Tag Archive for: miracles

I’m not into sci-fi television shows. But that’s not to say that the ideas behind some of them are not intriguing. I surfed upon one recently whose premise gave me a spiritual connection.
The series is about parallel universes. Like time-travel, only weirder. If you can grasp the idea that two universes could overlay each other, and that you could dip in and out of one, into the other, then you would like the show.
It was that idea – of overlaying universes – that intrigued me spiritually. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this earth” (John 18:36). We read many things about the “kingdom of God.” Is it a reference to heaven? No. Is it the church? No.
Imagine it as a parallel universe. A parallel kingdom. In Jesus’ kingdom, there are no limitations. There are no time constraints. There is no sickness, no fatigue, no pain. In His kingdom.
But in our kingdom there is pain, and war, and sickness, and hatred. Our kingdom is made of steel and glass and wood and fabric. It is locked into logic and reasoning. It is action and reaction. His kingdom is stardust and mystery and love and peace. His kingdom is not locked down by the laws of gravity, or subjected to the laws of physics. His kingdom is not limited to 24 hours a day.
Oh, if there was a way to slip out of our kingdom, our universe, and slip into His kingdom – how wonderful that might be! Imagine being able to transcend the laws of gravity… no, the laws of reasoning and logic, and slip into a parallel kingdom when the unthinkable is possible!
Perhaps that’s what Jesus was trying to say when He told us things like, “Anything is possible to him that believes” (Mark 9:23). Or, “Whatsoever you ask in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13).
Paraphrase the second chapter of 1st Corinthians, and use the word “kingdom” when Paul speaks of “this earth,” or “natural man.” It would go like this:
Vss. 3,4 – “I was with you in weakness, and fear, man’s kingdom… but my preaching brought you a demonstration of the Spirit (Christ’s kingdom).”
Vs. 7 – “We speak the wisdom of God’s kingdom as a mystery…like a hidden kingdom which God ordained before this world – man’s kingdom – ever came into being”
Vs. 9 – “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered the heart of man to understand the things of His kingdom which God has prepared for those who love Him”
Vs 14 – “The natural man of this kingdom cannot understand the things of the spiritual kingdom… they seem foolish to him. They are discerned only spiritually.”
Get the idea? Overlaying kingdoms. Man’s kingdom. God’s kingdom. “Thy kingdom come,” we are supposed to pray. Not for some future kingdom yet to be established on the earth. His kingdom already exists. It’s here. Right here, right now. You can’t see it. But it’s here.
We need it to come to us today. We need to be able to find it in our hour of need. We need a way to get there.
In the movies there is a black hole, or a penetrable wall, a place, a way into the alternate universe. In Christ’s world, what? How do we get from our painful kingdom into His glorious kingdom?
There is a thin barrier between our kingdom and God’s. But there is a door. I’m not speaking of Christ, who is the door between man and God. I’m talking about prayer.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much!” James wrote. Then he reminded us that Elijah, “a man such as us,” prayed, and caused the heavens to stop sending rain, then to send it again. Imagine that! Elijah found the black hole between the universes. He slipped out of man’s into God’s. And the heavens were at his command.
Prayer is the door that allows us to transcend man’s kingdom, to temporarily leave the pain and sickness and fear and rage, and slip into the kingdom of peace and miracles.
So, if you need a miracle today, pray. And realize that as long as you’re thinking of reasons why God would not answer your prayers, you’re still treading in man’s kingdom. Pray till the door opens. When it opens, and for a moment you slip over to the other kingdom, all the rules on this side will be suspended. On that side, in that world, God’s kingdom, “all things are possible to him that believeth.”

We preachers are guilty. Male or female, black or white, regardless of denomination or education, whether we wear a robe or a shirt, we’re all guilty.
Of what? you ask. Glad you asked.
We’re guilty of filling boxes and blocking the door with them.
I’ll explain (by picking on my wife, a little). She collects holiday decorations. Not a little. A lot. Half of my garage is crates and boxes of décor. As we enter the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, those boxes will rotate with Easter, Valentines, Halloween, birthday, July 4th, and other assorted, labeled boxes.
There are so many that occasionally I complain that I can’t find the door into the house. I have to maneuver around them, squeeze between her car and the current holiday, to get in. When I punch the garage door button in my truck, I groan at the sight.
Jesus called Himself the door. “No man comes to the Father but by me,” He said. If you would know God, the one, true, magnificent, unknowable, incredible God, you must know Him through Jesus Christ. He is the door.
The church is not the door. Doctrine is not the door. Preachers aren’t the door. Sunday School isn’t the door. Your denomination isn’t the door. Your theology isn’t the door. Your wisdom isn’t the door. Your tradition is not the door. Only Jesus is the door.
But we preachers… oh, we preach. We preach about antichrists, and bad habits, and “Five Ways to Succeed.”
We preach our dogma. We preach our party line. We make sure our listeners know why our church is the best, or the only one that’s really right. We’re subtle, but we’re clear.
We encourage, and sometimes demand, that our members bring a guest. Build the church! Build it big. We pray to expand! We select colors. We form committees. We decorate for the holidays. We argue and debate the right bread, or wine, or clothes, or props, or liturgy, or advertisements. What makes our church look good? What’s the best way to get attention?
Boxes. Boxes. Boxes. And more boxes. We preach boxes full. We design and decorate, and each design must reflect our doctrines properly. Boxes. We pile them up. Boxes upon boxes.
In one of his books, Jim Cymbala told a story of a particular service at his church. A guest had spoken of Jesus, and the transformation He had made in her life. At the conclusion, several people wanted prayer, and he prayed with each of them. He prayed till he was tired. It had been a long day. He was ready to wrap up and go home when he saw a homeless man shuffling down the aisle toward the stage.
He intuitively reached in his pocket for his money clip because he knew the man was coming to ask for a few dollars. But instead, the man pushed his offered money away. “I don’t want money,” he told the preacher. “I want to know that Jesus that woman just told about.”
How long has it been since you told someone about Jesus? How long has it been since you suggested that someone open that Door, and let Him in?
We are quick to offer boxes. We will give money. We will invite to church. We will promote a speaker, or a series, or even a book.
But what everyone needs is to find the Door.
Do we even remember where it is?
Is the Door so hidden by our boxes that it’s difficult for anyone to find?
Have we convinced ourselves that our boxes are more important than the Door?
Please, Lord, help us de-clutter.
Help us find Jesus behind the boxes.