Jude (Part 1)

Jude (Part 1)

Let me start here: if you have not read Jude (an introduction), stop now and go read it . . . it will make more sense that way. However, as a reminder to those who did read it let me refresh your memory. Jude is one of four brothers of Jesus and at some point led the Church in Jerusalem. He came to faith after Jesus’ resurrection. This same Jude then pens this letter and it is powerful! As a call to repentance, as a reminder of judgment, and as a warning to stay alert as we contend for the faith.

He doesn’t waste time with small talk, antidotes, or gibber, he is very matter-of-fact. In the verses, we will look at this week, we will see his heart, and his understanding as the brother of Jesus and leader of the Church. Let’s look at verse 5, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Here is an interesting point, there are a couple manuscripts out there as well as a few versions of the Bible that use “Jesus” in place of “the Lord”. Could these early manuscripts be more accurate to Jude’s point? i think so. Jude had come to an understanding of who Jesus was and was not ashamed of it.

We love grace, i love grace. We preach grace, i preach grace, and it is glorious! However, we mustn’t lose sight of Jesus. Jesus, actively a part of the Old Testament, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, saves us by His cross. He leads us free from the chains of sin, out of bondage and into freedom. As the Israelites out of Egypt and still, subsequently (lit. the second time) He destroys those who did not believe. Folks, there is judgment. There is a hell and it has been preached since the formation of the Church. Do not be led astray. We must continue to contend for the faith in a world that would pervert the grace of God, even some in the Church.

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, [f]subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [g]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [h]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (NASB)

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved[c] a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[d] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (ESV)

Pray with me for insight, for understanding, for fresh revelation into God’s Word. Let the Spirit of God speak to our hearts through these words written by Jude inspired by the Spirit. May we grow in wisdom and faith, as we seek to walk humbly with Jesus, contending for the faith. Until next week . . .

you are loved,

cj

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, it is just two verses. Yet these two verses are immensely profound in their simplicity. You want to boil things down to the minimum and just look at the core of human existence? Then here you go:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! Because God’s faithful love towards us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord!”

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, Praise the Lord. Worship Him. Because, He is faithful. His love is strong towards us and He is forever faithful. Thus, we should, Praise the Lord! No matter what you are facing, no matter what difficulties or trials befall you, Praise the Lord! In the good and in the bad, Praise the Lord! In the sun and in the rain, Praise the Lord! In life and in death, Praise the Lord! In sickness and in health, Praise the Lord! In the hardest of times and in the best of times, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

you are loved,

cj

In our weakness, standing in Your strength, Thy Kingdom Come

In our weakness, standing in Your strength, Thy Kingdom Come

Weakness, who would admit to it? We are taught from the beginning, strength wins. Survival of the fittest. There is quote after quote about the need to be strong and independent. Even in the Church, we have quotes such as, “God helps those that help themselves.” None of them truly helpful, and rarely actually Biblical. Oh sure, some are really great. They are motivators for us to press on in difficult times. They encourage us at times even give us a new perspective on life and ourselves. i recently read a men’s devotional in which it talked about our need to be physically fit, strong even. Although it made some very valid points, i think it was leaning too hard on our strength and how God wants to use our strength.

In reality, God wants to use our weaknesses. In order for that to happen, we must embrace our weakness, understand it and live in a place that allows God to use our weaknesses to His glory. We need to realize that we are made perfect in weakness. We need to humble ourselves even in areas of strength and rely on God’s strength. Will He use our strengths? Absolutely! But when we become dependent on our own ability, we will soon lose perspective and reliance on God and His strength. In Everything, we need to seek the Lord, His will, His strength, His leading and in the end His glory not our own.

This is not a popular message by any stretch of the imagination. Many will disagree. However, i would just point back to the fact that God uses our strengths, yes He does…i contend, however, that He uses our weakness more, in fact, He desires to use our weakness more than our strength. That is a very comforting thought if you think about it honestly. It is the Apostle Paul who wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

9 “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

Let’s look at this passage in the Message in a fuller context looking at verses 7-10:

7-10 “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first, I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Here in 1 Corinthians 1:27 Paul says, “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” (NLT) Yes, He has given us gifts, and talents, but often the gift and the talent for particular missions are found in the weakest of men (and women). God’s Kingdom is built on His strength, His Kingdom has come. Jesus said, “12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12 NASB) and, “Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you.” (John 14:16 CEV)

Let me point to this, in conclusion, the final verse of Psalm 27 (NASB read the whole chapter by clicking the link)…Be strong yes, as you wait on the Lord.

Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.”

Embrace your weakness.

You are loved,

cj

In our offering, and in our service, Thy Kingdom Come

In our offering, and in our service, Thy Kingdom Come

With the passing of the Reverend Billy Graham today i think it fitting that we have reached this point in our “Thy Kingdom Come” series. No doubt he (Rev. Graham) heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when he walked into glory. His humility throughout his life is something to be emulated, not to mention his desire to offer of himself and serve. There are two quotes i want to share here from the Rev. Billy Graham that i have read today in various places. The first, “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.” WOW, i find myself both in agreement and challenged at these words. And that’s only the first quote! Here is the second, “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” Here i am comforted and inspired.

When the church uses the word “offering” folks immediately jump to tithes or money. Although that is definitely a part, it is not the whole. You see offering is giving and one can and should give from the heart. Whether that is tithe or special gifts or time, effort, and resources of a non-monetary form. When we make an offering of time to the church, the body of Christ, we are essentially giving in multiple areas. One might ask, “Isn’t that service?” Yes, and no, is the answer. Yes in that we are serving the church when we offer our time and talents. However, service is much deeper. By this, i mean that we are to serve everyone, not just the members of the body of Christ.

i want us to look at Matthew 25:31-40 here we will see exactly what i am talking about straight from Jesus’ mouth (from the Message).

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him, and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry, and you fed me,
I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless, and you gave me a room,
I was shivering, and you gave me clothes,
I was sick, and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison, and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'”

i really like how the Message spells this out, “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was meyou did it to me.” WOW! When we make self-sacrificing service, through sincere faith, we do so unto the Lord. This has challenged me over the years to evaluate why i do, why i give, why i serve, why i live essentially. What is my motive, what is my expectation, what is my heart? The answer, reveals whether or not i am serving others or myself…whether my actions are selfless or selfish. This passage continues…41-46

41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry, and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless, and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering, and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

Each of us holds a piece of the puzzle. Putting the puzzle together can be challenging. We will make mistakes. We will find our intentions were selfish, our motives, wrong. But do not lose heart, do not grow weary in doing good as it says in Galatians 6:9. We have unique and specific giftings, talents, and resources, each of us must examine ourselves and make an offering of our lives in service; financially and physically.  Let me remind us of Rev. Graham’s words, “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.”  We may not always get it right, but we must still be ready, willing and able. As we learn to live in our Lords Kingdom here and now.

In our offering, and in our service, THY KINGDOM COME!

You are loved,

cj

In our WORDS, and in our SILENCE, Thy Kingdom Come

In our WORDS, and in our SILENCE, Thy Kingdom Come

Ecclesiastes 3:7 says: “…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” There are a lot of passages that speak about not speaking, of holding one’s tongue, simply put, not talking. Psalm 37:7 – “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” 62:5 – “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” and finally, although there are plenty more, Proverbs 29:11 – “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

We have all seen that one person who just yells, they yell at pretty much everything, complain about everything and everyone. It is easy to sit and wonder how such a person can ever be happy. Now i don’t mean those occasional conversations where two good friends vent a little. There is something about letting off a little steam once in awhile, but to constantly air one’s disdain for everything is quite another thing. Nobody likes complainers, grumps, and people full of visceral. There is a season, a time, a moment if you will when you may be required to speak up. It may be passionate, full of animation and octaves above your normal speaking voice, just be sure it is warranted and out of character.

If you sit in a meeting with me you will rarely hear me speak. i take two bits of advice very seriously, first, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” (-Unkown) Proverbs 17:28 speaks to this idea; “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” The second piece of advice, “speak softly, and carry a big stick.” (President Theodore Roosevelt) ok, maybe not the “big stick” part but certainly the speaking softly, Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Here is my point, we are challenged throughout Scripture to “watch our tongues” and “speak wisely” and “thoughtfully”. To measure our words, to speak only what builds up and not what tears down. To wait until the very last second possible to vent, and then wait, a second more. It is not easy but in our words, we should only build up the Church, not bring criticism and in our silence, we should reveal the heart of Christ not the will of man. So, i say to us, “In our words, and in our silence, Thy Kingdom Come.”

