The Least (Polite) of These

August 31, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Matthew, The Flood | 3 Comments
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There is some debate about exactly to whom Jesus was referring when He emphasized the responsibility of His disciples to minister to “the least of these.” However, most Bible scholars agree that the list He gave was both specific and illustrative, counting as a summation of those who are the most helpless and neglected in worldly society.

As 21st Century Christians we are prone to romanticize the notion of “the least of these” and picture ourselves taking in a doe-eyed orphan with smudged but pudgy cheeks. Or perhaps we see ourselves caring for a kindly old grandfather, abandoned by His Gen-X children who are too busy with their own lives to benefit from his homespun wisdom and sage advice. Jesus did not, however, limit His description of the needy and the outcasts to those to whom we might find it easier – for sentimental reasons – to minister.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Matthew 25:42-45

What our family found out during the recent flooding in our parish, which affected the rich and poor alike, is that the person who comes into your home during a catastrophe, needing food, water, clothing, and shelter, may be the “the most irritating of these.”

He might be a person who makes all his phone calls on speaker-phone, yelling at the top of his lungs and broadcasting the other person’s (who has not been told he’s on speaker) personal business to everyone within earshot.

He might be a person who comes in drenched with sweat, mold, flood water, and Chinese drywall, and, declining your desperate offer of a shower, plops himself right down on your couch pillows and puts his feet up.

He might be a person who is super touchy about everyone else’s failure to appreciate his plight, while also being hypocritically hypercritical of others who are worse off than him.

He might be the person who picks skin off his feet and flicks it on your carpet.

He might be the person who stands uncomfortably close to your wife, peering over her shoulder at the pot she is stirring on the stove while pompously offering suggestions about how to cook green beans to the best green bean cooker in the known world.

He might be the person who would rather sit up til late at night in the living room, spurning the comfortable guest bed you’ve offered him, while belching loudly 56 times in a row in front of your high school aged daughters.

He might be the person who, after four days of living with your family, has still not bothered to learn a single one of their names.

He might be all of these things and more, but, as a servant of the King, it is tough to rationalize away your duty to care for “the least of these” even when the category includes those with the least manners and common courtesy.

The Ultimate Confession

July 5, 2016 at 9:58 am | Posted in Matthew | 5 Comments
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Matthew Chapter 24 explains end-times prophecy concerning Israel. It is talking about Christ’s return after the Tribulation – for Israel – not His return for His Church. At the end of Chapter 24, and on into Chapter 25, the Lord’s discourse changes from Israel to the Church.

There will be loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We have a treasure, which is the Gospel, and we should defend it. However, in defending it, we must not fail to put it to use. Our lights must be kept burning, but they must also be used to shine light.

But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

Matthew 25:18

We live in the period of time between this verse and the next one.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

Matthew 25:19

The faithful servants entered into joy, and their joy was not retirement. It was more service. The unfaithful servant didn’t know who his lord was.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

Matthew 25:24

In his mind he made a lord he wanted to follow and be like. The deceitful leaders of the false charismatic prosperity movement are leading those who want to be deceived. They serve their preachers, not the Lord. They want to be like their preachers and not like the Lord.

We don’t use our talents because the talents are worthy. We use them because the Lord is worthy. He is worthy to be served. He will judge the nations – by judging the individuals who make up the nations. He will judge both the saved and the lost – but in different ways. The saved will yield willingly in acknowledgment of His power. The lost will yield unwillingly when their knees are broken by a rod of iron. The cup of wrath will open their mouths and they will confess Him as Lord. The most pagan ungodly devilish unbeliever knows deep down inside that Jesus Christ is the true King, but he is restraining that truth with all his might. The drinking of the cup of wrath will let the truth out. This confession will not be like a bully twisting a kid’s arm on the playground and making him say “uncle.” The victim is not really the bully’s nephew. The ungodly will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and it will be 100% true.

Free Pastor Saeed Abedini

December 4, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Pastor Saeed Abedini is a Christian pastor and American citizen who has been imprisoned in a brutal prison in Iran after being arrested and imprisoned in the summer of 2012, and unjustly accused and convicted in January, 2013. He has been sentenced to serve eight years in prison, and is suffering greatly while being denied much-needed medical care and treatment. He is a father and husband, and has been abandoned by the U.S. government. If you are reading this and you are a Christian, may I encourage you to pray fervently and diligently for the persevering of Pastor Saeed’s faith in Jesus, his health and safety, and for comfort for his wife, children, parents, and loved ones? Please pray, too, that Christ would be glorified and that souls would be saved. Let me also encourage you to contact your Representatives, Senators, and other elected government officials, and to try to persuade them to secure Pastor Saeed’s release.

#SaveSaeed
#FreeSaeed

http://beheardproject.com/saeed

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:34-40

Getting Your Goat

May 14, 2010 at 10:40 am | Posted in Common Expressions | 4 Comments
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You have probably heard the common expression, “So-and-so really gets my goat!” We use it when we talk about someone who has a way of provoking us.

I don’t think anyone knows for sure where the phrase originated. It might have come from the idea of someone getting your “goad.” A goad is a sort of prod or instrument used to irritate recalcitrant farm animals into moving forward. It might have come from an old expression whereby people said that an annoying person would “get your gut,” as in bringing out a “gut reaction.”

There was a time when farmers would use goats to calm down dairy cows. They have also been used at times to calm down race horses.

There are a few interesting references to goats in the Bible.

And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

Daniel 8:5

This goat represents Alexander the Great, who led the armies of Greece.

And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.

Daniel 8:6

The ram is Cyrus, king of Persia. The goat is powerful and angry, and he not only defeats the ram, he also stamps on him.

And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

Daniel 8:7

Then he felt strong.

Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

Daniel 8:8

When someone “gets my goat,” they call out the “goat” in me, and then I become angry and full of pride. And that’s a problem. Because God does what to the proud? Resists. And He gives what to the humble? Grace (James 4:6).

Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.

Zechariah 10:3

Zechariah gave a prophecy of the Messiah, and referred to the time referenced in Ezekiel 34.

Zechariah said that when the people begin to follow the evil shepherds, and are led astray by them, then God will turn the flock – the goats and the sheep – into war-horses, and He will defeat the evil shepherds. This reminds us to be careful not to be the ones trying to get someone else’s goat. If we begin to harass, and rebel against, and lead astray with false teaching, God’s flock, then we’re in a sense trying to get God’s goat. And we might find we’re getting hold of a goat we can’t handle.

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Matthew 25:31-46

We have a mental image of goats as funny-looking animals with little beards who eat cans or shirttails, or who’ll butt you if you’re not looking. But God uses goats and sheep to illustrate something very serious. One day He will say, “Sheep on My right hand, goats on My left!” The significance of God’s right hand is that those on the right are favored and those on the left are disfavored.

Ask a farmer with a great deal of experience, and he will tell you that goats are never happy with what they have. They are always sticking their head through the fence. They
can’t stand to be confined. They are rebellious and stubborn. They are not good followers. Sheep will usually stay together, but goats wander off on their own. A “Judas Goat” is a goat that is used to lead – but it leads to the slaughter. Goats like to get higher up than the other animals.

We all have some goat-like characteristics in us. We want to stand out. We’re tired of following. We’re not happy with what we have. We like to eat things that sheep wouldn’t eat, even if these things have no value and will make us sick.

Don’t hold on to the “goat” in you. If someone wants to “get your goat,” let him have it. You don’t want it anyway.

What turns away wrath?

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

Those on the right hand of the Lord, the sheep, have the characteristics of those who will be favored by the Lord. Those on the left hand, the goats, have the characteristics of those who will be told to depart. So, if someone is harassing you, say, “Look, I know you’re just trying to get my goat, so I’m going to let you have it, but you are not going to be happy with it. I’m one of God’s sheep. He calls and I know His voice. Let’s leave that old goat to wander out in the wilderness like the scapegoat, and I can introduce you to my Shepherd. We can be in the flock today, and we’ll be like victorious war-horses one day.”

The Big Announcement

January 6, 2010 at 9:46 am | Posted in Luke, Salvation | 2 Comments
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I have an exciting announcement to make! This announcement is better than lower gas prices. It’s better than a new baby in the family. It’s better than a cure for cancer! In fact, it is an announcement that was made a long time ago.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2:10

If you understand the consequences of sin (despair, destruction, death, and damnation), then this announcement is the best tiding of greatest joy you could possibly hear. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (I Timothy 1:15)! You can, by believing the Truth of the Bible, and by placing your faith and trust in Him, be reconciled to God, and escape eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46)!


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