VIDEO Where Is the Kingdom?

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

In this day of navigation by GPS, we are used to being told our arrival time in miles, hours, and minutes. That is because we are traveling to a geographical location. But what if our destination was the Kingdom of God?

Jesus gave a teacher of the law a hint when He said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34). What prompted such a clue? It was the teacher’s agreement with Jesus that love of God and love of neighbor were the two most important commandments. Apparently, love of God with heart, soul, mind, and strength (and love of neighbor) puts one in close proximity to God’s Kingdom. That means the Kingdom is not (for now) so much a place as it is a set of beliefs leading to God-like actions of love. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God, both now and in the future. We glorify God now—we experience His Kingdom rule—when we love Him with all we are.

Today, make sure your love for God moves you ever closer to the heart of His Kingdom rule in your life and the lives of others.

Love rules His kingdom without a sword. Robert Herrick


Sermon on Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “Love God with All Your Heart” | The Greatest Commandment

Always Worth Sharing

Thanks be to God, who always . . . uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14

After I became a believer in Jesus, I shared the gospel with my mother. Instead of making a decision to trust Jesus, as I expected, she stopped speaking to me for a year. Her bad experiences with people who claimed to follow Jesus made her distrust believers in Christ. I prayed for her and reached out to her weekly. The Holy Spirit comforted me and continued working on my heart as my mom gave me the silent treatment. When she finally answered my phone call, I committed to loving her and sharing God’s truth with her whenever I had the opportunity. Months after our reconciliation, she said I’d changed. Almost a year later, she received Jesus as her Savior, and, as a result, our relationship deepened.

Believers in Jesus have access to the greatest gift given to humanity—Christ. The apostle Paul says we’re to “spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). He refers to those who share the gospel as “the pleasing aroma of Christ” to those who believe, but acknowledges we reek of death to those who reject Jesus (vv. 15–16).

After we receive Christ as our Savior, we have the privilege of using our limited time on earth to spread His life-changing truth while loving others. Even during our hardest and loneliest moments, we can trust He’ll provide what we need. No matter what the personal cost, God’s good news is always worth sharing.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How has God encouraged you to not give up after you shared the gospel with someone who reacted in a negative way? How did God bring you close to someone after you both connected as believers in Jesus?

Help me share Your good news wherever You send me, God!

When We Feel Helpless

No matter how helpless we feel in a situation, God is sufficient.

2 Chronicles 20:1-4

Have you ever felt totally helpless? Can you remember facing a situation or emergency in which you were powerless? It’s a sobering experience for anyone. Even people who claim to be wholly dependent on God still like to feel as if they have some control over their circumstances. 

Jehoshaphat faced a moment like that when news came that three different armies had joined forces to destroy Israel. He was afraid because the enemies were great in number. What’s more, he remembered being in grave danger the last time he was on the battlefield (1 Kings 22:29-33). But now, in this moment of helplessness, Jehoshaphat also knew there was only One who could help—the Lord God. Despite his fear, Jehoshaphat neither ran away nor charged into battle; rather, he “turned his attention to seek the Lord” (2 Chron. 20:3). He also called on others to pray. And seeking God in a seemingly hopeless situation changed the attitude of the entire nation. 

When circumstances make you feel afraid and out of control, turn your attention away from the problem and onto our mighty God. It takes faith to reject self-sufficiency, but the Lord honors those who depend on Him.

Things We Cannot Do Without

“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20)

We can well do without many things in life, but there are at least seven things a Christian simply cannot do without.

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking of the heathen nations before Christ, Paul said: “At that time ye were without Christ,…having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
  2. Christ’s shed blood. “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,…But with the precious blood of Christ” (Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
  3. Christ’s sinlessness. The Lord Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, He could die for our sins.
  4. Faith in Christ. “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is” (Hebrews 11:6).
  5. Faith-generated works. True faith in Christ inevitably produces good works. As our text reminds us, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).
  6. True holiness. “Follow…holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Genuine faith in Christ both receives His imputed holiness and also generates practical holiness in the believer.
  7. Heavenly chastisement. Unconfessed and unforsaken sin in a Christian’s life must receive chastisement from the Father. “If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye…not sons” (Hebrews 12:8).

