The art of making feel people guilty has been used since the beginning of time. Throughout history we have read and heard of stories of people made to do things using this art of guilt. Guilt is the feeling of wrong doing that a person realizes after it is done. It is an innate feeling placed there by God when we are being packed into an embryo. In the spiritual battles we face, Satan uses the false guilt, which is the feeling of wrong doing even after we have repented and have been forgiven, to continue to make us feel unworthy. But, the bible tells us that our sins though they are red as scarlet they will be made white as snow(Is1:18). It tells us that God takes our sins and casts them to the deep of the sea (Mic7:19). The feeling of guilt is ever present in us, but it is up to us to listen to it. We can become callous to it, which is what is happening in today’s day and age.
12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
Now, God knows that this mechanism of guilt is in us and that we have become masterful in tuning it out, so he set some ordinances for sacrifices towards it. But, before anyone could offer sacrifices they had to ad heed to their conscience’s guilt(Lev4;27-28). Sometimes we sin or make mistakes unconsciously and we offend, and it is not until we recognize and accept that we have done wrong that the blessing will return. These people whom Jesus spoke about intentionally covered their ears and closed their eyes against their guilt. The purpose of guilt is to draw us unto God for healing and that of the conscience (He10:22). Once the conscience is healed then the rest the of the body receives healing.
As Christians we cannot live without each other. Surrounding ourselves with people of faith is vital to the survival of our faith. In order to maintain a healthy relationship with God we need to have a growing relationship with those of the faith. The bible teaches us that we are members of the same family and that of God (Eph2:19). The relationship we are to carry out with those of the same faith needs to be the same as with our biological family. Jesus displayed this same type of relationship with his brothers when his brothers and mother were inquiring of him as in Matthew 12:46-50 and he told the listeners that those who do the will of the Father are his siblings and parent. Being part of the family of God is highly regarded by God. In fact, the psalmist says that God sets the lonely in family and that of great families (ps68:6, 107:41).
Luke22:7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
The time of Jesus’ ministry was coming to an end and he was going to go the way the scriptures had prophesied. Isaiah said that he (Jesus) would not have any form and that he was going to be reject and despised filled with sorrows; and it pleased the Lord to bruise him (Is53:5 &10). The last supper initiated the hardest thing Christ was going to go through to save man kind. Jesus sent two of his disciples to prepare the place for the supper. The owner of the building was some how forewarned that his facility was going to serve a purpose for the Messiah and so the time was now. Jesus was going to leave his disciples physically forever, but still was going to be with them. So, he told his two disciples to follow the man with the jar of water, and go where he would go; to the upper room. That jar of water was for the washing of the disciples feet it was an act of Christ that the disciples needed to practice in remembrance of him (Jhn13:14). Jesus was going leave his disciples, but he was going to leave to actions to which going to freshen their memories of the Lord. The washing of the feet is a symbol that reminds us Christ in you (1Cor1:21-22). Each time the disciples would wash each others feet they would see Christ in them.
The idea that things can become a strong hold and a place of comfort is part of everyone’s life. As we go through life we learn to confide on things and people and trust them. And, some of those things or people help us to become who we are. Jesus met this guy who was rich. He was a very moral person; good in every aspect, kind of like many Christians today. He knew the basics of the bible (Mk10:18-23), but something was missing; he did not feel complete. But, when he was confronted with the price he needed to pay in order to be complete, he could not do it. This state of being is called calloused. Jesus warns of this state of callousness in Matthew 13:15 when he said For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them”.
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Selling everything was a heart breaking blow of which this young man could not bare doing it was one of the things he was lacking; giving till it hurts. Most of us are willing to give as long as it does not hurt our pocket, our relationships or our material values. Jesus makes mention of this poor widow who gave till it hurt her (Mt.12:42-45) unlike the rich who gave of their riches. Jesus’ disciples were profoundly affected with this idea of giving till it hurts (Mt10:23-27). Jesus said that it was harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a rich person to enter into heaven. But, having riches was not what Jesus was referring too when he mentions the rich entering into heaven, he was referring of those who trust in their riches. Our trust develops in the Lord when we choose to take up our cross and follow him. The bible tells us that we need to trust in the Lord (ps.4:5, ps.9:10), because God does not forsake those that trust in him. The fact is that when we trust in the Lord mercy is abundant in our lives (ps.32:10).
