Three Signs You Are Reigning in Christ (Pt 2)

Daily Devotion | Day 302

“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17, NKJV).

Yesterday, we talked about how a life of righteousness is a sign that we’re reigning in Christ. Today, we will continue with our series on “Three Signs You Are Reigning in Christ” by looking at another sign: peace.  Let’s note that the three things mentioned by Paul are not the only signs of life in the kingdom. However, they are core elements without which it is impossible to claim the presence of the kingdom in one’s life. Before we talk about peace, let’s make a brief comment on the nature of God’s kingdom.

The point of us being in God’s kingdom is to reign in Christ, i.e. to reign over everything associated with the powers of darkness, notably sin, satan, demonic oppression and a life of fear. At this point, let’s recall what Paul said about our place of dominion in Christ: “He [God] has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13).

Some think that we will start to reign only when Jesus appears a second time. Yes, there’s a future component of reigning with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). However, the reality is, there’s a present tense component as well. The power to reign is already at work in us now. Jesus Himself pointed to this present tense experience of the kingdom when He said, “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). The kingdom within us is what makes it possible for us to experience and manifest the essential signs of the kingdom, thereby attesting that indeed we are sons and daughters of the King of Kings. Therefore, the normal experience of every child of God is to exude peace.

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be called, “Prince of Peace” (9:6). The peace of Jesus is the very peace of God. By his death, Jesus reconciled us to the Father and obtained peace for us. Consequently, Jesus “Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14; see also Romans 5:1-2). As children of God, this peace is imparted to us freely. Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). This peace is of divine origin and it inhabits the Christian soul. When you receive this peace it keeps you still, tranquil, unafraid and unagitated. Your spirit is at rest in the bosom of the Father. You can go through adversity and still be at rest. This is how you reign in Christ.

 The peace of God is the power to rest in God. And, when you’re resting in God it means you’re reigning in Christ. You are sharing in the peace of the Prince of Peace. As a natural result, you then can produce peace as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

This is the Father’s plan for you. Embrace it and enjoy a life of divine peace. Amen.

For further studyPhilippians 4:1-9 and Colossians 3:12-17

Keeping Your Eyes on the Mission

Daily Devotional | Day 273

“And He [Jesus] said to them [the Apostles], ‘Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs not bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece’” (Luke 9:3, NKJV).

God will not send you where He will not provide for you. He will not send you where He will not protect you. That is why the best place to be is to be where God wants you. If you are where he wants you, you will know. If you are not sure, seek the spiritual guidance of a mature Christian whose judgment and discernment you value.

At the beginning of Luke 9, Jesus sent the 12 Apostles to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Part of the instructions for the assignment is what we read in today’s opening passage. Jesus begins by saying, “Take nothing for the journey.” To make sure the Apostles heard Him right, He specified the things they couldn’t take with them: no staff, no bag, no bread, and no money. They could, however, take a tunic, but only one piece.

When you read this for the first time, the question which comes to mind is, “Did Jesus really mean that?” You know the response: If Jesus said it, then He meant it. One wonders if any of the Apostles protested. The Bible is silent about that. How could Jesus send 12 men on such an important mission and command them to take nothing for the journey? There are a couple of reasons. But let’s talk about one, for now.

For God, the mission to preach the Gospel is the single most important mission. Why? Because what is at stake is the eternal salvation of precious souls. If you’re not convinced, think about the fact that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance (Luke 15:7). Every soul is precious in God’s eyes.

When the Lord commanded the 12 to take nothing for the journey, He was telling them that He needed them to focus completely on the mission. People get distracted by money and the cares of life. When that happens they lose focus and become compromised. When God sends us, He wants our full attention to be on the mission. He wants us to focus on Him and the assignment. Let’s leave everything else to Him. He won’t send us, if He won’t take care of us.

Today, let’s pray that the Lord will deliver His messengers from whatever can be a distraction to their calling. Amen.

For further study:  1 Kings 17:1-15 and 1 Corinthians 7:25-40

 

Receiving Blessings You Have Not Asked

Daily Devotional: Day 216 | By Stephen Bilson-Ogoe

“And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days” (1 Kings 3:13, NKJV).

A lot of Christians pray, but the question is: How many pray well? Praying isn’t always about what you ask. It’s also about what you don’t ask. Praying is more than going through a prayer list. God is not like a grocery store, where people go with a shopping list and check the list as they shop. God wants you to think of Him as your Father. When we get caught up in the ‘prayer list’ mentality, we feel we must mention every point on our list or every desire on our heart to get our prayers answered.

What we need to realize is that God’s love for us is bigger than our prayers. He knows what we need before we ask (cf. Matthew 6:8). When we pray, God is not limited by what we ask or forget to ask. It is His nature to do more than we can ask or imagine (cf. Ephesians 3:20). When this truth settles in your heart, your prayer life will blossom and develop into quality moments of worship, fellowship and intercession.

Today’s opening Scripture is about what God did for the young king Solomon. Shortly after Solomon succeeded David as king, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him to ask whatever He wanted. The king could have gone through a long list of things he wanted. But, Solomon asked for one thing only: wisdom. After granting Solomon’s request, note what God says next, “And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor.” Solomon received blessings he did not ask. It is God’s nature to give, not only what you ask, but also what you have not asked. Therefore, do not limit Him in your heart.

