Grandeur, beauty and a story to match

While I can’t go anywhere because of the Covid-19 shut down, I’ve been blogging about my walks.  One of my walks was to Wairere Falls in the Kaimai ranges, it’s the highest waterfall in the North Island of NZ.

You can come with me if you like.  You can admire the scenery, it’ll get you out of the house and I’ll tell you a story before our walk.  I’m a bit awkward in front of a camera but it’s a story worthy of hearing.  It’s about a young Maori girl called Torore and the power of forgiveness.  You’ll see why, besides their grandeur, Wairere Falls is an important site.

Amongst the earliest missionaries to arrive in New Zealand were a husband and wife who settled in the Waikato and started a mission school near Matamata.  In 1835, the Bible Society published 100 copies of the Gospel of Luke in the Maori language.  Torore was one of their students, and as she began to learn to read, she was given one of these Gospels.  She took the Gospel back to her village and read it to her tribe – and what followed has become one of the most important stories in the history of New Zealand.

Under threat of a neighboring warring Rotorua tribe, the mission school was in the process of relocating to Tauranga and Torore went with them.

On October 19, 1836, while camped at the base of Wairere Falls, a raiding party killed 12-year-old Torore and took her treasured Book of Luke.  Ngakuku, Tarore’s father did not seek utu (revenge), for he had become a Christian.

Later, unable to read, the other chief – the Rotorua chief discarded Tarore’s book until Ripahau, a slave boy read the text aloud to his fascinated listeners and the people understood its true value.

Convicted by the gospel, Uita, Tarore’s murderer also became a Christian.

Risking the customary tribal response of utu (revenge) – Uita sought for and received forgiveness from Ngakuku, the father of Tarore and peace came to the two warring tribes of Rotorua and Waikato.

A local re-telling of this story claims that as the men approached one another tears were shed and they embraced. After Uita humbled himself and repented peace prevailed between the two men and a church was built to honour the message which brought about this reconciliation.

This led to the conversion of many of the Maori tribes.  When missionaries visited both the North and South Islands, they discovered that many of the Maori tribes had already been converted to Christ due to the story of Tarore and her copy of the Gospel of Luke making its rounds…

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

The Word Of God was sharper than any taiaha (maori spear) club or double-edged sword and by it the power of utu was broken.

When Tarore’s little book came down to Otaki, the warrior chief Te Rauparaha heard the message and built the Rangiatea Church in Otaki.

Maori warriors

When Tarore’s life was taken at the foot of these falls her little book of Luke became like a fishing net, because when Jesus called his disciples, he said, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  (Matthew 4:17-18)  After his resurrection, when the disciples cast out their nets to catch fish, they caught 153 big fish, and the net didn’t tear. (John 21:11)

The number 153 represents the Kingdom of God and if you want to read another blog post, Number 153, signs and symbols, I’ll show you why.

The height of the Wairere falls is 153 metres.  The significance is not lost on me.  I hope you liked the story and the trip to the falls.

Wairere Falls - Amos 5-24


Links

My walk to Wairere Falls

Tarore’s story: The story of Torore is a taonga – the maori word for treasure or gift.  It is a treasure of the church in NZ.  NZ history and culture is built on it.  When Tarore’s little book came down to Otaki, the warrior chief Te Rauparaha heard the message and built the Rangiatea Church.  Sadly an arsonist burned it down 1995 but a replica was rebuilt and completed in 2003.

 

My second book: ‘The End, The Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse.’ 

Greetings for 2020.  I haven’t posted here for a while as I’ve been working on my second book, ‘The End, The Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse.’  Unlike my first book which is about the Kingdom within, this is about the world to come – the Kingdom, the power and the glory.

I wrote it to counter the doom and gloom of the climate change message being propagated by the media and those affiliated with the United Nations.

My advice is don’t listen to it.  Turn your TV off and consult the Bible. Ask the Lord what He has to say.  Compare the Word of God to the climate change message.  You’ll find, if you don’t know already, that it’s quite different.

Wayfarer, red moon and shadowWriting the book in 2019, I became mindful of that.   I wanted to show how different the Bible narrative is.  The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible is a marvelous book.   I wanted to do it justice.  Not wanting to make it a boring Bible study, I made the book a questioning journey through the Bible inside a study, where I became a character called “Wayfarer” on a journey through the Apocalypse.

