HELP WANTED! “Farm-Hands for The Harvest”

It’s Pickin Ready

NOW AFTER this the Lord chose and appointed seventy others and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two into every town and place…”

“And He said to them, The harvest indeed is abundant [there is much ripe grain], but the farm hands are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest”  (Luke 10:1, 2–Amplified Bible).

I was but a new Christian in 1974; 32 years old and on fire about sharing my faith with the lost.  One day after church, I approached the Associate Pastor, who was the pastor of Evangelism and Visitation.  I wanted him to know that I felt a calling to spread the Gospel, door to door, in the neighborhood surrounding the church.  I even quoted from my Bible the passage in Luke 10:2.

Pastor Sid thought it was a good idea and he would help in any way that I needed his help.  He would also place the notice in the church bulletin and announce the timing for the event from the pulpit.

I thought a Saturday morning at 10:30 would be a good time to knock on doors, with a strategy and prayer before we would leave the church.  No one but Pastor Sid showed up that morning.  We both tried again the following Saturday with the same results!  I was so discouraged.  Was I the only one in the entire church who had “the calling”? Was this whole idea just one that I made up in my mind or was it really from God?

THE HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL

In the agrarian or farming economy of Palestine, the harvest was an ever-present reality.  The idea of the harvest was used not only for bringing men and women to faith in Christ but also for a final gathering of God’s people at the end of the age (Matt. 13:19 and Rev. 14:15).  But here in Luke 10, Jesus has in mind an immediate harvest; a right now kind of harvest!

So often, we look at people with natural eyes, where Jesus looks at their spiritual readiness.  He sees the people of Judea as if they are a huge harvest, nearly ripe, ready for the pickin’.

Fields are typically planted so the whole field becomes ripe about the same time.  Seldom would you go into a field or orchard for selective picking.  Rather, when the whole field is ripe, you bring in the harvesters and reap the whole field at one time.

A HARVEST EVEN IN SAMARIA

While the disciples might hate the Samaritans, Jesus sees a harvest among them:

“Do you not say, It is still four months until harvest time comes?  Look! I tell you raise your eyes and observe the fields and see how they are already white for harvesting.    Already the reaper is getting his wages [he who does the cutting now has his reward], for he is gathering fruit (crop) unto life eternal, so that he who does the planting and he who does the reaping may rejoice together.    For in this the saying holds true,  One sows and another reaps.    I sent you to reap a crop for which you have not toiled.  Other men have labored and you have stepped in to reap the results of their work”  (John 4:35-38–Amplified Bible translation).

How do you view the harvest in your community?  Perhaps all you see is the immorality, the apostasy, as represented by the Woman at the Well. 

But a word from Jesus can turn resistance to openness; unbelief to enthusiastic faith.  The answer is found in His word and His power!

THE WORKERS ARE FEW

“And He said to them, The harvest indeed is abundant [there is much ripe grain], but the farm-hands are few”  (10:2b).

HELP WANTED!

Needed is an unlimited number

of hard-working and committed “farm-hands” with a willingness

and readiness to harvest the fields before they

become ROTTEN!

Plenty of kingdom “fringe benefits” for those who aren’t quitters. 

I am a city boy! Now like a lot of you, I’ve had vegetable gardens, and fruit trees to harvest from but I never required any “farm-hands” to help in the gathering.

Dr. Ralph Wilson is living at the edge of the California Central Valley.  He remarks, “Too few workers at harvest time can be a disaster!  The entire crop can spoil and rot in the fields UNLESS workers are available at the right time.  Workers who are willing to work very hard at the concentrated harvest season.”

Farmers rest in the winter months but during the long summer harvest season, they might be working night and day.  It’s HOT, SWEATY and MUSCLE ACHING work in thee fields and many avoid that kind of intense labor.

Fortunately, Jesus’ workforce is growing; from 12 to now 70!  But it is hard to find committed workers.  Too many people make excuses.  Just prior to the Sending Out of the seventy, Jesus said,

“Become my disciple, side with My party, and accompany Me!  But he replied, Lord, permit me to go and bury (await the death of) my father.  BUT Jesus said to him, Allow the dead to bury their own dead, but as for you, go and publish abroad throughout all regions the kingdom of God”  (Luke 9:59-60–Amplified Bible).

If you were to look at the average Christian congregation in America, how many of the members are actually involved in church “harvesting” activities?  It seems to me that many are involved in what meets their needs and their children’s needs, yet shy away from mission to meet others needs.  “Not in my church!”  Then good for you!

We have an abundance of churches in our community but few workers and perhaps few actual disciples.  Disciples are those who follow Jesus in His work; deny self, take up their cross daily and follow Him.  Their discipleship is not a matter of their own comfort but of Jesus’ mission.  Jesus seeks to recruit us as a worker in His harvest, not just  church attenders.

TOO FEW WORKERS?  THE ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM IS?

The answer is PRAYER:

Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest”  (10:2c).

Why does Jesus say this to His disciples that the answer is PRAYER?  After all, it wasn’t their problem, it’s His.  He shares this answer because soon they will be the harvest foremen in need of workers.  They need to know how to deal with this need in some other way than beating up on the believers; by manipulation and guilt trips.

The word translated “send out” in this verse is noteworthy.  The Greek word is ekballo.  At the root level it means “drive out, expel“; literally, “to throw out forcibly”. 

Secondarily the connotation of force recedes with the meaning “send out“.  The root word ballo, “to throw,” is a violent word, the basis of the English word “ballistic“.

PRAYER is our most important recruitment technique, proceeding any other invitation to the work.  It is also Jesus’ pattern too!

Before He appoints the Twelve, He spends the night in prayer (Luke 6:12).  Who is the Lord of the harvest? God.  What does to ask mean in relation to God?  PRAY!  Ultimately, it is the Lord of the harvest who sends men and women out as His workers, not the foreman.  The foreman merely directs the workers that the Master hires and sends.

“A SENSE OF CALLING”; A NECESSITY!

What does a sense of calling look like?  The apostle Paul wrote,

For if I [merely] preach the Gospel, that gives me no reason to boast, for I feel compelled of necessity to do it.  Woe is me if I do not preach the glad tidings (the gospel)!”  (1 Corinthians 9:16–Amplified Bible)

Sometimes we make an arbitrary distinction between the clergy and the laity.  We use words like “vocation” (from the Latin word for “calling“); to describe a career path in the ministry.  I have heard people in the church say, “I thought I was called once into the ministry.  But now I am too old!”.  You are never too old, for “The harvest indeed is abundant” all around you.

Pastors are no more “called” than you and I to ministry.  That is to say, both you and professional ministers are called by God to serve Him in whatever capacity He chooses.  Whether you are a full-time Christian worker or a “tent-maker”; to earn a living like Paul (Acts 18:3).  You are no less called.

