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The Garden of Eden

To fully understand the kingdom of God, we must begin with the Garden of Eden. Here we see the order of God’s plan. After He created the earth flourishing with plants and wildlife, He planted this garden and placed Adam there to tend to it. Adam was also given the authority to name every animal and bird God created (Genesis 2:8-20). He and Eve both enjoyed an intimate relationship with God, sitting in His presence, conversing with Him face-to-face.

Genesis 1:26 explains how God made mankind to oversee the fish, the birds, the cattle, and all that’s in the earth. Adam and Eve were given the responsibility of being the first managers of what was heaven on earth. Then Satan deceived them with the lie that they could live independently from God. When Adam and Eve sinned, their relationship with the Father was severed. They both felt the pangs of this separation even before they were told the consequences of their disobedience. They each felt alienated from the Lord for the first time in their lives. They experienced fear and shame, and tried to hide from God (Genesis 3:1-10).

God reigns in heaven, but He created earth for man to rule. Psalms 115:16 says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath He given to the children of men.” Adam and Eve were supposed to have dominion over all creation. Their mission was to establish the kingdom of heaven here on earth. Before their disobedience, they were intertwined with God through the Holy Spirit, knowing the Lord intimately and understanding His heavenly principles. God’s Spirit gave them wisdom and the capability to carry out their mission. When they chose independence they became alienated from God and each other. They even became alienated from themselves and what they were supposed to be.

Jesus came to set everything back in order.

He came to draw us into a love relationship with Him so that we may live out the kingdom of heaven now. When we say yes to Him, the Holy Spirit positions us within the kingdom of God. Everything that is in the heavenly places is available to us.

The earth has been created for us and our children and our children’s children. When we come to know Jesus, we are in a vibrant relationship with God just as Adam and Eve were before their fall. God intends for us to reign over the earth through the power of the Holy Spirit. This authority involves much more than overseeing His wildlife and natural resources. It grants dominion over every entanglement and struggle.

Like Adam and Eve, we can choose independence from God and remain in darkness. We too can deceive ourselves into thinking there is a better way apart from His heavenly principles, but the result will be misery and defeat.

The Lord wants us to live free from every element of darkness. He wants our days filled with vision and victory. Only through Him is a new life possible.

 

-Kevin West

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Divine Visitation

As I reflect back and see many opportunities in my life and others’ lives, I think about how God brings people and opportunity together.  Unfortunately, many miss these moments because they focus on the wrong things rather than the right things.

I knew a CEO of a mid-sized company that hit a wall for several years.  He began to realize, after much convincing, that things fundamentally needed to change in the company.  In a divine visitation, God began to bring certain levels of expertise across his path, and although those people weren’t perfect, the landscape of the business unfolded, and it was apparent that God was revealing the solution for the change the company had needed for so long.

Initially, passion was so high that it attracted others that were equally as passionate.  However, it didn’t take long for that passion to wane after repeatedly hitting resistance against an established culture that had already contributed to a decline in morale and growth over the years.

After much effort, pressing in, and trying to implement these new changes, it was clear that, even after God’s intervention, the new culture was not going to be received.  Quite the contrary happened, and these change-bringers actually became a part of the problem, and in some eyes, the main problem.  Eventually, other opportunities came along, and the people with their expertise left the company for more receptive situations.

Today, that company still exists.  In the eyes of most, it is a successful, mid-sized company.  Unfortunately, it has never realized its potential and probably never will as many talented, gifted leaders and managers have come through the door to offer great opportunities only to be rejected by the culture.

The parallel is like Jesus coming to His own, and His own receiving him not.  Let me encourage you today - do not miss the day of your divine visitation.  You might be rejecting the very life-changing, elevating solution you prayed for.

 

- Kevin West

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Two Governments

There are millions of people not connected to the life-giving flood of mercy that Jesus brings. God’s answer for them is right in their midst, but they do not receive it.

They live outside the kingdom of heaven.

It is helpful to understand that two spiritual forces are at work. The government of darkness is void of God’s leadership. In this case, Man is in charge and acting from a state of darkness which invariably leads to failure. In contrast, God’s government, called the kingdom of heaven, operates from divine principles. The Lord is the ruler, releasing His power and wisdom to His people.

When Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God they lost dominion over their surroundings and themselves. Their circumstances, fleshly appetites, and the earth’s elements now controlled them (Genesis 3:16-19). Therefore, they lacked everything they needed to reign over the earth.

Because of their rebellion, man is now subject to his daily trials. Instead of having dominion over the earth, the earth and all its elements now have dominion over us.

However, our separation from God through sin does not change God’s plan. He still wants to draw us into a relationship with Him and to establish His kingdom here on earth. Jesus, God in the flesh, came to us to declare that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. He has bound the thief and is here to return to us every spiritual blessing which was lost due to Adam’s and Eve’s rebellion.

The ministry of Jesus was more than miracles and healings. All these works were the outpouring of the kingdom of heaven. Every sign and wonder was a declaration of what God was bringing to pass. His plan to restore His relationship with mankind and to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth prompted the heavenly chorus of angels to praise God. They shouted, “Peace on Earth and good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

Many ignore God’s calling and seek substitutes to right themselves and escape their state of alienation. But it never works. Drugs, or alcohol, a religion of self, or any human pursuit cannot fulfill the deep needs of anyone. To these people, Jesus proclaims the kingdom of heaven is available right now for them.

We all must decide how we wish to live. We either stumble about blindly in darkness or we embrace the abundant life that Jesus is offering.

-Kevin West

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It's Here. It's Now.

The following is an excerpt from my book "Living the Transformed Life." More information on my next book will be coming soon.

Jesus said that He came not only to give us life but that we “might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). So different is this life he offers, that 2 Corinthians 5:17 says those in Christ are completely new creatures. All which was part of a person before salvation is forever gone. Everything becomes new.

Why then are so many Christians miserable? They want this new life, but their Christian walk is oppressive and burdensome. They struggle and work harder rather than enjoy the freedom Jesus promises.

The problem is not their sincerity, for they truly want to obey God. In fact, the more they fail, the harder they try, promising the Lord over and over that they’ll do better.

The problem is they haven’t understood what Jesus was saying about the kingdom of heaven. Instead, they are living out religious routine which is empty of all life. This manmade religion may be a bunch of rules imposed by a church or it could be what someone creates for himself.

Many times we set standards for ourselves based on what we think we should be, none of which are scriptural. Even more elusive is trying to fulfill the expectations of what we think others have of us. The result is internal conflict, in which we constantly try to gain a sense of security by pleasing others. We struggle in this same way in an attempt to please God.

Jesus offers us something much different, something liberating.

 

-Kevin West

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Self-denial or Denial of Self?

Self-denial is when you rely on yourself and  your credibility and attempt to carry something out in the power of "yourself."

"Denial of self" is when you realize your "self" will be used to carry out an assignment, but you know the reality is that it's the credibility of God and His Holy Spirit that will be your reliance.

Moses was called of God to deliver the children of Isreal out of Pharaoh's tyranny. Moses asked God, "Whom do I tell them that is sending me?" Moses began to see how his own credibility would be called into question. After all, he was known for killing a man and had a past that didn't really line up with the qualifications he thought he needed to fulfill that call. This reminds me of many of us today. God calls each person for an assignment that He desires to be fulfilled. Too often we begin to examine "self" and disqualify ourselves because of our past, lack of education, bankruptcy, divorce, and the list goes on and on.  Believing this lie of disqualification causes a deception of trying to fulfill a call and an assignment in our "self".  When we try to evaluate "self" to fulfill a call, we make the mistake of relying on "self" to carry out the assignment.  God's response to Moses was this:  "Clearly tell them I AM hath sent you".  In other words, I will use your "self" but I-God, the great I AM-will carry it out.

That's the authority and power He refers to when He says, "Go in My name".

So, when we receive a call, the first thing we have to realize is that it's God's credibility and reputation we are going to operate in.  Secondly, "self" will be used, but will not be the source of the power to carry it out.

So, what are you operating in?

Self-denial or denial of self?

 

-Pastor Kevin West

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