What made the good Samaritan good?

Parable of the Good Samaritan

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant[b] walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,[c] telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

The first answer I give is that it was not his money. American nationalism and the worship of wealth has ingrained itself into our teaching so much that we sometimes say that the good Samaritan was no good without his money. We have highlighted a piece of this scripture that bears very little importance. We also run the risk of implying that you are not good, can’t help, can’t impact, can’t give, etc if you don’t have a lot of money, which is of course not true.

There is a very good chance that both the priest and the Levite were well off in terms of money. Neither one of them was called the good neighbor.

The good Samaritan was good because when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. He went to him, helped him, and showed the man mercy. The two denarii could have been very little to him, or it could have meant everything to him. He could have taken the man to his own home and been called good. He could have taken the man to a friend’s house with an extra room and still been called good. He could have stayed on the side of the road with him and been called good. His mercy, compassion, and kindness is what made him good.

Matthew 9: 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’

Matthew 12:7 ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.

When the five thousand needed fed Jesus said you feed them. The disciples said they didn’t have enough money. Jesus said give me what you do have. He then blessed it and fed the people. You can read it here.

Do what you can with what you have in your compassion for people, and Jesus will bless it.

You are enough. Just you kneeling down and having compassion is enough.

God is for you, and I am for you!

Matthew 13:1-43….A teaching for you

13:1-3

13 That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And [a]large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He spoke many things to them in parables,

Lets define parable:

Parable/parabolay (3850 in the concordance)   A teaching aid cast alongside the truth being taught. This gives greater understanding by using a striking and or familiar analogy. So a parable is an analogy that is used to reveal the truth being taught.  Jesus used parables to illustrate the kingdom.

3-17

3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell [b]among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, [c]let him hear.”10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 [d]Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 [e]In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

[f]You will keep on hearing, [g]but will not understand;
[h]You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’

 

16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

So let me make an important note:

It’s very beneficial if we remember that Jesus was speaking to a multitude of Jews. They were seeing and hearing the person they had been waiting on with great expectation, but they didn’t perceive it or understand. The Jews were expecting the Messiah to break into the world, defeat all of Israel’s enemies, and set them up to rule. The king and the kingdom broke in, but it wasn’t how they expected. This is a central truth that runs through these parables in Matt. 13.

18-23

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the [i]word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. 20 The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the [j]word, immediately he [k]falls away. 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the [l]world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23 And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

So Jesus gives us an explanation of His parable. This is important because we can see that it really is an analogy used to reveal the truth being taught. He lets us know that the parable isn’t about birds and vegetable seeds. This is important to understand because we have to apply it to all of the parables. For example we can’t say that the parable of the minas/talents/silver are about money. The money was the familiar concept used to reveal the truth being taught. (what I believe He was teaching will be another post for another time) It’s the same here, there is a truth being revealed that has nothing to do with birds, and veg seeds. The word of the kingdom is being sown into the earth; however, at the same time there is an enemy who steals it. Now remember the Jews were expecting the kingdom in power and domination. But the kingdom and in this passage specifically it’s word came in a way that it could be received by people, rejected by people, or stolen by the enemy, and where it was received it would bear much fruit. They were seeing and hearing but not perceiving and understanding. They weren’t watching for the king and the kingdom to arrive in this manner.

14-30 and 36-43

24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven [m]may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed [n]tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the [o]wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27 The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? [p]How then does it have tares?’ 28 And he said to them, ‘An [q]enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”

36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the [t]tares of the field.” 37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the [u]end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the [v]end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom [w]all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, [x]let him hear. (this would normally present a break in the chapter because the multitudes were gone; however, I included it here because it is the explanation of the parable)

So again the Jews were expecting the kingdom to come in power and bring about separation of good and evil, and the destruction of the unrighteous. But Jesus is saying that the kingdom is now in the world; however, it is alongside the enemy and his unrighteous. So even though the sons of the kingdom have received it’s reign and blessing they are still in a wicked world where there is a present enemy. This does not mean that the enemy is not defeated. D-day is not the same thing as V-day. D-day ensured victory for the allies in June of 1944; however, the war was not over in its finality until Sept. of 1945. So Jesus has secured the victory, and the kingdom is here; however, there is still coming the consummation of the kingdom and the separation of the wheat and tares. This is not what the Jews were expecting.

31-33

31 He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the [r]air come and nest in its branches.”33 He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three [s]pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

Most kingdom cultures teach this in a familiar way, that the kingdom is progressively growing and covering the earth. (I’m not saying the kingdom is not increasing by the way) The problem with this common teaching is that it says we progressively get better as people, and gradually build the kingdom. If that was all the truth there was then it says that our faith has to be in people. People cannot build THE kingdom of God. We build FOR the kingdom of God. There is only one king who builds his kingdom, and our faith is to be in Him. (This does not change our actions, we are still partners with Christ, and so on. This just eliminates our ego, arrogance and pride. This also addresses those who are building their own empire while saying it is the kingdom.) Now remember this is a parable. It is not about a growing tree, or penetrating yeast, they are used to reveal a truth. Also remember Jesus has been addressing Jews who were expecting one thing and not seeing what was in front of them.So if we draw on the context that we have formed in the contrast Jesus has been making between the Jews expectation and the reality of what was happening then we see the truth that is being revealed. The breaking in of the kingdom of God was small, insignificant and even hidden in comparison to what the Jews were expecting. However, I want to say again that there is a final consummation where the kingdom will stand in power and glory with no rival. We have great hope and Joy in this fact!

Jesus was giving the multitude of Jews every chance to perceive and understand, but they weren’t.

This also highlights the importance for us to understand the old testament in order to gain understanding of the new testament.

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

According to the needs of the people….a lot of church leaders have abandoned this concept…..

One of the unfortunate things that happen in the American church culture is to abandon the needs of the people. A lot of churches are trying to function in such a way as to be on a continuous growth curve, but unfortunately a lot of times it is just for the sake of becoming a bigger church with a bigger name. They want to have internal growth, bigger checking accounts, and the looks of success. The problem with all of this is that a lot of these same churches have had zero growth in their community impact, and reaching the needs of the people. A lot these same churches do not even have true internal growth as the benefits only go to a small percentage of the people.

This is not what we see in the bible. I would venture to say that Jesus did not want big churches that looked like big businesses. The business world revolves around trying to increase personal profit. I think the church world should revolve around profiting others.

The two chapters that I am using today both speak of the group of people, the early church, selling their own belongings in order to distribute the money according to the needs of the people.

How much of this have you seen going on recently? How many of you would sell your own stuff in order to give the money to the church leaders in order for them to distribute it according to the needs of the people? How many of us would have trouble trusting the church leaders to do the right thing? How many of us are selling our stuff so that we ourselves can give the money to people in need? How many of us are selling stuff we value to other people who need it more than we do?

How many leaders, and people are you watching sell their own property to help others? How many leaders, and people are you watching downsize their house to help others? How many are you watching drive older vehicles? How many are you watching share everything they have?

Instead of teaching things like christians should have the biggest, and nicest house to sleep in because of blessings and favor, we taught things like christians should try to make sure everyone has a house to sleep in. Instead of teaching things like the poor you will have with you always means you can’t make everybody “get it”, we taught that there will always be people in need and therefore ministry opportunity.

The final questions: How can we change? Where can we improve? What opportunities do we have to serve the needs of the people?

God is for you, and I am for you!

Scriptures: Acts 2, and Acts 4

 

 

 

Calling and purpose simplified

Everyone wonders about their calling and purpose. I would also say that most people over analyze, and over complicate their calling and purpose. I know I always have; however, things have become much more clear and simplified for me this year. With that being said I would like to share with you what the Lord has shown me in these things.

Remember this is simplified, not exhaustive.

Romans 8:28-28 And we know that [a]God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (emphasis mine)

We ARE called, and we are called according to HIS purpose. Your calling does not come out of your own great idea, It comes from a God idea. His purpose for you is your calling. How does that help? I am glad you asked.

I will share a scripture that sums up purpose and calling.

Matthew 28:19-19 [a]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

So we all have a purpose and calling to disciple nations (a plurality of people). How does that clarify what you are to do personally? This is what the Lord revealed to me.

God places a desire or you could even call it a burden in us for a place, He places in us things that we are naturally good at because of giftings and abilities, as well as desires to do certain things, and He places in us a connection to certain people that we can’t always explain as well as a desire to help certain groups of people. You could possibly say that we all have the same purpose to disciple groups of people; however, the way we are called to do it, where we are called to do it, and with whom we are called to do it is all personalized by God.

So calling and purpose simplified is to go where He has put in your heart to go, do what He has put in your heart to do, and do it with the People He has put in your heart to do it with.

Now this is where faith comes in, faith is actually doing it. Faith is getting rid of all of the excuses as to why you can’t go, and can’t do.

I’m going to leave it at that. Be encouraged, let your faith rise up, and go do it.

God is for you, and I am for you!

How to live your life kingdom first part 4

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 3 you can read it here.

