3s: sower, seed and soil, part 2.

3's: Sower, Seed and Soil. Part 2.

3’s: Sower, Seed and Soil, part 2.

 

 

The word is the seed that changes every and anything. We just need to plant it.

3s: sower, seed and soil.

3's: Sower, Seed and Soil.

3s: Sower, Seed and Soil.

Mark 4:1-9.

Anytime my daughter wants my undivided attention, it seems she makes some unusual noise. I guess most kids does that to their Dad. While it is not unusual, I’ve noticed how the tone of her voice changes; especially when she wants to play a game and wants my attention. I guess it is her important moment. Not that I’m always a “not-pay-attention-Dad” sometimes, I admittedly am, but those noise re-awaken my interest to listen. There are times she uses the word, “Daddy! Watch me, please Listen.” The  excitement in her  voice carry so much weight that would send the most distant non attentive audience listening.  “I thought I was listening earlier,” I usually say to myself. But this time, she want to say something very important. She clearly  doesn’t want any interruption. At the same time, she doesn’t want me to miss her important moment, because of that, she uses; “listen.”

 

As I read this text, I quickly checked most of the translation of the Bible. I noticed something very consistent in Verse, 3, in most translation it started with; “Listen,” “Harken,” “pay attention,”  “Be attentive.”

 

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil.

The above text reveals how Jesus was communicating one of the most vital kingdom truth to the crowd by the sea shore. This time he was using parables. Parable was important in helping him conveying the most fundamental truth they could culturally relate to. It was about the sower, seed and the soil. Before then, he had already taught many things using parable. But this time, he wanted to break an idea that would revolutionize their life. Simple, yet profound. It was the truth on seed. I decided to pick the 3’s in the order it appeared in the verses.

I recall years ago, while majoring as  a Botany student in the University of Benin, Nigeria. One of my complication was remembering the Botanical names of plants. It was profound to me that seeds requires time and patient before it can grow. While I would spare you some details, including the botanical names of some seed,  I recall with accuracy how  professors, would meticulously and intelligently select seeds that would grow into plants by making sure they are exposed to favorable condition that would enhance the growth of those seeds.

Sower: The sower in this text took steps to achieve a purpose. He needed to sow.

Seed: The seed went into the soil

Soil: The soil accepted the seed.

Based on our current limited  verse,  we are not yet told what the Seed represent and what the soil meant.  So stay with me until we get further into it on our next text. We understand from the text that a seed had been sown. Jesus meant this parable to be foundational as he later explained.

Some fundamental question. What seed are we sowing?

In my “Sure Foundation” Class in Charis Bible College, Andrew Womack would say, “I cannot tell  the type of seed you have planted, but I can honestly tell you what you have sown; by what you are reaping.” You may not admit it yet, but seed don’t lie. You can’t sow orange seed and harvest mango fruit.

In got question, the writer puts it more clearly, “a man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart.” A secondary lesson would be “Salvation is more than a superficial, albeit joyful, hearing of the gospel. Someone who is truly saved will go on to prove it.” May our faith and our lives exemplify the “good soil” in the Parable of the Sower.

Brotherhood is redefined

Brotherhood Redefined

Brotherhood is redefined

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Mark 3:25 -35.
Only human beings, according to Jim Rohn, can reorder their lives anyway they choose, by refining their philosophy.
32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!
35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Only human beings, according to Jim Rohn, can reorder their lives anyway they choose, by refining their philosophy.

Jim Rohn statement reminds me of  Martin Luther King’s final presidential address at the 1967 annual convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In the convention, he engaged the audience  as he encouraged them to create a peaceful united front. His call centered around brotherhood and unity for the Negroes.  David Howard-Pitney edited the speech in his book and titled it “Where do we go from here?” It was a question based on a mission, and a call for brotherhood.

The argument was that every semantics have conspired to make that which is black seem ugly and degrading. The most degenerate member of the family is the “black sheep,” In Rogent’s Thesaurus there are some 120 synonyms for blackness and at least sixty of them are offensive. The tendency, it was argued was to ignore the Negro’s contribution to American life and strip him of person-hood is as old as the earliest history book.

 

 

The same arguments hold true when Manning Marable in ” Race, reform and rebellion: The second reconstruction in Black America, 1945 -1982.” makes a case for the suffering of some tribes. He said, the most disturbing social characteristic within black America in the post-segregation period was the upwards spiral in rate of homicide. The division has perpetuated a false sense of superiority which has achieved the mission of division.  Because of poor concept of human nature, J.B Stoner would say ” When the constitution said, all men are created equal, it wasn’t talking about niggers.” The result of those statements and mindset was destructive and shouldn’t be entertained. The truth is; God created everyone equal, the same goes for the undeserving in India, Cambodia or Nicaragua and places around the entire world. God loves people, so should we.

