When Jesus was on earth “The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. He answered them, “People can’t observe the coming of the kingdom of God. They can’t say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ You see, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21
I feel as though Jesus has been building the kingdom of God within me over the last eighteen years. It was at age 40 that I began to truly seek God. I was plagued with a question that was burdening me and causing me to search for answers and that question was ‘why do I feel so incomplete?’
Slowly God showed me the issues in my life as he revealed the answer to this question. I did not have an intimate relationship with Jesus and I did not know who I really was supposed to be. My identity was rooted in external societal standards rather than divine standards.
The kingdom of God is a communion with God that is born in the silence of one’s heart. It is a communion that requires our consent and it is often motivated by the turbulence and dissatisfaction in our lives. In my case I felt incomplete because I had been busy creating my own life plan. I was lost because I didn’t know God and I was distressed because my pursuit of self-satisfaction was failing. I wasn’t going to Church. I didn’t own a Bible but I did desire God. So I began praying and asking for God’s help. I looked for God up in the clouds of the sky wondering would He hear me? I thought God was so very far away in heaven and perhaps inaccessible to someone so small and insignificant.
But you know what?
God wasn’t far at all!
In this life we are only separated from Jesus by sin and our lack of desire to seek Him, to know Him and to love Him.
The great joy in my life has been discovering how very, very near Jesus is to those who call on Him. Jesus had been patiently waiting for me to make room for Him. I slowly discovered the meaning of this Scripture:
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
I sought Jesus and He drew very near. God’s kingdom does not grow independent of human acceptance, faith and cooperation. While God can certainly intervene in our lives miraculously without any form of human intervention, usually God looks for us to say ‘Yes’ to His love. God longs for us to say ‘Jesus I trust in You.’
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6
The formation of God’s kingdom within us is enabled by our quiet surrender and trust in God’s infinite love and grace.
I grew up with two grandmothers who admired and loved the Virgin Mary so very much. My paternal grandmother was a farmer who always milked her cows by hand with a Rosary hanging from her arm. She was tiny, quiet and courageous. She was a mid-wife who helped the local women in her small town in Italy give birth and when my father was born, her seventh and last child, she gave birth alone in her home while the extended family called her from the kitchen wondering ‘where is supper tonight?’ I am certain Jesus helped with the successful delivery of my father!
Influenced by my grandmothers I looked to the Virgin Mary for inspiration.
Upon learning that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of His Son Jesus she responded:
“Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
God did not just take Mary without her consent. Mary’s consent and cooperation with God’s divine plan was needed and desired by God.
Honestly I didn’t know prior to age 40 that God had plans for His people. So this Scripture was quite a surprise to me:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
At the beginning of my spiritual journey God spoke to my heart two words over and over and over again and those two words were “Trust Me”. They were spoken with such gentleness and longing! I could not resist His love! I said, “I don’t know what you want Jesus, but let it be as You will”.
This consent was the beginning of God reigning in my heart. My King and Lord Jesus had embraced me and He was very, very near.
A divine plan unfolded that took me half way around the world. I was a professional marketer and I thought God might want to use my skills to raise funds for nonprofit charities. I was one of the final three candidates in an important interview with one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world thinking God was calling me to charitable work. I didn’t get the job but I got to learn about some of the issues that perpetuate poverty and injustice and I profited from the experience. God was opening my heart, building His kingdom, giving me knowledge and understanding.
At the beginning of my journey I realized I needed to learn God’s Word, repent of my sins and return to Church. God introduced me to some generous Christians who taught Bible Studies and I rejoiced in meeting with them every Saturday morning. I remember one of their first lessons was on ‘Grace’ that they described as ‘God’s favor that none of us deserved, but God freely bestowed.’ I realized that I had been blind to God’s grace. I listened to the lessons on God’s Word and I treasured it all in my heart. I asked Jesus to help me to have a ‘listening heart’ attentive to His holy will.
I have spent the last eighteen years studying God’s Word. I hunger for God’s Word. His Word is the ‘seed’ that nourishes and transforms our hearts and our lives. But once more we must realize that God requires our consent and our cooperation in order to build His kingdom.
How many Christians have never read the Bible?
We can all hear God’s Voice through the Scriptures if we choose to invest in a relationship with Jesus. The ‘Kingdom of God’ is born as the King Jesus Christ is enthroned in our heart and in our life. Jesus restored my broken heart. I no longer feel incomplete. I have found Him, the One I was looking for! He is the Holy One, Jesus Christ, who makes all things new.
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” Song of Solomon 6:3
Years ago I volunteered in a youth hospice where many homeless youth would come. I felt as though God had guided me there but as a middle aged woman I felt a bit out of place because everyone there was in their twenties. One day a young man came into the hospice with a young child. He was a new father who was struggling. I smiled at him and began a conversation with him striving to encourage him and build him up. At one point in the conversation he paid me one of the kindest compliments I ever received. He said, “Your children are so lucky to have such a beautiful mother.”
I believe we give glory to God and build the kingdom of God on earth as we open our hearts to one another, striving to build one another up, acknowledging and cultivating the beauty in one another. As we create respectful, nurturing relationships with one another we become the people God wants us to be, people of love and compassion, people of mercy, people of justice.
When you invest in your relationship with Jesus, you give God permission to build His kingdom within you, helping you to fulfill your true potential. God’s designs to transform the world will be realized as we give God permission to reign in our hearts as the center of our existence. I am blessed to know that I am in God’s presence each and every moment of my life.
I have surrendered my life to Jesus. I have exited the business world to evangelize and give glory to God and I live in a remote place surrounded by woods and bears and coyotes and in the silence of this sanctuary I have become a woman that contemplates and treasures God’s Word. I believe that we will never know the great love of God until we let the Crucified Jesus into our hearts. My online evangelization is about reflecting God’s Word as we reflect on life and our spiritual journey. It’s a journey of love and revelation. It’s a journey of letting go and discovering the divine and eternal love of God.
One of the most important things I do every day is I stop at the Time Jesus died for us, 3pm, to go back in time to remember the Passion of Christ. The memory of the torture and death of Our Lord Jesus rivets me to my Saviour. I repent and grieve my sins and pray for God’s grace and forgiveness for all people.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
My heart belongs to Jesus. My life is His. Jesus is the King that rules over my heart humbled and contrite, full of desire to give Him glory now and forever.
Please join Christians all over the world that are stopping at the Time Jesus died for us 3pm (each of us in our local time zones) to thank Jesus for dying for us, to thank Jesus for loving us while we were still sinners. Put a reminder in your calendar and let Jesus grow His Kingdom within you every day as you quietly remember the Passion of Christ. Learn more about A Peaceful Revolution in the Name of Jesus Christ here.