Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How Near is the Kingdom of Heaven to You?

The first of three posts on the Kingdom being "Near" and "Now"...

Memory Verse

From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."   Matthew 4:17 (NIV)

Jesus talked a lot about the kingdom of heaven being "near".  What an amazing thought -  heaven coming near to us here on earth.  Not just some time after we die.  No, as Jesus prayed in Matthew 6:10, His vision was to see the kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.

I have lived over 50 years on this planet, but I must confess I still love going to Disney World.  When I go to Orlando and see the exit for Disney World off of I-4, I get tingly and excited inside (especially if one of my friends who works at Disney can get me in for free as one of their employee benefits).  Going to Disney World is like stepping into another world, so if someone were to tell me "Disney World is near", I would be getting very excited.

How much more the kingdom of heaven coming near!  Heaven - a place where Jesus reigns as King of kings, and as a result, people honor and worship Him.  They live in right relationship with each other and everyone lives with sufficiency and dignity.  They have power to overcome any force of evil and experience the truly abundant life.  Jesus is saying that kind of kingdom has come near to us on earth.

How near is the kingdom of heaven to you?  Are you experiencing the kingdom of heaven on earth?  Do you experience the peace, provision, and power of Jesus' reign in your life?

If not, check back in the coming days as we share a bit more about how we are to experience the kingdom of heaven coming "near" and "now".

Questions to Consider
1.  How near is the kingdom of heaven to you?
2.  If you're not experiencing that kind of life, what do you think is keeping you from experiencing it?

Action Steps for the Week
1.  Take 10 minutes and identify what the Bible says about heaven.  Then think about how much of that life you are experiencing on earth.
2.  Thank God for the many aspects of the kingdom of heaven you are already experiencing on earth.  Some examples - remember those "heavenly mansions"?  If Jesus were to step into most of our houses in the West (including ours, a 1400 square foot condo), He would identify it as a mansion compared to what He was used to and what the majority of people currently living in our world are used to.  Thank God for your mansion.  And that "heavenly banquet"?  Jesus would open most of our refrigerators and identify what He sees as a banquet!  Thank God each time you open your refrigerator.