A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Kingdom Living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kingdom Living. Show all posts

January 7, 2022

The Kingdom of God Is the Answer To All Things!

As I contemplate all the disorder and chaos that the world has seen throughout time [and in the last two years of our lifetimes], I cannot help but discern how far mankind has fallen from God's original purpose for us. We were designed as images of the Godhead; to be a branch or colony of God's Heavenly Kingdom, maintaining Heaven's order here on earth. It didn't take long for the one who rebelled against God in Heaven to reassert himself here on earth and to infect the nature of man with a disrespect for divine law and moral code. And very quickly, men lost the idea of Kingdom living as they developed societies and cultures that served themselves.

Yet, our Creator never abandoned His desire to reconcile our relationship, nor did He give up on His ultimate goal of establishing His Kingdom colony here on earth. In fact, He was so committed to us and His plan that He sent a part of Himself, His own Son, as a guarantee that those who would believe in Him, and pledge their loyalty, could never be separated from His Kingdom. And no matter what the world sowed, there would be those who would stay dedicated to living, promoting, and executing the Kingdom.

And what exactly does that look like here in the midst of a contentious twenty-first Century? First of all, I think we need to come to an understanding that the "Kingdom of God" is not just a "Church" concept. It was Jesus's absolute goal and the answer to everything in the world! In the Sermon on the Mount, in the Book of Matthew, we see Jesus's treatise on the Kingdom of God. And I do mean "treatise", which is defined as "a written work dealing formally and systematically with a subject"; in this case, Matthew exhibits how God orders His Kingdom government in Heaven and intends for it to be mirrored here on earth.

So, all that's conceptual ... what should it look like in reality? Everything in our lives should come under the control of the Kingdom of God. That includes our personal lives and how we live them; our economy; our education systems; our society and how we treat each other; our international relations with other nations -- everything! It's easy, as modern Western Christians, to consign the Kingdom to the Church, but that limits it. The Kingdom, as Jesus saw it, was absolute; it gathered all of life and earth's concerns under its umbrella, and established a divine order by which it all functions -- just as it does in Heaven. 

As I listened to President Biden's live speech on the anniversary of the January 6th event at the Capitol, I couldn't help but think how much we need that understanding of the Kingdom now! Our society needs a transformation to "Kingdom living" in the way we view each other and our differences in politics, lifestyles, beliefs, and opinions. There is room for dissimilar viewpoints, but Jesus introduced ethics and moral law into His discussion of Kingdom on earth. His message in the Sermon on the Mount was grounded in the transformational Kingdom Thought that there is freedom for all men in the principles and solutions of Kingdom living. 

The principles of the Kingdom of God transform hearts, which transforms the social order of all men on earth. We can discover the fullness of life [and all it offers] when we organize and construct our lives around the Kingdom. During the centuries, we have lost the idea that the Kingdom of God provides the answers to all things. Our lives no longer function with the Kingdom as our goal or our main influence. We have given that authority to other men. But I am happy to say that there is a remnant that is re-discovering what man and the Church lost. We are redefining our lives, as our spirits recognize the fullness of all it represents; that it is more than our present sanctuary and security; more than just a future hope. The Kingdom of God contains the totality of God to meet the totality of man's needs NOW!

If we ever discover and step into the truth that the Kingdom of God is the answer to the chaos in the world, and that we can be transferred from that disorder and chaos into the realm and order of God's Kingdom, then the deception of the world will be clearly seen for what it is... the strategies of those who seek their own power and influence over the masses in order to control the way the world systems operate. And they control it through self-centered love, fomenting division on many levels ... race, gender, age, wealth, education, opportunity, and social class. All that creates disorder, and the foundation of God's Kingdom in everything is order.

When we can be true imitators of Christ [which was the goal of our original design] by becoming Kingdom citizens, we will find purpose and order in our lives -- even through our trials and battles. That's what brings meaning to our lives and the answers we seek in the midst of our journey. We are not promised the fullness of the Kingdom until Christ returns and we are translated into bodies as glorious as His, and we enter into our citizenship in the Heavenly Kingdom. But until then, we can be intentional about Kingdom living here on earth ... 1) understanding where we are now and that nothing in this life is accidental or incidental; we are here for a purpose; 2) believing with a spirit of expectancy that God will honor His promises to those who have faith in His Son; 3) stepping out in faith and obedience to God's moral laws; 4) knowing that our names are written in God's Book of Life, along with our victories and His grace in our times of need, which are a part of this life; 5) being willing to live separately from the world; being intentional about being righteous, even when you're swimming against the current of the world; 6) putting God's opinion before man's; refusing to submit to the fear of man, and what people think of us, instead preferring to please God in all matters; 7) and finally, we can choose to act as a Kingdom citizen in all our circumstances -- at our jobs, in our families, in our marriages, and even in the midst of the evil we see in the world.

The bottom line is this ... we are no different than the Disciples and the followers of Jesus in that first Century. We find ourselves as outcasts in a world that defiles the Divine nature of God. But there's good news, too! We are part of the remnant that God has always chosen to represent Him throughout history. We are coming into the fullness of our identity and our purpose, and we are not afraid to be deliberate about declaring that it is the Person of Jesus Christ -- not the religious institutions of Western Christianity, the traditions of Eastern mysticism, nor the New Age belief systems of humanism and relativism -- it is Jesus who is the manifestation of God on earth. It is the Person of Jesus Christ who unlocks the prison doors of spiritual darkness and leads mankind to freedom from his self-imposed blindness. 

Jesus came, bringing the Kingdom of God with Him, and challenged us to establish it and expand it until He returns. I believe our time to capitalize on that directive is now. Have we reached that point in history when His return is imminent? When the Kingdom of God finally overthrows the kingdom of darkness? No one can know for sure. But the distinction between the two kingdoms is clearly understood by those called as Ambassadors to the King here on earth. We must come together in acknowledging that nothing in the world BUT the the King of kings, in all His demonstration -- is the only answer. Politics, religion, technology, science, and the authority of man will never solve our problems. Only our Lord and Savior, Himself! I pray that this generation will be the one that ushers in His power, His glory, and His Kingdom forever! 

Revelation 11:15    “The Kingship of the world now belongs to our Lord and to His Messiah, and He shall be King for timeless ages!”

