Monday, May 28, 2018

The Most Misunderstood Parable In The Bible


Come Holy Spirit....

I first blogged about this 7 years ago, but I felt it was worth revisiting once more.

Going back decades to Sunday School until just recently in a Homily, people have misunderstood Matthew 20:1-16...The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard:

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He *said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. 10 When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.” 

The problem with this parable that I have come across time and again, is that it is often taken literally and then seen as what our labor laws should be according to God. This is not so.

It starts off with Jesus telling us that this is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, not how life on earth is supposed to be. So what is He referring to?

Jesus is telling us that whether we become Christians at an early age, or sometime in the middle, or at the very end of our lives, that the reward will be the same, the Kingdom of Heaven! And that some will grumble about not being given a higher reward for serving the Lord for many decades than someone who just started believing  much later on. So what the parable is ultimately about, is God's mercy! God is equally generous to ALL who believe in Him, regardless of when they came to believe. Our agreement with God is that we serve and love Him and we are rewarded with the Kingdom of Heaven. No more and no less has been promised. And is it not God's reward to give away freely as He sees fit? It is very similar to the parable of the Prodigal Son, is it not? 

ALL who come to believe in the Lord will be rewarded equally, with eternity in God's Kingdom. Whether you come to believe early in life or later in life, all can and will receive salvation!

Is that fair? Well, it is God's prerogative to be so generous, and He has done you no wrong, has He? You received what was promised as a servant of the Lord. 

Now, some will read this and think, "Well I might as well wait until the end of my life to serve the Lord." This is foolish one two levels. One, do you not love God unconditionally? Don't you serve Him out of love? Not to tske advantage of Him? And two, how do you know when the end of your life is? It could be tomorrow. it could be 50 years. None of us know. So you are gambling with your salvation, and God is not foolish enough to reward that, anyway. 

So love the Lord God with all of your heart, as He asks us to do, and rather than be jealous of others when you see them getting rewarded for their faith regardless of how long they have believed, take solace that we have such a generous Father, such a merciful Father, that no matter when you came to believe, be it decades ago, or right this moment, you will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven as promised! 

May God bless you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Our Lord, a Poem by Emily Nelson

The following is a poem written by my 10 year old cousin, Emily Nelson of Wisconsin, USA. I was so proud of her insight into the Lord, especially given her young age, that I felt the need to share it with all of you. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to share it (with full accreditation to Emily, please):

Our Lord by Emily Nelson

He is not just someone
He helped us when we needed it
He was the one who sent His Son down to earth
He is the Father of all fathers
He always forgives us
He will be there until the end of time
He has the power and will
He will come again to judge the living and the dead
He will answer our cries for help
He will never back down
He is everyone's hero
He has a kingdom waiting for us
He will continue to make the earth a better place
He is GOD

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Alleged Biblical Q source


May the Word of the Lord be in our minds, in our hearts, and on our lips.

Greetings, one and all! I hope that you had a very good Easter season.

It is not well known to anyone except biblical scholars, but there is a theory that has been around for quite some time that there was a common, possibly written, source for the Gospel writers, due to the striking similarities of some of the Gospels, especially Matthew, Mark and Luke. This source is called "Q"  (for the German word Quelle, or "source.")

This theory has had many variations, including that there may have been more than one common source, maybe 2, 3 or even 4, by some theories. It has been debated for so long that the various theories have almost gotten silly. But, the basic idea, is that the "Q Source" contributed many of the words of the Gospels.

Now, as Christians, we can easily say, "well, yeah, the common source was the Holy Spirit! God inspired their writings so of course they will be similar." And this is very true.

And while I do not know if there is actually a specific source behind the theory of "Q," I am certain that one person contributed much to the stories in the Gospel, as they were the only person present during many of the stories of Jesus' life. That person, of course, is Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Luke 2:51-52     51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

The above is from the story where Jesus was presented at the temple. Is it a surprise that Mary would keep all of the details of Christ's life in her heart? It is no surprise that I am not the son of God, but my own mother kept a daily diary of the first 5 years of my life. Now, let me ask you, dear friends, if you knew, as Mary did, that you were about to give birth to the Son of God and raise Him until adulthood, don't you think you would go out of your way to remember everything that happened? Everything He did? Of course you would. This was not just her child, this was the Son of God Himself that she was raising! His life growing up was pretty darn important, and as Luke says, "she kept all of these things in her heart" as He "grew in wisdom and stature."

