Archives For Parables

The following was shared today by a friend on FB. He cited  www.guadaluperadio.com as its source. If you do not know Spanish, see the translation below (I used GoogleTranslate and Spanishdict.com to do the initial translation and then I tried to smooth it out as best as I could). This is a tremendous analogy!

En el vientre de una mujer embarazada se encontraban dos bebés. Uno pregunta al otro:

 – ¿Tú crees en la vida después del parto?

 – Claro que sí. Algo debe existir después del parto. Tal vez estemos aquí porque necesitamos prepararnos para lo que seremos más tarde.

 – ¡Tonterías! No hay vida después del parto. ¿Cómo sería esa vida?

 – No lo sé pero seguramente… habrá más luz que aquí. Tal vez caminemos con nuestros propios pies y nos alimentemos por la boca.

 – ¡Eso es absurdo! Caminar es imposible. ¿Y comer por la boca? ¡Eso es ridículo! El cordón umbilical es por donde nos alimentamos. Yo te digo una cosa: la vida después del parto está excluida. El cordón umbilical es demasiado corto.

 – Pues yo creo que debe haber algo. Y tal vez sea distinto a lo que estamos acostumbrados a tener aquí.

 – Pero nadie ha vuelto nunca del más allá, después del parto. El parto es el final de la vida. Y a fin de cuentas, la vida no es más que una angustiosa existencia en la oscuridad que no lleva a nada.

 – Bueno, yo no sé exactamente cómo será después del parto, pero seguro que veremos a mamá y ella nos cuidará.

 – ¿Mamá? ¿Tú crees en mamá? ¿Y dónde crees tú que está ella ahora?

 – ¿Dónde? ¡En todo nuestro alrededor! En ella y a través de ella es como vivimos. Sin ella todo este mundo no existiría.

 – ¡Pues yo no me lo creo! Nunca he visto a mamá, por lo tanto, es lógico que no exista.

 – Bueno, pero a veces, cuando estamos en silencio, tú puedes oírla cantando o sentir cómo acaricia nuestro mundo. ¿Sabes?… Yo pienso que hay una vida real que nos espera y que ahora solamente estamos preparándonos para ella…’

English translation from GoogleTranslate and Spanishdict.com, which I have attempted to smooth out:

In the belly of a pregnant woman were two babies. One asks the other, “Do you believe in life after birth?”

“Of course. Something must exist after delivery. Maybe, we’re here because we need to prepare for what will be later.”

“Nonsense! There is no life after birth. What would that life be?”

“I do not know but surely … there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk on our own feet and nourish ourselves through our mouths.”

“This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eating by mouth? That is ridiculous! The umbilical cord is where we eat. I tell you one thing: life after delivery is excluded. The umbilical cord is too short.”

“Well, I think there must be something. And maybe it’s different from what we are used to here.”

“But no one has ever returned from beyond postpartum. Delivery is the end of life. And, after all, life is but a harrowing existence in the darkness that leads nowhere.”

“Well, I do not know exactly how it will be after delivery, but I’m sure we’ll see our mom, and she will take care of us.”

“Mom? Do you believe in mom? And, where do you think she is now?”

“Where? All around us! We are in her and through her is how we live. Without her, the whole world would not exist.”

“Well, I do not think so! I’ve never seen mommy, therefore, it is logical that she does not exist.”

“Well, but sometimes when we are silent, you can hear her singing or feel her caressing our world. Do you know? … I think there is a real life that awaits us and only now we are preparing for it … “

There once was an old rich man who lived alone and had the same caretaker for many years. One day, he discovered that the caretaker had been stealing from him for several years. He confronted him and told him that he had two hours to gather all his belongings from the rich man’s estate and then leave.

The wicked caretaker became very angry and plotted how he could secretly kill the rich man. He came up with the idea that he would poison him.

Because the rich man suffered from migraines, he often took pain medication for his headaches. Before leaving, the caretaker opened the bottle of pain medicine in the rich man’s medicine cabinet and filled it with highly poisonous tablets that were exactly the same shape and size as the pain medicine.

Late that night, the rich man awoke with a crushing headache. Without putting his glasses on, he went to the medicine cabinet to get his pain medicine. Because it was late at night, he did not even turn on the light in the bathroom.

Grabbing three tablets of what he sincerely believed was a painkiller that would quickly relieve him of his agonizing pain, the man swallowed the tablets with half a glass of water. Within minutes, he was dead.

His sincere belief was not good enough to keep him from dying from taking a deadly poison. In a much more important way, merely sincere religious belief is not enough—what one believes must be true.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

During a war, a large group of soldiers under a lieutenant goes AWOL. All those soldiers who went AWOL are captured by the enemy and put in a concentration camp with no contact of any kind with the outside world. Many months go by. The king of the country whose soldiers were captured promotes that lieutenant to second in authority over his whole country and devises a plan for rescuing the captured soldiers. He gives the former lieutenant all authority to deal with any of the soldiers that he ends up rescuing.

The former lieutenant gathers some leaders of several rescue squads to go carry out the king’s plan. He gives the leaders specific instructions orally about what to do and what to say in carrying out their mission. The instructions include statements w and x, which include the terms of pardon, and statement y, which is essential information about how to access that pardon and how to make it safely out of the enemy country. He also instructs them to declare statement z to the captive soldiers, which consists of telling them that the king has promoted him to be the head over the whole country.

The leaders of the rescue squads give each of their squad members a written copy of the instructions. The rescue squads go on their mission and discover that the enemy has dispersed the captive soldiers to numerous locations. The leaders are only able to accompany a few of their squad members in carrying out the mission. Most of the rescuers in most of the squads discover that the mission will be much harder than they were expecting. In carrying out the rescue operation, the leaders and the squad members who are with them declare all the statements that they were commissioned to proclaim. All the leaders and the squad members who are with the leaders are killed while carrying out the mission.

Of the squad members who were separated from their squad leaders, some rescuers tell some of the soldiers in a few of the locations w, x, y, and z. Most of them do not tell any of the captives about z. Some do not do so because they were separated from their leaders and wonder exactly what the leaders may have ended up doing. Some do not do so because they simply forget to do so in the heat of the moment. Many do not do so because they never read the written instructions thoroughly. Others, while reading that they were supposed to say z, do not do so because they reason that it is not essential for the rescue of the captives.

Amazingly, some of the captives refuse the terms of rescue completely. Some refuse when they hear statement z, not believing that the former lieutenant is sincere in promising that he will not hold them accountable now that he is the head over all the country. Many of the captives are rescued, including many who did not hear statement z from rescuers who had been separated from their squad leaders.

When they are taken before the king and the lieutenant, what will be the evaluation of those in the rescue squads who did not proclaim statement z? Yes, many of the recipients of the truncated message were still rescued, even though they did not hear z. Was their head, however, given the honor in the mission that he was supposed to have received? If he was not honored as fully as he intended, will he hold them accountable for his not having received the full honor that he wanted to receive through the proclamation of all the statements, including statement z?

“And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:42-43).

A man hears about a photography contest that has a huge grand prize. He plans to go to a famous resort area in a third world country to try to photograph something distinctive that would win the prize.

He goes for two weeks and has a great time for the first week. At the end of the first week, he hears some native staff members tell him not to stray too far from the resort area because of reports of an albino lion that many of the natives claim to have seen in the area.

One evening, thinking of the grand prize, he wanders off into the wilderness to see if he can get a picture of the lion. While he is wandering around, suddenly he hears a roar from behind him and is knocked to the ground with such force that he is stunned and becomes semi-conscious.

Meanwhile, some members of the hotel staff who are searching for him come upon the scene with one of them carrying a high-powered flamethrower that could easily drive the lion away. Incredibly, while the lion begins to choke him, the staff members stand a safe distance away and berate him. They yell at him and say that they warned him not to wander off. Instead of using the flamethrower to rescue him, they chide him while the lion continues in its vicious attack.

If this scene were really to have happened, what would we think of the staff members? Yes, the vacationer was foolish and greedily did what he was not supposed to do. Still, how could the staff members do what they did, focusing on his foolishness instead of rescuing him from the lion?

Every lost person is like the foolish vacationer who greedily wandered off and was being devoured by the lion:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8; spoken to believers and shows the vicious nature of the devil; if he is this way towards believers, it surely implies that he is the same towards unbelievers).

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid from them that are lost: in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me (Acts 26:18).

