Fascinating Bible Studies on Every Parable Book Review

In the introduction to his book, Fascinating Bible Studies on Every Parable, Dr. William H. Marty states the purpose for the book is to help readers understand Jesus’ parables–what Jesus intended to teach, and the response he expected–and then to suggest how we can apply Christ’s parables to our lives today. I found this book easy to digest and absorb without being simplistic. While we may be familiar with Jesus’ parables, there is always something new to consider in reading them.

In short, concise chapters for each parable, Dr. Marty does just that. He lists the Bible reference for the parable, gives his takeaway in one short sentence, explains the parable in its historical and cultural setting, and ends with questions for reflection related to the parable. The parables are organized into two broad categories. The nature of the kingdom, and the ethics of the kingdom.

Dr. Marty believes in reading a parable, we should first consider what the story meant to Jesus’ audience, not to those of us who live in twentieth century America. Good advice. He also states the purpose of Jesus’ parables was not to entertain, but to challenge and impress on his followers the need to change their mindset about how they related to God and others. More good advice.

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Who Do We Imitate?

During a re-enactment of Texas’ fight for independence from Mexico, I couldn’t help but notice a small boy and his grandfather. Precious is the word that comes to mind. It seemed to me this little boy desired to imitate his grandfather. This in turn caused me to wonder who I desire to imitate.

This grandfather and grandson clothed themselves alike and appeared inseparable throughout the entire weekend. It appeared the little boy dearly loved and trusted his grandfather, and desired to be wherever the grandfather went. Even as the re-enactment wound down, the little boy looked to his grandfather and imitated him.

Come to find out, the boy’s grandfather, mother, and aunt were re-enactors with the Mexican cavalry. His father was part of the Texian cavalry. I wonder which side the little boy will represent in re-enactments when he grows older. I’m guessing he’ll stick with Grandpa.

The Bible tells us those who are baptized into Christ are clothed with Christ. We are children of God through our faith in Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-27)

Since we are clothed with Christ, our desire should be to follow wherever he leads. Those of us who call ourselves Christ followers are to be imitators of Christ. We are to follow his example. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

In life we might have people who imitate us. When they do, I wonder if imitating us leads them to imitate Christ? Does Jesus shine through our robes of righteousness? Is there proof in our words and actions which show we follow in Christ’s footsteps? Are we pointing others to Jesus?

As I prepared this blog post, I received an email from a dear friend. She mentioned posts she recently read on a social media site. After I reigned in my anger over the posts, my heart grieved.

You see, the hateful social media posts were not written by someone you’d expect would write such things. They were written by those we both know who wear the name Christian.

Being a Christ follower means being an imitator of Christ in EVERY area of our lives. Not just in our Go-to-Church-on-Sunday, or Go-to-Bible-Study-on-Wednesday lives.

So I ask each of us to take a look at our lives. Is there evidence to show who we imitate, which side we fight on? Could those who look at us tell whether we fight on the Lord’s side, or the world’s?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Follow God’s example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates his father. Ephesians  5:1 (TLB)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Guest Post – I Am Balaam’s Donkey

Today’s guest post, I Am Balaam’s Donkey, written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I know it’s childish but I love reading about donkeys in the Bible. It can’t be just any Bible, it has to be the King James Bible. Unless you considered soap a food group, the only time you could say the word “ass” when I was growing up was when you read it in the Bible. To this day, it doesn’t matter which version I read, every time the word donkey comes up I laugh under my breath because I know that the real Bible translation says ass. When my kids got older I would often tell them to, “Stop acting like a King James donkey” if they were getting on my nerves. I am Balaam’s Donkey – did you just smirk, maybe even laugh? You can’t help thinking, “Dave is admitting that he is a King James Donkey.”

As a pastor used by God to present messages in a public forum, I need to be careful.

