“The kingdom is not discovered in one place or another, for God’s kingdom realm is already expanding within some of you.”” Luke 17:21 TPT
The implication is that God‘s kingdom realm is a person, Jesus Christ. The reality of God‘s kingdom appears when Jesus lives within us by faith. When John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask if Jesus was the messiah, “Jesus answered them, “Give John this report: ‘The blind see again, the crippled walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised back to life, and the poor and broken now hear of the hope of salvation!’” Matthew 11:4-5 TPT
Everything Jesus did was in sync with the kingdom realm and that’s because Jesus is the embodiment of the kingdom realm. The moment we accept his gift of forgiveness we become spiritually alive, made 100% righteousness and filled with his spirit. As a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) we desire to follow Jesus and continue what he started, the restoration of his kingdom realm.
Nothing is more rewarding than seeing hope, love and joy expanding through the good news that Jesus has come to resort the kingdom realm.
““Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Are you penniless? Come anyway—buy and eat! Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk. Buy without money—everything’s free! Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love. I set him up as a witness to the nations, made him a prince and leader of the nations, And now I’m doing it to you: You’ll summon nations you’ve never heard of, and nations who’ve never heard of you will come running to you Because of me, your GOD, because The Holy of Israel has honored you.” Isaiah 55 MSG
I have always wanted to go on a shopping spree for the best of the best where someone else pays the bill. Thanks to Jesus that’s exactly what we are invited to do. Today go on a shopping spree taking all that our Papa has provided. No cash, credit, or mask required. What do you need today? Is your spirit starving for an encounter with Jesus? Are you over the mindlessness of media? Is your emotional bank account empty? Jesus invites you to come and take, take his best! Don’t even fall for that catchy colored, prize at the bottom, sugar coated flakes, go for what truly satisfies that deep inwardly longing…….Jesus. Sit with him. Allow his Waves of satisfaction to wash over you and rivers of life will gush out like the praise from the one healed leper that return to thank Jesus for his generosity.
Hurricane season causes so much damage with its high winds and flooding.
Very little escapes its destructive path, flooding water 💦 everywhere.
David writes in Psalms 145 to describe our Heavenly Papa’s love for us is like a hurricane, powerful, unstoppable, and overflowing. The hurricane’s of life drowns and destroys everything in its path! On the other hand, our loving Papa’s hurricane covers us in His love, provision, grace, and mercy.
“You’re kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail you. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. God, everyone sees your goodness, for your tender love is blended into everything you do.” Verse 8-9.
During a hurricane, it’s impossible to contain all the water no matter how hard you try. I have heard people blame God for sending tragedies and natural disasters, Saying things like “God is trying to get our attention”, or “they had it coming for a while”. The enemy would love to distort our perception of our Heavenly Papa so we run from him rather than to him.
the bible declares the Lord‘s kindness and tender mercy it’s like a flooding river that overflows its banks to those who don’t deserve it and those who have failed.
You are the Lord who reigns over your never-ending kingdom through all the ages of time and eternity! You are faithful to fulfill every promise you’ve made. You manifest yourself as kindness in all you do. Psalms 145:13
Next time you feel a strong gust of wind lean into it and remind yourself of the Papa’s great love for you.
I will praise you, Lord! Let everyone everywhere join me in praising the beautiful Lord of holiness from now through eternity!” Psalms 145:21
“God can raise the dead and call into being things that don’t even exist yet.” Romans 4:17 TPT
When we compare and compete with others in the social media or academia platforms we hear the Squidword’s of life blasting us and we buy into a false identity that is Hypersensitive about our flaws and failures leaving us with a sense of hopelessness and inferiority.
Throughout God’s great love story, you’ll find numerous accounts of the enemy attempting to crush the life out of God’s dearly loved children.
But our identity and destiny are not defined by those who surround us but rather He who lives within us. The Heavenly Papa has given you a new name and he has placed seeds of greatness within you.
