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

Showing posts with label Kingdom of God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kingdom of God. Show all posts

October 27, 2023

The Idols of the Heart and The Kingdom of God

I never get tired of writing about the Kingdom of God, and it is the desire of my heart that Christians seek it first above all else, as Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:33. But, in the Bible, we are also told to seek Him with our whole heart [in Psalm 119:2 and Jeremiah 29:13]. So, I hope to show you that our heart is not only important in establishing our faith and relationship with God and Jesus, but it is important in the matter of receiving the Kingdom of God.

In the Old Testament, the hearts of the Israelites were often in conflict; their hearts being divided between idolatry and their allegiance to YHWH. [For the sake of this article, I will define idolatry as anything that we build an altar to in our heart, or that sits on the throne of our heart.] And through careful study, it has become clear to me that God will speak to us according to what sits on that throne.

Just take a look at what God says to the idolatrous elders of Israel [through the prophet Ezekiel]: "these men have set up [and honored] their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the [vile] stumbling block of their wickedness and guilt; should I [permit Myself to] be consulted by them at all? Therefore speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Any man of the house of Israel who takes his idols [of rebellion] into his heart, and puts the [vile] stumbling block of his wickedness and guilt [images of silver and gold] before his face, and yet comes to the prophet [to ask of him], I the Lord will answer him, [but I will answer him] in accordance with the number of his idols in order that I may take hold of the heart (mind) of the house of Israel who are all estranged from Me because of their idols" (Ezekiel 14:3-5). 

In other words, men may seek guidance from pastors or prophets in the Church about their circumstances, while secretly holding worldly idols in their heart, expecting to get an answer from God. But this scripture in Ezekiel shows us that the Lord knows our hearts and He will answer the person according to what those idols areSo, it is clear to me that God may not always speak His Truth to us, if our hearts aren't right with Him, but will speak according to what we are idolizing in our heart. Therefore, we have a responsibility to safeguard our hearts from any form of idolatry. 

Furthermore, God warns against receiving a false prophetic word in verses 9-11: "But if the prophet [who speaks without My authority] is enticed to speak a word [of his own], it is I the Lord who have caused that prophet [to speak falsely to please the inquirer, thus allowing himself to be a party to the inquirer’s sin], and I will stretch out My hand against him and destroy him from among My people Israel.  They [both] will bear the punishment of their wickedness; the sin of the [counterfeit] prophet will be the same as the sin of the [hypocritical] inquirer, so that the house of Israel may no longer drift away from Me and no longer defile themselves with all their transgressions, but they will be My people, and I will be their God,”’ says the Lord God.” 

[NOTE: I hope it is clear to you that it is always God's desire that people recognize their sin, and return to Him. And because God is the same today as He was in Ezekiel's time, my spirit is sensitive to warning the Body of Christ to correctly discern a hypocritical inquirer/seeker and a counterfeit prophet. Neither benefit the Kingdom of God]. 

Further evidence that God will speak according to what sits on the throne of our heart is found in 1 Kings 22. This is the account of King Ahab and the false prophets. Ahab's heart had turned from God to wickedness and he idolized all that his status as king had provided him. When he seeks an answer from his prophets as to whether he should go to battle against the Syrians, God gives permission to a lying spirit to speak to the prophets of Jezebel to deceive Ahab because God knows the king will receive their prophecy according to the idolatrous state of his heart. 

Just as Ahab found out, [because God has given free will to mankind], there are consequences to having an idolatrous heart! And those consequences don't apply just in the Old Testament. We New Testament Believers are just as susceptible to idolatry [in our hearts] and its consequences. If our hearts aren't right with God, the word we think we are receiving may not be right, either. It is imperative that our hearts be pure and that we submit to the righteous Word of God, and then we will hear and receive His truth! That should give all of us pause ... are we hearing from a heart that is pure and righteous?

In addition, it is vitally important that we guard our hearts against all idolatry, because Proverbs 4:23 tells us everything we do flows from the heart. And sometimes I think we Christians get careless about idolatry in our hearts. We tend to think it is the obvious things of the world, like wealth or power or material things that can become idols in our heart. We think as long as we are Saved, there is no one but Jesus that occupies the throne of our heart. 

But Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, not just the Gospel of Salvation. He says that is why He was sent (Luke 4:43). And that Good News of the Kingdom of God didn't sit very well with the religious leaders of Israel, the very people He came to deliver. Why? Because Religion always responds according to the idolatry of the heart. Even today, in the 21st Century, try to speak to some Christians about the rule and reign of God's Kingdom government on earth, and what it looks like, and you will meet the same kind of opposition Jesus did.  

Religion idolizes its own traditions, rituals, denominational teachings, movements, and self-righteousness. They can all influence our heart. Kingdom is what Jesus did... setting people free; impacting everything and everyone on earth with the power and authority and love of God until it becomes "as it is in heaven". Just because we know the grace of God in our Salvation, it does not mean our hearts are pure and free of idolatry. It does not mean that we have received the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus stressed throughout His ministry, nor that He alone sits on the throne of our heart.

Please know that I do not write from a sense that I have a heart that is exceptionally pure and free of any form of idolatry. I do not hold myself up as the standard-bearer. Only Jesus meets that criteria. But as I grow and mature in my faith, I am becoming aware that I can't ignore idolatry when it tries to take root in my heart. The Holy Spirit is making it impossible for me to ignore the temptation of making anything or anyone an idol, and I find myself in a state of unrest [with no peace], until I discover what is trying to grow in rebellion to God. 

The New Testament tells us in Ephesians 3:14-19, that through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, Christ can dwell in your heart. Furthermore, as the Word, Jesus is living and active, discerning the thoughts and intentions of our heart (Hebrews 4:12). Other translations say He "exposes and judges the very intentions and thoughts of our heart", or that He "interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts". In other words the hidden aspects of our hearts are known by Him and any idolatry is uncovered.

We can see a picture of this concept in Jesus's exchange with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, the council of religious rulers in Israel.  In John 2:23-3:5, Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night. He has seen the signs of the Kingdom of God that Jesus has performed, but his religious heart is still skeptical. But notice what Scripture says just before Nicodemus speaks. ... Many people identified with Jesus because they had seen the miracles, but Jesus didn't trust them because He knew how fickle human hearts can be, and because He knew what was in each man's heart -- exactly what Hebrews 4:12 says.

But also notice this ... when Nicodemus says to Jesus, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him", Scripture says, "Jesus answered him, 'I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified], he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.'" Wait a minute! Nicodemus didn't ask a question, yet Jesus answered him according to what was in his heart and what he needed! You see, Nicodemus is seeking truth but he is still steeped in religion as a member of the Sanhedrin, so he doesn't even know what to ask. The same holds true today -- Religion doesn't know the question nor the answer! But Jesus answers Nicodemus according to what Nicodemus needs -- the Kingdom Gospel! And the Kingdom will always answer the questions of your heart according to your need and not your idolatry

Think about it -- Jesus never offered a Sinner's prayer to anyone -- that's Religion! He offered all who came to Him what they needed ... physical healing, spiritual healing through casting out of demons, and the hope of transformation and rebirth into a heavenly system; not a man-made system of religion. And it's important that we recognize that Jesus did not pray, heal, or cast out demons for everyone -- only those who were drawn to Him. He knew who wanted Kingdom because He could discern the state of their heart and the presence of idolatry, if it was there. And those who wanted what He offered couldn't resist Him!

Jesus's ministry of the Kingdom on earth began as a small mustard seed in the backwaters of the Roman Empire, but it was planned and designed [from Heaven] to expand across the earth. And whether a person's heart is free of the idolatry of wealth, status, power -- and yes, even religion -- and is ready to receive the Kingdom is exemplified in the Parable of the Sower ... "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart". 

I can tell you that my husband and I have often seen this in our ministry. I have to be careful to discern who really wants Kingdom and who wants Religion, because the Kingdom message does not mix with any other belief system, nor will it compromise. Those who try to divide the throne of their heart between Kingdom and Religion will find themselves indecisive, unstable in their thoughts, and wavering between different opinions and actions. To truly experience the Kingdom of God that Jesus came to establish, the Kingdom must occupy the throne of one's heart, along with one possessing a desire to align one's life with the government of God on earth -- a Kingdom where there is no sickness and no poverty; where one is ready to consider God's perspective in all we say and do; to "Kingdom-ize" everything!!!

So, I want to make it clear that I did not write this post to condemn anyone or to question anyone's faith. My only objective was to point out that the Word of God shows us the dangers of idolatry in our heart, and how it can distort our own discernment. And as the parable of the Sower indicates ... if, as followers of Christ, we are not preaching "the word of the Kingdom", we are not providing good seed to be sown in the hearts of men. It's one thing to not understand it; it's another to never have heard it. May we all purge our hearts of idolatry of every kind and share what Jesus preached -- the Gospel of the Kingdom!

Hebrews 4:13      And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.

October 7, 2023

How The Existence Of God's Kingdom on Earth Impacts The Harvest

Several years ago, I joined a group of women for a Bible Study taught by Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, California. I believe that Pastor Johnson walks in an anointing from God to preach to the Body of Christ that God's Kingdom in Heaven has invaded this earth, and how that should decisively affect our Christian walk. The Bible Study was called "God Is Good: He's Better Than You Think".  That study accentuated some deep questions that I was already asking myself regarding my ambassadorship for the Kingdom of God. For instance: How does the announcement [and existence] of God's Kingdom have a direct impact on the size of the harvest of people who respond to it?

Note that this question is actually multi-faceted. We must not only consider what the direct impact is upon the harvest of souls, but how it effects the size of the harvest.  First of all, it is important to recognize that there is a direct correlation between the announcement of God's Kingdom and the Gospel of the Kingdom. It should go without saying that both are announcing the "Good News" that God's Kingdom (the actual realm where He resides) has now made itself known here on earth. This announcement would soon make the Kingdom a reality; becoming apparent by the evidence shown in Jesus's life.  And Jesus would inaugurate the Kingdom message when He began His ministry, preaching "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand".

The good news of this Gospel Message about God's Kingdom coming to earth is that mankind now had a way to be acceptable before God. Prior to Jesus's appearance, man had lived in a state of hopelessness due to how God viewed sin. The Bible makes His holy opinion easy to understand: The soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20). But with the arrival of Jesus, mankind now had a Savior who would provide a way out of experiencing eternal death, which was the consequence for our sins against a Holy God.

All the prophets had foretold of this Savior that would take away the sins of the world and restore man's relationship with God as it had been in the Garden of Eden. Remember: God's Kingdom is where God resides; the realm in which He rules. Between the time man fell into sin in the Garden and the time of this announcement, that kingdom realm had existed only in Heaven. Now, here comes John the Baptist foretelling that this Kingdom is near, rapidly followed by Jesus's appearance and the beginning of His ministry to announce that God's Kingdom was now here! So it's not too difficult to see the immense impact that this announcement would have on God's harvest of souls.

No longer would man be subject to Laws that were incapable of delivering us from Death. But man would now be able to stand before God in righteousness through believing in the sacrifice He would make of Himself [as His Son, Jesus Christ] on our behalf. By following Jesus's example of living according to the Father's will, the impact on the harvest would become nothing short of miraculous and astounding. Those who would accept and respond to His announcement and ministry would begin to change the world. The realm of Satan here on the earth would come into direct conflict with the people who walked in their authority as members of God's Kingdom on earth. The number of citizens of Satan's kingdom would diminish, as the number of citizens of God's Kingdom rose. 

That was the plan! But if we are going to resemble Christ's image [and His work] here on earth, then we have to announce more than the deliverance from eternal Death; although, that in itself is worthy of our acclamation and enthusiastic approval. You see, that deliverance isn't realized until the end of our life. So, while that good news of our salvation from Death is responsible for a magnificent number coming into the harvest, I believe we gain staggering numbers when we reveal ALL of the good news that the announcement of the Kingdom generates.

Think about it: a person recognizes their need of a Savior and accepts Jesus into their heart, repenting for their sins and asking forgiveness. Is that news worthy of sharing? Absolutely! But if the newly saved Christian takes that message to the person who sees the penalty of sin [and their resulting death] as a far-off event, the message may have no immediate relevance. But let's say that we add to that message of salvation. Let's say we share that the reality of the Kingdom of God being present today ALSO gives you access to the power of the Holy Spirit to heal persistent physical/health problems, or to set one free from the bondage of shame, guilt, anger, and unforgiveness, to name just a few of the attacks from the devil. Can you see that we now offer an immediate benefit from our announcement of the Kingdom at hand? Can you perceive that this full Gospel message of the Kingdom might result in a greater number in the harvest -- in other words, the impact on the size of the harvest might be more considerable if we share the complete picture of the Kingdom of God, on earth as it is in heaven. It is more than salvation [as magnificent as that is]; it is freedom; it is power; it is authority to battle in the spiritual realms as God leads us.

Who doesn't have a health issue they are dealing with in these perishable bodies? It doesn't matter if it is a simple headache or stage 4 cancer. We want it to go away! And I defy us to find anyone within the Body of Christ who has not suffered at least one attack or violation from the Enemy on their character, their identity, their relationships with others, or the privacy of their body. We may know Jesus as our Savior and rely on our ultimate deliverance from Death, but who wouldn't want to be liberated from the oppressive thoughts and emotions that we carry around with us because of these assaults on our spirits and flesh?  What would happen if Christians could praise Jesus for how He healed them from sexual molestation; loss of self-respect and self-esteem; bullying; abusive parents; or promiscuity and drug/alcohol abuse? Do you think more people would identify with those victories --  or a victory over their future death?

 I'm not saying that the good news of our salvation from eternal death is not an important message to share... it's the ultimate reward! But there is more to Jesus's victory and what that victory looks like in the here-and-now. I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit has revealed to my heart the need of my Savior. I look forward to my glorious resurrection and dwelling forever with the Lord when the new Heaven and new Earth appear. But I am equally grateful that He has set me free NOW to praise Him for delivering me from the bad choices I have made in my life; from the attempts of the devil to kill, steal, and destroy this Kingdom life in the present; and for giving me the opportunity to share this restored life, made in His image. 

It is my responsibility [and my joy] as the recipient of Jesus's authority and the power of the Holy Spirit to invite others to partake of God's goodness to those who believe in Him. When we share all that we have received from Heaven's invasion of earth, then we can expect to see an impact of righteousness and growing numbers of ambassadors. And, Lord knows, we need more Heaven on earth today! The growing trend towards lawlessness, in all its aspects, needs a response from Heaven's citizens on earth. And it must happen in more than words; let your faith become action! Walk in your power and authority to heal, defeat demons, and set the captives free. Let us increase the harvest a hundred-fold!  Let the "Good News of the Kingdom" be realized across the face of this planet, and let all the people shout "Hallelujah!" as our voices join in worship, praise and rejoicing as the we participate in bringing in God's harvest.  

Matthew 9:38     "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest".


September 28, 2023

Change Is Coming To The Kingdom of God!

I want to begin this blog post by visiting the story of Mordecai, the Jew, and his adopted daughter, Esther. According to the Bible, Esther's husband was King Ahasuerus, King of Persia, who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces. Furthermore, the history books also say he was the Achaemenian king Darius I, ruler over what is now Iran. 

Mordecai has gotten wind that there is a plot to kill all the Jews in the kingdom, and while Esther, herself, is a Jew, it's been kept secret from her husband, the king. Mordecai implores Esther to go before the king and plead his favor, asking him to spare her people. But Esther reminds Mordecai that it is the law of the land that if anyone goes before the king unbidden, death is the penalty. Mordecai then tells his daughter that, as a Jew, she cannot expect to escape the destruction coming against all Jews, and that if she chooses to not help, that God will send His relief and deliverance from another source, and her father's house will perish. Then he speaks the words that I believe apply to us in this generation ... "Who knows if you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther's response ... to gather all the Jews together and ask them to fast on her behalf as she approaches the king, even though it is against the law. "If I perish, I perish" are her words that echo across the centuries.

