Wide Open Space…

When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!

Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!

Psalm 4

images-6Grace is room; grace brings a wide-open space. I know what it is to be in a tight place, sometimes even trying to work my way out,  in my effort,  struggling  with unease and unrest, but now because of Grace, I am back in a roomy place.

Grace us Lord,  take away the press of trouble and the tightly pressed places of challenge and give us room.

Galatians outlines, ”…It was for freedom we were set free…” this grace brings us to this roomy place of freedom .

Romans 5:2

And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

Grace is an open space – liberty and freedom.

2 Corinthians 11:11-12

Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life.

We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way.

1 Thessalonians 5:5

You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day.

We live under wide open skies and know where we stand.


O Lord you are  great “…you gave me  room…” the Psalmist is opening up to the grace life we find in the New Testament,  how wide-open and how high is your love?  as wide open as your grace, ever-increasing.

Rev 19:11

Then I saw Heaven open wide—

The open heavens is the manifestation of a wide-open, roomy place called grace!

“…Wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory…”

There is only one kind of grace, wide-open space freedom and grace, that the Lord shows us – wide-open!

This psalm written by David, is a night-time psalm, probably belonging to the time of David’s flight from Absalom (see Ps. 3), as he faces a second night sleeping rough and under threat. Like Ps. 3, this is a psalm of prayer, we note that coming into the place of prayer is to find oneself in the place of peace —even though the pressures remain.

The centre piece of this psalm however is not prayer but a knowing and trusting.

True prayer is urgent, resting completely on the righteousness of God, is specific and dependent on divine mercy.

Here—as in Ps 3:4.

God of my righteousness—or, “my righteous God, as my holy hill” and Ps 2:6, who will act towards me on righteous principles.

thou hast enlarged—expresses relief afforded, past favour being a ground of hope for the future.

NASB – Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousnessYou have relieved me in my distressBe gracious to me and hearmy prayer.

The Message – When I call, give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me


images-8Mark 15: 38 – 47
And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last.
And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome.
When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him; and there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.

Jesus Is Buried

When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead.
And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.
Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid.

Joseph of Arimathea, a highly respected member of the Jewish Council, came. He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God. Working up his courage, he went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.

Here very simply stated we find the constant challenge of life, which could have a deep impact upon the way we live. This man lived as part of the existing, historic, established system and yet he had something deeper within him that brought him out !

“…He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God…”

These are the internal conditions that the Kingdom of God seeks out within us as we give ourselves to the growing, working yeast like, seed which although we do not understand, grows within:-

Lived expectantly

On the lookout for the Kingdom of God

These are two attitudes we should always find in a person, once the Kingdom has taken root. There will always be that cry from within, when will it be? This is always in the heart, as the King fills the heart with eminent passion.

Could this be a key to finding, identifying and knowing fellow Kingdom travellers? This age has struck within us a die pattern that we cannot ignore.

Lived expectantly

On the lookout for the Kingdom of God

What a way to live life, why not try it, “live expectantly”, truthfully there is no other way to live. Having cultivated an attitude that is expectant, so we can live with expectancy. This is a different kind of life, living with an expectancy, waiting for the next moment that pulsates with life in you, with anticipation in your breath, each action and movement saturated with expectancy. Expectancy can have a tendency to disappoint, especially if we live with set expectations, however living with an attitude of expectancy with no set pattern in mind, that is the way to live fully.

Can I encourage you to try it “Live expectantly and look out”, with an expectation that focuses you outward, watching and waiting.

We should nurture our expectancy as a Child with the “…have we arrived yet…” attitude, seeking to develop and cultivate our anticipation of the kingdom, through encouragement and work. We consistently work towards this cultivation through our choices, choices of listening, seeing, looking,and being focused only on the Kingdom.

We recognise and anticipate the imminence of the coming kingdom upon this world in its fullness

I suggest that if we do not cultivate this Kingdom seed within we will be given to everything else, chasing after things that only offer immediate gratification.

Expositors tell us that Joseph was not a councillor of the provincial town of Arimathea, which would have been mentioned, but a member of the grand council of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin.

He, in company with these devout women, was expectant of the Kingdom of God. The same authority says of the word “boldly”, a graphic word, in Mark, only, giving a vivid idea of the situation.

A councillor of honourable estate. A senator or member of the Sanhedrin of high standing, rich.

Looking for the Kingdom of God The very same words are used in Luke 23:51 by Luke of Simeon and Anna (2:25, 38). These two also looked for the Kingdom.

Joseph had evidently taken no public stand for Jesus before now.

Boldly, becoming bold. It is the glory of Joseph and Nicodemus, secret disciples of Jesus, that they took a bold stand when the rest were in terror and dismay. That is love psychology, paradoxical as it may seem.

Joseph of Arimathea.
We know nothing of this man’s former history. We do not know how he had learned to love Christ, and to desire to do him honor.
We know nothing of his subsequent history after our Lord left the world.

We are told that he “was himself waiting for the kingdom of God,” and that at a time when our Lord’s disciples had all deserted him he “went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body” (verse 43), and buried it honorably in his own tomb. Others had honored and confessed our Lord when they saw him working miracles, but Joseph honored him and confessed himself a disciple, when he saw him a cold, blood-sprinkled corpse. Others had shown love to Jesus while he was speaking and living, but Joseph showed love when he was silent and dead.

Let us take comfort in the thought that there are true Christians on earth of whom we know nothing, and in places where we should not expect to find them.
No doubt the faithful are always few.
But we must not hastily conclude that there is no grace in a family or in a parish because our eyes do not see it. We know in part and see only in part, outside the circle in which our own lot is cast.

The Lord has many “hidden ones” in the church who, unless brought forward by special circumstances, will never be known till the last day.

The words of God to Elijah should not be forgotten, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel” (1 Kings 19:18).1

What will bring you forward?

“Of Arimathea” designates Joseph’s birthplace, a city of unknown location.

He was a member of the Council, another name for the Sanhedrin. In fact he was a “prominent” member. Mark here uses a term often found in ancient inscriptions honoring some individual.

The observation that he was “waiting for the kingdom of God” along with his willingness to go “boldly” before Pilate to ask for the body indicates that he had a serious level of interest in Jesus.

The NI leaves out the word “also” in “who was also himself waiting for the kingdom of God”

Like the women of v. 40–41, Joseph was “also” waiting for the kingdom. (The other Gospels indicate that Joseph was a secret disciple: Matt 27:57; Luke 23:50–51; John 19:38).
His need for “boldness” may refer both to possible recrimination from his fellows in the Sanhedrin and from Pilate. The Sanhedrin members would consider his sentiments heresy. Pilate might consider them seditious.

Waiting for the Kingdom brings a need for boldness, having to stand, on occasions it also brings confrontation. It brings us out and puts us into places that we , causing us to put on boldness. A boldness that has its root in the Kingdom of God.

Are you waiting expectantly, for the Kingdom, watching eagerly and putting on boldness to proclaim it?

Live expectantly

On the lookout for the Kingdom of God



How to Start A Day

Face2Face - Gareth Duffty Blog

How to start a day on the right footing, ever wondered that?   Before you put your foot on planet earth from your floating haven above the ground by 150 mm or more, before you step out of your cocooned security, the warm blankets.    As you decide to make that first small step that giant leap stirred by an alarm call, the sound of creation stirring or just your own body clock, how to start the day comes to mind in various ways.

Whether a fog over your eyes or clear thought “what does today hold?” moves through peoples mind, a day much like yesterday? a red letter day or for some the weight of the day is so heavy a reluctant awaking comes, having to face the riggers of the day.   How do I start my day?

Here’s a thought God, investigate my life…

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The Kingdom has come and shall come…..

images-4As mentioned last blog this next blog will complete the thoughts on the Kingdom of God with a focus on giving you an overview of a foundational book to read reading the Kingdom of God, let us continue.

Reading this book gave me insight into how the Kingdom of God can be seen throughout individual life’s, the church and the world. It has challenged me to asses if the Kingdom is manifested in my life through all my actions, thoughts & life. A Kingdom life is completely submitted unto God, His reign and rule. It is awesome to think that the only demand God asks to enter the Kingdom is to submit and decide to follow Christ, it is basically to die to oneself.  This in itself brings great challenges; dying to oneself, desires, dreams etc … daily. However Christ has made it easy for us as if we do this the Kingdom of God will rule and reign in our lives.  Reading Chapter 9 is also a challenge to make sure that we as the people of God are living in the Kingdom and are proclaiming God’s Kingdom wherever we may go, so that we can hasten the coming of the King.

A common expression in the church is to get people ‘born again’ yet in reading the only passage where that term is used in scripture we discover that being born again has only to do with SEEING THE KINGDOM OF GOD, this begs the question have you seen the Kingdom of God?

Chapter 5 – The Life of the KingdomThe Kingdom which one day will change the entire external order has entered into this age in advance to bring the blessings of God’s Kingdom to men & women without transforming the old order. For example eternal life belongs to the future Kingdom and the age to come, however this eternal life has become available to man in the present evil age.  The life of the Kingdom of God is life eternal, a life whereby we belong to God and His purposes are completely fulfilled within us.  Eternal life therefore holds a future realm however God came to give us life now. We have everlasting life now and in its fullness.

