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Issue No: 446     Published: 10 May 2010

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MUSINGS ON THE KINGDOM - PAST, FUTURE AND PRESENT

KINGDOM PRESENT - THE KINGDOM PARABLES

33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” 34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the
world.” (Matthew 13:33-5)


It is amazing, when you read the commentaries, how much meaning can be taken out of a simple sentence such as that contained in verse 33 above! Enough for a long and very erudite sermon! But I am not sure that Jesus was meaning it to be understood this deeply in such a detailed fashion.

The main point that Jesus was making is that the true kingdom of God is infectious, that it will permeate the large amount of flour, which can be viewed today as being either the world, or the church as a whole.

The point is, the kingdom is the most, the only, the truly powerful element of change that can effect the world and even reform the church.

As we have seen in the earlier parables, the kingdom consists of those believers, those disciples (the two are effectively the same) who are completely sold out to Jesus. Jesus (through John) made this point in His comments on the church at Laodicea, widely recognised as being a picture of today's church.

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:14-16)

Why were they lukewarm? For the same reason, we in the western world in particular are so today.

17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. (Revelation 3:17)

We are wealthy (visit the poor in Africa or Asia if you don't think you are!) which creates self reliance. In reality, in spite of what we might say, we live lives where the security of possessions and pension plans has become the focus of our actions and behaviour.

So what is the answer?

18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Revelation 3:18)

We need to 'buy' the 'gold' of repentance and testing, by submitting our lives fully to Jesus and letting Him refine us in the fire, so producing in us lives of holiness and righteousness.

The area was famous for an eye salve, called 'mounce'. Jesus is using this natural illustration to encourage us to apply a 'spiritual mounce' to our eyes in order to see, then be able to understand what He was saying.

This surely is a message to the church today, to look for spiritual rather than material riches.

Let us take heed of the inspired message through the author of the book of Hebrews:

10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:10-14)

To those prepared to make the sacrifice, comes the greatest promise of all:

21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:21-2)

Amen.

(Continued next week)

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FROM THE WORD

God Disciplines His Sons

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed." (Hebrews 12:1-13)

Warning Against Refusing God

"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears. You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”" (Hebrews 12:14-29)

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DAVID'S DOODLINGS

HOLINESS

1001. Holiness is not found in living to the letter of the Law, but reflected through the living law of our life.

1002. Holiness is an attitude reflected in behaviour.

1003. Holiness comes, as we let the hold on our lives, go.

1004. The 'Law of Holiness' needs to be written in our hearts and applied through our will.

1005. Holiness grows as we walk hand in hand with Jesus.

1006. Every day is to be a 'holy-day'

1007. Holiness is a way of life, not a doctrine.

1008. Holiness grows as my will goes.

1009. To walk on the path of holiness I need Jesus at my side.

1010. Holiness is tough, but hell, deadly!

1011. Life is a game, living holiness the aim.
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CRANWELL'S CARTOON

15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)



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TUESDAY TEACHINGS

THIS WEEK: SERMON ON THE MOUNT - THE KINGDOM WAY concludes.....
... as we consider the authority of Jesus.

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LAUGHING AT OURSELVES

***Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused***

*** "Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others." ***

186. STUCK IN A RUT...
An old gentleman at a small country church had given the same testimony at every meeting for the last twenty years. It was always, "I'm not making much progress, but Praise the Lord, I'm established."

One rainy afternoon his car slipped off the narrow dirt road and into the ditch. Try as he could, he couldn't budge, but simply spun his tires. Along came a deacon who could never quite accept the old fellow's testimony. Stopping to look the situation over he said with a smile, "Well, Brother, I see you're not making much progress, but you 're sure established!"

185. ALL TOGETHER NOW...
A worker was trying to get a large, heavy pulpit through the door of a church. A passerby, seeing his struggle, offered to help. They pushed and tugged until they were exhausted but it wouldn't move. Finally, the man on the inside said, "We'd better give up, we'll never get this out."

The volunteer on the outside end said, "What do you mean, get it out? I thought you were trying to get it in!"


