Friday, June 29, 2007

Oxen Wanted II

I just can't get away from: "No cattle, no crops; a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow." Proverbs 14:4 The Message

"Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers in to his harvest field." Matthew 9:37,38 NIV

Why was it necessary for the disciples to ask the Lord to send out laborers? Had he not already called the Peter, Andrew, James, and John in Matthew 4:18-22 and Matthew in chapter 9? The Gospel of Mark records their appointment and their calling to preach, heal the sick, and cast out demons.
Same story with the 70 he sent forth in Luke chapter 10.

When I read, "pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest" I feel conviction. I hear the Holy Spirit say to me, "I have already given you the mandate to go, I'm just waiting for you yield and to ask me for instructions." That may not be proper exegesis or exposition of the text, but it is what I know to be true for me.

Again the instructions are clear in Matthew 10:7,8.

Have you raised anyone from the dead lately? Me neither. But we can't let that hinder us from trying. There is still so much to do and His return is near. We have to go into the fields and get our hands dirty. It will take sweat and tears, but His barns will be filled. We don't need to pick and choose what we will and will not pick. Not every ear of corn is perfect. Some of it is immature, some may be infested with parasites or disease. None the less, it is there in the field waiting to be harvested.

I believe it was the late President Reagan that said, " If not now, then when? If not us, then who?" Even if I didn't get the quote just right, you get the idea. The time is now and the who is every blood bought believer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Harmless ???

Blog rating

Pretty good! The Bible couldn't even get that rating. With all the violence, blood and guts, beatings, imprisonments, murder, rape, and war, it would have to be at least an "R". Notice I didn't mention the language found in the Bible. No need, it doesn't seem to count with the movie ratings anyway. Besides, folks don't care about the ratings if the ads look inviting.

I picked up this button from my sister @ Beneath the Ivy Wreath. She had picked it up from fellow blogger who had most likely done the same. Internet information is like the common cold; it can be spread with little effort, causes varied reactions, and can not be completely erased.

The button is nice commendation for my blog. It also can be a tool for checking out the blogs or websites of others. However, when you follow it to it's source you will find it is really a clever way to get you to an online dating site. You may be saying, "what difference does that make?".

None, I guess. I liked the button, so I used it. Then again, I changed the code a bit, because I didn't like it showing "online dating" below the button. Again, what's the diff? When I click on it, I go to and the header tells me it is an online dating site. I just don't know, something about it seems deceptive.

If it is truly a device of the enemy, then I shouldn't perpetuate it. If it is merely a tool that can be used in both positive and negative ways then it is up to me to use it wisely. (Somebody help me with this.) I suppose it is no different than the Internet itself. The super information highway is an infinite supply of tools. In and of themselves neutral until wielded by man. Then they can be instruments of destruction or building blocks of goodness.

Reminds me how something so wonderful as the Bible can be twisted to support something so evil as a cult. Today more than ever we must be diligent in prayer and watchfulness. We must know what the scriptures say and what they mean. The Word of God can be used as a litmus test for every situation, so we must know how to apply it as well.

No doubt I could have used these few minutes and this space in a better way. Guess I just needed to 'talk it out'. To be sure this post is not a total loss, I offer the following verses.

13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. II Corinthians 11:13-15

1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. I John 4:1

Just another note about buttons. Please avail yourselves of the ones in my sidebar.( I believe I have them posted correctly.) Pneumabloggers takes you to Rich Tatum's sites, the Comfort Cafe offers a variety of authors, and the Blogging for Jesus button takes you to PilgrimScribblings.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Anything for an Ox

Doubtless you have heard the expression, "I had an ox in the ditch" or some variation of it. It is just another saying that man has taken from the Bible and shaped to suit his own purposes. In most instances today, it is merely an excuse. "An excuse is a skin of truth stretched over a lie." That's what an aged Sunday School teacher told me, and I believe she was right.

Many times this expression is used in regards to missing church or being late getting there. Oh they will elaborate and say something about having to run an errand before church and......and..... It is in all the explanation that you find the truth of the matter. Something else took priority over attending the house of God. Does it really take both parents and all the siblings to care for one puny child? Couldn't they have filled up the car before the service?

And Jesus answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? Luke 14:5

In the original context, getting the ox out of a pit was considered work and thus broke the Law of the Sabbath. Yet having mercy on the animal outweighed the penalty of the Law. Jesus had just healed a man of dropsy. It was the Sabbath. The Pharisees looked on him with disdain. Jesus used this example to expose the weakness of the Law, highlight the supremacy of mercy, and shut the mouths of the religious critics.