Without saving faith in the Lord, we have nothing of eternal value, but with Him, we have “all things” (1 Corinthians 3:21). HMM

Study, then Do

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein…to do…all that is written therein. —Joshua 1:8

The great American evangelist, Charles Finney, went so far as to declare bluntly that it is sinful to teach the Bible without moral application. He asked what good is accomplished merely to study a course in the Bible to find out what it says, if there is to be no obligation to do anything as a result of what has been learned?

There can be a right and a wrong emphasis in conducting Bible classes. I am convinced that some Bible classes are nothing more than a means whereby men become even more settled in their religious prejudices.

Only when we have moral application are we in the Bible method! When we give ourselves seriously to Bible study, we discover the Holy Spirit’s method. “This is what God did, and this is what God did. Therefore, this is what you ought to do!” That is always the Bible way. ICH137

Let’s practice the art of Bible meditation….Let us open our Bibles, spread them out on a chair and meditate on the Word of God. It will open itself to us, and the Spirit of God will come and brood over it….Put away the questions and answers and the filling in of blank lines…and in faith say, “Father, here I am. Begin to teach me!” COU137

The Patience of God

The righteous one will rejoice when he sees the retribution…. Then people will say, “Yes, there is a reward for the righteous! There is a God who judges on earth!”—Psalm 58:10-11

Ever found yourself feeling frustrated because of the way in which wickedness seems to win over justice? Then you know something of how Solomon felt when he said, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked” (Eccl 3:17). Every generation, throughout time, has had to face this problem. James Russell Lowell put it this way:

Truth forever on the scaffold,

Wrong forever on the throne.

Solomon struggles, as no doubt you have done (and perhaps still do), with the fact that in the very place where you would expect to see justice, you find wickedness and corruption prevailing. In the days when I was a pastor, I sometimes went to court with people who had a genuine case to be heard, only to see it broken down by tactics that were dishonest and unjust. I have seen enough injustice in my time to share something of Solomon’s cynicism.

Are you at this moment a victim of judicial injustice? Then don’t allow yourself to become cynical, for, as Solomon said: “God will judge the righteous and the wicked.” Wrong will not continue forever. The day is coming when all corruption and injustice will be called to judgment before the throne of God’s truth. But of course, being human, we wish the injustices we have received could be put right—now. God seems to be much more patient than we are, and what we must do is to ask for grace to be patient with the patience of God.

Prayer

O God my Father, give me the divine perspective on things so that present injustices may be swallowed up in the long-term purposes. Help me see that I will have my day in court—Your court. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 58:1-11; Gn 18:25; Ps 96:13

What was the view of the psalmist?

How does God judge?

Fix Your Eyes on God

Moses and Aaron summoned the assembly in front of the rock, and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels! Must we bring water out of this rock for you?”—Numbers 20:10

It is easy to see why Moses became frustrated with the Hebrew people. They were so hard-hearted and weak in their faith that Moses lost his patience and became angry with them. Yet every time Moses shifted his focus away from God, it cost him. When he sought to help his people by taking matters into his own hands, he spent the next forty years herding sheep in the wilderness (Exod. 2:11–15). This time his impetuous behavior cost him the opportunity to enter the Promised Land (Num. 20:12). In his frustration at the peoples’ irreverence, Moses committed the very same sin, blatantly disobeying God’s instructions. How did this happen? Moses allowed his attention to shift to the behavior of others rather than focusing on the activity of God.

This could happen to you as well. God has put people around you who need your ministry to them. You will never be able to properly help them, however, unless your primary focus is on God. If you concentrate on people, their weaknesses, their disobedience, their lack of faith, and their stubbornness will quickly frustrate you. You may, like Moses, commit the very sins you are condemning. If, however, your eyes are fixed on holy God, you will become more like Him—gracious, forgiving, long-suffering, and righteous. When a friend’s behavior disappoints you, go immediately to the Lord. Seek to discern what God is wanting to do in your friend’s life rather than concentrating on your friend’s sin. Then you will have the strength, wisdom, and patience you need to help your friend in the way God desires.