8 November 2013
“…there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The KINGDOM OF THE WORLD has become the KINGDOM OF OUR LORD and of HIS CHRIST; and HE WILL REIGN forever and ever (Revelation 11:15, NAS).”
“For He rescued us from the DOMAIN OF DARKNESS, and transferred us to the KINGDOM OF HIS BELOVED SON (Colossians 1:13, NAS).”
We must first establish that there are two kingdoms: God’s and Satan’s. Ultimately, we know that the Kingdom of God will reign supreme over all darkness – the world kingdom – Satan’s kingdom reigning currently on earth. By accepting Christ’s redemptive blood through repentance, people are able to transition from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God. This is the broad picture, but what about the more detailed picture that involves we who dwell on earth? To whom does the earth belong?
1. THE LORD?
“THE EARTH IS THE LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who
live in it…(Psalm 24:1-2, NAS).”
“…the devil has come down to you…he has a short time (Revelation 12:12).”
“…you formerly walked according to the course of this world…the PRINCE
OF THE POWER OF THE AIR…(Ephesians 2:2, NAS).”
“…now the RULER OF THIS WORLD will be cast out (John 12:31, NAS).”
“in whose case the GOD OF THIS WORLD has blinded the minds of the
unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel…
(II Corinthians 4:4, NAS).”
“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the EARTH hath he given
to the CHILDREN OF MEN (Psalm 115:16, KJV).”
This can be tricky if we only look at these Scriptures by themselves. Ultimately, the earth belongs to God as everything in existence does because He is the grand Creator of all – the seen and the unseen. He is the “owner.” As the owner, he gave rule over the earth to man through Adam. Adam and his descendants were ordained to rule as “acting manager” in a manner of speaking. However, as manager, he had the authority to give management over to someone else – and so he did. Through his sin, he inadvertently gave the management to Satan, the prince of the power of the air, aka the god of this world.
A common phrase among people is, “I went/am going through hell.” This is because currently, Satan’s domain is the earth. When he was cast from heaven, God said “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth!” but, all is not lost. We, God’s ambassadors from the kingdom of heaven, are clearly to usher heaven down to earth! This hasn’t been happening much because of lack of understanding of His Kingdom, but it’s time to learn where we’re from and who we are.
“The devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him ALL the KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD and their glory, and he said to Him, ‘All these things I WILL GIVE YOU, if You fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only (Matthew 4:8-11, NAS).”’”
Satan could not have offered Jesus something he did not already possess. Satan took possession when Adam legally gave it to him in the Garden of Eden. God gave authority to Adam, therefore by all legal rights, he singlehandedly gave dominion over to the devil.
After the flood, God made covenant with Noah hence giving back all legal ground over the earth to man. As time passed, mankind grew more and more evil, in turn handing the earth back to Satan. It wasn’t until Jesus came in the lineage of King David that, by conquering death and the grave, authority was given to Jesus. Now all who receive Christ as their Lord, King, and Savior have within them the One who holds the authority. God gave Jesus authority and Jesus gave authority to the Church – those who accept Christ (mankind). Through redeemed man, the Kingdom of God can reign on earth as it should have been in the beginning. So, though currently the earth is Satan’s dominion, we who walk according to the Spirit can take back what God originally gave to man.
“Therefore, just as through one man SIN ENTERED INTO THE WORLD, and DEATH through sin, and so DEATH SPREAD TO ALL MEN, because all sinned (Romans 5:12, NAS).”
When Adam sinned, because he was the visible manifestation of the invisible kingdom of heaven, technically, he committed TREASON. He lost both his relationship and his kingdom. As Myles Munroe put it: “Adam was a king without a kingdom. A ruler with nothing to rule.” God’s holy people need most desperately to discover a kingdom mindset, how God’s Kingdom government works, and then turn and rule the earth through Holy Spirit so as to overthrow Satan. The time is now to take back the earth!
31 October 2013
Kingdom Authority and Power, Part III
Ephesians 4:3-6 (NAS): Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
Matthew 16:19 (NAS): I will give YOU the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever YOU bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever YOU loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
There are at least 68 references in the New Testament about the Kingdom of God. Everything Jesus taught His followers to know and teach is THE KINGDOM, not anything outside of the Kingdom or fragments of the Kingdom. Every other reference about love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, salvation, humility, overcoming, having the mind of Christ, and every other topic all fall under the Kingdom – EVERYTHING. None are exclusive in and of themselves. We’ve had it backwards for centuries preaching only salvation and the cross, or prophecy, or healing, or deliverance as somehow exclusive from God’s Kingdom. We need to be preaching exactly like Jesus – the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and nothing less. All other subjects fall under Kingdom heading.
