Mar. 5 – (Matt. 25:14-30; Lk 19:11-27) Parable of the Talents.  This parable hits home to me.  I have always been interested in what gifts God has given specific people.  It makes me sad when I see gifts in people that they don’t use or think they are not as important as some other gift.  If course, I wonder sometimes when God gets sad, because I don’t use what He has given me.  And then there is the thought that so and so has so many talents, let’s let them do it all because they can do it better than one’s self.  God holds us accountable to what He has given us.  Here’s a question: Which is fuller, a quart jar or a gallon jar? If each has been fill to capacity, then each is full, and neither can hold any more.  We are not asked to accomplish any more than we are able with the abilities God has given us.  God has a plan for every life; He intends everyone to be busy somewhere in His kingdom.   Wherever your talents lay, God gave them to you, and He requires you to be found faithful in the use of them.  “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (I Cor. 4:2). Last question: How much of yourself are you hoarding from God?  How much of you lies buried? SELAH

Mar. 6 – (Matt. 25:14-30; Lk 19:11-27) Parable of the Talents.  This parable in Luke was a little different from the Matt. 25 Parable.  We know 3 facts about the faithful servants.  1. They knew their responsibility.  “Do business until I come.” 2. They did their job faithfully (The faithful ones did.) 3. They were rewarded for their faithfulness. Note not all the servants had the same success.  We must not expect everyone to produce the same results.  We are to do our best with what God has given us to do…that is all.  We also know 3 facts about the unfaithful servant.  1. He knew his job but did not do it. 2. He was unfaithful because his heart was not right with his master.  3. His unfaithfulness cost his reward.  He lost his opportunity.  Are we talking our salvation?  Absolutely not, but let’s ponder what parts we are faithful in and what parts God is showing us our unfaithfulness in what He has given us to do.  Selah

Mar. 7 – (Lk. 10:25- 37) Parable of the Good Samaritan. As we look at this parable today, I would like to look at all the people involved except the Good Samaritan.  I am asking myself if there is any part of me I see in them.  1. The lawyer: He was an expert in OT law.  He thought he could trip Jesus up by debate. (One of the best ways to get nothing done is to discuss it.)  Jesus responded with a story about action (or lack thereof).  The lawyer wanted to talk about the abstract theme of neighborliness.  Jesus pulled him down to a concrete incident about a man who had been beaten and robbed.  The important question was not “who is my neighbor?” but “to whom can I be a neighbor?” 2. The thieves: They did not see a fellow human being or a creature made in the image of God.  They saw someone they could exploit, no matter what it took to get what they wanted. God gave us things to use and people to love.  If we start loving things, we will start using people, and this is exploitation.  3. The Priest and the Levite: Have you ever been specifically serving the Lord one day and on your way home saw a person in need and felt prompted to aid them but thought you had done enough and were really tired so you went on home? How about you saw a need but figured someone else would take care of it? If we go through life wanting to have our own way (at those times) then people who need us will be nuisances to us.  But if we go through life seeking to share the love of Christ, every “nuisance” will become an opportunity for ministry to glorify God. Selah   4. The Inn host: I know we didn’t expect him to be out on the road when he had an inn to manage but let’s look at it from a little different angle.  I want to use the host to illustrate the fact that many Christians serve other people only because it is their job and they are paid to do it. I am not necessarily talking pay checks either.  Why do I serve in any capacity?  Is it because I feel it’s the right “Christian thing” that is required of me? Motive has a great deal to do with it.  Am I serving because it is part of my salvation or serving in love, seeking to please Jesus Christ? When it’s the latter, we should have satisfaction and blessing.  Selah  

Mar. 8 – (Lk. 10:24-37) Parable of the Good Samaritan.  Today let’s look at the Good Samaritan, himself. There are so many facets of this man but I would like to focus on his compassion (v. 33). This compassion was more than pity. It carries the idea of inner being deeply moved and stirred to action. It is the same word that described our Lord’s feelings when He beheld lost sinners.  It is this kind of love that moves us to serve others and not think of ourselves. This word in the NT is usually in reference to Jesus Christ.  However, in three of His parables Christ uses the word with reference to people: in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in the story of the king who had compassion on the dishonest servant and forgave him (Matt. 18:23-25), and in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), where the father saw his wayward son and had compassion on him.  Compassion describes the way God feels about us.  When we show compassion to others, we are simply treating them the way God has treated us, “We love, because he first loved us.” (1 Jn. 4:19).

Mar. 9 – (Lk. 12:16-21) Parable of the Rich Fool. Is this parable talking about being rich?  How many possessions and wealth does one need to be considered rich?  I think it depends on the person making the judgement.  It seems each man may reserve the word “rich” for another man with more. So, at what point is being rich constitute being a fool?  Wealth is no more a sin than poverty is a virtue.  Jesus said that love of money – not money itself – is the root of evil.   If we are collecting wealth and not giving some away we are being a fool.  Of course, 10% goes to the Lord.  What about beyond that?  So many times, we bump into people who are in need of something that we already have or can provide.  Yet we talk ourselves out of it because ours just might break and we want a backup.  Sometimes it’s from wanting more and sometimes it’s from fear of poverty but both come from wanting to trust yourself instead of God.  I came from a family where my mother lived through the great depression.  She came from a family of 8 children and being the oldest child was probably more aware of the situation than the rest of the kids.  As a result, we grew up with the mentality that you saved everything and anything that got broken got fixed, not replaced.  As an adult, there was always a fear in me that one small slip and we would lose everything.  God has gently showed me that this fear was not of Him. I was trusting in my actions to save me instead of trusting Him and doing what I needed to do and letting Him do the rest.  Selah

Mar. 10 – (Lk. 12:16-21) Parable of the Rich Fool.  Let’s look at this parable from a spiritual perspective.  Yes, I think it mainly speaks of wealth but is there more? (Always!) Many times, we spend our days making sure we are physically (I hope), mentally, and emotionally well.  But do we think about our spiritual well being?  What about others?  We tend to pray for others who are not well physically, emotionally or mentally but when we see people who are being foolish with their spiritual lives are we just as concerned?  As we think about that, let me end with Jesus’ conclusion: the fool is “he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  Selah

Mar. 11 – (Lk. 13:6-9) Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. Most commentaries say this is about Israel’s last chance to get with the “REAL Messiah”.  It is a parable that pronounces an alarm, for it pronounces His nation’s doom and in the same breath announces a stay of execution…for a time. As you read this passage, think back to what precipitated God’s actions toward them. Then think about our country.  We were not God’s first choice but He made a way for everyone in every nation to call Him Father.  Would we be any less “disciplined” than His first choice in children?  That got me to thinking about where America is spiritually and just how long God will be patient with us and keep “digging up the soil and fertilizing it”.  In my American mind I always thought the end of American would come when Jesus comes again.  How silly. God has orchestrated nations to rise and fall according to His plan and purposes.  It’s silly to think America is somehow exempt from His judgement if He has done all the digging and fertilizing and still see no fruit.  Selah