 

When Jesus came, he never saw people based on their race, ethnicity or color. He saw them based on who God has created them to be. He redefined brotherhood, by clearly stating; “those that do the will of God are my brother, sister and mother.

 

How does doing God’s will translate into brotherhood?

First, God is the creator and sees his people differently than people would see themselves.  God knows everything there is to know about you and he loves you anyway. He expect us, according to C.S Lewis in “Mere Christianity,” to run the human machine based on his perspective – not our perspective.  Jesus never rebuked people who was in need of him. He was aware of their flaws and celebrates their strength. He looks for growth, but now he accepts them just the way there were. He was accepting of all people, and repeatedly calls all with love and compassion.

 

Jesus defined brotherhood by the principle of adherance to God’s ways.  Christina Baldwin, eloquently sum it up this was; “with compassion, we see benevolently our own human condition and the condition of our fellow beings. We drop prejudice. We withhold judgment.

Second, we are in a mission that necessitate brotherhood. Brotherhood is a place of support, help and recovery.  And the importance of it means that it could be a place of total vulnerability, hence Jesus was clear about disapproving of Judgements and condemnation.

 

Third, he treated people who adhere to God’s word in a positive light compared to blood relatives. Without relegating his relatives, he upheld the truth inherent in brotherhood as followers of God.

 

Finally, our mission is to walk in the light of God’s words, having compassion for our brothers that obey God in different nations. At the same time knowing that they are part of God’s Family.

 

One man: Different opinions

One man: Different opinions.

One man: Different opinions.

One Man: Different opinions.

 

Mark 3:16-23.

The Seattle Times believe Malcom Gladwell has a knack for rendering complex idea into simple and elegant prose. This assertion was obvious in his ground breaking book.  In The Tipping Point: How little things can make a big difference Gladwell made a compelling case for character. He presents character as a more bundle of habits and tendencies, interest and loosely bound together and dependent, on each other at certain times. He said, “most of us are good at character because we are better in controlling our environment. “ His idea was; “take a man from the environment that has built his character,” he will most likely contend with the challenges of the unfamiliar. In our text, Jesus character remained consistent even at different environment, yet people had a different opinion about who he was. Some thought he had a devil others thought he was insane.

 

In the same vein, the opinion we have about people influences and determine how much we would want to relate to (or with) them. This hold true for businesses, corporations as well as  individual(s).

When we have doubts about issues, we are less likely not going to make key decisions. And because our decisions affects our lives in different ways, we wait until the doubts get cleared. While it is true to scrutinize our decisions, especially in the face of doubts, it also important not to allow our doubts control us. Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.

 

People had an opinion about who Jesus was and is, but Jesus knew his mission. He didn’t have any identity crisis. Neither was he swayed by the opinion of those around him, because he understood his mission and purpose; and so should we.

 

In our text, after the healing and miraculous service, Jesus friends and family had a different opinion about him.

 

“Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

 

The scribes had a different opinion.

 

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”

 

Jesus had just choosen his disciples and given them authority to do what he was doing, healing the sick and doing good works. Yet, some people still had a negative opinion about him.

One question. How often does the crowd opinion influenced our lives? Do we change our mission and purpose because of the subtle and unspoken opinion of others? I’m talking in positive terms. Of course, we  should keep doing what is good, and what we believe promote justice and truth for community.  I understand that “Goodness” is becoming a relative terms, but there is a standard of measuring what is acceptable based on what the word says.

 

Lets take the word for what it says and lean on God’s grace and truth. Lets stand for what is right even in the prevailing negative opinions of men. At the end God’s report and opinion about us outweighs all existing opinions.

“For he had healed many”

"FOR HE HAD HEALED MANY"

“FOR HE HAD HEALED MANY”

 

Mark 3:8-15.
In 2006, while living in London and attending  Christ Church, London. I noticed  on my way to service how I couldn’t clearly make use of my right eye. After visiting Moorfields Eye Hospital, London,  I was diagnosed with “Toxoplasmosis.” In shock, I found out it was a disease that results from infection with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, one of the world’s most common parasites.

 

I questioned the implication and the cause of the disease and  I was reliably informed during my treatment that I was born that way. I knew God had a better plan for my eye, and he healed me through the use of medicine and faith in His word. The word works every time. If we dare to believe him, he may not show up, when we want him to show up, but he’ll always respond to our faith. The late Archbishop Idahosa would say: “there is something beyond medical science; it is the healing power of God, and faith in his word. Perhaps, it appears too simplistic to you. Or maybe you would argue it doesn’t happen often. The truth is; if you understand the power in his word, It would be easier to believe it.

