Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Parable Lessons - The Persistent Widow

Parable:-  The Persistent Widow

Scripture Portion:- Luke 18:1-8

Observations
The main observations:-
  • Jesus told his disciples a story.
  • To show disciples that they should always pray and never give up.
  • There was a judge in a certain city.
  • He neither feared God nor cared about people.
  • A widow of that city came to him repeatedly for justice.
  • She had some dispute with her enemy.
  • The judge ignored her for a while.
  • Finally the judge was tired and he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
  • Jesus told them to learn a lesson from this unjust judge.
  • Judge gave a just decision in the end. 
  • God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night.
  • He will not keep putting them off and will grant justice to them quickly.
  • Jesus also asked a question.When he returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?
Interpretation:- Always praying does not mean that you have to sit and pray all the time. In this context, it has to do with a particular matter for which you are praying. If its under God's will then you should continue to pray in all situations and in a consistent way. It is not about repetition but quality and consistency in prayer. There are many reasons why we get distracted in our prayer life. Some of them are:-

  • Lack of faith in God
  • We lose focus after sometime
  • We get discouraged
  • Sin can also diminish our passion and vision. It will reduce our prayer life
  • Bitterness in heart can also stop our prayer
Jesus compared God to an unjust judge. If unjust judge came under pressure and gave window justice, we have a loving God. We can be more confident in our prayers knowing that we have a righteous God. 

When Jesus comes back, how many will have faith. We are called to finish our race. In the last days there will be lot of things to turn people away from faith.

Practical Lessons:- I have to be persistent in prayer. Even when I don't see any answers I need to have faith in God. In good and bad times I should pray. I should never give up prayer matters. Sin can diminish my prayer life. I have to be careful about that. I also need to hold on to my faith till the end.

Parable Lessons - The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Parable:-  The Pharisee and the Tax Collector 

Scripture Portion:- Luke 18:9-14

Observations
Some of the main observations:-

  • Jesus told this story to some people who had great confidence in their own righteousness.
  • They scorned everyone else.
  • Two men went to the Temple to pray. 
  • One was a Pharisee.
  • The other was a despised tax collector.
  • The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed like this - "I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income."
  • But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. 
  • He beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 
  • Jesus told that the sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. 
  • Jesus also told that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Interpretation:- There was nothing wrong with the things the Pharisee was doing. In fact they were good things. But he had spiritual pride. Some people may think that we are sinners are we can never do good things. Jesus calls us for a transformed life. Standing for the word of God is different than having spiritual pride. If you see Elijah then he was standing for truth and he was not having pride. The Pharisee's prayer was all about himself.  The tax collector was not fake but was humble and true. He was pleading for God's mercy. I believe this parable has a big lesson about our hearts attitude when we pray and also when we look at others. Jesus warns against Self Righteousness and arrogance. He is also teaching about value of humility. To be justified in the sight of God, we need humbleness. 

Practical Lessons:- I need to examine my attitude in prayer as well as towards others. God hates proud but humble people receives mercy from his presence. I should do good works but that's not the basis for my justification in the sight of God. I should not remain in a sinful state. If I fall, then I should have the sincerity to ask God's forgiveness.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Parable Lessons - Two Builders, Wise and Foolish

Parable:- Two Builders, Wise and Foolish

Scripture Portion:- Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49

Observations:- The parable follows what Jesus told about last judgement when many will come say about what they did and Jesus will not accept or acknowledge them. They did miracles and wonders. They drive out demons and prophesied in Jesus name. Jesus says that those who hear the words and put them into practice is like a wise builder who built his house upon the rock. When wind and storms came against it, it stood still. Those who hear and not practice are like a man who build his house upon sand. He is called a foolish man. When wind and storms came, this house fell with a great crash.

Practical Lessons:- I need to make sure that I am building my house on the rock on a daily basis. Anyone who hears the teachings of Jesus and follows them is wise. Solid foundation will mean obedience on daily basis. Anyone who hears and ignore is foolish. So following the teachings of Jesus is key to have a solid foundation. This has also to do it the fact that if we will be able to stand during judgement. Some decisions included checking to see "if we are still building on rock" on a daily basis. Our personal walk with God should give us the sensitivity to discern if we are building on rock or sand.

Parable Lessons - The Sower and the Soil

We have started a new series on parables taught by Jesus in one of our Care Cell.  As we go through these parables, I am trying to find some practical application to make it more meaning for personal life. I want to start a series 'Parable Lessons' to share what we learn from each parable. I will try to add some observations also.

General information about parables-

Parable:- The Sower and the Soil

Scripture Portion:-  Mark 4:3-9; Matt 13:3-9; Luke 8:5-8

Observations:- The farmer went out to sow his seed. Seeds fell at different places. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it. Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away,because it had no moisture.Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit one hundred times.Only the seeds which fell on good and fertile soil sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times yield. Jesus later explained that seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God's word and produce harvest.

Practical Lessons:- We all hear God's word and many times we also accept it. The challenge is that we forget and don't produce any fruit. Everyone faces this challenge. We concluded that we need to be consistent in our spiritual walk to obey and produce fruit. Some decisions people took included being consistent in prayer life, daily morning prayer, meditating on the word etc. Key thing to remember is that it does not matter how many messages we hear. Hearing, accepting it and allowing to word to grow in our life is very important. Then only the fruit will be produced from our life.