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Archive for October, 2013

Understanding the “Kingdom” Within the Challenge of Today’s World

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Do not be anxious … says the Lord!

Speaking to His Disciples, Jesus said: “Do not be anxious then, saying,  ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt: 6:31-33)

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Brothers and Sisters,

With this saying Jesus indicated to His disciples that if we desire to grow spiritually in following Him, they, and we. must turn from our anxiety-driven seeking after earthly “things” and instead yield ourselves to the Kingship of the Father in our lives. In order to do this as “true” disciples we must have established a personal relationship with Jesus and yielded ourselves totally to God by obeying His Righteous direction in our lives. Stated in todays common idiom, Jesus’ saying that we cited could read something like this:

“Don’t be anxious about how you wiil be able to sustain yourselves in this world. Place yourself in totai loving and willing obedience to the Father’s direction for you as your King, seeking no personal benefit for your service but only to fulfill His desires and Righteous purposes. If you remain centered on doing so, the Father wil provide all your incidental needs so that you may be successful in fulfilling His Righteous purposes in you and through you”.

The problem we moderns have in following this directive from the Lord is twofold: first of all we are too codependent on the world’s systems to meet our needs, and secondly our hearts are too hardened to really comprehend what he means by the “Kingdom of God”.

This saying of Jesus, as we normally would perceive it in our minds, mainly infers, living a godly life in concert with the morés and dictates of our religious tradition and scripture so that through our efforts at compliance we may obtain God’s approval and thus merit His providence in this life and entrance to His Heavenly Kingdom in the next.

Nothing, could be further from the truth of what Jesus was trying to convey to His followers – Jesus was proclaiming entrance to a spiritual Kingdom NOW, where our entrance to that Kingdom would be contingent on our faith and our purity of motive. Our faith and motive are of the essence. If we are to accomplish anything in our “yielding to the Kingdom” it can only be if we are not seeking merit or justification – all our efforts in obedience to His call must be freely done, in faith and out of true “agape” love – seeking His Righteousness and Glory, NOT our own.

For Jesus, “the Kingdom” which he preached meant something entirely different. It was the term He use to define His Ministry under the Kingship of the Father and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. An anointing which He delegated to those who entered into discipleship with Him. We must also remember  that it was the primary topic on which He preached – eg., “The Good News of the Kingdom”, and “the Kingdom of God is at hand”. Almost all for His parables were focused on this “Kingdom” and as you are well aware, these stories dealt with an earthly manifestation of the “Kingdom” here and Now: NOT some far off “blue sky” future.

Yes, Jesus did mention the eschatological or coming Kingdom on occasion, but His preaching was mainly directed at proclaiming that the Father was entering into a new epoch with humanity – an epoch, termed “the Kingdom of God”, where He would come to dwell in us so that, through a spiritual partnership with us, He could begin to re-create us spiritually in the image of His Son, Jesus, so that  through us as His new-born children and envoys, He could establish His spiritual Kingship over the hearts of those who believed the Good News of this Kingdom.  Jesus also knew that this move of God could only come through Him, the Lamb of God, and that the purposes of His Father required His sacrificial death by crucifixion to atone for the sins of men. Yet, He proclaimed this latter news only to His disciples who through faith would be His initial envoys of the Good News to the world.

The Gospel of the Kingdom was proclaimed and taught by Jesus, mainly through parables – parables that were not easily understood by those who heard. He did this for two main reasons reasons. One was that He knew that the people in general would misinterpret the proclamation of a :”Kingdom” as worldly entity and would attempt to make Him a worldly King. Secondly He knew the Father and the Holy Spirit were at work in the circumstances of His ministry to draw to him those who had “ears to hear” and really understood in their spirits what “The Kingdom” He was proclaiming really meant.

The Good news that Jesus was proclaiming was that the Father, through Jesus,His sacrifical Lamb and the Holy Spirit, who was empowering Him, was ushering in a new covenant with mankind where He would dwell in His people, those redeemed by the blood and re-born of the Spirit, in such a supernatural way that through His indwelling presence in them, He could bring forth His Kingdom on this earth. In his infinite graciousness He, through the sacrifice of His Son, was giving us the opportunity to be His partners in bringing forth His Kingdom in this fallen world.

In order that we be completely free to “enter this Kingdom” the Lord graces us with the gift of salvation through His atoning  sacrifice on the cross. In this way, we who have faith in the redemption He has won for us, without any merit on our part, are now free to volunteer to be His disciples and follow Him – for that is the only way we may enter the “Kingdom” in this life – as willing and obedient bond-servants sent by Him to operate under His anointing to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to others.  Because of the offer to enter into discipleship in this way, our salvation is not affected  by our free and loving decision to give ourselves to Him for His Glory! Praised be His Holy Name!

Now it is up to us to decide. Are we willing to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to the Father (cf., Rom12:1-2) by giving ourselves totally to Him for His service in  the Name of His Son, Jesus?  Is the Holy Spirit moving in you to consecrate yourself  to Jesus – to yoke yourself to Him so that all that you do and say and think will be a measure of His indwelling life in us?

If you are, then the prayer that follows is meant for you.

May His Peace be with you as you consider this challenge…Amen!

Your fellow Pilgrim in Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

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Lord Jesus, I believe that you, the Son of the Living God came down from heaven to reveal the Father’s Love to me by suffering and dying for my sins. I believe that through your death and resurrection you have brought redemption and life not only to me but also all else who believe in you. I further believe that it is only through knowing you in a loving personal relationship that I can know the Father.

It is because I have a burning desire to know you and abide in you that I now yield myself completely to you and your love. I open the door to my heart so you can come in and sup with me and thus begin the special relationship with you for which you died and for which I hunger.At this moment I yield myself to your love. Enter in and activate my spirit with your Holy Spirit so that I can go beyond just mere intellectual belief in you to a personal spiritual knowledge of you and the Father.

I yoke myself to You Lord, cleanse me from my sins and make me a fit vessel for your presence. Permeate my entire being with your life and your love so that I can truly be your instrument in this world. Be my Lord, Be My God, Be my King to rule and to reign in me. In faith and by your grace I receive You and I receive Your word.

Abide in me just as you abide in the Father and the Father in you! Thank you for giving yourself for me. Amen!

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Recommended Link(s)

Sweet Yoke Of Love

Overcoming the World

Is He Truly Your King?

Yielding to the Kingdom Anointing

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2013])

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