Life in the Kingdom – We Are One

Jesus Prays for Unity

John 17   

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one,Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

In the above block is part of the prayer Jesus prayed the day before his crucifixion.  We as Christians are all one body with Jesus Christ being the head.  Since this is so, Jesus’ desire is that we all become one in unity.  This does not mean we should all believe exactly the same, live exactly alike, or worship at the same church or denomination.  All those who call Jesus Lord–all those who have trusted in Jesus as their savior–are part of the CHURCH.  I don’t believe God sees denominational differences. Just as it is written in Galatians 3:28:

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile”.  This can go on to say, “There is no Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, or Catholic.  We are all one in Christ Jesus.”  

We Are One Experience

I will be a part of a great experience this weekend.  On April 20 & 21 at Trinity Fellowship Church I am privileged to have the opportunity to attend the We Are One Women’s Experience.  As one in Christ of Women are gathering in one place to celebrate Love, Laughter and Legacy.  When I return I hope to share some of the experience with you.

As one Church we all point in one direction:  to Jesus.  As one in Christ, we all worship the same Lord:  Jesus Christ.  As one in Christ, we all share the same news:  Jesus loves you.  And hopefully we all invite people within our influence to join in worshiping Him.

Are you part of the Kingdom of God?  Have you asked Jesus to become Lord of your Life? If so, welcome to the family.  We are all one big body, functioning in many different ways to accomplish one main purpose:  bringing others to Christ Jesus.

 

 

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Life In The Kingdom – Our Forever Home

A new Existence

My mother-in-law passed away this past week; and as my husband and I prepare to travel out of state to the funeral, I have been thinking a lot about the transition into eternity.  That, after all, is what death is.  It is not really the end.  It is the beginning of a new life in a new place.  It is a new state of existence in the spiritual realm.  All that may sound spooky or maybe almost science fiction to some people; but that is really what life is all about. Our life on this earth is temporary and in preparation for our permanent, eternal home.  And, for those of us who know Jesus Christ personally as our Lord and Savior, that eternal home is Heaven.  The Bible states:

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 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:18 (NIV)

 

This is the third in a series on Life in the Kingdom.  We have learned that we are part of God’s family adopted as children. We then learned that we as a church are the bride of Christ.  Today I want to share a more personal experience as I learn to deal with the death of my mother-in-law.  

I was running an errand today and as I was driving, I turned on my CD player in the car.  The song that happened to play was The Revelation Song.  I thought about the scripture to which this song is referring:  “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come,” the living creatures proclaim. They do not rest day or night and never cease to proclaim the holiness of God.  And since we are preparing for the funeral for my mother-in-law, I thought of her and how she is present with the Lord at this very moment.  2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us that: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (NKJV)  

At that moment, while Kari Jobe was singing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. Holy, holy is He,” I actually was envious of my mother-in-law.  You see, at funerals, we are sad because we will miss those who die.  031116_1918_TheHalfWasn20But Christians who die are with the Lord and are no longer sad.  There is no more death in Heaven.  No more crying.  No pain.  No sickness.  No sorrow.  No arguing or complaining.  So when we cry at a funeral, it should not be for those who have gone to Heaven.  We cry for us.  We are the ones grieving, but those who have died are rejoicing in the presence of God.  And that, my friend, is something that I certainly look forward to.  That is what I eagerly await–meeting my Savior and Lord face to face.

So now, my friend, let me encourage you to trust in the Lord.  Give your life to Him.  Know for certainty that when your body wears out and you leave this earthly existence, you will find yourself in the presence of the Lord.  

“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

 

Life In The Kingdom – The Bride of Christ

The Bride of Christ

This is the second post in a series about Life in the Kingdom, referring to the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.  My last post Life In The Kingdom – God’s Family speaks about how we become a part of the family of God once we give our lives over to Jesus Christ.  In this post I will share another relationship we have with the “Royal Family” of God. 

When Jesus was with His disciples, He said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.  If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:1-3 NLT)  He came to us, when we did not know him.  He came and showed us to the Father.  Now, as Christians, we are part of the Royal Family; we are children of God.  But the bible also refers to us in Revelation as the Bride of Christ.  God the Father is our heavenly Father and Jesus is the Bridegroom.  

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Revelation 19:7-9 says, “Let us be glad and rejoice and let us give honor to him.  For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”  For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.  And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

Verse 7 refers to the “wedding feast of the Lamb”.  The lamb is Jesus, the Son of God, who came and died in our place, like a sacrificial lamb, to take away our sins.  He died so we, who are Christians, are now free to live a new life in Him.  The church as a whole is the bride of Christ.  Jesus is now preparing a place for all of us and when it is ready, He will come and take us to Himself as we read earlier in John 14.  

