Thursday, April 23, 2009


1. Then the disciples came up and asked Jesus, “Who, in your estimation, is really the greatest in the Kingdom of/from the heavens?”

2. But instead of directly answering their question, He first called a little child over to Himself, and placed him in the center of the room,

3. and once they had focused on the child, He said to them, “Boys, I really and truly want you to get this…unless you change the way you think about things…until your mind is cleansed from your cynicism and competitiveness with one another…until you have a paradigm shift that moves you from the silliness of being ‘childish’, so that you can enter the freedom of becoming ‘child-like’…and until you grasp the difference between these two concepts…you’re never going to be subjects in My Kingdom at all!

4. Whoever will remove the mental clutter of adulthood, so that he or she can re-connect with what is the best part of childhood…the simple, basic ideas of trust…humility…love…forgiveness…imagination…that person will rank very high in the Kingdom of/from the heavens.

5. Furthermore, you should know that I am so identified with these little ones, I can tell you that whoever receives and loves and welcomes and celebrates one little child like this for My sake, and in My name, receives and loves and welcomes and celebrates Me.

6. On the other hand, whoever hurts one of these precious ones…or abuses them in any way…or takes advantage of their simple trust…or causes them to grow up and be less than what they should have been…it would actually be better for that individual to have one of those huge grinding-stones that they use in the mills fastened around his neck, and to be sunk in the depth of the sea.

7. The world suffers terribly because of those who bring this kind of sin into it. Children are going to have a difficult enough time learning to make right choices for themselves, without selfish adults making it even harder for them to do so. The on-going struggle to choose the right path is a fact of life and a rite of passage…but those strong ones who cause the weak ones to go astray bring a certain kind of curse on themselves!

8. So, let Me put it this way…your desire to be a good example should be such that if, say, your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, you would be willing to just cut it off and throw it away. It would, in fact, be better for you to go through life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet, and your very existence become so worthless that you end up being thrown into the fires at the garbage dump outside Jerusalem which never go out.

9. By the same token, if your eye causes you to stumble and sin, you should be willing to pluck it out and throw it away from you. Again, it would be better for you to go through life with only one eye, than to have two eyes and live in such a way that would cause you to end up being thrown into the fires of Gehenna.

10. This may sound extreme to you, but you need to comprehend the importance of this point. It is simply unacceptable to damage one of these little ones…or even to resent or despise them in any way. Remember this… their personal angels are constantly in touch with my Father in the heavenly realm.

11. (Verse 11 doesn’t exist in any original manuscripts.)

12. Now think about this…if a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray and gets lost, won’t that man…if he’s a true shepherd…leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost?

13. And then, if he finds it, doesn't he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who haven’t wandered off?

14. Well, your Father in the heavenly realm feels exactly the same way about people… especially these little ones. He doesn't intend to ever stop searching for those who are lost, until every single one is found!

15. So, since your Father is so relentless in His love for you, you should be relentless in your love for one another. For example, if your brother or sister wrongs you in any way, you should have the integrity to go and tell him or her about it, directly…and keep the conversation and the whole matter between the two of you. And if he/she ‘hears’ you…I mean listens to you and receives what you have to say and comprehends it, you have won back your brother or your sister.

16. But if the offender refuses listen to you, don’t give up your pursuit of reconciliation, yet. Take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses…and try again.

17. If that doesn’t work, and he or she still won't listen or receive you, then, and only then…go public with it. Get up and tell the whole church what’s going on between the two of you. And if that still doesn’t work, and you still can’t work out a way to re-connect with that person in relationship, then you may have no choice but to stop your physical efforts, and just pray for him or her. In that case you will have to love the one who hurt you from afar, as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18. Let me tell you why this is so essential. First, as I have already told you…whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already forbidden and declared unlawful in the heavenly realm. In the same way, whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be what is already permitted in the heavenly realm.

19. This is why relationships are so important. See, if two of you on earth come into the kind of agreement that exists between those in the heavenly realm, you create a supernatural harmony together that makes a symphony…and that kind of harmony is the music of God…the ONE song, or the ‘Uni-Verse’…no discord…no dissonance…no instrument out of tune with the others. And when that symphony is played, the agreement causes whatever…anything and everything…they may ask to come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.

20. Because wherever at least two or three are gathered or drawn together in and into My name…when that kind of harmony takes place…there is a revelation of the Christ, and there the I AM is in the midst of them”.

21. Then Peter, intrigued by all this talk of reconciliation and harmony, came up to Him and said, “Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me, and I forgive him and just let it go? I mean, you’re talking about a relentless pursuit of reconciliation so that people can be in harmony with one another…so…should I go so far as to forgive him seven whole times?

22. Jesus answered him, “Oh, Peter, you’re way off…I say that you shouldn’t stop at seven times, but that you should forgive seventy times seven…and by that I mean into infinity! You never, ever stop forgiving.

23. Let Me explain it this way: The Kingdom of/from the heavens is like a human king who wanted to settle accounts with his attendants.

24. When he began the accounting, it became apparent that someone owed him a huge amount of money. So the man who owed so much was found and brought to him, and when all of his debts were added up it was discovered that he owed the king several million dollars.

25. Well, the man didn’t have anywhere near that kind of money, so the king ordered him to be sold into slavery, along with his wife and his children, and everything that he possessed, so that at least some of the debt could be repaid.

26. So the man, overwhelmed with the enormity of the debt, and the severity of the situation, fell on his knees and just begged the king, pitifully. He said, ‘Please, sir, don’t destroy my family by selling us into slavery. I beg you to have mercy and patience with me, and I promise that somehow I will pay you everything.’

27. And the man seemed so sincere that the king’s heart was moved with compassion for him. So, as a gesture of good will he released him and forgave him of the entire debt!

28. And would you believe, the very same attendant got up and went to find one of his fellow attendants who owed him about twenty dollars. And when he found him, he grabbed him by the throat, started wringing his neck, and demanded, ‘Pay me right now what you owe me!’

29. So his fellow attendant, startled by this attack, fell down and begged him earnestly, saying, ‘Please, just give me time, and I promise to pay you back!’

30. But he wouldn’t hear of it, and he went out and had the man put in prison till he could pay the debt.

31. As you can imagine, when his fellow attendants saw what had happened, they were indignant, and so they went and told everything that had taken place to the king.

32. So the king called the man back in and said to him, ‘I’ve never in my life seen anything like this display of ingratitude and wickedness on your part! Out of the goodness of my heart I forgave and cancelled all that huge debt of yours because you begged me to, and I felt sorry for you.

33. How is it possible that you could leave here, and go straight to this man and treat him the way that you did? You received so much mercy from me…where was the mercy you should have given him?’

34. And the king was understandably incensed and irate with this insensitive ingrate, and turned him over to the torturers in the jail until he should pay all that he owed.

35. The point of the story is this: My heavenly Father expects every one of you to be as forgiving as you have been forgiven…don’t force Him to treat you the way the king treated the man because of his unwillingness to show the same mercy that was shown him!”


Northern Light said...

WOW WOW WOW............this chapter is so thick, so heavy with "see this's", I have to think on what I want to say first.

So, I will rest on it, come back, and start picking what I love best, because I can so easily see Jesus saying these things and these guys just standing there, with their jaws dropped thinking, "man, all that from ONE question we asked?"...........HA

Thank you for this today !


Anonymous said...

Pastor Tommy,
You truly are a warrior, one of the chosen...

Northern Light said...

5. Furthermore, you should know that I am so identified with these little ones, I can tell you that whoever receives and loves and welcomes and celebrates one little child like this for My sake, and in My name, receives and loves and welcomes and celebrates Me.
Twice I read through the chapter and both times this one jumped at me. It is no wonder to reflects my life.