April 25, 2020

Through A Kingdom Lens: Rediscovering What The Church Lost

     I am proud to announce that my new book, Through A Kingdom Lens: Rediscovering What The Church Lost has finally been published, and is now available on Amazon. I want you to know that it is uncomfortable for me to promote this book for my own benefit. It has always been my purpose to write it to encourage those people (both Believers and non-Believers, alike) who have struggled with knowing their purpose in life.
     So, why does someone like me, just an ordinary follower of Christ, decide to write a book about the Kingdom of God? I will tell you that I am no Bible scholar. I have no religious titles attached to my name and hold no theological degrees. The simple explanation is that I was made to write for the Lord. It delights Him when I use the gift He has given me. In 2008 I received a prompting from the Holy Spirit to write this blog for Him. And now He has given me a new assignment. And with this commandment, comes my intense desire for the Body of Christ to understand the Kingdom of God from His perspective. In fact, it is essential and necessary that we see it, understand it, preach it, enter it, expand it, and establish it!
     I will admit that it has been a long personal journey for me to grasp the significance of the Kingdom in my life. I have spent many hours in deep study of God’s Word. I have engaged in exhaustive dialogues with other Kingdom-seekers, as we try to come to terms with the revelation that “the Church” has failed to equip the saints in this matter. But most of all, I have listened to the Holy Spirit’s counsel and guidance as He continues to teach me the truth of what Scripture says about the Kingdom of God.
     This book represents all that I have learned to date. I do not think the information I bring you is infallible; nor do I think it is complete. I am still on the path of revelation and knowledge about the Kingdom of God. But the impetus for this book does come from a place of deep yearning to share what I have learned because I believe it is of critical importance to the Body of Christ.
    I wrote it with the intention of encouraging all those who have wondered about the "deeper" things of their existence and their relationship with Jesus, just as I have throughout my life. It has not been a question of my faith, but rather a desire to feed that hunger inside of me for "more" than what I received from my Church's doctrine. From the moment I realized I had unanswered questions, I wasn't going to be satisfied until I received the answer from God.
     My questions began with this very important one ... What is the difference between the Gospel of Salvation and the Gospel of the Kingdom? What is the Kingdom of God, and what does it have to do with me? What do being "Born Again" and "Renewing my mind" really mean? How am I supposed to interpret Salvation, Grace, Repentance, Inheritance, and Justice in relation to the Kingdom? How do Religion and Spiritual Warfare intersect with the Kingdom? And, here is the real struggle I had ... why aren't these questions being addressed by the Shepherds of the Church, who are supposed to
"equip and train us to come together in unity of the faith and the knowledge of Jesus Christ", so that we might mature into the fullness of Christ. The problem was, I was discerning that there was knowledge of Jesus that I was missing... and I was hungry for it; I could not hope to come to the full measure of being like Christ until I received and understand all of Him!
     And, please know, that this is not an attempt to bash "The Church". It is simply a realization that, as I began to dive into Scripture for answers, that our Church and denominational doctrines didn't always accurately represent what the Word said -- or at the least, that our doctrines were based on a single verse, rather than on the context of an entire chapter or Book!
     Mind you, I have had faithful and Godly men and women in the Church who have instructed me to the best of their abilities. But I was surprised to discover that some of these teachings didn't match up with the Spirit of the Word. I don't blame them, and came to the understanding that these teachings were the result of distorted interpretations that have come down to the Church through the centuries. But now God was uncovering His Truth as He lit up the Scriptures like I'd never seen them before!
     Next, He sent people to give me a prophetic word about how He wanted me to share what He was revealing. In the middle of a small prayer group, a Pastor stopped and looked at me, and said, "You are going to write a book for God". It was that simple, yet profound. Nearly a year later, I was commenting to a very dear friend and mentor that every time I wrote about Kingdom on this blog, or walked it out, the devil make it clear he wasn't pleased. Her response? "Then I guess you better write a book!" So, I could no longer ignore God's promptings, and now you see the fruit of my labor.
     So, I hope you will read this little book with the goal of beginning your own journey into studying the Kingdom of God. Do not accept my opinions as the final word on the subject. You will find that I am forthcoming about the authors and teachers who helped me to unravel and clarify my theology. But I always took their teachings back to Scripture and let the Holy Spirit fine-tune my thinking. If nothing else, I hope that your consideration of my analysis will prompt you to do the same and begin your own study and research.
     I promise you, it will be worth your while. Because I now know, in my heart and my spirit, why we pray, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. And I want to share what I have learned from the Father with you. I pray that you will be as blessed by this book as much as I was in the process of writing it. Enjoy!

Here is the link to the book on Amazon: www.amzn.com/1734916133

Proverbs 2:3-5     Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

February 22, 2020

Sowing Into The Kingdom of God

     This is a little bit of a difficult post for me to write. Not because I do not understand the Biblical principle of Sowing and Reaping, but because it involves a struggle I have had in our ministry from its inception.
     The Lord has been good in maturing Mark and I in our ministry; enlarging the number of people who come to receive Jesus's healing at our kitchen table, as He is simultaneously expanding our territory and influence. I say this out of all humbleness, because it is all Jesus's doing. As we've been faithful to bring freedom to the captives and healing to the brokenhearted, He has given us opportunities to share the Gospel of the Kingdom -- beginning with the individuals we disciple after an Inner Healing session, to groups of people who are responding in their spirits and realizing that we are called to more than the traditional evangelizing message of Salvation.
     If you had told us six years ago that we would feel comfortable [or even have a message] to speak to groups of 50-100 people, we would have laughed. But there is a hunger in our spirits to share the direction the Lord is leading us, and it is being met by a corresponding awareness in the hearts of Believers that they want to go farther in their journey. 
     And that leads me to the subject of this post... from the beginning, we have struggled with accepting money for the ministry we provide to others. We have felt that "freely we received; freely we should give", without any thought of compensation. That just didn't feel right to our souls or spirits. After all, it always brought such a spiritual "high" to witness someone have an encounter with Jesus as He showed them He was present in a painful memory, and then walked them out of that place, pouring His blood on the pain and the situation; rendering it incapable of tormenting them again.
     How could any amount of money compare with sharing the Beloved's experience of hearing Jesus give them a new name such as "Beautiful" or "Forgiven" or "My Child"? We never wanted to give the Enemy cause to corrupt our ministry by introducing recompense into our work for the Lord. Then a very dear friend explained that she wanted to "sow into the Kingdom by sowing into our ministry". She justified her desire by saying that she believed we were expanding Kingdom territory in lives on the earth and she wanted to help contribute to that goal -- that in this season of her life, being a single mother with a new baby and a full-time job, she was not yet at liberty to "do the work that Jesus did", but she could align herself with our ministry and help us to accomplish more in reaching people with the books we buy to give during discipleship; to help buy food and supplies for the no-charge teaching/training sessions we do on Inner Healing; and help give us the opportunity to reach more people as we travel farther and farther to deliver the Gospel of the Kingdom.
     Then I stumbled across a passage in Philippians 4:14-20 that changed my selfish viewpoint to align with the perspective and will of God. Paul is writing to the community of Believers in Philippi, and says this: Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
     I began to discern that when a godly person recognizes the fruit that our ministry is producing in the lives of people, and wants to partner with us to see that fruit grow, then it not only benefits those who are receiving the ministry, but also those who sow into it! It is counted as righteousness and recorded as fruit in their account in the Book of Life. Their needs will be met because they are seeking the Kingdom of God through their contribution towards spiritual healing in the lives of others.
     The sacrifice they make through their donations is acceptable and pleasing to God, and it glorifies His Kingdom on earth when territory is conquered in Satan's kingdom of darkness. We are not independently wealthy and cannot afford to fund all that is needed to grow harvesters for God's fields. Just as Paul expressed to the Corinthians, "He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers." 
     I recognize that Mark and I may plant, but sometimes we need others to walk beside us and help us to water, so that we both might see God grow His harvest. Neither of us can take credit for the growth, because it is only God who does the growing. But it can be credited to us both that we are workers for the Kingdom. The bottom line is this: we are all to be sowing into the Kingdom, whether it is with our time, talent, or treasure. That's good ol' Church terminology; used as a vague form of inspiration to urge Christians to serve each other in the Church. 
     But if we ever understand that it could be a viable slogan for going outside the building to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom through the works that Jesus did, and to advance God's agenda among the nations, then we might comprehend just how we can partner to sow what we've been give to steward. Who am I to deny someone who sees God at work through our ministry and just wants to sow into Him? It's not that I will ever solicit their tithe or donation, but rather [like Paul] I delight in seeing them receive their reward for honoring what the Lord has put on their heart. 
     Mark and I have learned to swallow our false pride and accept the occasional donation when it is offered out of a sincere desire to prosper the Kingdom. It is always a pleasure to be able to do more than we hoped, and see a greater outcome than we expected. The truth is, we can reach more people and expand the territory for God, when we partner with others. So, although we are always content in whatever situation we find ourselves, when He blesses our ministry through the generosity of another Believer, we know they are being blessed too. And the Enemy has just lost more ground!

2 Corinthians 9:6     Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.

February 9, 2020

A Restful Soul and a Light Burden

     I sense that many people, like myself, are in need of rest for their souls. In addition, the burdens of this life on earth, let alone the obedience as a Christian, can weigh heavy on our hearts and spirits. Many times, I have gone to Matthew 11:28-30 to find solace: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
     I have never despaired of the calling on my life to bring an encounter with Jesus to the life of someone who needs healing from the wounds of this world. But as a friend reminded me the other day, "Even Jesus had to take a break from the demands on Him, and remove Himself for periods of rest". Don't get me wrong, in no way do I think that my work for the broken-hearted compares to what Jesus accomplished. But, as the Lord increases the number of people who find their way to our door, Mark and I do get weary in our flesh, souls, and spirits. 
     We do recognize that we need rest. And I used to find comfort in these verses, thinking that they were telling me that Jesus invites everyone who senses they can't ease their burdens on their own, to come to Him. He offers rest for our souls, which often overshadow and smother our spirits, limiting our ability to receive the gifts of the Spirit: joy, love, patience,  peace, gentleness, kindness and self-control, or discipline. He invites us to learn from Him as He models how to carry out our work for the Kingdom without feeling like we have a millstone around our neck.
     While I believe that interpretation to be valid, I have recently discerned what I think is another layer to this familiar passage.  Previously in Matthew 11, Jesus had spoken that the Kingdom of Heaven had suffered violence and the violent were taking it by force (verse 12). I believe Jesus was implying that the Kingdom of Heaven was being pressed into by men forcing their way in because they had been denied entrance by the religious restrictions and rules of the Pharisees. This resulted in a religious burden for those seeking to get closer to their God. 
     "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden"... all who feel tired and worn-out from trying to meet all the criteria of being pronounced worthy of entering even the Temple, let alone the Kingdom of God. From the time Moses came down off the mountain with the stone tablets, some 1400+ years before, God's ten commandments for righteous living had multiplied exponentially, being mingled with oral traditions and the rabbi's written commentaries until the burden of meeting the standards of the religious leaders was nearly hopeless.
     "I will give you rest... you can recover your strength from the endless burden of meeting those standards. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls... Submit to His authority (yoke) and learn from Him how to walk out righteousness; sharing not only His Kingdom's system and structure, but the same rest for their souls that being aligned with the Father's kingdom lent Him. Jesus's heart and the Father's are in communion, yielding a gentle, submissive and obedient spirit; unburdened and rested.
     For my yoke is easy and my burden is light... Again, the submission to His authority (yoke) is easy, and His burden (discipleship) is light. Unlike the religious path of the Pharisees, following Jesus is easy and no burden, at all.  
     The fact that Chapter 12 is full of examples of these "rules" that the Pharisees placed on men -- no harvesting of the grain the Disciples ate on the Sabbath; no healing on the Sabbath of the man with the withered hand; no casting out demons by the Spirit of God -- is evidence to me that the "burden" Jesus referred to as being "heavy" was, indeed, all the religious rules that made it difficult for men to seek the Kingdom of God.
     So, as I contemplate my recent weariness, I must admit that a good portion of it comes from the burden of having shown Christians the glory of God healing the souls and spirits of Believers, only to have it embraced as Truth, then watch that enthusiasm evaporate as they slip back into their religious traditions. 
     I should not be surprised, though. As I read the messages to the churches in Revelation 2-3, Jesus clearly warns that the Body of Christ will not walk the straight and narrow path. Only a remnant will take His yoke upon themselves and learn from Him. But the harvest is great, so we will continue to labor in His fields, presenting the Gospel of the Kingdom and our King's gentle and humble heart. And we will rest when we can and never resist harnessing ourselves to Him and His authority.

