What are your barns for?

I think that I would be pretty accurate in saying that part of the ‘American dream’ is to work, save, invest, and multiply all you can so that you have enough retirement to kick back, relax, eat, drink, and enjoy the good life. It sounds great, it sounds right, and it’s very easy to get wrapped up in. I know I have been wrapped up in it, and I’m not even close to retirement. However, Jesus called it foolish in Luke chapter 12. (read it here) I think we have to remember that the American dream, or whichever national dream is not the kingdom dream. I will add a disclaimer and say that I don’t think Jesus was calling the act of planning, being prudent, or being a good steward foolish as there are plenty of scriptures that instruct us to act in these ways. I think Jesus was teaching us about mindsets, heart conditions, and motives.

America is very consumeristic, but not everything God gives you is for your consumption. It’s not for your consumption now, or in the future. Not everything given to you is for you to obtain bigger, and better. Not everything given to you is for future retirement, or generational building. Some things are just put in your hands to give to someone else. The things of God are not just given to you, but are meant to move through you. Everything belongs to God, as in God is the owner. You don’t own anything including your own life. You are a steward, or one who looks after the owner’s stuff. There is nothing wrong with storing things up if that’s what the owner asks you to do. However, if the owner asks you to give it all away you have to be willing to do that as well. I love to talk about dreams, and vision for your life, but it is not something that is done through autonomy. You ask the owner what the vision is, and then you do your best to steward that vision.

In the parable, the rich fool says to himself you have plenty stored away to kick back, and take it easy. The problem is that he was talking to himself. He didn’t ask the owner what he should do with all of his extra. He laid up treasures for himself, but he was not rich toward God. The American christian mindset is much the same. We try to store up what we think is ours in order to make sure we can have the easy life we want in the future. Our minds are set on obtaining, and storing. Our hearts are set on ourselves because of greed. So then our motives are completely autonomous, or self driven. We want to make more so that we can get more rather than asking the owner what we should do, or considering that if we can make more we can give more. The only reason to have overflowing barns is so that you can give the overflow.

We have a tendency to want to build our own kingdoms. It goes all the way back to the tower of babel. Many try to disguise it as for the kingdom rather than for self, but disguises are not the true identity. It would probably be wise for us to insert some firewalls against ourselves when building, and filling barns. Here is a thought to consider….when Jesus was walking the earth one of the things that His followers got wrong was that they thought He came to establish His kingdom on the earth at that time. (His kingdom is established, and ever increasing it just didn’t look like they thought it would) It caused a scattering when it didn’t turn out the way they expected. Jesus said His kingdom is not of this earth. Are we making the same mistake? Are we trying to build earthly kingdoms more than we are trying to impart, and commission? Jesus spent His time building people. Disclaimer again, I’m not saying things should never be built, established, etc.

I have had a couple major fumbles in this area on my journey. The good thing about that is I am able to learn, and I have found that the fumbles cause me to pursue God’s desires for my life even more. It is a great self check when your realize you have forgotten that you don’t own your money, vision, or anything else. Furthermore, the great thing about fumbles and our loving Father is that he lets you carry the ball again. The great coaches in your life will do the same, and you should do the same for your players. A fumble doesn’t mean a person should be moved down on the depth chart, it just means they need another set of downs.

Back to the beginning. I don’t want to build overflowing barns to kick back, and disconnect. I don’t want to drift out of life, and be retired from serving in the kingdom. However, I do want to transition in what I am doing in the future. I want to transition from being the ball carrier to being on the offensive line blocking, and making a way for others. I believe the Lord will allow me to build and fill some barns, but I also believe it is for the purpose of making sure they are emptied out into others before I go. The sooner I can make a way for others to score the better.

Have you asked the owner if you should build some barns, and why?

 

Give yourself

When you talk about being a giver most people will probably immediately think money; however, being a giver goes way beyond that one expression. Do you give your time, love, energy, attention, thoughts, care, etc to others? I believe that kingdom people have to be givers, and everyone can give others their time, focus, and energy even if you don’t have the ability to give to others financially. God is a giver, and we should be as well. Not with selfish motives and ambitions, but simply as an expression of who we are.