It’s been a strange journey, it’s taken me more than a year to complete. I’ve been at times amazed, puzzled, baffled, frustrated, astonished and rewarded – and I’ve come out with a deeper appreciation of the enigmatic mind behind the last book of the Bible.

Here’s the link for ‘The End, The Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse   I recommend the book to all with an interest in end times.

For a limited time, if you contact me I will offer the book or my first book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” free for a review.

I wish you all the best for this decade and beyond as we await the coming of the true Kingdom.

The Kingdom within

When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21.  Some translations have him reply “The Kingdom of God is in your midst.”

How could the Kingdom of God be within the legalistic Pharisees – religious leaders who shut people out of the Kingdom?  Jesus said “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13

How could the Kingdom of God be within them, or in their midst?  Well, they had the Word of God.  That’s it, plain and simple.  They were the scribes.  The Word was in the scrolls they read and taught from in the synagogues and temple. As for the Kingdom of God in their midst – they should have known from the Word who the King was.

The Kingdom of God is accessed from the Word of God.

god-s-word-translationThe Bible is no ordinary book, as I discovered.  It’s a door.  Reading and seeking the Kingdom of God through the Bible will change you.  What does it look like when a person travels through the Word of God?  Come with me and find out.  I wrote what I learned and experienced in my story “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams.”

Ishmael

Ishmael, a character in my book is about to read my story.  That’s not his real name, but it suits him.  He is a Moslem.  Before reading it, I was at pains to explain who “the King,” the main character in my book is.

“We worship the same God,” he replied, wanting peace between us.

Are God and Allah same

Really?  I heard the same thing from my new age publishing consultant.  She believed the market would be fine with my story as “any deity could play the King.”

“You mean, Jesus could be the same as Allah?” I asked the publishing consultant, to clarify.

“Well, yes – as the Bible and the Quran contain many of the same elements” she replied.

It is true that Islam’s warlike prophet Mohammed did include parts of the Bible in the Quran.  The Gospels had been around at least 500 years before Islam.

But both books can’t be right.  I made it quite clear before publishing the book that I would not change the name of the King or dilute his persona or character – not for anybody.  He is who he is.

wpid-who-do-you-say-i-am-question

“Who do you say I am?”  Jesus asked. 

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. 

These are the questions we all have to decide.  I only hope my book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” presents the King as he is in the Bible; the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God. 1 Timothy 1:17

For Ishmael’s sake, I did try to read the Quran years ago.  I got through a good part of it before stopping at the part which advocated killing Jews and infidels.  There are over a hundred verses in the Quran dealing with Jihad or holy war.  That’s why we’re having so many problems with terrorism, which would be better named “Muslim fundamentalism.”

At his arrest, Jesus, the King in my story, told Peter “Put away your sword, for those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”  Matthew 26:52.

Jesus fought with a different sword – the word out of his mouth.

After praying for wisdom, I tried a different tack with Ishmael.  I looked at who Jesus, Isa is in the Quran.  Much to my surprise, in the Quran Jesus is called “Spirit of God” and “Word of God.”  And he is mentioned more in the Quran than Mohammed, their prophet.

But it’s like the truth is veiled from Ishmael.  His religion is designed to keep them away from Christ.  Knowing that only the true God can remove the veil.  I presented Jesus, Isa to him as the “Spirit of God.”  I can remember Ishmael referring to Jesus as such.

The Bible explains that with the Lord, there is freedom; “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:16-18

This poem is for Ishmael.  Although we are related through Abraham, peace cannot come through compromise.  To agree that God and Allah are the same is to break the first commandment, which says;  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  “You shall have no other gods before me.”  Exodus 20:1-3

Ishmael, my brother,
 How long shall we fight each other?

My brother from times bygone,
 My brother - Hagar's son,
 My brother the wandering one.

One angel was sent to us both,
 One angel watched over our growth -
 There in the wilderness, death threatened through thirst,
 I a sacrifice on the alter, Sarah's first.

Ishmael, my brother, hear my plea:
 It was the angel who tied you to me. . . .

Time is running out, put hatred to sleep.
 Shoulder to Shoulder, lets water our sheep.

