Our Destiny, God’s Purpose

heaven-on-earthGod is intentional. All that He does and all He has created has great purpose, beyond our ability to understand unless He reveals it to us. He leaves nothing to chance. Nothing is incidental, accidental, or coincidental when it comes to His ways. It is so important that we know His intentions beyond the earthly, temporal realm in which we live and relate to. His ways are manifold, or multi-faceted. He spoke to Isaiah, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)

Take humanity, for example. God created us for many reasons. He wanted a family. He desired relationship with us. He made us to have dominion over the earth and all the creatures. He wanted us to fill the earth with His glory, the glory we were clothed in before sin came in. We were to rule and reign as His sons and daughters over the planet. We know that the authority He had given us, we gave over to the enemy when we listened to and believed his lies. The devil mistakenly thought he had thwarted God’s purposes. Yet He still had a plan. He would come in the form of a man and win back what we had given up. He restored us to our rightful place as His governing representatives over all the world, the world He would one day return to, to set up His eternal kingdom. This was the reason for His charge to “make disciples of all nations…, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:20)

His first purpose for creating us was for family and relationship. Out of that identity, His second purpose was that we would rule alongside Him. Sons and daughters ruling beside their Father, and a bride ruling with her Bridegroom. In unbroken unity, we would be working for the family business, so to speak. In order to facilitate the family business, He created the ekklesia. We usually translate this word as “church” but the two words are not synonymous. (The word church was not a Greek or Roman word, it actually came from a German word.) According to the culture of Jesus’ day, the ekklesia was a gathering, or assembly who sat at the city gates for the purpose of legislating and deciding judicial matters. It was a governing body. The ekklesia was the body of people that were given authority to rule and reign. Jesus declared that to Peter when He said, And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My ekklesia and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:18-19) 

The ekklesia was given the keys of the kingdom, the authority to decide and declare what would or would not be allowed on the earth, according to what was or was not allowed in heaven. We are to prepare the earth and the people for the King’s return to set up His kingdom here, as it is in heaven. That was the main thrust of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. That is one purpose the ekklesia was created for, but there is more. Paul told us, His intent was that now, through the ekklesia, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose that He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:10-11) We who make up His family and governing body are to show forth His glory to all other rulers, both angels and demons, and leaders of men. 

We exercise this God-given authority mainly through prayer, agreeing with God’s plans and purposes to come forth on earth as it already is in heaven. When we pray in agreement with His will, we are assured our prayers are heard and answered. (1 John 5:14-15) We demonstrate His unparalleled, manifold wisdom by transforming our culture through our involvement and godly influence. Transformed people will transform families, cities, and nations. This is our destiny, our purpose and calling. May the Lord help us to be about our Father’s business.

 

 

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Raising Mature Sons and Daughters

fullsizeoutput_75dWhen God created humanity, He created family. His desire for a family, I believe, came from the relationship within Himself, the Trinity. Though we think of and refer to God as being male, Scripture tells us that He created both men and women in His likeness. Without going into a lot of detail, I believe the Holy Spirit displays the feminine side of God. I wrote an article on this some time ago, if you haven’t read it, you can do so here. So family, humanly speaking, is an extension and overflow of the family that exists within the Trinity.

We are God’s sons and daughters. We are capable of producing sons and daughters, both biologically and spiritually. Everything in the natural is a picture of a far greater spiritual reality. (1 Cor. 15:46) As biological, or natural, parents, we are responsible to help guide and teach our children, disciplining them as we see fit, until they reach maturity. The same is true of spiritual parents. Parenting is not about controlling our children. When children are raised by controlling parents, they become controlling parents, as the sins of the father and mother are passed down the family line. It matters not if they are our biological or spiritual children. (I’m not ignoring adopted children here, the same applies to them as well).

In order for children, natural or spiritual, to reach maturity, they must be given the freedom and opportunity to make choices for themselves. This is of critical importance, even when those choices are poor ones. Failing to do so will create victims, people who refuse to take responsibility for their choices, who blame shift when they make mistakes. Our society is full of victims now, we certainly don’t need anymore. I’m not saying we should let them do things that are illegal, obviously; if they are doing something to hurt themselves or others, we should intervene whenever possible.

People, including children, learn best by making mistakes and then dealing with the consequences of those mistakes. If we continually correct them, chastise them when they fail, or bail them out when they get in trouble, we are robbing them of their chance to develop wisdom. Yes, it is hard to watch our children suffer, but we must if they are going to become mature. Parents who must control their children’s choices and behavior do so out of their own insecurity and fear of their children reflecting negatively upon them. This, in essence, is putting your own needs and desires above those of your children. In addition, it is helping to foster a fear of failure that is difficult to get free from.

Children need lots of encouragement and affirmation. I’ve heard it said that it takes twenty positive statements to counter one negative one. As parents, we should be our children’s biggest fans and greatest cheerleaders. They sure won’t get that from the world, and if they don’t get it from us, they will live life always looking for it in their relationships, accomplishments, career, etc., none of which can substitute or satisfy that need. Scripture says that if God is for us, who can be against us? He is for us even in our weakness, brokenness, and sinfulness. When we have the assurance of our parent’s love and acceptance, we will have confidence to face the critics that are out there.

When a child knows his parents love him unconditionally – no matter what – they are free to grow into their mature identity as a much loved child. When they know they will not be rejected in the face of failure, they will feel the freedom to take risks which are so important to walking by faith. All good parents want their children to exceed what they have accomplished in life, and will do all that is in their power to help them do that. If you want to raise mature biological or spiritual sons and daughters, you will make whatever sacrifices are necessary. We must remember they really belong to God and are given to us as gifts we must steward wisely.

 

 

He Makes Beautiful Things Out of Nothing

He determined in advance that through Yeshua the Messiah we would be His sons – in keeping with His pleasure and purpose – so that we would bring Him praise commensurate with the glory of the grace He gave us through the Beloved One. (Eph. 1:5-6)

God decided before creation that He wanted a family; it was His purpose all along and it was His pleasure to follow through with His purpose even though He knew what our choice would be in choosing sin, and what it would cost Him because of that. Now that is love! He would have to accomplish His plan through Jesus – through His death, the shedding of His blood; through the cross… He decided we were worth it all!

God not only desires a family – His desire is for a family that gives praise to Him equal to the glory of the grace He has given us through Jesus. That praise, I believe, could be in two different forms – one being the adoration and worship we give Him in and through our daily lives as we surrender to His Lordship. The other form, I feel, could come through others who see Him in and through us, and give glory to His name because of our witness.

The grace He gives us has its own glory – it is glorious because of who He is and who we are – we were nothing and yet He gave us great honor and worth by choosing us and laying down His life for us. Now we are something – sons and daughters of the most High God, the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords – and that is completely amazing and astonishing!

Now, we bestow that glory because of what He has done for us. He gave it to us, meaning it was a gift, and it was free to us; not to Him; and it is something we cannot earn, but simply receive with gratitude and awe.

Jesus is the Beloved One – beloved by the Father for who He is and what He accomplished. Beloved by us for the awesome demonstration of love He bestowed upon us and for us. He gave ALL that He could possibly give for love… He is worthy of all praise and honor and glory!