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Parables & Analogies

[Badges of Honor] (April 24, 06)

Imagine that you are on a camping trip, and hiking in the woods with your dog.  While you are far away from your cabin, your dog runs off and gets caught in a bush of thorns.  He manages to get out, but he gets many deep cuts in doing so.  You become very disappointed in him, and you reluctantly take him back to the cabin to bandage up his wounds.  The next day, you decide to go out hiking again, but as you're going off the trail you walk right in the path of a bear and her cubs.  The bear charges after you, defending her cubs. But before she can reach you, your dog attacks her, and they start fighting fiercely.  Panicked, you run back to your cabin and bolt the door, thankful to be alive.
A hour later your dog show up at the cabin door, and you let him in.  As he is coming in, you notice gaping wounds and bite marks all over his body. And you see that he has lost a lot of blood. As you're bandaging up his wounds, you start to cry, because you realize that these wounds are different than before.  The wounds from yesterday were dishonorable, but his new wounds were honorable. The wounds from yesterday showed foolishness, but these showed loyalty.  The wounds from yesterday were ugly, but these new wounds were somehow beautiful.
     (reader, when you can understand the difference between these 2 types of wounds click here).

[Opinions and Faith]

Question: If 2 men jump off a cliff at the same time, and both have different opinions on gravity, which one will live?
Neither! Because a man's opinions on the physical laws does not change them.  Also, a man's religions opinions on spiritual laws does not change them.  God's laws are just as sure and trustworthy as physical laws, independent of opinions.

Questions: Another 2 men jump off the same cliff, one man puts his faith in a parachute, and the other man puts his faith in an umbrella.  Which man will survive?
The man who trusts in the parachute. Because it does not matter that both men had faith, it only mattered what they had faith in. If you have all the faith in the world on something that is false, your faith is worthless.

[3 Prisoners] (May 11, 05)

There were 3 prisoners of war being held for questioning. They all possessed the same secret information.  The first prisoner was tortured for 1 hour, until he gave up his secrets.   It took the guards 2 hours of torment until the second prisoner talked.  But the third prisoner lasted 3 hours before he died, and never gave away any secrets.  Now I ask you, which prisoner was the most faithful? 
The one who can withstand the hardest trial is the most faithful. And who else can be trusted with the power of God than Christ crucified?

[Weeds in the Garden] (May 5, 05)

In a garden there are a variety of flowers, some more beautiful than others.  A gardener does not remove one flower because it is less beautiful as another.  But when one flower pretends to be another, we call that a weed, a counterfeit, and it is removed.  Though this weed might be taller and more colorful than some of the other flowers, it is still cut down. 
(Christian's are the flowers, Maturity is their beauty, and Weeds are those who walk in an authority that they have not been given)

[Construction Material] (May 1, 05)

A man set out to build his house. He found a plot of ground to build on and purchased it.  In researching the building material he found a store that guaranteed their material for 75 years, the longest guarantee in the market.  He was very impressed and bought enough to build his house.  He finished the foundation, the first floor, second floor and started working on the 3rd floor.   But while building the 3rd floor he found another store that guaranteed their material forever.  Now what do you think this man should do?

[The Vanity Fair] (April 24, 05)

There once was a boy who inherited a large sum of money.  The money was in control of a certain banker who cared nothing about the boy, but just wanted to control his fortune.  The banker said to himself "if the boy realizes how rich he is, he might claim it and spend it."  So as the years went by the banker would often send the kid tickets to the Vanity Fair, where there were rides, games, prizes, challenges, fun and merchandize.  And the banker would give him plenty of spending cash.  The kid would come back from the fair with shirts, caps, stuffed animals, jewelry, and all kinds of worthless junk.  This happened year after year, and the banker sent him to many different fairs, carnivals, events, cruises, and excursions. And the kid became a man, and spent his time and filled his life with the worthless riches of Vanity, never to claim his true inheritance.
(You are the boy, the cash is the bait, the banker is the prince of this world, Vanity is the trap, and your inheritance is the true riches of heaven.)

[A large sacrifice] (April 12, 05)

Long ago, there was a Kingdom that had very little tolerance for thieves.  In fact, if anyone got caught stealing, he would be put to death in a miserable fashion.   There was a man who was caught stealing from his neighbor, in this kingdom.  He begged and pleaded for mercy from the Judge, but the Judge could do nothing but condemn him.   But there was a Mercy Law on the books for anyone who was condemned to death.   The Law stated that if a condemned person could find a friend that would sacrifice one of their eyes, then it would allow the condemned man to be freed.   But the law was seldom used, because of such a high cost.   The prisoner sent letters to all of his friends, pleading them for his life.  As it happened, he did have one friend who loved him very much, even enough to sacrifice one of his eyes.  That friend came to the Judge and offered his eye.  It was a very painful process he went through; disfiguring his face, losing his job and being ridiculed by his peers.  But it was worth saving the prisoner's life.  When the prisoner was released he thanked his friend 1000's times and they celebrated together.   After a few months the friend was at home working on his garden, being unable to work in his previous professions.  There came a man to the door with a letter, from his friend the x-prisoner.  The letter read,  "Again I want to thank you so much for your sacrifice, you are the best friend a man can have, ever since we were young you were helping me.  Unfortunately I was caught steeling again!  How's that other eye doing?"

