The return of the King

In my story the Kingdom, I have imagined the King to be like Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings.  Aragorn is a King but to the Hobbits he is a ranger called Strider, their guide and protector.  If you watched the Return of the King, you saw Strider become ho he was born to be; the King of Gondor.

Aragorn

The story reminds me of our own world.  Right now, we’ve got our own nightmare version of Mordor with the eye of Sauron (Horus) glaring at us and enemies pouring out the gates, bent on conquest.

The Church has been holding back the darkness for 2,000 years, but the lights are going out in places.  The tiny nation of Israel is holding the Jihadists back in the Middle East.  They are God’s chosen people and an outpost of freedom, but Christians are persecuted elsewhere.

As I write this ancient churches with Aramaic speaking Christians are being wiped out in Syria and Iraq.  Europe is in peril with its large Moslem populations.  The most common name for babies from Brussels to Oslo is now “Mohammed”.  It doesn’t bode well for the West.

And that’s just one of the world’s problems.  The Phoenix is rising.  We’ve got the Illuminati and the banksters thinking they’re the chosen ones, and they want to rule a depopulated world with us as their slaves.

All of this has been foretold in the Bible.  We await the return of our King in the second coming of Christ.  This is not a vain hope.  The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:5-9  I have paraphrased it here;

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation …..

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 

Jesus will defeat Satan and sit on the throne at Jerusalem.  Israel who was back in their land in unbelief will look on their Messiah, the one they have pierced, and weep as God pours out on them a spirit of grace and supplication.  (Zechariah 12:10).

We are familiar with Jesus portrayed as a lamb – gentle, meek and mild … although I don’t like the pictures and statues where He is forever on the cross, or he’s the little baby Jesus sitting on Mary’s lap.  He’s little and she’s really big!  I don’t think so.  He was her Lord.  But what does He look like, as a King?  Does the Bible show us?

On the Lord’s day nealy 2,000 years ago, the apostle John saw Jesus as a King.  Here is what John  saw.  I’ve written it as a story;

Lion 1The Throne Room (Book of Revelation, chapter 5)

The man called John stood before the throne of God speechless with wonder.  Was he dead?  He pinched himself.  The last thing he could remember was an open door.  Now he was here.  He looked down at his feet.  What was he standing on?  The floor looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.  The colours reflected there were indescribable. 

A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the one on the throne.  In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing.  The one on the throne was resplendent in amber and ruby coloured light.  Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders dressed in white with crowns of gold upon their heads.  

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures unlike anything the man had ever beheld on Earth.  The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like an eagle.  Each of the four living creatures had six wings with eyes all around, even under their wings.

From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.  The court was in session.  

In the right hand of the one who sat on the throne was a scroll with writing on both sides, sealed with seven seals. A mighty angel proclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”  No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.

The man wept and wept because no one was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.  He wept because the scroll held the title deed to the world – which Adam had lost.  No man could get it back, they were a fallen race.

Lion of JudahThen one of the elders looked from his throne and said to the man, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

The man remembered that long ago in Egypt Jacob had prophesied;

“You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness–who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. Genesis 49:9

Wiping away his tears he beheld Judah’s descendant, the Lion of God.

The Lion took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. John could see the scars from where the Lamb had been slain.  With his blood he had purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. He made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve the one on the throne, and they were to reign on the earth.

The Lamb would return as the Lion.  The obedience of the nations would be his.  Holding the scroll, the King roared.

The elders and four creatures around the throne worshiped him, along with angels numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.  The Lion of God shook his mane of hair and accepted their worship.  One word came from them all; “WORTHY!”

The Kingdom to seek, and the Kingdom to come

journey inwardThe Kingdom of God takes two forms – the Kingdom within, and the Kingdom to come. One is a journey, the other a destiny.

The Kingdom to come

We are waiting for a Kingdom to come.  We pray in the Lord’s prayer “Thy Kingdom Come, thy Will be done”.

After the Pharisees asked Jesus “When will the Kingdom of God come?”, speaking of Himself He told the Pharisees “The Kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20). 