Paul shares in Romans 417 that it is God who makes the impossible possible! “God can raise the dead and call into being things that don’t even exist yet.”Romans 4:17 TPT
Today if you feel your dreams have died or you think a bright future won’t happen, know this, by just one word your ABBA can call into the reality that which doesn’t exist! He does have a great plan for you! You can experience the breakthrough you are searching for. With Faith in his faithfulness let your request be made known and then stand back and watch what appears to be dead comes to life. Thank Him as you wait knowing it’s on the way in His perfect timing!
Well, we can all admit that summer did not turn out the way we wanted. With everything that happened over this summer, it feels like everything we wanted to happen, fell apart. Maybe you were expecting to go on a vacation, get a job, hang out with friends, or simply get away from home, but all the opposite happened. We got out of school early just to sit at home and watch the world burn around us…. Okay, maybe that was poor wording, but it really did feel like everyone around was encompassed by fear. Whether you looked to the right or to the left. it felt like everyone was nervous and on edge. I have to admit things have been off the wall; though things have felt off the wall, if I am honest, it feels like things are finally going back to normal (a little). The pandemonium is beginning to quiet a little, the tensions are cooling down, and school is coming back around. And as I think about the insanity of this summer, I cannot help but think that God was close at hand and still is. In the midst of chaos, God has a way of being close at hand.
It made me think of this time in the Old Testament. There was this event called the “Babylonian Exile”, essentially, these people named the Babylonians came down to Israel and took over. Not only taking over their cities but also taking their inhabitants to a far off land. Gosh, sound pretty horrible right? Well, God had his hand in these crazy moments. Out of this sorrowful time comes some incredibly famous story. You might have heard of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego or Daniel in the lion’s den, or Ezra and Nehemiah? Well, if you have not, I really encourage you to take a look at them, because even in moments of insanities, dysfunctions, greed, lies, fears, and even death; God shows up in miraculous ways! And as we are going back to a not so normal school year, you can bet that God is going to show up. In the stories of Ezra and Nehemiah, these two guys came back to their homes with everything destroyed and torn to shreds. Maybe you can relate?
Yet, Ezra and Nehemiah do as God tells them to do, and they begin rebuilding the fallen world around them. Even though Israel totally bailed out and did whatever they wanted, Ezra and Nehemiah knew that they still had a part to play. As Ezra says, “But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel” (10:2). In the same way, there is still hope for you, God still has a big plan for this year. God desires to use you in a magnificent way. Whether it is at school, home, or on zoom, God is calling us to rebuild the broken world around us. How do we do it, one might ask? Well, in simple Jesus, Jesus through you. Jesus wants to give hope to a burning world and it is through you. Remember God is the hero of the stories of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego, Daniel in the lion’s den, and Ezra and Nehemiah. In the same way, God is the hero of your story, and he wants you to be apart this next school year. So, have faith and believe that God can use you, yes even you in the times of social exile.
Mark 11:And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
A dear friend will love you no matter what. Proverbs 17:17
Even before COVID-19, more than one in five adults in the U.S. said they felt lonely or isolated. Research shows that chronic loneliness even has negative effects on our physical health. We all need meaningful connections with people we care about, who care about us. How do we do that?
Start by Being a Friend
Do you want friends who will encourage you? Then become an encourager. Want friends who will help you grow as a person? Then practice listening, and show that you’re willing to change when you learn new things. Whatever you want to see in others, work towards becoming that friend yourself.
Start Praying for Others.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Ask someone you know, “How can I pray for you?” Write down what they tell you, then pray for them regularly. Our Prayer feature makes it easy to keep track of everything you’re praying for. Not sure what to pray? Try Verse of the Day Stories. Every day has a Prayer you can pray for yourself—and for friends. When you pray regularly for other people, your empathy and concern for them grows.
Start Having Honest Conversations.
Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. Proverbs 13:20
Relationships are built on trust. Trust goes in both directions. Don’t just talk about yourself. Ask a lot of questions, actively listen, and don’t judge. Not sure what to talk about? Do a Bible Plan together, and schedule a regular time to video chat about what God is showing each of you. (Verse of the Day is great for this, too.) The more you invest in each other, the more you’ll enjoy your times together.
