Parable Surprises – Parable #9 – Tares Among the Wheat

This parable of good seed in a field of weeds is surprising in a number of ways.

Let’s take a look at

The Parable of The Tares among the Wheat

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

This is the same crowd that heard the parable of the sower. Matthew 13 was a busy day of pouring truth out to the crowds through the medium of parables. Many in the crowds were receiving teaching that would challenge men and women for millennium, and that for past saints, had been precious truth they based their lives on. But for the most part, the audience were deaf to the message being provided on this day.

When did the Lord give this parable?

Check out my previous post.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

Check out my previous post.

Why did the Lord give this message?

Aw – the big question! Initially, a story of bad seed after the story of the sower seems a bit confusing, but the topic is different. The seed is not a metaphor for truth, or the gospel, but of how the kingdom of God would grow.

The kingdom would grow, but with enemies within it. It seems the reason for the existence of the enemies is due to the servants sleeping, and how true this is of the modern church. So many enemies of the gospel, parading about as representatives of the Messiah, growing, and seemingly thriving in the church, sucking the life out of it. But alas – I digress.

What was the message for the original audience?

Your expectations for an earthly kingdom is wrong.

Many of His audience were looking for Messiah ben David, a Messiah that would conquer the Romans and bring Israel to dominance in the world. An earthly kingdom, where all those gentile “dogs” would be dominated and ruled over, controlled and taxed, with revenge and power being available to every Israelite.

Wow Did I get carried away there for a minute? But you get my point.

Jesus was continually bringing a message that challenged the “earth bound” mindset. Jesus is Messiah ben David, the ruling King, but His subjects have to understand His Kingdom, and this kingdom would have enemies within it that are allowed to exist alongside them. Jesus ben Joseph, the suffering King was on display for all to see and to follow, if they could hear His message

How counter intuitive.

What is the message for us today?

Our expectation for the end may be incorrect – Notice that the weeds are gathered first. How does that jive with the common teaching of the saints being gathered first, that is with the common teaching of the pre-tribulational rapture. I don’t get it! But that is such a minor issue, for it does not impact a greater, a somewhat troubling truth.

The enemy has a purpose within the Kingdom. What do you say Carl?

Notice the Land owner’s concern over the wheat, the good seed and how He restricts any damage to their existence. And yet the enemy, the weed, is within their presence, their very life is effected by the weed. Now I have always been told to never make a parable walk on a hundred legs, but their may be some truth to the concept of the enemy being in the church for the sake of keeping us alert, of winnowing out the false believer, of showing to the world the difference of a true believer with the hypocrite.

Consider your own walk with Him.

Are their “weeds” in you life, weeds that fight against you in your Christianity? By this I mean folks that are a hindrance, or are blatantly against you in your faith.

We need these “enemies” amongst us, for we are not to be “out of the world”, where we could not rub shoulders with those who know not the Master.

No. We need to be amongst them, loving our enemies, blessing those who curse us and praying for those who persecute us.

Matthew 5:44, 45

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Those weeds will get pulled soon enough, but until then, we got some loving to do!



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Psalms for Psome – 14

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let’s take a few moments out of our day to consider Psalm 14.

Psalm 14:1 -7

To the choirmaster. Of David. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

This is a rich psalm, and is referred to in the New Testament to define the fallenness of the sinner. It is interesting that the pronouns used in the third chapter of Romans is indefinite, and that by reference back to this Psalm, we find they are describing the fool.

The fool says in his heart “No God!”

Per the reading of the Old Testament, it is important to remember that when a fool is referred to, it is not describing the person’s intellectual ability, as so often we think of in todays culture. No – back then, to be termed a fool was a description of a person in moral failure. David begins this psalm with the central claim of a fool.

“No God”

Most translations usually have the phrase as “There is no God”, and that may be the intent of the passage, but there is an alternate intent. The fool has said “No God”, as in – I refuse to confess You, I refuse to acknowledge You, I refuse to obey You. It is not simply a matter of claiming there is no God, but that the fool rejects God. To reject something implies a knowledge of that something being rejected.

Does this fool have knowledge of the God of the universe and yet says “NO” to God in his heart?

Much may be said about the results of this rejection of God, and David spells it out in the next few verses. Corruption, doing evil and not doing good (which are two different things!)

The fool appears to have all the power, and no conscience. They destroy the people of God, as if they are nothing. Yet the LORD is his refuge, the refuge of the generation of the righteous, those who are described as poor. Yet a few verses later, David speaks of the fortunes of the Lords people. The future is bright for the people of God. As darkness may descend, remember, dear brother, dear sister, that Salvation has come out of Zion, redeeming us from this evil world.

Look to the One who gave Himself for your foolishness.


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Book Look – The Potter’s Promise – 2

As many who follow this blog may know, I have recently stumbled (providentially?) over a web page called Soteriology 101, fueled by the passionate Dr. Leighton Flowers. I have supplied a number of 60 second videos, under “Calvin’s Concern” blog posts, and have found his teaching to be challenging and refreshing.

As I was listening to Dr. Flowers, I decided to purchase his book and received it in the mail recently. As I mentioned in my first post about this book, I would be adding addtional comments, and lo and behold here I am again.

In a subsequent chapter, when Dr. Flowers is approaching the 9th chapter of Romans, which is the “hotbed of Calvinism”, he drew my attention to the following verses that express the heart of the Apostle

Romans 9:1-3

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—

that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

So lets get this right.

The apostle Paul expresses his love for those who are not believers, supposedly reprobates by the teaching of an average Calvinist, and would sacrifice his own salvation for those that are not able to be saved. These he prays for are very likely the reprobate, those that have been determined to be damned for all eternity by the determinant counsel of God before all of creation.

I don’t get it. How could the servant love greater than the Master? Paul has greater love than Jesus? Something is so wrong with the way I understand the Word. I suppose I need to reconsider key Bible passages in order to have the higher knowledge of Calvinism claim my spirit.

