A publishing friend of mine says that everyone has a book inside of them.
I believe it. I believe that there is a topic that is swimming around in everyone’s gut that is screaming to get out.
My gut screams kingdom–-a seemingly medieval word that conjures up visions of knights and round tables but in reality it the most intricate, vibrant word on the planet.
I began to discover the reality of the kingdom back in 1995, which is also the year that my mom died. Attached is an article that I wrote describing that discovery. It is also the first chapter of my book–or the preface. I don’t have to decide that today.
Anyhow, the article was/is meant to whet the appetite of those who have never given thought to this amazing word. And it is for those who have long believed that “the kingdom” is the equivalent to “heaven”. It is not.
Nor is it simply Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Islam or Hinduism.
Nor is it a code of morality or wisdom principles or the least bit religious. (As Jimmy Fallon says, “ew.”)
Nor is it limited or measurable.
Nor can it be marketed. Whew.
Over the past 2,000 years, the collective-we has diminished the meaning of kingdom.
Exhibit A: The word kingdom is found twice in The Lord’s Prayer. Most people can quote that verbatim as if they were uttering their address. Unfortunately, it rolls off the tongue like a religious eulogy.
If God cringes, he would certainly cringe.
So here is the article that I wrote back in the late 90’s. It is the thesis of my book. And it is the essence of what is currently spilling into a black and white composition notebook, being punched into my computer, and scratched onto a few random pieces of scrap paper.
It’s in my gut.
How I Discovered the Kingdom
By Karen Dilbeck
It was her 60th birthday and I was taking her out to breakfast. While we finished our blueberry pancakes, mom casually mentioned that she was going to the doctor later that day to have a knot on her neck looked at – “probably an infected lymph node.”
Within two days, the diagnosis came: squamos cell carcinoma. Surgery was imminent. Then came radiation. Weeks turned into months with more surgery and even chemotherapy. At age 61, which is far younger to me now than it was then, my momma died. And my inner war began.
I had the typical testimony: reared in a Christian home, received Christ early, later drifted away, only to come back and find that He really was faithful even when I had not been.
Now, here it was: my first real crisis of belief with the countless “why” questions.
The opened Bible came next with its seemingly neon word “kingdom” that appeared and reappeared. I grabbed one of my many unused Bibles from the shelf and began a journey with a highlighter that continues today.
This is what I have found:
- John the Baptist shouted that the Kingdom was near.
- When Jesus started speaking publicly, He said the Kingdom was here.
- He added that prostitutes would enter the Kingdom before “righteous Pharisees” and that
- one had to become like a small child in order to receive this Kingdom, which, by the way, was
- a gift and, strangely enough, was
- inside of us. Oh, and
- this Kingdom wasn’t something one could physically see or touch, but it was composed of “righteousness, peace, and the joy of the Holy Ghost.”
- To walk in the Kingdom, one had to be convinced that the last really would be first and that
- the first really would be last; that
- being a servant, turning the other cheek and going the extra mile were “literal” responses that spawned action in the heavenlies.
After Jesus rose from the dead, the Kingdom was the only subject He spoke on for that short 40-day period before He stepped off the earth and into eternity.
Then Phillip picked up where Jesus left off, preaching about the good news of the Kingdom and of the name of Jesus Christ.
Paul continued with great passion, describing how to get into and walk in the Kingdom. He also offered the warning that everything not of God’s Kingdom would be shaken.
What I learned personally was that “the Kingdom” was everywhere and that to “seek it first” really did mean “and all these things will be added unto you.”
With this new unquenchable quest, God provided for me an eternal view and the unshakable conviction that though my eyes saw my mother breathe her last breath, she had, like Jesus, simply stepped into eternity and her eyes saw what had previously been unseen.
Life really is a vapor.
Knowing the King and seeking the Kingdom is life … the only life that He intended for us to live.
In case your interested, here is a little extra stuff to read. It’s free.
For Downloadable PDF, click here: The Kingdom of God is