How do you think he responded? 
2 Peter 2:21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

[Lawn Mower] (March 30, 05)

The Kingdom of God is like a lawn mower, whereby all the grass that is tall and raised up is cut down, but all the grass that is low and bowed down is unharmed and allowed to flourish. 
What happens when a car going 100 mph hits a solid brick wall?.... Well, the car changes its 'opinion'.  The judgments of God are like that solid brick wall, and they can change your opinion.  But it is better to change course before the wall comes.

[Cost and Burden] (Jan 05, 05)

A man comes to you and says, "It's a mile to my house, can you spare $1 for the bus?"  So you agree.  Another man comes to you and says, "It's a mile to my house, can you spare $50 for a ride?" But you say, "No, that's not worth it. If you needed $50 or a medical operation I might consider it. Your burden is not worth that sacrifice!
The greater someone's burden is, the more you would be willing to sacrifice in order to help.  So I ask you, what was your burden that Christ would suffer and die for you? 

[To Fool a Wiseman] (Jan 24, 04)

There once was a man who was digging for gold.  And he discovered a large streak of gold, deep under his town.  But he said to himself, "if word gets out about this, everyone else will grab it".  So he tried to devised a plan. "It's easy to fool a fool", he said,  "I've done that many times, but there are many wise people in this town, how will I keep them from finding this gold?" After a while, he thought of an ingenious plan.  He went across the state and purchased a large load of Iron Pyrite (fools gold).  Then he then planted 1000's of pieces all over his town, in rivers, creeks, gullies, and everywhere one could imagine.  Then he took the largest piece and ran down the main street screaming, "I'VE FOUND GOLD, I'VE FOUND GOLD."  This caused quite a commotion in his little town, and soon dozens of people were out with picks and shovels.  In a few days, 100s of pieces were found, and there was a great euphoria covering the town.  But when people started taking their pieces to the town jeweler, he gave them the terrible news.  "All FAKES."  The people were heart broken, their euphoria turned into gloom.   But the wise people of the town, who were cautious and not so quick to rush in, they got a good laugh out of it.  Then the man who devised the plan, slowly started to buy up all the fake pieces, all the Picks, shovels and other mining equipment.  And every once in a while a real piece of gold would surface, but people would take it to him, instead of the town jeweler.  And the wise people of the town would scoff whenever a rumor came up about real gold.  So he continued to mine to gold in peace, fooling both the fools and the wise men.

[The 3 divided Sons]  (Dec 28, 03)

There was a once a wise farmer, who owned a great farm.  The farm was so large, that it supplied food for an entire town.  He owned vast numbers of livestock, a large track of land and much heavy agricultural machinery.  But for all his success in raising crops, he could not raise his own children well.  They were always against each other, bickering and arguing.  They would never work together or cooperate on anything.  So he devised a plan to change this.  He retired and gave his sons the farm.  To one he left the entire farmland, all the pastures and crop fields.  To the other son, he left all the livestock; cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, etc.  And to the last son he left all the equipment; tractors, barns, combines, silos, tools etc.  Each of these gifts were given under the condition that they could not be sold.

At first they tried to work independently from each other, but soon realized that their gift was worthless without the others.  So eventually the learned to work as a team, and not individuals.

Our Heavenly Father has done the same with us, purposely leaving each of us with gaps, so as to require unity in his body, for us to do anything of significance.

[The Giant Ant hill]  (Dec 25, 03)

A man was resting in a large meadow ; eating his lunch, listening to the wind blow and the birds singing.  As he was laying down, he looked over and saw an ant hill next to him.  So he said, "I'll feed the ants some bread crumbs from my lunch".  But as he looked closer at the ant hill, he realized that it was actually a mound of dirt, a few yards away.  So he said, "I'll go eat my lunch, on the mound, where I can overlook this meadow." But when he got up, and started walking towards the mound, he realized it was a hill, about a half mile away. So he said, "I might as well go hiking, and finish my lunch on the top of the hill" But after walking for a while he noticed that the hill was actually a mountain, several miles in the distance.  And so he asked himself, "am I getting closer, or farther away?"

This is a question many Christians ask about their walk with the Lord. The closer we get to God, the bigger He gets, and more insignificant we seem. We become more humble walking toward the Lord.  But in walking toward the devil, we get more prideful and arrogant.