If my great, great, great grandparents call dogs cats and teach their kids to call their dogs cats and I then continue such a practice and everyone in my family for generations thinks that dogs are called cats, does that make us right? Of course not! It’s simply a matter of wrong thinking passed from generation to generation. I could argue until I’m blue in the face to convince people that I’m right, but I’m still wrong no matter how passionately and good intending I may be at heart hoping to bring someone into, in my estimation, truth.
So it is with religion. We, many (most) of God’s people, have practiced a garden variety of religious traditions for centuries. Does that make it right? Absolutely not! For most that fervently practice the religions of their forefathers, do it wholeheartedly with good intentions. But, needless to say, it’s still wrong. Jesus preached the Kingdom. Jesus came to tear down the wall that divides (Ephesians 2:13-16). Jesus came against the religious practices and man-made traditions that keep people of all walks of life in perpetual bondage and division.
Ladies and gentlemen, Christ came to bring all people freedom from religion, not create more religions. Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Non-denominational, Church of God, Church of Christ, and countless other denominations inadvertently stand between people, their Creator and His Kingdom – our Kingdom He graciously offers His people. Divisions of every kind e.g. color, race, money, politics, etc. stand as a tall, wide and deep barrier between imprisonment and liberty and it needs to stop. God has called His holy people to bring heaven down to earth, not become more like the earth.
When we begin to discover the Kingdom of God, His government, His mind, His ways, His plan, His purpose and all that fall under the umbrella of His Kingdom, we will cease hating each other, competing against one another, dividing ourselves from one another – killing each other instead of healing each other. He has equipped His people with power from on high – it’s time to learn it, understand it, apply it to our own lives, and then walk in it in a world full of sickness, sorrow, darkness and death. We who carry the name of Jesus are to be the walking, talking, physical manifestation of Jesus Himself. If He is in you, He needs to come through you and that requires unity in love. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. If you want to expand God’s Kingdom, stop the division!
Supernatural love that is God is the key because it is the essence of His holy Kingdom. Know His heart and allow it flow through you.
Philippians 2:2 (NAS): Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
I Corinthians 1:10 (NAS): I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
I Corinthians 6:17 (NAS): But the one who joins himself to the Lord is ONE spirit with Him.
October 15, 2013
The Kingdom of God, Part I
“I will GIVE YOU the KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; and whatever YOU bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever YOU loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19, NAS).” (also note Matthew 18:18-20)
“And He called the twelve together, and gave them POWER and AUTHORITY over ALL the demons and to HEAL diseases…to PROCLAIM the KINGDOM OF GOD and to PERFORM HEALING…He began speaking to them about the KINGDOM OF GOD and CURING those who had need of HEALING…allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and PROCLAIM EVERYWHERE the KINGDOM OF GOD.’ Another also said, ‘I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the KINGDOM OF GOD (Luke 9:1-2, 11, 27, 60-62, NAS).’”
YOU, blood bought child of the King and Bride of Christ, possess in your inner man the keys to the Kingdom, to rule on earth on behalf of the King with intense power! He has given us His name (authority) through Jesus so that we are equipped to speak and function here on earth as though it was God Himself (power)! Ambassadors speak in foreign lands on behalf of their king and kingdom allowing them to carry the weight and power of the royalty who sent them. From a heart of love of and loyalty to the King, obedience to God through Christ is what ushers the authority to utilize all the power and tools that God has laid before us from His Kingdom! We are strangers in the land called Earth.
In Luke 9, Jesus was asked about “saying goodbye” but He tells them (simply stated), “Once you start your journey with God’s kingdom, looking back to the dead or the living is disobedience and you are not fit!” Set your gaze upon the Kingdom of God and purpose in Christ’s strength to never look back. This Kingdom-walk is the most amazing, unearthly relationship with the King of kings; it is unequivocal! Why would any man, woman, boy or girl look back at that which is temporal when we have been given that which is eternal?
Once we’re established, we are to allow Christ, the true Testimony, to exude through our mortal bodies. Our relationship with Him should never be forced or be some grueling task as denominational churches have made it. It should never be something based on shame, guilt or condemnation. Romans 8:1-5, KJV reads: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do NOT walk according to the FLESH, but according to the SPIRIT…He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT”
“No more condemnation” comes exclusively through ceasing the lusts of the flesh and seeking the Kingdom of God, His righteousness. He condemned sin therefore, when we are conducting sin (external or internal), condemnation is an automatic reaction. The only exit from it is repentance and forward movement.
Religion brings condemnation, even when good intentions are at the heart, because its foundation is built on the criteria of the traditions of man instead of the government of God; it leaves God’s people powerless. Love, mercy, grace, self-discipline and things of the like are of the Kingdom of God; it empowers people.
