A Tale of Two Parables: Jesus, What’s the Kingdom of Heaven Like Unto?

If you found the thing that was most valuable to you in the WHOLE universe, would you sell all you had to possess it?

Matthew 16:26 – For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Jesus was recorded using parables in the New Testament gospels. Why is that? His disciples wondered and asked the same thing as we can read in Matthew 13. In verses 10, 11, and 13, it reads, “Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given…This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

Jesus used parables to teach the masses because their minds were not illuminated. They were unable to understand clearly whatever Jesus would explicitly state about the kingdom of heaven. They were comparable to children who ask their parents where babies come from. And because the mother is aware of their mental capabilities, she tells them the story about the Birds and the Bees and maybe tells them the story about the storks who carry babies down from heaven in a white sheet. Because young children do not understand about adolescence, sex organs, reproductive systems, intercourse, and gestational periods, they need a type of parable to give them an answer that will suffice. Even if you were to explain in great detail everything about how babies are born, young children still will not grasp everything. Even if you show them videos or photos – God forbid – they will not comprehend.  So just as Jesus stated in Matthew 13:13, seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear or understand. Everyone cannot receive all information in as is condition, so preachers – like Jesus – will sometimes use parables to make it understandable.

Things in the spiritual realm are not easily discerned by people who are only aware of the natural realm. So Jesus was so kind as to give the people an idea of what finding the kingdom of heaven would be like. He was new on the scene trying to explain to them what was soon to occur. He was trying to prepare them to receive the gospel. And so He used earthly situations that they could relate to. And what human does not know about treasure and pearls? Even if you have not personally possessed them, you’ve heard of them. We all know about jewelry, precious stones, and pearls.

Matthew 13:44 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven can be somewhat compared to a treasure that is hidden in a field. And when a man has stumbled upon and discovered it, he covers it up again to prevent anyone else from discovering and taking it from him. He’s very excited about this abandoned or forgotten treasure he has found! He is overjoyed. He then flees the field in order to go and sell EVERYTHING in his possession to get enough money to buy this field. And the reason he buys the field is not because he values the field, but rather in order to have rights to that treasure. If the treasure is on his property, it is now rightfully his.

I love this parable. I love it because it reminds me of what it is like when someone discovers Jesus as his/her Savior for the first time! They are super-excited and zealous about it. They forsake themselves to take up their cross and follow Him. Of everything they previously owned – even all of it COMBINED – nothing was considered worth the price of their newly attained salvation. It didn’t matter if this man had these things for years. Didn’t matter to him if they were a gift from his beloved, deceased mother or his young children. Didn’t matter if it was something he had to save up for years to buy. It didn’t matter. Keep in mind that He was not buying the treasure box, he sold all he had just to buy the field! If you find a hidden treasure, couldn’t you just steal it and enjoy it whilst you also keep all that you have at home? Not with this man in the parable. This man sold all he had just to get the field just to get the treasure.

Philippians 3:7-8 – But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I COUNT ALL THINGS BUT LOSS for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ

This parable kind of reminds me of how some men will joke around about beautiful woman and say they would marry her sister just to get in her family. They are saying this woman’s beauty is so astounding that you would marry someone you didn’t even want just to get the chance to be around her. Also reminds me of the other joke where men say that a woman is so fine that he’d be content with just drinking her bathwater. Again, the man is saying that He appraises her value so high that he would it a privilege even to be able to drink the water that contains her dirt! Sounds desperate, sure, but if you knew the value of the kingdom of heaven and the inheritance promised to the Saints, you’d be desperate too!

One of the lessons this parable is this: You cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven with all your worldly, earthly treasures. You will have to give up the things of this world that you used to value in order to attain the things of God. The implications this parable has for you as someone who wants to become a believer is this: Are you willing to give up the things of the secular world in order to attain something of great value? Read the passage below to see what Jesus required of a rich, young man who claimed to value the kingdom of heaven:

Mark 10:17-23 – And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him…You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

So as we see, Jesus was not just talking just to hear himself talk in the parable. Mark 10 actually shows that the parable reflects truth! This rich, young man was unwilling to give up temporary, earthly treasure in order to attain what he CLAIMED he really wanted regardingly eternal, heavenly treasure. He was willing to live holy, but not willing to lose those possessions of his. And he walked away sadly because he knew that hell would be his home.

Let’s read a similar parable that Jesus spoke right after He told them the treasure parable.

Matthew 13:45-46 – Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

In this parable, Jesus now compares the kingdom of heaven to a man who is in search of fine pearls. Let’s assume that he’s on the beach and at the street markets looking for some really good pearls. And during his search, he spots this ONE pearl that is worth very much. He tells the salesman to put the pearl on hold while he runs home to get all his possessions in order to buy it.

