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Thanks for raising the issue of 'paying' those who work vocationally in ministry. Everyone is called to the ministry but there are some who are modern day "levites'. Paul speaks to this in 1 cor 9 when talking about forfeiting his rights for payment. But the principle still holds that those who devote their majority time to ministry ought to be compensated. In 1 Timothy 5 Paul says that those who 'work hard at preaching and teaching are worthy of double honour' which speaks to payment as well.

I also appreciate mike mentioning those who work in house church settings. For all the good house churches too (I've been part of a movement like this), their shortfall is often a lack of even minimum structure which includes meeting the needs of those who are giving leadership to these house churches. One of the reasons I eventually left the house church movement was that people expected me to do a full time job but still devote a large portion of my time to 'meeting their needs.' Could not sustain it. Perhaps that's why God says so much about this subject in the older and new testaments.

The phrase that springs to mind is 'A workman is worthy of his hire.' I am unable to quote a source, but I do believe this to be true. A.

Comparing the Priest of that day to the ministers of our day: As I read about the role of the Priest in the Old Testament, it makes me think about the role of our ministers today. The Priest and Levites were held in high esteem in their day but they had a nasty and dirty job. The spent their entire day slaughtering, processing and burning livestock and fowl. It was a bloody job and one that no one would covet. Our ministers today don’t slaughter, process and burn livestock and fowl, but that doesn’t mean their job is any easier. We still hold them in high esteem today, but most of us separate ourselves from them socially. How many of us ever think about picking up the phone and calling our minister or minister’s wife and saying, “I’m going to run to the shopping center and then stop by Shoney’s for lunch. Want to join me?” No, when we call our minister or minister’s wife it is usually to report an illness, accident, death, or problem of some type. They laugh and cut up with us at church functions but then they leave and don’t hear from or see us until the next function unless we have a heavy heart and need their support in some way. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice when he died on the cross for us but our ministers and minister’s wives make sacrifices in their own way each day for us and we need to support them in more ways than just financially.

God Bless!
Patsy Ray

I have never quite understood Jesus' explanation for why he spoke in parables, but today I came to a realization. Jesus throws out the seed (the parable), gives the disciples understanding of it, and then reminds them not to place their lamps under a bowl, but to let them shine, which for the first time made me think he was telling them to share the meaning of the parable. Speaking in parables was like planting on rocky soil, but if the disciples/Christian's today) did/do their part, the seed would flourish.

cool.

I have a problem understanding the volume of the sacrifices. Who is the offer of these sacrfices? Is it the head of a clan, household, or a group. With the size of the Israelite group approaching 1 million, how can one location handle all of these sacrifices?...

I do believe that our pastors, ministers, priests and clergy should be paid; probably a lot more then they are currently being paid. It doesn’t matter how big or small the church is, pasturing a church is very hard work and involves very long hours. I belong to a church with a membership of over 2000 families. We have three fulltime priests, two deacons and a lot of lay people helping, but I know that our pastor and his assistances deserve every penny they earn and more. They have one of the most thankless jobs I can imagine. When things are going well in the church no body remembers them, but when things are going poorly they become the whipping post. They attend all committee meetings; hold mass every day Monday through Saturday and three times on Sunday. They hear confessions daily and because we also have a school; K-8, they are active in teaching religion to the children. My neighbor across the street is the pastor of “The Carpenters” church and I know that he is busy every single day with his church. To get some ‘at home time’ he holds his youth group meetings at his home. It at least lets him spend time with his wife and his kids. Long story short; our clergy deserve every penny and more.

Today’s Psalm is so very beautiful. Verses 23 and 24 stood out in particular; “23 The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. 24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” (NLT) How very true these verses are to the followers of the Lord. How many times I have stumbled yet I have never fallen. The Lord was always there to hold my hand to prevent my fall. There are so many times in my life that I can say that I was being guided by God. Everything I did, everyone I met and every place I went just went along so smoothly and naturally. How many of you can look at your life and recall stumbling and being held up by the hand of God?

I’ve always liked the parable of the seed in Mark 4 but I’ve also always had a problem understanding the last sentence of verse 12; “Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.” I must have read verse 12 a thousand times over the years and I just can’t seem to understand the last sentence and why Jesus wouldn’t want them to turn to Him and be forgiven? I did a search on bible.org for the meaning and if I read correctly the author on bible.org was talking about the fact that the people of Israel, in particular the temple leaders, did not accept Jesus as the messiah and therefore were plotting to kill Him almost from the very beginning of His ministry. By talking in parables the hardened hearts of the people would not be able to find anything to accuse Him of before the duly appoint time of His crucifixion. But I really still don’t understand that last sentence. Does it mean that the people’s hearts were hardened so that they would willingly come to Jesus on their own and accept him as savior and messiah? Or maybe I’m just totally lost on this one? Maybe someone here in this blog can give me some incite.