When our foundation is the Kingdom of God, we will never be destroyed by the destroyer, try though he may. Christ and His disciples preached the Kingdom, not salvation. Salvation is only a part of the sum of the Kingdom. When we pigeonhole ourselves into teaching mere fragments of the Kingdom, we miss the power, the authority, the blessings, and the peace that can stem only from understanding and functioning through the Kingdom of God. When operating in and through God’s Kingdom, we speak things into existence as prompted by the Spirit. Not merely by saying, “I bind…I loose…” but in our everyday language because we speak the language of our Kingdom which is not of the earth.
What language are YOU speaking? What power is moving through you? Do you operate under the power of Holy Spirit or of the nature of the old natural man? The choice belongs to you.
October 8, 2013
Standing in Judgment
““Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions…Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way…(Romans 14:1, 4, 7-13, NAS).”
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1, NAS).”
It is exceedingly difficult, nay, impossible, for the flesh of mankind to not pass judgment on those who offend and/or irritate us. However, it is through the Spirit of God exclusively that we are supernaturally capable of overcoming such judgment against others. Sufficed to say, there is no one who can honestly say that judgment does not cross their mind and heart from time to time – after all, it is human nature and we dwell temporarily is this earthen vessel. In order to be successful in this or any area of God’s commands, we must remember that we are no longer of the human race, but of the heavenly race. We are but strangers and aliens in the earth sent from heaven to bring heaven down to earth. This is so because we are dead and our only life is Christ. In other words, once in Christ, our earthly origin ceases and our heavenly origin begins.
If you’re like I, people irritate you! In our irritation, judgment can easily take hold of our hearts and grow bitter roots. Hebrews 12:15 is clear about bitterness: “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” Operating in a judgmental/critical spirit against others no matter how innocent it may seem, causes bitter roots to spring within our hearts like weeks and they taint not only our walk with God with it takes others down with us.
Because of the nature of the flesh in which we remain, it is altogether a necessity to hone in on the Spirit of God within us through our spirit-man. If we do not daily (moment to moment) purposefully tap into Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves in the midst of fleshly judgment. We can defend it all day long, but unless we, one, choose to recognize that we have indeed passed critical judgment in our hearts as well as, two, choose to repent of it and lay it at the foot of the cross, things will not change as we would otherwise hope. Pray though we may for God to remove us or the irritant, nothing will change until we allow God to transform us from the inside out and love and accept others as they are. We are not to regard a brother with contempt. This is why we are urged to go to a brother with whom we have a problem so as to resolve the matter. We are to conclude our conflicts, not simply for our selves, but for the greater good of the Kingdom of God. For this reason, there is to be unity between the brethren and we should seek peace at all times, respecting one another.
One who is rebellious, for instance, will be perpetually faced with people who “force” them to rebel because, from where God stands, He recognizes the need for the weaknesses of rebellion to be exposed so that the individual will choose to deal with it through God’s strength. Otherwise, if they continue in their rebellion, the same old obstacles and irritating people will continuously come in their path; hence, frustration remains.
Likewise, one who is impatient will continually come in contact with people who try their patience. One who is timid in their faith will continuously be put in situations where they need to be bold. One who is confrontational will be put in situations where they need to submit in both humility and silence, and so on. For me personally, the nature of the flesh in which I dwell is exceedingly confrontational! I have to be diligent with my time tapping into Holy Spirit continuously so as to be able to clearly discern when to confront a situation and when to be silent. In everything we say and do, it is a walk of balance that can only come from personal intimacy with Holy Spirit. There should never be a break in our communion with Yahweh.
Until we begin to view everything in everyday life as for the Kingdom of God instead of for or against us personally, not only will circumstances not change, but they will invariably grow worse. Since everything ultimately originates from God whether it comes from Satan’s hand or wicked men, we must say with humility instead of irritation, “What is it You, Yahweh, are trying to show me that I have not yet seen? Reveal my weaknesses to me so that Your strength may prevail in order for Your Kingdom to be advanced through me in the earth. I trust You and submit to You for Your honor and Your glory. Whatever You desire, I desire. Whatever You love, I love. Whatever You hate, I hate.”
There’s always a lesson. There’s always a God-plan. There’s always hope. There’s always growth that He desires to come forth from us, for us and, most importantly, for His great name’s sake. No situation or scenario is in vain or to hurt us. It isn’t even for punishment’s sake; it is always for the Kingdom of God. May we keep our spiritual eye open to see the bigger picture always and remember that you do not belong to yourself, but to the Lord our Great God. I remind myself of this daily so as to stay on heavenly point instead of veering away from the path of God.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).”
