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.

The 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.”

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The Light of the Heavens

“Do you see those stars?”  my father asked, pointing skyward as we walked across the Middle paddock. It was a dark evening in winter. We must have been coming back from the cowshed. The sky looked like an inky blue-black curtain overlaid with splotches and pin pricks of light, indigo with a hem of orange and pink.

I stopped and looked up.

“They’re angels” he said.

I was at the age to believe him. Since then, I’ve loved the night sky.  That sense of wonder has lingered on since childhood when I’m in a place where I can see the stars.

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When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:3-5

Later on in life I pointed at the Pleiades, a dim cluster of stars I saw in the winter sky and asked God what they were.  It took a while for God to answer because he had to wait for me to grow up and read my Bible.  I learned that group of seven stars represented the angels of the churches.  I wish I could tell my father.

I wrote about those in my last blog post, The mystery of the seven stars where I wrote about Matariki, a Maori festival.

God said in his word to “seek the one who made the seven stars and Orion,Amos 5:8. 

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The Sheepfolds

There are two other groups of seven stars.  Ursa Minor and Ursa Major are constellations in the northern hemisphere which represent sheepfolds.  I can’t see them from down here in NZ.  They dominate the northern sky and are always visible.   

The meaning of Ursa Major is The Sheepfold and the Sheep, and Ursa Minor is the Lesser Flock.  The star meanings correspond with the Sheepfolds.  In Hebrew Dohver, a fold, and Dohv, a bear, were confused, hence the Bear instead of the Sheep.

I’ve written about the star names here: The Sheepfolds.

Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation of Ursa Minor sits at top of the Ursa Major, the big sheepfold.  It’s been positioned there for the last 2,000 years – since the time of Christ.  It reminds me of Psalm 119:89-91 about God’s word being settled in heaven.

The Good Shepherd

Jesus is in charge of sheepfolds.  He said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
John 10:1-16

Is it any surprise that the birth of Jesus was first announced to the shepherds guarding the sheepfolds?

The Good Shepherd said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32-34

What does it mean, that it’s the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom?

The big picture is that we will take our place in a nation, a kingdom that God will create on Earth as He has created in Heaven, a Kingdom that will have no end and will be under the rulership of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What did Jesus say about the Kingdom?

The Coming of the Kingdom

Now when He 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.”

The Kingdom Within

What did He mean, “the Kingdom of God is within?”

Did Jesus mean it was because He was in their midst?

Or did He mean that as His followers our place, our role within the Kingdom of God is there for us to discover?

He probably meant both things.

In the beginning was the Word – the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.  Astro-Logos is the story about the King, the Word of God in the stars.

When you look up, remember we’re made of the same stuff as the stars … and stars shine brightest in the darkness.

Earth and Stars

With the Word of God in the Stars, and the Word of God in the Bible, that’s two witnesses.  That’s the truth, that’s the big picture.  I’m a details person, not so much big picture.  I could not find any books about the Kingdom of God on a personal level.  So I wrote my own account as a memoir.  My conversations with the King mainly take place in the Kingdom.

Very early on in my book, the King appeared as a Shepherd, after I moved at the age of eleven to a sheep farm called ‘Glenoch.’  The farm was on a narrow gravel road that shared a boundary with ‘Mount Zion,’ a neighbouring sheep farm.

Jesus identified Himself with seven “I AM” statements and the roles he takes in my book reflect that.

I invite you to read all about him.  The book has had very good reviews.  I am always on the lookout for reviews so please contact me if you can help.


Notes

With the constellations, don’t be confused by the Crab and the Bears.  Our home in Heaven is pictured in the stars.

The constellations are in the sign of Cancer.  The ancient Akkadian name of the month of Cancer is Su-kul-na, the seizer or possessor of seed.
Source: Bullinger’s “Witness of the Stars.”

In the centre of the sign of Cancer, there is a remarkably bright cluster of stars, so bright that they can be sometimes seen with the naked eye. It looks like a comet, and is made up of a great multitude of stars. Modern astronomers call it the Beehive but its ancient name has come down to us as Praesepe, which means a multitude, offspring.


Links

These 2 Constellations Remind Us of Jesus’ Incredible John 10 Promises

Ursa Minor

Polaris has been getting brighter during the past couple of decades, for reasons that are still poorly understood.  As of 2014 a group of scientists estimated that Polaris could be about 4.6 times brighter today than it was in ancient times.


A story of faith rewarded

whyWhen tested, how do you react?
“Why me?” most people ask. It’s a question you can ask God.  He promises wisdom if we ask and don’t doubt.

Job certainly asked,”why me?”  Job was a man the devil was allowed to attack after his hedge of protection was removed.

The latest five-star review of “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” by Wyborn Senna likened my struggles to that of Job.
A Moving Journey Reminiscent of The Book of Job.

Why did Job get attacked?  God held Job in high esteem, pointing him out to Satan, “the dragon” in my story.

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied, pointing out how God had blessed Job.  “stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face,” Satan promised.

God then allowed Job to go into Satan’s power to be tested.