I suppose 1 John 4:8 should be rewritten as

1 John 4:8

Anyone who does not act holy and righteous does not know God, because God is holy and righteous, (P.S. Paul is love).

My apologies to John, and to our Father in heaven, for such a suggestion.


If any who are reading this and have found Him as I am describing, please let me know.  If you do not know of the Savior as the loving God of all creation, please reach out to a believer you may know. Or reach out to myself. I would be honored to assist if I am able.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Psalms for Psome – 13

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let us take a few moments and consider Psalm 13

Psalm 13: 1-6

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

As a believer, I have forgotten His mercies and grace too many times to recount. During my hectic day and to my shame, I find little time to think on His goodness. He is a constant Savior, even a Brother, that treats me better than I deserve, and because of that, I yearn to be of that character. The character of Christ, who exhibited a self sacrificial life, forgives me as I repent of my wrong thinking/doing and is constantly drawing me into fellowship.

As I consider His goodness, grace and kindness, I tend to hear the niggling doubts, the faraway thoughts that remind me of my fears and struggles, the enemies that are so real. And yet these two thoughts seem to be at war with one another.

It has been years since I learned that fear and faith cannot live together. Why can I not maintain this truth in my experience? Why must I be reminded of it so often?

It appears that the psalmist is going through the very same struggle that so many of us can identify with.

At one point in the first verse the psalmist states that God is ignoring him, forgotten His child, ceased from caring for His child. He claims that God has hid His face from him, a term that signifies absence. The Father is no longer available to the child.

Have you experienced this? Have dark times enveloped you, where the love of God is completely absent from your life, where the enemy is seemingly victorious, and that you have no helper, no resource, no experience with the Father?

I do not intend to minimize this, as I have in the past experienced very dark times of solitude, of living in fear and feeling abandoned. As many of my readers may know, I have known the Lord for over 40 years, and during that time have struggled with many battles.

If I were to admit to one battle that I seem to have recurring failure at is that of addressing my fear. My fear of rejection, my fear of loss, my fear of failure, my fear of shame…. Need I go on?

The psalmist had physical enemies that were growling about his life, that were nipping at his heals. The victory of the enemy seemed inevitable.

Our fear seems justifiable in the appearance of the circumstance!

The believer is to rest in the steadfast love of God, in the constant truth of the salvation found in the Messiah. Does this resolve all specific aspects of all the circumstances being faced by the saint?

NO.

Circumstances do not necessarily change because of trust. (They may of course, due to His mercy, but that is not the point of this post!)

The psalmist states a fact, that is that he has trusted in the steadfast love of God. The circumstances are what they are, and yet in the past, the saint has trusted. The saint is trusting now, and this is obvious, since his heart is in rejoice mode. Fear is fleeing, and the rejoicing heart is victorious over it. (Consider 1 John 4:18!)

To trust is not to have all the answers, or to be experiencing “your best life now”. As a matter of fact, trust implies that there are issues that are fighting against our decision to trust.

Consider the concept Paul refers to in Romans 8:24-25

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

What we see with our physical eyes is often a distraction for our spirits eyes.

As you consider this, remember that the life of faith is truly a battle.

The turning point for the psalmist was his remembrance of the steadfast love of the Lord. Do not abandon your trust by concentrating on the appearance of life.

It is either faith or fear.

These two do not exist together.

Remember the steadfast love of God when the enemy rears its head and tells you to be afraid!


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Love Like Jesus – Without Rejoicing in Evil


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Without Rejoicing in Evil

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus does not rejoice at wrongdoing

1 Cor 13 - 5463 rejoice

To rejoice. To have a deep seated joy in the midst of any circumstance, to have a calmness and serenity that is deep seated in my life. This is a fruit of the Spirit.

But love’s rejoicing is kinda picky.

Love’s rejoicing does not live in evil doing, in the wrong.

1 Cor 13 - 93 iniquity

The next two posts will consider this “pickiness” of love and give us direction as to the condition of our hearts.

This post will consider what love does not rejoice in, what love cannot rejoice in. Love cannot rejoice in unrighteousness.

Any injustice or wrong doing, from love’s perspective, can not be rejoiced in. In our last post we considered holding onto a wrong, a “kaka”. Paul was referring to a memory of an injustice or a hurtful word, of a wrongdoing suffered by us.

This verse may include a wider audience. This passage may include my injustice. My wrongdoing. My sin. Sure, love cannot rejoice in the injustice perpetrated on a fellow human being. That is not love. That seems so obvious.

It is easy to be furious, even “self righteous” in our condemnation of another’s ill treatment of a brother. It sets us on the “high ground” supposedly, and we feel like we are better than those wretched dogs who are so filthy in God’s eyes.

What is not so obvious for me, in my day to day walk, is the sin that I spread around my friends, family and foes! Let me explain.

True love in a believers life, as we walk in the Spirit, cannot find rejoicing in a sin. If I do not have a solid understanding of what is right and what is wrong, I can find myself rejoicing in unrighteousness. A friendly reminder – the Bible helps bunches on defining this what is right and what is wrong!

Consider

I got the upper hand on my peer at work. That is so great. Let’s party! Of course he suffered a wrongdoing, and may not trust me in the future, see’s me as a bit of a cheat, but I landed that promotion and am able to supply for my family. Surely that is what God wants, and I am so full of happiness, it must be the right thing to do! Rejoice in that promotion!

What would love do here? Where can we find true rejoicing in this instance?

My child comes home from school with a note about being in a fight in the school yard. My first question invariably is “Did you win?” After all, he is a chip off the old block. Sorry to hear about the other kid, and the bruising, but life is hard. My son proved himself, and I am so full of happiness, it must be the right thing to do! Rejoice in my boys dominance over another!

What would love do here? Where can we find rejoicing in this instance?

