Tag: blessing

Part 2 – As Above, So Below

Continuing our look at the kingdom of God from above, being lived out here on earth below, let’s review for a moment.

There is a kingdom in heaven, fully functioning under the reign and soverignity of Almighty God and His son, Jesus who is the King of Kings. This kingdom is of or from heaven, and is intended to be fully demonstrated here on earth by humans, who are living the values, principles, and “doms” (see part 1) of our King Jesus.

We get a glimpse of this kingdom when we look at the “Beattitudes” of Jesus, as found in Matthew chapter 5. These beattitudes reflect the nature of life in the kingdom of God which is evidenced by the supreme state of well-being when walking in relationship with God.

So, as we look at the last four beattitudes (there are 8, see the first 4 in part 1), imagine life here on earth, if these characteristics were to be truly demonstrated. What a world we would have, here below, if we lived as it is above in heaven.

Blessed are the merciful, they shall receive mercy.”

Matthew 5:7 ESV

Those who, from their deepest heart are able to demonstrate tender mercy to others, themselves will be shown mercy by God. This pictures someone, who “from their womb” – the birthplace of new life, new ideas, new ways – expresses and displays compassion and mercy to others. This one, because of what he or she sows, will not only be satisfied but will reap back the same compassion and mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:8 ESV

The “pure in heart” is one who pursues purity and uprightness; that which is right, true, just, and pure in God’s eyes. They are not soiled or sullied by the filthiness of worldly affects and actions but “have kept themselves” from such influences. They have chosen a better way, a higher standard. They have set themselves apart to God and for His pleasure and have aimed at his favor and acceptance rather than that of man.

It is no wonder then, that they are the ones who not only see God now but progressively see Him more and more. Because their hearts are pure before God (and that does not mean sinless!), which is the most important thing (not external traditions), God honors them by revealing Himself to them. There is NO GREATER HONOR OR HUMBLING STATE for a humnan being than to experience God. That is beyond a blessing!

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”

Matthew 5:9 ESV

These peacemakers start within themselves. They are at peace with themselves before Almighty God. You cannot be at peace within yourself, if there is no accountability to God. Those who try to find peace without God awareness, sensitivity and willingness to follow His ways are only fooling themselves. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and brings peace to those willing to make peace with Him. That is where peacemaking begins. Then peacemaking will flow from the personal peace that we have found with God out from us to the community. This peace then, is both personal and communal.

These peacemaking folks, are the sons of God. These peacemakers, defined by their peace with God, are adding to and expanding God’s eternal family, as His sons and daughters, by bringing peace to others and making peace between others.

Are you able to see and image a world ruled and governed by these attitudes, characteristics and values? Can you imagine earth here below, under the influence of the kingdom of God?

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:10 ESV

Could it be that those who are living by these kingdom values will be persecuted? Could the challenge be to those believers who have chosen to live as citizens of God’s kingdom and under his constitution, it’s time to buckle up. Not everyone is gonna like these values, ideas and ways of life. There will be those who not only contradict these values but persecute those who live by them.

“Persecuted” here in the Greek means, “to harass, trouble, molest; to make one run, drive away, maltreated.” The Apostle Paul was persecuted. All the other disciples were pesecuted. Jesus himself was persecuted. Christians through the ages on every continent have been persecuted. Why, oh why, would we think we are any different or walk a different walk? How could we if we are truly living for the kingdom here on earth?

Compared to the suffering saints and martyrs of the past, I tend to think we, ourselves ain’t seen nothing yet!

Our comfort? Our motivation? Our strength? The kingdom of God! We receive eternally and live forever in the kingdom of God. The very one we have lived here on earth. We step from this earth into the kingdom of our inheritance, the one of God’s vast domain.

In closing, let’s remember these things about these beattitudes: (we mentioned them in part 1)

  1. they are a code of ethics for disciples & standard of conduct for all believers
  2. they contrast kingdom values with worldly values (eternal vrs. temporary)
  3. they contrast superficial faith (of the Pharisees) with the real faith that Jesus wants
  4. they show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in His new kingdom (1)

My prayer is that believers all over the world continue to stand strong in faith and courage as they choose to display on earth what is being lived out in heaven now.

May we, live here below as it is above.

