The Lord's Prayer
Your Kingdom Come
Our Father, which is in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Whose Kingdom? His Kingdom! A lot of ministers, who are genuinely called, are focussed on building their own kingdom. I have been there, too, but eventually it filtered through to me that some of the things I thought would be really cool, if God were to empower me in certain ways, would be more glorifying to me than to Him.
It is not "all about me" for any of us. It is all about Him. It was Yeshua who came down from His splendor to live on this scuzzy planet for three decades, not as He did before in a supernatural body that could turn off His sense of smell, if He chose to do so (I would sometimes, if I could), but one who had to endure the stench of sweaty bodies, bad breath, rotting food, dead animals left lying around, animals being gutted in preparation for cooking, mold, perfume gone rancid, sewage from both people and animals (though the Jews were cleaner than other nations), and people around Him passing gas. Just because of the smells alone, it was no picnic for God to come down here to this decaying planet.
In addition to living among all this squalor (after living in Heaven, even a pristine and elegant palace would seem like a shabby, dirty lean–to), Yeshua put up with nasty behaviour from people, and that was even before the religious leaders got stirred up with envy against Him. He first of all got bombed with negative vibes when he was a baby in His mother's womb, by people who assumed that she had committed adultery and was carrying a bastard.
Then there was that night that He was born, and His weary mother was shunned and given only a stable to lie down in to give birth. It may have been a special stable where the sacrificial lambs were born, but it was still a stable. Among the first things He smelled after His birth was the pungent odour of animal dung and sweat.
Yeshua spent His early years in a Jewish enclave in Egypt. If his parents took Him with Him when they left their kosher neighbourhood, His eyes beheld idols where demons and fallen angels lurked within those dead objects, their worshippers not suspecting that the Lord of all Creation walked among them as a homely, curly–haired, olive–skinned, little boy with big, solemn, brown eyes.
After a time, there was a hot, gritty journey back to Israel to settle in Nazareth, His mother's and stepfather's town, where He was subjected to the cruelties of gossip and slander. It did not matter how good and kind He was as a person, or how skilled and honest as a tradesman; some people still persisted in looking down their nose in scorn at Yeshua because they thought He was illegitimate.
He was also considered to be of low birth, and some scorned him on that score, as well. Though Mary was descended from King David through his son Nathan, and Joseph was descended from the royal line through King Solomon, Joseph and Mary started off in life poor. They couldn't afford a lamb to offer at the Temple when Yeshua was born; they had to make do with a couple of pigeons. Yeshua bore the stigma, not only of illegitimacy, but also in the eyes of some, of peasantry. Considering how hostile Herod was towards anyone who could have had a legitimate claim to the throne, it was wise of Joseph to keep a low profile about his ancestry.
So Yeshua walked among mankind as a peasant, regardless that He was a skilled tradesman for a good farmer has equal value, and yet, He was (and is) the King of kings, the Lord of the whole Universe! He is maybe the Lord of zillions of universes, if such universes exist. I am not talking about screwy concepts like parallel universes. When people mess around in the occult and practice astral projection where they think they are visiting other planets and universes, it is just a demonic illusion. If God has other universes, they are probably completely different from ours and our minds are not able to comprehend even the least little thing in those universes because they are not yet equipped to do so. Who has known the mind of the Lord? (Romans 11:34) Anyway, the only universe we need to be concerned about is the one we live in. Not even satan can go beyond its boundaries, if he has the freedom to move outside of our solar system. The point is, God is way bigger than we can comprehend.
It was this immeasurably powerful and majestic God who came down to this diseased, chaotic, fallen Earth, lived among us for thirty some odd years, and then allowed Himself to be arrested, abused, and assassinated so that we could be set free from the pollution, penalty, and power of sin. Really, do any of us have any right to seek our own glory? It is especially despicable to do it through using Christian ministry (considering what Yeshua went through), to elevate ourselves above others and for personal gain that we are not entitled to.
If God promotes us, that is another thing, and every labourer is worthy of their hire. It is okay to have adequate housing and drive a decent car that doesn't look beat up or break down a lot, to buy good–quality clothing, to pay for healthy, organic food, to have some paid time off, but when ministers take money from the poor to live in mansions, own a collection of luxury cars or maintain personal limousines, to spend thousands of dollars on one item of clothing, something is wrong.
Some argue that their lifestyle is paid for by personal income, not tithes and offerings. What is often meant is the sale of their DVDs and books. What is the subject matter of those books, etc? Is it not revelation that God gave them? Did God mean for them to use that revelation to fund a luxury lifestyle, or to earn money to sow back into His Kingdom, as well as to enlighten His people and save the lost?
If a person is writing Christian romance or adventure novels or books that offer professional advice that the author would give to clients who pay for appointments, I don't see a problem getting rich on that. If a minister has inherited property, let them enjoy it, or if they have made investments with their wages and it has yielded a high return, or run a business in addition to engaging in ministry, they have a right to spend their money however they wish.
