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The Calm in the Storm



31 He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that 
 come and nest in its branches."
Good Morning my beloved, 
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a tremendous honor and privilege  to be able to come together today and study God's Word. I praise God for those of you who have been moved to join us today, whether it's your first time or you are a faithful member of our family in Christ. I also would like to thank each of you who have faithfully continued to share the ministry website, and social media platforms with your family and friends. God has continued to bless your efforts in reaching the lost and the deceived. We are reaching people and places never before imagined, bringing people to Christ. I ask you will continue to join us in praying, asking God to continue to bless this ministry in reaching the lost, the broken and the hopeless. May He use each of us to reach the lost, that they come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

If you have recently received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please write or text to let us know so that we can pray for you. Also, let us know if you would allow us to share your story. Each one of us have been blessed with a unique testimony. We'd love to hear from you.

I believe there is new day is dawning in the Kingdom of God, one of Truth and expansion! We've all heard the idiom "the calm before the storm," but I believe in this season of chaos and disruption, God is calling His people to be the calm in the storm, to broaden our horizons and pay attention to the opportunities that  are emerging in the midst of this disruptive period to bring others to Christ. These are certainly tumultuous and unstable times, mask or no mask, vaccinate or no. The never ending cycle of news of a new variant of the Covid virus. Monkey Pox. Housing and interest rates, food and utility prices continuing to rise. Gun violence, wildfires and climate change, it just goes on and on. Bracing ourselves for the next big catastrophic event, many of us are asking the questions, "Will life ever return to normal? And if so, when?" For those of us who are in Christ, asking "Could this be the end? How much longer can God allow this to go on?" God is sovereign, always in control, even when we can not see it.

God does have a harvest planned at the end of human civilization as we know it. However, no one knows the day nor the hour. Until that time, the children of God and the children of Satan will all exist together on the harvest field of the earth. Today, Satan is working in the field, sowing seeds which lead to judgment. I'm sure we've all wondered why doesn’t God just take out sinners right now? After all, that's a fair question and we know He has the power to do it. While we are still in the age of grace, Jesus is using His people to plant seeds of redemption and at such a time, He will call them to Himself, to follow Him.

Jesus used parables to teach spiritual truth about the kingdom of God in a way that people could relate to, understand and remember. In our last message, we looked at the end of the age, a time that Jesus describes as a terrible time of judgment for all of the children of Satan. The children of God, who have been forgiven will however, experience a much different reality, one of great joy. 

 Let us pray

Heaven Father,

Father, we thank You for Your Word. Help us to see, that in spite of the resistance and opposition, Your kingdom is going to grow and grow. What a tremendous honor and privilege it is to play a small part in Your plan so big. Thank You for reminding us that as society seems to be spiraling out of control, evil and persecution is ever increasing as the Gospel is being rejected, that You are in control. Thank You for the blessed assurance of knowing how it's all going to end, Christ will reign and Satan and sin will be destroyed. We are so grateful that You have revealed to us this profound truth as we look forward with anticipation of the great things which are to come. May it all be for Your glory and Christ's sake.
We pray this in Christ's name 

Today's Message: The Calm in the Storm

Because the expectations of the disciples were much different, they never quite understood what they were seeing even though He would tell them again and again. In fact, all the way into the book of Acts they are still asking Him, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" You can imagine their confusion when instead of Him talking about what He would do to them, He began talking about what they would do to Him. Telling them, "They’re going to kill Me." This was not the picture of had of the Messiah, Who would come and established His kingdom in glory and in power, destroying all of the rebels and unbeliever who turned their backs on God.

Open your Bibles with me to the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 13:31-32. I invite you to follow along with me as I read them. Let us open our hearts for what the Spirit of God has to say to each of us. 

"He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."

After the crucifixion of Jesus, as you can imagine, the disciples were very confused, unable to see how this would all play out in the growth of the church. How often is God working in our lives today, in ways we can't imagine, ways that do not look like what we expect? How He can use one small person, like you or me, to greatly impact the kingdom of heaven, by placing us in the right place at the right time.

I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8, when God tells us "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord." God is infinitely wiser and His plans are more complex than our imaginations and are well beyond the ability of our finite minds to unravel. With government being so powerful, most of the world is rejecting the Gospel message, and the presence of evil is so strong, how can we possibly have any influence on the world, when we're out numbered?  No matter how weak, ill-equipped or insignificant we may feel, we can rely on the power of God. We have the assurance that God will accomplish His good plan in and through our lives.