 

“When meditating on today’s text. I noticed how Jesus went about healing people and operating in authority over evil spirits.
In this text, we see Jesus healing again. Mark 3:10 (KJV). For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
Smith Wigglesworth had this to say “Never listen to human plans. God can work mightily when you persist in believing Him in spite of discouragement from the human standpoint. … I am moved by what I believe. I know this: no man looks at the circumstances if he believes.
If we understand that “God is never tightfisted with any of His blessings.” We would be more open to ask for physical and emotional healing based on his word.

 

People in Smith Wigglesworth days didn’t have to look  at the internet about sickness, they had this to say: “I believe the word of God is so powerful that it can transform any and every life. There is power in God’s word to make that which does not appear to appear. There is executive power in the word that proceeds from His lips. The psalmist tells us, “He sent His word and healed them” (Ps. 107:20); and do you think that word has diminished in its power? Wigglesworth, continued,  I tell you nay, but God’s word can bring things to pass today as of old.”

 

What Jesus did, he gave the same authority and power to his disciples in verse 15. “And to have authority to cast out the demons.”

 

Let’s utilize what has been provided to us through his Word. We can be healed.

 

“But they kept Silent”

But They Kept Silent

But They Kept Silent

Mark 3:1-8

It bothers me when people who do little for us; ask so much from us. Not only does it sometimes sound embarrassing, but it makes us vulnerable, especially when we find rejecting people disturbing. I hate to say; “No” to people. But, with life experience, I have grown to understand that “No” is important in some cases, if not in most cases. But when it relates to Jesus, he often tells us “yes” in our deepest need.
In this passage, Jesus had just healed a man whose hand was withered. The religious leaders were not concerned about the condition  of the man. It seems they wanted him to remain in that state. Because their concern was about trying to entrap the good man that had brought the healing by restoring the man to a perfect condition. They were more concern about the Sabbath day, rules and religion dogmas without considering kindness, social and economic relief. But when Jesus saw their reaction to a good work, he asked them a deep question:
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
They kept silent, not because, they were acting out what Mark Twain echoed when he wrote “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open ones mouth and remove all doubts”. No! these people had already open their mouth, the obvious was the case with them. Jesus had to silent them.
These religious leaders obviously had nothing to offer. Jesus had saved a life and I was expecting joyful celebration. But not in this case with the religious folk. They were after what they could do to make Jesus silent.

REASON FOR THEIR BEHAVIOR.
I asked myself a personal question when meditating on this verse and it was, why where these people not rejoicing when Jesus had just healed someone. Jesus pointed it out in the verse, because he realized they had hardness of heart.
The resulting effect of hardness of heart could lead to lack of appreciation or (failure to recognize) what God is doing in the lives of other people. A miracle had just taken place in the temple and another conspiracy was taking place to entrap the messiah. Sometimes, our worst moment could be used to create the best moment, or the reverse.
LIFE APPLICATION.

We need to be excited over other people’s successes. As humans, we have the opportunity to act in a goodly way that would silent all our accusers. Let’s make a commitment to rejoice with other people successes, because it is a reflection of who we are. The people who should be made to keep silent are people who have nothing to offer.  Not we, because we have joy, peace and happiness to offer when people have their breakthroughs.

New Wine

New Wine

New Wine

Mark 2:21-28

Walking through the streets of ring road in Benin City, Nigeria, I saw a write up by the newsstand boldly written; “You cannot use yester years potential to win today’s credit”.
Years later, those words resonate with me. I realize how few words, for some reasons, get stuck in our head. Yesterday was good, beautiful and nice. But it comes to a time when we have to consciously let it go. We let it go so we can usher in what we can use to fix today’s issues. My encounter with the newspaper stand often remind me of what Jesus said in this verse of the Bible.
Mark 2: 22. (KJV) And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
Oops, we sometime wish a delete key came with our errors, where we could delete what we (would have) or not have said or done. The truth is, we may not have the luxury of changing things easily, but we can have a fresh start with a whole new mindset of ideas.
In context with the verse, Jesus response to the Pharisee about the question of a ‘fast’ was answered in several ways. He wanted them to understand that there need to be a match between what they want and how it can be accommodated.
It is helpful to realize we need new and updated information to counter relevant issues in life. New wine is being interpreted by most Bible scholars as the Holy Spirit, or anointing. However, we view it. There is need for a match.

