“Too often we are focused on trying to teach people who are unwilling to learn, when there is a whole world out there we are commissioned to disciple” – Marlon R Oliver
The Kingdom of God
WHO IS GOD TO YOU?
If I asked: Who is God to you? What would your answer be? I would imagine that the answers would vary greatly, depending on what one has been taught or how one has experienced God in their lives.
Some would say: He is my Saviour, My provider. Some would know Him as healer and deliverer. Since He is our All in all there is no right or wrong answer, just an answer based on our experience and encounters with Him.
As we look at scripture, we find that the Bible uses many different allegories to describe our relationship with God. In Psalm 23 we see Him as our shepherd and we are His sheep. Jeremiah describes Him as the potter and we are the clay. In Revelations He is described as the groom and we are the adorned bride. All of these illustrations are beautiful and valuable in helping us understand our relationship with God. However, as valuable as they are, I have found the most accurate and empowering truth about who God is to us, is the truth that Jesus taught.
How did Jesus teach us to relate to God?
Jesus taught us to relate to God as Father in the same way that He did.
In Luke 11:1-2, we see that after Jesus had prayed, His disciples came to Him and asked: Lord, teach us how to pray. I believe that this request came from a place of them seeing Him pray in a way that they had never seen anyone else pray before. What followed was the lesson we call “The Lord’s Prayer” or “The Our Father“.
In this lesson on prayer, the first thing that Jesus teaches us is to address God as our Father. The implication is that Jesus is teaching us to relate to God in the same way that He did. (Later on in Romans 8:29 we see that Jesus is the firstborn among many brothers.)
Having established in our hearts that God is our Father, the next question is: What kind of Father is He? Is He present or absent? Is He cold or affectionate ? If a fall will He condemn me or lift me up?
Brothers and sisters, our thoughts about the nature of God are the most important thoughts we will ever have, because they shape every aspect of our lives either for the better or for the worse.
What kind of Father is God?
To answer this question, we need only one word; LOVE! GOD IS LOVE! (1John 4:8)
THE BEST WAY TO RELATE TO GOD IS AS A LOVING FATHER.
Dear friends, the most important thing any person needs to know, is knowing Jesus as their Lord and Saviour! Thereafter, they need to know God as their Loving Father!
This is my prayer for you!
Much love to you all!
Marlon R Oliver
Nothing fascinates me more than the life of Jesus; The Son of God Son of Man, perfect in all His ways. According to Hebrews 1:3 He is the exact representation of the Father! In other words; He is perfect theology. So as much as we love all the heroes of the bible and in the faith, none of them should grab our attention as much as Jesus, Our Saviour and King.
When we look at the life of Jesus, there are so many aspects we could zone in on and glean from. For instance, how does he deal with sinners or the religious leaders, how does he relate to the sick and the broken, how does he handle rejection and persecution etc. However, in this article, we will simply look at His prayer life in order to pattern our’s after that of the perfect One.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed”. Mark 1:35
1- Jesus woke up early to pray!
Prayer is a discipline, in other words, we engage in prayer by choice, and not by feelings. We seek God out of commitment and not out of convenience. It is of utmost importance that we meet with God before we meet with the devil. Therefore, make prayer a priority in your day just as Jesus did.
2- Jesus left the house and went to a solitary place.
Corporate prayer is awesome; as it brings us into the power of agreement. But there is something about us connecting with God on our own that is second to none.
There are many benefits to solitude, but in my opinion, the main benefit of being alone with God is gaining His perspective on the world and our lives. Often times the demands of day to day living can cloud our judgement and cause us to become distracted and bogged down with the affairs of this life. And the once we lose focus and perspective, we become easy prey for the enemy to pull us down.
So like Jesus, let us prioritise our alone times with The Father.
3- Jesus sometimes spent all night in prayer (Luke 6:12)
I’ve heard people argue the need for long prayers verses the need for short prayers. Personally, I don’t see an issue with either, since there were times that Jesus prayed all night, and at other times, only a few words were necessary.
Many believers miss the point in prayer because they view prayer as just another duty or religious activity that needs to be engaged in. Whereas, in essence; prayer is communion with the father in a loving relationship, as we seek to know His heart. And then, from a place of knowing Him, we go out into the world empowered by Him, to reveal His nature, and to bring His will to bear on situations that are contrary to it.
4- Jesus prayed for people. (Luke 22:41-44)
This point is rather obvious, but the reason I mention it is because we live in such a self obsessed, selfie generation that many believers only pray about themselves. I often hear people say “I’m praying for you”, but I can’t help but wonder if that is indeed true or just a religious thing people say.