I think it is imperative [in this time and place] that we ask ourselves if we have the courage and faith of Esther. We have to be blind, and far beyond a "normalcy bias" mindset to not see the shifting sands we have been resting upon for the last few decades. If the panic and fear of the pandemic in 2020 wasn't enough for us to begin examining where we are in our Biblical worldview, or to discern the changing winds of world history, then surely we can see the current precipice on which we stand. The growing involvement of AI in our daily lives; the geoengineering of plant and animal life; the promotion of gender dysphoria; the drums of war throughout the world; and the trading of human flesh for the perverted pleasures of men are all birth pains of the intolerable evil which Jesus has forecast.

It cannot be appeased by politics or a new president. And sadly, the modern Western Church is unequipped to face the strategies of the kingdom of darkness. They are unaware of [or choose to ignore] the depth of depravity that is an undercurrent in our society and culture. And believe me, I understand the fear, anxiety, and disquiet in our souls when we dare to look at it. But we can no longer afford to turn away. Our newscasts are full of innocent people being assaulted and killed by random acts of violence as they stand on a street corner, or wait for a bus. The physical and moral evil of the child sex trade is storing up wrath in the Kingdom of Heaven, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. And just this weekend, I met a woman whose husband is using ChatGPT to engage with AI to create monsters that he hopes to interact with! The really sad thing is this man was an innocent child who was exploited and molested as a child, and his life began to spiral out of control until he now finds himself skirting the edges of being lost forever. I ask you ... Is the Church equipped to minister to him?  Would they even try? Or is he just another casualty of a society and religious system that doesn't have any answers to the growing evil in the world?

If you are a Kingdom-believing Christian, where does all this leave you? Once you are willing to "face the monster", so to speak, is it possible to truly live in a "Kingdom mindset", not letting the affairs of the world shake our faith and trust in our Father and King? I can assure you that our Father in Heaven hears our cries. And He is not absent in this situation, just as He was not absent in Esther's plight.

And if you happen to believe that the state of the Christian Church in these modern times is inoculated against the consequences of our mindset [sorry for the pun] -- let me ask you to reconsider. Hear the words of Mordecai to Esther and take them to heart ... "Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish [since you did not help when you had the chance]. And who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this [and for this very purpose]"? 

Just like Esther, we Christians have to decide what our response is going to be. I cannot answer for others, but I can tell you that I have always felt that there would one day be a tremendous trial come upon the world, and I would have the opportunity to not only experience it, but stand for the Lord. Notice, I did not say that God is necessarily testing us. That infers that God has given His approval for the trials and evil the world is experiencing. 

Instead, I recognize that much of the panic and hysteria that people will encounter will come from their lack of relationship with God, and their misplaced worship of the conveniences that the world offers them. Many Christians are guilty of this! We have fallen into step with society and the culture, and we worship our status, our wealth, our power, and our comfort. Many of us spend more time with our Facebook friends than we do with our Father in Heaven. We have not sought His will in how we should live our lives, OR how we should defeat the evil in the world. We have not fed on the Word of God, but have indulged in our appetites of unrighteousness and greed.

And now that may all come to a halt. There is [once again!] talk of a mandatory shutdown of the nation's government for an undetermined amount of time as our politicians haggle over the national debt, the corruption in high places, and the emboldening of our enemies. Everything in our world could change overnight. There will be people who will suffer if our medical system, transportation system, banking system, food distribution system, utilities system, political system, and yes, even our religious system is challenged -- especially our religious system. 

Will people blame God? Will they curse Him in the midst of their despair? Will they try to bargain with Him? Or will they fast [like Esther and her people] for strength and wisdom, and then humble themselves, and pray and seek His face and be prepared for come what may? Are you honestly prepared to trust God and like Esther, say, "If I perish, I perish", knowing that you have stood righteously against Satan's plans for the world? And will the Church rise up and see this for the opportunity it is? For this is a time when not only can the world reset, and begin to look more like it was created to be, but Believers can begin to walk in their true Kingdom identities and take back Kingdom authority over those worldly systems that have gone so far astray.

This is the time to reclaim the earth for the Kingdom of God! It is a time, in the words of the late Dr. Myles Munroe, to "establish the governing influence of our King over the territory called Earth, impacting it with His will, His purpose, and His intent, producing a citizenship of people who reflect the King's culture, nature, values, and morals". Doesn't the world need that? Doesn't our nation? And don't you want to be a part of that? 

I am watching people expressing their fears over what the future holds while I am calm and filled with anticipation and expectation. I believe the Lord desires to do a great work in the lives of millions of people. And as always, everyone has a free will choice how they will receive His invitation. Whether it is millions who answer Jesus's call, or just a remnant, Satan has had his way for far too long! The battle over mankind is intensifying. But what the devil means for evil, God will use for His good. We can see ourselves as being born for this time and join with God to glorify Him in the midst of the coming trials ... or we can sit back and wait for Jesus to do all the work. But that's not why we're here! This is an amazing time to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom and to be an instrument of God to sow into the hearts and lives of people. 

It is an exciting time to be on the earth. It is a favorable time to be a worker in the Kingdom. It is also a dangerous time. The rulers in the spiritual realms, along with the authorities, the cosmic powers over this present darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places are all going to fight back against the Kingdom of God. We can expect to be embattled and we must prepare for casualties; yes, even martyrdom. I know that's not an idea that brings comfort, but just like Queen Esther, we must stand firm, declaring, "If I perish, I perish". Nothing is secure in this new world we find ourselves -- not even our lives. But there is one thing we can count on for sure... Jesus has paid for our victory! And just as Mordecai exhorted Esther, we can choose to be a part of that victory or not, but we can be assured that if it is not you or me, "God will send His relief and deliverance from another source", and our house and/or nation could perish. I want to be part of that victory source! I was born for such a time as this, and you are, too! Our Father in Heaven, use us to help bring Your Kingdom to earth and heal our land and this world!

John 14:1   Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.

September 18, 2023

God's Power Is In You to Destroy Satan's Kingdom!

I have spent several posts now declaring the truth of the Kingdom of God. It is here now, and it is in you. If you have received Jesus as your Savior and profess that He is the Son of God, was crucified for your sins, and that He rose by the power of the Holy Spirit as a promise to all who follow His commandments, then you need to hear my message today. And I will warn you, it is a serious message, and one that it is time we all face.

Close to ten years ago, I had a prophetic dream that shook me to my core. It was one of the most frightening, yet powerful, visions I have ever received. I will try to give you the substance of the dream/vision without all the superfluous components. I was on a ferris wheel, ascending and descending ... during the ascension, I was feeling joyful, hopeful, and free. As I descended, the bucket I was seated in plunged into a body of water where I felt fear, oppression, and darkness. I went through several cycles of "riding" the ups and downs of the ferris wheel before I found myself standing on what seemed like the West Coast of America. I stood there for a few minutes looking off to my right, far out on the ocean, and became fixated on a small wave that I could see forming, hundreds of miles off shore. I felt no threat and marveled at how it seemed to be coming closer, growing in size, yet it still felt far off. All of a sudden, I became aware that this wave was approaching faster and faster, and before I knew it, it was the largest wave I could have ever imagined; a tsunami, about to engulf me. I knew I could not continue to stand on the shore, and I also knew I was a weak swimmer, but having no other choice, I began trying to out-swim the massive and monstrous wave. But it quickly caught up to me, and I remember feeling the power of it as it crashed down on me, angrily tossing me around in its churning swell. I knew I was going to drown and was filled with so much fear. I remember crying out to Jesus, and then, in that moment, I saw a hand reach down into that mass of water, with a tremendous light that surrounded it, and the most comforting voice I've ever heard, saying, "Don't worry! I've got you!", and He lifted me out of that chaos, and I knew Jesus had rescued me.  