The fifth practical thing we can do to live our lives kingdom first is to encourage one another.

I think one scripture really sums this up well, and that is Ephesians 4 verse 29. It says 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I will probably come back to Ephesians chapter 4 later in this series; however, for now I will just work with this one verse.

So when we look at this verse we can see that the only thing that should be coming out of our mouths towards, or about others is what will build them up/encourage them. We can also then define what unwholesome talk is, and that is anything that does not build up and encourage. If it tears people down, discourages, judges, ridicules, lies about, gossips about, curses, or anything along these lines then it is unwholesome. This does not mean that you never say anything that challenges someone, or holds them accountable as this will benefit them; however, I will say that for these types of things you should have a solid relationship with someone before you speak to them in such a way. In my opinion, if you do not have a solid established relationship with someone you will have a hard time bringing accountability.

If we are honest with ourselves about these things I would venture to say we all do roughly the same thing when we are on the receiving end of unwholesome talk, we turn those people off, we disregard what they say, or we let their words bring us down. With that we can say that a sure-fire way to NOT reach and connect with people is to speak in ways that discourage, judge, ridicule, etc. This is why preaching anger, fire, and brimstone doesn’t work. It may produce fearful, discouraged, never good enough people, but it will never produce relational, and healthy people.

How we talk to people has a huge impact on how they see us, and how they see God. It could be the difference in a person deciding to always run away, or always run to when they mess up. If they know you will judge them, they will always run away and be discouraged. If they know they can come to you and be encouraged, they will always run to you. It is the same in how they view God, if He is angry judge they will run away, if He is encouraging father they will run to.

It doesn’t matter what the life scenario is you can always encourage someone. You can always encourage someone in the hope that we have in Christ.

Every single one of us talk to people every single day; therefore, we can have an impact on people everyday. Let us do our best to keep unwholesome talk out of our mouths. Let us try to build up and encourage people every chance we get. This series is about living a kingdom first life. This is everyday life stuff, it really isn’t over complicated, you really can live your life kingdom first, and you really can make a kingdom impact everyday.

God is for you, and I am for you!

Vacation is officially over…..so it’s time for How to live your life kingdom first part 3.

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 2 you can read it here.

The fourth practical thing we can do to live our lives kingdom first is to humbly serve one another. This may be the thing that will stand out the most as counter to American culture. American culture is driven by chasing the dream, climbing the ladder, becoming the boss or the buck stops with me person, building bigger houses, creating personal empires, and achieving culture defined success. Furthermore, it’s done at the expense of other people, and getting creative on how you justify it. Humbly serving others goes in the opposite direction, you set aside becoming the ‘man’. Achieving the ‘highest’ rank in the kingdom if you will is to become the greatest servant. It’s not about how high you can climb the ladder or what kind of title you can get people to call you, it’s about how low you can go in order to serve others, and lift them higher. In addition to that, this is not sitting on your perch calling people higher, this is you getting down in the mud with them, and helping them out of the pit without ever asking them how they got their because the truth is it doesn’t matter. You are not their judge, you should be a servant with a heart for people. When you see those people who are struggling, and we all struggle from time to time, your heart shouldn’t be looking at how they got there, but how you can help them get out. This ties in with loving others, and accepting others. I should look at others with the love of Christ, accept them wherever they are at, and serve them wherever they are at.

Christ gives us the ultimate example in John 13:1-17. Furthermore, He commands us to do the same. Here we see the creator of all things, the king of kings, and the lord of lords come down from His position as the most high and wash some dirty stinky feet, and ultimately die for us. He said that if He washed their feet then they should wash each others feet, and He said I gave you this example and you should do as I have done to you. The truth is that you could never be higher than the one who sent you, and we are all sent by Him. To act like you are better than anyone else, or to even think it is a huge statement of pride. Furthermore, you will never be any higher than the one whose feet you are washing, we are a flawed, we are just flawed in different ways.

The word tells us in Galatians 5 to use our new covenant freedom to serve one another, not ourselves. I think Galatians 6 gives us a good picture of how we can do that, here is an excerpt: 6 “Brethren, even if [a]anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” This is a picture of humbly and gently helping someone who has fallen all the while recognizing that you too are flawed and could be tempted yourself. This is recognizing that sometimes things happen to people who cause them to have more of a load than they can carry on their own. This isn’t ‘calling’ people higher in order to sound spiritual when you really just don’t want to get dirty. This is jumping in and helping because you know that you are no better, and you may need help with your own burdens someday. We often carry way more than we could ever make it to the end of the race with, more than we could ever handle. Why do we do that? I would venture to say it is because we have been judged before, we’ve been told we won’t be blessed until we get it right, that we no longer have God’s favor simply because life happened to us.  I would venture to say we don’t want that kind of help. If He was willing to die for me when I was completely lost, then I would think He is willing to continue blessing me while I’m doing my best to live my life for Him. Human faults and stumbles don’t break eternal God promises. We should humbly submit to one another, and serve one another out of deep respect for Christ, not out of what a person has or has not done.