Imagine that! To make that parable relevant to women in today’s time, imagine that early one morning, you’re going shopping for some nice clothes. You hit up all the malls and boutiques to find some cute new outfits. Then you visit this new clothing store. You see this dress on display that is absolutely MUST HAVE! LITERALLY! So you run in and ask the saleslady if they have it in your size. They say that your size is the only size they have. And they say that it’s the only dress like it because it was hand-made. So you flip over the price tag and GASP! The dress is WAAAAY outside of your budget. The cost of this dress is actually the combined value of everything you own. So without hesitation, you tell her to hold the dress for you behind the counter. (You don’t want anyone else coming in to get your dress!) You dash out of the store to empty out your checking account and savings account. You run home and get all your electronics and jewelry and pawn them all. Then you return home and have an Everything-Must-Go type of estate sale.

You then collect all the money you have and tell the saleslady, “I’m back for the dress.”

THAT’S what the kingdom of heaven is like for the true believer. It is worth losing EVERYTHING we previously valued or enjoyed. If you’re still yearning for the things of your past, make sure that you’re remembering that it was all considered dung compared to what you gained in Christ. And since this lady now has nothing left, she never takes this dress off. I don’t ever want to take off my salvation clothes. They’re all I have! I gave the world back everything it had to offer because I found something of great value in my Jesus. I’m never taking this off!

Luke 11:9 – “…seek, and you will find…”

This parable merchant was already in search of good pearls, and he found a great pearl. The bible says to seek and ye shall find. He sought, and he found. The only end result to seeking according Luke 11:9 is finding. Some people are seeking after God; they will all find Him if they are sincerely seeking. If you lose a quarter in your bedroom, I guarantee you that if you keep looking, you will find it (being that quarters don’t have legs with which to run off). And f no one has stolen it (and can’t nobody steal God), then God is still where He can be found. The kingdom of heaven is waiting for you to surrender all in order to enter in.

Mark 8:34-37 – And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him  deny himself and  take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?

http://seg.sharethis.com/getSegment.php?purl=http%3A%2F%2Fwriteousrhema.wordpress.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost.php%3Fpost%3D517%26action%3Dedit%26message%3D1&jsref=&rnd=1326265991395

http://seg.sharethis.com/getSegment.php?purl=http%3A%2F%2Fwriteousrhema.wordpress.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost.php%3Fpost%3D517%26action%3Dedit%26message%3D1&jsref=&rnd=1326268114555

Advertisements

There IS a Blessing at the End of Your Obedience

What happens when Jesus adds His "SUPER" to humans' natural?

What would happen if we obeyed God and allowed/asked Jesus to add His “super” to our natural works? In both syntax and semantics, we’d have SUPERNATURAL WORKS. The bible says that God is able to do EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY more than we can ask or think. And not just that, but also ABOVE. Whatever the most you can IMAGINE God being able to do for you is, just know that God can do sooooooo much more than that. In a true account that happened about 2,000 years ago, we can see what happened when man exhausted their efforts, energy, time, and hope and then encountered a Super Savior.

Ephesians 3:20 – Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…

John 21 1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 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. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 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. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”…

We see that the 7 disciples had plans to catch some fish, but in their own efforts, they caught nothing. Then Jesus. Jesus came on the shore and asked a question that He already knew the answer to. Sometimes God will ask you a question that He already knows the answer to, just so that you are verbally admitting 100% that the answer is what God already knows it to be. Once you two agree on that truthful answer, then He can begin to work super in your life. When God asks a question, tell Him the truth. He’s only trying to release a blessing to you.

So anywho, the disciples answered truthfully with a, “No.”That released Jesus to operate in their life. So the next thing Jesus does is give them a directive. It is rare that God is in a relationship with a human without giving them direction. God will tell you what He wants you to do next to receive a blessing from Him. So Jesus tells the disciples to throw their net on the right side of the boat. Maybe the 7 disciples had already tried the right side of the boat, but maybe Jesus told them to try it again to show them that their natural can’t accomplish the same thing that His super can. You can have done something a hundred times already and it ends up unsuccessful, but you can try ONE LAST TIME after God says to do it, and watch what happens. You can have went to marriage counselor after marriage counselor after marriage counselor to repair your severely damaged marriage, and then God can say, “Don’t hire a divorce attorney. Try this counselor again.” And that could make all the difference in your marriage. If God says to do it, just as verse 6 says, “you WILL find some”. You WILL find some (help). God is able to do the seemingly impossible.

The next verse says that the 7 disciples OBEY Jesus. Don’t expect the blessing if you don’t obey the directive. Had they not done exactly as Jesus said – casting the next on the right side of their fishing boat, they would have not received the exceeding, abundant blessing. And check this blessing out! It was so abundant that they were not even able to receive all of it in their own strength! God can bless your obedience so good that you will not have room enough to receive! Let’s see what the Old Testament has to say in this regard. In the Old Testament, the Jews paid tithes. They were commanded to pay tithes by God. Let’s see what happened when they obeyed this old testament commandment.