Showing mercy to an ox is an attribute we all should have. If we see a fellow ox in the ditch then we should act immediately. Don't wait for the elders to pray for them on Sunday. Don't wait until their struggles have zapped all their strength. Don't wait until they are covered in mud or the water is over their heads. Jesus would not wait, so why should we?

By the way, be sure to check out the reader's comments on the previous post. Good stuff.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Strong Ox

No cattle, no crops; a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow.
Proverbs 14:4 The Message

There is no mention of the farmer in this verse, neither of the seed or soil quality. The farmer is a given since he is required for the ox and plow to be of any use. The actual soil contents are not mentioned but it's condition is implied. The soil is unbroken, else there would be no need for the plow. The plow is not useful without a beast strong enough to pull it. The farmer and the ox can do little to work the ground without the plow. In order to have a good harvest there must be a farmer, a plow, and an ox.

Again, this is just basic info setting the stage for the spiritual parallel. The amount of time spent on these things would depend on the age group being taught. For this post we will pick out a couple of traits and draw the appropriate conclusions. In a classroom setting, you could use as many or as few as needed to fill the time slot or make the desired points.

It is essential for church workers to be saved. A wild ox is of little value to the farmer until it is domesticated. The first lesson in obedience for the ox is yielding to the farmer's restraint. When a worker in the church struggles against leadership then he jeopardizes the whole work of the church particularly as it relates to the harvest. Consistent commands and disciplines will bring about the desired responses.

Just as the younger ox will often be paired with an older/more experienced one, a new convert in the church should be paired up with a mature saint. Proper lifestyle changes will be brought about by teaching as well as example. Mentors are an indispensable resource for those new in the Kingdom and new to a particular duty within the church.

The tough hide of the ox affords protection from the elements. It can hold up to the wear and tear of the yoke and harness. It is difficult for insects to pierce. When the ox dies, it's hide can still be useful to the farmer. Let me hear your comments on a parallel for this one.

Without strong oxen in the church, there will be no harvest. The pastor can not do it alone. Get in the yoke today and help your pastor pull the plow.

No Ox - No Crops

The lesson of the ox is meant to encourage the believer to recognize his importance in the Kingdom and challenge him to work in the Master's fields. This is basically a topical study that parallels natural oxen and the spiritual workers within the body of Christ.

The term ox can be used to describe any of the bovine family both wild and domesticated. Musk-ox, water buffalo, and yak are just a few beside the common ox or cow. Basic characteristics of the ox include: stocky legs, heavy muscular body, tough hide, steady gait, working well in pairs or teams, and demonstrates consistent responses to commands once domesticated. These traits enhance the usefulness of the ox.

Oxen are used for a variety of tasks related to farming. Plowing, pulling a cart/transportation, moving heavy loads, and treading of grain. The mature are often paired with the younger in order to teach them how to pull in the harness as a team. Of course the female oxen are valuable for bearing offspring. Sometimes the oxen are eaten as a meat source. In biblical times they were also used as sacrificial animals.

In the initial oxen post the picture was of some Kenyan farmers. The ox is a valuable possession there and used every day for any number of activities. The literal translation, "no cattle- no crops" applies to those farmers as well as most of the ones living in Third World countries. It could also be said, "no crop- no life". For them, there are no markets on every corner.

Without the oxen there is little chance of putting in a crop. If the oxen are lost between planting time and harvest, the farmer is put in a extremely difficult place. He will have no way to turn the wheel that pumps the water to irrigate, no means of transporting the crop from the field, and no alternative but to walk everywhere.

The info presented thus far is remedial but required to draw the parallel. In a classroom setting, this would have come in the form of answers from the students. When I am teaching a lesson parallel, I generally ask the questions and record the answers on a large dry erase board. I list them in a column so the spiritual parallels can be listed opposite them as we cover the material.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Goad for this Ox

I guess I can be too particular about how I want a post to unfold. I have been working for days on a post related to the oxen. It is easier for me to jot a few notes on an index card,step behind the lectern, and let it fly. All the more reason to blog, I guess. The goad will do me good if I yield to it.

Then again; I begin on one subject and realize that it can't be properly covered without covering other subtopics. Next thing I know I have one of those involved posts that require too much time for the average surfer to read. Just excuses. I know I can just break it down into a series of shorter posts. That would probably be better anyway. I can write all I want while my mind is on the subject, then post at regular intervals.

