The Kingdom of God I

The written word has many, many uses. On this blog, we mostly focus on the Love of God. That particular subject comes in many forms. One of them being teaching. Now I do not propose to be any kind of great teacher, and, usually, if I am teaching anything it is because God is teaching me something and I am simply passing it along. That, ultimately, is what the Crazy Amazing Love Books are based upon. It is also one of the reasons I do not charge for the books. Which, incidentally, the first manuscript for 31 Pieces of Joy is almost completed.

One of the great subjects of Christianity is the “Kingdom of God.” I felt led to explore this subject and realized it would likely take a number of blogs to do so. This is not he beginning of a book, so the coverage will be kind of brief. At least that is the plan for now.

The first place in scripture (NKJV) where we find the exact phrase “Kingdom of God” is in Matthew 6:33:

“But seek the Kingdom of God first and all these things will be added to you.”

The New Testament is the only Testament it is used as such. There are Old Testament references that we will likely get to eventually.

The concept of a “kingdom”, however, did not show up suddenly. In the Old Testament (OT), a kingdom was a very prevalent thing. Very common. It was not too much different than what we see as a kingdom now. Of course, the Children of Israel had one themselves. The people told the Judge/Prophet Samuel they wanted to be like other countries and have a king. So, God granted their request by placing Saul as their first king. Something they eventually regretted.

But we are trying to focus here on what the Kingdom of God is. A kingdom consists of many people in leadership. The proverbial buck stopping at the throne. The Kingdom of God is no different. God/Jesus sits upon the Throne and many layers of authority fall out from there. Yes, we are all the same in God’s eyes. But He does indeed place people in authority over us within the Kingdom. And we are foolish to assume otherwise.

As we go into this vast subject, we will explore a lot of areas. We’ll discuss how the Kingdom is, and has been around for a long time. How that it was declared to exist during the time of Christ and how it is even more so here now, and how we are and are not, a part of it.

The Kingdom has principles, methods, ways, mentalities, and structures. Kingdom members think differently. The King reigns supreme. Yet, He personally knows all of His subjects. Of course, that’s not what He calls us!

While we will explore many of the parallels to a physical kingdom, we will also gain understanding of the parts of God’s Kingdom that is not like the kingdoms here on Earth.

Okay? No guarantees on when these lesson/blogs will post. But this will be fun and enlightening!

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The Beatitudes

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

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Proverbs 25:2
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Good Morning! I pray this finds you having a blessed day!

The Beatitudes are a select group of teachings that Christ did in Matthew chapter 5. It is cbd_tallalso covered a little in Luke 6. The word “Beatitudes” is derived from a Latin word meaning “happiness” or “blessedness.” Essentially, there are 8 blessings, or beatitudes. Matthew has all 8 and Luke talks of 4. These are written by two different people and they have, for the most part, 2 different meanings yet the same. I’m sorry if that sounds confusing.

The Word of God is called Living (Hebrews 4:12) and it has the ability to cover many subjects and issues we experience and come to understand in life. For instance, one verse may mean one thing to one person and something completely different to someone else. That doesn’t mean we can abuse the purposes of scripture. It simply means that the Bible is God’s Word for us today as much as it ever was and is NOTHING like any other book ever written. And that is because God is the author of it (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

So, the Blessings, Beatitudes, are like proverbs and they are not really easily understood. It’s not that they are mysterious and beyond comprehension, it’s that we have to keep a few things in mind.

  1. Jesus was using much of the culture of the time in His teaching. It doesn’t lessen the lesson for us today. It means just as much to us as it did to the people He taught then. We just need to understand the culture then and see it for us today.
  2. These verses use common and prevalent things and issues of that time to make a spiritual point. Jesus was literally saying, “Here are few things that will teach you how blessed you may or may not be.”
  3. Jesus constantly referred to the time and what He was bringing as the Kingdom. These are Kingdom principles. Keep that in mind while you read. The Kingdom of God is a real place that those who follow God live in. It is a spiritual place. And, if that doesn’t confuse you, this will: The spiritual world is the real world and the mortal, natural is not. I will try to do an exchange on that another day. Maybe that will peek your interest?

So, I said all that to say this…Here are the Beatitudes in my own humble translation placed in the order that Matthew presents them. Click here to follow along with Matthew and here for Luke.

Matthew 5:3/Luke 6:20
“Blessed are the poor in spirit for their is the Kingdom of Heaven”

Matthew 5:4/Luke 6:21b
“Blessed are those who mourn, f
or they shall be comforted.”

