Tag Archives: Sunday School

Good Eye- Bad Eye

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Matthew 6:22-23 NKJV

Often in our journey through the Bible, we read scriptures that aren’t really clear in what they are saying. We try our best to understand what God is saying but it just doesn’t jump off the page and into your heart. Then one day you will be reading and suddenly it jumps off the page and it clears up lots of questions that you had. That was my experience a couple of weeks ago with the verses above. I was reading a different translation than I normally read and this changed the way I understood these verses.

For a long time if you asked me about the good eye vs the bad eye I would have said something like this. The good eye belongs to someone who is focused on God and is keeping their life focused on God’s word and living a life that is pleasing to God. By living life focused on God their whole body is full of light and this enables them to give God the proper place in their life. They find joy by serving God and serving others. On the other hand, if your eye is bad, you are living a life that is focused on yourself. Not caring about God or the life He wants you to live. This person is mostly interested in their own life and not looking to God for instruction or direction in life. This is completely opposite so this results in their body and life being filled with darkness.

One way to understand scripture is looking at the verses around the one that you are trying to understand. In this case, verses 19-21 deal with the difference between storing up treasures on earth and laying up treasures in heaven. They remind us that earthly treasures can be destroyed over time or even stolen. Heavenly treasures though are not vulnerable to rust or being stolen. Then we are reminded that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Basically this is a warning about how we use our money. Do we spend it on earthly things or heavenly things? I’ve often said that whenever I give to the church or someone in need, I’ve also made a heavenly deposit that will be stored in heaven to my future rewards.

Then in verse 24, which is after the verses above, we are told that we can not serve two masters because we will hate one and love the other or we will be loyal to the one and despise the other. The verse ends telling us we cannot serve God and mammon, or money.

So there you have it. Nestled between verses that deal with money we find these verses about the good eye and the bad eye. Sometimes this happens to me and I find a verse that seems out of place. That was the case with these as I didn’t really catch the connection between the eyes and money. That is until a couple of weeks ago. I was reading a new to me translation. The Complete Jewish Study Bible. I usually read the New King James Version, but I like to read other translations as they will sometimes help me get a clearer view of what I’m reading. That’s what happened when these verses got really clear to me.

I was reading in Matthew chapter 6 and when I came to the “eye” verses, this translation described the good as generous and the bad as stingy. And suddenly everything fit together perfectly. The eye verses were dealing with money also and they were right where they belonged. I had never thought of generous as “good eye” or stingy as a “bad eye”. According to a side note in the study Bible, this was a Jewish saying that was popular during the time Jesus was on the earth. A rabbi might say , “if a person gives a gift, let him give it with a good eye, ” meaning give it generously. I never got that until I was fortunate enough to read this translation.

I guess now would be a good time to confess that I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box, but with God’s help, I’m still learning. Somehow I had never seen generous or stingy in the verses. But I’m glad that God has shown this to me. It’s so much clearer now than it was. It has made me look at my own giving and question if my giving lives up to what God wants us to do. I want my body and life to be full of light and to be a blessing to God.

In fact I began to think about a biblical definition of generous and it didn’t take long to realize that the gift God gave was the most generous gift of all.

For God so loved the world that He gave His  only begotten Son,  that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.    John 3:16. NKJV

Spring 2013 and Easter

This is a post I made in spring 2013. I thought it was worth posting again. Hope you enjoy!

I’m looking out the window at the car lot watching things move as a slight breeze is in the air, little specks of snow are twirling in the air as if they are dancing in rhythm with the breeze, and it’s warm in the office so all in all,  things are good.

Then I have to go outside.

Suddenly, the gentle breeze is fierce and will cut you in two. (seems like) AND the snow specks are like little aggravating insects hitting me in the face. AND, it’s COLD outside!

WOW! Just a few feet difference in my position on earth seem to make a huge difference in how I view and experience things. The breeze didn’t change. The snow specks didn’t change. The temperature didn’t drop suddenly. All that changed was my physical position in relation to the elements around me. And what a huge effect it had on my experience.

