Take the step.

From Steve-

Perspective #2: Take the step.

       ". . .it is not first the spiritual at the beginning but the natural of the soul and mind; thereafter the spiritual."

Although a young child in the natural order can never achieve maturity by the time they reach their 8th month, a spiritual 8 month old in God’s Plan can. Whether natural or spiritual, what every young child has in common is that to reach maturity they must first be willing to take steps, even when they don’t understand what those steps mean, where they will lead or even how to take them.

For those who are or have been parents, we know our children don’t take their steps when or because we want them to. And, neither do we. They take them when they are ready. Up until that time, they’re either disinterested in the offer or fearful in the taking as they weigh the benefits of the invitation or the possible consequences of their acceptance. Once their decision is made, it’s done; they’re either walking or they’re not.

This unilateral decision-making of the young child can be influenced, however, by the persistent invitation and encouragement of their parents. This eventually persuades the young child to shed their perspective of disinterest or fear to embrace their parents’ perspective of confidence and enthusiasm. And, once they do, they’re off and running in their adventurous and now highly mobile young life.

As it is in the natural of the soul and mind, so it is in the spiritual.

And so, to mature spiritually we must shed whatever perspectives we may be holding onto and take the steps Jesus is inviting and encouraging us to take. And, when we do, He brings us into the highly mobile and adventurous life of the spirit WITH Him where He then assigns us roles to play in the ultimate game of life — building and delivering the Kingdom to our Father.

This is what’s happening with Jesus’ invitation to pursue Him for our prayer assignment regarding my friend and the circumstances facing President Trump. This is a big deal because dealing with kings and presidents is no small matter. But, if we’re interested in being involved in such things WITH Jesus, then we’ll take the step and pursue Him for our assignment and then marvel at what follows.

To illustrate both the simplicity and profound significance of this perspective, consider Daniel and Isaiah. These men of the Old Testament were known for pursuing God and performing the roles to which He assigned them. They were each invited by God to join Him in dealing with two "natural" kings who were the most powerful of their day: Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus.

Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon around 600 BC. He worshipped, served and was named after Nabu the god of literacy, the rational arts, scribes and wisdom — the best the natural mind has to offer. In the name of this god, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, confiscated the temple’s sacred treasures thereby asserting the superiority of his god over Israel’s God and carried away God’s people into exile. One of those exiles was a youth named Daniel, whose name means, "God is my judge."

One night, in the second year of this great and powerful king’s reign, God decided to speak to him in a dream. This dream troubled his "spirit" thus putting it beyond the reach of his intellect and that of his god, Nabu. Being driven to know and understand what the dream meant, Nebuchadnezzar called all of his "wise men, magicians, conjurers, sorcerers and Chaldeans" to tell him the dream’s meaning. When they asked him to first tell them his dream (like any of us would do) so they could interpret it, he refused. Instead, he accused them of scheming to construct a lie to deceive him and then demanded they not only tell him what the dream was but also its interpretation. If they couldn’t, they would suffer a horrible death. Of course, they couldn’t, because the dream was "spiritual" and beyond their intellect’s ability to understand or even conceive. In the face of this reality they responded to the king, "There is no man upon, above or over the earth who would be able to declare this word or thing for the king. . .except God whose dwelling place is not with flesh." And so, having failed the king’s demand, he ordered their execution, including Daniel and his three friends who were counted among the wise men of Babylon.

When the captain of the king’s bodyguard, Arioch (whose name means, "servant of the moon-god"), found Daniel and told him of the king’s decree, Daniel spoke to him with "counsel and good judgment" requesting time that he might declare to the king both the dream and its interpretation. Daniel then went to his house and told his three friends about the matter and asked them to pursue God for compassion while Daniel pursued Him for the interpretation. God responded to their pursuit by granting them favor and revealing to Daniel the king’s dream and its interpretation in a night vision.

