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Tag: kingdom

Kingdoms: Yours and God’s

by Mike McKinniss

Did you know that you have a kingdom?

We don’t think much about kingdoms in America, unless, of course, you’re one of those who got caught up with the Princess Meghan business several weeks ago. But you don’t have to marry a figurehead prince to get yourself a kingdom. You’ve already got one.

Let’s put it another way. Better, let me put it in the words of someone much brighter than me. The late, great Dallas Willard defined a kingdom as the range of our effective will. That is, your kingdom is wherever you have the final authority, wherever you have influence, wherever you have say-so.

For most of us, this extends at least to our extremities. Some of us are fortunate enough to have a firm say in whatever happens in our own household. Many of us share that responsibility. A few of us get to the top of our fields, running a company, captaining a boat, what have you. Kingdoms all, big or small.

And this is precisely as it should be. It’s how we were made.

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Sowing Seed

by Rob Dunne

Image by Brianna Privett_Flickr.com_2284232743_d7a58a1f2d__CC BY-ND 2.0

“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty and some a hundred.” Mark 4:20

During summer break in college, I got a job building tennis courts. One of the many facets to building a tennis court was surrounding it with a chain link fence. Every post requires a fairly deep hole. To achieve this, you must use a variety of tools.

To say that this was labor intensive is an understatement. You start out using a post hole digger. Once you get past the first foot or so of soil, you encounter rocks. The deeper you go, the bigger they get. Occasionally, you hit a boulder. We would try to work them out with a steel digging bar. If they were particularly big, we busted out the jackhammer. Either way, we got them out of the ground.

Jesus shared a parable about sowing seed and how it thrives in good ground. He explains that the sower is someone who shares the Word of God (the seed) with others. It lands on four types of ground; the wayside, stony ground, among thorns and good ground.

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The Reason For The Season

by Rob Dunne

Image: Art4theGloryofGod by Sharon; 12/25/12; sharon-soberon.artistwebsites.com/galleries.html

Image: Art4theGloryofGod by Sharon; 12/25/12; sharon-soberon.artistwebsites.com/galleries.html

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

On all Hallows Eve, my wife Kellie and I had to pick some things up at BJ’s. Much to my dismay, they had a bunch of Christmas stuff out. The commercialization of the holiday is causing retailers to push Christmas on us earlier and earlier. This would not be so bad if we spent the time reflecting on the reason for the season. However, our attention tends to be focused on trying to buy the perfect gift for others or what they are getting us.

Why do we celebrate Christmas? At its core, it truly is about giving and receiving. The gift that we receive does not come wrapped in fancy paper topped with a decorative bow. Rather, it came in the form of a newborn baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.

The birth of Jesus was only the beginning. He modeled an extraordinary way of life. Each day started by communicating with God. I suspect that God gave Jesus His marching orders every morning. Then the day was spent loving people. He healed the sick, cast out demons and raised the dead.

Jesus also taught people what life in God’s kingdom looks like. If someone offends or hurts you, forgive them. How many times do you forgive? Infinitely. When someone strikes you on the cheek, don’t respond in kind – turn and offer them the other. Pray for your enemies and bless those who spitefully use you. How on earth is this possible?

The lifestyle that we are called to live is impossible. Human beings are too selfish to live life in this manner. This is where the true gift comes in to play. Jesus became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. As He sat down at the right hand of God, it made it possible for the Holy Spirit to come live on the inside of us. Saying yes to the gift that Jesus offers us makes it possible for us to receive new life. We die to who we once were and we are born again.

Spiritual birth is not the same as the one that we experienced when our mother’s water broke and we first came in to the world. Being born again is where we are given a brand new spirit and we are joined with the Spirit of God. This is what makes living like Jesus possible. In the same way that Jesus was able to talk to God every morning, we can communicate with God. The selfishness that once dictated our actions is replaced with the love of God. Our needs, wants and desires are erased and our thoughts turn to the needs of other people. That is kingdom living.

Christmas allows us to reflect on God’s goodness. We remember that Jesus became a man and lived a selfless life. His death allows us to be reconciled to God. That is the gift of Christmas. It is not forced upon us. Rather, we have to receive it freely. It is then our delight to share the gift with others so they too can experience God’s love.

