JESUS CAME: TO PREACH THE GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM
After Jesus read from the scroll, he rolled it up and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. As every eye was on Him, He said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:20). He was speaking about the Kingdom of God, but no one understood.
All the people could do was to look upon the surface, that Jesus was Joseph’s earthly son, and they were unable to accept the Truth. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24).
The people drove Jesus out of town, but He continued with His mission, “‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ And he kept on preaching in the synagogues in Judea” (Luke 4:43-44).
What is this Kingdom of God ?
What is this kingdom of God? Vickie S. had to know. She knew the Good News, having been raised in a Christian home, and at the age of six accepted Jesus into her heart. As a young bride, she came to see that the Holy Spirit could give her the power to become who God wanted her to be. In seeking to learn more, the Holy Spirit put on her a desire to know more fully what Jesus meant when He said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).
Vickie poured over the Scriptures one evening at her dining room table, not going to bed until 4:00 a.m., disappointed. She still did not know what the kingdom of God meant. When she awoke, she saw a picture in her mind of all the rooms in her house. She saw that every person makes a choice at the entryway—the world or Jesus. The carpenter Jesus built the house, and we live in the kingdom right now He is building for all eternity—the spiritual side being more real than the physical.
Vickie saw that a Christian could live in only the entryway her whole life, alternatively choosing between the world and following Jesus. What about the whole house? In the coat closet she could hang her cares. In the dining room, Jesus dined with her, but why eat all the time and not share with others? Her kitchen had a trash compactor which she should use everyday to rid her house of unforgiving scraps, and a disposal for garbage. In the bathroom, she must be willing to expose her heart before Him that she may be made clean. In the bedroom she could enter into His rest, with the Word as her guide to show her how to run the house properly.
Over the years, Vickie added to her house analogy. One day, see saw an upstairs window left open. Cold air killed her unborn child. She knew God healed, but it was not her experience.
A few years later, Vickie’s three-year-old daughter said, “Mommy, my throat hurts.”
She’s swallowed that little ball that was lying around the house, Vickie thought. But it was under the skin of her outer throat. The family doctor discovered it was a rare thyroglossal duct cyst that could turn into cancer if not removed. They were sent to a specialist. “Come back next week for an operation,” he said.
“We’re Christians, and we want to pray about this first,” Vickie and her husband Larry responded.
“It will NEVER go away! IF it did, we would operate anyway to remove this duct.”
The Kingdom of God is built on faith, not feelings
Back home, they heard about the City of Faith in Tulsa, Oklahoma. By this time, the cyst was ugly, turning black and blue. They were fasting and praying before their appointment they had made at City of Faith.
Vickie heard there was such a thing as a Rhema Word, or a personal Word from the Lord in a specific situation. She did not understand it until one particular day. While driving along, she praised the Lord even though she did not feel like it. She stopped at a stop sign. In her mind’s eye, she could see Abraham with a knife above Isaac’s throat. She heard the words, “It never touched his throat!” Vickie knew no knife would touch her daughter’s throat, either.
A couple days later, they walked by the large praying hands at the City of Faith and met a doctor who had removed one of these cysts. He started to explain how it would be done when Larry said, “We are praying about this.”
“In that case, we can give God time. There’s no reason to hurry.” The doctor picked up Mitzi, who never went to strangers, and quoted Scripture over her. To the parents, he said,
“Come back once a week. Our prayer team will pray, and we’ll watch it.”
Over the next two months the cyst decreased little by little; then it quit shrinking.
“God is there something wrong we need to get right?” Vickie and Larry prayed by their bedside. They looked at each other and wondered that maybe, with the miraculous moving of
God, they had become somewhat arrogant. They said, “God, please forgive us.”
Two weeks later, a sonogram revealed nothing. Doctors and nurses came out of the woodwork dancing and praising God. As a memorial so no family would ever forget, the parents gave Mitzi a figurine engraved on the bottom, “When God healed Mitzi at three years.”
After the sonogram, the battle-weary trio arrived home at 1:00 a.m. to a note on the front door that said, “Uncle Frank broke his hip.” They prayed with him through his surgery and recovery. The very day he was able to walk with his walker, Vickie found a lump on her breast.
The doctor showed her the X-ray which looked exactly like a picture of cancerous breast tissue. “Larry, I’m so tired. I don’t know if I have enough faith. I’m so exhausted.” “Did God tell you that you had to have faith in your faith?” asked Larry.
“I feel like I just need to listen to the Word and rest. I need revitalized.”
Shortly, Vickie’s mother called to tell her about Rhema Bible College in Tulsa where one could go and just listen to the Word all day long. From a Wednesday to a Friday, that is what she did. When the 1:00 p.m. appointment arrived at the City of Faith on Friday, the doctor came in with six young interns. He looked at her X-ray and asked, “Why did they send you to me?”
The X-ray was clear. The lump did not appear on the X-ray! Without even touching Vickie, he said, “There’s no reason for you to be here. You may go home.”
It was clear to Vickie, God led her and her family down a deepening journey of faith revealing His kingdom of health, healing, wholeness and power, not just of talk (see 1 Cor. 4:20). With Job, she could now say, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5).
Kim’s Kingdom Story Continued
Kim Crowe’s family was one who made it only to the “entryway of salvation,” without getting very deep into the house. Kim’s prayer her whole Christian life was, “God, please don’t take my family from this earth until they accept Christ as their Savior.”
Shortly before returning to California, in her new Caravan, Kim’s sister started calling her on the telephone. Her sister, “Hank” (short for Henrietta) had accepted Jesus in her heart. Hank had been divorced from a man who was a drug and alcohol addict. Because of that and an uncle who had raped her (the same one who raped Kim), as well as a gang rape, Hank hated men. She had a foul, mean mouth with everyone. Suddenly, and in one moment of transformation, she began calling Kim. Hank was filled with great joy and peace that never dwindled, even when she was shortly diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Meanwhile, Kim was told she needed a liver transplant in Oregon. She had acquired Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion when her daughter was born twenty-seven years earlier. After Kim’s job was eliminated in Kansas, she went to a VA hospital where she found she had been treated for all the symptoms but never the bottom line: liver disease. One week after she was discharged from the hospital, she found out about Hank. Kim prayed every night, “Lord just let me get home so I can see my sister and talk with her face to face!”
Kim was determined not to wallow in her fear and guilt, feeling God wanted to do something with her in these circumstances; her mother was also dying of cancer. She fought putting up a wall, and feeling sorry for herself. The week she left for California, God gave her these words from a devotional, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps. 139:16).
Kim was able to pray, “Lord, if Hank dies from this disease, how can I complain? All I’ve ever asked of You is that my family become Christians before they die, and You have already answered that prayer.” Kim’s grandfather entered the kingdom six months before. He was ninety-four when her cousin gave him the Left Behind series, one book at a time. Her grandmother had been eighty-two when she was saved and died, and her aunt seventy-five, coming to Jesus when seventy-four.
Kim was filled with supernatural peace as the days unfolded. She had envisioned Hank and herself ministering to other people together; little did she realize it would be with doctors, nurses and caregivers as Hank was receiving chemo treatments; then, one day as Kim was getting ready to go back to the hospital, she received a phone call that Hank had gone to be with Jesus.
While driving to the hospital, Kim envisioned Hank, running in a lush, green, sunny bright meadow full of birds and trees in the background. She knew Hank could finally hear out of her deaf ear, and she was absolutely full of joy. She was laughing and smiling, with arms outstretched. Kim knew she was running to Jesus whose arms were also open wide