, no matter what I thought. One day at church we were singing, “I Will Not be Shaken,” and I turned to my mother and said, “On the other hand, who knows WHAT I will do?”

Jesus told Peter, “You will deny me.”  Peter was horrified and said he would never do that. He said he was willing to die with him. The other disciples said the same. We know how that turned out. 

I wondered if God sometimes lets us fall flat on our face so we can see how weak and sinful we are. It humbles us and we realize how we must have Jesus do everything for us. He can keep us from falling, if we acknowledge we have no strength to do it ourselves.

I came across the story of Hezkekiah the other day. It says that God left Hezekiah to show him what was truly in his heart. Verse 26 says his heart was full of pride. The commentaries I read were good and I’m including them.

“And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.”   2 Chronicles 32:31

Matthew Poole’s Commentary

God left him, to wit, to himself, and his own impotency and corruption. God withdrew from him those supplies and assistance of his Spirit which would certainly and effectually have kept him from that sin, and suffered Satan to tempt him, and him to fall into the sin of pride and ostentation. 

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.

 God left Hezekiah to himself, that, by this trial and his weakness in it, what was in his heart might be known; that he was not so perfect in grace as he thought he was. It is good for us to know ourselves, and our own weakness and sinfulness, that we may not be conceited, or self-confident, but may always live in dependence upon Divine grace. We know not the corruption of our own hearts, nor what we shall do if God leaves us to ourselves. His sin was, that his heart was lifted up. What need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own infirmities and follies, and their obligations to free grace, that they may never think highly of themselves; but beg earnestly of God, that he will always keep them humble! Hezekiah made a bad return to God for his favors, by making even those favors the food and fuel of his pride.

Are Christians Allowed to Fight?

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.   Matthew 5:39
I have had trouble with this verse all my life. I thought it meant to never fight anyone for any reason. One day, the woman who lived next door to us was out on our lawn screaming. We looked out and saw her ex-husband was beating her. I called 911 while my husband ran outside. He tackled the man and threw him on the ground. He put his foot on his chest and told him to lie there until the police came. (Before he was a Christian, my husband was in a lot of fights.)
I believe we did what was right to do. But then I would come to this verse about not resisting evil and not understand. I used to wonder if we were supposed to fight Hitler. That seemed right to me too. Last night, I thought I would see what Bible commentators said about it. This has helped me understand what Jesus meant. So, if you are interested in this subject, here are two commentaries I found on Bible Hub, which is a wonderful sight for studying the Bible.
Barne’s Notes on the Bible.
An eye for an eye … – This command is found in Exodus 21:24Leviticus 24:20, and Deuteronomy 19:21. In these places it was given as a rule to regulate the decisions of judges. They were to take eye for eye, and tooth for tooth, and to inflict burning for burning. As a judicial rule it is not unjust. Christ finds no fault with the rule as applied to magistrates, and does not take upon himself to repeal it. But instead of confining it to magistrates, the Jews had extended it to private conduct, and made it the rule by which to take revenge. They considered themselves justified by this rule to inflict the same injury on others that they had received. Our Saviour remonstrates against this. He declares that the law had no reference to private revenge, that it was given only to regulate the magistrate, and that their private conduct was to be governed by different principles.

 

The general principle which he laid down was, that we are not to resist evil; that is, as it is in the Greek, nor to set ourselves against an evil person who is injuring us. But even this general direction is not to be pressed too strictly. Christ did not intend to teach that we are to see our families murdered, or be murdered ourselves; rather than to make resistance. The law of nature, and all laws, human and divine, justify self-defense when life is in danger. It cannot surely be the intention to teach that a father should sit by coolly and see his family butchered by savages, and not be allowed to defend them. Neither natural nor revealed religion ever did, or ever can, inculcate this doctrine. Our Saviour immediately explains what he means by it. Had he intended to refer it to a case where life is in danger, he would most surely have mentioned it. Such a case was far more worthy of statement than those which he did mention.

