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Tag Archives: Kingdom of God

I Believe… I Can Fly!


When you were little, didn’t you have great dreams? Great ambitions? Great hopes? The line blurs for a child, between “dull reality” and “vibrant creativity”, whether one sees a professional athlete, or astronaut, or the greatest singer EVER, or a knight in shining armor conquering dragons and saving those in distress!

But then, we grow up… We learn… There are limits to the possible. We learn to build our boxes. We learn the myriad of things we “cannot do”. We learn the bumps, the bruises, the batterings of the world and people around us. We learn… all there is… is this. Just little, dull, mundane, me… and you… and them… and this! (With a decidedly NOT “capital T” in “this”.)

But then, one incredible day, Jesus enters our own little, dull, mundane, me-and-you world. And He says things like… “To what shall I liken the Kingdom?” and somewhere, deep inside, there is a heart stirring… a tiny leap of hope… a whisper (too small, too timid, even to be fully “heard” or acknowledged, but still really there)… the child’s heart whisper of… “Maybe… just… maybe…” And old dreams, forgotten dreams of Kingdoms, and knights, and deeds of unrelenting courage and adventure rouse again deep inside…

Beyond this, on just as incredible a day,.. At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said,Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” [Matthew 18:1-4]


What if….

What if your Father were King of the Universe?

What if He had crafted and designed you, from before the beginning of time, to live fully as Prince/Princess in Him, and your perquisites and authority came into play as you learned to embrace and wield them with grace, love, and wisdom?

What if all those “heroic dreams” of your childhood were not simply aspirations TO Him, but hints to your actual nature FROM Him?


What if all the greatest dreams you ever dreamed were the barest inkling, just the slightest hints, of what you truly are and can embrace right here, right now?

Because… I have come to believe that all those dreams of greatness, heroism, adventure… are simply true. I believe I can fly. I believe I once allowed the truth of my humble childhood to be dashed and devastated by those around me who taught of limits, and boundaries, and boxes for Our Father and His embrace. That those same people BELIEVE in “limits”… that there’s only “so much to go around”, and that for ONE person to acknowledge the reality of Infinite Grace… that must somehow “diminish the availability” for others!

This was the error of the disciples noted above. This was what they needed to learn to “see another way”, to “be converted” from…

They wanted to know… “Who would be greatest in His Kingdom?” Because for the answer to be “ONE” of them… the answer could NOT be “ALL” of them.

Little children do not worry about such things. Little children don’t think such questions.

Little children just ask, “Am I? May I be? May I have?”

They haven’t yet learned the shrewd and measuring “sidelong look” at others around them, and begun the calculation that… “If He gives ME this… then THEY won’t get it!”


Can you find and release your Inner Child?

Can you believe?

Can you fly?


He only awaits your testing your wings, for He’s always holding us up, saying… “Trust Me.” We LIVE in the fullness of His Kingdom, called and equipped to rescue, to seek and save, that which is lost. The greatest adventure any can ever know!

Joy and grace to you!

The Little Monk

 

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“That’s What Kids Do!”

At that time the dlogo-Mcdonaldsisciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:1-4]

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True Story:

I know these two little kids, 5 and 7, from a Christian home of two young-ish parents… (of course, almost EVERYONE looks “young-ish” to me these days… but anyway…) Good home, folks do youth ministry at their church when they can attend, though the dad has been having to work Sundays for much of the time lately.

Anyhow, these two very normal, boisterous, get-in-trouble-their-fair-share-of-the-time, loud, active, fun, kids found themselves at a McDonald’s Playland one day with their mom after a doctor’s appointment. (You know, those “Gerbil-Run-Pipe-Tunnel-Bounce-House” affairs set off with sound proof glass in some McDonald’s Restaurants?)  This is a massive treat for those kids, and they were there in mid-afternoon, well between the lunch and dinner rush hours, so they had the whole room to themselves… almost.

Sitting on the padding near the “entrance” to the tunnels and slide, was a little boy about kindergarten age, just playing quietly with a couple of the plastic balls from the bounce house thing. He didn’t look at them, pay any attention to them, nor was he in their way as “Loud” and “Cheery” (we’ll call them) raced past him to jump into the equipment. “Timid” (we’ll call him) was just quietly playing on his own, despite his mother’s gentle attempts to encourage him to enter the equipment and play in the apparatus.

After a few minutes of racing through the maze at the top of their lungs, Loud and Cheery noticed that their playmate had not joined into the fun, despite his mother’s permission and urging. (This was fundamentally incomprehensible to them… how could ANYONE resist the allure of a McDonald’s Gerbil Run?) All through, they’d been careful not to bump into Timid as they reran the maze time and again, and didn’t even scream near him (rare for them, trust me on that).

