Ozark Christian Living

Family Life & Homemaker's Guide

Close Encounter of the First Kind

April 11

  "Thou art not far from the kingdom of GOD."  Mark 12:34 

"When it comes to the 'kingdom of GOD', the journey begins at the destination."






As a boy, I remember taking trips to all the fascinating national attractions of MO, AR, & OK. :-)  We planned weeks ahead, the excitement would grow, and then the big day came when we would pack and leave.  Departing the driveway, the whole car would be a buzz for about the first 50 miles, and then invariably, one of us kids would ask ... “are we there yet?”  We knew starting off that the trip was a great distance, but barely into it, we had become restless, impatient, longing for it to end, even looking for shortcuts.  Don’t misunderstand, we wanted the destination, just not the journey.  We wanted the thrill of some new frontier, but despised the means to the end.  Most people are exactly like this when it comes to the "kingdom of GOD" … salvation without humiliation ... but mark it down, the prodigal's road back to GOD is agonizingly long and slow.  There are however, ample rest stops along the route for all who will give it a go:  "Come unto ME, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  

the kingdom of GOD" spoken of here by CHRIST represented all the hope of Israel and thus each Jew.  It represented Heaven, victory over Rome and every other earthly kingdom; plus the vindication of Abraham’s seed before a world full of infidels.  In short, "the kingdom of GOD" was the aim, goal, and in the Jewish mind, the right of inheritance due Israel.  Most thought they had arrived by simply being born a Jew.  The problem with all of man’s religious aim though is that sin fogs our scope, disturbs the crosshairs; and thus the trigger of our total effort to reach the "kingdom of GOD", apart from GOD, misses the mark.  "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of GOD;" 
As with a new rifle, the mind needs to be bore sighted.  The truth of Scripture is intended to do just that, with the point of reference being the cross of Calvary.

In spite of gospel power, there have been many, like the scribe of Mark 12, who have had a Close Encounter of the FIRST Kind; but now belong to the Hell of Flame, not the Hall of Fame. 

Consider a few of the more infamous:

Judas Iscariot … traveled with the greatest EVANGELIST the world has ever known

Pilate … brazenly stared TRUTH incarnate in the face, only to ask: "what is truth?"

Herod … mocked his way to a hot corner of Hades

Felix … trembled under truth's conviction

King Aggrippa … almost persuaded to become a Christian

The Roman Centurion … who exclaimed: "Truly this was the SON of GOD"

Barabbas … ran free through the mob and past JESUS that very first Good Friday

The thief on the left … hanging mere feet from the LAMB of GOD as HE died.

Are we there yet?  When it comes to the "kingdom of GOD", the journey begins at the destination.  Repentant faith in the LORD JESUS CHRIST is the start and the finish … a damning conundrum for most; and all who attempt the trip alone, will arrive late, only to hear:

"one thing thou lackest ..."

For Love of Country
John Robinson (1576-1625)
(Pilgrim Church leader)
"Someone or few must needs be appointed over the assembly [for] ... discussing and determining of all matters, so in this royal assembly, the church of CHRIST, though all be Kings, yet some most faithful and most able, are to be set over the rest ... wherein ... they are ... charged to minister according the Testament of CHRIST."

(July 22, 1620, aboard the Speedwell as she set sail from Holland for America)

This site was last updated 04/11/2012