Nevetheless; pray for one another!
5- Jesus prayers were intense! (Hebrews 5:7)
In the above mentioned verse, it is recorded that Jesus prayed with loud cries and tears. In Luke 22:44 it is recorded that His sweat actually turned to blood! Wow, – I am moved whilst writing this, as I’m reminded of how intense and passionate Jesus is.
Dear friends, too many of us are cold and indifferent about prayer, claiming that they we not emotional. Yet there are many things that excite and stir our passions.
Beloved, let’s be passionate about Jesus and our relationship with Him.
“If our prayers don’t move us, how will they move anything else”
Much Love to you all!
Marlon R Oliver
For more on prayer; check out my book “The Be-Attitudes of prayer” available for free download on the resource page.
And also read my other blog on prayer titled: KEEPING PRAYER SIMPLE! (5 REASONS)
In His most famous sermon, “The Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus spent time teaching us not to live our lives in worry and concern over material provisions. He instead encouraged us to seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness , and that would result in material provision and blessing would be added to us. This kind of teaching is in stark contrast to how most people live their lives; in worry and the constant pursuit of “things”. – I’m not sure about you, but I would much rather live my life Jesus’ way than live it the world’s way. 🙂
In the Gospel records, we see that Jesus spoke about ‘The kingdom’ on almost every page where His words are recorded , and that is why it is imperative for you and I to understand what The Kingdom of God is and what it is not. For how can we seek His kingdom, if we lack a basic understanding of what it is? In John 18:36; Jesus explains to Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world, because if it were; then His soldiers would fight to prevent His arrest, but now His Kingdom is from another place.
So what is this “other place” that Jesus is referring to?
Yes, that is corrrect, He is speaking about heaven; which is a spiritual place and the place of God’s throne. Jesus was declaring to Pilate that His kingdom is not a natural, political kingdom, but rather, a spiritual one that He was bringing into the earth that would increase in influence until eventually Revelations 11:15 would come to pass.
Do you remember the parable in Matthew 13:33? “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that women took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough” . Now couple that verse with Matthew 24:14 which says : “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”
Through these above scriptures we see that God intends to influence the earth realm with His heavenly realm. That is why Jesus said we should pray that God’s kingdom come ‘on earth as it is in heaven”!
Now let us look at Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost”. Paul is saying that the kingdom of God is in The Holy Ghost and is characterized by righteousness, peace and Joy. :)
So dear friends, I invite you to continue along with me on this journey of discovering The kingdom as we look further into what is righteousness, what is peace and what is joy as it pertains to Life in the kingdom: “The Kingdom Life”
Much Love to you all
Marlon R Oliver
(P.S, don’t forget to subscribe here, as well as on our YouTube channel)
If you missed part one click this link
Hi guys! Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been looking into the King and His Kingdom, as a foundation for what it means to live the Kingdom life.
Laying a foundation is never an exciting or glamorous task, yet it is essential for building something that will stand the test of time. In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus taught us the importance of having a solid foundation for life by telling us the story of the wise and foolish builders. The wise man built his house on a rock,meaning that he built on a solid foundation, the foolish man on the other hand built his house on the sand, in other words, he built on a weak foundation. When the storms of life came, the house on a solid foundation stood, whilst the house built on a shakey foundation fell.
In building our lives on the rock, we need to realise that Jesus is our foundation, and understanding that he is King, and has a kingdom life for us to live, is essential for us as we navigate our way through this life. It is imperative that we develop a much more accurate understanding of who He is and what he came to do, so that we can better understand our purpose here on earth.
In the blog JESUS THE KING! we established that he is indeed a king. In the blog; THE GOSPEL THAT JESUS PREACHED.We established that he preached the gospel of the kingdom. In this blog, it is my desire to simply give a few definitions of what the kingdom of God is, so that the reader can develop a better grasp of this often neglected reality.
“The kingdom of God is an area, realm or territory submitted to the Authority and dominion of God” Marlon R Oliver
“The Kingdom of God is the divine dimension/nature having influence in a specific territory/region or plane” Ruden Roskruge
“The Kingdom of God is Righteousness , peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” Paul The Apostle Romans 14:17
“God”s people in God’s place under God’s rule” Graeme Goldsworthy
” The reign of God dynamically active in human history through Jesus Christ, the purpose of which is the redemption of His people from sin and from demonic powers, and the final establishment of the new heavens and the new earth.