What a glorious, happy day it will be when Jesus comes again to get us and take us to live with Him in Heaven.  Revelation states that we will be wearing white linen.  This represents the good deeds we have done and will continue to do here as we await His coming. Although good deeds alone will not save us, we are instructed to do good deeds for Him. Because of His great love for us, we have a great desire to please Him and honor Him in all we do.

Live Like You Are Loved

Now that we know we are part of the Royal Family and promised to be a bride of Christ, we can live with joy and peace, always comforted because we are loved.  We belong.  We are royalty.  Each one of us can say “Jesus is the ‘Lover of My soul”. 

2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 

 

Know that you are loved my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ.  And Live like the Royalty that you are.

Life in the Kingdom – God’s Family

Adopted into the Royal Family

This is the first in a series about life in God’s Kingdom and belonging to His family.

We have the wonderful opportunity of joining the Royal Family.  King Jesus (2)And, no, I am not talking about England.  This Royal Family is part of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.  We cannot see it now.  It is in another realm which we will reach after the end of our time here on earth.  But we can become a part of this Kingdom now, once we give our lives over to the leadership of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Then we become children of God. And His Spirit comes to live within us.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.  Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.  And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.  Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” Romans 8:14-18

So we become part of God’s family through adoption.  Romans 8:29 goes on to say that Jesus is the first of many brothers and sisters.  In addition to becoming adopted as God’s children, we become part of a huge family with many brothers and sisters.

Many brothers and sisters  

I remember first moving to Texas with my husband and 11 month old daughter.  I had lived in Tennessee for 17 years and knew many people.  But in Texas, I didn’t know anyone.  There was great joy and comfort knowing that God was with me.  I felt His presence.  Also, when I joined a church I was immediately with family: a group of many other members of God’s family.  The kinship was immediate. Like meeting family members for the first time.  Even though I didn’t know them personally, there was a connection–a common attachment: God was our Father and they were my brothers and sisters.  

heaven is my home

So come on in, my friend. 
Become a part of the most elite family in the universe.

Coming soon:  Hear more about the Kingdom of God and our part in His family. 

Our Problems Disappear

where-all-problems-go-away-true-story-⚽👌-7856435We all need a place to escape sometimes.  For some of us it is a soccer game, as in this picture here.  For others it is something a little (or a lot) more destructive, such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, and the list goes on.  

What are we escaping from?

We escape from  work, family problems, financial problems, heartache, health problems, etc.  Problems are many times the focus of our attention because we are drawn to what hurts at the moment.  It’s like when we stub out little toe; we grab our toe and moan until the pain subsides.  Likewise, most of us focus on our problems or pain until it goes away.

What is the real problem?

The real problem is not work, the family, finances, heartache, or heath, etc.  It is our focus.  What is our focus.  I have found that the more I focus on myself, the more problems I seem to have.  I am always concerned about what I want, how I feel; and I complain about what is not perfect and who is not doing what I want.  

Change of focus

So where should our focus be?  Many times in my life I have felt my focus being pulled away from my own problems when I see another bigger problem out there somewhere.  Out in the world, in my community, or among my friends.  When I see a catastrophe like war, tsunamis, or poverty  or when I see a friend get evicted from their home or someone I know loses a family member, that is when my problems seem to disappear.  In the light of major catastrophes or serious problems all around me, my problems seems to be a trivial matter.  So the problem is not my situation.  It is my focus.  It is my response to my problems.  Do I sit and sulk?  Do I worry and complain?  Do I have a pity party and wonder when I will get my way, when my kids will finally behave, when my bills will ever get paid?  If so, I end up worrying and becoming depressed.  However….

 Focus on Jesus

If I focus on Jesus, first of all, I know He has the answer and with Him I can get through the problem.  My problem may not actually disappear, but I do not worry about it because “Papa” will take care of it and see me through it.

Focus on others

Prayer is a wonderful thing.  When I pray for myself, I can focus on Jesus and know he has my problems in His hands and will fix everything until I feel okay again. When I pray for others, I get my focus off of myself and realize that I am not alone in my battles, pain, and heartaches.  

When I see what is happening in the world I still know that God is sovereign and is not up there wringing his hands wondering what to do.  He has it all under control. Sure, He gave some authority to us and commanded us to take charge of things on Earth, but He is there to help us if we ask Him.  

JOY

I once heard the definition of Joy as Jesus Others Yourself.  That is what our focus should be.  Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last.  We are here to Worship God.  That is our primary focus.  Then we are also here to love others.  Sometimes our focus should be on them more than ourselves.  Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”  We should thing of others needs.  Although we should not neglect ourselves, we should just realize that when we put others first at times, our problems seem smaller or even non existent as we focus on something else.