Debbie

  1. Life Application Study Bible – Zondervan

What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

Sunday Sermon 7.17.21

Everyday, in every decision that we make, we unconsciously weigh the consequences of our decisions. Even sometimes consiously. In the smallest of ways, ie: I’m gonna hit the snooze for another 9 minutes, or on a grander scale, ie: what if I make that move, take that job or or forfeit that option, somewhere in our mind is the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

On a parrallel note, what is the worst thing that could happen to you? Lose your child, lose your spouse, lose your health, a limb, your home? Consider it. In the big scheme of life what would be the worst thing that could happen to you?

In our nation, with the tends of the day, policies of our government, allowances for and acceptance of behaviors, ideas, and intentions – what is the worst that could happen to our nation?

In each of these settings, personal and national, what is the worst possible end game, the worst that could happen?

We teach our children that while you can choose your action or behavior, you cannot choose the consequences of that action. Consequences are automatically set in motion as principles of the universe designed to corolate with divine order and purpose. So, in that divine order of the universe, what is the worst thing that could happen?

Let me answer by sharing a story –

In the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were in dialogue with God about their disobedience, the worst thing wasn’t the guilt and shame they felt. It wasn’t their dishonesty in trying to hide it from God. It wasn’t even their punishment as pronounced by God on their childbearing and working the land. No! In all of those God’s love and covering for them was ever present, just as a Dad loves his children.

The worst, possible end game and consequnce for them was,

” …He (God) drove them out of the garden.”

Genesis 3:24

In the case of their murderous son Cain, what was the worst thing?

“God banished Cain from the land…and Cain said, “Now I must hide from your presence…””

Genesis 4:11,13

The worst thing that could happen to Adam, Eve and Cain, did happen – they were removed from the garden of His perfect relationship, presence of the Lord. They were sent away from His presence. Cain in his response even cried out, “My punishment is more than I can bear!” Geneses 4:11

Fastforward to the days of the Kings of Israel and Judah. In the book of 2 Kings we have a startling picture of God’s chosen people and their condition and attitude towards God, their God, Jehovah – the Great I AM.

“The Israelites had sinned against the Lord…they worshipped other gods and followed the practices of other nations… They secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right…they did wicked things…they worshipped idols…they would not listen and were stiffnecked…they rejected his decrees and the covenant he made with them…They imitated the nations around them…They forsook the commands of the Lord, they bowed bown to the starry hosts and worshipped Baal… They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire… They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil.”

2 Kings 17:7-17

This picture of a people so calloused against God is astonishing! Could they be any worse? We might even say, they deserve the worst possible outcome, consequence or punishment. What is the worst that could happen?

“So the Lord was very angry with Israel and REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:18

“…He THRUST THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:20

“The Lord REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:23

In God’s view the worst thing that could happen was removing his children from His presence. Having to separate Himself from His children. Removing His presence, covering, protection, and blessing from His children is the worst thing that can happen.

The blessing of His presence brings peace, joy, protection. His presence brings a respect for Him, a desire to seek Him and please Him. His presence creates a hunger in us for more of Him, more of His presence.

To be removed from His presence is a direct consequence of sin and disobedience. All sin brings death – physical, mental and spiritual. It is our iniquities (inner perversions) that separate us from God. Isaiah 59:2 That unconfessed sin leads to the time when His presence will be removed from you, and your covering, joy and peace will be gone.

In Sampson’s life, he didn’t even realize when God’s presence left him. He continued doing what he always had done, expecting God’s blessing, totally unaware God’s presence had left him on his own. Judges 16:20

When God lifts His presence from an individual or nation, then we have hit rock bottom. We have discovered the worst that can happen. That is why Kind David prayed, “Cast me not away from your presence and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11

To live a life apart from His presence is not living at all. Apart from His presence we are dead, dry, religious, wanderers without peace, purpose or protection. It is the bleakest of lives, constantly shadowded by fears, worries and threats without hope for anything better – ever!

In His presence there is fullness of joy, but so much more. It costs, yes, but it doesn’t even compare, in the slightest, to the worst that could happen.

I am concerned for you, for our nation, for the presence of the Lord upon us. I don’t wanna loose His presence, because that is the worst thing that could ever happen.

Go with God,

Debbie