HomeBlog ListingTop TenScience & Genesis"Heavy" stuffVideoNicene CreedA belief statement
Getting somewhere requires effort,
 it takes faith to push on,
it's easy to screw up,

Archive Newer | Older

Friday, January 6, 2012

This “Kingdom of God” issue, what is the “Kingdom of God”?
Kingdom_of_God_coming.jpg
   
This “Kingdom of God” issue, what is the “Kingdom of God”?

Most of us hardly put much thought into even thinking about what the Kingdom of God is, never mind to clearly consider what it means to the world.


We would like the security of living in a safe haven, but this Kingdom is unknown and unachievable to many of us!

Why even look at the Kingdom of God? It is hardly the central aspect taught in most churches and very few people teach much about the concept.

This is actually very strange, since Jesus spoke so much about this Kingdom!

Didn’t he say “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”[1]

Since the Bible also says “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.[2]

The Spirit of God was with Jesus so it seems as if the Kingdom of God had come upon the Earth already!

Then in Jesus story about the tenants who kill the owners son, Jesus concludes by saying “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”[3] So it seems that the Kingdom of God can be taken away from those who have it and given to others.

Summary so far: We have it on Earth now, it seems some have it and others don’t and it can be taken from some and given to others.The Jesus told this story about the Kingdom;



“This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Somehow the kingdom is sown by people and increases independent of what they themselves do.

Summary so far: We have it on Earth now, it seems some have it and others don’t and it can be taken from some and given to others. It is sown by individuals, increasing thereafter without input from those who have sown it.

Jesus also told another story;

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

So it appears that it increases exponentially from it’s initial size.

Summary so far: We have it on Earth now, it seems some have it and others don’t and it can be taken from some and given to others. It is sown by individuals, increasing thereafter without input from those who have sown it. It increases exponentially from it’s initial size.

Then Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

So some people who are living will see the kingdom come with power and some will not.

Summary so far: We have it on Earth now, some have it and others don’t. It can be taken from some and given to others. It is sown by individuals, increasing afterwards without input from those who have sown it. It increases exponentially from it’s initial size. Some people see the kingdom come with power and some will not.

Then Jesus said “ Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”[4]

So the Kingdom is accepted by as a matter of innocent faith.

Summary so far: We have it on Earth now, some have it and others don’t. It can be taken from some and given to others. It is sown by individuals, increasing afterwards without input from those who have sown it. It increases exponentially from it’s initial size. Some people see the kingdom come with power and some will not. The Kingdom is accepted by as a matter of innocent faith.

Then there is the story of the rich man who asked Jesus “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

And Jesus told him to sell everything and give to the poor. He doesn’t and Jesus says “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”[5]

So the kingdom is linked to eternal life and it is hard for rich people to get it!

Summary so far: We have it on Earth now, some have it and others don’t. It can be taken from some and given to others. It is sown by individuals, increasing afterwards without input from those who have sown it. It increases exponentially from it’s initial size. Some people see the kingdom come with power and some will not. The Kingdom is accepted by as a matter of innocent faith. It is linked to eternal life and it is hard for rich people to obtain it.

 Perhaps the most important question Jesus answered is explained as follows:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. ’There is no commandment greater than these.”

  “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on, no one dared ask him any more questions.[6]

Putting what we have discovered together it seems the Summary so far is . . . 

The kingdom of God is on Earth now, some have it and others don’t. It can be taken from some and given to others. It is sown by individuals, increasing afterwards without input from those who have sown it. It increases exponentially from it’s initial size. Some people see the kingdom come with power and some will not. The Kingdom is accepted by as a matter of innocent faith. It is linked to eternal life and it is hard for rich people to obtain it. To get it we need to acknowledge that that God is one and there is no other but him. We need love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves!

If we do this, we experience the Kingdom of God on Earth, but we also prepare ourselves for eternal life within the eternal kingdom of God. Jesus told us this but it seems we rarely understand the fullness of his message. Simple faith is not enough since Jesus asked the rich man to do something as a result of the faith. We need to act on our beliefs for the kingdom to stay with us.