From the above definitions, we see that the kingdom of God is more than just all the Christian churches combined on the earth, it is more than just heaven alone.Neither is the kingdom of God something of the past, present of future, His kingdom is Eternal, meaning that it is outside of time. It is the government of God and His influence in the entire universe.
In conclusion, It is my prayer that by the Holy Spirit, your understanding of the kingdom of God has grown and continues to grow and develop, so that together, we can experience the fullness of the benefits of the kingdom life. 🙂
Much love to all!
Marlon R Oliver
Here is the link to part 2 WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Pt 2
THE POWER OF WORDS
Do you believe in the power of words? I do! – The reason I believe, is because God spoke the world into existence, He is so powerful He could have easily thought creation into being yet He chose to speak it into reality. In Mark 11:24 of the King James Version of the Bible, Jesus said that whosoever will say unto this mountain be removed and cast into the sea and shall not doubt in his heart, but believes that the things which he says will come to pass, He will have whatever he says. In just one verse Jesus emphasizes three times that we will have whatever we say.
There are several other scriptures that point to the power of our words, I encourage you to search them out for yourself. I could give them to you, but finding treasure for yourself is always more exciting. 🙂
If we acknowledge the power of words, then we must admit the need to pay all the more attention to what Jesus said and to the gospel that he preached. There is so much false preaching and teaching out there, filled with hype, lies and half truths, that there is an urgent call back to being rooted and grounded in Christ. Jesus did forewarn us that deception would be rife in the days before his return.
Therefore, the first reason to pay attention to Jesus’ ministry, is to avoid deception, but the second, and main reason for me writing this blog; is because He paid a huge price for our salvation and I desire that we enjoy the full benefits of what He paid for us to receive.
The gospel that Jesus preached
I plan to go into detail over the coming weeks. But for now I will simply quote a few scriptures and let the Word speak for itself:
Mathew 4:23 (NIV) “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom….’ (emphasis mine)
Matthew 9:35 (NIV) “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom…. (emphasis mine)
Luke 4:43 (NIV) “But He said, I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent”
From the above three verse it clear that Jesus preached “The Gospel Of The Kingdom“. He did not preach only of the forgiveness of sins or only a gospel of health and prosperity, He preached an all encompassing message of the kingdom of God which includes every area of our lives, as well as a government that impacts society as a whole.
I started this blog by speaking about the power of words, and then spoke about the gospel that Jesus preached. The reason I did this is because I want the reader to see that there is power in the message we proclaim. Thus, if we only preach a portion of the gospel, we will enjoy only a portion of the benefits of the gospel, but If we allow God to give us a broader understanding of the gospel, we will begin to experience a whole lot more of the benefits of the gospel.
I invite you to journey with me over the coming weeks as we look at the Gospel Of Jesus and His Kingdom. And allow His rule and government to impact every area of our lives. So that we can thoroughly enjoy “The Kingdom Life’.
Much Love to you all!
Marlon R Oliver
WORLD IN CRISIS
One does not need to look far to see the chaos, confusion and crisis in the world today. Just New Years morning, I read of another terrorist attack in Istanbul. (My prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to those affected by this tragedy). – On a global scale it would seem that the darkness is increasing and that we are in desperate need of a revolution. Every individual without hesitation would admit the need for a transformed society.
Ideologies, religions, government structures and many different political systems have been set up by man to solve the decay we see in society. Yet for all of mankind’s advancment in the areas of science and technology, and the vast increase in knowledge over the years, he cannot seem to solve the vast problems facing us.
Because if you have a problem with the functioning of a product you need to refer back to the manufacturer.
Likewise, if there are the problems in the world today, we need to refer back to The Creator. The political systems set up by man are simply incapable of solving the root problems facing humanity.
I submit to you today, that God foresaw our need for a good government. And sent us A King, His Son, Jesus.
Isiah 9:6-7 ” For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom….”
Matt 2:1-2 ” After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one born King of the Jews….”
What comes to mind when you think of a King?
Authority, Power, Dominion, Rulership, Wealth and a whole host of other attributes come to mind when we think of Royalty and Kingship. ( Feel free to post your thoughts below in the comments section)
Jesus possesses all these characteristics as a good and perfect King, in fact He is the King of kings and Lord of Lords! He is the ultimate! Let your mind ponder His greatness for a minute, you’ll soon find that His glory is infinite……
The reason I want you to dwell on His Greatness and to receive a better understanding of who He truly is; is because our perception of God directly impacts our perception of ourselves. If we perceive God as an angry judge, then we are more likely to perceive ourselves as objects wrath. If we see Him as a loving redeeming Creator, then it becomes easier to perceive ourselves as being loved and redeemed.