184. MOVIN' ON UP...
A lady whose husband's climb up the ladder to success led her to a more showy way of life changed to a better car, finer home, more expensive furs and a more socially-upscale church. After another major advance which landed her at the Mercedes-Benz stage, she paid a visit to her latest minister.

"I've had the feeling for some time that I should fit in better with my friends at another church," she sniffed, swinging her furs around her back and flashing her diamond rings. "What would be your opinion, sir?"

"My dear lady," the clergyman replied, "it matters little what kind of label you put on an empty bottle!"

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FACTS FOR FUN

LAST WEEKS QUESTION: Is it true that August stole a day from
February?

ANSWER: Yes. Under the Julian calendar, February had 29 days and the
other months alternated evenly between 30 and 31 days. Because July
had 31 days, the month following it was supposed to have 30 days. But
that was the month that Augustus had brought Egypt under control and
entered the city in triumph and he had to have it. He couldn't, of course,
be duly honored with a LESSER month, one with fewer days. So to make
his month as long as Julius' month, they had to steal a day from February
(making it just 28) and add it to August (making it 31). (They also messed
with September and the remaining months, in order to avoid three
months in a row with 31 days.) (The Emperors thought they ruled time
too!)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION:
1. What is the youngest book in the Old Testament?
2. What is the oldest book of the New Testament?

Answer Next Week.

SOME FUN FACTS

229. ON THE OTHER HAND…
'Almost' is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order. (Almost is amazing!)

230. A KIWI PERSPECTIVE
'To whinge’ is Australian slang for ‘to complain constantly’. (i.e. As in: Australians, a nation of ‘whingers’.! We really do love you Aussies, all the same! Signed ‘Kiwis’ (New Zealanders. They’re close neighbours – only 2,000km (1,200 miles) away!)

231. ONE GRAFFITI?
Graffito is the little-used singular of the much-used plural word graffiti. (Mostly redundant as graffiti is mostly multiple!)

A WORD PUZZLE FOR YOU

Make another word from this word using all the letters.

DATELINE

Answer at the end of A David Musing

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BIBLE QUESTION - MOUNTAINS

14) Who inherited Shechem in Mount Ephraim?

A - Merarites
B - Children of Aaron
C - Kohathites
D - Gershomites

Source: www.biblequizzes.com

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IF ONLY I'D THOUGHT OF IT!

"""OTHER'S SAYINGS TO ENLIGHTEN, AMUSE, OR BEMUSE"""

!!!!!!! God only gives us what we can handle, but sometimes I wish he didn't trust me so much!

!!!!!! He who slings mud generally loses ground.

!!!!! Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.

!!!! I cannot do everything, but I can still do something.

!!! If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.

!! Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.

! Measure your wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.

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LIFE LAUGHS

128. PERSPECTIVE
Travelling through New England a motorist stopped for gas in a tiny village. "What type of town is this?" he asked the station attendant.

"All depends," the native drawled. "Do you mean by them that has to live in this dad-blamed, moth-eaten, dust-covered dump, or by them that's merely enjoying its quaint and picturesque rustic charms for a short spell."

129. VALIDATION?
In the small, family-owned electronics store in Spokane, Wash., where I work, we often get folks from out of town whose idioms are a little different from our own.

One day, after parking across the street in an attended lot, a young woman came in, made her purchase, and then asked, "Do you give validation?"

Without batting an eye, my manager replied, "You are an excellent person, and I love your hair."

130. THE TAP
A taxi passenger tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him a question. The driver screamed, lost control of the car, nearly hit a bus, went up on the footpath, and stopped centimeters from a shop window. For a second, everything went quiet in the cab, then the driver said, "Look mate, don't ever do that again. You scared the daylights out of me!"
The passenger apologized and said he didn't realize that a little tap could scare him so much.

The driver replied, "Sorry, it's not really your fault. Today is my first day as a cab driver - I've been driving a hearse for the last 25 years!”

131. QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS
A father and son went fishing one day.
After a couple hours out in the boat, the boy suddenly became curious about the world around him. He asked his father, "How does this boat float?" The father thought for a moment, then replied, "Don't rightly know, son."

The boy returned to his contemplation, then turned back to his father, "How do fish breathe underwater?" Once again the father replied, "Don't rightly know, son."