Matthew 5:5
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Matthew 5:6/Luke 6″21a
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”newlogo

Matthew 5:7
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

Matthew 5:8
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Matthew 5:10/Luke 6:22
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Now, there is way too much to get this done in one blog, so I am going to let these stew in your heart a while and come back to them. If you did follow along or know the passages well, you know the wording isn’t exact and that there was much more spoken by Jesus on that day. This will be a fun to explore. I will leave you with one of my favorite Proverbs:

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

We are going to search out all that God has hidden in the Beatitudes.

sige117

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The Love Commandments Part II

God sent His Son. Because of Love. He was born of a virgin. Because of Love. He grew and become the Great Physician. Because of Love. He died. Because of Love. He rose. You guessed it, because of Love.

God sent His Son. Because of Love. He was born of a virgin. Because of Love. He grew and become the Great Physician. Because of Love. He died. Because of Love. He rose. You guessed it, because of Love.
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Blessing today! I pray God blessed you with an amazing Christmas!

So, I have kinda went another direction in Part II. See Part I here.

Much of the popularity that drives TV preachers and the like are generated by simplemainlogo controversy. Despite everything, it happens (smirk). Anyway, Christmas, recently past, is a holiday that ultimately points towards Christ. Thus the word “Christ” in Christmas. Andy Stanley, a rather well known preacher and pastor of North Point Community Church (Atlanta, GA) is no exception to the rule I guess. He said, “Christianity doesn’t hinge on the truth or even the stories around the birth of Jesus. It hinges on the resurrection of Jesus.” (Miami Herald)

Needless to say, it took only minutes to get a big nasty response. Al Mohler, the prez at Southern Baptist blah, blah, blah had to point out that everything does hinge on the virgin birth. “If Jesus was not born of a virgin, then the Bible cannot be trusted…”

Stanley back tracked a little, pointing out that he isn’t a very good communicator. In other words, “That’s not what I meant.”

Well, I am no scholar and I certainly will never be a million dollar preacher. And, in all honestly, I don’t have anything against these guys. Personally, I am not a fan of Mr. Stanley, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a man of God. But I do take issue with what has been said, or at least implied, by both Stanley and Mohler. I believe you both have missed the whole entire point.

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The Birth of Christ is not the foundation of Christianity. No, the fact that a Virgin Birth occurred is not the reason for the life lived like Jesus. And Jesus Himself says so. We go back to what He said about love:

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”

“Jesus said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 22:34-40)

On this EVERYTHING hangs. Everything is supported by the command to love. God and man. Everything! All that God has put into place. EV.ER.Y.THING!

Is the Birth of Christ important? Well, YEAH! Of course it is. Is the fact that He was born of a Virgin important? YEAH! It’s not that these particular events are not important. I really believe that two things are at work here:

  1. The need for attention by the TV preachers
  2. Splitting hairs

If you have read much of my stuff, you know I write other places that are kind of gearednewlogo towards controversy. With a more Christian perspective. Saying things like the Birth of Christ is not a cornerstone of Christianity does, whether done on purpose or not, create attention. Arguing the point can do the same thing. But, the truth is that the Birth of Christ via Virgin is, indeed, very important. After all, it has only happened once. But it is not the foundation. Much like the Death and Resurrection of Christ, it is all a series of important and vital parts of what is now called Christianity. But, like the entire Old Testament, it all pales in importance in the light of Love. Specifically, of course. After all, these are all acts of love in one way or another. But nothing works without love.

God sent His Son. Because of Love. He was born of a virgin. Because of Love. He grew and become the Great Physician. Because of Love. He died. Because of Love. He rose. You guessed it, because of Love.

It’s time we get a grip on stuff that simply makes Christianity look foolish. There is no need to argue simple points like that. Jesus was Born. But the story doesn’t end there. In fact, it doesn’t ever end. But, it all begins with Love. And love is the energy with which it continues to move forward. You might say that on that night 2,000 years ago, real love was born.

I have a feeling that we’ll talk about this again.

sige117

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The Love Commandments Part I

Look at the Old Testament as a picture. Love is the nail from which the picture hangs. Without that, the picture falls and is destroyed.

Look at the Old Testament as a picture. Love is the nail from which the picture hangs. Without that, the picture falls and is destroyed.
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I apologize, I have been with family in California and I haven’t had the time to get a writ out to you all. But, a particular passage has been heavy on my heart and I thought I would chat it up a bit. I know I have discussed it a number of times, but I felt inclined to work on it a little more.

This particular passage is mentioned twice. Once in Matthew and once in Mark. The first part of it is a reference to Deuteronomy  6:4-5 and the second part is in reference to Leviticus 19:18. The reference is very important and I’ll explain that. I want to focus on the Matthew passage because it lends mainlogomore to all that Jesus actually said. Just for the purpose of setting things up, Jesus was good at putting people in their place and so here the Pharisees were trying to trip him up. They were very jealous of Christ and they would try to cause Him trouble pretty often.

