Let’s Make a Deal

There are many kinds of deals that are made for various reasons. Throughout the Bible, we read stories about deals being made, oftentimes by those who try to get something in return, which can be good or bad “deals.” What can we learn from these and what is the greatest deal that we can make for the best possible outcome?

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Are You Prepared?

Will you be ready when Christ returns?  Are you strong enough and are you prepared when the moment arises when we need to “evacuate” in the end time?  What do we need to do now to be prepared?

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God’s Word Misunderstood

What are some of the most popular verses in the Bible people share and quote from the most, and how can we really understand what these verses mean so we can apply them in our lives?

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The Chance of a Lifetime

“If only I could win the lottery”… I’m sure many of us have told ourselves this and perhaps have even bought a ticket or two hoping that we would be the lucky ones to win the jackpot, especially when the prize is extraordinarily high.  We think about what we could do with all that money, how our financial problems will be solved, how we can help our families, the brethren and the church, and so on.  “If only we could win the lottery,” so we might say, and hasten to add, “IF that is what God wants…”

The odds of winning the lottery are very small and almost impossible when looking at the percentage.  Here in the U.S., it is estimated that 1 in 292 million has a chance to win the Powerball jackpot by getting all 6 numbers correct as well as the Powerball number.  In the past 7 years, there have been incredible jackpot amounts of over a billion dollars due to the fact that lottery officials adjusted game rules and ticket prices to pump up the top prizes.  So far, the largest jackpot was at $2.04 billion on November 7, 2022.

In an article by cbsnews.com, it was stated that “the likelihood of one person winning it all is vanishingly small. Statistically speaking, a Powerball player has a far better chance of being attacked by a grizzly bear at Yellowstone National Park — about 1 in 2.7 million, according to the National Park Service — or of finding a blue lobster in the ocean (1 in 2 million).

“The best number-picking strategy is to have no strategy at all. A computer randomly generates the winning digits… better to use a random ticket number generator — also known as quick picks — because those machines better match what the Powerball might do.”

There have been stories of winners who were not prepared to have so much money, leading to bad decisions, and the pressures and stress were far too large.   Their lives were not as glamorous as they were hoping for and still remained unhappy, if not worse.  Money could not buy them happiness.  Trying to live a quiet and peaceful life is hardly the case, as they are now the center of attention and everyone wants a piece of their pie.

Again, for those of us who haven’t won, we tell ourselves, “If that was only us, what we would do with that money and how happy we would be, how we would do things differently.”  Is that what God wants? Perhaps we think we are prepared to take on the challenge for we have the knowledge and insight on how to handle our wealth in a wise way, using biblical principles and God’s blessings (compare Proverbs 10:22; 21:20).  Unfortunately, many who are not prepared would find themselves in a mess.

Winning the lottery is most likely not our destiny, but something far more significant is, and if we want to compare percentages to how many people in the world are truly converted and have been set aside by God for His purpose of salvation, it is most likely only a fraction of a percent.  At the time of Noah, the percentage of those who were saved from physical destruction was far less than the possibility of winning the lottery today.

The opportunity for God’s people right now to be saved and to ultimately receive the greatest gift of all is predestined for us (compare Ephesians 1:3-6).  But this is ONLY the case IF we keep God’s commandments.  We do this and we are 100% guaranteed to be in His Family as born-again members and to have everlasting life (Matthew 19:17).

It will not be the odds of winning a lottery that will give us ultimate happiness; rather, it is the certainty of belonging to the very few in the world who have been called now for the potential of achieving everlasting life and being in the God Family which is a far greater blessing than anything this world has to offer.

What Are You Thinking About?

We think about all kinds of various things on a daily basis but controlling what we think about, especially when it’s negative, can be challenging.  How do we limit our negative thoughts and instead focus on the positive that will bring about good fruit?

