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.

The fading flower …

Shortly after my last post where I asked “Who wants to live forever?” my mother passed away.  For most of her life she grappled with the highs and lows of bipolar disease.  She’s free of her demons at last. 

My memories of her when she was bipolar aren’t good, but in between times she had a happy, sunny nature.  And that’s how I want to remember her.

I’ve made a youtube video of the powerpoint I prepared for the funeral, showing scenes from her life, which I and my family feature in.

It’s here if you want to see it.  The music is “Who am I?” by Casting Crowns.

It brings to mind the scripture that God has compassion on us mortals – who are here today and gone tomorrow, just like the grass and flowers.  That’s why Jesus wept at the grief of Lazarus’s sisters.

As a father has compassion on his children
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.”  Psalm 103:13-19

I wasn’t sure of how things were with her and God.  He gave me a story to tell her on the last occasion she had a serious heart attack, which I wrote here.

superscript_seven_u2077_icon_256x256God gave us a sign that she’d gone to be with him.  Seven is the number of rest, and she’d entered his rest, dying at 7pm on the 7th day of the 7th month, aged 77.

He explains about that rest in Hebrews 4;

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest … Hebrews 4:9

I recommend reading the whole passage from Hebrews 4:1-11.

SeriousFaith_ImagesREST

Hebrews 4:1-10 The Promise of Rest

So now I know what can go on my mother’s headstone; “At rest.”  Two simple words that say so much.

God talks back

hearingGodMy book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” starts with my great-great grandmother Anna, a deaf woman who lost her hearing soon after her arrival in New Zealand in 1875.  Anna spoke German and never did learn English. 

Her hearing and language difficulties must have impeded her relationship with others, and NZ would have been a horrible country for a German to be in during World War 1 in 1914-18.  She would have gone through that period with the mute button on.

How many of us go through our spiritual journey with God with the mute button pressed?  Not because we’re in hostile territory – but from a lack of belief.  I mean how many of us believe we can have a back and forth conversation with God?

I’ve recently finished reading a book at the moment by Mark Holloway called “The Freedom Diaries, God Speaks Back.”  It’s true.  He does.  I learned that for myself on the 2nd Jan 1994.  That was the day my life changed.

When God first started talking to me, I wasn’t on “the right path.”  Some people who knew my situation doubted I could hear God.  They believed I had to “get right with God” before hearing him like I was doing.  Some couldn’t hear him for themselves and believed it was just wishful thinking on my part.

Doubt can creep in after he speaks.  Did God really say that?  Listening to them made me question things.  Why would God speak to me when I wasn’t right with Him?

the-sowerGod likens his word as seed for the sower (Isaiah 55:10-11).  He said it shall not return to Him void.

But the birds can scoop up the seed.  Jesus told a story in Matthew 13:3 of a farmer who went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.”   He explained that “when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.” Matthew 13:19.

The birds are often a symbol for demonic forces.  Jesus likened the mustard tree which grew from the smallest seed planted in the field to the Kingdom of Heaven, or Kingdom of God.  And the birds come and nest in it’s branches. (Matthew 13:31).

How could I stop the birds from snatching my seed?  God headed that one off by inspiring me to write down the message about the Kingdom.  He inspired me to write about a King, a Princess and a Kingdom, and to record the conversations the Princess had with the King.

So I created a world where it was safe for me to hear him, and the King started guiding “the Princess.”  Wonder of wonders, when I was writing in my epic journal I could hear Him. God became a real character in my story.  He actually replied and conversed with me.  At some points we even see the story from His perspective.

Within a year of writing about “The Kingdom”, my life began to change and eventually the things the Princess heard “in the Kingdom” started to happen in real life.

I invite you to come and read what happened.  If you contact me I’ll offer the eBook free for a review.


Are you interested in hearing from God yourself?  Here’s a helpful sermon by Pastor David Wilkerson of Ttimes Square Church, Hearing and Knowing the Voice of the Lord.

 

My eBook has been published

Amazon book coverHi fellow bloggers, you haven’t heard from me lately because I’ve been working on my book.  I’ve finally got the EPUB, PDF versions and Kindle versions published.

You’ll see I’ve put a Facebook widget on the blog.  It will take you to the book page.  You can like me there, but I can’t return the compliment.  I’ve built an ordinary Facebook page to link to it, where I can interact with you.

There are also links to Amazon if you want to buy the eBook.

I’ve made a video of the story, based on the book synopsis, which I’ve been told is awesome.

If you haven’t seen it on the book Facebook page, here it is.

The Kingdom – Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams

Thanks for following me, and I look forward to hearing from you.


KThe Kingdom is an inspiring story about a journey along the narrow path.  The story is in a unique genre all of it’s own, somewhere between an epic fantasy quest, supernatural adventure and memoir.  It’s a tale about good versus evil. 

If you are interested in how God can reveal Himself and speak to an ordinary person, this story is for you.

To begin with I wrote my story “The Kingdom” as a journal and map of the journey.  It kept a record of the Lord’s rhema words and revelation he gave me.  When the things he told me in the Kingdom worked out in real life I realised I was receiving the Lord’s guidance and counsel for real.
If you do not know the King, or the Bible, here’s a brief explanation of some concepts the story deals with.

spiritual-warfareRevelation

    A revelation is defined as;

  • An enlightening or astonishing disclosure,
  • The communication of knowledge to man by a divine or supernatural agency.

Revelation comes from the Holy Spirit.  Do you believe that God will speak to us in the last days?  “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”  Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:18.

DragonsSword of Spirit

We all have dragons to slay.  It is written in Revelation that they (the believers) defeated the dragon by the word of their testimony.  (Paraphrased from Revelation 12:11)

The Kingdom is my personal testimony.  The words of the King to me as Joanna are true.  It’s about how God guided me along the path, and helped me deal with my dragons.  If you are interested in spiritual warfare the story may appeal to you.

Dreams

Are you interested in dream interpretation?  In my story, I was given dreams.  The story served as a context for the dreams.  Knowing that revelation comes from the Holy Spirit, I would ask the King to explain them.    When I was writing, the King would give me a verse from the Bible that went with the dream.  The prophet Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar after he was asked to interpret his dream that there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. (Daniel 2:28).

Life can be a mystery.  Think about coincidences for instance.  Do you notice signs that appear at just the right time?  That’s God.  He wants us to seek Him out, and find the things He has for us.

Some things in life are hidden, but God can bring the concealed things to light through the great words of the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.   Proverbs 25:2

The Lord will bring revelation if you seek him.  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7.

JesusThe King, the Holy Spirit

The King in my story is the Holy Spirit, who works as one with God and Jesus.  He is the comforter, teacher and guide of Joanna.  He is the one Jesus promised He would send after He went back to God.  Jesus explains how He was sent to us in John 14;

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”  John 14:15-17

The final scene in my story

batonI ended “The Kingdom” with a scene where Joanna is handed a baton from Anna, her ancestor.  There is a race to be run. Sometimes we run alone, sometimes in a group.  At times the path is hard to see but there are signs.  The signs Joanna found along the path are recorded in the story.

The Kingdom story is my testimony.  It shows what I did with the words the Lord spoke to me as personal revelation.  God will speak to us all personally if we seek him through Jesus, the King.  I hope my story will inspire you to seek the King yourself.

If you would like to know more, please ask me questions.

I’ve taken a photo of one of the places where I walk.  The beach is at the bottom of my street.  The island off the beach is called “Kawau Island”.  It’s an island with no roads, where the residents get around by boat.  I’ve made a photo gallery so you can see other scenes from my story.

Habbakuk 2:2

Snells Beach and Kawau Bay

That sneaky woman

yeastHere’s another parable that’s difficult to explain;  “The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”  Matthew 13:33

The trouble with this parable is that leaven (yeast) is likened to pride and sin!

Some say that in this instance leaven is a good thing. It means the good news of the Kingdom will change the whole world, and then the Kingdom of God will come.  I don’t think so.  There’s nothing to back that up in scripture – nor has it come to pass.  How many of us have families who are all following the Lord?  The gospel brings persecution – not peace.  Jesus, when he was talking about persecution, said “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”  Matthew 10:34-36. 

Let’s look at what Jesus meant when he said “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  Matthew 24:14.  If you read this in context you’ll see he’s talking about the tribulation after the disciples asked him about the end times.  I believe he’s speaking of the preaching of the two witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, after the Church has gone.  Because he said in the next sentence that when they see the Abomination of Desolation in the temple, to run for the hills.  Matthew 24:15.  And he was speaking to the Jews because he said to pray that their flight did not take place on the Sabbath.  Matthew 24:20.

So what did Jesus mean by “the Kingdom of Heaven being like leaven?” Well, lets look at what was specified for offerings in Leviticus;

On the eighth day they must bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb a year old, each without defect, along with three-tenths of an ephah (three measures) of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, and one log of oil.” Leviticus 14:10

So the woman sneaked leaven into the offering.

Jesus said I AM the Bread of Life.  He is bread without leaven.  This unleavened bread has stripes.

The Body of Christ is likened to bread, but unlike Jesus, it has leaven.  “Is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?  Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.”  1 Corinthians 10:16-17

The leaven has had 2,000 years to rise!  It’s really puffed up in some places.

There’s different types of leaven, just as there’s different types of yeast.

quotesram.com OtEAV3iFirst, Jesus warned about the leaven of the Pharisees:  “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”  Mark 8:15Matthew 16:6-11  He explained that the yeast of the Pharisees is hypocrisy.  Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:1

In Matthew 23, A Warning Against Hypocrisy, he pronounced seven woes on the Teachers of the Law and said “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Matthew 23:13.

And then there’s sexual sin.  Sexual immorality is leaven within the church, destroying its fellowship. Paul took on the church at Corinth who were proud of their tolerance.  They had sexual sin of the kind that even the pagans didn’t tolerate.  He said,

“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens [ferments] the whole lump [of dough]? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump [fresh dough], as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 RSV)

(The festival that Paul told the church at Corinth to celebrate was the Festival Of Unleavened Bread that the Jews observe at Passover.)

Finally, in the book of Galatians 5:9, Paul speaks of leaven, this time in connection with legalism, with trying to put people under the Law.  Christ came to set us free from that.  When I was handed my baton (Chapter 74 The Year Of Inheritance) and told to run my race, (Hebrews 12) I was warned about this.  The legalism for me came in the form of prosperity doctrine.  And it was subtle.  The leaven was well and truly hidden.  It did hamper me from running my race, until we got out of that church.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?  That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.  “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”  Galatians 5:7-9.

Now we don’t know who the sneaky woman was who introduced the leaven.  It could be Jezebel, mentioned in Revelation 2:20.  That spirit likes to promote immorality.  It twists and distorts the truth, teaching so-called secret things.

As for things done in secrecy, Jude warned For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” Jude v4.

Jude was the brother of Jesus Christ, and one of the Twelve Apostles appointed by Jesus to lead his Church, and he urged Christians to contend for the faith.  In England, on the same day the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation was celebrated at Westminster Abbey, the peers voted to allow David Cameron’s same-sex marriage Bill to continue its passage through parliament.  The Queen, who is called “the Defender of the Faith” broke her oath by signing the Bill into law the following month, July 2013.  Within months England had a string of severe storms and floods in the UK, beginning with the St. Jude storm on 27-28 October 2013, which was also known as CycloneChristian’.  Prime Minister Cameron called the UK floods ‘biblical’ after the Thames burst it’s banks on 11th Feb 2014, but I don’t know if Britain noticed the sign about Jude.  (I wrote about it in my other blog Red Sky in the Morning.)

Jude also warned against those who run greedily in the error of Balaam, who prophesies for profit.  (Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14).

We have to accept that there will be leaven in the bread, but we can combat it by knowing our Bible.

Timothy, pastor at Ephesus between AD 64-66, wrote “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16.

Finally, a bit of trivia.  The word “yeast” comes from Old English gist, gyst, and from the Indo-European root yes-, meaning “boil”, “foam”, or “bubble.”

It brings to mind the opening scene from Macbeth where the witches are going “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”

I think the sneaky woman with the leaven would have got on just fine with the witches.

Get the gist?

