Category: Parables


The King’s Garden

God-Write-the-BibleEven those of us who might boldly declare our status (by God’s grace) as born again believers have a tendency to forget that we have been literally and spiritually transported out of the old kingdom and into the new one (Colossians 1:13), one where often the old worldly economy, tools, and techniques simply won’t suffice.  Although we might readily understand and openly acknowledge the forgiveness of our sins, we still need to be regularly reminded of our utter dependence upon the power of God and His glorious Word and the absolute necessity of rejecting the impotent inventions and dangerous devices of this world!

In Colossians 3, the Lord reminds us of the vital importance of not only knowing where we now live, but also of mortifying all that accompanied us from the old kingdom. We are instructed to take off (mortify) the old man and instead put on the new man who is being renewed in Christ. (Colossians 3:9-11) This is our daily duty and joy as believers, one we must perform with diligence and one that can only be accomplished by the power of the Lord Himself.

We must cease from returning to the flesh if we truly desire a victorious walk and abundant race in the strength of our Heavenly Father. I pray this simple story encourages and reminds us all to truly turn to Jesus Christ, our King, walking in the Spirit rather than the flesh.

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

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THE KING’S GARDEN

Once there was a very talented and creative gardener who lived in a beautiful kingdom. All sorts of wonderful plants thrived throughout his property. He even grew plants on his roof. The gardener had flowers, and vegetables, fruit trees and even several species no one had ever heard of before. The plants were bigger and more lush than many had ever seen. And the fruits and vegetables were more delicious than almost anything anyone had ever tasted, other than the king’s, of course. People from all around the kingdom purposely planned to journey past the gardener’s house just to gaze upon all the amazing florae. He received an abundance of praise from the people and over time grew quite fond of it. Day and night, the gardener could always be seen outside trimming, planting, and planning with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.

One day there was position open at the palace garden. Over the years, many had attempted to care for the king’s plants and unfortunately most had failed. The gardener only lived a few miles down the hill from the palace and was quite confident he would make a superb gardener for the King. He immediately applied and was quickly hired. Upon starting, he was handed a letter written by the king himself, but the gardener was so excited he forgot to even open it. Instead he gathered up all the equipment from his house, loaded it onto a cart and pushed it all the way up to the palace.

As he entered the enormous garden gateway, the guard held out his hand, stopping the gardener dead in Hagi_Castle_Garden,_Western_Honshu,_+Japanhis tracks. The guard explained that there could be no outside tools brought into the king’s garden. The gardener could only use what was supplied to him by the king. For the first time in a very long time, he felt a flood of worry and bewilderment pour over. The king’s garden required tools and techniques that were entirely foreign to the gardener and this was something he was definitely not ready for.

The gardener and his family had not always lived in the beautiful kingdom. He was actually born in a kingdom on the other side of mountains, one that was much different than where he lived now. While still in on the other side, the gardener’s dad handed down to his young son all the tools and techniques he would need in order to grow amazing plants, at least until now. The gardener really thought he had all the knowledge and skills he’d ever need. Unfortunately, none of the ways he had learned from his dad would work properly in the king’s garden and soon the king’s plants began to wither and die. This was also something the gardener had not experienced in a very long time. Those walking by began to murmur and some even laughed at him. Others just looked away, feeling both sad for the plants and for the gardener. He had lost all the praise he was so accustomed to receiving.

Many palace gardeners had come and gone and many had failed. The gardener knew he didn’t want to be numbered among those who had been defeated, but also knew he would need to do something he hadn’t done in a very, very long time. He knew he’d have to ask for help. “Why is the king being so difficult anyway,” he often mumbled to himself? One day he finally humbled himself enough to ask the guard if there were any books in the palace library on tending the king’s plants. The guard explained that the only way to know how to properly care for the king’s garden was to talk with the king himself. The gardener’s heart sank. “Oh, no! Not the king,” he answered with a tone of discouragement in his voice. “How can I possibly ask the king?”

He definitely did not want that. After all, he was supposed to be the best gardener in the whole kingdom. He didn’t want to appear like he didn’t actually know what he was doing, especially to the king. He reasoned within himself that this would only make it seem as though he wasn’t really a good gardener. He strove for weeks attempting to figure out the right way of caring for each of the plants in the king’s garden. He got up early every morning and went home late every night. It wasn’t long before he grew extremely frustrated and terribly exhausted.

Soon many of the plants were dying and inside he felt the same starvation, but he just couldn’t put aside his pride to ask the king for help. So instead, he chose to return to his old house where at least he felt like he belonged. At least he could tend to the familiar plants and begin seeing success again. After a couple weeks, he was back to his old routine, but deep down he knew there was more. There was something missing in it all, but he just couldn’t quite put his finger on it. One thing was for sure, tending to his familiar garden just wasn’t satisfying like it once was.

One day, while trimming back a few bushes, something popped into his mind. “The king’s letter,” he thought to himself. “In all the excitement, I never read his letter.” He wasn’t sure if he should even bother, but curiosity and frankly, the lack of satisfaction got the best of him. After searching a while, he found it. Sitting down in front of his fireplace, he carefully opened the envelope and began reading the king’s message aloud. It simply said,

            Dear Gardener,

            If you are weak; if you are weary, then come to Me. Learn of Me and I will give you rest.

           Love,

                    ~The King

The gardener read the letter several times. Each time it was like a tiny seed was being planted deeper and deeper within his own heart. At first, it was difficult to believe, but after thinking long and hard, he realized it wasn’t the king who was being so difficult. The gardener finally understood that he was the one being so stubborn and prideful.  “How could I have been so foolish,” he wondered to himself. “After all, who could possibly have better tools and knowledge than the king?”  He immediately stood and raced to the king, never looking back, never returning to his old garden again.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

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A Celebration for Fun?

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What if a church decided to start a new celebration, one that they could teach to the lost? What if, for some unknown reason, they chose to have it take place on a very important pagan date, a day those worshipping creation (rather than the Creator) especially cherish?

The event would have children dress up in costumes magnifying man and all his vain imagination could fathom. Some could even choose to dress like wizards and witches, skeletons, zombies, and ghosts.

Once the date and costumes were decided, the church would then start sharing the new tradition with their neighbors, reaching out to the lost. To keep everyone coming year after year, they decided they’d need an incentive, so a decision was made to give out lots of candy to all the children who participate.

After the first few years, the adults might decide they too want to join in the festivities, so there is another committee formed to plan what to do for them. They decide to encourage the grown ups to  decorate their houses inside and out, but they too are asked to put up things reminiscent of darkness and death.

There could also be greeting cards and adult costumes, all to help everyone learn about and remember the church’s new celebration. Plus, the more people participating, the less likely individuals will be to stop joining in.

Just as the planning is almost done, someone in the back of the room stands up to ask a question. “What if some question the timing of our event and choice to represent so much darkness, especially since our call is to shine the Light of Jesus,” he asks. Everyone turns back again to the front to hear from the committee members sitting at the head tables.

After a brief pause, one of the members smiles. “We’ll simply explain to everyone in the church that we’re doing it all in the name of fun,” he suggests. “Then, just in case our neighbors wonder, we’ll tell them we really don’t believe any of the things we’re doing. We’ll say we’re just playing make believe. That should suffice.” Everyone nodded in agreement and then finalized their plans for the church’s newest and most fun celebration yet.

“Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-16

The Gracious Gift

Castle in FallOnce there was a kingdom with a very great king.  Every year the people of the kingdom had a special celebration filled with a wonderful time of giving to the king.  On this special day everyone from the kingdom would come to the castle and present the king with amazing presents hoping he would choose their’s as the best gift for that year. Whoever the king chose as the best giver would have the privilege of sitting with him for the remainder of the celebration. Some people enjoyed being close to the king because they believed the king made them look great. Others, although a minority, loved being by the king just to be with him. They loved talking with him and seeing how he handled the kingdom. They simply loved the king.

This was a very special year for one little boy.  His parents had finally agreed to allow him to participate in the giving celebration.  Gregory was only seven, but it felt like he’d been waiting for an eternity.  He couldn’t contain his excitement.  He desperately desired to win the event for one simple reason. He just wanted to get to know his king. Gregory really wanted to win! He was so excited he could barely sleep that first night. He got up early to take a walk around his neighborhood.  “I’ve got to come up with a great gift,” he thought to himself.  But he had one little problem.  Even after saving his allowances for two straight years, he only had $30 to buy something. As he strolled around the familiar neighborhood circuit, he began to notice many of his neighbors had already begun working on their presents.  He saw a large giraffe in one backyard while another neighbor had purchased a beautiful fruit tree filled with ripe pomegranates. Another family had been working on building the king a marvelous flying machine. One man was hand crafting a beautiful marble sculpture in his front yard. Walking through the neighborhood, Gregory began to grow more and more discouraged.

When he arrived back home, he was almost ready to give up.  “What can I get the king for such a little amount of money,” he mumbled under his breath. Waving his hands up in surrender, he retreated to his room.  He was so sad, he even missed supper that night.  The next morning he stayed in his room, not wanting to see any more gifts he would soon be competing against. Almost a week went by with nothing but discouragement and frustration to guide his way. Then Gregory finally became so disquieted in his heart he simply started crying out to the king. He knew the king was great, but he really didn’t know if even the king would hear his faraway pleas. Then it happened.  He decided he would give it one last shot.  After all, the party was only a day away. He began pacing in his room as he tried to arrive at a winning idea.  “I have to be with the king,” he said with determination in his heart.”I just have to!” All morning he walked back and forth and back and forth almost like a soldier during marching practice.  All of a sudden, as if sent by the king himself, an idea flew into his mind.  At first he wasn’t sure, but then a big smile slowly appeared across his face.  He knew, he just knew this would be the winning idea!

Gregory sprinted over to the spare bedroom where all the boxes and wrapping paper were stored.  His parents were happy to see he was finally back on track. He spent all afternoon looking for just the right box and just the right paper.  That night he slept soundly, knowing with confidence that he would soon be sitting by his king. As the sun peered through his curtains, enlightening his room, he hopped out of bed as if a rabbit. His parents and he gathered their gifts and began the long trek to the castle.  By the time they arrived, the line was all the way out the castle doors and down the main street.  Gregory waited patiently, remaining confident even Fall Trail 1after seeing the many spectacular presents awaiting the king. He saw peacocks and plow horses, rubies and  diamonds, glistening golden vases and large lions in cages. He overheard people talking about the kinds of gifts that had won in years gone by. One year, a tremendous tiger as white as the snow had won. Another year the winner had brought a beautiful fruit tree as tall as a four story house. This tree could actually produce three different kinds of fruit.  Gregory remembered the year the tree had won. That was when he was four.

Finally, the sun was setting and Gregory had made it into castle’s throne room.  It was a large room lined with marble from floor to ceiling.  It echoed with voices as the people huddled around to see the remaining gifts.  Oohs and aahs filled the room.  Gregory had been so focused on seeing the king, he hadn’t realized until that very moment that he was actually the last person in line.  This made him a little nervous knowing if the king wasn’t pleased, there would be no one behind him to make him happy again.

There were only three people ahead of him and he could hear everyone in the huge room talking about the day’s events.  Some were even arguing over their own gifts, believing, of course, that they were the best.  His heart began to pound and knees started to shake. “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea,” he thought to himself.  Then only one person stood between him and the king.  Gregory could now see the king’s face.  The king glanced over to the little boy and gave him a smile, as if to assure him it would be okay.  It was almost like the king had been waiting all day just for him.  That was the assurance he needed.  Finally, after waiting for almost seven hours, it was time.

The crowd grew silent, noticing the only one left was a little boy that most didn’t even know.  The people began to whisper to one another.  A few even chuckled.  “Who does this boy think he is?” a few grumbled.  “He’s wasting our time,” they complained.  They couldn’t quite make out what he had in his hand, but they all figured this would be the worst gift ever.  Gregory slowly approached the king.  This was the first time he had ever seen him this close before. The prince walked down to meet him, escorting him to his father. Gregory slowly handed the king his little gift wrapped in paper his family had saved from his birthday party the year before.  A million thoughts flew through his head.  Then the room fell silent and Gregory felt like it was just him and the king.  The king began to open his present, carefully peeling the paper. The people could not wait to see what was inside.

The king then opened the little cardboard box lid.  His fingers reached inside, pulling out a small piece of paper. The people fixed their gaze on the king as he carefully unfolded it.  His eyes seemed to twinkle as he finished reading.  Gregory watched and waited for what seemed like an eternity.  Then the king rose to his feet and lifted his arm. “Thank you all!” he began. “I have received many wonderful gifts today, but as you all know, only one can be the winner.”  The people all leaned forward with anticipation.  “This year, the winner is…”  Many in the audience were sure they would be this year’s winner.  The king then reached down and picked up the 7 year old boy still standing at his feet.  “This year the winner is Gregory.”  The people could not believe it. The crowd was buzzing with amazement!

How could this little boy with his little box and little piece of paper be the winner?  It was impossible.  The king continued… “This boy has not only given me the best gift this year, but the best gift ever!”  You could hear people gasp and complain throughout the room. “He will not only be able to be with me for today, but because of his gracious gift, Gregory will be able to visit me any time he wants for his whole life.”  The people could not believe it! Everyone was excited to discover what was on that little piece of paper, but the king chose not to tell them, at least not yet.

The rest of the evening all the people of the kingdom enjoyed great food and a festival filled with games, music, and much more. But Gregory simply enjoyed being with his king.  He couldn’t believe it.  He just loved looking and listening to the king.  They talked all night long. As people walked by the king’s table they kept asking him what the boy had given him.  The king would simply smile, reassuring them to be patient.  The next morning the king sent out invitations to all the people in his kingdom, requesting their presence at noon on the first day of the following week. The invitation explained that the king would finally reveal to all Gregory’s gracious gift. The people could not wait! The following Sunday people from all around the kingdom made their way to the castle. Right at noon the king stood and explained what made Gregory’s gift so special.

“You see,” began the king. “For many years now people have brought me many wonderful gifts, but no one has ever given me a gift quite like this one.”  One person in the crowd just couldn’t wait any longer. “Please king,” he cried. “Tell us what was on the paper.”  The king smiled.  “The paper had seven simple words on it.” The people all listened carefully as the king continued. “The paper said, ‘THANK YOU MY DEAR KING, THANK YOU!'”

The people looked quite confused.  “You see,” explained the king.  “Although many wonderful gifts have been given to me over the years, I’ve never really needed any of them. After all, I already own everything in the kingdom.  What I’ve really wanted all along is you, not your things.  I want your hearts.  I want you to willingly be my people. That’s what my kingdom is all about.  Only after you truly become my people, will you finally get to know me as your personal king.  This boy’s gift is exactly what I’ve been looking for these many years.  Gregory’s gift has revealed his deep, heartfelt thanks. It has revealed his willingness to give me nothing less than his heart.”

People talked about Gregory’s gracious gift for many years to come, reminding one another that it wasn’t the objects, but their hearts that they should willingly and humbly give the king each and every day; hearts overflowing with thanksgiving to their gracious and glorious king.  This is what the king was truly searching for all along.

“My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways” Proverbs 23:26.  

“O Lord, open my lips; and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You desire not sacrifice; else would I give it: You delight not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” Psalm 51:15-17.

Orphans No More

Castle 1Once there was an orphanage filled with children. Some were dropped off by parents who could no longer afford them. Others were there because their parents had tragically died and no family would care for them. Others were runaways, tired of being mistreated. So many of them arrived at the orphanage seemingly beyond hope.

It was rare to see prospective parents visiting since this place had received the reputation of housing the worst of the worst. Yet one day the children got the call. The whole orphanage was to meet in the assembly hall at ten o’clock sharp.

The room was buzzing with anticipation. The children were chattering and the workers were all wondering about the surprise visitor. Suddenly, a man entered from the back and the room quickly fell silent. The well dressed man, wearing a black wool overcoat and slightly undersized top hat, took center stage behind the auditorium lectern. He had a warm smile and gentle eyes. He introduced himself simply as the messenger.  The man explained that he represented a very wealthy benefactor who had heard of the orphanage’s reputation. The benefactor had a large castle and desired to invite all who wanted to be adopted to come live with him. The room erupted with excitement and even more questions. The messenger raised his hands to silence the room.

“You see,” said the man. “Every child here is invited to come.” The messenger continued. “The benefactor will be here soon and he has left something for each of you to study in the meantime.” The man could see that the children wondered why they would need to study anything. “The benefactor only wants those who will diligently seek to know the truth about him.” He then went on to explain that because of this man’s fame and wealth, many had pretended to be him and only by carefully studying the provided resource would the children know the true benefactor from the impostors.

The messenger then personally handed out a single piece of paper to each child. The paper contained a single picture of what the kids figured was the man’s castle. Several of the children decided to get together every day to study the picture in hopes of being prepared for the coming benefactor. After a few days a couple of them gave it up figuring they learned all they to know. The next day, one boy named Sam decided he would try to take even a closer look at the picture. He borrowed a magnifying glass from the science lab and began studying the castle in detail.  That’s when he noticed something he never thought he’d find.

As he looked closely at the picture he discovered words, tiny words. The picture wasn’t made up of dots of ink, rather carefully placed words. The boy spent hours meticulously studying them. Eventually he realized the words were sentences and the sentences were telling a story, a very important story about the benefactor. Sam was excited to learn so much about the one who was soon going to adopt him. He went to his friends to share the good news, but none of them seemed to care. Many others in the orphanage didn’t even believe him. Soon impostors started arriving at the orphanage, men looking for free labor in their factories and mills. Each claimed to be the true benefactor when in fact they were nothing more than liars and thieves.

Despite Sam’s warnings, many of the children chose to go with the impostors falsely promising them peace and safety. Then the day Sam had been patiently and faithfully waiting for had come. The true benefactor had arrived. As he spoke, Sam felt as though he already knew him. All those days of reading his word had really paid off.  Even though some of the pretenders sounded similar, none were exactly the same. The boy knew this was the one he had been waiting for. After the man was finished speaking, he invited all the children in the auditorium to come.  Sam was the first and only one of a few that chose to go with him.  Those that came to him truly enjoyed a life filled with joy and love. These children were called orphans no more. Now they were sons and daughters.

Jesus promises, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.” John 14:18-19

“Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

“Watch the Lamb”

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold! the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” John 1:29 

No matter what happens in this life, may we never take our gaze off the Lamb!


“What’s Inside?”

“Every door science opens there are ten unopened doors on the other side and the more we learn the more we realize we don’t know.”  -Dave Hunt

One evening a man opens the door, entering into a beautiful new library.  He begins exploring its books, computers, and music.  Then looking up, he sees a large door at the end of the room.  Excited to explore the next space he opens the new door.  Inside is a large room filled with maps, more books and exciting technologies.  After exploring this second room, the man discovers ten more doors along the back wall, each leading to even more amazing rooms filled with even more fantastic items.  As the man searches through all these rooms, a mysterious and wonderful idea overcomes him. “All of this wonderful information is powerful, so powerful that I can use it to make myself great. I will search through it all and attempt to discover as much as I can.”  “But wait,” interrupts his conscience. “The information amassed in these rooms doesn’t point to you, rather to the ones who have supplied it.”  “Ah,” says the man, answering his conscience, “True, but I know what to do.  I’ll tell others that this information didn’t originated from any intelligence, rather from a process of time and chance. Then I will receive all the glory for everything that I discover.”  “But no one will believe such folly,” argues his conscience.   Then a smile grows across the man’s face.  “It will if I allow others to enter the library knowing all the information they discover will be to their own fame.”  

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21

Quote above by Dave Hunt: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/7093

Playground or Battleground?

During World War 2, three neighborhood children living in England were allowed to go out and play each afternoon.  Their parents gave them only one rule.  Each night they were to come home before the sun went down.  One day, as the children walked past a long alley way, one of them carefully gazed to the end of the alley and saw something amazing.  “Look!”, he shouted, “it looks like a playground.”  The children excitedly ran across the broken stone road, and to their enjoyment discovered an amazing playground.  They played and played until one of the them noticed the sun was going down.  “We need to go”, she cried!  They all quickly made their way home. 

Each afternoon, the trio returned to the playground and played and played until one day they were all having so much fun, not one of them noticed the dimming light and growing shadows.  Before they knew it, darkness was upon them and the children were forced to stay over night.  As the night grew on, they couldn’t help but worry about all the horrible things that might happen to them.  Awaking the next morning, they were surprised to discover they were just fine.  Each began to smile, then went back to playing. 

At this point the children decided to stay at the playground.  This went on for days.  The children deceived themselves into thinking that nothing bad could happen when in reality, something bad already had and none of them even realized it.  The children were having so much fun playing, they forgot that the playground was not their home.  Then one day, one of the children suddenly stopped.  He turned to his friends, “I’m done playing and want to go. How do I get home?”  They all looked at one another and it was at this point that they all realized what had really happened.  They could no longer remember how to get home.  They were…LOST.  

Although there is a time for play, may we never forget that this world is not our personal playground. To those who’ve had their sins fully and feely forgiven by Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God; to those who are born again by the Spirit of God, who are now the children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, this world is neither our playground nor our home.  May we always hold lightly to those things which are quickly perishing, guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! Philippians 4:7

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