Revelation 3:1-3     I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.  So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent...

January 11, 2020

Jesus's Message To Those Who Refuse To Receive the Kingdom of God

     There are a lot of quotes from Jesus that, frankly, are quite alarming and terrifying. They challenge us as Christians and Believers, and serve to put us on notice that our professed faith does not make us immune from judgment. But perhaps the two in Matthew 10 and 11 should make us all sit up and take notice.
     In Matthew 10:5-15, Jesus sends out His twelve disciples, instructing them to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven has arrived. They are told to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and cast our demons. They are told that when they come to a town to find out "who is worthy", and to stay there. They are to let their peace come upon the house if the inhabitants are worthy; and if anyone will not receive them or listen to their message about the Kingdom, then they are to shake off the dust from their feet and leave that town. And here is the warning: Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
     Before we dissect the meaning of that dire warning, we need to understand what Jesus meant by being "worthy". According to Strong's Concordance it means to be found righteous on the grounds of being fit for the Good News of the Kingdom. And "being fit" means a willingness to receive the Kingdom; to "see" it and "enter" it. And as we know from John 3:1-5, Salvation is the entry point into the Kingdom. Once Saved, we are called to "do" the works of the Kingdom and take back dominion over the earth [defeating the devil's kingdom], starting in people's lives by healing them, casting out the demons that have kept them in bondage, raising them from the dead [if it is before their time], and teaching them to share this Good News and do the works of the Kingdom themselves, thereby expanding it until it covers the earth. 
     But Jesus says that if a town is witness to these evidences that the Kingdom is here, and they refuse to listen or receive it, then they will be judged harsher than Sodom and Gomorrah. Wow! Most of us know that the Bible tells us how wicked and evil Sodom and Gomorrah were and that God destroyed Sodom. But do you know the extent of their wickedness? The ancient Book of Jasher gives us more historical insight into the deeds of Sodom. [NOTE: I am not saying that the Book of Jasher is inspired Scripture! But it is referenced in both the Old and New Testaments as a book of historical record. I have found that it fills in some of the gaps in the historical narrative of the Bible, and I believe God inspired the writers to reference it so we would have additional information to illuminate His inspired Word. Remember: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search it out {Proverbs 25:2)].
Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
So, back to the story of Sodom. In the Bible, we tend to see Sodom as one city, but actually it was a kingdom. And our Christian doctrine primarily describes the sin of Sodom as either rape/sodomy, lack of hospitality, or pride. But it was much more! According to Jasher, the cities of Sodom had four judges to the four cities. These four judges issued a decree that beds were to be erected in the streets of the cities, and if a man came to these places, the citizens were to lay hold of him and force him to lie down on the bed. They would measure him according to the length of the bed, and if he was shorter, they would stretch him until he died. If he was longer, they would fold the bed up and crush him to death. 

     Another favorite pastime of Sodom was equally appalling. If a poor man came to their land and entered their cities, they would give him silver and gold, then decree that no one in the city could give him anything to eat. Should he die from starvation, then the inhabitants of the city would come and lay claim to their silver and gold and fight over the man's clothes and belongings. 
     Then there is the story of Paltith, a daughter of Lot that we don't read about in the Bible. During Lot's sojourn in Sodom, one of the men of Sodom takes Paltith as his wife. The Book of Jasher says that Paltith's soul was so moved with pity for a man who was being starved in Sodom that she secretly fed him bread and water, and he was revived. When it was discovered that Paltith was aiding the man, she was seized and taken before the judges of Sodom and was burned to death. Another young woman attempted to aid another traveler in the city of Admah [in the kingdom of Sodom] and her judgment was to be covered with honey from head to foot and placed before bee hives. Jasher records "the young woman cried out... and her cries ascended to Heaven. And the Lord was provoked at this and at all the works of the cities of Sodom, for they had abundance of food, and had tranquility amongst them, and still would not sustain the poor and the needy, and in those days their evil doings and sins became great before the Lord. And the Lord sent for two of the angels that had come to Abraham's house, to destroy Sodom and its cities." And that's where our Bible picks up the story.
     It is hard to imagine anything more despicable than these works of the cities of Sodom, and they will certainly be judged for their evil ways. Yet, Jesus [in Matthew 10] says on the Day of Judgment, it will be more bearable for Sodom than for towns where the people will not receive or listen to the Gospel of the Kingdom! The cities of Sodom did not get the opportunity to hear about the Kingdom or see the works of the Kingdom displayed. Today, Christians DO have that opportunity! And I know the frustration of trying to share the Kingdom message and its works with people I think are worthy, and having it rejected. But when I see the judgment that is coming against those who refuse what Jesus commanded, it breaks my heart.
     And if you doubt the truth of this warning, Jesus makes it again in Matthew 11:20-24! He warns the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because they witnessed the mighty works of the Kingdom of God, yet they refused to repent -- which is refusing to change the way they think and "see" and "enter" the Kingdom of God which was being presented right before their eyes. Again, He tells them it will be more bearable for the evil towns of Tyre and Sidon, and more tolerable for the land of Sodom, than for these cities who were blessed with confirmation of the Kingdom.
     But now, I have to ask ... is it any different for us today? Won't be held to the same standards as Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum? Won't the same judgement be issued for those who have seen evidence of the miracles of healing, and the casting out of demons, yet refuse to step into the Kingdom and continue the works of Jesus as He commands in the Great Commission? Yes, we have the benefit of Salvation, but Jesus commanded more. He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. He didn't stress Salvation as our goal. We can't even see or perceive or understand the Kingdom without Salvation, so it is the essential first step. He tells us to seek the Kingdom first! Salvation is a given at that point. There is more to our purpose, and it is to advance the Kingdom through the works He did and to share the Good News that these works are part of the Kingdom; restoring us back to our original state of dominion. 
     It is time we take these warnings in Matthew 10 and 11 to heart. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We are not exempt from the judgments He decreed over the people in the Book of Matthew. I pray that a holy fire of revelation and faith in the promises of the Kingdom of God will sweep our land. We have much need of repentance and an acceptance of the Message of the Kingdom. We need to not only hear it and receive it, but do it! It is time to preach it, teach it, equip and train! 

John 12:48        If you reject Me and refuse to follow My words, you already have a judge. The message of truth I have given you will rise up to judge you at the Day of Judgment.  

December 17, 2019

"As You Go..."

     The Passion Translation of Matthew 10:7-8 has become the framework of how Mark and I live our lives ... And as you go, preach this message: ‘Heaven’s kingdom realm is accessible, close enough to touch.’ You must continually bring healing to lepers and to those who are sick, and make it your habit to break off the demonic presence from people, and raise the dead back to life. Freely you have received the power of the kingdom, so freely release it to others. This was part of the instruction Jesus gave the Twelve Disciples as He sent them out to display the power of God's Kingdom in the earth. It has changed how we approach each day and what we see as our purpose for being created.
     We have been blessed with the opportunity to be self-employed and to find ourselves in a variety of circumstances to walk out these instructions, as we go. This past weekend our path took us to a small Christmas show we had been invited to participate in. It wasn't our normal kind of venue, and there was more than once when we wondered if we were making the right decision from a business standpoint. But we always know that what it looks like in the natural is not always what God has in mind. So we packed up our paintings, hung them on a wall, and waited to see what God's plan was for us. As always, we dedicated ourselves to representing the Kingdom to whomever we came in contact with. And if our bank account prospered from the event, then we would have even more to praise God for.

     As it turned out, we had no success for our business, but we were greatly blessed in the Kingdom realm. We met many fascinating people, which has always been a benefit from our lifestyle and our type of business. And the Lord had much work for us to do, and it had nothing to do with selling paintings. First, we ministered to one of the gallery workers whose husband has been suffering for several years now with degenerative pain in his back. We told her we would like to have the opportunity to lay hands on his back and pray for the release of God's healing power through the Holy Spirit in us. In further talking to her, it was discovered that his father was a Freemason, and he was in possession of his father's Masonic regalia, including his Masonic ring. She was aware of the dubious reputation of Freemasonry, having been warned by a member of her Church, and now we had confirmed her suspicions. She was skeptical that her husband would receive this spiritual diagnosis of his physical condition. But she agreed to receive more information from us and to keep in touch with us about the possibilities of ministering to her husband.
     We also met with a most entertaining and charming woman who just came to support one of her artisan friends at the show. Her outgoing personality and witty humor covered what we knew were deep emotional wounds from her childhood -- some of which she shared as we got closer during the weekend. As it turned out she was a follower of Jesus, so it was easy to speak to her about His will to heal her spiritual pain and set her free. She was receptive of our message and we are hopeful that we will get the opportunity to speak more truth into her. At least we were able to connect through Jesus.
     Not so much with another of our fellow artists. We really enjoyed our time getting to know her, and as she overheard our discussions about our faith, she volunteered that she was Jewish, and we enjoyed hearing about how her family celebrated various Jewish holidays. It soon became clear that we would not be connecting with her through Jesus, as she did not understand any of our questions about what she thought about the Talmud, any of the Lord's Feasts [beyond Passover], and did not know what Messianic Judaism was all about. So we did not push or try to evangelize, we just respected where she was at, while representing our King Jesus.
     Although our weekend may not have been monetarily prosperous, we felt rich after a random conversation with one of the most successful artists at the show. She has always been courteous and the undeclared leader of that art community, with beautiful artwork on display. Until that day, we had never really been able to connect on a personal level. But like I said before, God runs His playbook His way, and we are just obedient to be ready for wherever He wants us to go. This time, our assignment was to just be patient and wait for what He had in store. This gracious artist came to us and we began a conversation, and it was soon apparent what God had in mind. As she shared her testimony of her husband's years as a pilot in the Vietnam war and how God helped her through those sleepless nights, we were able to connect by sharing our recent ministry with veterans of this era's warfare. From that moment, our conversation took on a very spiritual nature. I listened as she shared her pride in the schools her husband has built in Laos; of her grand-daughter's mission trip to Syria in which she led three Muslim men to Christ and then baptized them with water from a plastic bottle, all the while mindful that the Taliban were a constant threat to discover her work; and how this artist's faith and trust in Jesus got her through the loss of her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in a plane crash in the mountains of Colorado during a freak August snowstorm. She now ministers to those who are grieving the loss of their own loved ones, and speaks of Jesus's healing Presence.
     We sat there for more than 30 minutes, oblivious to anyone around us, and praised the Lord for what He means to us and how He has worked throughout our lives. In the end, God solidified a new relationship and friendship in Him. There is now an unbroken bond that is centered on Christ and transcends the identities the world has given us. 
     These may seem like inconsequential encounters to you, but I promise you that this weekend was not at all about the number of paintings we would sell, but instead was all about telling others about the power of the Kingdom of God in our lives. And it was an example of how it can look to preach the Good News of that Kingdom as we go into the world. We just planted the seeds and we are trusting the Holy Spirit to water them. And we will be ready to respond if that seed grows from good soil. Although the world might judge this weekend as unfruitful, we know otherwise. We have freely received the power of the Kingdom, and we will always eagerly look for the opportunities to freely give it away. Thank you, Lord!

