Monday, April 14, 2008

The Upside Down Kingdom

That's what Michael Card calls it (Heaven) in his book "Scribbling in the Sand". My blogging sister Heather inspired me to read the book again when she wrote about it on a recent post. It will bless anyone who reads it, you don't need to be an official artist. Actually as I am reading the book, I see that being a mother is one of the most artistic opportunities I can think of...Michael Card describes art or creativity as a response of worship to God. As I read more about our creativity (as we are created in the image of our Creator) All things seem to be an expression of creativity, whether it is building a building, planning an event, running a household,or working at Walgreens...we are creating with our actions and words. And if we love Jesus, we are glorifying Him in all we do.

Anyway...regarding the upside down kingdom idea, using Phillipians 2:5-8, he highlights that Jesus came in humility and to be a servant, and through His radical obedience -on the "other side" (Heaven) He is the opposite...Exalted and Lord.

He chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise...If you want to be great in God's kingdom, you must be a servant of all...To save your life you must lose it (in this life) and in losing is gain...

I just finished another book that everyone will be blessed to read-it is AMAZING. It is called "The Heavenly Man" by Paul Hattaway. It is an autobiography about a Chinese man and his work in the church in China. Or should I say his walk with Jesus that included so much suffering we could never imagine it in our land. I don't think he is much older than I am and he is the father to thousands and thousands of brothers and sisters in Christ. He adds onto the "upside down kingdom" idea, (adds on in my mind:), by stating that suffering should be embraced as a blessing. That we should welcome it as a friend. After reading his book, I am so challenged to change my outlook, my habits, my attitude about hardships. I stand amazed at the fire of God and what power it has through one laid down life. I am also so encouraged by reading of the ways that God intimately came through for him in his times of need. That whatever he needed in the suffering he was called to endure (encouragement, strength, healing, etc) was ministered to him in profound ways. OH HAIL THE KING!!

The freedom of absolute trust in Jesus no matter what we are called to endure brings joy in ways that those who don't know the King want to know Him after seeing His amazing grace in one of us. I was in tears in the middle of the book when I learned that after fasting from all food and water for 74 days in prison, being tortured, shocked, urinated upon and placed in human feces, after he broke the fast with his first visit from his mom, wife and sister (they broke bread and shared communion) he then went back to his cell and they mocked him there as usual, placing bets on how soon he would die, when a couple days later he stood to his feet and preached to them with authority telling them they needed to repent and trust Jesus to save them and every one of them (I think there were 11 or more) dropped to their knees in tears and became born again then and there. Wow!

Oh Jesus, my cross has been like a toothpick compared to your humble servants in China and other countries like N. Korea. Help me to remember them in prayer more and to be willing, like them to do whatever you call me to do with joy. Give me courage and boldness and more of Your Spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen


Angie said...

Kathy---I have never read this book, or heard of it...but I certainly need to seek it out! Wow!
Yes, I agree...our cross is like a toothpick when compared.
BTW, I love LOVE my snowy picture! THank you! Also, the garden shots are so comfortable and inviting looking! I think I will just sit a spell!
You blessed me today! To put a picture on just for me!
Thank you dear friend!

Susan said...

Hi Kathy,

So nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by today.

Wow, two great books for me to read. I love Micheal Card, both his writings and music. I've been told by several people that book is awesome.

I want to read the other book as well. So glad I stopped by!

I'll be back♥