Devotions and Lessons
Scripture of the Week:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Devotions and Lessons
Scripture of the Week:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Jesus loved using analogies for the Kingdom and what is required to enter. Right before sharing the Parable of the fig tree he was speaking first about how sin leads to death and repentance leads to life. What was He trying to tell them? Living a life in sin equals death but living in and for God equals life.
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. 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?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9
This man had a fig tree planted among vines. It was a lonely fig tree and was not bearing fruit because the grapes were taking most of the nutrients needed for the fig tree to flower and give fruit. Maybe the tree was not mature enough to do what it is supposed to do. Maybe it was seeking nutrients but could not find them.
The fig tree is representing a sinner who knows of God in a sea of sinners who refuse, due to their love of the world. The corruption of man and the perversion of the Word has people confused so they cannot truly bear fruit. The man sees the tree and wants it destroyed. The devil will take you down if you stay in your ways. Repenting and replenishing the nutrients with the truth will bring forth life which is what the vinedresser tells the man.
But the vinedresser cares for the tree, gives it the nourishment needed and it will bear fruit as it sees it is different what the fruit is picked it will share with others and possibly plant seeds as well. Jesus is sharing the Word (nourishment) so that our spirit is fed and we can bear the fruit (repent) and share our faith with others.
Jesus is telling those who were around Him that they must receive the Word as it is meant to be heard and repent of their sins so that they will not die the final death but have eternal life. Now He gave it a time period which is saying that the time we have on this earth is short and we need to stay in the Word to make it through and bear fruit for we will surely be cut down if we continue in our sinful ways.
Bottom line is this. Repent of our sins and trust in God that He will continue to nourish us through His Word. We must stay in His Word so that we can bear fruit through its sharing because if we do not , we will be cut down and suffer death never to see the light of God again.
When John wrote his first letter he talked about Jesus' love for us. He says, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?" (1John 3:16-17.) So how come many people still do not understand this is one of the things God requires of us? Did He not create us to be caretakers? Did He not tell us to care for His creation. We are His greatest creation yet we still have issues taking care of one another. There is a place that is in the planning stages which needs your help, the Reignite Living Center. It will house singles and FULL Families for up to 9 months to get them back on their feet not just women and children. The program is designed for reestablishing a person's worth, strengthen the family unit physically and spiritually, helping with resume, and budgeting. No more worries about being out in the elements at night and hoping they survive. No more going hungry. The children can have a comfortable place to live, laugh, love, and grow. Sounds good right? We need your help to make this a reality. If you feel that this is something you would like to help with and be a part of helping us to be caretakers, please go to: https://gogetfunding.com/reignite-living-center/ . We could really use your help to get this plan off the ground.
Jesus spoke about many different aspects of worldly things and how those need to change in order to get back to God. In the Parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus speaks of a materialist who hoarded things that made himself lazy, paying more attention to the world and less of God. He has no concern for the ramifications of his eternal soul.
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21 (ESV)
A Prosperous Man
Jesus begins by introducing us to an unnamed materially rich person who had so much that he had nowhere to put his earthly belongings. Back then, wealth was measured by monetary means, crops, and livestock. Though money was still not a high priority it was there and was only for the super-rich and those in positions of power. We can think of this man in terms of a wealthy landowner with a very large plantation. While it is good to prosper and live comfortably it is bad to have too much and keep it all to oneself.
A Progressive Man
He has so much, but his barns are too small. What to do?? Build bigger so he can store more stuff. How much does one person need? Rich people build sky high structures so that their material storehouses are filled with all their personal amassed wealth and show their greatness. The wealth is not just material but how many people they have control over.
A Self-Seeking Man
This man had the idea that if he stores everything and only gets things out as needed then he can live without worry. He has so much stuff and just the right amount of servants to appease his every need. This man never desires to lift a finger ever again and has become self-serving, lazy, a man of his own design.
A God-forgetting Man
This laziness causes the man to forget who provided for him the ability to gain such wealth. He turns to enjoy his sinful nature and is not worshiping nor praising God. He is not giving thanks to the Creator who gave him the knowledge to gain the provisions. This person becomes delusional because the temptations of the material world have taken him so far as to complete forgetfulness of God and his heart is filled with greed and selfishness, which clouds his mind to believe that he is his own success and denies God.
Called by God a Fool
John explains the worldly fool in his first letter saying, “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If someone loves the world, then love for the Father is not in him; because all the things of the world — the desires of the old nature, the desires of the eyes, and the pretensions of life — are not from the Father but from the world. And the world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remains forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
In this parable, the worldliness of the man cost him his life because he no longer cared for matters of the spirit. He was concerned with his pitiful temporary existence on the sand, dirt, and water. His life was sinking in the sand because his spiritual foundation had left him. This man apparently had no heir so it was all meaningless and would end up going to support people he does not know until it runs out. That very night, the man died and he was not prepared.
Entered Eternity Unprepared
The man entered into the next life without the knowledge of God. His disobedience to the simplest of God’s Laws left him in a place that he was not prepared to go.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
His heart was in the wrong place and filled with torment that gave him false hope. No mortal man lives forever no matter who you think you may be. Yes we have ways now of prolonging life but God still has the final say. One can live a long happy life in Christ and reap the heavenly reward or live a long life with false hope using all the manmade medical advances, cheating death but those too will fail and lead to condemnation. It is better to live for God and die happily knowing that you will be in the loving embrace of God than to live a life for yourself and die without truly knowing God.
