Posts Tagged ‘Kingdom’


Acts 28:30-31
For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sometimes, the most challenging aspect of our walk with the Lord is the monotony. Paul was a man after God’s own heart and from the moment of his conversion, he was a man with a zeal for God and served God to the Jews and gentiles with his all. Yet he was imprisoned, doubted, challenged, mocked and rejected for his faith. As Paul’s journey continued to Malta, then to Syracuse, Rhegium, Puteoli and finally to Rome, he continued to serve God faithfully by sharing the gospel with all whom he met, by encouraging the brothers in each location if there was a body of believers and by walking the straight and narrow. What did it take for him to be so driven to serve God through such trying circumstances?

Yesterday at Church, we were introduced to a new believer who just got baptized. In him, I saw a deep yearning for God and a walk that I would love to call my own. In him I saw the joy of forgiveness and the realization of what Christ had done for him. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, is it not a challenge that soon we start living life back in our own terms and drift away from God? Is that not a worry to you? I now remember how the Lord saved me and what the sweetness of His forgiveness was when I was saved. I now know what Paul saw daily as he served the Lord faithfully until his final days. Lets remember and lets certainly not forget!

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


John 18:36-37
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

I’ve been enjoying following the Australian Open tennis tournament and have tried to watch a few matches over the last many days. One of the common themes I noticed was that commentators always tried to compare competing players by their previous history of games against each other and in the absence of that, tried to compare them in terms of a head-to-head analysis. Often, there is talk of revenge and today I read that a top seeded player actually expressed his desire for revenge. What’s that got in connection to today’s passage and is that right?

As I read Jesus’ response to Pilate, I noticed that with Jesus’ betrayal, his disciples felt the need to get back and react to the imprisonment of Jesus but Jesus stopped them. Jesus clarified to Pilate that neither he nor his people were opposing the arrest because this was not a matter of people not accepting his earthly leadership, rather it was his divinity that was opposed and therefore what was to take place was a battle of God versus Satan. This was the devil’s attempt at putting an end to Jesus’ life and ministry but the battle was won when Jesus beat death and rose up again and the devil and his ploys were quashed forever. We can rejoice in the fact that Christ rose from the dead to give us eternal life and we no more mourn his crucifixion or death!!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Mark 9:33-37
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

The path to success in God’s kingdom is certainly not the path the world takes to gain success. Jesus reminds us today that greatness in God’s eyes is not being recognized as the one who saved most souls or being chosen the best in our service to God but it is instead helping people to remember God and not ourselves and serving him for his glory. This is totally contrary to success in this world where people commend us by the magnitude of our achievements, the significance of our wealth, the vastness of our reach and so on. We become a brand and success is measured by a recognizable yardstick.

In Christ, we are expected to serve him selflessly and he will reward us when we meet God face to face. Therefore, I need to be serving God as a child of God and not as Vineet because then it will be about me. My service to God is to share the good news of the gospel and point people to Christ. My joy should be to humble myself before man to show them what God’s love was, even as low as washing the feet of other men if that’s what it takes to show them God’s love. This is certainly not something most of us are willing to do and if we are, not something we will do publicly. At some point, we want recognition and some comforting of our own ego but that is where we are missing the point of the gospel. Christ came here on earth to serve us and to die on the cross for us which is our role model. I hope you are challenged to consider your service to God as joy and humility in our service as our way of showing his love to the world. Our reward is already given to us when we submitted our lives to Jesus’s authority.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

God's Unspoken Beauty


Mark 4:26-29
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Jesus spoke in parables and sometimes I wonder why not just plain talk but that doubt was clarified in v11 where he said that the secrets of the kingdom of God are revealed to those God chooses to reveal it to and not to those who God chooses not to. Today’s parable seems so obvious and I would wonder why some people dint get it but as I read it again, I realized that to understand it, one first needs to understand God’s will for our own lives. This parable was spoken in the spiritual sense and has to do with what God commanded us to do in Matthew 28:19-20 when he gave us the great commission. He commanded us to go and share the good news of salvation through his own death and resurrection and the new hope that we have of knowing where we are headed beyond this physical body.

As servants of God, our primary calling is to serve God and not ourselves. After we are saved, our new lives are not to be lived for our old selves but for our maker and creator who saved us from certain death and the fires of hell. For this great blessing, we are called to go out and share this great news of forgiveness and hope which is free to all men. A serious challenge we face with this commission is our minds which makes us wonder how we can share the good news because we may not be good speakers like Moses, worry about loosing friends when we talk things that they don’t appreciate, etc. However, we need to realize that God saved us not because of anything we did but because he wanted to bless us and we need to go out and shamelessly share this same good news and not worry about the result because that is God’s work. Are you willing to stand us for your savior? If yes, do it shamelessly for the Lord and if no, seek God’s help to know how you can serve him.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

Bridge Over Calm Waters


Matthew 17:14-20

…a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:21 (NAS)

“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

 

Today there were 3 major events in the chapter including the transfiguration of Jesus, the healing of the demon possessed boy and the payment of the temple tax. All 3 teach us key learning but this healing and the faith required is what caught my attention. It seems like Jesus was frustrated and this prompted me to read it again. Yes, he certainly was frustrated but not at the boy’s father who approached him. His frustration was focused on his disciples whom he felt did not exercise faith, even faith the size of a mustard seed. Now that is really hard for us to understand because we are dealing with the spiritual world and not the physical and to understand this faith, what would it take us?

Interestingly enough, the NIV did not have verse 21 and when I looked around, I found that it was available in most other versions like the NAS given above. Jesus said clearly that we need to exercise faith but this is possible only through prayer and fasting and therefore we needed to draw from God and not from our own selves. This is not something we would attain sitting under a tree and meditating on our inner self but rather, something we would need to ask God for by focusing our attention on Him. Also, we need to remember that this faith is not for our personal gain but for the extension of God’s kingdom here on Earth. It is spoken in a spiritual realm and we should not misconstrue it. Have you exercised your faith in recent times? Is that what the Lord wants us to do?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet