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Archive for April, 2012

Living in the Strength of the Kingdom, Now!

“May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son(Col. 1:9-13)

My dear fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

Although the Apostle Paul tells us that we have been transferred into the Kingdom of the Divine Son, how often the circumstances of our lives and the attractions of the world and the flesh divert us from our walk with the Lord and prevent us from fully operating in the Kingdom – the very Kingdom of God which Jesus came to proclaim, and, through His Death and Resurrection, bring into manifestation in the lives of all who believe!

This is the Kingdom that Jesus declared to be “at hand”, that is, it is accessible, through Him, in the NOW of our every day lives. It is just that the accessibility of the Kingdom is sometimes hindered not only by our lack of faith in the Kingdom but also by a variety of obstacles: moral, intellectual and spiritual.

One of the first obstacles is that we Christians tend to center our understanding of the promised “Kingdom” as our future destiny after we pass through the portals of death due to the Saving Grace of Christ’s Sacrificial Death on the Cross. And, although, this is entirely true, there is another aspect of the “Kingdom” which we tend to neglect, or at least give it little thought, and that is that the Good News of the Kingdom that Jesus asked us to preach to the whole world was that the Kingdom, which He preaches, was “at hand” – that is, accessible in the NOW of our lives.

The reason this confuses us is because the Lord Jesus sometime uses the term the “Kingdom of God” or the “Kingdom of Heaven” in a variety of connotations – none of which are contradictory but are sometimes confusing to us because we do not completely understand the context in which they were used by Him.

Without going to extraordinary detail on this subject let me just say that Jesus understood His mission was not only to be a sacrifice for the sins of mankind to open the door to a “heavenly ” Kingdom in eternity, but also to be a reconciler and restorer of the relationship between the Father and His creation here and NOW in this world so that the Father would again reign in the hearts of men and women as it did in the time of Adam and Eve before the Fall. This was an integral part of His ministry, as it also should be for those of us who follow Him as disciples.

Through the Incarnation He became the first of many brethren who would contain the Spirit of the Living God in the temple of their hearts and who, through their yielding to the Holy Spirit, would be empowered to become the Father’s partners in this world and thus bring His Kingdom of Love into manifestation in this time-space continuum, thus overcoming the current kingdom of darkness which currently dominates the world.

Without detracting from the promise of a “heavenly” Kingdom after our passing, Jesus attempted to convey to His disciples that he was appointing them to the task of being envoys of the Father to bring about the restoration of His reign in the hearts of all mankind in this created time frame in which we live – in the Now of our lives.

Return to Jerusalem

Go into all the world ...

That is also why He taught them to pray, by volunteering themselves, to the Father, that His “Kingdom Come” in them and through them, so that, in this way, the Father’s will would be done here on earth as it was in the “heavenly Kingdom”.  This is the Good News of the Kingdom, our partnership with God, that He directed them to preach to the whole world with works of signs and wonders attesting to truth of their preaching and teaching, that the Kingdom of god was to be manifested in the “Now” of this existence.

This, then, is the Kingdom that I also proclaim to you NOW! A Kingdom under the reign of the Father that is accessible by all wherever they may be in this world today! A Kingdom in which we believers are empowered by the Father to bring the reign of God and His Loving Compassion into every nook and cranny of our every day lives!

But it is a Kingdom that we can only enter by yielding ourselves willingly to His Holy Spirit so that His will, and only His will, may be done by us and through us! This is the Door to the Kingdom about which Jesus said, “…many are called but few are Chosen”.

Jesus is the Open Door

Jesus is the Open Door

Yes, there is a door to the Kingdom here and NOW, and that Door is through union with Jesus Himself. It is a door that can only be entered through a relationship with the Lover of our souls and our acceptance of His Kingship over our lives. It is a door that may only be entered when, through sincere repentance, we recognize that we are but hopelessly lost sinners and gratefully accept His Loving sacrifice for us and sincerely desire the new life He offers us through the power of His resurrection. It is also the door to our discipleship where, through loving obedience, we deny our very self and consecrate ourselves to Him – to be dedicated Envoys for His Kingdom. Praised Be His Holy Name!

But, sometimes, because we do not understand the magnificence of God’s gift and our own unworthiness, we attempt to enter that Kingdom on the basis of our own righteousness, that is on the basis of our religious performance. That is why Jesus told the Scribes and the Pharisees that tax collectors and prostitutes would enter the Kingdom before them (cf., Matt. 21:31). The Kingdom He was referring to, in this instance, was the manifestation of the Kingdom of God’s Loving Compassion through Himself and His ministry, and the ability for those who believed in Him to come under His ministerial anointing as disciples, such as Matthew and Mary Magdalene were doing. Because of their self-righteous attitude, the Scribes and the Pharisees did not believe in Him and so, not only could they not enter in, but they hindered others from entering.

In order to bring home this point Jesus told them the parable of a King who gave a wedding feast for his son but the important people of the land made all sorts of excuses in order not to attend. The King then said to his servants …

The Unwelcome Guest Is Cast Out“‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. ‘Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ “And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.  “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him,  ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And he was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants,  ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22: 9-14)

The Kingdom is the wedding to which we, who hear the Good News of the Kingdom, are invited.  The man that did not put on the wedding robe was a man who received the invitation but believed in his own worthiness (righteousness) to the point that he thought that his clothes and his person were good enough to attend the wedding as he was. That is the way some of us approach our entry in to the Kingdom, and, in our arrogant presumption and un-repentance, neglect to put on Jesus’ robe of righteousness, an act that acknowledges our unworthiness and our dependence on the redeeming Grace of God through the Sacrifice of His Son.

Another obstacle to entering the Kingdom is that we enter with the wrong expectations and when our expectations are not fulfilled, we falter in our walk with Him, because our faith was not focused on Him and His Word but on our own false presumptions of what a walk with Jesus entails and what we would get out of it. Yes, we enter at the behest of the King and we surrender our all to Him but if we expect that the road ahead will be without suffering, trials and rejection we will be very surprised.

Disciples in the making

For you must understand that, in this fallen world, walking the walk of the Kingdom is not acceptable to the World. The world system will reject us just as Jesus was rejected, we will be tested just as Jesus was tested, and, like Daniel’s three friends, we will be placed in a fiery furnace of testing, but through all this Jesus will not only be at our side, He will be IN US to guide us and strengthen us so that we may bring forth the fruit of the Kingdom for His Glory!

Listen to what the Apostle James says:

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

Yes, we must remember that when we commit ourselves to follow Jesus, the trials we face are but a confirmation that we are on the right path. So we must rejoice knowing that we have indeed been accepted as envoys not just to bring people to Jesus but to bring Jesus to the people.

The Deutero-canonical Book of Sirach gives a clear summary of what the path of discipleship entails. Let us take this segment, taken from Chapter 2, to heart, as we proceed forward into the NOW of the Kingdom that is at hand for us!

1 My Son, when you come to serve the Lord,* prepare yourself for trials.

2Be sincere of heart and steadfast,

and do not be impetuous in time of adversity.

3Cling to him, do not leave him,

that you may prosper in your last days.

4Accept whatever happens to you;

in periods of humiliation be patient.

5For in fire gold is tested,

and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation.

6Trust in God, and he will help you;

make your ways straight and hope in him.

7You that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy,

do not stray lest you fall.

8You that fear the Lord, trust in him,

and your reward will not be lost.

9You that fear the LORD, hope for good things,

for lasting joy and mercy.

If you read this and still feel you have been called to “enter the Kingdom” – the continuation of Jesus’ ministry in you and through you – then you have not only been called but you have been chosen.

So, then, my brethren, knowing that you, have been chosen, even to be the least in His Kingdom, let us step out boldly on behalf of our King and prayerfully commit your life to HIM, asking for the guidance of His Holy Spirit and the anointed strength of His power in you for the Glory of His Name!.  For as Jesus said …

“I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”  (Matt. 11:11-12, NIV)

And as you walk the walk of His Love Always keep in your soul the words of encouragement that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Cor. 4:8-10)

“As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, 

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,

and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” 

See, NOW is the acceptable time; see, NOW is the day of salvation! “

(2 Cor. 6:1)

To this brothers and sisters, I can only say, Amen and Amen!

Your Brother in Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2012])

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Recommended Links

§ The Cost of discipleship

§ Sweet Yoke of Love

§ Releasing The Spirit

§ Hearing His Voice…. and Obeying it!

§ Praying In the Spirit

§ Responding To the Spirit’s Call

§ The Kingdom of God Our Spiritual Inheritance

# Prayer to Receive The Holy Spirit

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