[The Body's Reward]  (Nov 25, 03)

In the middle of a great battle, 2 soldier spotted each other across a field.  It was dark and hard to see, so neither one knew whether the other was a friend of foe.  It happened to be that one soldier, was fully armed, but he was starving because he didn't eat for 3 days.  While the other soldier had plenty of food but no ammunition.  They watched each other, but never got close enough to communicate.  When the daylight finally came they saw that they were in the same army all this time.  But it was too late, soon the enemy army took the field.  They were captured, both being totally unprepared for battle.

If you don't recognize your army, then you won't receive their help.  And those who do not recognize other parts of the body of Christ, will not benefit from it.  There are some victories that the Church will not see, until all the parts of the Body are in place, united, until all the streams flow into one river.

[The Selfish Parents]  (Aug 21, 03)

There once was a boy who lived in a wealthy family.  The family lived in one of the finest homes, drove only the best cars, and had all the luxuries of life.  But they were very selfish. And as the boy grew up, whenever he asked his parents for money they would refuse, and instead give him some useless piece of advice.  Their continual selfishness would frequently upset him, which would only be made worse by their never ending advice.  Every once in a while he would find some money, but it was very rare.

On the boy's 13th birthday, he asked his parent if he could buy some CDs.  But his parents told him, "Why don't you learn to play our Grand Piano, it makes more beautiful music than any CDs you might buy."  This statement caused him run out of the house in frustration.

When the boy stated dating, he asked his parent for money to take his girlfriend out to a movie.  But they refused, and said "Why not show your girlfriend our full collection of classical movies, they are much better that what you'll see at any movie theater."  Throwing his hands up in the air he decided to get a job.  It only paid minimum wage, but he managed to struggle by with a little bit of cash.

When he was going to school, he asked his parents for book money, but even for that they were too cheap.  They casually told him, "Why don't you read the bible we got you, it's full of all the wisdom you'll ever need." 

With this he decided never to ask his parents for anything again. Their relationship grew colder and colder, and they seldom talked with each other.  After a few years the boy moved out, and never came back to the house until both parents had passed away. 

Upon his return to the house, he was determined to get his inheritance that was refused him all these years.  While searching the house, he found out that his parents were hiding their money from him.  Instead of sharing it, they were stashing it away in places all around the house.  He found cash in the closets,  in the library,  in the garage, and many other strange places.  And every time he found a bundle of cash he would scream curses. 

But soon his anger turned to weeping. And he began to cry sorrowfully.  He wished in his heart he could just talk with his parents one more time.  And ask their forgiveness.  Why? It was because of the last 3 bundles of cash he found.  One hidden in the Grand Piano, one hidden in the classical movie collection and one hidden between the pages of his bible....

 

When many of us stand before the Lord, we will be weeping for the same reason, but we just didn't listen.

[The King's Feast]  (June 5, 03)

A great king decided to hold a feast.  He told his servant to prepare everything, to spare no expense in creating the greatest feast of all time.   He demanded that they only use the best foods, the finest wines, and most priceless golden plates and chalices.  Then the King invited the whole town to the banquet, from peasants to nobles, and told them that the King has brought out only the best of everything.  But some of the people said, "there's nothing wrong with my cooking and my plates, why can't I bring them to this feast and make it even better." So they did just that.
On the day of the feast, the King dressed all his guests in fine linen, and they were all seated at the table.  The servants poured the wine for everyone and the King began to make a toast.  But as he was making the toast, something caught his eye, and he began to walk around the table.  As he was walking around the table he shouted, "Why are there wooden forks at my table, didn't I order my golden utensils?  Why is there a cooked rabbit on my table, didn't I order only my best meats for this feast? Is that goat's milk? I ordered only the finest wines.  Who has disgraced my table?

When God's children have pride in their hearts, this is what it looks like to the Lord. It dishonors His table. The guests brought their own food, because they didn't think very highly of their King, and they assumed that what they could bring to the table could compare to what he had.

[The hot potato of shame and guilt]  (March 11, 03)

When we were kids, we played a game called hot potato. It was a game where a group of kids would play with a ball. Whoever had the ball would instantly throw it to someone else.  When 'Hot Potato' was called, the unfortunate person who was holding the ball, looses. So anyone holding the ball would quickly give it to someone else. 
We continue to play this game today, as adults, just with a different ball. Now the ball is accusation, shame and guilt. And when someone accuses us of something, we instantly try to pass the ball to someone else. No one wants to hold the ball.  But a mature Christian must be able to hold the ball in truth, and swallow any shame. He does not try to pass it on.

