Tag Archives: A-meal-with-Jesus



Have you ever thought about the man Pilate brought out before the people?  The criminal case that was … dismissed!

A man who was guilty in the courtroom of heaven, but dismissed by man, and a man who was innocent in the courtroom of heaven, condemned by man.


Matthew 27:16-26 NKJV

16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.

17Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”

18For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.

19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.

21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”

23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”

24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”

25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

Pilate didn’t give the people just any choice of prisoners, he gave them only one choice, Barabbas.  Matthew says that Barabbas was a “notorious prisoner” (which if this was the only account of the story could lead us to imagine he was possibly a repeat offender, or maybe an insurrectionist who caused a lot of trouble with the other prisoners).  Then Mark comes along with his testimony…


Mark 15:7-15

7 And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion.

8 Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them.

9But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.

11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them.

12 Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”

13 So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!”

14 Then Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!”

15 So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.

Notice in verses 9 and 12 the title Pilate uses for Jesus.  John uses this same title in his testimony a little further down as well.  Mark also says Barabbas was a “rebel” who had “committed murder,” along with his gang of rebels, in a rebellion.  Peter testifies to the same in Acts 3:14.  Luke then comes along with a 3rd testimony…


Luke 23:13, 14, 18-25

13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people,

14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him

Did Pilate choose Barabbas because he more aptly fit the accusation of “one who misleads the people” when placed side by side of their choice of Jesus?

18 And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”–

19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder

20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them.

21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!

22 Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.”

23 But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.

24 So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested.

25 And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

So, the question about where the rebellion took place is answered by Luke.  It was in the city, not in the prison, and Luke backs up Mark that there was murder involved (accidental or intentional, we’ll probably  never know).

Lastly is the testimony of the fourth witness…


John 18:39-40

39 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

40 Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

John adds that Barabbas was a “robber.” It is the first time robbery is attached to Barabbas. Now to give Barabbas the benefit of the doubt here, I imagine he could be a completely unsavory scoundrel, or he could also be a hero – of the order of Robin Hood, prince of thieves.  Did he steal from the people for his own benefit, or from the government for the benefit of the poor?  Did someone end up dead as collateral damage?  I guess we’ll never know.  But here is an interesting note on some commentary I found for Mark 15:7…

[Barabbas.] Let us mention also with him a very famous rogue in the *Talmudists, Ben Dinai, whose name also was Eleazar. Of whom they have this passage worthy of chronological observation; “From the time that murderers were multiplied, the beheading the red cow ceased; namely, from the time that Eleazar Ben Dinai came; who was also called Techinnah Ben Perishah: but again they called him, The son of a murderer.” Of him mention is made elsewhere, where it is written Ben Donai. See also Ben Nezer, the king of the robbers.

(*THE TALMUD was the body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law and legend which comprised the Mishnah and the Gemara. There are two versions of the Talmud: the Babylonian Talmud – which dates from the 5th century AD but includes earlier material, and the earlier Palestinian or Jerusalem Talmud).

So, Luke (vs.19) and Mark (vs.7) could be identifying Barabbas with this group.  Perhaps Barabbas was Ben Dinai, or a disciple, or a member of his band?  If so, what a crazy time for Jesus to come upon the scene, in the middle of a revolution.


So, over here, on this side of the stage, in this corner of the ring, is a man who has caused a rebellious uprising, is a notorious prisoner, is a murderer, and misled the people: Barabbas, of “THE ROBBERS!”

And over there in the other corner is a man who sought out the poor, the maimed, the blind, and the lame, healed their sickness and disease, and brought the dead back to life, Jesus, the “KING OF THE JEWS.”

Because of the jealousy of the religious leaders and the chivalry of the Roman government, the people were forced to choose, and it struck me like a bolt of lightning when it first dawned on me that Barabbas’ name means, “father’s son” (Bar = son + abba = father – Strongs #912 in the Greek dictionary, or #1347 in Chaldean with #5 in Aramaic – the mixed dialog of Palestine).  An earthly man of an earthly father, who had only done terrible things to the people.

And Jesus, who was in the beginning with God, and became a Son of the heavenly Father.  Abba being the name Jesus used for His Father in the garden prayer (Mark 14:36) before He went to the cross.  A Son of the heavenly Father, who had only done good things for the people.



Who did they choose?  Better yet, who do YOU choose?

I wonder if you’ve ever thought about how deeply curious this Barabbas person is?  The Father put Jesus (The Son of Abba-Father) on a stage before the people with a notorious criminal whose name means son of a father.  And this is the man, the very man Pilate chose to bring out before the people.  That’s just one of a few incredible coincidences.

Consider also that the other members of Barabbas’ gang were quite possibly the two criminals that were crucified with Jesus that day.  Barabbas + the two thieves, make an unholy trio – like the beast, the false prophet, and the dragon.  And along that line, let’s do a comparison:

Barabbas  (a father’s son)

  1.  A “rebel” who “along with his gang of rebels, led a rebellion
  2.  “One who misleads the people” (a liar, basically)
  3.  One who “committed murder”
  4. “A robber”

And his parallel character…

Satan  (son of perdition)

  1.  A rebel:  “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).  “His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Revelation 12:4).  
  2. A liar:  “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”…  Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.” (Genesis 3:1,4) 

  3. A murderer:  “…the devil… was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”  John 8:44
  4. A robber:  “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

I believe both persons come together as an analogy (or a sort-of parable) of the very choice that has been thrust upon humanity from the beginning of time.

Satan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – an imposter (anti-christ).  A son of iniquity.  Always on the prowl, seeking whom he may devour.  An accuser of the brethren who accuses us before the Father day and night, who first gets us to sin (lie, cheat, steal, drink, do drugs, beat people up, kill, sleep around, gossip, gamble, etc.) and then runs to rat us out to God as soon as we eat the forbidden fruit he tempted us with. He most defiantly misleads the people.

Satan appeared to Eve in the garden on that fateful day in Genesis, and cleverly convinced her to trust him over God.  The next day was a dark day indeed for Adam and Eve, and all humanity with them.  I imagine the fear and uncertainty and remorse they must have felt in their hearts as they looked back to a garden, guarded by angels, that they could never go back to.  The punishment was swift… but a Messiah was coming.

In much the same way, how dark was the day after Jesus died, when that scoundrel Barabbas was loose and free to terrorize the people again, and they realized they’d been lied to and misled?  Fear and dread must have hung thick in their souls.  The sun was darkened.  The earth quaked.  But Sunday was coming!!!!!

Up from the grave He arose!

The good news is Barabbas eventually died, and Jesus lives!!!!  The Light of the world (John 8:12) dawned out of a dark tomb and over the people for 40 days, and even though the scoundrel Satan, who has never done anything good for humanity, is loosed for a time, because humans keep choosing him, the good news is Jesus is coming again in even greater glory!!!! And Satan dies!!!!!

What a contrast in characters.  One is a taker of life.  The other, a SON who laid down His life.  One tempts us to sin, and the other a SON who takes away our sins and the sins of the world.  An insurrectionist  against an intercessionist.

Jesus changed the course of history when He came, and the thing is, He knew what He was walking into, and that very few would choose Him, and that a very vocal majority would not choose Him, then or now.  He forgave them (us) anyway, and asked God to forgive them (us)  for they (we) knew not what they were doing.

Those jealous leaders of Jesus’ day, with their inflated egos, didn’t know at the time, but they didn’t take Jesus’ life, He laid His life down freely of His own accord.  The truth was hidden from all of them at the time, almost like a parable (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).  Let it not be hidden from you.  Had the crowd NOT chosen Barabbas that day, Jesus would not have been the “Scapegoat,” the “Passover Lamb” that He came here to be. That we all needed Him to be.

It was Barabbas who deserved to be punished that day, but Jesus took his place. We are all sons and daughters of a Holy God/Creator, whose sins deserve punishment, but our Omnipotent Father provided a way of escape – a pardon.

On His last night, the Son, Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane, and fell on the ground, and prayed, Abba, Father (Father of fathers), all things are possible for You.  Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36

~ Free Will or God’s Will? ~

This is the choice we have to make every moment of every day of our lives.  In the beginning God gave us all free will, even when He knew His creation wouldn’t choose Him.  And Satan has had a field day with the free will thing. (Click here for an informative article about God’s will, with a free printable of scripture cards). God the Father sent His Son Jesus onto that tragical scene 2000 years ago to give us the tools to defeat Satan – that criminal that stands on the stage of our lives opposite Jesus.

a son or The Son?

Satan came to party hardy and trash our house (mind/body/soul).  Jesus came to sweep our houses clean and put them in order…

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”  Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26

“It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and turned away from the holy commandment passed on to them.  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”  2 Peter 2:21, 22

Apart from God we can do nothing!  

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (Matthew 26:41)

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.”  John 16:7

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:” John 20:22

(He swept their houses clean and put them in order.)

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4,5) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)  “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”  Psalm 51:10-12

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”  Ephesians 6:10-18

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father (Father of fathers).  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”  Romans 8:14-17

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, Abba, Father (Father of fathers)!  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  Galatians 4: 4-7

“And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”  Matthew 23:9

In other words: Do not exalt any human being on earth to the place of God in your heart. Warning! They will let you down. They are imperfect.

“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”  Hebrews 12:9

We live in a crazy mixed up time when so many fathers are absent from the home and the lives of their children. Either they are work-a-holics trying to put food on the table, or they are deadbeats who don’t want any responsibility.  God intended earthly fathers to be a picture of our heavenly father; that we as children would feel their sacrificial love,  experience their protection, and in return have great honor and respect for them. That’s why God hates divorce, sex outside of marriage, and alternative lifestyles.  The design on earth is supposed to be a copy and shadow of heaven.  Can you guess who messed it all up?  Someone less than a true father, I assure you!  John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, in the spirit of Elijah- Luke 1:17, by turning the hearts of the fathers to their children.  My prayer is that the same spirit of Elijah will come and do it again!  And may our hearts be turned to our heavenly Father again!!!!  In Jesus’ name.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John 3:1

Because of Jesus, we can receive a spirit of adoption by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).  Because THE SON made us sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6).


For the free printable coloring page click  >>>  Easter-cross

I hope that if you are feeling lonely, abandoned, heavy, guilty, burdened with sins, the weight of which keeps you from choosing Jesus, that you will know that you’ve not dug a hole for yourself too deep and too wide that God cannot or will not reach down into and pull you up out of.  God the father sent His Son to that cross for YOU!  To set you free.  He paid the penalty for your sin.  By His blood your criminal case with God can be hereby … DISMISSED!  Just like the thief on the cross, the friend of Barabbas.  The world may judge you guilty, but Jesus died for you, and paradise is waiting.

Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).  Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32)

Jesus was lifted up on a cross, just like the symbol of healing God gave to Moses for the Hebrews in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8-9 & John 3:14-15).  By His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

Jesus, the King of the Jews, was lifted up from the earth, and ascended into the heavens (Acts 1:9-11), as our High Priest, to sprinkle His atoning sacrifice on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:1-10:17), and as our King and Priest, to be seated upon His throne, having conquered sin and death.  Jesus, the King of kings!

If Jesus is lifted up in our hearts and in our lives and in our words and in our ways, He will draw not only us, but all of those around us unto Himself, by His Spirit.  I am a living testimony to the power of Jesus’ blood.  I grew up in an alcoholic home, filled with anger, and harsh discipline.  When I left home as a teenager my heart was very bitter.  So bitter in fact that I became twice the S.O.B. that my dad ever was.  I was hell bent on destroying myself through wild living, but Jesus was not willing that I should perish.  PTL

He sent a lady to boldly, relentlessly lead me to Jesus.  The Lord drew me to Himself.  Satan had me by the heels, but Jesus had me by the heart and His strong grip dragged me up out of the pit I’d dug for myself, and set my feet on solid ground.  Life is not without struggles.  Satan doesn’t just disappear when we ask Jesus into our hearts, but Jesus/the Holy Spirit, is stronger than Satan.   He has been with me through all the storms of life.  His Holy Spirit renews my  mind.  He gives me passion for the Word of God, which proves to be the lifeline I need to overcome my stuggles.  The church, and the Christian friends that God has placed in my life, are the three-fold chord that is not easily broken.  They pray for me, encouraged me, love me, and help me transition from a hell-bent lifestyle to one that leads to eternal life.  God took my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh.  Apparently this is something my whole family noticed, and caused them to also want to know Jesus, seeing the drastic effect He had on me.  And I am here to tell you that if God could do that for me He can do that for anyone.  He can do it for you.

May I pray for you?


Lord I am a sinner.  I’ve dug a deep pit for myself.  I am a fool to be pittied.  I’ve made just about every bad choice a person can make.  I’ve been deceived.  But Lord, today I choose YOU!!!!!  Lord, set me free.  Come and sweep my house and put it in order, and then fill me with Your Holy Spirit.  Kick the devil out of my life and seal up every crack and crevasse where he might seek to re-enter.  Set my feet upon solid rock and protect me from the storms my enemy brings against me.  When Satan comes in like a flood, may You raise up a standard against him.  May the plans of the enemy be exposed and may the fate he plans for me personally be his own demise, just like Haman in the Bible.  Set Your hedge around me O Lord.  Encompass me with safe boundaries.  Expand my territory so that the gates of hell may not prevail.  Renew my mind.  Give me strength.  And when my accuser comes to you asking to sift me as wheat, because I fell in a moment of weekness, Lord may the answer be NO!  Let me not make excuses for the trespasses I’ve committed, but be forgiven of my sins, and cleansed from all unrighteousness.  May the curses be broken.  Help me not to pay forward the sins of my past, but let your kindness be in me.  Bless me and my family that we may bless others.  Give me eyes to see and hearts to feel compassion, and hands overflowing with generosity for those in need.  Suit me up in the Spiritual Armor.  Comfort me with the peace that passes understanding.  Fill me with wisdom and knowledge from Your word to light my path and be a beacon of hope for others.  All glory and honor to You.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen 

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

.In Christ the solid rock I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand!  


LOST & FOUND, the Parables of “Lost” Things

LOST & FOUND, the Parables of “Lost” Things

I remember when I worked at the school district, the last week of school, that our bin of lost and found items would get drug out and the items hung up on racks, or laid out on tables in the front foyer, where parents and students would be coming and going, and hopefully they’d see an item that belonged to them and take it home.  I was always amazed at how much stuff would accumulate over the year.  Coats, hats, gloves, shirts, sweatpants, lunch boxes, shoes… just a myriad of things.  My goodness, didn’t anyone miss this stuff?


I have lost things though, so who am I to judge?

I lost my cell phone once.  I had it and then I didn’t have it.  I always kept it in my purse. Then one day I went to lunch with friends and afterwards ran a few errands, and when I got back home and went to make a phone call it wasn’t there.  I stirred the contents of my purse around with my hand, and then emptied it out completely, dumping the contents all over the floor.  Nope, no cellphone.

I looked in my car, all over the car, under the seats, between the seats, in the console, and even in the backseats.  I looked on the garage floor (maybe I accidentally kicked it out with my foot), and under the shelves along the wall.  It wasn’t there.  It wasn’t anywhere.

Like most people now-a-days I don’t have a landline, or even another cell phone as backup.  And even if I had walked to the neighbors that day it would have been useless to borrow their phone.  I did’t know anyone’s number.  No one calls a NUMBER any more, we all call a NAME or a FACE.  Oh dear.  This was bad. This was my only communication with the outside world and it was gone, gone, gone, forever!

I went back in the house and looked on every surface where I might have laid the phone: the kitchen counters, the bedroom dressers, the bathroom, the laundry room.  I retraced every step I’d made before leaving the house that day.  And then I got back in my car and drove back to every business in town where I’d been, and asked if anyone had found a cell phone.  Not a one.

I came back home and sat in a panic in the middle of my living room floor thinking intently about what to do next.  And in the middle of my racing thoughts I heard it…I heard my cell phone ringing.  “My phone!  Oh my gosh, where is it coming from?  I jumped to my feet and dashed around my house like a raving maniac, trying to get to the sound before it stopped ringing…….and where did I find it?  My… PURSE!

It had slipped through a tear in the lining and was caught between the lining and the shell of my hard leather purse.  I felt like an idiot, and at the same time was soooooooo relieved to have found it.  So happy in fact that I wanted to drive back to every place I’d been, call all my friends, and tell them all, “I FOUND IT!!!!”

So, I completely relate to the thrill of the woman finding her lost coin in the story below.

Lost Things

Click below for the FREE PRINTABLE coloring page

FREE PRINTABLE coloring page, click >>>>>> Lost & Found


The Parable of the Lost Sheep

 Matthew 18:10-14 (NKJV)  Courtesy of Bible Gateway

10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.[a]

12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Luke 15:1-7 (NKJV)  Courtesy of Bible Gateway

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

Luke 15:8-10 (NKJV)   Courtesy of Bible Gateway

 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Parable of the Lost Son

Luke 15:11-32 (NKJV)   Courtesy of Bible Gateway

Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[a] out the best robe and putit on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”


Here’s my story:

I had been born an innocent child of God and raised going to church, but somewhere early in life I saw the things that the world had to offer and I was lured away by deception.  It’s a great cavernous thing that the world offers.  There’s never money enough, or time enough, or energy enough to attain that carrot that Satan dangles before our faces, but the game is so enticing (everybody’s doing it) that we continue to seek to try until we have nothing left to give.  That’s when we realize we are now slaves to things we hate (relationships, drugs, alcohol, situations), and it was all just a trap.  God in His mercy didn’t let it get so far with me that I was stealing pig slop out of hunger, but a diet of rice and oatmeal are close enough.  My father was about as far from rich as one can be, but he met me at the train station with as much relief and love and thankfulness as the father in Jesus’s story.  He had his own demons that he was fighting, and it was still a while before I came to my senses, but thankfully I settled down eventually, got married, was blessed with a child, and landed a decent job back home where I belonged.