A doctrine so unusual, so unlike all that the world had believed. and that the best people had acted on, deserved to be formally stated. Instead of doing this, however, he confines himself to smaller matters, to things of comparatively trivial interest, and says that in these we had better take wrong than to enter into strife and lawsuits. The first case is where we are smitten on the cheek. Rather than contend and fight, we should take it patiently, and turn the other cheek. This does not, however, prevent our remonstrating firmly yet mildly on the injustice of the thing, and insisting that justice should be done us, as is evident from the example of the Saviour himself. See John 18:23. The second evil mentioned is where a man is litigious and determined to take all the advantage the law can give him, following us with vexatious and expensive lawsuits. Our Saviour directs us, rather than to imitate him rather than to contend with a revengeful spirit in courts of justice to take a trifling injury, and yield to him. This is merely a question about property, and not about conscience and life.

Elliott’s Commentary for English Readers.

Resist not evil.—The Greek, as before in Matthew 5:37, may be either masculine or neuter, and followed as it is by “whosoever,” the former seems preferable; only here it is not “the evil one,” with the emphasis of pre-eminence, but, as in 1Corinthians 5:13, the human evil-doer. Of that mightier “evil one” we are emphatically told that it is our duty to resist him (James 4:7).

Shall smite.—The word was used of blows with the hand or with a stick, and for such blows fines from a shekel upwards were imposed by Jewish courts.

Turn to him the other also.—We all quote and admire the words as painting an ideal meekness. But most men feel also that they cannot act on them literally; that to make the attempt, as has been done by some whom the world calls dreamers or fanatics, would throw society into confusion and make the meek the victims. The question meets us, therefore, Were they meant to be obeyed in the letter; and if not, what do they command? And the answer is found (l) in remembering that our Lord Himself, when smitten by the servant of the high priest, protested, though He did not resist (John 18:22-23), and that St. Paul, under like outrage, was vehement in his rebuke (Acts 23:3); and (2) in the fact that the whole context shows that the Sermon on the Mount is not a code of laws, but the assertion of principles.

And the principle in this matter is clearly and simply this, that the disciple of Christ, when he has suffered wrong, is to eliminate altogether from his motives the natural desire to retaliate or accuse. As far as he himself is concerned, he must be prepared, in language which, because it is above our common human strain, has stamped itself on the hearts and memories of men, to turn the left cheek when the right has been smitten. But the man who has been wronged has other duties which he cannot rightly ignore. The law of the Eternal has to be asserted, society to be protected, the offender to be reclaimed, and these may well justify—though personal animosity does not—protest, prosecution, punishment.

His Heart Lied.

 

daecherampf

I’m reading, “So We Believe, So We Pray,” by George Arthur Butterick. It is a wonderful  book about the Lord’s Prayer. In chapter 15, The Prayer for the Deliverance from Evil,” Butterick cites a short poem by Hilaire Belloc.

The False Heart

I said to Heart, “How goes it?”  Heart replied:

Right as a Ribstone Pippin!” But it lied.

A Ribstone Pippin is a kind of apple. So his heart was saying all was well with him. But it lied. I wondered why Belloc wrote this poem, so I searched online and found the true story behind the poem.

In the early 1800s, a priest named Thomas Poschl was sent to a small village in Austria. He had gotten in trouble for fanaticism, so they sent him away to be the assistant parish priest. While there, he met Magdalena Sickinger, who told him about her visions from God. They founded a sect called, “The Pure and Innocent.”

Their aim was to cleanse the villagers of their sins and destroy all non-believers. They also wanted to depose the Pope. Thomas Poschl was arrested and imprisoned for the rest of his life. But after he left, his followers became even more fanatic. They committed the great sin of human sacrifice. The National Guard was called and freed the people from their persecutors. They went to trial and were found to be of unsound mind and acquitted. Magdalena renounced her visions.

So, Belloc’s poem was about how deceitful our hearts can be. We can think we are doing good works, when we are doing evil. We can imagine we are holy, when we are doing Satan’s bidding.

The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

Butterick writes we are helpless without God, and therefore we are to pray, “Bring us not into  temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

We cannot change our hearts. We cannot even know if our thoughts are evil. As Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing.” I think he meant we can do nothing good, not one good thing, without him. It just isn’t possible, for all good things come from God. 

This is a serious issue, whether our hearts are lying. The only way to be saved from this is to ask God to show us where we are going wrong. Ask him to search our hearts and save us from ourselves and the power of the evil one. I know he will do this for us.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”  Psalm 139:24

 

Who is God in His Core Being?

0011

I was listening to a sermon the other day and the preacher asked, “Who do you think God is at his core being?”  Coming from a legalistic church, my first thought was, “Righteous.”  I asked my sister what she thought and she said, “Love, because the Bible says God is love.”  I said, “Well you are closer to what he said than me. He said, “God is family.”

