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.

overcome-personal-prejudice-step-1-version-2

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.

 

 

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.

Having ears to hear

When Jesus wanted to communicate truth, he used stories and said it was “for those who had ears.”  How many of us are deaf to God because of unbelief?  It shuts us down because we can’t believe God would want to have a real conversation with us.  And when we do, we don’t always hear in the same manner – or we doubt what we’re hearing.  We’ll trot out our objections with “Yes, but …”

We have to test the spirits.  Because Lucifer can pretend to be an angel of light.  He is completely deceptive.  Don’t go near him.

My spiritual hearing wasn’t that great.  That’s why I constructed my story, so I could keep a record of the things that God told me and check it against the Bible.  God became the main character in “The Kingdom” through me doing that!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband hears God’s voice differently from me and wants to hear from him better.  He’s a bit goofy at times, as you can see with these ‘ears.’

We spend our day solving technical problems on computers and computer networks.  He has to think on his feet.  Sometimes he arrives at an answer so quickly I go “How did you get that?

He doesn’t know whether his decision speed is from his thought processes or God’s voice.

Early one morning he was thinking about the day ahead. “God, the other day I asked you about my decision speed getting in the way.  Is it my thought processes, or is it you?  I never heard an answer.  So what is it?” he asked.

John 3″ was the instantaneous reply.  In John 3, Jesus was explaining to a religious ruler what people have to do to see the Kingdom of God.  The verses that spoke the most to my husband were 3:8 and 3:29.

“8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

The same month I watched kite surfers on the beach at the end of my street, as they were borne along by invisible wind currents.  It was on a hot Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago.  I didn’t even notice the breeze but they were finding it offshore.  It was a beautiful sight to see them glide across the water.

So it is with us when we are born of the Spirit and are able to hear God, the Holy Spirit’s voice.  When we realise we can hear him, we can actually hear God, it brings joy – and hope.  Our morale and spirits soar.

If we hope in the LORD we will renew our strength. We will soar on wings like eagles; we will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not be faint. 
That’s a promise from Isaiah 40:31.

Wind

Snells Beach, Feb 2016. This is my picture which you are free to use.

The master’s voice

The other verse that spoke to my husband, verse 29, was where John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus exalts the King.  John is comparing himself as the best man at Christ’s wedding.  29″ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.”

I can’t find a picture for that – but look at the joy this dog is showing to hear his master’s voice.  It sums it up for me.

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.

 

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.