Start Serving Others, Together.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. Hebrews 10:24
Serving other people helps you beat loneliness, by taking your focus off yourself and giving you a sense of purpose. Write an encouraging note and mail it to a friend. Start a reverse gossip circle and talk positively about someone behind their back. Join a breakout group on FaceTime on Sunday, Wednesday. Show up at our Zoom prayer meetings Tuesday and Thursday at 4pm. Link on http://www.reddoorhsm.com.
Start Inviting People.
Love one another deeply. Honor others more than yourselves. Romans 12:10
Invite people to watch Red Door on IGTV. Invite friends to a FaceTime group once it’s started to meet others like you that love Jesus. Invite a friend to our Zoom prayer meeting. God knows we all have a prayer request during this time.
Whatever You Do… Just Start.
A Prayer for the Lonely
Father, please meet me where I am. Lord, send people who will reach out to me, and give me ideas of people I can reach out to. Give me courage and strength, and please rescue me from my loneliness.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalms 34:18
If you could ask God for only one thing what would you ask for? Talk about the most important request of your life, right? Jesus gave words to his innermost desires before He was crucified. Do you know what he asked His Papa’s plan for? He asked that our hearts and lives would be made as one!
John 17: 20-23 I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they’ll be as unified and together as we are— I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence That you’ve sent me and loved them In the same way you’ve loved me.
The Last Supper was eaten, and Jesus walked with His disciples to the site of His eventual arrest. He was hours from His execution and He knew it. In the tension of this moment, we were on His heart. He began to pray for us to be one—one with each other, one with Himself, and one with God, just as He was one with God. Wait, what? Yes, Jesus, who was about to die in our place so that we might receive His free gift of forgiveness prayed for us to experience the same friendship that He and the Father shared together.
Jesus also asked for His followers to have that kind of close relationship with each other and with Abba Father, the Holy Spirit, and Himself. Why? What Father wouldn’t want to have a close friendship with their children? Furthermore, the uniqueness of the family of God gives proof to the hurting world around us that there is a Father in heaven that loves and invites them too into the relationship.
Don’t hide away during COVID take your place in the family of God! Join a FaceTime breakout group before each Red Door online service, drop in on our Zoom share and prayer meetings Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 PM for 30 minutes. https://zoom.us/j/99991568828 Hey why not invite a friend while you’re at it and let’s grow hope, love and the family of God!
If you could ask God for only one thing what would you ask for? Everything to go back to normal? For Covid to go away? To get out of the house? What if you knew you had time for only one prayer, what would you pray for then? Whatever your answer is I’m sure you’d skip shallow prayers like, “help me have a good day’. Talk about the most important prayer of your life, right? Jesus had such a moment and such a prayer was recorded in John 17: 20-23. Do you know what he prayed for? He pray for us.
20 “And I ask not only for these disciples, but also for all those who will one day believe in me through their message. 21I pray for them all to be joined together as one even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one. I pray for them to become one with us so that the world will recognize that you sent me. 22 For the very glory you have given to me I have given them so that they will be joined together as one and experience the same unity that we enjoy. 23 You live fully in me and now I live fully in them so that they will experience perfect unity, and the world will be convinced that you have sent me, for they will see that you love each one of them with the same passionate love that you have for me.
The Last Supper was eaten, and Jesus was moving His disciples to the site of His eventual arrest. He was hours from His execution and He knew it. In the midst of the tension of this moment, the impending pain fixed with the horrible separation He would experience from His Father, and yet we were on His heart. He began to pray for us to be one—one with each other, one with Himself, and one with God, just as He was one with God. Wait, what? Yes. God’s Son, Jesus, sends up a last requests asking His Father to extend to us the same relationship they so intimately shared together.
Why? Because His kind of love that He poured out on us so we can love one another is the evidence that our world is looking for. For God loves the world just like He loves you and I, just like He loves Jesus. The Red Door family is a beautiful place where this oneness can be seen and it can easily grow. When we pray together, we become one voice to God. When we serve together, we’re one hand stretched out. When we worship together, we’re one voice singing God’s praises. We’re growing in unity with each other, but also with God. When this happens, the godless world receives the proof they are looking for to determine if God is real.