And then I was working for a small town newspaper and calling on a customer for an ad. This customer had a wrapping and shipping business located inside a liquor store on the east side of town. As I made my acquaintance on my first visit, the woman of this husband/wife team set me on my heels with a pretty direct question. One I wasn’t prepared for, or was even expecting that day. She asked me if I knew Jesus, and if I were to die today if I knew where I would be going. Wow…I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. She made me very uncomfortable. But her words haunted me for weeks after that.

I knew what she was talking about. I had been raised in Sunday school. I had Christian grandparents. My dad had always said he hoped his daughters would get baptized at some time in our lives. I always intended to get baptized, but being fresh into my young life I wasn’t sure I was done sowing my wild oats yet. Somehow I had it in my head that making a commitment to God meant the end of “fun.”

I avoided her in every way after that, but a month down the road when I stopped in to pick up their ad for our paper, being careful to go in the afternoon when I knew she wouldn’t be there, she WAS there and smiling at me as I walked through the door. DANG-IT! But as much as I make this out to be a bad thing, truly our conversation had been all I could think about. I had wrestled with God over what she said for weeks. So when she asked if I had thought about what we talked about, I humbly confessed I’d thought of nothing else.

She asked me if I was ready to make the commitment and I said yes, afraid I may not get a second chance. She whisked me off to the bathroom grabbed my hands and told me to pray with her, “Repeat after me” she said, and I did.

I honestly couldn’t tell you the words I prayed with her that day. All of them escape my memory. But something incredible happened in that bathroom when I said, “Amen.” My blood felt strangely carbonated in my veins, like life was flooding into me in some magical, spiritual way (very much the way life flooded into the Beast when Bell, the Beauty, kissed him and told him she loved him).  That very similar magical effervesence bubbled up inside of me and all around me. I was saved from spiritual death that day.  My legs were wobbly and weak. My mind was swirling. I absolutely was not the same person walking out of that bathroom as the person who walked into it moments earlier. I followed her out to her desk and stared in a daze out the huge picture window. All of a sudden I became aware of the sky and the most gorgeous sunset I’ve ever seen. It was magnificent with reds and purples. I wondered in my heart and asked God, “Have sunsets always been this beautiful and I never noticed, or did You make this one especially for me?”

Just as I thought this I saw a figment of angels in the clouds…thousands of them. They were all singing and rejoicing. It was so emotionally moving to me that I dissolved to tears instantly.  It was some months later that I came across the scripture that says, there is “more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7, and how we have so great a cloud of witnesses watching from above (Hebrews 12:1).

The angels were rejoicing over me that day, a great cloud of witnesses, and God gave me a brief and beautiful glimpse.  But I’m not the only one; they are gathered to rejoice over you too!



If you are reading this and have never asked Jesus into your heart, but feel His Spirit speaking to you, take heed my friend.  He is seeking you.  You didn’t end up here by accident.  God brought you to these words today for a reason.  He wants you.  He’s reaching out to you right here and right now.  Please trust Him!  Give Him your heart today.  You don’t need any fancy words.  You just need to talk to Him.  If you would feel better talking to a real person right now about this decision, that’s good too, and CBN has prayer partners ready to pray at any time of day, just give them a call (1-800-823-6053), or seek out a local pastor.  Pray right now, whereever you are, and ask Jesus to come into your heart while He is knocking on your heart’s door, and let Him be Lord of your life.  Don’t quench His Spirit!  Don’t let the devil lure you away.  Let God’s Spirit lead you.  Trust me, it’s the best decision you will ever make, and the greatest love story!


(This is a video of Glen Campbell, sometime soon after he got saved.  I’m a big Glen Campbell fan, and this is one of my favorite songs.  I am pretty sure it tells his personal story, and that’s really what I love about it.  At the time of this video it wasn’t recorded on a CD yet, but it is now.  He actually recorded several Christian albums! Glen has gone on to be with Jesus, but his beautiful, personal songs and music live on for us to listen to, and you can get them at Amazon.com.)


You are the Lord’s Pearl of Great Price!

You are His Hidden Treasure!


The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

Matthew 13:44-46  (NKJV)

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Solid Rock

FREE PRINTABLE coloring page, click >>>>>> Solid Rock Printable


I dearly hope you have trusted Him as Savior today.


God bless you my friend!!!!

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20:1-16 (NKJV)

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

My Bible footnote says it would have been 6:00AM.

Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 

My Bible footnote says a denarius (a word of Latin origin) was the standard wage for a full day’s work.  The KJV uses the word “penny” or pence in place of denarius which in Roman currency of the time would have been ten asses (asses were bronze or copper coins used during the Roman Empire).  Denarius is the origin of the common noun for money in Italian denaro, in Portuguese dinheiro and in Spanish dinero.

Here are some example salaries and product costs as of the times of Diocletian in the third century AD:

Farm laborer monthly pay, with meals = 400 asses

Teacher’s monthly pay, per boy = 800 asses

Barber’s service price, per client = 32 asses

1 kg of pork = 380 asses (1 lb = 170 asses)

1 kg of grapes = 32 asses (1 lb = 15 asses)

* Source: Wikipedia

And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 

The third hour would be 9:00AM; and there were more people standing inactive, unemployed; (by implication) lazy, useless: – barren, idle, slow“(Strongs #692 argos) in the “agora” (Strongs #58), which is probably the town square, market, or thoroughfare/street.

and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 

Their wage: whatever is right (just drawing attention to that).  The Greek word used is dikaios (1342) and it means “equitable” (in character or act); (by implication) innocent; holy, just, meet, right(-eous).

Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 

The sixth hour is noon and the ninth hour is 3:00PM.

And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle,[a]and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 

The 11th hour is 5:00PM (an hour before quitting time), and is it just me or does the land owner seem kind of annoyed that there are folks just standing around idle all day?

They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’[b]

Again he promises “what is right.”

“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ 

To pay them, the landowner worked his way backwards from the new hires to those with seniority (which btw, is an exact representation of the grapes in the basket.  The first grapes gathered are at the bottom and will be last to come out. The first grapes to come out of the basket are the last ones that went in).

And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 

Quite a generous wage for an hour’s worth of work.

10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 

The landowner was certainly a man of his word wasn’t he, although “fair” is in the eye of the beholder isn’t it?   Ever been hired for a job and completely happy about your wage until you found out what others were being paid?  My husband calls it O.P.M. (other people’s money), and it is the root of all discontentment.  Yep; been there and done that.

11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 

12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 

13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?

14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.

I believe the “wage” in the parable is probably A TICKET TO HEAVEN, and when I look at it like that I kind of get a different perspective. I can’t help but draw a parallel with the thief on the cross.  Jesus told him as they hung on their crosses together, with the sun fading on the day, that today he would be in paradise with Him.  The thief had run out of time to do very many good works.  He was at the 11th hour of his life.  All he had time for was to witness to one last man, yet he got the same reward as our righteous King, as well as all the prophets and saints and godly Hebrews of the Old Testiment who had preached, and prophesied, and judged, and led, been faithful, and died before him.

The thing I have to remember is that Salvation is not earned.  It is a gift rewarded for saying yes to an invitation.

15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 

My Bible footnote says that this parable blossomed out of the attitude that the disciples had shown toward service and rewards.

I find this a tricky thing about church. It is so easy when you belong to ANY group of people to look around at others and compare.  So easy to get hurt feelings about things.  So easy to get wrapped up in unholy competitions.

Am I the only one that is secretly longing for pats on the back for my good deeds? Sometimes tempted to brag about charitible things I’ve done just to make myself feel more spiritual or worthy to my peers?  Am I the only one that feels a twinge of jealousy when someone else in the congregation is liked more, fawned over more, appreciated more?  Am I the only one that is hurt when my fruit salad is passed over for Linda’s Fritata?  Or when Beth is chosen to lead next month’s Ladies Group instead of me?  Or when Emily puts a picture on Facebook and it gets 47 likes immediately and I don’t even have 47 friends?  Or when a certain, once unknown blog writer, celebrates her Food Network show and new line of kitchen wares filling up all the isles in all the Wal-mart stores across America and I count it a huge success if just one person clicks the “like” star on one of my posts.

Although rewards are part of God’s plan (Romans 2:6; Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10), Jesus rebukes the spirit of serving for the rewards rather than out of love (1 Corinthians 13).

16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”[c]  


Click this link for the FREE downloadable coloring page: Grapevine  to use for your small group, or Sunday School class, or just to color as you spend time in prayer.

The last will be first and the first will be last…just like the grapes being gathered into the baskets, the last ones in will be the first ones to enter the winepress, but they will altogether be a lovely batch of vino.

Chosen vs. Called. 

The Greek word for Called is “Kletos.” Strongs #2822.  It means invited, appointed.  It is used eleven times in the New Testament (Bible Study Tools), and most of those times it is in reference to a calling to ministry or a special appointment, such as apostle or saint.

A calling is kind of a general thing, but it is usually geared to a specific group of folks.  For instance, I think of a ranch cook calling the hands for supper.  She yells or rings the bell and anyone on HER ranch who is hungry will come running.  A church bell calls ITS congregation to church.  A school bell calls ITS students to class.  The disciples, and we as Christians, received a calling from Christ to take the love of Christ to our neighbors.  Many are called.

The Greek word for Chosen is “Ekletos.”  Strongs #1588.  It means select, favorite, elect.

Choosing is much more personal.  We choose a mate.  We choose our clothes.  We choose what we want to eat from a menu.  Choosing is intimate.  This word is used 23 times in scripture (Bible Study Tools). Most of those times the word is translated “elect” as in “the elect,” the favorites of the called, the cream of the crop, the most exalted ones of the called.  Jesus called many disciples, but chose a smaller group of twelve apostles.  Of the apostles, Jesus chose an inner circle, Peter, James, and John as His elect.  Often He asked these three to come be with Him for something special, like healing miracles, the transfiguration, or the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Although the two words, Kletos and Ekletos are spelled the same, they are not pronounced the same and have different meanings.  They are homographs, but I have an uneducated hunch that there is an intended play-on-words in the Greek that is sort of lost in English, don’t you?

The same phrase is repeated in Matthew 22:14.

We all have an inner circle of friends, a small group that we trust just a little bit more, cherish just a little bit more.  I want to live my life in such a way as that the Lord would trust me just a little bit more, and cherish me just a little bit more.  Not to lord it over anyone, but just to have Him smile at me with affection.  I want to have a comfort zone thing with Him.  I want to have the trust/integrity thing with HIM!!!!  I have been forgiven much, I also want to love much (Luke 7:47)!

Personal Application

In penning this post I got to thinking about the shopping trip I made with my granddaughter this past weekend.  It wasn’t going to take us long to pick out some uniform pieces for school: a couple skirts, a couple pants, and a couple pair of shorts, but our little dash in to Old Navy hit a roadblock when we encountered the unbelievable, Disneyland-like lines for the dressing rooms, and then to pay at the end.  It was just crazy how many people were in that store.  I guess that’s what we got for not arriving there until afternoon on the half-price day of the tax-free weekend.

While we were in the monsterous line to pay we passed a bouncy-ball vending machine, and to help pass the time I dug some quarters out of my purse to let my little schnookums try for a pink ball.  One…two…three tries and one…two…three green/blue/yellow balls came out.  Well, shucks.  I asked her what she was gonna do with three balls?  She decided she would give one ball to her sister and keep the other two for herself, but I suggested she give the third ball to another kid in the store.  “Why?” she inquired.  “To be nice,” I riposted, and then I asked her to look around for a kid her age who would be a good candidate.  She looked around, but was overcome with fear and shyness.  She wanted me to do it.  I kept pointing people out to her, and encouraging her, promising that it would make her feel good to do it, but she just couldn’t get up the gumption to talk to someone she didn’t know.  I asked her to choose which ball she wanted to give away, and on our way out of the store I asked a little girl if she’d like to have it.  Although my little jelly-bean was too scared to step out and talk to another person, at least she was willing to give, and I was proud of her for that.

I feel the Holy Spirit challenging me in several ways today through the reading and studying of this parable.  Like my darling granddaughter, I too hold back sometimes, because of timidity.  My anxiousness causes me to stand around idle all day in my comfort zone waiting for a job to come looking for me.  Sometimes I find myself looking around to see if anyone else is stepping out before I do, so I don’t look foolish taking a leap-of-faith all by myself.  Consequently, I don’t make it into the vineyard until the 6th or 9th hour (if at all).  But then there are other times when I feel like I am the one who has been there all day, putting in the biggest effort, and here come others that have done barely anything and are getting lavish praise.  Sometimes I get jealous over favoritism shown to others in the small groups that I belong to.

In all honesty, I don’t accept praise well, but admit it is a nice reward to have someone notice my efforts (so that I can humbly dismiss them – ha, right?).  But to get very little praise or appreciation when others around me seem to be getting tons of praise for what seems like a fraction of the work, that is pretty hard to take.  Stumbling blocks.  Oh Lord, I hate the stumbling blocks in this Pilgrims Progress of life.  They are so hard to get past, but here’s what I’m feeling the Lord leading me to use as tools to help me climb over them, dig under them, and squeeze around them:

ladderTry to remember that Jesus made a fair deal with me when He invited me to work in His vineyard.

pick-axeRemember that He is a man of His word and will reward me with what is right. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”  Galatians 6:9

shovelStop looking around at the deal everyone else is getting, or get jealous over favoritism.  It’s Satan’s oldest trick to get us to LOOK at things we’re not supposed to have and then looooong for them.  There are far more harder working Christians out there than me who are going to be given the same gift as me in the end, and who have done a mountain more work.  Who cares if I am His favorite or not.  As long as I make it to heaven, who cares if all I have to live in is a pup-tent, and scraps from the Master’s table to eat.  Tis better to be in God’s kingdom than to be anywhere else.

RopeBe motivated by love, and not distracted by greed, or jealousy or even obligation, nor tempted into expecting a reward for every little thing.  To keep my eyes on the vineyard and not on the prize box.  To take the hard shell off my heart and let it swell for that person in front of me who needs a friend, or a sandwich, or a hug, or a kleenex, or a good laugh.

* * *

Dear Lord Jesus, help me not to fall into the trap of comparison.  Help me to keep my eyes on You and consider only the prize that You have promised me.  Help me to be content with such things as I have.  Help me not to be idle, or crippled by fear or timidity, or green with envy and miss a great blessing.  In Your precious name I pray.  Amen.

* * *

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)



The Parable of the Minas

The Parable of the Minas

& The Parable of the Talents

Let me set the scene for this parable…

Jesus was with His disciples in the last days of His life, and coming from Jericho, where a large crowd had been following. At Jericho Jesus healed a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, and had also gone to the house of Zacchaeus, a rich tax collector who climbed up in a tree to see Him as He passed by.

Luke says that Jesus told the parable of the minas when He was “near Jerusalem.” Matthew has this parable as part of the “Olivet Discourse” given to His disciples on the Mount of Olives.

Looking at the map below we can see exactly where Jesus was. Mark 11 says Jesus and his disciples were near Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, when two disciples were sent to retrieve a colt for Jesus’ Triumphal Entry, so we know the timing was Jesus last week of life on this earth.

Jericho to Jerusalem Map

Jerusalem to Jericho map

Click on the link below for the Free Printable coloring page

Jericho to Jerusalem Map

We celebrate the Triumphal Entry as Palm Sunday, and the next Sunday of course is Easter. So, the events coming soon after this moment on the timeline were…

the Triumphal Entry,

the cleansing of the temple,

the Last Supper,

the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane,

the betrayal,

the trial, scourging, and crucifixion.

All of this would happen in the coming few days.

As Jesus went through Bethany, Matthew and Mark tell us He shared a meal with Simon the leper (who was the father of Judas Escariot), and John tells us that Lazarus was there, and that Martha served (perhaps they were relatives or close neighbors?). This is the supper where a woman (John 12:3 says she was Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus) came and poured an alabaster flask of costly perfume on His head, worth almost a year’s wages. John also tells us that Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son protested the waste.  Judas, you might remember was the treasurer of the Twelve, and according to John 12:6, “was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag, he used to help himself to what was put in it”.


On the timeline of events, John says this was 6 days before the Passover, but Luke and Matthew say it was 2 days before. I’m not a Bible scholar, but perhaps it was 2 days before the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples (The Last Supper), but 6 days before the actual Passover, when Jesus was crucified.  Or that it was 2 days before preparations for Passover begin (inspecting lambs for blemishes, collecting wood for the cooking of the lambs, etc.), but 6 days before the actual sit-down celebration.  At any rate, it was very near to “Palm Sunday.”

According to the notes in my Bible, a mina was about three months’ worth of wages, and a talent was worth about $1,000 in that day.