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

Recently I have read of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, where the Master is referred to as a “Man of sorrows”. Our sins caused this sorrow. And yet the fruit of the Spirit is joy. He was led of the Spirit and under full control of the Spirit of God. The tension in this though is hard to accept sometime, unless you consider when the joy is to be expressed. Jesus, being under the authority of the Father, could not rejoice in wrongdoing. He was a “Man of sorrows”, and yet Luke 10:21tells us

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

In what hour? In the hour when the Father revealed truth to those who were receptive, and also hid it from those who were closed minded to the Messiah. Both of those actions are righteous acts. He rejoiced in righteousness.

I think I am getting ahead of myself, since our next topic will be rejoicing in the Truth. Let’s get together next time and consider the positive aspect of rejoicing! See ya then!

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Do You Believe in Prevenient Grace?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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300 Thanks eh?

When I started “Considering the Bible” over a year ago, it was primarily for my own benefit.  I enjoy putting my thoughts together and working to improve my skill in communicating my beliefs in an orderly and irenic way.

Since beginning, I have received many comments and “likes”, and some of y’all have even decided to follow me. (And some of y’all have become folks I look forward to interacting with – You know who you are!!!)

We just broke 300 followers.

Kinda cool, and I hope my feeble efforts to communicate a message of good news that I find in the Word is making a difference for those reading. Let me know – your encouragement is greatly appreciated.

Thanks again – Carl

If’n you aren’t following yet, it ain’t hard. Just click on the link below. And welcome to the discussion!


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Psalms for Psome – 12

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let’s read this short Psalm in it’s entirety

Psalm 12:1-8

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David. Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.

Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,

those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

The Psalmist is bemoaning the loss of the faithful man, the righteous and good man who spoke truth, who could be relied upon to provide wisdom and understanding. He cries out to the Lord for justice, for His justice to prevail upon those who lie, boast and flatter.

These boasters speak of thier ultimate power over everyone, since they boast of prevailing , and even question who is the master over them. Little do they know, they are the slaves to their own deception, they have no power over their own speech. These men are being led by the ring in thier nose to thier destruction

As I think of the New Testament teaching on the tongue, one passage comes to mind.

James 3:2

…And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

James uses the tongue as the ultimate test of perfection in the saint. Imagine, the implication is that the tongue is the greatest of our foes.

James 3:8

…but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James continues, stating that the tongue is the master of the man, the ruler of the body that is full of deadly poison. This counsel is for the believer, who has been forgiven of his sins, and provided the Spirit of God to empower godly living. And yet the tongue is a formidable enemy for the saint. How much more so for the poor sinner who is captive to its wiles.

The tongue plunders those who are supposedly weak. The tongue is a destroyer, the enemy of those who are in humble conditions, who are needy and are easily taken advantage of. Great swelling words seek to dominate those who are susceptible to the lies and deceptions of the proud and arrogant, godless man.

Where can we find a man who can be trusted? Where is there any hope of knowing a faithful witness, a brother who will speak faithfully?

Psalm 12:6

The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

His words are pure.

This purity speaks of an article or material as being unalloyed, such as gold. It is common to think in our modern world of some precious metals as being 99.99% pure. This is a standard that is used within the metals industry. The concept of a percentage of purity was not considered in the Old Testament to this degree. When purity is spoken of, it is to an absolute.

Habakkuk speaks of the Lord’s eyes as being pure

Habakkuk 1:13

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
the man more righteous than he?

James speaks to us again, informing us that purity is the first characteristic of the wisdom from above.

James 3:17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

His words are pure.

John 17:17

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

It seems obvious to me that the words of the wicked draw them to the trap, to a destruction they do not expect, and shall swiftly fall upon them. Those who look to the word of Jesus, find a Brother who is worth listening to, a Friend who speaks the truth, (hard as it is to hear at times!), and a Savior Who is ever present to give direction and encouragement for those very folks who may be under the influence of the boasting liars all about us.

The psalmist closes this psalm, speaking of the wicked prowling about Peter also reminds the believer of an enemy prowling about

1 Peter 5:8 …Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Be sober, be vigilant, be aware of your circumstance and your resources. The Lord has not left us helpless.

It is common knowledge that the lion will devour the weakest of the prey. Do not be fodder for the adversary, by being the weakest of the body of believers. Much strength may be found in the words of God, pure words that are given for our edification and exhortation. For the building up of the saint, to increase our knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

His words are pure. Read them, memorize them, study them, treasure them and work them out in your life. Without them, you will only have one source of information. Let me tell you – that source of information is definitely not pure!


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Calvin’s Concerns – Drawing

A few weeks back, I published the first of a series of posts offering 60 second video discussions on alternatives to the popular Calvinistic teaching in our churches these days.

The videos were provided by Dr. Leighton Flowers, and addressed a number of topics that related to Calvinism and it’s resultant effects on the believer.

Since then, a brother has been in discussion with me and has sought to correct me of my errors. This is exactly my aim with this blog, to enter into discussions, consider other believers opinions and perspectives and by hopefully referring to the scriptures, come to a conclusion that is satisfactory.

My brother, has sought to correct me in the 4th of the 5 TULIP doctrines, which is the teaching of irresistible grace.

He has referred to John 6:44 in making his assertion and I spent the day yesterday considering the passage as I went about my chores.

Lets read the verse and dig a bit.

John 6:44

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

My friend has “drawn” my attention to the word “draws” in the above verse and claims that the Greek word is better translated drag, and should be written as “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drags him“.

As a Calvinist in my previous thinking, I too used this argument since there is some support for it. Let’s perform a quick study to consider the strength of his arguement.

The Greek word is ἕλκω, transliterated as helkō, and is found in the New Testament 8 times. Lets take a look at them

John 6:44

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

This, of course is our subject verse and we will come back to it in the near future.