[Playing tennis with the devil]  (March 9, 03)

The bible teaches us that the devil is the master of accusation and lies. He also gives us excuses when we need them. When we are following his will, and get caught, he will give us brilliant ways to justify our actions. Which keep us away from accountability.  But as a maturing Christian you must learn handle these lies and excuses like you're playing tennis with the devil.
When he serves you a ball that says "everybody else is doing it", you hit back saying "you have been set free from sin-Rom 6:22".
When he smashes a ball at you saying "You'll never accomplish anything", you smash back with "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me-Phil 4:13"
And when he slices a shot saying "this person really hurt you, why don't you get him back for what he did", you put it away with a "Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good-Rom 12:21"

[The foolish man and the Genie]  (March 1, 03)

One day a man was walking in the desert, when he came across a magic Genie lamp.  Full of excitement, he picked it up, and rubbed it.  And just as he imagined, a Genie came out and granted him 3 wishes. After pondering what to wish for he finally said, "I wish for a new set of cloths, get me out of these rags." And he was instantly dressed in a magnificent set of cloths. "And I wish to drink some of the finest wines in the world." He was instantly given 10 bottles, of the world's greatest wines. "Now I wish you would take me home, so that I no longer need to walk in this desert."  And he appeared in front of his house. With great joy, he ran in the house to tell of all his great fortune. But when he opened the door he noticed that his house was still just a shack that it had always been.  The kids were still sick in bed, and the cupboards were still bare of food.  Having realized this, he threw down the bottles of wine, tore off his cloths, and wept bitterly.

The Lord also grants us the desires of our heart.  But if all we are praying for is earthly wealth and temporal  gain, then we will be likened onto this foolish man.

[A Caveman's Testimony]

How do you know if you're experiencing spiritual growth?  You should have a CAVEMAN'S TESTIMONY
The Kingdom of God is like Caveman visiting a modern city.  Everything is different and new for him.  When he goes back home he tries to explain everything to his people. He tells them, "You do not walk around, you ride around.  You do not build a fire to cook your food, you turn a switch.  Hot water is available when you turn a knob.  You do not gather around the fire to listen to stories, you just turn on a TV.  You do not need to walk to everyone's hut, you call them on a phone.  You do not plant your crops, you just pick them up at a supermarket." And it goes on for hours.
How much more should a believer talk about his new life in Christ.  Jesus changes everything!  If you cannot tell of all the things that have changed, like the caveman, then you haven't fully experience a rebirth.   If your understanding of God is just, "God loves everybody and we should too", I tell you non-followers understand that much.  When Jesus comes into you, and you surrender to Him, every aspect of your life will reflect it.  You can always mature farther.

[The parable of 1%]

There was a father who had an ambitious son.  One day the son said, "Father, I would like to build a car."  Now the son you very young, just learning to ride a bike, but the father said, "Ok, we will build a car together. And when we are finished, we will ride anywhere you want.  I will purchase the parts, purchase the tools, find the instructions, and do the labor.  And you son, will hand me the tools when I need them."  The son agreed, and so the father went out purchasing all the parts, purchasing all the tools, finding all the manuals, and setting up everything in the garage.  When he was doing this, he called his son, "Son everything is ready to build the car, and now I need you to hand me the tools when I ask."  But the son said, "Father, I can't build a car, it's too much work.  I can never do all that.  But when you're finished, call me and we'll go riding."  But the father said, "If you won't do your 1% of the work, I won't do my 99%."  And the car was never completed.
And so is our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  For He changes the heart and mind of man.  With 30,40,60 years of sinful nature, ungodly thoughts, unrighteous acts, a man can never make himself right with God.  But the Lord can change all that, and change you from the inside.  But if you won't do your 1%, then don't expect Him to do the 99%.  If you won't study His word, don't expect His words to change you.  If you won't obey His Spirit, don't expect His Spirit to direct you.  If you won't humble yourself, don't expect Him to exalt you.  And if you won't repent, don't expect Him to forgive you.  Do your 1%, and the rest will be given onto you.  For our Father is the Multiplier.

[The Tank and the Doll]

A father once purchased some gifts for his daughter and son.  For his daughter he bought a doll, and for his son he bought a toy tank.  The daughter loved the doll and played with it, and nurtured it, and talked with it.  And the son played war with the tank. 
What would happen if the father didn't give his daughter a doll, but gave her a living baby to take care of?  And the father didn't buy a toy tank for his son, but sent his son (who was 5 years old) off to war?  The children could never handle the complexity or responsibility.  A daughter could never understand or handle all the needs of a child, and she would fail.  And the boy could never understand or handle fighting a war, and he would fail.  But by giving them toys, it can prepare them for future roles they might have.  They can start off learning basic concepts, and grow from there. 
And this shows us why we are here on earth.  We can't fully understand the concepts of God, or what our life will be like in heaven.  But on earth we can learn basic concepts of God, don't steal, don't lie, love one another, respect authority, which will prepare us for our real life, life in heaven.

