Jan. 29 – (Matt. 13: 10-17) I want to keep studying about the kingdom of God since it goes along with our C.A. series. Another way Jesus described the kingdom of God was in parables so let’s get a better understanding of what a parable is before we delve into them. The purpose of the parables: I think Jesus taught in parables because the people in that time were growing dull in their receiving Truth.  Parables caught their attention and did one of two things. Either they would ponder and grasp the need for change or they would reject what they thought the meaning was and cast it away as a silly story.  Another way to look at parables is they are both mirrors and windows.  As mirrors, they help us see ourselves as really are.  They are windows, in that they help us see life and God. When you are reading a parable, don’t you try to figure out which you would be or what you would choose?  That’s my point.   

Jan. 30 – (Matt. 13: 1-9,18-23; Mark 4:1-9,13-20; Luke 8:4-8,11-15) The Parable of the sower. Let’s look at this parable with three things in mind: 1. The seed is the Word of God. 2. The sower is one who shares the Word.  3. The soil represents the human heart.  Keeping these in mind, reread this scripture and look at where you are as sower and soil.  Ponder the situations each day and how they fit.  Ask the Lord for ways to get more into that good soil as a sower and as the soil.  Ponder this statement: “The way to a man’s heart is through his ears.”   WHAT PART OF THIS PARABLE WILL HELP US REPLACE OUR OWN KINGDOM WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD? 

Jan. 31 – (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43; Mark 4:26-29) The Parable of the weeds.  Patience is letting the weeds stay until harvest. When we are confident that God is in control and working things out for our good and His glory but in His time, we have a different kind of patience.  This patience does not mean being soft with evil or sentimental about evildoers.  Rather patience requires firmness- the firmness of conviction, purpose, and loyalty.  It is a firmness tempered by gentleness- a gentleness born of an awareness of the need for time in which the evil can grow to the point where it may be distinguished and overcome.  Don’t kick someone out quickly.  Do all you can first to resolve.  Only after all has been done should you take this step.  
When Jesus came, some thought the kingdom should come right away.  When it did not happen when they thought it should, they concluded that their faith had been misplaced and they left the fellowship.  Others concluded that time was on God’s side and He would do whatever time was needed in the building of the kingdom.  These disciples began to do two things that belong in our Christian ethics: “wait and see” and “work and pray”.   Let me clarify one part.  The “wait” is a verb.  We don’t just sit and do nothing.  Does that make sense? WHAT PART OF THIS PARABLE WILL HELP US REPLACE OUR OWN KINGDOM WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD? 

Feb. 1 – (Matt. 13: 31-32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19; 17:6) The Parable of the mustard seed. The mustard seed was the smallest of all agricultural seeds in Palestine.  But it becomes a tree that grows 8-12 ft. tall. How does this apply to the kingdom of God?  Israel was not prepared for an insignificant beginning to the kingdom of God, so this image shocked the listeners.  Let’s look at Luke 17:6 to see what Jesus also says about the smallest of seeds (mustard seed). Just the smallest of faith can move mountains!  What does that say about our amount of faith?  WHAT PART OF THIS PARABLE WILL HELP US REPLACE OUR OWN KINGDOM WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD?   

Feb. 2 – (Matt. 13:33; Luke 13:20-21) The Parable of the leaven.  What does leaven do?  It essentially makes bread out of crackers.  Too much leaven causes it to be too airy or puffed up.  Too little leaven causes something much less desirable when you are trying to make bread.  If we are “leaven” to the world, how “active” are we?  Selah. WHAT PART OF THIS PARABLE WILL HELP US REPLACE OUR OWN KINGDOM WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD? 
    DID YOU KNOW?  There are many references to “three measures of meal” starting with Gen. 53:6 where Abraham prepared refreshment for the Lord. A study of this would bring greater meaning to this one verse parable. 

Feb. 3 – (Matt. 13:44- 46) The Parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value. There can be several ways to look at these two parables.  As you read these two parables look at it from two perspectives: 1. Jesus is giving up all for us.  2. We are looking for Him and give up all (the world has to offer) to receive Him.  Here are some similarities I see in both parables: 1. Both “treasures” were hidden. 2. Both were found. 3. All was sold (or given up) to attain this treasure. That also means they became poor to gain possession of what his heart is set on.  4. We don’t know what the man did once he obtained it.  WHAT PART OF THIS PARABLE WILL HELP US REPLACE OUR OWN KINGDOM WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD?   
    DID YOU KNOW? Gentiles valued pearls, while the Jews did not.  Most likely great gems would be given (sold) to the king.   

Feb. 4 – (Matt. 13:47-50) The Parable of the net.  This parable was a little harder but as I studied I came to some understanding.  Many times, in those days, fishermen would take a net shaped like a long wall and drag it by both ends from off-shore to up on the shore.  In this way, they (hopefully) caught everything crawling or swimming in that space.  Then the sorting began. Only fish with scales and fins were considered clean to eat (Lev. 11:9-12). So, all that crawled in the mud was thrown out.  Hmm.  When you compare this to the second parable (wheat and tares) you get a better picture.  Both show good and bad, side by side at first, then divided; both were explained by the Lord in the words, “So shall it be at the end of the age;”; both describe the work of the angels in separating the wicked from the just; both describe the doom of the wicked, the “fire” where there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. In the one the world is represented as a field, in the other as a sea.  In the one the angels are reapers, in the other they are fishers. There is so much here to contemplate where we fit but let’s keep going deeper…even inch by inch. WHAT PART OF THIS PARABLE WILL HELP US REPLACE OUR OWN KINGDOM WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD? 
    Here is an overview of the seven parables by Ada Habershon from her book “The Study of The Parables”.  Maybe it will help you to put it together. “The first parable gives the view which is patent to all; the second requires a practiced eye to detect the difference; the estimate of the third would be according to what you are looking for-for if you only want a shade or shelter, you may be satisfied, but you will not find fruit or stability, or evergreen beauty.  The fourth represents a great change which some might think an improvement, but which God looks on as evil.  What men approve, God may disapprove.  Then in the fifth and sixth we have first God’s view, and then faith’s view, which is by and by to be recognized by all the universe.  The seventh parable is in some respects the most difficult.”  “Might not this parable, point to the last event in Israel’s history…as referred to Matt. 24:31 when ‘He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds’ (Isa. 27:13), purging out the rebels from the midst, according to Ezek. 3:38 so that they do not enter the land.”    I hope this helps. 😊  One more time:  WHAT PART OF THESE PARABLES WILL HELP US REPLACE OUR OWN KINGDOM WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD?