After seeing this cartoon, I just had to pass it on.
It’s important to remember that parables usually offer one, or maybe two main conclusions. Parables are stories that offer one central truth/lesson – all other details are incidental to that teaching.
A parable is not an allegory – so we should not attempt to determine what each character and action represents. The rich man/master in a certain parable, for example, who praises unethical behavior does not represent God.
The parable does not attempt to assign specific identities to each of its characters or elements. When we take that path we can wind up twisting and distorting the intended lesson of the parable.
Parables teach one fundamental value or insight about the kingdom of God and his grace – they are not intended as blueprints, offering specific details.
When understanding a parable, keep it simple! Don’t get involved in long, protracted, complex explanations. Such complexities almost always lead us away from the meaning Jesus intends.
Well, as those who chose to stay on the “Re-Union” mailing list already know, it looks like we have a new home lined up. IF there are no glitches, we should close by the end of July, and be moved in sometime early August. Please keep us in your prayers. For the move, and related needs, of course. But also as we continue life in general.
We’re excited, nervous, and a little bit scared. I’m still not employed at this time, so that puts an excessive burden on my wife.
It’s odd, isn’t it, how we read scriptural accounts of the Israelites, and criticize them for their grumbling and complaining; for their lack of faith. All God kept doing for them, and yet, each new challenge was like the end of the world. “Why has God deserted us?!?!”
Man, can I identify!
I’m a big worrier, anyway. I’m always taking every little problem, and playing it out to its worst possible conclusion, and beyond. What a total waste of mental energy!
” And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life?” “So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:27, 34 NET
There are real needs, of course. But Jesus made it clear that God knows our needs. I’ll admit, sometimes it’s hard for me to not worry without being apathetic. As Steve Taylor wrote, “Since I Gave Up Hope, I Feel A Lot Better.”
Of course, I’m not without hope (I have been. It ain’t no fun!). Like the Israelites, I’ve seen God provide over and over and over. I do know, deep down, that He’s got it all under control. He will provide. I just need to be reminded. That’s why some time ago, I hung a sticker above my computer that says “Life is good.” It really is, despite my many past attempts to sabotage it.
“Life’s a river, kid, you gotta go where it takes you” – Wayne Malloy
I can’t believe the places this river has taken me. This journey, this “Life Walk,” has been quite a ride. Amazing highs. Unbelievable lows. Through it all, I know that I know that I know, God has never left me or forsaken me. He never will.
Here are just a few ways in which prediction addiction and end-times anxiety is harmful and toxic:
• It distracts from the central message of the gospel — that Christ died to save the world.
• It discourages Christians from serving other human beings and improving the world around them.
• It is based on, and encourages, unsound and speculative interpretation of the Bible.
• It discourages responsible stewardship of the environment (the world will end soon, so why bother?).
• It focuses on human personalities, pundits, prognosticators or preachers who must constantly reinterpret prophecy in light of changing world events.
• It encourages legalism — promoting what you can do to escape the Tribulation.
• It encourages Christian isolationism and escapism.
• It motivates based on fear (saving one’s self), rather than love.
• It produces an unstable faith, which is focused on ever-changing world events, rather than on Christ.
• It burns Christians out. After investing emotionally and financially in end-time predictions, many lose faith and give up on Christianity when those predictions fail.
Read the full article by Monte Wolverton at: http://www.ptm.org/uni/resources/ptmupdate/071309/1.html
— By Greg Albrecht
Q. My sister says that we can lose our salvation. I say that once we are saved we can’t lose our salvation. She refers to Revelation 3:5 which seems to say that your name will be blotted out of the book of life if you don’t “overcome.” But that would mean that we are saved by works. What do you think? Can we lose our salvation once we are truly saved?
A. There is an ongoing Christian debate about this issue. I believe as you do. Why?
When we are saved, the New Testament tells us that we are given eternal life now (John 5:39; 6:54; 1 John 5:11, 13, 20). We are saved now (Ephesians 2:5,8; Titus 3:5). We are now seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Since we are now saved, and now given eternal life, how can we lose what is eternal? Wouldn’t God call it “conditional” life if we could lose it? As for Revelation 3:5, it says the opposite of what your sister claims it does — Jesus says that he will never blot out from the book of life the names of those who overcome or conquer (and the way that we conquer is through Jesus and by him, not by our works — see Romans 8:37-39).
The book of life? What is this book? Read Revelation 20:11-15. Two books are mentioned. One is the book of life — the life that is only available in the Lamb of God. The other is a book based on “what they had done” (vs. 12 and 13). There are two books — two ways by which we might be judged. We can choose. If we choose life, if we choose the Lamb of God, we choose to accept him, trust him, follow him implicitly. That means that we surrender any notion that our works are worth anything — we absolutely and totally trust in faith alone, grace alone and Christ alone. Being in the book of life is not easy, for it involves the humility (itself a gift of God) of accepting that we are powerless to do anything of merit that will save ourselves.
The other way is to attempt to earn our salvation, or to contribute to it in some meaningful way. Religious legalisms beguile us into thinking that Jesus needs our help in saving us. Religion often deceives us into thinking that Jesus initially saves us, but once he gives us a head start, once he pays the down payment, then we need to keep up the monthly payment for salvation. According to many religious teachings, failure to keep up the monthly payment will eventually mean that God will evict us from the house of salvation. This idea appeals to human nature for we like to think that we can take care of our own problems, we don’t want to completely depend on free handouts, even God’s unbelievable grace. So many fall for the notion that their deeds are part of their salvation. If we choose to be judged by what we are able to accomplish, we are lost. We can never do for ourselves what Jesus alone can do for us.
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