In today’s turbulent world it is good to have a kingdom to which we can belong safely and securely and which no person can remove from us.

I want to continue living in God’s kingdom, what about you?


[1] Matthew 12:28 NIV

[2] John 1:18 NIV

[3] Matthew 21:43 NIV

[4] Mark 10:15

[5] Mark 10:23

[6] Mark 12:28-34

Fri, January 6, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Giving up stuff for God, when to do it and when not
SpiritualWar.jpg
 
  
Many of us seem to think that to get God’s favour we have to give up something’ or perform some ritual.

 
Why?

 God clearly says Jesus does it all for us, the only thing we need to do is to believe in him and what has been done by Jesus as the son of God!

Faith turns the life switch to the everlasting life path, and then following in God’s footsteps builds us, invigorates us and enables us.

So why do we think it is in sacrificing some aspect of our life that we impress God
?

Isaiah (book in the bible) says “The multitude of your sacrifices—    what are they to me?” says the LORD. Isaiah 1:11 NIV

The question is answered a short while later Stop bringing meaningless offerings! and I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. In Isaiah 1:11 &13.

God doesn’t want meaningless actions to appease him. He wants our love and our compliance in love.

It’s very much like a wife doing things for a husband or vice versa, not because they are being forced to do it, but because they want to.

Why?
Due to love for the other!

Actions without love are even worse than not doing them aren’t they? They actually make the person for which they are done annoyed sometimes don’t they? (Unless the other person is a self-focused sadistic person totally unlike our God)

So why do we so often do actions without love towards our God?

It is better to let the love of God overwhelm the sin in our life than to become obsessed by trying to do it by ourselves.

Will power only goes so far, God’s power goes so much further doesn’t it?

There are some things we need to do however. For example God says to those same Israelites in Isaiahs time;

“Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:16-17 NIV

Love of God automatically increases our love of others. Love of God automatically reduces evil deeds. Love of God means we get upset when we see others underprivileged, being abused by our society, or lacking loving people around them.

Then, due to love, not obligation, we want to help!

This is my desire, is it yours?
Thu, January 5, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The search for truth, Wycliff and Luther...

 
StrugglingPeople.jpg
 
I believe that in the end truth will conquer- John Wycliffe

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality - Martin Luther King


 Truth is evasive isn’t it? There is a FOX TV series called “lie to me” in which the character Dr. Cal Lightman played by Tim Roth accepts assignments to investigate truth through the science of reading micro-expressions and body language.

The series makes out it is impossible to lie without people being able to detect the lies. This was based on the work of a guy called Paul Ekman. At one point, I read a paper that explained that using micro expressions and putting newly married couples alongside each other talking on a subject for 5 minutes, reveals the probability of their marriage succeeding or failing in the next 20 years with accuracy of 90%.

Seems like there is something in this approach doesn’t it?

Why does this even work?

Is it perhaps, because we innately know truth from lies as humans, and know at a very subliminal level, when we are lying.

Beliefs can be based on truth or lies, but in the initial stages, we know the truths and we know the lies. Perhaps we submerge them under layers of social interaction and cultural impacts, but under it all, we know!

I was considering this in relation to the way we setup our knowledge of truth.

We either base truth on a flexible platform of flowing human interactions and understandings, or we base it on God’s truth which is absolute!

There are not really too many options! An atheist is a person who makes mankind and mankind’s knowledge and thinking process, into a god. So perhaps we all worship different gods in one way or another.

Christians are supposed to worship the God revealed in the Christian bible, but this has not always been the case.

After Jesus died and the world moved on, Christianity distorted itself into a layer of people who decided they needed to be God’s voice and protector on Earth. This layer of humanity soon fell into the pressures of life, building edifices and structures to house this movement. These required politics and money, and then money distorted people.

 Soon the truth Jesus propounded, was so distorted that people could not even get to the truth contained in the bible.

Instead this book, God’s bible, was translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, into Latin, so only church officials had access to it.

