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Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
Jesus could have led a political uprising, he had the numbers and the opportunity was there. Instead he came to bring the Kingdom of God, a spiritual kingdom.
One of the greatest criticisms of “religion” is that it has started wars and caused so much trouble. Jesus didn’t come for a physical overthrow; he came with an unseen kingdom. Whenever there was a miracle, it was the kingdom of light overcoming the kingdom of darkness.
The example of some Muslims trying to introduce Sharia law is an example of trying to overthrow a system with a religious system. Jesus had no such plan. His plan was to see people transformed by the Gospel, then that would bring God’s rule and reign in people’s lives.
What are the weapons of our kingdom? Prayer, servanthood, giving, love and the word of God. Not guns, or bombs, or cyber warfare, but spiritual weapons to defeat the kingdom of darkness.
Lord, give me insight into your kingdom. Help me fix my eyes on the things unseen, not on the things of this world. Give me kingdom eyes, kingdom hands and a kingdom heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Most Jews, including Peter, one of the disciples, thought that the Messiah would be a political ruler, and didn’t understand that Jesus would be a spiritual king.
In Mark 8, Peter and Jesus are talking. Peter had just said Jesus is the Messiah, a momentous revelation and proclamation. Then when Jesus talked about his death and resurrection, Peter rebuked Jesus, the one whom he had just called messiah!
It then says that Jesus rebuked Peter, but he spoke directly to Satan. In verse 33, we read:
…“Get behind me, Satan!” … “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Was Satan possessing Peter? Was it a deceptive demon, under Satan’s commands? Was the Evil Spirit oppressing Peter, not possessing Peter?
It may seem a bit harsh that Jesus rebuked him so bluntly. Jesus clearly didn’t have a fear of confrontation. And as the Rabbi, he had the authority and right in that culture to speak so bluntly.
For me, the application is twofold. To speak out boldly against anyone who is speaking out of line like Peter was. To walk in my authority and rebuke Satan whenever he speaks through someone.
I need to remember to be careful when I speak. To be careful not to open my mouth to change feet; not to have my mind merely on human concerns, but the concerns of God.
Lord, well done on the way you handled Peter! Give me the gift of discerning of Spirits, and the boldness to rebuke Satan where needed. Help me to always have in mind the concerns of God. I repent from my human concerns, for yours is the kingdom the power and the glory forever. Amen!
Who’d want to be a pastor? All he knows is he’s heard from God and he’s following the voice of the Lord. The congregation, however, want better food, better directions, better facilities, more in their budget, better car parking, better signage, more teaching on this subject, more ministries for their kids, more, more, more…
It was the same with the Israelites and Moses. There was amazing, supernatural provision of manna from heaven. They were privileged to receive these blessings, yet they were sick of it. They coveted what they had in the good old days of Egypt.
There is something in our fallen fleshly nature that makes us whinge and be ungrateful, just like the Israelites here.
God raised up 70 elders to share the burden, he put the Holy Spirit on them, they were anointed to lead. And here his young protégé, Joshua is worried about a couple of leaders who are prophesying. And Moses, as a true leader says in Numbers 11:29:
“Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!”
What a great leader’s heart. Not wanting to control it all and lord it over people, but a releasing heart, a father’s heart.
God will lead us. God will provide. We must trust our leaders. Be grateful for what the Lord has given us. Don’t covet the old days of Egypt, don’t look for greener grass. Water the grass you have been given, sow where you are, and you will reap a harvest. You will bear fruit.
Thank you Lord for your Manna in my life! I am grateful. Forgive me for the times I had ever grumbled and wished things were better. We will follow you wherever you lead. You have always been faithful and you always will be! Praise you for the wonderful financial provision in the last couple of days, and for the provision to come! Amen!
Possible Hymn: My Hope is Built
When my son is playing with the DVD player and I walk in, he trembles. He knows he has been caught red handed. He knows he’ll get into trouble. And hopefully he won’t do it again. Definitely not when I am around!
Psalm 4:4-5 says:
Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the LORD.
There is a key here about sin. When you sin, you have to pay the consequences. God has already told us what sin is, and The Holy Spirit convicts us when we are tempted to sin. As this Psalm says when we are on our beds we are to search out hearts and be silent. Here David says to offer the sacrifices of the righteous. In the Old Testament that was the rule. In the New Testament we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. We trust in the Lord.
He says, “Tremble and do not sin.” This is good advice. To tremble does have negative connotations, but there is a time for everything. God is a God of Love, but we must also tremble before his awesome power and as we fear him, we do not sin.
Lord, thank you that in the midst of trouble, you are our firm foundation. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand. Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy may grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Amen.
Possible Song: Lord, I give you my heart
One quote from the movie, The Usual Suspects, is ‘the biggest lie the devil ever told was convincing people that he didn’t exist.’