Life is about the things we put into it, it can be satisfying or not. It is dependent on the seeds we sow; life, whether the seed is a good or bad one its effect will in due time give its fruit. Now, we are not the only ones that sow seed into our lives and of those near us, but others do too. In fact, there are so many ways and destinations by which seeds are sown that we might not have much control for the type of seed that comes. The problem that we face with seeds is that once it is sown it will bear fruit and we will have to deal with it when it is time (gal. 6:7). Being alert can limit the growth of many of the seeds sown. The bible tells us that we need to be alert because the devil our enemy is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pt5:8) and the way he devour starts with sowing seeds. He spreads seeds of division, discontent, anger, hate and many other seeds to prepare us for dinner.
Matthew 13:24-2924 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Every head of their home has the responsibility to watch over their families. The head of the family on our passage sowed a seed but went to sleep and during his rest an enemy also sowed a seed that was not good. Every seed that does is not God breath causes harm, and so is the seed that the enemy sows, because the enemy; the devil came to kill, steal and destroy (Jhn 10:10). So, we need to be watchful else we will be surprised for the outcome of the seed sown. Paul exhorts us to be watchful and not sleep (1The. 5:6). When we sleep we give way to the enemy to sow bad seeds and his seed always leads to leaving one in want (Pro. 6:4). And, when we sleep we are at our most vulnerable state, we become easily bound because we are defenseless like a parable Jesus shared about how to take the goods of a strong mans house in Matthew 12:29. The religious people in Jesus’ time tested his vulnerability when they asked him about paying taxes in Mark 12, but Jesus perceives their deceptive seed and destroys their scheme (Mk12:13-15). In today’s generation there many causes by which sleepiness comes such as the cares of life, drunkenness and over indulging or glutton (Lk. 21:34). So, how do we deal with the tares, those bad fruits that appear when we sleep? What can we do with those bad seeds? As Jesus explains we must grow with it, we cannot temper and try to take out the bad fruit else the good will be weed out and that’s not good.
Though we are but a small population and a shrinking one in this world, we are not without strength or power. For the power within us is enough to over take hundreds. In the time of Elijah the king of Syria and his army came to take captive the prophet. And, in one night Elijah’s servant woke up and saw through the window a massive army surrounding the castle where they were, the prophet prayed and noticed another army greater unseen to the naked eye (2Kg.6:17). Whether we look to see or not if God’s protection is with us, it is ever present. Our victory is not based on the number that may be with us or against us, but on God’s perfect will. Gideon experienced the “Fear not, Little flock” when again the Syrian army came against God’s people and God used he along three hundred choice men to obtain the victory (Jdg 6). But, one thing that creeps upon all of us from time to time is fear, and it puts into question God’s favoring protection on our behalf.
Luke 12:32-39King James Version (KJV)
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Fear is one of those mechanisms within us that will betray us. It will cause us to at times limit God’s work through us. But, we are God’s little flock and it pleases him to enrich us with the fullness of his kingdom. When we at one time were despised and rejected; outcasts and alone, God passed by us and saw us (Ez. 16:5-6) like he did with the city of Jerusalem. There was a time when this city was abandoned and rejected, and God happened to come by her; he picked her up, cleaned her and restored her. God is always going around and picking up little flock; those forgotten and broken. It is like the shepherd that had one hundred sheep and one left (Lk. 15:4), he leaves the ninety nine and goes after the lost one. Every sheep matters to God, they all have purpose. Solomon the king understood this idea when he wrote this proverb about a little old wise man (Ecc. 9:14-15) who thr0ugh his wisdom saved this small village that was sieged by a great king. The kingdom of God is for the little flock and it is important that we start storing up riches in that kingdom.
Pottery is an interesting art form. Creating magnificent vessels out of clay is a wonderful trade. The process for creating with pottery is not hard, it is easy enough that a child can do, but it can be tedious. When creating a pottery out of clay and a small pebble or rock appears the pottery will have to be destroyed and redone. Our lives are like clay, in fact, in the creation of man God did make him out of dust (gen.3:19), and through out life pebbles appear in us that merit destruction. God’s mercies are from everlasting to everlasting (ps. 103:17). Job understood this concept of the clay formation (job 33:6), he figured out that through out all the things he went through God could make all things new again.