God is family. That threw me at first. But then he went on to prove it from the Bible and I could see it and I felt really happy about that. God is about relationships through family. How nice. How truly lovely. I’ve always wanted deep, close relationships with each member of my family.

The preacher said that when God came here to create a new world, he created the man differently than anything else. The animals and inanimate objects, he spoke and they came into being. But with the man, he shaped him out of clay and then leaned down and breathed into his mouth the breath of life. It is a moving picture of love.

Then God made Eve; he did not speak her into existence, he took a part of Adam and shaped that part into Eve. Adam said, “This is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones.” The Bible says they were now one. God then told them to have children, make a bigger family. Those children would come out of their flesh also, and you can’t get much closer than that!

All through the Old Testament, God called his people his children or sons.

 “…for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.”  Jeremiah 3:19

“You are the sons of the LORD your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead.  Deuteronomy 14:1

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.”  Isaiah 1:2

As always, the New Testament agrees with the Old. The first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding. All his family and friends were there. His presence shows us the importance of a new family being made.

Here are some verses from the New Testament on us being the children of God:

 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”  1 John 3:1

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.  Romans 8:17,18

 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:13

The Angels are also the sons of God.

“For they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”  Luke 20:36

Son of man.

Jesus called himself the, “Son of Man,” more than any other title or name. That name shows how he considers himself one of us, and not just when he was here, but for eternity. He calls us his brothers and sisters. He is part of our family and we are part of his. The Father and the Holy Spirit are one with us and Jesus is one with them. John 17

I love the last thing Jesus said to us, in the book of Revelation:

“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Yes, I am coming soon.”

Let us be drawn to Jesus and go to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”   Revelation 19:9

Spiritual Things Go Against Nature.

518bkvsNSgL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_

In my last post, I wrote about learning about God and how important that is. I thought I would continue writing about this as found in the book, “The Art of Divine Contentment,” by Thomas Watson. There are many lessons in this book that I think are helpful to Christians. 

The author says there are two main reasons why we must study the Bible and study what God is like.

Number One: Because spiritual things are against nature. “For men to be justified by the righteousness of another, to become a fool that he may be wise, to have all by losing all; this is against nature.”

“For a man to deny his own wisdom, and see himself blind; to deny his own will and have it melted into the will of God…crucifying that sin that is dearest to his heart; for a man to be dead to the world, and in the midst of want to abound; for him to take up the cross, and follow Jesus…this is against nature and therefore must be learned.”

Number 2: Because spiritual things are far above nature.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  Isaiah 55:8

“Only God’s Spirit can light our candle here,” writes Watson. Like the man in the chariot, who needed Philip to explain the scriptures to him, so we need the Holy Spirit to enlighten our mind. “We  cannot learn till the Spirit of God shines into our hearts.”

 “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.”  Psalm 25:5

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  John 14:26

I’m going to add my own thoughts here. I’ll call it my number 3 reason for studying the Bible.

Number 3:

In order to love God, we need to know him. We cannot feel close to a stranger. We cannot  admire someone we don’t know. If we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, we must know him.

Every book in the Bible tells us something about God. If we have trouble understanding what we read about him, then ask him for guidance and perhaps read some Commentaries on the Bible that try to explain each verse. I have found that very helpful. There are good Commentaries on Bible Hub online. They are written by man, so realize they could be off the mark. But knowing the culture of the ancient people helps us understand why God dealt with them the way he did.

Students in God’s School.

Gutenberg_Bible

Gutenberg Bible

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  Philippians 4:12

In his book, “The Art of Divine Contentment,” Thomas Watson writes, “It is not enough for Christians to hear their duty, but they must learn their duty. It is one thing to hear, and another thing to learn.” Paul said, “I have learned.” He also cites the parable of the sower and how there was only one good ground; there were many hearers of the gospel, but few learners.

Watson says there are two things that keep us from learning: Slighting and forgetting. In slighting the word of God, we give it little importance. In forgetting, we do not “examine the scriptures.”  Acts 17:11

If we go to school and take a class, reading or listening once to the teacher will not help us pass the course.  If we wish to really learn the information and not forget, we must read it again and again; we must make notes on the subject. If we do this, we will pass the test when it comes.

