Monday, July 25, 2011

The Kingdom of God!

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:20-21

The Kingdom of God was the subject that was on the mind of Jesus and the early church continually. As you read the gospels or the Book of Acts the word Kingdom is everywhere. Jesus sent His disciples out to tell people about the "kingdom ofGod" not as a witness to Himself. The kingdom was the primary focus and Jesus as the only access to the kingdom was the common message. Look through the Book of Acts and notice the phrase "kingdom of God and (Jesus)"

Here is a link to help you in your study:

When was the last time you heard a church leader discuss the Kingdom of God? Why would it be so important to the early church and to Jesus Himself but totally disregarded in today's church?

Why is this an important issue? Let's see what the Apostle Paul had to say about this:

Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. Romans 14:16-18

The kingdom of God is "righteousness and peace and joy"! If Christians were living within the kingdom today do you think that the world would take notice?

Certainly the first century Christians has a clear and a bold witness. How much of that clarity and boldness was due to their understanding of the kingdom and their choosing to live within it?

Jesus warned us that the Kingdom is not hard to find but it isn't a group activity. We cannot expect a church to lead us there it is a solitary journey!

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Matthew 23:13

So here we are today! We have been given another chance to understand that the gospel (or good news) of Jesus is that He brought the Kingdom of God for His people. It is in no way good news, as today's Christianity seems to teach, to have to labor and struggle the rest of our lives for someday earning a place in the Kingdom of God when we die! Doesn't this sound much like the Islam religion?

Take some time with the link above as your guide into what the Word of God says about the Kingdom. Leave a comment or email me:

if you have any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reign In Life

This week's message might be shocking and very challenging. For too long, Christians have had the wrong view of who we really are. I suggest you read the Book of Romans in its entirety. Today's thoughts come from the marvelous fifth chapter. The fifth chapter is only second to the eighth chapter of the same book in how it paints the picture of God's total gift of grace.

Let's start:

For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

Paul begins this section with simple logic. Since "this" then "that". One broght many into sin and one brought many into righteousness.

The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgressionresulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free giftarose from many transgressions resulting in justification.

Judgment entered the world of mankind due to the single "transgression". From that single transgression the plague spread resulting in "many transgressions".

It is because of the "many transgressions" that were beyond any other remedy that God chose to give us a free gift: justification. Justification: made right!

The news is even more grandiose; hang on!

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15-17

The words "much more" are an understatement. Re-read that last sentence again.

Do you actually know any Christian who is "reigning in life"? What has happened?

We have been given the position but we have surrendered it because we choose to believe the lies of the enemy. Many of these lies are filtered through the current church! I would list a few of such teachings here but it is impossible to dissect the subtleties of the lies from the truth when a teacher uses scripture but pushes it out of the context of the whole message of grace!

Invest some time with God this week and begin by asking Him to show you what it means to "reign in life"!

When Christians return to their designed place the world will notice and the world will change! Don't expect that to happen; the message of grace has been diluted beyond recognition in most churches.

What is left, then?

What is left is for you personally to begin to reign! Time is short.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Revisit The Garden

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

God created man (in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.

Imagine this setting from the first chapter of Genesis. God had created everything for the joy and the benefit of the choicest of His creation.

The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." Genesis 2:16

The vast forest of trees were give to man with only one single tree being set aside as unavailable to them.

They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8

In addition to all of man's physical needs being met, God's presence was consistent and obviously available.

How is it that our world has ended up where is has when so much was provided to the advantage of maintaining the spiritual nature of mankind?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" Genesis 3:1

OK, so here is the real question. Adam personally knew his Creator; had an intimate relationship with his God but, nevertheless, listened to the liar!

How did this happen?

A better question perhaps is: if Adam couldn't resist what chance do I have?

It is vitally important for us to see the entire picture painted in the beginning chapters of the history of God's dealing with man.

What do you think enabled Satan to "get a word in edgewise" with one so aware of God's presence and provision?

What more could Adam have wanted if totally left by himself, with no outside influence?

Allow me to bring this home personally.

Adam had acres and acres of provision.

How often do you thank God for the things and the people he has given you? Adam had lost his gratitude for the things and the people that he had had. This left a huge opening for the enemy to present additional options.

Adam had immediate and real access to the Living God on a current basis. He grew in-sensitized to the ready presence.

When was the last time you treated your God like He was treasured and that His current presence made a difference for you?

Adam listened to the enticing discussion.

What do you listen to the most? Do you ever hear from Him? Are the enticing invitations of fame, wealth, success, happiness, security louder than the sweet, soft voice of the Great Lover of your soul?

Adam choose to try the tree!

What is your tree? God has given you acres and acres of permissible "trees" but there is always that one!

I encourage you to hear His voice, walk with Him continually and offer to Him the thanksgiving due!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Names That Mean Something

Names always meant something in the nation of Israel. Names of individuals and names of places carried a meaning of an event or a vision.

As I was reading the Word this week it occurred to me that it was not insignificant that God chose Zebulun and Naphtali as the beginning point for the earthly ministry of Jesus. As I checked the underlying name meanings of Zebulun and Naphtali I discovered something interesting.

Zebulun (dwelling) and Naphtali (wrestling) were an area of Israel that was unremarkable except for is distance from Jerusalem, the political capital of the region. With recent events regarding John the Baptist's arrest, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to this region to launch His three year ministry.

Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:


From that time Jesus began to preach and say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:12-17

Today we still live in a land of wrestling, wrestling with problems, with financial issues, with people issues, with decisions of every type and substance, but we have in recent years put the great light "under a bushel basket". As our world and our society spin wildly out of control heading toward the abyss the churches remain unconcerned and oblivious to their part in the morass.

Jesus said, " “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ Matthew 11:16-17

"Children who call out to other children" is a statement about "this generation" regarding their maturity and purpose. The message is of a young child who tries many things to achieve acceptance with little in the way of permanent results. Such defines today's churches as week after week they pattern their approaches toward acceptability.

The very same description could be applied to each of us individual Christians. Do we live radical lives of faith or have we been molded into an acceptable image of a dying world?

The message that Jesus brings to each of us today is a simple one: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Remaining where you are is easy. It is a giant step to accept the invitation into the Kingdom! The difference is remarkable but the world may not appreciate the new you! But then you would be in good company!