[The parable of the 2 wanderers]

There once was 2 people who were wondering in the desert.  One a rich nobleman, the other a beggar.   They were out of provisions, and desperately needed to find shelter.  Soon they came upon a great kingdom, with many people, and great riches.  When they got to the gate, the gate keeper shouted, "All are welcome here.  Who are you?" 
The nobleman replied, "I am a nobleman by birth, I carry with me many great riches, a understanding of the sciences, and I have many powerful connections.  Let me dwell in your land."  Then the beggar yelled, "I am non of these, just a beggar who needs a home."
The Gatekeeper shouted, "All are welcome who swear allegiance to the King."   So the beggar swore allegiance, but the nobleman, said "I already have a King, and will not bow my knee to any other."
So I ask you, who did the gatekeeper let in?

[The thief in the King's court]

Those who give to the Lord's charity and take credit for it, will be likened to a servant bringing treasure to a King.  When the servant lays the treasure at the Kings feet, the King is very pleased.  Yet the King notices that his coat is bulging.  So he commands the guards to search him, only to find that he has stolen some of the treasure for himself.  And the King will shout, "Get this thief out of my court along with this worthless junk, it is an offense to me."

[Taking out the Trash]

Those who complain about others but do not pray for them, will be likened onto people who are cleaning their house.  They vacuum, dust and search diligently to collect all the trash in their house.  When they are all finished the put all the trash into bags.  But in the end they do not throw it away, they just walk over to their fence and throw it on their neighbors yard.  Foolish man, throw away your trash do not leave it for others.  When a person is in sin or offending the Lord, do not sit and accuse him to the Lord, lift him up to the Lord and pray for him, that he may be pulled away from his sin.  Otherwise you leave it for someone else to clean up.

[The Sheepdog and the Wolf]

What is the difference between a sheepdog and a wolf.  Both have sharp teeth, both can attack and are aggressive.  What is the difference between them?  One divides the flock while the other protects it.  When a fellow believer has a questionable doctrine, do you bring him back in or do you cast him out.  Follow the sheepdog, not the wolf; work to unite the flock not divide it.  For in the end there will be one Shepard and one fold, anyone working against this is not advancing the will of God.

[Being married to God]
When a man is attracted to a woman, he will go to great lengths for her.  He will constantly call her, buy her expensive presents, take her out to movies, compliment her, hold her, share secrets with her, etc. There are no limits to what a man will do when perusing a woman.   Shouldn't your pursuit of the Lord be just as great, if not more.   You relationship with the Lord should be filled with worship, praying, trusting, serving, studying, and loving the Lord.  If not, your relationship will get cold, just as if you started ignoring your wife.   What kind of marriage could a man have if he only kissed his wife one a week?  The same thing happens when we worship and pray only on Sundays. 
Your relationship with the Lord has to be your highest priority.  Can you image what would happen if you took your wife to a gathering of people and then started flirting with every other woman there?  She would be very upset and jealous.  And so is the Lord when we treat Him like a side project or a hobby, and give others the same attention that we give Him.
[The Cheap Roses] No one would ever take their wife to a florist and ask the clerk "What is the cheapest rose you've got?" then give it to your wife and say "I love you."  But this is what we do when we give the Lord less than our best.  Pursue the Lord like a soul mate, and your relationship will prosper.

[the quick and the slow sheep]

A fold of sheep were wondering in the dark.  Since it was night time, they could not see where they were going.  After a while they started to get father and farther apart.  But when the sun finally came up and they could see, they all raised their head and looked to see where the shepherd was.  Some noticed they were close to the Shepherd, and other's notice they were far off.  The ones that were close to the shepherd, said "Oh, there he is."  and they started to walk toward him.  But what do you think the sheep that were far off did, when they finally saw the shepherd.?  Did they start walking?
No, I tell you they started running.
When the sheep that were walking, saw this, they said, "Why are you running?  What's the big deal?  He's right here." The running sheep said, "No. We've seen the distance, we've been to the other fields, we've see the wolf."
In the same way, we all react differently when we come into the Light of Jesus.  Some of us start walking towards the Lord, and some of us start running.  How fast are you going?

[the rider's whip]

The Holy Spirit is like a rider on a horse.  When the rider wants the horse to go he will say, "Go."  But if the horse does not listen the rider will say it again, but louder.  If the horse still does not listen, the rider will tap his hand on the horse's neck.  If the horse does not go, the rider will then need to give him a little kick.  But if the horse still does not listen the rider will need to use the whip.  
This is also the way our Holy Spirit talks with us.  His voice is very quite and gentle.  And we often miss it.  But when we ignore him, he speaks louder and louder.  And if we keep ignoring him, he will need to speak in ways that we can't ignore.

[The parable of the little thief]

One day a business owner hired a private detective.  He told him, "Someone has broken into my house, stolen my wife's jewelry, broken into my safe, and took off with my car.  Do anything you can, just find out who it is."  And he gave the detective two months to solve the case.  After a month of searching, the detective came to the businessman and said, "I have narrowed down the suspects to 3 of your neighbors."  And the businessman replied, "Find out who it is, use any of my resources that you need.  Also, my company is in need of a detective, to track down a much larger thief.  We will also need you for that investigation.  But for now just find this little thief."  The detective went back to work. And a month later approached the business owner and said, "I have narrowed down my investigation to one of your neighbors.  Come let us have him arrested."  But the business owner replied, "You are wrong!  I broke into my own house, stole my wife's jewelry, broke into my safe, and took my own car.  For what I really wanted was someone to find the big thief at my company.  But if you can't find the little thief, how can you ever find the big thief."
In the same way, God has His people on the earth, and they speak for Him.  But if you can't recognize them, then you can't recognize God.

[The Worthless Sandcastle]

One day a father took his son to the beach, to teach him how to swim.  After a while, the son wondered off.  When the day was getting late, the father went to find the boy.  The boy had been spending his time making a large sand castle.  "Son, it is time for us to go home", he said.  But the boy just kept on building. "Son, it is a great castle, but we have to go back to our house", he said.  But the boy became upset and said, "Father, you don't know how important this is, let me finish."  So the son continued building it bigger and bigger, until, on his foot, he felt the first wave of the oncoming tide.
And so it is with us, we tie ourselves down to the things of this world, and have no concern for the things of our heavenly home.  And only when it is too late do we realize that soon the tide will come in, making all our little earthly projects worthless.

[The child and his video game]

One day a father purchase a video game for his son.  His son loved the gift, thanked his father and took it upstairs.  In no time the son got very good at playing it.  
A few days later, the father asked his son to mow the lawn, before dinner.  But when the father came home, the lawn was still not mowed.  So the father called upstairs for his son, "Son I thought you would mow the lawn today?  Now come down for dinner."  It was another 20 minutes before he came down.  "What took you so long?" the father asked.  "I was playing that video game you gave me. I'm getting really good at it."     "Son, weren't you going to help you mother with cleaning today?"  "Yea, I'm sorry, I was a little busy today," he said. 
This went on for a few more weeks.  Until finally the father got a letter from his son's teacher, explaining a drop in his son's school performance.  This was the last straw, and the father decided to take action.  So what do you think the father did?

He took away the video game from his son.  And the son was devastated, and cried all night.  To the son, losing the video game was a catastrophe.  But in the father's perspective it was a wake up call.  His son's focus was on play and not school, and he needed a little discipline to change his focus.

[Sin as a disease]

Sin is like a debilitating disease, like leprosy.  And by obeying rules and laws you can cover up the effects of this disease, and hide them.  And living a good life is like taking medication to help the symptoms.  But these never cure the disease.  In order to cure it you must be born again, you must not be of flesh and blood, but of water and spirit.  Then you will be given power over the disease, and the ability to prevent it from seizing you.

[The Lion of Sin]

When thinking of sin, don't think of sin as a trap, just lying around for someone to fall in. Traps are dumb, and cannot adjust themselves.  Someone can see a trap, and just avoid it.  No, sin is living and active.  It is not like a dumb trap, but like a prowling lion.  It does not sit around and wait for you, no, it actively pursues you.  When you avoid it, it gets upset.  When it captures you, it is rejoices.  If you escape it one time, it will try a different approach.  It is intelligent and purposeful.  It is a spirit, and it wants to have you. 

[The army of God]

Entering the Kingdom of God is like entering the military.  The new recruits are not given great power or authority.  First they must prove they are trustworthy.  No general would put a recruit with low ranking in charge of a warship, or an aircraft carrier.  A general would only put someone in that position after they have been tested and have experience.  Only then are they given greater responsibility. 
[A child in the army]
But what happens when you take children onto a military base?  Do they want to see the Marching band? No.  Do they want to learn about discipline? No.  Do they want to learn about respect for authority, or leadership skills? No. No. No.  They just want to see the guns, the tanks, and the weapons.
And so it is with us, we don't want to know about righteousness, or submission to authority, or humility.  No, but we are very intrigued with the Power of God, and all his miracles.
So why are you in the army?

[The cup on the beach]

Some people are like a cup that stands on the beach, contemplating the existence of the ocean.  The cup say, "does the ocean exist?  Where does it end? When did it begin?"  Though the cup sees the evidence of the ocean all around, it never fully believe in the ocean, saying "I will not believe in the existence of the ocean until I can fit it inside of me.