Are you a worker or farm- hand in the harvest?  Do you work in Jesus’ mission, out of a sense of personal calling, or out of duty and obligation to a human leader or organization?

By talking to God yourself, ask Him about what He has for you to do.  Get it from God Himself and then EXPECT!  Be confirmed by your Christian brothers and sisters by the fruitfulness in what He is calling you to do.

Evangelism is NOT a professional job for a few trained men, but it is instead the unrelenting of every person who belongs to the company of Jesus.”  by Elton Trueblood.

An Evangelist, according to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary: euangelizo, “to proclaim glad tidings,” “good news, gospel;” “a messenger of good,” denotes a “preacher of the gospel,”  Acts 21:8; Eph. 4:11.

THE OUTCOME OF THE CALLING?

“The seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!”  (Luke 10:17).

If that verse doesn’t give you the confidence and faith that you will need a laborers, I don’t know what will!

 

             

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“That’s A Lot of Pork Chops!”

“For Jesus was commanding, Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!  And He asked him, What is your name?  He replied, My name is Legion, for we are many.  And he kept begging Him urgently not to send them [himself and the other demons] away out of that region.” “Now a great herd of hogs was grazing there on the hillside.  And the demons begged Him, saying, Send us to the hogs, that we may go into them!” “So He gave them permission.  And the unclean spirits came out [of the man] and entered into the hogs; and the herd, numbering about 2000, rushed headlong down the steep slope into the sea and were drowned in the sea.” (MARK 5:8-13 ~ Amplified Bible)

BIBLE-BELIEVING CHRISTIANS

We have always accepted the fact of demons and their activities in New Testament times.  But in these days, we are inclined to relegate demonic activity to pagan lands and missionary experiences. Like it or not, demonic forces are likely to become much more of a concern for you in days to come.  The apostle Paul tells us that are struggle is, at the bottom, a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:12): “For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending with physical opponents] but against the despotisms, against powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.” Even in our sophisticated times and intense interest of the “supernatural” and the “occult”: — Ouija boards are found in many American homes. — Horoscopes and astrological predictions found in most major newspapers.

FOR THE CHRISTIAN

There are two extremes that must be avoided in reference to Satanic activity.  C.S. Lewis aptly put: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils.  One is to disbelieve in their existence.  The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.  They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” The confrontation between the powers of heaven and hell can nowhere be seen in a better perspective than Mark’s account of the encounter; the Gerasene demoniac and our Lord Jesus Christ.

THE SETTING

I was reading this morning, as a devotional and my prayer time, The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 8.  I completed reading the story of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee when “they came to the country of the Gadarenes or Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee” (Luke 8:26).  This same setting is recounted in Matthew 8:28-34 and Mark 5:1-20.  The Holy Spirit prompted me in writing this blog based on the story in the Gospel of Mark.  I had no idea why, I just obeyed the “prompting” and so here we are.  I later discovered the reason! At the conclusion of the day, after Jesus had calmed the waters in the Sea of Galilee, He and His disciple continued to the other side.  The ship landed perhaps late in the evening in the countryside of the Gadarenes. The Gadarenes consisted of two major cities; Hippos and Gadara.  Since Gadara was geographically several miles from the Sea, perhaps the boat might have landed in the harbor of Hippos but Scripture doesn’t say so and I’ll stick to the country of or the region of the Gadarenes If they arrived late at night, the scene must have been a dark and eerie one.  I can imagine that the nerves of the disciples were worn thin by the terrifying experience of the violent storm at sea. In 1986, a wooden vessel was found from the first century, discovered near Nof Ginosar at the lake’s  northwest shore [Gadara was on the southeast side of the lake].  The size was 26 by 7 feet, and big enough for 15 men. 

MEETING THE “INCREDIBLE HULK” 

“And as soon as He [Jesus] got out of the boat, there met Him out of the tombs a man [under the power] of an unclean spirit.  This man continually lived among the tombs, and no one could subdue him any more, even with a chain;  For he had been bound often with shackles for the feet and handcuffs, but the handcuffs of [light] chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he rubbed and ground together and broke in pieces; and no one had the strength enough to restrain or tame him.  Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always shrieking and screaming and beating and bruising and cutting himself with stones”  (Mark 5:2-5–Amplified Bible).

After this weary group disembarked the boat, they meet what appeared to be a madman.  Our children would probably understand best by his appearance, he might have looked like the television creation of The Incredible Hulk!Never-the-less, he would have appeared to be insane.  The Gospel writers inform us that he was demon-possessed. Although the manifestation of demonization vary widely. the classic symptoms were there:

1.  Severe personality change.

2.  Anti-social behavior; living in solitude in a cemetery, perhaps near a ‘garbage dump’ if there was such a thing then.  What do pigs eat?  GARBAGE!

3.  Super-human strength:  (Mark 5:3, 4; Acts 19:16). 4.  Spiritual insight.   The [demoniac] in Mark 5:7, instantly recognized the Lord Jesus as the Son of God.  Matthew’s account adds the words:  “And behold, they shrieked and screamed, What have You to do with us, Jesus, Son of God?  Have You come to torment us BEFORE THE APPOINTED TIME?”  (Matthew 8:29). 

The words reveal to us that demons have an intuitive knowledge of their impending doom.

5.  Tormented.  The price tag of possession was high when falling victim to the demons, agonized in constant torment of night and day (verse 5).  His animal-like shrieks must have sent chills up spines of those nearby.

6.  Tendency towards self-destruction.  Another indication of demonic control.  All you have to do is watch the media report on well-known celebrities, who are addicted to alcohol, drugs or both.  The so-called experts and psychologist announce that these people have an illness that only needs extensive medical treatment and therapy.  Do you see where I am going? This man in Mark was continually doing harm to himself, even bruising and gashing himself with stones (verse 5); and other examples of a demoniac described in Scripture bent on self-destruction (Mark 9:17-29).

THE CONFRONTATION AND CASTING OUT

It wasn’t difficult for me to imagine what was going through the minds of the disciples as their ship landed.  In Matthew’s account, there were two demon possessed men who rushed to them.  It was like being attacked by two “Hulks”. The small group probably thought very quickly to get back aboard the ship and push-off.  Maybe they clinched their fist and picked up driftwood to defend themselves.  But from all of the Gospel accounts, I got a distinct impression that the man’s eyes were riveted on Jesus.  He didn’t appear to rush upon the group on the beach as he would normally have done.  Rather he began to plead with Jesus. Though Legion bowed at Jesus’ feet (verse 6), it wasn’t an act of worship.  He seemed to view Jesus’ approach as a launching of a direct attack on demonic forces.  He pleaded with the Lord not to be tormented. Something for us to pay attention here:  Unclean spiritual traits; they have names, they know who Jesus is, they are aware of their surroundings, they have a voice.  How ironic that the tormentor pleads not to be tormented.

