Week Four: The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

We digest terrible news differently these days.  Once we watched the news or read the paper and then gathered at work, or school, or the coffee shop to discuss world events. Now, we learn about natural disasters or horrible acts of violence in real time, as it's unfolding. And instead of digesting the news and then talking about it with our loved ones, we get...the comment section. You can read other's opinions, get factoids, get some theology, find out who to blame, all right there — one click under the actual story.

I have noticed that one of the most commonly used comments when the news is unspeakable is, “Come, Lord Jesus” or “Come quickly, Lord.”

While reading through the verses this week, it occurred to me that maybe, through his tears over the pain in this world, Jesus whispers to us, “I already did.” He DID come! God's plan for His Kingdom is not delayed. WE are the plan. Equipped with the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be Jesus to this broken world. We are His kingdom come.

Erin Prince

 Dear God, thank You for the sacrificial gift of sending your Son for me. Help me to remember and trust the plan You have set in motion, knowing that You are always right on time.  Give me opportunities to be an example of Christ’s love to all people I encounter today. Amen


DAILY — PRAYING SCRIPTURE:

Day One: 

It is so hard to trust God with the details of our lives that we often can’t see or understand:  the requests deferred, the pleas that are answered with a clear ‘no,’ the seasons that test us.  But God is faithful.  The promises He makes to us - that He is good and for us and with us - are trustworthy.

Hebrews 11:8-11:  Dear God, Thank you for the example of Abraham.  When called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, he obeyed and went even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is YOU. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered You, who had made the promise, faithful .  Help me to grow my faith - to remember that You are always faithful.  Amen

Ask yourself: What part of my life have I not trusted You with completely?  What ‘promised land’ are you leading me to?   Do You have a message for me today. Lord? If so, help me see and hear how this Scripture speaks to my life right now, today.

Prayer:  Dear God, thank You for the sacrificial gift of sending your Son for me. Help me to remember and trust the plan You have set in motion, knowing that You are always right on time.  Give me opportunities to be an example of Christ’s love to all people I encounter today. Amen.


Day Two:

It is easy to root for justice and mercy for some of the unspeakable horrors of our day - children in slavery, those who live in constant fear, those who are hungry.  It can be harder to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly in the midst of everyday life - with those closest to us.

Micah 6:8: Dear God, thank You for revealing to me, through your Word, what is good.  Equip me to do what you require of me - that I act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with You. Amen.

Ask Yourself:  From whom am I withholding mercy or justice?  Do You have a message for me today, Lord? If so, help me see and hear how this Scripture speaks to my life right now, today.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the sacrificial gift of sending your Son for me. Help me to remember and trust the plan You have set in motion, knowing that You are always right on time.  Give me opportunities to be an example of Christ’s love to all people I encounter today. Amen.


Day Three:

I grew up with the distinct pleasure of being around wheat harvest every summer.  I have so many happy memories of riding on the armrest of the combine, bumping along in the grain truck back to the farm to unload, and eating watermelon in the field.  Harvest is a perfect example of ‘wait and then hurry up!’  For fifty-one weeks of the year there is very little to do to the wheat, but for the one or two weeks of harvest, the work is plentiful.  Every person depends on the next to do his job.  If you don’t have all the workers doing their part, you risk the perfect window of ripeness and good conditions closing.  The harvest is right on time, and every job is important to accomplish the task.

Luke 10:1-2: Dear God, You said that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Help me to realize my part in the harvest.  Amen

Ask Yourself:  Am I playing my part in the harvest?  Am I in a season of waiting or busy harvest work?  Do You have a message for me today, Lord? If so, help me see and hear how this Scripture speaks to my life right now, today.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the sacrificial gift of sending your Son for me. Help me to remember and trust the plan You have set in motion, knowing that You are always right on time.  Give me opportunities to be an example of Christ’s love to all people I encounter today. Amen.


Day Four: 

If you’ve been around a toddler for more than two minutes, you know they can complicate the most routine tasks. Getting out the door can be a 15-minute process because of all the ‘do-it MYSELF’ requests, the lovies that must be rounded up, and the dreaded... finding of the shoes.  I wonder if God sometimes chuckles at us as we over-complicate the encounters He places right in front of us. 

Matthew 9:9: Dear God, We often make following You and doing your kingdom work so complicated.  Thank You for the example of Matthew, who, when Jesus said to him, “Follow me,” got up and followed him.  Amen

Ask Yourself:  How am I over-complicating loving God and loving people?  Do You have a message for me today, Lord? If so, help me see and hear how this Scripture speaks to my life right now, today.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the sacrificial gift of sending your Son for me. Help me to remember and trust the plan You have set in motion, knowing that You are always right on time.  Give me opportunities to be an example of Christ’s love to all people I encounter today. Amen.


Day Five: 

I am in a season of many little kids demanding much of my time.  Our day starts early and ends with me being wiped out after conquering bedtime for our five kiddos.  Sadly, on some days, among the things left unchecked off my to do list is a quiet time with God.  I find that if too many days go by without being plugged back into the Word, my actions start to become self-serving.   They may still appear to be in line with upright Christian living (and sometimes not!), but my attitude or motivation is not at all in line with the fruit of the Spirit.  I cannot be Christ-like to my family or those whose path I cross when I am not plugged into the source.

Galatians 5:22-25:  Dear God, I recognize You as the source of all that is good.  Help me to crave and carve out time with You so that I may live by the Spirit and, therefore, keep in step with the Spirit. Amen

Ask YourselfAm I consistent in my quiet time?  Am I ‘acting’ the part or provoked by love and joy to love my neighbor?  Do You have a message for me today. Lord? If so, help me see and hear how this Scripture speaks to my life right now, today

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the sacrificial gift of sending your Son for me. Help me to remember and trust the plan You have set in motion, knowing that You are always right on time.  Give me opportunities to be an example of Christ’s love to all people I encounter today. Amen.


Day Six: 

The story of Abraham, prepared to sacrifice young Isaac;  the story of Moses’ mom floating him off down the Nile...well, I simply cannot imagine being able to do these.  Yet, God provides us with so many stories of the heroes of our faith in which the demonstration of their faith was in the physical act of opening their hands, releasing control to God.  I often contrast the illustration of hands — hands open, palms up, outstretched — to that of fists, white knuckled.  I want to release control. Grow my faith, Lord! Help me open my hands, outstretched to You.

Hebrews 11:17-19:  Dear Lord, help me to be more like the heroes of the Bible.  Like Abraham who, when God tested him, was willing to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Help me to know your plans are always good. Help me to loosen my grip.  Amen.

Ask Yourself:  What areas of my life am I white-knuckling?  Do You have a message for me today, Lord? If so, help me see and hear how this Scripture speaks to my life right now, today.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the sacrificial gift of sending your Son for me. Help me to remember and trust the plan You have set in motion, knowing that You are always right on time.  Give me opportunities to be an example of Christ’s love to all people I encounter today. Amen.


Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the sacrificial gift of sending your Son for me. Help me to remember and trust the plan You have set in motion, knowing that You are always right on time.  Give me opportunities to be an example of Christ’s love to all people I encounter today. Amen.

Day Seven:  Look over your notes/prayers from the past week. What seems meaningful to you? Did you receive any insight, inspiration, or challenge? Does something require more prayer of discernment? We don’t decide when God will “show up;” instead, we want to be ready and aware when He does. Whatever your experience this week, stay committed. God is!

Catherine HortonComment