[the scared 3rd grader]

One day a father sent his son the 3rd grade.  The father had all the confidence in his son, because his son was intelligent for his age.  But when the son came home from school, he was in a rage, and he threw down is math book right in front of his Father and screamed, "Math, I'll never understand it!"  And he ran up to his room crying.  The father was very shocked, and picked up the math book, and opened it.  ( 1x1=1   2x2=4   2x1=2)  The father was puzzled because the book was very easy, and his child should have been able to handle it.  So he went upstairs to his son's room, "Son, why have given up on math, you can handle this."  But the son said, "it is too hard and complex, I can't do it."   So the father, looking at the math book, said "What is so hard about this?"   And the son said, "Derivatives, integrals, multi-variable equations, I can' t handle all that and I never will."  The father was very puzzled and asked, "Where did you hear about Derivatives, integrals, and such?"  And the son replied, "I talked with some 9th graders."
Becoming a Christian is like going to school, you start in the 1st grade, and progress.  When the Holy Spirit comes into you, He does not expect perfection overnight, but He will teach you what you need to know 1 concept at a time.  As with a child going to school, first they learn the basics, then they get more advanced.  Nobody teacher would give a 9th grade test to a 3rd grader.  And neither will the Holy Spirit demand of you anything that you cannot handle.  And when someone becomes a Christian, the Lord doesn't expect them to throw down every single sin in their life, and become a saint.

[The Sheep and the Horse]

What is the difference between being saved and being surrendered?  It is the same as with a sheep and a horse.  For when you are saved, it is like a sheep that goes from being lost, to being found, from wondering outside the gate, to being protected inside the gate.  You have freedom to roam around in the sheep pen, as long as you stay inside the gate.  But being surrendered is like that of a horse, for a found sheep will still wander inside the gate, but a horse has a rider on his back, and he will be constantly driven from one place to another, always serving his master. Strive to be the horse not the sheep.

[The Buried treasure]

There once was a farmer who owned a small plot of land.  One day, 10 of his townsmen gave him a map.  It reveled buried treasure somewhere on his land, a great treasure of gold, silver, rubies and emeralds.  And they swore by the maps authenticity.  He went instantly to grab his shovel and started to dig.  While doing this, a friend came and said, "you can not trust these 10 men, and you don't know for sure of this buried treasure."  But the farmer said, "I will keep digging, for worthy is the prize." 
After hours of digging, his neighbor came by and told him, "Look, you dig in vein, for there are many holes in your yard, and behold you find no treasure."  But the farmer said, "I will keep digging, for worthy is the prize."
After a few days of digging, his brother came by and said, "Why do you dig here?  For others believe the treasure to be buried on a different farm, and behold you're digging in the wrong area."  But the farmer said, "I will keep digging, for worthy is the prize."  
Soon the farmer found the treasure, and so vast were the riches that he build the greatest mansion in all the land, and hired many of his townsmen as servants.
In a few years, 10 different townsmen came to his mansion.  They told him about great treasure in Heaven, and riches beyond his imagination.  And they left him with a book of their scriptures in order that he may receive this great treasure.  The rich farmer called upon his wisest counselors for advice.
One said, "You cannot trust these men, for you don't know the truth of their book, and neither do they."  The next counselor said, "many have studied these scriptures, and are no better off." And his last counselor said, "Behold, other townsmen talk of other scriptures, why should you blindly trust these?" 
The rich farmer agreed, set down the book, and it was never opened again.
Now I ask you, why didn't the farmer search these scriptures?  Though many reasons were given, he simply did not consider the treasure worthy.
Now when the farmer dies and goes before his maker, he will say, "Lord, why didn't you show yourself to me when I was living."  And the Lord will say, "You never searched."

[Children in the playground]

Why does the Lord allow suffering?  If He is a loving God, how could he allow this to go on?  Hear this parable.
Imaging a 3rd grade child that goes to school.  During class hours the teacher maintains order in the class room.  There is no fighting, swearing,  harassing or other disorders.  But during recess the child goes out on the playground for fun.  And while he is there, he would often get pushed around by a bully.  Tell me, why does the school allow him to get bullied? 
They don't.  In the classroom the teacher is in control, but on the playground the kids make up their own rules, with little supervision.  And they have to face the consequences.   We on Earth are in our own playground, and we face the consequences for our actions.  If we were in Heaven and were suffering, then we could point to God and ask why.  But on our playground, the we are the reason for our own suffering.

[School Supplies]

A certain father had 2 children. On the day before the school started, he sent them to the store, each with $10.  Upon their return, the father asked them what they bought.  When the first son showed his father what he purchased, the father saw pencils, pens, paper, a calculator and a dictionary.  But when the father looked at the other sons bag, it had pencils, pens, candy, and a baseball cap.   So I ask you, the next time the father needs something from the store, which son will he send?  The first.  And your Heavenly Father will act likewise.

[The 2 Horses]

Once there were 2 horses that belonged to a farmer.  One was a strong, wild horse, always galloping around in the pasture.  No horse could out run him, no man could break him.  The other horse was just average in strength.  He was broken in by the master many years ago and was now tied up in the barn.
Now I ask you, when the farmer wants to go into town, which horse will he take.   I tell you, He will NOT take the wild horse. Though stronger and faster, the wild horse is of no use until he is broken in.
In the same way, until we are broken in by the Spirit, and made humble, we are like a wild horse trampling in the pasture, running faster and faster, yet getting no where, not tested and not trustworthy. 
In the same way, knowledge and prestige can work against you, if it interferes with the relationship you have with the Lord, if it makes you arrogant, or self-righteous.