I believed then, and still do, that Jesus was showing me what was to come in our future -- the ups and downs of our economy; the powers of darkness formulating their plans and strategies to covertly sneak into our culture, our politics, and our country; all as we remained in place, content in accepting the world. I have periodically spoken about this prophecy, alerting the Body of Christ to get prepared for the kingdom of darkness and its plans to launch the Anti-Christ to perform Satan's final plans for the earth. Throughout the years, many Christian friends have discounted my warnings, instead choosing to believe in the Grace and Mercy of the Lord to prevent anything that the Bible forecasts from happening. I will say again, just as I have for years, Yes, Jesus is Love; He give us His Grace; and He is full of Compassion and Mercy. And, Yes, we win in the end! I acknowledge all that as Truth! But if you truly read the Bible, then you cannot skip over the warning Jesus gives us in Matthew 24 that there will be a time of intolerable anguish, unprecedented adversity/trouble, distress, oppression, persecution, and suffering "such has not occurred since the beginning of the world, nor ever will again".

Did you get that? Do you comprehend the magnitude of what Jesus is saying? Can you even fathom the evil that is about to come upon the world? For too long, the Church has been soft-selling the Word, and not preparing the Body of Christ to be who Jesus has enabled us to be! Jesus knew what was coming and He warned us -- pestilence, plague, famine, wars. And yes, they have happened in the past, but if you are not spiritually discerning that everything in this world is aligning against the human race, then I fear you will be overrun by the powers of darkness aligning against unequipped Believers.

Which brings me to a dream/vision that my husband had last night. He is not one to have detailed messages from God in his dreams, so when one does occur, we pay attention. Unlike my dream, he doesn't have as many details, but knows for sure that he was in a struggle regarding the coming of AI and the ramifications for the human race. He felt he was in a battle to uncover the blueprint for how Satan would implement AI in his battle plan, for AI was definitely designed by the kingdom of darkness for this day and time. I heard him struggling in his sleep and knew it was a spiritual battle, and waited to see if he mentioned it this morning. He was thoughtful and pensive, and finally spoke of the dream. He wanted to remember more of the details, but understood that it was a prophetic warning from God. The last thing he remembered of the dream was hearing this promise: The finite is always subject to the infinite.

If you have a discerning spirit, then I trust you understand that whatever Satan brings against us has limits and boundaries, set in place by God, who is infinite. His power is immeasurable, never-ending, cosmic, interminable, while our Enemy is subject to God's limitations and restrictions. He will be defeated! But we are not to sit idly by and wait for God to do all the warfare! It is time that we know, understand, and operate in the supernatural power that is ours from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We have no idea of the power we have! We have been given the supernatural infused power of God! But we have not been taught in our Churches and religious institutions to use it. As the late Russ Dizdar lamented, "Instead of an 11-12 second intercessory prayer in the average Church service, why haven't we unleashed 30-40 minutes of massively powerful, Spirit-of-God-guided prayer that brings answers and strategies right into the sanctuary to use our Authority to pray against the drug lords; to pray against the human traffickers; to pray against the abortionists; to pray against the corruption in our government"? Instead, we pray weak prayers, or ask others to pray for us, in order to ask Jesus to do it for us. He transferred the power and authority given to Him by Heaven to us!

It's time we became the powerful believers Jesus has called us to be! It's time to surrender our fear and doubt and unbelief, and stop grieving the Holy Spirit; stop quenching the Spirit. We are not helpless! Satan should be running scared of us, but guess what? Satan is busy bringing all his emissaries and counterfeit power into play, while we sit wringing our hands, reading snatches of the Psalms to calm our fears while we wait for Jesus to come back! If you call yourself truly redeemed, then the signs and wonders and healings that God manifested in the Believers in Acts are available to you! God does not change! The Miracles come through Believers -- that's how God operates!    

I believe if we will just rise up in faith and walk in our powerful identities, we will see the greatest interventions of God in human history. So, get this clear in your mind -- all the destruction that history has witnessed -- from the Flood, to the plagues in Egypt, to all the atrocities in the Old Testament, to the Black Plague in the Dark Ages, to the millions that died in modern wars [Civil War, WWI and WWII, the Holocaust, etc] -- are nothing compared to what the world will soon see. Remember, Jesus said the anguish is unprecedented in human history. But instead of cowering in a corner and asking God to prohibit it, we can look forward to seeing God doing astounding things! We will see Angelic visitations; God reaching out His hand and performing miracles; and we will give our Spirit-filled testimonies of the Blood of the Lamb overcoming the Dragon! We will not fear for our lives, and will not shrink from Death. 

So, you are either still reading this post and hopefully inspired to become saturated in the Word to discover our purpose and role in this End Times War, or I have driven you further into the counterfeit lie that we are not destined to be on the battlefield. If you hear nothing else I say today, I pray that you will hear this: You are here right now -- in this time and place -- to stand in Victory [whether you live or die in this world] and declare that Satan's time is coming to an end; that God, since the beginning of time, has been Sovereign over the history of this world. We have not been promised an easy existence, or a way out of the tribulation. In fact, once redeemed, you have a target on your back. Satan is roaming the earth like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. But you have the Lion of the tribe of Judah living in you, so turn and face your adversary and roar right back ... unafraid, bold, persistent in the knowledge that the power of Heaven is at your disposal, and you have a Mighty God who is able to do all you ask, far beyond anything you can dare to ask or think! And share that Truth with everyone you come in contact with! Let's get ready to show the kingdom of darkness just what the Kingdom of God looks like in us!

Revelation 15:4.   “Great and amazing are Your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations!  Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.”   


September 15, 2023

What Exactly Does It Mean To "Expand The Kingdom of God"?

By now, it should be apparent that I am attempting to expand our understanding of the Kingdom of God. And since "Kingdom" has become somewhat of a buzzword among the Christian community in the last few years, it should not be a new concept for the Body of Christ. But I will qualify that statement by saying that although you might be aware that Jesus commanded us to "seek the Kingdom first", you might not be quite sure what that looks like. 

I can remember when I began to concentrate on studying the Book of Matthew, which I found full of the revelation that Jesus is King of a heavenly kingdom realm that was being established on earth with His birth. With that divine disclosure to the human world, it makes "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" a much more powerful statement.

I cannot go forward with this discussion without addressing the difference of opinion as to whether the Kingdom of God on earth is a future event [at the return of Christ] or whether it is present today. I can only share what my spirit is telling me, and each of you have to study the Word and come to your own theological understanding. In fact, we should each establish a Biblical worldview for ourselves, always being open to new revelations from the Holy Spirit.

Several years ago, I established the cornerstone of my Biblical worldview, and as of today, nothing has changed my opinion. And if I had to give you a concise statement as to my belief system, it would be this .... Both John the Baptist and Jesus warned those who would hear them to "Repent!" .... John, saying "for the Kingdom of God is near", and Jesus telling them, "for the Kingdom of God is at hand". It is my belief that both John and Jesus were announcing that God's representative from Heaven (Jesus) had come to plant Heaven's flag, so to speak, in the earth, staking territory for the Kingdom of God; in effect, inaugurating [or beginning] the heavenly Kingdom system of government on the earth. So, in that sense, the Kingdom is present now, or "in your midst" (Luke 17:21), but is not yet complete. The Kingdom is here in a partial sense as we Christians continue to take territory from the devil and take back dominion of the earth until the Day of the Lord, when Jesus will return, bringing His Justice and destroying the evil and corruption in the world, while establishing the good and perfect Kingdom realm on earth that God had planned from the beginning.

