The Kingdom of God is Within

Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. (Luke 17:22, 23 NKJV)

We know that there will be a second coming of the Lord. It is prophsied time and time again in scripture. Luke Chapter 17 gives us greater insight into how to behave and what to look for – and it is not the road most traveled. We must disciple under the Lord. That means we attempt to follow him where He goes and learn His ways. We are told that people will rise up and claim that they see the Kingdom of God here and there. In our excitement, we may want to go and see. But, we are told that we should not follow because the Kingdom of God is discovered within us.

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; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20, 21 NKJV)

When the Son of God returns, how we discipled in this life will reveal our hearts. Do we truly trust and love the Lord above all earthly things? We read that we will be living our everyday lives when the Lord returns. Our constant, busy everyday lives. Can we let go? Will we be excited? The days of Lot and Noah are given as examples.

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30 NKJV)

Everyday life will go on. But, it will stop and eventually it will not matter. Only the Lord Himself will matter. This teaches us to be disciplined. We have an opportunity to start that journey of discipleship everyday. We can learn in our every day lives how to learn from and follow the Lord. We can look forward to His return because of the greatness of what He is preparing. It starts with a need for Him, a humility – an appetite to know more about Him.

I pray for a greater understanding that the Kingdom of God is within because of the Spirit of the Lord! May we know Him, seek Him and love Him.

Joy in the Strength and the Salvation of the Lord

What a beautiful Psalm! The king, which I am assuming is David, knew and respected the Lord. He worships the Lord for His strength and salvation.

He asked life from You, and You gave it to him— Length of days forever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation; Honor and majesty You have placed upon him. (Psalms 21:4, 5 NKJV)

This is the meaning of salvation. We ask life from the Lord and He gives it to us – life everlasting. But, there is so much more than that. David knew where blessings come from: the Lord. He knew that the Lord is good. David took great honor and joy in the presence of the Lord. There was a bond between them that drove his behavior and actions – it all centered around trust in the Lord and giving Him praise in all things.

For the king trusts in the Lord , And through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved. Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You. You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger; The Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath, And the fire shall devour them. (Psalms 21:7-9 NKJV)

There is a fear/respect of the Lord’s power over those who come against Him.

May we learn from this example and do the same.

Jacob’s Promise

“May God Almighty bless you, And make you fruitful and multiply you, That you may be an assembly of peoples; And give you the blessing of Abraham, To you and your descendants with you, That you may inherit the land In which you are a stranger, Which God gave to Abraham.” (Genesis 28:3, 4 NKJV)

Isaac blesses his son Jacob with the same promise that God gave Abraham. So, Jacob has the blessing of his earthly father. Then, he also receives the promise of God to stand on.

And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” (Genesis 28:13-15 NKJV)

Jacob fears/respects the God of the universe, receives His promise and worships God in return. We also see the response of tithing: a man made offering to honor God – Isaac will tithe (1/10) of all things he receives as an offering to God.

And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” (Genesis 28:13, 18, 20-22 NKJV)

The Shrewd but Wise Steward

Luke Chapter 16 had always been hard for me to understand until this morning. It seemed as if this was a story of a man guilty of mishandling the land of his master who got out of it by committing more unjust actions. However, I now understand the importance of this parable:

1) Understand the nature of God
2) Place your trust in His nature more than that of earthly things, including money.

He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. (Luke 16:1 NKJV)

The steward was wasting the wealth of the owner. The owner finds out because because someone tells him. The owner calls the steward to let him know he can no longer be a steward of his land. However, it appears that the steward wasn’t fired immediately because he begins to ponder his future and the choices he should make.

“Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ (Luke 16:3, 4 NKJV)

The first thing that happens is that the steward becomes afraid: his fate is in someone else’s hands. He knows that he is going to be fired and he ultimately would like a place to stay when it happens. Instead of begging, the steward comes up with a plan.

“So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ (Luke 16:5-7 NKJV)

With what little time the steward has left, he calls his master’s debtors and offers them a deal: pay up now and we will discount the total amount you originally owed. The debtors believe that this is the kindness of their master discounting the outstanding balance. Because the steward placed his trust in the grace of the master, the debtors were grateful for the master’s mercy and the master was pleased.

So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. (Luke 16:8 NKJV)

The next point that Jesus makes is stunning. If we cannot be trusted to be responsible with earthly money, how can we be trusted with heavenly riches? In fact, we need to treat others with respect and deal honorably with money. For we will fail, and when we do, who will be there to receive us?

“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? (Luke 16:9, 11, 12 NKJV)

From this parable, I pray that we put our faith in the grace and mercy of God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. Ultimately, it is our own understanding that we have failed and where we spend everlasting life is in their hands that leads us to seeking their favor. May we know that God is gracious so that we may put our trust in Him above any other earthly power. Amen.

Living in Significant Times

I truly believe that history is made often without us realizing the significance in the moment. It isn’t until later when we are able to reflect on the events that we are able to understand what truly happened.

The formation of the sovereign nation of Israel is an example of one of those events. Sure, many people do understand the significance of the rebirth of this important nation. But, many of us do not. Either the story hasn’t been told in context of scripture, we are ignorant or we don’t believe in scripture. Have you noticed that it doesn’t matter what the majority of us think though? Major events are occurring with or without us knowing.

As I read scripture, it is apparent that we are to be ambassadors for the Kingdom of Heaven and it is important to understand scripture. Hence my own journey to study scripture as often as I can. It is an area of my life that needs improvement.

Israel is a sovereign nation as prophesied in the Bible. I pray for the nation’s full restoration, comfort, health and protection.

Rejoice with Jerusalem, And be glad with her, all you who love her; Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; That you may feed and be satisfied With the consolation of her bosom, That you may drink deeply and be delighted With the abundance of her glory. For thus says the Lord: Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. Then you shall feed; On her sides shall you be carried, And be dandled on her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 66:10-13 NKJV)

May the King Answer Us When We Call

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; (Psalm 20:1 NKJV)

If the Lord of Heaven and Earth is to hear our call, there are some key lessons to learn from Psalm 20.

May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah May He grant you according to your hearts desire, And fulfill all your purpose. (Psalm 20:3, 4 NKJV)

First, remember that burnt offerings and sacrifices were a symbol of asking for forgiveness or turning away (repentance) from sin. This provided a way to honor God before the Son of Man came to Earth and offered Himself as a sacrifice. Today, I believe we can continue this tradition in a different way, and the key is in the next part of that verse: “according to your hearts desire.”

May the Lord grant us according to our heart’s desire. We cannot fool or trick him with our actions, words or thoughts. Our heart reveals who we truly are. I believe we can still honor God today in a similar manner of repenting from those things that make our heart sick (sin), and offering our time to Him. This could be a daily devotional; putting our mind on Him and His word. It can be in acts of service to others. It can be in how we carry ourselves in His presence throughout our day.

We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions. (Psalm 20:5 NKJV)

Rejoice in your salvation and the salvation of others. Also, banners are used to let others know what you believe – where do we put our identity? Let’s set our identity in the name of God!

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; (Psalm 20:7 NKJV)

We should not put our trust solely in earthly things. Instead, trust in the name of the Lord first and foremost. Everything else should follow.

They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. (Psalm 20:8 NKJV)

I am seeing a common theme as I go through scripture. The world will try to bring us down and make us bend to something else other than Heaven. Rise up and stand upright each and every day. Keep our minds focused on the Lord and put our trust in Him. And may the Lord, our one true King, hear us when we call in times of need! Put your hope in the Lord as the answer to our call.