THE PLEAS OF “LEGION”

In response to Jesus’ command for the demons to come out of him (verse 8); when Jesus asked the demoniac his name, it wasn’t without significance.

I agree with others, He was asking all the demons to reveal their identities.  The reply, Legion, might have been some kind of evasion of the question; a reluctance to individually identify themselves.  To the evildoer, anonymity is always preferred to identification.  On the other hand, although there were many demons, they had combined as one force to possess this man. 

While Mark records Legion’s request not to be sent out of the region (verse 10), Luke adds to this request: “And they begged [Jesus] not to command them to depart into the Abyss (bottomless pit)”  (Luke 8:31) [Rev. 9:1].

Jewish thinking was the spirit beings were assigned to certain geographical territories.  As an alternative to confinement, the demons posed an option; being permitted to enter the pigs on the scene, some 2000 in number who were feeding at the time.  The request was granted and the entire herd rushed headlong to their own destruction.  I might add here that the pigs all died and not the demons.  Demons are spirit beings and spirit beings don’t die.  After the group had departed, they perhaps continued their attack on the surrounding countryside.

THE DROWNING OF THE PIGS

This event has caused a great deal of discussion amongst Bible students.  “That’s A Lot of Pork Chops!” Had Jesus achieved such a miracle today, He would be in deep trouble.–Under investigation by the EPA for polluting Lake Galilee with decaying pigs.–The SPCA would have been up in arms for cruelty to animals.–The Livestock Association and consumer groups distressed over the sudden decrease in pig population and the impact on pork prices.

THE DELIVERANCE

Let’s not end up on the note of the death of 2000 hogs, BUT on the deliverance of the demoniac.  He had been a slave and now he was delivered from demon possession.  The New Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form gives what it means to be servile or subject to slavery: “controlled, exposed, cringe, be at the mercy of, depend upon; fall prey to, serve, obey, submit to.”  That kind of slavery can apply to substance abuse, other people, emotions, fears, etc. While the demon-possessed man was once uncontrollable, he now was sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus.  Where once he was an instrument of Satanic opposition against the Messiah, now he is a witness to His power!  Once he was naked but now he is clothed.  Once a menace to society, now a messenger of the words of deliverance and healing!

CONCLUSION and APPLICATION:

What purposes did Mark intend to achieve by the inclusion of this event?  First of all, I personally think Mark was attempting to warn his Gentile readers of the great danger of demonic influences and activity in the world around us today. The Greek were believers in the spirit world but not necessarily convinced that demons were evil.  The scene which Mark presents is deliberately dark. A word of clarification is in order here.  We must recognize in this account the dark side of Satan is exposed, but this is perhaps the more unusual side of Satan.  Satan’s most useful instrument is the outstanding, moral, upright religious man whose good deeds are done independently of God, whether in the congregation of believers or behind the pulpit.

And it is of no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light;  So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds”  (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15).

Teaching and Modeling the Word as PARENTS

FATHERHOOD and Parenting Principles

You shall wet and sharpen them [the words] so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up,  And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes.  And you shall write them upon the doorpost of your house and on your gates”  (Deuteronomy 6:7-9–Amplified Bible).

“We aren’t capable of truly teaching until we are first following, hearing, obeying, loving and being occupied with the Lord ourselves, as parents.  We must model the Word as we teach.”

5 FUNCTIONS OF FATHERHOOD

First, we are to be PROGENITORS.  A progenitor is an ancestor in the direct line: “Forefather, the originator of or original model for something; a “teacher”.  That is Webster’s Dictionary meaning, but what does Scripture say about a progenitor?

“The blessings of your father [on you] are greater than the blessings of my forefathers [Abraham and Isaac on me] and are lasting as the bounties of the eternal hills”  (Genesis 46:26).

What we are modeling and teaching our children as parents are “lasting” and productive as “the eternal hills” even though you don’t see it now.

There are five ways that show us how this “teaching” is to be done in Deuteronomy 6:7-9.  Open your bible to this passage if you haven’t already: 

–“DILIGENTLY” (6:7). 

Though parents have many important tasks and responsibilities, none are more important, with greater implications than this responsibility of teaching “diligently” and not to be taken lightly. 

–INCISIVELY AND ACCURATELY. 

To “diligently sharpen” means: to teach clearly and accurately not in vague generalities; our teaching must be clear and precise!

–REPEATIVELY. 

The verses in Deuteronomy 6 indicate that teaching is not a once-in-a-while or a one time effort.  It goes on all the time. 

“talk of them [God’s Word] when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

The secret to learning is repetition!

–NATURALLY. 

Teaching is to be done when we sit down after coming home tired from the workplace at night, after diner.  When we sit down in our Lazy-Boy chair in front of the television, when we walk around the neighborhood, before we go to bed and when we get up in the morning getting the kids ready for school.  When you say, “This is the day that the Lord has made, Rejoice and be glad in it” as they are walking out the front door, don’t be discouraged if they might roll their eyes at you.  You are teaching them NATURALLY!

We are to look for opportunities by word and examples in the home.  Our homes are the natural God-given place to communicate and display the Word of God.  It’s the place “where life makes up its mind”.

–PERSONALLY.

What our children learn in Sunday school and church is important!  BUT, we can’t rely on this alone.  The passages in Deuteronomy 6:7-9 are directly speaking to parents and not the church as it stresses modeling and teaching of our kids.  What one ‘says’, rarely as influential as what one ‘does’.  When parents listen, obey and love, in accordance to the Word of God, provides a model for children and reinforces what is being said in the home.

I remember on New Years Eve when our youngest daughter was still living at home; she was in her early 20’s.  Our family tradition was to have plenty of snacks, dips, etc., etc. spread out on the dining room table, being refreshed as the hour of midnight grew closer.  That’s what we did every year!

At about 10:00 PM, Kris  and some of her friends came in the front door and asked if they could spend the rest of the evening with Dianne and I, to watch the new year to arrive.  With somewhat of a surprised look on my face, “Sure come on in. There is plenty of food!”  We later put some music on and danced as we usually did in the front room on New Years Eve, showing them all that even older parents could keep up with the younger generation.  I think they might even been impressed.

What is my point in telling this story?  The next day, our daughter told us her friends enjoyed their time so much with us because of our relationship as husband and wife, mom and dad.  They would rather have been at Kris’ house than at a party of ‘booze’ somewhere else on New Year’s Eve.  We were setting a “model”, not only for are own children but for others as well.  They asked us later if it would be okay to come over on New Year’s Eve next year.  “Anytime!”

THE “NATURE OF LOVE”

And these things (or words) are to be on your heart”  (Deuteronomy 6:6).

To “be on your heart” or “to be on your mind” means in the center of your thoughts; the object of your devotion!  It means our relationship to God, our obedience to His Word is contrasted to the tablets of stone.  It means our relationship is not a mere legal or mechanical one but spiritual and reflective.

LOVE and OBEDIENCE are:

— Spiritual – Not mechanical.

— Central – Not peripheral.

— Primary – Not secondary.

This means we learn to live and think in terms of biblical principles and the realities of God, in everything we do.  The word of God becomes the grid, the framework, the foundation for every aspect of life.  Remember, you need a foundation first before you build upon it!

— home

— work

— worship

— or play

[2 Corinthians 10:4, 5]

WARNINGS AGAINST PARENTS LOSING SIGHT!  (Deuteronomy 6:18, 19)

We must never lose sight where we are here; not simply here as earthdwellers pursuing our own selfish goals.  We our ‘pilgrims’.  Losing sight of the pilgrim mentality is a danger of becoming absorbed with the world.  The result being, we fail as parents because we have first failed as God’s children ourselves.

Jonathan Edwards, the son in a godly home.  His father was a preacher and before him, his mother’s father.  Note the history of the offspring of this godly man:

“More than 400 of them have been traced to 14 college presidents and 100 college professors.  A 100 of them ministers of the Gospel, missionaries and theological teachers.  100 of them were lawyers and judges and out of the number, 60 have been doctors and as many more authors of high rank, editors of journals.  In fact, almost every conspicuous American industry has had its promoters from  one or more of the offspring in the Edwards stock, since the remote ancestor was married in the closing of the seventeenth century.”

I already gave you the first of eight functions of FATHERHOOD; Progenitor.  Let me give you now the other 7 functions:

— To be the source.

— To be the sustainer and nourisher.

— To be the protector; you need to investigate all things surrounding the family.

— To be the disciplinarian (Proverbs 19:18; 29:17).

“Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord”  (Ephesians 6:4–Amplified Bible).

1.  Use the rod with purpose (Proverbs 22:15; 23:13).

2.  If God said it, it must be of value.

3.  The rod is designated for foolishness (Proverbs 15:5).

4.  Only to be administrated with temperance.

5.  Balance is the key to life.

— To be a leader.

— To be a ‘caring’ one.

— To be a developer; a “foundation” builder.

THE PROMISE

And you [fathers, parents] shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it might go well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land”  (Deuteronomy 6:18).

Doing “what is right and good in the sight of the Lord” is teaching and modeling God’s Word as fathers and parents.  It is the FATHERHOOD principles being practiced every waking moment of the day.  God is watching our Pilgrim’s Progress as we travel in the wilderness, so we will “go in and possess the good land”.

 

 

FATHERHOOD and PARENTING Principles

A Little Girl’s Conversation with Daddy

And this is how we may discern [daily, by experience] that we are coming to know Him [to perceive, recognize, understand, and become better acquainted with Him]: if we keep (bear in mind, observe, practice) His teachings (precepts, commandments)”  (1 John 2:3–Amplified Bible).

“To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike].    You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect”  (Matthew 5:45, 48).

Since we are God’s children; we believe that His Son died for us so that we could be called His children, there is some FATHERHOOD principles laid down for us to follow.  Principles “to perceive, recognize, understand“, as the Amplified Bible gives clarity, in parenting by example.  God will father me in the same way that we father our children’s life.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING DADS CAN DO

After raising my family, along with my wife, I can now look back and see the positives and the negatives of child rearing.  I often said, “There wasn’t a book passed out to young couples about being good parents”.  How wrong I was!  There was always a book available, the Bible, God’s Word for instructions.  I had never truly read it!

Although we had three kids by the time I was 28 years old, I didn’t come to know the Lord until I reached thirty years old.  Discipline was always at the forefront of my teaching as a dad, and as I look back on the experiences, oh I wish that I would have been schooled in God’s teaching and not my own parent’s way of doing things; by the old “seat-of-the-pants” ways! 

With the Holy Spirit’s prompting and the spiritual maturity I’ve grown into, I thought I would share my thoughts on FATHERHOOD and PARENTING.  Some of the principles that might keep you on the right path.

THE IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER

The most important thing you can do for yourself and your family is to make hearing the Word of God one of your greatest priorities in your life and the lives of your children.

Our children must learn the importance of hearing and knowing the Word of God formally and informally.  Hearing, knowing, and obeying the Word is critical! :

1.  To our spiritual growth.

2.  To our walk with God our heavenly Father.

3.  To our ability as parents.

4.  To the lives of our children.

I want to share a little girls conversation with her Daddy, with shinning eyes and a little face aglow:  “Daddy, it’s almost time for Sunday school.  Lets go!  They teach all of us there of Jesus’ love, how he died that we might all have everlasting life, trusting Him!”

Daddy responds in saying to his little ‘sweetie pie’,  “Oh, no.  I’ve worked so hard all week.  I am going to the woods and to the creek.  I’ve heard from others, the fish are biting and it’s a place where I can relax and rest.  I must have one day to rest, the Bible says so!  So run along and don’t bother me.  We’ll go to church some other day!”

Months and years pass by but Daddy hears that plea no more; “Let’s go to Sunday school!”  The childish years are over and Daddy is growing old and life is almost through.  He now finds the time to go to church.  But what does the daughter do?  “Oh Daddy, not today.  I stayed up almost all of last night.  I’ve got to get some sleep and rest.”  Fatherlessness in the young girl’s life had replaced the fatherhood that she needed in growing up.  A father has to be more than just being there for the children, you must be “engaged” with them.

KNOWING GOD

Deuteronomy 6 is often referred to asthe Magna Carter toparenting:

“Hear therefore, O Israel, and be watchful to do them (His commandments), that it may be well with you and that you may increase exceedingly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.    Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord].    And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might.    And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then],    You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.    And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes.    And you shall write them upon the doorpost of your house and on your gates”  (verses 3-9).

We as parents need to understand how much we lack in the knowledge of God.  We must learn to measure ourselves, not by our knowledge of God, not by how many verses we can spit out from memory, not by our gifts and talents or ministry but by how we pray; how we commune with the Lord in His Word; by what goes on in our heart and our obedience to what we know. 

HEARING GOD

Before a successful building can be erected, a foundation must be poured to make the structure stand.  The same principle is used for FATHERHOOD and PARENTING.

The foundation for obedience begins with listening; hearing the Word.  Deuteronomy 6:3, 4 addresses the nation of Israel.  But in particular, the verses are addressed to parents.  Especially to fathers and grandfathers; the perpetuation of faith in their children (verses 2, 7, and 20).

