I Am Thankful (I Have A Better Kingdom)

Read: Daniel 2:24-3:30, 1 Peter 4:7-5:14, Psalm 119:81-96, Proverbs 28:15-16

During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever. (Daniel 2:44)

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Relate:Have you ever been to Italy? Have you ever been to Rome? I haven’t. I have a bucket list of cities I would love to see before I die. Right up near the top of that list is Rome. There is so much art, there are so many beautiful buildings, there is so much history, and beyond history, even today it the city still plays a major role in modern culture. Standing at the apex of all this architecture, history, and culture is St Peter’s Basilica. Culturally, it rivals the White House and the Dome on the Rock as the most significant building in our world today. Historically, no Parthenon or Kremlin can come close. Only the Temple in Jerusalem holds more world significance. Architecturally, it is the most significant thing in the skyline of a city holding the world’s greatest collection of beautiful buildings.

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All this beauty was built on the backs of the poor. It was at a council in 517 that the idea first came into being that the church could sell the forgiveness of sins. For a thousand years this idea steadily grew and gained traction. More and more this concept grew and was abused while many of those beautiful buildings were built from the coin given by those duped. It was in collecting money for St Peter’s Basilica that this collection practice, using the name of God to build a kingdom on earth reached its all time low. In 1517, an obscure monk nailed a statement on the door to a church saying enough is enough. God’s Kingdom is not a kingdom of gold, silver, bronze, iron or stone. It is an eternal kingdom greater than these, that stands against, and victorious over the kingdoms of this world.

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React: Martin Luther, and his namesake, Martin Luther King Jr, both stood over and against the predominant culture of their day. They both saw the injustice around them and railed against it. They both said with a loud voice to the systems of this world, “This is not my kingdom. ” Almost a century before that luxurious Basilica was completed, Martin Luther wrote “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. King Jr sang out “We Shall Overcome” in defiance of a kingdom of power and oppression that turned neighbors into enemies and brutalized the oppressed and the weak. They both recognized a truth that I am so thankful for. There was a greater mountain to stand on.

Like Daniel and the Martins, we have a choice today. The kingdoms of gold, silver, bronze, iron and stone still seduce. The kingdoms of luxury (gold and silver), and power (iron and stone) are still around and still try to steal our loyalty. What am I standing on? In what am I placing my hope for change? For what am I investing my time and my efforts? Can I say to this world like these great men of the past, “This is not my kingdom”? Am I praying and believing for God’s Kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven? Or have I been seduced?

Respond: 

God, thank You for providing a better kingdom in which I can stand. Help me to live for this greater cause. I want to see Your will done in and through my life. Help me not to be seduced by the luxury and power of the kingdoms of this world. Help me not to put my hope or even my time and efforts into them. Help me to stand on the mountain rather than be crushed under it. Let Your Name be hallowed in my life. Let Your will be done in my life. Let Your kingdom come in my life, and on earth, as it is in heaven.

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7 thoughts on “I Am Thankful (I Have A Better Kingdom)

  1. A beautiful building, and one in which I once sang an arrangement of Psalm 95 with a choir. The Dome on the Rock in Jerusalem is striking also. But memories of poverty in places as diverse as Baltimore and Kabul remind me that while the basilica may have been intended to impress worshipers with the glory of God, the suffering of impoverished people stirs awareness of God’s Son emptying himself of that glory to serve and to save as one like them. Good thoughts. Thanks for sharing the song.

  2. Well written, as always, and a great reminder to avoid sinking roots too deeply here.

    I had the privilege of seeing a friend through the Valley a couple of months ago. Although she didn’t talk much, we had a grand time envisioning her new Home. In the end, she slipped through the veil and into her Father’s arms so gently…we almost didn’t know she was gone.

    What a difference knowing our destiny can make, eh?

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    \o/
    Praising Jesus – the King of kings!

  3. Pingback: WHAT DO I HAVE TO BE THANKFUL FOR? | Citizen Tom

  4. Hey there,
    You have a great writing ability. Confessing our sins to another has always been a part of Christianity (see: James 5:16), and easing the burden of repentance for those seeking consolation from reproaches of conscience is what Christian love entails (see: Jesus Christ). Still, I wonder how the local Gualish Council of Epaone in 517 could set a standard for Western Christendom that would later be disfigured into indulgences, and thus lead to the Protestant Reformation. It seems like the temporal distance is too far to navigate by happenstance.

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