The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

Jesus told us that the kingdom of God has come upon us, and that the kingdom is within each and every believer.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  (Mt 12:28 NIV)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit . . .  (Rom 14:17 NIV)

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”  (Lk 17:20-21)

He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  (Lk 9:2)

‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’  (Lk 10:11)

The Kingdom of God arrived on earth in the person of Jesus, and was established in the hearts of all believers when Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to His disciples.  This is described for us in Acts 2:1-5.

Since then, all who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord have also received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  We are told in the Word of God that we are the very temple (house, dwelling) of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19) Glory to God!

The gift of the Holy Spirit is referred to in Scriptures as:

  • The promise of the Father (Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4)
  • The Helper (Joh 14:26; 16:7-16)
  • The Spirit of Truth (Joh 14:16-17; 15:26)
  • The Breath of the Almighty (Job 33:4)
  • Advocate (Joh 14:16 NIV; 1 Joh 2:1)
  • The Eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14)
  • Lord (2 Cor 3:17)
  • Intercessor (Rom 8:26-27)
  • Teacher (Joh 14:26)
  • Spirit of the Living God (2 Cor 3:3)
  • Spirit of Glory (1 Pet 4:14)

We are temples of the Living God.  We are highly blessed and favored, and we need to meditate upon that truth more frequently.  It’s almost too monumental of a concept to grasp with our human intellect.  The Kingdom of God dwells within you and me!  Rejoice!

Jesus, Beloved of the Father

Jesus, Beloved of the Father

Jesus is the cherished and treasured Son of the Heavenly Father. 

He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  (2 Pet 1:17 NIV)  The Father declared His great love and approval of Jesus.

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”  (Mk 9:7 NIV)  Not only does God, the Father, say again that He loves Jesus, but He tells us to listen to Jesus.  The Lord wants us to not only listen to Jesus, but to OBEY Him.

The Father loves the Son and gives everything into his hands.  (Joh 3:35 CEB)  Again we see a declaration of the Father’s love for Jesus, as well as the truth that the Father has given Jesus authority over ALL THINGS.  (See Mt 11:27; 28:18; 1 Pet 3:22)

Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!  I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.  (Isa 42:1)  In this passage of the Bible, we hear the Lord describing His Son, and reminding us that the Father defends and endorses His Son.

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Lk 10:22)  This Scripture verse highlights the close relationship between God, the Father, and Jesus.  It also establishes the truth that Jesus will reveal the Father to those who trust in Him as Savior.

In Christ, all believers have been made complete.  (Col 2:10)  He has redeemed us from sin, death, and eternal damnation.  Jesus is approved of and dearly loved by our heavenly Father.  Jesus is God’s Elect One.

How many more reasons do we need for us to love and honor Jesus with everything we are and everything we have?  Hallelujah!

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

The Lord urges us in His Word to avoid trusting in riches just like we would avoid a plague.  True wealth is given by God to the righteous. Let’s read the Scriptures.

He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.  (Pro 11:28)

Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.  (Ps 52:7)

Why do you brag about your strength?  Your strength is exhausted,you rebellious daughter.  You trust in your treasures, never imagining who would attack you.  (Jer 49:4 CEB)

Don’t trust in violence or depend on dishonesty or rely on great wealth.  (Ps 62:10 CEV)

Jesus said clearly in Mark 10:23-25 that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for people who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of heaven!  Wow!

Jesus told a parable about a rich fool in Luke 12:16-19.  This fool had accumulated so much wealth that he had to build larger barns to hold it all, and then he decided to ‘eat, drink and be merry.’  And God said to him (v. 20-21):  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

This is wisdom from God for us.  In providing for ourselves, our children, and our retirement, we mustn’t allow ourselves to start trusting in and relying upon the money that we have set aside for emergencies or for a retirement fund.  Our faith in God and our relationship with the Lord Jesus must always be the main focus and core of our lives. 

Even though the Lord gives us power to get wealth (Deu 8:18; Ecc 5:19), we must never lose sight of the fact that this is a GIFT from God.  It is a reason for thankfulness and rejoicing over the goodness of God.  We need to consider this blessing as part of our heritage from God, and by acknowledging God’s central part in it, we may then rejoice in our labor.

Let us daily concentrate upon our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our righteousness.  Here are worthy things upon which to meditate:

  • Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isa 9:6
  • Redeemer – Isa 59:20
  • Immanuel (God with us) – Mt 1:23
  • King of the Jews – Mt 27:37
  • Lamb of God – Joh 1:29
  • Bread of Life – Joh 6:35
  • Living Stone, Cornerstone – 1 Pet 2:4-8
  • Alpha and Omega – Rev 22:13

We must intentionally make Jesus the heart and focus of our entire lives.  Our trust and our entire reliance should eternally be upon Jesus Christ, who is our life!  (Col 3:4)  May God richly bless you.

Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us

The Scriptures tell us in many different ways and in various passage that angels walk among us.  It’s a fact that we need to know and to acknowledge.

And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.  (Ac 7:30)  An angel appeared Moses in a burning bush. 

Acts 7:35 states that God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior.  Angels can be sent to us by God to give us instructions or information from God.

They passed the first and second guards and came to the Iron Gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself. After leaving the prison, they proceeded the length of one street, when abruptly the angel was gone. (Ac 12:10 CEB)  This angel was sent to Peter to lead him out of prison and to keep Peter safe until he reached freedom.  When the angel completed the mission, he disappeared.  Angels can be sent to us to set us free.

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out . . .  (Ac 5:19)  The angel led the apostles out of prison, and then gave them a message from the Lord (v. 20):  “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

And the apostles obeyed the angel and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  (Lk 1:11)  An angel appeared to Zacharias while he was serving in the temple.  The angel informed Zacharias that his wife, Elizabeth, would have a son.  The angel told Zacharias to name the boy John.  Zacharias heeded the angel.

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  (Mt 1:20)  An angel told Joseph to fulfill his plan to take Mary as his wife because the baby whom she carried was a holy child.  And Joseph obeyed God’s directions–which came through the angel.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.  (Heb 13:2) This verse in Hebrews reminds us to be hospitable to strangers, because they may be angels in human disguise!  We may not always know that an angel has spoken to us, but something about the encounter will impress us, remain in our hearts and in our memories, and influence us with heavenly wisdom.  Remember to welcome strangers!  Glory to God!

Imparted Power

Imparted Power

Most of us who follow Jesus Christ don’t realize how much power the Lord has imparted to us, His people.  The word imparted means transferred, taught, or revealed. 

When we read the Bible, we need to think deeply about each and every passage that we read.  We should ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us, and to give us revelations into the Scriptures.

Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ . . .  (2 Cor 2:10 ESV) 

We have authority to forgive others on behalf of the kingdom of God!  Think about the significance of this, and don’t take it lightly. 

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.  (Joh 20:23 ESV) 

Jesus has given us the example, along with our Heavenly Father, of forgiving mankind of all sin through the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.  It is our responsibility to follow His good example and His teachings.  Let’s advance the kingdom of God by being just like Him by extending merciful, and generous forgiveness to others.

And I tell you this—whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you free on earth will be freed in heaven.  (Mt 18:18 TL B) 

We have power to bind on earth: 

  • to truss up or tie up;
  • to hinder or inhibit people, demons, or calamitous events; and
  • to deter or prevent situations—as God directs.  

We have authority to set free on earth:

  • to liberate (unshackle) people from bondage;
  • to emancipate human beings from every shame;
  • to release all those imprisoned by sickness, fear, pain, and the consequences of sin; and
  • to unshackle hurting ones from unhealthy situations and relationships.

The Lord Jesus has said clearly that He has given His followers power and authority.  This is an important truth upon which to meditate, and ask God to give us insight and wisdom into it.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  (Lk 10:19) 

Later, in the book of Luke, Jesus talks again about our being given power from heaven.

I am sending to you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Lk 24:49 ISV) Recognize who you are and what you have been given.  Believers are children of the Kingdom, and we have been given the message of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.    It’s our job to bind or to set free the right things for the right reasons.  It’s time for us to listen to and obey the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Praise God!

God Stands By Us

God Stands By Us

Our amazing God stands by His people at all times, and in all circumstances. He actually fights for us.  The Bible confirms this truth.

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.  (Deu 3:22)

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.  (Deu 20:4)

Through You we will push back our adversaries; through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. (Ps 44:5)

One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.  (Josh 23:10)

God loves us and He defends us in order to give us the victory.  Jesus is our Overcomer.  (Joh 16:33b)  God has made each and every one of us overcomers because we are people of faith who serve a God who asks us to put our faith in Jesus Christ.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5, emphasis added)

God has promised that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ (which qualifies us as born-of-God) are overcomers.  Hallelujah!

God never stops fighting for us because He is almighty and eternal.  He is not limited by time; He is not limited by human constraints; and He never lacks for anything.  He calls us His chosen and special ones.  (Deu 7:6; 14:2)

His Word is His promise to us, and He is eternally faithful to His Word; He keeps His Word.  When our faith is weak, He is by our side, imparting His strength and grace to us.  All we need to do is to open our hearts to Him and allow His strength and empowerment to flow into us.

The Lord said that He will never leave us, never forsake us. (Neh 9:31; Heb 13:5b, italics added) 

If you’re in a battle of any kind whether faith, finances, relationships or health, put your trust and hope in Jesus Christ.  He is with you always—waiting for you to turn toward Him.  God bless you.

Waterfalls

Water is a significant, symbolic element mentioned many times and in many configurations in the Bible.  Today, I want to meditate upon the form of waterfalls.

Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.  (Ps 42:7)

But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.  (Amos 5:24)  This is an image of a waterfall which certainly “rolls down” like an ever flowing stream.

But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.  (Joh 4:14)  This verse promises an everlasting flow of water (everlasting life).

The concept of a waterfall has many possible meanings, and I’m going to mention several.  It will give us a rich background in order to help us to reflect upon our great gift of salvation.

“Deep calls out to deep” may signify the depth of man’s need calling out to the depths of God’s unfathomable greatness.  Life’s troubles were felt to be gushing, with one overwhelming swell coming after another. The deep trials the psalmist faced kept coming, like breakers—deep after deep, wave after wave..

A waterfall may also represent us letting go of control and our submission to God, as well as experiencing a process of spiritual cleansing.  There is also the sense of a continuous flow of energy and life seen in a waterfall.

Chris Tomlin, in his song Waterfall, likens God’s love to a waterfall, running wild and free, raining down on us.  In the song, Chris says that God is an “ocean to my soul.”  It suggests that God’s love quenches our thirst for Him.  According to the song, believers are covered in “rivers of grace.”  These are wonderful, beautiful images.

The conclusion to be drawn is that God’s mighty love and His desire to meet our needs is always available to us and always rolling out to cover us!  Open your heart and life to Him. Praise the Lord!

Keeping a Pure Path

Keeping a Pure Path

The Bible gives us answers for everything that we need in life, including how to live a pure and holy life.  Let’s look to the Word:

How can young people keep their paths pure?  By guarding them according to what you’ve said.  (Ps 119:9 CEB)

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  (2 Tim 2:22 ESV)

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.  (Ps 119:11 NKJV)

The Word gives us these clear instructions:

  • We should guard our paths according to the Word of God;
  • Flee youthful passions and avoid occasions that give rise to temptation;
  • Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with all other believers who live a holy life unto the Lord;
  • Memorize the Word of God and hide it in our hearts because the Word that we cherish and honor will keep us away from sin.

These are clear and understandable directions from the heart of God.  He has also given each one of us the gift of grace to empower us to do what He has called us to do.  Hallelujah!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God . . .  (Eph 2:8, emphasis added) 

May God surround us all with His grace, mercy, and love in Jesus’ name.  Praise His holy name!

One Flock and One Shepherd

One Flock and One Shepherd

All who serve and follow the Lord Jesus Christ are one flock, and we obey one Good Shepherd’s voice!

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Gal 3:28, emphasis added)

 . . . where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.  (Col 3:1, emphasis added)

And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.  (Joh 10:16, underlining added)

As we read and meditate upon these Bible passages, we can clearly understand that in God’s flock there is no room for prejudice, hatred, nationalism or sexism.  We are all one in Christ—united in, by and through Jesus Christ.  All believers follow Jesus Christ who is our example and our Good Shepherd.

Because we are all following one Savior and we are all listening to the only Good Shepherd’s voice, the Lord desires us to dwell in unity with one another.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  (Ps 133:1)

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  (1 Cor 12:12)

. . . endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  (Eph 4:3)

. . . till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ . . . (Eph 4:13)

The Lord also desires us to be in harmony with each other as well as to comfort and to edify one another!  Let us be always obedient to the voice of the Lord.

Be of the same mind toward one another.  (Rom 12:16a)

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11)

God bless you!

An Everlasting Throne

An Everlasting Throne

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has been promised an everlasting throne according to the Scriptures.  Let’s consider this truth today.

You, O Lord, remain forever; Your throne from generation to generation.  (Lam 5:19)

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.  (Ps 45:6)

But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations.  (Ps 102:12)

This truth from the Bible is information designed to strengthen and to sustain our faith, and give us confidence in the Lord.  Our Savior is the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings.  (Isa 9:6; 1 Tim 6:14-16) 

Here is some additional insight into the Lord’s everlasting throne:

When the angel was announcing to Mary the conception of the Messiah, these promises were reiterated. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Lk 1:31-33). These promises will be eternally fulfilled some day. “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'” (Rev 11:15).   Source:  https://www.blueletterbible.org/devotionals/dbdbg/view.cfm?Date=0630

One day ALL of the nations of the earth will worship and glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  (Ps 22:27; 72:11; 86:9; 102:15; Isa 2:2; 40:5; 45:23; 66:23; Jer 3:17; 33:9) 

As God’s own people and joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom 8:17), let us be faithful and obedient to acknowledge and praise our Sovereign God and King now!  May we be continuously aware that we serve the God whose reign will never end.  We will spend eternity with the Lord in sweet fellowship and harmony with Him.  Glory to God!