In our dealings with lost people, we must not have a mindset or approach that in any way parallels the staff members above. People who are lost are lost in part because they are helplessly in the grip of an evil supernatural being for whom they are no match, as is pictured in the case of the “woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself . . . whom Satan hath bound . . . eighteen years” (Lk. 13:11, 16).

If we think that we are any better than lost people are and are saved because of something in ourselves, we are wrong. God’s mercy is the only reason that we have been delivered from the lion who wants to devour as many souls as possible:

And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy . . . hath quickened us (Eph. 2:1-5).

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13).

As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Heb. 2:14-15).

We know that whosever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one touched him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:18-19).

In our dealings with lost people, we should have a right mindset and approach towards them and their horrific plight. We must not strive with them:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Tim. 2:24-26).

A Parable about Music

March 23, 2011

A team of archaeologists makes a stunning discovery. While excavating a desolate site, they stumble upon a vast collection of documents that employs unfamiliar notation. The archaeologists reason that the collection must be of great importance because of the painstaking efforts that were taken to preserve it.

After months of secretive examination by leading scholars, the documents are finally deciphered as ancient music notation. A whirlwind of secretive activity ensues. A team of leading musicians from around the world is secretly chosen and collaborates for months to examine the documents.

Finally, all the documents are deciphered and analyzed fully. Upon rendering the music into modern notation and having it played by the world-class musicians in the team, everyone is stunned by the extraordinary beauty, majesty, and grandeur of the music. Practicing for months, they prepare for an international debut for the music that all the major networks in leading countries agree to carry.

They choose to debut only the instrumental music that they discovered. The rest of the music is kept under very tight security.

The worldwide response to the music is phenomenal. Music experts everywhere deem the music to be among the finest music ever produced. Somehow, the source of the instrumental music remains a tightly guarded secret throughout the entire process.

Many leading Christian musicians who hear the music write beautiful lyrics to accompany selections from the collection. Numerous churches worldwide use the music in their worship services.

A year later, in an international press conference, the team who produced the music then makes known its identity. They reveal that this was the music used when Nebuchadnezzar demanded worldwide worship of his image. They then release the rest of the music, which is immediately enthusiastically received all over the world.

Having accepted the music enthusiastically and used it in worship, what do the Christians who did so do now upon learning of the origin of the music? Do they reason that the music itself is still fine to use, in spite of its original ancient use?

Does the fact that the music was specifically used originally for the worship of a man forever taint this instrumental music that was of phenomenal musical quality? If it were known whether the pieces of music in the collection were composed specifically for that occasion or not, would that change anything?

Prove the Will of God!

February 25, 2011

Picture a cool fall day in a Midwestern farming community in the year1947. A faithful, young farmer heads out to his fields at the break of day. He notices a slight scratchy feeling in his throat. As he puts in a full day of work, he has a sinking feeling that he is coming down with something. By the middle of the week, he can hardly swallow. Hating to go to a doctor, he tries gargling with a mix of lemon juice, apple cider, vinegar, honey, and one “special” ingredient. His throat, however, keeps on getting worse. 

Early the next week, he is barely able to swallow. Reluctantly, he agrees to go see his uncle, who is a doctor. Taking one look inside his mouth, his uncle’s face grows very serious. “Jake, you have a bad case of strep throat.” “I’m giving you a new medicine that I hope will take care of the problem; be sure to finish all the pills.” Jake takes the pills, thanks his uncle, and heads home. 

After a few days on the medication, his throat feels so much better. Because the pills were so bitter, and he is feeling better by now, he decides to stop taking the pills. He says to himself, “I am over the problem, and I don’t want to overdo this medicine business.” 

Two weeks after stopping the pills, Jake is flat on his back, hardly able to speak. Now, he has a fever and a rash. When his uncle comes and examines him, with tears he grimly informs him that he has rheumatic fever. 

For the rest of his life, Jake is a crippled man who no longer can take care of his farm or even himself. The damage to his heart was just too severe for him to do much of anything. He is unable to live out the life that he might have lived had he followed the full prescription given to him. 

God has given us His prescription for our sinful condition (Rom. 12). Although we must present ourselves to God, we must not stop with just making a decision to do so. We must go on and live out His will for our lives as He teaches us in Romans 12:1ff. 

If we do not fully follow that prescription, we will be crippled and not fulfill His will. God wants us to prove His will for our lives.