To read it, you had two huge hurdles to overcome. Firstly you had to be able to read and secondly you had to read Latin!

This was a convenient way of ensuring the masses were kept in church control and only fed what church leaders wanted them to hear.

By the 14th century, the word of God was not only distorted and highly political, but even people in the church leadership were starting to resent this.

 John Wycliff was perhaps one of the first to start to go back to truth as it was revealed in the bible. He pointed out that bible texts had more value and truth, than church teachings, and that the bible needed to be made available to common people.

To do this, he translated the bible into the first ever English translation, the language of the common people around him.

Truth took hold and people clung to the truth. The “poor” priests took this bible truth to the people, and God’s spirit moved.

The church reacted so violently against him, that even after his death, they exhumed and burned his bones to try and get rid of every trace of him.

Truth stood however!

Then in the 15th century another man, Martin Luther repeated this translation of the bible into the common language, this time German!

His refusal to allow the church to continue abusing it’s control to extract money from people (getting them to pay to have sins forgiven which is and will always be nonsense, since only God has that ability) was a major point of conflict with the church!

Truth was all Luther wanted to distribute. In so doing, he came to the conclusion that the common people needed to come to God and admit they were unable to live pure lives, that they were guilty of selfish, ignorant and nasty acts against others and God, and that Jesus was the only one who could forgive them and enable them to live in purity again. They themselves based their belief and the truth of it on being forgiven directly by God himself, and God enables them to become part of his Godly family. This was radical at the time!

 This resulted in a break away from the formal church and a new movement of people who wanted to live by truth establishing itself in the world.

It is sad to say that mankind’s failing still intervened and within months of this movement starting, factions were arguing about which version of the truth was right. A mechanism that continues in the hundreds of flavours of Christian church we have today!

Truth is so elusive! We aim for it, and then somehow we miss the mark because we all have distorted understandings.

Perhaps we need to understand God is only one who has a pure understanding of truth and we all just try our best to gain a perspective of it, but never grasp it’s fullness.

This said, truth is absolute! Even science agrees!

The scientific method is based on, and embedded in, finding truth and exposing falsehoods. Anyone who has been a student of science knows how many falsehoods get exposed! Perhaps this occurs since the principles of science, were established by people who were part of the church. The scientific mechanism is one that falls back on truths over and over again.

I think our churches could learn from this!

Perhaps we need to fall back on the exact truths that are now understood more clearly in our modern context as being revealed by the bible and the context it was written in at that time.

We should strip the non valid cultural influences away. The only cultural influence should be of the original cultural context of the writers of the bible, if we are to understand what they were actually saying.

We need to admit that bible truth as WE read it, is interpreted through our own minds eye, and is distorted in the process!

We need to try to clean up the falsehoods.

Didn’t the bible point out that “Jesus spoke to the Jews who had believed him. ‘If you obey my teaching,’ he said, ‘you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free.’ John 8:31 NIRV

This said, there are some common fallacies the church needs to address;

Is faith leading to salvation sufficient ? – No, it is not!

Why does James the brother of Jesus say “James 2:14 onwards “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

   Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”

He says it because true faith causes compassion for others and that causes us to do things to help them! So the evidence of true faith is the works that follow! Our bible says “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

Another we should address. . .should we be building big buildings, TV shows and gathering people into these crowded places of manipulation instead of using our funds to help others?

NO!


Jesus taught we must feed the poor and widows. He, himself, didn’t have a place to call home once he started his ministry. He actually says, "Foxes have holes. Birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." in Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58.

Never did Jesus teach us to hoard money or riches in any form! Instead, he taught us to use it to help others and the work of God in the common people. Teaching occurred in people’s own homes most of the time, or in the existing establishments where people gathered. The early church never built a building!

We need to go back to the starting point of many church movements and use the common homes and halls of community to hold our meetings instead of building them.

We should be looking at making sure the majority of money coming in, goes into helping meet needs in our community and communicating God’s messages. Perhaps them we will be falling back on truth?

 There is so much we can address if we have courage!

Yet for anything true to occur requires courage!