The Parable of the Minas

Luke 19:11-27 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas,[a] and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’

*Jesus was of course trying to help His audience comprehend a vision of heaven, and His kingdom, by relating it to something tangible they could personally relate to, something that would be gererally familiar to them on earth. In this instance Jesus may have been drawing upon Herod the Great’s son Archelaus’ journey to Rome to bring His spiritual lesson to life. (Several sources, including a footnote in my Bible confirm this).

15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’

20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’

24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’”

The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14-30 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Scripture taken from the New King James Version (NKJV)®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. permission. All rights reserved.

We know that Jesus told this parable as He was on His way to receive His kingdom, but by very different means than any earthly king of any time in history, and very differently than His disciples were expecting. Jesus would pay a very high price, by our standards, for His kingdom – with His life. His disciples expected Him to establish His kingdom in the flesh, soon. Jesus wanted them (and us) to know that His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, and it is coming. He wanted them to know that he was going away, but would come back, and was leaving them (and us) with a job to do. I see the mina or talent to be like the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. These are what Jesus left for us to use to do the work (or use in “trade”) until He returns.

In this parable, the wicked servant said he “feared” the king, but God’s word says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It wasn’t a reverent and trembling fear this servant had, but the same disease the Jewish leaders had at the time of Christ – greed and jealousy. Satan dreads for Christ to rule over him; he wants to be the boss.

And I don’t know if Jesus meant to draw this parallel, but it’s interesting to me that there are three who give account in this parable and that one of the three is wicked, because when Satan (who’s name means “accuser”) fell from grace he took 1/3 of the angels with him. Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Luke 10:18-20; and Revelation 12:3-9. He also was judged by his own accusations. And in the end shall be cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:3) and then into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10), where there is eternal torment and weeping and gnashing of teeth.

*  *  *

I can relate to this parable as both a rebellious teenager and a protective parent. When I became a parent I’d had enough life experiences to see the troubles my kids were headed for, and tried my level best to steer them away (because I loved them dearly) from making a big mistake or a bad decision. Many times they accused me of being mean or harsh, as a means to manipulate me into letting them do what they wanted. Many times that’s exactly who I became to them, mean and harsh. Those teenage years were the hardest, but I am thankful for them, because they helped me see and appreciate the patience of God with us. To show me both the wretch that I was and the loving parent that He is. And for giving me that small glimpse of His mercy, and what He deals with every day. And honestly, to call God hard or austere is more a confession of who we are, our own selfishness, and shows that we don’t really know Him, or want to know Him. We just want our own way.

I can’t say or claim to know God the way we know people, Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out (Romans 11:33), but I do get to know Him every time I read and study and search out His word. And I am humbled that He wanted me to be part of His kingdom by sending a courageous lady to preach the gospel to me when I was a young and foolish mother. That lady led me in a prayer of salvation that changed my life. Certainly changed the course of my life. I shall never know what the Lord saved me from that day, but I know what He saved me to, and it blesses my heart so much that He was not willing that I should perish, but that I should come to repentance. He waited all these years for me to be born, and to choose Him.  The Jesus that I know is merciful, caring, sacrificing, and loving…no greater love has any man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. He purchased a kingdom for me that I didn’t deserve. And even more importantly, He sent me to invite YOU with these words today!

So I ask you…what’s in YOUR WALLET?


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Minas Free Printable

Do you know Jesus as Savior? Do you have His minas and talents in you? How will you invest them in His kingdom, or trade them on the stock exchange of heaven? Don’t worry, I am not asking you to really tell me, or even keep a record for yourself. I just think we need to ask our selves this question every day in order to put our schedules in right order. Truly there is so much work to do. We can do the work ourselves, or donate to causes that will do the work in our place. I believe this parable tells us that it all counts. But, whatever we do, let’s do it out of love, not out of obligation, for anything not done out of love is, well, not done. (1 Cor. 13)

The commandments are summed up in this, that we Love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and spirits, and that we love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:37; Deut. 6:5; Mark 12:30-31). Let us love like the Good Samaritan – which just so happened also on that same Jericho road.

Let us love when we see love is needed. Love is what causes our giving to earn interest. Let us help when we see help is needed. Give when we see giving is needed. And then let us forget what we’ve done.

And let us keep our eyes on the skies, for our King is coming! Amen?


PRAYER: Oh Lord, help me to have eyes to see the needs around me, and the unselfishness to meet them. Lord forgive my selfishness. Lord forgive my fearfulness. Help me to have the courage to share this gospel of yours in the best way to honor You and tell Your story. Let those who have ears to hear, hear Your message and believe, and be saved. May those who love You be encouraged and strengthened. May those who don’t know You, find You. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord God of hosts.”

Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV

The Parable of the Leaven

The Parable of the Leaven

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Matt 13.33 Printable

This little parable is also told in Luke 13:20,


“And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?  It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”  


While I was praying for God’s wisdom to know what this parable is about, the Lord directed me to the notes in my study Bible.  They said

“God’s kingdom is not fully manifested now.  But will be reavealed in the Age to Come.  And in that age it will be known to all.  In the meantime, God’s works are permeating all of human society, penetrating evil and transforming lives.”

(Spirit Filled Life Bible, NKJV, Thomas Nelson Publishers).

Permeating all of human society… perhaps the three measures of meal could be the past, the present, and the future, …till it was all leavened.

The mystery of God’s kingdom was hidden in the past (from the beginning of time) in the rituals and the feasts of God’s people.  It was hidden in the commandments and in the tabernacle.  It was hidden in the prophesies of the prophets.  It was hidden in everything God asked them to do.  Even if they didn’t fully grasp the greater significance of all God asked them to do, by their doing it God permeated His message to the world of who He is, the One True God, and His kingdom to come.

When Jesus, the promised Messiah came, He revealed much of what had been hidden in the past, and revealed some of the future.  And through the Holy Spirit He has hidden His kingdom in each of us, in the present age, who choose Him.  The Lord is the breath of life in each of us.  God’s kingdom is hidden in part from our eyes right now, but is active and working in the hearts of men.  We see dimly as in a mirror now – but one day we shall see face to face.  When we are obedient to do what He asks us to do, we are salt and light to the world.

In the age to come God’s kingdom will be hidden (untouchable) from those who didn’t want to be part of it.

A Woman Hid

I think it is a great mystery how mankind was created in the image of God — male and female, the scriptures say (Genesis 1:27).  God gave Adam a wife from his own rib to cure his loneliness.  The marriage of a man and a woman together makes them one.  The man is to cleave to the woman, his help mate – his womb-man, giving them the power to bring forth life on earth after their own kind.  Adam called her Eve because the name meant “life” “living.”

There are scriptures that hint at God’s feminine qualities.  One of the Old Testament names of God is El Shaddai and literally means “God is my Breast.” Isaiah 66:13 say’s, “As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you.”  Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 say, “…How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…”    This doesn’t mean I think God Almighty is a “she,” or “it,” or should ever be referred to by anything other than the masqueline pronoun HE, because He obviously set male above female in the order of things, and we should always respectfully refer to Him as our heavenly Father!!!!!  But if we peek more deeply into His divine nature, I think there is a woman hidden in there somewhere.  I think we are hidden in Him – and He in us.

All life on earth is hidden for a time in a female womb, so the seeds of the kingdom are hidden for a time in our dark world until the time comes for them to be revealed.  Until then, it is the great commission God has given to each of us to permeate our world with the message of eternal life, till it is all leavened!


Oh thank you Father God, I think (I hope) I understand this parable better now.  Thank You for teaching me (teaching us) Your word.  If I have any misunderstanding, show me my error, and teach me what is right, in Jesus’ name!


Prayer:  Lord, unless You build the house we labor in vain who build it.  We believe, but help our unbelief.  Unless Your Spirit is hidden in us we will have no power to live the Christian life, or love people, or share the gospel with the lost.  Lord I ask that you please forgive my sins and my wayward ways.  Wash them away in the blood of Jesus.  And pour out Your Spirit into me today (and every day) so that I may be able do the work You predestined me to do until the gospel has reached to the ends of the earth.  Direct my steps precious Jesus. Prepare the world for Your gospel.  Go before me Lord, and be my rear guard.  Prepare the hearts of the people here and everywhere to receive Your message.  Hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  It’s in Your precious name I pray. Amen.



Parable of the Mustard Seed

Parable of the Mustard Seed

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”  Matthew 13:31-32 (NKJV)

Mustard seedsThe Parable of the Mustard Seed

The Parable of the Mustard Seed is the third parable told  by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew. Mark and Luke tell of it also.

Mark 4: 30-32

Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it?  It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”

Luke 13:18-19

Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?  It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”

Mustard Seed

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Mustard Seed Printable

I’m a family history enthusiast.  I began researching my dad’s roots when I was a young mother, so many years ago I don’t even want to number them.  Seizing the small window of time available to me, I went to my grandma and got as much info as I could from her.  We sat down with all of her old photos and I asked who the people were in them, and then we wrote their names on the backs of all that didn’t already have them, so this precious information would not be lost with her passing.

I’ve learned so much about my family, and my country’s history in the process of my research as well, and grown to love my heritage, even though there’s not anyone of any great wealth or affluence or notoriety really in the lot of us.  I come from Quakers, who came to this country seeking religious freedom, and poor folk thrown into prison in England for stealing – who came to this country as indentured servants to pay off their crime.  Members of my family have served this great country in every single American war, not to mention a few lesser known regional squabbles.  They were farmers, chasing their dreams by land runs, and pioneering folk traveling westward-ho in covered wagons.  Some chased after gold with a gold pan.  Some delivered supplies to those chasing after gold. And some swung a pickaxe in the gold mines owned by wealthy tycoons. Some delivered mail.  Some built railroad tracks.  Some raised cattle.  Some taught school and some preached.  Some tended commissaries and grain elevators.  It is a colorful and magnificent story – every one of them.

Magnificent and great like this story told by Jesus, because Jesus’ story tells us that as each of our families started with small seeds on a new continent and grew so big that it’s hard to number all of us now, so our Lord’s kingdom began with small seeds, sown by Him into brave apostles, and then by their works has grown into a mighty family tree that includes peoples from every tribe and tongue and race and nation – Jew first, and then the rest of us grafted in, as numerous as the stars of heaven, where the angels of God can come and nest in our branches.

Maybe you’ve been relocated to a place far from family.  Take heart that our God has planted you and wants you to grow and blossom and flourish right where you are now.  As long as there is a church and people of faith, you will always be close to family.  Go and plug-in.

Maybe you are in the same old town you grew up in, that your parents grew up in, that your grandparents grew up in, and are surrounded by almost nothing but family.  Celebrate, cultivate, love the ones you’re with.  Cherish that family bond.  Lift each other up.  Pour your heart into the children and let them see the wonderful heritage that they have been born into.  Celebrate the marriages, and the new births.  God is making you into a beautiful family tree and if grafted into His family tree, is truly a magnificent thing.

Maybe tragedy struck when you were a child and the only family you had were taken from you?  God will never leave you an orphan.  He puts the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6).  He will graft you into His giant tree with people who will love you, and welcome you, and He will bring you in to be a part of the giant family of God forever.  All you have to do is ask Him in, and that tiny seed will grow from you and become a beautiful tree.

My friend, we are meant to be fruitful and multiply.  It was God’s first command to His creation, and it is the great commission Jesus gave to His disciples.  God created us to be physically and spiritually fruitful.  It is our blessing to get to sow His kingdom into the hearts of men, and no tiny act of charity is ever too small to grow and become mighty.

Prayer:  Father God, thank you for your love and your amazing grace and mercy to make a way for those of us who choose You to have a place in Your great family tree.  Help us to grow, and sow those seeds forward while we are here on earth, that our branches will reach into heaven.  Your kingdom come, my Lord!  IJN Amen.

Don’t put His love upon a shelf…

mustard seeds bottle

  …plant it, and see what a mighty tree it becomes!




The Gospel Parables: the Parable of the Wheat and Tares

The Gospel Parables: the Parable of the Wheat and Tares

“Another parable He put forth to them, saying; ‘the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;'”

– Matthew 13:24

This – the parable of the wheat and tares – begins with a statement, “the kingdom of heaven is like…” It is the first of twelve such statments made by Jesus (mostly recorded by Matthew, but also Mark and Luke). It would be easy for me at this point to go chasing down that rabbit hole, because I am easily distracted by such statements, but I’m going to stick to the parable for a moment.


The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Matthew 13:24-30

“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Mark 4:26-29

“And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Tares: the Greek word is zizania. My Smith’s Bible Dictionary says that tares are a common weed called “darnel.” Wheat and darnel look exactly the same when they are in the grass stage, before they come into ear. Back in Bible days it was mostly women and children who weeded the fields, and because the farmer wanted to get the most from his crops he wanted the women and children to wait until the wheat was fully distiguishable, so that only the tares would be removed. Lolium Temulentum (the Latin world for darnel) is very poisonous. If eaten, it produces convulsions and even death. Today darnel is not burned, but is fed to the cattle, and if any of the seeds manage to get in with the wheat they are plucked out and fed to the poultry.

Wheat & Tares

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Wheat Tares Printable

The Parable of the Wheat and Tares Explained

Matthew 13:36-43

“Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”

37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

* * *

In Mark’s rendition there is no mention of tares, only wheat. Mark is focused on and fascinated by the miracle of life that is in the seed, and the partnership between the seed and the earth where it is planted. It really is a miracle, isn’t it? Not just with wheat, but with all things. The life of the earth and all the living things that are in it are a miracle and a marvel. And while it is nice just to linger in that kingdom-of-God-place for a while, Matthew’s rendition points out how the devil messed up the utopia God had created and sowed tares among the wheat. Now we are in the place of waiting, until it all grows up.

I think it is important that we see who God put in charge of the weeding. Jesus tells the disciples that it is His angels’ whom He put in charge of collecting the tares (not us by the way, you’ll notice)! We may think we are doing a good thing for God, but just like Uzzah in the Old Testiment story ( 2 Samuel 6:1-7 and 1 Chronicles 13:9-12) its not our job!!!!  It’s our job to grow, and mature, and to put down good strong roots for ourselves, and to respect and stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what stage of maturity they are in, and wait for the day. The word of God waters us. Prayer is our sunshine. We are in this together.

“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” Romans 14:1

What I take away from this parable is that God wants for us to have mercy, and compassion, and love, and steadfastness for one another (Christians). That doesn’t mean that we are to tolerate sin in the house of God (1 Corinthians 5), but our Lord who planted this field shall surely be upset with us uprooting and trampling each other down to run after a job that isn’t ours.

Our heavenly father is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentence (1 Peter 3:9). Only God knows the hidden things of the heart (Psalm 44:21; Daniel 2:22; 1 Corinthians 4:5), to know who are His and who are not. He wishes for us to be salt and light in a dark world and preach the gospel to all. What is the gospel? That the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. He made it. When we sinned, He redeemed us with His blood. He now resides in a kingdom which is coming. He has invited us to live there with Him for eternity. The only way to get there is through Jesus – accepting the gift He offers in the scriptures, and turning from every sin that so easily entangles us, letting the blood of Jesus wash those sins away.

Our Lord promises not to send His angels to do the sorting until the harvest is ripe, so that not one tiny grain of wheat is lost.

But make no doubt about it…waiting to the last minute to make up your mind is a dangerous proposition. For when the Lord sends his reaping angels it will be suddenly and swiftly. If you haven’t chosen the Lord by then you might not get any more chances. Please don’t wait my friend.

The Parable Fulfilled

Revelation 14:14-20


PRAYER: Dear and precious Lord, forgive me for the darkness in my heart that makes me judge others unfairly. Help me to tend to my own knitting – which is to help and encourage others in the faith, and be salt and light in this world. Help me to stand tall and strong, and flexible, as a reed unbroken by the wind. Lord help me to be obedient to Your teachings, and forgive me for my shortcomings. And Lord, I pray for my family and my friends who don’t know You as Savior yet, that you will also quicken their hearts to repentance, soon, before they grow cold and hard, before the reapers are sent for the harvest and it is too late. IJN, Amen


“And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”

— Philippians 1:9,10


And for all of you who are drawn to the rabbit holes…

Squirrel Hole

…here are the ones touched upon in this parable. (Have fun!)


The Kingdom of Heaven is like…

Matthew 13:24 — a man who sowed good seed

Matthew 13:31 — mustard seed, which a man took and sowed

Matthew 13:33 — leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal

Matthew 13:44 — treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid again

Matthew 13:45 — a merchant seeking beautful pearls

Matthew 13:47 — a dragnet that’s been cast into the sea

Matthew 13:52 — a householder who brings out of his treasure things old and new

Matthew 18: 23 — a certain king, who forgave a great debt

Matthew 19:14 — like little children

Matthew 20:1 — a landowner, who went out early to hire laborers

Matthew 22:2 — a certain king, who arranged a marriage for his son

Matthew 25:1 — shall be likened unto ten virgins, five wise and five foolish

Kingdom of Heaven is like

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Kingdom of Heaven is Like


Wailing and gnashing of teeth

For whatever reason, I feel compelled to draw a line between the weeping that endures for a night (the tears of the saints), and the wailing and gnashing of teeth (the defiant growling of the wicked).

Luke 13:28

“In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.

Psalm 112:10

The wicked will see it and be vexed, He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked will perish.

Matthew 8:12

but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 24:51

and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:30

“Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Job 16:9

“His anger has torn me and hunted me down, He has gnashed at me with His teeth; My adversary glares at me.