2 Timothy 4:1-2      I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

December 11, 2019

Jesus's Gift of the Holy Spirit


     At this time of year, we Christians contemplate the gift of the Son of God to mankind. It still blows my mind that God would send a part of Himself to this earth to deliver me from the penalty of eternal death. That precious baby in the manger spent the next 30 years preparing for his short-lived ministry of three years which would change the world forever.
     But even though the Son of God only walked the earth for 33 years, He left us a gift that in many ways was His greatest act for mankind: the gift of the Holy Spirit. Yes, I know that Eternal Life is unquestionably a gift that is beyond compare, and one that will keep on giving for eternity. But note that I said the gift of the Holy Spirit was an act for mankind.  For the time that I am on this earth, the Holy Spirit is my source of power to fulfill my assignment for the Kingdom.
     Yes, we each have a purpose and an assignment. And it surpasses our salvation experience. Have you ever wondered if accepting Jesus as your Savior is the sole intention of God for your life? How many have thought that after coming to that glorious decision, you receive Christ, and then automatically begin a new life filled with a new purpose and a new way to live in this world? Are you disappointed that life still seems the same in so many ways? And how many Christians do you know who still struggle, even though they have heard it preached a dozen times or more that they are "a new creation", but have no evidence of that reality in their lives?
     I think that sometimes we believe that the importance of Jesus is summed up in His life, ministry, death, and resurrection. That seems to be where many in the Body of Christ stop in their understanding of what He has done for them. But I urge you to read John, Chapter 14, because what Jesus has to say to His disciples is just as relevant for us [and perhaps even more so, since I believe the Body of Christ has lost some of the magnitude and importance of His message].
     In this chapter, Jesus is informing the Disciples that He will soon be leaving them to return to His Father in Heaven, stressing the truth that everything He has taught them was not by His own authority, but the Father's, who dwelt in Him. Furthermore the works [miracles] Jesus had done were evidence of the power [and works] of the Father [in Jesus].
     Then Jesus says something that every Christian should rejoice in: "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father." Can you comprehend that Jesus is telling us that because we believe in Him as our Savior, we will do the works that He did, and it will be possible for the same reason it was possible for Him -- because the power of the Father is in us [to do His works]? How can that be? We have the ability to do the works of the Father -- the same works Jesus did -- because our Lord tells us that He will send a Helper to be with us forever.
    Let me continue ... Jesus says this Helper is "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." Of course, that Helper is the Holy Spirit, which is the very breath of the Father. So, just like Jesus, we have the power of the Father dwelling in us to do His works. Then Jesus tells them, "I will not leave you as orphans" And here is where I think that we 21st Century believers run into a stumbling block. I believe we often act like orphans. And here is why ...
     In John 14 Jesus tells the Disciples, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me." I will tell you that I am astounded at the number of Christians who do not know the Word; who do not read, let alone study and know their Bible. We act like orphans who don't know we are part of God's Kingdom family even though we are saved, which gives us the right to enter the Kingdom as sons and daughters of the King! (Read John 3:5).
     Have you ever tried to give your theological view to another Christian that, based on your salvation, you are now an ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven; stationed here to represent your King's way of living, and have been given an assignment to continue His works on the earth to defeat the works of the devil and reclaim dominion of the earth as God intended in Genesis? Well, I have, and the question I usually get is, "Can you show me where it says that in the Bible"? At that moment, I know they have not read the Word for themselves, nor have they received revelation from the Holy Spirit. And you don't have to be a biblical scholar, having spent years studying the Scriptures. Just read the Book of Matthew and it should open the eyes of your heart to see the truth of the Kingdom and our purpose! I do not put myself forward as someone special or anointed; I am just an obedient follower of Christ who one day woke up with a hunger to know, for myself, what the Bible could reveal to me. And I do not credit my human mind, but the mind and the heart of the Holy Spirit to show me what I could not discern on my own.
     How many of you, like me, sat in churches for years and were never encouraged to read the Word for ourselves or to seek a relationship with the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus calls "the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." Is the Body of Christ willing to be taught? Do they hunger to know and remember all that Jesus has said to us through His Word? Sometimes I wonder. Because the concept of the Kingdom is not that hard to discover if you spend anytime at all with the Holy Spirit in the Bible! And just because I can't give you Chapter and verse that I'm an ambassador of the Kingdom, etc., does not mean that my theological view of the Kingdom and my position and responsibilities to my King (stated above) are not the truth. 
     So, I will state Proverbs 25:2 again, as I have so many times before, It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search it out. That's Chapter and verse. but are they going to accept that word to mean that it is incumbent upon us to not only read the Word, But how many will seek the counsel and direction from the Holy Spirit to connect the dots in all of Scripture to receive greater revelation than just what we've heard someone else preach or teach? For instance, to even comprehend this verse in Proverbs it means we have to understand that we are "kings and priests" as is written in Revelation 5:10, And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth (KJV).
     In summary, the Lord had three years to spend with the Disciples to teach them all the Father wanted them to know and to do. Knowing that He would be crucified, resurrected, and returning to the Father, Jesus made sure to let His Disciples know that He would not leave them alone; that He would send the Holy Spirit to help them continue God's plan to dwell in them and give them the power to do His works and defeat the devil, whom Jesus called "the ruler of the world" in John 14:30. Nothing has changed. He still sends the Holy Spirit to those who are called His disciples. It's the greatest gift He could give us this side of Eternity. And we have all of our lives to receive this teaching!
     I pray that the Body of Christ will celebrate not only the birth of the Christ child this season, but will seek greater understanding of the Kingdom of God through the Word of our Lord. It is my prayer that all who love Jesus will embrace the gift of the authority and power of God [in us] to grow us in the wisdom and the knowledge of the height, the breadth, the width, the depth and the immeasurable revelation of the Holy Spirit to guide us to seek His Kingdom. It's more than we've thought, folks. Salvation is the entry point into the Kingdom. There is more for us to do in this life! Do not put a limit on your purpose based on your denominational doctrines, religious mindsets, or the fear that you might be deceived. You have an assignment! And if you are seeking the Kingdom, the Holy Spirit will be faithful to reveal it according to the righteous desires of your heart. Trust Him and receive Jesus's gift to faithful men on the earth. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

Acts 1:8     But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

November 29, 2019

Psalm 95:2-3

Let us come before His presence with a song of thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with songs.
For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods

     I am definitely experiencing this Thanksgiving season with unrivaled joy and praise for my Lord! Mark and I just returned from a four-day retreat in which we worked with others to minister to 37 military veterans and I got to see 24 of them have an encounter with the Risen Christ! Nothing can surpass that spiritual high of seeing so much pain from the devil being washed away by the Living Presence of Jesus! And I am praying that this experience only multiplies in the Thanksgivings to come.
     Although not everyone has the opportunity [or the desire] to do this Kingdom work, we should all be wary of shortchanging our God with our gratitude. We all need to remember that the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  It is easy to give thanks for those things that come easily -- our family, friends, our health, our job, God's provision.  But notice that Paul said everything!  
     So, what exactly does that mean? Are we supposed to give thanks for the minor stuff like our aches and pains, the difficult people in our lives, the mounting bills on our desk?  And, Paul couldn't possibly mean that we're supposed to give thanks for the sinful world we see all around us -- the immoral culture, the apostate Church, and the escalating evil that abounds in the world, can he?
     Instead of focusing on all the pain and sadness and anxiety that all those things -- both great and small -- bring to our mind and hearts, wouldn't it be nice this Thanksgiving to actually put into practice the words of Psalm 95?  To come before His presence with shouts of joy and songs, in full spiritual recognition that no matter what is going on in our lives or in the world, He is a great God and a great King above all gods?
     You see, I think we Christians tend to give thanks for all the things that we can see or have taken notice of.  But when we thank Him for EVERYTHING, we begin to see Him for Who He is and all that He has done.  So what does that really look like?  
     Have you ever thought about thanking Him for all the times He said, "No", and for unanswered prayer because it not only made you depend on Him more, but humbled you to admit that He knew what was best for you?  What about thanking Him for the things He withheld from you, and for protecting you from things you may never realize ... and the closed doors that may have frustrated you, when, in fact He mercifully kept you from going places He did not want you to go.  
     As we celebrate our traditional holidays this year, will we see it as more than just family, friends, and food?  Will we take advantage of these days that are designed to give thanks and which are dedicated to our great God -- to the LORD who has given us an inheritance in the heavenly places, which is something greater than all the possessions of this world?  Will we thank God for the greatest gift He could ever give us: forgiveness through His perfect Son's death on the cross on our behalf? 
     And then will we take the next step and give Him thanks that He has provided a way for us to release all the lonely times, the tears, the uncertainties, the failures and personal losses ... all our pain? In fact, will we recognize that He not only died on that Cross to forgive our sins and give us eternal life, but that He went to the Cross to set us free and He wants what He died for! He wants you to surrender all your pain and He wants you to live the rest of your life Wonderfully and Completely free!
     This holiday season, it needs to be all about HIM and HIS KINGDOM! I've spent too many Thanksgivings and Christmases focused on what He's done for me, and that is certainly valid and His due. But now, I want to demonstrate my thankfulness by concentrating on what I can do for Him. My salvation is accomplished; my eternal life is secure; but now I want to dedicate however many days are left to me on this earth to fulfilling His purpose for my life in glorifying Him and His Kingdom. 
     I want everyone to know what a GREAT GOD and a GREAT KING He is! I want everyone to understand their true identity as His Kingdom representatives on earth, and to know their Kingdom assignments in this life. We are not meant to just glide through this life until the day we are called Home. We are seated in Heaven with our Lord and Master and we have the same access to His counsel as He did when He walked this earth and heard from our Father in Heaven. 
     My prayer for each of you this Thanksgiving is that you will truly understand and experience that you can come into His presence; that you can experience such spiritual joy that you want to shout of His greatness and goodness in your life, and how the world can serve His Majesty, the King of Heaven ... in all circumstances and in all ways.
     Finally, I want to leave you with a couple of additional Scriptures that I think will inspire you.  The first comes from the Old Testament, but joins with the verses from Psalm 95 to give us special inspiration for the times in which we live.  It is Isaiah 12:4 ... In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted."  The second comes from our Lord Himself, in Matthew 24:14 ... Yet through it all, this joyful assurance of the realm of heaven’s kingdom will be proclaimed all over the world, providing every nation with a demonstration of the reality of God. And after this the end of this age will arrive.  
     Let us fulfill our purpose this holiday season -- and every day for the rest of our lives -- to make the Kingdom of Heaven on earth known throughout the world; to participate with Jesus in giving everyone a demonstration of His very real presence in their lives; and to plant Kingdom seeds that the Holy Spirit can water and grow. 
     So, I pray that you and your families had a most Blessed Thanksgiving; a day filled with gratitude for all that our Great God and King have done, are doing, and will do in our lives. And I urge you to move from gratitude to being a spiritual force in the world for the Kingdom. If you truly want to thank Jesus, serve the Kingdom and your King! 

November 14, 2019

"Go In By The Narrow Gate"

     Ask a group of Christians the meaning of the Bible passage that speaks of the narrow gate and the wide gate, and you will probably get varying answers as to their meanings. I've heard it explained as pertaining to Salvation ... "the wide gate has a broad road that leads to disaster [or destruction], while the narrow gate is the harder path, but leads to eternal life". Surely, that is talking about Believers and Non-Believers -- those who refuse Christ's invitation and choose the world, and those who profess faith in Christ and receive Salvation and eternal life ... right? Or is there a different meaning?
     Could there be a deeper connotation to the juxtaposition of these gates? Taken in context of the entire Chapter 7 in the Book of Matthew, Jesus is speaking about more than salvation from death and the evils of this temporal life. Yes, He offers eternal life, but it is in the context of the Kingdom of God and how we are to live our lives while on earth.
     Sometimes I get frustrated by the English translations of our Bibles. Just the difference in a few word choices can alter the understanding of an entire passage. Let's look at Matthew 7:13, for instance. A more modern version, the J.B. Phillips New Testament, reads this way: "Go in by the narrow gate".  Yet another new version, the Passion Translation, reads, "Come to God through the narrow gate...". The 1599 Geneva Bible [along with the 1611 King James Bible] refer to this gate as "straight and narrow", and commentaries state that "The way is straight and narrow, and we must pass through this rough way, and suffer and endure, and be thronged, and to enter into life.".  Can you see how difficult it is for Christians to come to any kind of consensus as to the meaning of this passage?
     It is so important for us modern-day Christians to do a thorough word study when we read the Bible. We cannot rely on the contemporary meaning of words to explain what God is trying to tell us. Our Bible is written from the context of a Middle Eastern culture over 2000 years ago. And the first thing we need to determine is what is meant by the word "gate".
     Here is what I want you to see ... in Biblical times, the judicial system of the day was carried out at the gates of a city. They served multiple purposes: a combination of town hall, ad hoc law court, gathering place for free speech, marketplace and park bench. When Abraham negotiated the purchase of the Cave of Machpelah as a tomb for his wife Sarah, “it passed to Abraham as a possession in the presence of all who went in at the gate of his city” (Genesis 23). The agreement was witnessed; the deal was done.
     The gate of the city was also a podium for the Israelite prophets of old, the feisty social reformers of their day. “Hate evil and love good,” declaimed Amos, and establish justice in the gate".  King David's royal presence was re-established at the city gates after his army defeated the revolt fomented by his son Abasalom. Justice, peace, and allegiance were restored to the nation.
     So, as you can see, this mention of the "narrow gate" and "the wide gate" is important to discern. So what is the true implication? From the research I've done in connecting the Biblical dots, I find that the New Living Translation gives the most accurate translation of Matthew 7:13. In this version, it is rendered, "You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate". Now, you may recall other posts in which I've pointed out Jesus's conversation with the religious leader Nicodemus, in which the Lord says, "unless a man is born from water and from spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Can you see that the narrow gate is synonymous with "being born again" or "being Saved"? Then the rest of verse 13 in the New Living Translation says "The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way." 
     Here we see that the narrow gate leads to the Kingdom of God and its way of living. The wide gate is the easier path because one spends it in the kingdom of darkness, pledging allegiance to the "ruler of this dark world" and the "god of this world"... Satan. But we must not think that being Saved leads to the Kingdom life. It certainly leads to eternal life in Heaven, but there is more to the Kingdom life than Salvation. 
     Jesus goes on in Chapter 7 to teach about the importance of bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God, stating "every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire." And the verses that strike fear in every Christian's heart are found in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.
     This is a difficult passage to navigate and I've heard it misused to suggest a variety of reasons why these people "were never saved in the first place". But I would ask that you consider it in the context of people who hear the Word, receive it unto Salvation, but never progress to Kingdom Living, which is God's government on earth. {Note the reference to God's laws in verse 23 above]. For that, we need to juxtapose Matthew 7:21-23 with the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13: "When a man hears the message of the kingdom and does not grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is like the seed sown by the road-side. The seed sown on the stony patches represents the man who hears the message and eagerly accepts it. But it has not taken root in him and does not last long—the moment trouble or persecution arises through the message he gives up his faith at once. The seed sown among the thorns represents the man who hears the message, and then the worries of this life and the illusions of wealth choke it to death and so it produces no ‘crop’ in his life. But the seed sown on good soil is the man who both hears and understands the message. His life shows a good crop, a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
     Can you see the parallel between a man who enters the gates to the Kingdom through Salvation but never produces fruit for the Kingdom, and ultimately never truly knows the One who saved him? Yes, Salvation is the narrow gate and the entry point into the Kingdom. But unless one journeys beyond the gate into the righteousness and justice and government of Kingdom living -- which is opposite of living by this world's standards -- and produces fruit for the Kingdom, the message Jesus came to bring about the Kingdom will be wasted on him. 
     I know this is a sobering passage and one that takes much time to contemplate. I am still receiving revelation; and am not satisfied that I have discerned the depth of my Lord's teaching on the matter. I'm pretty sure there are more dots to connect. And that's the beauty and the majesty of the Bible. The Lord is drawing us ever nearer to His heart and mind. Don't ever stop searching for deeper meaning! 