What’s the point then?  Scripture tell us that we must hear the Word to learn about the Lord.  As the sovereign and holy God of the universe, savior of our lives, the God of redemption and revelation, this is VERY important!  A proper perspective about God is vital and fundamental to our love and obedience to Him.  Without it, we pursue the gods of the world and experience emptiness materialism.  With it, we learn that He is our SUFFICENCY, OUR ONLY ONE!

OBEYING GOD

“HEAR” in verse 4 includes the idea “to hear and obey”.  The point being that we really have not heard unless we are following through with obedience, acting on the Scripture.  We must act in accord with Scripture (6:2b-3a, 4); from the heart, from an intimate understanding and relationship with Him.  Or, we have not truly heard.

Note the words:  “keep all…”  “be watchful to do them“, and “Hear“.  Taking Scripture as our index is the point; we must realize that we can’t guide our own lives:

Proverbs 14:12:  “There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him but at the end of it is the way of death.”

Proverbs 12:15:  “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who listens to counsel is wise.

Jeremiah 10:23:  “I know that [the determination of] the way of a man is not in himself; it is not in man [even in a strong man or in a man at his rest] to direct his [own] steps.”

NOTE the following principles:

1.  Knowledge without obedience is never enough!

2.  Knowledge that is without obedience is only partial knowledge; it’s a knowledge without understanding; it’s information without spiritual understanding and insight!

Having met with the living God is to change.  That means obedience, otherwise we have merely had an encounter with ourselves; religiously and emotionally.

Parents who refuse to obey God.  What will be their teaching?

1.  Teaching their children disobedience.

2.  The clearest and loudest words our children hear are those of our own example.

3.  Children who live with critical parents learn to be critical.

4.  Children whose parents scream and argue learn to do the same.

5.  Children whose parents find all kinds of excuses to miss church, find it easy to do the same.

6.  Children whose parents are not involved in ministry and concerns for others, likewise will be indifferent to the needs around them.

I wish that I had practiced and understood these principles I just listed when I had the chance.  Do you ever have the “If only I would have done s…” in your parenting?  Now is the time to obey and act on the Word of God.  Don’t wait!

When Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton University, he spoke the following words to a parent group:

“I get many letters from you parents about your children.  You want to know why we people up here in Princeton can’t make more out of them and do more for them.  Let me tell you the reason we can’t.  It may shock you just a little, but I am not trying to be rude.  The reason is that they are your sons, reared in your homes, blood of your blood, bone of your bone.  They have absorbed the ideas of your homes.  You have formed and fashioned them.  They are your sons.  In those malleable, moldable years of their lives you have forever left your imprint upon them.”  (Tan, #4174, p. 960).

In the next blog I will continue in the FATHERHOOD and PARENTING Principles; Teaching and Modeling the Word. 

It’s Your Choice to Make! (PART 2)

Fly Like An Eagle

What kind of ministry or ministries do you want?  One that only ministers to the people or one that ministers first to God?  It seems that a majority of God’s people prefer the Eli priesthood.  You are probably saying to yourself, “Not me!”  And that might be true in your case but how about the others around you?  Now don’t get the idea that shepherds should not minister to the people.  What I am saying is about “priorities” in the ministry.  Minister first to God and the people around you will follow and be ministered too at the same time!

“An appalling and horrible thing has come to pass in the land:  The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests exercise rule at their own hands and by means of the prophets. And My people love to have it so! But what will you do when the end comes?”  (Jeremiah 5:30, 31)

When the end comes”, what does that mean?

“For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold.    And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions”  (2 Timothy 4:3, 4–Amplified Bible).

God wants to raise up shepherds for His people after His own heart, BUT with a big IF:

–IF God’s people are repentant.

–IF they will truly seek Him with all their hearts, minds and souls; with all their strength.

IF we are prepared to do these things, God will provide  faithful and holy shepherds for us sheep to sit under [Thank you Lord for Pastor Andrew!].

THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE ELI SYSTEM

Nothing exemplifies this idea of the Eli System better than the ministry of John the Baptist.  The first of two passages is in Luke 3:1-3; I have been reading through the Gospel of Luke in the mornings and these three verses came to mind:

“IN THIS fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign–when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituria and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene–In the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the Word of God [concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God] came to John son of Zachariah in the wilderness (desert).  And he went into all the country round about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance (of hearty amending of their ways, with abhorrence of past wrongdoing) unto the forgiveness of sin.”

God passes all the power elite of the secular and religious sectors of society and comes to John, who is separated from them in the wilderness.  The Spirit of God directs Luke to place all of these power sources in their order to emphasize God’s worthlessness of them.  In naming all of the secular and religious figures in consecutive order, He passes them up in order to focus on the only functionary on the scene.  (God’s dignitaries and man’s dignitaries are two separate worlds most of the time.)

JESUS RE-EMPHASIZES THE PRINCIPLE

But (Jesus) said to them, You are the ones who declare yourselves just and upright before men, but God knows your hearts.  For what is exalted and highly thought of among men is detestable and abhorrent in the sight of God.  Until John came, there were the Law and the Prophets; since then the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone strives violently to go in [would force his own way rather than god’s way into it]”      (Luke 16:15,16–Amplified Bible).

Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees and between these two verses is embedded an interesting concept–what man enthroned is not what God enthroned.

Man enthroned, through political power, a set of rulers who were linked by one thread: “abomination!”  John could have come to Israel and the nations following the priesthood of his father Zacharias; but he didn’t!

God separated him from that priesthood because the system would have regarded him as part of the order.  Spiritual man cannot look to the system for any answer.  Politico-religious systems will grow closer and closer in these last days.

John’s ministry was a Zadok ministry.  His father’s prophecy at His birth reiterates the vast truth behind His son’s ministry:

“…that we, being delivered from the hand of our foes, might serve Him fearlessly, in holiness (divine consecration) and righteousness [in accordance with the everlasting principles of right] within His presence all the days of our lives”  (Luke 1:74, 75).

The absolute emblem of the Zadok ministry is holiness and righteousness.  They are the only characteristics which will stand before HIM!

WE ARE CALLED TO A MINISTRY

We are all called as believers in Christ Jesus to a ministry.  You might not think you have but you have!  And direction comes to priesthood as we minister to the Lord Jesus.

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Separate now for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them”  (Acts 13:2).

There is a sure word that comes forth to all those who love the table of the Lord; who know their one ministry is to the Lord.  All other ministry springs out of that ministry to Him.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

–Is the Spirit purging you?

–Are you being refined by fire?

–Do you weep over abominations of the Land you live in?

–Do you hunger for Christs holiness?

–Do you sit often now at the Lord’s table?

–Are you casting down idols?

