Category Archives: Kingdom

The Kingdoms of The World

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.

Embarrassed by the Unexplainable

Are you stuck in a place where all you expect to do, where all you expect Yahweh to do, is what can be easily explained? Where what is expected is what seems possible under normal circumstances?

Sometimes that is exactly what we should be expecting. Much of the time, though, I think that we should be expecting the impossible. We should frequently expect things to happen that cannot be explained.

In 1956, several missionaries were killed by Huaorani warriors in Ecuador when they went to evangelize them. One of the martyrs was Nate Saint. One of the warriors was Mincayani. Two years later, Nate’s wife and children and a couple more missionaries successfully moved into the village of the Huaroani tribe, leading them to Christ. Mincayani, because he had killed Nate, felt responsible for becoming a father to Nate’s children, and developed a strong relationship with Nate’s son Stevie.

Stevie brought Mincayani to the US beginning in 1997. He was impressed that when Stevie went to a grocery store, the people gave him whatever he wanted. When they went to a restaurant with a drive through window, Mincayani described the scene to his wife back in Ecuador: “The people hand you all the food you want through a window, and they don’t even make you trade anything for it!”

Stevie tried to correct him by pointing out that he had paid for it by giving them his credit card. “Yes- but they just give it back to you!” was Mincayani’s response. We typically have just as little understanding of transactions and activities in the Kingdom. Mincayani lived in the remote jungle of Ecuador for over 60 years before Stevie Saint put him in a plane and brought him to the US. He had no frame to put that new picture in.

We have the writings of both Old and New Testaments to use as frames for what to expect. We should be able to grasp more than we do. We shouldn’t be embarrassed by not being able to explain why our God does some things and doesn’t do some others. We should be in a dialog with Him that teaches us His ways.

(See the 2004 film Beyond the Gates of Splendor and 2006 End of the Spear for details of the story about the missionaries and the Huaoani tribe, and encouragement about viewing a bigger picture of the Kingdom of God.)

Clock Resets

Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:-39).

Many things can, however, separate us from His provision or guidance, including timing. If we are instructed to be in one place doing certain work, and are actually in another place or busy at other work, we have separated ourselves from the resources we need to be able to accomplish our assignments.

If we delay in our obedience until the time for planting or watering or harvesting has passed, we can miss our opportunity to engage with our assigned work. If you think that you have missed a window, ask the Lord of time to reset the clock. Ask Him to continue to be at work in you and around you to make you succeed at what He has ordained you to be and to do.

Time and space are under His authority. When His disciples found Him in the middle of the lake walking on it, and allowed Him to get in the boat with them, they were suddenly where they needed to be:

When evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. Darkness had already set in, but Jesus had not yet come to them. Then a high wind arose, and the sea began to churn. After they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea. He was coming near the boat, and they were afraid.

But He said to them, “It is I. Don’t be afraid!” Then they were willing to take Him on board, and at once the boat was at the shore where they were heading.
(John 6:16-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Talking About the Kingdom

Preaching obedience to all of His commandments is one of His commandments. One of the most life-impacting, life-changing and life-giving concepts we are given the privilege of sharing as good news is this truth: that being where the King has instructed us to be, doing what He has instructed us to do, puts us in the place where His protection and provision and supporting relationships and destined opportunities are to be found.

Nothing can separate us from His love, but almost anything could become a separating factor or influence hindering us from fulfilling our purposes. The reasons include the fact that all we need has been placed where we need it in order to use it in the work we have been assigned. If we are in a different place, it has no need to be moved to the place where we are. It still needs to be in the place where the work should be done.

An example of this concept is presented to us in the story of Jonah’s ship trip. He did not experience Yahweh’s provision and protection when he went to sea. Instead, he was apprehended with severe discomfort and faced the real danger of death.

Almost everyone in the New Testament writings had something to preach about the Kingdom. What do we have to say about the Kingdom, and how often is it on our lips?

Red Ink

When Jim Bakker was imprisoned for participating in the abuse of funds that were received for the PTL ministry, he had been preaching what is called a “prosperity gospel” for many years. He had promised riches to people who invested heavily in ministries that preached the proper message.

While he was in jail, he says that he was led to read the Bible a few times. He could tell that something was not right in what he had been preaching, but it was not immediately clear what was wrong. At one point, he felt led to read the words that Jesus was quoted as having said, and to see how much of his previous doctrines were left unspoken by Jesus. He read the red ink. He had a new story to tell when he got done.

We frequently get two things backwards and are then confused. One is that we try to understand Jesus by looking at the Church, instead of trying to understand the Church by getting to know Jesus better. The other is trying to understand the words of Jesus by looking at the rest of the New Testament.

Many unbelievers don’t want Jesus because they don’t like us. Many theologians don’t understand the Kingdom because they won’t read the words of Jesus without separating teaching about the church from teaching about the Kingdom.

Not Afraid

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. 2 Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Selah

4 There is a river—its streams delight the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High. 5 God is within her; she will not be toppled. God will help her when the morning dawns. 6 Nations rage, kingdoms topple; the earth melts when He lifts His voice. 7 The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah

8 Come, see the works of the Lord, who brings devastation on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease throughout the earth. He shatters bows and cuts spears to pieces; He burns up the chariots. 10 “Stop your fighting—and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” 11 The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah

(Psalm 46 Holman Christian Standard Bible ® ©)

Influencing With Good News

We are all involved in the work of influence.

Some of us make our living by selling things. Some of us are even selling information. Others influence people by sharing information. That includes good and evil – good news and gossip.

Whether we are trying to change someone’s mind or simply inform them so that they can decide for themselves, we are all happy when we can share good news. It is very good news (“gospel”) that Jesus died for our sins so that we don’t have to die forever. That is salvation good news.

It is also good news that He has revealed Himself in the earth as a King over all beings and places. It is astonishingly good news that we can have a family relationship with Him – related to Him by being family members means that we are part of the ruling Family in the entire universe! He is interested in our lives. He cares about our feelings; about our health; about all that touches us!

Every subject that can be raised in conversation around us is an opportunity to share something about the good news that affects all of our lives. If you are too shy to bring it up, pray for courage. If you have difficulty thinking of what should be said, pray for words. If you are not seeing opportunities, pray for them. Pray for people to be influenced by the wondersful good news that saturates our lives.

Knowing, then, the fear of the Lord, we persuade people. We are completely open before God, and I hope we are completely open to your consciences as well. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, so that you may have a reply for those who take pride in the outward appearance rather than in the heart. For if we are out of our mind, it is for God; if we have a sound mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: if One died for all, then all died. And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.

From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him like that. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
(2 Corinthians 5:11-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Influenced by the Future

James advised some people in his letter not to presume what their tomorrows would bring to them (James 4:13-15). If we don’t base our decisions about what we do in our todays on what we hope will be tomorrow’s fruit from today’s labor, how can we make wise choices about what we do?

I find that a very different way I perceive things from the way most people related to the Church perceive them is that most people are more interested in the past and the afterlife than their futures in this life, and for me it is the opposite. Most people who want change want “revival,” which is the return of something that has died. I am looking for the birth of something new.

I know that some are called to build, and others are called to maintain what has been built. I am also convinced that no one is called to sit in the desert and gaze at the “ebenezers” that we have raised at times in the past when we have been visited by Yahweh (1 Samuel 7:12).

What is your future doing to influence how you spend today? What do you need to prepare for? What do you need to pray will be ready for you when you need it at the next step of your ministry?

As James implied, don’t presume that you know everything about the future. I am suggesting that you neither presume that all of what you need in order to succeed in your future will happen without your devoted engagement and your requests that the King of Heaven would influence earth and Heaven on your behalf.

Ask. Seek. Knock. Be awesome!

Seeking His Kingdom

So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:31-34 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

A woman asked a smelly boy, “Have you ever taken a bath?” He replied, “Why, is one missing?”

What did Jesus mean when He told His disciples to seek His Kingdom? Probably not that it was missing. Why would they have to search for it, then? Remember that He told Nicodemus that he could not see His Kingdom unless he had been born again, from above. The influence that God has in our world is invisible to those who have no eyes to see it. Almost as if it is hidden.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had, and bought it.
(Matthew 13:45-46 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Knowing or Knowing About

When Jesus influenced the woman at the Samaritan well, she went to town and influenced her neighbors. Her influence was only information, though. In order to convert people to the Family of God and to the Kingdom of God, we need to be involved in what the Samaritans experienced after they heard the woman’s testimony:

Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything I ever did.” Therefore, when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of what He said. And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”
(John 4:39-42 Holman Christian Standard Bible ® ©)

How do we take people past the level of informing them to the place of helping them to have encounters with Him? What Paul called “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) is a manifestation of the Person of Jesus that reveal His character through our interactions with people. What he called gifts of the Spirit (Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12) are manifestations of the Person of Jesus that reveal His work through our interactions with people.