September, 2011


7
Sep 11

Underpinnings: The Kingdom

This is one of my underpinnings, which are the basic assumptions that drive my life but that pass undetected to the naked eye.

What is a kingdom?

A kingdom is rulership. A kingdom has a king, and it has a structure with rank and order.

What, then, is the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God is rulership. God is the king, and He has a structure with rank and order.

To enter the kingdom of God is to enter the rulership of God.

Jesus died to break the dominion of sin and to transfer the dominion to a new race, those sons and daughters of God. Because of the cross and resurrection, we are now seated with Him in heavenly places. A heavenly place, by the way, is a place of rulership. Thus, because of the cross and resurrection, we have entered into rulership.

The kingdom of God, then, is more than just a new set of morals and ethics, though it includes that. It is entering into a new rulership. Kingdom living, then, is not merely behaving differently. It is walking in spiritual authority.

John 3:5 says, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” This is a spiritual kingdom, which means we enter and operate in it by the Spirit (hence, “spiritual”). You will only understand this kingdom by the Spirit, because only the Spirit of God understands the mind of God.

Will the spiritual kingdom touch the world around us? Absolutely! However, many people try to replicate the effects of the kingdom without entering the kingdom, and their works look good but lack the power of the kingdom.

Honestly, I feel like it’s one of the great mysteries of the gospel. I can describe it, but I feel helplessly incapable to convey it, so I will only pray a simple prayer that God, by the power of His Spirit, would reveal the deepest mysteries of His kingdom to you!


6
Sep 11

Spiritual Poverty

Have you ever felt bad because you had something someone else didn’t have? Maybe you had a special toy when you were young, and one of your friends was jealous of that toy. You felt bad for them, so you gave them the toy. Truth to be told, I’ve lived a lot of my life with that thinking. I thought that fairness was a virtue. The problem, of course, was that I was never able to get any toys my friend didn’t have. His jealousy would rise up. I would feel sorry for him for being “poor” (lacking this great toy), and by doing so, I would impoverish myself.

To use another example, I would see someone doing a job they hated. I was doing a job I loved. Even though I also hated their job, I would take on their responsibilities. I became poor to cure someone else’s selfish jealousy.

I didn’t realize that I was allowing others’ jealousy and impoverished thinking to rob me of blessings God wanted to give. The poverty mentality told me that I should become poor so that others wouldn’t feel bad for being poor. We are not to become poor to be like others. We are to help others become rich to be like us.

This thinking has crept into the church of God. As believers in Christ, we have access to a giant storehouse and have received a rich and full inheritance. But sometimes we still live out of poverty.

We meet someone for whom God answers prayer for healing, and we wish they’d stop because we we haven’t done it.

We meet someone with a passion and zeal, and we wish they’d calm down because they make us uncomfortable.

We meet someone who has a close walk with the Lord, and we wish they’d wipe that star-dazed look from their eyes because it makes us feel distant.

The trouble is that we are comfortable in our poverty, unaware of the greatness of what God has to offer! We wish that others would come down to our level of poverty, rather than realizing that the incredible riches of Christ are not just for us or for them, but they are for everyone who believes!

Here’s the challenge for you.

If you find yourself among the “poor”, don’t take me for my word. Search the Scriptures and ask God to reveal the wealth that He holds for all who believe. Ask Him for faith to believe what He says.

If you find yourself among the “wealthy”, good for you! However, remember this. When God hear God’s call to step out into His inheritance, you may very likely hear voices questioning you. It is up to you. If you choose to become poor to be friends with the poor, you can satisfy their jealousy, but you will miss your inheritance. How much better to choose wealth and to use that wealth to usher other people into the inheritance of Christ!

Most of all, don’t miss your inheritance!


5
Sep 11

Manna

At the beginning of the year, I chose a word to define my journey for this year, and the word was “faithfulness.” I entered this year expecting God to develop faithfulness in my life. He has, but His manner was somewhat unexpected.

God has been teaching me faithfulness by demonstrating it to me first, and He’s done that with the assurance of manna.

I have the assurance that as I step into the next assignment He has for me, He will give me the power that I need.

I have the assurance that when I wake up in the morning to face the day, He will give me the strength that I need.

I have the assurance that when I recognize a problem, He has revealed it to me in His time.

I have the assurance that when I am in over my head, He will give me the answers I cry out for.

I have the assurance that when I am confronted by a time crunch, He can enable me to get the right things done at the right time.

I have the assurance that my success is not based on what I start or complete, but it’s based on the certainty of His love, His grace, and His power. It’s based on the peace of knowing that I have sought His heart, walked with Him, and depended upon Him for my manna. He will guide me where He will.

Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.”

What is faithfulness?

Faithfulness is feeding on the manna of those things to which God is calling me, and it is fasting from those things that only distract me from God’s call. God has been showing me that faithfulness is not just about dedication to my call, as it is a freedom from those things that are outside my call.

Every time I step forward in my call, I can trust God to send me the manna I need. My job? Feed on manna.

That’s faithfulness.

It’s that simple.


2
Sep 11

The Second Power

When we think of strong leaders, we often think of the person at the helm. In churches we think of the lead pastor. In businesses we think of the CEO. These are the people who have the greatest position of leadership, and we expect the weight of the organization to hang upon their shoulders. These leaders play an important and irreplaceable role, but many of them are empowered by a much less visible force.

That force is the second power.

Daniel is a great example. He was second in command to the king, and even though he was never at the helm, he carried a tremendous amount of influence within the kingdom.

How can you tell the impact of people like Daniel? It’s simple. Visualize the kingdom with Daniel. Then imagine the kingdom without him. The difference is vast, isn’t it?

Here’s what it means for you.

If you find yourself craving a position of leadership, you need to recognize that your position does not necessarily determine your impact upon the organization. In fact, it may even lessen your impact. Your greatest impact upon your business, your community, or your church may come simply as a strong follower.

If you’re in leadership, you should consider seriously whose influence you want and need. The few people you work with most closely can carry greatest influence upon you and the organization, regardless of their position. If these people are willing to devote themselves to your leadership, especially when they have nothing to gain for themselves, they can set an strong example across the entire organization.

A leader alone can do only so much, but people like Daniel will multiply leaders to the second power.