You are loved,

cj

In our temptation, You have made A WAY, Thy Kingdom Come

In our temptation, You have made A WAY, Thy Kingdom Come

In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Prior to this verse, Paul tells the Corinthians and subsequently us, that the early Jewish nation, “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” Yet, even still, “…with most of them, God was not well pleased.” Why? Well, because the consistently gave into temptation without remorse or repentance. The caveat, our example. (1 Corinthians 6-11)

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” 

Now to us, take heed to these warnings, and hold fast to the promise that God will give you an escape hatch when temptation comes your way. What a great feeling to know that God is looking out for us, that He has our best in mind, our prosperity and not our destruction. We need only seek Him with our whole heart and we will find Him.  On the other hand, the devil is aware also and he is fighting for your soul as well. He will stop at nothing to gain control of you and he knows just how to tempt you. He knows your weaknesses, maybe even better than you do. In fact, as Paul warns in verse 12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” Do not get too confident in your own ability to stand but lean on Jesus. Jesus is the ESCAPE HATCH.

you are loved,

cj

In our sin, yet by Your Sacrifice, Thy Kingdom Come

In our sin, yet by Your Sacrifice, Thy Kingdom Come

“I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see…” This line from “Amazing Grace” is the anthem of all in Christ. Each one of us started from the same place, deep in sin. The only way out, not by works (“not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” [Eph 2:9 ESV]) it is only by Jesus, “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (ESV 2:13) This remedy all though it sounds simple enough is made difficult by the flesh of man. The war the wages inside us is real. “23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7:23-25 ESV)

This sin problem that we have is constant. It is why we are told to meditate daily on the Word. To pray without ceasing. To lock up the Word in our hearts, tieing them as symbols around our hands, over and over we are reminded because we can become complacent, apathetic even and the sin that so easily ensnared us before will yet again. However, we now know better! Therefore we must strive upward and onward, for we are no longer blind to sin, but we see.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:1-11)

…And Character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame (or let us down). There seems to be a recurring theme these past few weeks around this idea of hope. Hope is central to our faith. It is what will push us forward. It is the wind in the sail of life when things get rocky, when we fail, when we feel lost, lonely, afraid or hurt. Hope is the catalyst to “love poured out”.  In Christ, all things are possible. Therefore we can not continue to settle for the statement, “well, we are sinners saved by grace.” i counter that with this, we “were” sinners saved by grace. Jesus told many, “go and sin no more.” Was He setting them up for failure? No, absolutely not. Was His expectation sinlessness? Again, No. Paul sums it up best here in Philippians 3:12-16;

12 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” 

Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Let me once more share my life verse with you from Micah 6:8; “He has shown you, oh man, what the Lord requires of you; to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk Humbly with Him (God).” When you find yourself in any sort of situation ask yourself this, are you acting justly? Are you showing mercy? Are you walking humbly with your God? i assure you that the answers will either inspire you onward or challenge you to grow. In our sin, He saved us, by His sacrifice He made away.  Therefore our desire should remain, His perfect Kingdom Come.

In our sin, yet by His sacrifice, Thy Kingdom Come.

You are loved,

cj

In our need, by Your care, Thy Kingdom Come

In our need, by Your care, Thy Kingdom Come

As i wrote about last week, hope is a great motivator but what happens when we find ourselves in need? Desperate or otherwise. We must remember the hope that we have in Christ. We also must remember the Lords “will be done.” Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that are not of our doing. We suffer through times that have been brought on by others or natural disasters. In those times we can often lose sight of hope. Yet we mustn’t. It is easy to react, not so easy to relax and wait. Patience is a virtue for a reason. It is a skill that is learned, trained, honed.