The Pharisees were deeply religious men who were well versed in scripture and should have recognised Him as their King, but they didn’t.  Jesus called them “blind guides” who “shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. They themselves did not enter, nor would they let those enter who were trying to(Matthew 23).   Watch out for the Pharisees.

The coming of the King, the Lamb and the Lion.

lion-judah-lamb-godWhy did the Pharisees not recognise the King?  It is because the scriptures speak of two comings.

The first coming was as the lamb of God – the suffering servant described by the prophet Isaiah, 700 years before His birth.  Read Isaiah 53 for His description.  Even though they had these scriptures in the synagogues, they were not prepared for the Lamb.

They wanted the Lion – the promised King who will come in great power, glory and authority to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth.

This is the second coming, the return of the King, whose coming we await.

The Kingdom within

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to “seek the Kingdom of God first”.  What does this look like?

How can we seek a Kingdom that is not yet established?  Or is it?

When we repent of our sins, are baptized and begin following the lead of the Holy Spirit, we voluntarily place ourselves under the laws and authority of the coming Kingdom of God.

Living by the laws of the Kingdom

There are two laws in the Kingdom.  This is what Jesus said in reponse to the Pharisees;

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:34-37

What would the world look like if we all did this?

The gift of the Shepherd

The Lord is My ShepherdTired and drained, she stood by the fire inside in her father’s house, trying to get warm, and trying not to look at her father’s empty chair.  The shepherd’s staff leaned in the corner near the chair, unnoticed. 

In the land of the Kingdom, she wearily trudged through the Valley of the Shadow of death, stopping at her father’s house for the sad task of sorting out his belongings.  “One of you girls can take that,” Sally his widow said, suddenly noticing the staff. She recognised it.

“That’s my old crook” she remarked.

“It was down in his workshop,” Sally said, “He’d made it down there the other day, but he was too weak to walk back up the path.  I found him leaning on it, unable to move. It’s yours, please take it.”

Her sisters gave her his car.  As she got the engine running, a thin stream of water shot out of the radiator, landing in an arc on the concrete in front of her sisters.  Sighing, she cracked an egg into the radiator water, praying it would hold until she could get the leak fixed.

Obviously her father had been too ill to maintain the car.  It still had all his stuff in it, the paperback he’d been reading was face down on the seat where he’d left it. Putting the crook in the back of the car with the rest of his stuff, she concentrated on getting the car back to Wanganui.

At home she put the crook in the corner of the room and cried.  It was more than she could cope with. The endless winter days felt like a long, dark valley where she did not laugh and she did not smile.  Again the humble crook stayed unnoticed until finally, the God of all comfort came.

Her tear filled eyes were drawn to the staff.  She noticed it had been varnished.  Mindful of the care taken in its preservation, she asked “Does this crook have some significance?”

The Shepherd replied, giving her some dates, and a number.  “From the day you left Napier on the 4th day of August 1971, to the day of your Father’s death on the 4th day of August 1994, 23 years were written in my book. When your father leaned on the staff, I was there.  Now the time for your father has ended, and you will go on. Read Psalm 23. It will be familiar to you.”

   The Lord is my shepherd,
   I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.

   He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness

   for His name’s sake.

  Even though I walk through the valley
   of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil;
   for you are with me;
   Your rod and Your staff comfort me.  Psalm 23

Carried back to the place where she had first encountered the Shepherd in the valley, she smiled at him through her tears.  She could see the hills, the sheep, the creek and the quiet pool by the willows. “This is the place where we first met” she said, wiping away her tears as her eyes lingered on the crook, the shepherd’s staff.

Taking the staff in her hands she ran her fingers over the smooth wood, remembering.  The staff had come back to her as a great gift from the Shepherd, and it comforted her.   She wiped her eyes and said “It’s true. Your rod and your staff … comfort me.”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” the Lord replied. (Matthew 5:4)

The Amazing race

amazingrace2Have you watched the Amazing Race? Imagine you are competing in it.  Millions of people are watching you on TV.  The prize is $1,000,000.  It would change your life to win it.