Out of his deep love for God, David planned to build a house (temple) for Him. Although impressed, the Lord wouldn’t let David do it. Instead, God surprised David by giving him an everlasting dynasty (royal house) which is founded upon Jesus Christ, the Son of David (cf. Luke 1:30-33; Matthew 22:41-45; Mark 10:46-52). David didn’t ask for a dynasty, but God gave it anyway; and David was overwhelmed by God’s kindness (cf. 2 Samuel 7:18-29). Abraham wanted a son; God gave him more than a son. He made him the father of all believers, Jews and Gentiles alike (cf. Romans 4:9-12). Abraham did not ask for this blessing, but he received it.

 Hannah wanted a child and even promised to dedicate him to God forever. God gave her more than a child. He gave her Samuel, easily one of the greatest judges and prophets in the history of God’s people. That was not all; God gave Hannah five more children: three sons and two daughters (cf. 1 Samuel 2:21).

 What you need is the kingdom of God spiritually alive in your heart through faith, and to walk faithfully with your God. You will receive blessings you have not asked. As we conclude today’s message, think about the following words of Jesus: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

God bless you. Amen. 

For further study: Luke 5:1-11          

The Kingdom Power Within Us

Daily Devotional: Day 199

“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” (Luke 17:20-21).

For several centuries, the Israelites were expecting the Messiah’s arrival. However, they didn’t have the same kind of expectations. Many, especially the religious leadership, expected the Messiah to be a political leader who would establish a physical kingdom and redeem Israel from their political enemies. This will explain why when Herod heard about the birth of Jesus, he panicked – supposing that Jesus would come for his throne (cf. Matthew 2:1-3). Others, however, had more spiritual and religious expectations.

In today’s Bible passage, the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. He responds by stating that the kingdom of God does not come with observation. It’s not ‘here!’ or ‘there!’ In other words, God’s kingdom has no geographical parameters. You will see the effects of the kingdom, but the kingdom has no physical structures. It cannot be identified with any nation, kingdom or system in the world.

The kingdom of God spreads its influence through righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (cf. Romans 14:17) manifested by believers – children of the kingdom. When Jesus stood before Pilate, He minced no words about the nature of His kingdom, “My kingdom is not of this world” (cf. Matthew 18:36), He declared. Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus added, “the kingdom of God is within you.” To most Israelites of His day, Jesus’ definition of the kingdom was disappointing and unsatisfactory. They expected a Messiah who would give them something more than an invisible kingdom. The kind of ‘kingdom’ Jesus offered wasn’t good enough. No wonder the majority rejected Him.

For us today, Jesus’ message about the kingdom is no different. He wants us to have the right expectations and knowledge about how the kingdom of God works. Jesus says that the kingdom of God is within us. That makes us special people endowed with supernatural and royal power. It would, therefore, be a mistake for Christians to seek God’s kingdom in the physical world and its systems.

It would further be erroneous to look for God’s kingdom in a physical location, including even the church building. God does not dwell in a temple made with human hands (cf. Acts 7:47-50). Jesus is not in a room, box or tabernacle made with human hands. Rather, He lives in us. His presence, His power and His Kingdom, is within us who make up the Body of Christ. We don’t need to look far for deliverance. Let’s learn – through faith – to recognize Jesus’ power, grace and deliverance at work within us. And let’s spread the influence of His kingdom wherever we go. 

God bless you!

For further study: 1 Peter 2:1-10

Urgency in the Lord’s Business

Daily Devotional: Day 157

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42, NKJV).

Peter and John had been arrested and brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin. Following the wise counsel of Gamaliel, a prominent member of the council, the Apostles were released. But they were commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus again (cf. Acts 5:34-40). Two verses later, in Acts 5:42, the Bible says, “daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” Look carefully at the Bible’s choice of words. It says the Apostles did not cease teaching and preaching. They maintained a daily, incessant routine of speaking about Christ. The key word and phrase are “daily” and “they did not cease.” 

The Bible is pointing us to the necessity of maintaining a sense of urgency when it comes to teaching and preaching about Christ. Observing the Apostles, you notice that there was a sense of urgency about their attitude. The fact is, they understood the signs of the times. They knew that knowledge of salvation is an offensive weapon in the kingdom of God. Our spiritual warfare entails an urgent call to strengthen believers, bring light to those walking in darkness and rescue the perishing. This is a daily call which requires a daily response.

Even satan knows that the stakes are high, and there isn’t a day he goes to rest. Revelation 12:12 comes to mind: “Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (ESV, emphasis added).

Each new day counts. We, therefore, don’t have the luxury of resting on our oars or being on the defensive. The only way for us to rest is to do the Master’s business daily. And, the only way to win is to be on the offensivearmed with the Word of God. Each day is an opportunity to make Christ known in our homes, in our relationships, on the streets and at the workplace. We can do this, because the Holy Spirit is with us. 

Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today. Amen.

For further study: Matthew 28:16-20