Friday, August 01, 2014

2075

DON’T PULL THE WEEDS- YET

 

  This week we are talking about the parables of Jesus found in Matthew 13.

There are some common threads that run thru most of them.

Jesus taught about planting seeds- some make it- some don’t.

 

Yet- the sower [planter] starts the process with this in mind- that yes- some will fail.

 

But that’s part of life- chalk it up- mistakes will be made- learn from them- and move on.

Last week I was teaching the wisdom literature- it said ‘plant in the morning- cast your bread upon the water- give out many portions- who knows- maybe one or the other will make it’.

 

If you never try- then for sure nothing will make it!

 

Jesus said the kingdom was like a fisherman who cast a wide net- it caught all types of fish- when you pull the net to shore- separate the bad from the good- there does come a time of ‘separation’ when the cup [net] is full.

 

A man planted a crop- but at night when he was asleep- an enemy came and planted weeds- bad seeds.

 

When the field started producing- they saw the weeds too.

 

The servants said ‘do you want us to pull out the bad stuff now’?

 

He said no- because if you try and get the bad seed out now- it will harm the good.

 

But wait until the harvest- at that time you can pull out the bad- and then the good wheat will get harvested.

 

Jesus explains that these parables are about the end of the age [world] and at the judgment time God sends forth his angles [also can mean messengers- preachers- etc.] and they will discern between good and bad.

 

A common theme in these teachings is there comes a time of judgment- there comes a time when the bad stuff gets removed.

 

But it’s not our job to try and ‘remove’ it before the time.

 

The church is in the word to be a light for all nations- to preach the good news about Gods love and forgiveness.

 

Too often we try to pull out the bad- spend a lot of time focusing on what we perceive to be the bad stuff in others.

Now- that time will come someday- but it’s really not our job to go and pull out the bad weeds before the time- because we can harm the good stuff in the process.

 

In one of the meetings I did this past week- one of the guys brought up Islam- he asked ‘are they right- or wrong- that’s a yes or no answer’.

 

Now- like Colin Powell said once ‘you can ask the question- but I’ll decide how to answer’.

 

I told my friend that it’s not a ‘yes or no answer’.

 

I explained that there are good parts found in the Islamic religion- that the teaching about giving to one’s neighbor is practiced- many times it is done more in line with the teachings of Jesus then what many Christians practice.

 

I got into the history of Islam- told my friend I taught it in the past- and yes- I did say that in the area of Jesus as God’s Son- they have it wrong [according to Christian belief].

But- I prefer to have a dialogue with all people- all religions- all back grounds- that I might have some positive influence in the end.

 

If we simply bash the other guy- then they will never stick around long enough to hear the good stuff.

 

In these parables there is a process to things- we plant- we water- we wait.

 

We do it in love- with patience- we warn people that there is coming a judgment day- but for those who believe in Christ- that day has already happened.

 

He took the judgment of God for sin- nailed sin/law to the Cross- and wiped away the ‘handwriting of ordinances that was against us’ [Ephesians].

 

In the teaching of Jesus we see a simple understanding of the End Times- the resurrection of the just and unjust- and a final judgment- and reward/penalty for those who have done good- and those who have done evil.

 

The End Times teaching of Jesus is not as convoluted as the many scenarios we see in the modern day prophecy teachings.

 

Recently I have had people say ‘John- some of the guys you are trying to help- they have burned you [true] they have done you wrong [true] yet- I know you believe that Jesus wants you to forgive them- but they take advantage of you’.

 

I see stuff- I realize that I have in some ways bent over backwards with some of these guys- yet- I believe that some will change, some will make it.

I try and cast a net that does not discriminate- I try not to pull out the weeds before the time- because I don’t always know for sure who are the good seed- and who are the bad.

 

In the time of harvest- when the crop is full- yes- God will indeed make a separation- but for now- I’m letting both grow together.

In the parables about the kingdom – we see in ‘seed’ form Jesus himself.