A confession is in order here. Actually, the ease of discovering and reading blogs requires so much less concentration than writing them. There's so much good material out there. I am drawn to the blogs of ministers and theologians. I also enjoy learning about widgets, templates, and HTML. Even writing about needing to write seems to be a deterrent to fulfilling the purpose of this blog.

"But what I’m discovering, contrary to the pervasive wisdom of educating oneself, makes me wonder if this information deluge might be hindering the discipleship process God created rather than boosting it." writes Dan of Cerulean Sanctum. He also has a lot of excellent feedback in the comment section.

What really applies here is that old saying about too much of a good thing.
Isn't that just how the enemy works? He substitutes good things for the best things. He offers excuses in place of the truth. My how he transforms himself into an angel of light!

Even as I write about the enemy, I am reminded of the Victor. He said to Paul on the road to Damascus, " It is hard for you to kick against the pricks". I haven't ever run from my calling and I'm not going to now. I will yield to the goad. Tomorrow is a new day and a new effort.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Oxen Wanted

Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. Proverbs 14:4 KJV

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No cattle, no crops; a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow. Proverbs 14:4 The Message

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I've Been Tagged

I have been tagged by Godzheart. If you need some encouragement today, see her June 10,2007 post. Her other blog Lessons from Life is both educational and devotional.
This is a first for me. I left her a note that I had never been very good at playing tag. Actually, I wasn't fast enough to catch most of the kids I played with. Seems I have been a bit slow with this tag too.

Here are the rules:
Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

8 Random things about me.
1. I have always been a tom-boy.
2. I love Gospel music. Gospel as in the old-time "Black Gospel".
3. I work in the medical field as a Laboratory Technician.
4. I am a fix-it kind of person. I love tinkering with mechanical things.
5. Ooops! #4 has 2 things listed.
6. I settled for "B's" in school rather than apply myself to study.
7. Now I enjoy studying and want to give my best effort.
8. I hate answering the telephone.

Now, who to tag??? I would love to know more about my readers, but many of them have little time for games. I have made some new discoveries. Some of them I enjoy reading simply because they are about living and working in the country. Those folks may not have much time for games either. We will see. I thought of tagging Heather, but you can read her 8 random things here.

Northern Farmer @ Healing Waters Flow
Jel @ My Place
ND Homekeeper @ ND Homekeeper
Jenn @ Reflecting Him ---- rec'd updated info, see this.
Karla @ Looking Towards Heaven
Melanie @ This Aint New York
Peanut @ Peanut's Place
Stephanie @ Olive Tree

Don't forget to catch me over @ Beneath the Ivy Wreath where I post Worship Wednesday for my sister.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Work Him In

I want to thank you all for your prayers and words of comfort during the time of our loss. I use that expression simply because it is the common way to say it. Truly we have not lost Paw, we know just where to find him and how to get there.

When Pastor Hughes(my grandparents' pastor) asked if we had any scripture preferences for the funeral service, we just told him to say whatever God gave him to say. My grandmother told him to keep it short and sweet. I said, "preach a salvation message. There will be some unsaved folks there that never hear the Word." He said, " I always work that in some where."

There are many other truths that can and must be preached, but there is one that is absolutely necessary for salvation. Preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. My friend Milton has an excellent post on this subject. Preaching Jesus cuts through legalism as well as fanaticism. We need to teach and preach the Word in every situation.

There is always a way to work Him into your conversations. Practice it at home in every day talk with your family and friends. It will become second nature. Be prepared to be mocked. The carnal man does not understand the spiritual. Rest assured the Word will bring conviction. Hearing the Word will bring people to a place of salvation by faith.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Shouting Life

My PaPaw is shouting life! See last paragraph. Thank you. - a fresh approach to community websites.

This relatively new site is a spin-off of MySpace. I haven't joined because I do well to post here a couple of times per week. My sister over at Beneath the Ivy Wreath has joined and finds it a refreshing alternative.

If you are considering MySpace, check out ShoutLife. I believe it is important to support Christian ventures. Besides, you will find information on a variety of Christian artists and organizations.

I would also like to request your prayers on behalf of my family. My Papaw was promoted to glory yesterday. He leaves behind my Granny (his wife of 68 years), a brother, one daughter,a grandson, me, my 2 sisters, and 2 great grandsons. One thing for sure, he is living and shouting life in his new home. In that, we are being comforted.

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