The Value of the Kingdom

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field,
which a man found and covered up.
Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
who, on finding one pearl of great value,
went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
(Matthew 13:44–46, ESV)

A Waste of Life?

“People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world
we waste our lives as missionaries.
They forget that they too are expending their lives …
and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance
to show for the years they have wasted.”
(Nate Saint)

Will you enter the Kingdom?

“Except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
“Ye must be born again.”
How is it with us?
We must believe the gospel;
we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,
or we cannot enter the kingdom.

The first thing is to believe the gospel.
Fellow-sinner, if you are not yet on the side of Christ,
have you seen you are a sinner?

(George Müller)

Request for Transfer

Today I am posting two imaginary letters.  The author of this work is unknown, but the spiritual lesson is profound.  

Title: Request for Transfer

To: Commander in Chief, Spiritual Armed Forces, Jesus Christ

Dear Lord:
I am writing this to You to request a transfer to a desk job.
I herewith present my reasons:

I began my career as a private, but because of the intensity of the
battle You have quickly moved me up in the ranks.  You have made
me an officer and given me a tremendous amount of responsibility.
There are many soldiers and recruits under my charge.  I am
constantly being called upon to dispense wisdom, make judgments,
and find solutions to complex problems.  You have placed me in a
position to function as an officer, when in my heart I know I have
only the skills of a private.  I realize that you have promised to
supply all I would need for the battle.  But Sir, I must present You
a realistic picture of my equipment.

My uniform, once so crisp and starched, is now stained with the tears
and blood of those I have tried to assist.  The soles of my boots are
cracked and worn from the miles I have walked trying to enlist and
encourage the troops.  My weapons are marred, tarnished
and chipped from constant battle against the enemy.  Even the Book
of Regulations I was issued has been torn and tattered from
use.  The words are now smeared.

You have promised You would be with me throughout, but when
the noise of the battle is so loud and the confusion is so great,
I can neither see nor hear You.  I feel so alone.  I’m tired.
discouraged.  I have Battle Fatigue.  I would never ask you for a
discharge.  I love being in Your service.  But I humbly request a
demotion and transfer.  I’ll file papers or clean latrines.
Just get me out of the battle — please, Sir.
Your Faithful, but tired soldier.

 Shortly after, the soldier received this letter from the Commander in Chief:

To: Faithful, but Tired Soldier, Spiritual Armed Forces
Location: The Battlefield
Subject: Transfer

Dear Soldier:
Your request for transfer has been denied.
I herewith present My reasons:
You are needed in this battle.
I have selected you, and I will keep My Word to supply your need.
You do not need a demotion and transfer.
(You’d never cut it on latrine duty.)
You need a period of “R and R” — Renewal and Rekindling.
I am setting aside a place on the battlefield
that is insulated from all sound
and fully protected from the enemy.
I will meet you there and I will give you rest.
I will remove your old equipment and “make all things new.”

You have been wounded in the battle, My soldier.
Your wounds are not visible,
but you have received grave internal injuries.
You need
to be healed.
I will heal you.
You have been weakened in the battle.
You need to be strengthened.
I will strengthen you and be your strength.
I will instill in you confidence and ability.
My Words will rekindle within you a renewed love, zeal and enthusiasm.
Report to Me tattered and empty.
I will refill you.
Your Commander-in-Chief,
Jesus Christ

Kingdom Citizens

I once heard this statement: “Be Kingdom citizens, not systems citizens.”  That person was commenting on the various theological systems that have been developed.  While recognizing that there is a place for a  certain amount of “system” in theology, this person was expressing the importance of finding one’s identity through citizenship in the Kingdom of God, rather than simply through adhering to a particular system of theology or doctrine.  This reminds me of Matthew 6:33, where Jesus commands us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”

What is the Kingdom of God?

This blog claims to be devoted to the Kingdom of God.  That sounds really great.  However, there may be some uncertainty about the nature of this Kingdom.  Some clarification may be in order.

C.C. Caragounis wrote the article “Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven” in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (first edition; p. 417-30).  He states that the Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven was the theme of Jesus’ preaching.  The Kingdom also signifies God’s sovereign rule.

Caragounis articulates three aspects of the Kingdom of God:
1) The Kingdom denotes God’s eternal rule, rather than focusing on an earthly kingdom.
2) The Kingdom has a universal scope (it is open to all people).
3) The Kingdom was present in Jesus and is not simply a vague future hope.