Saturday, August 16, 2008


The Bible describes Heaven as the place where God dwells. It was from Heaven, that Jesus came and offered Himself as sacrifice for the whole world.
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Whether you believe it, accept it, or embrace it, it happened. It is a done deal. No one can earn it. No one can pay Him back. There is no program, course, or certification you need from your Pastor, Priest, or Rabbi to get the salvation purchased by Jesus. It is a gift that needs to be accepted or rejected. There is no third choice. The thief, hanging next to Jesus, did not have time to get baptized, go to confession, knock on doors, or give any money. He simply accepted a gift, and received heaven. One minute, he was a sinner going to hell. The next minute, he was a sinner going to heaven. "

Then he (thief) said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:42-43

In the Old Testament, the Jews also received a gift of salvation. But their salvation was not from the bondage of sin. Their salvation was from the bondage of the Egyptians. The Jewish people had absolutely nothing to do with there deliverance from the hands of Pharaoh. In fact, most of them didn't even believe it could happen. Their deliverance was orchestrated by God through miracles and plagues. One minute, the Jews where making bricks. The next minute, they were packing the U-Haul. Once Pharaoh yielded, it was up to them to stay in slavery or leave town. It was God, through Moses, that brought upon the deliverance of the Jews, and it was God, through Jesus, that brought upon the deliverance of the world. After being delivered from slavery, God tells the Jews that He is taking them to a new land. A land that is plentiful. A land of no traffic, low gas prices, and a Super Wal-Mart, etc, etc. It is a land where they can live and raise their families forever. God gives them a verbal deed to the land and instructs them to go inspect their new property.

The Lord, now said to Moses, “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.” So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He sent out twelve men, all tribal leaders of Israel, from their camp in the wilderness of Paran. Numbers 13:1-3

When the twelve men returned from surveying the land, they gave the following report.

We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! Numbers 13:27-28

The deliverance from Egypt was the work of God and Him alone. The whole escape was gift wrapped in a neat little package. Not only did they not have to fight their way out, God cleared a path for them. You can't get more "full service" than God parting water so you don't have to walk around. The possession of the land, however, was NOT "full service". It was "self-service". God had already promised them the land. It was theirs for the taking. But there were no takers. Even though they witnessed God perform miracles on their behalf, their unbelief allowed themselves to be intimidated by the current residents. Instead of possessing the land, they stayed in the desert for forty years.

An entire generation lived and died in the desert. Though they walked out of Egypt, they never entered into their full potential. During the forty years they wandered, God miraculously fed them and provided for their every need. Everywhere the Jews went, God hovered over them as a cloud by day, and a cloud of fire by night. Every morning, God cooked them breakfast and there was enough food to last the entire day. This went on everyday. It was routine. It was their reality.

The desert is the place between deliverance and destiny. God's intention was not to rescue them out of Egypt so that they could stay in the desert. Staying in the desert is a choice. Salvation through Christ is similar in the sense that our deliverance is FREE, but our destiny still lies in our own hands. Jesus' intention was not to rescue you from your sin, so that you could stay broke, busted, and disgusted. Remember, you go to Heaven because of what Jesus did, plus nothing. But you live in the kingdom based on your obedience and the choices you make. And living in the kingdom, is the destiny God has called each and every one of us to.

So what is the kingdom and how do I live in it?

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you. Luke 17:20-21
Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.” Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.” Mark 4:26-32

The kingdom is a land of plenty. It is a land where a little seed produces a large fruit. It is a land so fertile that a farmer will be able to plant and NOTHING will be able to stop it from growing. It is a place where others can come and find rest and provision. It is a land of unlimited potential and blessing. But the kingdom does have a show-stopper.

And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.
Matthew 11:12

The kingdom is also a land of warfare. If you want to live in the kingdom, it first has to be taken. And because this kingdom is spiritual, we know that the current residents are also spiritual. And their job is to keep you out. The Apostle Paul knew very well about this spiritual battle.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12

It is said that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Many Christians live and die in the desert, completely ignorant of the devil and specifically what he is guarding you from, The Kingdom. The kingdom, not heaven, is what Jesus died for.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

To put it another way, your eligibility for heaven was decided by Christ. Your eligibility for the kingdom will be decided by YOU on the battlefield. If Satan can convince a Christian that their salvation is up in the air, then he knows they are no threat to kingdom living. Doubting your salvation is the equivalent to a head-shot in war. If he can make you doubt your salvation, then it's over. You will remain in the desert. Enjoy your mana. It's no mystery why Paul called it the "Helmet of Salvation".

The Bible says that many are called, but few are chosen. Many have accepted the free gift of salvation, but very few have chosen to live in the kingdom. They choose not to fight. They choose not to change. They choose not to see an enemy pulling the strings. For Satan, the game is over. He can't keep you from Heaven. That battle is lost. His only option is to keep you wounded. He wants you benched and off the battlefield. His strategy is to steal, kill, and destroy your potential, relationships, and finances. If he succeeds, then you have no light. You have no salt. You have no influence.

Kingdom life is a life where no goal is out of reach. You are the head, and not the tail. You live above, and not below. You are the victor, and not the victim. Your life doesn't fluctuate with gas prices, the economy, or Britney Spears. You don't have to be broke. You CAN go to school. You CAN be healed. You CAN be successful. In the kingdom, you control your destiny. You have the authority. You have the mandate. Go get it. Don't settle for the desert. Don't settle for your daily mana rations. Go get your destiny. Go get everything Jesus bled and died for. You can't lose.

Hope to see you there.