Psalm 35:16

Like godless jesters at a feast, They gnashed at me with their teeth.

Psalm 37:12

The wicked plots against the righteous And gnashes at him with his teeth.

Lamentations 2:16

All your enemies Have opened their mouths wide against you; They hiss and gnash their teeth. They say, “We have swallowed her up! Surely this is the day for which we waited; We have reached it, we have seen it.”

Acts 7:54

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.

Matthew 22:13

“Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Mark 9:18

and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.”

Revelation 16:10

“The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

I believe this gnashing of teeth referred to in these passages is a facial expression made by angry, frustrated, defiant-to-the-bitter-end people, who refuse to conform or acknowlege God. In their last rebellious gesture they stiffen their necks, squint their eyes, jut their heads forward, grind their teeth together, and growl through their pain and tears in fist-pounding defiance.


In contrast to wailing of the wicked is the weeping of the SAINTS OF GOD… which only last for a moment:

His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.”    Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)


“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”   Revelation 21:4 (KJV)

He who has ears to hear 001

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He Who Has An Ear

He who has an ear let him hear…

Matthew 11:5

Matthew 13:9

Luke 8:8

Luke 10:16

Revelation 2:7

Revelation 2:11

Revelation 2:17

Revelation 2:29

Revelation 3:6

Revelation 3:13

Revelation 3:22


But be not hearers only, but doers of the word!


“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” – Romans 2:13

The Gospel Parables: Parable of the Sower

The Gospel Parables: Parable of the Sower

“All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.’”  Matthew 13:34; Mark 4:33-34; and Psalm 78:2 (A Contemplation of Asaph)

The first thing that begs a question in my mind is WHY?  Why did Jesus speak to the people in parables?

Let’s start our journey with the definition of the word parable:



 a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.  synonyms:  allegory, moral story/tale, fable, exemplum


Matthew 13.10

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Matt 13.10 Printable

“And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’  He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given…because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.'”  Matthew 13:10,11,13

In a recent teaching by Stephen Armstrong of Oak Hill Church in Austin, Texas, Verse-by-Verse Ministries, Pastor Armstrong points out that there was a defining point between when Jesus taught all of the people openly and when He began teaching only in parables. It was when the Pharisee’s accused Jesus of doing what He did by the power of Satan.  Jesus informed the church leaders who were making that awful accusation, that their actions were considered blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is the unforgivable sin.  That’s when no more signs would be given to them except for the “sign of Jonah.”

Now that might be lost on us, but Pastor Armstrong goes on to explain that the “sign of Jonah” was a total eclipse of the sun (please listen to his End Times Seminar at Max Lucado’s Oak Hills Church, in San Antonio, TX.  It is soooo good!).  When Jonah preached to the Ninevites, all the way back in the Old Testament there was a total eclipse of the sun.  The event was so significant to the people of Jonah’s day that it was registered in the Jewish church annals and the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus’ day would have been completely familiar with what Jesus was talking about.

Now perhaps they dismissed Jesus’ prophesy, or maybe His words didn’t fully register to them at the time, but for that sect of “sign seekers” to see the sun darkened at the moment Jesus died on the cross, it would have been the shuddering confirmation in their hearts that Jesus’ words were true and that they had just killed their Messiah.

I pray that our hearts are soft today to hear the word of God, so that we will not get to the end of our lives, filled with dread, when we realize God’s words are true!!!!

Parable of the Sower1

He who has ears to hear 001

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Our Bible text is from Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  I have included all three versions of the story so we can compare them and try to piece together a whole story.  I happen to use the New King James Version of the Bible, but if you have a version you prefer you are most certainly welcome to read out of your own.  This is one of the longer parables, especially when there is also the explanation, so today’s reading will be a little longer than most of the others.  Are you ready?  Here we go…

Parable of the Sower


The Parable of the Sower

Matthew 13:1-9 

“On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Mark 4:1-9

“And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Luke 8:4-8

“And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Parable of the Sower color.

The Parable of the Sower Explained

Jesus did everything that He did with a purpose.  Everything He did was a training exercise, not only for His beloved of that day, but His beloved of this day as well.  Jesus spoke in parables to see if we are teachable.  The parables, like all of the word of God can be hard to understand.  Some dismiss the Bible as fables, or as dusty old words with no relevance for modern day.  If that’s how we approach the word of God, that is all it will ever be to us.  But if we go to Him and ask for wisdom, and take the time to look deep into its mystery, like the disciples did, He will open it to to our understanding.  We have prayer as a way to ask Him for wisdom, and He gave us His Holy Spirit to open our minds to comprehension. The Holy Spirit living inside of us will teach us.

Matthew 13:18-23

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Mark 4:13-20

“And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Luke 4:11-15

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”

* * *

For this parable I took out my notebook and wrote the four types of soils, and then under each type I wrote what each of the gospels said about them.  Were there some details in one that were missing in another?  Good detective skills will help us piece it all together for a better understanding.


(Matthew) – Parable: the birds (who are the birds?) came and devoured the seed (what is the seed?)   Parable explained: the seedling (person) hears the “word of the kingdom” but doesn’t understand it; the “wicked one” snatches it away.  (So Matthew understood Jesus to say that the seed that falls on this soil is the word of the kingdom, it basically falls on deaf ears, and doesn’t leave an impression).

(Mark) –  Parable: ditto Matthew   Parable explained: Mark heard Jesus say that if THIS parable is hard to understand, how will anyone understand the others (which is a challenge to me to always try to understand it)?  Mark says the seed that falls on this soil is the word and Satan takes it away.

(Luke) – Parable: adds that the seed is trampled down (which I take to mean that it is considered to have little to no value), and the birds devour it   Parable explained:  Luke understood that the seed that falls on this soil is the word of God and that the devil steals it from our hearts, to keep us from believing and being saved.

Who might the birds be in your life who eat that seed every time it is planted?  Who might those be in your life who trample God’s seed, and consider it of no value?  Is it a teacher, a professor, an atheist friend, a book you read or the shows you watch on TV?  Maybe none of  your friends are people of faith and they would make fun of you for becoming a Christian?  Maybe no one in your family is religious at all? Honestly, this was the condition of my heart for most of my teenage years.  I believed in God, but His word was more like a good luck charm.  I am grateful that the Lord was persistent to keep tilling the soil of my heart and sowing His seeds.


(Matthew) –  Parable: not much earth, seeds sprout quickly,  no deep roots, become sun-scorched   Parable explained:  this person is quickly swayed by emotion into believing, but only for a short time.  Tribulation and persecution causes this person to stumble.

(Mark) –  Parable:  basically ditto Matthew   Parable explained:  basically ditto Matthew

(Luke) –  Parable:  Luke says “rock” instead of “stony places,” and that the seed lacks enough moisture to survive.  Parable explained:  basically the same as Matthew and Mark, but instead of using the word stumble, Luke says fall-away.

Have you heard the gospel and happily let it take root for a while, but then the fires and trials of life caused you to let it fizzle and die?  Maybe something happened that caused you to question whether God is real?  Like, why won’t He give you a baby?  Or, why did He take your daddy away?  Or, why did He let you be born with a defect?  Or, why are evil people allowed to live and do horrible things?

I confess that when I finally believed as a young mother it was a very emotional experience.  I was filled with joy and gladness, but those emotions soon came crashing back to earth when I started thinking about the persecution that would be coming for me.  It caused me to go through a hard tribulation of self-conciousness and shame.  I knew my salvation was real; everything changed inside, but I was also battered by Satan over all the sins of my past and what a worthless person I had been.  Those sins truly haunted me, and I was embarrassed to show my face outside my house for fear of the finger-pointing by people who knew me at my worst.  I wanted to, I guess, reject everybody before they rejected me, and kept a hard shell of Spiritual privacy on my heart for a long time, but the Lord has been faithful to complete His work in me and to turn my fearful heart of stone into a heart of flesh.  Tribulation builds character (Romans 5:3-5), and is a refining fire.  His perfect love has cast out a motherlode of fears.  And praise the Good Lord, my family loved me and stuck by me, and most of them who weren’t saved even came to know Jesus as well.  I can thank the Lord for keeping me from being like a dog who returns to her own vomit.  The seed may have been sown on rocky soil, but the Lord transplanted me, and kept me alive with abundant water until I could put down deeper roots.  Praise God Almighty He set me free!!!!


(Matthew) –  Parable: seedlings choked from thorns    Parable explained:  the seedlings live – they hear the word, but are more concerned with making money, which is the thorn in their life that causes him/her to be unfruitful.

(Mark) –  Parable:  choked and fruitless   Parable explained:  the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things are what choke the word that is sown in this person’s heart, and make them unfruitful.

(Luke) –  Parable:  thorns sprang up and choked it   Parable explained:  these seedlings hear and even go out (to be fruitful), but are choked by cares, riches, and pleasures of life so that the fruit on their branches never matures.

Has the word of God taken root in you, but the cares of life have you choked back from growing and maturing?  You love God, and go to church, but not all the time.  You don’t have time to read your Bible, or pray really, because you work full time and have family responsibilities.  Maybe none of your friends or family are people of faith and they keep you busy with other things?

This one might be, oh who am I kidding, IS my biggest struggle!  I’m glad I don’t live in the city where there are endless things to chase after and want.  I get myself in enough trouble as it is.  I am often distracted by the cares of this world (what I will eat, what I will wear, getting my house clean and my laundry done), and by the lust for riches (purchasing lottery tickets instead of giving to ministry), and the Lord knows I am a seeker of pleasure rather than a seeker of Him way too much of the time.  My life has a weed problem, and it is my least favorite chore, but if I don’t get on top of it when I see it getting out of hand, it will eventually choke out all the life in me, and I will never mature past infancy in Christ.  Even worse, when I finally get to heaven I will have little to no fruit to bring to God’s table. 😦


(Matthew) –  Parable:  yielded a crop 100-fold, 60, and 30   Parable explained:  hears the word, understands it, bears fruit 100-fold, 60, and 30.

(Mark) –  Parable:  the amount of fruitfulness is reversed, 30, 60, 100   Parable explained:  hear the word, accept it, bear fruit in the same reversed order.

(Luke) –  Parable:  only uses the 100-fold yield   Parable explained:  Luke almost always has more details.  He understood Jesus to say that this seedling hears with a noble and good heart, doesn’t forget what he hears, and bears fruit with patience.

I am soooooo blessed that someone had the courage to sow God’s seed in my heart and grateful it took root.   My whole life honestly changed the day I received Christ!  I love the word of God and study it often.   I pray continually.  Almost all of my friends are Christian.  But when I look around I’m not sure that I have any evidence of fruit.  I’ve never personally led anyone to the Lord and am worried and discouraged by all my dead branches.  Perhaps I just need the Lord to prune me?  Gosh, will there be anything left when He is done?

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   2 Peter 1:5-8 NKJV

It might be a slower process than we would like – attaining to the perfect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control that the Lord is growing in us, but if the Holy Spirit is alive in us and allowed to have dominion in our hearts, He will constantly cultivate us towards the fullness of all those beautiful traits..

The FRUIT of the Spirit is:









and Self Control

~ Galatians 5:22-23  ~


He who began a good work in us will see it on to completion.  A tiny mustard seed of faith WILL GROW into a giant tree that the birds of the air can nest upon.

I pray this study will bless you and strengthen you in your inner person.

Let us not look around at others and compare.  Let us just keep feeding our Spirit and putting down good deep roots!  When we are filled with the Holy Spirit and full of His life in us, those fruits will mature and drop off onto the soils of the earth all around us, and sprout and grow in the hearts of others.  We may never know the impact we’ve had on people’s lives around us, and that’s okay.  I’d rather be surprised by the abundance of fruit when I get to heaven than puffed up with pride thinking I deserve something that I really had nothing to do with.

But while we are on this earth, and when we feel His Spirit prompting us to love others, to give to others, to be kind to others, to have patience for others, to bless and not to curse… let us let His Spirit have His wonderous way.  Those are His seeds we sow, and His fruitful harvest to come.


“So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”  – 1 Corinthians 3:7



Prayer:  Precious Lord Jesus, thank you for Your word and for the Holy Spirit whom you gave to me, who helps me to understand what I read in Your word, and gives me the power to live it.  Thank You for cultivating the soil of my heart, watering me, giving me food, loving me, protecting me, and always being with me on this road of life.  Praise you Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Give me the heart for others that You have for them.  Help me to be full of Your Spirit, and fruitful, that one day I may come to Your housewarming with a basket full of fruit to share with You.   In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.


But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;  for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”  – James 1:22-25


Martha Served

Martha Served

“Now it happened as [Jesus] went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.” Luke 10:38 …And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10: 39-42)

I recently put together a fairly elaborate luncheon for a group of ladies. I’d put a lot of thought and effort into it, wanting it to be sort-of-like a seventh inning stretch for them — a sort of coach’s halftime speech that would give them a sense of accomplishment for their work so far, refresh them, and then inoculate them with the energy and enthusiasm to crank out the last ounces of their strength and finish the game.

As they nibbled on their morsels, I remarked to them that this was going to probably be my finest hour, the penacle of parties, and it was going to all be downhill from here. One of the ladies piped up saying that I didn’t really need to go to so much fuss and bother, that she was just as tickled with a loaf of bread and simple assortment of lunch meats. As long as she didn’t have to cook it, or clean up from it, she was totally happy. The other guests agreed.

That’s when the scripture about “Martha, Martha” and Jesus popped into my head. And I have to also say, I love how the scriptures are so honest with Martha’s wording of her question to Jesus, “Do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” By her words I’m almost certain Martha was probably a firstborn. I’d even venture a guess that she and her siblings may have lost their parents at a young age and Martha assumed the role of mother to her brother and sister. I only wonder this because the three of them are always together, but there is never any mention of parents or spouses. Mary fits the model of a second born – an opposite of the firstborn. The oldest always feels like they have more responsibilities than the other kids, and that younger siblings get away with slacking off much more than they do.

Martha had obviously been brought up with manners and knew how to entertain guests. I bet she kept her house spotless clean, dishes done, beds made with fresh linens, and Refreshments (2)smelling great with scented candles and such. When Jesus stayed I’m sure she tried hard to make sure everything was perfect for Him. Maybe she laid a mint on His pillow and bottle of water on his nightstand. Perhaps she washed his clothes for Him. And what a sweet surprise it would have been to have them pressed and hanging in the bathroom for Him when He got up to shower in the morning. With a name like Martha you have to think she probably did crafts, gardened, was an amazing decorator, and most assuredly a fantastic cook too! Or maybe it is Martha Stewart I’m thinking of? Ha!

Scripture says the Mary/Martha/Lazarus family lived in Bethany. Luke says Jesus came to their village and that’s where He met Martha. I often wonder what Martha was doing when Jesus came through? Was she planting flowers in front of her home, or sweeping off the sidewalks when Jesus passed by? Was she at the market or on her way home and they met in the street? I wish I knew how their paths had crossed? What had He said to her that prompted her to invite Him to her house? And what did she make for supper? Even more intriguing…what did Jesus like to eat?

Like Martha I am a firstborn, with a lot of things on my mind. Always a million plans on my heart. I admire Martha wanting to make her guest comfortable and happy. If she is Refreshments (1)anything like me she probably spent all week deciding on what to make for supper after extending that invitation, and then shopped all over town for the freshest and finest ingredients. I wonder if she scrubbed and dusted and made sure everything was perfect, like I certainly would have. From the cleaning of the bathrooms to the chopping of vegetables, I imagine she stayed busy. And I’m pretty sure Jesus not only cared, but that He noticed, and was grateful.

In fact the more I look at it from my recent experience with the ladies, the more the tone of His response seems to sweetly suggest that she didn’t need to go to so much trouble and fuss for Him; that she had made way too much food and preparations; and that a simple dinner would have done fine. I think Jesus appreciated Martha’s efforts greatly, but what I see that He desired rather than an extravagant meal was the pleasure of her company, which is where Mary comes in.

Jesus often broke the social molds of the age and this is one more example. Mary was allowed to sit at Jesus’ feet and be taught. That was a luxury reserved for the men in those days, but Jesus let Mary be seated in the congregation around Him instead of sending her away to do women’s work. In fact, Jesus wanted Martha to put down the spatula and oven mitt and partake as well.

Jesus loved Martha (John 11:5) and her sister, and their love for Him was mutual, but I see each was different in return. John 11:2 and 12:3 says it was this Mary who anointed Jesus with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair (Matt.26:7). That makes me think Mary (as the Greeks would say) “eros” loved Jesus – with a deep, familial, affectionate love. Martha “philos” loved Jesus, with a brotherly, giving, serving love. And Jesus “agape” loved Mary and Martha, with unconditional, sacrificial love.

God had gifted Martha to serve, and her gift is important. If she hadn’t been there, Jesus would have maybe starved. He’d have had to probably sleep on the cold hard floor or worse, on the street. As special as Martha’s gift was, though, it’s only part of the total package of hospitality. I believe John 12:2-3 lists the total package: Martha served, Lazarus sat, and Mary anointed. As a guest in their home Jesus was provided for, kept company, and well-regarded.

Those two girls, whether they realized it or not, were a pair. Together these two women demonstrate what I think are the two sides of hospitality, giving and receiving (and Lazarus was there to talk sports, right?).

