Category Archives: Kingdom of God

If People Can’t Tell That You Are A Christian, Then There Has Been No Transformation

Transformation takes time.

Transformation takes time.

When you became a Christian, did you change dramatically? You should have. The difference in you should have made everyone you know stop and ask you what happened? Maybe you were raised in the church without a big conversion. Is your life dramatically different from your friends outside the church? And by that, I don’t just mean that you don’t get drunk or do drugs. I mean, can they see by your life that Jesus shines in you?

If we carry around all our fear, frustration, and anger just like everyone else, then the gospel has not changed us. There has been no conversion.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Cor 5:17) If the old things have not passed away, then there is no new creation. 

Going to church does not make you a Christian. Following rules about how you’re supposed to live does not make you a Christian. Jesus said to follow Him, to do what He did. Are you living like Jesus? Can you say that love motivates your entire life? That you would rather see other people happy above your own needs?

The real gospel requires everything we’ve got. It’s inconvenient. It costs us. If people outside the church can’t see how much we love and can’t see our humility, then there is something wrong. It’s time to go back to God and repent. It’s time to ask God to make us look like Him and mean it. Be real. Be real with God and you’ll find out just how amazing His is. Don’t be left standing on the outside, dive in. It’s what He died for.

God Cannot Change You Unless You Want More

Allow God to change you.God has more for you. Some of you are thinking, yes I know, in heaven. That’s not what I mean. There is more now, but you have to want it. Do you want more of God? Do you want to feel the rush of angel wings in the night? Do you want to smell the fragrances of heaven? Do you want to be made into the person that God sees?

We can be content to stay in our little boxes, or we can allow God to change us, and by changing us be drawn closer to Him. It’s an exhilarating prospect, but beware. You cannot be changed without changing. Your life cannot stay the same. Your choices cannot stay the same. Change is usually unpleasant. We usually avoid it.

But if you knew that you could experience the presence of God in a profound way, would you accept any change that God needed to do in you? Do you want it? Then ask, and be prepared. Be willing to let Him uproot anything that does not honor Him in your life. It will no doubt be painful. Do it. Let go of self-esteem. Let go of pride. Let go of personal ego. Even your dreams and desires. Give them all to Him. You won’t lose as much as you think you will.

The trade-off to letting go is getting more of God. The selfish part of us doesn’t want to let go of the little world we built, but when we experience the throne room, nothing else compares. Let Him fill you with His humility so you can enjoy everything He has for you. He’s not a mean Father to take away what you love. What He gives is even  better. We’ve just believed the lie that we have to guard our small treasures because there is no more. God is abundant with blessing, but you have to come with empty hands.

Not everyone is willing to go higher because of the cost. Don’t let them affect your desire for more. Be brave. This is your journey. The change begins when you ask for it.

Have You Stopped Hearing God? Time To Be A Sponge

I heard a great teaching recently that I had to pass on. Why is it that sometimes we feel so dry spiritually? We remember the times of joy and refreshment and wonder what happened? Where did God go?

spongeHe’s still there, but He’s changing you. Think of your spirit like a sponge. When it absorbs all it can, there’s no more room for anything else. You need to dry out a bit so God can refill you with new revelation. You’ll be able to absorb more after a time of quiet.

I think it sometimes gets hard to hear God when He wants us to come closer. We’ve learned what we needed to on the level we’re at. Now He wants us to step up higher, closer to His throne. We have to press in more and listen with our heart for the gentle encouraging He gives us.

Don’t allow the enemy to lie about the quiet times. He wants you to think you’ve done something wrong, that God is mad at you. No, no, no, no! Rebuke that lie and don’t believe it. God is and will always be madly in love with you. Let those times of quiet do the work its meant to and you’ll find God in great, new, and wonderful ways.

Love Radically. Start Now. Change The World

Love radicallyYour goal for the day should be to live 1 Corinthians 13. Go there now and read it. If God is everything in your life and you can live in love, then there’s nothing that God won’t do for you. Can you do it? You’d better, because that is what Jesus called us to do. It’s not an option.  We don’t get to cop-out because of personality issues.