And one of the reasons that the Book of Matthew is at the center of my belief system is that it focuses on Jesus's teachings about how people are to behave as citizens of that Kingdom realm on earth, with Jesus as their loving King. Which takes me to the born again experience that Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about in John, Chapter 3. Jesus says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."  To me, this says that we come into the Kingdom as a citizen through being born again -- [reborn from above by the Holy Spirit—spiritually transformed, renewed, and sanctified].

When we are born again into the Kingdom, with Jesus as our King, we use a key to enter into that Kingdom. Jesus is the door and that key. Romans 10:9-10 tells us, "For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation." To sum it up, when you are born again and confess your faith in Jesus, you are saved and become a citizen of the Kingdom. And with that citizenship come keys. [I have spoken about these keys in a previous post, titled "Have You Accepted Jesus's Gift of the Keys to the Kingdom?".

We see this confession/citizenship/keys relationship in Matthew 16:13-20. Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ (Anointed One from God), is given keys of the kingdom of heaven, and now has the authority "to forbid [bind, stop] on earth that which is forbidden in heaven, and to release [loose, permit] on earth that which is released in heaven." Those rights are only conveyed to one who is a citizen of the Kingdom of God/Heaven! And that is the purpose of the keys of the Kingdom -- to transform this earth, to look like it is in heaven! 

I also want to point out that it is my belief that there is a false narrative that this passage is establishing Peter as the head of the Church; which is a corruption of Scripture promulgated by Constantine. I believe, truth be told, that the keys to the Kingdom are principles given to all who are born again into the Kingdom as citizens; principles to rule and reign until the return of our King. These keys represent our authority and provide access to the Kingdom of Heaven. And that access is initiated through Scripture. It's not enough to just know Scripture ... we must DO Scripture! You see, God is moved by His Word, not our tears. Hebrews 6:17 says, "in His desire to show to the heirs of the Promise the unchangeable nature of His purpose, [God] intervened and guaranteed it with an oath" -- in other words, He says He is bound by His Word. So when we DO His Word, He will move in our lives and in this world; we will see results. 

And we must realize that there is no Master Key of the Kingdom-- no one-key-fits-all system -- and it is inherent upon us to know what the keys are; to understand and employ them to their fullest effect. If not, "my people perish for lack of knowledge", comes to mind. We also need to remember what our Lord tells us in Luke 12:32: "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom". We are to remember that we are citizens of the Kingdom; "sons of Light", and we are to be operating in the Kingdom system, not the system of the world. Sadly, I think that too many people (including Christians) are not "seeking the Kingdom first". They have gotten too attached to the world system and have compromised for the sake of succeeding in this world.

So, here's a truth we need to be aware of ... If we are born again and Saved, we are citizens of the Kingdom. But which system are we operating in? We can be considered citizens of the Kingdom, but still be operating in the world system. I believe we are all guilty of that at one time or another in our lives. For instance, if we get offended by someone [which is one of Satan's favorite schemes], do we withdraw and sulk, or do we work in the Kingdom government system and handle it with a Kingdom principle; for instance praying for those who curse you? We must recognize that the system of this world is not our system! Our system is Kingdom government!

The bottom line is this: we must know that if we call ourselves Christians, our primary citizenship is in the Kingdom of God! Yes, we wait for the fulfillment [completion] of the Kingdom on earth. But we serve our Lord, who is King of that Kingdom, and He has entrusted us to continue His work in establishing the Kingdom He came to inaugurate. Just because He has not yet returned, it doesn't mean we are to remain idle until that glorious Day. When He returns, we will give an account of the fruit we have borne for the Kingdom. I can imagine Him embracing us as Saved Christians; welcoming us as citizens of the Kingdom of God. And then I can hear Him ask, "What did you do with the keys of the Kingdom that I gave you? Did you read my Word? If so, did you seek to understand and experience it? Did you DO My Word?" 

It goes without saying that we are in a critical time in the history of our country, and the world. If we truly believe we are citizens of Heaven, here on earth to take back the dominion God gave man when He created the world, then it is crucial that we step into our identity and our assignment. As citizens of Heaven, we need to operate in God's government system and call on the power of Heaven, which is by legal rights, ours, as sons and daughters of the King. As citizens of Heaven, we do not settle for this world's corruption, ungodliness, and unrighteousness. We stand for everything that is Good and Pure and Just. It is my prayer that each of us know that the Kingdom in us is greater than the kingdom of this world. Let us use the keys He has given us in His Word to lock and secure our hearts in His Kingdom system. Let us be transferred from this world system into the spiritual realm of the Kingdom of God, where the reality of His Kingdom is apparent, and we bring it into the present through the abundant and prosperous fruit we bear, in the Mighty Name of Jesus. Amen!

Luke 17:21      "The Kingdom is not discovered in one place or another, for God’s Kingdom realm is already expanding within some of you."

August 24, 2023

The Different Mysteries Hidden in God Until Paul Revealed Them!

For the last several posts, I have dived into the various mysteries of God and of the Kingdom of Heaven. As we discovered, both Jesus and the Apostle Paul referred to these mysteries often, and from different perspectives. Their respective audiences and their purpose for preaching and teaching on these mysteries was all part of God's "mysterious" plans to re-establish His relationship with His creation. I invite you to read Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this discourse to fully understand what I'm presenting today.

I want to stress that these mysteries revealed to Paul [by the Holy Spirit] are best viewed as "sacred secrets", hidden throughout history by God until He determined the time was right to reveal them and set His final plan of redemption in motion. Daniel, Chapter 12, tells us that as the time nears for the earth's final tribulations and turmoil to take place, that the mysteries [kept hidden] will be revealed and Many will go back and forth and search anxiously [through the scroll], and knowledge [of the purpose of God as revealed by His prophets] will [greatly] increase. The Bible will yield its secrets through revelation by the Holy Spirit, and we will walk in the knowledge that ushers in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God!

So, let's take a look at some of these mysteries/secrets that were revealed to Paul, and in turn, revealed to us through Scripture. Keep in mind, that some of them are clearly visible to us today, while others are in sight [yet not fully realized], and some may be a total surprise for the future. The first mystery that is revealed through Paul's writings is "The Mystery of the Incarnation". 1 Timothy 3:16 tells us, And great, we confess, is the mystery [the hidden truth] of godlinessHe (Jesus Christ) who was revealed in human flesh, Was justified and vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. Understand that the mystery here is the godliness (God's sovereign will) associated with Jesus's incarnation as a man. Although Jesus is a man, salvation and righteousness can only be found in Him. What was hidden in the past [of God's plan] has now been revealed ... Jesus came to earth from Heaven to manifest [display] God to mankind. 1 Timothy 3:16 plainly says that Jesus Christ [God] came to a sinful world [in the flesh] in order to save us from our sin, and has now returned to Heaven, glorified in both realms. The saints in the Old Testament did not see this mystery played out, but Paul fully reveals it.

The next mystery we'll consider is "The Mystery of Israel's Blindness". I will admit that until I began my own deep dive study of the Word 20 years ago, I did not understand this mystery -- it had never been satisfactorily taught in my church. But Romans 11:25-26 says it so that we have no doubts: I do not want you, believers, to be unaware of this mystery [God’s previously hidden plan]—so that you will not be wise in your own opinion—that a partial hardening has [temporarily] happened to Israel [to last] until the full number of the Gentiles has come in; and so [at that time] all Israel [that is, all Jews who have a personal faith in Jesus as Messiah] will be saved; just as it is written [in Scripture], The Deliverer (Messiah) will come from ZionHe will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” We know that the Old Testament tells us that Israel was God's chosen people through whom He would bless the world. But they failed and rejected Jesus as their Messiah, so God temporarily blinded them to His Truth, so that He might have mercy on the rest of the world. But Paul reveals that God uses the Gentiles to complete His plan of presenting Jesus to the world as their Savior. Once that full number of Gentiles are saved, then believing Israel will resume their leadership role. This truth has been hidden until recent history, when Israel once again became a recognized nation in the world. We are still in the process of fulfilling God's plan in the fullest sense. Stay tuned!

The third mystery is this, " The Mystery of the Church". Hidden in the past, but revealed through the Holy Spirit to Paul is what Ephesians 3:1-10 tells us. Read all the verses, but at the heart of its content is the revelation in verse 6, that the Gentiles are now joint heirs [with the Jews] and members of the same body, and joint partakers [sharing] in the [same divine] promise in Christ Jesus through [their faith in] the good news [of salvation]. Paul actually says in verse 5 that this "is the mystery of Christ". The wisdom of God's plan, and His design to keep it hidden until He determined it was time, is found in verses 9-10: to make plain [to everyone] the plan of the mystery [regarding the uniting of believing Jews and Gentiles into one body] which [until now] was kept hidden through the ages in [the mind of] God who created all things. So now through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God [in all its countless aspects] might now be made known [revealing the mystery] to the [angelic] rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Note that God expects the church to declare [and display]  to the "angelic rulers and authorities" that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven; that means the rulers and authorities of both God's army of angels and Satan's!  

Sadly, too many churches are still blind to the revelation of this mystery. For those churches who preach false Replacement Theology -- the theological conviction that the Christian Church has superseded/replaced Israel as God's chosen vessel to reveal Him to the world -- they are among those who have still not received righteous revelation as to the purpose of the church. Time is running out! Perhaps they should read Revelation 2-3 to see what Jesus reveals happens to those churches!

One of the most important mysteries to be revealed is "The Mystery of the Indwelling Christ". I believe this mystery is very much in the process of being revealed. By that I mean, a good portion of the Western Church does not yet fully understand this secret of their life in Christ. Paul writes in Colossians 1:24-28, about "the mystery which was hidden [from angels and mankind] for ages and generations, but has now been revealed to His saints (God’s people). God [in His eternal plan] chose to make known to them how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in and among you, the hope and guarantee of [realizing the] glory"

In order for us to carry out our purpose on the earth, it is vital that we understand and know that we are now the temple in which God and the Holy Spirit reside. Ephesians 2:22 implicitly states this: In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. I believe the "fellowship" in this verse refers both to believing Jews and Gentiles, as well as the church itself. Together we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us to participate in seeing God's plan come to fruition, and indeed, to do our part in seeing this happen.

The next mystery revealed is "The Mystery of the Headship of Christ". In Ephesians 5:22-32, Paul uses the example of marriage to give us an image of Christ's position as head of the church. I have personally seen this passage misused to define the nature of marriage between men and women. Its real purpose is to describe the relationship between Jesus and His believing followers (the church). The word "submission" has been used to indicate a wife's duty to capitulate to, or surrender to, her husband. In reality, Paul is telling us that, together, man and woman's primary mission is to serve the Lord, in all His ways. Therefore, we have a sub-mission, or secondary mission, to honor each other -- the wife honoring her husband as protector and head of the home, respecting his responsibility and accountability to God; just as the Church honors and respects Jesus as the head and protector of the church. Likewise, the husband's secondary mission is to his wife -- to seek the highest good for her, surrounding her with a caring and unselfish love; so that he honors her by nourishing her, protecting her, and cherishing her, just as Christ does the church. Scripture tells us,  For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined [and be faithfully devoted] to is wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery [of two becoming one] is great; but I am speaking with reference to [the relationship of] Christ and the church. Oh, how it saddens me to see how this beautiful passage has been corrupted!

The next mystery is a difficult one for many believers: "The Mystery of the Translation [or Resurrection] of the Church". Because Satan has been able to introduce confusion, doubt and unbelief in the midst of this mystery, many in the Body of Christ have differing doctrinal beliefs on this issue. But if the Body would just study the Word, which has been provided to us for revelation of God's heart and mind, and for the truth regarding these mysteries, they would find answers in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. Scripture says, flesh and blood cannot inherit nor be part of the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (mortal) inherit the imperishable (immortal). Listen very carefully, I tell you a mystery [a secret truth decreed by God and previously hidden, but now revealed]; we will not all sleep [in death], but we will all be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed]... For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us that is capable of dying] must put on immortality [which is freedom from death]. And when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says, “Death is swallowed up in victory (vanquished forever). 

Of course, this is referring to what has been called The Rapture. Again, Satan has sown confusion as to the timing, but I think it is more important to receive the knowledge that this mystery reveals, i.e., all true believers will be changed and transformed from mortal bodies of flesh and blood to immortal, imperishable bodies and be transported from earth to Heaven to dwell with the Lord forever. I am personally concentrating on that glorious promise, rather than getting caught up trying to figure out "when". I'm looking forward to that event and being reunited with my loved ones. 

The last mystery I'm going to look at is staring us right in the face ... "The Mystery of Lawlessness". Once again, the Enemy has used this mystery to stir up controversy and doubt by over-emphasizing the "when" of "the Rapture". But 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9 tells us not to be guessing when that celebrated event will take place. Scripture clearly tell us Let no one in any way deceive or entrap you, for that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first [that is, the great rebellion, the abandonment of the faith by professed Christians], and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction [the Antichrist, the one who is destined to be destroyed], who opposes and exalts himself [so proudly and so insolently] above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he [actually enters and] takes his seat in the temple of God, publicly proclaiming that he himself is God ... For the mystery of lawlessness [rebellion against divine authority and the coming reign of lawlessness] is already at work; [but it is restrained] only until he who now restrains it is taken out of the way.    

It's interesting in this passage that Paul was correcting a false teaching that the Day of the Lord [the End Times Judgment] had already come. And we have that same false teaching still in existence today. There are those who will say the Bible is talking about events in the Old Testament (Antiochus Epiphanes) or the the New Testament event of the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. But Paul makes it clear that two things need to happen before the Rapture and occur ... the apostasy, or "falling away; rebellion" of the Church, and the revealing of the Man of Lawlessness (the Antichrist). I believe that both are already at work in the world, but are being restrained until the number of Gentiles [that God has determined] have come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. We're close, folks, do don't let your guard down, and stay focused on Jesus!

In conclusion, I want to stress that together, these mysteries are what God revealed to the Apostle Paul because it was time to set the final stages of His plan of redemption in motion. And it is important to know and understand them so that we can participate with God to see His plan fulfilled. We need to be able to identify what He is doing in the world today and what to expect Him to do in the Future. With this knowledge, we can go forth in boldness and faith to experience His glorious promises; not out of fear, but in resolution and conviction to see them take place. I thank my God, my Savior, and the Holy Spirit for allowing me to be a recipient of the knowledge of these mysteries, and I pledge [through my faith] to reveal and share them with others, so that we might all live out our time on earth in the expectation of seeing these divine mysteries carried out. All Praise and Glory to God Almighty!

 Deuteronomy 29:29    The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

August 14, 2023

Part 1: Why We Need to Understand & Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom

I want to present an idea that is clearly explained in the Bible, yet we, as the Body of Christ, often don't recognize it. As elucidated in Luke 4:43, the purpose of Jesus's coming was to announce that the Kingdom of God would be established on earth. Christians today, however, tend to focus on His message of Salvation, and we rarely proclaim what He taught about the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven, which are the same thing. Remember that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”(Matthew 6:33).  Salvation was not his primary focus ... the Kingdom of God was. 

Jesus is teaching His disciples the importance of knowing what He meant by the Kingdom of God, and making sure they knew it was His purpose; why He was sent. And when Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, He spoke in terms of a real government—a structured, organized entity with the very authority of God behind it. (Certain rulers who heard Christ's message recognized the political implications and viewed His words as a threat to their own power. This became a factor in Christ's eventual crucifixion).  

But God is a God of order. To Jesus and His disciples, the term "Kingdom of God" meant a government that would be established on earth. They anticipated that its arrival would amount to nothing less than a sweeping, overwhelming change in the world order. And those in power could not let that happen. The powerful still don't want to recognize the supremacy of His government!

We also need to recognize that there are two different fulfillments we need to consider when discussing the Kingdom of God: 1) The Bible shows that when the Kingdom comes in the future, the returning Christ will take His place as divine ruler of the earth. It is a literal Kingdom on earth, with Jesus as the ruler.  2) Since the Kingdom is wherever the King is ruler, if He is the ruler of your heart, then the spiritual Kingdom of God exists in you HERE AND NOW.  

In light of these two fulfillments, it is important that we contemplate the chapter of Matthew 13, which consists entirely of parables about the Kingdom of Heaven. The disciples asked Jesus, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And He answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” Notice that He doesn't say you have been given the knowledge of Salvation ... No! He was teaching them about the significance of the Kingdom of Heaven and why it was important, both in the present and in the future.

In each of the parables in Matthew 13, Jesus presents an argument that begins with, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like...".  I don't know about you, but for years, I read those parables in terms of what moral lesson He was trying to teach me. I never made the connection that they all pointed to the Kingdom of Heaven. As I looked for a lesson in each one, I missed that He was giving us valuable information that pertained to Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  Let me give you a short synopsis on each of the parables and why it was important to Jesus that we get this concept. I recommend that you read these parables in Matthew, Chapter 13, with a new spiritual eye towards The Kingdom of God.

The Parable of the Sower:  Each soil represents one of four responses to the teaching of the Kingdom of God. With each response, but one, the message is lost. 

The Parable of the Wheat and Tares (Weeds):  There was corruption in the Kingdom, but it will be sorted out at harvest time.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed:  (This is the most fascinating to me, and is an alternate view of the one most often presented!)  This parable accurately describes what the kingdom community became in the decades and centuries after the Christianization of the Roman Empire. In those centuries the Church grew abnormally large in influence and dominion, and was a nest for much corruption.  Close study of birds as symbols in the Old Testament, and especially in the literature of later Judaism, shows that birds regularly symbolize evil and even demons or Satan.

The Parable of the Leaven: Three measures is far more leaven than is needed to make bread, and represents the addition of corruption and impurity through “paganizing influences” introduced into the Kingdom.

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure: The man is Jesus and this parable speaks of how highly the King values the people of His kingdom.  The treasure that is so wonderful that Jesus would give all to purchase is the individual believer. This powerfully shows how Jesus gave everything to redeem the whole world to preserve a treasure in it, and the treasure is His people.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value: Again, Jesus is the buyer and the individual believer is the pearl that He sees as so valuable that He would happily give all to have it forever. To the ancient peoples that Jesus was speaking to, a pearl was the loveliest of all possessions; Jesus is telling them that the people of His Kingdom are the most valuable thing to Him.

The Parable of the (Drag)Net: Jesus shows that the world will remain divided right up until the end, and the Church will not reform the world. The King will return, the angels will assist the King in the work of judgment, and He will establish His Kingdom on earth.

As I have studied further about Jesus's teachings on the Kingdom of God, I now understand how the early Church might have been confused about it's significance, and how that has translated to near ignorance on the part of the modern Church. 

In fact, the hope of the early church was that the Lord would return in the clouds to establish a Kingdom of peace and justice. That is what Jesus preached! They had yet to learn that the Kingdom was in them! The Disciples believed in the literal return and reign of Christ on earth. Jesus, Himself, said in Matthew 25:31, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.” He goes on to say in verse 32, that He will then judge the nations, separating the sheep from the goats. But He also told them in Luke 17:21:  "You won't be able to say, 'Here it is!' or 'It's over there!' For the Kingdom of God is already among you."  We can see both the future and the present Kingdoms of God presented here.

So, how have we come to lose the importance of Jesus's message about the Kingdom of God?  It began to change through the centuries as follows: The Church began to limit the idea of the Kingdom of God to just mean the 1,000 year reign of Christ in the Millennial Kingdom. While The Kingdom of God and the Millennial Kingdom aren’t the same, they do overlap. Then theologians began arguing if the Millennial Kingdom was literal or allegorical. The early Church fathers Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian believed in a literal Millennial Kingdom. In the 3rd Century, Origen was the first to present the allegorical theory. Then just a few years later, Augustine changed the theory even more.  He “identified the Church with the Kingdom of God and maintained that the millennial age had already come”.  In his highly influential book The City of God, Augustine wrote: “Therefore the Church, even now, is the kingdom of Christ, and the kingdom of heaven” (Book XX, Chapter 9). In essence, Augustine taught that the Church in this present world is the Kingdom of God, and “the thousand years stand for all the years of the Christian era”. 

We need to remember that the Hebrew prophets showed that the arrival of God's Kingdom on earth would bring worldwide peace, physical abundance and divine righteousness.  Isaiah 2:4 tells us that He will judge among the nations, and rebuke many people; that people will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; and that nations won’t lift their swords against other nations, and man will learn war no more.

But history shows us that the “Christian era” or “the Church era” that Augustine equated with God's Kingdom has been a time of violence, war, death, starvation and widespread lawlessness. We certainly can’t say mankind is no longer learning war! So the Church, in this "Age of Grace," has obviously not spread Jesus’s Gospel Message about the Kingdom of God! 

Continuing from the historical perspective, in the 18th Century mankind adopted “the Age of Reason”, and instead of basing all knowledge in Biblical revelation, they tried to build on the foundation of human reason.  Theologians that adopted this concept believed that “Western civilization was establishing Christ's earthly rule”. And they began to teach that Mankind was “improving” and through our human power and ingenuity we could establish a righteous world. (SIDE NOTE:  We’ve left the “righteousness” part of that world equation behind, and now through our human power and ingenuity, we’re going to “improve” through transhumanism, including man merging with machine).

Those theologians also taught that as the Church, we should set good examples of Christian living, which would influence society and culture… we haven’t done a very good job of that if you look at our society today. And even though that idea was preached by the theologians of the day, the Church received no commission to politically reform the society by seeking God’s righteousness, and from the Roman Empire on, we have NOT seen the governments of the world conform to what Jesus said the Kingdom of God was: a structured, organized entity with the very authority of God behind it.  And throughout the centuries, the Church has not preached that as a goal!  Instead, church members heard from their leaders that they should hope and pray for God's Kingdom to come [in the future], while concentrating on the Salvation message.

That literal Kingdom on earth WILL COME and Jesus WILL be the Divine Ruler of His Kingdom on earth.  In that sense the Kingdom of God is future and we look forward to our inheritance. BUT the Kingdom of God also refers to the King’s realm into which we may now enter to experience the blessings of His reign in our hearts.  REMEMBER:  the parable of the Sower is all about what is sown in our hearts; that’s the personal realm that Jesus concentrated on and wants to be King of.

So, in this earthly realm, it is perhaps easier to comprehend that the Kingdom of God exists in our hearts.  Our spirits give us hints that He is there, and our souls (our minds, emotions and will) will show us He is real and there is evidence of Him --- IF WE SEEK THE KINGDOM OF GOD FIRST.  

As for the literal establishment of God’s Kingdom at the return of Christ, God's timetable may differ from man's. God does not allow man to foresee the chronological details of His plan, but the outcome is certain. God will do what He has promised. 

Finally, here is the really important concept I hope you will grasp ... After the true biblical teaching of the Kingdom of God was removed, the gospel message was changed from the message about the Kingdom to a message primarily about Jesus Christ.  It would become a message that Christianity would triumph over its enemies in the world. And it was a message that faith in Jesus would yield eternal salvation ... both true, but these were not the "Good News" that Jesus had come to preach, nor the purpose for which He was sent.  (Read the Scripture that follows). In other words, Christianity kept the name of Jesus Christ, but abandoned His message.

Part Two of this topic will take a look at what Jesus meant by the "secrets" or the "mysteries" of the Kingdom.

Luke 4:43   But He said, “I must preach [the good news of] the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because I was sent for this purpose.”

August 8, 2023

How Do We Live a Kingdom of God Lifestyle?