Daniel then went into Nebuchadnezzar’s presence and told him both the dream and its interpretation, saying, "As for the mystery. . .no wise man, conjurer, enchanter or magician is able to cut, determine or declare to the king this word or thing. Nevertheless, there is God in heaven who reveals secrets and mysteries to make known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will become, come to pass and be in the end days. This was your dream and the vision and appearance in your head on your bed. . .You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of Heaven has given the royalty, reign and kingdom with royal power, might, honor and glory. And the whole and all of the sons of man and mankind and wherever they dwell. . .has been given into your hands to have power and authority to rule the whole and all of them. You are the head of gold." (Daniel 2).

With Isaiah, God spoke to him of a king who was yet to come. Although there was no way Isaiah could have comprehended the scope of what God was assigning him to do, he performed his role and inscribed the story of this great king into the fabric of creation. This heathen king of Persia, who worshipped and served false gods, came to power around 550 BC, a 150 years after Isaiah wrote about him. And, even though he did not know God, yet God gave to this king his name and appointed him to "build" Jerusalem along with its palace and temple. And, so significant was this king that he was the first to be designated by God as His Messiah (Anointed One). To this Cyrus, whose name means, "throne," YHVH said:

       "It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘My shepherd! And he will perform and complete free from fault all My delight and pleasure, saying, ‘Jerusalem, foundation of peace, be built’ and of the palace and temple, ‘Be found, fixed and established.’ I have grown and strengthened your right hand to be firm, to beat out, beat down and subdue nations and peoples before you, and to open the loins of kings; and I will appear before you to free and open the two-leaved gates so that no gate will be shut or closed. I will go, come and walk before you to honor and adorn you, to make smooth, straight and right, and to break in pieces the doors of copper and bronze; to hewn down and cut through the bars of iron. And I will put, set and give to you the treasure, treasury and storehouse of darkness and obscurity, the hidden treasure in secret hiding places for the purpose and intent that you will know that it is I, YHVH, the God of Israel, who calls, proclaims and reads you by your name. . .to title you with honor though you have not known Me. I am YHVH, and there is nothing beside, going around or continuing after. Except Me there is no God. I will gird, compass and equip you, though you have not known Me, for the purpose and intent that they may know from the east, from the sunrise to the setting of the sun in the west, a ceasing and an end of all except YHVH. There is nothing beside, going around or continuing after to form and fashion the light and to choose, create and shape darkness and obscurity, to make and accomplish completeness, soundness, welfare and peace; and, to choose, create and shape adversity, evil, distress, misery, injury and calamity. I am YHVH who makes and accomplishes the whole and all of these. Trickle and drip, O heavens and sky above and upwards, and let the clouds and dust flow, trickle, drop and distill rightness and righteousness. Let the earth and land bear fruit and be fruitful with deliverance, rescue, salvation, safety, welfare and righteousness, sprouting and springing up together and united. I am YHVH who has chosen, shaped and created it." (Isaiah 44:28 – 45:8).

And so, through two 8 month olds in God’s Plan who were simply willing to take the step of pursuing Him for their assignment, God takes the game to the next level, which in their time was to declare, describe and establish the destiny of His Plan. This destiny of "what will become, come to pass and be in the end days" included His Anointed King ruling over every man and thing wherever man dwelt, rebuilding the temple, palace and foundation of peace, seizing the treasury of darkness and performing without fault God’s every delight and pleasure. As we now know (that Daniel and Isaiah didn’t) God’s Anointed King of Kings is Jesus who is the complete fulfillment of what God decreed in the Garden, that His Man would rule the entirety of His creation WITH Him. And, through whom did God portray this marvelous destiny of which Jesus invites us to become participants WITH Him? Through two heathen "natural" kings who didn’t even know who God was. Amazing!

". . .it is not first the spiritual at the beginning but the natural of the soul and mind; thereafter the spiritual."

I wonder if Daniel or Isaiah had any clue that God was shaping the future of heaven, earth and us through them?

As it was for them in their time, so now it is for us in ours.

Take the step.

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