You finish the first leg, and those watching you are excited about the way you’ve run the race so far.  The race organiser is there to greet you as you come up to the finish.   You’re still in the race.  He is happy to see you make the pit stop, and while you rest you think about the decisions you made, the risks, the trials, the challenges you overcame, the pitfalls and mistakes, the detours and roadblocks.

The Kingdom is like the Amazing Race.  We have to follow directions, search for signs, work out the clues, overcome the obstacles, and get through the road blocks and challenges.  Only at the finish will we know if we’ve won, and what we’ve won.

The Kingdom of Heaven is open for all, if you believe in the Lord and confess your faith in Him.  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”  Romans 10:9-10.

But you still have to contend for the race.  There is an adversary, the devil.  If he can’t stop you from getting that precious ticket to Heaven, purchased for you by Christ, he will try and keep you from running the race.  He will find your weakness and attempt to ensnare you.

Ephesians6-12Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  Philippians 2:13

What you inherit when you enter the Kingdom of Heaven depends on how you’ve run the race here.  Not everyone gets a prize.  Many are called, few are chosen.  Matthew 22:14.  You have to overcome to inherit the promises, and they are great.

What you inherit is up to the Lord.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:24-25

Get this, y
ou can lose your inheritance while still being allowed into Heaven.  Some people are going to get into Heaven with the smell of smoke on them and nothing else.relay

If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.  If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.  1 Corinthians 3:14

“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 6:9-10

If you are in one of those ‘nor’ or ‘neithers’, have a really good think about what you stand to lose because of that sin.  This should make us intentional about how we live our lives; working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  Philippians 2:13

Just like in the Amazing Race, where the competitors are gunning for the finish line, the prize in sight.

You may run the race alone or as part of a team.  For years I ran alone or with friends until Isaac came to join me in the race.

When I learned about inheritance, I found there was even more to the race than I first thought.  There are people who have run before who have a baton to pass on.  You will know if you are on their team.

Hebrews 11 speaks of people of faith, who believed in what God promised; “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for them so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

The baton can be promises to be fulfilled, victories to be obtained, or mantles to be taken up.

The Church fulfills its commission in telling everyone about salvation, but often it stops there.  I hope I’ve given you something to think about.  The next chapter of my story is about running the race.  I’m still running.  I’ve got a funny looking baton which you can read about in Chapter 79 The Year of Inheritance.

Here’s a good site I found that teaches on what I’ve mentioned here, in more depth;

http://remnantreport.com/cgi-bin/imcart/read.cgi?article_id=292&sub=25

Here’s “Stay strong” by the Newsboys.

Seek first the Kingdom

Ephesians 3-20Do you believe that God is able or willing to provide if we ask, or do you believe that “God helps those who help themselves?”  I had to grow up self reliant, so I believed more in self help.  That was until I came to a place in my life where we’d just left college,  we didn’t have jobs, and we were nearly out of money.  We ended up in this tenuous position through no fault of our own, work we’d been promised didn’t materialise.  I called that place “the mirage”.

Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount not to worry about stuff, our Father in Heaven knows what we need;

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 

SparrowLook at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:25-34

I wanted to believe that if we seek first the Kingdom, all these things will be given to us – but I had trouble trusting God for provision after the mirage.  I worried about the future big time!  My husband didn’t pray very nicely to God about our situation, he just barked “God, we need money, RIGHT NOW.

Eye on the sparrowGod heard us.  The next day we entered a period of supernatural provision that lasted for two months, ending when we got our first pay packets.  We got jobs working nightfill at a supermarket 3 nights a week, commercial cleaning on the weekends and early mornings, and I also worked as a caregiver on Saturday night through to early Sunday afternoon.  We were building a business during the day, and I wondered how we were ever going to get that off the ground.  God got us seed funding for that as well.  He did above and beyond what we asked for or ever could have imagine.  Our business was able to pay us both after the first year, and we were able to give up our night jobs.  That was seven years ago, and we’re doing okay, despite the recession.

The story is told in Chapter 78 The seed

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

 

Holidaying on the smell of an oily rag

Camping at Te Aroha

Camping at Te Aroha

Have you ever gone on a holiday with no money?  We have!  We were forced to some years back, through having to vacate our student flat on campus over the December-January holiday period.  As far as our finances went, we were running on the smell of an oily rag.