Where are you right now? I don’t mean on the couch in your living room or at your kitchen table. That’s where you are physically, but where’s the rest of you? Are you present? Are you wishing you could scroll through quarantine and come back to reality when this is all over, or are you here now?
Ready, Set, Avoid!
Many people in our world want to escape our current situation, because like Chelsea shared in her devotional earlier this week, our current situation can bring up difficult emotions. When you look on social media (or when you finally look up from social media), you might see people;
Binge-reading every article anyone has ever written about COVID-19,
Binge-drinking their way through this pandemic.
Maybe your dad has been watching the News for 48 hours straight, and your mom has organized the same cupboard fifty times this week, and you’ve watched ALL OF DISNEY+ (Is that possible? On second thought, I don’t wanna know. Please don’t try it.)
When the going gets tough, it appears the “tough” do literally anything they can to avoid being present. You may feel like you are focusing on God and the positives in your life, but if you can see yourself participating in any of the behaviors listed above, you likely have underlying negative thoughts and emotions that you are avoiding or trying to protect yourself from.
While things, like sleeping in or watching a show, are wonderful in moderation, excessively participating in these behaviors to avoid reality will only hurt us in the long run. These excessive behaviors are unhealthy coping mechanisms that will ultimately make us sadder, more anxious, and more fearful.
The Disciples Did It Too
We aren’t the only ones who cope with overwhelming emotions by escaping into something else. It’s a human thing to do! Matthew 26 documents the night before His arrest and crucifixion, when Jesus prayed all night in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked His disciples to “pray and keep watch.” Yet, His disciples repeatedly fell asleep during the night. One Bible commentator notes that this was less likely due to indifference at the Lord’s coming suffering, and more likely due to grief so deep that the disciples wished to escape it. Commentator Barnes writes, “it was proof of their great attachment and their deep sympathy in his sorrows. Luke has added that he found ‘them sleeping’ for sorrow – that is, ‘on account’ of their sorrow; or their grief was so great that they naturally fell asleep…this is in accordance with the regular effects of grief.”
Why Presence Is Important
Why would Jesus want the disciples to be present, watching and praying in such an agonizing moment, knowing that their dear friend would soon suffer death? I don’t believe Jesus wished His friends to wallow for hours about impending doom. Instead, Jesus knew what scientists have only recently proved: that escaping reality damages us while allowing ourselves to mindfully be present with God and the reality around us clinically decreases fear, depression, and stress.
How To Be Here Now
In breakout groups a few weeks ago, we discussed the following passage:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned[e] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
In the garden, Jesus urged His disciples to be present, watching and praying, because He knew that the practice of praying would produce the peace of God that guards our hearts and minds, allowing us to face what’s around us and within us. Prayer provided the power-boost of peace that the disciples needed to face difficult emotions and circumstances. Note that this passage doesn’t say ignore pain, hide from reality, move on as fast as you can. On the contrary, we acknowledge the reality of what we see in the world while also acknowledging that our understanding of reality is incomplete- we see in part, He sees the whole picture. We with prayer and thanksgiving make our requests known to God, and we focus on things that are true and good. In this, there is no disconnect or hiding from reality. Instead, we acknowledge with a heavenly perspective our emotions and circumstances. If we don’t approach difficult emotions in this way, we can find ourselves immediately overwhelmed and seeking a coping mechanism to escape.
Face The Music – Changing Your Thought Playlist
We can use Philippians 4:6-9 to practice becoming peacefully present. Grab a pen and some paper. In the center of the paper, draw a straight line. We’re going to make a list on either side of this line. On the left side at the top, write “Negative Thought Playlist” and on the right side at the top, write “God’s Thought Playlist For Me.”
Now let’s head to a comfy, quiet place with that pen and paper. Relax into a seated position. If you like, put on some calming music. Focus on breathing evenly and deeply. Say hi to Jesus and acknowledge His presence, thanking Him for being there for you right now.
Now that there are no distractions around, you might find some negative thoughts floating through your mind. Thoughts that you’ve been pushing down or away. Pushing these thoughts will not remove them. Having these thoughts is not bad, but ignoring them or replaying them over and over can cause you harm.