Continue reading “Our Problems Disappear”

Look at the stars

I love this quote I found online.  I believe this to the very core of my being.  There is light!

Looking around at the world today and all that is happening in the news, we will notice a lot of bad; there is a lot of hatred, sorrow, terrorism, etc.  We will notice people who don’t care any more.  There is more financial stress, more destruction, and more illness, and the list goes on. Many people can grow cold and uncaring or just become immune to all the evil in the world.  What was once devastating or shocking to society years ago will be acceptable or ‘normal’ today.  Take divorce for example.  It is very commonplace today, but a couple hundred years ago, if someone were to say they were getting divorced, they would probably be either shamed or pitied greatly.  Now it is much more acceptable.

In a world growing cold, immoral, or uncaring I can find myself becoming judgmental.  It’s just not the way it used to be.  More and more of what is acceptable now was immoral 50 years ago.  It is very easy to focus on what is bad in the world.  The news, for example has mostly stories of terrorism, war, and crime with only a short human interest story at the end.  There is a way I’ve learned to stop being so sorrowful and disappointed concerning the world system.

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Look at the stars

The more darkness there is, the more stars I can see.  I can go out to the country and see an image such as the one here.  A  multitude of stars in space.  There is darkness all around, but so many stars to enjoy.  If I keep my head up instead of down, I can see more light instead of darkness.

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In the city, with all the lights, buildings, and cars, there is much less light in the sky.  It’s easy for me to be so distracted by the action, people, and things around me that I no longer see the stars.  The world is in the way.  Even when I do look up, the stars are much less noticeable.  Most of them are dimmed in the midst of the lights of the world.

Look to God

god-is-light-in-him-there-is-no-darkness-at-all-quote-1ddf4ec73a44f86ca71ac6d1320605afeThese two verses say it all.  “God is light. In Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5.  and “Set your mind on thing above.”  Colossians 3:2.  If I keep looking up, if I look at the stars in the night sky instead of the darkness itself, I can see light.  There is still good in the world.  There is still happiness. God is teaching me not be so negative.  Do not see the glass half empty.  Do not look only to the faults in the world.  See the small points of light in the midst of darkness.  Focus on the positive.

Like Carrie Hope Fletcher said, “Happiness is always there. You just have to choose to see it. There’s no point dwelling in the dark and ignoring the light of the stars.”  See link above for more information on Carrie Hope Fletcher.

How to Change Worry to Peace and Freedom

Worry happens when we take on a responsibility that is not ours.

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Jesus told us that we should not worry. Philippians 4:6-7 in the New Living Translation says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 5:7 says  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Jesus wants all our cares.  That is why he came.  He came to walk beside us and carry our load.  

We worry about our children

When our children are small and live at home, we don’t tend to worry about how to feed them, how their diaper is going to be changed, or how to carry out our basic responsibilities toward that child.  We have been given the ability to do these things because it is our responsibility and God gives us the knowledge and strength to carry them out.  When our children grow up and move out of the house, they start making their own decisions and choices.  They are no longer under our chain of command and are no longer our responsibility.  We can counsel them when they ask or help them when they need help; but, ultimately, they are now under God’s chain of command and if we start to worry, it’s because we have no control over the situation.  It is not ours to control so God has not given us that ability, strength or knowledge.

We worry about finances

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When we worry about finances, that is also taking on a responsibility that is not ours.  The bible says in Philippians 4:19 that God will supply all our needs.  So ultimately it is His responsibility, not ours.  That does not mean we sit back and wait for someone, sent by God, to hand us all the money we need to life.  Our responsibility is to ask God to supply our needs then listen to His plan of action.  He will tell us where to work and how to earn an income.  Our responsibility is simply obedience to his Word, spoken or written.  Once we obey, He honors and blesses us.  

We worry about the future.

called-to-be-loved-26-638So, we cannot control our grown children, we cannot control our finances (our trust is in God, not money or our present economy), and we certainly cannot control our future.  It has not happened yet and we never know what is around the corner, but God knows and He works all things together for our good.  Most things we worry about that concern the future will either never happen or they will be things we can handle and eventually walk out of victoriously.

So what are we to do?

Just live like a child.  Again referring to Jesus’ teachings, He told us to come to Him as little children.  Have you noticed how happy little children are?  They know they cannot buy their own food, or dress themselves, or take care of even their most basic needs.  But they trust their caregivers to care for them.  All they need to do is come when called and let their caregivers hand them all that they need.  That is what our Savior can do for us.  He will hand us all we need as long as we live for Him and obey His leading.  And no, our parents will not always hand us everything we want.  They know we need to eat our veggies and protein, not only sweets.  So, also, God will not hand us all we WANT.  Only what we NEED.  Trust in Him.  Let go.  Be free.