The “promises of God” include miracles, maturity both individually and of the whole church, revelation for leadership by the Spirit, freedom from the power of sin, and much more.
The giants of cancer, church splits and fights, confusion and misguidance, addictions, (and more) that are currently squatting in and trying to occupy the place of Yahweh’s promises to us are no match for our God and His ability to empower us and lead us. We must be diligent not to fail the way Israel did when they heard from the majority of their advisors, “…they are stronger than we are!” (Numbers 13:31).
They failed to become who Yahweh said they were because they feared walking in faith. Their enemies may have been greater than them, but they could not be greater than Yahweh, Who told them He would fight for them, and cause them to take the land. Walking in faith is scary, but surrendering to anyone but Yahweh is worse!
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a large net thrown into the sea. It collected every kind of fish, and when it was full, they dragged it ashore, sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but threw out the worthless ones. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out, separate the evil people from the righteous, and throw them into the blazing furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all these things?”
“Yes,” they told Him.
“Therefore,” He said to them, “every student of Scripture instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who brings out of his storeroom what is new and what is old.” When Jesus had finished these parables, He left there.
(Matthew 13:47-53 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
Studying the Scriptures prepares us for listening to the King. When we are practiced in both, we will be like the landowner Jesus described here: having established things and new things that are coming to be.
After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the hearts of the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith, and by telling them, “It is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God.”
(Acts 14:21-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
Paul spent much of his time teaching people about the Kingdom of God. In the first few sentences Luke wrote of Acts, he said Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom. In the last few, said Paul was teaching about the Kingdom.
In Acts 14, Luke recorded a snippet of Paul’s teaching about it: we get there through troubles. I infer that if our path is cluttered with troubles, we could likely take that as a confirmation that we are on the correct path. I also infer that if we spend most of our time avoiding troubles (including people who fit that description), that we may be straying from the shortest path to walking in the Kingdom now and preparing for walking in it later.
As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him.
While He was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
(Matthew 9:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
“The house” was, perhaps, the home of Matthew. Don’t be too hard on the Pharisees for not being able to understand the ministry of Jesus and the callings He placed on the lives around Him. John wondered about the same things (Matthew 11:2-3).
When Jesus doesn’t give us details about what He is calling us to until after we surrender to the call, we wonder many things, too. We also wonder about the validity of each others’ callings when they don’t make sense.
The answers to our questions for clarity and validity will always come from Jesus. Modern Pharisees, or even modern leaders like John who have not received revelation about some new thing Jesus is doing will always persecute what comes next. Don’t join them. Ask Jesus what He thinks about it. Join Him.
It is not likely that Jesus wants to teach you that you need to sell all you have and give the proceeds to the poor through what is recorded in the New Testament of His instructions to a rich young ruler.
I suspect, though, that He does want to impart some instruction to you by His Spirit as you listen to what He told him and then His disciples. The story’s in Luke 18:18-30.
Not many people are technology-free enough to have a watch that needs to be wound. When winding watches was the norm, though, if you didn’t do it, your watch failed to keep the right time because it stopped ticking.
If you carry your lunch to work or school, you have to prepare for having it when you need it. You either need to pack it the night before, or get up in time to do it before you leave home, or your mom does it.
Your mom isn’t preparing you for a day in which you walk in the Spirit. You need to take responsibility for submitting to Him yourself. You need to do something that resembles a preparatory request for filling and leadership, and an ongoing submission in the form of listening for it through the day.
Having Sharia Law mixed into the fabric of the laws of any nation would make for bad government. Being influenced by the false teachings of Islam can’t lead to a good place.
Having people in a government who are surrendered to Yahweh can cause even a generally corrupt government with bad laws to become good government. The opposite is not as likely to be true though: having the best laws, but having immoral and unbelieving people ruling in it would still be bad government.
Daniel, David, Mordecai, Esther, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (three friends of Daniel who were given the demon glorifying names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) were all government officials who influenced the nations in which they served. As we pray for believers whom Yahweh has called to bring His presence and rule into the governments of our cities and nation to hear and to accept their callings, we will see His Kingdom influence our cities and nations in ways we have not yet.
Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, “Your Kingdom come; Your will be done in the Earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
Jesus prayed “Father, if this cup can’t pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)
Whoever wrote the letter to the Hebrews (I think Paul) wrote that David, in Psalm 40, was quoting Jesus as having said, “See, I have come… to do Your will, O God!” (Hebrews 10:5-10; Psalm 40:6-9)
When the will of the Lord – what He wants to happen or to stop happening – is done in the earth, His Kingdom has come to that place in that time. Disobedience on another day will let the place slip back into darkness again. Obeying Him all the time brings the power of eternal things into the passing of days.
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.