Not the righteous; but sinners

Mark 2:13-20

Not the righteous; but sinners

th2 Not the righteous; but sinners

Jim Rohn, an inspirational speaker, told his audience about the trajectory that occurs in people’s lives.  This time his story was about the Vice –President of a prestigious company. She is currently pulling down a hefty six-figure salary at the time the story was told, but it was not always like that. She has had a string of promotions behind her, and sure, more to come.  Even though she has never asked anyone for money, her decision came one day from the hind sights of rejection and humiliation by someone who had it. According to Rohn:  “as a housewife, one evening, not many years ago, the young housewife realized she didn’t have enough cash on hand to buy some of the groceries she needed for the rest of the week.”
As a stay-at-home mother and wife, she was entirely dependent upon her husband for income. So, when he arrived home from work that evening, she asked him for an extra 10 dollars.”
Hearing the question and request, he turned to her with visible irritation. He heaved a sigh, rolled his eyes, and tauntingly sneered, “What for?”
“Surprised and shocked, she was stung by the contempt in his voice, and by the humiliation she felt at having to grovel for a measly 10 dollars.”
 At the point she made a decision to turn her life and round and never looked back. 
 
In the text, “Jesus said to them “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. I do not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.”
 
The master came for the broke, rich and downtrodden.  His message cut across the social status of his days. Powerful enough to get the attention of the scribes that would make them question if he was really the savior.  He never relegated sinners when he knew who they were. His teaching style was transparent enough for the sinners that came around him. They came not to be humiliated and judged by him, but to have fellowship with him. Reading the text, Today, I wonder the type of message we are sharing that propel sinners running far from our fellowships and churches. I question the message that we share that scares and push sinners away from us. It is not our desire to do a soft teaching that keeps you enjoying your sinful condition without acceptance of truth. But for Jesus message to attract people of that social standing he probably could be teaching what we are not yet teaching. Now, who can be more powerful than Jesus?  Jesus message embraced sinners and tax collectors.  There was no exception. He wasn’t there to be like them because he knew who he was. He was there for a purpose.  I can imagine what the media would have said today if Jesus was parading himself as the righteous one and still having dinner with sinners. Not very good to the church goers, but powerful for the media.  Jesus life in the text highlight some of the key point every believer should embrace.  One of them should be relational skills with people different from us, not judgmental lifestyle patterned by differences.
 
The scribes, and religious leaders in the text, wouldn’t confront Jesus. They, instead went to his disciples. I can relate to the challenges of confrontation, maybe confrontation was difficult for them, but I would rather speak with the main person than the disciples. Even at their indirect confrontation, Jesus still responded to them in love. 
The text is reflective of the term George Orwell, the author of  “Animal Farm” used when he wrote about media propaganda. He used the concept of  “double think” in 1984.  Eric Arthur Blair was his real name, but for political protection; he used Orwell.  Blair defined “double think” as the reliance on inherently antagonistic thoughts in the construction of one’s ideology.  As a political writer, he considers double think as the attempt to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancels out, knowing it is necessary to forget, than to draw it back into memory at the moment. Double think was often effectively employed when masking out some ambition under the justification of defending something different. The scribes in the text was not after the sinners, but after Jesus, because in previous text, it was easier to notice their antagonistic and self-righteous stand.
 
Through “reality control” the propaganda of Jesus eating with sinners, was a complete truth, covered with telling carefully constructed lies.  As the text reveals, the attack for Jesus to be judged. It is identical to what we currently experience. Like the corporate media today, there is a need for us to Identify the narrow spectrum. Jesus came for the sinners; not the righteous. The self-righteous were already sinners because we cannot satisfy God on the basis of our works; but on the provision of what he has provided through grace in his son. It is important knowing righteousness is the right standing with God, but the righteousness wasn’t attained by our works; but our reliance on the grace of God in Christ. Everything based on us attaining a relationship with Christ divorced from  Christ puts us in need of him. And it for that reason he came sharing the truth of the kingdom –  he has come for the sinners; not the righteous.  The term “sinners” reminds me of C.S Lewis in “mere Christianity” where he explained that a sinner is an enemy of God that needs to lay down his sword and surrender to him. It was for the purpose of sin which he came.
 
The central truth of the text is established when we are able to teach and still love people in spite of where they are while at the same time maintaining truth with them. Jesus ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners. He related with the people he came to save.