In the busyness of the season, take time to reflect on the gift of eternal life that Jesus paid for you to enjoy and share that gift with the world around you. After all, that is the true reason for the season.

Little with a Crumb

by Dawn Aldrich

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Today’s article is authored by Mandy Adendorff

A dad held his infant and said to him, “You, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins,” (Luke 1:76-77).

John the Baptist was this new-born baby, unaware of the call over his life and the anticipation heaven had over him. Yet, God didn’t wait until he was a strong man before He proclaimed His word over him.

There is a reason why God proclaims His word over us when we are very small–no matter what the call is, it will not be fulfilled by our strength and power. It’s not our size that will fulfill the call, rather it’s the weight and strength of the word of God over our lives that will propel us into our callings.

We all carry a unique call from heaven. This is stronger than physical, financial, emotional and mental limitations. It’s the Word from heaven in our lives that propels us past these limitations.

As a weak, helpless babe John carried a weighty call. The call was stronger than his frail mind and body. The dream God has for us is always much bigger than our ability because God has designed us to function in partnership with Him. The dream of God over your life is meant for two to fulfill. If we were supposed to do it on our own He would have given us a call in proportion to our size, but He never does. The call on our lives is huge and impossible in comparison with our size, because it can only be fulfilled by a small person living in agreement with Almighty God.

The dream of God is not only meant for two (God and you), but for three and four

You see, when John was too small to comprehend it all he was surrounded by people who believed what God had said to him. It’s vital that we, like John surround ourselves with earthly agreement. The people who you share your life with are directly linked to your future.

Baby John possessed nothing but a word from heaven. The dream of God often starts with nothing more than a crumb in our hands, a stirring inside. It’s important that we honor what God stirs in us by nurturing it.

Ways to nurture God’s dream in you:

  1. Agree with it– When you agree with what God has said, you position yourself as God’s partner. Intentionally surround yourself with those who will together agree with God’s dream for your life.
  1. Submit to it– True submission to God’s dream for our lives takes time. It involves us letting go of personal limitations that were shaped by fear and other junk. God’s dream is always the most fulfilling way for us to live. We were made for this!
  1. Release it– It’s scary to step into His call because we feel as if we only have a crumb to give, but when we release the crumb that’s in our hands it becomes a loaf of bread that others will feed on. We release the crumb – God gives it life.

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth:It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

(For context read Isaiah 55:9-11)

To learn more about Mandy, please visit our Contributors Page.

Citizens of Heaven

by Rob Dunne

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20

Truly, it was a magical kingdom. Some of my favorite book and movie characters roamed freely throughout the park. We soared above London and through Neverland on a pirate ship. Space was explored within the confines of a metal mountain. Presidents long dead were resurrected to share their stories. Bears played foot stomping music in a jamboree. Children of all races reminded us that it in spite of its massive size, we live in a small world after all.

One of the greatest vacations my parents ever planned for us included a visit to my grandparents in Florida and a trip to Disney. It was everything I imagined it would be and more. Reflecting on it now as an adult, Disney brings me back to the innocence that was my childhood. There were few if any cares in my world back then. Disbelief was easily suspended. It was such a happy place. If only Disney was a country that you could immigrate to permanently.

While Disney excited me as a child, the prospect of going to heaven cannot be defined with words. Over the years, I have expressed this longing to go to heaven to other people. More often than not, this statement is met with disbelief. Let me be clear. In stating that I long for heaven, I am not proclaiming that I want my life here on earth to end. Rather, I am acknowledging that the benefits of heaven far outweigh anything that life here on planet Earth has to offer.

What do we have to look forward to in heaven? First of all, we will have intimacy with God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit on a level that no human being has ever experienced. God is love and we will feel that love in ways that our minds cannot comprehend. The bodies we possess will be replaced with glorified ones that do not break down. Never again will we face our own mortality or the prospect of losing loved ones. Pain and sadness will be a thing of the past. In fact, I suspect that we will forget what it was like altogether. The affects of sin will be nonexistent.

The daily news is filled with discouragement. From Sandy Hook to hurricane Sandy to the Middle East, we are constantly reminded that the world is filled with pain, loss and destruction. Understanding that we are citizens of heaven reminds us that better days are ahead of us. The days of innocence we once enjoyed as children will resume when Jesus reigns over the Earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20.

Does His imminent return excite you as much as it does me? I hope so!

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