Support for modern day religious leaders is monetarily. Did you know that that is NOT what God intended? Going way back to the Levites, they were not given a land inheritance of their own but received a portion to live on within the tribes and were the prophets and priests the people went to in order to get spiritually filled.
Every genuine prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of support. So also, every true teacher is, like a workman, entitled to his support. Every first fruit, therefore, of the products of vintage and harvest, of cattle and of sheep, should be given as first fruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have no prophet, give it all to the poor. If you bake bread, take the first loaf and give it according to the commandment. If you open a new jar of wine or of oil, take the first fruit and give it to the prophets. If you acquire money or cloth or any other possession, set aside a portion first, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.
The terms that the translator uses in the first two sentences, worthy and entitled, are to confirm the Scripture decrees of the Levites. The true prophets and teachers are of God and are to freely be given the support of the community. The firstfruits given out of proper devotion of God strengthen the prophet or priest to be able to serve the community in a right godly manner.
This falls in line with what the Prophet Malachi says: Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house (Malachi 3:10). God’s Storehouse is the place where people are to bring their firstfruits to share with the community. The very first, as a thanks to God also goes to feed those who serve God so they do not have to toil the land to feed and clothe their families therefore giving them the ability to fully concentrate on serving God and the community. In accordance with all things, if there is no prophet of God nearby, give the items to those in need because that is what we were first commanded to do as caretakers.
Today we have this issue of not wanting to follow that because we are too concerned with the self. Jesus taught that as God’s children we are to be selfless not selfish with the blessings we are given. Our blessings do not just include money but every aspect of our being. If you purchase food at a store to make something, purchase extra to give to a food drive or bank. Instead of selling old clothes, give them away. Use your gifts and give a portion to the community at large then you will be giving them back to God through your service. If everyone did that then we would not have so many issues and the devil’s snare of greed and selfishness would go away.
Pastors will tell you to be good stewards of your tithes. If their idea of tithes is only money, then they are not serving God. Give to others in need but first make sure your pastor and his family are provided for so that his focus is on God and worrying about the physical needs of self.
Have a blessed day.
Jesus has a way of really getting to the heart of things doesn’t He. In this week’s Adventure in the Parables we look at what Jesus tells us about the difference between the haughty and contrite heart.
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
This Parable Lesson has a great deal of relevance today. We have individuals who brag about themselves caring little for those around them except when it suits their need for fulfilment. This is a false feeling because it is only temporary. In the Parable, Jesus teaches of one who claims He is right with God to God in prayer, while in a partially seclude area there is another who humbles himself to God in prayer. The first man is actually trying to convince himself that he is right with God through his actions and conducting himself according to the Law of Moses. The tax collector knows his heart is in the world but wants to change so he humbles himself asking for forgiveness and help to make himself right with God, not through actions but a change in heart.
This all boils down to a heart matter. Is your heart so full of yourself that you cannot see the onlookers who only see the braggart? Or is your heart hurting because you know that you are not right even when you try to do the right thing and you silently give yourself in humble adoration to God.
I discussed this partially in a previous post but it was not seen by many due to the timing of release. Sometimes we are chosen to do the corporate prayer in an open setting. That is not the time to put yourself on show so others see your faith. It is a time to share with the congregation the heart, value, and mission of the church. If you pray in haughtiness, your prayer is overrun by those whose hearts are humbled. If your prayer is humble, then it creates an atmosphere that the Body of Christ should have.
Now this Parable has more connotations than just prayer, it is our daily walk. God wants us to be a people who walk with Him daily but at the same time not to brag or accept accolades for things that we do for the Kingdom. Since everything is posted on social media we have more people who brag on themselves and look for the amount “likes” or other reactions that we feed our emotional responses to.
When we write or see something that conduces a heart reaction that convicts, causes sadness, or does not suit our materialist heart hearth, it is either ignored or gives a temporary notion of “I hope someone is doing something about this” reaction. I tell you this, God created us to do something about the pain in the world so react with some kind of positive action do not just be dormant. But make sure it is something that is right with the teachings of God, not the manipulated teachings of man.
Be cautious what you do or say that it is not taken in such a way that you are like the Pharisee. Be like the tax collector because that is who we are; humble and contrite, doing things for God’s Kingdom giving all Glory and honor to Him.
But please note this: It is ok to say thank you and accept things but give the portion that is God’s to Him because He is the one who gave you the means to accomplish great things.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, have a blessed day wherever this finds you. Do something for others today (and every day) and in humility, give it to God. God will bless you in more ways than we can honestly fathom.
In God’s Love through His Grace and Mercy, Have a great and blessed day.
The messages on the blogs written on this page are within biblical adherence. Though the Scriptures listed in the blogs are directly from the Bible and other related religious writings the explanations and interpretations are in line with Biblical thinking as it relates to today’s world. The use of historical facts are to assist in the validity of the writings. The main writer of this blog site is an Ordained minister in one denomination though the views are related to all denominations so if something is said that does not fall in line with your denominational background, pray for personal discernment and understanding.