I don’t think it is a coincidence that Luke 10 begins with Jesus sending out His disciples two-by-two and ends with Mary and Martha?

“After these things the Lord appointed seventy other [disciples] also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Luke 10: 1-9)

I feel like the kingdom of God has come near me today. As much as I love to serve, I have to remember that it isn’t fair to impose my ways on anyone (we are all gifted differently), or expect someone is being lazy who doesn’t share my vision. I need to put away distractions sometimes and just sit at Jesus’ feet, probably a lot more often than I actually do.

And when I do serve, I’m going to try to KEEP IT SIMPLER so that I can receive from the Lord what He wishes to teach me, rather than trying so hard to impress my guests.

It is so true what Jesus says in Matthew 13:17, “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” I sooooo wish I could see how very different Martha’s first supper for Jesus was from that last one with Him after her brother came back to life?

“There they made Him a supper; and Martha served…” John 12:2

Feast of Booths

Feast of Booths

Continuing with our study of the feasts of Israel is this, our final feast, the Feast of Tabernacles.  If you have missed the other studies, you may click the links here:

The Lord Our Passover (Passover & Unleavened Bread)


Happy Firey Tongues Day (The Feast of Weeks – Pentecost)

Feast of Trumpets

Feast of Atonement & The Lamb’s Book of Life



My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  Ezekiel 37:27 (NKJV)


Do you remember the story in the Old Testament where Moses went on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments from God, but returned only to find the Hebrew people had constructed a golden calf all that time he was gone, and were worshipping it?  Aaaargh!!!!  I think Moses was pretty much at his wits end with them.  He angrily tossed and broke those stone tablets, and went straight to burn their stupid idol (32:20).  In his frustration he went out and met with the Lord in a tent far away from the camp.  He called it the tabernacle of meeting (33:7) and there God and he talked things out.  The Lord asked Moses to come back up on the mountain and He would show him what to do.

When Moses returned to the mountain, God gave him instructions for building a Tabernacle of worship for the people, so that they could have Him with them in their wilderness wanderings.  God made Himself accessible to the people.

Later, on in the timeline of history, when David became king, he sought to build God a permanent dwelling place, where the Ark of the Covenant (from all the way back in Moses’ day) could be kept.  His son Solomon fulfilled his father’s vision, and the temple was built in Jerusalem.

Through the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:8; 29:45; Leviticus 26:11-12) and the construction of the temple (1 Kings 6:13, 14; 2 Chronicles 6:18), God demonstrated again and again an outward expression of His persistent desire to dwell with man. But we are to make no mistake… These tabernacles were only temporary provisions. God’s word tells us that He does not dwell “in temples made with hands.” (Isaiah 66:1-2; Acts 7:48-50; 17:24, 25 cp. Jeremiah 7:4; Matthew 24:1, 2) (*http://www.dianedew.com/habitatn.htm)


“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded?”    1 Kings 8:27 (NKJV)


God’s house on earth was regularly robbed and desecrated by evil kings throughout the Old Testament.  And even in the New Testament religious people of that day were using it in ways that God never intended.  Jesus overturned tables when He found that people were turning His Father’s house into a den of thieves.

In 70 AD God’s Tabernacle (Temple) on earth was finally destroyed for the last time when the Holy Land was conquered and God’s people were scattered over the face of the earth.  It has never been rebuilt.  All that remains is the western wall, where orthodox Jews and people from around the world go to pray and press their paper petitions into the cracks between the stones.


Though God’s tabernacle on earth was misused and eventually destroyed, The Father never wanted His people to forget about His dwelling place, because it was after all a copy and shadow of things to come. The design that He showed to Moses on that mountain was and is a copy and shadow of His tabernacle in heaven (Hebrews chapter 8 and 9; Revelation 21).  The purpose of the tabernacle is to give man a place on his/her level to meet with our Maker, for the purpose of fellowship!  A place where we can remember the covenant God has made with us, lay down our sins, learn of His will and His ways, and sup with Him!  The ritual of “church” is a practice that, in it’s very best, gives us a picture of heaven.  Our modern “church” is rooted out of an ancient Hebrew practice ordained by God…


“You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.”

Deuteronomy 16:13-15 (NKJV)


If you would like to have this coloring page, click the FREE PRINTABLE link below.


The Jewish Feast of Ingathering or Feast of Booths, as it is sometimes called, is the last of the yearly feasts of Israel.  It takes place in the fall, at the end (or ingathering) of the fruit harvest.

In modern Hebrew culture, The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is celebrated by God’s children who first put up a Sukkah (like a gazebo with an open air roof) in the days leading up to the feast date.  It can be built on a porch (as long as the porch does not have a roof of any kind), or in a back yard (as long as its location is open to the sky and not sheltered under any tree cover).  The Sukkah can be made of an existing structure, as long as the roof is replaced entirely with “sechach,” which is vegetable matter that has not previously been used for any other purpose.  It must be four sided, with one side open for entering and exiting.  The roof cannot be premade – it must be newly constructed of twigs and branches of palms collected for that particular Sukkah that year.  Inside is a table, and all the family meals are taken in the Sukkah for the entire holiday.  Guests are invited and encouraged.

The week-long feast of Tabernacles is book-ended between two Sabbath days of rest – Leviticus 16:30-31; 23:34, 41.  On the first day of the feast the people of Israel were to “take the foliage of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and use them for the roof, and also offer an offering made by fire to the Lord, and rejoice before the Lord for seven days” (Leviticus 23:40,36).  All native Israelites were to go out and dwell in these booths for the seven days of the feast to remind them of their ancestors wandering in the wilderness.

(For more info please visit this terrific website!)



As with all the feasts, Jesus is the pivotal point on which they all are hinged.  Each of the feasts are a copy and shadow of things to come.

The first four feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost) happen in the spring and summer, and each has been fulfilled by Jesus, our Passover Lamb without spot or blemish, the Resurrection and the Life, the Bridegroom of the church, our Messiah.

Three feasts remain: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.


Click here for the fall-feasts-free-printable

The ultimate fulfillment of the last three feasts, as it appears, will be when Jesus sounds His trumpet at the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) and gathers His elect “from the peoples” (Eze. 11:17) – the rapture; atones for His chosen (Yom Kippur), taking the sacrifice from the cross and sprinkling the blood on the mercy seat in heaven (Lev.16:3, 14; Rom. 5:9-11), permanently penning the names of those atoned for in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  And then gathering us, His bride, the elect, and the church, from the heavens, from one end of heaven to the other, to gather us from the many mansions (Sukkot) He has built in His Father’s house (where we will be kept safe from the great tribulation to come)…

For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock. 

Psalm 27:5 (NKJV)


…to His great Tabernacle in the New Jerusalem.

“And there we shall all ever be with Him…” (1 Thes. 4:17)



The Wedding Feast

To understand the Feast of Tabernacles with a little more clarity, I feel like we need to understand the Jewish Wedding customs.  I see the two of them just so very intimately intertwined.

In the Old Testament, it was the custom for a son, or his family, to choose a bride.  Having made a choice, the son would then go to the father of the bride and negotiate a “bride price” or dowry.  Once the dowry was paid, the son would ask for the bride’s hand in marriage, seal the covenant with a sip of wine, and place a ring on her finger.  The two were engaged at this point, or in Jewish terms, betrothed.  It was a legally binding agreement.

The groom then left his bride and returned to his father’s house where he would begin building a home for the two of them.  This home was built in his father’s estate.  As you can imagine the groom was anxious to go back and get his bride and get the show on the road, but the son would not be allowed to go back until his father approved of the house that he had built.

When the house that the son built finally passed his father’s inspection and approval, the father would give the son permission to go back and get his bride.

When he went to retrieve his bride, while he was still a ways off, he and his groomsmen would begin shouting, and even blowing a trumpet to alert her.  The bride was supposed to be dressed, packed, and ready to depart at a moment’s notice.  She was to have an oil lamp ready, and all of her bride’s maids as well, in case he came at night.  In her time of waiting she was to remain consecrated, set apart, and bought with a price. And when the groom arrived with his groomsmen, they would then snatch the bride away and begin a joyous procession to the father’s house.  This would alert the townsfolk and bride’s families that the wedding was taking place, and they were all invited to come.

At the father’s house the bride and groom exchanged rings and vows were spoken.  Afterward, the two of them would disappear into the house he had made for them, and there they would remain for seven days.  They were not considered married until the marriage was consummated (John 3:29).  The bride and groom remained in the chamber and spent that time getting to know each other in every intimate way.  The wedding guests continued to celebrate with feasting and drinking wine and dancing until the seven days were finally ended and the bride and groom could share in a grand feast together.

If you are familiar with the scriptures it’s easy to see so many illustrations of Jesus and the church in this beautiful tradition.  If you are not familiar, I encourage you to seek the scriptures for yourself.

First, we are a chosen bride:

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  1 Peter 2:9

“For I [Paul] am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.  2Corinthians 11:2

Jesus made a covenant with His apostles (Passover/Last Supper) that passed on to all who of us who have believed and received Christ as Lord.  At the Last Supper Jesus said, “This is my blood of the everlasting covenant, which is poured for many.”

The dowry He paid for His bride, the church, was His suffering and death on the cross (Unleavened Bread/Crucifixion/Passion of the Christ).  “But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”  1 Peter 1:19 (AMPC)   It was a high price, but greater love hath no man than this, that He lay down His life for His friends.

The figurative ring that Jesus placed on His bride’s finger is the deposit of the Holy Spirit into our hearts when we accept His proposal.  He set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  And He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts.  (2 Cor. 1:22 & Ephesians 1:13-14)

It is the seal, the promise, guaranteeing He will return for us someday.  Jesus told His disciples it was to their advantage that He go to heaven, because unless He went, the Holy Spirit could not come back.  The Holy Spirit is the betrothment, the signed contract.

When Jesus told his disciples that “in my Father’s house are many mansions” ( ) and “no man knows the day or the hour of my return, only the Father,” ( ) they understood the symbolism parallel with the wedding custom.

When the apostles preached that Jesus would return with a shout, and a trumpet (1 Thes) to gather up His bride, the Jewish people of that day HAD to have begun to see the mystery of the gospel, as I pray we do.

The feast of Trumpets is fulfilled by the rapture (gathering up and snatching away) of the church (all the believers of the earth) – the Bride of Christ.  And the feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled when the church dwells in heaven in our little sukkah’s (booths, tabernacles) that our Bridegroom has built for us, to keep us safe for the last seven of Daniel’s prophesy – the great tribulation.

Jesus was Jewish, and He used things familiar to Jews to teach kingdom principles; the Jewish people got their customs from the Father to begin with.  It is all patterned after things in heaven.  When we draw the veil back on those Jewish traditions, it gives light to our understanding of the scriptures and how Jesus fulfills all of them.  Oh how I would love to be adopted into a Messianic Jewish family and to know the ways and practices of the people of my Lord.  How I appreciate the knowledge of my Jewish brothers and sisters like Zola Levitt and others, whose wisdom I draw upon heavily in my understanding of the scriptures.

Who is the bride and who are the guests?  I believe I am interpreting Zola Levitt correctly that the bride is the raptured church (Christians and Messianic Jews), and the guests are the family of the Father (the people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) who repent as a nation (at their feast of Atonement) of their rejection of their Messiah.

It’s maybe a little odd of me, but I am thankful for Israel’s unfaithfulness (the Father knew they would be – as Hosea’s wife was), because it allowed me, YOU (and all Gentiles), the blessed opportunity to be grafted into the promise, and a new covenant, and to share in that great feast in God’s tabernacle in the New Jerusalem at the end of the age.


The Lord’s Time Fully Come

jesuswaterintowineI’ve often wondered about the two places in scripture where Jesus draws back from participating in a certain activity, saying My time has not fully come. The first instance was at the wedding in Cana when Mary, His mother, asked Him to show His works and do something about the lack of wine. Jesus told her His time had not fully come, but obeyed His mother, and did His works in secret. I believe His reluctance to manifest a miracle with wine (especially the wine for a wedding banquet) was because He is saving himself for THE WINE that will be shared with us at THE WEDDING FEAST in heaven…the fulfillment of the Last Supper, which He told his disciples He would not drink of until we are all able to drink it with Him, at His table, in His kingdom.

sukkot_feast-of-tabernaclesThe second time Jesus made that statement (in John 7), His brothers were getting ready to go the Feast of Tabernacles and pushing Him to also go and show His works to the people. Jesus told them to go without Him, as His time had not fully come. Jesus did end up going, but secretly. Hebrews 8:2 tells us, the true tabernacle is with God and not men. Jesus was well aware of the many mansions (Sukkahs, tabernacles) that await us in His kingdom. Our Lord observed the feasts on earth knowing they have a fulfillment in heaven. He has slipped away to prepare our places, that where He is we may be also, and He is waiting for His Father’s command to return for us, His bride.

His time fully comes in that day, when we shall sup with Him in His tabernacle, and He with us.


“Come away with Me…” Mark 6:31 (NKJV)


…is an invitation that Jesus continues to extend to anyone who can hear His voice.  It is the essence of “Tabernacles” to come out from the lives we’ve built for ourself and commune with God.

In Jesus the intent of God’s heart is fulfilled. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt (or, tabernacled) among us…” (John 1:14) His name was called “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God With Us.” (Matthew 1:23) The tabernacle of Moses was only a type of “the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man…” (Hebrews 8:2, 5; 9:25) “… Behold, the tabernacle (the abode) of God is with man, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people …” (Revelation 21:3)

God’s ultimate intention, however, has been to make His abode within the heart of every believer (John 14:23). Jesus promised that the same Spirit that “dwelleth with you … shall be in you.” (John 14:17) His place of habitation is within His people: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.” (Zechariah 2:10)

In Old Testament times the Spirit of God would “come and go” – His Presence would enter, bless, and depart (Numbers 9:15-23; 11:25; 2Chronicles 5:13-14). Yet the Lord longed for a place in which He might continually dwell, or make His abode. “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation … here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Psalms 132:13, 14)  (*http://www.dianedew.com/habitatn.htm)


 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”  John 15:4-6 (NKJV)


“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”  John 15:2 (NKJV)


“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I [John the Baptist] indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”   Matthew 3:10-12 (NKJV)


“And the fire will test each one’s work (our Firstfruits), of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.  Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”   1 Corinthians 3:13-17 (NKJV)


“Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’  Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved to the sake of the fathers.  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable”  Romans 11:25-29 (NKJV)


So while our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, gathered around tables inside their little outdoor huts, covered with palm branches, let us all remember, our bodies are the temple of the Lord, and let us eagerly look forward to the ingathering (harvest of souls) that shall take place, and the great supper that the Lord is preparing, where we will ALL share that communion cup with Jesus finally, after all this time.


‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”

Revelation 19:9 (NKJV)


“Surely I am coming quickly.”  Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)



The Feast of Atonement & The Lamb’s Book of Life

The Feast of Atonement & The Lamb’s Book of Life

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”    

2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV

In case you are just now joining me on this eye-opening journey through the feasts of Israel, I want you to know that this is one in a series of studies on the Jewish holidays. The other feasts that proceed this one are: (Passover & Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost and Trumpets).  And then following this feast is the feast of Tabernacles.

Studying the feasts is a great way for us to gain greater insight into God’s master plan for His creation,  and has opened a window of fresh air for me to God’s kingdom in heaven.  These feasts are not just for Jewish observance, but are an opportunity for each of us to get to know God and His plan for all of us.

Feasts Collage2

The “Days of Awe”

I think it is appropriate that we begin the study of the Atonement with the Days of Awe.

This ten-day tradition is observed in the fall of the year, after the last summer harvests (grapes).  The Jewish days of awe commence immediately following the Feast of Trumpets (the celebration of the Jewish agricultural New Year), and are an annual time of repentance, reverence, and fear of God. They conclude at Yom Kippur (the Atonement) where another trumpet blasts.

According to several websites that I visited, devout Jews will spend the days of awe rising while it is still dark in the morning and going to synagogue to pray, in sincere penitence (prayer, fasting, worship, and asking God’s forgiveness for every single sin in their lives committed through the year). They will also go and make things right with their fellow-man, settle legal matters, and right anything they know someone has against them, making restitution.


The Lamb’s Book of Life

At the end of the Days of Awe, at sunset on the beginning of Yom Kippur, the custom of the Jews is to present themselves to the priest. The books are opened to see what disputes and legal matters are there, and what accusations have been brought (by two or three witnesses) against them during the past year. All secret sins are also to be confessed. Only the sins confessed are atoned for.

Then, having righted all the wrongs with one’s neighbors, brothers, sisters, family, friends, and God himself, having cleared their conscience of everything against themselves to the best of their ability, the priest then makes an atonement sacrifice for the people’s sins, blots out all their sins from the books, and writes their names in the Book of Life.

All the sins confessed and atoned for from the previous year are forgiven, never to be remembered again, as if they had never happened.  When every single Jewish family has presented themselves before the priest, as the sun is setting on Yom Kippur, A HORN IS BLOWN, signaling that the ceremonies are completed. The slate (record of wrongs) is wiped clean…..until next year in Jerusalem!

Unfortunately, anyone who fails to appear before a priest out of laziness or rebellion, when that trumpet sounds, their sins remain. Anyone who refused to participate in the observance, their names are written in the book of death.

