How Is Your Heart Hearing?

Therefore take heed how you hear… (Luke 8:18).

Therefore—when I see this word, I need to ask, “What came before?” Jesus has just shared the parable of the sower and given its fuller explanation to His disciples. Now Jesus is speaking privately to His disciples and telling them, “Be very attentive to how you are hearing My words.”  

Why would Jesus tell them that? He says that the way we pay attention to His words can either bring more blessing to our lives, or cause us to miss out on His blessings: “For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken away from him” (v. 18). 

In other words, every single one of us has the capacity to have hearts like all four types of soil Jesus talked about in His parable: hard, rocky, thorny, productive. 

I must be attentive to how I’m listening to Christ’s words…

  • …with a prepared (plowed) heart 
  • …not preoccupied with worldly things
  • …ready to obey what He says
  • …ready to share the blessings of what I hear with others

Lord, my heart is ready. Speak to me. I am ready to hear, ready to obey, and ready to share. Give me more insight into what You are saying to me.

The Q Series—Parables, End Times, And Prayer

Our annual Q Series is where folks send their questions to me on a variety of subjects and we do our best to answer them. This week we tackled questions like:

  • What does Christ’s Parable of the Sower mean?
  • Can people lose their salvation?
  • Are micro-chips implanted in humans the start of “the mark of the beast”?
  • What does “666” stand for?
  • Why aren’t all of my prayers answered?

Here’s what we discussed, along with the time this discussion appears on the video:

  • The Parable of the Sower [1:27]
  • What is a parable? [2:19] **Be sure to check out What Was Jesus Teaching In The Parables? on Biblegateway
  • Who is the farmer in this parable? [4:30]
  • “The best commentary on Scripture is Scripture” [5:14]
  • Can someone lose their salvation? [7:42]
  • Keep sowing seed [11:51]
  • Eternal security? [13:50]
  • The Scripture has “a lot of faces” [17:20]
  • Are micro-chips “the mark of the beast”? [20:37]
  • What is gematria? How does this fit with 666? [22:58]
  • 666 falls short of God’s perfection [25:54]
  • The antichrist is a parody of Jesus Christ [26:08]
  • What is the significance of 666 on the right hand and forehead? [27:31]
  • To understand the future, look to an historic event [29:05]
  • A lesson from the socialism of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler [29:49]
  • A quote from Dr. Erwin Lutzer [31:15]
  • Why did Jesus talk about material possession so much? [32:48]
  • Why aren’t all my prayers answered? [36:36] **Be sure to check out Praying With Authority on Biblegateway.
  • How do we pray “in Jesus’ name”? [37:07]
  • How did Jesus speak to His Father in prayer? [39:10]
  • James on unanswered prayers [41:32]
  • Perseverance in prayer [43:30]

We will be answering your questions one more time next Sunday. Please click here to find all the ways you can submit your questions.

The Gospels Side-By-Side (book review)

Gospels Side By SideI love reading. But hands-down, without a doubt, my favorite book to read is the Bible. So I’m always intrigued by any resource that can help me get more out of my time in the Scriptures. In The Gospels Side-By-Side by Rose Publishing, I found a goldmine.

This short pamphlet is chockfull of graphics, charts, maps and historical background information  that helped me see the bigger picture of the story of Jesus that the Gospel writers were conveying to us. It begins with the unique perspective of each Gospel writer, and launches us deeper into the Bible from there.

In this book you will see things like:

  • The events of Christ’s life, and which Gospel tells particular events
  • The miracles of Jesus
  • The parables of Jesus
  • The chronological movements of Jesus
  • How Jesus celebrated Passovers during His public ministry
  • How these biblical biographies compare to other biographies of the era
  • Even the historical harmony of the Gospel message in the post-apostolic age

This should bring new life to any Bible student’s reading time! I highly recommend you check out not only this pamphlet, but many of the other resources available at Rose Publishing.

Here are a couple of screenshots from the book…

 

Screen Shot -Christ's movesScreenshot - gospel writers

The Lesson Of The Lost Brooch

Corrie ten BoomCorrie ten Boom shares this memorable story about patience in her book I Stand At The Door And Knock

The old story of the lost brooch really helped me.