John 18:10

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Ok, he may have something with his assertion. The action of drawing the sword could be considered equal to dragging the sword (out of it’s scabbard). Peter drew/dragged the inanimate piece of metal from its resting place and was a tool for Peter to use against the haplus victim Malchus.

John 21:11

So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.

My oh my. This may also support his teaching the the word should be translated as dragged, since Peter hauled/dragged the fish ashore. The fish were caught in the net and Peter physically dragged the catch to the shore, all 153 of them.

I may have to reconsider my understanding of John 6:44, but lets consider the remaining verses prior to jumping to a conclusion

John 21:6

He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.

Now this is interesting. Even though the fish were caught and restricted from any freedom of escape by the use of the net, the disciples were not able to drag the fish into the boat. This seems to imply that the greek word helkō, (draw/drag) does not necessarily imply success in the dragging/drawing, but that other forces may impact the result.

Acts 16:19

But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.

The apostles were dragged into the marketplace. Obviously, Paul and Silas were taken by the hand and physically guided into an area of the market where they could discuss the ramifications of their teaching and consider options for the free dissemination of alternate thoughts. What? No, they were violently taken by force before the rulers. This time, the term helkō, can and rightly should be translated as dragged, physically dragged into a location the men had no desire to go

Acts 21:30

Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut.

Again, the term helkō, describes a time when the apostle is dragged somewhere. Golly, he sure was physically “helped” by a lot of folks when he got to preaching!

James 2:6

But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?

James uses helkō once in his epistle, speaking of how the rich dragged the poor in to the courts to oppress them and abuse them. Obviously, the poor came reluctantly, and had to be either physically dragged, or by legal threatening coerced into attending the court. Either way, it is a negative image.

So in conclusion, my brother may have a point in translating draw, in John 6:44 as “drag”, if Jesus is speaking a drawing

  • an inanimate object, such as a sword, as in John 18:10
  • something trapped, as in fish in a net, for the sake of consumption, per John 21:11
  • a man or men physically, as in Acts 16:19 or 21:30
  • a poor man to court physically or legally, as in James 2:6.

If we can transfer these intentions to John 6:44, we could conclude that the drawing is inescapable, but the implications trouble me. Something is nagging at my mind and I can’t seem to let it go.

To transfer the idea of physically dragging a man to judgement to be equal to dragging a soul to Jesus seems to be a stretch. But let’s assume for the sake of arguement, that we can rightly consider helkō to be always translated as drag whenever it appears in the New Testament.

Oh, by the way, I have found one additional verse, which gives me great joy due to this new truth we have recently discovered. Since helkō, must be translated as dragged throughout the New Testament, I can now rest in the glorious truth that all of creation will be saved and enter into heaven.

WHAT? What type of heresy have you fallen into now Carl?

Consider the final verse, where helkō, is also used

John 12:32

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw (drag?) all people to myself.”

Such awesome news.

Ok, so I tried to make a point! We can’t simply apply one of many definitions of a Greek word, applying it to every occurrence.

When I read John 6:44, I also think of Jeremiah 31:3

Jeremiah 31:3

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

I like to think Jesus may have been thinking the same.

Is the drawing irresistible?

I think the New Testament speaks volumes on the way our evil hearts resist the love of God, to our shame.

Is His will irresistible?

Take a few moments to consider the many time the Lord spoke of His will being frustrated by the will of another?


Additional information for the curious

A synonym for draw was used occasionally in the New Testament, The Greek word is σύρω, with the transliteration being syrō . Vines has an interesting comment for your consideration

Drag:“to draw,” differs from suro, as “drawing” does from violent “dragging.” It is used of “drawing” a net, Jhn 21:611 (cp. No. 1, in ver. 8); Trench remarks, “At vv. 6 and 11helko (or helkuo) is used; for there a drawing of the net to a certain point is intended; by the disciples to themselves in the ship, by Peter to himself upon the shore. But at ver. 8helko gives place to suro: for nothing is there intended but the dragging of the net, which had been fastened to the ship, after it through the water” (Syn., xxi).

This less violent significance, usually present in helko, but always absent from suro, is seen in the metaphorical use of helko, to signify “drawing” by inward power, by Divine impulse, Jhn 6:4412:32. So in the Sept., e.g., Sgs 1:4Jer 31:3, “with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” It is used of a more vigorous action, in Jhn 18:10, of “drawing” a sword; in Act 16:1921:30, of forcibly “drawing” men to or from a place; so in Jam 2:6, AV, “draw,” RV, “drag.”


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Parable Surprises – The Sower of the Seed

This is the big one. Of all the parables the Lord taught, I think this one is the most known, with the possible exception of the prodigal son. It is also one of the more complex ones, since it is dealing with four types of soil, and the recurring results of the soil.

Let’s take a look at

The Sower of the Seed

Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23

3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. …

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Great multitudes gathered to the Lord, to hear of His teaching. This was a general audience, a large crowd that had accumulated

When did the Lord give this parable?

Based on the parallel version of the parable in Mark, this teaching was provided after His confrontation with the scribes who came down from Jerusalem, claiming He was possessed of the prince of demons, and that He was casting out demons by Satan’s power.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

As the text tells us, He was in a boat, off the shore in order to teach the large crowd. Most believe He was on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee, near the village of Gennesaret

Why did the Lord give this message?

I had always considered the parables as a unique method of teaching, a method that would reach all those who heard it. But as my momma used to say, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” Jesus was finding out with this parable, and all parables, who was thirsty.

He taught this parable to multitudes and the disciples had had it. They weren’t getting it, and they came to the Lord to ask why. This is the parable that prompted the explanation of why the Master taught in parables throughout His ministry. I addressed this explanation in an introduction to this series here. I would encourage you to read the post – it may surprised you what I found out

What was the message for the original audience?

Naming this parable the parable of the sower is somewhat distracting, since it is concerning the soil that the seeds fall on that is the message. I will not address whether this parable describes four different levels of Christian, or the difference between true and false Christianity. This is not clearly defined in the parable, though some may claim it is. This is a results parable – What results from the same seed landing on four types of soils?