As I said earlier, there was only one person alive during the time of the Apostles who was also there during many of the stories that they recounted in their letters, and that was Mary, the Blessed Mother. The Apostle John was even adopted as her son, via the command of Jesus at the cross. You can rest assured that the apostles would be asking all sorts of questions about Jesus' childhood, wouldn't you? And who else was there, that was still alive during the time of the Apostles, when Jesus was born? When the wise men appeared? When they fled into Eqypt? Those are some very detailed stories, and only Mary could recount them, as Jesus was too young to remember, and Joseph had since passed away. 

And it is certainly possible that Joseph wrote many things down along the way, as well, although the bible makes no reference to that as it does Mary keeping these things in her heart.

But only Mary could have told the apostles the details of Jesus' birth and childhood, they were not there, yet. So, it is clear that she contributed much information to the authors of the Gospels of the New Testament. Does this make her the "Q Source?" That's hard to say, but her contributions are obvious, so it is not beyond possibility.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who's Birthday Is It?


May the word of the Lord be on our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts, amen.

Well, prayers for guidance got answered quickly, as it did not take long for me to feel the urge to post on a topic. This urge was reinforced and further inspired by watching an old episode of Mother Angelica Live on EWTN last night discussing the same topic.

So, when your birthday comes around, assuming you celebrate it and other people remember it, what would you think if everyone else around you received gifts on that day but not you? That wouldn't seem fair, or even make sense, would it? You're feelings would likely also be hurt.

Jesus' birthday is coming up on Sunday, in case you hadn't heard, and so I ask: What did you get Him for his birthday? When He was born, the three wise men brought Him gifts. There was no exchange of gifts among anyone else, only Jesus received them. So, what are you getting Him this year?

If you do not have an answer for the above question, or the answer is "nothing," then I'll ask if you bought gifts for anyone else. I'm willing to bet most of you did, and the crowds at the stores will back that up. 

So here we are, celebrating Jesus' birthday, and everyone buys gifts for everybody else, and forget to give Him anything. Does that seem fair? Does that even make any logical sense? 

Yes, I am aware that a large part of the tradition of gift giving on Christmas was inspired by the gift giving generosity of the real St. Nicholas (hence Santa Claus being called St. Nick, even though that's not even his first name!)  who's feast day is December 6. But let's not forget who received the gifts first: the birthday boy Himself, Jesus Christ.

Now, since Jesus has obviously ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, you're probably asking how in the world can we give Him any gifts? He certainly doesn't need any gold or Frankincense now, right?  And I doubt he'd be too interested in a new video game system, anyways.

The reality is, Jesus is all around us. Remember Jesus' words in Matthew 25:45: Whatever you do for the least among you, you also do for me." What does this mean for us?

It means that this Christmas, you can find Jesus at homeless shelters, food pantries, nursing homes, run down housing, halfway houses, all alone in their homes with nobody to celebrate with, in jails, in cardboard boxes on the street, in orphanages, maybe even next door or down the street from you.. He is literally everywhere, because He is all of these people!  

And that means, my dear friends, that you can give Jesus gifts for His birthday by giving to the least among us! The needy, the poor, the suffering, the sick, the lonely, every time you give to them, either a material item or simply your time, you are giving Jesus a birthday gift. 

Maybe, as part of your "wish list" every year, you could give up some of your gifts and ask people to donate to a charity in your name, instead. 

After all, who's birthday is it?

Godspeed and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Greetings, once again! 

I know I haven't posted as much lately, but I wanted to take a moment to wish everybody a very merry Christmas, and I hope your Advent season has been blessed. We're about to celebrate the miraculous birth of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to save us from hell. Never forget the real reason for Christmas.

