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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

It is wonderful to be in the place that God has designed me for! I love learning, and one of my favorite things about teaching is that I get to share with others what it is that I have learned. I know there is always at least one person who comes away knowing something she didn’t before because that person is me! It never ceases to amaze me that I can read the same Scripture over and over and then suddenly see or understand something that I had missed all those times before, or read a passage and think, “I never knew that was in Scripture!”

This session of the women’s Journey Bible Study we are studying the Beatitudes, and the first thing I learned was that Beatitude is spelled with only one “t” following the “a,” not two (thank you spell check!) As I studied the first Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:3) I wondered what exactly this “kingdom of heaven” is that the poor in spirit are to be blessed with.

A clerk at Baker Book House informed me that a book by Dallas Willard called “The Divine Conspiracy” had a great chapter on the Beatitudes, so I began to study it. I have to admit, I thought the Beatitudes were pretty straightforward and that I understood them pretty well. After reading that one chapter, panic set in as it was revealed to me that I knew nothing! Since I had started my reading at chapter four, the one focused on the Beatitudes, the first thing I did was go back and start over at chapter one. Then I read it again, and again, and again, until finally it made sense!

Willard defined the “kingdom of God” as the place where God reigns, where what He says, goes. One might think this is everywhere, and it is, but with one big exception – the human heart. Since He has given us all free will, He does not intrude where He is not invited. God only reigns in the hearts of those who invited Him in. This is why society and the political system are so far from God; these realms consist of human hearts, the majority of which have not submitted to God.

“The kingdom of heaven” is where God is present. Willard gave an illustration that helped me immensely in understanding where God is. God is a spiritual being, and since we are created in His image, we too are spiritual beings. That is why, when we see a man walking down the hallway, we can say, “There’s John,” but when we see that exact same physical body lying in a casket we say, “That’s not John. He’s not there anymore.” We can say that because his spirit, what makes him who he is, is no longer present.

Our spirit can’t be pinpointed as occupying any particular part of our body or be visibly seen, yet it is aware of everything that affects our body. For example, if I step on a nail, I am immediately aware of it and that experience will likely cause me to change my habit of walking barefoot in a construction area.

God occupies space the way that our spirit occupies our body. Think about that for a moment. Just as our spirit is in our body, so God occupies space, which means He is everywhere and aware of everything. He is not only far off on a throne somewhere, as we read in Isaiah and Revelation, among other places…

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. ~ Isaiah 6:1

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. ~ Revelation 20:11

…He is also in the space surrounding me, and you. Paul was speaking literally when he said,

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. `For in him we live and move and have our being.” ~ Acts 17:24-28

We are surrounded by God like a submerged bottle is surrounded by the ocean. He is not far from us, He is here, with us, surrounding us. Just as the bottle will be filled with ocean as well as surrounded by it when the cork is removed, so we will be filled with God’s Spirit, as well as surrounded by Him, when we removed the blockage from our heart and allow Him to fill us. This is where the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven collide; God filling us and God surrounding us.

Father, I thank you for truly being with me wherever I am, surrounding me and filling me. Thank you for giving me the ability to understand this truth and help me to live in a way that makes it evident to all. Your loving daughter, Lisa

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