Deception? Possibly.


Recently I watched a movie I have been wanting to see for a long time.  It recounts a 4 year old’s experience in “heaven”.  His testimony has helped convince people that heaven is for real.

At first, I was in awe of his experience.  I thought, “I would LOVE to experience something like that!”  But there were a few things that niggled at me–that didn’t sit right.  Still, I wanted to hang on to the hope that this little guy’s experience was wonderful.

My daughter sent me a link to read about another little girl who started having visions when she was four years old and it was also noticed that she had quite an artistic talent.  She supposedly encountered Jesus one day and she painted what she had seen.

The Jesus she painted is compelling.  He’s handsome and seems harmless enough–even a bit inviting.

Apparently the little boy was shown many pictures of Jesus as depicted in today’s art-offerings and he claimed that none of them were the Jesus he saw–until he saw this painting the little girl had done.  He was transfixed by it for a bit and then he declared that that was the Jesus he had seen.

Those things seem to confirm both of these children’s experiences.

But here are some of the things that niggled at me:

  1. The little boy asked Jesus why he had marks in his hands and feet and Jesus’s answer was, “They are to help me remember how much I love you.”  Say, what???  Jesus IS love!  He doesn’t need to be reminded of the love He has.
  2. The little girl drew a stunningly beautiful picture of an angel–only her angel is female.  The Bible speaks of male angels only.  You will not find one reference to a female angel in the Bible.
  3. She called her Jesus portrait, “Prince of Peace”.  That doesn’t impress me because if she truly thinks it is Jesus, she might have learned some of his names.  But it actually gives me pause because demons aren’t above taking on the names of Jesus.  Read Karl Payne’s book on spiritual warfare for some examples of that.
  4. The little boy’s father declared that thousands of people have declared that Jesus to be the Jesus they have seen, too.  Matthew 24 says, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Christ’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it.”  That particular passage is talking about tribulation times, but it still gives me pause.  I also thought of 1 Timothy 4:1 “Both the Spirit explicitly and unmistakably declares that in later times some will turn away from the faith, paying attention instead to deceitful and seductive spirits and doctrines of demons”
  5. In an interview, the now grown boy declares that God is okay with us loving His Son–as if to say that that is all it would take to get to heaven.  The real Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but through Me.”
  6. In the movie, the father comforts a grieving mother by assuring her that God loved her son more than she did–therefore she could be certain he was in heaven.  That’s not what God says.  (see above point)
  7. The little girl testifies to having been invisible once.
  8. She also testifies to being taken through galaxies.  Neither of these declarations have any biblical basis whatsoever.

Did the little boy experience heaven?  Once upon a time I would have been bouncing on his band wagon with a bull horn.  But not anymore.  I am skeptical–very skeptical.  The little girl’s experiences caused me to think demonic activity was going on and when her painting resonated with the little boy, that called into question *his* experience, for me.

The little girl is now a mid-teen, as is the little boy.  She has chosen to be vegan/vegetarian.  Because I sense demonic potential in her experiences, it made me wonder if this vegan/vegetarian culture might also be a demonic bandwagon everyone is jumping on.

Read this: “…who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared by those who believe and have knowledge of the truth.  For everything God has created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”  You’ll find that passage only two verses after the verse that talks about the “doctrines of demons”.

Colton  and Todd Burpo–if you read this, I implore you: read the Bible and compare your experience to it.  If it refutes your experience, IT is true, and your experience is false.

Akiane Kramarik–you, too.  The Bible tells us that “satan himself masquerades as an angel of light”. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

My heart goes out to you all.  It is really, really hard to lay aside our experiences and trust the Word of God.  But I will be praying for you!  May God mercifully and graciously lead you into all truth.

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God’s Will, The Way I See It


Some would say that God does not have a specific will for each individual.

I recently finished a devotional plan by a famous pastor whose view supports that first sentence.  In his opening paragraph he writes, “God doesn’t dream about where you’re going to live or what kind of decision you’re going to make about your vacation or some silly minutiae.”

He goes on to argue that God’s dream for our future is about an intimate relationship with Him.