The law of sowing and reaping will always be true; however, you can’t give just to receive, you give of yourself because it is who you are as a son in the kingdom, and it is fulfilling. When you do things that align with who you are it is energizing, and life-giving. Most of us don’t give of ourselves because we think we will be taken advantage of. I think many people come up with a view that the world is a place of competition, extreme limitations, and a place where everyone is against you (I did). But with a shift in mindset it could become a place of limitless opportunities and chances. Instead of withholding out of fear you will be done wrong, you go ahead and give knowing that God gave you that opportunity, and you will reap blessing. You have to make a deposit before you can earn interest.

Most things can be faked, but giving yourself can not. You feel it when people make a withdrawal from you, and you also feel it when people deposit into you. Most of the time connections with people are not gained because of the product, teaching, or gift but the experience you gave them. Money is temporary and emotionless, but great experiences are full of emotion, passion, and remain with you in your memory.

Most people will try to give just enough to get the most back. Good people will give the most they can for the return they get. Kingdom people should try to give in such a way that money could not buy the experience. Kingdom people should strive to give more in value than you could ever get back in payment. If you do it will equal influence for the Lord’s kingdom. If I was rich I could give my daughter a bunch of money and see what she does with it, or I could give her my experiences and allow her to bypass some of my struggles which has a value that money can not buy.

Most people go to work in order to survive, some go to work in order to save, and very few go to work in order to serve and give. The greatest title in the kingdom is ‘greatest servant’. Kingdom people should try to go about their work in a way that they give of themselves in order to see someone else succeed. If you are faithful in helping someone else succeed, you should expect to succeed yourself. In Luke 16:12 we read that if you are not faithful with another man’s why would you be trusted with your own. You can have a dream while helping someone else make their dream come true. I would venture to say that if you place other people’s interests first you will have greater influence with those people.

You can give people all kinds of things, and that is great but YOU are what’s really valuable. You are more valuable than any product, teaching, or money that you could offer. Give yourself.

We are not owners of anything, but stewards of what is the Lord’s. Be a giver, and also be open to receive as sowing and reaping go together.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

Find the opportunities!

Have you ever felt like the only breaks you were catching were bad breaks? I’ve been there, but we have to keep in mind that God turns bad breaks into big opportunities. The bad breaks, and past experiences are just a way for God to build our resumes and prepare us for future opportunities. Sometimes our greatest opportunities are at the end of the hardest, and scariest situations. Don’t quit prematurely, and miss your God opportunity.

Trust God no matter what the situation is, and look forward in order to locate the opportunities, and be a good steward. Being a good steward of these opportunities will bring success. God is always setting us up for success in accordance with His will for our lives. God wants you to arrive at His destination for you more than you want to get there.  If you are a parent you know how much more you want your kids to succeed than they do themselves especially at a young age.

Don’t let fear keep you from seeing the opportunities, and experiencing what God has for you. The way that you experience big breakthroughs is by continuing to push through your hardest moments, and facing your biggest fears. Something that we need to keep in mind through these things is that almost every fear is learned. A child is afraid of very little until you tell them to be afraid. Parents insert fear into their children without even realizing it. We need to unlearn these fears, and the farther you carry a fear the harder it is for you to unlearn. The way you unlearn these fears is to trust your limitless Father. Allow His word to carry a sound in your life that is louder than any fear. Believe scriptures such as if He is for you who can stand against you, or He will work everything out to my good as I am called according to His purpose. You can not reason with irrational fears, you will either allow experiences to produce confidence or doubt, fear or faith. We have to remember that His perfect love is in us, and perfect love drives out all fear-1 John 4:18.  Part of faith is the process of trusting God, and allowing His perfect love to drive the fear out of our lives.

I have a great example I can share with you about irrational fears concerning my daughter. Long story short, she saw something on t.v. that made her afraid of the bath tub. This 4-year-old little girl went from loving bath time, to being like trying to bathe a cat. THERE WAS NO REASONING WITH HER! Seriously, this was a tough situation. It was the scariest situation of her young life, and one of the hardest for her parents. We all had to figure out how to make it through this ordeal. But patiently enduring(for several weeks!), helping her face her fear, letting her see that her friends were not afraid of bath time, and allowing her trust and faith to build in her mom and dad brought her back to loving bath time. Believing your Father, and trusting in His word will give you the strength to make it through the scariest, hardest situations.