Four types of soil are described in this parable.

  • Hard Soil
    • The seed became food for birds. It didn’t have the chance to germinate. The soil was trodden down, packed by the constant pressures of foot path, of the day to day pressures of being used for travel. The soil itself was unable to receive the seed, and it was taken away.
    • No life.
  • Rocky Soil
    • Along the edges of fields, a farmer would pile rocks and stones that he had pulled from the field. Rows of stones were common along a farmers property, being used to mark out a field, or his property. I had always translated this thinking into the verse, yet most would consider “rocky ground” to be describing shallow earth that received the seed, and yet lurking so close to the surface, an impenetrable material that refused any growth. This condition allowed initial growth, but not continual growth. This seed germinated, but continuous life was not to be experienced for this plant – The ground had not depth, no support!
    • Life, but not continuous.
  • Thorny Soil
    • This ground was not necessarily shallow. It had the depth to support continuous life, and the proof of this was the thorns that became an impediment for this soil. The thorns choked out the good seed. It is interesting that the term choked describes a “crowding out” of the good seed. Yes the seed germinated, yet the seed did not come to maturity. In the Greek, this term “choke” conveys the idea of strangling, of taking by the throat. To choke is a very apt description of the action of the thorns. This is a competition for sustenance.
    • Life, but not continuous
  • Good Soil
    • This soil produced grain. Multiplication occurred in this soil. The one seed produced many seed.
    • Life.

What is the message for us today?

I have been reluctant to sit down and consider this parable, since my “general” thoughts have condemned my own experience. You see, when I first became a believer on Feb 19th, 1981 I saw a future of impeccable faithfulness to the Master, a life of constant obedience to a Master who loved me and gave Himself for me. As I have hit 40 years of walking with Him, I realize the “truth” of the thorny soil, since I have not been the believer I anticipated. I am a weak and inconsistent follower, that has had much less impact on my world than I had hoped.

But as I was working outside yesterday, considering this passage in my thinking, I realized that I am, by nature a greedy guy. I wanted a hundredfold multiplication, and yet in my dark days, I fear there is more thorn in my life that life. I was looking only at, what I considered the obvious signs of life from my walk.

He has kept me based on His grace and not on my efforts. He has sometimes dragged me through some difficult times, giving me only a slight glimmer of hope, and yet He still is very present, very real and is continuing His work.

As you read this parable, don’t be greedy and compare your life with a famous evangelist, teacher or flamboyant showy believer.

If you have produced one seed, one grain, give thanks.

And get the weed whipper out.



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Let Me Tell You a Story – Be Thankful

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

A year ago, we entered the covid 19 pandemic era, with mass hysteria, mixed communications, multiple fears and major stress.  So many nights, we went to bed sensing a terror, a sense of foreboding, and yet all in my family have kept our employment, survived the pandemic, and experienced the mercy of God in our lives.

I want to tell you of a friend, who I want to be like when I grow up.  He is a humble man, and I will not seek to embarrass him by using his name, other than calling him JB.

JB is a brother I met while attending a sunday school class, him being the teacher of it.  It was a great class, since I came into it with a number of beliefs the class as a whole did not adhere to.  JB was very encouraging to allow my thoughts to challenge others, and to challenge my thoughts also.  A very healthy environment, without personal attacks or snide remarks, (at least from the class….)

Well, the church we attended, at the start of the covid crisis, shut it’s doors, and JB, along with his dear wife, were restricted to thier home.  You see, JB is 80 yrs old this year, and it became obvious early on in the pandemic, that the elderly were susceptible to the virus.  So, JB stayed in as much as he could.  Of course he went to work, until his wife needed dedicated care. 

At this time, he took his retirement, to care for his wife of almost 60 yrs.  DB (his wife) was suffering from her third attack of cancer, and this one was very aggressive.  During this, DB also broke her hip, and was required to have medical care in the hospital.  Through it all, JB rarely showed any indication of suffering, or “Woe is me” .  

Eventually DB came home and JB spent the next few months transitioning from part time care giver to full time care giver, and sought to comfort his wife with all he knew.  Eventually, he had to give up his vehicle to help pay for other bills, but after a week, he mentioned that, although a bigger adjustment than he estimated, it was something that was beneficial for all, and he was thankful.

As covid raged, DB got weaker from the constant attack of the cancer.  JB persevered through the trial, showing a commitment to his wife that I only hope I can match.  A few months ago, JB called to let us know that DB slipped into the arms of the Savior that night, and that they would be planning for a very small service.

Next thing I know, my friend is in the hospital due to a fall, where the doctors suspected a brain aneurism.  During his stay, it was discovered that he had contracted covid.  Personally, I held out only hope for him, due to his advanced age, the stress he had suffered for the past year, and the loss of his partner of nearly 60 years.

He called me a few weeks ago, telling me he was out of the hospital, and recovering, but not as quickly as he would like.  His family are circling around him and he is surviving.    

Just a few days ago, he informed me that his foot is sufferings from a serious infection, where some of it may need to be removed.  After that, he ended the discussion with a number of things he is thankful for.

That is what I want to settle on in this post.  He has went through a prolonged period of testing, some of which I haven’t described, and is thankful. He has lost much that many would consider central to their life. Yet he is thankful. He admits he is challenged in his daily chores.  He isn’t sugar coating his experience.  Yet he is thankful.

Psalm 106:1

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

Be thankful. It’s good for the soul, and is only the right thing to be! Consider who our God is, and it won’t be difficult to give thinks!

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Love Like Jesus – Without Resentment


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Without Resentment

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love is not resentful

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus is not resentful

KAKOS

Some think this word is the basis for our understanding of waste material, if’n you know what I mean. In other words, it may be the root word for the result of defecating. My grandson speaks of an accident as “kaka”. Kind of impressive if you know what I mean – My 2 yr old grandson knows more Greek than I!

