Trusting Our Father the King

When He taught, Jesus used the paradigm of the kingdom of God because the people who were gathered around Him understood monarchies. We have to try a little harder to form a kingdom mentality, but we can do it because it’s in our past and it’s in our movies. We can learn to trust that the King has made us His sons and daughters. We are princes and princesses of the realm.

We can learn to trust that when we represent Him in the world and need help, we can send word. He will help.

Still, it seems like it can be difficult to trust the King. Trust is hard. We have a lot of trust issues with our own government. Our representatives are making deals without regard to morality. They’ll actually sacrifice their own morals to make sure their agenda gets done. That’s what we have in government.

No wonder we don’t understand what it means to trust! Imagine living in the 11th century and the King says to you, “Come and be my son.” What do you think someone back then would have said? “I’m in!”

Now we hesitate. Now we say, “I don’t know, I kind of like living out here, outside the gates of the kingdom.” Why would we do that? It’s almost confusing to think that anyone would be wary of being adopted as God’s own child.

We are wary, though, and it’s because when we see government, we don’t see trust and we don’t get trust. So we don’t understand what it’s like to trust God the King.

We’ve lost so much trust that we love Jesus and thank Him for saving us but we still struggle to trust God. We don’t trust that He accepts us as His sons and daughters. We go out into the world but we don’t really believe that we’ll be allowed back into the Kingdom.

We think God will shut the gate behind us. We forget that we can trust the King!

We deal with this by getting into a works mentality. We get worried that we won’t be good enough for God or live up to His expectations. Using a works mentality, we start doing things so that He’ll smile on us.

The problem is that we’re not perfect. We sin. Sunk in a works mentality, we feel like we have to make up for the sin. “I judged somebody, so I have to read five psalms today.” Or, “I had a lustful thought, so I have to put in two extra hours at the food pantry.” Or, “I thought I was a better Christian than my neighbor, so I have to go to Nicaragua and help build a new school.”

When you start doing stuff to make yourself feel better because you sinned, then you have a works mentality. This is legalism. Now fulfilling the royal law becomes work. It shouldn’t be! The royal law is a natural outpouring of God’s love and grace!

If you do something in order to show people what you’ve done, you’ll be dissatisfied. You won’t feel very good when you’re done.

But if you do something to help a struggling neighbor simply because you love your neighbor, you’ll feel so good and fulfilled. Your heart will be right where it needs to be.

So trust the King! And when you struggle, send word to Him. Tell Him, “I need some help here.” Trust Him. Help will come.

God Will Always Provide

Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! — Matthew 7:9-11

God’s work is joyful work. Love your neighbor as yourself! I mean, that’s joy! It’s the royal law, the commandment of the Kingdom of God. The trumpets sound, and the King says, “Go and love.”

The Bible says we’re all royalty now, since we have heard and responded to Jesus. We are all holy and righteous. God says, “You are mine now.” You are His child, a prince or princess of the Kingdom. God’s precious child.

“Go and love.” That’s the warriors’ command from the King! The trumpets sound and Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself, and love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

So go and love your neighbor. That’s your war cry. Leave the Kingdom walls, figure out what is wrong with your neighbors, and love on them. Don’t worry about having the means to do it. Trust God for that! When you need help, send word to the King. Tell Him, “We’re filling a need here and we need more resources.” He’ll provide what He needs to provide.

Imagine this as if it were a movie about medieval Europe. The king’s forces have gone to war, and there’s a moment when the tide of battle seems to be turning against them. They realize, “We need more men!” What do they do? They send word to the king. What does the king do? He provides more men! When they run out of anything, they send a courier to the castle. “Tell the king we need more ammo.” Or, “Tell him we need more food.” The king sends food and ammo. The King sends whatever his forces need.

God will provide for you. Pray, and the Holy Spirit will go to the Father and speak some words. We don’t necessarily understand what the Spirit says, but we know it means something like, “Hey, your daughter needs something.” There’s no doubt in my mind that God replies, “Go and give it to her.” He says, “My child says we need more ammo, or food, or men, or tents? That’s my child! I’ll give him whatever he needs.”

This is what the Bible says. It’s the promise of our devoted King. God keeps His promises. So “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Does this mean that if you ask for a million dollars, He’s going to say yes? I don’t think so. He’ll ask, “Does my son need a million, or does he want a million?” Those are two different things! But whatever you need, God will give it to you.

We can trust the King of Kings because we are His children. We are members of His family. We can say, “I am a part of God’s Kingdom, so I am going to go forth to fulfill the royal law. I’m going to get on my horse and go out of the gate and into the world. I’m going to love my neighbor, and when I do that, I’m going to represent the Kingdom of God.”

Go out even if you don’t have any money. Go out even if you don’t have the resources lined up. Just send word to God. Pray. Tell Him, “I need a way to get more ammo so that I can love on my neighbors. They are in need, God!” He will give you the ammo you need. Jobs will open up. Maybe a donor will come along and offer to help you. Maybe you will experience a miracle! How awesome would that be?

God will provide. Trust Him in this.

Heirs of the Kingdom

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well…James 2:5, 8

When Jesus described the kingdom of God, the people listening to Him understood the paradigm. Kingdoms were very common in their day, so they understood the mentality. Rule by kings continued in Europe until the 20th century in some places, and some parts of the world continue to have monarchies today. Americans had a revolution in the 18th century, so it’s a little harder for us to understand the paradigm. But we can do it since it’s in our history. We can understand how kingdoms work.

If you use a kingdom mentality to understand the royal law, you will realize that when you accept Christ, you are no longer a pauper. You are royalty, rich in faith and an heir of His kingdom. Think about that! The King is going out and looking over the land, saying, “Whoever wants to be part my kingdom, I’m adopting you. Now you are my son. Now you are my daughter. You are now a prince. You are now a princess.”

That is a really good way to live! You were poor before. You were lost! Now you’re found.

When Jesus died, He rose again. Because of what He did, the gate to the kingdom is unlocked for everyone. Because of what He did, anyone who wants to come to the King can come. The drawbridge never closes. You want to come in, come in.

And when God adopts you, you don’t have to stay in the castle. You can come and go as you please.

When you go, understand that you are holy and righteous. That is your identity. No matter where you came from, no matter who you were, you are no longer a pauper. Where you came from is gone. That life is past. God gives you a new life in His kingdom, and you leave His kingdom as His son or daughter. You are a prince or princess of the realm.

People are going to ask you, “What did you have to do to become a member of His family?” You can tell them, “It’s simple. I know what His son did for me. I believe it. And I love that He’s my savior. I love that there are no strings attached. I gave my life over to Him and said, ‘Jesus, thank you.’ Now, because of that, the drawbridge is open. I walked right in. I went in before the King and I said, ‘I’d like to be your royal child.’ And He said, ‘Come on in!’”

As His royal child, you represent God to the world. You represent His kingdom to the world. So go, and invite people in. Love on them. Encourage them. Tell them, “You can trust the King. He wants you with Him. He’s not going to destroy you. He’s not going to execute you. He’s not going to put you in prison. He’s not going to treat you as a traitor or a spy. He’s going to love you! Simply love you!”

This is freedom!

A Perfect Plan

I’ve been writing a lot lately about doubt, be it doubt in God’s existence, or doubt in His purpose for us. But that’s the doubt that comes from our own lives, when we struggle with failure or frustrated expectations and desires.

When we look into the lives of others, we face a completely different kind of challenge. What happens to our faith when we see suffering and evil? What are we supposed to make of God’s purpose when a newborn baby starves to death? What plan could God have possibly had for that baby?

That’s a tough question, and I don’t claim to know the answer. If we wanted to end poverty, we could. There’s enough money in this world to end it immediately. But we don’t do it. I don’t think it’s going to happen because sin is in the world. Selfishness will always keep us from eliminating poverty altogether.

