Posted by: New in Every Way | November 2, 2013

Nested Worlds

Nested BowlsHave you ever stepped into a foreign embassy? If so, you were in a country-within-a-country. This situation impacted the lives of a family we knew in a Latin American country. As they drove onto the grounds of the Brazilian embassy, seeking political asylum, local guards opened fire, killing the father. The mother and children were arrested. But the embassy stood behind the survivors, because they had been on Brazilian soil. They rescued these family members from the police and conducted them safely out of the country.

The most unique “embassy” on earth is the one Jesus established. He called it the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. With this kingdom came the customs and power of heaven.

The scriptures I shared in my last post showed Jesus operating as king of this new kingdom—healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, and even commanding a storm to cease. While he was yet on earth, he sent as many as seventy of his followers out to do the same kind of thing. After he ascended into heaven, the apostles and other believers continued to exercise that  authority over natural situations like sickness.

Doesn’t that interfere with natural laws? No, not really. God did not create sickness. He did not create the world to have turbulent weather that harms people and destroys trees and animals. This kind of degeneration set in when mankind turned their backs on God and came under the evil influence of satan. When Christians pray for restoration of this physical world, they are taking seriously a phrase from The Lord’s Prayer: “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

You might say Christians are little islands—or embassies—of the kingdom of God in the midst of the broken world order. A world within a world. And the blessings and protection of that kingdom work, in spite of hostile natural circumstances.  For example, Carol, one of my best friends, saw Matthew 6:33 work for their family.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things [food and clothing] will be given to you as well. 

Carol and her husband Bruce agreed with several other couples that their town needed a Christian school. Bruce, being an attorney, devoted himself to the business end of setting up this school. Carol was concerned that their income would drop off as he spent less time at his own work. To her amazement, a steady stream of clients sought Bruce out, without advertising, and that year ended up being one of Bruce’s most prosperous ones.

Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom were arrested during World War II by the Nazis in Amsterdam for hiding Jews in their home. Betsy managed to take with her a bottle of vitamin drops. After they arrived at a concentration camp in Germany, she began to share her drops with ailing women. Corrie begged her to stop giving them out because Betsy needed the drops for her own health. But the drops never ran out! Just as the flour and oil never ran out provision for the widow of Zarepheth.

When my father first arrived in the Dominican Republic as a missionary and went on his first tour of the churches, a believer from a coastal village took him to the scene of a miracle. One Sunday morning, the man told him, members of his church had gathered for worship, when they felt an earthquake. Looking out, they saw that the ocean had receded, leaving a long stretch of bare beach. A tsunami! The water had disappeared into the rift caused by the earthquake. The people knew it would soon surge back toward the land in a huge tidal wave.

The only way to escape the wave was to take a boat across the river and run to higher ground. But as they ran toward the river, the tidal wave charged up the river, taking the boat with it. The Christians fell to their knees and began praying. Only one person—a visitor—kept his eyes open and watched. He saw the water part and thunder past on both sides of the praying people on the beach, leaving them unharmed.

How about you? If you have believed on Jesus as Savior and pledged your allegiance to him as Lord, does it make sense to settle for health issues, economic distress, broken relationships, and out-of-control weather? You can hold out for restoration of every aspect of your life. And while you’re at it, you’ll help raise the world around you back to its original state.

 

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