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Friday, July 7, 2006

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Amos 8:4-6, 9-12
Psalm 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131
Matthew 9:9-13

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"I have come to call, not the self-righteous, but sinners." —Matthew 9:13

Jesus has announced the arrival of a new kingdom. Those in this kingdom are happy because they have freely chosen poverty and persecution (Mt 5:3, 10). Unlike any other kingdom, its Founder has the authority to forgive sins (Mt 9:6). New people are joining and leading this kingdom. For example, in the new kingdom, possibly the most despised of people, a tax collector, is the first evangelist (Mt 9:9ff). This kingdom is so new and different it often upsets religious folks' long-held beliefs.

The new kingdom not only assembles in the temple or synagogues but in houses and hearts. The kingdom is full of sick people and sin-sick people. They need a doctor more than a doctrine and mercy more than sacrifice (Mt 9:13). In the new kingdom, you don't get credit for anything but God gets credit for everything. This kingdom is in this world but not of this world (Jn 18:36). It seems "complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation it is the power of God" (1 Cor 1:18). People laugh at you for being in the kingdom, but you consider it a privilege to suffer for the kingdom (2 Thes 1:5; Phil 1:29). "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Mt 6:33, NIV).

Prayer:  Father, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Mt 6:10, NIV).

Promise:  "I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for Your commands." —Ps 119:131

Praise:  Sylvia had to live out of her car for more than a year, but the Lord met all of her needs day by day.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our book, Living in Reality, or our four-tape audio series starting with AV 38-1 or two-tape video series starting with V-38.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2005

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