Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Parable of the Pencil

Lessons that I’ve learned from a pencil about being a Christian.

1. A brand new pencil in an attractive wrapper is not working.
            Christians all dressed up, but not sharing the good news, are not working.
2. A pencil has 3 layers: paint, wood, and graphite
            People have 3 layers: body, soul (self), and spirit (God part).
3. It is a number two pencil.
            I am not number one.
4. Before it can be used, a pencil must be sharpened.
            Before a Christian can be used they must be sharpened.
5. sharpening grinds away the paint and wood to expose the graphite.
            Becoming a Christian grinds away your thoughts of body and soul (self) to expose the spirit which is the             God part of them.
6. Even the best pencil needs to be re-sharpened now and again.
            Even the best Christian needs to be re-sharpened now and again.
7. The pencil is not the message.
            The Christian is not the message.
8. The purpose of a pencil is to write messages.
            The purpose of a Christian is to reveal God’s message.    
9. A pencil may write many messages in many ways.
            A Christian my share their story about God in many ways.
10. There are lots of different writing instruments with different uses.
            There are many kinds of Christians, each with their own type of service.

All Bible verses quoted are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

Being Boastful:
2 Corinthians 11:22-23a    Saint Paul’s words “Are they Hebrews?  So am I.  Are they Israelites?  So am I.  Are they Abraham’s descendents?  So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this) I am more.”
And from Philippians 3:4-6 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.  If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

About being refreshed:
Psalms 23:1-3  The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Jeremiah 31:25 The Lord speaks through the prophet:  I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
Proverbs 11:25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Biblical characters with influence that have a short story:
John 4:25-30 The woman (Samaritan woman at the well) said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”  Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”  Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”   Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,  “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”  They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

Luke 2:17 When they (the shepherds at Christ’s birth) had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed and what the shepherd said to them.

A variety of ways to serve:
Romans 12:4-5  For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

The hardships and the reward
2 Corinthians 11:23b-12:10   NIV Saint Paul explaining the trials he went through.
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.  Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,  I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.  I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.  The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me.  But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught upto paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.  I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.  Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,  or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians 3:7-11 Saint Paul’s words
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

A Christian’s purpose:
Luke 21:15  For I will give you words and wisdom

Amos 7:14-15 Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ NRSV translation

Eccles 12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard.  Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Luke 10:2 (Jesus) answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. … Love yur neighbor as yourself.

John 14:15 If you love me keep my commandments.

Mark 16:15 He (Jesus) said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

About the eraser:
Matthew 6:14-15  (Christ’s words) For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Luke 6:37b Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts,  as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And, of course, Ti’s teaching that there is one eraser, after which all other are modeled, which can erase all mistakes.
John 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.
And in the letter to the Hebrews it is written:
Hebrews 9:28  Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

John 14:3 (Christ’s words )And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also
may be where I am.

Our true nature:
Genesis 2:7  Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Genesis1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image.”

Psalm 23 which explains it all.

King James Version (KJV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.