Tag Archives: kingdom

Distracting the People

Pharaoh thought that Moses and Aaron were distracting the people. When Moses and his brother went to Pharaoh to ask for the Israelites to be released, it was seen as something that would distract the people from their work. But as we consider God’s people, it is important to remember that this work they were doing for Pharaoh was not what they were meant to continue.

The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. God’s chosen people were enslaved in Egypt. This was not what God had planned for His people. Sadly, the people strayed and this was the consequence. Even so, God planned for redemption for His people. The true distraction was sin and the consequences of sin.

Sometimes we think some things are distractions when, in fact, other things are the true distractions. Today, ask the Spirit to reveal any true distractions in your life. Stay focused on the Kingdom work.

“Pharaoh replied, ‘Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work.’” – Exodus 5:4-5 [NLT]

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Civilian Life

Did you ever consider yourself a soldier? If you are a believer in Christ, you are part of the body of believers. You are a soldier for Christ. You are enlisted by your heavenly Father. Your aim, as a soldier, is to please your Father Who enlisted you.

Paul tells Timothy that “soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life.” In doing so, they are not able to please their commanding officer—their Officer Who chose them. Those focused on civilian life can never please He Who is building a Kingdom that is out of this world.

Today, consider if you are solider for Jesus Christ. If you are a soldier for Christ, ask yourself what affairs concern you. Are you concerned with civilian life? Are you concerned with the Kingdom life? If you get tied up in civilian life, you can never be an effective soldier. An effective soldier stays focused on the commands of their Commander. An effective soldier is focused on the mission.

“Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.” – 2 Timothy 2:4 [NLT]

No Negotiations

Today’s passage can teach us so much. Jesus knew that this man was clinging too tightly to his money. He tried to show the man that He could offer him something greater than temporal riches, true riches in heaven. The rich man found this difficult to hear and he could not do as Jesus commanded.

Notice what happens next. You do not read about Jesus changing what was demanded of this fellow. He didn’t say, “Yeah, I know that money means a lot to you so you go ahead and keep half. You don’t have to give everything away. Just give half.” Jesus did not do that. There were no negotiations. He did not change or adapt to give someone a more appealing offer to accept. That is never the case.

So then the question is why do we try to glamorize Jesus and change His Word so that people will make the choice to accept Him? Why do we try to lure people to be Christians with half truths and PowerPoint Presentations that entertain while misrepresenting? At the end of the day, what they are accepting is not Jesus. They are accepting the comfortable; cake-on-a-plate Christianity you show them, that will be so cherry picked the truth cannot be recognized. Jesus does not need you to make Him appealing. There should be no negotiations. Just show them Jesus.

“One day one of the local officials asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?’ Jesus said, ‘Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don’t you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother.’ He said, ‘I’ve kept them all for as long as I can remember.’ When Jesus heard that, he said, ‘Then there’s only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go. Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, ‘Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.’”

-Luke 18:18-25 [MSG]

 

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Insignificant to You

A big question stood out when I was reading Numbers 16 and the account of Korah’s greed. Does it seem insignificant to you? What a question for us to consider in life. Here Korah and others were aligned together with their selfishness fueling the way. God had given them great positions and blessed them well. All of this blessing was overlooked because they had eyes on Moses’ and Aaron’s calling. Why were they any different than these two men? Why could they not have the same honor? That’s what this group wanted to know. They questioned God’s judgment and were driven by greed.

In response to Korah’s great rebellion, Moses asks this question: “Does it seem insignificant to you…” Korah was chosen to serve the Lord in a way that required them to be near to the Lord. They had a very special position and yet they neglected to see the beauty of that calling upon their lives because they were too focused on Moses and Aaron. This hasn’t ended with Korah’s rebellion. It continues today. Did you ever find yourself looking around asking why God used someone it such a way while you were used so differently?

Remember something—we each have a special role to play in the Kingdom. God has designed us each to do great works through Him. Look at what God is doing in your life. Look at the special calling He has just for you. Does it seem insignificant to you? If it does, you aren’t serving the Lord; you’re serving yourself.

“Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the LORD’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them?” – Numbers 16:9 [NLT]FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

 

Gathering of Many

When I was walking my dog this morning, there were tons of ants gathering together on the sidewalk. My dog Max decided to walk around the ants in an awkward way to be sure to avoid them all. It was quite humorous to see a 75 pound dog trying to avoid the tiny ants, but there is great strength in numbers.

Each of those ants is important. Each one added to the number and helped to make Max feel the need to avoid them. Each one played an important role. It is the same way with people. Each person is important. Each person has an important role to play. Sometimes we feel like we like a tiny ant, like we cannot make a difference or that what we are doing does not matter. Do not let yourself listen to those lies.

You are important. You are special. You are loved. And YOU are called to do great things. The biggest problem is that we think of ourselves as a little ant rather than as one of many ants—a large group of ants. We were created as communal beings and we are to be part of a community—one body—the body of Christ. You are not an ant. You are a child of God, a member of the Kingdom of God. And you, my friend, can do great things—great things through Christ.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” – John 14:12 [NLT]

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Holding Up

When the Israelites defeated the Amalekites, there was something going on at the top of a hill. Moses was holding up his arms with his staff in hand, which caused the Israelites to have an advantage. Whenever his arms went down, the Israelites lost the advantage.

Because a person can only hold their arms up for so long, he ended up getting help. Aaron and Hur got a stone for Moses to sit on and they stood on each side of him to help hold up Moses’ hands. With the teamwork, the Israelites kept the advantage and won the battle.

We are meant to encourage each other, to help each other, to support each other. When there is a common goal among us, we should each be doing our part to see the victory. There are times when we are holding up our arms, and there are other times when we are one of those arm helpers. Everyone has a different role in the Kingdom, but each role is important. Let us do this together—we cannot do it any other way.

“Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.” – Exodus 17:12 [NLT]

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Collecting Bones

This morning I gave my dog a bone and I found that rather than eating it, he took it over to his special area of the room and lined it up with a few other bones he had collected. If he could talk, I think he would have been boastful of his nice collection. Of course, what is the purpose of having a collection of bones that doesn’t get eaten? Pardon my harshness, but I’m not fond of collections. I do not think God wants us building up big collections of items. In the Bible there are times when there are reminders that will be used to keep God’s people focused on God. Some manna is saved in a jar. Some stones are piled up. I get this. All of this saving and collecting involved God.

There is nothing wrong with saving money and being a good steward, but a problem occurs if the money becomes a god and a reason for living. I think of the character of Uncle Scrooge, counting coins as the poor families struggle. There is nothing wrong with collecting some mementos from the past, but to live in the past can prohibit you from reaching where God wants you to be in life. There is nothing wrong with having a few porcelain dolls or baseball cards, but when it encompasses much of your time and much of your attention, where is God’s glory? Where is God’s time?

My dog was collecting bones. When we think of bones, we usually think of something that is dead. It reminds me of these collections that we have here on earth. Our life here is temporal, and each collection is simply as collecting bones. It is so much better to taste what the Lord has given, say that “it is good,” and enjoy a relationship with Him, than to collect things that He created to build up a temporal kingdom here. What He has for us is so much better than we have seen with our eyes or felt with our hands here on earth.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:19

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1

We are One

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function.” – Romans 12:4 [NIV]

My son has been playing the trombone since the beginning of the school year and it has been a very interesting time for me to listen to his practices. There are some songs where I can grasp the song that he is playing with only his trombone portion. There are other songs that get me a bit puzzled. It makes no sense to me because I am only hearing his part. Last night, I was blessed to hear the entire band perform the music as one, and the sound was beautiful and the songs that I did not understand became very clear. Each member joined together and the result was amazing.