I fully agree that God’s dream for our future is about an intimate relationship with Him.  But I fully disagree that God doesn’t have specific dreams for us as well.  How can a relationship be intimate if one person is off doing whatever they want, whenever they want, never consulting the other person in the relationship about their plans?

He says, “Since there are no Bible passages that connect the phrase ‘the will of God’ to personal life decisions, we won’t make decisions as if there were.”  But what about passages like Proverbs 3:5, 6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.   In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”?  Or Isaiah 28:29 “This also comes from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.”  And Psalm 31:3 “You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.”  And I love this one, Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you.”

God tells us He will “instruct” and “teach” in the “way you should go”–with His eye upon us.  That speaks to some very intimate involvement in our lives, as I see it.

The author goes on to say, “What could cause more stress, anxiety, and guilt than praying for something that doesn’t even exist?  What seems like God’s radio silence is actually His letting you choose.”

To his last statement, I would agree.  If you pray about something and you don’t *hear* a concrete answer from God, choose whatever option you’d prefer that is in keeping with God’s Word and trust God to overrule your decision if He sees fit.

And that’s the key to answering his first statement: there is absolutely no need to stress over God’s will or be anxious about it–your trust needs to be in God, not in your ability to hear Him or find out His will for you or what-have-you, but in His ability–and I even dare say “responsibility”–to lovingly guide His child who is depending on Him fully with a surrendered heart.  (Just as human parents have the responsibility to lovingly guide their children who are depending on them.)

Isn’t the Bible filled with stories and examples of God wanting people to rely and depend fully on Him rather than on themselves or riches or others?  That’s an overall message *I* come away with when I read His Word.

The man ends the devotional with this point: “If God does have an individual will for me, then who decides what His individual will is?  I do.  And I get to frame my choices with the indisputable claim, ‘This is God’s will.’  With that pronouncement, how can I give permission to wise people in my life to question what I have called ‘God’s will’?”

I understand his concern.  Some people will use the phrase, “This is God’s will” for anything and everything they *want* to do–and there is no way for anyone to know for certain that they are misusing that phrase.  (Lying, to be blunt. Possibly lying to themselves, even.)

But, the fact is, Paul writes of a time when he believed it was God’s will for him to go to a city where many of his friends implored him not to go.  Acts 20:22 “And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, CONSTRAINED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, not knowing what will happen to me there.  (“constrained” =compelled or forced toward a particular course of action)

A prophet and some other people urged him not to go.  But he was surrendered to doing what God was asking of him.  They finally gave up on trying to convince Paul otherwise saying, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”  Isn’t that interesting?

God had a will for Paul and Paul knew it.  Others tried to talk him out of it because they also became privy to what was going to happen to Paul when he got to that city.  All very understandable!  Usually our friends only ‘get to’ speculate what might happen–they don’t have any prophetic revelations.  But these people *knew* what awaited Paul.

Paul *knew* God’s specific will for him–and kudos to him for sticking with it despite the passionate pleas from the other people to not obey.

My beliefs: Before we claim something to be God’s will, we need to be absolutely certain that it is!  Don’t close the door on wise counsel or sound advice by claiming something to be God’s will, just because you don’t want people trying to talk you out of it or for some other reason that is indicative of a sick heart.  When you don’t have a clear leading, make your choice in keeping with God’s Word and by all means, seek wise counsel.  When you DO have a clear leading, don’t let anything or anyone deter you from following what God’s will is for your life.

In conclusion: God wants a personal, intimate relationship with each of us.  That involves our acknowledging Him in all our ways and not leaning on our own understanding. ie: not practicing independence and self-sufficiency.  In our communication with Him, He might specifically direct us in some way.  When He does, obey.  When He doesn’t, the choice is yours.  In all of it, trust in Him with all your heart.

Some verses that speak to God’s desire for an intimate relationship:

Isaiah 64:4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

Psalm 40:5 Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

Psalm 40:4 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust.

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in You.

Matthew 10:30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants,…but I have called you friends.

 

 

My Testimony


My testimony seems bland and boring on the surface.  I don’t have a jaw-dropping testimony of how I was once this horrible person who did horrible things but now I am wonderful and doing wonderful things.