Spiritual Warfare Parable

February 20, 2011

You are returning to your home out in the country from a weekend trip with your wife. Your cell phones are dead because you forgot your chargers at home. When you are a few miles away from your home, you see thick, black smoke coming from the direction of your home. 

You rush home to find police cars and fire trucks on your property. The police prevent you from going to the house. From a safe distance, you watch what little is left of your home burn completely to the ground. Soon, you learn that the mutilated bodies of all your pets have been found in your swimming pool. 

Shortly thereafter, the police inform you that they found the bodies of three security guards out in the woods behind your home. You inform them that you had four security guards. A few minutes later, they find the fourth one. Though he had been shot four times, he managed to survive by playing dead. Just before he finally dies, he informs the police that some gang members are responsible for what happened and that they have stolen your brand new Hummer and ransacked your home before setting it on fire. 

Immediately, your thoughts turn to your three girls, whom you left for the weekend with your parents. You rush off to their home, a mile down the road. You pound on the door, but no one answers. Finally, in desperation, you break a window and get in the house. To your great horror, you find the lifeless bodies of your parents out back on their deck. 

Frantically, you begin to search for your girls. You search everywhere, but you are unable to find your eight, ten, and twelve-year old daughters. In desperation, you head for the church that you pastor, which is three blocks down the road. 

You arrive there and find the police at the church. You explain who you are and the chief with great sorrow explains that during a youth activity just a few hours ago, lightning struck during a storm that suddenly became violent and killed your three daughters as they were running toward the church to escape the storm. 

As the pastor of a large, rural church in California that has taken a strong stand for Christ, how will you cope? Will you vow to spend the rest of your life to find those gang members and see that they get what they deserve? What will you make of the lightning? Will you abandon your faith in the midst of such horrific suffering? 

Or, will you bow in worship: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD’” (Job. 1:20-21). 

And, will you think aright about what those gang members have done and about the lightning that killed your daughters? “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.’ So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. . . . A messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you’” (Job. 1:14-19).

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places(Eph. 6:12).

Resurrection Parable

February 13, 2011

Many people doubt or even deny that Jesus rose from the dead because they think the accounts of the Resurrection in the Bible are filled with contradictions. Through a parable, this post shows how that even if the so-called contradictions were true contradictions, which they are not, the Resurrection would not automatically be disproved.

PARABLE

Four part-time workers in the shipping department of a large company are working together in the warehouse. Through an intercom message, I and another worker, Jim, are called into the manager’s office. Two other workers at our work station, Joe and Sam, tell us before we leave that they hope everything goes ok.

In the meeting, the manager strongly chides me about my work. At one point, he calls in my work supervisor, Frank. Frank also briefly reproves me and then leaves. The manager then calls in Joe from the back and continues to chide me in front of Jim and Joe. The meeting ends.

Jim goes back and says to Sam, who was not in the meeting at all, that the manager really let me have it. Joe, who only came to the meeting later, comes back after some time and also says to Sam that the manager really let me have it.

Later, I come back and tell Sam that both the manager and my work supervisor really let me have it. When I get home that evening, I tell my roommate that my manager really let me have it at work today.

DISCUSSION

Sam received three reports of what happened at the meeting. Jim said to him that the manager let me have it, but did not mention that the work supervisor was also there for part of the time. Jim knew that information, but chose for whatever reason not to mention it.

If asked about a second person, Joe would say that only the manager was there at the meeting when he was there. But a second person was in fact there earlier and left prior to Joe’s arrival.

To Sam, I chose to give a more complete statement by saying that two people chided me. Focusing on the manager, I could have just as legitimately told him that my manager chided me in the meeting. To my roommate, I chose to report that I was chided by the one who was the most important. Because I did not say in the first report that I was chided in the meeting by only one person, my statements are not contradictory.

Sam would not be justified in seeing a contradiction in the reports that he received from Jim, Joe, and me. My roommate would not be justified in thinking that I had lied to him because I told him that my manager had chided me that day.

The differing reports given by the different workers and me to different people at different times do not prove that the meeting never took place nor do the “discrepancies” in the reports prove that all the reports are untrustworthy. Similarly, alleged discrepancies in the accounts of the Resurrection do not show that they are all false. Nor do they disprove that the Resurrection ever happened. To disprove the Resurrection, each account would have to be shown to be false on its own.