Big Kingdom Living

Live Big

Jesus is, presently, seated at the right hand of the Father. He reigns today. The regime of our King is a present, proceeding, advancing reality. Because this is true – it means that as children of The Most High God we can rejoice in this truth that His vision and plan for us is in the works now and includes every aspect of our lives — EVERY aspect.

So … now take that truth and apply it to your today. If He lives within you and if the Kingdom of God is today — then you have a choice to make; allow the presence and power of His kingdom to permeate your life. Allow His presence and power to invade your hopes for the future. Allow His presence and power to shape your view of yourself. Allow His presence and power to inform your understanding of who He is.

Your faith, properly placed in Him, is strong enough to support the dreams that you feel are impossible! Your faith, properly placed in Him, will allow you to experience the truth that He can do more than you can ask, think or imagine.

Picture this — your faith, as you nurture it, will grow and become stronger — strong enough for your life’s goals to be lifted up as offerings to the Most High! Strong enough to sustain your hopes and rebuke your doubts. Your faith, when nurtured and when placed in Him, will allow you to rejoice in the fact that He is your Benevolent Sovereign who finds great pleasure in showering you with his agape love and who assures that as you submit to His kingdom you will enjoy his good will in your present reality.

Paul David Tripp calls it Big Kingdom Living — living like Christ is the basis of all that you speak, execute, and envision.  Living your life such that “God’s purposes become your functional life goal.” Being all that He has created you to be — doing all that He has created you to do. Awesome!

Henry Highland Garnet served in Jamaica, Liberia, New York & Pittsburgh; 1842 – 1882

Henry Highland Garnet. Born into slavery in Maryland in 1815, Garnet and his family escaped to New York City when he was nine years old. In New York City, Garnet attended the African Free School. In the 1830s, Garnet continued his education at several institutions. He eventually ended up at the Oneida Institute in Whitesboro, New York, finishing his studies in 1840. He became a Presbyterian minister and served as the first pastor of the Liberty Street Negro Presbyterian Church in Troy, New York, beginning in 1842.

His “Call to Rebellion” speech in 1843 encouraged slaves to rebel against their owners. In 1850, Garnet traveled to England and Scotland, where he spoke widely against the practice of slavery. He also supported allowing blacks to emigrate to other lands, such as Liberia in Africa, a country made up mostly of freed slaves. In 1852, Garnet traveled to Jamaica to serve as a missionary. Ill health forced his return to the U.S. in 1855, where he continued his work in the abolitionist movement. In 1856, he served as pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC.

On February 12, 1865, while in Washington, Garnet made history when he was chosen by President Abraham Lincoln to speak to the House of Representatives—making him the first African American to preach a sermon in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1868, Garnet was appointed president of Avery College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Later he returned to New York City as a pastor at the Shiloh Presbyterian Church (formerly the First Colored Presbyterian Church, and now St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem).  

Fulfilling a longtime dream, Garnet traveled to Africa in 1881, appointed as the U.S. Minister to Liberia. He died in 1882, a few months after his arrival. Garnet was given a state funeral by the Liberian government and was buried at Palm Grove Cemetery in Monrovia.

The humblest peasant is as free in the sight of God as the proudest monarch that ever swayed a sceptre. Liberty is a spirit sent from God and like its great Author is no respecter of persons.” 

Henry Highland Garnet

Louise (“Lulu”) Cecilia Fleming served in Congo; 1887 – 1899.

Lulu was born in 1862 as a slave in Florida. In 1887 she became a missionary teacher in Congo. The school had 49 students, and many of them came to Christ through Lulu’s ministry to them. The students were introduced to Jesus because of Lulu’s ministry to them.

This seems a poor report…and perhaps many may think the work almost discouraging, but to us whom God has given the privilege to labor here it is very encouraging. [It] fills us with unspeakable joy. “

Lulu combined her teaching with weekend evangelistic work in the towns, and within a year, she had learned Kikongo and no longer required a translator. When Lulu saw that women needed to be reached, she began making home visits while urging the mission society (American Baptist Foreign Mission Society of the West) to send more women.

In 1891 Lulu returned to the USA as a student at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia; Lulu returned to the Congo in 1895 as a medical missionary.

Known as Dr. Fleming, she was stationed at Irebu, further up the Congo River, where she needed to learn a different language. The power of Dr. Fleming’s ministry came from her identification with those among whom she served. The Baptist Missionary Magazine described her as “particularly successful in winning the hearts of the Congo people, putting herself in close touch and sympathy with them.” 