That’s the way it is when you become a Christian. Not one thing in the world changes, except you!

This life is full of troubles. Everything from sickness, money problems, job problems, marriage problems, family problems, loneliness, depression, loss of loved ones, etc…… The list could go on and on as it seems that there are almost as many problems as there are people. Life is hard. Jesus said it himself in John 16:33These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

I for one am very glad that this verse is recorded in the scriptures. Being a Christian does not mean that problems vanish. Problems are a way of life in this world. Jesus said that in the world we would have tribulation. AND He said to be of good cheer, because HE has overcome the world. AND He is willing to help us overcome the world also. Jesus is telling his followers about the Holy Spirit and how he would come to be with them after He is gone. They didn’t understand why Jesus was leaving or where He was going, but Jesus was reassuring them they would not be alone.

When we become a Christian, we also have God’s Holy Spirit living inside us to teach us, comfort us and guide us.

Remember at the beginning of this post how that a small change in my physical position made a huge difference in the way I experienced the things outside? Remember how I said this was like becoming a Christian? Here’s why. The office is a warm place that offers me protection from the cold, the wind, the snow specks, and whatever is outside. It’s a place that I can go to escape all the harsh ugly stuff we call weather. Just a few feet difference in my PHYSICAL position makes the difference. Likewise, just a small step in my SPIRITUAL position makes a huge difference in the way I experience life’s problems. Just like the weather, the problems are still there, but now God’s Holy Spirit is alive in me, comforting me, guiding me and giving me peace. I still have problems, but now experience them in a whole new way. I don’t have an office that I go to, but I have a God that comes to me. He comforts me, gives me peace, uses my problems to glorify Himself and in the end, shares that with me. He’s pretty awesome.

In a few weeks, we will celebrate the death, burial and most importantly resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has overcome all that this world had to offer. And through Jesus Christ, I will also.

 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:9-10

Be Perfect……..

WOW, what a thought. Be perfect. A while back,  my Sunday School class studied the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus preached and Matthew recorded in chapter 5 of his book. For sure Jesus laid down some pretty hard directions for us to follow. He took outward actions and placed them in our hearts. For instance it’s not enough just to follow the do not murder rule, Jesus said to not even entertain anger. Don’t commit adultery became don’t even look and lust about it. He was changing the way we understood what God wanted us to do and how he wanted us to act. His point was to go beyond outward obedience and change our hearts inside. When you think about it, all actions are a reflection of the condition of our hearts.

But then Jesus ended the sermon with these words. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I thought about that for a while. There was no way I could be perfect. But Jesus said for me to be just that. I believe that my heavenly Father is perfect in every way you can list. He has never made a mistake, never been wrong, never falsely accused anyone of anything, never missed an opportunity to help someone, never failed to love anyone. He is perfect. And I am not.

But here’s what Jesus wants us to know. Remember that he said early in the sermon that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, we would never enter the kingdom of heaven. The scribes and Pharisees had the actions down pat. But they only applied them to outward expressions. He was telling us that we need to train our hearts and minds to be better than our actions.  And in doing so, our actions could move up to the next level and would become closer to what God wanted for us. He wanted us to understand that our hearts (mind) controls our actions. He wanted us to be intentional in our actions. Not reacting to what happens around us but reacting in a manner that would show God’s power and love to those around us. He wants us to be salt and light so that we can make a difference in this world.

I can’t explain God’s love for us. But I do know one thing for sure. God’s love towards me and you is intentional. He chose to love us. As much as I wish that I could point to something good inside of me and say “That’s why God loves ME!” I can’t.  I was un-loveable. Sinful. Selfish. Yet, God CHOSE to love me. And you.

And He wants us to be perfect. This isn’t possible for us in this world the way most would think of perfect.

But what if perfect meant to be mature and intentional in making our thoughts Godly?