The surface of my testimony is this: I was born the fourth child to a Baptist preacher, accepted Christ as my Savior when I was around 5 years old and have lived the pretty-good-person life ever since.

But if you will dive under the surface with me for a minute, you might see that my testimony is actually jaw-dropping–but in a different way.

The key to seeing how remarkable my testimony is is to understand how holy God is.

The Bible refers to Him as “holy, holy, holy”.  That’s a way of saying He is the holiest that anyone could possibly be.  There is absolutely no unholiness in Him in any way, shape or form.

People might label me as a “goody two-shoes” (where did that saying come from, anyway?) or a “holier than thou” (and that one?) kind of person, but I can assure you, I can NOT claim to be “holy, holy, holy” in and of myself–not by any stretch of the imagination!  I’ve lied.  I’ve cheated.  I’ve gotten envious.  I’ve loved things and people more than I have loved God.

Well, I can’t list all my sin categories or I’d be here all day!  If I were to list my sins individually, I likely wouldn’t finish by the time I died!  So I am counting on you getting my point, and I’ll be moving on.

The bottom line is, Romans 3:23 says it best, “For ALL have sinned and FALLEN SHORT of the glory of God.”

God tells us in the Bible that we are to be holy as He is holy!  That bar is set out-of-reach high for all of us!  It does not matter if your goody two-shoesedness (I make up words sometimes) exceeds mine or not!  What matters is, your goodness does not reach up to “holy, holy, holy”.  Mine doesn’t either!  And by not reaching that bar, we cannot be part of the family of God.

But God loves us and wants us to be able to experience Him and enjoy Him, and be His son or daughter.  Therefore He provided a way for us to reach the “holy, holy, holy” bar.

This verse is one of many that talks about God’s plan to help us be holy enough to become one of His sons or daughters.  This is the amplified version of it: “But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness making us acceptable to God] {did you catch that???}, and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God] {and that???}, and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin].”

So, long story short, this is my testimony: God’s standard is “holy, holy, holy”.  *I* fell short of that standard.  *God* provided a way for me to reach that standard.

If that’s not jaw-dropping to you, then you’re not getting it!  It’s like this.  Say you walked up to the King of England and slapped him in the face.  We all know the respect that is expected of us towards a king.  We also all know that doing such a thing could be a capital offense.  (At least, once upon a time it certainly was.)  But the king, instead of demanding your life, asks his son to offer his life in your stead and the son agrees to it!  Then he asks you to fully acknowledge the wrong you have done but accept his son’s sacrifice in your place. Wouldn’t you find that jaw-dropping?

THAT’S what God, the King of the world, did for us through His Son, Jesus Christ.  And He did it for everyone!  He even did it for the chiefest of sinners–those on the other end of the scale from goody two-shoers.  Because all of us have fallen short–and falling short by an inch is no different than falling short by a mile.  The bottom line is, we miss the bar on our own.

If my testimony has piqued your interest, please follow this link  and read more about God’s plan for us. ❤

 

A Clearer Understanding


“Out of the mouths of babes” is an expression that has come to describe those moments when a child says something profound that seems wise beyond their years.

This past week, I didn’t hear one of my young grandsons say anything particularly profound, but I did witness an action he was part of that struck me as profound.

My four year old grandson was playing a video game at an arcade near Dallas, TX.  His attentive mother was hovering nearby.

This little guy picked a video game to play that had him “riding” on a huge motor cycle while he maneuvered winding roads and various roadblocks and oppositions.  He was having the time of his life as he stretched his little body as far as it could go, resting his belly flat against the “gas tank”, in order to reach the handle bars.   I don’t think his feet were able to reach any pedals.

His objective was to play the game well–to win–but he had no idea he was way too young to do so.  However, that lack of knowledge didn’t stop him from trying and giving it his all.

His mother’s compassionate heart wanted him to win, too.

Without his knowledge, his mother had her hand on the back of the bike as she watched the screen diligently and helped him maneuver the curves and obstacles by pushing and pulling the back of the bike so it would lean in as needed, allowing her son to navigate the course well.

