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I grew up on a farm and spent many days and weeks of my early life working with my father in preparing the fields for planting. The soil had to be ploughed, disked and harrowed several times BEFORE it was ready to receive the seed. Only when it was stone and weed free was the precious seed drilled into the earth. Then we waited… sunshine and rain encouraged the growth, but we didn’t just leave it. There was a constant watch kept for any stray weeds growing amongst the grain. As soon as the weeds could be distinguished from the grain, we (the children) would go out into the field and pull them out, taking care not to damage the good growth.
Your analogy is good. We receive the Word (the good seed) and as it grows must keep a ‘weather eye’ on any old, or new habits, that could kill off or stunt the growth of the ‘good seed’ in our lives.

Farming's a good analogy for sure. I see that side of the argument where we are not paying much attention to the sowing and growing aspects of the seed except that we are mechanizing it, which can be said to have produced some good results and some bad. We can feed more people with less work, but is the quality the same? Are we damaging our environment in the process? Maybe it's better quality food. Not sure. We are adding some things to it that are not good for us in some cases, for example, in order to get the food to last longer.

Another analogy that popped into my head was that the internet as a form of "mechanization" with regards to God's word. It can help plant many more 'seeds' and it can be used as a tool to get those seeds out to more people more quickly and more effectively. There are good and bad aspects to this. For me it has been awesome to read the bible online.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Good thoughts and images here!

Did anyone notice that Jesus sent the man out to tell all of his family and friends ..... "18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed." I have recently returned from Israel, there they explain that this is one of the only times that Jesus sent someone he had healed out to spread the news. The guides explained that the 1st century Christians escaped persecution in the cities of the Decopolis, and the Goodnews was welcomed by the Romans, it is believed the Romans were evalgelised by this man after Jesus told him to spread the news.

God's hands in everything is so amazing.

Leviticus: The Death of Nadab and Abihu

[Repost from feb 20, 2007]

Good comments today. I agree, I think it was dealt with severely because it was early on in the tabernacle process. Later we see priests do much worse and they are not dealt with in the same way.

But what is it that Nadab and Abihu did exactly? It was not the fire, but a different incense they used.

Whether they did not like the smell, thought it didn't matter - sweet smell is sweet smell - or they were just careless - they violated God's direct command to use frankincense. It was not a sin of ignorance, but one of presumption. they thought their way would be ok, that God would not mind - despite:

"You shall offer no unholy incense thereon," {Exod 30:9a RSV}

God was in the process of revealing man's needs through the sacrifices and offerings, and in the process revealing himself to the Israelites. When performed improperly - the priests were misleading the people about God.

How so????

Incense represents a picture of prayer. Frankincense pictures, not merely thankfulness for the ordinary blessings of life, but, primarily, thankfulness for the hardships and the difficulties of our trials in life. It is pleasing to God to see man thanking him in good times and bad - but especially the bad - where He manifests his Characteristics and man learns valuable lessons.

By using some other "perfume" that only represents happiness and thanksgiving - gives us the impression God is here to make us happy. But that is a distortion of what God does and how he represents the prayer offerings through frankencense.

"There is no implication here of eternal condemnation for Nadab and Abihu. This occurrence doesn't mean they are lost. I have no doubt in my mind that these two young priests were with the Lord in glory immediately. God took them home -- not because he was going to condemn them to hell, but only because they had violated their ministry. He called them home as an example to others in order that they in turn should not violate their ministries in the same way" - Ray Stedman

So why was the "sin" of not eating the goat passed over. Aaron is saying, in light of the events of the day - he did not feel right eating the "sin" offering. He is not worthy to eat and partake because of his failure as the High Priest to instruct his first two sons. It was a sin - but it was out of humility and a thought of being unworthy. Moses AND God could understand that - and so it is not punished.


The Mustard seed

[Repost from Feb 20, 2007]

Jesus phrases it in terms of a question?

"Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?"

So the small seed is planted, but a tree bigger than any mustard plant comes up?? What is that?

From Chuck Missler's comments on same parable in Matthew13:

The Mustard "Tree"

"The puzzling character of these parables is no more evident than in the Mustard "Tree." Despite the well-meaning Bible dictionaries that attempt to link this parable to various flora of the Middle East, the common mustard plant grows as a small bush, and is hardly the haven for birds.

Furthermore, the identity of the birds have already been revealed in verse 19 (cf. v.3): the ministers of the "Wicked One!" This seems to portray a view in which the church will grow into something never intended--a monstrosity in which the very ministers of the wicked one will find refuge in its branches! (Doesn't that sound descriptive of some of the activities of the present day? Should we be surprised?)"
http://www.khouse.org/articles/1994/31/
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The faith starts out pure - but along with the normal growth there is abnormal growth - in that in the large tree is true faith and a "twisted" faith. Kind of like the wheat and tares.

Jesus knew how in an imperfect world - growth of the church (faith) would not be pure and true to God.


Psalm 37:30-40

More about the wicked and the righteous/blameless (remember imputd by faith not earned) - going on now, and what happens in the future.

But I want to focus on the last two verses which, to me, are a picture of salvation.

"39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him."

Salvation comes from the Lord. It is nothing we earn. It is about God, not us. Jesus - "Jehova is salvation", not works is salvation, not a dead or live human is salvation, not any ritual is salvation, etc. But JEHOVAH is Salvation.

Being saved, God is our stronghold during adversity. It doesn't mean we will escape adversity, but that when adversity strikes we will be able to deal with it through the Grace and Strength given us by the Father through the Holy Spirit.

The Lord helps...The Lord delievers...The Lord saves.. - we do not do it, God does it. Why does God do these things? Because we take refuge, rest, and trust in Him. When we submit our will to God's Will, and are humble servants of the Lord; we turn it all over to Him and the benefits are immense. We rest in the Lord.

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