Courage to go against the status quo in love and humility, speaking truth which comes from bible texts stripped of our cultural interpretations and distortions.

So, let us pick up our bibles and start to implement the truths we find in it!

Let’s call out what we see as inaccurate or poorly done in our societies.

Then, together, we will perhaps move ourselves and others back to the point where God will bless our actions and push us into the next era of Christianity!

That’s my thought for today! Now what will you be doing with it?
Wed, January 4, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Life’s impossible challenges often aren’t!
WalkingThroughChallenges.jpg

   
“Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.” - Bernice Johnson Reagon


 
Looking out over the vista of the extraordinary activities and tasks we may need to complete over the next few hours, days or weeks, it is often easy to forget that to succeed, the first step is starting!


In the business world, we talk of “analysis paralysis” and I have had so many occasions to observe strong, capable people failing to do the right thing simply because of fear. Fear somehow invades the thoughts and mind and stops rational thinking, twisting thoughts in on themselves and forcing the repeated review of the same facts over and over again instead of doing something with them.

Chief Executive Officers and Chief Financial Officers of companies with whom I work are not immune to this problem.

Life is an environment in which we get to hone our ability to decide well and act correctly.

Challenges simply provide the raw material to develop and nurture this skill
.

Jesus when he walked this earth said, “God's saving grace has appeared to all people. It teaches us to say no to godless ways and sinful longings. We must control ourselves. We must do what is right. We must lead godly lives in today's world.” Titus 2:11-12 NIRV

We need to resist fear and say “no” to it! Particularly when it is incapacitating us!

There was time when Jesus sent his disciples out to do some work and they failed to achieve it (and it was spiritual work that was not an easily done or explainable type of work either).

They came back and asked why they had failed. (Read it up in Matthew 17 if you are interested)

He replied, "Because your faith is much too small. What I'm about to tell you is true. If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, it is enough. You can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there.' And it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20-21 NIRV

God has said Isaiah 41:10 So do not be afraid. I am with you. Do not be terrified. I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. My powerful right hand will take good care of you. I always do what is right.

 Our strength is not our own, but that of the God of this universe. He is the one who creates and sustains it. He developed quantum theory and he built the very atoms that enable existence. He has promised to be with us and help us if we believe and trust in him (that’s the summary of the meaning of Faith).

As we look at that impossible time ahead, let’s remember it is only impossible if we try to do it alone, instead of asking God to help us through. Talking to God about our concerns and asking for pragmatic advice and help will guide us through to making decisions. Once we start, listening to God while on the move will help us correct the course and perhaps revise some of those decisions. However failing to start due to fear is not what God wants of us. He wants us to think, use the gifts he gave us, not be foolish, but also to move ahead through our decisions!

Today, as we are heading into the world of 2012 with its challenges, let’s see them as opportunities to improve not only ourselves, but also improve our relationship with God!
Tue, January 3, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, January 2, 2012

Facing challenges in the New Year. . .
FacingChallenges.jpg


“Teach us to realize how short our lives are. Then our hearts will become wise.” Psalm 90:12 NIRV



Many of us think our problem is the amount of time we have to do things, but really we all have the same amount. . .

One life!

The measure of success is not in the amount of time lived, but the effectiveness of the time used while living.

Sometimes the value is not even achieved while we are alive. Some people are only discovered as having lived exceptional lives after they die.

Take Galileo Galilei who took the theory of Copernicus, that the Earth travelled around the sun, proved it and was accused of heresy by the Pope of the time. Only after his death did his lifes work take root and change the world.

Another person. Gregor Johann Mendel, a priest, discovered genetics and can be considered the father of modern genetics. He died in 1884 but his life’s work became important only in the 20th century.

Then, in the art world it is Vincent van Gogh who’s work only became popular after his death.

So recognition during life not always important to using our life effectively, but rather the decisions and effort we put into life!

When we look at what we have in life,  it is the decisions and effort we put into our vision of life's value that is important.

What is your life's vision and goal?
Has God revealed it to you?

 

Key to getting this revelation is firstly understanding who God is!

It is interesting that Jesus has two clear points of communication throughout his life. One was who God is, and secondly that the Kingdom of God is coming now and we need to be ready and involved!

Jesus points to God the Father, himself and Holy Spirit as three aspects of God who are one. Confusing, but the message he gave us ! He points out he, Jesus,  is the one communicating the core truths of God and to get to know God we need to go through Him.

So our first most important decision in giving our lives value is knowing who God is and trusting Him to lead our lives.

The second is simple, taking God at his word and living life to its fullest every day. Great lives were developed by people who just plodded on trying to promote truth and clarity of thought, that unveiled new ways of seeing things and did it daily.

Today as we go about our activities, we don’t need to be doing amazing things but rather simply doing what God gives us to do today to the best of our ability.

Our life’s value is not ours to quantify and qualify!


It is for others to do so and actually only God is able to fully quantify and qualify our lives!

If we approach this year, looking to simply make the best of each moment, then New Year resolutions become irrelevant and our lives become full, invigorating and exciting!

This is what I pray for us over this year. Life, lived to it’s fullest!

Lived in truth, sincerity and under Godly direction.

Be blessed! Know that living in truth it is not always easy for us to do and we need to ask God to make it that way!

Moses  knew how screwed up life can get but he also knew that joy comes from being with God every moment of each day. Wisdom comes from that activity as well! We can learn from his pleading with God

See how he did this on one occasion....


Psalm 90 in NIRV says

Lord, from the very beginning
you have been like a home to us.
Before you created the world and the mountains were made,
from the beginning to the end you are God. 
You turn human beings back to dust.
You say to them, "Return to dust."
To you a thousand years
are like a day that has just gone by.
 They are like a few hours of the night.
You sweep people away, and they die.
They are like new grass that grows in the morning.
In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it's all dried up.
Your anger destroys us.
Your burning anger terrifies us.
You have put our sins right in front of you.
You have placed our secret sins where you can see them clearly.
You have been angry with us all of our days.
We groan as we come to the end of our lives. 
We live to be about 70.
Or we may live to be 80, if we stay healthy.
But all that time is filled with trouble and sorrow.
The years quickly pass, and we are gone. 
Who knows how powerful your anger is?
It's as great as the respect we should have for you.
Teach us to realize how short our lives are.
Then our hearts will become wise.
Lord, please stop punishing us!
How long will you keep it up?
Be kind to us.
Satisfy us with your faithful love every morning.
Then we can sing with joy and be glad all of our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have made us suffer.
Give us joy for as many years as we've had trouble.
Show us your mighty acts.
Let our children see your glorious power.
May the Lord our God show us his favor.
Lord, make what we do succeed.
Please make what we do succeed
.
Mon, January 2, 2012 | link          Comments


Archive Newer | Older

If you want to see a short blog describing a perspective on what I believe click here

 RiftInEvil.gif

Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse.

you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com

Credit cards are acceptable on sites having Ken's books:

Images of credit cards

:)


Click on XML

Click here => Link to web log's RSS file

to be told of new blogs

 Ken's book covers are displayed below. . . 
Kiara_Book_eCover_Thumbnail.jpg

This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

To purchase Kiara's Pursuer ebook  @ $1.99

            kindle version click here,

To contact the author contact Author@KenXBriggs.com

 
  
  

 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
Click here to order Rift in Evil (ebook or Paper available)
  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com
wwwFREEillustratedBIBLEcom.jpg
Frugal Eating Advice
frugal_eating.jpg
Good advice for students living on limited $'s. Click on the image!

By joining our mailing list, you will be the first to know about:

  • New book information
  • Promotions and discounts
  • How to get signed copies from the author
You can contact me at author@KenXBriggs.com with your name and email address .
ALSO 
To join my RSS feed and get the blog in your internet explorer,
simply click the XML button below the blogs!
Then you will get updated whenever a new blog occurs!


Choose a Bible Book or Range
Type your text here
Ignore Case
Highlight Results

webassets/KenXBriggs.gif