One of the early church fathers used to say that ‘Jesus is the kingdom’ in a way I agree.

 

He is the treasure hidden in a field- he is the pearl of great price- he is the mustard seed- the ‘smallest’ [least] of all seeds- but when it is planted [dies and buried] it becomes this huge tree- the birds of the air nest in it.

 

Jesus was talking about John the Baptist one day- he said ‘no one born of a woman is greater than John- yet he that is least [small seed] in the kingdom is greater than he’.

 

Many years ago I had a friend involved in the occult- he studied it- told me ‘John- these things do work’.

He struggled with being a Christian- and then ‘backsliding’ back into the occult.

 

He told me one time that there was a technique he used- he said ‘you make yourself small’.

 

Meaning you become less- then the person you are targeting sees you as small- then he said you later come on BIG- it was an intimidation tactic.

 

Jesus obviously did not use occult methods- but he became small- he took the least place- he was the ‘least in the kingdom’ who was greater than John the Baptist.

 

Jesus said ‘except a seed fall into the ground- and die- it remains alone [one seed] but- if it die- it will bring forth much fruit’.

 

The sacrifice of Christ for the world has produced a huge crop- a big tree- the church- the people of God fill the world today.

When we preach- and exemplify the love of God- we are casting the net- we are sowing the seed- we are infiltrating the world.

 

Not for self interest- for some conservative agenda- no- that’s a big mistake in my mind.

 

We are preaching the Good News- that God loves us- he gave his Son to be the seed that would become the tree- see?

 

In these parables of Jesus we see that there is a process to things- there are times when the ‘cup is full’ so to speak- the harvest is ready.

 

That’s when the good and the bad get separated.

I haven’t commented on geopolitical events in a while.

But there has been lots going on in the world- more than usual.

 

I believe we are in a sense in one of these time periods- where things are come to a crisis point.

 

You might say ‘John- haven't these things been going on for years’?

 

Yes- but if you watch closely- there worse this time around.

 

Nations have used language [Russia- China] and done deeds- that are reminiscent of the cold war- things that we haven’t seen in quite some time.

 

The instability in the world is bad- worse than in a very long time.

 

In the beginning of this year I said I believe that something will happen this year- in the area of judgment- and it will hit in our country.

I still believe this- the cup is full- lots of stuff that is playing out on the world stage right now are signs- things are going to happen.

 

I am not in any way an ‘end times’ type of guy- getting into all the scenarios of which country will invade the other- many of these ‘prophecies’ are misguided in my view.

 

They are ancient prophecies we read about- yes- in the bible- but I am not into reading these prophecies as current events.

 

Most of these prophecies were referring to events- and world issues- at the time they were written [this would take a while to teach- and right now I don’t have the time].

 

But- having said that- just a cursory view of the news shows us that stuff is getting bad- and there is indeed a timetable to things.

 

Our job [the church] is to show the love and compassion God has for all ‘sides’- yes- he loves the Palestinian- as much as the Jew.

 

He loves the Syrians- the Iraqis- yes- those in these nations who are at war with each another- he loves them all.

 

This is not to say that we condone the actions of violence- aggression- on any side.

 

No- all killing is wrong- Isaiah says there should be ‘war no more’.

 

This is not some liberal positon- it’s God’s will.

 

I’m not na├»ve- I know we live in a world where stuff happens- but we need to reject the settling of our differences by killing people- that never works.

 

It just releases a wave of more killing- violence begets violence.

 

I could write much about all the reasons the world is on fire right now- try and give the viewpoint of ‘the other’.

 

But- if we can get closer to the biblical mandate- that killing is indeed wrong- for the Christian- for the Muslim- for the Jew- for all the various groups that do profess belief in Gd.

If we can understand that God himself rejects the taking of human life- then we can work from there.

 

The kingdom that we are talking about this week is headed by Jesus Christ- called the Prince of Peace.

 

When he was unjustly accused- brought before the courts- sentenced to death- his men would have fought for him- but he already taught them that his kingdom was not about violent action.