A little later the boy asked his father, "Why is the sky blue?" Again, the father replied. "Don't rightly know, son."

Worried he was going to annoy his father, he says, "Dad, do you mind my asking you all of these questions?"

"Of course not, son. If you don't ask questions, you'll never learn anything!"

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BIBLE TRIVIA (Old Testament Family Life)

SINCE ALL FIRSTBORNS WERE GOD'S POSSESSION...

....... it was necessary for the Israelite family to redeem, to by back, the firstborn child from God.

The redemption price was 5 shekels of silver. This was given to the priests when the child was 1 month old, possibly as that was the amount of time required to see if the child was going to live. (Numbers 18:15-16) We know no details about the ceremony itself.

Adapted from: '1001 Surprising Things You Should Know About The Bible' MacGregor & Prys

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Iranians turning to Christ, not nukes

Daniel was released from jail, but charges are still pending.

USA (MNN) ¯ Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is rejecting allegations that his country is developing nuclear weapons, citing "not a single credible proof." He also condemned the continued possession of them by the United States and others.

He spoke Monday at the start of a month-long conference reviewing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

While talk of nuclear weapons continues, the Iranian people are talking about Christ. Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "The church in Iran is growing remarkably quickly -- so fast that it is hugely concerning the government there."

It's reminiscent of the Islamic Revolution. Nettleton says, "You will remember that it was powered by university students who were disaffected. What you have now is literally thousands of university students who are disaffected. Many of them are choosing to follow Christ. So the government sees that as a direct threat."

That's putting pressure on the government, and many believers are being arrested. 19-year-old Daniel Shahri was just one of those taken into custody. According to the Farsi Christian Network News, Daniel was arrested April 11 by the order of the local judicial court on the charges of "illegal internet activities" and leading home-based churches.

However, there is good news. Shahri, who lives in the city of Isfahan, has been released after posting appropriate bail.

Shahri has indicated he was arrested on the charges of publishing falsities and insult to Islamic faith. Those charges have since been dropped, but other charges such as"propagation of the Christian faith" and "assisting in the formation and the continuation of home-based churches" coupled with "unauthorized internet activities" were introduced.

While Shahri is free on bond, Nettleton says it's not over for this young man. "What typically happens is that they don't drop the charges. They leave the file open. They can come back at any time later and re-arrest you."

Nettleton says the government holds those charges over a person's head to keep Christians from engaging in Christian activity.

Shahri was born into a Christian family. Thus, his Christian activities have been in the context of a Christian family and cannot be used as a basis for prosecuting him. There is hope that the court in Isfahan will consider this matter, clear all misunderstandings, and close this case once and for all.

In recent months, several reports indicate the ever increasing number of arrests and harsh treatment of Christians in the largest city of Iran. Even after two months, there is no credible news of the whereabouts and condition of a Christian couple, Hamid and Reyhaneh, along with several other Christians in Isfahan.

Voice of the Martyrs is helping the persecuted church. "We are helping the families of those who have been put in prison. We're also helping to supply the Iranian church with teaching and training material, Bibles, and other things to really support the church."

Source: Mission Network News

via OpenHeaven.com

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DAVID'S DOWNLOAD

A REVELATION OF... THE CHARACTER OF GOD

Understanding God takes more than a lifetime! Through into eternity. Even then, I suspect he may come up with a surprise or two! But this simple revelation may help you understand Him better, as it has helped me.

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WAXING LYRICAL

Another Bowentown adventure. It is amazing how the Lord communicates with you
when you are genuinely seeking Him. I am one of those strange people who enjoys
running – well, most of the time anyway. This poem shows how the Lord is not 2000
years behind the times, but communicates with us in ways that are relevant to our
circumstances and life.

ON THE RUN concluded

I jumped off my rock, now surrounded by water,
It’s time to return home, for I must not loiter,
My lessons for the day so moving, never to be spurned,
But more was to come, still more wisdom to be learned.

By this time, my body would hardly canter,
Kept going only, by pretending joyful banter,
For I knew the end of the pain would be,
When I reached the base of that fallen tree.

