Pictures of the Kingdom

In Worship by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

Devotional Guide

Daily Bible Readings:

Monday, February 21, 2023. Read Philippians 3:7-11. 1) How did Paul regard “the gains” that he had in his life? What do you think some of these might have been? 2) What did Paul consider to be of utmost value?

Tuesday, February 21, 2023. Read Colossians 1:3-6. 1) Why was Paul thankful for the Colossian church? 2) What did hope mean to Paul? 3) What was the gospel doing in Colossae?

Wednesday, February 21, 2023. Read Colossians 3:9-11. 1) What happens when one is “clothed with the new self?” 2) What happens to the artificial barriers that we erect between ourselves? (3:11)

Thursday, February 21, 2023. Read Ephesians 1:3-4. 1) What did God do through the work of Christ? 2) What was his plan for his redeemed people?

Friday, February 21, 2023. Read Ephesians 3:7-13. 1) What task was Paul given to do? 2) What do you think was God’s big plan? 3) How do you think that affects our discipleship?

Saturday. Matthew 13:24-53. This is Sunday’s sermon text.

Prayer for the Week:

O God, you have spent your most precious relationship, gambled your last dollar, and risked your proverbial neck in order to bring us to you. May we have the same priority, the same focus, the same risk-taking to follow in your steps. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hymn of the Week:

A charge to keep I have
by Charles Wesley, 1762

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill;
Oh, may it all my pow’rs engage
To do my Master’s will!

Arm me with watchful care
As in Thy sight to live,
And now Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!

Help me to watch and pray,
And still on Thee rely,
Oh, let me not my trust betray,
But press to realms on high.

Devotional Article of the Week:

The Quiet Kingdom
Can you hear the Kingdom advancing?
by Rubel Shelly

… the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:4 NIV)

One of the more famous commercial tag lines of the late twentieth century was “The Quiet Company.” Remember whose it was? It came to the company’s National Advertising Director as he was returning home on a train. Richard Haggman coined the slogan for Northwestern Mutual Life.

Jesus could have used the same slogan, with only a slight alteration, to summarize a key fact about his own ministry. The four parables in Mark 4, for example, could be listed under the heading “The Quiet Kingdom.” Each of them calls attention to the steady and gentle — though ever-so-productive — power of the kingdom of heaven at work on Planet Earth.

Our world likes noise, splash, and the tooting of horns — especially our own. We are inclined to favor show over substance and numbers over authenticity. It seems that we cannot get over the ancient temptation to build monuments and make a name for ourselves.

The kingdom of God is more often “The Quiet Kingdom.” Its advances are typically without fanfare, as individuals hear, receive, and are redeemed by the almost imperceptible planting, nurturing, growth, and fruition of the gospel in one life after another.

God does more kingdom work through a mother loving and nurturing her children than he can possibly get done through an ego-driven preacher. A man who is faithful to his wife teaches his little girl more about her worth as a human being and does more to protect her against drugs and teen promiscuity than all the school or government programs ever designed to nurture self-esteem.

Somebody on a production line or in a top executive spot who maintains personal integrity day after day, a Sunday School teacher staying with that ministry through tight budgets and tighter room space, a teenager choosing not to follow his peers onto Internet porn sites, a frustrated church member who is fed up with the lack of faith the church’s “leaders” demonstrate but stays and continues to pray for them, an alcoholic or sex addict who takes responsibility and begins a lifelong process of recovery — these quiet victories in the power of God are low-profiled and inconspicuous advances of the kingdom.

We have no right to be intrusive and loud in the name of Jesus. Gentleness, after all, is a fruit of the Spirit of God in human lives.

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