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We have never seen anything like this

We have never seen anything like this

We have never seen anything like this

Mark 2:1-12
DIAMOND ERA

Russell H. Conwell was known for his story “Acres of Diamond.” Many have found his story inspiring and challenging. To others, it has helped explore their untapped talents and gifts; they never knew they had. Funds have been raised to build universities by the way he tells his story. People thought differently after hearing his story, and others created wealth that made a difference in lives within their communities. It was just the way he tells his story. The theme of his story focuses on how the owner of a diamond filled land, ignorantly sold his land in search of diamond in another foreign land. At the end, he died broke, sad, poor and wretched. The new owner of the land ended up being the most wealthy and richest diamond owner in his days. The secret to his wealth was that diamond was discovered in the land he bought from the man who couldn’t discover it. Russell tells his story with so much suspense that keeps his audience spell bound.
GOLD ERA
Similar to the diamond story, Conwell also talked about the California gold rush era.
In 1847, a man own a ranch in California, it was during gold rush. He read there was a huge discovery of gold in southern California. He sold his ranch to Colonel Sutter and started off to hunt for gold. Colonel Sutter put a mill on the little stream in the land, one day, his little girl came home playing around with sand and there was a shining scales – It was gold. The man who wanted the gold had sold his ranch and gone away and never to return. Now, Colonel Sutter is the richest owner because gold was found in the ranch he bought.
GOLD AND DIAMOND IN JESUS WORDS.
As I read this text in the Bible, I can relate to the Russell story, I can imagine friends, families and people that knew something better than gold was around – it was the words of Jesus. Jesus was ultimately presenting timeless truth that was better than diamond. The author, Mark, remarked in verse 2. “And many gathered together so that there was no longer room, not even near the door: and he was speaking the word.”
I had many questions reading this text. What was so powerful about the words Jesus was teaching that would prevent the crowd from creating space for the paralytic man. I also noticed that Jesus responded to their faith. I thought that was very significant. He told the paralytic to get up and pick up his pallet and go home. He did it in the presence of everyone. I can understand explaining in details is beyond the purview of this write-up. I would remind the readers, how much God’s word can transform. At the same time lies the healing power of his word to forgive sins and raise up anyone from sick beds. There is power and truth in the word that should not be traded or sold for anything. Jesus simply spoke to the paralytic man. And he obeyed, because his grace will always take us where his words leads us. Gold and Diamond are important, so is the word. The story present to us how that we have acres of diamond in our mouth, which is the word of God in the text. We do not have to miss out by running around trying to get it. This is similar to what Andrew Womack would say “you’ve already got it, quit trying to get it.” The word is near thee, even the words of faith.” Rom. 10:8.
At the end, the people said: vs. 12. “We have never seen anything like this.” They had been used to the familiar, now the uncommon has set in. Evans “How?” Because speaking of the paralytic man, it states “And he got up and immediately picked up his pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God. They hadn’t seen or heard a story so powerful, and a message so true that would lift them up. Now they did. It was obvious that they had never seen anything like this before, but Jesus did it all for them.

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Yes, he can. Would he?


 

Yes, he can. Would he?

Yes, he can. Would he?

 

Mark 1:40-45.

 Vs. 40. And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching him and falling on his knees before him and saying; “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Harold Kushner, the Jewish rabbi, strikes deep emotional cords in “why bad things happen to good people.” His caring voice, profound message of tolerance is worth everyone attention. Kushner expresses human struggles with a mixture of sensitive authoritativeness. His writing has shown how acceptance and forgiveness can change relationships. As a modern literature, psychology and theologian of over thirty years, he pen it this way in “How good do we have to be.” Eating the tree of knowledge did not condemn Adam and Eve to die. Animals die. It conferred on them the knowledge they would one day die, he went further; “and it is that awareness, more than the experience of death itself that is the unique burden of humanity.”

While the knowledge of death cannot be disconnected from sickness and diseases. In the Bible text above, having the knowledge of sickness and disease wasn’t enough to keep the nameless man quiet. He was described in the text as a “leper.” He was identified by his sickness. The leper left his familiar and common place to an uncommon place by asking for Jesus.

When he saw, Jesus, he beseeched him and went on his knees, which is a sign of worship in their collective culture. Before going on his kneels, he knew Jesus could heal him. There is not doubt in his mind about God’s ability to heal people. Some people believe God can heal them. The unanswered question, is: Would he? Is he willing? Is it his will to heal or clean people?

When teaching about healing,  Andrew Wommack would say; “where I would lost most people, is not in whether God can heal, but when I tell them to come pray for the sick.  People would withdraw.” People don’t have much problem professing and confessing God’s ability, but knowing his will in that ability is the issue.. The issue we get everything mixed up is whether God wants to heal us.

As Doctor Johnson, puts it; “people need to be reminded, more than they are instructed.”

W e need to remind ourself daily how much God can heal,  and how willing he is to heal and cure people from their sicknesses and diseases. It is his will for us to be healthy. The leper took advantage of that will and became healed. We can do the same today.

 

 

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