In the Kingdom by Faith


The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe. (Mark 1:15)

Faith. Faith in the divine Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not blind faith, or against reason–believing in the Kingdom of God actually makes more sense than anything else, all things considered. But nonetheless we must believe in what we cannot see, in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Faith is the only entrance. [Spanish.]

xt-kingWhat we see is: signs. We see love at work in this world. We see kindness and mercy. We see new beginnings and peaceful harmony, in quiet little corners. We see brothers and sisters who hunger and thirst for justice, willing to sacrifice themselves for others. We see how faith in what we can’t see makes the people we can see admirable and beautiful.

So we see signs of the heavenly life of God’s kingdom. But we don’t see it, the thing itself. Doesn’t mean it ain’t real. Nothing could be more real than the love that unites the Father and the Son–the same love that unites us, when we repent and believe. Nothing could be more real than heaven. But for us, for now, this wonderfully real thing is something in which we believe, rather than something we see. And by believing, we come to know and understand everything else that is worth knowing and understanding in life.

We believe that this kingdom–the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Christ–we believe that it involves the triumph of truth and justice. Parents have to teach their children that life isn’t fair. But in the Kingdom of God, it is. The One Who sees all, knows all, and balances everything equitably: He is the One Who assigns everyone his or her place and apportions all the goods in the Kingdom of God.

elgrecochristcrossIn the Kingdom of God, cheaters never prosper; liars never get away with it; evil deeds never get swept under the rug; the proud never crush the weak. In God’s kingdom, humble honesty always wins the reward it deserves.

Maybe you’re thinking: Father, what kind of other world is this? You say it’s real, but what you’re talking about sounds like a fantasy. The kingdom where compassion unites everyone of pure heart–that seems like a mere dream world, compared to the planet we actually know about.

Here on planet Earth, generations pass, and we don’t seem to learn any lessons about justice. Babies continue to get killed in the womb, racists continue to send orphans back to war zones, and husbands and wives still don’t know how to communicate with each other. What could possibly unite this fallen world with the supposed divine kingdom of Jesus Christ?

Ok. Reasonable question. Here’s the answer. Two things can and do unite planet Earth with the Kingdom of God.

1. The Cross. Jesus conquered the cosmos and became her king using one weapon. The most powerful weapon ever wielded. A weapon that makes both Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump look like little rocket men by comparison. The Cross.

By stretching out His arms on the cross, Jesus overcame all the evil of this generation, and every human generation, with one, single, definitive divine act. The world as we know it, with all its sins that cry to heaven for justice–this world, and the Kingdom of Heaven governed by the Prince of Peace: these two realms have a bridge between them. An open bridge, free of all tariffs and border control. The Holy Cross of Jesus’ sacrifice. Which brings us to…

2. Prayer. “Thy Kingdom come.” It might seem like the Kingdom of God only exists in some kind of fantasy realm of pure imagination. But, in fact, the Kingdom of God actually lies just one prayer away from right here.

Jesus always dwelt under the protection of His heavenly Father; He always lived in the Kingdom of God. Even as He hung on the cross, gasping for breath, in the bitterest agony. He cried out, “Abba, Father!” And Jesus knew that the Father heard Him.

Same goes for us. The Kingdom comes when we pray. We live in the Kingdom of God–when we pray. We might think our faith is faltering; we might think our hearts have become impure, when we cry out in desperation or confusion. But, actually, that is precisely when our prayer to the Father is the most intimate and holy–when we are the most desperate, and the most confused.

Lord, Your kingdom come! We can’t do it alone. We don’t know what we’re doing. Lord Jesus, we need a king, and we need it to be You.

Understanding the Word of the Kingdom. And not.

“The word of the kingdom.”

The Kingdom of God is at hand. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done. The kingdom of God is within you. The kingdom of God has come to you.

So spake the Son of God. And He tells us: You will bear fruit if you receive the word of the kingdom and understand it.

Understand it. Okay. Sure. No problem. 2 + 2 = 4, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Easy.


Well, no. If understanding the word of the kingdom means grasping the whole business fully. “Yeah, I’ve got this. The kingdom of God looks just like…umm…ahhh…”

But: Yes, it is easy, if “understanding the word of the kingdom” means:

God speaks. He says His kingdom comes. He speaks true and wills nothing but the best. His kingdom must be awesome and glorious, more so than my meager powers can imagine. He’s asking me to believe in it. I would be a fool not to, because this is God we’re talking about.

I understand that the kingdom in question belongs to God. Not to Robert Griffin III or Mariah Carey or David Cameron.

Therefore, I clearly have no business thinking that I can altogether understand the kingdom of God right now. I could understand the Kingdom of Elton John, and it would not do too much for me. But the kingdom of God? I understand perfectly well that I cannot understand it.

I think that is precisely the kind of non-understanding understanding that the Lord wants.

…PS. Long-time, faithful readers will recall that this ridiculous little weblog began life as a venue for me to jump up and down (verbally) after Team USA won the basketball gold in Beijing.

Four years later: Let’s get fired up again, people!

Zealotry and John Tesh

The Lord Jesus spoke His parables in order to illuminate the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Jewish people of Christ’s time eagerly anticipated the establishment of a divine kingdom. Having been subjugated to foreign powers for centuries, the Jews longed for the restoration of the ancient kingdom of David.

Christ had to express in parables the mysterious and spiritual nature of His kingdom. His kingdom would not come as His contemporaries supposed it would come. The Kingdom of God was established on the throne of the cross.

So it is all very well and good for us now, with two millennia of perspective, to tsk-tsk Christ’s ancient audience for the shallowness of their ideas about the Kingdom of God.

They wanted the kingdom to have an army, and a just economy, and a handsome king on parade. They wanted seats of honor, and tax breaks, and leafy fig trees to lounge under on the hot days.

Continue reading “Zealotry and John Tesh”

Praying for Miracles


As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”

…Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Immediately he received his sight… (Luke 10:46-49, 52)

This is what happened when the Lord Jesus was leaving Jericho. In two and a half weeks, I will be entering Jericho myself.

The blind man had the sense to cry out to the Lord, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” The blind man persevered and kept calling for help even when they tried to make him stop.

We pilgrims are going to the Holy Land to cry out like Bartimaeus, to beg the Lord to have pity on us, to ask God to do good things for us and help us.

maerati(If you have any particular intention for which you would especially like me to pray, write it down on in the comment box, and I will carry it with me to Israel.)

Bartimaeus had the faith and the courage to ask the Lord for what he wanted. He wanted to see—which is a reasonable enough thing to want. Most of us take it for granted. It’s not like Bartimaeus was asking for something extravagant, like an Xbox or a Maserati.

Continue reading “Praying for Miracles”