 

One of his disciples was a Zealot- they were guerilla fighters of the first century who wanted to mount a violent overthrow of Rome [Simon was a Zealot- not Peter- he was a disciple of Jesus].

 

Jesus taught them another way ‘those that live by the sword will die by it’.

 

I believe that Jesus Christ is the way- not just a mental ascent to belief in him- but following the pattern that he gave us.

 

Love never fails, love covers a multitude of sins- love does not keep a record of the wrongs that others have done to us.

 

Love rejects violence- vengeance- choosing the way of the gun/sword in order to accomplish some goal.

 

Jesus let the authorities kill him- unjustly- and thru this act he redeemed the world.

 

He was nailed to a tree- Cross- and thru this act became the ‘tree that fills the whole earth’.

 

Yeah- we see the kingdom in this man- the Son of God.

 

Matthew 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

Matthew 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Matthew 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
Matthew 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Matthew 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Matthew 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Matthew 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Matthew 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Matthew 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Matthew 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Matthew 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Matthew 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Matthew 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Matthew 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
Matthew 13:32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
Matthew 13:46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
Matthew 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
Matthew 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
Matthew 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Isaiah 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Micah 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Matthew 26:50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.
Matthew 26:51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.
Matthew 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.






Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] - I have posted lots.









Thursday, July 24, 2014

2074- WISDOM- WEALTH AND LOVE.
The past few weeks I have been reading what we refer to as the Wisdom literature- these books of the bible include Proverbs- Ecclesiastes- Job- James in the N.T. - and a couple more.

At the bottom I’ll just post some highlights from Solomon- from the book of Ecclesiastes [thought of posting all that I highlighted from James- Proverbs- but that would be too much for one post].

We read common themes in all these books-

‘Humble yourselves in the eyes of the Lord and he will lift you up’

‘Don’t make vows- promises- about the future- you do not know what will happen from day to day- let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ no’

‘Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall’

‘Judge not- lest you be judged’

‘A fool speaks all his words-a wise man holds them back’

‘He that does not offend in word is a perfect man and able also to control the whole body’

‘Life is like a vapor- it appears for a little time and is gone’.

‘Be doers of the word and not hearers only’

‘Faith without works is dead’
Last week I covered the Sermon on the Mount- even though it is not normally seen as wisdom literature- I think you could include it too.

In the writings of Solomon [Proverbs- Ecclesiastes- Song of Solomon] we see The Preacher talk about life- in Ecclesiastes he takes a look at man- his turmoil- his relentless seeking of wealth- working daily without ever examining his own life- and the futility of it all.

Solomon dealt with depression during this period- he says things like ‘the day of a man’s death is better than the day he was born’ and ‘he who has never even been born is better than both’ [those who live- those who die].

Solomon talks about how he ‘captured the world’ so to speak.

He attained great wealth- had huge building projects- learned more wisdom and knowledge than anyone else.
He gave himself to ‘strong drink’ had many women [we will get to this at the end].

In the eyes of the world’s standards- he did it all.

Yet- he saw life as a vanity- an endless pursuit that leads to nowhere.

He considered the plight of the oppressed- those who lived under rulers who treated their people wrong- this too was vanity.

He looked at the unexamined life [remember Plato?] he said there was a man that had no relatives- yet he worked every day- built up a fortune- and when he dies he has no power over who will get the inheritance- it might wind up in the hands of a fool- who will waste it.

Solomon looked for meaning in it all- and apart from God- he saw futility.
There's a quote that does not fit the modern day preaching- ‘give me neither poverty or riches- if I have too much- I might forget God- too little- I might curse him’.
We read ‘you came into the world without anything- when you die you can’t take anything with you- so be content with just enough’.

The apostle Paul says the same thing in 1st Timothy 6.

It’s funny- but in today’s church world these would be called ‘negative confessions’ yet the wisest of them all said this.

The frailty of human life runs thru out this literature- life is something that is very temporary.

James says ‘all flesh is like grass- it will be gone soon- but the word of the Lord endures forever’.

In a sense- we can make an impact in life- if we document stuff for the following generations.

That’s why we can read this literature today- because Solomon and others wrote it down- and it was passed off to following generations.

In John 17 Jesus says ‘I pray not for these alone [his men] but for those also who will believe on me thru THEIR WORD’.

The gospel spread because the early believers spoke- and wrote- of their experiences.

To leave a legacy behind- something of value for the next generation- is a biblical idea.

But to live for pleasure- wealth- human achievement is seen as a vanity- because all of these things- including our lives- are but for a moment in time.

Jesus spoke much about eternal riches- living with noble goals- helping your fellow man- showing love and compassion.

Experiencing true love- the highest form of it- which does not seek self gratitude- but wants the benefit of others.

Out of all the wisdom literature- Solomon wrote the most.
He gave himself to pleasure- drink- women- he tried the philosophy of Hedonism- this too was vanity.

He said something interesting- even in all these experiences in life- yet his wisdom remained- and he taught still.

His own experiences- failures- were meant for following generations to see- to enter into.

One of the wisdom books in the bible was written about his ultimate experience- it’s called the Song of Solomon.

Solomon had many wives and concubines [side women].
Yet at one point in life- he found the love of his life.

She is written about in this book.

What did he learn from this experience?

He found that love was beyond all of his other experiences- he said that true love was as ‘strong as death- as cruel as the grave’.

‘Many waters cannot quench it- if a man would give all that he has- yet it can’t be bought- or escaped from’.

‘The coals are like fire, a most vehement flame’.

His encounter with true love shows us that the greatest thing [1st Corinthians 13] is love.

God has chosen to create us- why?

God has all wisdom- all power- he does not ‘need’ anything.

When he made Adam- Adam was perfect before the fall.

Yet- he was incomplete until he found Eve- ‘bone of his bone- flesh of his flesh’.

He was connected to her in a way that nothing else could compare to.

God made man- so he too could have an object of his love.
The greatest description of God is found in the writing of the apostle John.

In John’s gospel he refers to himself as the one who Jesus loved.

He saw himself thru this lens- an object of unconditional love.

Solomon gave us many gifts- he attained all that a man could ever want- I think the greatest gift he gave us is found in the Song of Solomon.

Love is the supreme thing- it fulfills all the law.

A new commandant I give you- love one another as I have loved you- in this you fulfil all the law and the prophets.

Yes- the wisest man that ever lived had no power over it- God himself gave all he could- he loved the world so much that he gave us his Son.

Jesus said ‘greater love has no man than this- that he would lay down his life for his friends’.

In this the love of God was manifested- in that while we were yet sinners- Christ died for us.

Yeah- we do not deserve the love of God- people may wonder ‘how can God love me’.

Love goes beyond all other things- it is not a rational thing- God did this because he loved us- that’s why.

NOTE- Solomon in a way pictures God.

How?

God’s attributes- his character- what theologians describe are Omniscience [knows everything] Omnipresent [everywhere] and Omnipotent [all power].
God has ‘need’ of nothing- he is self-sustaining- people do not possess these attributes- we are dependent- contingent- have need of many things- the greatest being love.

Yet God- in himself- has no object to pour his love into [this is somewhat of a debate- God- being Trinity- does in a way have love- an expression of it- within the Trinity, Jesus says ‘you love them like you love me’ but for this discussion- that’s too much to get into].

So- God made Adam- he was perfect before he sinned. God put him in a perfect environment- the garden.
He gave him purpose [till the garden] created animals- he had it all.

Yet- something was lacking- he had nothing to love with all his heart.

So God made a deep sleep fall upon him- and he created Eve.

He now had a co-equal that was a part of himself.

The apostle Paul tells us that this is a great mystery- man and woman- in love.  He says it is simply a picture- on a small scale- of Christ and the Church.

