“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.
“25 So put away your lies and speak the truth to one another because we are all part of one another. 29 Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:25, 29 The Voice
What are good words? According to this scripture, they are words that build others up when they need it most. They communicate grace. We are warned of a time that some will abandon their faith and follow deceiving spirits and demonic teachings. We are to be wise and not accept lies but speak the truth. We are called to reinforce truth in faith and good teachings. We are called to cling to God’s Word for our hope, our strength and salvation. We are called to speak this truth in love and to bind ourselves together not splinter the body of Christ.
Father, I pray that I will be wary of words designed to maliciously tear the body of Christ apart. Please help me be careful to honor You in my words and actions. I pray that I will be a reflection of You, Your Word and Your Holy Son that died on the cross for me. Help me love like You. Help me see with Your eyes how precious each and every person is to 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!
“Beyond all these things” (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness)”put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:14 NASB
Love. To love like God first loved us is a lifelong pursuit. Whenever I am feeling catty, harsh, impatient or critical, it really shifts things when I pause to think what God sees in me. And remember He loves me anyway. As I go through my day and sometimes feel like taking issue over getting the credit I think I deserve, or taking advantage of an opportunity to influence or control a situation, I have to pause and remember that God loves me so much that I do not need to try to manipulate or control to reach an outcome. It helps me to stay in that unselfish and uncontrolling place. He has a plan for me. He will guide me. God wants His saints to stand firm together. Not to ostracize or isolate each other. To be bound in unity. To stand together in His love.
Father God, help me stand firmly in unity and love.
“you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2: 5 NIV
We are being built into a spiritual house. Jesus was the first living stone and the cornerstone of the house we are building. So what are the spiritual sacrifices that we are to offer? Our bodies, souls, affections, prayers, praises, tithes and offerings and service. All with a joyful heart!
God is not asking anything of us that His Son was not willing to give Himself. It humbles me to think of the heart of Jesus. Such a beautiful and perfect example for us to follow.
There are times that I get all wound up in a frenzy of busyness. When I begin to rush and push and force things, it’s a good indicator that I need to pause. I need to check in with the Holy Spirit to see if I’m on track or not. Most often there is a more efficient and elegant solution than my own.
The beautiful thing about being a living stone is that we have a constant spiritual guide present, the Holy Spirit. He can get me back in alignment. Get me back in the headset of listening for direction and offering every moment up in surrender to a better way. Surrender. Obedience. Sacrifice.
Lord, thank you for Your perpetual living water that washes over me and flows through me. Thank you for Your constant love.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 NIV
Our God is all about relationship. He wants to walk with us. He’s always there for us but sometimes we prefer to walk by ourselves. Have you ever taken a walk with someone and they always try to walk ahead or lag way behind? It’s really hard to communicate if they are not walking WITH you. In order to walk with God, He asks that out of love for Him we respect His ways. His ways are good ways and they certainly save us a lot of heartache. But most of all, if our heart is turned toward God, we will have intimacy with Him.
The deeper that intimacy grows, the more the desire to please Him grows. The desires of His heart become the desires of our heart.
Father, I pray that my heart will be so surrendered to You so that Your ways become mine.
God is all about relationship. He made us to crave, desire and require community. All the words above seek to disrupt or destroy relationship. They destroy peace.
Much of our technology of today has wonderful efficiencies and opportunities for more connection. However, they are not replacements for relationship. Connection can be very superficial. Relationship is deeper. It requires characteristics like trust and interdependence and giving and sharing. There is a mutual investment. It understands imperfection. It operates in forgiveness and acceptance.
Father, show me how to operate in your peaceful ways that build trust and faith in my relationships with others. Help me not to engage in behaviors that disrupt or destroy.