If the reader is a student of the Bible it is easy to see the parable or likeness this observance is for God’s kingdom in heaven.  As with all the other feasts, Jesus is the fulfillment, and each will come full circle as a copy and shadow of things to come.

The Bible says, God has set before us, life and death, with the free will to choose for ourselves.  Think how amazing that is.  He even warns of of the consequences of our poor choices.  Just like in the garden of Eden where there were fruitful trees for life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which if Adam and Eve ate of would cause them to die.  Why, oh why, when we have LIFE all around us are we so tempted by death?  There is freedom in life and only slavery in death.  How is it that the devil can make death soooo appealing … soooooo  tempting?  Snake oil salesman!!!!


Amazingly, even when we’ve chosen death, God still makes a way for us to be reconciled to Him.  Jesus is the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8 and 21:27). John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”  Our Passover Lamb has made the atonement sacrifice Himself for each and every one of our sins. The blood He shed on the cross is sprinkled on the mercy seat in God’s Holy of Holies by Jesus, our High Priest, to atone for our sins and make these bodies, these frail and cracked vessels of clay, inhabitable by His Holy Spirit.

“and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:5

Only the sins we’ve personally confessed to Him, and only the relationships we have reconciled, are under the blood (what we bind on earth is bound in heaven and what we loose on earth is loosed in heaven). Why not give them ALL to Him, hold nothing back?  When we turn from our sins and trust in Jesus, our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  All the other books (containing offenses) are wiped clean.

“For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14

When that trumpet sounds at the fulfillment of Yom Kippur, the door to heaven shall be closed forever, just as the doors to the ark of the covenant are closed until the next observance of the feast.

“If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15

The Great White Throne of Judgment is a judgment for unbelievers. No one at that judgment has his name in the Book of Life; their punishment is sure.

(Read more at: GotQuestions.org)

This coming Yom Kippur could very well be the last to be celebrated on earth. Possibly the last chance for people to make things right with God before that door of grace closes forever.  Will you be a wise virgin who makes it inside for the banquet, or a foolish virgin who is shut out forever?  (Read about the Wise and Foolish Virgins)

Behold I stand at the door and knock… Choose you this day whom you will serve!

I don’t think it is a coincidence that there are TEN DAYS of AWE and TEN COMMANDMENTS!  I also don’t think we have to be hemmed in by a particular season to be repentant of our sins.  Any time is a good time to get right with God.

Do you have any unconfessed sin? Do you know someone who has something against you that you need to make right? The Lord could be coming at any time. Are you ready?  No man knows the day or the hour. Therefore, now is the time to take care of those things that would disqualify you for the prize. Be reconciled to God!

I invite you to spend the next ten days with me taking a sober look at our lives and getting serious to make things right with God?  Let us choose life and not death!

Day One

Commandment 1

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to all the gods I have besides You.  What do I spend my money on?  What do I spend my time doing?  Forgive me Father for having other gods before You!  I choose life!

Day Two

Commandment 2

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the “graven images” I have made for myself –  lucky rabbit’s feet, lucky horse shoes, lucky charms, horoscopes, seeking mediums, believing in fables and old wives tales, superstitions, and the false doctrines of the Nicolaitans, self-worship, or putting my faith in anything other than You, God?  Forgive me Father for trusting in empty, inanimate objects and chance, or reducing You to the same.  I choose life!

Day Three

Commandment 3

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the many times I misuse Your name in a day?  Forgive me Father for using Your name inappropriately, as a curse word, as a sware, as a lucky charm, and not in actual conversation with You.  I choose life!

Day Four

Commandment 4

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the holiness of the Sabbath day as a day of rest, not only for myself, but for all of those around me, and reverence to God.  Do I keep Sunday holy?  Teach me how to keep it holy.  Forgive me Father for being flippant and selfish and irreverent with Your Sabbath.  I choose life!

Day Five

Commandment 5

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to all the ways I dishonor my parents.  Do I talk badly about them?  Have I dishonored them by thinking of them only as a burden, or the inheritance they might leave to me?  Do I love them?  Do I do things for them and care for their needs?  Do I spend time with them?  Father forgive me for not giving my parents the honor due them.  I choose life!

Day Six

Commandment 6

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the ways I have taken life away from another.  What about abortion?  Oh Father God in heaven, forgive me!  I choose life!

Day Seven

Commandment 7

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the death this sin has brought to me, my family, my nation.  Premarital sex, extramarital sex, promiscuity, cheating, porn, and even looking upon another with lust in my heart.  Forgive me Father that I have been a seeker of pleasure rather than of a seeker of You, and help me to overcome by the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit.  I choose life!

Day Eight

Commandment 8

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the things I have inadvertently or on purpose taken and not returned.  Whether it was an object, or someone’s character, or even someone’s identity.  Father God, reveal to me my sins, and help me to put each one under the blood.  I choose life!

Day Nine

Commandment 9

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the false witnesses I have committed.  If I lose my integrity how do I ever get it back?  It is so easy to lie when I am backed into a corner and trying to avoid trouble.  Sometimes a story seems more interesting when it is embellished with a little exaggeration.  Sometimes I want to fit in with others and find myself sucked into gossip.  Father God, help me to be a person of integrity.  Help me to always tell the truth.  I choose life!

Day Ten

Commandment 10

Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the things I want.  Am I greedy for another person’s looks, or money, or fame?  Do I want what someone else has, a nicer house, or job, a sexy spouse, new clothes, or a new car?  Father God, make me sensitive today to all my little jealousies, and forgive me of them.  Wash my sins away in the precious blood of Jesus.  I choose life!

*  *  *


“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; and you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” Isaiah 58:6-9

How big of a debt has God forgiven me of over these last ten days, and over my lifetime, really?  I pray that God would sober my heart for how great His mercy has been towards me, and in turn give me mercy for others that I have had a hard time forgiving.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all. 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”     

Matthew 18:21-35 (NKJV)



God’s Timing

No man knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return. The Lord may come tomorrow, next week, later this month or a thousand years from now.

Are we looking for a sign?  Let us remember what Jesus said to the Jewish leaders of His day in Matthew 12:39, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

I find it terribly interesting that the Book of Jonah (Old Testament) is traditionally read at the haftarah on Yom Kippur (the Feast of Atonement), the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, when they contemplate God’s judgment and repent.

Jonah couldn’t believe that God would send him to preach repentance to the gentiles/heathens of that day, and was bothered even further when they accepted the gospel that he reluctantly preached.  I believe God intended the experience to provoke His Jewish children to jealousy, so they would to turn their hearts back to Him as His favored ones, which is exactly why we who are not Jews have been welcomed into God’s kingdom (Romans 11:11) for a time.

I believe Jesus perfected the ministry of Jonah.  As Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the whale (death), Jesus was in the grave.  Through a miracle Jesus lived again, arose, and ascended to His throne where the Holy Spirit was released to inhabit every person who believes on the Son, because of the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat in heaven by our High Priest – Jesus, and the Christian church was born – Nineveh believed!!!!

Read Jonah 2 in your Bible!

If we are looking for a sign, there are plenty to consider: Earthquakes, floods, famines, hurricanes forrest fires, volcanoes, signs in the sun (solar eclipses), the moon (blood moons), and the stars (star of Bethlehem).  There are wars and rumors of wars. Our earth appears to be in the throes of birth pains continuously and exponentially. In the last days the Jewish people were to be gathered back to their homeland.  Not only have they been given their homeland back in this generation’s lifetime, but their capital city of Jerusalem has recently also been restored and recognized.

Amazingly God has protected His word (the Bible) throughout all of time, so that it should not perish for all these centuries, even though many hostile generations have tried, until every tiny jot and tittle is accomplished. That in itself is a miracle.

God’s people, the Jews still exist, through all these millennia, despite every attempt of every other race on the planet to try to cleanse the planet of their existence. Another miracle.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  Could it be YOU that He has been waiting for, for all this time?  Could it be us, and this generation, that He has waited for?

I know that I am probably coming on pretty strong – like a mother who is sending her children out into the dangerous world and just wants them to know the dangers and come back home safe.  But I want to soften my tone for just a minute and ask, what are you afraid of?  Are you afraid to love Jesus?  Has something or someone (in the church or this world) hurt you and you are afraid to love?

The Fighter

I know he hurt you
Made you scared of love, too scared to love
He didn’t deserve you
‘Cause you’re precious heart is a precious heart
He didn’t know what he had and I thank God, oh, oh, oh
And it’s gonna take just a little time
But you’re gonna see that I was born to love you
What if I fall (I won’t let you fall)
What if I cry (I’ll never make you cry)
And if I get scared (I’ll hold you tighter)
When they’re try’na get to you baby I’ll be the fighter
What if I fall (I won’t let you fall)
What if I cry (I promise I’ll never make you cry)
And if I get scared (I’ll hold you tighter)
When they’re try’na get to you baby I’ll be the fighter
Look in the mirror
You’re beautiful, so beautiful
I’m here to remind you
You’re my only one, let me be the one to heal

I love this song.  Can we sing it again with the one who hurt us being Satan, and the Fighter being Jesus?!!!!!! I love it even more when I think of it this way!!!!!!!!!  Give Jesus a chance.  Let Him heal you.  Let Him love you the way you were meant to be loved.  Let Him search your heart and cleanse it of all the wicked ways that you’ve been drug through.  He won’t let you fall!!!!!  He’ll wipe all the tears from your eyes!!!!!  And when you get scared He’ll hold you tighter than anyone ever has in your whole life.


Making Prayer a daily part of our lives

  • Seek Him in the morning (pray and read the scriptures)

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” – Psalms 5:3

Visit this website for 12 Helpful Morning Prayers and verses

  • Seek Him during the day (pray and read the scriptures)

“We know that all creation groans and is in agony even until now. Not only that, but we ourselves, although we have the Spirit as first fruits, groan inwardly while we await the redemption of our bodies.”Romans 8:22-23

Visit this website for some beautiful daytime prayers and scripture readings iBreviary

  • Seek Him at meal times (pray and read the scriptures)

“Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts…”

Visit this website for some terrific mealtime scripture prayers Intoxicated on Life

  • Seek Him in the evening (pray and read the scriptures)

“At evening withhold not your hand.”Ecclesiastes 11:6

Visit this website for a great set of evening reflections Morning&Evening.org

  • Seek Him upon your bed (pray and read the scriptures)

“At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”Isaiah 26:9

Visit this website for cross references related to the above scripture BibleHub.com

  • Put on the whole armor of God, and pray continually with all kinds of prayers
  • Be watchful (pray and read the scriptures)
  • Keep seeking, keep knocking, keep asking (pray and read the scriptures)
  • Seek peace and pursue it (pray and read the scriptures)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.Jesus

(Mathew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27; Deuteronomy 6:5)



Before you go, may we have a prayer together?

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters, my spouse, my parents, my children, my friends, my family, and for myself, that You, O Lord will forgive us our sins, all of our sins, sweep our houses (body, soul, & spirit) clean and put our houses in order. I pray Your blood will cover ALL our transgressions and that You will write our names in the Lamb’s book of life forever. I pray that You will fill us with Your Holy Spirit, as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. I pray that You will tune our ears to hear what the Spirit tells us, and help us to remember everything You have told us in Your word. I pray that we will each grow stronger in Spirit every day. I pray that You will suit us up in the Spiritual Armor this day and every day, wash our feet of the heathen dust of the earth, and be attentive to our prayers. If the enemy asks to sift us as wheat I pray that you will tell him NO. I pray that You will bind our enemy, cast him as far from us as the east is from the west; cast out every fear, pull down every stronghold, and cast down every high thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I pray that You will put a hedge of protection around us, place us under Your feathers and in Your shadow, surrounded by Your holy guardian angels who will intimidate and chase away every enemy, real or imagined. Set for us safe boundaries that the enemy cannot penetrate. I pray that You will put in us a desire to seek peace and pursue it with every person in our lives including You. When we are weak You are strong. I pray that You will give us clear minds, to this end, that we will forever worship You in Your kingdom, and forever be with You. We love and honor You. We worship You, O precious merciful LORD. We magnify Your name in all the earth. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen


“In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.”
Proverbs 16:6 NKJV

“And they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11


Next year in “New” Jerusalem!

(*Le-shanah ha-ba’ah bi-Yerushalayim)

* Closing toast for every Passover and every Yom Kippur observance, every year. Note that both feasts are about the blood, the Passover blood of the Lamb of God that takes away our sins, and the Atoning blood of our merciful High Priest that cleanses away our sins.

Please visit this website (Hebrew4Christians) for a more in-depth study of Yom Kippur, the fall feasts and High Holy Days, from a messianic Jewish perspective.




Are you ready to accompany me on another captivating adventure into the Biblical Feasts of Israel? Are you as addicted to this series of adventures as I am?  If you missed our first excursion into the Biblical holidays of the Hebrews, please get your passport up to date by clicking on the link under recent posts (or here: The Lord Our Passover) to catch up, and then be sure to come back here for FIRSTFRUITS, the second stop on our tour.


“For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.”  Romans 11:16

The Firstfruits observance rose out of the sawdust of the construction of the very first ever “church” (the tabernacle) and its priesthood. The Hebrew people, wandering in the desert, on their way to the Promised Land, were instructed to give their first best of their first spring crops to God and in return God would bless their spring harvests. He would also use these offerings and tithes to fund the operation and ministries of His house on earth.

“But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses…to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.”  There you shall take your offerings, your sacrifices, and your tithes. “And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.” (Deuteronomy 12:5-7)

God established that His people (the Hebrews) seek His dwelling place (the tabernacle), and go there, packing their tithes and offerings, partaking of the communion (which had been established between Melchizedek king of Salem and Abraham their ancestor in Genesis 14:18-20), and there rejoice before the Lord.

“And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.

And you shall go to the priest in those days…then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God. And you shall say…I remember what you delivered me from ‘and now behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me.’

Then you shall set it before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you.

When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase…and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled…then you shall say, ‘I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me.

Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people…’”
(Deuteronomy 26:1-15)

According to Leviticus 23:9-12, the priest would wave a sheaf of green barley from each offering of the new harvest before the LORD (north, south, east, and west); a male lamb was then sacrificed as a burnt offering to the LORD; there was also a grain offering of unleavened bread made with oil, and a drink offering of wine.


Green barley

16 Firstfruits

I took this photo of a crop of wheat growing in a field near my house.  The farmers all around me planted winter wheat in their fields last year.  When spring came, with perfect warm and dry conditions, most of them were counting their chickens, as the saying goes, hoping to cash in on the terrible, relentless drought we were suffering with exactly the right low maintenance/minimum water required crop.  I enjoyed watching as the beautiful fields of green slowly began turning amber gold, and the warm Texas sun dutifully accomplished its work.

One late afternoon weeks before the harvest those still green grains got bent over and blown down by a tornado and wind squalls.  The gusts mischievously pounded the crops with down drafts in the night while we were all sleeping, and in the morning when we rose the fields looked as if aliens had crafted crop circles in the night, or as if herds of elephants had bedded down in the middle of them.  Every field was sculpted with strange mazes and patterns of wheat pinned to the ground in random fashion.  The farmers kept their optimism that their crops were still harvestable.

Just when the wheat was almost perfectly aged and ripe for harvest, south Texas got smashed with a month of flooding rains.  Inches and inches of rain.  Rain that carried houses away, washed bridges away, washed all our firewood and even our picnic table away, and filled up all the lakes and rivers to overflowing.  The wheat fields sat in standing bogs.  After a few weeks the amber waves, well, what remained of them, began turning a grayish tan.  Even so, the farmers held out hope that the sun would come out, dry everything out, and there would still be something enough to salvage.

The sun did eventually come out. The wheat did eventually dry out.  When the wheat was finally dehydrated enough for harvest the farmers turned the key on their gargantuan tractors, and lowered their combine blades down to the ground to rake up their pitiful, drowned, and wind damaged wheat.  The blades dragged across rocks and hard clumps of dirt, in an attempt to reap every kernel possible.  The damage to their equipment ended up exceeding the small pittance they netted from those fields.  There was little to no profits that year, only tax write-offs and equipment repairs.

So when I read this scripture about green barley I realized that there is still a lot of faith to be had between green FIRSTFRUITS and that actual golden harvest, at least in south Texas.

“Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the firsfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” Proverbs 3:9-10.

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And try me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake, so that he will not destroy the fruit…” Malachi 3:10-11.

“Do not think that I [Jesus] have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:17-20

The Firstfruits Resurrection

Now, here again is a mystery which gambols and pirouettes on the chiastic ring structure of scripture – the focal point of all the mysteries, Jesus!  Let’s begin with the amazing coincidence that Jesus, our male Lamb, sacrificed, arose from the grave on the very day of Firstfruits – three days after Passover/Unleavened Bread.

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order; Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

So, not only did Jesus rise again, but as He did, He waved a “firstfruits” offering to His Father in heaven, as our High Priest, passing through the rent curtain of the Holy of Holies on earth and entering the Holy of Holies in heaven.

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” Matthew 27:50-53

We learned in the Passover study that Jesus’ body is the unleavened bread, pierced, striped, and broken for us.  His shed blood is the wine of the new covenant.  When we partake of the communion, we remember His sacrifice until that day when He shall eat and drink it anew with us at the wedding feast of the Lamb, in His kingdom.

“We have a High Priest, (in the order of Melchizedek Gen. 14:18 ) who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man” Hebrews 8:1,2,5.