Matthew 13:35    ‘I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world’.

Thank you to Mike Rogoff of the Israeli Haaretz website for providing the historical context of gates in the Ancient Middle East and their Biblical significance.

November 11, 2019

The Power Of The Kingdom of God In Us

     I am writing this blog as an encouragement to everyone who has ever felt that they had no power to overcome the troubles of this world. And I also want to address those who believe that the troubles we encounter are meant to bring us closer to God and strengthen our "spiritual muscles". I hope by the end of this article that you have renewed your mind to God's Truth.
     Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but until my last breath I will proclaim that the Kingdom of God is on this earth. And if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you are a citizen of Heaven [who happens to live on the earth], and your relationship with the King of Heaven and Earth aligns you with the God who overcomes the world. Now can you picture the power you walk in?
     It is important that you understand that with your allegiance to Jesus, it is indisputable that you have moved from Satan's kingdom of darkness into Jesus's kingdom of Light. Do not take that lightly! And do not fear! We must discern that since we have left the world system, we are now behind enemy lines, but King Jesus will protect us in this enemy territory. 1 John 5:18 says, We are convinced that everyone fathered by God does not make sinning a way of life, because the Son of God protects the child of God, and the Evil One cannot touch him. 
     But as citizens of heaven behind enemy lines, we need to be prudent and aware. We are in the midst of a spiritual war that has been raging since it first erupted in Heaven at Lucifer's rebellion. But there is no need to panic. God invites you to Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong, vigorous faith. For you know that your believing brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing the same kinds of troubles you endure (1 Peter 5:7-8). We must be wise in knowing who we are, and not become discouraged when we find that we are a target of the Enemy. 
     This is where you declare that you walk in the authority of your King and that your Enemy has been defeated by your victorious King on the Cross! You don't have to listen to the lies of the devil and his hordes who try to convince you that they have power over you. It's just the opposite! When you submit yourself to God, you can resist the devil and he will flee from you. That's clearly stated in James 4:7. As we surrender to the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God in us, the devil must surrender to Him as well. There is no need or reason to give up or give in! Remember: He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world! Just believe it!
     But here is where far too many Christians find themselves struggling ... they try to fight this war in their own natural power. Our flesh cannot defeat a supernatural demon in a spiritual war. Now, that may be hard for you to accept or digest, but it is the truth of our situation here on earth. The only way to win a war against demonic power is by the supernatural power of God the Holy Spirit. And we have Him in us! Ephesians 6:10 tells us to "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might". In other words, don't try to be strong in your own strength, but call upon His mighty power in you!
     And you need to concentrate on Jesus as your model. Jesus fought His own spiritual battle with the devil when He spent 40 days in the wilderness, preparing for His ministry. Jesus can identify with your battles because He experienced Satan trying to exploit His humanity. Jesus was hungry, thirsty and tired after 40 days of fasting. Satan tempted Him with everything from bread to satisfy His hunger, to offering Him the kingdoms of the world. But Jesus won His war with the devil by being led by the Spirit. This same supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of Christ" that "dwells in you" (Romans 8:9). The very same spirit that empowered Jesus throughout His life on earth and raised Him from the dead is available to you. So don't ever let the lies of the devil tell you otherwise! 
      The Kingdom of God existed in Heaven before the world or mankind was created. But we need to know and have faith in the power of that creation, recognizing that God's kingdom rests in supernatural power -- power that characterized Jesus's life [and death] on this earth and which He transferred to us. And here is the amazing truth of that Power: Jesus's death and the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit destroyed the work of the devil and disarmed the demons. That same power resides in us and likewise is able to destroy the devil's agenda in our lives and disables the demons who attempt to keep us in bondage to the devil's lies. Jesus said it Himself, "the kingdom of God is inside you"... and all the power that comes with it!

1 Corinthians 4:20   For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.