Yours in Christ
Skip

Don,

"I have a problem understanding the volume of the sacrifices. Who is the offer of these sacrfices? Is it the head of a clan, household, or a group. With the size of the Israelite group approaching 1 million, how can one location handle all of these sacrifices?..."

Doing some research on this comes up with varying answers.

Clearly the sacrifics would only occur when the "people" were camped (settled down in the Wilderness). The sacrificees would not be done while on the move.

The breakdown of who came to priests with sacrifices seem to be either the head of the tribe, or head of family units (defined as 1,000 people).

How often? Perhaps they rotated, perhaps it was seasonal, or done yearly. Yearly (or some periodic basis) might seem reasonable, as the sacrifices in Jerusalem were generally done on large scale on the Feast days. Of course some leaders of the "units" might deem it necessary to offer sacrifices at different times depending on the issues/trails within their units.

As to the location being able to handle all the sacrifices - it was the desert. Whatever was not entirely consumed by fire or eaten - like blood and carcasses (in the case of some sacrifices) were discarded outside the camp. Sand absorbs the blood, and natural decay, birds of prey, and shifting winds take care of the carcasses. In Jerusalem, the blood ran down trough out to (brook/river) Kidron. Carcasses were taken outside the city to the burning place "Gehenna".

Hope this helps a little. Perhaps others have seen something in God's Word that would correct these thoughts.

Psalm 37:12-29

Yesterday: don't be envious, how we handle envy, why we should believe in God's faithfulness.
======================================================
Verses 12-15

What the wicked do - and God's reaction?

13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.

Laugh has the connotation of in derision or contempt. God hates sin. If man does not turn to God and remains wicked - it matters not what they accumulate or plan here on earth. For ultimately their day is coming and it will be for eternity. The folly of spitting in the face of the Creator is, well, just laughable.
======================================================
Better righteous than wicked

18 The days of the blameless are known to the LORD,
and their inheritance will endure forever.

No one is blameless. The only ones who are blameless are those who believe God and in the redeemer (OT), and those who do the same in the NT. To them is imputed righteousness, blameless status, looked on as being upright. Not because of anything they did - but because they believed.
======================================================
What about here and now for the believer?

23 If the LORD delights in a man's way,
he makes his steps firm;

24 though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord ... . Although the word good is not in the original text, the idea is certainly included in verses 23 and 24. God plans and orders the pathways of the man who lives in fellowship with Him. He upholds the one whose ways please Him. Though such a man may fall into trials and tribulations, he will never be engulfed by them, for the Lord holds him securely by His hand. It is also true that if a righteous man falls into sin, he will not be abandoned by the Lord, though this is not the specific kind of fall that this verse is referring to.
MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. 1997, c1995. Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

Things may not go as we want them to - but if we trust in the Lord - He will give us the strength and grace to deal with adversities.
======================================================
28 For the LORD loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
They will be protected forever,
but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;

29 the righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.

Again no one is just - it is imputed when we believe and receive Christ. How I cling to "and will not forsake his faithful ones". That is God's promise in God's Word. He will not forsake us, and I firmly believe God does not lie.

Matt 28:20b
"...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Amen and Amen.

Verse 29 - To the OT saints that is Israel - to us it is the kingdom of God and it is ours forever.

Proverbs 10:5

5 He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

Again the contrast style in Hebrew. Using an agrarian example indicates taking time at the proper time to take hold of opportunities. True in physical world, as well as the spiritual world. When God is calling you - do you listen? Do you heed and obey? or do you just sleepwalk through your Christian walk?

Exodus

[Repost Feb 19, 2007]

The need for a priest?????

So far needs of man have been listed - need for Acceptance/Love (by God), Joy, Peace, Forgiveness and Restoration.

Are the needs over? Do we need a priest?

Do we need someone chosen by God, anointed by the Holy Spirit, clothed in righteousness, one who can go to God for us, one we can hold up as a mirror and see our lacking nature, etc.?

In the OT - God is saying - 'Yes, you need that'. Of course later on it all got corrupted and messed up. But in its original intent the priesthood provided a place and person to go to - that would help a person align or re-align their lives with God - through going to God for us, Godly advice and the previous listed sacrifices.

Do we have that today? Certainly Jesus is our High Priest. Not only does Jesus fill all the requirements listed above, but He is Righteousness. I posted before that God is a God of great details,and I believe that the seven days between appaearances to the disciples (w/out Thomas and with Thomas) were the period Jesus spent before God being consecrated as our High Priest - just as Aaron did in the OT in the Tent.