Back to the bath example, one thing that would have never allowed my daughter to get past this fear is letting her run from bath time. If you are afraid of failure, success will not fix it. You will wear yourself out trying to maintain success simply to keep running from failure. The fix for the fear of failure is experiencing failure. It’s like a peanut allergy. I know a young man who was allergic to peanuts, and the way he overcame this allergy was to make trips to a specialist and get exposed to differing amounts of peanuts. That’s how you build immunity to your fears, you face the thing you are afraid of and you find that with God all things are possible. We take fears, and we create huge things out of them in our minds which allows the fear to become way worse the thing you are actually afraid of. Each one of your fears is an opportunity for you to be an overcomer. My daughter is an overcomer. Don’t miss your chance!

Don’t be afraid to take some risks, it could turn into a really cool story you can tell your grandchildren. To go along with this, one of the great things about your experienced pain is that it can be another person’s gain. The more things you have overcome, the more capacity you have to help other people. A person once told me that no one cares about you telling them what not to do in a situation, they only want to hear what they should do. For a time, I believed that person, but I have changed my mind. I know how much value there is not trying to do it the way I tried because I felt all the pain, and struggle to overcome it. So that pain and struggle is now an opportunity for me to help others avoid the same troubles.

Our relationship with God is not formed to make our lives easier. It complicates our lives in all the right ways to transform us into the perfect work He envisioned for us from the start. A marriage complicates your life, but it allows you to see things that are wrong with you that you didn’t even know were wrong which allows you to become more complete. You may think you have life figured out, but having kids will prove you wrong. They will complicate things, but they will cause you to grow. Wealth will complicate your taxes, and success will complicate your schedule. All great things come with complications. In the parable of the talents the reward for good stewardship was not early retirement, it was more responsibility.

God has great things in store for all of you. Find the opportunities!

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

As a man thinks!

Proverbs 23:7-As a man thinks within himself, so he is.

That’s a very loaded statement, and one that we should take seriously. We should also recognize the level of personal responsibility within it. Before I get into this I would first like to mention a few scriptures that tell us what God thinks of us.

In Jesus we are his masterpiece created for good works-Ephesians 2:10. We can do what He says we can do, which are even greater things-John 14:12. We can have what He says we can have, which is a more abundant life-John 10:10.

Our spirit has no issue with these three things, but many times our minds do. There are some things that happen immediately upon salvation; however, there are some things we have to work out along our journey. Paul says be transformed by the renewing of your mind daily. Transformed means to become something different, and so we can see that if we are able to change our mindsets we can become something completely different.I am something different today than I was ten years ago, and I plan to be even better in ten more years.

Instead of focusing on scriptures like the three I referenced above, many times we focus on perceived limitations. For example, we may think things like I am who my family is, I really am what my negatives thoughts tell me I am, I am who the people around me say I am, and so on. I can only do what my education level says I can do, I can only be what my boss says I can be, and I can only do what the area I live in offers. I can only have small, insignificant amounts of success, and I can only have what my earthly resources allow me to have. None of these things line up with God’s best for you.

So we have seen a few of God’s thoughts for us, and a few negative thoughts that we may have for ourselves. So back to Proverbs 23:7. A man’s thoughts are who he is, or becomes. You are what you think. Through our thoughts we can be limited, or we can be liberated. We can create a prison for ourselves, or we can create freedom for opportunities. Most people let their circumstances in life control them. (I know because I’ve been there plenty of times, and have had to overcome those things) However, in living the kingdom first life you have been empowered to control your circumstances. It’s a small shift in words, but a huge shift in thoughts. Instead of our circumstances controlling us, we control how we see the circumstances. A shift in thoughts, and attitudes will lead to a shift in your life. If you take control of your mind, and radically improve your thoughts you will be astonished at the changes in the material conditions of your life.

I would like to take us to a principle in Genesis. Everything that was created produced fruit, and seed after its own kind. This is a powerful principle, and one that is very important to this topic. See every thought seed sown in the soil of the mind takes root, and reproduces it’s own kind. These thoughts will eventually blossom, and show themselves in our actions as well as have external effects on our lives. Good/Godly thoughts will bear good fruit in our lives. Bad thoughts will bear bad fruit in our lives. The circumstances are not the problem, our thoughts and attitudes toward them are the problem.

Thoughts are so powerful that if you are simply around someone who is consistently negative, you begin to take up negative thoughts which start to have a negative impact on your life. I think most people could think about their work culture, and find this principle to be true. There is a law of attraction at work here, and keep in mind you don’t attract what you want to be, you attract the state of your current thoughts.