I would like to believe that I am humble. I am not sure if the fact that I like to believe I am humble actually makes me arrogant. I am not even sure where the boundary is placed between honest assessment of my giftings and puffed up arrogance. My natural response is to try to downplay my abilities when complimented after a sermon or leading worship. This often leads to an awkward silence as the person who was touched by my presentation is left wondering what to say next and I am left wondering if I came off even more arrogant by denying that I had done well. Then I remind myself that God can speak through a donkey – I am Balaam’s donkey.

As a father/grandfather of the most amazing kids/grandkids, I need to be careful.

I have been known to brag about my kids and grandkids a little. It’s tough not to say, “That’s my boy out there.” I have 3 sons, 3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter so it is very tough not to say, “That’s my boy!” When any of them are not acting in a way that I approve I have been known to point out their mother when it comes to my sons and their parents when it comes to my grandchildren conveniently omitting their relationship to me. Of course if they excel I am the first to admit that I raised them or that I raised their father. Then I remind myself that God can speak through a donkey – I am Balaam’s donkey.

As a loving, wonderful husband, I need to be careful.

I like to think of myself as a good husband. In fairness my wife makes it very easy for me to be a good husband. I have at times failed at being loving and kind but after 32 years of marriage I would have to say I, and my wife of course, are doing something right. We have stayed together through worse, poorer and sickness with very little better, not richer and only a short time of health. I must be good at this marriage thing. I must be saying the right things at the right time or we wouldn’t still be married. Then I remind myself that God can speak through a donkey – I am Balaam’s donkey.

It doesn’t matter what I do in life, I need to be careful

It is so easy to think highly of ourselves. There is an arrogance that Satan likes to inject into the followers of Christ causing us to look at others as being less holy or more sinful and ourselves as being somehow better, more blessed because we feel that God is using us. As you read this you may be thinking, “That’s not me, I would never do that.” Maybe you are right, maybe you have never though that others are less holy and more sinful than you but is it possible that you have thought that you are more blessed than others? Maybe you are more blessed than others. Maybe God has used you to accomplish great things. Maybe because you are not arrogant and don’t think that you are better than others He has rewarded you but just in case you start to think you are something special, remind yourself that God can speak through a donkey – that by God using you, you are no more special than Balaam’s donkey so don’t go making an ass out of yourself. (I hope my mom doesn’t read the last line; I don’t like the taste of soap)

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3 (KJV)

For the story of Balaam’s Donkey Numbers 22 (NIV)

For the story of Balaam’s Ass Numbers 22 (KJV)

For more posts like this go to https://live4him.ca/blog-posts/ click on “I Am ______” under Categories on the right side of this page.

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

God’s Shield of Protection

In the midst of current events there is so much loss. So much devastation. So much uncertainty. So much social unrest. So much hatred. Yet in it all, God’s shield of protection surrounds us.

I find I must constantly pick up my Bible, read what it says, and remind myself these battles are not mine to fight alone. For the God who placed the stars in the heavens and planets in motion remains on his throne. He remains in control. He is able to keep his shield of protection securely wrapped around each of us.

During these troubling times, we might feel helpless but we really aren’t. Through the power of prayer we can petition God to place his shield around each and every situation we face. The battles we face in this life are the Lord’s to fight on our behalf.

Even though they faced a large enemy when the Old Testament king Jehoshaphat and his army prepared to go into battle, God told them not to be discouraged or afraid. The outcome of the battle didn’t depend on what Jehoshaphat and his army could or couldn’t do. The outcome depended on God.

Jehoshaphat was told he and his men didn’t need to fight the battle. Their job was to meet the enemy, take up their positions, and wait. The Lord would give the victory.

There are battles all around us. Health battles. Job battles. Family battles. Financial battles. Relationship battles.

We’ve been given our orders. We are not to look at our discouraging circumstances and be overcome with fear. We are instructed to face the enemy and wait upon the Lord to win the victory.

