Hello - It's good to be home! It was a wonderful vacation and great connection time with family. But I did also miss connecting with you! Let's take a look at Day 23 together - "Your Kingdom Come". If you haven't had a chance to read Day 23, please do so - just as Delton shared in his blog yesterday, I'm also very excited to see the Lord's Prayer with new eyes. It's challenging, humbling, and amazing to see where the Holy Spirit leads!
In Why Pray? for today, Mr. DeVries shares with us a vision of what God's Kingdom coming would be like....I can almost hear the loud clang and clash, and feel the immense energy wave created as the kingdom of this world collides with God's Kingdom. The change is instantaneous and immense. Wow!
I found myself dwelling for a while on this collision point - what happens before it? Are the changes really that immediate? What else happens - what about the other lives, the collateral - surrounding the colliding kingdoms?
Today's Scripture is from Luke 19:1-9, and it really shaped and molded some of my questions and thoughts: "Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.' So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, 'He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.' But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.' Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.'"
Zacchaeus' worldly kingdom had been built on the coattails of Rome and all it's political excess and pagan, self-centered worship. This worldly kingdom collided with God's Kingdom when Jesus came over for dinner. Zacchaeus experienced the overwhelming victory that takes place when the Kingdom of God comes. He couldn't help but immediately respond -- he was instantly changed and no longer the same.
But as I considered this, I also couldn't help but think of the ones observing all that is taking place between Zacchaeus and Jesus.
Muttering under their breath, I'm sure the bystanders - the collateral in the collision of kingdoms - took with a grain of salt the declaration that the 'sinner' Zacchaeus made about donating his money and repaying any individuals he had cheated. They most likely held out for proof. And many probably never believed that such a change could happen to a base tax collector.
I imagine that, after Zacchaeus’ transformation, he initially faced many difficulties in his relationships with those around him. People don’t really like change, especially change that can’t be explained - they can’t fit into their 'faith boxes'. When “Your Kingdom Come” collisions happen, faith boxes get blown to smithereens and the collateral people can have a hard time dealing with the resulting changes.
But I also hold out hope that there were those that witnessed Zacchaeus’ life transformation and that they were also changed - that they experienced “Your Kingdom Come” collisions for themselves.
I found myself thinking back to when my journey with Point of Grace first began. I grew up Christian and I've really never known life without a faith that Jesus loves me enough to have died for my sins and that it is solely through His grace alone that I'm now sinless in his His eyes. But knowing it, and...KNOWING it are two very different things, I came to find out.
My husband and I took an Alpha course not long after we began attending Point of Grace. For us, the Alpha course was a terrific tool that ultimately gave us the freedom to fully own and experience our faith in Christ. It also gave us a way to develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit, something that we didn't have or acknowledge before. God's Kingdom came strongly into our lives in a way that it hadn't previously. This change was immediate for us - it was like, we suddenly had new connection, new understanding, new relationship - almost like we couldn't remember NOT having it before.
I remember sharing our experiences with my parents - that was difficult. It was different than what they knew in their faith walk. I was talking about things they hadn’t really experienced. It didn’t fit into their box of what faith should be, and we got to a point that we couldn’t even discuss it anymore. Six years ago, I started praying for them - I prayed for a faith for them that was built on connection and relationship with Christ and not just the head knowledge of grace and salvation. I prayed that they could maybe even attend an Alpha course, that maybe that was a tool that could help them in their journey.
Over time our conversations on the topic of faith became easier. I could share with them things we experienced, what we saw happen in the lives of others around us, and how the Holy Spirit moved in our own family. Maybe my parents also started to see fruits from my family’s relationship with Christ growing - who knows?
Four years ago, my parents moved away from the area. Somewhere in there I stopped praying for them to attend an Alpha course, but our faith conversations continued and I kept praying for them to have a renewed, vibrant relationship with Christ.
Last year, a “Your Kingdom Come” collision happened for them in a way that ultimately led to them attending an Alpha course through Point of Grace via Skype. My parents have since led two Alpha courses in their hometown, and are laying the groundwork for two more courses to be held concurrently this fall. They are truly acting out of a relationship with Christ and a calling in their faith that they hadn’t known before now.
They were the collateral to the clash and clang in my life when one of our “Your Kingdom Come” collisions happened 6 years ago. It wasn’t pretty - at first. But with continued prayer, God’s Kingdom Came for them as well.
And they also have collateral - there are those whose lives are now also experiencing “Your Kingdom Come” moments just as strongly as my parents did. But then there are others that can’t understand the change that has taken place in my parents’ lives and they can’t fit it into their faith boxes. It is causing difficulties in those relationships.
So we continue to pray for “Your Kingdom Come”.....
What would it look like to have “Your Kingdom Come” into your life right now? How about in the lives of those you are praying for?