Malachi 3:10 – Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Was there literally not room enough to receive the fish blessing? God said to prove Him in that. Even though tithing is Old Testament and is no longer commanded of believers, I still believe that God will bless those who obey Him in other commands He gives. Here is a New Testament bible verse on how God will bless people abundantly.

Luke 6:38 – Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

This verse says that when you obey God, He will have it so that people give to you a good amount that is pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Reminds me of my job where I feed one of my baby students Enfamil powered milk. The directions say not to pack down the powder when you measure it because it would mean that more powdered milk would be put into the measuring cup. Well when God allows others to give back to you, it’ll be like packed down powder! Ever heard of pressed powder in foundation (face make-up)? That powder is pressed down really tight. So you actually get more powder than you would have had the powder foundation been loose. We’ve all put liquid into a measuring cup. And we’ve all had it overflow out of the cup. That’s how God can give unto us or have others give unto us! And that is exactly what happened in this passage because of 7 obedient, holy men.

And they were SO abundantly blessed that they were not able to pull in the harvest on their own. Some other disciples had to come into the boat to help drag this heavily loaded net full of fish to the shore. And then Jesus was ready and waiting for to help them enjoy the blessings. He already had a fire burning for them to cook the harvested fish upon! He told them to bring some of the blessing fish so that they could eat it for breakfast. Wow, Jesus! Did they really need 153 for 7 men to have a decent breakfast? Why not just 21 fish so that they could have 3 each? And verse 9 says Jesus already had some fish and bread out there!

And last but not least, even though God blessed them with SO many fish, it was amazing and noteworthy that the net did not break. Perhaps this net was only made to contain 50 average-sized fish. This here net held 153 LARGE fish and did not break. God will enlarge your territory so that you can contain what He wants you to have!

So the purpose of this blog note? To show you how blessed you can be when you obey God. To show you that when you’re at the end of YOUR rope, there is still hope if Jesus steps into your situation. To show you that God WANTS to bless you beyond your wildest expectations even when you don’t ask for it. To show you that we serve a God who is able to do exceeding abundantly above ALL that humans can verbalize or conceive. I serve a God who’s extremely great!

Spiritually Unsanitary: Why God Says Not to Touch the “Unclean Thing”

2 Corinthians 6:17 – Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU.

What is it with God not wanting us to touch the unclean thing?

I am a teacher in an infant and toddler classroom. And because babies constantly put toys in their mouth, we are required to wash our toys daily. I have watched as one baby put an already dirty ball up to his mouth to lick it. His mouth was full of saliva, and he also had a nose full of mucus. This same baby is also known to have digged in his diaper after he has defecated. So he has unknowingly put fecal matter on toys before. So this same baby put the ball down and another baby immediately picked it up to put it in his/her mouth. GROSS! So of course I swatted the ball out of his/her mouth. The babies get offended when we do that, but it’s only because they have no clue as to why their teacher says, “NO!” and then snatches a toy from their hand.

Lamentations 4:15 – They CRIED unto them, DEPART YE; IT IS UNCLEAN; DEPART, DEPART, TOUCH NOT: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn there.

This is how it goes with us and God. God will watch over His children and will inevitably see one of us reaching out to touch an UNCLEAN THING. In the natural, we fear our children touching a toy teeming with invisible but potentially harmful viruses and bacteria. But in the SUPERnatural, God’s concern is with His children not touching SPIRITUALLY unclean things. In the Old Testament, we often read of the Mosaic laws where God forbid His Israelite children from eating AND TOUCHING things God deemed as unclean. Well, now God also does not want us having any contact with unclean people, places, things, events, and thoughts.

Just as with that dirty ball covered in invisible contaminants, there are people, places, things, events, and thoughts covered with invisible, spiritual filth – unclean/demonic/satanic/evil spirits. Just like I get disgusted when I see one of my toddlers sucking on dirty rattle, God gets disgusted when He sees His Christian children touching filthy people, places, things, etc. It is disgusting to such a holy God! Stop grossing God out!

I talked with someone a few weeks ago about whether or not she thought marijuana usage was offensive to God. She told me, “Well, I think God views it as He does wine. He doesn’t mind us drinking wine as long as it’s in moderation. As long as we don’t get drunk. So I don’t think weed smoking bothers God.” (AS IF anyone ever smokes weed NOT to get high…) In the natural, she might have been right. It is simply from a cannabis plant. And didn’t God say that everything He made was good? But what about in the supernatural world? Do lives where people smoke or sell weed turn out blessed of God? Yeah, it seems to be just a harmless plant, but in the spiritual world, it leads to bondage. How many heroin/crack/meth addicts began their path with this “innocent, harmless” plant? But of course, just like my baby students, they don’t see it. They can’t see it. If babies can’t see the germs, it doesn’t bother them. And even if they could see the filth on the toys, they wouldn’t know it was harmful.

We humans are the same way. We reach our hands out for stuff that looks appealing to us. A ball looks fun to a toddler and a fine man looks good to a woman. But neither see the invisible contamination on them. I’m not even talking about STD’s, but about an even more serious infestation – unclean spirits. How many women have been shackled in years of spiritual bondage because they gave a spiritually infected man their phone number! You can touch the wrong person and your life will spiral out of control. For example, if you get involved in a gang, you are now influenced by spirits that encourage the victim with the spirit to lie, steal, fight, do drugs, sell drugs, and kill. There are indeed evil spirits that impact EVERY secular street gang. If only these members who end up in jail and hell had not touched the unclean thing.

One thing that’s very important to remember about contaminants is that they are MEANT to kill you. Their very purpose – their sole purpose actually – is to get through a break in the skin (via a scratch, cut, piercing, etc.) or a natural body opening (like the ear, mouth, nose, eyes, or private parts) and to ravage and bring down your immune system. Sometimes it happens very quickly as with the Ebola virus. But sometimes it happens very slowly and undetected as some people claim is what happens with HIV. Some spiritual bondage happens immediately like with meth addicts. But some spiritual bondage happens slow as with wrong romantic relationships. Either way, the bondage is meant to take you out. Viruses, bacteria, and parasites are not meant to befriend or boost your immune system. Their intent is to wipe your immune system out so that an opportunistic disease can take over and eventually kill you.

The same goes for demonic spirits. Please don’t delude yourself and think that evil spirits fight fair. They don’t like you and in fact they despise you. If you think a virus is merciless, wait until you encounter an evil spirit! But sadly, just as some people sleep around with a bunch of people unprotected, many of us go into our day without protection – the blood of Jesus, angels, and prayer. We hang around spiritually infected folk because they are fun, because we’ve known them for a long time and because we don’t want to be perceived as snobbish. But that’s like licking someone’s snot because you don’t want to be perceived as snobbish. Some stuff you just ought not to do common sense wise! Just because you can’t see the cold virus with the naked eye doesn’t mean it’s not in the snot. Just because you cannot see the satanic spirit on that man or woman, friend, or lover it does not mean it’s not there waiting to be transferred to you.

Genesis 3:3 – But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, NEITHER SHALL YE TOUCH IT, LEST YE DIE. God told Adam and Eve not to eat NOR EVEN TOUCH the forbidden fruit. He knew a touch would eventually lead to eating. Some of us think we can just call a cute, (spiritually) infected guy and never end up making out with him. And even more foolishly, we think we can make out with this same cute, “spiritually infected” guy and not be tempted to eventually have sex with him. And then we think if we do give in and have sex, that it’s “just harmless, ‘casual’ sex”. The devil is a lie. Whatever polluted that man’s soul has now gotten into your spiritual immune system and is getting ready to take you out if you don’t not intervene with prayer, repentance, confession, asking God for mercy, and then stop any further contact with that cute guy to prevent re-infection.

The only way not to get a virus from someone is to avoid that person until they get clean. I made the mistake of dating an atheist thinking that I could spiritually sanitize him. But instead, he ended up desecrating me! Duh, Mistye. Did I think my contact with him would make him whole while I made out with him? Foolishly, I did. And then I would leave him alone and get better with God. And then I’d miss him and get re-infected in my spirit man. I eventually left him alone and am well now. Praise God for that! But I was even considering marrying the guy. Thank God I did not. This guy had an unforgiving spirit, a cigarette addiction, and listened to foul rappers who are rumored to be Satan worshippers. So I should have known that more than the average atheist, he had yet more unclean spirits possessing him. And I risked having all those unclean spirits infect me. Selah. Again, let’s thank God He delivered me from that.

So when your pastor or a preacher tells you not to engage in certain activities, don’t look for why. You can’t see invisible spirits unless God gives you that gift. So stop looking and just listen. If I snatch a contaminated toy from one of my baby student’s mouths, they don’t need to ask why. They just need to trust me as their caretaker when I say, “No! That’s dirty. Don’t put that in your mouth.” Just trust God to know what is gross/infected/unsanitary/contaminated/polluted. If God says not to engage in homosexual sex, not to get drunk, not to go to bed angry, not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, not to fight back, not to steal, not to kill, not to commit adultery, etc. don’t ask why! Just know that you can trust God not to withhold any good thing from you just to make you mad. If God’s withholding it, it’s because it needs disinfecting!

Genesis 20:6 – And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I KNOW THAT THOU DIDST THIS IN THE INTEGRITY of thy heart; for I ALSO WITHHELD THEE FROM SINNING AGAINST ME: THEREFORE SUFFERED I THEE NOT TO TOUCH HER.