Consider your life since 2008. Many things have happened!
What were the most valuable activities you have engaged in? What were the most costly, or wasteful?
As Paul wrote to the congregations in Corinth, what we can see is temporary, and what our physical eyes can’t see is the eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). There may be another 10 years ahead of us right now. What would be valuable ways to prepare for them?
Reading the Bible at least 5 times in 10 years would probably be a good investment. Ask the Spirit what you need to be ready for. Staying more focused on the invisible will make us more likely to get the answers. The more we are in touch with the eternal, with the Kingdom, the more likely we will be to invest our years wisely, and the more likely “the end” will just be a click on the railroad track as we move from the temporary to the full revelation of the eternal.
I just read a pile of creeds. The list included the Apostles’, the Nicene, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan, the Athanasian, the Westminster Confession, the United Methodist, and the creed of Eusebius. The only mention of the Kingdom of Heaven was in one, and it’s statement was to say that the Kingdom is eternal.
The Kingdom is pretty close to the only thing Jesus talked about. What a stark contrast. He instructed some people once to seek His Kingdom before anything else, and to seek His righteousness. In that position of pursuit, they would find all they needed.
It seems that we should be taking notes instead of sharing notes. Show us the Way, Lord.
He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when grown, it’s taller than the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches.”
(Matthew 13:31-32 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
The Kingdom started in the earth as one Man. When He was sown in the earth, He multiplied and the Kingdom has grown and will continue to grow. It isn’t important looking if we don’t have eyes to see it. As Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:3), if we haven’t been reborn, we can’t see it at all.
We can see it, though! We need to be about tending it; it needs water and sun and fertilizer. It needs annoying bees to pollinate it so that it bears fruit. Ask the Spirit what your responsibility is for tending the garden. He wants you to know, and to be successful at your part.
“Now My soul is troubled. What should I say—Father, save Me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again!”
The crowd standing there heard it and said it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him!”
Jesus responded, “This voice came, not for Me, but for you. Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out. As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to Myself.” He said this to signify what kind of death He was about to die.
(John 12:27-33 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
We need to learn to listen when Jesus is trying to tell us what’s next, or what we need to be doing.
Then the disciples came up and asked Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
He answered them, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them. For whoever has, more will be given to him, and he will have more than enough. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. For this reason I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand.”
(Matthew 13:10-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
We need to ask the Spirit to explain things to us when things don’t make sense. It is supposed to make sense, because He wants to give the secrets of the Kingdom to us.
Jeff Christopherson, in his book, “The Kingdom Matrix” lists these four marks of a Kingdomcentric church:
- New Believers
- New Disciplemakers
- New Communities of Faith
- Transforming Communities
Knowing both the differences between and the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom changes the way we think and do and interact and can give us greater understanding of our identities and our purposes.
The book is available by clicking here if you would like to read it.
Moses went up the mountain to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain: “This is what you must say to the house of Jacob, and explain to the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me. Now if you will listen to Me and carefully keep My covenant, you will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although all the earth is Mine, and you will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation. These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”
(Exodus 19:3-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for His possession,
so that you may proclaim the praises
of the One who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light.
Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
(1 Peter 2:9-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
We are the only authentic priests on the planet. How should that influence our lives and our work? Ask the Spirit.
Athletes train for success. “For although I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all, in order to win more people. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win those under the law. To those who are outside the law, like one outside the law—not being outside God’s law, but under the law of Christ—to win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some. Now I do all this because of the gospel, that I may become a partner in its benefits.
Do you not know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly, or box like one who beats the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
(1 Corinthians 9:19-27 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
Athletes work – they compete for a prize. “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. To please the recruiter, no one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of everyday life. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hardworking farmer who ought to be the first to get a share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
(2 Timothy 2:3-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
We need to be prepared for succeeding in our callings by doing all that we can to learn more of who our God is, more of who He says we are, and what He declares to be our purposes in the earth. He is the Judge of the race. We want to hear His voice saying “Well done.”
Brace up. Get ready. Run!
Jesus told a parable (Mark 12:1-12) about a landowner and a vineyard that he leased to some vinedressers. These tenant farmers tried to take the farm for themselves, but Jesus said that it was going to be taken from them and given to other vineyard keepers. The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders knew that He was telling the parable about them, but their response was to proceed to bring the story to life by killing the land Owner’s Son, not by repenting.
A change in management is coming soon in the ministries of prophet and teacher in the Church. Teachers will be appearing soon who are able to discern two very important things. One is that they should stop looking for information about the Church in the parables that Jesus taught, and look instead for revelation about the Kingdom. They will at last realize that He usually started them with the phrase, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…” because He was teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, not the family of the King of Heaven.
The second thing they will realize is that previous teacher-invented products like the “Left Behind Series,” and “Prophecy Conferences,” even though they have generated much revenue and hype, have done nothing but distract the Church from the ministry of invading the earth with manifestations of the Kingdom. This second revelation will include the acknowledgement that teachers don’t get interpretation of prophecies; prophets do.
As they step aside from trying to tend to that work, and encourage their brothers and sisters who are prophets to begin doing it, prophets will become proficient at interpreting current events in light of words that are proceeding from the mouth of the King, and by revelation that brings light to Scriptural prophecies. Prophets will lead their coworkers in many areas of influence – not just the Church. Just as Daniel and Joseph were installed in governments to lead prophetically, this new group of tenants will lead in any office or business they are called to.
Pray for it. Look for it. Fan its flame when you begin to see it.
Our work in the earth regarding others’ lives is not to make better behaved people of them.
People need to know the difference between right and wrong. More important, though, is to know the difference between Life and death. Leading them to abundant life by introducing them to Life Himself will improve their behavior. Pointing out their mistakes and failures might not.
Jails are full of people who knew they were breaking the laws that got them arrested. Heaven will be full of people who met the Person Who served their sentence on the cross.
The human governments and cultures of nations aren’t sources of darkness and abuse simply because evil people are ruling in them and influencing them.
Darkness overtakes cultures and governments because sons and daughters of Yahweh are not rising up to bring influence to them from their relationships with the King of Righteousness.
You may feel as unempowered or unimpressive as Gideon, who was hiding in a winepress when the messenger of Yahweh found him and called him a “mighty warrior,” (Judges 6:11-16). You may still, however, be called to make a great difference in the earth – either by doing something to influence culture, or to influence a person who proceeds to do so.
“But I will be with you,” the Lord said to him.