When I get challenged like this, I think about the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.” As ambassadors of Christ, we are called to help bring the redemptive love of Jesus to Earth. We are called to help bring God’s kingdom. We pray for it, we look for it, and we long to be a part of it. So we look for opportunities to be involved in bringing it.

I think God has a plan. I think it is a perfect plan. This is going to work out. And there’s a role for everyone. Look around you! There are so many incredibly talented people. They are everywhere. We have an abundance of incredible ideas for ending poverty. We have an abundance of energy and passion for the kingdom. With all that talent, all those skills, all those callings, and all those passions, we are overflowing with opportunities to bring the kingdom. No matter where we work, we can do so much. We can love so much!

I don’t really know how much I can or cannot do, but I intend to find out! I’m going to do as much as I can. My biggest fear is that I’ll sit before the throne of God one day and He will say to me, “You gave me 90% when I needed one hundred.” I don’t want Him to say that. I want Him to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I’m not working for my own salvation. I don’t have to. By the blood of Jesus, I am saved. No, what I’m trying to do is be a light. I’m trying to be a city set on a hill. (Matthew 5:14) I don’t want to be one of those cities that didn’t do enough to light up the world. God is calling! I want to make sure that I’m hearing Him correctly. I want to make sure that I’m doing what He wants me to do.

More on this next time. See you Friday.

Kingdom Warriors

Sometimes people ask me, “Do you really think we can end human trafficking in our lifetime?” The truth is, I don’t know. But I’m still going to fight it with every opportunity. If we fight, we can free some people from a pretty terrible life.

I can’t promise you that fighting trafficking will end it. But we can end it, and I mean end it permanently, for some people. That’s one promise I can make. We can give some people their lives back. And the men, women, and children that are saved because of our efforts are pretty happy that we showed up and fought for them. They are happy that we didn’t just sit back and say, “Well, I can’t end trafficking, so why should I try?”

Think of those people whose lives were spared because we fed them. Think of those people who have clean, safe water to drink because we put in a well for them. Now they have no disease and their communities are thriving. They’re living longer and living fully because they don’t feel sick all the time. They’re happy and full of joy! I think they are pretty happy that we helped them, even if we can’t completely eliminate hunger or contaminated water in our lifetime.

I know that when we put in a well and heal a community, someone else, somewhere else, is dying of thirst. There’s plenty of that going around. And even if we fix one problem for good, another might arise. There was the plague, the “Black Death,” in the 14th century. It devastated Europe, and the Europeans were probably wondering if it would ever stop. It did. Later, we learned to understand sickness, and to treat it. Yet disease still is rampant. We handled the plague, the Spanish flu, whooping cough, and many other diseases, but still others, like Ebola, pop up. So we ask, “Can we end trafficking in our lifetime?” And I think, even if we can, another threat may arise.

But we can end trafficking for some people. We can end poverty for some people. We can end disease, sorrow, and suffering for some people. And so that’s what we do. It’s our calling as human beings in Christ, and so we rise to the call. I can’t save the whole world, but I can do my part. I can reflect Jesus by meeting a need, whenever or wherever I see one.

We are here to create the conditions of God’s justice, like freedom and health, joy and community. That’s why we’re here, so that’s what we do! We don’t have to win the war. Jesus already did that for us. We just have to fight the battles. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. We’re here to help when we see a need. That’s all.

That’s the whole purpose of life!

See you Monday.

The Royal Law

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well…James 2:5, 8

When Jesus described the kingdom of God, the people listening to Him understood the paradigm. Kingdoms were very common in their day, so they understood the mentality. Rule by kings continued in Europe until the 20th century in some places, and some parts of the world continue to have monarchies today. Americans had a revolution in the 18th century, so it’s a little harder for us to understand the paradigm. But we can do it, since it’s in our history. We can understand how kingdoms work.

Child of GodIf you use a kingdom mentality to understand the royal law, you will realize that when you accept Christ, you are no longer a pauper. You are royalty, rich in faith and an heir of His kingdom. Think about that! The King is going out, and looking over the land saying, “Whoever wants to be a part my kingdom, I’m adopting you. Now you are my son. Now you are my daughter. You are now a prince, or a princess.”

