What Does God’s Kingdom Mean To You

1st November

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”

Matthew 13:44

Jesus often told parables to highlight important Kingdom truths: an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Today’s story/parable is one that is not so often talked about but highlights such a significant truth about God’s Kingdom. It shows us the value of what it means to have or even find the Kingdom of God; in other words, to find salvation. Yet more than us finding it, is us being chosen and found by God.

What is your reaction to this knowledge? Are you like the man in the story, that upon finding the Kingdom, sold all that he had to get it? So often, just as most good things, when the novelty of finding or receiving that great thing wears off, complacency settles in and we forget what we have in our hands. It is our daily challenge to realise what we truly have. The man in today’s story was so full of joy at what he had found, that he sacrificed everything else in his life to get it. Sometimes, we need to sacrifice things that get in the way of appreciating how precious our salvation is, of how deeply we are loved that God chose us, forgave us, redeemed us and restored us.

Salvation is found in our hearts, and is a precious gem that should never be forgotten or buried again. What is the value of your salvation for you?

Keep Running

31st October

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

HEBREWS 12:1

In 2008, at the Big 10 Indoor Track, Heather Dorniden1 ran a remarkable 600 meter race. From being in 2nd place, she took an unfortunate tumble and dropped into last place creating a sizeable gap between her and the rest of the runners. Yet, the stumble didn’t defeat her. She quickly got back up, turned on the accelerators and not only caught up with the rest of the runners but won the race! Her bravery and endurance stand as a reminder to us, that when life knocks us down, we too can get back up and not only survive but thrive.

The writer of Hebrews also encourages us to take note of those gone ahead of us in life’s race. Heroes of faith like Noah, Abraham, and Moses. They all kept going through life’s hardships, trials and persecutions. Plenty of times they could have given up, but they ‘kept their eyes on the One who is invisible’2, that is God. They ran with endurance the race that God had set before them. We too are called to run our race. When we get knocked down, get back up. When we stumble, shake it off and keep on running. Take inspiration from those who have gone ahead of you and gain strength from the support of Jesus’ Christ. Shake off the obstacles, and things that weigh us down and keep on running. Keep on keeping on!

2Hebrews 10:27

The Cross Covers All

30th October

Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered Himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then He sat down in the place of honour at God’s right hand.”

HEBREWS 10:11-12

There is no sin or nothing you have done that God’s grace cannot reach. Even the things you may have done that you can’t possibly think God will forgive you for. Perhaps there are things that you have done in your life, that you feel are so unthinkably wrong, that God actually despises you for it. Or perhaps you are so embarrassed that you can’t even talk to God about it.

Well, if that is you friends, know that there is Good News. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, covered every part of our life and included even our darkest secrets, even the ones we bury with our shame. He died for everything. There is no part of our lives that God’s grace cannot reach. His love reaches into the deepest part of our souls, forgiving, healing and setting us free. The only thing we have to do, once confessed to Him, is to let Him. His sacrifice was once for all time, and then He sat down because His work was finished. We now can enjoy the fruits of Jesus’ labour. His love, forgiveness and unlimited grace. That’s the Good News. That’s the Gospel. And YOU are included in it!

Revenge: A Never Ending Black Hole

27th October

If you repay good with evil, evil will never leave your home….Do not repay evil for evil. .. Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.”

PROVERBS 17:13, ROMANS 12:17A, 21

It almost feels natural to want to get revenge when someone hurts or offends us. We want the upper-hand, almost as if we feel we deserve it because of the wrong done to us. There is however, no end to revenge. The only way bitterness, revengeful thoughts and hurt is overcome, is by forgiveness and release. The longer we hold on to grudges and have a desire to seek revenge, the longer we ourselves suffer. Jesus came to bring peace, to restore broken relationships and to show us that we don’t have to live in animosity with each other, but can live in peace and harmony. The Bible tells us that the only way to overcome evil is by doing good; and we do good because we have a good good Father who lives in us. Let His light shine in you and out of you. Let His nature become yours. Let Him deal with all your hurt and offence and replace it with love for all people. Don’t hold on to bitterness, it will only eat YOU up. Let it go and give it to God.

Jesus Is Above All Because His Name Is Above All

 

26th October

…He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all other names.”

Philippians 2:8-9

When we pray ‘Lord, Your name is above all names’ or ‘You are the King and kings and Lord of lords’ do we realise what we are actually saying. We are lifting the Name of God above every thing, every situation, every addiction, every pain, every worry and every power both in Heaven and on Earth. Why can we do this? Because God is above all. He is not in the same level as these things. He is above it – yet He cares, yet He listens and yet He answers. When you pray to the King above all Kings, remember who it is you are praying. Remember His position and your position in Him. He is the authority above all things.

All That We Need

25th October

Give us today the food we need..YOUR Heavenly Father already know all your needs.”

MATTHEW 6:11, 32b

Today’s devotion is simple. We all have needs, wants and desires. Yet instead of letting those things consume our thoughts and cause us to worry, how about just relaxing in the provision of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father. Firstly, God knows all we need before we even ask, and secondly, what He gives, is from His unlimited storehouses. Whether that be grace, love, finances, or food, every good gift comes from Him and is freely available to all His children if we just ask. Even Jesus Himself, in His model prayer, tells us to freely and boldly ask for all we need. He is not hiding His provision but wants to freely give to all those who ask. Don’t be afraid, don’t be shy, ask God in Jesus’ Name and He will provide all your needs. It is weakness to ask, but strength to trust.

Guard Your Hearts

24th October

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

PROVERBS 4:23 (NIV)

In Biblical times, the heart was considered the hub of our lives; Decisions, emotions and being. After Greek Dualistic ways of thinking were introduced, we now separate our hearts and minds as two different things. Our hearts for emotions and minds for thinking, acting and contemplating. Yet according to the writer of today’s key verse, all that we do, the very core of our lives, flows from our hearts. When we ignore our heart’s voice, as mere emotion, we ignore the very core of who we are. Our hearts are not just, physically speaking, pumping blood around our bodies. Our heart is the center of our lives.

If the above is correct, then why do we give our hearts out so cheaply, make rash decisions, leave it open and don’t protect the one thing we should guard above all else? Guarding our hearts, isn’t simply just inviting Christ to live in it and that’s it. It is a daily discipline of surrendering, and asking God to protect it. It is like your house. You might care about what’s inside, but if you don’t lock the door, you are open and vulnerable to a burglary or so much worse. You need to shut and lock the door, so no unwanted person can enter. The same is with our hearts. Although Christ lives in it, we still need to put disciplines in our lives to make sure, He is the sole resident and ruler of it.

When we do this, Christ’s peace will fill us, and this peace ‘will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus1’. Our daily surrendering to Jesus, will protect our hearts from the storms around us, keep us safe from the distractions that want to enter it and fill us with Heavenly peace, blessing and direction.

1Philippians 4:7