Any train of thought that you persist in good, or bad will not fail to reproduce its own kind based on the principles of creation. These persistent thoughts will affect your character, which will affect your circumstances based on the law of attraction.

Your thoughts are the guards of your destiny. Persisting in bad thoughts will imprison you, but persisting in Godly thoughts will liberate you. People always want their circumstances in life to change, but they are unwilling to change themselves. They are unwilling to change and improve their own thoughts, and so they remain in their own prison. (think of the story of the man at the pool of Bethesda, and if you don’t know it ask me about it in the comments sections, or email) We have to stop blaming other people, places, and things for the circumstances in our lives. I have lived long enough to know that I can not control all of the circumstances that happen to me in this life; however, I do believe in spiritual principles, I do believe the Lord has given me power over my own mind, and I do believe that with a healthy mind you can find opportunities in everything. Just reading apostle Paul’s life story can show you that you can be happy and content in any scenario.

Good thoughts showing themselves in good actions will not reproduce bad results. Happiness reproduces happiness. Courage reproduces courage. Peace reproduces peace, love reproduces love, and so on. Bad thoughts work the exact same way.

I will Illustrate further the physical manifestation of our hidden thoughts. The body is a slave to the mind. The body can only do what the mind tells it to, and so it always and only does so both in the deliberate and the subconscious. continuously thinking bad thoughts will cause the body to sink into disease and decay. Good thoughts will cause the body to become vibrant, and more beautiful even healing diseases. Your thoughts will express themselves through, and on your body. For example, anxiety produces external results such as sweating, shaking, tension, and temperature changes. If you remain tense long enough your body will fatigue even becoming chronically fatigued. This is just one of an endless number of examples. On the other hand, if you take a walk and focus on how great God is, and how He has delivered you from every challenge in your life you can have peace in Him, and not have fear of future challenges. I’ll take peace over fear.

So how do we change our mind in order to create and reproduce good thoughts, in order to change our attitudes, and produce good opportunities in our lives? Just like exercising to make our bodies healthier, we must exercise to make our minds healthier.

To make a quick and simple summary, this is what the bible tells us to do. We have to continuously rejoice in Him, renew our thoughts daily (don’t get stuck when you struggle, move on), speak truth, control negative emotions, pray and talk to God, speak encouragement, give generously, be kind and forgiving, be wise, and think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. I will also add one that I think is huge, and that is to know what protects our minds which is the peace of God-Philippians 4:7.

So exercise your mind in right thinking.  At the end of every day, week, month, and year you either grow, regress, or stay the same. You are the culmination of your thoughts for that day, week, month, year, decade, and so on. A person that persists in good thoughts gains access through Jesus to the more abundant life.

Here are some additional scriptures to help you in this topic-Ephesians 4:17-24, and 5:15-20. Philippians 4:4-9, 2 Timothy 1:5-7, James 1:14-15, and 4:1-3. Of course there are so many more, but these are a good start.

I know the Lord has great things in store for you all, think on all those great promises.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

How much time are you spending in the word of God?

When was the last time you opened your bible outside of church? When was the last time you got in the word just because you wanted to pursue, and know your Father? If you want to live your life kingdom first it will require you to seek Him, and His kingdom everyday simply because you want to know Him more, and understand His will for your life.

I think it is important to recognize, and understand that we are taking something in everyday even if it is subconsciously. For example, the culture around us is marketing to the level that the average person sees about 5,000 ads per day which adds up to about 2 million per year. This staggering number does not include watching, or scrolling through the news online. So we are clearly taking things in everyday whether we realize it or not. These marketing campaigns are meant to steer your thoughts, choices, decisions, goals, plans, vision, and ultimately your life. In understanding that I would say it is that much more important that we choose to spend time with God, and spend time in His word.

If we are taking in that much influence, and propaganda everyday, how much more do we need to be taking in God’s influence through His word. It is God’s word, and will that should be steering our thoughts, choices, decisions, goals, plans, vision, and our lives. What the Father delights in giving us is far more precious, and valuable than what these ads are offering.

I will take this just a little bit further. Through Jesus we as sons of the kingdom have been sown into this world(Matthew 13:38), and we have the message of the kingdom to share with those around us. I think that we should be diligent in the pursuit of our Father, and understanding His word so that we can be good carriers of the message of the kingdom, and His new covenant. What I mean is that as good stewards we can offer up 5,000 of our own ads for people to take in. I don’t mean everyone has to go hit the street corner, and start preaching. Simply by letting the Lord direct your course, and your life you will be like a flashing neon sign that sticks out among all of the other ads out there. Be living epistles.

If you are trying to live in a such a way that you align your life with the word of God you are going to stand out. Your family relationships, and structure will look different. How you handle your money will be different. How you view, and treat others will be different. How you operate at your place of employment, or in your business will be different. Furthermore, if you continue in His word you will continue to become different as you renew your mind daily. He will transform you into something greater than you ever thought you could be.

Here is my challenge to you all in your pursuit to living a kingdom first life…fill your hearts, and minds with His word everyday.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

What cycle are you in?

From my experience there are three primary seasons that we can be in as people, and we walk in these three seasons in cycles. This means that we are always either coming out of one season, standing in one season, or going into another season. These three seasons are the season of climbing the mountain, the season of walking the ridge, and the season of coming down the mountain.

Genesis 8:22-“While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Mountain climbing is hard. A big enough mountain will make you feel like you will never get to the top. It will make you feel like you are always planting and never harvesting. It seems like it will always be the dark, cold, grey skies of winter, and you will never see the warm days of summer. However, if you will just continue to climb when you reach the summit you will find that the cycle of mountain climbing has made you a stronger person. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Walking the mountain ridge is beautiful. You get to harvest the awesome view that only the mountain top can produce. You come out of the shadow, and step into the warm beams of the sun. It feels so easy, and natural to praise God while you are walking the mountain ridge. However, if you stay on the ridge the view becomes boring, and you find that it is impossible to grow any further.

So you have to come down. You have to have the courage to climb down the jagged edge of the mountain, leave the beautiful ridge behind, and walk towards the next higher, more glorious ridge even though you know from experience that the climb is going to be hard.

You can’t climb forever with no rest, the ridge produces no growth, and you have to come down before you can get the to the top of the next mountain.

So what do you do in each one of these seasons? How do you overcome the challenges of life? I think it is safe to say that in detail there can be a lot of answers to these questions, but I will also say that I believe there is one answer to both questions. I have found in my life that the answer is to praise, pursue, and trust God.

It’s easy to praise God when you are on the ridge, but it takes true love for your Father to praise Him and not beg Him during your climb. It’s easy to pursue God when you are climbing, but it takes true love for your Father to pursue Him while you are going down. It’s easy to trust God on the ridge, but you have to know HE TRULY LOVES YOU to trust Him during the hard times when you are fighting the climb, and when you are going down.

This is another way to live the kingdom first life. You praise, pursue, and trust God regardless of how comfortable the season is that you are in.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

 

 

What is your agenda?

There is something that I have come to know, and that is when you step into your purpose and calling you wake up everyday with an agenda. You start to live your life in a way that you no longer just exist, or do the same things day in and day out for no reason other than that’s what you have to do to get by. Instead of no reason, you find THE reason that you are here. You find that there is something burning inside of you, and you have to find a way to give it expression, or it will consume you. You realize that you may not have it all figured out, but you are more willing to jump blindfolded than to sit and let the fire consume you. You go about your life with an agenda.

Jesus knew He had purpose, and He let people know He had an agenda. Look at these following statements.

I came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). And let me just say He wasn’t just talking about people. I came to serve (Mark 10:45). I came that you may have the more abundant life (John 10:10). I came to reveal the Father, if you have seen Me you have seen Him (John 14:9). I have come to preach the Kingdom of God that is my purpose (Luke 4:43).

I could continue on, and fill pages with these statements of purpose. Jesus didn’t come to just exist, and float along until it was time for the cross. The cross was the culmination of His purpose on this earth, it was not the only purpose. He preached, healed, taught, mentored, fathered, loved, saved, empowered, revealed, etc. Might I say it in this way, He had an agenda given by His Father. I would also say that He has an agenda for you. I can picture Jesus speaking with passion saying HEY! you weren’t created to just float along, and do your own thing. I didn’t just rise again to save you from something, I rose again to save you for something.

God has great purpose for you!

Here is part of the reason I think people avoid coming to their calling and purpose, and waking up with an agenda. It makes it harder. It gives me something that I am accountable to. If I am given much, much will be required. If Jesus was persecuted, I will be persecuted. I don’t want to go through the process of being humbled. I don’t want to bring my life into alignment with the call of God on my life. We don’t want to be courageous, we don’t won’t to endure, we like the ease, and comfort of autopilot.

The best way I know how to articulate my personal example of this is that with no purpose, or agenda I could make choices that were inconsistent. I didn’t have to schedule my days, I could just go to work and come home. Sometimes I could buy things with cash while other times I could just take out a loan. Some days I could choose to empower other people while other days I could just worry about myself. Without an agenda I wouldn’t have to worry about my family structure. I wouldn’t have to make sure my wife and I were on the same page because if you don’t have a purpose, and an agenda you aren’t worried about being accountable to it. You can just avoid the hard things.

When you decide to step up, and swing the door wide open to God’s purpose for your life, you find out that your agenda needs to be consistent with His purpose for you because your agenda is accountable to that purpose. Furthermore, your spouse and anyone else with you needs to align their agenda with the purpose God has placed on you all. You may say to yourself I don’t want to go around, and around with my spouse or my business partner about this (whatever it is), but let me just say this…It is so worth it.

Again, God has great purpose for you! Be courageous enough to make yourself accountable to it, and compromise less!

Live your life Kingdom First!

Levi

Where do I start?

This post is in response to several readers asking the question where do I start. Specifically they are born again believers that don’t know where to start in reading their bible, and they asked me where they should begin, and what they can do to better understand their bible. I suppose there could be endless responses to this question, but I am going to share with you my response and why. However, before I do that I just want to say that my brief summaries are in no way meant to be commentaries, or anything of that nature. They are just meant to be a simple, and quick view of the content.

My advice was to first read, reread, and study 8 chapters in their bibles with those chapters being Romans chapters 7 and 8, and the book of Galatians. This was my response because these 8 chapters are not overwhelming in content or length, and they will help you understand who God is, who you are, and what covenant you are in. Being confident in these three things will give you the lens that you need to look through when you are in other parts of the bible. It also paves the way for the kingdom first life. If you know who God is, who you are, and what covenant you are in, you can then begin to understand why you are here, what you are supposed to do, how you are supposed to do it, when you are supposed to do it, and where you are supposed to do it in order to advance His Kingdom on this earth.

Let’s take a quick look at the content in these chapters to see where I got my statements of knowing who God is, who you are, and what covenant you are in.

Romans 7

Sin makes you a slave, but in Christ you died to sin. The law makes you a slave, but when you are bound to Christ you are released from the law (old covenant/mosaic covenant). Who are you? You are not a slave, and you are no longer under the old covenant.

Romans 8 (maybe my favorite chapter in the bible, but I don’t know if I can pick just one)

There’s no condemnation in Christ as His spirit has set you free from the law and sin. All of the righteous requirements of the law have been met in you through Christ. Those that are led by His spirit are the CHILDREN of God, no longer slaves, but through adoption are now the CHILDREN of God who call on their FATHER. You are now entitled to the inheritance of your FATHER. As a child of God you have purpose, and your Father works everything in your favor, and He is for you all the time. God is the one who justified you; therefore, nothing can condemn you. You are now a conqueror, and nothing in all of creation can separate you from the love of your Father. Who is God? He is your Father who loves you so much words can not describe it. Who are you? A child of God.

Galatians

There is no other gospel except for Christ, and all He has done. You are justified by faith, and you must not fall back under the old covenant, or place others under the old covenant. You are dead to the law, and the life you live is by faith in the Son of God. Those that place themselves under the old covenant place themselves under a curse. Those that live by faith in Christ place themselves in grace and blessing. It is reiterated that you are no longer a slave, but a child who calls on their Father. In an analogy using the sons of Abraham Paul tells us to throw out the old covenant, and take our place as children in the new covenant. You are free in Christ, do not use your freedom to walk in the flesh as you will reap destruction. Walk in the spirit so that the fruit of the spirit is produced in your life, and you will reap life eternal.

God is your loving Father, you are his beloved child, and you are under the new (best) covenant. It is in my opinion so important to have this perspective as you go about studying the whole bible. If this were the couch to 5k program I would also say that being confident in these things will get you to the 5k much quicker.

Have questions? Feel free to ask, and your questions will never become posts if you want them to be kept private.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

Have you ever been told you couldn’t do something?

There have been a lot of things in my life that I have done that someone told me before hand I could not do. With that being said there are still times in my life that I am not confident that I can really succeed in the things that God has told me I will do in His Kingdom. Sometimes I am discouraged by what others say, and sometimes I have an inner struggle about what I can do. I build my confidence in these areas by telling myself that I can do whatever God has called me to do because He is leading me, and empowering me. I remind myself of the things He has already done. Sometimes we get so focused on the gap before us that we forget about the gaps He has already helped us through that are behind us. The road behind us was once full of gulfs that seemed impassable, but now that we are on the other side we forget part of the lesson we learned by making it through. God is always faithful. He was faithful in your past, He is faithful in your present, and He will be faithful in your future.

A simple personal story:

When I was called to help start a new church, I was excited, and ready to see God work through this new church. I was ready to see the Lord build His church, and build a family of believers in this new area. I was ready to take my place in His plan, and do all that He called me to do while I was there. As the church grew, and we implemented structure and culture it was time to do our first set of ministry interviews for our first true church members, and see how we could connect them to what God was doing. One of the first interviews I read (I didn’t personally sit with this particular person) could have been very destructive. To say it simply, this person said that I should be replaced. I would be lying if I said that didn’t sting a little bit, and make me think. However, I didn’t think about it for very long, just a few minutes. It was God that called me there, and His word carries veto power. People can have discouraging words, opinions, and tell you that you can’t do something, or that you should be replaced because they don’t like your style, but none of those things can over rule what God says. God closed that gap, and several years later I am not being replaced, instead I will soon be proud to see a man step up further into the plans the Lord has for him, and I will continue on in the plans He has for me. Seek first His Kingdom, and don’t worry about the naysayers.

My life story is full of this stuff. I grew up on the poor side of town, on the wrong side of the tracks, with the bad family reputation, etc. I have always been told about the things I couldn’t do, but with God all things are possible, and my Father God always tells me about what I CAN do!

Lets look at a little bit different example from 1 Samuel 17. David and Goliath.

Long story short David ends up hearing from the naysayers before he stepped onto the battlefield with Goliath. His brothers, and Saul discouraged him. He was told he couldn’t do it. He was told the gap, or in this case the giant in front of him was too big. David’s response is important. He says I had giants in my past, and the Lord delivered me in my past. I have killed bears, I have killed lions, and with the Lord I will kill this giant too. It is also important to note that David did it from who he was as a person. He didn’t try to be something he wasn’t. He removed the armor that Saul placed on him, and he took the tools of a shepherd on to the battlefield.

The gaps you have crossed, and the giants you have killed in your past are preparation for the ones that are to come. They are reminders that God has delivered you before, He is delivering you now, and He will deliver you in the future. You can do everything He has called you to do because He is limitless, and He never fails you!

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

 

Position, Title, Status, Authority.

What position are you seeking in the Kingdom? What title are you after? What kind of status symbol do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered? Are you a leader now? Important questions for those of us that want to live Kingdom first.

As people we have a desire to create structure, rank, and authority. We then want to climb to the top of the structure, have the highest rank, and carry the most authority. Sometimes we put ourselves on the bottom of the structure just to hold onto the highest rank so we can have the most authority. Meaning sometimes we try to mix the culture of the Kingdom with the culture of the world.

Authority should not be what we are chasing as we walk a Kingdom first life. We should be trying to influence. Let’s define the words. Authority-the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. The place that I want to exercise my authority is over the enemy. I do not want people to look at me as the one that forces their obedience, and orders their life. That is counter Kingdom. Influence-the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone. I do want to walk in this capacity. I want to influence people for Jesus, I want to influence in ways to connect them to their purpose as wells as help them as they walk out their purpose, and advance the Kingdom.

Let’s look at what Jesus said about it.

Luke 14:10-11

10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

It’s not the position at the top, or head that brings you honor in the kingdom, it is your humility in choosing the lowest position.

Luke 20:45-46

46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

They had position, title, status and authority, but look at what they did with it. Instead of influencing people for the Kingdom, they used position, title, status, and authority to devour, and tear down.

Luke 22:24-30

24 Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25 Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.28 “You have stayed with me in my time of trial. 29 And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right 30 to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Who is the greatest? the one who takes the lowest rank. Who is the greatest? The one who becomes like a servant. Jesus is the greatest of all, and He was among us as the one who serves.

Your title, position, or rank may give you authority, but it will not give you influence (forcing compliance is not influence), and as a side note it is simply your identity in Christ that gives you authority over the enemy. Your title, position, rank, or authority does not make you great in the Kingdom. Who is the greatest in the kingdom? The one who becomes the greatest servant.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi