This Kingdom Life [2]

Every day is a kingdom day full of kingdom opportunities. The big question then is whether I am ready and willing to take them.

By entering the kingdom through surrender, I become a part of the kingdom story God has been writing since the moment of creation. I want to contribute something of value. This may not be the best way of putting it, what I mean is, I want my kingdom life to be just that, a life lived for the kingdom and to be a story worthy of being a part of the bigger kingdom story God is always writing.

I’ve just read that previous paragraph and I may be guilty of having made the kingdom about me, which it is not.

To enter the story is a privilege. To live within a kingdom that I was made for but didn’t know it. I was rescued into it. It’s almost exclusive but there is an open invite to join, you just have to come in through Jesus.

This kingdom life is where my loyalties now lay. As my life writes a story, the evidence will be there for all to see as to whether I kept those loyalties or not. God first, easy to say, harder to do. Yet this is where kingdom starts and ends for me. Jesus really is the answer to the question when it comes to this kingdom life.

This kingdom life is a journey. We don’t get it all worked out on day one. There is a battle between the old and the new. Even though we know the new is better we may still hold on to old habits, behaviours, thinking, attitudes and the like. But the decision has been made. It is the willingness to be a disciple from that moment which enables us to fully occupy the kingdom and experience all the benefits. Until the day when the future kingdom comes and everything is made perfect.

In the meantime I pray, ‘Lord help me to keep seeking You first, so my life may be a good story of how living in Your kingdom makes a difference. Amen’

Be Occupied By Christ

Over the past week I have been reflecting on the Cross of Christ and the difference it can make to my life. Check them out – they make a great week of devotional thoughts.

Now, on a Monday I need to make my response actually mean something, that my life will be different and make a difference. So here’s the simple challenge for myself every day…be occupied by Christ.

To be occupied means to ‘be busy and active’, ‘to be filled up by’, ‘to engage the mind, energy or attention of’.

There are literally millions of things that can occupy my time, attention, energy, thinking, resources. A whole host of stuff that I can become busy and active about, so much so that I can easily forget that my primary occupation is to be a Christian. The from this position, all that I am involved in is influenced by that.

Christ must occupy my thinking.

Christ must occupy my attitude.

Christ must occupy my future.

Christ must occupy my energy.

Now that can seem a little simple, some may even say naive. Questions may come to mind ~ What about what I want? What about what I think? What about the things that are important to me? All good and valid but surely, just by asking these questions I am in danger of displaying an unwillingness to be occupied by Christ and instead to be occupied by self.

Whatever giant I am facing, whatever thoughts may be racing through my mind, whatever opinion I may have about something, however fearful or unsure I may be about the future, whether I feel everything is great or I am hard done too, I have to remember the cross. I have to remember all that Jesus accomplished for me and allow that to become my life.

Jesus became weak so we could become strong in Him.

Jesus became poor so we could become rich in Him.

Jesus became empty so we could become full of Him.

To be occupied by Christ is to remain humble enough to know that without Him I cannot succeed.

To be occupied by Christ is to remain humble enough to know that His best for my life is better than what I think is best for my life.

I want this to be my response to the cross of Jesus Christ for rest of my life. It can seem a tough call but I recognise the benefits make it worth the challenge. I need Gods unmerited favour over ALL my life, so I am going to get my ‘self’ out of the way, stay as humble as I can and depend wholly on Him for my success.

How about you?

No Turning Back

I believe that God has purposed for us to live a wide open spacious life. To live, as Paul put it in 2 Corinthians 6, expansively.

It may not always feel wide and open but by faith it is. The only reason I don’t live that way is because I don’t live that way. It’s nothing to do with God.

So here’s my new reminder, for myself and also for you. If you are believer, a follower of Jesus then know that God has set the boundaries on our lives wide, according to His word. He has given us everything we need that pertains to life, blessed us with every spiritual blessing, it’s not for us to try and control the space God has placed us in, He is more than capable of doing that.

Freedom doesn’t mean we can do whatever we like or live however we want. Instead it’s about living within the freedom of knowing Jesus, and that doesn’t come naturally. The battle between the flesh and the spirit is a daily one.

So here’s what I am saying…I have decided to follow Jesus, according to His word, NO TURNING BACK. How about you?

Enough Said

Matthew 10 is one of my favourite chapters in the Bible. If we ever wondered how God wanted us to live then this is a really good place to start. It’s jam packed full of instructions. More than that, Jesus challenges the very core of why we think we exist, the very things we would give our lives for. Big questions like what do we ‘take pleasure’ in? What will we ‘cleave’to?

Cleave. It’s such a great word. It’s what Jesus says we have to do with him. Cleave to him. It means to ‘stick fast to’ and ‘to become very strongly involved with or emotionally attached to’.

Sometimes people ask questions about how Jesus would like them to live. What’s my purpose? How should I approach everyday life as a Christian? Maybe this is too simpler an answer…cleave to Jesus.

Read Matthew 10:37-39 [Amp] and you will see it even more clearly.

‘He who loves [and takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life]’.

I’m not sure about you but this definitely makes me think about how I do life. What do I really take pleasure in? Is my life conformed wholly to the example that Jesus has set? I don’t want to find myself in a position where I am not worthy of Him. One thing is for sure – to cleave steadfastly doesn’t come easily. Everyday I have to choose to live my life for Jesus and stick fast to him, to stay strongly involved and emotionally attached to him. It’s SO worth it though, I wouldn’t want to live life any other way.

How about you? What are the challenges you face to make sure you ‘cleave’ to Jesus?

Faith, Questions, Doubts, Mistakes and His Grace

I’m in a strange frame of mind at the moment. Thinking of questions that demand some real honesty…

Are you questioning your faith?
Do you sometimes feel unworthy?
Do you worry how making mistakes effects you with God?

Let me just say: my faith is not in doubt.
I am however, fully aware that for many people these types of question reverberate around their mind. It’s okay. Questions are okay. Don’t panic. Just don’t walk away from God. Dialogue it!

Faith isn’t faith without questions. If you had no questions then you wouldn’t need any faith. Right? I think I am discovering a few things as I walk this Christian journey about faith, questions, doubts, mistakes and how God views things…

– there are somethings about God and His nature that I can learn
– there are somethings about God and His nature that I may never understand – they can go on my list of things to ask when I get to heaven
– making mistakes is inevitable
– I need to try hard to not make the same mistakes and learn from them along the way
– even if I make mistakes, however UGLY they may be, the grace of God and His willingness to forgive will always go further – it truly is deeper, wider, higher then any stinking sin
– grace is beyond my thinking most of the time
– questions are good – they help me learn
– accepting that God loves me isn’t always easy especially when I make those stupid mistakes
– when I think I know better about my life is when I’m in danger of becoming self-sufficient and that can create distance between me & God which can only damage the relationship
– my thinking I’m inadequate doesn’t stop God from making me more than adequate – He makes me whole, perfect in His sight
– there really is nothing I can do that can make God love me more or make Him love me less
– if God is for me, then who can be against me? NOTHING – difficult to fathom which makes it hard to accept
– I must learn to accept it though – GOD IS FOR ME – all the time
– God works ALL things for good – even when I reckon that’s not possible. It’s what He does, I just have to get over myself (which is probably the greatest challenge)

What about you – what are you learning on the journey?

Are You Questioning Your Faith?

This is a dangerous question to ask but one that we should not be afraid of asking. Recently heard of a few people who are experiencing the whole ‘question my faith’ issue. Feel the need to say – that’s okay.

Questions are good.
Questions are how we learn.
Questions don’t mean you don’t love God, they just mean you want to know more (I hope).

Faith is a subjective thing. Isn’t it? Everyone experiences it in different ways. The fundamentals may be the same but the outworking of it can look different. Yes?

Anyway…just wondered what are the questions that people have in respect to their Christian faith?
Are they questions of doubt?
Are they questions of clarity?
Or are they not really questions at all and the phrase is just being used as a ‘get out’ clause.

We should not be afraid to ask questions. As Pastors & Christian leaders we should not be afraid to enter in to dialogue about our faith. Surely that’s a good thing. Something to be encouraged. To just sit and say ‘because’ or keep stating that ‘Jesus is the only way to God’ is not usually enough. It could be deemed arrogant. It could be deemed ignorant. Either way, it’s probably not good. Possibly paints a rather dim view of Christians too.

Is your faith being tested? Are you having doubts? Do you need some clarity?
What are the questions that need answering that can help you move forward in your journey with God?

I’m not saying that I have all the answers. Maybe we can learn something together…

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