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The Parables of Our Lives: March Madness

This is one of my favorite seasons. Not only does the earth appear to be waking up from a long sleep, it is college basketball playoff season. As I followed the brackets along with the rest of basketball fanatics, I was also following friends on FB who were working in their yards and getting ready for spring.

What does spring preparation and basketball have to do with each other? Well, believe it or not, there is a parable to consider.

Tevin and Lauren walked around the nature trail for one final lap. As they slowed their pace they noticed a group of businessmen leaning over a log. Suddenly one of the men jumped back while another told them all to be careful because there were fire ants in the log. Tevin and Lauren approached the men and saw that ants had covered the right side of one of their jackets. Tevin told them to remain calm as he began to help the ant covered man remove his jacket. 

As Tevin removed the man’s jacket and shirt it became 

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obvious the man was covered with ant bites. Lauren quickly told one of the men to call for an ambulance. The man with ant bites was obviously allergic to fire ant bites because his arm and back were starting to blister.

After the ambulance transported the ant bite victim followed his companions, Tevin and Lauren sat on a nearby park bench.

“Wow. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Lauren said.

“Me either,” Tevin shivered. “I’ve never seen so many ant bites. He is going to be miserable for some days.”

“I’m sure. But did you notice that he never actually touched the log. The ants covered his arm and back, but not his chest and legs? How could be that be?”

“I don’t know, but it would seem that he needs to avoid places where there are fire ants.”

“Yeah. He underestimated the power of those tiny creatures.”

As I was writing this parable I was half watching basketball highlights. The ants in this story aren’t the only things that are underestimated.

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Several teams made it to the “Big Dance” this year and caused some stings of their own.

I’m sure Virginia had plans to be still in the bracket as well as Houston and TCU.

Loyola-Chicago, Michigan, and Syracuse weren’t on the list of many 2nd round predictions, but they made it to the final 16.

 

 

The ants in the parable and the upsetting teams have a few things in common:

  1. Vision (They had a place they wanted to be.)
  2. Strategy (They had a plan for the opposition.)
  3. Determination (They didn’t let the opposition steal their place.)

We may feel small and insignificant, but we all have potential to make a difference in the world around us. We can do big things for God even if we have failed in the past. The Lord has given us everything we need that leads to success (2Peter 1). He has given all of us the ability to dream. He teaches us how to fulfill the dreams He places in us. He has equipped us with His Holy Spirit who will guide us (John 16:12 – 15).

We have power to protect what He has given us.

Victory and success is ours if we don’t quit when we face struggles and opposition.

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The Parables of Our Lives: The parable of the fallen trees

I have been on an adventure for the last several months challenging myself to see things from God’s perspective.

In John chapter 5 Jesus said that He didn’t just do things because He felt like it. He looked where the Father was working and that is where He went to work. Jesus looked at individuals and situations to see what God was doing and then He did what the Father was doing. Jesus paid attention to things in nature and other circumstances to teach lessons.

After reading verses 19 – 21 I wondered how often Father God shows us things that we miss. What is the Lord trying to tell us through nature and other circumstances? Are we missing out on things because we are so busy with life?

For the next few posts, I will be sharing a few parables about different things I’ve seen in my everyday adventures. This first one comes from a recent rainy season in East Texas.

The rain continued to fall as if the sky was weeping with great sorrow and grief. Today was the third day of relentless wind and rain. Residents in Ridgeview City only ventured out to replenish staples at the local market or to dredge through rainy fog on their commute to and from work and school.

Sarya had just picked up her three children from their after school activities and was concentrating on seeing the road. Her children, Eli, Taylia, and Treena, sat quietly in the backseat playing on their mobile devices. Sarya was thankful the children’s devices were fully charged otherwise they would be making noise, contributing to her anxiety driving through the thick fog and rain.

It wasn’t dark yet, but the fog covered the dim sunlight wrestling with the low dark clouds. Occasionally gusts of wind would gently rock their SUV as fog slowly rose from the saturated ground.

“Mom, are we going somewhere? We are usually home by now,” Treena called out from the backseat.

“No, honey, it’s very foggy and Mommy is trying to be safe. It’s hard to see the road.”

“Okay,” Treena said as she settled back in her seat and continued to play her game.

Sarya inhaled a deep breath, released

a sigh of relief, and silently said a prayer of thanks as she rolled through the green light at the last intersection before Magnolia Lane. They were only a few blocks from home once they made the right turn on to Magnolia. Just as she approached the Magnolia Lane Church, there was a soft moan followed by a loud rip.

Sarya frowned and looked in the rear view mirror to see if the sound came from the backseat. As she looked ahead to face the road again, she was greeted by what appeared to be a giant octopus in her peripheral vision. She gasped and stepped on her brake pedal.

“Mommy, look!” exclaimed Eli and Taylia in unison.

“The trees at the church!” squealed Treena.

“I can see,” Sarya tried to sound calm as she looked to see if the trees had fallen on the road. To her relief, the two oak trees that stood in front of one of the oldest churches in Ridgeview City had split in two different directions. Sarya and her children silently peered out the window as she slowly passed the fallen trees. They could see the long interwoven roots of the unearthed trees that were now laying facing opposite directions.

After tucking her children to bed, Sarya sat down for a long awaited cup of tea and quiet time. 8:30 was her special time for relaxing before shutting down the house. She either read a book or sketched to unwind from her busy day. Tonight she picked up her sketch book and began capturing the image of the fallen trees at Magnolia Lane Church.

Fallen Trees

As the image began to form on the page, she wondered why the trees had fallen after decades of providing shade and picturesque panoramic views for the members at the church. She immediately thought of the parable of the fig tree in Mark 13:28 “Now learn a parable of the fig tree, When her branch is yet tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.” She wondered what “sign” could be learned from the fallen trees. Why had the trees in front of the church fallen, but none of the many others lining the streets in her neighborhood?

As she sketched and meditated, she began to hear

“The exposed roots in front of the church is a symbol of the root of division in your city. The trees fell facing north and south. Your city is divided between north and south. Your churches are divided as well. It’s time to change things. There are not segregated sections in heaven. The church should not be segregated. Your city has a long history of segregation, of separating itself. It is time for that to change. It is time for your city to look like the Kingdom of God. When your churches unite, then your city will grow and be blessed. The separation has caused oppression and violence to linger. It’s time for a change. It is time to topple down the traditions and allow the Kingdom of God to truly reign in your city.”

Sarya put down her sketch and wrote the message in her journal.