Let me digress a little to further make my point….. Did you know that the original name for the devil literally means Slanderer. To Slander, means to tell lies about someone that in order to ruin their reputation. Therefore, we see that it is the nature of the devil to tell lies about God in order to ruin His reputation.
Dear friends, your view of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords is vital for the progress of your life, don’t let the devil rob you with lies about the nature of God as he has lied to the world and kept it in prison to decay.
Jesus came to the earth to die as a suffering servant. That’s why He allowed himself to be crucified. But now that He is risen from the dead, He has all Authority and power in His hand. He is no longer subject to any government or authority. This powerful King Jesus is the one you submit to and He is the one living on the inside of you.
Let this truth shape how you think and the way you live.
Much Love to All
Marlon R Oliver
KEEPING PRAYER SIMPLE
by MARLON R OLIVER
I love the topic of prayer, not so much because of the results it brings, but because it is a direct line of communication with My Father in heaven. What an amazing reality it is to able to call The God of all creation my Father,and to have a 24/7 open line of communication with Him.
Prayer, however, is also one of the most neglected privileges of all the benefits we have as sons in The Kingdom. I believe this is due to the many misunderstandings we have of what prayer is. In the prayer that Jesus gave His disciples to pray in Matt 6:9-13, He starts out by teaching us to address God as Father. Jesus essentially defined prayer as a conversation with the Father.
‘The understanding that God is your Father, is the beginning place of pray’
Let us look at Matt 6:5-8 from the message paraphrase.
‘5 “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
7-13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.
Wow! How stunningly put by Eugene H Peterson.
Too many people miss out on the joy that is found in prayer because they believe that God is complicated, and therefore communication with Him must also be a complicated matter. This is simply not true!
Even though God is wise beyond all comprehension, He has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise’ (1Cor 1:27). Jesus even went as far as saying that unless we become like little children, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matt 18:3).
Dear friend, these words should give us courage in prayer. Let us not let the devil deceive us into thinking that we need to be super religious and professional Christians in order to talk to our Heavenly Father.
So here are 5 reasons to keep prayer simple:
1 – God is your Father.
2- He is not impressed by melodramatics.
3- He knows what we need before we ask.
4- He cannot be manipulated by programs and formulas.
5- He loves you more than you could ever know.
In conclusion Beloved, let prayer be a simple time of connecting with your Father in Heaven, allowing Him to love on you, and you responding to that love in simple, innocent, childlike devotion. 🙂
Much Love to you all!
Marlon R Oliver
For more on the subject of prayer download Marlon’s book ‘The Be-Attitudes of prayer’ for free here on the resource page.
And also check out his other blog on prayer PRAYING LIKE JESUS!
HOW TO FUNCTION IN THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
by MARLON R OLIVER
Good day Friends!
I trust that you are all well by God’s grace and Love 🙂
Today we are going to take a brief look at six basic thoughts on ‘How to function in the Gifts of The Holy Spirit’.
Its important to note that they are the ‘Gifts’ of the Spirit and not the ‘rewards’ of The Spirit. A gift,by its very nature, is free, whereas a reward is earned based on performance. Another point about a gift, is that they are normally given based on a relationship. Therefore, we must cultivate a relationship with Person of Holy Spirit first and foremost before desiring to function in His Gifts.
(For some background information I ask that you read 1Corinthians chapters 12-14)
1.Don’t be ignorant concerning spiritual Gifts.
Its interesting to note that the first thing that the Apostle Paul mentions about spiritual gifts, is that he does not want the church to be ignorant! To me this is the first obstacle to functioning in the gifts and is easy to overcome because we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.
So talk Him and study to show yourself approved concerning spiritual gifts.
2. Let love and service be your motive
1Corthians 13,aka ‘The Love Chapter”, is strategically placed in the middle of two great chapters on the gifts of the Spirit. reminding us that Love is to be the central motive in all that we do.
Love gives us a desire to serve, and The Gifts of the Spirit equip and empower us to serve better.
3. Eagerly Desire Them
1Corithians 14:1 ” Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts”
Truth be told, most people do not function in spiritual gifts simply because they do not desire to.
To those who eagerly desire them, one can be sure that He will honour that desire as you grow in your understanding (point 1) and your desire to serve in love.(point 2).
4. Understand that the Gifts of the Spirit are given for the benefit of others. not yourself.
1Cor 12:7 ‘ Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good”
If I have the gift of healing and I somebody gets healed, who received the gift?
One may carry a gift, but that gift is to be given given to another.
When I function in the gifts of the Spirit, I sometimes feel like God’s delivery boy with a note signed; From The Father, with Love!
5. Operate in them by faith!
Romans 12:6 ” We all have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith“. (emphasis mine)
Nothing in the kingdom operates without faith, and faith is spelt r.i.s.k. Stepping out in faith to prophesy or pray for the sick etc, requires a leap and a jump. Go for it! He will catch you.
6. Practice in order to excel
1Cor 14:12 ‘…since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church’ (emphasis mine)
In the Greek language, the word for excel used here literally means to super-abound in quantity and in quality. Excellence is not something that comes without intention and effort. There will need to be practice, and this will sometimes involve a mistake or two, which will help in keeping us humble 🙂
Nobody who functions in the gifts with excellence started out excellnt, they all began their journey with the same limitations that we all face. Yet their willingness to step out in faith and practice, has brought them to a better place in their usefulness for the Kingdom.
So in conclusion, build a relationship with the Holy Spirit, ask Him to teach you, let Him fill your heart with love and a desire to serve, and then step out faith and start to minister to people in need and you will begin to see the manifestations of the spiritual gifts like never before.
Be bold , be courageous because God is with you!
Your’s in Christ.
Marlon R Oliver
WHY SHOULD I PRAY IN TONGUES
by MARLON R OLIVER
Good day friends!
Greetings to you, in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…..
Since moving to the Middle East and preparing to minister to people across language and cultural barriers, I am once again reminded that the Kingdom of God is not in words alone, but in power and demonstrations of the Holy Spirit. In other words, when our words fail to communicate adequately, the power and love of God are universally understood.
With the need for the Holy Spirit’s power in order to be more effective in mind, the Lord has been reminding me of the need to be fully dependent on the Holy Spirit and His gifts in every area of my life. And this certainly includes praying tongues.
So why should I pray in tongues?
I am glad you asked
Let’s look at a few benefits that come from praying in tongues.
1) Praying in tongues builds you up in the faith
Jude verse 20 links building yourself up in faith to praying in the Holy Ghost. I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t desire to be built up and stronger in their faith. After all, faith is the currency of the Kingdom, and without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith can move mountains, and we all have mountains that need moving.
So faith is coming to you by hearing the word (Rom 10:17) and being built up in faith is accelerated when you pray in tongues.
2) Praying in the Spirit equals praying 100 accurate prayers that will be answered.
Rom 8:26 tells us plainly that we don’t know how we ought to pray. And that is why the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and prays through us. In verse 27 we see that the Holy Spirit praying through us is 100 percent accurate because He is praying exactly what the Father wills for our lives.
Praying in our natural language is limited to our understanding and our selfish desires, but praying in tongues means praying exactly what the Father wills and desires for our lives.
3) Praying in tongues will unlock mysteries and give more revelation and understanding of the mind of Christ.
On this point I encourage you to read 1 Cor 2:6-16 and ask the Holy Spirit to open up the verses to you. You will have your mind blown in a good way as your thinking will shift from human wisdom to spiritual wisdom.
In short, praying in tongues will open your understanding up to heavenly realities.
4) Praying in tongues will help you to quiet your mind, and increase your ability to hear from the Spirit.
1Cor 14:14 “for if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
Over the last decade or so, there has been an increase in what I call an “intellectual faith”. And by this I mean that more and more Christians are depending on their own abilities and putting their faith in mans wisdom and not in the power of God. The apostle Paul was opposed to this. (read – 1Cor2:1-5).
When praying in tongues, we allow our spirit to pray with no influence of our minds. This is scary for some and is the reason why many do not believe in this gift. But I can assure you from my experience, that praying in the Holy Spirit will release awesome favour in every area of your life. Don’t be afraid to depend on Him and not on yourself.
5) Praying in tongues is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare.
Our minds are the battled ground of the enemy; it is where he places worry, anxiety, lies and deceit to trip us up. By praying in tongues we silence our mind while building up and giving expression to our spirit. This is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare and can only result in victory.
In the Ephesians 6 discussion on the armour of God, Paul concludes by highlighting that the key to all of this is to pray in the Holy Spirit on all occasions.
In conclusion, do you desire to be built up in the faith? Do you desire 100% answered prayer? Do you need greater understanding and wisdom? Do you want to overcome fear, worry and anxiety; and desire to hear God more clearly? Do you want to overcome and be victorious more consistently?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, Praying in tongues is for you!
Yours in Christ
Marlon R Oliver