I've always been felt a pull to kids. All kids, all kinds. Is it because I'm an "only child"? Is it because the ONLY book I remember the title and author of ever reading in my youth is "THE FAMILY NOBODY WANTED" ? Is that why I have 8 kids, bio and adopted?

Makes me think on the past 19 years of my fostering infants and children.........66 of them. It always was a ministry, a show of love for HIM. Even years before that, when " I " was still a child, I spent summers and my spare time working with the "handicapped" (as then called) children and teens of all causes. Perhaps the graduation of these things that has called me in the past year to work with the homeless, here in MI and in Atlanta.

HIS chosen, HIS children, HIS people.

They are meek, gentle, well, ill, kind, not so kind, happy, sad, sober, drunk, vocal, mute..........all HIS.

Ah....and the "childlike", not childish"......that's a whole other story.

LOVE this chapter ~!


Northern Light said...

Hey P. Nancy........

my word ver: syning ie: SIGNING

That one was for us!

Northern Light

Anonymous said...

Yes, Pastor Tommy, I agree and so are you our blessed brother.

Bishop, you mentioned that chapter nineteen would be a real chore because of its depth but I don't know how it could be any deeper than eighteen. The two concepts of childlike faith and forgiveness are of the foundational elements that without them there can be no structure for any faith including christianity. They are also a primary catalyst for moving society forward in the direction of its best evolution toward accomplishing real and lasting progress in our pursuit of world peace.

Anyone of us, at least I can, relate to both moments of operating correctly and in failing to when it comes to living up to the best of these concepts. You teaching on failsafe last night was right in sync with staying on track and moving in the right direction with optimum speed.

Bishop, I do appreciate your statement of warning for us, your congregation, to not place too high of an expectation on others in leadership and I do understand humanity in that regard, perhaps better than most. It is also important for me to acknowledge that you seem to have the ability to project yourself as a wise brother, a caring father and at the same time show the humility of a dear son. That is no doubt the result of choosing to live and walk in the Spirit and keeping the flesh in check. I do understand that we are all pursuing perfection and have not yet obtained it and in that flow agree with your teachings.

Thank God for mercy, grace and forgiveness floating in delicious agape gravy and a master chef who serves up plenty of it.

Crownjewel said...

Inpires & convicts me! =) Vs 3 & 4 were my favorite and great reminders to realign with the qualities of genuine child likeness, but then I get down to vs 15 about Gods 'relentless' love for us and how we are to be relentless in our love for others! Yes Lord, this is what really matters!!

..but then there is vs 21 how this unity produces a symphony which is the 'music' of God!!!!!!!! Whoohoo!

Truly inspiring to a greater walk each and every day in every avenue of life regardless of circumstances or others! Ignites a spark and I feel my whole being just light up reading this to walk as He has called us which is the true Life Giving Force!!!

Wonderful to come here and eat from and taste morsels from heaven!!! Love it!

Have a fab day!!!

karl cobos said...

Blessings and strength and health to all under the covering of our shepherd...Bishop Jim and Church in the Now...pastor of an ever-increasing, healthy flock!-Love ya

karl cobos said...

Bishop and blog family:
This blog has been such an inspiration to me...sooo, I decided to create my own!

It's called Happy Blogger Heart.

Bishop, I also mentioned and will be mentioning things there of you (good things, of course), and things from AYITN, that have spoken to me. When you get a chance, check out what I have so far, hope you'll be proud. I wouldn't have thought of doing it if it wasn't for your good example and blogs!

word ver: clads

Avatar said...

Printing this out (glad its not Earth Day) for offline...can't decide on the appropriate word--injection, perusal, consumption, digestion, study...pick one, they all apply.

tracy said...