She passed away in 1899 from complications from African sleeping sickness.

Eternal Life, Eternal Joy …

When I was growing up a favorite hymn was “Jesus Is All The World To Me” – the line of the song that I loved most was, “Eternal life, eternal joy, He’s my Friend.” As a child, I did not really understand the deep meaning of this statement, but it made me happy to think of being with Him forever because he is a true friend. Thinking of it now is making me sing it and cry tears of joy. Interestingly, there is much that I keep hearing taught that paints people a picture of a life with Christ being the best thing to have in today’s moments. That’s true – when you’re talking about where a person’s faith should be. We need to be careful to speak the truth clearly, however, when we’re telling people what eternal life with Him looks like.

Life eternal is — knowing the Father and His son – Christ.

Our human need for more – for better – for more excellent – has distorted our view of eternal life. We have filled our minds with lesser things as we speak of eternity. Things like – robes, golden streets, mansions, reunions with those who have passed away, even heavenly banquets. Christ makes it very plain to us that eternal life is in knowing Him! Not just some casual acquaintance, but an intimacy that causes all other things that seem to make up life to pale in comparison. A ‘knowing Him’ that fills the deep recesses of our hearts and satisfies longings too deep to describe. Indeed, knowing Him is the one timeless truth.

Father — change my heart. Teach me how and what it means to be satisfied and complete in knowing You. My mind cannot conceive that nothing else is needed – so help me understand this. As I look toward life eternal – let my longing be for intimacy with You and the Christ. Prepare my heart and my mind for eternity with You!

Divine Do Over

DoOver

Bob Carlisle wrote a song back in 1996 that was made popular by Donnie McClurkin, We Fall Down.

“We fall down, we get up
We fall down, we get up
We fall down, we get up
And the saints are just the sinners
Who fall down and get up.”

The song talks about a person discovering the grace of God in His failures – realizing even people of God made mistakes and the grace of God covered them and gave them a new start. We all have different testimonies – but all of us have made our share of mistakes – we have all said and done things that we later regretted and as we take a backwards look at our lives, we know it was the grace of God that kept us. As for me – I am amazed at how the Lord has kept me in spite of me! My testimony is that I faltered, but  because of His grace – it was never fatal!

God does not delight in our mistakes but He delights in our desire  to obey Him. Even when we falter, He sees our hearts and knows whether we are truly seeking His will or seeking to satisfy ourselves. Think about it with this statement – powerful in every way …. 

  • WHEN you desire to obey Him
  • When YOU desire to obey Him
  • When you DESIRE to obey Him
  • When you desire to OBEY Him;

He will honor your obedience with His presence and power in your life!

Sometimes we step out in front of God; moving before we get his direction about something that seems urgent. What does stepping out in front of God look like?  It looks like:  getting something off our chests when we should’ve keep quiet; taking out a payday loan when we need to manage the funds we have; buying that sale item when we don’t really need to be spending; eating that last piece of pie when we know we don’t need it; getting into a relationship that we know is ungodly; compromising our morals because it seems like an easier way; etc.  When we move outside of His will, we are failing to exercise our right to rely on The One who will always guide us to the best action and decision for our lives. When we fail to follow His lead – we will miss out of His best for us.

The great thing about being a Christ follower is that because we are His chosen ones – we have access to His grace. Because we have access to His grace — we always have access to a course correction.  We might have to go back to the drawing board — but He will be there waiting to redirect us – to get us headed in the right direction.  He knew we were going to muddle things; He knew we couldn’t keep His commandments without His intervention; He knew that we would botch even His simplest commands — so, in His great love, He sent us a Savior! He gave us unlimited access to His grace!  When we mess up He has a giant eraser AND a beautiful paint canvas!  How awesome is that?!

Here’s the deal — we all make mistakes; but He, in His infinite kindness towards us, will always be willing to give us a do over. We can rest assured that as we trust in Him and seek to obey Him (seek to OBEY Him!); He will honor us with His direction and His presence in our situation. Take a step back from your situation; your temptation; your stressor — He will gladly guide you in the right way allowing you to start over because it gives Him great joy to bless your life when you are leaning on His understanding and not your own.

Our mistakes do not have to be fatal errors — we really can start over!  CTRL/ALT/DEL — reboot — start again.

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. (‭Psalms‬ ‭37‬:‭23‬)