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”

“Jesus said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 22:34-40)

Now we’ve heard preachers preach and teachers teach on these scriptures. What I have is no great revelation.  It is to me in that I haven’t heard what I am about to talk about. At least I can’t remember. There’s a strong possibility I have. Age. That’s one of the places it loves to nail you, you know. Your memory. Whatever! Let’s move on.

Before we discuss the statements Jesus calls the greatest commandments, I wish to point towards a couple of “peripheral” items.

Verse 40, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Remember, cbd_tallthey did not have the New Testament at the time. It was being written as they lived. They were the New Testament. So, the great book they had was the what we know as the Old Testament. They knew it as the Law and the Prophets. So, when Jesus said this, he was referencing the greatest selection of books ever written. And the books that they guided their very lives by. Referencing the Law and the Prophets was important in that it not only showed his knowledge but was indisputable by the Pharisees.

Look at the Old Testament as a picture. Love is the nail from which the picture hangs. Without that, the picture falls and is destroyed. Do you see it? Without love, the entire Old Testament is a fraud. It’s useless. It’s ability to do what God intended it to do is a “wash” without love. If you are curious as to how important love is, now you know.

The commandments themselves are just as important. Jesus explains that you must love God with everything in you. With the 3 of who you are. Your heart, that is your spirit. Your soul, that is your body. And your mind. We are first and foremost a people of the supernatural. That part of us that God was talking about when He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26).  So God made us with a “spirit” as He was.

Then He made us a with a “natural” body. To walk in the natural world. To have physical needs and physical actions. And, to carry the spirit with in it.

Then He gave us our own mind. Something that would bring the 3 together. Something that would have the “last say” in things. That which we would have the “free will” to choose and think with. And, the source of both good and bad decision making. The part of us that will decide if we will or will not sin.

We’ll stop there…Lots more on this subject-

sige117

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The Power Behind Thanksgiving

He gave thanks and fed thousands!

He gave thanks and fed thousands!

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Good morning everyone! God bless you this “rainy day in Oregon” day!

This is the month that we celebrate thankfulness. Yes, we should do this all 12 months and many of us do, but this one we really try to pull out all the stops and make a big deal about it! And, there are a lot of reasons to make sure we spend time thanking God for His goodness to us.

I can list out a series of scriptures that tell us to be thankful. The one in the graphic above, Psalm 106:1 reminds us to give God thanks simply because He is good and He is always merciful! And, I might go ahead and list out some more before November is over, but I want to really focus on something that is not often pointed out when it comes to thanksgiving.

When Jesus fed the 5 thousand and again the 4 thousand, He began the process by giving thanks. He took the meager amounts given to Him by the disciples and He lifted the food and gave thanks. We often begin our meals by giving thanks. Making certain that we acknowledge God’s provision for us. But, what if there is more to it?

The actions of Christ are often duplicated as muscle memory. We are sincere in our thanks, but often do it from habit. So many things we do as Christians are just that. From habit. Again, it’s not exactly a bad thing. Godly actions, even from routine, are good. But, sometimes it’s good to step back and understand what we are doing and why.

The reason we give thanks, I believe, is more than just because God deserves it. In itself, that will always be more than enough. But look at what Christ did and what happened. There is power in the act of thanksgiving.  Jesus began with a quantity that wouldn’t keep a Weight Watchers fanatic happy. He gave thanks and fed thousands. Did you catch that? He.Gave.Thanks.And.Fed.Thousands!

Change can happen through a simple regime of making sure you are thankful. And let’s face it, people who are ungrateful are miserable to be around anyway. If you struggle with people not wanting to spend time with you, assess your gratefulness. Maybe, you are just no fun to be around. That’s a freebie.

Here’s the main point: We should always be thankful. God is, after all, a really good God. But, I think the power of change for the good can be in our lives through that thankfulness. And, the benefits just begin from there!

sige117

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Numbers & Symbols In Scripture

Blessings this most amazing day!

This will not be by any stretch a comprehensive or exhaustive essay on the Numbers and Symbols talked about in Scripture. But there are a few, numbers specifically, that have significant meaning in the Kingdom. We’re just gonna discuss them a little bit.

The Number 7

7 is used in many places to represent “completeness.” Enough. All that you need.