[The taped prayer]

Every prayer must come from the heart.  If a prayer goes through your mouth but you do not feel its meaning deep inside, then it is as meaningless as when your ATM machine says "Thank you, come again"
Imagine your son running home from his first day of 3rd grade. He runs in the house all excited to talk with you.  You can't wait to hear what happened.  You wonder if he made any new friends, if his teachers are nice, what subjects he's studying, or maybe he even has some homework.  He drops his coat on the floor, and runs to you.  So you give him a big hug, carry him to the living room, and sit him on your knee.  Bubbling over with enthusiasm, you say "Son I want you to tell me everything that happened today."  He looks up at you and smiles, then he pulls out a tape recorder from his pocket. He holds it up to your face and hits play...."I was good in school today, I obeyed the teacher, I will do my chores. Please give me my allowance and a new bike"  Then he stops the tape recorder, puts it into his pocket and runs upstairs. 
You smile turns into a sigh, as you realize it was the same boring taped message you heard throughout the 1st and 2nd grade.
Nobody talks with the father like this, but this is how many of us talk with our heavenly Father.

[A child's picture]

When a 3rd grade child draws a picture in school, and runs home to show his father, does the father say, "Son what is this? This is no Picasso. I can buy pictures better than this at the Gas station. Get some skill, will ya?"
In the same way, our heavenly father doesn't expect perfection from us.  But he does expect a sincere effort.

[The Mercedes Benz]

There was a child who had a rich father.  The boy had a dream of owning his own new Mercedes Benz.   He kept asking his Dad, but his Dad said, wait until you're 16.
On the eve of his son's birthday, the father started making room in the garage for the new car he was going to buy.  Moving boxes and creates, the father came across his son's old bicycle.  He found that the bicycle had 2 flat tires, a missing seat, a broken chain, and a lot of rust.  Puzzled, he asked the son for an explanation.  The son gave many explanations of why the bicycle was in this condition.  But he was finished, the father rebuked his son saying, "If I can not trust you with the little things I give you, why should I trust you with the big things.  Therefore I will not buy a new car for your birthday." 
    And so will it be with entering the Kingdom of God.  For great is the power and responsibility given there on.  And those who have not been responsible with little things in this life, will not be trusted with much in the next.

[Obedience above results] 

A father tells his two sons to gather firewood.  One goes out to work, and the other decides not obey.  Soon it begins to rain, so the first son is forced to come inside before he could even cut down one tree.  Now, I ask you, though no firewood was collected, which one will the father rebuke?

[The 4 kidnapped sons]

One day a King's sons were kidnapped by a rebel group, and they were locked inside a cave.  The cave was dimly lit by a few candles, and there were many caverns in which they could get lost, so they stayed near the front of the cave.  They tried desperately to break through the front of the cave but it was no use, it was secure.
After a little while they felt the wind blow, which told them that one of the caverns lead to the outside.
So they talked among themselves and asked "which cavern, which path will lead to the outside?"
The first son said, "There is no way out, none of the caverns lead to the outside", but he was foolish, and had just never bothered to feel the breeze. And they were no closer to their escape.
The second son said, "Well, I believe there is some way out, but I'm not going to try any of these paths,"  Because he refused to try any of them, they were no closer to their escape.
The third son said, "I know this cave, and I know the only way out, we should take the left most path.
So they asked the forth son, "ok which one of your brothers do you agree with?"  And he said, "I agree with each one of them, they are all right."  But he was foolish, just trying to appease everybody, and always be in agreement.
So the 3rd son, went off by himself and was the only one able to escape.
    In the same way these 4 brothers responded to the question which way is out, people respond likewise to the question "Is There a God?"
 

[The Singing Shepherd]    Why do we worship?  Why is it important? 

Well, imagine a Shepherd with his flock of sheep.  As the sheep are grazing, they are moving forward, each one to his own direction.  Each sheep doesn't look to the left or to the right, he just walks forward.  After time, the flock is very scattered.  But soon the Shepherd begins to sing a beautiful song.  And as he sings, all the sheep lift their head and look for the Shepherd.  When they find him, the face his direction.  And now when they walk, they are walking toward him, instead of away.  Worship, faces us in the right direction.

[The Soldier & the Army]  What is the difference between group prayer and individual prayer.

Imaging individual prayer as like a soldier who runs into the enemy camp and starts attacking.  He can be very damaging.  But now imagine a group of 50 soldiers attacking the enemy camp. They can do more as a group than the individual can by himself.

 
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