–Are you sick of all the self-exalting ministries in the Lord?

God is seeking to get you out of one priesthood and into another.  You are going to have to take a stand.  It’s your choice to make!  Do you want to strive to be sons and daughters of Zadok or sons and daughters of the Abiathar priesthood?  I have already made my choice. I want to fly with the eagles!  I am a son, an offspring of Zadok!  HOW ABOUT YOU?

 

Which Side of the Holy Remnant Are You On? (PART 1)

“The place where you worship makes a difference.  It matters

who touches you; it matters

who teaches you; it matters who ministers to you”

(quote from C.R. Oliver’s book; The Sons of Zadok)

THE “HOLY REMNANT PRIESTHOOD”

“[Come] and, like living stones, be yourselves built [into] a spiritual house, for a holy (dedicated, consecrated) priesthood, to offer up [those] spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ”   (1 Peter 2:5–Amplified Bible).

Whether we want to admit it, recognize it or not; God’s Word tells us that we are “a holy priesthood”, PRIESTS in God’s kingdom.

“And formed us into a kingdom (a royal race), PRIESTS to His God and Father”  (Revelation 1:6).

A CURSE FOUND UPON ONE PRIESTHOOD

It all started back in the Old Testament with The First Book Of Samuel; a raising up in the  prophetic, “an enduring” holy remnant priesthood. 

Eli the priest represents a “cursed priesthood”; self-centered servants of God.  Although they were called “priests”, they lightly esteemed the work of God:

–They didn’t like the ministry of correction.

–Their spiritual children became wicked because of their “lazy” life-styles.

–Their refusal to cry out against sin.

–They made themselves “fat”  (1 Samuel 2:29).

Eli saw iniquity in his sons who had brought down a curse on to themselves:

“And I [now] announce to him [Eli] that I will judge and punish his house forever for the iniquity of which he knew, for his sons were bringing a curse upon themselves, and he did not restrain them”  (1 Samuel 3:13).

WHAT WAS THE EVERLASTING JUDGEMENT ON THE ELI PRIESTHOOD?

FIRST, a weak priesthood  (1 Samuel 2:31).

SECONDLY, the continuance of falling short to God’s fullness, even during a spiritual outpouring; “DOOMED” to come short of God’s glory:

And you shall behold the distress of My house, even in all the prosperity which God will give…and there shall not be an old man in your house forever”  (verse 32).

THIRDLY, all in this kind of priesthood will fall in the prime of life; “spiritual life” and “blessing; because of a flawed walk with God.

FOURTHLY, this weak, flawed and self-centered priesthood continues on and is still with us today!  Will we be tolerant of the priesthood?

“Yet I will not cut off from My altar every man of yours; some shall survive to weep and mourn, but all the increase of your house shall die in their best years [1 Sam. 22:17-20]”  and (verse 33).

THE “UNKNOWN PROPHET”

A prophet, which went un-named in Scripture, came to the priest Eli and prophesied.  He says that there is going to be a “new kind” of priesthood that God would raise up:

“And I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in My heart and mind.  And I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed (Anointed) forever”  (1 Samuel 2:35).

That is an amazing prophecy; the first prophecy of a “holy remnant priesthood“:

–Enduring until the end.

–Enduring till Christ returns.

–It’s a “remnant” which God says, “I will build”.

A DUAL PRIESTHOOD REVEALED

Now during king David’s reign, there was a dual priesthood; Zadok and Abiathar which fulfilled the prophecy to the letter (2 Samuel 15:35).

Zadok in Hebrew is ‘tsadog’, meaning “one proved righteous”.  Abiathar is ‘ebyathar’, meaning “at peace with the Lord who is God”.  These two priests represents two priesthoods mentioned by the unknown prophet; one of the spirit of Eli and the other a ministry unto the Lord.

Let’s look at ZADOK first by turning to and reading 1 Chronicles 12:1, 22, 28.  We learn that Zadok and his household, his family reject Saul.  They gave their hearts and allegiance to David.  They never looked back, they all proved to be righteous and proved to be faithful!  Zadok was there when David needed him and he remained faithful ‘through it all’! [See”Through It All”; PART 1 & 2 The Word Detective blog of 2011-10/7; 10/8]

All the country wept with a loud voice as all the people passed over. The king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people went on toward the wilderness.    Abiathar [the priest] and behold, Zadok came also, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of god until all the people had gone from the city.    Then the king told Zadok, Take back the ark of God to the city.  If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, He will bring me back and let me see both it and His house”  (2 Samuel 15:23-25).

“The king also said to Zadok the priest, Are you not a seer?  Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son and Jonathan son of Abiathar”  (2 Samuel 15:27).

Read again the words, “Are you not a seer?”   This meant, Zadok, you have the gift of discernment!  You know what is evil and what is holy.  You are strong enough, faithful and committed enough to Me to go into that realm of rebellion and idolatry.  Save the kingdom!  The king said to Zadok to “return to the city”.  God now had a holy priest to guard the house of God from ruin!

A whole nation was in rebellion but in God’s house, there was a remnant; the holy remnant, the faithful priesthood today!  The servants of the Lord’s heart are blameless and faithful–these are the offspring of Zadok!  The spiritual sons and daughters of Zadok!

EZEKIEL HAD A VISION OF A “SPIRITUAL TEMPLE”

“You shall give to the priests, the Levites who are of the offspring of Zadok, who are near to Me to minister to Me”  (Ezekiel 43:19).

Ezekiel saw in the vision; a “remnant priesthood” offering sacrifices to the Lord.  The ones who are “near to the Lord“, who minister to Him.  The ministry to the Lord was the mark of the Zadok remnant.

LOOKING AT ABIATHAR; WHO WAS HE?

“Not all Levites were Zadokites, but all Zadokites were Levites.”   Abiathar was pious, dedicated and at peace with God on the surface, but who was he really?

His very name suggests a reverence for His lordship.  He was also with David and Zadok on the other side of Kidron   (2 Samuel 15:24, 29, 35).

He appeared to be just as faithful as Zadok; he wanted nothing to do with Absalom’s rebellion.  Outwardly, he appeared to be blameless and faithful.  So why did the prophets ignore him, speaking of Zadok as the example of the holy remnant priesthood?

Abiathar had in him the seed of Eli; lazy, indulgent, a weak spirit of Eli laid dormant in his soul.  It happened just as it was prophesied to Eli that his inner weakness would be exposed.  He would go so far and then stop just short of God’s glory.  Abiathar’s heart wasn’t right with God.

Abiathar’s sin:

–self-exaltation!

Listen to these tragic words:  “Then Adonijah son of [David’s wife] Haggith exalted himself, saying, I [the eldest living son] will be king.  And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, with fifty men to run before him            (1 Kings 1:5–Amplified bible).