Some people are born with patience. It seems their feathers never get ruffled. One such person in history might be the most patient of all and that would be Jesus. We understand that although Jesus was fully God He was also fully man. Hebrews 2:17-18 says:

For this reason, He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for this sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (NIV)

And in Philippians 2:5-7:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Chris Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (ESV)

i am sure i have written about His prayer in Gethsemane however, i want to look there again as all of human history. Salvation, reconciliation, love, hope, faith, promise, everything you can think of hinged on that moment in the garden. Jesus being fully man felt the weight of the world on His shoulders and He was in desperate need of the Father. Here is the account found in Matthew 26:36-46:

36 “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” (NIV)

In the midst of the greatest struggle in human history. The temptation to seek another means of getting the job done. For sealing our fate in the hope of the cross. Jesus prayed three times, three times He asked, “If there is another way…” Yet, in the end, “Thy will be done” Let us pray in such a way. May it be our heart to pour out but in the end have the hope that God’s way is greater than ours and His will, far better than anything we could ever think or imagine. After all, it is God’s Kingdom now that we are seeking, praying for and can find in the power of the resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

In our need, by Your care, Thy Kingdom Come.

You are Loved,

cj

​In our Hopes, and in our Dreams…Thy Kingdom Come

​In our Hopes, and in our Dreams…Thy Kingdom Come

In our hopes, and in our dreams…Thy Kingdom Come. Hope, it is one of the greatest of all motivators. When we hope there is an element of expectation and desire, it is the fuel for humanities dreams. It is in hope, that we get up and do, and when one truly loses hope, all hope, it is then that they have come to their end. If their hope is not restored depression will set in, and misery wins. Romans 5:5 reads, “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Hope therefore in the Kingdom of God. In this coming age in which all things are made right…but also in this present age. For it is now that God is pouring out His Spirit on us in ways that bring His Kingdom, come.

Acts 2:1-4; “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.”

It was here that Peter preaches one of the best gospel messages found in Scripture. He quotes the passage from Joel 2:28-32.

Then, after doing all those things,
    I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your old men will dream dreams,
    and your young men will see visions.
29 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
    even on servants—men and women alike.
30 And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth—
    blood and fire and columns of smoke.
31 The sun will become dark,
    and the moon will turn blood red
    before that great and terrible day of the Lord arrives.
32 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
    will be saved,
for some on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will escape,
    just as the Lord has said.
These will be among the survivors
    whom the Lord has called”.

It was in this hope of God pouring out on His people that kept their dreams alive. It is where we must learn to go when we feel down or defeated. We must learn to go back and draw our hope from the well of living water. We cannot rely on the false hope of this world. We cannot give up on the real hope of God’s Kingdom now. This very real hope. In our hopes, and in our Dreams, Thy Kingdom Come.

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Heart and Life, Thy Kingdom Come

Heart and Life, Thy Kingdom Come

In my heart and in my life, Thy Kingdom Come. As we looked at in my last post, i made the statement, “In our homes and in our family, Thy Kingdom Come.” You might think this is backward going from family to individual rather than individual to family. You might even be thinking that one must make a personal commitment before one can really contribute to the whole family. You would be right on both accounts. However, hindsight is always 20/20, and therefore we are going to take a look back before we move forward.

In Jesus’ prayer that He taught the disciples (Matthew 6:9-13) the prayer itself is plural, “‘OUR’ Father in Heaven Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Gives us this day ‘OUR’ daily bread, and forgive us ‘OUR’ sins as we forgive those who have sinned against ‘US.’ Lead ‘US’ not into temptation but deliver ‘US’ from the evil one.” There is a reason Jesus teaches to pray in plurality. We are not meant to live this life in Christ, alone but in “Family.” However, we do not get adopted into the family on the backs of the family, but through our personal relationship with Jesus.

Romans 10:9-10
9 “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. 10 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.

Once one has made the personal choice to invite Jesus into their heart and life, they join a family. It is in that family that God works both individually and corporately (within the family). When Jesus had gone back to Heaven, the disciples followed His instruction and went into a time of prayer and waiting. It was then as they waited and prayed “TOGETHER” that God really showed up in power! Let’s look together at Acts 2:1-6:

2 “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. 5 At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.”

To seek “Thy Kingdom Come” in our hearts and lives we need to seek God in our prayer closets both personally or alone and corporately or as a family.

Matthew 6:33
33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Matthew 6:6
6 “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

In our hearts and in our lives, Thy Kingdom Come.