Eternal life means knowledge of God. Knowledge does not just mean head knowledge but knowledge which is personnel; it is a personal relationship with God.  Revelation 22 explains that as we see God we will be like Him. We will know God face to face; we will know him and therefore will be like Him.  George Eldon Ladd explains that this intimate knowing of Christ belongs to the age to come.  However John shows us in his writings that we have already entered into eternal life, we know Christ and so therefore the future has become present. ‘To be saved means to go about everyday in the present evil age living the life of heaven.’

‘Has the realization gripped you that the very life of heaven dwells with you here and now?’ Wow what a life to be living NOW! 

Chapter 6 – The Righteousness of the Kingdom – The qualification of entering into the future Kingdom is a present righteousness.  Living in this righteousness happens as a result of God’s reign in our lives. The righteousness which God requires is the righteousness of God’s Kingdom, this righteousness is God-given as He comes to rule in our lives.  The righteousness of God’s kingdom is the product of God’s reign in the heart. It demands perfect purity, honesty, love and forgiveness. This cannot take place in one’s life unless they have a life submitted unto God. Kingdom righteousness is the result of a life submitted to the rule and reign of Christ, living in the Kingdom of God. ‘The rule of the Kingdom is a manifestation of the life of the Kingdom.’

Chapter 7 – The Demand of Kingdom – The Kingdom of God does not set a standard and then once you have reached that point you enter into the Kingdom, but the Kingdom of God makes one demand and that is a demand for a decision. A demand for the response of man’s will. We must respond & yield to the Kingdom of God.  We are simply asked to repent, turn and decide to follow Christ.  Entry into the Kingdom of God begins with a decision to yield to it’s rule and authority.  We must receive the Kingdom and its blessings, as George Eldon Ladd writes, ‘destiny is reserved for those who embrace it.’

Chapter 8 – The Kingdom Israel and the Church – Jesus offered the Kingdom of God to Israel as he sent his disciples to the ‘lost sheep house of Israel.’ (Mat 10:6) However when Israel rejected the Kingdom, the blessings that should have been theirs have been given to any of those who would accept them. Ladd explains that the Greek word for Church, ‘ekklesia’  is commonly referred to as in the Old Testament as Israel as the people of God. This explains God’s intention to bring into existence a new people who could take the place of an old Israel who had rejected His Messiahship and His offer of the Kingdom of God.  The fulfillment of this promise began at Pentecost, when historically the birth of the Church began. This new people is a ‘chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.’ (1 pet 2:9) The Kingdom of God no longer belongs to the race of Abraham but to the an elect race who are the men of Faith, sons of Abraham.

The Church is not the Kingdom of God, but God’s Kingdom creates the Church and works in the world through the Church. Men therefore cannot build the Kingdom of God but we can preach it, talk it and receive it.

Chapter 9 – When will the Kingdom come? – What are we to do as a result of the blessings of the living in the Kingdom of God? Are we passively to enjoy the life of the Kingdom while waiting for the consummation at the return of Christ? We are to wait, but not passively. World wide evangelization is to take place until the end of the age. Only when death, sin and Satan are destroyed will redeemed men know the blessings of God’s reign. The Gospel of the Kingdom is therefore an announcement of Christ’s conquest over Unknowndeath.  There are two stages in the destruction – the defeat of death.  Its final destruction awaits the second coming of Christ, but by Jesus’ death and resurrection Christ has already destroyed death. Death is still an enemy but it is a defeated enemy.  A victory has been accomplished and must be proclaimed. We have a message of power to proclaim to the world, we are not required to transform this age, however we must take the message of the kingdom of god to the world. The final victory awaits the completion of our task. Christ will come again when the Church will complete its task. We should not only wait but hasten the coming of the day of God, this is our mission.


Kingdom has come and is coming…

What great changes we are seeing in practice and thought patterns, I firmly believe that we live in an age that the people of God are experiencing a new reformation at every level.    A massive transformation is happening around us, Dispensational practice and theology is in images-6the last shakes for survival as the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’ is growing and affecting the thinking of the church, the people of God.   Its onward advance is transforming our responsibility for creation rather than upholding a hoped escapism, it brings an accountability for transformation in our societies rather than doing away with a fallen world, it is the Kingdom of God at hand!