“He conferred with Joab [the commander of Israel’s army], son of Zeruiah [David’s half-sister] and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed Adonijah and helped him.  But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s mighty men did not side with Adonijah.  Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fatlings by the Stone of Zoheleth”  (verses 7-9).

This was a boastful bunch.  They mocked the “old and worn out ways” of David.  They wanted a new kind of kingdom; a new priesthood.  There was rebellion in the land; a spirit of adultery, a demonic realm of pride and self-esteem.  A new wave of self-exultation was sweeping all around deceiving the masses and Abiathar was one of them.

Abiathar became caught up in this demonic realm.  How sad!  A pious, once faithful man at the peak of his ministry made a wrong move; he compromised and turned against the true way, though he thought he was doing God’s will.  Now we see him spiritually blind with no discernment.  He was doing the ministry of a priest at the stone of a serpent (the Stone of Zoheleth).

THE “EZEKIEL WARNING!”

And you shall say to the rebellious, even the house of Israel,  Thus says the Lord God: O you house of Israel, let all your previous abominations be enough for you! [Do not repeat them!]    You have brought into My sanctuary aliens, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to pollute and profane it, even My house, when you offer My bread, the fat and the blood; and through it all and in addition to all your abominations, they and you have broken My covenant”  (Ezekiel 44:6, 7).

Here is a house of God, full of abominations so bad that God can’t take any more of it!  “Enough!” He declares.  They had polluted His sanctuary with ungodly worshipers.  They had“a form of godliness but no power of holiness”.  No more!  These half-converted, worldly, corrupt, so-called believers had no place in God’s house.  Those are tough words to read!

When I first read those verses in Ezekiel, I thought God would wipe them out–bring them down.  But I see the picture more clearly after meditating on the Word; God is a merciful God and full of grace and promise!

God is cursing a corrupt people with corrupt shepherds.  He is appointing shepherds after their own hearts.  Idolatrous shepherds being appointed to shepherd idol-loving sheep!  Read what the Word says:

“But the Levites who went far away from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, they shall bear [the punishment for] their iniquity and guilt (Ezekiel 44:10).

“And they shall not come near to Me to do the office of a priest to Me, nor come near to any of My holy things that are most sacred; but they shall bear their shame and their punishment for the abominations which they have committed.  YET I– will appoint them as caretakers to have charge of the temple, for all the service of the temple and for all that will be done in it”  (verses 13, 14).

These shepherds won’t be removed from God’s house.  They will keep the”charge of the house and all that shall be done in it”.

What is their shame, their punishment?  “Therefore will I do to this house (the temple), which is called by My Name and in which I gave you trust, to the place which I gave you and to your fathers, as I did in Shiloh.  And I will cast you out…”  (Jeremiah 7:14, 15).

The worst punishment and shame upon a man or a woman of God is to minister in the flesh with no anointing.  Their houses are like Shiloh; “The glory has departed!”  Their message is chaff; God’s holy presence ‘has left the building’.

Yet, they are still appointed to minister to the house but abandoned by the Lord.  Might this be the reason for church attendance is dwindling and church closings in America and through out the world?  This is the offspring of Eli; the “Abiathar priesthood!”

I want to leave you with this question:  “Which Priesthood Do You Belong to?  Zadok or Abiathar?  I will try to deal with some of the answers to these questions in my next blog.  As For Me and My Household… “It’s Your Choice to Make (PART 2)”.

Study and research found in the Amplified Bible and [i.e., “Copyright @2002 by World Challenge“].

 

“This” or “That” of Paul the “Tentmaker”

“AFTER THIS [Paul] departed from Athens and went to Corinth.

There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently arrived

from Italy with

Priscilla his wife, due to the fact that Claudius had issued

an edict that all Jews were to leave Rome.

And [Paul] went to see them.

And because he was of the same occupation, he stayed with them;

and they worked [together],

for they were TENTMAKERS by trade”

Acts 18:1-3~ Amplified Bible

"THIS" of Tent Making
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Or was it "THAT"
The point of the subject in this blog is not to dispute what kind of TENTS the apostle Paul, Aquila and Priscilla made or didn’t make.  My only intent was to uncover the possibilities that were presented through Scripture and Jewish historical records.  It is about the “What if” factors only.  The readers will have to come to their own conclusions.
 
Does deciding what kind of tents the apostle Paul really crafted important? Was the “tent” making really “tents” or could they have been “prayer shawls”?  My points in the “this” or “that” of Paul’s part-time job, is only a symbolic picture of something that God is doing on earth.  As Christians, we have a Jewish heritage through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Familiarity with the heritage benefits us in our understanding of God’s Word and the significance Jewish customs.
 
BIBLICAL TENT DWELLERS
 
The first reference in Scripture made to tent dwellings: The son of Lamech;
 
“Adah bore Jabal: he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle and purchase possessions”  (Genesis 4:20).
 
Following the flood God enlarged Japheth (son of Noah); “and let him dwell in the tents of Shem”  (Genesis 9:27).
 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived their lives in tents:
 
Genesis 12:8
 
Genesis 26:17
 
Genesis 33:18
 
The children of Israel also lived 40 years in the wilderness, you guessed it, in tents:
 
Numbers 1:52
 
Numbers 24:2
 
In the above image [“Thisof Tent Making), you can see Bedouin Arabs living a nomadic lifestyle in tent’s that haven’t changed in construction since Ancient Biblical times (Bedouins were makers of tents themselves).  The tents were made from goats’ hair or dark sheep’s wool woven in rectangular strips on large looms.  The women wove the fabric for the tents, then stitched them together and kept them in good repair.  They also made the ropes that tethered the tent to the ground.  In effect, they were the tradespeople who produced their own housing and did not need or rely on imported tents.
 
PAUL ARRIVES IN CORINTH– (ACTS 18:1)
 
Historians have the apostle Paul arriving in Corinth around 49 or 50 C.E.  Rome had destroyed the city in 146 B.C.E. so when Paul arrived he saw a young rebuilding city–not even a century old.  In 44 B.C.E., Julius Caesar gave a decree that refounded Corinth; a new Roman colony.
 
Corinth was the capital of the province of Achaia.  It was a city that was socially, culturally, and diverse in religion including the Jews.  The Jews who were living there; were more cosmopolitan and more multicultural than those living in Palestine.
 
Archeological digs and excavations of the ancient city tell us that the Corinthian Christians lived in large complexed households and worshiped in-house churches because of religious persecutions; Jews worshiped in the local synagogues.  The people who lived in Corinth did not live in Bedouin tents and were not nomadic in any way.  They live in houses as did the people who resided in Jerusalem. 
 
WAS PAUL REALLY A “TENT” MAKER?
 