On top of that "we" as "believers" are part of the priesthood.

1Peter2:4-5
"As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." NIV

1Peter2:9
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." NIV

We also fulfill all the requirements of priesthood listed above. We offer spiritual sacrifices and sing God's praise (or we should be:), and when we are obediant and living through Christ - we are that mirror where people see themselves as different from us - who then want what we have.

Mark

Parable of the Sower

[Is repeated basically the same as Matthew's version. But since the Holy Spirit inspired the writers to use some of the same key words - I am reposting 1/19/07 post from Matthew - in case some missed that post.]

The parable is fully explained, but I came across some interesting words.

1)The first seed fell on the "path" ("way side"KJV). In the Greek when this word "hodos" is used metaphorically it means - "a way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding.

So perhaps Jesus is saying that when one does not understand the message, it is because one is too locked into man's solution of spirituality - the way man has it figured out. Makes it easy for the "evil one" to come snatch away what "was sown in his heart". "This can't be right", "Not the way I understand it", "Interesting, but this can't be the "only truth", "good teacher, but the Son of God - come on", "Not what I was raised to believe", etc.

Evil one comes and reinforces - "You're right. This is garbage. You don't need this guy's help to get to heaven, Just someone else claiming to be the Messiah, you know better." - and voila the message is dismissed or "snatched away from the heart".

2) The seed that fell on rocky ("stony" KJV) places is interesting if you go back to the Greek roots. It might mean a person with a "firm outward appearance". They appear to receive Jesus' mesage with joy, but it is only expressed by outward appearance - there are no roots. When personal trouble or outward problems affect the believers he/she quickly falls away. i.e. They never believed - accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Their is no root - connection with Christ that is provided by the Holy Spirit.

3) The thorny ground? At it's Greek root can mean "the present time". So he/she hears the word, but is so preoccupied with the "world" and its daily problems (are not the ways of the world really just thorns that catch and grab at mankind?) That they just don't have time to even think about it. The Word (seed) just gets choked off by the near term issues, and there is no time for questioning and pondering the "long term". 'It will just take care of itself' type attitude.

4) The good soil. He/she hears AND understands. One has to turn to God, repent of our sins, and believe and receive in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. That person has deep roots in Christ and the Holy Spirit and will be productive in bearing fruit in the work and will of God.

Mark 3

Jesus' Mother and Brothers

Those that insist that brothers and sisters in the NT always refer to being "beleivers" of Christ's message - Bill O'Reilly of radio and TV come to mind - would have a hard time with Mark's account. The insistence is always that there is no family connection or implication in the NT in these types of passages.

Including "mother" in each of the four key phrases would preclude the above view. Clearly Christ is saying that those who do God's will (accept and receive Christ) are His (eternal) family.

So - mother being Mary, then brothers and sisters are family. To the closeness of those relations, whether actual brother and sister or cousins, etc. is beyond the scope of these passages.

Sarat,

Great insight! Yes,share the meaning - multiply the nation. So cool that you got it (your realization)!

Isaiah 9:2-3
"The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
You will multiply the nation,
You will increase their gladness;
They will be glad in your presence,
As with the gladness of harvest."
======================================================
Mark 4
A Lamp on a Stand

Is different context and meaning from Matthew 5. Mark inserts Jesus' illstration here on the heels of talking about the need for parables.

Here, the light is not meant to be hid - it should be brought out. Those that have ears (want to hear the Word of God), let them hear. Seek the meaning and they shall find - and can help illuminate the world.

Going into the symbol of a measure is perhaps a reference to Isaiah who used light and measure (harvest).

Isaiah 9:2-3, where the prophet uses these same two images to describe the intense joy Israel would experience when the light of Messiah came:

"The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
You will multiply the nation,
You will increase their gladness;
They will be glad in your presence,
As with the gladness of harvest."

Those that seek will find and be given even more - those that do not, whatever they do understand will fall by the wayside.

May we all be seekers of the Truth, and pray constantly for God's revelation of His Word to us, His children.

[email protected]
2008

I know I am several days late in reading this as I am trying to get caught up and don't want to jump ahead until I read all that I need for nourishment and understanding. I was amazed in Leviticus today how Moses dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the right ear lobe of Aaron and his sons, their right thumb and their right big toe. In my Every Day Living Bible by Joyce Meyer, she comments the reason behind this. The right side of our body is considered the power and strength of us, the right ear was annointed to hear truth and discern from good and evil, the right thumb so that what ever they touched it would be blessed, and their toe so that their steps would be protected. I think that is amazing, and today we have Jesus in our bodys and the Full Armor of God for our Protection, and the Holy Spirit to teach us truth and discernment. We serve such an awesome God!!

God Bless..

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