In us- who believe- God now has a bride- a love- that he pours himself into.
The bible says the angels are looking into this great romance- they see the interaction and in a way are jealous.

God reveals himself thru the church- thru the bride he loves.

It is this love of God for us that forms us into his image- in a way we are a type of the incarnation- God in man.

There is nothing we do to earn love- to deserve love.
When humans fall in love- they often don’t see the faults in their partner [though they are there on both sides] we use an expression ‘love is blind’.
Sometimes we think ‘how can that person love me’- because we see in the other the same thing- that they are ‘too good for me’.

These things are not rational- the love of a man for a woman- like Solomon learned- went beyond the wisdom and knowledge he had- he experienced this with the one love of his life that we read about in the Song of Solomon. [I quoted the last chapter at the bottom for those who want to read it].

God created us- we are the love of his life- this relationship between man and God far exceeds human love- the bible says it is beyond our understanding.
Yes- God is in love with us- that’s why he keeps coming after us- in a way- he can’t ‘help it’.

Ecclesiastes 1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 1:3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
Ecclesiastes 1:5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 2:2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
Ecclesiastes 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
Ecclesiastes 2:4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:
Ecclesiastes 2:5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
Ecclesiastes 2:6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:
Ecclesiastes 2:7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:
Ecclesiastes 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.
Ecclesiastes 2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.
Ecclesiastes 2:10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.
Ecclesiastes 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2:15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 2:16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.
Ecclesiastes 2:17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 2:18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
Ecclesiastes 2:19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
Ecclesiastes 2:20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2:21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Ecclesiastes 3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
Ecclesiastes 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
Ecclesiastes 3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
Ecclesiastes 3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
Ecclesiastes 3:17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
Ecclesiastes 4:1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Ecclesiastes 4:2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
Ecclesiastes 4:3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
Ecclesiastes 5:6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
Ecclesiastes 5:7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.
Ecclesiastes 5:8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.
Ecclesiastes 5:13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.
Ecclesiastes 5:14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.
Ecclesiastes 5:15 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
Ecclesiastes 7:21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
Ecclesiastes 9:8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
Ecclesiastes 9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
Ecclesiastes 10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
Ecclesiastes 10:14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?
Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
Ecclesiastes 11:2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.
Ecclesiastes 11:6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
Ecclesiastes 11:7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
Ecclesiastes 11:8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
Ecclesiastes 11:10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
Ecclesiastes 12:9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
Ecclesiastes 12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


Song Of Solomon 8:1 O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.
Song Of Solomon 8:2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
Song Of Solomon 8:3 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.
Song Of Solomon 8:4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.
Song Of Solomon 8:5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree there thy mother brought thee forth there she brought thee forth that bare thee.
Song Of Solomon 8:6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Song Of Solomon 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
Song Of Solomon 8:8 We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?
Song Of Solomon 8:9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.
Song Of Solomon 8:10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
Song Of Solomon 8:11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.
Song Of Solomon 8:12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
Song Of Solomon 8:13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice cause me to hear it.
Song Of Solomon 8:14 Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.







Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] - I have posted lots.









Friday, July 18, 2014

2073- THE GREAT TEACHER

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew chapters 5-7.
This week I have been teaching on a few points found in chapter 5.

Jesus says ‘blessed are the poor in spirit- for the kingdom is theirs’ ‘blessed are you when people say false things about you for my sake- they did this to the prophets- you have a great reward’.

‘Pray for those who do bad things to you’ ‘you are the salt of the earth- the light of the world- let your good works shine so all can see’ [in chapter 6 Jesus says don’t boast or sound a trumpet when you do good works- but let the works speak for themselves].

The teachings of Jesus go against our human nature- he said ‘if someone sues you- takes you to court- and wins- go the extra mile- give them more’.
Actually we find the term ‘extra mile’ in this chapter ‘if someone forces you to go one mile- go 2’.

In Jesus day the Jewish people were living under occupation- the nation that ruled over them was the Roman Empire.
So- by law- if a Roman soldier demanded you to carry his pack- you had to- for 1 mile.