Wiktionary has a helpful categorization of this term

  • As a measure of quality: bad, worthless, useless
  • As a measure of appearance: ugly, hideous
  • Of circumstances: injurious, wretched, unhappy
  • As a measure of character: low, mean, vile, evil

In the New Testament, the overarching intent of this word is “of a bad nature”. It is used 56 times in the Word. You know, “of a bad nature” is so technical. I would like to consider the word picture of the original term “kaka”, that is of the result of defecating, the defecated material, the solid waste of the human body.

The passage we are looking at this morning, speaks of this “kaka” as being something retained in the life, something that I hold onto.

I remember the “kaka”. That is, I do this, but love doesn’t.

Love doesn’t hold the “kaka”. Why would you want to hold the “kaka”? This word picture, of love is becoming helpful to me.

When I remember something hurtful, or someone who has hurt me, I am holding onto “kaka”, I am, as the NASB translates it, taking into account a wrong suffered. It’s “kaka”.

Let’s think about this for a moment.

Every person reading this post has had hurtful things happen to them. Hurtful words flung at us, unjust actions, painful trials that have pierced our hearts.

When a believer, or for that matter, any person hurts us, as believers, we need to forgive. This is the first action of many in the healing of our lives and in following the Lord. The first action, that is, since the memory will come back to taunt us, to hurt you and I. We may need to forgive that person multiple times in our hearts to get through this battle.

When the memory of this hurtful action floods our minds and hearts, it is helpful for me to associate it with “kaka”. It is “of bad intent”, it is “kaka”, and my ruminating in it is downright disgusting.

Oh, of course this hurtful memory disguises itself as an “injustice” or “that brother’s sin” or some fancy justification. The end result is that me and my memory are all alone at the moment, and that “kaka” is making me smell! The original offender is off enjoying his life, and I need to wrestle this excrement to the ground.

Love is not resentful, it does not keep records of wrong, it does not play with poop!

Don’t play with poop!

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

If anyone in this creation has justification to be resentful, to hang onto “kaka”, it is the Lord Jesus. He has suffered unjustly for the sins of the world and yet does not hold resentment.

Consider the failing of Peter. Jesus discussion with Peter had the flavor of restoration not of resentment. And what about Thomas. Jesus suffered for his sins, and yet he doubted. How could He not push this in to his face, speaking of the pain it caused Him. But He didn’t. He simply came down to Thomas’ level and gave him the opportunity to believe.

No – I can’t see it. Jesus is not resentful. Bitterness and indignation over being unjustly treated was not the Lord’s response, since it is not in His character, expressing love to those who do not deserve it!

Please join me in our next study where we will consider rejoicing out of love.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Explain the Acronym PROVIDE?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Psalms for Psome – 11

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 11 contains a verse that a brother used in discipling me, and in training me in how to approach those that preach beyond the limits of orthodoxy, that is, those who are clearly heretical.

First, though, let us read this psalm.

Psalm 11:1-7

To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

My brother George spent time with me as a young believer and during one of the informal sessions we had, (for they were always informal – he always seemed to have time to discuss the Word and of the Savior), he drew my attention to verse 3.

Psalm 11:3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

At the time, I was not an engineer, but I understood the importance of foundations. A fancy roof is not good if the footings are made of mud. But if the foundations are strong, any roof will do, any color, any shape, any pitch, any material.

In our Christian life, the foundation is critical. I have spent much too much time focusing on the roof, those things that are not foundational, but merely window dressing in the Christian life. Hair splitting of minor doctrine, when Jesus has told us to love our neighbor, to love one another, to care for the weak and provide for the widow and orphan.

So, in our Christian life, what specifically is our foundation? The apostle Paul gives us direction through his letters.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

This is the foundation, the Person upon whom all the church, and creation depends on, whether they understand it or not. He is the bedrock of all that is created, and has been recreated. Without Him, there would be no church, with Him the Church can not be destroyed – They killed Him once and now He is invincible. (Big mistake on their part!)

Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

Paul refines the concept of the foundation of the church as being the apostles and prophets, upon whom we can trust due to their dependence on the Chief Corner Stone, Jesus Christ. The teaching of the apostles and prophets can be relied upon as they were directly commissioned by the Savior to give instruction for His followers

2 Timothy 2:19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

This passage speaks of relationship. When I first read this verse over 40 years ago, I glibly consumed the syllables and moved on.

Not so fast Carl. God’s foundation stands. It is branded with an inscription, with two statements.

The Lord knows those who are His – This is obvious, but in my thinking, I feel Paul is speaking of God’s experiential knowledge, of a knowledge “gained” through relationship with His people. Please don’t call me out as a heretic on this, where it seems I am claiming God is gaining in knowledge and therefore deficient in some way. I don’t understand, and I may be out in left field, but the term ‘know” has the connotation of learning, or perceiving, understanding.

Relationship of our Heavenly Father and His children includes our time based condition. I do not understand how He relates to us through eternity while we are present in this evil world. But it is the first seal on the foundation, and it is how I understand it currently.

The second statement is of those who identify with the Lord, they depart from iniquity. Claiming to be a believer and continually refusing to repent of wrongdoing is, at the least hypocrisy, but I fear in reality is self deception. The Christian life is a life of continual repentance and renewal, or changing your perspective on every topic in life, of being re-educated from the dirt of the world to the truth of the Word.

My friend, if you are being challenged in an area of your life that is scary, or that will be difficult, trust in the goodness of God. If I read this verse properly, it is merely a matter of time before you repent, unless of course…

The foundation of Christianity is solid, since it is the Lord Jesus Christ. Trusting in a religion, a denomination, a way of life, a philosophy, a leader, a political party, or whatever you lean on other than the Lord, will disappoint you. If you think you are a Christian because of something other that a living relationship with Him, you will be disappointed.