We are born to a very challenging yet exciting moment of advance as Father God makes known God’s purpose and will.   Today we are much more given to the language and practice of ‘mission,’ ‘transformation,’ bringing the rule of God to earth to see the coming of the Kingdom of God.    Jesus said the kingdom ‘…has come….and is coming…’, for some this means that over the years we have had to deal with the immediacy of the kingdom ‘…has come…’ being careful not to get lost into triumphalism with ‘Kingdom now’, only now having to deal with the onward transformation of ‘…the Kingdom is coming and will come…’, this is where our labour comes in, the travail until Jesus receives the ‘travail of his soul’ Isa 53:11

Church historians tell us that following every move of God approximately 30 to 35 years on, those affected in the move turn to transformation initiatives prior to another move of God.   Historically an example of this can be seen following the move of God in the UK with John and Charles Wesley in their education, health, etc, initiatives.   The UK experienced a move of God some 30/35 years ago commonly name the ‘house church movement’, this was a move, as it changed the structure of the church and theology.   Note it also was not isolated to the UK.   Similar move happened with a groups of men and women in South America, South Africa, USA and I am told Australia, they may have been under different names but there was a move of God afoot.

However, I can only comment on the UK, I believe what we are seeing in the UK now is not a recycling of history but the impact of a Kingdom Gospel.   Time will only tell, if it is history recycling we are on the verge of another move, but I seeing it as the coming of the Kingdom along with our growing grasp of understanding relating to the Kingdom of God.   I write this as an introduction to a book review that I believe all should take time to read to ensure our Kingdom is foundationally correct in all the changes we are seeing.   Please note this book was written many years ago and does not contain all the advances made over the last 40 years however a good place to commence a journey from. It is imperative we establish continually our foundation as we advance and fresh revelation breaks in on us, it is necessary to be able to contain revelation.

I will introduce chapters for you, this blog will only deal with the initial chapters so you can think on them, then we will return in the next blog to further chapters continuing our thinking.

‘The Gospel of the Kingdom‘       George Eldon LaddUnknown

Chapter 1 – What is the Kingdom of God? – There are diverse interpretations of the Kingdom of God. This is the result of the many varying different interpretations that are found within the Bible. The Kingdom of God is seen as a present spiritual reality, (Rom 14:17) the Kingdom is also an inheritance which God will bestow upon His people. (Mat 25:34)  The Kingdom of God therefore holds two tensions closely; it is a present spiritual reality but at the same time the Kingdom has a future realm as well. The Kingdom of God is God’s rule, reign and sovereignty now. Gods rule is also an everlasting rule and reign. In order for one to enter the future realm of the Kingdom of God, one must submit himself in perfect trust to God’s rule here and now. The Kingdom of God is God’s rule, reign and sovereignty now. It is an everlasting rule and reign.

Chapter 2 – The Kingdom is Tomorrow – George Eldon Ladd explains how the Kingdom of God can be held in two different spheres as a present spiritual reality & a future hope by explaining that there are two different ages; this age and the age to come.

This age is dominated by wickedness, evil & rebellion against the will of God, whilst the age to come is the age of the Kingdom whereby God’s rule and reign will be at the centre. Ladd explains that the drive of ambition for wealth & success are all involved with the cares of this age. He suggests that the spirit of this age is hostile to the Gospel of Jesus. In Ephesians it talks about Satan being the prince of the air, this age is defined by Satan having the power of the air.

The age to come will witness the fullness of God’s Kingdom, the perfection of God’s reign. Ladd explains that we will never experience the full blessings of Gods Kingdom in this age as he argues that death will not be destroyed until the final judgment at the end of the rule of Christ talked about in Revelation.

Chapter 3 – Kingdom of God is TodayHeb 6:5, ‘who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the power of the age to come,’ displays that which belongs to the future has become a present reality.  By the power of the age to come may be delivered from the from this present evil age. Within this chapter Ladd goes onto explain that the Kingdom of God has invaded this age.

In the last chapter it was suggested that death will not completely be destroyed until the end of the millennial rule of Christ.  Although this is true it is important to note that through Jesus’ resurrection the triumph over death has begun and Satan has already been defeated. (Heb 2:14) Jesus life on earth broke the power of Satan. Satan is a defeated enemy and because of this we may be delivered from the power of this evil age into the Kingdom of God.  Therefore we can bring God’s rule and Kingdom, age to come into the present evil age.

Chapter 4 – The Mystery of the Kingdom – The Mystery of the Kingdom is that it has come amongst men, but yet men can reject it. God’s Kingdom is working among men, but it will not compel them to bow before it, they must receive it through a willing heart and a submissive will.  The Kingdom of God does not force itself upon men; it is not like a stone grinding an image to powder but the Kingdom requires a submissive heart & will.

The Kingdom of God has come to work among men, destroying human rule & abolishing all that stand against the Father will from the earth.  The Kingdom offers men blessings of God’s rule, delivering men from the power of Satan. However the Kingdom will not work with an ‘irresistible power,’ but will work within the hearts of men that have submitted to God’s rule & reign.