That poor widow

sowing

38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” Mark 12:38-43

How many of us have heard the story of the widow’s mite as an example of sacrificial giving?  Jesus made the observation that she gave more than all the rich people.  He did not commend her for that.  He just stated a fact after warning about the Teachers of the Law, who liked to devour widows houses!  (Mark 12:38-43)

When he did talk about commending people, he used the example of the unjust steward! (Luke 16) Really?  How does that work?  I asked the Lord for his wisdom on that, because it appeared he was being contradictory.

I was at work, so he gave me an example from my business.  Say I order a really expensive computer part, but the customer doesn’t follow through on the order and I can’t return it.  I’m going to be in trouble with Bert, my husband and business partner, because I didn’t get a 50% deposit and it has to go in stock.  I decide to sell it at cost.  I tell the next customer that I’ll give them a 30% discount on it.  I’ve lost my profit on the item but Bert is happy because he’s got the money back, and the customer is happy.  That’s what the unjust steward did after getting into trouble with his master.

Jesus said the master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; “For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.” (Luke 16:8)
He certainly wouldn’t have been commended if he’d used the master’s money to curry favour for himself.

We’re told to use unrighteous mammon (worldly wealth) to gain friends for ourselves, so that when it is gone, we will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.  But we’re not to serve mammon.

How can the use of unrighteous mammon welcome you into eternal dwellings?  Well, if it’s used to build on God’s foundation, the builder will receive a reward, when the day brings our work to light.  1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

When Jesus warned you can’t serve two masters; God and mammon, he said to lay up treasures in heaven; Matthew 6:19

plater_02The Bible warns about being exploited by false teachers who will make merchandise out of us.  They are ferocious wolves, not sparing the flock.  You’ll know them by their fruit.  They will look like sheep, nice guys who identify with the common people – but they’ll love money, just like the Pharisees of old.  Listen to what they’re preaching, and have a look at their lifestyles.

The historian Josephus (himself a Pharisee) claimed that Pharisees received the full-support and goodwill of the common people, apparently in contrast to the more elite Sadducees, who were the upper class.  (Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharisees.)  The Pharisees loved money. (Luke 16:14).

With feigned words they’ll make merchandise of you.  They talk about the law of sowing and reaping.  Money doesn’t grow on trees and I haven’t seen a harvest after people “sowing” it.  If you sow money into their ministries you’re sowing your talent into the ground, where it’s not going to yield any fruit.  Well, it will yield fruit for them in the form of cash.  There is a proverb that says “From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.”  Proverbs 18:21

They trot out Malachi 3:8, knowing that it’ll work.  After all, no one wants to rob God!  They should be reading the previous chapter Malachi 2:1-9.  The one that starts “And now, you priests, this warning is for you.”

Here’s what the New Testament has to say about sowing and reaping;
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Galations 6:7-8.Malachi 3-8

So if a person sowed for financial abundance, they’re sowing to please their flesh.

Another verse about sowing is in the parable of the talents, (Matthew 25:14-29) where the master came and settled accounts with his servants. The one who’d only had one talent had buried it in the ground.  He sowed it, so to speak. Through fear!  Because he thought the master was harsh.  What was he afraid of?  Robbing God?  But Jesus pointed out that this master does not obey the law of sowing and reaping!  “He reaps where he has not sown and gathers where he has scattered no seed. (Matthew 25:24-26, said twice)

Did you know Baal is the god of prosperity?  I believe the devil is trying to get believers to sow into the natural (the flesh) so they’ll build on a foundation that is not Christ, thus affecting their treasures in heaven (spiritual inheritance).  And it will frustrate God’s purposes by diverting funds away from the Kingdom of God.  And THAT is robbing God.

Now who do you think encouraged the poor widow to give?  The Teachers of the Law!  Oh by the way, true religion is taking care of widows and orphans.  James 1:27.  What’s wrong with this picture!

Now I’m not against giving.  I’m for being wise, being a good steward of my money, and having the freedom to give joyfully.  I love investing in the kingdom of God.  Did you know you can even loan God money?
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.  Proverbs 9:17

But I’m not going to allow religious leaders to take away my freedom, or my riches in heaven.  We are not under law when it comes to our giving.  Anyone who references the Old Testament law to compel giving is a Teacher of the Law.  Watch out for them.  And don’t “sow” into their “ministries”.