Thanks for dropping by and considering the Bible with me. I do hope to hear from you in the comment section, and to


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Book Look – The Potter’s Promise – 1

As many who follow this blog may know, I have recently stumbled (providentially?) over a web page called Soteriology 101, fueled by the passionate Dr. Leighton Flowers. I have supplied a number of 60 second videos, under “Calvin’s Concern” blog posts, and have found his teaching to be challenging and refreshing.

As I was listening to Dr. Flowers, I decided to purchase his book and received it in the mail recently. The first chapter grabbed me, and I suspect I will have a few posts regarding this book.

In his first chapter, Dr. Flowers supplies a short list of differences between the popular Calvinistic teaching and what he calls a traditional approach to soteriology (the study of salvation).

I offer the below as a taste of the approach this book takes. He defines the two approaches thus.

Calvinists teach that Christ self-sacrificially loves a pre-selected group of individuals.

Traditionalists teach that Christ loves every single personso much that He died for them all.

Calvinists teach that before the world began, God predestined some individuals to salvation and the rest to eternal damnation based on nothing having to do with the individuals choices or actions

Traditionalists teach that God has predestined every individual who is “marked in Christ” through faith to be saved (Eph 1:13), and it is each individual’s responsibility to humble themselves and trust Christ in faith (Luke 18:6-14)

As a former Calvinist, I consider his summary to be fair. It is a shameful thing to admit now, but as a Calvinist, I made every effort to support the belief in a God who predestined some to eternal damnation. This is not the God I have come to know. He revels in being kind, supplying our needs, (and many of our wants), constantly available on the throne for our supplications to hear, and ever willing to forgive any who repent and forsake their evil ways.

If you do not know Him as a loving and sacrificial Savior, read the New Testament one more time.

Psalm 117:2

For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endures for ever. Praise ye the LORD.


If any who are reading this and have found Him as I am describing, please let me know.  If you do not know of the Savior as the loving God of all creation, please reach out to a believer you may know. Or reach out to myself. I would be honored to assist if I am able.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Psalms for Psome – 10

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

First, lets read the passage and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

Psalm 10

Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.
He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.
The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

This psalm, in the Latin Vulgate, is the second part of Psalm 9, where David is describing the wicked, and the traps they build, for themselves. Whether this psalm is to be connected directly with the 9th or not, the theme is identical.

The wicked are described as being prosperous while cursing the Lord, of being unmoveable, of a mouth full of cursing, deciet and oppression, of setting traps for the innocent and helpless and of telling himself that “God has forgotten”, that “He has hidden His face” and that “He will never see it”

Psalm 10:11

He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Why? Why do the wicked seek to convince themselves? Their conscious thoughts will be deadened eventually, by fighting against the truth of a God that will be answered to.

It is a choice to be in this condition. If you are fighting your conscious, give up before you win, for in winning against your conscious, you lose so much!

Psalm 10:16-18

The LORD is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

There will come a time when the man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.


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Parable Surprises – The Unfruitful Fig Tree

Our last parable of the rich man and his barns spoke of a bountiful harvest and the rich man’s poor decisions, being fueled by covetousness and poor priorities. This parable speaks of another agrarian example, but this time the dang tree ain’t producing!

Let’s take a look at

The Parable of The Unfruitful Fig Tree

Luke 13:6-9

6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

As mentioned in our introduction, we have a number of questions that will provide guidance in understanding each of these parables. Let’s review and delve into this parable.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

The text opens up in Luke 13 with a general description of “some present at that very time” and how they had spoke of an atrocity that some Galileans suffered.

When did the Lord give this parable?

Again, this is early on in the Lord’s ministry, seemingly in the Galilean region, prior to His journey towards Jerusalem

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

The region of Galilee.

Why did the Lord give this message?

The context of the passage is repentance. Luke 13:1-5 speaks of the relative sinfulness of those who suffer compared to others. You know how that goes – they are worse than I. It is a favorite past time of everyone of us. These folks in the first verse just mentioned this to the One who doesn’t dabble in relative sin, at least in His discussion here.

These folks who suffered at the hands of a cruel government leader weren’t worse sinners than any others! All need to repent! And those folks who suffered due to an accidental occurrence weren’t worse sinners than any others! All need to repent!

Even those who think they are better than those “worst sinners!”

So in summary, the context is for this parable is the requirement of repentance, especially of the self righteous.

What was the message for the original audience?

What is a fig tree doing in a vineyard?

I get the allusion of the vineyard as representing Israel, because it is often referred to as such.

One of the multiple verses referring to Israel as a vine is

Jeremiah 2:21

Yet I planted you a choice vine,
wholly of pure seed.
How then have you turned degenerate
and become a wild vine?

So what about a fig tree? Why the difference?

Jeremiah helps us one more time, for in the 8th chapter….

Jeremiah 8:13

13 When I would gather them, declares the LORD, there are no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree; even the leaves are withered, and what I gave them has passed away from them.”

Interesting. Jeremiah complains of the nation of Israel, in that both the vine and the fig are fruitless. Is this an example of Hebrew poetry, where the author says the same thing using a different description? I’m thinking so.

That still doesn’t explain why the Lord made the distinction. And I want to be careful not to make a mountain out of a molehill, or to try to make this parable walk on 50 legs! Still, it is interesting and caught my attention. If the reader has a suggestion to assist, it would be greatly appreciated.

The message for the original audience is that the fig tree, representing the nation of Israel, needs to change (repent) and begin to produce fruit in keeping with the message of Jesus. If the nation continues without producing the fruit required from the vinedresser, that is the Lord Jesus, that fig tree will be immediately pulled out by the roots and completely destroyed.

Did you catch that?

Not by the roots! The tree will be cut down. The life of the tree will not be extinguished, just the visible portion removed. (There is significance to this truth, but will not chase that rabbit right now!!)

And notice, that the fig tree had not been producing any fruit for THREE years. Remember that the fig usually produces fruit twice a year, the early and the late fig. But this tree produced nothing.

