Monday, March 5, 2012

The Mustard Seed Kingdom

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" Then Jesus said, 'What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.'” Luke 13:18-19 NLT




The variety of mustard that grows here in Northern California may not be quite the same as the kind Jesus used as an object lesson, but it does grow awfully tall. It doesn't grow to be tree-like, but the red-winged blackbirds find it sturdy enough to sit in, especially when it is thick with ladybugs this time of year! It must be the bird's equivalent of a fast food restaurant, complete with fly-thru service!

The Kingdom of God . . . like a mustard seed. Seeing fields splashed glorious in yellow, I wonder what that means.

Jesus also used the mustard seed to illustrate the familiar subject of faith, and much is taught about growing faith and the power of faith even as small as a mustard seed.  We know quite a bit about comparing faith to a mustard seed, but what do we know of the Kingdom of God?

Here in the United States, most of what we know about kings and kingdoms comes from fairy tales and history books. In fact, the history of our country began with the rejection of a king's authority, King George III of England and our wresting our independence from his kingdom through a bold revolution. We don’t have kings here—on purpose—so the imagery of the Kingdom of God is sometimes challenging to wrap our arms around.

Human kings have rarely been good kings. The children of Israel didn't know what they were letting themselves in for when they asked to be like the nations that surrounded them and to be given an earthly king. It is staggering to think that they actually chose, and asked out loud to exchange life with God as their King for a life with mere men as their kings. God recognized it right away as a rejection of Him, born of their rebellion and faithless hearts.

A millennium passed while the human kings meandered back and forth between occasional forays into relative good and more frequent stays in absolute evil. Now, Israel was under Rome's control and between the Jewish religious leaders and Rome's governors and military personnel, they had more human "leaders" than they knew what to do with. This is where things stood when Jesus spoke of a Kingdom like a mustard seed.

It was a Kingdom that came, small and quiet in the tiny "seed" of the infant body of the baby Jesus. It grew as He grew, and as He inhabited His Father's will like the cloak He wore. He walked on earth under the Kingship of Yahweh like no one before or since. As He walked, Jesus scattered the seed of His words to further expand awareness of His Father's good will toward mankind and to invite them to once again enter a Kingdom where the King is only good all the time.

They had never known a kindly king and here in their midst was One who healed broken bodies, breathed life into corpses, and had time for little children. They couldn't see it yet, but this man who fed multitudes with the lunch of one willing child and who washed the dirty, dusty, tired feet of His disciples was none other than the King of kings! Here was the good King who someday will end the story of all evil kings.

The seeds He planted, and the ones He has handed to His followers down through the ages since He walked here, continue to grow. There are telltale splashes of glory that show the world glimpses of the goodness of the King and His Kingdom. I pray that we would have a springtime display like the mustard on Bay Area hillsides that would bloom and glow all year round! We who receive our King with joy, WE are His Kingdom! His Kingdom has no borders and His goodness has no boundaries!

How can we be winsome ambassadors for our loving King this week?
If you know Jesus, what is your favorite thing about being part of the Kingdom of God?
If you haven't met Him yet, what intrigues you about the idea of the Kingdom of God?

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Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!


In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"


Counting my next 1000 Gifts, joining Ann in The Joy Dare--like a scavenger hunt for graces, gifts and glory!! Wanna come along?  I dare ya!!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1169-1189 (February 26th through March 3rd)


26. 3 gifts seen as reflections
She So Sweet adjusting her hat in the mirror
The redbud tree on Paso Nogal Drive just beginning to turn pink (seen in my rear view mirror)
Our kids, reflections of the blend of us
27. 3 ugly beautiful gifts
My Outlook reminder to update FAFSA's
The prospect of a very late night doing homework
The original stock tires we're putting back on our car--wisdom is a beautiful thing, even if the rims are not especially so (not truly ugly)
28. 3 gifts from the past --  that help you trust the future
Great Grandma Fagen's watch
So many memories of God's presence and provision in our lives
My wedding rings
29. a gift dull--my brain with too little sleep
       a gift shimmering--our old tires looking new after being polished by the installer
       a gift cleaned--my dream car, now wearing it's running shoes instead of it's fancy ones
1. 3 gifts at 3 PM
A quiet house
A writing groove
Finishing my essay
2. 3 gifts green
The hills finally turning a little bit green after much-needed rain
Shamrocks
Spicy, crunchy dill pickles
3. 3 gifts worn
The space bar on my keyboard--creating white space one keystroke at a time
Coffee cup that used to be Hero Husband's--the finish is coming off but it still keeps coffee hot for 8 hours!
My iPod and earphones when I need to take my music with me

   Beauty in His Grip Button


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