“20 Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display,21 nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].” Luke 17:20-21 AMP
So the kingdom of God is IN us. As I was reading this passage, it reminded me of a passage that is also in The Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come.” I got caught up reading a lot of commentaries. It occurred to me that I needed to simply be quiet and listen to what God had to say about these passages. Here is what I heard: He is waiting for us all to come into a state of obedience and alignment so that we will not continue to lay fragmented and broken as a body. That when we come together, we will no longer be vulnerable to heresy and apostacy. We will no longer be plagued with malice and strife between ourselves. We will be able to stand together, resolute for our King. And then, His Kingdom will have arrived.
Lord, I pray that Your kingdom come and that Your will be done in my heart and the hearts of all Christians. I pray that we come together as one body. Make us strong in that body so that we can stand together and stand strong, united and operating as one body in Christ, a true reflection of You.
“14 Do all things without complaining or bickering with each other, 15 so you will be found innocent and blameless; you are God’s children called to live without a single stain on your reputations among this perverted and crooked generation. Shine like starts across the land.” Philippians 2:14-15 The Voice
Our behavior is a demonstration of how we honor God. It’s not about perfection. It is about a demonstration of our love for our Father. It’s not about performance. It’s about our hearts desire to be like Him and operate in His ways. It is a way to honor our Father. When we take care not to give offense or take offense – to God, fellow Christians, or others – we honor His sanctification of our sin.
Father, help me to shine like the stars, so I can be a reflection of Your love!
“13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:13-15 NIV
I know many Christians who have accepted Christ into their hearts but are not living in freedom. I know because that was me. I spent decades indulging my sinful nature. I had a firm foundation. I was raised in a God-loving, church-going home. I lost my way. In finding my way back, I learned that I have to live thoughtfully and intentionally, walking in God’s ways, to truly live and experience freedom now, today, in my life. I was acting as if I was living alone. Slugging my way through each day.
Freedom came through making a choice to seek God. Choose God. Love God. Place God first in my life and let everything else fall away. My story is too long to tell here but let me just tell you that finding freedom in God’s ways has been transformational. Freedom. Yes! Freedom indeed. Joy, peace, thankfulness, and tranquility followed.
Thank you, Jesus! Teach me to live embracing freedom fully in You! Help me receive Your love and share it with others.
“Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your Truth and teach me, for Your are God My Savior, and my Hope is in You all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5 NIV
I had been scared about God’s reference to submission from time to time. I thought it was about breaking my spirit. What I have come to understand is that a transition occurs, a surrender, as we come closer to God. Our desires become His desires. Our ways begin to reflect His ways. Our heart begins to reflect His heart. Whether I realized it or not, I had already started to submit. My heart had softened to hear His Word and accept His direction (and sometimes correction!). It turns out not to be scary after all. Anything but. It turns out to be an easier, more peaceful, joyful way to live. Casting all my cares on Him.
I began to pray:
“Father I surrender all things to You: myself, my daughter, my family, my choices, my life, and all that is in it. I trust that You only want what is best. You see all. You know all. You LOVE me. Thank you, Lord.”
“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:10 NIV
Jabez was trustworthy in the eyes of the Lord. He knew God’s ways. He knew to rely on God to transform his circumstances so that God would be glorified. And God did. I had to ask myself, am I trustworthy of God’s blessings? If we tune into God’s Word and His voice, He will teach us. God will teach us to walk with Him, dance with Him and wait for Him. He will teach us to pray and watch for Him. We will learn to wait for Him. As our hearts become molded into His, we will find favor. As we honor His heart, He will honor ours. Two hearts operating as one. No worry, no pity, no pride or grumbling. Just work, prayer, humility and gratitude. Gratitude for His faithfulness to meet our every need. He grants our requests.
Father God, I want to learn to walk with You, dance with You and wait for You. Help me learn to ask You for all things and be trustworthy to receive.
“1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3 NIV
I have found that my tendency toward self-sufficiency has been an obstacle to embracing humility. It caused me to hold on to things that I should have surrendered to God. Those old habits had to be taken to God in prayer daily. It was easiest to start with those things that were precious to me or hard for me. They were things I could only trust with God. What I have come to understand is that everything is like that. He wants it all – every detail, every jot and tittle. He wants us to depend on Him totally. That has simplified my life significantly. This simplicity is refreshing and light. It makes life a joy.
Father, thank you for keeping things light and simple. Thank you for always being there and accepting whatever I lay before You. Thank you for Your undying love for me!