The Kingdom of God
Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV): “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Jesus, the Son of God and the One who has been given all authority, glory and power, leads by example through humility and servanthood. He taught us to love one another, take care of the marginalized and oppressed, forgive quickly, and prioritise compassion and selflessness over personal gain. When we follow Jesus’ ways, we experience transformation and embody the Kingdom-principles that we learn about in the Bible. This enables us to live counter-cultural, love-infused, and selfless lives for God’s glory and the advancement of His Kingdom here on earth.
How can we do that this week? By remembering that:
It is God Himself who gives us breath. In Job 33:4 (AMP) we read, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life [which inspires me].” Breath is the foundation of life, and we exist because we have been given the Breath of God, the Spirit of God. May we harness every breath we take to become more aware of God’s presence, and the power of His Spirit at work in us and those around us.
No matter how far we may have wandered, we will always find our loving Heavenly Father willing to welcome us back home! How powerful it is to experience God’s relentless pursuit of His children, and His willingness to embrace us despite our imperfections. He desires to restore us to a place of love and acceptance. Once we have run into His loving, open arms, we are able to share the essence of God’s grace and love. Let us pray that others will find the same rest in His great love, boundless mercy, affection, compassion and forgiveness.
As we focus on God’s promises, love and faithfulness, we gain the strength to persevere through challenges and obstacles. We are not alone in our journey. God walks with us every step of the way – providing the guidance, direction and strength we need to fulfil His calling and purpose for our lives. May we remember that God’s plans for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11) and that He equips us with everything we need (Hebrews 13:21). We can walk in confidence and hope – accomplishing great things for His glory.
Lord, I thank You that You led by example and that it was an example of servitude. This world is driven by who we are – our status and what we have. Lord God, I pray that we would remember that You said, “I’ve come to serve and not to be served.” Would You illuminate the areas of our heart where we should recommit ourselves to You? Would You show us the people in our world that we could serve better? It doesn’t necessarily need to involve money or materialistic things… Maybe it’s a conversation. Maybe it’s intentionally acknowledging someone’s presence. I pray that we would seek out ways to be an example of You and Your Kingdom.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your powerful life-giving Spirit within us. Thank You that we can know that we are never alone. You are as close to us as our own breath. Will You guide us and make Your presence known to us? When we start to hold our breath, or something happens that makes us hyperventilate, teach us to recognize Your Spirit – Your breath – in others. May we see that You are also present in their lives. Remind us to be open and aware of Your breath within us.
Lord, help us to humble ourselves and return home. Help us to give words of encouragement to other people. Wherever we are and whatever we have, we’re nothing without You. We’ve squandered so many of our gifts, so many of our talents, so much of our time. But it’s never too late. Thank You for coming towards us. In Jesus’s name.
Dear Lord Jesus, we thank You so much for Your Word. We thank You that Your Word is alive and it can speak to us every single day, in every circumstance. Your Word is fresh and new. It speaks directly to what our hearts need, and what we need to press on and get through this particular day. I just pray that we continue to put You first. I pray that we continue to stand firm on Your Word and to stand strong as a community. As the church, we pray that You will continue to stir up faith and hope in us.
So, Father I want to thank You today that every one of us have a future of hope. Thank You that we can call upon You to help us run this race of faith and not quit. We will stand upon Your Word. We will meditate upon Your Word. We know that we will see the results through what You do when we persevere and that we can have hope in Your promises. We give You praise today in the Name of Yeshua our Messiah. Amen.
(This WRAP is with great appreciation towards Nick, Marike, Liezel, Martie and Kristen}
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