Monday, January 30, 2012

Did You Know You Were A Queen?

Did you know that the number 12 in the Bible represents government?  So some are calling 2012 “The Year of God’s Government”. Before you think “politics”, let’s put it this way – “The year of God’s Kingdom”. What does that mean? Let’s look at it in light of this Scripture:

Mark 1:14-15 - “…Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of god is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’”
Several Scriptures throughout the gospels say the “kingdom of God is at hand” – this is translated as “near” or “has come”.  Jesus brought the Kingdom with him – when he taught His disciples to pray, he said pray like this “Thy Kingdom come…they will be done, here on earth as it is in Heaven.” –  he was telling us to pray for the Kingdom of Heaven to be manifest in our circumstances here on earth, just like it is in Heaven.
The people in that day didn’t understand the Kingdom because they were waiting for a ruler to come and set up a physical kingdom and rule on the throne here on earth. 
Luke 17:20-21 – “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘the Kingdom of God does not come with observation;  nor will they say, ‘see here!’ or ‘See there!’  For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.’”
So let’s talk kingdom… the notes in my NKJ “Spirit Filled Life” study Bible put it like this:  “The terminology of the kingdom holds more than poetic pictures. It is practically applicable to all our living.”
Every kingdom has...
  • a king
  • usually a queen (the King’s bride)
  • Representatives (Ambassadors) for when they are in other countries and speaking on behalf of the king, representing their Nation
  • Servants – completely loyal and obedient to the King and the laws of the kingdom (or suffer the consequences)
There are good kings and bad kings, those who rule for themselves, or those who put the people’s best interest at heart.
But there has NEVER before, nor will there ever be another king like King Jesus. Likewise, there is NO kingdom quite like the Kingdom of God.
Jesus is the King – the church is His Bride, therefore His Queen…but we also have many other titles and responsibilities. Besides being the Queen/Bride, we’re His children, joint heirs to the kingdom, His ambassadors, and His servants.
·         Bride – Eph. 5:25-27 “…just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

·         Children  John 1:12-13 - “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” 

·          HeirsRom. 8:17Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” 

·         Ambassador 2 Cor. 5:20 – “We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.” We represent Him here on earth (since His Kingdom is not of this world), we act as His representatives in this foreign land where we reside for now.
As with any kingdom, a king’s queen enjoys certain privileges; an heir comes with many promises; an ambassador to the King has a great deal of authority when coming in the name of the king; and the servants have great responsibilities to represent their kingdom in a way that is pleasing to their king.
I encourage you to study the Scriptures regarding this kingdom in which we as believers in Jesus Christ have become members.  We are called to “press into” this kingdom (Luke 16:16).
I am filled with excitement about 2012 as the people of this Heavenly Kingdom take our rightful place.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Using Your Platform

An example from Tim Tebow
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Broncos fan, a huge sports fan, or if you don’t even like football…if you live in this country (or breathing on this planet at all), you’ve heard of Tim Tebow.

Tim is the son of Christian missionaries, he was home-schooled by his mom, and accepted Jesus as his Savior at age 7. He explained that character was taught first, before math or other subjects. He honors his parents, and gives credit to his mother for being courageous when she was advised by the doctors to abort Tim due to what they thought were life threatening complications. He said it wasn’t really a choice for her, she never even considered ending the life of her child. This same story later became a controversial commercial that aired during the Superbowl two years ago to honor life as opposed to abortion. While playing football for the Univ. of Florida, Tim also took a stand for abstinence where he publicly confessed he was still a virgin. His beliefs have made him the subject of much ridicule by the world’s standards.
It’s been amazing to watch the controversy over this one man – who is using his God given gifts and abilities, to Exalt the name of Jesus. Tim told how early on how his father explained the amazing platform available to star athletes. This, according to Tim, outweighs the satisfaction he gets from playing football. While with the Florida Gators, he had access to the local hospital. He would spend almost every weekend visiting the children in the hospital, using his “platform” to share his faith.

Over the years, he’s been both a role model to many, and a target of persecution from those who hate his conservative values. However, up until this season, most chose to write him off as a serious player. It took going on a winning streak, with his unconventional Quarterback skills, as well as his bold way of giving thanks to Jesus Christ his Savior after every win, that has gotten the attention of fans and critics alike.

So how is Tebow reacting to such attention?
I haven’t heard him comment on the inappropriate and blasphemous skit making fun of his faith on Saturday Night Live. He’s been portrayed as a joke on several sports newspaper articles, ridiculed on late night television shows, and been the topic of many conversations on the Internet. I’ve seen no quotes of Tim responding to Dave Silverman, the president of “American Atheists”, when he claimed that Tebow was “brainwashing” himself into believing God has something to do with his victories.”

I have, however, heard Tim quoted as saying that he hopes when people think of him, they’ll not only see a football player. In fact, in an interview on CBN, Tim was quoted as saying:
“I hope they say, number one, that this is a guy who loves the Lord, but that he loves people and wants to make a difference in their life. He wants to help everyone he comes in contact with…he’s genuine, real and cares about people. It’s not all about scoring touchdowns, or being famous or anything like that, but it’s about relationships, it’s about making a difference in people’s lives, and at the end of the day, it’s about glorifying God.”

It’s not that we want to put him on a pedestal – he admittedly makes mistakes. He said that’s where the grace of God comes in. However, I do want to acknowledge, and thank him for standing up against the tough criticism, and standing strong for the Lord.

It’s truly refreshing to see a young man in the spotlight, care more about glorifying God than promoting his own ego.
It’s a great reminder to all of us to:

* Use our God given gifts and talents to glorify God
* To be a person of influence and use our “Platform” to give our testimony and share our faith
* Not be afraid of the world’s perspective of who we are and what we’re doing for Christ.
* At the end of the day, it’s not about us, it’s about
Exalting His Name!

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I wanted to share some of his famous quotes that really spoke to me. The wisdom and example he shared is not just something to be admired, but a goal to be achieved.
"He who is devoid of the power to forgive, is devoid of the power to love."
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."
"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."

"The church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society."
"The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be...The Nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists."
"The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important."
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
"Yes, I see the Church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists"
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." 
I could go on and on...he had so many awesome, powerful quotes - any one of these could be a whole sermon in themselves. I'll share one more..
My favorite quote, that is so true in our walk with the Lord (and particularly applicable to my life right now):
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."