A lady lost a valuable brooch at the theater. She noticed it was missing when she arrived home. Early the next day she rang the caretaker of the theater and asked if he had found the brooch. “No,” he said, “but where was your seat? I will go and have a look if it is under your seat.”

“My seat was on the fifth row, number two.” The man went to have a look and found the brooch.

He went to the telephone and said, “Yes, I am pleased to tell you I found your brooch. Hello? Hello?”

There was no reply; she had impatiently hung up the phone. She will never know that her brooch was found.

The Holy Spirit teaches us to have great expectations for the Lord. Listen to the Lord. If you don’t hear His voice immediately, wait patiently. Waiting for the Lord is a blessing too. He is a good Shepherd. And a good Shepherd speaks to His sheep. Don’t put the receiver down too quickly. He loves you and has so much to say to you.

Right-Brain Leadership

Right-Brain LeadershipI read a fascinating article in Influence, written by Mark Batterson, called “Right-Brain Leadership.” If you are involved in any type of speaking or teaching role, you should check out what he has to say about the power of creativity.

Here are some quotes I especially liked…

“Creativity is the natural, supernatural by-product of a Spirit-filled life.”

“Loving God with half your mind doesn’t cut it. Half-minded is no better than half-hearted. God wants to sanctify your right brain imagination so you can see visions and dream dreams.”

“Neuroimaging has shown that as we age the center of cognitive gravity tends to shift from the imaginative right brain to the logical left brain. That neurological tendency presents grave spiritual problems for leaders: At some point, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. Instead of creating the future, we start repeating the past. Instead of living by faith, we start living by logic. Instead of going after our dreams, we do it the way it’s always been done.”

“Uniqueness if God’s gift to you. Creativity is your your gift back to God.”

“What to say is content. How to say it is creativity. Part of my calling as a writer and as a preacher is to say old things in new ways. I think that’s precisely what Jesus did with the parables. Most of them are no more than 250 words, but hear them once and you’ll remember them for ever. Jesus was the master of metaphors.”

“The brain processes print on a page at 100 bits per second, but it processes pictures at a billion bits per seconds. That means that a picture isn’t worth a thousand words; it’s worth 10 million.”

T.M. Moore On Using Time

T.M. Moore“We measure time, from the human perspective, in various ways—seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years, and so forth. But these are not true quantitative measurements of some material quantity—like a half gallon jug measures a certain amount of milk. Our measures of time are more on the order of estimates (as we think of the future), experiences (with respect to the present), and records (as we think about the time that is gone by).

“All time comes from the Word of God (John 1:1-3), is sustained by the Word of God (Hebrews 1:3), and returns—like the talents in Jesus’ parable—to its Creator and true Owner (Romans 11:34-36). There is as yet no future time, and the time we’ve used up is gone forever; we cannot return to it. Every moment of your time comes fresh from the Word of God, and returns immediately to Him for His review.

“The only time we ever have is the present moment, and each of those is supplied for us, as an act of free grace, by the eternal God and His Word.” —T.M. Moore

Links & Quotes

link quote

“When we go through the trial of faith we gain so much wealth in our heavenly banking account, and the more we go through the trial of faith the wealthier we become in the heavenly regions.” —Oswald Chambers

“The promise that frees us from an unforgiving, bitter, vengeful spirit is the promise that God will settle our accounts. He will do it more justly and more thoroughly than we ever could. Therefore we can back off and leave room for God to work.” —John Piper, commenting on Romans 12:19

“‘Revenge is sweet;’ but not to the man who has tasted Christ, for he says, ‘How can I have vengeance upon my fellow, when Christ has put away my sin?’ Now, forgiveness is sweet, and he loathes malice, and turns aside from it as from venom itself.” —Charles Spurgeon

The Isaiah 53:5 Project reblogged one of my all-time favorite blog posts: The Parable Of The Lifeguard. Thanks, James!

Melinda Penner reminds us of the dangers of abusing our freedom. “If there is nothing objective to constrain our freedom, then there’s nothing objective to constrain the government. Our rights become whatever we declare them to be and whatever the government at any time and place declares them to be, changing with the fashions of the day.”

I Missed It

Greg Koukl does a good job explaining how the books of the Bible were compiled in this video.

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