October 1, 2013
Bad Bosses and Irritating People, Part III
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27, NAS).”
“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, AS TO CHRIST…as SLAVES OF CHRIST, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, AS TO THE LORD, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this HE WILL RECEIVE BACK FROM THE LORD…(Ephesians 6:5-8, NAS).”
“All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that (here’s the “why” of it) the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles (I Timothy 6:1-2, NAS).”
Verse after verse we read God’s instruction as to how to treat a boss, believer or non-believer. Since all authority is placed by God, good or bad in the natural, they are there to serve so as to refine us in our walk with Yahweh. We are to honor them, not for our sake or theirs, but more so for the sake of God’s great name and His kingdom. When we refuse to obey, we are refusing obedience to God; of course we are not speaking of doing that which is ungodly.
If you, for instance, have a boss that is constantly making demands of you that you feel are unreasonable, you should do it without grumbling or complaining. Certainly if you need to go up the chain of command, that is not out of the question. However, in the mean time, you are commanded of God to honor and respect whoever is in a position of authority over you. This is when you would need to rely solely upon the promise of Yahweh that says that He will repay you. When God’s people honor those in authority, we honor God. Our reward if forthcoming; it is not an if, but a when.
If you are dealing with law enforcement, they are not your boss from whom you receive your pay, but they are in fact your authority. If you don’t want to be in fear of them, it would behoove us all to obey the law. Romans 13-7, reads “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves…therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake… render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”
I often think of Daniel when the law was set against him for the purpose of entrapment. He did not kick and scream and shout profanities at the king or his enforcers. He did not protest by chaining himself to a tree or hold a sit-in. He did not demand that they make things right and boastfully state, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m the servant of the Most High God! You better make things right or else!” On the contrary.
Daniel being the true man of God that he was, quietly continued to do as he always did. He didn’t change anything. He wasn’t loud or obnoxious – he remained steady and sure. He did not obey the wicked law because it was against God. However, at the same time, he did not disrespect the king who made the law, foolish though it was. By humbly conducting himself in a manner worthy of the King of kings, God protected him. Even the king who made the law did everything he could to release and save Daniel. Now that is how the supernatural kingdom of God is able to manifest itself in the earth! When we do things God’s way, solely depending upon God to render good back to His people, the atmosphere shifts in ways that we ourselves could never make happen. Because of Daniel’s humility, faith, and steadfastness, multitudes witnessed the righteous, supernatural, mighty had of God.
Let us be ever mindful of doing things God’s way as unto Him so as to preserve the good name of Yahweh whom we say we serve. Taking matters into our own hands will surely cause chaos. Hebrews 13:17 states “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17, NAS).”
September 24, 2013
Bad Bosses and Irritating People, Part II
Treatment of an Enemy:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:38-48, NAS).”
“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality (Colossians 3:22-25, NAS).”
Though your boss may appear as an enemy, we’re right back to being Kingdom-minded and treating them respectfully as unto God, not as unto their unreasonable demands and actions. The texts above are both about how to conduct ourselves always no matter the situation, especially in the face of adversity with a boss, family, friend or foe. Colossians 3 states, “…as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward…” The only people who can conduct themselves this way in the face of any trials is by not only believing that Christ has saved them from hell, but trusting fully that Christ has saved them from every bad situations this life may toss their way.
It’s one thing to be kind to a kind boss or person, but it’s another altogether to be kind to the unkind; loving toward the unloving; giving to thieves who steal from us. When faced with adversity, prior to taking any action, every Christ-follower should ask themselves, “Do I REALLY believe and place my faith in the promises of God? Do I know my promises God has granted those who walk in accordance to His will? Do I accept that to ‘turn the other cheek’ is for the good of the Kingdom of God as well as for my own personal good? Do I believe and place my faith in the fact that God will render good back to me in due season when I am rendered only evil from my boss of whom I well serve?”
By asking ourselves these questions and answering honestly will reveal where we really stand with God. If God promises to give the reward, why do we put so much stock in what man does or does not give? Its fleshly thinking as its worst to rationalize doing evil for evil and justify it as righteous. Evil is evil is evil no matter what our rationalization or how we may justify our poor and ungodly conduct. For those who walk according to the Spirit of God instead of the flesh, blessings will come – no questions asked. Though trials and tribulations of everyday life will come, how we respond is in direct correlation to our level of intimacy with and faith in Christ and His unfailing promises. We can only return good for evil when we are fully tapped into the Spirit of God who is within us on a deeply intimate level. Just being saved from hell won’t cut it. We must go higher and grow deeper in our salvation so as to be Kingdom-minded instead of earthly minded.