This mother’s heart had nothing but good things in mind for her son.  She wasn’t trying to manipulate him.  She wanted him to win!  She wanted him to stay alive!  She wanted him to enjoy the journey he was on.  She allowed him to do everything he was able to do and she took up his slack–working with him to achieve the objective they both hoped for.

Isn’t that a neat picture of God’s sovereignty in our lives?

The Chirping Bird


This morning, I was sitting at the table eating my breakfast of English muffins, eggs and yogurt with Jesus, and I kept noticing a chirping noise. I’d take a bite of the English muffin and hear, “Tweet”. It was a cheerful sound and made me wonder what kind of bird it might be that was chirping in the middle of winter. Normally the bird sounds of winter around here don’t include such cheerful tweets. I wondered if spring was coming early and this sweet bird had become the first arrival, heralding that fact.

The chirp was happening fairly frequently, which made me wonder, “Was the bird OK? Why hadn’t it flown to another location by now?”

I wanted to figure out where, exactly, the chirp was coming from, so I could maybe find the bird and see what kind it was. Also, I had become curious to see what was going on. So I sat frozen–my hearing isn’t the greatest; I wanted to make as little noise as possible, including chewing my food.  It had seemed that every chirp had come when I couldn’t hear it perfectly clear.  I was eating or swallowing or sniffing–some other noise was interfering with my getting a good read on where the chirp was coming from.

I sat, and sat, and sat. Frozen.  Even holding my breath at times.

No chirp.

Isn’t that always the way? It’s like they have a sixth sense that they are being discovered so they clam up and sit still until they feel like the coast is clear.

I ventured a bite of my English muffin–tentatively, still giving moments to sitting perfectly still and not completing the bite, hoping I’d hear the chirp again, but to no avail. Either the bird had finally flown away, or it was on to me.

I completed my bite and began to chew, continuing with my meal and bemoaning the fact that I had gotten curious too late in the game to find out what that bird was.

“Tweet!”

Seriously? Now that I was making noise again, the bird decides to start his chirping again? What are the odds!?

Then my brain did its own cause and effect analysis and posed the question: “Does the chirping only happen when I move?”

I leaned forward and backward in my chair to test that theory.

“Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.”

Oh for Pete’s sake! The chirp wasn’t coming from a bird at all! My chair was making the noise!

Nice one, Lord! You had me going! I love Your sense of humor! ❤

Contentment


While taking a shower the other day, I was thanking God for the running hot water and thinking about how blessed I was to live in this day and age.  I pictured myself living as a Pioneer woman with no running water–having to tote it from rivers or lakes, only getting to take sponge baths or perhaps the occasional portable tub bath; perhaps being the last one of 8 children who got to bathe in the same water.  Yuck!  How did people live contentedly in those circumstances?  I saw myself being very discontent in such a scenario.

But then I realized that I would only be discontent because I pictured myself in that scenario knowing what I know now.  I had something to compare it to!  If I actually had lived back then, I wouldn’t know what I know now, so I wouldn’t have known there might be other options.

More than likely, those people were thankful for their tubs that held so much water! People before them hadn’t had such a luxury!

That’s when I realized that much of our discontent comes from comparing what we have to something else.

That’s where Adam and Eve’s discontent came from that got us all in this sinful mess. They compared all that they had been given with what had been withheld and concluded that what was being withheld was something they just had to have as well!

Living day to day, we have three options.  Two of the options will not cause discontentment in our hearts.  The other option breeds discontentment.

Option 1: Don’t compare our circumstances or belongings or what-have-yous to anything else!  Just practice gratefulness for what you have.  Period.

Option 2: Compare your circumstances/belongings/what-have-yous to those things that are less than what you have–and count your blessings that you have been given such luxury compared to those you see around you who would probably love to have your life.

Option 3: Compare your circumstances/belongings/what-have-yous to those that seem better somehow than what you have.  That’s a sure-fire way to breed discontentment.

Which option will you choose?