Love is the foundation for everything in the kingdom. Love like God loves, not the world. Love in worldly terms is selfish. It’s about how I feel. Love in God’s terms is giving. It’s about how other’s feel. It would be a good idea to read 1 Corinthians 13 every day. Memorize it. Get it into your spirit. Know where your weaknesses are and ask God to help.

Pursue love. (1Cor 14:1) Chase it down. Be who you are called to be in the kingdom. If you can live in radical love, you can change the world. You can call down heaven and heaven will come. Love completely, totally, sold-out. Stop judging. Stop complaining. Stop waiting for what’s yours.

The kingdom of God is backward. You get everything you need when you give. Love through the hurt. Let the peace of God cover up the rough spots. You can never go wrong when you love. It may not be received well, but God sees.

Let the love begin and see what happens next.

Pursue Love, It’s A Moving Target

Learn to love as God loves.I Corinthians 13 makes is very clear that if love is not our motivation for everything, then all our efforts are in vain. Even if signs and wonders follow after us, we can still have the wrong attitude. Love must come first — before wisdom, before giving, before sacrifice. Why are we giving? Because we love the person in need. Why are we meeting with other believers? Because we love them.

What if you don’t? It’s a fair question, because love for other people outside our intimate circle does not come naturally. We may feel concern, but that’s not the same as love. What if that tank is really, truly dry? We go to God.

We’re told to pursue love. (I Cor 14:1), We’re told that because God knows that it’s not natural for us. And it’s not easy to attain. That’s why we have to pursue it. Pursuit implies that we have a moving target. We have to keep going after it. Once we grab a hold of it, we get a little bit. Keep pursuing. Get more.

All of the aspect of God are available to us, but they don’t just download completely when we ask. We have to want it and keep wanting it. Pursue love until you get it. Until all your motivations are driving by a desire to bless and love. Pursue more. Let love change your life. Let it open doors to heaven that you never even knew about. It’s the foundation of the kingdom, the very essence of everything that we do.

Stop Being OK With Mediocre — Excellence Takes Work

 

We all have a gift and calling from God. Some of us have figured that out and some of us haven’t. What if you have? What if you know you want to write, or sing, or play guitar in a worship band? Maybe it’s because you love doing it, or maybe you’ve been given a prophetic word that you’re called to do that. Awesome! That’s a great place to start. Now be excellent.

Take the time to develop the gift in you.

Take the time to develop the gift in you.

Just because you know that you’re called to be a writer doesn’t make you a great writer. It doesn’t even make you a good writer. You still need to learn how to write. But God gave you the story? That’s good, but you still need to learn how to write. No one’s life will be changed by a great story told badly. Take writing classes, go to writer’s conferences, join a local writer’s group. Write a lot. Everyday. Read good writers. (I want to be diplomatic here. Just because someone is a Christian writer doesn’t make them a good writer.) Read books that everyone recognizes as being good. You’ll learn things.

You’re a singer? For heaven’s sake, take a voice class. Learn how to sing well. Learn breath control and projection. Learn to sing in harmony. Sing a lot. Everyday. You play guitar? Learn to read music. Sheet music. Listen to great music that stirs the soul.

The church is famous for mediocre talent and God deserves better than that. Yes, it’s spiritual to learn your craft. You already have a Master’s degree in it? Then let God take you further. Once you develop the basics, He has an instrument to really use. Let Him take you as high as you want to go with Him.

What? You say that it doesn’t matter as long as your heart is into it? Because God will bless what you do if your efforts are for Him? To some extent that is true, while you’re learning. It ceases to be true when you show that you’re not interested in getting any better.

Being gifted does not resolve you from your need to develop your craft. Now you have work to do. Let’s stop being ok with ok. Let’s start pressing into excellence and show the world what gifting really is.

Two Reasons Why Breakthrough Is Delayed

God never fails His promise. So why does it seem like we never get the breakthrough we’re waiting for? We wait and wait and trust and believe,  but the breakthrough seems to be so elusive. I think there are two reasons. One is that we are matured through patience. I wrote more about that here.

Learn to love God first.The other reason is that we forget that we’re commanded to love God first above all things. If you ask a Christian if they love God more than anything else, they’ll say, of course they do! And I think they  believe that. But when the wait gets long, or life gets in the way, or other plans are being made, is that still true?

If we’re honest with ourselves, our love for God slips down the list all the time. When we turn our hearts to Him, then He goes back to the top. His position in our focus and attention shifts back and forth. Flip-flip, flip-flip.

Part of our training as believers is to learn to keep Him first. How do we do that? By making a determined effort to spend time with Him. And why wouldn’t we? He’s the answer to everything. He’s the source of peace and joy.  And He has our best interest at heart.

But what about your husband or wife or children? Your love for them is great. Do you feel badly about loving them second to God? It’s ok. When you love God first, everything else is included. God has His finger in your whole life. It includes your love for the special ones that you love.

When you learn to set everyone and everything else aside and turn your love to God, He will open up heaven for you. You can actually love others better because your priorities are in order. And that opens the door for breakthrough.

There Are Consequences For Not Growing Spiritually

We are required to grow spiritually.Our life in the kingdom is not meant to be static. When we are born again, we become babies. There’s something supremely unnatural for babies not to grow and mature. The writer of Hebrews was frustrated with the church for being content to stay babies.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:12-14)

I believe that a lot of the negative circumstances we find ourselves in is a direct result of our immaturity in the Spirit. When we are young, God has us covered. We can get away with making mistakes because we’re trying to find our feet as believers.

But growth requires that we develop an intimate relationship with God. Jesus demonstrated the time He spent in prayer with the Father. It’s in that relationship that we learn to hear His voice and allow Him to direct us. If we don’t do that, He will allow us fail, not to punish us, but to show us the consequences of not listening to Him.

It get serious the longer we live in the kingdom. A full-grown man who continues to make childish decisions can’t be trusted with anything. The consequences of our lack of faith not only affect ourselves, but the people we should be blessing.

Maturity starts now. It starts by repenting for not being obedient to His word. It starts by wanting to know God in a greater way. Consider a baby’s relationship with its parents verses an adult relationship. There is so much more that we’re called to.

Maturity will keep us safe. When we’ve made a terrible mistake, I guarantee that God tried to warn us, but we either failed to listen, or failed to obey. We have to start walking humbly and obediently in the kingdom, not just for our own sakes, but also for those whose lives we affect.

 

Feel Stuck In Prison? Have A Good Attitude

Have a good attitude no matter where you are.

Have a good attitude no matter where you are.

Do you feel like you are stuck in life? As if your job, or your circumstances, have you stuck in prison? We all go through those periods where we seem to be in limbo with no way out. The good news is that God does know the way out. The trick is to keep a right attitude until new doors open for you.

Joseph understood. He served as a servant, and then as a prisoner, with such a good attitude that he was promoted. Daniel served multiple kings as a foreigner in a foreign court with kindness. He respected and honored kings who worshiped idols.

You may be in a job with terrible conditions, but that should not affect your attitude. You should carry the kingdom of God in with you to affect the atmosphere where you are. Serve with a kind heart. Be Christ to others with honor and respect, even when your real desire is to be somewhere else.

Our job is to be content and serve God by honoring those we work with and live with. Let the Holy Spirit give you what you need to be kind, patient, and wise. That’s why you have Him. The doors will open. Be happy until then.

Our Transformation Is A Journey

 

Our transformation is a journey

Our transformation is a journey

Your transformation as a believer is not sudden or over night. It’s a journey and a progression of change.

First you have to be willing to change. If you made the decision to accept Jesus as Lord, but don’t feel the need to change your life, then you won’t. Everything that the Holy Spirit has to offer will be wasted.

Change begins when you move from willingness to desire. When you really want the things that God has for you, you put yourself in God’s hands. You get hungry for more of His presence and the blessing that He brings.

Once you begin to walk with new understanding of your place in the kingdom, you begin to commit yourself to God’s ways. We’re not perfect so when the slips happen, it takes commitment to stay the course and be who you are called to be.

Over time, that commitment becomes a lifestyle. You don’t have to remind yourself to live righteously, because God is in you. Your relationship with Him becomes second nature. You talk to Him and hear His voice on a daily basis.

As long as we live and breathe, the journey of transformation will continue. No matter how old you become, you’ll still be tweaked and changed by Him. The closer we get to Him, the more we’ll look like Him.