December 31, 2012

Two Kingdoms: Find Your Life Or Lose It.




  There are two kingdoms.  One Kingdom is called the Sovereign Kingdom of Unconditional Love and the other, the Unconditional Kingdom of Sovereign Love. 

Prologue

               A weary traveler stands on what he believes to be the final precipice of a tiresome journey.  From his position atop this crest, he is given the advantage of surveying the landscape before him.  There are two kingdoms in the distance.  One is the Sovereign Kingdom of Unconditional Love.  The other is the Unconditional Kingdom of Sovereign Love.  To the eye of a weary Traveler, whose mind is fatigued with the burdens of a long and toilsome journey, both kingdoms appear to be the same.
               But, alas, they are vastly different.  Although the roads to each begin at the same point and seem to tandem each other for a while, the obvious distance between each endpoint reveals that one slowly, and almost imperceptibly, diverges from the other.  The path to each Kingdom is well-defined; however, one seems to have been more attended to recently.  It appears to have been widened.
               Many travelers have stood upon this very ground and surveyed the very same landscape.  Every one of them eventually moved forward to lay hold of that Kingdom which their heart desired.  In the end however, some of them have found out that what they believed in with all their heart was not the deepest desire of their heart at all. 
   But the Traveler is tired and his mind is not up to the task of thinking this through.  He will lie down for the night and tomorrow he will rise with the morning, and make the single most important decision of his life. 
               The Sovereign Kingdom of Unconditional Love sings.  The Unconditional Kingdom of Sovereign Love calls.   It is a strange, sweet mixture of beauty and anxiety that echoes in the Travelers’ ear as he drifts off to sleep. 





 Chapter 1
 Two Invitations.

               As the sun quietly emerges from beyond the horizon, the Traveler breathes in the cool morning air and cautiously opens his eyes - just as he has done countless mornings before.  But this morning is different.  There is a decision to be made that will dramatically change the rest of his life.  He doesn't know this of course, but he does know that he must make a decision.
               His back is sore from the load he has carried for so long.  His feet are calloused from countless miles of hard, unforgiving earth.  And his hands ache from the chores he must continue to do in order to keep moving forward.  Yet, through his exhaustion, the Traveler is encouraged to be at this point in his journey.   There have been many times when he almost quit, but something inside drew him, always just enough, to keep him going.  Like the music, it called rather than pushed.
               The Traveler finishes packing his things and does what he does every other morning - he pulls an envelope from his pack and unfolds the parchment within.  He is reminded again of the joy he felt at receiving this priceless letter.  It is not an ordinary letter, but it is entirely uncommon either.  What makes it absolutely priceless and unique is that it is a personal summons from his King.
            The Traveler had heard of these summons his whole life, but never imagined that he would ever receive one himself.  In fact, he had never truly desired one - until He received his own.
            Although the Traveler had never met his King, the King had summoned him and told him that there was a place prepared for Him in His Kingdom.  It was a Kingdom in which the Traveler could never afford to live, due to the immensity of his personal debts; yet, the King Himself had settled his debts and paid his way.
               It is an overwhelming sense of joy that emanates from within the Traveler as he reads the letter again; and again he feels a deep, irresistible sense of longing - pulling him to leave his old life behind him, and pursue the Kingdom he has been called to. 
               The traveler folds his parchment and returns it to its envelope.  He lifts his burden once again onto his shoulders and walks toward the first of two signs planted neatly next to each path.  The first appears to be newer than the other.  It has been planted several feet closer to the approaching traveler than the other.  It appears neat and well kept as it reads:

By Declation of the King: 
Greetings all who enter here.  You are about to leave a life of fear, shame, and hurt behind you.  Enter into a life where love and acceptance are not merely words, but actions.  Here you are free to experience life with others the way it was meant to be lived.  Lay your burdens down and come as you are. 
We look forward to your arrival! 
 - The King of Unconditional Love

               The traveler smiles.  He has longed for rest and it now appears within reach.  He experiences the realization that hope is about to be made a reality for the first time in a long time.  He glances out at the horizon and the two kingdoms again and notices that they both sparkle in the morning light.  They are beautiful, and they begin to sing and call out toward him again. 
               The traveler remembers that there is another sign.  He walks beyond the sign he has just read and notices that the singing from the Sovereign Kingdom of Unconditional Love grows stronger as he does so.  He walks several more steps before he is able to clearly read the notice of the other sign.  As he approaches, he notices that this sign has been tampered with.  Marks around its base and on the sign itself bear witness to the many attempts that have been made to take it down; yet, it has been strong enough and it has remained.  Its age is apparent in the dinginess of its color and the wear around the edges, and it is obvious that it has been tended to far too little.  It has not been kept as well as the newer sign, yet the engraved words are strikingly clear as it reads:

Welcome all who RECEIVE the call. You will be Home soon.  As long as you Journey, I will direct you, protect you, and correct you.  Remember, I Love you and will be with you always.
- The King

               The traveler understands why the newer sign was put up first.  It is much more friendly and appeals to the burdens that he now carries.  What was that about correction? 
               The traveler turns and walks back to the other sign and reads it again.  The singing form the Sovereign Kingdom of Unconditional Love continues to rise louder than the call from the Unconditional Kingdom of Sovereign Love.  He notices as he listens that the path from the first sign looks newer and neater.  The second path is noticeably older and much narrower.  The Traveler wonders if the other sign is still true; because, as far as he can see, there is no King waiting for Him on the path.  In fact there is no one.
               Voices from the travelers past echo inside his mind.  His parents, his teachers, his friends, mentors, acquaintances, and people he respected even though he had never met them in person.  All of them had spoken of a Kingdom, but from what he could remember, he couldn't tell which kingdom they had told him about.  They had gone ahead of Him to be in the Kingdom and he longed to be with them again.
            Then the thought occurrs to the traveler that a kingdom told to him in stories and teachings his whole life must have been around a long time.  The traveler looks at the older of the two paths.  The message on the other sign sounds a lot more like what everyone had always told him about; yet, another thought occurs to him about the message on that sign:  A message passed down to him in stories that are generations old could very well be based on tradition and fear, not on truth.
            Nobody had ever told him that there was going to be more than one pathway.   In fact, all he had ever heard was that there was only one pathway. 
            He didn't think it would be this hard right at the beginning.
            The traveler looks again at both signs.  As he does so, he notices something about the sounds coming from the two kingdoms.  As he listens, he notices that the music from the Kingdom of Unconditional Love is distinctly emotional and joyous, like that of a celebration - a party, and it makes him feel good. 
            Listening to the melodies and harmonies, he is carried along in the flow and each new anthem seems to hook deep into his soul as if the notes were the very expressions of his own desires.  He loves the way it feels.
The music rising up from the Kingdom of Sovereign Love is like that of a celebration also, but something is different about it.  It is joyful, but within its notes is mixed a sense of memoriam.  It is like something he would expect to feel if he had been overwhelmed in battle and almost defeated, when all of a sudden, a powerful trumpet blast announces the salvation of a great king and his army.  It is a serious and majestic sound, but one that brings joy and renewed vigor.
               He turns his ear again to the Kingdom of Unconditional Love.  He likes the sound of Unconditional Love.  He likes the way it makes him feel. 
               As the Traveler picks up his pack, he glances one last time at the Kingdom of Sovereign Love.  There is something terrible and beautiful about it, but it does not sound as accepting as Unconditional Love.  He begins his journey toward the celebration music that echoes his deepest desires.



 There are two Kingdom invitations.
Unconditional Love and Sovereign Love.
Only one is real.



With you for His glory,