Most of the time, without even thinking about it, we reflect our earthly parents. My granddaughter is her mother made over. She has her actions, her expressions, her attitude. She also has some of her father’s actions, expressions and attitudes. Some people claim they can see me when my granddaughter looks a certain way or does something in a particular way. And she’s only 5 years old so I am sure that she isn’t aware of all this. But she reflects her parents.

Jesus wanted us to learn to reflect our heavenly Father in the same way. When we are intentional in following Jesus’s teaching in the way we treat others, and we love as God commanded us to, I believe that we are approaching what Jesus meant when He said to be perfect. We reflect the love of our heavenly Father. We reflect the grace given to us. We let the world see Jesus through our actions and our intentions. This should be a Christian’s goal:  To accurately reflect the grace and love of our heavenly Father. Strive to be perfect in doing that and I believe we will be doing what Jesus said to do.

The “Sinner’s Prayer”

Here’s a link to an interesting article by David Platt and a sermon that he presented on the “Sinner’s Prayer”. This should give all of us something to think about as we share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The quote below is from the article and the link below  is to Christianity Today.

My concerns are not about prayer or election, but about authentic conversion and regenerate church membership.

Source: David Platt: What I Really Think About the ‘Sinner’s Prayer,’ Conversion, Mission, and Deception | Christianity Today

Do You Own Your Possessions?

Sounds  a little like a really stupid question. You may be thinking “Boy, Dale’s lost it this time. Of course I own my possessions. After all, they’re mine and who else would own them.” ( or something similar to that)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living this life in view of eternity. Our Sunday School lessons have been bringing out that thought the last few weeks. We tend to live with the idea that we are supposed to have possessions and make lots of money and a big house and so forth. We are supposed to be wealthy and enjoy life, cars, boats, campers, motorcycles, and lots of other stuff.  How many times have you said I earned that or I deserve that? If you are honest, lots of times. In fact, I would bet that that’s the number 1 excuse we use when we are making a decision about buying another toy or bigger house. I agree that nowhere in the Bible does it teach that being wealthy and having things is wrong. But it does teach that when we focus on the stuff of this world, and not on God, we are making a big mistake. Hence the problem, we allow things to have us. That’s where the question comes from. Do you own your possessions, or do they own you?

Consider for a moment this passage from Luke 12:13-21. Someone from the crowd asked Jesus to tell his brother to share the inheritance with him. Jesus responded with a statement about greed.

He then told them, “watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”- Luke 12:15

Our life is not in the abundance of our possessions? What about the saying that the one that dies with the most toys wins? Or our attitude that we are successful only if we have cars, homes, boats, motorcycles, swimming pools, etc…… You get the idea. I also hope you noticed that this goes completely against the way we tend to think. But then Jesus was radical like that. He came from a different world and had a different vision. The only way we can hope to have His vision is to give up ours. We spend most of our lives planning what we are going to do next. What we are going to buy? Trips we are going to take and etc…. Again, nothing wrong with buying stuff and going places, but if that is what drives us, then we have a problem.

Wonder what would happen if we suddenly, and I mean Christians, developed the eternal view that Jesus had. He wasn’t concerned with building a home, or a career. He was focused on the task at hand. The reason God placed Him here was to seek and to save those which are lost. Now some of you may be thinking that Jesus knew he only had 33 years and that He was going to die. After all, He did talk about that a lot. But aren’t we also going to die?

Maybe that’s the problem. We think that this vapor we call life is where our lives consist. We have no eternal view. What would happen if we suddenly started to view things here as temporary and the things of heaven as eternal? How would that change your schedule? Your desires? Your plans? This has hit me as hard as anyone. I am human also and want to have the best things, a big house, a fine car, etc… All things that can be gone is an instant. Sometimes I wonder if all the storms that we see now days are just reminders that are meant to let us know just how temporary this life is. Then I wonder if and when we will ever start getting it?

Just my thoughts on this subject. Have a great day and know that Jesus loves ya, died for you, and lives for you!