So- as the way human nature is- the Jews had mile markers all over- and if they were forced to carry the pack- they made sure it was just for the required mile.

In a way- it was a type of the Old Covenant law- it ruled over you- with the fear of judgment.

Now- say if after the required mile was done- you kept going.
All of a sudden you have the Roman soldier there- you’re carrying the pack- yet he has no rule of threat over you anymore- but the work is still getting done.

Not out of fear- but love.

This is a great picture of the New Covenant- we still keep the 10 commandments- but it’s not like a sword hanging over us- we do it because we are followers of Jesus- yeah- the 2nd mile.

The themes of Jesus in the sermon on the mount are themes of forgiveness- non retaliation- ‘if you bring your gift to God- and then remember that your brother has something against you- go- be reconciled to your brother first- then bring your gift’.

That’s the AA teaching of making amends.

We should give up our rights- not view the world thru the lens of ‘they did me wrong- they deserve to be punished- by me!’

The apostle Paul told the Corinthian church ‘how dare you take each other to court- and that before the unbelievers’.

They were suing one another- Paul said they have more wisdom than the world- they should set the least of them to judge these matters.

He said just take the wrong- if you were indeed wronged- so what- follow Christ’s example and realize it’s a Cross you can carry.

In the world today there is a lot of unrest- maybe more than we have seen in many years.

Why?

What’s the root cause?

Nations and people believe they were wronged in some way- many of these resentments go back for hundreds of years- and both sides of these issues have deteriorated to a point where they think violence is the only way to resolve it.

In the letter of James we read ‘from whence come wars and fighting among you- they come from from the lust that wars in you- you fight and desire to have and cannot get what you want’.

Some demand the other side to pay a price- and if they feel the offending party has gotten away with an injustice- they take the last resort and fight.

A strange thing happened at the street service this past Sunday.

A few years ago there was a famous case of a foster mom who was sentenced to life without parole for the death of her child- Andrew Burd.

The case got national attention- the woman- Hannah Overton- was a missionary and her church supports her to this day.

I’ll admit- there were some wrong things done at her trial- I am not an out and out defender of Hannah- but she was charged with punishing the boy by making him drink spices- and the boy got sick.

She did take him to the hospital- but he died.
Wrong indeed.

There were questions- legal ones- that arose- but in the end the crime comes under not getting treatment for some one on time.
A crime I am familiar with because I worked with the ambulance service for 25 years.

I have never seen a life without parole for a crime like this- her conviction was for the cause of the boy’s death because she did not get him to the hospital on time- and her punishment is greater  then I have seen in cases where people kill other people- intentionaly.

So- the media made a big thing out of it- and Hannah Overton has a web site asking for a new look at the case.

In the church meeting Sunday an elderly woman stood up- she was distraught- her son recently died- and she asked for everyone to support her web site- called ‘justice for Andrew Burd’.

She was the boy’s grandmother.

I spoke to her after the meeting- prayed with her- told her I am familiar with the case- and let her know that I had just seen that Hannah’s last appeal was rejected [to the best of my knowledge].

The lady was so happy- she said it was the best news she has had in a long time.

Now- was this grandmother wrong to want justice for her dead grandchild?

Of course not- in the chapter above Jesus says ‘you have heard not to murder- and if you murder you will be in danger of the judgment’.
Judgment for sin- for crime- is real- and God ordained law and justice in both the Old and New testaments.

Yet we as people- as individual Christ followers- we are to forgive- release- not seek our own vengeance- or harbor hatred towards those who have ‘sinned’ against us because we too have wronged others.

Jesus said ‘blessed are the merciful- for they shall obtain mercy’.

He taught us to ‘turn the other cheek’- to not resist evil with evil- but to take the wrong-

In the world today we see wars raging- sides demanding a just outcome for past [or present] grievances- it’s not in our nature to forgive- to turn.

Many great men have followed the principles of Jesus found in the Great Sermon- Martin Luther King- Gandhi- etc.

