Bringing home the kingdom of God

th-20Do we let our circumstances keep us from seeing God’s purpose for our lives? I would wager that we all would agree that we believe that God has a purpose for our lives. But I wonder how many of us are convinced that God has a destiny greater and better than our present circumstances?  I ask because I am not sure I am living to its fullest extent, the life God has designed for me to live among the relationships given to me to embrace. If I am not connecting His purpose for my life with those who are the closest to me, how can I expect to suddenly fulfill His purpose when I answer His call to “Go out” and make a difference in the world?

I see dysfunctional relationships where what’s comfortable has superseded any hope of change for the better. But I don’t want to make peace with the enemy camp; I want to overrun it. I want to reclaim over and over again that the kingdom of God has come, beginning first with my marriage, and never letting circumstances prevent me from seeing and acting on God’s purpose for my life.

[CLICK HERE FOR A SHORT VIDEO OF JOHN CLINGING TO HIS COMFORT ZONE.]

“I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”

“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here. Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. (Luke 9:40-42 NIV)

The Lord was apparently frustrated with the disciples over their lack of connection between the assignment He had given them and what was going on around them. They were constantly grumbling with each other, causing Jesus to keep reminding them that each was God’s gift to the other — just as I am God’s gift to John, and he is God’s gift to me. Grumbling about the relationships that God has given us is undoubtedly an issue of attitude — an attitude of disapproval and/or resentment.  Our attitude towards someone always determines our altitude. If you think you have married the wrong person, like Esther, but choose to treat him/her like the right one, that person will turn into the right one. On the other hand, if you married the right one, yet treat him/her as the wrong one, that person will turn into the wrong one. This holds true with the motley crew we have been given in the body of Christ. If you think you have been partnered with a brother or a sister, how you think about that person will determine who they become.

“How long should I stay and put up with you, who think you deserve separateness from the people around you?” the frustrated Lord said to the disciples of their apparent lack of connection with what was going on. (Luke 9:41 paraphrased.) Or Jesus could have said, “Get over yourselves – get beyond your circumstances – stop trusting in your own resources – operate on the power given to you by me and stop looking the other way when there is an obvious need for my extraordinary power now!

In spite of the disciples and ourselves, Jesus asks that we bring the kingdom of God to everyone, beginning first with stopping the endless bickering among each other – those closest to the family. The disciples were to bring the kingdom of God first to each other. That’s why He asks that we bring the kingdom of God to our marriages. We are to bless the relationship, embrace it passionately, and bear the power of God on the areas that require miracles, always looking to the hope that lies ahead. We are to put our arms around each other, never rejecting a spouse or pointing out flaws of the other.  We are to eat and drink what has been put before us. We are to improve the conditions of the other by conveying a deep appreciation and when improvement is the result, tell her or him that it’s because the kingdom of God has come.

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4 Responses to Bringing home the kingdom of God

  1. Peter Leenheer says:

    Marti, what a powerful Catch. It got me thinking when you mentioned how your attitude towards the ‘wrong one can make it the right one’.
    When in my twenties I thought marriage had passed me by, and many a night I prayed myself to sleep asking God for a spouse to love, to have and to hold. My prayer was filled with passion and buckets of tears. When God finally sent me my wife of today, Jane, i couldn’t believe it. For about a month I felt a hand in my back 24/7 that was literally pushing me towards this woman. I knew she was meant for me. We met in the end of August, by early October we were ready to be married and for ‘political reasons’ we did not marry until December 28. So four months of courtship. When God moves he moves. Too boot she was 1 hour late for the wedding. I was sure there was a reasonable explanation and there was. The pastor was sweating bullets, the buzz in the waiting congregation screamed runaway bride, but the groom was as cool as a cucumber…..fourty one years later…. love has grown to what I had always prayed for. It was however a choice to go with what God had put together.

    It was afterward that the hard work started for both of us. To my surprise the woman I married was flawed, the bigger surprise was that I was just as flawed only in a different way. We went through betrayal via an affair, thoughts of suicide, plans for divorce, a floundering business, and despite all those crises(to name but a few) we are still together. Our attitude was to make it work, love is unconditional and does not keep a record of wrongs done to each other. It took us a while to get to that point and it meant changing my attitude. I was a 100% right for a while. Then I looked in the mirror and realized that I was 100% wrong. It was hard to shed my opinions but it meant to not tear asunder what God had put together. I forgot that God only has sinners to work with and he does so willingly, why not I also, considering the overwhelming grace he gave me through Jesus.

    Thank you for reminding me that the right one depends on our attitude…..unconditional love. Jane is the right one, I love that woman to bits. She made a crosstich for me that hangs on the wall in my office. “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be!” Everyday it gets better, sometimes it surprises me that that continues. I love that kind of surprise. Good is good, I stay in his grace with a passion. It is the only place to be.

    Thank you Marti for reminding me what I have and to hold, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. When I spoke those vows, I remember looking into her eyes and loosing myself completely in them. I have finally reached that place of loosing myself. It actually is a pleasure that I did not anticipate. How cool is that!

  2. Krabbenhoft, Kevin C says:

    Definitely one of my favorite “Catchs”. I read it again this morning because this is right where I have been getting challenged lately. There has been a lot of Grace and less accountability for me in this area but last week it was as if He examined my heart and wanted me to see this.

    HOME RUN !

    If I am not connecting His purpose for my life with those who are the closest to me, how can I expect to suddenly fulfill His purpose when I answer His call to “Go out” and make a difference in the world?
    “How long should I stay and put up with you, who think you deserve separateness from the people around you?”

    Kevin

  3. Ann F says:

    Marti, I appreciated your Catch, from Monday! If I may add a caveat to one sentence, I think it would be more accurate from the standpoint of our faith. You wrote, “If you think you have been partnered with a brother or a sister, how you think about that person will determine who they become.” After 25 years of marriage, the Lord revealed that my husband was an alcoholic (a high-functioning alcoholic), who had been hiding his disease by traveling 50-100% of the time while our children were growing up. Yet, there was still much more darkness hidden than alcoholism underneath his smooth façade and charm.

    Although I had thought that he was a “brother” in Christ, over the next 2+ years and throughout the divorce process, it became extraordinarily clear that he really was a “wolf” among the lambs in the Body of Christ. No matter how we well we “think” about or how fervently we pray for such a wolf, we cannot determine who they become. If that were true, then we could “visualize” something into substance, just with our thoughts. The fact is that God is the only one who can redeem any of us, and although I still continue to pray for him, God won’t violate his will to continue in his wolfish ways and deception. His disease has manifested in serious mental illness and he is dangerously able to hide himself behind multiple masks. God is just and loving, and this man has to come to the end of his false self – being crucified with Christ & dying, so that he may be resurrected by God.

    When I asked God how he could have lived so long with me and among brothers & sisters in Christ, in our churches, “the wheat and the tares grow up together until the harvest” was the answer I immediately received from the Holy Spirit. God is faithful, even when others are not and will not be.

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