Jesus is the first-begotten of the Father (Heb. 1:6); the Firstborn of Creation (Col. 1:15-16); the first-begotten of the dead (Rev. 1:5) and is the Firstfruits of those who are to be resurrected (1 Cor. 15:20-23). And just as He is our Firstfruits, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” (James 1:18).

There are 50 days between the waving of the green barley and the next “firstfruits offering, the waving of the two loaves of wheat bread. Those fifty days are called “the counting of the Omer.” Each day of the Omer a sheaf of grain is waved by the priest before God.

“So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Our High Priest, Jesus, spent the first 40 of the counting of the omer showing Himself to His disciples and others, by many infallible proofs. He spent the time preparing His disciples, telling them He would be gone for a while, and though they grieved over it, it was to their advantage that He go, for unless He went He could not send the Holy Spirit back for them. He instructed them that after He was gone to go and take their place in the city and wait until they were given the seal of promise. Then He went to the Mount of Olives where He bid farewell to all and a cloud hid Him away. His beloved disciples then went and waited, as instructed, as we also must, for the promise of their redemption.

“…but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23)  

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14

“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

The green barley was the waving of the firstfruits – and corresponds to the resurrection of the O.T. Saints. The Lord descended into Paradise after His death on the cross to preach the gospel to them, and sprinkle His blood on the mercy seat for them, and they were resurrected.

The two loaves that are waved at Shavuot/Pentecost represent Jew and Gentile, who are commissioned by Jesus to take the gospel (plant and water seeds, in the fields which are white for harvest) to all the word. Jesus waved them to the north, south, east, and west. It has taken 2000 years, but the gospel had to be preached in all the world as a prerequisite for Jesus to return for His bride. When our job is complete, He will rapture the living and resurrect the dead of His church (N.T. Saints).

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

Our Lord has gone to make a place for us! His promise that He will return for us is the seal of the Holy Spirit, which came at Shavuot/Pentecost, at the firstfruits of the wheat. We accept His bridal contract when we ask Jesus to live in our hearts and take His cup (communion). The dowry He paid was His blood on the cross. The Bridal gift that He left is the gift of the Holy Spirit who can only come to live in us when we are made clean by His blood sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies in heaven.

Acts 2 was the “early rains” upon the fields. There will also be “latter rains” poured out, Joel 2:28-29 just before the Lord comes for His church. The wise virgins had their lamps full of this, but the foolish did not. See the blog post about the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (in the list of recent posts on the right side of this page).


*  *  *


There is a famous credit card commercial on TV that asks, “What’s in your wallet?”  In the same vein I ask,


“What’s in your BASKET?”


This is the question on my heart now every time I walk down the isles of the big box stores at Easter, strolling among the purple baskets, green baskets, yellow baskets, pink baskets, and blue baskets…baskets filled with candy and toys…baskets for little girls and little boys…baskets filled with grass and eggs.  Longaberger baskets, Peterboro baskets, and great big Texas baskets filled and decorated with bread, or flowers, or fruit, used as centerpieces on our dining room tables.  What’s in your basket?  What do you have to present to the Lord?

Jolee Wheat

With our High Priest now seated in His heavenly sanctuary, what firstfruits will we present to Him in our baskets?

There is one thing I know, we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out when we die (1 Timothy 6:7).  Not our riches.  Not our fame.  Not our social calendar.  Not our church attendance.  The only things to follow us to heaven are the souls of people whom we have invited to the great banquet, AND our other good deeds, which were done in obedience, and in secret, without fanfare, if they survive the fire (done out of love) – 1 Corinthians 3:14-15.

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)

“And he who reaps receives wages and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together” John 4:36.

I wonder, could the firstfruits in our baskets be the PEOPLE whom we’ve brought to the house of God (church), shared our faith with, helped in times of need, and fed and fellowshipped with around our tables?


Are my firstfruits fireproof?

Why was Cain’s offering not accepted (Genesis 4:3-5)?  I believe there is a big hint in the wording of the scriptures that tells us he gave an offering, but it was not of his “first” fruits.   Abel’s offering, on the other hand, was of the “first” born of his flocks.


“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”  Matthew 6:1-4

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”  Matthew 23:23  “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:20

And perhaps the biggest of all, if we do the good we know to do out of obligation rather than love, we may as well not done anything at all (1 Corinthians 13:3).  Love suffers long, is kind, does not envy, doesn’t parade itself, and if not puffed up.  It doesn’t behave rudely, seek it own, or easily provoked.  It thinks no evil.  It doesn’t rejoice in other people’s misery, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and never fails.

Something the Holy Spirit put in my heart to consider also is Matthew 5:23-24: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled with your brother, then come and offer your gift.”

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works follow them” Revelation 14:13.


I’m excited for our next adventure in the feasts (the Feast of Weeks, Pentecost).  You’ll find it under the title: Happy Firey Tongues Day!  Come take your place at my Lord’s table, and let us sup together these blessed feasts that the Lord has laid out for us in His word.  Let us be rich and well fed on the Word that we may have hope for our future!


“Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

The Lord Our Passover

The Lord Our Passover

The word of God is such a trip! Passover was the first Jewish feast that opened the wardrobe door for me into a fascinating “kingdom of Narnia” waiting on the other side. The feasts of the Hebrews are sooooo darn …well, enrapturing! They paint a portrait of such amazing detail about our Savior, in a parable sort of way, that’s hidden in plain sight. The feasts are a living picture of God’s beautiful, hospitable plan for His people (Jew and Christian) – each with a humble beginning, a kind of boring ritual middle part, and then an <angel chorus> let there be light – gleaming fulfilment in God’s kingdom. Each is a dim reflection, a copy and shadow of things to come, given to us by a God who, like those feasts, was and is and is to come. We Christians are grafted in with our Jewish brothers and sisters, and they with us, as two parts of a whole. We come together at this Passover feast for a full and rich understanding of our Creator and His amazing plan of salvation.

Christian, come celebrate Jesus the Christ this Easter in a way you never imagined. And Jewish person, come dine at the table of the Lord, the Last Supper, and drink the cup, and break the bread, and comprehend the beautiful covenant He has made with us both.

14 Lord our Passover

“I [Jesus] will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:29

We never know what an act of hospitality will mean in the grand scheme of things. All we know is that God expects us to do it. He has set Himself up as our example and He promises we will be blessed if we show hospitality out of love for Him. Moses, who was on the run from the Egyptians for killing one of the task masters over his cruel treatment of a Hebrew slave (which were the people of Moses), encountered the incredible hospitality of Reuel (Jethro), a kenite shepherd and the priest of Midian. And because of Jethro’s generosity to open his home, Moses was kept safe from his enemies, and was free to hear from and commune with God, and in the process, found his purpose and calling in life. (Exodus 2)

God said to Moses from the burning bush: “I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)

Moses went to Pharaoh and beseeched him to “Let my people go!” But Pharaoh would not, not until God sent plagues, and a final plague that would take the life of every first born male in the land.

To be spared this plague, the people of God were instructed to take a lamb from their herds, a year old male without flaw or defect, on the 10th day of the month Nisan and keep it until the 14th day Nisan. This gave them time to inspect the lamb to make sure he had no flaws, and it also gave them time to get to know their lamb and become personally attached so that he would not be just a lamb, but their lamb.

The morning before the Passover, the Jewish people were instructed not to use leaven (yeast) in the bread they made that night, perhaps because leavened dough takes time to rise and the people would not have time for that. The Hebrews were also instructed to slaughter their lamb at twilight, and to use the blood from that lamb to paint the door frames of their homes. The innocent little lamb became their substitute for the death sentence (final plague) to “pass over” them. They were to roast their lamb over fire, eat it all that night, and burn up all the leftovers. The meal also included bitter herbs, which God intended to be used by the children of all future generations to ask the questions that would enable the Passover story to be told and retold and practiced from generation to generation, until the feast would be fulfilled by God. (God’s great plan has been to release us all who are slaves of sin, and brings us all into His rich kingdom, flowing with milk and honey).

The spirit of death indeed passed over God’s people that night, but not the Egyptians, and in his grief Pharaoh finally let God’s people go.

Did you know … that Passover has been observed by the Jews continuously for the last 3,500 years? It is the oldest observed feast in existence.

This is what a modern Jewish Seder looks like. It tells a story going backwards and forwards that I am blessed to share with you.



Because leaven is used as a metaphor for sin in the scriptures, Jewish homes are thoroughly scrubbed (kind of like a spring cleaning), to rid them of every single tiny particle of leaven that might be hiding in the cracks and crevices, the bottoms of pants pockets, or lingering in bowls, pans, or on the kitchen utensils before Passover.

We can all observe this practice symbolically by taking to heart the words of the psalmist, king David:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Passover begins at twilight and often lasts until midnight or longer. The meal begins with the lighting of the candles on the table, and the meal blessing is given by the woman of the house:

We, who have metaphorically been sitting in darkness of God’s great plan can imagine a candle being lit in our hearts tonight as we study the Jewish Seder and heed the words of Isaiah 9:2:

“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)

As the woman of the house, I offer a prayer that God will speak to your heart and bless the words that I’ve placed here as food for your soul.


In Hebrew tradition, the youngest person is to sit to the right side of the leader at the table, and to his left is the guest of honor.

AT THE LAST SUPPER: It is traditionally believed that John, the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” the younger son of Zebedee, one of the pair that Jesus called Boanerges, or “Sons of Thunder” was the youngest disciple. Perhaps this is what triggered the discussion (arguement) between James and John and the other disciples, who would sit on His right and left in the kingdom of heaven (Mark 10:35-45 and Matthew 20:20-28). If John would get to sit at Jesus’ right, of course their mother wished that her other son James would get to sit on His left. And of course this caused a hue and cry with the other disciples (Luke 22:24). Jesus lovingly rebuked them (and remained discreet about the seating arrangements of His kingdom), except to say…

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28)

“I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:29-30)


THE FIRST OF FOUR CUPS OF WINE (Exodus 6:6-7): The meal begins with a cup of wine – the first cup… “I will bring you out,” says the Lord. The father pours the first cup and asks everyone to stand, and then he raises it to heaven and prays the prayer of sanctification (or Kiddush).

THE WASHING: One of the family members brings water and towels to everyone, that they may all be cleansed to handle the food.

Bodily cleansing vs spiritual cleansing: You’ve heard it said that cleanliness is next to godliness. Clean hands prevent the spread of disease, yes, but the Pharisees of Jesus day had become very legalistic about “the washing.” Jesus rebuked them in Mark 7 after His disciples were caught eating bread with unwashed hands. Jesus distinguished rituals and doctrine from true faith by saying, “Whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it enters his stomach and not his heart…what comes out of a man…evil things overflowing from his heart, those defile a man” (Mark 7:18-23). In other words, a pure heart is better than clean hands. That is the goal of our Savior – to give us a clean heart.

THE GREEN VEGETABLE: A green vegetable is dipped into salt water and eaten. It symbolizes that Passover happens in the spring, and the salt water represents the tears of the pain and suffering of slavery.

God’s word says ( in Genesis 8:21; Proverbs 22:15; Psalm 51:5 and Ephesians 2:1-3) that we are born with a sin nature. I wonder, does that grieve us? Because of our natural bent to sin we prove that we are slaves of sin. It is a commonly preached doctrin that humanity was made a slave of sin in the garden of Eden. For many of us it’s a tearful struggle to truly overcome the powerful temptations that constantly barage us – and to have the strength to stand up against Satan’s flaming arrows that are incessantly fired at us. God sees our tears.

THE MATZAH BROKEN: There are 3 pieces of Matzah (unleavened bread) in a linen bag on the table. In a traditional Seder the head of the house removes the center piece (afikomen), breaks it in half, puts half back and wraps the other half of the broken piece in a napkin and hides it somewhere in the house.

Afikomen is a Greek word (the only Greek word in the entire Passover) and simply means – I came. Isn’t that interesting? It was not part of the observance in Jesus’ day. It was added to the Seder by the Rabbis later; and it represents the lamb, and tradition holds that it must be eaten.

AT THE LAST SUPPER: Jesus broke bread with his disciples and said it was His body that was broken for us. Matzah is unleavened (leaven represents sin) cracker-type bread. It is pierced with a fork and has stripes on both sides from the grill that it is cooked on. Scripture tells us (in Isaiah 53:5) “He [Jesus] was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

FOUR QUESTIONS: In Exodus 12:26 the children are to ask what is meant by this service. And so the youngest at the table (and often reclining on the leader) gets to ask the traditional questions that will tell the Exodus story: Why is this night different from all other nights?

  • On all other nights, we eat either leavened or unleavened bread; why on this night do we eat only unleavened bread?
  • On all other nights, we eat all kinds of herbs, but why on this night do we eat only bitter herbs?
  • On all other nights, we do not dip even once, but why on this night do we dip twice?
  • On all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but why on this night do we eat reclining?

AT THE LAST SUPPER: “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of the His disciples, whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23). This seems to confirm that John was the youngest, and sitting to the right of Jesus at the Last Supper.



THE SECOND CUP…I will rescue you from their bondage. A second cup of wine is poured and the questions are answered with a long and detailed story of the history of Israel, from Abraham’s calling out of Ur all the way through to Moses and the 10 Commandments.

Each plague is described and a little wine is poured out for each.

The Passover Plate is part of the telling of this story. Before the second cup is consumed Psalm 113-118 (which is the Hallel – a word that means praise) is spoken.

It is believed that the Levites chanted this Hallel while the Passover lambs were being sacrificed.

THE MATZAH DIPPED: After a second “ceremonial” hand washing, the top Matzah and what is left of the middle afikomen are broken up and given to each person at the table. Each person dips the bread into the horseradish and haroset (a sweet apple concoction) and then eats it. It symbolizes the sweetness of God’s redemption from the bitterness of slavery. There should be enough horseradish on the bread to cause the person eating to shed tears.

AT THE LAST SUPPER: “[Jesus] rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (John 13:4-5). Jesus is the sweetness and the one who washes us. “And Judas, who had dipped with Jesus, went off to his task, as a slave of sin.”

THE MEAL: At this point the lamb is served, with bitter herbs and Matzah. Modern meals include fish, matzah ball soup, glazed chicken, stuffing, potato kugel, honeyed carrots, stewed fruit, and sponge cake. (This is the menu I fervently desire to serve my guests for Easter Dinner at least one Easter in our lives).

AT THE LAST SUPPER: “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16)

This just melts my heart, that it was Jesus’ fervent desire to eat this one last meal on earth with His closest friends. Perhaps it was the sweetness that would get Him through the bitterness of the Cross. The taste of which would linger on His tongue as He was bruised for our iniquity. It should linger in our minds until that day when we can savor it WITH HIM, in His kingdom.

It simply astounds me how Jesus was the fulfillment of so much history, but how he is the pivoting point in the chiastic structure of scripture that also shows us our future. These feasts are a picture of what has been, and what is coming, so clearly illustrated in this verse. Jesus celebrated with His friends a meal that had been part of all their lives for all their lives, and part of their culture for as long as people had lived on the earth. And He tells us that it has yet to be ultimately fulfilled in heaven. This very feast, this very meal. Oh my … just very cool!

THE MATZAH FOUND: After supper the kids are excused to go look for the hidden piece of afikomen. Like an Easter Egg Hunt in a way. Whoever finds it is rewarded, and the piece is broken up and shared by all.

THE LAST SUPPER: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26) “which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)

This is the communion bread, the bread of the covenant, and the Holy Communion that He instituted with us His church, that we all practice to this day! And may we continue to practice this ritual, as our Hebrew brothers and sisters practice Passover/unleavened bread, until the day we are seated at His table eating it with HIM! 🍴🍪🍷


THE THIRD CUP…the cup of redemption, is poured and sipped, and one of the children goes to the front door to see if Elijah the prophet is there to welcome him in (Mal.4:5).

AT THE LAST SUPPER: Jesus presented “the cup after supper” (Luke 22:20). “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” I will redeem you with an outstretched arm. This is the cup that Jesus used to institute the Holy Communion, which He asked that we keep in remembrance of Him.

In Matthew 17:10 the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say Elijah must come first?” Jesus said that Elijah has come (He was referring to John the Baptist – Mal.4:5-6; Luke 1:17), and is coming to restore all things. How curious that Elijah and Moses appeared with Jesus at the transfiguration, since the first Passover came through Moses and during Passover feast the Jews look for Elijah. The name Elijah means Jehovah is God.


THE FOURTH CUP…I will take you as My people. The cup of acceptance or praise is poured and drank.

AT THE LAST SUPPER: Jesus did not sip of this cup. “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:17) “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)

CLOSING HYMN: The Seder ends with the singing of the last part of the Hallel (Psalm 115-118).

THE LAST SUPPER: “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30)

*Much of the information for the Jewish Seder Traditions came from: The Feasts of the Lord, God’s Prophetic Calendar from Calvary to the Kingdom, By Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal


WOW! Is it a coincidence that Jesus and his disciples sang, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone?” Psalm 118:22

Remember the leaven that is purged from all Jewish homes before Passover? Paul, a former Jewish priest said, “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8) which connects directly to the ancient Passover practice of removing all leaven from Jewish homes.

Is it a coincidence that Jesus was perfect, without sin, and that he was crucified on a cross at the exact time as the Passover lambs were being slaughtered and prepared?