So, this number is used all over. The 7 days of the first week (which is still used, of course, through out the world). I love the use of it in both miracles of feeding. The Bible points out the number of items brought before Jesus to feed the five thousand (Matt 14:13-21) were 5 loaves and 2 fish. 7 items. Then in Mark, it points out when feeding the 4 thousand that there were 7 loaves and a “few” fish. The number 7 again is stressed. Why? Because it was “enough.”

The Number 12

12 is used specifically to designate “leadership” and “governing.” God’s power and authority.

There are 12 tribes of Israel. 12 Disciples. Remember when Judas betrayed Jesus and committed suicide? Remember how important it was for the remaining disciples to replace him? (Acts 1:15-26) It was important that the number remain at 12.

Books of the Bible

A very important “honorable mention.” If you recall, Jesus was flogged by the Roman soldiers. The Old Testament made sure that no criminal was beaten beyond 39 lashes. It was believed that a man could not live beyond that. Tradition says Jesus received 39 stripes. But it’s not in scripture exactly how many. But the number 39 refers to “incomplete.” Notice there are 39 Books in the Old Testament? Some say that it means the Old Testament is “incomplete” on its own.

The Number 3

This number, saved for last because of all it’s amazingness, has a good deal of different meanings. When I am writing technical blogs like this, I try to do solid research. I check some of what I feel or know against good counsel via other sites and so on. I found a “bible study” site that had a whole section on numbers and their meanings in Scripture. I found it odd that the greatest meaning behind 3 was blatantly missing. I shall not use that site again. Of course, I am referring to the Trinity. Some have trouble with this HUGE part of God because the word “Trinity” is not used in scripture. Well, algebra is not mentioned in the Bible that I know of and yet it is used and accepted world wide. By Christians and non-Christians alike. Well, most of us will never, ever, never…never use it. But this is not a place for my moaning and groaning about ridiculous wastes of my time, effort and money….

Okay…So let’s move on.

The Trinity is one of the parts of God we have to accept. In faith. You know my motto, “If you can figure it all out, your god isn’t so big.” Faith allows us to know the God of the Universe without having to explain Him. I could go on for days on this. And, let’s see, this was about numbers and symbols, not theology.

You think that’s bad, you should speak with me in person. Talk about rabbit holes!!!

Hey, just remember God is bigger than anything we could possibly grasp. But He still loves us desperately!

Heads up, I am going to be continuing the study of the Love Chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. I will be reposting the previous blogs on it prior to that, so be ready!

sige117

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Situational Ethics

We cannot allow our circumstances to dictate what is right and wrong…

Blessing this marvelous day! Yes, everyday with Jesus is marvelous!

Situational Ethics

This term came about as man first changed in his mind what was right or wrong according to his circumstances. It was termed this as other men recognized what they were doing. In essence, putting grey where things were black and white. Still with me?

There’s a story in the Old Testament aboutsinnomore a man of God who developed situational ethics while doing God’s work. His name was Balaam (bay-lim). His story is one that begins in the right place and the right mind set and slowly spirals out of control.

King Balak of the Moabites was fearful of Israel because of their strength. All who stood against them fell. He goes and gets Balaam, a renown man of God and gets him involved. He tell Balaam to curse Israel. Make them weak. The problem is that Balaam knows he is not supposed to curse the Children of Israel. So, he at first refuses to get involved. But, then concedes and does. God at first tells him not to go with them, but then tells him to go, speaking and doing only what He commands him to say and do. You may remember the story of the talking donkey? Yes, this is that one.

At first, he does only what God tells him to do. This involves blessing Israel instead of cursing them. To which, king Balak is quite annoyed. So, Balak keeps dragging him from one mountain top to another. This is where the situation continues to change. Balak changes the place, thinking all the while that a different place will change the mind of God and allow Balaam to curse the People of God for him. Instead, Balaam continues to utter blessings upon them. Needless to say, king Balak gets rather steamed. After four blessings from the mountain (which include some awesome prophecy), it appears that Balak has given up and they part company from the mountain called Peor.

But as the story proceeds, we discover that though he could not bring a “spiritual curse” on the Children of God, he was able to advise Balak on how to undo Israel. He explained that the way to stop them was to become friends and intermarriage with them. A lesson for us not to allow things of the world to have influence on us. The name of Balaam becomes soiled and dirty and a byword of what greed can do to a man of God. Blessings can befall us of great measure when we use our Gifts FOR God and not for ourselves. Which, in itself, is situational ethics.

We gauge our circumstances and determine what will best suit us. What we will profit from most. That’s what situational ethics are. We cannot choose what is right and wrong based upon what will benefit us most. But we do. Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” Now a days, that is translated by many people as, “Go and do what will profit you best. From there, you can determine if it is sin or not.” A very dangerous place to live in.

sige117

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