Whenever we feel as if we’re fighting an impossible battle, no matter what foe we may be up against or how bleak the situation may appear, our hope of victory comes through the confidence we have in God’s shield of protection wrapped securely around us.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Jahaziel said, “Your Majesty and all you people of Judah and Jerusalem, the Lord says that you must not be discouraged or be afraid to face this large army. The battle depends on God, not on you. Attack them tomorrow as they come up the pass at Ziz. You will meet them at the end of the valley that leads to the wild country near Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Just take up your positions and wait; you will see the Lord give you victory. People of Judah and Jerusalem, do not hesitate or be afraid. Go out to battle, and the Lord will be with you!”   2 Chronicles 20:15-17 (GNT)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Fight for the Right to Vote

One hundred years ago on this day, August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote with three fourths of the states ratifying the amendment. Some say women were given the right to vote, but from all I’ve seen and researched, women’s suffrage was a hard fought battle. Nothing given in that.

Granted … Achieved, maybe … But not given.

And just because a law is written, that does not mean it will be applied. After the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920 although some Black women voted in elections and held political offices, many States implemented their own methods to keep them from voting. Many were told they had to pay a poll tax, or there was some other new kind of rule that prevented them from voting.

It took over 60 years for the remaining states to ratify the 19th Amendment after it passed in 1920. Mississippi was the last to do so on March 22, 1984, even though the Voting Rights Act which passed on August 6, 1965 granted full suffrage.

In 1848 the movement for women’s rights-not just the right to vote-launched on a national level with the Seneca Falls Convention organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Following the convention, Susan B. Anthony joined the fight. In the 1900s the list included Harriott Stanton Blatch, Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Carrie Catt, and many many more.

Through the years many brave women sacrificed much to ensure women today can take part in the democratic process and vote. It was a hard-fought win. One, in truth, I am not really sure I could have fought to the degree these Suffragists fought.

I’m not sure I would have the courage to be one of the silent sentinels who protested through all kinds of weather, knowing they faced ridicule, verbal and physical abuse, arrest for peacefully protesting, fines and imprisonment in Occoquan Workhouse, some women for up to seven months.

While in Occoquan, I would not want my arms chained over my head, eat a meal which typically consisted of wormy bread, raw salt pork, and watered down soup which had worms floating in it.

Nor would I want to be force-fed a raw egg concoction through a tube pushed down my throat or nose during hunger strikes.

While there is much to admire, as with most things when you dig deep enough, cracks appear. Women’s Suffrage is no exception.

There was infighting and divisions as is to be expected with any group, but what shook me from my naive impression of a grand movement is the fact concessions were made to advance the cause leaving some behind.

It wasn’t all Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins singing Sister Suffragrette, that’s for sure.

Black suffragists were sidelined from the mainstream suffrage movement by its leaders who feared alienating white women, and losing support in the South.

During the spectacular 1913 women’s suffrage parade in Washington, D.C, the organizers ordered Black participants to march at the end of the parade, while other participants marched under their state banner.

Refusing to be separated from her sister Illinoisans, and pushed to the back of the parade, Ida B. Wells-Barnett marched under her home state of Illinois’ banner that day. She told the organizers, “Either I go with you or not at all. I am not taking this stand because I personally wish for recognition. I am doing it for the future benefit of my whole race.”

By the summer of 1920, thirty-five states ratified the amendment. However, one more state was still needed for ratification.

The Tennessee legislature gathered to vote. With the vote tied at forty-eight, the outcome rested on twenty-four-year-old Harry Burn, the state’s youngest representative.

Shortly before voting to break the tie began, Mr. Burn received word from his mother. She asked him to be a good boy and vote for suffrage.

Burn who previously voted against, changed his vote and voted for. The final tally that day was 49 to 47.

With that, the Nineteenth Amendment passed and was ratified.

On November 2 of that same year, more than eight million women across the U.S. voted in elections for the first time.

This November 3rd women across the United States of America are among those who have the right, and dare I say obligation, to vote.

As we exercise our right to vote, let’s not take lightly the valiant fight generations of women who went before us fought to make sure our voices are heard.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. Romans 12:2 (TPT)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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