So after a few minutes, Cheery (the 7-year old) approached Timid and said, “Hey, do you want to play with us?” (His mom nodded encouragingly to him, but he seemed unsure of himself). Then Cheery said, “You can DO this. Don’t be afraid. We’ll go with you if you want!” as she held out her hand to him, and her younger brother held out his, adding… “Yeah, we can DO this! Come on!”

Timid, bolstered by the companionship and encouragement, took their hands and dared his way into the maze, climbed the stairs, used the slide, and generally set about to have a very good time with Loud and Cheery. Eventually, after fatigue started to slow the pace a bit, my friend called a halt to the mayhem, and had Loud and Cheery come and sit for their Happy Meals. Timid headed off to his mom to eat as well. A few minutes later, all having caught their second wind, the kids all headed back into the maze for Round Two, and Timid’s mom came over to my friend’s table with tears in her eyes.

That mother came to say three things:

  • Timid is autistic, and other children make fun of him or tend to go out of their way to frighten him.
  • Therefore, they come at this “low-traffic” time, so that the youngster has a chance to play without anyone else around, but before today he had never entered in, though he enjoyed being here and sitting with those plastic balls.
  • She had never seen children respond to him as Loud and Cheery had, and she wanted to thank my friend(s) for being the parent(s) they are… noting that the kids were extraordinary.

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Now, Loud and Cheery’s mom called and told me this story, not to brag… but to share a laugh over the Title of this Post. She received this praise from Timid’s mom with pleasure, of course (who ISN’T pleased when our kids’ behavior is praised?), but also with a bit of puzzlement. She thanked Timid’s mom, but added that she and her husband really weren’t “working at it” all that hard (in her view). It was more just a Golden Rule thing. Her kids didn’t like it when others teased them or made them feel small, so this was a “discouraged behavior” among their family. No big deal. But she received the comments graciously and the kids went on playing.

When it was time to go, she called over Loud and Cheery and thanked them for how nicely they had played with Timid. Timid’s mom had commented that they had been very kind, and that was a good and nice thing, and she thanked them for it. (She and her husband “try to catch them doing something right”, as Ken Blanchard says… not just when they do wrong.)

The 7 year old just acknowledged the thanks with a casual “OK, he was nice,” and continued putting on her shoes. But the 5 year old stopped as he had listened to her intently and a puzzled look seemed to come over his face as, very deliberately, he took her hand, looked at her (as if explaining something to someone slow-of-wit), and said… “But, Mom… That’s just what kids DO!” (Play nicely with other kids and have fun doing it.)

It about knocked her out of her chair as she laughed and hugged him. She said he was absolutely right, thank you, she wasn’t thinking… and he went on to put on his shoes, nodding with satisfaction at having cleared up this mystery for his mom. I also roared with laughter, knowing these kids and readily picturing Loud’s earnest intent expression as he taught this lesson. He can be very serious at times.

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As this episode echoed through my heart, two passages of scripture echoed with them. One I will discuss here now, and it’s quite simple. The other came more strongly later in another prayer time as the Lord brought this event back to my memory, and we’ll look at that in the next post.

But the Kingdom of God passage that surrounds “lest ye become as this little child” is a rich mine of varied and diverse nuggets of truth. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone preach, teach, or write the “definitive exposition” of Jesus’ teaching there. Certainly not I.

But this 5 year old, boisterous, normal, (somewhat hyperactive), little boy just so illustrated something I think Jesus meant right there. He didn’t do what he did because of what people would think. He didn’t do it to get an ice cream sundae with his Happy Meal. He didn’t do it for a story to tell in Sunday School. He didn’t do it out of duty or guilt.

He just did what he did because it seemed the “right thing to do”. He followed his sister’s lead, trusting her judgment. He gets afraid of things sometimes, too… and when she offers her hand and he takes it… he feels less afraid and he sometimes tries new things. That just made sense to him.

He saw a small fearful boy. He thought the boy might have more fun with them than without them. His sister offered support, he backed her up, they all had fun. Simple as that. No double clutch to it.

Kindness, faith, encouragement, trust… and an offer to trust them for the benefit of the other. A whole Sunday sermon in the affirmation of a simple 5 year old.

I’d like to be more like that…

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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Here and There… Now!

arcPray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day [e]our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] [Matthew 6:9-13]

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This evening, (or afternoon, or morning, depending on what quarter of the globe you inhabit) we will continue exploration of Roses. Jesus left us the tremendous gift of “schooling” on “how to pray”. He shared what we call The Lord’s Prayer both with the Multitudes at Sermon on the Mount, and a leaner form of this prayer with the Disciples privately, when they asked Him to teach them to pray.