We prayed about what to do and where to go before leaving, and God didn’t disappoint us.  “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes” He said.  It seemed a great idea.  Off we went with $80, a $1000 overdraft, a tent and a 16 year old car.

In the end, we spent only three days camping.  We got houses to sit in big city Auckland and in Waipawa, a friendly little town in Hawkes Bay.

We went camping at a place called “Te Aroha” which means “the mountain of love” or “the loved one”.  The river its next to is the Waihou river, meaning “new water.”  One of the walks we did took us along the banks of the Waihou river.  It’s a river of crystal clear water, which I’ve covered in earlier posts:

Come to the river and Salus per Aquam, Healing through waters.

New Zealand is a country of outstanding natural beauty, so we went exploring.  We spent several days in the Karangahake Gorge, an old gold mining area of bush clad gorges, waterfalls and sparkling rivers.

If you are ever in the North Island of New Zealand, I recommend these places for hiking.

From there, we eventually made our way to Hawkes Bay, where we were going to house-sit for my sister and brother-in-law.  The road we travelled was the Napier-Taupo road.

The road isn’t as bad as when I was a kid, but I was a bit worried because there were some big hills for the old car to get over.  The Australians call our hills “mountains”.  My worst fears were realised after we scaled the Gentle Annie, a hill that was over 2300 feet high.  The car engine overheated and converted all the water to steam at the summit.  It still went after that, but it was flaky and never the same for the rest of the holiday.

We had to spend some of the overdraft money on products to try and fix the subsequent overheating and leaking problems.  I think the hill lead to the engine’s demise.  Six months later, my husband replaced the engine as soon as we were able to afford it.

I felt the presence of God on that holiday, especially in Hawkes Bay.  He spoke to me a lot out of the book of Isaiah, even though I was reading Proverbs at the time.  That holiday has to be one of my all time best holidays, even though we had no money and a car with overheating problems.  I believe it is better to be time-rich and money-poor rather than the other way around.  Experiences don’t have to cost money, but you need to have the time to enjoy them.  Joy is part of the word ‘enjoy’.  That holiday, I learned what joy was.

The joy of catching up with family and friends.  The joy of going back to childhood places.  The joy of hiking through beautiful places.  The joy of being free and not having to be anywhere.  The joy of discovering things that had been hidden for years.

 

The wall

Have you ever encountered an obstacle that seemed unsurmountable?  Its called “hitting the wall.”  What’s been your wall? 

walk the wall

“Walk the wall!” A scene from “An Officer and a Gentleman”

Statistics was the wall I came up against, a paper I had to pass to qualify for a Diploma of Business.  We had four weeks to complete it.  I just couldn’t do it, I hadn’t been able to understand maths since the age of ten.  When I prayed about it, I knew I had to “throw my heart over the bar”.

Years before, I had won a major spiritual battle against bad thoughts.  After I’d got rid of the worry and hate, God wanted me to fill my mind with positive thoughts, so I read a book my Norman Vincent Peale, “The power of positive thinking.”

One of the things Norman Vincent Peale said was this;

Throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow.  Throw your faith over your difficulty, throw your affirmation over every barrier, throw your visualisation over your obstacles.  Fire the heart with where you want to go and what you want to be.  Get it so deeply fixed in your unconscious that you will not take no for an answer, then your entire personality will follow where your heart leads.”     

It reminds me of a scene from the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” that came out in 1982 with the hit song “Up where we belong.”  Anyway, the scene I am talking about is where the only female cadet on the course has a wall she has to scale.  The hero wouldn’t let her give up.  He coached her over the wall; “Walk the wall! Seeger! Seeger, walk! Seeger! Don’t you let go! You walk that wall! Pull! Pull! Pull, Candidate Seeger!”  

Psalm 18-29

Have you ever hit the wall?  If you can’t seem to get over, consult God before you give up.  He will know whether you can do it or not.  He and my husband helped me scale the wall, just like the hero in the movie.

Did I pass Statistics at College?  I did, I never used it in my business – but I have used Statistics in a major revelation about the 153 fish.