Kingdom Principle: God’s Power flows from the Center to the outer-most edge.
Prayer directs Kingdom Servants from the outer-most edge to the center.
|Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22||Psalm124||James5:13-20||Mark9:38-50|
It is far better to be a long way off and headed the right direction than to have no clue where you are headed or to have missed the target and to now be headed in the wrong direction all together. The GPS directional ability to recalculate – requires you to know where you are headed– without a destination the map can only tell you where you are, not help you find your way. May approach the bible like a map, without any true hope for destination. Just as many go to church weekly hoping that the pastor will tell them how to get to heaven, but I ask is getting to heaven the destination.
As believers who have been born of the Spirit – we have a built in GPS – That is Guiding Holy Spirit, rather than Global Positioning System. Unfortunately for many, they have no desire to tune into or to turn on the GHS – they rather figure it out for themselves and learn through trial and error. (much like some drivers simply don’t want someone to be telling who to drive)
Unlike a map, the Kingdom of God is without a fixed outer edge or boundary, but it certainly has a true North. A compass, is not dependent on a map to work and while it does not tell you if you are going the wrong way, it will tell you if you are heading north or not. A compass without a map can lead you to miss a trail head or lead you down a road to no end. A map without a compass can be read completely upside down and backwards.
- The Kingdom is our Compass –the Kingdom is the true North. It does not have geography limitations, and while it guides us, it rarely directs us to the detailed answer.
- The Spirit is our map – in the sense like GPS – it shows you how to navigate the pitfalls and obstacles that are between you and your destination.
You cannot draw a box around the Kingdom of God, nor can you make a list of those who are “in” verses “out”. However the Kingdom of God is fixed on one focal point – that is Jesus Christ as the King. This is called a Center-Set rather than a Bounded-Set. (the link provides a great video, but here is a quick summary of this different way of thinking). With Bounded-Set thinking which is most common in organizations and individuals finds themselves focusing on either; others who are like them or resisting those who are not. This focus often creates a list of characteristics that determine whether a person is “in” or “out” of the established group. Look at any high school and you will find hundreds of clicks and sub-groups that are living this out as natural as the air they breathe. The outside edge becomes the focus and the movement is to get outsiders either to come in or stay out. (The bounded-set does not rely on the spirit of the law, it looks to a law itself. 1 Cor 2:10-15, 2 Cor 3:1-6) With a Center-Set there is no “in” or “out” based on the characteristics of the group, rather the focus is on the direction you are headed (Kingdom) and what is drawing persons in the same direction (Spirit). All those persons heading in the same direction, are focused on the same center – they become a group, no matter how different or far apart they are, as long as they are focused / heading to the same goal. The Kingdom is a Center-Set.
When your focus is on the King and you are moving toward the King, it matters not how far away you are– only that you are moving closer to the King and heading in that direction. Jesus says it very clearly to the disciple in the text this week, “whoever is not against us is for us” In a very basic and over simplistic analogy, it is like being on an escalator or the moving walk-way in an airport – it only goes one direction….. If you are on it – you are going to move in that direction, unless you turn around and run against the flow of motion. For some – they have opted to get off the “walk-way” of the Kingdom, and are in fact moving quickly in the other direction. Others choose to remain on the Kingdom walkway, but insist on resisting or moving away from God, rather than acknowledging his power. This person is in constant battle, and must work against the power of God. This is the life of the fool. Then there are those who desire to move closer to God simply choosing to stand still, letting God do the work. Finally those that learn to run in the direction of the Kingdom, discover movement beyond their ability and wisdom beyond their understanding. This is the flow of Power moving you closer to him.
The passages this week are discussing the Power of Prayer and the movement of the King’s heart to engage His servants who are moving in His direction. Esther brings one of the clearest descriptions of a Center-Set book in the Bible – in that is does not even mention the Center… but it moves in that direction. Esther is a part of a Haram, to a pagan King, she has concealed her Jewish Heritage and yet she is the representative of God. Based on Bounded-set thinking there has to be somebody else who can better represent. And yet – the truth emerges that at just the right time, in the right place, doing the right thing (a Kingdom Servant) shines, not matter how far they seem to be from the “center”. The Disciples error this week was allowing their focus to be placed elsewhere rather than on Jesus (the King). There focus was placed on themselves and others. Their rejection of the man driving out demons was not regarding his work, rather in the fact that “he” is not one of them (us). The text does not say “he” was not a follower of Jesus, just that he is not one of “us”… and So Jesus tells them – he is headed in the same direction as us…. he is following me…. Again, Esther does not follow Mordecai, she keeps her focus on the King and his wishes and desires, and the results save the life of Mordecai and all the Jews. Haman takes his eyes off the King and seeks his own kingdom, and the result is death and destruction. In the James passage the power of prayer is declared, and then the charge if given that is someone is move away from the truth we are to go bring them back. This brink them back is not to be in or out, but to help them turn toward the truth. For you to be with them, you are at the outer-most edge of the Kingdom as highlighted above.
Prayer is the focusing agent of our lives unto the flow and movement of God. Prayer is not for the purpose of changing God’s flow of power, it is for the purpose of changing us. Prayer for another believer aligns us to the will of God as we learn to listen and respond to the answer of God. Mother Teresa spoke of prayer in this way, “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at his disposition, and listening to His voice in the depths of our hearts.” So the purpose of prayer is to align oneself in union with the will of God. (Matt. 6:9-10)
We must not forget that we have an enemy that longs to obstruct the power of God from flowing freely in our lives. All that much more reason why must pray – and boast in our dependence of the King. And in our lives we fast from the things of this world – breaking our dependence on such comforts and lies of the enemy. (Resist the Devil and he will flee from you – James 4:7)
Prayer will move you to the outermost edge of the Kingdom. (Which is marked by humility and hospitality.) Declarations will keep you there, and Commanding darkness away will provide the context for you to flourish.
Questions to move us deeper into Power-filled Prayer:
- Do you have any relationships where you can confess your sins to another person and be prayed for?
If not – you need to find and discover the power of this relationship. This may seem not- necessary, but it is essential to your movement from the dependence of the world and comforts of the soul to the flow of the spirit and the healing power of prayer.
- In what ways might you be tempted to substitute the power of the Kingdom, for power in this world?
To be a People of Faith following a Plan of Hope, fulfilling a Purpose of Love; prayer is the only means by which you can grow in your confidence and conviction of such things. The Plan of Hope is that which you declare, the purpose of love is the foundation of commanding in humility. (again the edge of the Kingdom) Further, This is the dilemma of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time and where the Disciples found themselves bumping-up against the will of God – they were bound by rules, rather than set free by Power.)
- With whom are you in relationship with for the specific purpose of being God’s agent for change?
Are you willing to allow God to demonstrate His power through you? If so Pray, Declare and Command. Pray that the eyes of your heart may be opened to see where God has placed you for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). God is inviting you to pray, that His Will may be known by you and those around you.
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