Whose Kingdom?

Daily Bread #8

A Thought To Ponder:

John Byrnes lived his life a self-described “drunken bum.”  But in September of 1997, this Queens resident proved to be much more than he appeared.  John was walking down the street in his neighborhood when he noticed smoke pouring out of the windows of Sonia Lopez’s home.  John ran to the door, banged loudly, but no one answered.  Soon he heard the frantic cries of a mother with her two-year old in her arms.  Trapped on the second story of the house, John yelled up to Sonia to toss down her son.

Reluctant to let go of her 27-pound son, Justin, with the flames growing hotter and the smoke choking her lungs, Sonia took a leap of faith.  She let go of Justin to watch him fall into the waiting arms of John.  Firefighters soon arrived and were able to evacuate Sonia who was treated for smoke inhalation and released from the hospital.  When asked how heavy the baby was John replied, “Heavy… Heavy enough not to drop!”

Byrnes who is a welder by trade had fallen on hard times, lost his job, and crawled inside of a bottle.  Homeless and an alcoholic for two years when this occurred, John doesn’t think much of himself.  “I ain’t no hero.  I’m a drunken bum, and I live in a little park.”

I wonder how Sonia would describe him.  She would use words like hero, guardian angel, and heaven-sent.

I came upon a quote the other day that I haven’t been able to place.  Not the author.  Not the occasion.  Not the context.  But, listen to the message:

“Like a coin whose image has been defaced, any one of us may disfigure and mar the likeness to God in his life.”

Alcoholism or a dozen other things that come to mind quickly can convince us what sorry, inadequate, and unworthy persons we are.  We hear again those whispers from the Accuser.  If we’re not careful we begin to believe the lie.  Worse yet, we begin to live into those false labels.

When we pray the Lord’s prayer we are reminded that this world, though controlled by Satan, is under the power and the authority of the King.  It’s His Kingdom.  His Reign.  His Power. His Glory!  Let us never give into the lies of Satan, but live up to the truth of the One who is really in control.

Questions To Discuss:

  1.  What are some of the lies that we once believed, but found out were not true at all?
  2. What kind of lies does Satan tell us about ourselves?
  3. How did Satan tempt Jesus in the desert?  What parts of what Satan said were true and what parts were false?
  4. How did Jesus react to Satan?  What did He say in response?
  5. How can we respond when Satan tells us lies?  What are some strategies we can use to combat the lies of Satan?
  6. If you could be king of any country which one would it be?  What would you do with your power?

Scripture To Read:

John 8:42-47

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

John 17:13-18

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Prayer For Change:

God, my desire is to build your kingdom and not my own,

but I confess most of the time I live like that is not true.

I spend so much of my day trying to build my kingdom,

making myself, instead of you, the center of this life.

Lord, I need your spirit to remind me minute-by-minute

that this life is not all about me.

It is all about you.

Your word says the time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and your Kingdom will be made complete.

In the end, that will be all that matters.

Nothing I build for my own glory will be left so I ask you to help me stop spending this life focused on myself.

Jesus, I want to see my daily life through the eyes of your kingdom. Help me to seek your kingdom in my heart, mind, and life.

-Rachel Baxter

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