We should use our gifts to serve others. It is through doing this that we show ourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace. We should remain humble, and always carry a servants heart toward others.

I think Philippians 2 sums this up pretty well. Here is an excerpt: 2 “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any [a]affection and compassion, make my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing [c]from [d]selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Look at others as better than you, look out for their interests first, and don’t do things out of selfish ambition. Sounds like the opposite of what we experience everyday. We’ve been conditioned to think it is ok to use others for our own gain, and profit. However, that is not who we are supposed to be. We should serve others in a way that we make sure they get a higher value from us than what we get from them.

For me, I know that I will always be able to improve in this area. With marriage, fatherhood, family, friends, ministry, strangers, and so on it is hard to always keep the right attitude and be the servant of all. However, I know that this is who I, and who we are supposed to be.

Make it a point to humbly serve others today, and everyday.

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

 

 

How to live your life kingdom first part 2.

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 1 you can read it here.

The third practical thing we can do to live our lives kingdom first is to accept one another. This is not the same thing as the current move we see in the world right now where hateful people are demanding others to accept them. This is us deciding that we know other people are flawed just like we are, and we are going to be patient with them.

We should be willing to associate with the “lowly”, and care for those that receive less honor in the body of Christ.

The word of God says that we should be at peace with one another, that we should live in harmony, and accept one another. It says that we should bear with one another being kind, compassionate, sympathetic, and forgiving. It also says that we should be hospitable without grumbling, but with joy.

God even tells us in His word to confess our sins to one another so that we can pray for each other. There is a really good reason why nobody does this, and it’s because we don’t accept each other. For too long we have been doing things the opposite way. Instead of patience, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, we have jumped to conclusions, been hateful, condemned people, and judged people. Furthermore, we have been this way to people based on things as simple as how they look, or dress. So we now have a built-in fear about sharing our struggles with others. We may even want to share our struggle to ease our burden, but we won’t risk the response we might get.

We have to shift in this area not only as the body of Christ, but individually in our own minds. We need to accept others, but we also need to be willing to share our struggles with others. I myself, I struggle with sharing my burdens with others, but I’m getting better about it.

This isn’t a hard thing, it should not be hard for us to be patient, kind, compassionate, and forgiving toward others in their struggles if we are honest with ourselves about our own. When you know you have a log in your own eye, it’s easy to look past the toothpick in someone else’s eye.

Don’t kick people while they are down, choose to accept them, and help them back up. If you live long enough you will need help yourself someday.

Live your life kingdom first!

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

Scriptures I used for this post:

Matthew 7, Mark 9, Romans 12, Romans 15, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, Colossians 3, 1 Peter 3, 1 Peter 4, and James 5.

 

How to live your life Kingdom first part 1

This will be the first of many posts on how to live your life kingdom first. This is a journey for all of us, and just like you, I have yet to arrive. Let us be thankful we have a good, loving Father who is full of patience, grace, and favor toward His kids. With so many theological arguments out there, and thoughts about what’s most important, I just want to know God, His ways, and how I should live this life for Him. I believe the Lord revealed this series to me because He knows my Heart for it, and He knows my heart for you.

Most of you that read this blog know that number one we should love God with every part of our being, and seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness. I have already written several things that give us some practical things we can do to put Him first, such as not being autonomous in our life plan, but allowing His plan for us to be our plan.

But outside of this number one thing, how do I live my life kingdom first? What should I be doing in practical terms? Over the next several posts, I am going to present 6 other practical things we can do. In my thoughts, it is out of doing these things that your individual gifts begin to flow out of you.

So much is written and talked about in things such as eschatology, finances, authority, how to interpret, and so on. That is fine, and I like some of those conversations; however, it seems to me that so much of what God is trying to get through to us is our own internal transformation through Christ, and how we treat and deal with other people.

If loving God, and putting Him first is number 1, then the second thing we can do is to love other people.

The commandment that Jesus gave to his disciples in an intimate moment was to love each other as He loved them, and that this love is what would prove to the world that they were His followers. In John chapters 13 and 15, He gave them this command three different times.