Scripture does not record that Jesus explained this parable to the disciples, it wouldn't have been necessary since its meaning was self-evident. Fortunately, He gave us someone to explain them to us, the Holy Spirit, who helps us understand the mind of God as revealed in the Word of God. 

With that in mind, let's look at verse 31, " He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field." The parable is not an exaggeration or Jesus was wrong, as many critics who want to attack the Bible would have us believe. Now and in past generations, witnesses have testified to the fact that they grow to be 12-15 feet high.

A mustard seed is not the smallest seed on earth, wild orchid seeds are smaller and weighs just 10 billionths of an ounce, which critic are again happy to point out, claiming either Jesus was wrong. This is what is called biblical or cultural accommodation, where the Bible writer doesn’t necessarily say what’s literally true, but what is thought to be true, just to be relevant.

Verse 32, " and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

A mustard seed is the smallest of the garden herbs, or "lachanōn," it refers to garden-herbs,or vegetable sown purposely as a crop to be eaten as opposed to wild plants. And, it is one His hearers would have been very familiar with. As a footnote, of all of the seeds that were at that time, and are sown today in the east to produce edible crop, such as barley, wheat, lentils and beans, mustard seed is still the smallest.

That small seed when it is planted, grows up to be one of the largest plants. For that reason, it can look more like a tree than a bush. This parable is significant, because it not only explains the power of the kingdom of God on a worldwide level but also on a more personal level, the power of the kingdom of God within each and every believer. In other words, small things can and do have a much larger impact, producing extensive results. Jesus is not talking about a literal tree, but proverbially about a bush that is so large birds can live in it. The word nest is the Greek verb "kataskénoó," means to encamp, or take up quarters. It's a very intense term that means to make their home.

Some have attempted to interpret the birds to represent demons as they do in other parables, there's no reason to assume that is the case here. As the plant grew, the birds built their nest in the tree which represents protection, safety and refuge which a mother bird provides for her young. In the same way, as the kingdom of God grows, it provides a sanctuary, for those who seek shelter in it.

Jesus was explaining to His listeners that their way was not God’s way. They thought God would send a warrior king to rescue them from the Roman government, to set them free by military force. Jesus came as a baby, raised as a carpenter's son. In humility and meekness, without pomp and circumstance, He stepped onto the scene. He started out speaking to small groups of people, He added a handful of followers.  Without warning, as more and more people came, the kingdom began to grow. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, full of God’s Holy Spirit they began to spread the truth of God’s kingdom. The kingdom grew and grew until it eventually became worldwide. Today, the Kingdom has continued to grow just as Jesus said it would!

Like the mustard seed, growth is slow and steady, eventually it outgrows all the other seeds, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will evangelize all nations, overcoming all other religions. In other words, don’t ever underestimate the power of the kingdom of God! That’s really the lesson of the parable. 

In this world, surrounded by evil, it's easy to get discouraged. No matter how hard we try, the enemies of tempt us to compromise, to conform to worldly standards in order to thwart our purpose. They're always seems to be building a wall too tall to climb over. If we feel that way, can you imagine how they felt after Jesus was crucified? First John the Baptist, now Jesus. Just when it looked like everything was really about to happen, they killed Him. Imagine the sense of defeat, utter hopelessness.

You and I are part of God’s kingdom. Somewhere along the way, the good seed was planted, perhaps you’ve experienced the gospel through the transformed life of those around you, or a chance encounter, maybe you attended church where there was the teaching of the Word of God, maybe you’re married to a believer, or your children are believers but the seed was planted. The blessing that God pours on them splatters on you. You can't see it, you may not even notice it, but you have been made a partaker of the Holy Spirit, not that you possess it, but you've tasted it by association. The work of God was going on in your life in its supernatural way through the energizing of the Holy Spirit.

Then, one day, you place your trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of him. God’s kingdom then continues to grow in the life of each believer producing good fruit, good for making more fruitful plants. That's the blessing of God poured out of the one who receives the gospel by faith in Christ, your response to God's Word. Salvation is the blessing, the precious gift, of the gospel falling upon those who respond through faith in Christ. 

The Kingdom of God is here. Inside of you and me. It may not look the way we'd expect, it might seem insignificant, but it will change the world.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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