Week of March 13, 2011
Entering God's Kingdom
Where is God's kingdom? As Jesus begins His ministry He told people, "the kingdom of God is near". Jesus commands us to pray daily to God "may Your Kingdom come". In the prayer, the rest of the sentence or verse is "may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven", would indicate that Jesus is talking about now, on earth. The location or the coming of the kingdom may appear confusing as it did in Jesus' day when Jesus clarified, "kingdom of God is within you". The association of "kingdom" and doing God's "will" is important. Another time Jesus makes it clear that to enter God's kingdom one must do "the will of My Father who is in heaven". How do we do God's "will" or what God wants us to do. A first step is when God said concerning Jesus, "This is My Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!" Listening to Jesus is more than just hearing the words He says. It is a life style of obeying and following His guidance, especially regarding God. As God is alive, following God is a life style experience.
Note: (bonus teaching) the expression "kingdom of heaven" is only found in Matthew's gospel where as the more common expression "kingdom of God" is found in all the rest of the gospels. The terms are used interchangeably. For example when Jesus is quoted "the kingdom of God is near" in Mk 1:15; Lk 10:9,11; 21:31 the same expression is recorded as "the kingdom of heaven is near" in Mt 4:17; 10:7. Another example is the Parable of the Mustard Seed. In Mt 13:31-32 "kingdom of heaven" is used and in Mk 4:30-32; Lk 13:18-19 "kingdom of God" is used, with the rest of the parable being essentially the same. One possible explanation is that Matthew was writing to reach the Jews who have a religious doctrine about using the word "God" because they are afraid people might misuse it.
As we learn God's kingdom is in us and as we are encouraged to do what God wants, we find that Jesus is a living example of doing what God wants. Jesus said God "told Me what to say" and that "I do exactly what the Father told me to do". One time after people were trying to keep little children from Jesus and after Jesus corrected them, Jesus stated, "You must accept the kingdom of God as a little child accepts things, or you will never enter it". Doing what God wants or being submissive to God is further supported by this comparison with little children. This comparison with becoming like a little child or starting over, makes the statement "unless one is born again, he cannot be in God's kingdom" more understandable. When we pray everyday "may Your Kingdom come" it may be good to also ask for God's help in being submissive to what He wants in our lives and help in denying ourselves or subordinating our "wants" so we can do what God wants.
1. Mk 1:15; Mt 6:10; Lk 17:20-21 (TE); Mt 7:21; Mk 9:7 (NI)
2. Jn 12:49; 14:31; Mk 10:15; Jn 3:3; Lk 9:23 (IC)
note: click here for bible verse and translation abbreviations
A Psalm for reflection "The sacrifice God wants is a willing spirit. God, You will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for its sin." Ps 51:17 (IC)
Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
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MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
To refresh what you have learned in our Workshop or entice you to experience our Workshop
"Remember, all marriages can be better, if you use what you learned."
Forgiveness All marriages have opportunities for forgiveness. Failure to forgive is like drinking poison to get even (you only hurt yourself). The psychologists, whose 30 years of research in developing our marriage workshop material, found that forgiveness is essential. This is strongly reinforced by the fact that the Son of God (Jesus) taught that forgiveness is essential 2,000 years ago (Mt 6:14-15). Saying "I'm sorry" is powerful and equally as important is saying, "I forgive you". Sometimes healing can come from just talking about the offense, especially in a safe conversation like in your weekly couples meeting (prior to your weekly date night) using the Speaker Listener Technique. Even major issues like adultery can be forgiven and many couples have gone on to have great marriages after major forgiveness.
In society, people think that forgetting is a sign of brain problems like dementia. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:48 to be "perfect" like God. God says in Jeremiah 31:34 (NIV) I will remember their "sins no more". Some people will say they forgive but the memory and hurt of the offence is still present. If you will forgive them and "pray" for them every day as Jesus recommends in Mt 5:44, eventually the hurt will leave and the memory of the offense will be healed. If you want the last word in an argument then apologize.
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage ("all things are possible with God", Mark 10:27 NIV). All marriages have opportunities for forgiveness. Failure to forgive is like drinking poison to get even (you only hurt yourself). Saying "I'm sorry" is powerful and equally as important is saying, "I forgive you". In society, people think that forgetting is a sign of brain problems like dementia. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:48 to be "perfect" like God. God says in Jeremiah 31:34 (NIV) I will remember their "sins no more". Some people will say they forgive but the memory and hurt is still present. If you will forgive them and "pray" for them every day as Jesus recommends in Matthew 5:44, eventually the hurt will leave and the memory of the offense will be healed. If you want the last word in an argument then apologize.
Hi Followers of Jesus,
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Greater than a parent's love for a child or a child for a parent or a sibling for a sibling or a spouse for a spouse, Jesus says, "Love each other as I have loved you" (Jn 15:12 IC). Then as Jesus shares, "all people will know that you are My followers if you love each other"(Jn 13:35 IC).
Love as Jesus' loves, Ed
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