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

Loving Involves Getting To Know


The idea for this blog post was born just after hearing a testimony from a female friend about how she was treated by some men in her church leadership–how they basically made some assumptions and some decisions affecting her life, based on those assumptions.  My mind went on a huge rabbit trail about how “all men” do that to women.  They don’t understand us, but rather than asking questions and trying to understand us, they write us off as stupid or silly or in some other way “less than” how they see themselves.

Then I realized, after I calmed down a little bit, that, first of all, not “all” men do it.  Second of all, it goes both ways.  I’ve seen wives roll their eyes at something their husbands say or do, rather than taking the time to understand what their husband’s were thinking.

Asking questions and trying to understand doesn’t always bring about the desired results–we still might be perplexed.  But when we don’t understand, does that give us the right to dub the other as “less than” in any way?  Are we so sure that our understanding is that spot on?  How prideful!

Jesus’ second commandment was “love your neighbor as yourself”.  I heard one preacher give a reason for the importance of that commandment: all people are made in God’s image.  All are sacred.

Part of loving a person involves getting to know them–not banking on your assumptions about them.

Next time you notice yourself thinking less of a person because of an opinion they have or an action they took, pause for a minute, back up, and ask them some questions in order to better understand them, and therefore start loving them more completely.

Men: stop doing this to women.

Women: stop doing this to men.

People: stop doing this to each other.

And while I’m at it: stop doing it to God, too!

Just stop with the assumptions and get the facts! (I’m including myself in this admonition.)

End of rant. 😛

My Young Earth Arguments


This blog is going to reflect my belief that the earth was created around 6,000 years ago and each day of creation represents a 24 hour period.

Before you come to a point of thinking you have wasted your time reading this, let me tell you up front that I am not a scientist.  I don’t have any credentials to offer you for reasons you should put any stock in what you read here.  I only intend to share with you the things that have me convinced our earth is young, based on facts I know about from reading books or my own observation.

There are four things that come to my mind that I’d like to record here.

First: The old earth view is a relatively new theory.  Up until a few hundred years ago, it was dogmatically believed that the earth was young.  I know that, in itself, isn’t great proof.  Some dogmatically believed the earth was flat for a time, too.  (And there are those who still believe that despite evidence to the contrary.  😦  )  So the majority believing something to be true shouldn’t be convincing evidence.  (Wow!  Sure wish people today would grasp a hold of THAT truth!–But I digress.)

Second: The Biblical account of creation lists creation this way: Day 1–earth, space, time and light; Day 2–atmosphere; Day 3–dry land and plants; Day 4–sun, moon and stars; Day 5–sea and flying creatures; Day 6–land animals and man.  Based on the laws of science, I do not understand how plants made on day 3 could survive for thousands of years without the sun that was created on day 4.

Third: The Jewish calendar this year is at 5777.  Their calendar claims to be in sync with when the earth was created.

Fourth: And this is the most compelling reason for me: God is all about faith.  All through Scripture you read how important trusting in Him is.  Adam and Eve failed the test. Rather than trusting what God said, they leaned on their own understanding (persuaded by the devil).  What if God created the earth with the appearance of age?  He created Adam already “old”.  What if–now stick with me here–what if God in essence is saying to us, “Are you going to believe what you see, or are you going to believe what I say?”  Are we going to believe our senses or what God says?

Faith is “…the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Deterrents


Our tandem bike broke quite a while ago and we have not been able to fix or replace it, so I have had to ride my regular bike “alone”–only, I am never “alone”, technically.  God is always there.

We’ve been given some excellent riding weather, lately, so I’ve gotten to go out on my bike almost daily.  I have a favorite bike route that I frequent, and I usually spend the time listening to Christian music and talking to God.  It is healing to my mind, body and spirit.

But my bike route starts with two ginormous hills.  OK.  Perhaps that’s a stretch.  But they both tax my leg muscles, even when I have my bike in the lowest gear possible.  (Which is 2, because my gear shift won’t go past that.)  Neither of them take me more than a minute or two, I suspect, to get up.

Sometimes, though, those two hills have been a deterrent to my going on my bike ride.