Some people ARE convinced and don’t believe in a literal devil explaining that all of the verses about Satan are just about evil in general. But they are twisting scripture way too much! I’ve heard that there are 28 different names for Satan in scripture: the serpent, Lucifer, Devil, an adversary and a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.
In Isaiah 14:12-13, there is more description of Satan.
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘ I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.
This verse gives an insight into Satan’s fall. He was the son of the morning, implying he was beautiful, like the rising sun. He was cut down. He weakened the nations and he’ll exalt his throne above the stars of God. Clearly, his weakness was Pride. A weapon well used in churches today. There have been many great men and women become full of themselves and fall.
Scripture clearly says ‘God opposes the proud, and gives grace to the humble.’ Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” It’s much better for God to humble you than for your own actions to cause you to fall…
2 Chronicles 7:14 says “If my people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways…”
We need to guard our hearts, and continually give praise and glory to God. We need to pray the dangerous prayer “Lord Humble me.” But only if you are ready for anything!
Lord, I give you my heart; I humble myself before you and ask you to mould my heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
There is a TV show about a family who all get superpowers, and they are using them for good, to change the world! Interesting that the world loves to watch any entertainment about superpowers, when the Bible is full of people with super natural powers! As Christians, we are called to function in them the way the disciples did!
Jesus’ supernatural power healed the boy of his fever, and because of that miracle, the whole family believed!
I revert time and time again to using my own words and strategies to share the Gospel, and God still works and people get saved. But time and time again, witnessing is coupled with signs and wonder that confirm the preaching of the Word. It’s harder to do the Supernatural stuff, but we must step out on faith and be bold, and miracles will come!
Lord, Use me to do great exploits in your name, give me more boldness. Use me in this great harvest, Lord. I pray that those in our churches will see their families and friends saved. Let there be more miracles Lord! Amen.
Possible Song: Our God is Greater
Many times I am overwhelmed by circumstances: bills coming in, the problems and disasters that happen in the world. In these circumstances, weighing up the odds is the worldly way of looking at things. But, think of David in front of Goliath, Moses in front of the Red Sea, Jonah before Nineveh, Esther before the King. Time and time again men and women of God had the odds stacked against them.
In 2 Kings 6:16-17, we read about God’s supernatural provision. Elisha and his men are surrounded in Dothan city by God’s protection and win in the end.
“Don’t be afraid”, the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
How many times in scripture do we see the words “Don’t be afraid”? Fear is one of the enemy’s most used weapons. In the natural, the odds are almost always against us. If we walk by sight and not by faith, we will be crippled by fear. But if we allow the Lord to open our supernatural eyes, to see with the eyes of faith, we will always know, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
My son, Josh, loves the words of Chris Tomlin’s song, ‘Our God is greater, Our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other, Our God is healer awesome in power our God!’
We need to proclaim those words no matter what the odds are, and like Jehosophat know that “The battle is not yours, but God’s.” Praise and worship your way through any battle!
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
6 times in this chapter Matthew uses the ‘R’ word. He says to give, pray and fast. However, if they’re done with a prideful heart, you’ve already received your reward. He’s asking the question, are you doing these things as a show for others to see? Or are you doing them truly because you have your heart in the right place.
The promise is that you will receive a reward. Everyone wants a reward! There are rewards programs for everything today, but it doesn’t matter what your heart is like. You can have any bad attitude, and you’ll still be rewarded. However, God he looks to the heart. He is Spirit, and he looks at our spirit.
Our rewards can be either on earth, or in heaven. I love and welcome the rewards here; an abundant life on earth, but it’s a great revelation to know we’re storing up treasures in heaven. We’ll spend a lot more time there, than here! Christianity has a great life insurance plan, the benefits are eternal, and out of this world!
Father, I recommit myself to the basics, to prayer and ministry of the Word. I’m grateful for your reward program; it’s by far the best one I’ve joined. Forgive me for chasing after worldly things. I will seek first your kingdom today! For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Possible Song: The Servant King
We spend so much time improving our houses, and cars and material things that don’t last, but what investment are we making in eternity. If we all truly realised how short our time is here on earth compared to eternity, we might live our lives differently!
The way to build up treasures in heaven is to serve. Matthew 20: 27, 28 says:
Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
The more we put our hand to the plow, the more we humble ourselves and obey the call on our lives, the more treasures in heaven, the jewels in our crown we receive.
John Bevere explains in his book, “Honours Reward,” that you won’t just be judged on what you did, but you will be judged on what you did in response to the call of God on your life. We can do lots of good things, but have we done the God things, the things God has called us too.?
One of my favourite old worship songs by Graham Kendrick says, “This is our God, our Servant King, He calls us now to honour him, to give our lives as a daily offering, of worship to The Servant King”
Father, thank you for sending your Son as a ransom for my life. I will serve you, with all my heart, for all my days. Give me your heart Lord for those I’m serving. Give me the mind of Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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