Remembering that God is with you, continue to breathe calmly. Allow one of these negative thoughts to enter the forefront of your mind. Imagine you and God are looking at this thought floating in front of you together. Write it down on the left side of your paper under “Negative Thought Playlist.” Now ask God to show you the flip side of this negative thought and write it on the right side of your paper under “God’s Thought Playlist For Me.”
Here’s an example:
My Negative Thought/Emotion:
My grandma is already lonely and the longer social distancing lasts, the lonelier she will be. I feel worried about her.
God’s Thought For Me:
My grandma is never alone because God is with her. I can encourage her over the phone to use this time to seek the Lord and enjoy a “retreat in His presence.” I don’t need to worry, I can trust God to take care of the ones I love. Thank you, God, that you allowed social distancing to happen so that my grandma can stay safe.
My Negative Thought/Emotion:
People are sick and I feel helpless.
God’s Thought For Me:
I personally know the ONLY one to ever conquer death and He offers eternal life to ANYONE who calls upon His name. Thank you, God, that I can rejoice knowing death is defeated and that I can pray for the world to know Your power.
Repeat the task of calling forward negative emotions or thoughts and replacing them with God’s truth until you’ve made it through your negative thought playlist (or addressed every negative thought that comes to mind).
Now, imagine yourself selecting the Negative Thought Playlist and deleting it. Read through the positive playlist you’ve written, which we titled” God’s Thought Playlist For Me.” Say this playlist out loud like you’re trying to memorize it.
Great job! You’ve just completed a few VERY important things. You’ve:
1. Taken a break from distracting yourself
2. Sat down with God to face how you’re really feeling
3. Acknowledged God’s truth and realized which of your thoughts are rooted in lies of the enemy
4. Created a positive thought playlist to replace your negative thought playlist, allowing good things to take up permanent residence in your mind
Continue this practice whenever you experience a negative thought or find yourself distracted from reality. God wants you to know not only how to be present, but how to see with a heavenly mindset. No negative thought or emotion we experience is too big to bring to God. He empathizes with us while also gently turning us towards His truth. Practicing this exercise will remove the weight of trying to constantly avoid negative thoughts and feelings, allowing you to relax into God’s peace which surpasses understanding.
Here we are deep into quarantine. Other than our online classes, we’ve had plenty of time to meditate on the word, listen to sermons, and find some new uplifting worship music. That’s what you guys have been doing, right? Honestly, I haven’t. For me, not being as busy as I usually am means having more time to mull over the thoughts that are usually set aside for things like friends, chores, homework, binge watching TV shows, etc.
What are you usually distracted by?
What are you usually distracting yourself from?
What kinds of things would you like to focus on?
As much as I would like to say my heart is focusing on Jesus’ truths over my life, what actually has been in the front of my mind these past few days is the feeling of being fiercely forgotten. For me, and maybe for you, when I get down time the space in my head starts to get filled with negativity. In quarantine I can’t distract myself by meeting up with friends, I’ve already cleaned my house top to bottom, and homework is done. So now what? After days and days of “filling my time” with other things, today I am challenging myself to “fill myself.” To me that means filling my cup with Jesus. It means challenging the negativity that normally runs through my head against the Bible. Here is what I’ve been thinking about instead:
2 Kings 6:8-23 NIV
8 Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”
9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. 11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”
12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”
13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.
20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”
22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
Incase you skipped down past the scripture because you thought it looked too long, I’ll give you the condensed version: Elisha was a man of God and consulted with Him all the time. Because he was meeting with God often, God was able to give him insight into the plans of the enemy and was able to cunningly avoid a war. God multiplied his army and struck the enemies blind. Now go back and actually read the passage, because the Bible is so good, and so fun.
Today my war is feeling fiercely forgotten, but God reminded me of the story of Elisha, and other stories of war within the Bible that were fought through God’s miracles (go read about Gideon in Judges 6-7). He never forgot the Israelites.
So what is your war today, and how is God working in you and your life, how is He fighting your battles? Write it out.
2 Chronicles 32:8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.
Pray: Jesus I set my focus on you. Tell me more about who You are and what You have done. What do you want to show me about myself and my relationship with You. You are the potter and I am the clay. Mold me Lord.