Job, although he questioned God, ultimately passed the test and God rewarded him.  Unlike Job, Peter underwent testing and failed, but Jesus restored him, giving him another chance.

Like Peter, we are all to be tested, sifted like wheat.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  Luke 22:31 – 32 (NIV)

James, the brother of Jesus said, “consider it all joy whenever you face trials”

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:2-4

What would you feel if you gained fatherly wisdom from a trial, knowing the wisdom was from God?  Would you feel joy knowing you had a purpose, knowing there was a reason for the trial?

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In my book, you’ll see me asking God the reason for the trials that befell me, and you will read God’s answers.  I hope it will encourage other people when they see how God answered.

Job said, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”  Job 23:10 

Like the Book of Job, mine is a story of faith rewarded. I recommend my book to those who are struggling, who are being tested in various ways.

The Kingdom of God – Whiteboard

Many scenes in my book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” take place in the Kingdom of God.  What is the Kingdom of God?  It’s hard to explain because the Kingdom is both personal and all-encompassing.  It’s not about church – although church can be part of it.  This short whiteboard explanation is worth watching.

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.

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“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

Seeking an open minded reader

book-and-letters-ipad-backgroundRecently I attended a party in a beautiful spot near Leigh, a fishing village further up the coast.  While we were all mingling and enjoying the view, I was asked about my book.  “What’s it about?”

Er, um.  “It’s about a journey through two worlds – the outside world, and a hidden, inner world called “The Kingdom.”  The main character, the King, is Jesus.”

I study my listeners face as I try to explain my counter-cultural book.  I’m relieved to see she hasn’t shown any antagonism at His name.  I never know what kind of reaction I’m going to get.

“Are you religious?” she asks.

That’s a tricky question.  To me, religion is a lot of man-made rules and structures in man’s attempt to reach God, which doesn’t interest me. Jesus is different.  He is God’s attempt to reach man.  Jesus said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  With Jesus there are only two rules – to love God with all our heart and all our soul and all our strength and with all our mind, and love others as we love ourselves.  I believe and try to live by those rules.

the-greatest-commandment

“I am a believer” I answer.

“Where is your book sold?” she asked.

“Right now, as an eBook on Amazon.  It’s a bit hard to market the book because Jesus lacks credibility in the world’s eyes.  And my book doesn’t fit in a niche.”

How can I promote the King in a world full of disinformation and lies?

It’s a shame because I know Him from experience, but it’s MY experience.  How can I convince people He is real?  Or of His worth?  Or talk about all the proof there is for Him?  I can’t offer any of that unless I have permission to.  And a party is not the place.

“I’ll check it out” she said.

I am surprised.  I think people can be more open-minded than I give them credit or.

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Nicola was one such reader.  She wrote “I didn’t expect God to play such a huge role in the book or for there to be quite as many bible quotes, I am ashamed to admit if I had read the info sent to me better I wouldn’t have read the book. That being said I am grateful if misread my info as I would have missed out on a truly original book.”

Willing to overcome her bias and consider new ideas; she kept reading and found she liked my main character; “I really liked that God was a real character in this story and I think he would be very happy at the way he was portrayed, we saw things from Joanna’s view and also from God’s.

Lucifer was also portrayed, his voice at least. I liked the way that Lucifer was portrayed, not as his cloven, evil personal as he usually is, in fact I found him quite funny the way he heckles, scoffs and laughs, all the while whispering in Joanna’s ear how God doesn’t love her, how she doesn’t deserve his love. His role is to put doubt in people’s minds, convince them they are not good enough, not liked etc… etc… I found him more believable than the fire and brimstone totally evil role he usually plays, in this I found him more real his turning people from God by deceit.

God on the other hand is constantly assuring Joanna and others of his love for them, that he has always loved them and always will, and his sadness at those who turn their backs on him. I felt he was a very human God who had all of our good points amplified and more, with none of our bad.”

So I am seeking open-minded readers for “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams.”  Come and read a one of a kind book where God actually replies and converses with the characters. At some points you can even see the story from His perspective. This story is written with a different mind.

Can we understand something of the mind of God?  I hope you will read and decide for yourself.

 

 

Seeking 1 out of 99 readers

God plays an active and unapologetic role in my book.  He appears as ‘The King’ in various roles.  Sometimes he refers to Himself as the Shepherd.  Why?  Well, we are all like sheep who have gone astray. 

Sheep can get into a lot of trouble.  Growing up on a New Zealand sheep farm I’ve rescued them from creeks, mud, and barbed wire.

I loved finding the lost lambs, and so does Jesus.  Here’s me back from the lambing beat, with a lamb in my arms, about a hundred years ago …

Lambing Beat Aug 197452

Ever heard the parable of the lost sheep?

Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of the law this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7

My book will appeal to those who understand the wilderness.  The reader I am looking for may not know the Bible, or God – but will love redemptive romance and a great good versus evil story.  I’m not writing for 99 people – I’m writing for one.  Come into the pages of my book.  The path will begin in a field.  Follow the butterfly.

book_by_fantasyart0102-dabdbjlSource of image: Deviant Art, Book by FantasyArt0102