Men who gave their lives for a higher cause- believing that the way of the Cross was indeed a better way.

Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

Matthew 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Matthew 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Matthew 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
Matthew 5:26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Matthew 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Matthew 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
Matthew 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
Matthew 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Matthew 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
Matthew 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Matthew 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Matthew 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matthew 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Matthew 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.


What Jesus Means to Me by Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi
(1869-1948)
Although I have devoted a large part of my life to the study of religion and to discussion with religious leaders of all faiths, I know very well that I cannot but seem presumptuous in writing about Jesus Christ and trying to explain what he means to me. I do so only because my Christian friends have told me, on more than a few occasions, that for the very reason I am not a Christian and that (I shall quote their words exactly) “I do not accept Christ in the bottom of my heart as the only Son of God,” it is impossible for me to understand the profound significance of his teachings, or to know and interpret the greatest source of spiritual strength that man has ever known.
Although this may or may not be true in my case, I have reasons to believe that it is an erroneous point of view. I believe that such an estimate is incompatible with the message that Jesus Christ gave to the world. For, he was certainly the highest example of one who wished to give everything, asking nothing in return, and not caring what creed might happen to be professed by the recipient. I am sure that if he were living here now among men, he would bless the lives of many who perhaps have never even heard his name, if only their lives embodied the virtues of which he was a living example on earth; the virtues of loving one’s neighbour as oneself and of doing good and charitable works among one’s fellowmen.
What, then, does Jesus mean to me? To me, he was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had. To his believers, he was God’s only begotten Son.* Could the fact that I do or do not accept this belief make Jesus have any more or less influence in my life? Is all the grandeur of his teaching and of his doctrine to be forbidden to me? I cannot believe so.
To me, it implies a spiritual birth. My interpretation, in other words, is that in Jesus’ own life is the key of his nearness to God; that he expressed, as no other could, the spirit and will of God. It is in this sense that I see him and recognize him as the Son of God.

The Spirit of Jesus

But I do believe that something of this spirit that Jesus exemplified in the highest measure, in its most profound human sense, does exist. I must believe this; if I did not believe it, I should be a sceptic; and to be a sceptic is to live a life that is empty and lacks moral content. Or, what is the same thing, to condemn the entire human race to a negative end.
It is true that there certainly is reason for scepticism when one observes the bloody butchery that European aggressors have unloosed, and when one thinks about the misery and suffering prevalent in every corner of the world, as well as the pestilence and famine that always follow, terribly and inevitably, upon war.
In the face of this, how can one speak seriously of the Divine Spirit incarnate in man? Because these acts of terror and murder offend the conscience of man; because man knows that they represent evil; because in the inner depths of his heart and of his mind, he deplores them. And because, moreover, when he does not go astray, misled by false teachings or corrupted by false leaders, man has within his breast an impulse for good and a compassion that is the spark of Divinity, and which some day, I believe, will burst forth into the full flower that is the hope of all mankind.

Jesus’ Example

An example of this flowering may be found in the figure and in the life of Jesus. I refuse to believe that there now exists or has ever existed a person that has not made use of his example to lessen his sins, even though he may have done so without realizing it. The lives of all have, in some greater or lesser degree, been changed by his presence, his actions, and the words spoken by his divine voice.
I believe that it is impossible to estimate the merits of the various religions of the world, and, moreover, I believe that it is unnecessary and harmful even to attempt it. But each one of them, in my judgment, embodies a common motivating force: the desire to uplift man’s life and give it purpose.
And because the life of Jesus has the significance and the transcendency to which I have alluded, I believe that he belongs not solely to Christianity, but to the entire world; to all races and people, it matters little under what flag, name or doctrine they may work, profess a faith, or worship a God inherited from their ancestors.
 The Modern Review, October 1941, republished on mahatma.org.in/
* The word ‘begotten’ has for Gandhiji a significance that is more profound and possibly nobler than its simple literal meaning.


Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] - I have posted lots.