Here is a Moslem who was asked “who is Jesus?”  It’s 3.31 mins.

God is fussy about His name.

Islam has 99 names for God and they don’t match up.

How Muhammad Broke the 10 Commandments – #1 I am the Lord thy God
Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:11-12

Who wants to live forever?

Here’s an interesting post from another blog which gives three ways to avoid life’s greatest certainty, death.
Click on the picture on the right and it will take you there.

I don’t think it’s wise to rely on the Tech giants solutions (especially after reading about Microsoft’s latest mishap with ‘Tay,’ their embarrassing AI chatbot.)

No one wants to die, because we were made for eternity.  It’s been set in our hearts.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV) we read “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

But forget about Eternime, where you go virtual, or Cryogenics where you have your head frozen.

Only one man came guaranteeing us immortality.  Jesus said Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”  John 8:51 (NKJ)

So if you want to live forever, believe in the Lord and the one who sent Him (God).  Keeping His word means reading it and storing it up in the heart, where eternity has been set.

I’ve read and stored His word by weaving it into a story, but do whatever works best for you.

Finally, we can’t cheat death here – but we can get a rough idea of how long we’ll live.  Just take this test.  Apparently I’ll make it to 91!

http://media.nmfn.com/tnetwork/lifespan

psalm90_12

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.      Psalm 90:12

Seven circles

ChuppahEven though the Church was born in Jerusalem, it is separated from Israel – to our loss.  In these troubled and interesting times Messianic Jews (Jews who have accepted Jesus as their Messiah) are bringing back a cultural context to the Bible that was lost to the Church for over a millennia.

For instance, one night the couple who led my home-group decided to present the teaching of a Messianic Jew on the meaning and symbolism of a Jewish wedding ceremony.  This was for general application, to show parallels between a Jewish wedding and the Church’s relationship to Christ, outlined here:
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jewish-wedding-traditions.html

The teaching had ties to Jeremiah 31:21, where I had been given a word from Jeremiah about going full circle.  For me it was a Rhema word, that is a word for personal application.  It filled in a lot of blanks for me, as well as confirming the rhema word.

The confirmation on this occasion really amused me, because it was so Jewish. Even though Jesus belongs to us all, it reminded me that He is a Jew.  Jesus talked about the Bridegroom in some of His parables.

Chuppah 1In Jewish wedding tradition, the bride may circle the groom 3 or 7 times under the Chuppah.  This is generally an Ashkenazi practice.  The Ashkenazi Jew comes from Europe.

The Chuppah is a canopy under which a Jewish couple stand during their wedding ceremony.  It consists of a cloth or sheet stretched or supported over four poles.  A traditional chuppah recommends that there be open sky exactly above the chuppah.  So the Ashkenazi custom is to have the Chuppah ceremony outside under the stars, as a sign of the blessing given by God to the patriarch Abraham, that his children shall be “as the stars of the heavens” (Genesis 15:5).

Why does the bride circle the groom?

I love this explanation;

The bride, by circling the groom, expresses her awesome power over him.

The seven circuits are reminiscent of the biblical story of Joshua leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. They came to Jericho, a city known as the key to the land – if they could conquer it, the land would be theirs. But Jericho was protected by a big wall. There seemed to be no way in.

Similarly, every man has a wall built around his heart. Men are taught to hide their feelings, to create an impression of impenetrability, to make it seem that they have it all figured out. Men create elaborate defenses to hide any sign of weakness or vulnerability, and fiercely guard their deepest secret – that inside they are sensitive and meek, simple and soft.

But a wise woman can pierce this defensive wall. If she surrounds her husband with the protective aura of her love, if she envelops him with affection, and if she makes him feel that he is the anchor, the center, the focal point of her life, then he can feel safe and comfortable. When that happens, the walls protecting his heart come tumbling down. Then she has conquered him – all of him.

Source: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/586014/jewish/A-Mans-Deepest-Secret.htm

In the next chapter of The Kingdom I had met the man the Lord had promised me, after going around him in a big circle.  This was the third time our paths had crossed.  The trouble was, he didn’t exactly welcome me into his life.  There was a big wall around his heart.  I found him cold and stand-offish, and didn’t know if I liked him all that much.  It wasn’t an auspicious start for us.