8 But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
In the clay vessel formation the hand of the potter plays a major role. If the potter is not gentle the vessel cannot take the form desired. A good vessel when done correctly can do what it is was created for. In the wedding at Canaan Jesus turned water into wine when the servants filled the jars with water (Jh. 2:6-9). The vessels were readily available to be used for the purification of the Jews, but Jesus changed their use to be vehicles for miracles. The finish product of a potter’s vessel can be used to what it is created for, but it does not end there; God can use it to whatever he wants. We do not have to wait till we are finish products in God to be used mightily, he can use the mire essence of clay to wrought out a miracle. Jesus healed this blind guy by spitting on the ground and creating clay (Jh. 9:6). Once one is on the potters wheel during the formation he can use it the way the potter wishes as God illustrated to the prophet Jeremiah(Jer. 18:4-6). Jeremiah was told to go to the potter’s house because there he would hear the word of God, and it is in God’s house where we too hear the word of the Lord. Paul also understood this concept of the potter’s clay formation in Romans 9 he states in a rhetoric question that the potter at his discretion can make a vessel for honor and or dishonor leaving us to understand that our lives are dependent on God’s will (9:21).
Love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection towards another person. For someone to know that you love him/her certain things relation wise have to happen. For example, in a cold day a man takes off his coat an places it over his girl friends shoulders, or a mother leaves her baby in the care of an older sibling and with just a sweater and some boots goes out in a cold wintry day to a distant store to buy mild. The famous 1 Corinthians 13 illustrates some profound characteristics of love; it is patient, kind, believes all, bears all, hopes, never fails. With love one never has to find himself trying to prove anything, unless something happened that put love to question. Having to prove ones love to another is one of the hardest things to do and it might really take climbing the highest mountains, swimming the deepest sea to make it happen. The bible calls us to love the Lord our God with all our strength, heart and mind (Deut 6:5), but once we have stopped loving him some might finding it not so easy to get back up.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
Two of the disciples that stood out with regards to loving Jesus was Peter and John (the disciple who loved Jesus). Peter loved Jesus and throughout the ministry time he was the De facto the spokesperson of the disciples. He was within the inner circle of Jesus and the one who confessed Jesus as the Messiah first. Peter had many experiences with Jesus; he walked on waters, saw Jesus transfigured, rebuked Jesus, drew a sword in defense of Jesus and denied Jesus. His denial of Jesus put his love to question. So, Jesus asked him three times the ultimate question “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”(v15). This question had several purposes and one was to make him to refocus his commitment to loving Jesus and not to loose hope; after all not too long back he had denied the Lord. Peter jumping into the water and swimming to Jesus can be seen as an act to prove his love towards the Lord. After the ultimate question to Peter of whether he loved Jesus was to prove it command “Feed my sheep”.
Now, the other disciple who loved Jesus was on the boat too and he did not feel the need to jump out of the boat to prove his love for the Lord. John (the son of Zebedee) is known as the disciple who loved Jesus. He is not mentioned too often he just appears to be mentioned several times with Peter. This is the disciple that appears to be leaning unto Jesus’ bosom at the Lord’s supper. He was one of the inner circle apostles of the Lord, yet his name is not often mentioned. He is the writer of the gospel of John. John’s act of love meets the characteristics of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 where he did not loose hope even after witnessing Christ’s death.
Two disciples with distinct characteristics loved Jesus. Peter found himself with the need to prove his love for Jesus maybe because of his denial. There is a covenant or an agreement of love between God and man. God kept his part in John 3:16, but what about us? How are we keeping our end of loving God? There are some awesome benefits that follow those who love the Lord such as prosperity (deut. 11:12-14).
Thirst and hunger are two essentials we cannot live without. Our very existence revolves around eating and drinking. There those who can go with out eating for a long period of time either voluntarily or by force. Two little girls along with their dead mother were buried and after 15 days they were found; one was 8 and the other a new born. When they were found after the 15 days they asked the 8 years old how did she stay alive, and she said that a man came and woke the mom up so that she could feed the infant. Coming to Christ bring a satisfaction beyond comprehension; He satisfy our soul. And, today many come to God when they have needs and sure enough he does some pretty amazing things to satisfy their hunger. But, the fullness in God is not only found in coming to him when we are in need, we need to believe. Faith without works is dead faith James the apostle said (Ja. 2:17-20).