Unlike a number of Christian blog posts, however, this is not meant directly to “teach”, or engage in exposition of Scripture, as much as this is a reflective study, line by line. The post is meant to “set a stage”, place some background, set some lighting and positions… for YOU as “Director” to shout “action” and watch the scene unfold.

The line we consider here is unique in the Lord’s Prayer, because it is present in the Sermon on the Mount teaching, but totally missing from the instruction of the Disciples.

Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. [Matthew 6:10b]

It was mentioned in an earlier post, that it seems like the main difference between the longer and shorter forms of instruction, was not in “main ideas”, or major issues of content, but rather in “commentary” or “amplification” and description surrounding those main ideas. The Multitudes needed “specifics”… “What Father?”  “OUR Father, THE ONE IN HEAVEN”, and so on. Jesus, walking alongside His disciples 24/7 obviated the need for a lot of explanatory insulation of clear statements, His very presence defining His context clearly.

This line under consideration is unique in that it is totally omitted from the Disciples’ Version. That would lead one to conclude that this line is “amplification”, or “commentary”, rather than being a “key idea”. I’m really not comfortable to conclude that. This line reflects a DEEPLY key idea, but one that would indeed be so innate in the nature of relationship with Jesus on a day to day basis… that this could, indeed, be something He chose not to say to those He worked with daily.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So, as I gently grasp this lovely Rose, this Incredible Gift of Jesus, Son of God Himself, instructing us… both Multitudes of those interested in hearing what He has to say, and committed Disciples… on how to pray… how to lift our hearts and minds and love to God the Father… some ideas arise. Thoughts unfold like petals uncoiling. And I encourage you to allow your own Rose to unfold in your sight, and see what the Holy Spirit shows you.

I should love to hear what petals, what patterns, what colours you find in your own Garden time.

One main idea wove throughout these words… and that word was “Sovereignty”.

If you’re like me, you hear this verse in your head as… “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I’ve not mentioned this before, but “THY” (the old fashioned pronoun) is actually DIFFERENT, subtly different, from “YOUR”. If you ever took Spanish, or French, or Italian, you may remember that whole “familiar” versus “formal” thing. There were words you used when you spoke to a close friend or family member (like those you’d address by their first name, or as Auntie or Uncle), and there were other words you would use in a more formal relationship (where you might use “sir, ma’am, Mr., Mrs., or Ms.). Well, English once recognized the same distinction, and in this ironic reversal of meanings… “thee, thou, thy” were reserved for the intimate and informal… and “you, your”, and such were for the formal and stilted. Prayer, was intense, personal, intimate… a matter between “He and thee”. Somehow, our language evolved around the reality, and the close family relationships retained in the “words” of prayer, got lost in the march of time in language. Nowadays, we often hear or use “thee, thou, thy” as indicating great pomp, circumstance, and formality… when in fact they used to mean the exact opposite.

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It has been difficult to write this post. This has extended across a couple days. My “difficulty” has been how to express this huge “taproot truth”, this great thematic fundamental statement, with its harmonics as it thrums across my spirit… without trying to sound “directive” for others. For one thing, this phase, “Your will be done,” uses that same interesting Greek form that encompasses many things at once.

Your will IS done, has been done, is being done, will continue to be done… etc. Along with, “Let it be done… It is done and covers me…” you can hold and turn this aspect of this Rose in dozens of ways, and watch the Light glint from it like sunlight through a prism crystal. I cannot offer advice or teaching on “what this means”, because my own mind cannot contain all the different meanings, all the depth of meaning, these words express.

“On earth as it is in heaven”… Wow. Just stop a moment, and LISTEN to that. No difference, no gulf, no veil, no separation… Just as Jesus said He comes to bring “eternal life”, the “life of eternity” into the here and now… here it is!

I can’t explain this, Gentle Reader. I won’t try. But Jesus demonstrated to the Disciples every day, the nature of His relationship with the Father, His authority, and His Perfect Expression of the Father’s will. As the Disciples’ training drew to a close, just before the Crucifixion, Jesus said straight out that He had manifested all of this to them… they had seen all of this.

To the Multitudes, at the opening of His ministry, Jesus simply makes this statement… that the Father’s will is, and will be, done in each moment here on earth just as it prevails in heaven.

Only word I know for this… Sovereignty… and, when you place these petals on the Rose among which they are nested, they embrace the listener, the pray-er, right in the big middle of God’s relationship as Father, His Kingdom and domain, and now His Sovereignty and authority.

See where these words, these petals, lead you, Gentle Reader.

 
 

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