Archives For God’s Kingdom

If you’re like me, you probably struggle to not take for granted the significance of having the Spirit of God dwelling within You. This is an awesome and all but unfathomable truth. It’s too big to grasp all at once, so it’s been helpful for me to look at a single piece of this truth at a time. One of those pieces is to realize our hearts burn with the same passion in which Jesus’s heart burns. As much as He loves us, such is the capacity we have to love others.

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It becomes sobering when we contemplate how little of this great love we are sharing with and showing to others. As followers and disciples of Jesus, I believe it is our duty to maximize the gifts He has given us for the purpose of building His Kingdom here on earth. As we begin to understand the immense power available to us, we, in turn, begin to realize how little of it we are employing.

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We are as close to God as we want to be. Or, as A.W. Tozer put it, “Every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be.” There’s no wiggle room. You can try and rationalize, look for the gray area, or the loophole. It isn’t there. We are as close to God as we want to be. Paul tells us in Romans 8:38-39 it is impossible for anything to separate us from God: not death, angels, demons, rulers, authorities, height, depth… nothing!

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There’s one thing he doesn’t cover though: ourselves. We are the “X” factor. We are the only thing that can separate us from God. We can choose to walk away. We can choose to keep Him out of our lives. Only us.

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I am hesitant to write this because I am paranoid and convinced (is that possible?) people will take this in a manner I do not intend. Still, the message is heavy on my heart, so I’ll ask you to please read this in the spirit it is intended, which is to further the Kingdom of Christ. It is not my intention to demean the laudable actions of others or to criticize any particular ministry. With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s begin.

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This past weekend I had the thrill and sorrow of attending a concert with about 10,000 other Christians. The love and ministry of the band were evident throughout the couple hours they played. It was an uplifting experience that encouraged and challenged me, and from which I took several action items. One of them was to write this article.

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David Platt said, “You and I both have a choice. We can stand with the starving or with the overfed. We can embrace Jesus while we give away our wealth, or we can walk away from Jesus while we hoard our wealth.” No one wants to admit they are a hoarder. I suspect most followers of Jesus want to consider themselves generous. But we can’t deny the fact those of us in the West live in incredible comfort while nearly half the world is starving and lacks access to clean drinking water.

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Half of the people groups in the world have never heard the name of Jesus. Half the world has never been given a cup of cool water or a piece of bread in the name of Jesus. This is devastating.

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I have long been fascinated with Stoicism and am often intrigued by quotes from thought leaders of the movement. I often find an interesting application of Stoic principles in my own discipleship quest. One quote I read recently, from Marcus Aurelius, said, “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” This mimics – and is no doubt inspired by – Proverbs 23:7, which says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

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What we think about defines who we are. You can’t think selfish thoughts and be an unselfish person. The brain doesn’t work in such a manner. Every thought burns a new neural pathway. The more we think the same thought or way, the deeper the pathway gets grooved into our psyche. We do indeed become dyed by the thoughts we entertain.

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In his book, “All Things New”, author John Eldredge writes, “Where we take our fantasies is a helpful way to know what we are doing with our Kingdom heart”. Which begs the question, “What is it about which you are fantasizing?” Said another way, when you daydream, about what are you dreaming? We go in the direction of the things about which we think. Indeed, we grow in the direction of the things about which we think.

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Our fantasies and daydreams reveal the deepest desires of our heart. Far from fancy or whimsy, and regardless of their implausibility, fantasies and daydreams reveal what we would be if we were God. What are your fantasies and daydreams revealing about you? Are they revealing a God-focused, others-centered disciple? Or are they revealing a prideful and self-centered individual?

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To live a life worth living, you must know Jesus is the truth and Satan is a liar. Until you understand this beyond an intellectual level, you will struggle and continue to live an ineffective life for the Kingdom of God. Every sin, every distraction, every temptation in your life started with you believing what the devil told you. Let me assure you, as the father of lies (John 8:44), everything coming out of his mouth is a lie.

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You never should wonder if it might be true, it isn’t. Conversely, anything Jesus says is an absolute and undeniable truth. You never should wonder about this either. Jesus is the truth and Satan is a liar.

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When attempting to figure out God’s will for your life, it’s helpful to look at who God is. Since we are created in His likeness, it follows His will for us is to look like Him. It’s why both prayer and Bible study are so essential in the life of a disciple. If you want to figure out your purpose in God’s plan, you’ve got to get to know the author of the plan. From the beginning, we see God is relational.

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He created humans for us to not only worship Him but to commune with Him. God was not alone in the very beginning. Jesus was beside Him creating everything that was made (John 1:1-3). Creation didn’t happen in a vacuum, it happened through a collaboration of perfect unity.

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Right now is happening directly in front of you, but you probably don’t even recognize it. We’re constantly being caught unprepared to deal with the moment before us. Instead of proactively approaching each day looking for opportunities to build God’s Kingdom, we spend our time reacting to whatever may come. “Right now” occurs over and over each moment we live.

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Each of those moments is an opportunity to either build or tear down God’s Kingdom. Each of those moments is an opportunity to do the things God has told you to do, to be the person He created you to be or to forever be wasted. Right now, we get to choose which it will be.

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We should all want to be fierce followers of Christ. As a people, it seems Christians have lost a lot of the aggressiveness of those who came before us. For whatever reason, it has become fashionable for Christ followers to cower into passivity, doing whatever necessary to keep from offending anyone. This isn’t the life we saw modeled by Jesus. He wasn’t afraid to step on some toes when necessary. While he was the most gentle, caring, and loving person to ever walk this planet, He also possessed a sharp tongue and an intense passion for the truth.

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He didn’t let those who were perverting the truth slide by unnoticed; He called them out. Jesus pointed out what was wrong with the world and rebuked demonic influences in it. He was as quick to chastise those teaching false standards of living as He was to gently heal a person trapped in a life they did not want to live.

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