In Romans 13:8-10 we see that it is an obligation to love others, that love does no wrong to others, and so it fulfills all requirements. If you love other people you will want to take the gifts that God put in you, and give them to others. This is why I say that your gifts will begin to flow in doing these things.

In 1 Thessalonians 3:12 we see Paul out of his own great love for these people ask the Lord to make their love for each other, and for all people not only grow, but even overflow. In chapter 4 he tells them he really doesn’t even need to tell them to love each other because they already do as the Lord Himself has taught them, but even then he urges them to love even more.

In 1 Peter 3:8 we see that we should love each other like siblings, and be compassionate towards others while at the same time being humble ourselves. Then in chapter 4:8 he tells them that most importantly they should continue to love each other deeply as love covers all.

In 1 John 3:11 we see that the message from the very beginning was that we should love one another. It says this same thing in 2 John verses 5 and 6.

In 1 John 4:7-12 we see that love is from God, that we should love others, and that this is what proves we Know God. If God loves us as much as He does, then we ought to love others. It goes on to say that if we will love others then His love will be perfected in us.

So this not only speaks to how we treat other people, but also our own internal transformation in becoming more like Christ. Loving other people perfects things within ourselves.

It is His command to us, it is evidence that we know Him, it lets the world know that we are His, it fulfills all, and it covers all.

If you want to live a kingdom first life, love others. Even if it is hard. Love covers all including you, for example, if you choose to love rather than hold a grudge, your own soul (mind, will, and emotions) will remain healthy.

Live your life kingdom first!

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

Maintain your peace, and joy in Christ…A word of encouragement for you.

No matter how well you do in life, no matter how many successes you have, there will be people who say it isn’t good enough. There will people that focus on your failures. There will be people who focus on your mistakes. There will be people who focus on your bad circumstances. There will be people that say you failed in what they deemed the key indicator. There will be people that discredit you, disqualify you, and look down on you. I will say it like apostle Paul said it, this is a trustworthy saying and everyone should accept it.

However, there is another trustworthy saying….people can’t change, or discredit what God says about you. You are His masterpiece, He has created you to do good things, and you will do the good things He has planned for you. People don’t have the authority to disqualify what God has qualified through His son Jesus Christ.

When people try to disqualify you, they disqualify themselves. When they say you are not good enough, they are saying God’s finished work is not good enough. Keep doing what God has called you to do. Do the right things based on your convictions, and let people do what they do, they are going to do it regardless of how you think or feel about it anyway. Maintain your peace, and joy in Christ.

God is for you, and I am for you.

 

This could be controversial in regards to current popular kingdom teachings….

One of the popular kingdom teachings of this day is that we advance the kingdom of Jesus by doing external things. We take territory in order to stake our Christian flag in the ground. We build mini empires in order for Jesus to influence. There may be some truth to this, and I don’t have an issue with there being a this and a that; however, I would at least like to offer a different idea.

I will only use one scripture among many that explain this idea.

Luke 17:20-21. It’s a popular scripture. Here’s the NKJV:

20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (my emphasis added)

Now we have to look at a couple things. 1) Jesus is talking to pharisees, and we can safely say the kingdom was not in them. 2) we are dealing with the greek word “entos” in a plural conjunction which gets translated to among, or in your midst.

Here it is in the NASB (the NIV, ESV, NLT, and many others translate it in the same way with slightly different wording):

20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (my emphasis added)

The main reason I am pointing this out is to highlight king Jesus. The kingdom was standing right in front of them. The scripture itself points out that it isn’t about what is seen, or what is external. He was telling the pharisees what the kingdom was, or better yet WHO.

There is no doubt that we are to go and preach the kingdom. We know that the increase of His kingdom, and peace will not end. So then how do we advance the kingdom?

We present the king. We recall what happened to us internally when we found Him. We recall the peace we found when we found Him. We take that and we present Jesus to other people, or even just a person. That person to another person. That person to another person, and so on. Through this His kingdom is always advancing. Through this His peace is always advancing.

It’s never about what you can build on this earth that time will destroy. It is about what you can get inside of someone that is eternal. It is always about Jesus.

You can build whatever you want, and stake a christian flag in it; however, until the people are reflecting the king, until the people are reflecting Jesus and his social norms, it is not His kingdom.

The kingdom can be advanced the next time you are at Walmart. The kingdom can be advanced whether you have a lot, or a little. The kingdom can be advanced whether you are rich or poor.

The kingdom is in Jesus. The kingdom is advanced by presenting Jesus. That’s all you have to do, He will do the rest.

Even one of my taglines for this site, live your life kingdom first, is saying live your life putting Jesus first.

God is for you, and I am for you!