You’ve Got the Kingdom

Christmas is quickly approaching and I am feeling all giddy with excitement. Why, You ask? Because I have seen God work so amazingly during Christmastime that it blows my mind. Now, I know He works the same all year round, but for me, it just so happens that He has shown me some of His best work around this time of year.

When I was a kid, I was spoiled. I got nearly everything on my Christmas list. It was a bit much, I would have to say, but my dad grew up without many things so he wanted to provide for his kids more than his parents could. So, sure this attitude towards “stuff” did have some negative consequences, but there were also some very positive experiences to come out of this. I know, firsthand, what is feels like to get what you “wished” for. The joy and happiness felt on Christmas morning when you wake up and walk into a room filled with toys; it’s unbelievable. I’m not as materialistic these days, and thankfully, my attitude towards “stuff” has transformed into something totally different-a desire to give.

A few years ago I rediscovered the joy of giving. And I realized something. I LOVE giving, but especially during Christmas. You see, I wanted people to experience the bright eyes and Christmas joys of unexpected presents. In 2009, I just began to give gifts to people, some people I knew, others where strangers. People received gift cards, cash, toys, baked items, etc. and most of it was done anonymously. Then, the strangest thing happened. I NEVER ran out of money. I don’t know how in the world He did it, but every time I gave away something, God blessed me with more to give! It was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced.

Sufficient to say, I am so excited to begin the gift giving this year. I want to see how much more I can give away, only to have God restore. God is that good. Again, please, don’t ever think I say these things to brag, I only desire to be an example of God’s endless grace and abundant mercy in and through a horrible sinner like me. I am but filthy rags, but He makes all things (including me) beautiful. I just want Him to use you too.

Look here in Luke 12:
verse 24- “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”
verse 32- “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. ”

Not only does our Father desires to give us the kingdom, but He is pleased to do so! Unworthy, dirty, unholy-us? The kingdom of Heaven? Emphatically, “Yes!”
Through Jesus Christ we can come to the Father and ask anything in His name and He will do it. So, this Christmas, maybe you’re the one in need. Maybe you’re the one struggling to survive. Be reminded, you already have the kingdom. Don’t be afraid to give away what you do have to someone else in need. Your actions, just may bring them into the Kingdom as well. “A treasure in Heaven is never exhausted.” (Luke 12:22b)

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On the Path: Following God’s Direction Pt. 2- Disobedience

Joshua 7

After the crossing of the Jordan, Israel’s enemies no longer wished to fight them. Joshua 5 says that (of the Amorites and the Canaanites) God “melted their hearts”. Once again, God went before Israel and fought their battles for them. They didn’t even have to raise a finger.  Shortly thereafter, something devastating occurred which further hindered their journey to The Promise Land.

When God was about to give over Jericho to Joshua and his men, He gave strict instructions: Spare Rahab and her family, keep away from the devoted things, and all the gold, silver, bronze, and iron are sacred and are to go into the Lord’s treasury. They overtook Jericho in a great and mighty way that could only have been achieved with God on their side and now the next attack was supposed to be a simple feat. They were supposed to seize this small city of Ai. Ah, no problem, right? Wrong. They found themselves in a very strange predicament- they lost. Thirty-six men  lost their lives, and they were chased back out into the hills. If word broke out of this, an attack by the Canaanites and Amorites would be imminent.

So, what happened to make them lose? Disobedience.

Joshua had to find out whom in the camp had gone against the Lord. God was not about to allow Israel to win until they consecrated themselves before the Lord. After calling the leaders forward, Joshua discovered that Achan had disobeyed God. Instead of heeding God’s orders to leave the sacred items alone, Achan had stolen a “beautiful robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a gold piece weighing fifty shekels”. Sadly, Achan, his entire family, along with the cattle and the items he stole were burned up. Only then did the Lord turn from His anger (vs. 26).

We must be very careful when it comes to our disobedience. I think that many times we are so focused on the loving, merciful, generous God that we forget that He is still God and He deserves our utmost respect and reverence. Oftentimes we become overly casual with God and we become careless and even our disobedience will seem “not that bad”. Achan had to pay severely for what he did. It did not only affect him, but his family, his peers, and an entire nation. We may see God as being too harsh on Achan, but look at God’s mercy. God could have taken away His entire covering and allowed the neighboring enemies to overtake Israel.

I cannot pretend that I know how God manages the consequences of our sins, how much mercy or how much justice He will display in any given situation. However, I do know this, being disobedient will only slow you down on your journey, if not bring it to a halt indefinitely. Instead, repent and get right with God immediately. Get back on the path as quickly as possible. There’s just too much at stake not just in your own life, but in your family, your peers, your church, and even our nation.