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Our Unique Talents

Each one of us is blessed with unique talents which God has given us to use.  There are examples in the Bible of individuals who had specific talents for God’s purpose.

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The Parable of the Talents

We all have talents.  How we use the talents we have is the next step.  For God’s people, there are specific talents God has given us so we can use them in a way that will bring us to the most important goal that has been set aside for us. We individually are responsible for ourselves, for we individually will give account for everything that we have done and based on how we have lived our lives, we will then receive our reward. Jesus Christ speaks about the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30, starting off by saying in verse 14, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.”

In the next verse, talents were given to each according to their own abilities.  Everyone is different and goes through different trials, some more than others. The example of Job comes to mind who lost everything and yet his self-righteousness was tested, just like that which happened to Lucifer, before he became Satan the Devil.  The only difference here was that Job finally recognized his problem and asked for forgiveness, unlike Satan.  Self-righteousness and pride got the better of Lucifer.

Another example of someone who most likely went through so much more than we have endured was the Apostle Paul, and he proved himself worthy through the talents that he had been given, putting them to beneficial use as we can correlate this with the profitable servants in the following two verses in Matthew 25:16-17.   However, in verse 18, the one who received a talent and hid it in the ground did not put it to good use.

After a while, in verse 19, “the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them” based on what they did individually, which refers to the Day of Judgement where all will give account for what they have said and done (compare Matthew 12:36).

In the following verses (20-23), those who received certain talents and used them wisely had overcome according to their abilities.   The lord states, however, “you have been faithful over a few things,” but not everything, for they were not perfect, but they didn’t give up and they stuck with the Truth and put their talents to use, based on their abilities.  God will not test us beyond our control.  And yet the lord still made them ruler “over many things.”

This was not the same fate of the one who tried to justify his reasoning by hiding his talent in the ground (verses 24-25).  The lord described this person as wicked in verse 26 because this servant didn’t stand up and therefore gave in, compromised, and was not bold enough to stand for the Truth which would eventually lead him to unrighteousness and sin. This servant knew all these things; he knew God’s Way of Life with its trials, and he knew that God would punish disobedience, as he himself described in verse 24, KNOWING what was right and wrong.

In verse 27, God was specific in His instructions, in His Law, how we are to obey, what we are to do, because it has been given to those who have been called to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to all those who haven’t been called, it has not been given (compare Matthew 13:11).  This servant KNEW this, or else why would he have been afraid?

His talent will be taken from him as explained in verse 28 and given to another servant.  Continuing in verse 29, “for to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”  Remember our crown of life, for we are to hold fast to what we have so it won’t be taken away and given to someone else (compare Revelation 3:11).  People come and go, as we have all witnessed throughout the years. When someone leaves God’s Church, that someone will be replaced by someone else whom God calls.

Everything that we see around us is physical and only temporary anyway.  The chance for Eternal Life will also be taken away if we are negligent in using our God-given talents in an irresponsible way.  The Parable of the Talents is a valuable lesson for us all and we can be forever thankful for the gift of knowledge that God has given us, but we still need to do our part so we can be counted worthy to enter His Kingdom and not end up like the unprofitable servant.

Thoughtful Action

How do we react when we are in a situation where we would feel offended by what the other person may do or say?  Do others feel offended by things that we may do or say, even if the things that we are doing are right in God’s eyes?  What did Jesus Christ do when He was on this earth and faced with these same kinds of situations?  Was He being offensive in any way and how did He take offense?

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Thank God!

The expression, “Thank God” is typically used as a casual phrase without a proper acknowledgment to God.  However, when WE use that phrase, do we truly believe it?

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Immortality or Death?

What is it like to be immortal, to not experience pain and death anymore?  There are those in the Bible who had a glimpse of what it was like to not feel pain or death, in certain examples.  Christ, when He was on the earth, was able to resurrect people from the dead.  We will all experience that in the near future when Christ returns, a chance to be in God’s kingdom and have everlasting life.

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