PARABLES & MIRACLES
PARABLES & MIRACLES
1When Gabriel announced to Mary that God wanted to use her to be the mother of the Savior, Mary had a choice. She could have said, “Find another girl.” But she made herself available to God. If you want God to do the impossible in your life, you’ve got to be willing to surrender to His plan.
3The story of the first months of Jesus’ earthly life reads like an adventure novel. Joseph and Mary had to sneak out of Bethlehem by night. The villain, Herod, wanted to kill the Christ child, so he sent his soldiers into Bethlehem to kill all the boy babies under the age of two. We’re not sure how long Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had to stay in Egypt. But when it was safe again, God told Joseph in a dream it was safe to return. It’s possible Jesus was a toddler by the time they relocated to Nazareth. A study of the four different aspects of this miracle of deliverance.
5It’s sad to say that there are multitudes of misguided Christians who have fallen into the trap of seeking the sensational and calling it faith. Don’t confuse spectacular tricks with spiritual truth. If tricks and special effects were a testimony for truth, then we should all be worshiping Penn and Teller. God is awesome, but He doesn’t need to be noisy and dramatic. There is nothing dramatic about a beautiful sunset, but it has the signature of God stamped on it.
6The Kingdom of God is one of the most important doctrines in the Bible. Matthew is the only Gospel writer to use the phrase “kingdom of heaven” and he uses it 31 times. In Matthew’s account, Jesus told fifteen parable-stories, and twelve of them begin, “The Kingdom of heaven is like…” Five important questions about the Kingdom of heaven.
10If you focus on climbing the ladder of success so you can have more money to buy more toys, you’ll probably get it, but what will you have? I’ve known people who spent the best years of their life scaling the ladder of success only to discover toward the end of their lives that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.
12When we judge others while ignoring our own faults, Jesus says we’re a hypocrite. That means that we playing a part—we’re acting—rather than being real. We can evaluate other people, but we must realize our evaluation will always be limited to the fact that we can’t see inside a person’s heart.
14The problem with some of our prayers is we want to God to answer our prayers RIGHT NOW! But God is more interested in timing than in time. Is there something you’ve been praying about for a long time, and it seems that heaven is silent? It could be God is waiting for the perfect timing to answer your prayer.
15Jesus said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many follow it.” As much as we might hope that most people would trust Christ, Jesus said that many are on the wrong road. Our nation was founded by God-fearing people who embraced Christian principles, but today we are a post-Christian nation.
16You don’t have to be a botanist to know the reason you can’t pick grapes from thorn bushes is that a plant only produces fruit after its own nature. An apple hangs on a tree because that tree has an inner apple nature. And Jesus said it doesn’t matter what a person says, you must examine their fruit—their lifestyle—to determine their true nature.
18Today when Jesus’ disciples gather here Sunday after Sunday, it’s a mountaintop experience as we praise Him and study His Word. But you can’t just stay on the mountaintop with Jesus. Monday through Saturday, you’ve got to go into the valley where the people are hurting and in need of Jesus.
19Have you ever noticed Jesus often talked to people the crowd rejected? He spoke to tax-collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and even little children His disciples tried to shoo away. And here Jesus speaks with a Gentile—and worse than that, a Roman soldier! We’re reminded here that Jesus receives any kind of person who approaches Him. That should give us hope today that none of us are too sinful to be outside the love of Christ.
21Thousands wanted to be around Jesus, but only a few really wanted to be His disciple. They wanted miracles and He wanted to make disciples. He wasn’t interested the crowd—He was looking for the committed. So after He and the disciples sailed to the other side of the lake, He encountered two unnamed men who indicated a desire to be His disciple.
34How taking the yoke of Jesus is the key to life. Some call it the full gospel, others call it the Sprit-filled life, or the Victorious Christian life, or the Surrendered Life, or the Christ-in-you life. Because we link up with Him in a yoke, He provides all the strength we need to live.
38Slander and gossip are cousins. They aren’t kissing cousins–they’re killing cousins. God listed gossip and slander with murder in Romans 1 because they are both character assassination. We sometimes make false, damaging statements about people because we don’t have all the facts, or we misjudge someone’s motives.
44In the parable of the hidden treasure, the finder wasn’t looking for treasure, he came upon it accidentally. But in the parable of the pearl, the merchant was diligently searching for just such a pearl. How these two parables represent two different ways people come into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
45The parable of the net is a twin of the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds. The spiritual message is the same; the only difference is Jesus used the analogy of fish instead of plants. Jesus was talking to fishermen as well as farmers. He knew this parable would apply to all the fishermen in his audience. A look at the message of the parable in three stages and personal applications of this truth.
52The transfiguration of Jesus offers a great lesson about worship. Worship is not a place; it is a person. You don’t need a building and you don’t even need a mountaintop. It’s not about a place; it’s focusing on the glory of Jesus. It’s meeting Jesus and listening to Him.
56Most animals have teeth, claws, or a shell for defense; a poor sheep doesn’t have any natural means of defense. Without Christ we are dumb, directionless and defenseless. The main thing sheep need is a shepherd, and fortunately Jesus offers to be our good shepherd.
58We love to talk about how God has forgiven us, but we sometimes choke on the idea of forgiving others. The world’s answer is simple: Payback time! But as Christians, we’re told to turn the other cheek; we’re told to forgive. But sometimes forgiveness is very difficult when we know the person who needs our forgiveness is going to keep on hitting us.
60The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard is a picture of God’s grace. When we think about what the workers were paid, our immediate reaction to that story is, “Hey, that’s not fair!” Jesus didn’t say this is what the kingdom of this world is like. He said this is what the Kingdom of heaven is like. The world would call that fuzzy math, but the Bible calls it grace.