AGAPE LOVE AMEN. Wow that was so full of grace and truth. Childlike vs. Childish. Such a difference in the two. OK I know ya'll didn't ask BUT Another
Bailey story, and trust me- she is pure childlike-she is SOOO patriotic right now. Maybe it is because we are pre Special Olympics week and she has been asked to say The Pledge of Allegiance at opening ceremonies-we were on the way to school this morning and we saw a fellow putting something in his mailbox-mind you Bailey can't distinguish between hunter camo and army camo-so anyway, this gentleman is at his mailbox in slippers, his boxers and a camouflage jacket. Bailey turns toward him and goes oh oh a soldier and SALUTES him...then goes mommy you do it to....sooooo if you guys saw 2 girls in a white car this morning salute a guy in his drawers-it was me and Bailey-Just being patriotic.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Tracy...I'm not didn't see me...I'm officially closed off and writing...I just had to tell you that the picture in my head of you and Bailey saluting gave me the first chuckle I've had all day...

And I'm out...

tracy said...

then it was worth it Mr. Invisible.

Northern Light said...

Ah.........the Patriotic Mom story,
Tracy, I am giggling again!

Thanks to Bishop Invisible for bringing that one up.......good times!

Northern Light

hey........I am flying out to Atlanta tomorrow for the weekend and PRAYING that I am ITB on Sunday morning at service.

I hope I can find you all, recognize some and say HI !

Again Peace,

Northern Light said...

OH......EXCUSE me , might be the overload of the first dose of these meds tonight. I thought Bishop was referring to the OTHER post from days ago about the "shooting look" for you not being Patriotic, Tracy. haha

I missed that last story here today until just now......ah.
time for me to hit the sack!


Pastor Dennis said...

Awesome! That is a huge amount of revelation in so few words even with your expansion of the literal and dynamic equivalent of the original thought. Glory is all over it!

It is amazing to me; when you think about it; how Jesus and the Apostles consistently and constantly preached and taught about "the Kingdom of God". How we are to live and walk in this Kingdom/dimension, what it is like and what it's plan and purpose is. That we are to strive to live in this Kingdom/dimension by the dictates of the King or suffer the consequences (retributive rectification not eternal torment). But this is not what you here preached from the pulpits of most churches; it's "say this prayer or burn forever in hell", "fly out of here; this place is hopeless – to hell with those left behind". I don’t know where they are getting their sermons but it is not from the example of Jesus or the Apostles.

As I was reading this superb thought-for-thought version it began to become more clear to me in the section that Jesus speaks of the consequences of stepping outside or stumbling out from under the umbrella of the rule of this kingdom/dimension; (vss. 1-10) that He most likely was saying it would be better to partially walk or live by the rule of this kingdom/dimension (like a child that doesn’t know it all or even very little but yet trust and follows those with authority over them) than to continue to do or think something that would cause you to stumble, turn away, or miss the kingdom completely and suffer greatly for it. Jesus also sternly warns these rebellious stumbling ones against leading those astray that are trying to walk in what little (ones) light they have even though they may not have "all the answers" or be able to hold up against these rebellious stumbling ones cleverly devised arguments fabricated in their vain imaginations that are contrary to Kingdom dimension thinking and rule.


Pastor Dennis said...

I ment to add to my last comment after "it would be better to partially walk or live by the rule of this kingdom/dimension" (as if living with only part of your members)


Izumi/JOY said...

6. ... "or causes them to grow up and be less than what they should have been." Wow. Great line!

Ditto for v.10, "It is simply unacceptable to damage one of these little ones…or even to resent or despise them in any way..."

v.11 - I didn't know that!

v.19 - I like it; poetic.

v.21 - Jesus musta really loved Peter. The fact that he had to ask, implies that it might have been a new concept & he wasn't that into forgiveness. Plus, I wonder if it ever crossed his mind that maybe he could be the offender & the recipient of the same grace?

The way it's written here, seems like Jesus humored his questions. (very cool)

Izumi/JOY said...

This morning, I was thinking about the exchange between Jesus & Peter in chapter 16, v. 23. The Lord's tone seemed so much different than v. 22, here.

Today, I'm wondering if Jesus told Peter to get behind Him, knowing goodness & mercy were following closely.