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Tag Archives: Parable of the Sower

The Ground to Play

If it wasn’t for recess, I wouldn’t have survived my twelve years in public education. The playground was a place of refuge for me. This was the only place in school where talking wasn’t necessary. Despite being short for my age until high school, my passion for sports quickly shined through. I may not have been strong, but I was fast and obsessed with winning. Meanwhile, this ground to play hid my severe stuttering from my peers. The more I competed at recess opened my eyes to the kind of athlete I could become.

Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: 19 [h]While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside. 20 As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; 21 Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, [i]lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and [j]begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away, Matthew 13:18-21.

At a recent LIV Golf clinic for kids in New Jersey, Commissioner Greg Norman shared a power message about competing in sports. Norman encouraged these youngsters to play as more sports as possible as these avenues provide a ground to play. Sports helps you see your strengths while revealing weaknesses as well. Meanwhile, if you want to get better, sports teach the competitive discipline to reach your full potential in life. Yet, for now sports provide the ground to compete and play for kids.

As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty, Matthew 13:22-23.

Jesus shared a first century parable based upon the different environment’s children are born into and are forced to confront in life. After speaking to a crowd, the disciples wanted to know further details about Jesus’ parable. Uses farming an analogy, there are 4 different types of soils farmers face. The first three all have limitations that stunts growth. The ultimate goal is to manage farms so that after years of discipline and hard work, fertile soil yields a great harvest. In the meantime, find ground to play with.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Leaving a Trail of Breadcrumbs Behind?

Will Smith played Detective Del Spooner in the 2004 film I Robot.  A hologram chooses Del to investigate the murder of Dr. Alfred Lanning, who saved Spooner’s life years earlier after a car accident nearly ended his own life.  Trapped by his work at United States Robotics to roll out a new line of S5’s, Dr. Lanning turns to Hansel and Gretel to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind after his death.

The farmer sows the word, Mark 4:14.

Oddly enough, Jesus uses a curious expression in one of his well known parables.  Often overlooked, Jesus compares the sowing process to a farming planting his annual harvest.  However, there is a twist, your actions leave behind an imprint.  Thus, individuals are either leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind that reflect biblical principles or worldly desires.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap, Galatians 6:7.

If someone was designated to shadow you, following your attitude, behavior and words of the last 24 hours, week or month, what clues would this person uncover?  Are you living a consistent life, clear and easy to recognize?  Or would certain inconsistencies confuse, throw off and make discerning souls question the existence of this life?   The four words of Mark 4:14 struck my heart with conviction, causing me to re-evaluate my own witness.  May Jesus’ teaching inspire you to become a modern day farmer who sows the word of God, prepared to become a fisher of men, women and children.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Axis of Evil

As I tuned in periodically to inquire about the motive behind the December 14th school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, I heard a common denominator on cable news networks.  Whether it was a pastor, politician, priest or psychologist, each so called expert or guest panelist mentioned the presence of evil as the cause or reason.  During his State of the Union Address on January 29th, 2002, President George W. Bush used the expression “axis of evil” to describe the forces and powers that contribute to the existence of terrorism in our world.  The Bible breaks down this axis of evil into 3 distinct areas which is vital to fully understand how a 20 year old could commit such a heinous crime.

According to Dr. Ed Murphy, an associate professor of Bible and Missions at San Jose Christian College in California, there are 2 kinds of evil that exist on earth: natural and moral.  Natural evil results from natural elements of the universe like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.  Moral evil occurs when man or woman exercise their freewill, resulting in crime, drunk driving deaths, road rage and behaviors mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21.  However, evil exists on 3 levels: within our own sinful nature, the temptations and darkness of the world and in the spiritual realm through demons and evil spirits.

The prophet Jeremiah first spoke about the first level of evil in the Old Testament within Jeremiah 17:9.  Since the origin of sin in the garden, Genesis 3, hearts have been poisoned due to the curse, as everyone born since has been born into a sin nature.  Thus, Adam Lanza’s heart  was vulnerable to deceit.  In fact, Jesus equates murder with hatred in Matthew 5:21-22, making it conceivable for Adam to fall prey to jealousy and hatred like Cain in Genesis 4.

The second level of evil consists of all the distractions which pull you away from God.  While visiting Athens, Greece, the apostle Paul was greatly distressed by the idols which blinded people from knowing the one true God in Acts17:16-23.  Unfortunately, the era of Happy Days is long gone as most Americans have turned away from following God with their whole heart.  Instead of the church influencing the culture, this post-modern society is weakening many believers, resulting in a luke warm Christianity.  It’s likely, no one demonstrated the love of Christ to Adam while he was alive which led him to fall in love with the ways of the world, 1 John 2:15-17.

Finally, the parable of the Sower suggests that the Devil or demons can snatch away the seed of the gospel sown into an individual’s heart, Matthew 13:18-19.  The apostle Paul believes that the god of this age, Satan, Ephesians 2:2, has blinded the minds of unbelievers, preventing know from knowing God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.  Furthermore, Ephesians 4:27 opens up the possibility of allowing the devil to have a foothold in your life.  If this is true, then Adam could have been ensnared into a real life James 1:13-15 situation.  Once these evil thoughts entered his mind, he reached a point of no return.

I don’t claim to know what happened.  Only God knows the answers to this tragic event.  However, I just wanted to illuminate a possibility, using scripture as a road map to show others how the sinful nature influences the heart, which yearns for the world and can come under the influence or possession of unseen forces, leading someone to do the illogical described in Romans 7:14-20.  May this event serve as a spiritual wake-up call, like 9/11/01 did for many, to lead people back on the straight and narrow path, Matthew 7:13-14.  Continue to pray for the Newtown community as they wrestle with God, trying to come to grips with what just happened.  In this time of darkness, remember the promise of Romans 8:38-39.

by Jay Mankus

A student who is continuing to learn about the spiritual realm.

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