We need to understand the importance of listening to God, either by reading the Bible or by listening to it read to us. There is a wonderful site online that is called, Daily Audio Bible. Each day, Brian reads parts from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. It is lovely to put earphones in and hear someone read the Bible. I get more out of the verses than when I read it myself.

Jesus spoke to his disciples about listening carefully to what he had to say. Here are some verses:

“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”  Luke 8:18

“Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” Luke 9:44  The disciples did not listen and understand. It was something they did not want to hear.

And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Mark 4:9

After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand… Mark 7:14

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Matthew 7:24

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:29

We need the Holy Spirit to help us learn of God. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  John 14:26

In my own life, I have noticed the more time I spend reading the Bible, the more God’s words come into my mind as I go through my day and encounter different trials or problems. Then I can say that verse and be comforted and strengthened.

“Your word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:11

 

The Last Will be First.

800px-Elin_Danielson-Gambogi_-_Viinitarhassa_II_(1898)

 I’m reading a book called, “The Parables of Jesus,” by George A. Buttrick. It was published in 1928. It’s a wonderful book that gives deep insights into the parables of Jesus. One that impressed me this morning was on the parable of, The Vineyard Owner and the Laborers.

The story is of a man who needs laborers and goes early to the marketplace to hire some. He finds men standing around waiting for work and hires them. They agree on a wage of a denarius for a day’s work.  The man goes back many times during the day because he needs more help. Finally, he goes at 5pm and asks the men there, “Why are you idle?”  They answer him, “Because no one has hired us.” He says, “You go too into my vineyard.”

At the end of the day, the owner pays them all the same wage – a denarius. The ones who worked the longest were angry. They questioned why those who didn’t work as hard or as long got the same amount they did. The owner said, “Friend, I am not wronging you. Can I not do what I please with what is mine? Have you a grudge because I am generous?”

Jesus finished the story by saying this, “So the last will be first, and the first last.”

He told this story after Peter had reminded Jesus that he and the other disciples had left everything and followed him. “What shall we get for this?” was his question.

The author writes, “Life, lived abundantly, does not ask, “What shall we get?” God is not the Keeper of a ledger entering a credit or debit account, according as a man observes or fails to observe certain holy regulations…”God has subtler tests than the piece-measure and the time-clock. Everlastingly, the motive of a man’s life proclaims his worth.”

The author proposes the early workers are those who greet each day with strength and resolution. They perhaps have great talent, a keen mind and a healthy body.  “But others drag crippling chains of inheritance, or beat against confining walls of circumstances. Who will hire them? They would like to serve God, but cannot serve him as they would like to. “No man has hired us.” But their intention is accepted as their deed!”

“Though they cannot claim saintliness, though in unrealized hopes they must be content to offer hospitality to the prophet and saint, they are not forgotten in the appraisals of the kingdom: “He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward.”

After reading this chapter, I thought of what I said to my husband once after we had been members at a church for a long time. “We aren’t like most of these people. We are damaged goods. We could never be an evangelist or preacher.”

We had both been horribly abused when we were children. Because of that, we both had a lot of emotional problems. Sometimes I felt like I was hanging on to God by my fingertips. What help could I be to someone else? And my hubby had anger issues because of all the beatings he endured. Neither of us were the picture-postcard of a Christian.

Reading this parable explained, I understand now that it is okay to be the last in the vineyard! Hallelujah! I’m happy with that position. I’m glad God is pleased with whatever I can do for him, even if it is very small.

Nehemiah Told Us What to Do on A Holy Day.

Whether you believe the Sabbath is on Saturday or Sunday, it is a day considered holy. It should be considered that since God has made it so.

 “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”  Exodus 20:11

 “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”  Genesis 2:3

Creation_of_Adam

I was reading Nehemiah, and noticed that Ezra told the people how to act on a holy day. The priest had read the law to all of Israel and the people began to weep because they saw how badly they had been acting. They saw the beauty of God’s law and were sorry they had not followed it.

Then Nehemiah…said to them all, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.”

“Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.”   Nehemiah 8:9-12

DSCF0066

I think this is example is very important. Yes, we need to acknowledge our sins, but then rejoice immediately by a feast celebration and go on to do good to others by sharing our food. It would be wonderful if every church did this on Sabbath.

Sadness saps our strength,

Joy strengthens us.

Choose joy.