God bless.  I’d love to hear your comments.  Next chapter, I’m going to tell of my own experiences with the tithing and sowing doctrine.

Blessed are the peacemakers

peacemakersIn the sermon on the mount, Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”  Matthew 5:9

I asked the Lord what he meant by that on my early morning walk today.  

First, he gave me a scripture; God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”  Colossians 1:20.

The Lord explained that he was the first peace maker; and when we become his sons and daughters, we become his peace makers.  He reminded me what I’d done with my mother last year.  We never had a good relationship.  But he saw her differently from me.

Here’s my story about making peace.

Shepherds call

Seven years passed.  Healed from the hurt of the past, Joanna went from strength to strength.  But she still had bad memories from her childhood.

One day her mother grew seriously ill.  Joanna approached the Lord, concerned about her mother’s salvation.

“Father, it’s up to you whether she’ll pull through this time. I forgive my mother for all the abuse she heaped on us. She wasn’t able to be a good mother because she was abandoned at the age of three.

Is her name written in your book, the book of life?  She believes in you – but she doesn’t know you. I want to be able to bring her to you, but I can’t reach her. I can hardly go through the four spiritual laws, or walk her down the Roman road.  Lord, how can I get her to trust you? You promised that if we lack wisdom, we should ask. I’m asking.”

albrecht_schenck_shepherd_call

Shepherd’s Call, by Albrecht Schenck

“I will come to her,” He replied, pointing to a painting that her mother used to have; a vintage 1900’s painting called ‘Shepherd’s call’ which depicted a collie barking for the shepherd after finding a lost lamb in the snow.

“Talk about that painting. Ask her who the dog is barking for, and then bring me in. I want her to know she is the lamb …”

“What a brilliant idea. I’d never have thought of that,” Joann replied, impressed. “But I don’t want religion getting in the way. What should I do if it does?”

The Lord gave her an answer for that.

Later Joanna sat at her mother’s side, alone.

“You know that painting of the dog and the lamb you had?” she began.

“Yes, I gave it away,” her mother replied.

“Yes, you did. Remember that lost lamb?”

“The lamb didn’t have a mother,” her mother recalled.

“Yes, that’s right Mum, she didn’t have a mother,” Joanna replied, sad.

“The Lord said for me to tell you that you are that lamb” she said, as soon as she’d gathered her composure.

Tears came to her mother’s eyes.

“Who was the dog barking for?” Joanna asked.

“The shepherd,” her mother eventually answered.

“Did you know the Lord is the Shepherd?” Joanna replied.

More tears came.

Just as Joanna had foreseen, Joanna’s mother talked about religion.

“Mum, do you know what the Bible says true religion is?” Joanna responded.

Her mother shook her head.

“True religion is to take care of widows and orphans,” Joanna replied, giving the answer the Lord had given her.

“I’m a widow,” her mother said.

“That’s right, you are a widow,” Joanna replied, impressed at the Lord’s answer.

“Who is the Lord to you?” Joanna cautiously asked, feeling like the Collie.

Her mother was silent.

“Are you afraid of death?” Joanna asked.

“Yes, I’m afraid of the devil – I don’t want to see him,” she replied.

Joanna introduced the Shepherd.

“Mum, Jesus tends his flock like a shepherd. He looks for lost lambs and he saves them. He wants to carry you in his arms, close to his heart,” she added.

“Who would you like him to be?” she asked, watching her mother’s face.

“My protector,” her mother replied.

“Like a saviour?” Joanna asked.

“Yes,” her mother agreed.

“Do you accept him as your saviour?” Joanna asked.

“Yes,” her mother replied, with childlike faith.

“You are saved,” Joanna told her, relieved to see the lamb now cradled in the Shepherd’s arms.

“Now that you have accepted Jesus as your saviour, you need fear no evil in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The Lord is your Shepherd, and his rod and staff will comfort you,” Joanna reassured her, remembering her own staff.

That was as much as she could do.

Outside, a piece of rainbow shone out from clouds above the Ruahine mountain range.

That night, her mother sang.