One thing we do know, the Apostle Paul, like Jesus was Jewish; in heritage, in customs and traditions and faith;
 
“I [Paul] am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant or undistinguished city”  (Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3).
 
Paul was probably ‘home-schooled’ by his father and he was proud of his ancestral faith:
 
“Circumcised when I was eight days old, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew [and the son] of Hebrews; as to the observance of the Law I was of [the party of] the Pharisees”  (Philippians 3:5–Amplified bible).
 
At about the age of six (Josephus’ historical account), Paul attended the synagogue school for instructions in the Scriptures and Hebrew.  His further education was in Jerusalem under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).
 
Why am I informing you to Paul’s up-bringing?  It is to let you try to understand that Paul did not have time to learn a trade as a tentmaker.  Jesus had learned the trade of being a carpenter by his early apprenticeship with his father Joseph.
 
Paul had fully absorbed all the knowledge of the LAW, the customs, the manners as he grew into manhood.  Thus, he would have legitimate expertise and knowledge of making the very special item; the makings of the “TALLITH”; a specifically gifted talent.
 
THE JEWISH “TALLITH” (Prayer Shawl)
 
Tallith” is a Jewish word composed of two Hebrew words:
 
1.  TAL meaning TENT.
 
2.  ITH meaning LITTLE.
 
Thus, you have “Little Tent” and each man had his own tallith.  Numbers (B’Midvar) 15:37-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12 in the TANAKH, TORAH gives a detailed description of the “little tent“, given to Moses by the Lord.
 
Jewish men (women if they wanted) used the TALLITH (prayer shawl) to wrap themselves during their daily prayers and devotions and was known as their “tent of prayer“.  The men wore the TALITH, TALIS, TALIT not just in prayer but all the time as Paul did, the Apostles, and Jesus who obeyed the custom recorded in Scripture (Luke 8:43-48).  God doesn’t do away with a lot of things that we have done away with over time.  God isn’t offended by the Jewish culture.
 
SIX MILLION JEWS IN THE WILDERNESS
 
Based on that number, it obvious that 6 million people couldn’t fit into the tent of meeting set up in the Old Testament.  Therefore, what was given to them was their own private sanctuary or tabernacle; where they could meet with God.  Each man had one!  His prayer shawl or Talis.
 
They would pull it up over their head, forming a tent.  There they could chant, sing Hebrew songs, and call upon Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai.  It was intimate, private and set apart from anyone else, enabling them to totally focus upon God.  It was their “prayer closet” (Matt. 6:6).  [or was it “that” image].
 
My wife and I try to arrive at church on Sundays, before worship and praise begins, to focus upon God.  We are not always successful in our attempts, because of the pre-service fellowship.  God does know the hearts of men and women so a “prayer shawl” is not needed for intimate fellowship.
 
THE “FRINGE” OF THE TALLITH
 
 
The “prayer shawl” had fringe in each of its’ four corners artistically made.  Each strand wrapping and knots of the cords had a purpose.  The fringe was made with eight strands precisely wrapped.  There were five knots at various positions, 613 in total, which are the exact number of commandments and statutes in the TORAH.  The cords colors were white and blue-dyed fabric.
 
The LORD GOD’S instructions to the Israelite men were to LOOK at the fringe (Hebrew=Tsitzith); to remember to perform, obey, do, carry out His commandments.
 
JESUS’ REBUKE CONCERNING THE “TALITH”
 
“They [scribes andPharisees] do all their works to be seen of men; for they make wide their phylacteries (small cases enclosing certain Scripture passages, worn during prayer on the left arm and forehead) and make long their fringes [worn by all male Israelites, according to the command]  [Exod. 13:9; Num. 15:38; Deut. 6:8]”  (Matthew 23:5).
 
The “rebuke” given by Jesus following His words in verse 5:
 
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)!  For you are like tombs that have been whitewashed which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything impure.  Just so, you also outwardly seem to people to be just and upright but inside you are full of pretense and lawlessness and iniquity”  (Matthew 23:27, 28).
 
“LYDIA” THE DEALER OF DYED FABRICS
 
“And on the Sabbath day we went outside the [city’s] gate to the bank of the river where we supposed there was an [accustomed] place of prayer, and we sat down and addressed the women who had assembled there.    One of those who listened to us was a woman named  Lydia”  (Acts 16:13, 14–Amplified Bible).
 
What do we know about this woman named Lydia?  (Acts 16:13-15):
 
1.  She was a dealer or seller of fabrics dyed in purple.
 
2.  She was already a worshiper of God.
 
3.  Prayer was part of her life, even in her business.
 
4.  She opened her heart to the Scriptures.
 
5.  She was baptized along with her household.
 
6.  She was confident in her belief that Jesus is the Messiah and the Author of salvation.
 
7.  She was faithful.
 
8.  She was hospitable, even to strangers.
 
What do  these characteristics and description of a woman by the name of Lydia have to do with “tent-making”?
 
THE COLOR “BLUE”
 
One of the mysteries scholars have debated over the centuries is about the exact shade of blue represented by the “tekhelet“.  The Bible mentions the color in the ceremonial robes donned by high priests.  Also the ritual prayer tassels worn by the common Israelite.
 
What IS known about Tekhelit (pronounced t-CHELL-it) comes from the Talmud; the blue dye is produced from Murex trunculus secretions, the sea-snail still found in Israeli beaches.  Traditional interpretations characterized Tekhelet as a pure blue; symbolic of the heavens so that Jews would remember God.  Other Israeli scholars say the original color was closer to a “bluish purple“.  Today, the blue in the Israeli flag was inspired by the Tekhelet.
 
What does the Tekhelet and the color blue have to do with making tents?  Well, I see a real possibility of an opportunity presented to Paul; his meeting the woman at the river, a seller of fabrics dyed in purple in the city of Philippi, a lady named Lydia.  What if…just thinking, she also sold blue fabric or perhaps even blue dyes?  Do you see where I am going?
 
THE “THIS” OR “THAT” of TENT MAKING
 
Does it really make a difference in the grand scheme of things?  Since Corinth was a Roman colony, could Paul, Aquila and Priscilla TENTS of leather be of use to the Roman soldiers as they bivouac?  Or, could there craft and expertise have been in the making of TALITH’s; “little tents” with the color blue embedded in the cloth?  Maybe. 
 
My purpose was to bring you only to the possibilities; the “This” or “That” of Paul the “Tentmaker”.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us regarding the “prayer shawl“; the “little tent” in bringing you a little closer to Jesus; to understand Him better as Messiah.  Whatever the “tent making” was, the apostle Paul supplemented his ministry by the income he earned.  I know of a pastor friend who sells eggs by the dozen to supplement his income and further his outreach as an apostle.