Meet the Authors.

Sarah Burlingame is passionate about Biblical truth. Her diverse church background has taken her through Mainline Methodist, Evangelical, Charismatic and Roman Catholic circles. Her calling as an intercessor led her to receive a certification in Advanced Spiritual Warfare from LMCI (Liberating Ministries for Christ International) lmci.org . Sarah has served as a small group leader, worship planner, liturgical dance leader and online ministry coordinator. She holds a M.S. degree in Education and lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and their sons. They attend North Rome Wesleyan Church.

Joanne Reinhart asked Jesus Christ into her heart at the age of nine in a Sunday school classroom in Maryland. Her journey with the Lord took her through various careers, colleges, and universities. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Art/Dance, Theology, and Education, and a M.S. degree in Educational Administration. Her passion for the Lord is evidenced through worship, dance, and teaching. She was liberated into her spiritual gifts and callings through the teaching resources of LMCI lmci.org . Joanne has danced and taught at Christian conferences and various churches in PA and VA. She currently teaches classical ballet and coaches dance for gymnastics. Joanne attends Lighthouse of Faith Church. She and her husband live in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Which Kingdom Do You Choose?


Painting by Thomas Kinkade

The conflicting force of light and darkness is both universal and timeless. In many of the legends, tales and literature, this force is blatantly evident. For example, the beautiful Snow White was at dangerous odds with her evil, witch step-mother; while Prince Charming had to slay fiery dragons. In more modern times, there is a plethora of super hero vs. villain movies. Are these stories meant to only tantalize our psyche or is something deeper occurring, albeit sub-consciously, in the minds of the authors who created these stories? Could it be that the battle for good vs evil is very real and part of our experience as humans is to deal with this battle for ourselves and our families? Therefore, the stories told from the beginning of humanity exemplify the ever present struggle between light and darkness.     
There is a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness. It is as real as the coffee you may have had for breakfast and the air you are surely breathing to stay alive. While both kingdoms are ever present, you have a choice as to which one will be your dwelling place. Which one do you choose to live in?  There is a constant battle going on in the spirit realm for our souls.  Just as Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil, we are tempted in this world.  Power, fame, wealth (provision), security (protection) are flashed with repeated boldness in advertising, entertainment, music, on the internet, and over social media. This kingdom of self-centered exaltation is the same kingdom of darkness that wanted God’s Beloved Son, Jesus (see Matthew 3:17) to command provision, receive “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory,” and to bow down and worship the devil (Lucifer).  Jesus answered with these words, “it is written” and all the wiles of the devil could not prevail against him.

Sarah knows first-hand what the temptation from satan feels like. She gave herself to Jesus and asked Him into her heart around the age of 13. However, beyond that she had very little encouragement for Christ centered living from those in her sphere of influence. A few years later she had an experience she will never forget. It was late at night and she clearly heard a voice in her mind say to her, “If you worship me I will give you great riches and success.” Along with this voice was an overwhelming sensation of spiritual darkness. Sarah remembers that the promise for great riches and success was very tempting! She also knew that the voice was real. However, there was “something” inside of her that simply would not allow her to submit to that voice. She did not truly understand it at the time, but knows now that the “something” was the Holy Spirit who had been dwelling in her since the time she asked Jesus into her heart.  We are willing to guess that her experience, or one similar to it, has happened to some of you. 

Even if you have not had such a direct temptation experience (and be thankful if you have not), we still deal with worries and struggles on a daily basis. We often wish they would simply go away. Have you been battling negative thoughts of loss, lack, or loneliness? Do you feel like you are not getting anywhere in life? Too many bills to pay, too many things to accomplish? Pressure, pressure and more pressure everywhere?  Wouldn’t it be easier to just let the world help you instead of trying to believe that the promises of God are real and that they are your inheritance now?

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus uses the illustration of how His Heavenly Father knows that you need food, drink, clothing, and all the necessities of this life.  His Father feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field, in all His glory, and wants you to know that He will do all this and more if you will seek Him and His Kingdom.  The context of these verses is that we are not to worry, but to seek the kingdom of God and all the things we need will be “ADDED” to us.
  
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
What is this “kingdom of God” and how can we seek it? 

Romans 14:17 (NKJV) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Righteousness is the state of being in proper relationship with God.  It is a Gift of God to us through the finished work of Christ on the cross.  We simply have to receive this gift, then we will come into agreement with God’s standards of what is right and just.  

2 Corinthians 5:21 (MEV) God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

People from every walk of life are seeking “peace and joy” through a variety of ways, spending a lot of their time and money trying to find and keep them!  True peace and joy can only be found in Jesus Christ.  Jesus has bequeathed us His peace (John 14:27), and when we are in His presence, we are filled with joy! 

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

When you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10), you are supernaturally infused with the Holy Spirit.  You are sealed with a guarantee of inheritance: the perfect redemption of your spirit, soul (present), and body (future) by Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:13-14) We were dead in our sins, and lived according to the desires of the flesh and of the mind. (Ephesians 2:1-3) But now, we are seated beside Christ in the heavenly realms!

Ephesians 2:4-6 (NIV)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus 

Is there something we need to be aware of in this present age?  How can we live in the world and still choose God’s kingdom of light in this ever darkening atmosphere?  The truth is, we need to choose to “put off” the “old man” which was our nature prior to making our decision for Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24 (NKJV)
that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

This “new man” is the person we become when we choose to follow Christ as described in the scriptures.  When we seek (choose) the kingdom of God, we will walk in righteousness, peace and joy with the Holy Spirit in us. This kingdom of light is what we have chosen.  We can attest to the fact that it truly is a beautiful dwelling place. 

Remember the simplicity of Christ’s words against the devil (“It is written”), if you are ever plagued by thoughts or even “hear” voices that try to torment you.  Even saying out loud, “JESUS” is enough to put these evil spirits in their place, which is under our feet!  They have all been defeated by Jesus Christ at the cross.  We want to encourage you to speak the scriptures out loud over yourselves, your loved ones, and all that pertains to you.  You have been given an armor that will absolutely cause you to be victorious over everything in the kingdom of darkness! 

Ephesians 6:11 (AMPC) Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

The kingdom of God is available to you today! 

~ Sarah and Joanne 







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