I thought I had reached the limb of my choosing,
Only to find, it was now my mind I was loosing!
So I plodded on, until my tree was found,
My energy levels, now at zilch were around!

Oh Lord, please help me up this path,
For I want to go home to a hot bath. (Shower actually!)
I’ve not the energy to do this myself,
Please lend to me, a little of thyself."

"Reached the end of yourself, that’s good to see,
For that is how I want you, permanently to be!"
Words spoken gently but with firmness by He,
"Yes Lord, I will try then, to give you all of me."

I walked up the path, past the Sewage Station,
It so reminded me so, of the state of the nation,
As I breathed in that foul, decaying smell,
God prompted me, "How many will rot in hell?"

A few drops of rain started to fall around,
Seen in the puddles but not on the ground,
But symbolic to me, His hand making me wet,
Today my own efforts did not raise a sweat.

"Drops of anointing," He let me know,
"And as your faith continues to grow,
The spots will increase, to a heavy stream,
That is, if what you say, is what you mean."

As I sit reviewing what is written,
My heart with wonder, it is smitten.
It is ironic, for when I woke up today,
No poem could I see, coming my way.

I know the Lord has called me to warn the lost,
To repent now before they are forever tossed
Into the pit of hell, from which there is no way out,
Many souls out there, don’t know what it’s all about.

Also to warn the church, before it is too late,
That many of you too, will meet the same fate,
If you don’t teach Biblical Christianity,
Instead of a godly form of Humanity.

For the Lord is calling us to holiness today,
This is now his call, that we must obey,
To take part in his Tabernacle Church,
Or be left outside, forever in the lurch.

His call is yours, His call is mine,
No longer acceptable, no longer fine,
Another Laodicean Church, us to be,
Lukewarm, not red hot, in seeking Thee!

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A DAVID MUSING

Kathy and I celebrated our 'Moses time in the desert', 40th Wedding Anniversary, on 2 May! Not that it has been a wilderness experience, I must hasten to add! It was a night of wonderful nostalgia as we went and stayed at the hotel we spent the first part of our honeymoon at! Unfortunately, it has recently changed from the de Bretts to the Taupo Hilton, so one night was all our wallet could withstand!

Where has the time gone? The years have flown by. Dreams have been overtaken by experience, with new and different dreams created. While it is nice at times like this to look back, I would suggest the secret to a fulfilling life is to always have something more to look forward to. Of course our priorities change as we both mature in age and hopefully, in God also. May we change from looking more like each other and become more like God. Am sure he doesn't have wrinkles, does He?

The day before we opened our 8th Seekers shop in the same town, which was very convenient. The opening went well.

Wonder what the next 40 years will bring! Now that's a big dream!!!

Until next week.......

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD.

His servant and yours

David Tait

Today's 'Word Puzzle' Answer: ENTAILED

TODAY'S 'BIBLE QUESTION' ANSWER: 14) C - Kohathites (Joshua 21:21)

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ABOUT US

WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES is a non-profit, non-denominational, Bible based ministry located in Hastings, New Zealand. A ministry dedicated to developing discipleship, fostering unity amongst God’s people to achieve the Great Commission, and in doing so, preparing for Christ’s return. It is securely based upon the foundational principles of the Apostles Creed while recognising the wide and rich diversity of beliefs amongst Christians in other areas. In accordance with the Lord’s direction, materials produced by the ministry are available, free of charge, to genuine enquirers upon request. The ministry is solely funded by donations, as the Lord provides. A list of materials available (plus some fun!) is obtainable and freely downloadable from our website
wwj.org.nz or by contacting us as follows.

Walking With Jesus Ministries
7 Bull Street
Ahuriri
Napier
New Zealand

Phone: (06) 835 0567 International (+64) 6 835 0567

Email: enquiries@wwj.org.nz
Web: wwj.org.nz

Our role is to bless and encourage those in ministry while promoting co-operation and unity of direction amongst the body of Christ, as emphasised 3 times by Jesus in His longest prayer, immediately prior to His arrest and crucifixion. "… so that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:12, 21, 23-4) Our website is currently being developed to encourage your participation one with another, to share resources, and to enable you to promote events and items of interest to the body as a whole – and have a smile while doing it!

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