Also one more mistake I inserted into the text above.

The tree would not be immediately removed! The vinedresser, the Lord Jesus asked the owner (God the Father) to give it one more year. He would dig around it, and place some fertilizer on it. The Lord Jesus wanted to give the fig tree / nation of Isarea the most advantageous conditions to produce fruit. He gave the fig tree another year of opportunity. A second chance. (In reality a fourth chance!)

What is the message for us today?

I wanna say “Get to work and do something!” or “Get producing!” but I’m not quite sure that is the right thing to say. After all, the context is repentance, and as the prophet John said, bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Bear / produce fruit.

Fruit in the Christian life is the result of walking with the Spirit. Walking with the Spirit is the goal of the every day Christian. The every day Christian should recognize the Spirit’s call on his life. The characteristics of a believer walking in the Spirit should be obvious, but I will mention since I need to be reminded – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Don’t try to produce fruit. You will get leaves.

Walk in the Spirit, be submissive to His calling in your life.

  • When you have opportunity to argue, return a soft answer
  • When you are tempted to compete, show humility and give way.
  • When a difficult situation arises, seek to endure, if it be the will of God. (That last one is a tough one!!!)

Don’t stand or run in the Spirit – walk in the Spirit, and if you do you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Incredible truth.

Produce fruit.



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Psalms for Psome – 9

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 8 is a wonderful psalm, full of contrasts and comparisons. Throughout the psalm, David is in awe of the greatness of our God, of the creation he has provided, and the position God has placed man in .

First, lets read a portion of this Psalm, and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

 Psalm 9:15-16

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.

The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. 

My momma used to say “You are your own worst enemy Carl!” Truer words were never spoken. She had a way of being blunt that I didn’t take offense at, since I knew she loved me and was simply speaking her mind for my benefit.

This psalm is speaking the author’s mind for our benefit.

This psalm speaks of the traps we lay for each other, and how the traps take us. The psalmist is looking globally, or nations falling into dissolution and destruction, but as believers fall, so fall families, and so fall communities, and cities and states and nations.

To set a trap for a fellow is to condemn ourselves to being ensnared.

David goes so far as describing those who are snared in their own traps as wicked. To set a trap for a fellow human is to become wicked, and will result in self damage. This is obvious as we watch the dissolution of great civilizations, but lets be applicable for a moment, lets get to the personal level.

Consider.

At the office, you see a peer getting ahead by hard work and long hours. You consider spreading some harmless innuendos – nothing actually specific, but enough to start someone else on the path to a conclusion.

This is a wickedness.

Ephesians 4:20-21 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

You are out with your friends for a night of fun, and happen upon a friend that is not so popular with the others. You seek to avoid him, but he approaches the group. What is the right thing to do? Calculate the repercussions of aligning with your not-so-popular friend and decide against it? Determine to shame him, mock or ridicule him, in order to find acceptance of the in-crowd?

This is a wickedness.

Ephesians 4:20-21 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

A friend has abused his body most of his life and he seems to refuse to change, to care for his own life. You have sought to minister to him with gentleness and humility, seeking to encourage and exhort him to change. You come to the end of your rope, and consider abandoning him to his decisions.

What think ye?

Psalm 9:18

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

God is so much different than I. (Is He different than you?)

He is truly good, and His name is to be praised.


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Love Like Jesus – Without Irritation


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Without Irritation

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love is not irritable

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus is not irritable

1 Cor 13 - irritable

Paul used a lot of Greek terms that are rarely used elsewhere in the New Testament when he wrote this passage. This particular word we find here is only used one other time in the New Testament.

Act 17:16

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.

Guess what word is the same as “irritable” in our study. If you said, provoked, you win a cigar!

Let’s get some background to this verse.

Paul was wandering around Athens, waiting for his partners in crime, Silas and Timothy to show up, when he started to notice that the city was full of idols. This provoked Paul, irritated him, it was like a sharp stick that goaded him as he saw this idolatry. Of course this irritation was channeled into a season of reasoning with the Athenians, which brought about further preaching opportunities. Not much fruit came of this initial preaching, but that is immaterial to the topic at hand.

Paul channelled this irritation into good. We cannot avoid being irritated at times, yet love is not irritated. How do we reconcile our real ife with this claim?

If I am walking in love, nothing will ultimately irritate me. This is a huge claim, and reveals the weakness of love I experience toward some during my day. The issue is that “the love” I walk in is not compatible with the love defined in the Word. That is a problem!

Consider.

If I am irritated over the guy who swerved in front of me on the highway, I need to be thankful I wasn’t cut off and run into the ditch. If I was run into the ditch, I need to be thankful my car didn’t roll over. If my car rolled over, I need to be thankful that I survived the accident. If I didn’t survive the accident, I will be home. That will be a day of great thanksgiving.

Is that too simplistic, too general, too easy of an answer? Tell you what I’m gonna do. I will practice a thankful heart around my chief “irritator”. Hey, and if I don’t get back to you on this, you have my permission to try it on your chief “irritator” – you know who I mean!

My point is that as I have been experiencing irritability recently and been searching for solutions. The solution is to have a thankful heart.

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

I can’t help but think He has had every irritator available to vex, provoke, annoy and aggravate Him. His character has shown that personal attacks did not irritate Him. He walked in love. Those times when anger rose, He was responding to our lack of concern over who the Father was.

My morning memory verse was

Romans 15:3

For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

I realize that reproach implies a rebuke, a blame and a discrediting of another, and this is where much of my irritability roots from. Yet when God the Father was shamed and defamed, He absorbed this vitriolic action. He not only did not react out of provoking, He eventually stretched out His hand and received all our hate.

Yes, He is not irritable. He is calm, loving and in control.

Please join me in our next study where we will consider how resentment relates to the Christian life.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Do You Affirm Total Depravity?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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