But God's revelations and accounts of His miracles are not the personal property of the people they are given to; they are meant to be shared to bring forth the Kingdom of God, so the revenue after the cost of publishing, advertising, and distribution should go into the Kingdom, too. Isn't it privilege enough to be given the revelation or miracle?
The cost of publishing would include the writers' expenses while they are writing the books instead of working at a regular job, or for overtime, if they are working on their book in their free time after a full work week. As the Bible says, the labourer is worthy of their hire.
If rich people buy luxuries for Christian ministers that have costly upkeep, then it's okay, as long as they are willing to subsidize the extra expense of upkeep and taxes so that the ministers whose only income is from ministry are not tempted to put the squeeze on people to cover this, or start redirecting money to it that previously went into the Gospel. But if poor people are making sacrifices to support their ministry and the ministers are living like millionaires at their expense, it is obviously not God's Kingdom that they are seeking. They possibly do some good sometimes, but God's Kingdom is not their passion.
So is it anyone's business to target a certain minister and call them out in regards to their lifestyle? Tricky ground ahead. Unless you have access to their account books, how can one really know if their money comes from legitimate sources or if they are getting rich off of donations meant for propagating the Gospel? If you feel uneasy about supporting their ministry, then don't. If God says to give them money, regardless of how they live better than the average person, then do it. We should always get direction from the Lord about giving, instead of being moved by emotion.
There was a case where people felt compelled by the Lord to give money to a man who was an electrical engineer and had a great job where he was paid well, and he was on the verge of being promoted to CEO and receiving a pay raise. People could not understand why God was asking them to give money to a man who earned more than they did, and lived better than they, though he had 12 children to support and another was on the way. They did not know that the man had given his notice at work because God wanted him to go into full–time ministry, and to never ask anyone for money to support it or his family. That is the way he has lived for decades, even when the number of his children rose to 15.
We don't know what is going on behind the scenes, but if we can hear God accurately, and will obey Him, the money we give will earn abundant interest in Heaven and God will bless us here on Earth, too.
Let Him be the Judge. How other people spend their money is none of our business, unless it can be proved that they are engaged in crime. They might actually be doing nothing wrong, having legitimate sources of income we know nothing about. The rest of us really don't know if we would behave better or worse, if we were in the same position, so we should pray for these people that they will make good choices. People need God's help to handle large amounts of money, fame, and influence honourably and responsibly.
God will judge those who prefer to criticize and hinder a ministry than to pray when they see a problem. After all, even ministries operating in error manage to get people saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, delivered from demons, healed from injuries, disease, and deformities, and set free from economic bondage.
Another symptom of seeking one's own kingdom is feeling it is necessary to always maintain that one is right and to be highly esteemed. A lot of pastors argue their positions on various issues up and down, with closed minds, because it would undermine their sense of control to say, "You have got a really good point; I need to take a closer look at this."
I think it would advance God's Kingdom if, after they have thought things through more thoroughly and realized their error, they were to spread the word that they were mistaken. If it is a major enough mistake to warrant it; otherwise it would be tedious to have to read all the apologies to get caught up on everybody who has changed their mind. The Lord knows (and I mean that reverently), none of us are right about everything. He is the only one who is right about everything.
Not only do we need to beware of setting up our kingdom, but also to beware of idolizing others and supporting their kingdom. If we are in a church where the pastors are more interested in their own glory and neglecting God's glory and the advancement of His Kingdom, we had better get out of there before we become dried up, dead branches that are fit for nothing but the fire.
Larry Lea of the Church on the Rock taught a dynamic aspect of the Lord's Prayer. He said that the word "come" in the phrase "Your Kingdom come" should be said with emphasis. It should read, "Your Kingdom come!" Stomping our foot or pounding our fist on something when we say it would be appropriate.
That makes sense. Yeshua said in Matthew 11:12, "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." We need to get aggressive in prayer. We need our messy world to get straightened out. There would be less grief for people and for God, who beholds and empathizes with its suffering, if it operated better. Salvations, deliverances, healings, and the prosperity of His people are Yeshua's rewards for His suffering. He deserves to have His victory enforced.
We are not supposed to let the devil run amok because of prophecies that everything will be horrible in the last days. God has given satan only seven years at the end of Time to do his deepest dastardly deeds. He intends for the Church to rise up and set things in His order as much as they can before then; the night when no man can work is supposed to be held off for as long as possible.
Also, Yeshua said that He will build His Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. As one of my pastors pointed out, gates don't attack people; people attack gates. God wants us to be on the offensive against spiritual darkness, enforcing Yeshua's victory on the cross, not timidly cowering behind our shields, hoping to hang on until the Rapture cavalry comes to our rescue.
We are told in the Bible to "occupy" until Yeshua comes and that He was manifested to destroy the works of the evil one. Yeshua has done the hard part and it is our job to follow through on seeing to it that satan's works are dismantled, now that he has no real power to stop us. The authority over the Earth is back in God's hands and delegated to His Body on Earth to administrate. The departments for Disease, Demonization, Disaster, Deprivation, Despair, and Disrepair are designated for dismantling. Let Yeshua's Kingdom come!
Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
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