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The Journal

United by Christ's love

Dear Friends, Today we celebrate Australia Day and remember as the Psalmist says 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. The first thing we remember about Australia is that God is the owner of this land and this means that it is a gift from Him to us. We are to live in this land in a way which honours the Lord and respects every person we encounter. As our society becomes more fractured through various identity groups we find that we have less in common and we need something to draw us together. More than ever it is knowing the Lord and being part of His family that creates community and identity. As we celebrate Australia Day may we treat all Australians with respect and dignity and may we care for this nation in a way which shows good stewardship and honours the Lord. Our reading for today continues our series in the parables of Jesus. In Matthew 13:44-52 we learn that the Kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field. When we experience faith in Jesus He fills us with great joy and His presence and we refuse to hold back anything which would stop us from receiving this great gift from God. The great barrier to God’s Blessing is often unforgiveness which prevents us from enjoying the blessing of God. As God has been gracious to us may we show His grace and mercy to others. May God help us to bless us with Christ in 2020. God’s Blessing David 

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Parable of the mustard seed and yeast

Dear Friends, In Matthew 13:31-35 there are 2 parables - the mustard seed and the yeast and both are not easy to interpret. The popular interpretation of the first parable of the mustard seed is that the Kingdom of God grows from humble beginnings into something good and great which provides refuge for the birds. There is much to commend this view. However there are some jarring notes. A mustard seed doesn’t grow into a large tree even though the seed is small. Also the birds in the parable of the sower were symbols of the devil. Further in the OT there is a picture of a tree representing a king and that is Nebuchadnezzar - see Daniel 4:20-21. The tree represented his arrogance and finally he was chopped down. Jesus may be saying that on earth the church can appear big and successful but it may not be. The second parable about yeast also has a jarring note because yeast is usually a symbol of evil - see 1 Cor 5:6-9. So if this view is followed then we are reminded that the church will never be perfect on earth. That gives a more realistic view and helps us to love the church despite all its failing. The church shows signs of the Kingdom of God but is not totally synonymous because it is a mixture of good and evil. Please reflect further. God’s Blessing Rev David O'Mara 

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Parable of the weeds

Dear Friends, In Matthew 13:24-30 & 13:36-43 Jesus explains how there is evil present in the world. This can often be a presenting issue for people struggling to come to faith in Jesus. They find it difficult to reconcile a loving God with evil present. But in this very important parable Jesus explains that we need to be patient because there will be an ultimate division between evil and good. Jesus promises that justice will be done and we see that at the Cross because at the cross evil and sin have been judged. We must be patient and trust God’s timing even when others ridicule faith or speak in a derogatory manner towards our Lord. Jesus explains the meaning of this parable and the one who sows the good seed is Jesus. The field is the world and the good seed stands for those who belong to the kingdom and the weeds are the people of the evil one and the enemy is the devil. The harvest represents the end of the age when those who are the Lord’s people will be vindicated. We of course are only good seed because of God’s mercy. Today is a day of opportunity and I urge you to cry out to the Lord for His mercy. Don’t delay ! God’s Blessing Rev David O'Mara 

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Parable of the Sower

Dear Friends, We thank the Lord for this new opportunity to serve Him in the year of our Lord 2020. During January we will study 6 different parables. They focus us on what our King Jesus is like and what He requires. The key question in the Bible is always :- Who is God ? meaning what is He like. The more we understand the character of our God the more we will grow in our relationship with Him. Today in Matthew 13:1-23 the emphasis is on the power of the seed to effect growth. In this parable we can see varying responses to God’s Word so we should not be discouraged when many seem uninterested or reject the Word of God. Jesus encourages us that there will be those who will respond to the Word of God and grow in faith. I am very encouraged that over the last 4 years we have seen our sowing or spreading of God’s Word increase and though we have seen many who have said “no thank you” we have seen others who have responded to the Word of God by hearing and understanding and this has led to spiritual growth. Keep sharing God’s Word with people and trust God’s power to open people’s hearts to His love. God’s Blessing Rev David O'Mara 

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