I will be posting on a couple new topics soon, including "Who Was Q?" Obviously, as time goes on, there are less and less topics to cover, so if there is any topic you'd like to be talk about, just drop me a note or leave a comment. And, of course, pray that I am guided to talk about what God wants me to talk about on here

Next month will be the one year anniversary of this blog, which was the result of a New Year's resolution, and something I had been wanting to do for quite some time, and felt called to do it. In the past year, this blog has had nearly 2,000 hits from nearly a dozen countries around the world. Praise and thanks be to God for the blog growing as fast as it has, especially without as many posts in recent months. I have really enjoyed writing it the past year, as well as interacting with you, the reader. 

Thank you, as well, for visiting and reading Scripture Demystified. God willing, we'll have another year of scripture discussion ahead of us.

God bless, Godspeed, and merry Christmas, and a happy and blessed New Year to one and all!!!!!

In Christ's Love,


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Evil of Moral Relativism


May the Word of the Lord always be on our mind, on our lips, and in our hearts.

Come Holy Spirit...

Greetings and God bless one and all!

Moral relativism is the belief that there is no right or wrong. There is no "good" or "bad." This is often justified by people by saying that our rules, morals, etc. are "old fashioned" or "out of date." Apparently in modern times, right and wrong no longer apply in more and more people's minds. In other words, morality is relative. 

But is this true? Is the Bible and church teaching out of date, old fashioned, or no longer relevant? If so, what is this belief based on? 

The simply answer to that last question is, it is based on nothing. There is zero reason to believe that morality is suddenly relative and that the line between right and wrong has been erased. This is a lie that Satan has come up with to pull God's people away from Him and His teaching. 

Is there evidence that God's laws are as still relevant in the year 2011 as they were in the years 1911, 1511, 1011, or even 111? Yes! There certainly is! 

Malachi 3:6-7

I the Lord do not change. (Italics mine.) So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.

Even before Christ was born, God dealt with people ignoring His laws (decrees.) And what is His response? That He does not change! Ever. God is the same in 2011 as he was thousands of years ago. He is perfect, He does not need to change. And since the Lord does not change, then neither do His laws.  

God also said, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." --Revelations 22:13.

Of course He is, because only He started everything and He can end everything as we know it. And along the way, He does not change, he has already said.

So the argument that God or His church's moral teachings are no longer relevant in this day and age does not hold up at all. He does not change. Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow. God and His laws remain forever. God is not "old fashioned." He is the beginning and the end. Society's tolerance for immorality does not affect God in any way. We are still called to follow Him, not the world.

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments for a reason. Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount for a reason. God gave His church the Bible for a reason. These were not temporary rules or mere suggestions that He thought might be nice for us to peruse at our leisure and follow if we feel like it, or when the world tells us it's OK. These are eternal rules to live by.  From the beginning until the end. From the Lord who does not change comes moral rules that do not change. There is no relativism. Right and wrong are still clear as day. Just because society tolerates something does not mean God does. This is why Jesus tells us to not be of this world. We are not to follow the world's rules, but God's alone. The world's rules may change, but God's do not. He said He does not change, and He doesn't lie.

Jesus called Satan "the father of all lies." And the theory of moral relativism is one of Satan's biggest, and most dangerous, lies. It causes us to rebel against the Lord. It causes us to live in ways that are not in accordance with God's laws for us. 

How far back has Satan been tempting us to question whether or not what God said actually applies to us? From the very beginning!

Genesis 3: 1-4

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.

We all know how that ended. Right from the start, Satan was telling us that God didn't really mean what He said, so go ahead and do what we want to do. And that became the first sin.

Moral relativism is still a sin. It is still evil. Because it is a lie and leads to rebellion against the Lord, which is exactly what Satan did himself, and exactly what he wants us to do, as well. But it is still a lie.

"I, the Lord, do not change." And neither do His rules about right and wrong, no matter what generation we live in. Reject Satan's lies, and instead embrace God's Truth.

And remember, God loves you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Are You A Member of The Fellowship of the Unashamed?

The Fellowship of the Unashamed

I am a part of the fellowship of the Unashamed.
I have the Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast.
I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.
I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams,
tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.
I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.
I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow,
my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity,
negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity,
or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up,
prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I must go until He returns, give until I drop,
preach until all know, and work until He comes.
And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
My colors will be clear for “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..” (Romans 1:16)

The Author of this work is in dispute, however Dr. Bob Moorehead is considered the likely author.