Monday, December 17, 2012

Both Sides Now

Friday, December 14, 2012 ~ Newton, Connecticut, USA

The horrible tragedy of the killing of innocents.  Why?

In the gospel of Matthew chapter 6, verse 9; Jesus is teaching about prayer...and He tells us to pray to our heavenly Father;  "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Why would Jesus tell us to ask for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?  Aren't things that happen on earth all His doing?

In 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 4; Paul states that the "god of this world" has blinded some unbelievers.

Who is the "god of this world?"  And why does Jesus tell us to pray that God's kingdom will come and His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven?    

Jesus tells us to pray that way because His Father's will is not always being done on this earth and His kingdom is not reigning.  The "god of this world" has a kingdom and a will that is being carried out.  He is the enemy of all that is pure, good, holy and just.  God's word names him.  He is the devil, satan. 

In the gospel of Luke chapter 4, verses 5, 6 and 7 we read about Jesus being tempted by the devil.  One of the things the devil uses to tempt Jesus is he offers all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus if He will worship the devil instead of God.  

"The devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.  And he said to Him, 'I will give You all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.  If You will worship me, it will be all Yours.'"  

Of course, Jesus refuses and defeats the devil on the cross; but the Kingdom of God has not been established on earth yet.

So we live in enemy territory right now.  And what that means for us in "real life" on planet earth, is that we are either in a spiritual battle with the enemy or we are under his authority and the control of his kingdom.

What is the enemy's kingdom like?  Here is how Jesus describes it.

In the gospel of John chapter 10, religious leaders of the day are disputing Jesus' statements about His relationship with God, His Father.  Jesus makes this startling statement that reveals the nature of the devil.  

What Jesus says to those religious leaders is captured in verses 43 and 44 of John 10:  "Why do you not understand what I am saying?  It is because you cannot hear My word.  You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of of your father.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

It was not God's plan for those children and adults to be murdered last Friday.  It was not His plan for that young man to be so out of his mind that he was able to commit such horror.  It was, however, graphic evidence of  the "god of this world's" kingdom at work in this world.

God's kingdom is at work in this world also.  We hear of it when we hear of acts of kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, self-sacrifice, and love.

Today we have both sides now on earth - both kingdoms at work.   But....

Someday (I believe someday soon), the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of God.  

In the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation; in chapter 21 verses 3 and 4 we read about God's kingdom coming to earth:  "And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."  

It is our choice to which kingdom we belong.   And, not to decide is to decide.  There is no neutral ground on a battle field.   Each one of us has the privilege, given to us by God out of His love and respect for our person hood, to choose.

I have learned that every choice I make costs me something.  Some choices are worth the cost, others aren't.  So...

Choose wisely.  Choose deliberately.

If you want to choose Jesus and the Kingdom of God, but aren't sure how to do that - get a Bible and read the gospel of John.  Tell God that you are choosing His kingdom and ask for His help.  

Jesus be with you!

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