- Created on 18 October 2013
What is the best and easiest way to help people understand God's kingdom? Like the rabbis of his time, Jesus very frequently used parables – short stories and images taken from everyday life – to convey hidden truths about the kingdom of God. Like a skillful artist, Jesus sketched memorable pictures with short and simple words. A good image can speak more loudly and clearly than many words.
What Exactly Am I Doing With My Life?
Jesus used the ordinary everyday illustrations of life and nature to point to another order of reality – hidden, yet visible to those who had "eyes to see" and "ears to hear". Jesus communicated with vivid illustrations which captured the imaginations of his audience more powerfully than any abstract presentation could. His parables are like buried treasure waiting to be discovered (Matthew 13:44).
What can the parable about seeds and roots teach us about the kingdom of God? Any farmer will attest to the importance of good soil for supplying nutrients for growth. And how does a plant get the necessary food and water it needs except by its roots? The scriptures frequently use the image of fruit-bearing plants or trees to convey the principle of spiritual life and death. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8; see also Psalm 1:3)
Psalm To Relax &Get Out Of His Way
Jesus' parable of the sower is aimed at the hearers of his word. There are different ways of accepting God's word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly. There is the prejudiced hearer who has a shut mind. Such a person is unteachable and blind to what he or she doesn't want to hear. Then there is the shallow hearer. He or she fails to think things out or think them through; they lack depth. They may initially respond with an emotional reaction; but when it wears off their mind wanders to something else. Another type of hearer is the person who has many interests or cares, but who lacks the ability to hear or comprehend what is truly important. Such a person is too busy to pray or too preoccupied to study and meditate on God's word. Then there is the one whose mind is open. Such a person is at all times willing to listen and to learn. He or she is never too proud or too busy to learn. They listen in order to understand. God gives grace to those who hunger for his word that they may understand his will and have the strength to live according to it. Do you hunger for God's word?
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
"A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."
Jesus told his disciples that not everyone would understand his parables. Did Jesus mean to say that he was deliberately confusing or hiding the meaning of his stories from his listeners? Very likely not. Jesus was speaking from experience. He was aware that some who heard his parables refused to understand them. It was not that they could not intellectually understand them, but rather, their hearts were closed to what Jesus was saying. They had already made up their minds to not believe. God can only reveal the secrets of his kingdom – that which is hidden to the spiritually blind – to those who hunger for God and humbly submit to his truth.
What can makes us ineffective or unresponsive to God's word? Preoccupation with other things can distract us from what is truly important and worthwhile. And letting our hearts and minds be consumed with material things can easily weigh us down and draw us away from the heavenly treasure that lasts for eternity. God's word can only take root in a receptive heart which is docile and ready to hear what God has to say. The parables of Jesus will enlighten us if we approach them with an open mind and heart, ready to let them challenge us. If we approach them with the conviction that we already know the answer, then we, too, may look but not see, listen but not understand. God's word can only take root in a receptive heart that is ready to believe and willing to submit. Do you submit to God's word with trust and obedience?
One lesson from this parable is clear: the harvest is sure to come. While some seed will fall by the wayside and some fall on shallow ground and never come to maturity, and some be choked to death by the thorns; nonetheless a harvest will come. The seed that falls on good soil, on the heart that is receptive, will reap abundant fruit. God is always ready to speak to each of us and to give us understanding of his word. Are you hungry for his word? And do you allow anything to keep you from submitting to God's word with joy and trusting obedience?
- Created on 17 October 2013
In stressful and trying times , it is always good to meditate on the scriptures.The word is where we live and breathe. It is where we gather strength beyond our wildest dreams.
On His way from Bethany with the disciples, Jesus felt hungry, and seeing a fig tree in the distance, he went to see if he could find a fruit on it. Since it was not in season, he found nothing but leaves. And he said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard it. Arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he taught them, saying, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of thieves." The chief priests and the scribes heard about it and sought a way to kill him; for they feared him, because the entire multitude was astonished at his teaching. The next day, passing by the fig tree, they saw it withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to Him, "Master, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered." And Jesus said to them, "Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
Just think for a moment. Jesus was never afraid of His enemies. On the contrary, it was they who feared Him, because He stood for the truth and the multitudes followed Him. He always knew that we must act on what is right in the appropriate place. The Apostles watched him with genuine concern, often utter confusion and frustration. He taught them to have faith, because it is in one's total trust in God where true power lies.
He taught them (and us) that it is in constant communication with the Father in prayer that we can develop our faith. And communication with Him will always be clear and invigorating if we bear no ill will against anyone, sustained by a forgiving heart. His message was: it would be better for a man not to exist at all if he was not fruitful and had nothing to offer in his life. In the same way, one must be willing to give up his life to fight for the truth and the principle of his faith.
Grant me, dear God, a heart full of faith in Your love; with courage to drive out of my life what is evil and unjust; with enthusiasm to be fruitful in spreading the Good News of Christ; and forgiveness, to be worthy of His great sacrifice. Amen.
- Created on 16 October 2013
Bishop T.D. Jakes recently took to his pulpit at the The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas to denounce the sanctified rachetness of Oxygen‘s new docu-series Preachers of L.A, reports the Christian Post.
Bishop Jakes wanted to make it clear to his congregants that they didn’t have to worry about their offerings going to his suits, houses or cars, because he’s always had his own money.
“Now, I know you been watching that junk on TV. I want to tell you right now, not one dime of what you’re sowing right now will buy my suit. I want you to know my car is paid for,” Jakes told his congregation Sunday, according to EEW magazine reports. “I want you to know I got my house on my own. I want you to know I’m not bling-blinging. I am not shake and bake. I had money when I came to Dallas and I plan to have some when I leave.”
Jakes went on to rebuke the spirit that caused people to think that financial contributions should go into preachers’ pockets.
“You did not buy what I got. I had it when I came here. You know I had it when I came here. The devil is a lie,” Jakes told his congregation. “I have sold enough books and produced enough movies. I don’t need your offering to pay for this little slimy suit. So I rebuke that spirit in the name of Jesus Christ.”
If there was any question about exactly who or what Jakes was referencing he told his congregation, “I’m not from L.A. I’m from Dallas!”
Preachers of L.A. drew in 1.1 million total viewers for it October 9 premiere, the second highest rated series premiere in Oxygen’s history.
According to Path Megazine, “[Preachers of L.A.] … was #5 on highest viewership among all cable networks… [the] #2 most social cable reality program and #3 most social reality program in primetime with #PreachersofLA trending in the U.S. on Twitter during the premiere. “
As previously reported by NewsOne, the show follows Bishop Noel Jones, Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Wayne Chaney, Bishop Ron Gibson and Pastor Jay Haizlip as they navigate roads of riches, redemption and ridiculousness.
“This show documents a journey of transparency from one man to the next as they endeavor to lead others to their own truth and self-discovery,” said executive producer Holly Carter who holds a doctorate of divinity with an emphasis on marketplace ministry and is the daughter of a pastor and an industry veteran in faith and inspirational development and programming. “It’s a dose of reality and a pound of redemption coming from a creative team reared in the church.”
See the trailer for Preachers of L.A below:
- Created on 14 October 2013
Who do you take your troubles to? Jesus' disciples freely brought their troubles to him because they found him ready and able to deal with any difficulty, affliction, or sickness which they encountered. When Simon Peter brought Jesus to his home for the Sabbath meal (right after Jesus preached in the synagogue in Capernaum), his mother-in-law was instantly healed because Jesus heard Simon's prayer.
Jesus could not avoid drawing a crowd wherever he went. No one who asked Jesus for help was left disappointed. Jesus' numerous healings and exorcisms demonstrated the power and authority of his word, the "good news of the kingdom of God." When he rebuked the fever, it immediately left.
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon's mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.
At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
And demons also came out from many, shouting, "You are the Son of God."
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.
At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him,
they tried to prevent him from leaving them.
But he said to them, "To the other towns also
I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God,
because for this purpose I have been sent."
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Jesus put human need ahead of everything else. His compassion showed the depths of God's love and concern for all who are truly needy. Jesus gave the people the word of God and he healed them physically as well as spiritually. We can never intrude upon God nor exhaust his generosity and kindness. He is ever ready to give to those who earnestly seek him out. Do you allow Jesus to be the Lord and Healer in your personal life, family, and community? Approach him with expectant faith. God's healing power restores us not only to health but to active service and care of others. There is no trouble he does not want to help us with and there is no bondage he can't set us free from.