We as Christians are one member of the Body of Christ. We each have a different role to fulfill in the Kingdom. We have each been made uniquely by God for His special purpose. We may not always understand our own purpose, and we may not comprehend the purposes of others as well. But as we join together with all of our differences, our unique gifts, our varying personalities, we are one Body. We make such beautiful music together when we are all playing our own part as God has designed. It is a symphony that only our great Creator could have written.

Today, don’t look at the differences in others and complain because you think things should be done your way or because it is difficult to join together and co-exist with someone so different from you, but see the beauty in those around you and encourage each other to fulfill the part God has called us to fill. God’s plan is perfect. Let us focus on His goodness and let us remember that every single one of us is important to God.

Learning to Fly

The other night my children and I sat down to watch “The Looney Tunes” on television. The episode showed Porky Pig and Daffy Duck attending a seminar, “Spread Those Wings and Fly,” which seemed to depict something similar to the many self-help programs that are so easily found throughout the country. The seminar provided Daffy with motivational CD’s to listen to and DVD’s to watch, each one giving him the motivation to learn to fly. When he followed what the program said, taking it a bit too literally, he found that he wasn’t a very good pilot or cut out for the job of a flight attendant. The program caused nothing but frustration to him and to those around him. I think by the end of the show, he no longer had the desire to learn to fly, as ironic as it may sound.

As funny as the cartoon was for the children and I, part of me could not help but think of the many people who attempt to find fulfillment in life by following the “wisdom” shared with these self-help programs. Sadly people spend a lot of money trying to be happier, more prosperous, a better leader, healthier, etc., and yet we are offered a great resource to help us be all that we were created to be without any installment plans. We even can contact the One who is behind it all, the One who created us, and seek Him for the answers we need through His Word and through prayer.

I know life is hard. Life is full of struggles, pain, and obstacles. Life is not easy, but having a personal relationship with God makes it not seem so difficult. No program can help you to see your worth like God can. No program can help you to reach your full potential like God can. No twelve steps, no quick fix, no infomercial, no newly released material can give you what you need like God can. We can be like Daffy, aiming to learn to fly from some program that will leave us frustrated and moving to something else or we can chose to look to God to fill the void we have in life, and seek Him to help us to reach our true purpose—His purpose for our life. Seek Him, and everything else will come. It’s not a quick fix, but it is a true remedy and the only way for find joy.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:33 [NLT]

 

Immediately

I recently began reading the Gospel of Mark for my own personal studies. There is a word that is repeated over and over again in the first chapter, a word that continues throughout the book. The word is “immediately” and if my math is correct, it occurs ten times in the first chapter alone. Immediately when Jesus is being baptized, the Spirit descended upon Him. Immediately He went into the wilderness. Immediately Simon Peter and Andrew left their lives as they knew them. Immediately the leprosy left the leper. Again and again the word is used.

We see so many things happening at immediately, not waiting for conditions to be different. The Book of Mark shows us that there is a sense of urgency. We only have so much time and so we must start now. Yet for many of us, when we are called by God to do something, we do not act immediately. Sometimes we do not act at all. We say we are waiting to do it when we have extra time. We say we are holding off till we have the money to start giving. We promise to start doing something when we feel better. We insist when our situations and conditions of life improve, we will start working for the Kingdom.

God never said that He had certain conditions to be met before we could start serving, giving, and loving. He calls you as you are and works with you as only He can. When we give excuses and do not act immediately, we are basically saying that our God is not big enough to use someone who has some issues that need fixed or some imperfect situations that need work. And yet, the Word of God again and again tells us otherwise. God used a slave, a shepherd boy, a fisherman, a peasant girl, a prostitute, a tax collector, a farmer, the son of a prostitute, a murderer, an adulterer, and even a persecutor of those who followed Jesus.

Today, if you are avoiding something, pushing it off till things get better, understand that God can still use you now. All you need to do is to show up. He will do the rest.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
– Romans 8:28 [NLT]