The Kingdom of God is like…

In Matthew 20:1-16 Jesus describes the Kingdom of God.  It is the famous “The last shall be first and the first shall be last” parable.  Jesus talks about a vineyard owner who hires workers throughout the day and yet he pays them the same for differing hours of service.

My wife and my former Pastor have served Jesus since they were young.  I have served Him since I was 27.  Others serve him literally one hour before they die.  We are all equal in the Kingdom of God.  The only hierarchy is the inverted one.  We can all choose to be the top by choosing to be a servant to all (Just as Jesus does).  God’s character is then complete in us.

You can choose to live forever…

4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

Those that DO NOT BELIEVE and DO NOT RESPOND to the gospel.

13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

Those that RECEIVE and BELIEVE then FALL AWAY due to temptation because they have not developed a personal love relationship with God through Jesus Christ and so they love sin more than Jesus.

14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

Those that HEAR and choose not to obey because they feel the COST IS TOO HIGH. They love this life more than Jesus.

15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

(No comment needed).

16 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.

Anyone who truly has a relationship with Jesus will make it known to all by word and deed. If you don’t see the light, there is none.

17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

The existence of Jesus causes people to eventually reveal the condition of their heart. Those that love Jesus obey him and show that to the world. Those that Jesus is not first in their heart eventually show that to the world.

18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

The person who hears God and obeys him is given eternal life now.  Otherwise, this person may look like to others to have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ but they “HATH NOT.”  They only SEEMETH to have.  


When you can’t trace His hand…

There is a song that goes: When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.  I was frustrated with something trivial and this song came to mind.  I had a $10 off an oil change coupon that I didn’t want to lose.  I put it somewhere so I wouldn’t lose it.  Now I can’t find it.

I believe God uses everyday things to teach me, and I’m sure there is a lesson I’m going to learn even if now I can’t see it.  Just as the song says… I need to trust His heart.

The biggest example of this in my life came before I knew Jesus.  I asked God to make me like the Christians in the Bible.  He gave me mental illness.  Many years later, after I came to know Jesus, I realized this was God’s best for me.

I didn’t realize it then, but when I asked God to make me like the Christians in the Bible, I was proud and I thought I was better than most people.  God told me I was a sinner and I didn’t believe him.  He told me I was evil and I flat-out rejected what he told me.  When I told God I wanted to be like the Christians in the Bible I thought he was going to congratulate me for wanting to join his team.  I thought I was pretty good and that God was lucky to have me.

Instead, God promised me he would humble me for five years.  I disrespectfully yelled, Five Years?!!  He said, alright ten.  (And that was my first lesson in treating God with respect).  For the next ten years I was mentally ill, trusted no one, and rejected God.  It was hell.  As the ten year mark approached I told God that he had better hurry up and save me, time was almost up.  (I hadn’t learned much respect in ten years).

God did save me after 10 years.  No credit to me.  And I worked for 23 years at a job I did not fit into well while I studied Jesus, leadership, and psychology on my own.  I asked Jesus for a job that used my talents and gifts and I eventually became a Certified Peer Support Specialist.

Now the pieces of my life fell into place.  God used the pain of mental illness to enable me to relate and empathize with others going through similar and not-so-similar pain.  God used my study of Jesus to enable me to share the life-changing message of God’s unconditional love to those who already knew him and wanted help and to those who did not know him but showed interest in knowing him.

God used my study of leadership to help me think better, exercise personal leadership, and help others by supplying them with personal leadership principles that I had experienced.

God used my study of psychology to help me positively interact with people that may have been very difficult for me to work with if I had not studied psychology.

And so, though I could not trace his hand until recently, God has proven to me that he has always loved me and always given me his best.  Even when I didn’t know what was going on and did not want what he was giving me.

I still want to find that $10 off coupon.  But its nice to know Jesus has it all worked out.


Jesus loves Atheists, and so do I

I visited an Atheist site.

I told them I was a Jesus follower.

And that I wanted to learn about how they think and approach life as Atheists.

Some were respectful and kind to me.

One woman wrote a beautiful description of being one with the universe as she watched the night sky, because she was formed by the universe and composed of what stars had made.

However, most attacked me.  I think they were using me as a proxy for a Christian they really wanted to vent at.

One person told me that many members of the site had been hurt by Christians and that is why they became Atheists.

Many of the group that I engaged with struck me as hurt, scared and alone.

I honored my agreement with them and did not preach Jesus.

I did not point out to them that the hole in their soul they were trying to fill was made to be filled by Jesus and Jesus alone.  That nothing else would work.

I did not point out to them that anyone can claim to be a Christian, but it is in acting the way Jesus acted that proves whether their claim to be a Christian is true or not.  Then they would know not to blame Jesus for the evil done to them by someone falsely claiming Jesus’ identity.

I did not point out to them that their highest rule – Treat others the way you want to be treated – pointed to their own yearning for Jesus that they did not realize yet.

I wish I had the chance to share Jesus’ love with them, so they would know that Jesus is on their side, that He loves them just the way they are, and that He wants to take them home.


nuggets… part 4

When I want you to experience the thoughts or feelings that I am experiencing I use words.  I take a thought, match it to a word by using the context I heard the word used in.  That personal, subjective experience of learning that word is my definition of the word.  I speak the word to you.  Not my definition, not my context, but the word.  You hear the word.  You take the word and match it to your context of the word.  You match the word to your personal, subjective experience of learning that word.

What are the chances when I use a word that you think exactly what I’m thinking?

nuggets… part 3

The interpretation of Reality is largely dependent on the mental context of the observer.  That is, we see what fits into who we are at the moment.

Dr. John Maxwell has said, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Say Little Johnny doesn’t know me and walks up and kicks me.

When I was young and inexperienced with raising kids I immediately would say it is the parent’s fault.  And I would immediately KNOW just what the child needed.

Now that I am old and experienced with raising my kids (which is VERY different from raising your kids or you raising anyone else’s kids) I may say, “I have no idea whose fault it is, let’s not worry about finding fault, let’s try to help.  Let’s try to talk to and try to understand Johnny, his parents, his friends, etc. … and try to help all of them in their struggle to get the love they need.

That love may take the form of discipline, but more likely also, understanding,  redirecting, listening, more structure, less structure, etc. …”