More and more Christians are coming to the knowledge that there is more than the Gospel of Salvation that we are to share with the world. You will hear various Christian groups and pastors presenting the Good News that Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, as well. And as I stated in yesterday's post, it is important for us to understand our position and purpose in this Kingdom on earth. 

Personally, I have spent several years growing my understanding of the concept of God's Kingdom on earth by studying what the Word says throughout the Book of Matthew about His Kingdom. And I gained more than a heart knowledge that came from the Holy Spirit counseling me and teaching me the spiritual ramifications of the existence of the Kingdom here on earth. So, besides head and heart knowledge, I also have knowledge that comes from actually "walking out" or experiencing what living in [and by] Kingdom principles actually does in my life, and how it affects the lives of others. I'd like to share this bigger picture in the context of where we are today.

To begin, when I first came to an understanding of the Kingdom of God, I "spiritualized" it. In other words, my spirit was overcome with the concept that when Jesus announced that "the Kingdom is near" or "the Kingdom is at hand", He was proclaiming that He came to bring the foundation of Heaven's belief and behavior system to earth; that "on earth, as it is in Heaven" was not just a part of a prayer, but a reality that He wanted to establish. The idea that we could participate [as followers of Jesus] in establishing Heaven on Earth was mind-blowing!

But now I can see just how that idea relates to any other kingdom that exists [or has existed] on earth. In fact, the kingdoms of the earth are a mirror of the Kingdom of Heaven -- they have just developed within a corrupt "world system", rather than a righteous "heavenly system". So what is the standard that God has set in His Heavenly Kingdom? What are the principles we should be following?

• Just like any earthly kingdom, the Kingdom of God has a government that maintains order; has dominion or jurisdiction and control; has power and authority. But God's Kingdom acts in righteousness, and for the good of His people. I'm not seeing much order today, nor does the power and authority look righteous. 

• The Kingdom of God has a constitution, which is the covenant He has made with us. This covenant regenerates God's people by his Holy Spirit and renews their hearts so that they obey Him. Our constitution was designed to establish laws that reflected Heaven's justice, peace, welfare, liberty and prosperity. But now it is mocked and scorned. How can we expect to live a Kingdom lifestyle?  

• The Kingdom of God has Law. The Word of Righteousness cannot be broken; not even by God. He established it; it is forever settled and never changes. It is the established foundation of the Kingdom. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether (Psalm 19:7-9). All this language pertains to the laws of the Kingdom of God. But what of our laws? They are anything but perfect, sure, fair, right, or untainted.

• The Kingdom of God has citizens, and to become a citizen, there has to be an entrance system. Our nation originally established an eligibility requirement and a naturalization process to becoming a citizen. Now, like many of our laws, that system has been decimated. In the Kingdom of God, Jesus is the entrance; the door to citizenship. Here's the thing, there is only one door into the Kingdom of God [through Jesus], but many doors into Religion (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, etc), but they don't lead you into the Kingdom. And before you think that just because you are a Christian, you are a citizen of the Kingdom, consider what Jesus said to the religious leaders whom He brought the Kingdom message to .... But woe (judgment is coming) to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven in front of people; for you do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are [in the process of] entering to do so (Matthew 23:13). So, as Christians, it is imperative that we ask ourselves, "Have I entered the door into the Kingdom, or have I entered the door that led to Religion"? Am I showing others the way, or am I shutting the door in their faces?

• The Kingdom has an economy. There is a shared loyalty among the citizens and a sharing of the wealth. In the world this is known as a "commonwealth". In both the world's kingdoms and the Kingdom of God, it is the King's responsibility to take care of its citizens. The economy of the Kingdom of God is the Good News of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and it is our responsibility to share the wealth of that Good News. Again, our economy is failing, and there is no sharing of wealth. In fact, the distance between the classes is widening in an alarming fashion. 

• The Kingdom of God has its own culture. When we are involved in "Kingdom living" it produces a unique environment by which we should live our lives, and it is not a religious or worldly culture. And it's our responsibility to learn how to live in that culture. What does the Kingdom culture look like? It is the commission that Jesus gave His disciples to establish a culture that observed everything He had taught and commanded them to do: heal the sick (physically, emotionally, and spiritually); cast out demons, freeing the citizens to pursue their purpose in the Kingdom; cleanse the lepers (restore people back to their families and communities); raise the dead (if it is before the time Jesus has written in their Book of Life); spreading the Good News of the Kingdom and what it means in the lives of Believers; make disciples (teaching people to learn of Him. believe in Him, and obey His words); and baptize them (which is an act of declaration to the kingdom of darkness that we have chosen a side) -- Matthew 28:19-20. It makes my heart sad to see how our culture resembles so little of what Jesus commanded.

• The Kingdom of God has keys, or principles of how to live. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus tells us, I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven. Once again you see that the Kingdom has a foundation of laws that establish the principles of how we are to live. Does our nation [or the world] look like we have taken those keys and bound ourselves to the Kingdom of God? Or have we pledged ourselves to the self-aggrandizing standards of the world?

I will tell you that it is past time that we abandon the corrupt world system of government, laws, economies and culture, and be restored to God's vision of the Kingdom of God on earth! We were made to reflect His attributes and nature, and I want to assure you that it is actually possible to live as a citizen of the Kingdom of God while on earth. Jesus showed us how! Contemplate what Matthew 4:23 tells us: And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news (gospel) of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people [demonstrating and revealing that He was indeed the promised Messiah]. This verse is telling us there is no disease (such as cancer or diabetes or deadly viruses) in Heaven, nor sickness (spiritual issues like depression, unworthiness, shame, guilt, or anger). Therefore, as a citizen of the Kingdom of God, we have been given the keys (power and authority) to heal them just as He did when He represented the Kingdom while He was on earth. We have the Holy Spirit's power in us [just as Jesus did] to transfer ourselves out of the realm of this sinful and corrupted world into another realm -- the Kingdom of God on earth. And our existence can look like Heaven! 

So, why is the world so sick? Because, first of all, we haven't been taught that we have the keys, and secondly, we are scared to use them. What if I fail? What will people think of me? Jesus will find me unworthy! People, that's a lie from the devil! He wants us to try, and keep on trying! If we attempt to live this lifestyle for one day and nothing happens, are we going to quit? Did Jesus quit when His miracles and acts of power failed to change the hearts of the Jewish people, to whom He came with this Good News? Do not fear man! Do not seek the rewards of this worldly culture, but rather seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first! And keep on seeking it! Your rewards in Heaven will far outweigh anything this world offers. 

As I wrap up this post, I want to state that it is important to us, [as the Body of Christ, who is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ], that we understand that if we have not been taught [or are not teaching] within the context of the Kingdom of God, we are teaching another gospel. It is important to know what Gospel Jesus taught. I know that sounds like an indictment of the Church, but here is what I see ... Everything has to fall under the umbrella of Kingdom Living and Kingdom Teaching because that's what Jesus did! 

And lest there be any misunderstanding, I want to be perfectly clear .... If we are preaching/teaching grace and salvation, that is not wrong. Salvation is necessary to see and enter the Kingdom. It is the first step! It is just not an exact representation, nor the fullness, of what Jesus taught! Too many Christians are living saved lives, and offering grace and mercy to others, but are neglecting to teach all of what Jesus came to establish. And the result is that our culture, our nation, and the world, does not reflect "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven". The world certainly does not look like Heaven! And it is increasingly looking like hell!

It's time that we understand the fullness of that verse, and start living it. It's not enough to know the Word, we must experience it; start living in it; and sharing it. It is apparent that too many are still living as citizens of this world, and not as citizens representing the Kingdom. I realize that my message might offend some of the religious Christians who read it. Jesus offended the religious people, too, as He tried to speak about the Kingdom. But it didn't stop Him. May I prove to be worthy to follow in His steps. 

Luke 4:43     But He said, “I must preach [the good news of] the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because I was sent for this purpose.”