Is it a coincidence that fathers break and hide the middle piece of unleavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, in the exact timeframe when Jesus was taken from the cross and buried in a tomb?

John the Baptist (the New Testament version of Elijah) called Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29-30).

John, the apostle, who reclined on Jesus at the Last Supper definitely believed Jesus to be the Passover Lamb, referring to him as such 27 times in the book of Revelation.

And Simon (Cephas), whom Jesus renamed Peter, for on the rock (the New Testiment translation of Petra – where the name Peter comes from) He would build His church, said “we were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from aimless conduct received by tradition from our fathers, but the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

And Philip hearing the Ethiopian reading Isaiah the prophet, asked if he knew what he was reading when he read “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before it shearer is silent…” and beginning at this scripture, Philip preached Jesus to him.”

Jesus, it says in Hebrews 9:28, was offered once to bear the sins of many. He was without spot or blemish (Hebrews 9:14).

Jesus our Passover (Rev. 5:9), made atonement for our sins at His death, and as our High Priest forever went and sprinkled that blood on the mercy seat in heaven (Lev. 16:3, 14; Rom. 5:9,10).

When Jesus ascended to heaven forty days after Passover (see my Bible study blog post for Firstfruits), He sent the Holy Spirit back for us, as promised, (see my Bible study blog post for Pentecost) to live in us when we accept Him as Savior and make Him OUR Lamb, as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Pet.1:3-5; Rev. 5:6).

The Holy Spirit invisibly seals us (marks us) on the day we believe. God knows whose are His (2 Tim. 2:19), because we have His Spirit inside of us to mark us.

Marks in Scripture:

“Do not come near anyone who has the mark” (Eze. 9:6). In Genesis 4:15 God placed a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him for what he did to his brother. The mark protected Cain, just like the Passover blood protected the Israelites.

And just as God saved his people Israel from the plague of death in Egypt, Ezekiel tells us of a man dressed in linen with a writer’s horn at his side (Eze. 9:2,11) who will “Go through the midst of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it” This seal will protect them from the one whose job it is to destroy everything wicked.

This part of Ezekiel (9:3) sounds very much like what Revelation tells of a warrior/angel who places a seal on the servants of God, of all the tribes of the children of Israel. (Could this be an application of the blood atonement reserved for God’s chosen people, His elect?). This seal is marked on their foreheads (Rev. 7:1-8; 14:1) (akin perhaps to the phylacteries of the original priests (Exodus 28:38; Exodus 13:16; Deut. 6:8).

These elect are the firstfruits to God (Revelation 14:4).

After that remnant of Israel are sealed/marked, then Revelation says we are all gathered together, of every nation, tribe, people, and tongue, and we shall all worship at the throne of God with palm branches in our hands (Rev. 7:9-12 Palm Sunday in heaven, or likely the Palms we shall bring for our Sukkah’s – which you can read about in my Feast of Booths blog post); for death shall have no dominion over us (John 6:54, 57, 58; Rom. 6:9-11).

Now this one should give you goosebumps, if you don’t already have them … a footnote in my Bible (New King James Version Spirit Filled Life Bible, Thomas Nelson Publisher) for Ezekiel 9:4 says, “the Hebrew word for “mark” is taw, the final letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which in the ancient script looked like an “X” or a cross.” A CROSS, really? Is that amazing? Rev. 22:13 says that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. What the disciples thought was the end of their Messiah, was just the beginning of a new testament, with an amazing end. What were Jesus’s last words as He gave up His last breath on that cross? “It is finished!” Therefore, He who began a good work in us will see it on to completion (Romans 9:28 Philippians 1:6).

Of course Satan, ever attempting to counterfeit God, will try to force his mark on people (Rev. 13:16). He masquerades as an angel of light. Beware and be watchful. His mark will be a requisite for anything to be bought or sold. Oh how I desire to either be with Jesus by then, or be completely self-sufficient and off the grid – and content with such things as I have, and part of a body of believers who takes care of each other (Acts 4:32). For those will be terrible times.

In Revelation 22:4 it says that we who have the Spirit shall all see God’s face, and the Lamb, and His name shall be on our foreheads. Amen. Christ, our Passover and the I AM, is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb.12:2).

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6




…to my new adventure in writing… (I’m just horsin’ around, really).

Memoirs of a Reluctant Hostess

Sooooooo…if you’ve stumbled upon this post today by some divine fortuity, and lavished even one precious minute of your life (that you’ll never get back) upon reading my stuff, I hope and pray you leave with something eternally useful in your heart.

Front Door


The Lord has been patiently prodding this stubborn old mule/me for years to fan into flame the gift – if you want to call it that.  But my obedience to obey ebbs and flows as the ocean tides. One season will bring a warm current of inspiration, and as it runs through will have me twirling and tossing about in swirling eddies of eagerness. I’m coaxed from my inhibitions, like a feral cat out from under a rickety porch, to crack open my front door, peek with squinted eyes outside to see who might be there, and even muster the courage to inv…  to inv… to invite you inside. Encouraged by your warm response I might feel eager to throw an even bigger shindig next time.

But just as surely as the autumn leaves fall off the trees, a cool wind will blow in my heart (life gets busy, or sad, or new interests vie for my attention; a dish will go awry, friends will cancel last-minute, or the heartwarming comedy I so carefully constructed somehow ends in tragedy – ugh, drama). The disappointment loosens my grasp on that high place where I had climbed to. I lower my sails, dump my plans overboard, pull up the anchor (or actually it’s the welcome mat), switch off the porch light, turn the deadbolt on my decorative, etched glass door…and retreat into the depths of my quiet abode with just my loved ones and my thoughts.

The funny thing about a comfort zone however, is that it is only serene and nice for a while, and then it becomes dreary, and boring, and lifeless. Ho-hum!  In my lackluster funk I make up my mind that I am sick to death of all the same old dishes, and begin to only half-heartedly piddle in the kitchen. All my meals end up as “blackened” (something) – the smoke alarm becomes our new dinner bell. The answer to what’s for dinner is met with, “Are you talking to me?” in my Jersey Mike’s Godfather voice …or “TAKE OUT!”   I give up wanting to cook even more, because I have no (nix, nada) desire to clean up the mess afterward. Ho-Ho-Ho-humbug!

The longer this season lasts, the more lowly I feel until desperate for friendship I’ll dust off my Bible and invite Jesus for coffee. God bless Him, He is always faithful to bring a sermon, steer me to a new recipe, drag me to some new person, or march me by a holiday, and before I know it His warm El Niño will drift back into my heart again. His latter rains will fall on my parched and sun-baked soul, and what-do-you-know I’m floating in the great flood plain again.

God’s word, the company of Jesus, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit never fail to re-persuade me that LIFE IS ALL ABOUT THE TABLE – and our calling to it is irresistible.

This blog is my homely confession but handsome voyage. Could it also be yours?

Coffee with Dad

Many years ago, one summer Sunday morning, I was a young mom with young children, and a brand new Christian. Husband was gone to work and I was ready to leave for church, but my car wouldn’t start. I called my dad to ask him what could be the matter with it, hoping it might be something simple that I could fix, and then be on my way. He said he’d be right over, and the generous, helpful man that he predictably was, in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, was there. We popped the hood and he worked his magic, as dads always do. He made the old jalopy live again. But by this time it was a half hour past the start of church and I decided I didn’t want to walk in late. So I made a pot of coffee, put the kids in their play clothes, and Dad and I sat for a visit.

My dad and I have had our share of “philosophical” conversations over the years, and a few about religion. I’ve never seen my dad read the Good Book, or grace the pews of God’s house, except for the time when he and Mom came to my baptism, but that isn’t to say he is devoid of religion. I may never have sought to be baptized (saved) if not for my dad, who made it clear he hoped his girls would all do that for him some day. His mother (my grandmother) was certainly a Spirit-filled, God-fearing woman as well, and had to have had at least as much influence on him as she did on me – his daughter.

This particular day, as the flowers prayed and the birds sang, Dad and I had church at my table. We sipped our brew and explored the back roads of many religious topics until our little heart-to-heart finally found a bench to rest on. Out of a quiet moment he asked me if I thought Jesus was the sort of man who would sit down and have a cup of coffee with you. Being a very new Christian at the time I didn’t know very much of my Bible, but the Holy Spirit dropped a scripture in my thoughts just then, and with assurance I spoke, “Oh yes, I think Jesus is exactly that kind of man. It says in Revelation, ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me’” (Revelation 3:20).

I think both our hearts burned within us just then. Dad sat, quietly, thinking, and then he gathered up his hat, sipped the last drop from his cup, and said, as he went to the door, “There have been a few times in my life when I felt close to God, but this might be the closest.” And with that he placed his cap and was on his way.

I cherish this and all the good memories, for Dad is now a prisoner in the dark world of dementia, a mere whisper of the man he once was. He is fragile, and old, and many miles away from me now. As I write this he’s in a nursing home recuperating from a fall in which he broke his hip. I called Mom this last Veteran’s Day and asked her to pass on my “Happy Veteran’s Day” wishes to Dad. I was surprised when she said, “You can tell him yourself, he has been very lucid today. In fact he just asked about you.” “He did?” I replied in astonishment. “Yes, he said, where’s my Colleen? I seem to have lost track of her.” It reduced me to tears instantly! …And again now as I write about it.

Dad didn’t talk long, but we got to hear each other’s voices, and for a brief moment God filled my heart another time with affection for him, on this meandering, uncertain road of life we journey. I hope God used our chat that summer day. I hope my dad trusted Jesus in his heart and found his peace with God. Jesus certainly used my dad to speak to me that day too. For it was after that I began to realize, and piece together in my heart, a portrait of our Father’s kingdom, and His ministry at the supper table.

If you read His word and follow the bread crumb trail, the sum of the Bible points us to a meal with Jesus. The first scraps to fall from the Master’s table are in Genesis, where God gave Adam and Eve a garden for their table and communed with them there (Genesis 2:8-9; 3:8). It follows them out of the garden, leads into an ark (Genesis 7:1, 16), and back off again (Genesis 8:20). “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs…behold I establish my covenant with you and with your descendents after you” (Genesis 9:3, 9). The bread crumbs lead Abraham to the land of promise (Genesis 12:7, 8) and into a tent by some terebinth trees (Genesis 13:18) where he had a meal with God. “Then Melchizedek, king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.” (Genesis 14:18) He blessed Abraham, and Abraham gave him a tithe. And God made a covenant (a name change and circumcision was established) with Abraham there (Genesis 15).

The Lord and two others visited Abraham’s tent later and received Abraham’s hospitality, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by…” (Genesis 18:3-5). And when Abraham sought a wife for his son Isaac, his servant encountered the plentiful hospitality of Laban, Rebekah’s brother (Genesis 24:31-33, 54-55). And thus God taught all of us, His children, about hospitality.

God staked his tent in the Wilderness with us here on earth, broke bread (or manna) and passed the offering plate through Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy; teaching us to share the bounty of our crops and herds (our tithes and offerings) to help the needy (Levite, stranger, fatherless, widow). From one great deliverance (Passover) to the next (Purim) God teaches His people to celebrate with feasts. Hot dishes have been passed from one judge’s table to another, one king’s table to another, and one prophet’s table to another, until they found their place at the Last Supper – a rehearsal of Passover but also a glimpse of the future Wedding Feast of the Lamb. For it was at this supper that Jesus instituted the Holy Communion and said, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). He told of this Heavenly Feast in Matthew 22 and Revelation 19:9, giving us glimpses of heaven, and something to look forward to.

Jesus, in his earthly ministry, said to the wee little man, Zacchaeus, “Come down from there, for I’m coming to your house,” And to the church of the Laodiceans in Revelation He announced, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). God has been our host and asks to be our guest. He teaches us to be both good hosts and good guests. His Spirit flows into and then out of each of us. I have found God’s WORD to be a magnificent tapestry of the art of breaking bread. He is the Father of it and His word begs us to learn to practice with Him, and to look forward to a fulfillment in heaven. This is the spirit and inspiration behind this blog, although it is comical, almost scandalous that God would have me (honestly me?) put together a blog about hospitality.

Surely He jests.

Sister's and seashells

My sister is a Baptist and you know what they say about Baptists don’t you? Well, they love to eat! Her church has about as many food fellowships as worship services. I’ve been included to participate in many of them, and although some may call it excess, I think they are wise indeed. “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children” (Matthew 11:19). Every feast established by God in scripture is a shadow of things to come – a rehearsal of a future event. “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” Colossians 2:17.

When tax collectors and sinners drew near to Jesus, to hear Him, the Pharisees and scribes of that day also complained, saying, ‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them’ (Luke 15). So Jesus spoke parables to them. He told one story of the prodigal son (the wayward son who squandered half the family wealth – as we do also when we spend God’s gifting on ourselves and our own pleasures). When he returned home (as we do when we accept Christ as Savior), his father (like our Father in heaven) ran to him (even though his sins were great) when he saw him returning home and coming down the road. With tears in his eyes he hugged his neck, kissed him, and blessed God that he had returned. The son asked forgiveness, but the father never mentioned his transgressions. Instead, he called for the best robe, a ring, and sandals for his feet. And after that, he threw a grand feast with music and dancing, because his son had been lost and now he was found. I believe that is the picture God wants us to see of heaven. It’s exactly what I believe is going to happen. That is how thrilled I believe our Lord will be to see us and welcome us to heaven, and to His table.

Alicia's Table


It is a shame to admit what we in this country have done to the supper table (shoved it off in a special room that nobody goes into, made a shrine of it, or piled it high with unfolded laundry and school books – wait, am I the only one?). God didn’t intend meals to be in front of the TV (not that there’s anything wrong with that on occasion), and surely He intended for meals to not be a necessary evil, but a blessing. God made us to need food. He gave us fruits and vegetables, grains, fishes and meat to be received with thanksgiving for nourishment. But beyond that, He gave us herbs and spices and tongues and taste buds to ENJOY the flavors. Why would He do that? Surely He knew some of us would have no self-control, or that we’d eat all the wrong things and for all the wrong reasons, and make ourselves sick, or develop allergies, or make endless diets to fix endless problems? Stop the merry-go-round for a minute and think…maybe we wouldn’t have all those issues if we went back to eating our meals with gratitude, at the table, with our Unseen Guest.

“And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you” Deuteronomy 12:7

Maybe if mealtime was a retreat and destination rather than a filling station beside the busy highway of life we wouldn’t have to count calories, check our plate size, or worry about the cholesterol count – the Lord would bless that food to our bodies for strength and health. And that satisfying meal would sustain us to the next one. Maybe if we took the time to savor truly delicious food (coupled with rich conversation) we wouldn’t have such an addiction to garbage food (and gossip)? Perhaps if we made the Lord the center of the experience we’d have His blessing upon it, and all the diets and obesity would go obsolete. I don’t know…just sayin’.

Here’s an idea. Would you be willing to give it a try with me? Shall we make the effort to make at least one dinner a month (for now) into a “special occasion?” Shall we gather around the table and eat before the Lord? This doesn’t have to be a huge production; it just has to include reverence and gratitude, and our Master – who has provided it. We don’t have to be limited by my scanty recipe suggestions, or be wrangled into cheffy cuisine – but sometimes a new cookbook inspires my enthusiasm. And if we’re too nervous to cook, there’s always take-out. The main thing is that God, family, and friends are gathered around, that there is love, and a table is at the center of it – and that we learn what God’s heartbeat is about eating with others, with friends and strangers, with family and with Him. For if we learn it, I know (I just know it) we will be blessed in it. We’ll see the big picture.

Are you in this with me? Are you ready to find a blessing? Our kids might even want to invite their friends over to show off their cool mom’s creativity with food and music and decorations. Then again, you might be thinking, “No kids, just hubby!” Send the kids away for the evening and surprise the husband with a gourmet meal and romantic evening. Maybe there are no kids or they are grown and moved away. Maybe there is no husband? What if the next time we ate a meal out all by ourselves, we sought out another who may be in the restaurant all by themselves, and we shared the meal and a grace with them?

Who knows that God placed us here for such a time as this? Do we know our neighbors? Why not have them over and pay them back for all the snow shoveling they did with their groovy little machine over the winter, or thank them for the times they watched the house, took in our mail, watered our garden, watched the dog, and made it look like we were home when we were away. Wouldn’t it be nice to show our appreciation by making an evening unforgettable for them!

Maybe there are some new neighbors (or acquaintances at work…or church)? Shall we introduce ourselves, treat them to a home-cooked meal, and in the process introduce them to … well … God’s Supper Table, and give them a glimpse of heaven?

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In the pages of this blog I’ve shared themed meals and recipes from all over the world, for the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind; here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but we are all one in Christ.  This gospel shall be preached in all the world, and all the nations will be gathered before the Lord, for He has redeemed us from every tribe and nation, every people and language.

I’ve shared some of the most precious things I’ve learned from scripture.  And I’m passing along a hodge-podge of other little things too (crafts, projects, hobbies, etc.) as life has brought them to me, I am sharing with you.

I hope you’ll enjoy my little cul-de-sac on the Web. It is all God’s doing. I hope you’ll join with me also in fanning into flame this gift that God has placed within us.  Let us not forsake the gathering of ourselves together, or neglect the spiritual nourishment that our earthly bodies so desperately need.

May our Lord bless and keep you forever! IJN Amen