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
Living life with just one of the components of life is an impossibility; we need both to eat and drink to live, and it goes the same with our spiritual life. An increase flow of people today believe that if they just come to God when they have needs that that is okay, but it is not. The writer of the Hebrews said that anyone who comes to God must also believe (Heb. 11:6). Eating and drinking of God it is essential for man to maintain a relationship with him. When Jesus mentioned the manna from heaven of which Moses prayed for asked Jesus to do the same. They like their ancestors (Ex. 16:4) were ready to receive the manna with unbelief, so the religious people asked Jesus in verse 34 for him to give them bread. The manna which God caused to rain over the people was just symbol of Jesus. Like many today the people wanted to come to God without having to really believe. There are many who are just hungry or just thirsty, they are half satisfied. When we come to God he will satisfy our souls with the finest (Ps.81:15-16, Jer.31:14). Some are out to spend what they have but not on what really satisfy (Is. 55:1-2). There is a possibility that some people could be starving or dehydrated in their spirit and only trying to survive portions. God is now a days sending abundance (Joe 2:19, ps.23:5).
Our days are counted each and everyone of us have an appointed time to leave this earth. As we travel on our journey through life we encounter things; things that are meaningful and those that are not. Now, the preacher; Salomon, said that all is vanity ever our very lives are vanity. Vanity- hebel- something transitory and unsatisfactory; like vapor. For some of the lives we live are not all that satisfactory and in part it is to our doing. Satisfaction to life is in our hands, we decide how satisfactory our lives is going to be. If we engage in inappropriate or appropriate behaviors determines how fulfilling our lives will be, but let it be known that it will still be a vanity just not the ultimate vanity. There is a system of classification for vanity and it ranges from just a vanity; maybe a small vanity like blowing a day off and doing absolute nothing, to the ultimate vanity where your life is hanging by a thread in a hospital bed.
Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
From the vary gadgets we use daily to some of the food we eat vanity can be found. almost all the gadgets we buy today have a termination date from the date you buy. For our luck, many times we buy some electronic with extended insurance it seems to die right after the date when the insurance expires. Our foods come with expiration dates and if you eat expired food your stomach will pay for it. All is vanity. But, there is a vanity; the mother of all vanities, that transcends all vanity and that is your heart where life is. And, we decide what vanities we put into our hearts to either make it happy or sad. The preacher tells us that we need to remove those vanities that make our hearts hurt (Ecc. 11:10, prov. 4:23). Our hearts will get clogged up with all sort of things; vanities if we let it. And, depending the vanity that is presiding in our heart the time of our lives can be shortened or extended. For example, vanities that will help you extend your life based on what the scripture tells us are; if children obey their parents and honor them they will have long life (Eph. 6:1), and if we love the Lord with all our lives he will extend our lives longer (Ps. 91:14-15). But, our lives are the ultimate vanity, which means it will end (Ecc. 12:1-3).
Ever since 9/11 Americans have increased their humanitarian effort towards others. More, and more people are becoming active to doing good deeds to others. Doing good deeds is at the high end of our humanity we are created to be good and to treat each other good. Even though, through out our time we have seen many evil people doing pretty evil things, there are many who enjoy being good. In fact, there are many who associate being good as a way for going to heaven. In fact, God even expects us to be good. Most if not all religions of the worlds expect some sort of good to come out from them members. There are things in life that bring the goodness out of everyone, or at least out of most of us. For example, paying for someone’s lunch for no reason, helping an elderly cross the street or sending some positive words via social network will cause to bring out someone’s goodness shine through.
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
Goodness seems to be attributed to going to heaven; if you are good then God will not reject you when you die, is what many people today believe. In fact, God calls us to be good to one another and to go an extra mile (Mt. 5:40-42) for someone else, but can we really say that we are good? To be good, according to the dictionary is to be moral excellent. It is a condition that includes the wholeness of a person, good. To be considered good is either all or nothing. The Psalmist said that there is none good (Ps. 14:3), and Paul said the same thing (Ro. 3:12). When reality checks in we find ourselves to all being bad, it is more of an impossibility to being good. The scriptures countless exhorts us to turn from our wicked ways (ps. 34:14). Jesus told the rich young man that there is not one good. That the only one that is good is God himself (Jer. 32:40).
There is something greater then being good that; although we cannot be good, but we can be and that is perfect. We cannot be good, but we can be perfect. Jesus said unto the rich young man that if he wanted to be perfect he needed to sell all that he had and take up his cross and follow him (Mt. 19:21). The term “perfect” , teleios (greek) and it means The beginning to perfection is the act of being good, and the process for perfection is through following Jesus. . The scripture says that we are in perfection (eph. 4:13) until we reach the statute of Christ Jesus. There is an exhortation for us to become perfect not good (2Cor.7:1 & He. 6:1) through the process of rejection; rejecting the things that contaminate our flesh and spirit. We can continue the path of perfection even though we fail, but for good once we fail we are no longer good.