When it comes to the kingdom first life, looks are deceiving.

Success as defined by the world is not a very good indicator of a kingdom first life. I would even say go ahead and take it off of your key indicators list. The character of a person matters more. If they were to lose it all, what kind of person would be left standing in the middle of their loss? Before you tie yourself to someone consider how they reached their level of success. Did they use and abuse people? Simply put, look past what they have and try to see what kind of person they are. There are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing. There is a lot of deception used that is justified through saying it is for the advancement of the kingdom.

I can see two major things that satan does in order to attack our faith and character, or entice us in a direction we don’t need to go, and he often uses other people to do it. He attacks our stuff, or he offers us a bunch of bling. You can understand how much importance, and unhealthy love people put on possessions just by seeing that is what satan chooses to use in order to either attack us, or entice us.

When we read the story of Job we tend to emphasize all that he lost at the hands of satan; however, satan didn’t really care about Job’s possessions. He was attacking Job’s character in order to get him to lose his faith and curse God.  The attack failed, Job maintained his character, and everything that he lost plus more was restored to him. When things don’t seem to be going your way, when people tell you that you are failing, when people tell you God won’t promote you because your house isn’t in order, when they make accusations against you, when you feel like you are losing it all, etc just maintain your faith and your character.

When you are willing to lose it all to stay true to God, that is when you have it all. If you have Christ you have everything. Your inheritance is not in stuff, or the approval of people, it is life in Christ.

Then we have the temptation of Jesus. “the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” There is nothing to gain in selling your soul. The things of this world are worthless in comparison to life in Christ, and His kingdom. When your hearts are drawn to the things of this world and all of their glory, be vigilant for an enemy could be enticing you. Maintain your faith and character.

Possessions, stuff, money, wealth, etc, they are amoral. They are neither good nor bad; however, how you acquire can be good, or bad. How you use can be good, or bad. How you feel about can be good, or bad. What it becomes to you can be good, or bad. How you present it to other people can be good, or bad.

If satan is attacking you, God will work it all out in a way to benefit you. Romans 8:28

If satan is enticing you onto the wrong path, Jesus is still standing on the right path. John 14:6

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

Blessing and favor….What does it look like?

What does blessing and favor on your life look like? How do you know that you are blessed, or that God has placed His favor on you? How can people look at you, and know that you are blessed?

I can tell you that the vast majority of people will relate it to money, and assets. Both personally, and externally when looking at someone else. You see someone with a lot of money, and you think they are blessed. You get a new car, you thank God, and post it on Facebook saying you are blessed. We see people living in big homes, and we think the favor of God is on them.

Sometimes it really is the favor of God. Sometimes they are taking advantage of people, and doing things they shouldn’t be doing in order to have those things.

The big question for this post is….Are the people who don’t have the things we normally equate to blessing, and favor blessed? For the people who are doing what God has asked them to do, the answer is 100% yes. Don’t just equate material things to blessing, and favor. God is so much bigger than that.

Sometimes the people who are being pressed down the most are the most blessed. I’m talking about the people who when you look at their life externally it looks like all hell is breaking loose, and their life is falling apart. God’s favor is on them in a tremendous way. You have to be pressed down, and shaken before you can run over with blessing. You have to be broken all the way down before you can be built back up into something new, and better.

When I went through basic training years ago I learned this lesson without knowing it. In the first half of basic training the drill sergeants beat you, break you down, and make you feel utterly defeated; however, it is only for the purpose of rebuilding you into a better soldier than you ever could have been before.

How can you know if God’s favor is on you? Ask yourself….Is He pressing me? Is He shaking me? Is He building me?

In the sermon on the mount Jesus tells us who the blessed people are. He talks about internal growth, not external things. Is He making you humble? Is He making you hunger, and thirst for righteousness? Have you been in a place of mourning? Not I, but Jesus says you are blessed. Those that have been in places where they needed mercy, are merciful to others. Those that have been in places of mourning, comfort others.

If you will follow Jesus no matter what might happen, or what it looks like, you will be blessed.

He is for you, and I am for you! He is only pressing you so that He can establish you!

 

Prayer orientation

I would venture to say that most of us pray in such a way that we talk to God about where we are now, the struggles we are in now, the pain we feel now, the gaps we see now etc.

I would also say that I believe God knows all including the purpose for the present. The purpose of the current struggles that are preparing you for the future He has in mind for you.

So if God is always molding, shaping, growing, and preparing you for your future, let me ask this question….What if we shifted our prayer life to be future oriented? What if instead of asking why this is currently happening, we ask what it is preparing us for? Ask what we need to do now to be prepared for where we will be in the future.

My family, and I have been through so much that I have grown to where I am done worrying about the now because my faith is 100% that He is sufficient for me in all ways, and that He works every single thing in some kind of way to our benefit.

Have faith. You may not know why, but God does. You may not know how, but He does. You want to know how you find out that God is a very present help in trouble? You get in trouble that you can’t see any kind of way out of, and then God shows Himself to be the way maker. You get sick, and He shows Himself to be the healer. Finances? There’s nothing to worry about, God can make money fall out of a fish’s mouth if He wants to. You may have to face a failure in an area you don’t WANT to, but God knows you NEED to in order for you to see what He sees. Instead of worrying, look forward to the future and seek to understand ‘what’ because God knows, and He just might reveal it to you. Not why am I going through this, but what is this preparing me for?

God’s heart is for you, and my heart is for you. Walk by faith not by sight. He’s got you.

Faith in action

Your faith in action does the following:

Brings understanding that God created everything simply by opening his mouth and allowing words to come out, and if He can do that then He can take care of you in every way.

Causes you to offer God your highest and best.

Causes you to seek Him, and makes it possible for you to please Him.

Warns you about things not yet seen.

Causes you to walk when you don’t know where you are going because you know He will guide you to your promise.

Allows you to know you will birth what God has placed within you because He is faithful in His promises.

Causes you to keep moving forward when you look at what you left behind and have the opportunity to return.

Brings you out of the test victorious.

Causes you to forsake the visible riches in exchange for much greater invisible riches.

Causes you to cast off fear.

Faith tears down walls, and raises the dead. When you look and see that there is no possible way, your faith reassures you that God is in the business of making a way when there is no way.

“Be on your guard, stand firm in your FAITH, be men of courage, be strong.”