I *think* I have finally realized how ridiculous I am being when I let them keep me from riding, though.  (I say it that way because I have only had a week or so of success in overcoming the negative thoughts that once hindered me.  That’s not quite something to bet on, yet. IMO.)

Two thoughts spur me on: 1) They are just two hills! Once I get over them, most of the rest of the ride is a breeze!  (And I only face one hill at the end of the ride on the way back.) 2) I LOVE that sweet time with God!–away from all distractions; hearing birds chirping, seeing squirrels and such scampering around; listening to edifying, uplifting music–it’s heaven on earth for me.

When I am in the middle of the ride, my heart is so full of joy–I’m in a different world for a while.

Remembering the absolute delight of the bulk of the ride, gets me to put those two hill deterrents in their proper place–the delight of the ride that follows, far outweighs the dread of those two hills.

How often do we allow “hills” in our lives to keep us from enjoying “the rest of the ride”? How silly we are!

Today I had a really cool thought while I was on my ride, too.  A thing in the road caught my eye, so I kept starring at it while I sped up to it and past it.  As I was going right past it at a good clip, I first thought it was a squished animal.  I thought I saw a tail and some paws and it was belly-side up.  My initial thought was “Ew!” and I scrunched up my nose while I mouthed the word.

But then my brain caught up with what my eyes had actually seen, and it was just a small portion of a leafed tree branch that was “squished” in the road.  [:)]

I laughed at myself.  Then I pictured God laughing at me–delighting in me, like I have delighted in my children when they are “tricked” by something in a humorous way.

That was all followed by the thought that God knows all things.  He knows past, present and future.  He knew about that moment in my life before it even happened.  So all of that made me wonder if He could truly be delighted with such things.

Here’s where my really cool thought came in!

I started thinking about how I have some favorite movies that I watch over and over again.  One of my favorites, almost 100% of it, is “Enchanted”.  Another is a movie called, “Facing The Giants”.  I know what’s coming in those movies, but I *still* wait with anticipation for those favorite scenes and smile or cry or what-have-you when I see them–even for the 20th time!

I bet God is like that.  Only.  I think all His children’s lives are His “favorite” movies.  And I think each moment in our lives are delightful and special for Him.

I’m glad I didn’t let those hills deter me from today’s ride!  I might have missed out on that special thought if I had!

Vineyard Parable


Recently, while reading A Lifelong Love, I gleaned a new perspective on loving God’s way.  Here is the author, Gary Thomas’s definition: “True love is found in absolute benevolence, which is a state of the heart that is bent toward loving someone’s highest good, regardless of the person’s actions or character.  It is the disposition to do what is best for the other…to serve this person’s best interests.”

This new perspective has caused me to look at other things through a love-lens.

During this morning’s sermon at our church, the speaker used the passage from Matthew 20, verses 1-16.  Here it is in full for your own easy reference:

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the workers on one denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.When he went out about nine in the morning, he saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. To those men he said, ‘You also go to my vineyard, and I’ll give you whatever is right.’ So off they went.About noon and at three, he went out again and did the same thing.Then about five he went and found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day doing nothing?’

“‘Because no one hired us,’ they said to him.

“‘You also go to my vineyard,’ he told them. When evening came, the owner of the vineyard told his foreman, ‘Call the workers and give them their pay, starting with the last and ending with the first.’

“When those who were hired about five came, they each received one denarius. 10 So when the first ones came, they assumed they would get more, but they also received a denarius each. 11 When they received it, they began to complain to the landowner: 12 ‘These last men put in one hour, and you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day and the burning heat!’

13 “He replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I’m doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me on a denarius? 14 Take what’s yours and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my business? Are you jealous because I’m generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first last.”

The speaker applied the usual “lesson” from this parable: that it shows God’s grace and generosity.  But it struck me that it showed God’s love.

As the quote above from Gary Thomas says, the owner of the vineyard (representing God) loved those men’s highest good (giving them their daily bread), regardless of their actions or character. (standing around “all day doing nothing”!)

I think that is absolutely beautiful!  God’s love is amazing!  *GOD* is amazing!  I am so thankful He wants to be known, because He sure is delightful to know.