That is a really good way to live! You were poor before. You were lost. But now you’re found.

When Jesus died, He rose again. Because of what He did, the gate to the kingdom is unlocked for everyone. Because of what He did, anyone who wants to come to the King can come. The drawbridge never closes. You want to come in, come in. And when God adopts you, you don’t have to stay in the castle. You can come and go as you please.

When you go, understand that you are holy and righteous. That is your identity. No matter where you came from, no matter who you were, you are now no longer a pauper. Where you came from is over. That life is over. God gives you a new life in His kingdom, and you leave His kingdom as His son or daughter. You are a prince or princess of the realm.

People are going to ask you, “What did you have to do, to become a member of His family?” You can tell them, “It is simple. I know what His son did for me. I believe it. And I love that He’s my savior! I love that there are no strings attached. I gave my life over to Him and said, ‘Jesus, thank you.’ Now, because of that, the drawbridge is open. I walked right in. I went before the King, and I said, ‘I’d like to be your royal child.’ And He said, ‘Come on in!’”

As His royal child, you represent God to the world. You represent His kingdom to the world. So go, and invite people in. Love on them. Encourage them. Tell them, “You can trust the King. He wants you with Him. He’s not going to destroy you. He’s not going to execute you. He’s not going to put you in prison. He’s not going to treat you as a traitor or a spy. He’s going to love you! Simply love you!”

This is freedom! See you Thursday.

We Need More Ammo

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?…If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. James 2:5, 8

Doing God’s work is filled with joy. Love your neighbor as yourself! I mean, that’s joy! It’s the royal law, the commandment of the Kingdom of God. The trumpets sound, and the King says, “Go and love.” That’s the warriors’ command from the King. The trumpets sound, and Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself, and love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

So go and love your neighbor. That’s your war cry! Leave the Kingdom walls, figure out what is wrong with your neighbors, and love on them. Don’t worry about having the means to do it. Trust God for that! When you need help, send word to the King. Tell Him, “We’re filling a need here, and we need more resources.” He’ll provide what He needs to provide.

Imagine this as if it were a movie about medieval Europe. The king’s forces have gone to war, and there’s a moment when the tide of battle seems to be turning against them. They realize, “We need more men!” What do they do? They send word to the king. What does the king do? He provides more men! When they run out of anything, they send a courier to the castle. “Tell the king we need more ammo.” Or, “Tell him we need more food.” The king sends food, ammo, or whatever his forces need.

God will provide for you. Pray, and the Holy Spirit will go to the Father and speak some words. We don’t necessarily understand what the Spirit says, but we know it means something like, “Hey, your daughter needs something.” There’s no doubt in my mind that God replies, “Go and give it to her.” He says, “My child says we need more ammo, or food, or men, or tents? That’s my child! I’ll give him or her what he or she needs.”

That’s what the Bible says. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6) Does this mean that if you ask for a million dollars, He’s going to say yes? I don’t think so. He’ll ask, “Does my son need a million, or does he want a million?” Those are two different things! But whatever you need, God will give it to you.

We can trust the King of Kings because we are His children! As members of His family, we say, “I am a part of God’s Kingdom, so I am going to go forth to fulfill the royal law. I’m going to get on my horse and go out of the gate and into the world. I’m going to love my neighbor, and when I do that, I’m going to represent the Kingdom of God.”

We go out even if we don’t have any money. We go out even if we don’t have the resources lined up. Just send word to God. Pray. Tell Him, “I need a way to get more ammo so that I can love on my neighbors. They are in need, God!” He will give you the ammo you need. Jobs will open up. Maybe a donor will come along and offer to help you. God will provide. Trust Him in this.

The Bible says we’re all royalty now, since we have heard and responded to Jesus. We are all holy and righteous. This is what God means when He says, “You are mine now.” You are His child. And as a child of the King, you are a prince or princess of the Kingdom, God’s precious child.

More on this next time. See you Thursday.