The on line Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012
We received 6" of rain over the past two days, the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. Cooler temps and plenteous moisture are generally good friends to vegetation and ornamentals as seen in this planter chair next to our side entrance; Coleus, Lantana and Sweet Potato Vine.
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"Close Is Not Enough"
“You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34). "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame'. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:9-13).
In the course of our work I often speak to men concerning pursuits that interest them. It's a great way to connect and gives me opportunity to show personal interest. Fishermen like to talk about fishing and golfers like to talk about golf and so forth.
Last week I greeted Ken, and he proceeded to share with me that in a round of golf the previous weekend he almost had a hole in one, the ace of golf and every golfer's dream shot. It turns out he had missed only by several inches. But being close doesn't count as a hole in one though Ken was pleased to tell me he made the putt which resulted in a birdie.
I'm not an avid golfer although I've tried. I just couldn't consistently hit the golf ball well. I suppose it's due to my being more proficient with a larger ball and "club", (tennis racquet). I don't often talk about this since it may seem that I am bragging, but in the course of my lifetime I have had several holes in one, although it was in mini-golf!
Today let us consider being close to the Kingdom of God. In the first daily text Jesus is addressing a scribe who approached Him and asked, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” In this exchange of dialogue Jesus answered the scribe's question and he in turn essentially rephrased in agreement to Jesus' answer. (Mark 8:28-34)
Jesus then responded, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”. It was as though he stood at the door of the kingdom; he was close but not yet there. This account is not explained further (allowing for various interpretations), but one can only hope that in time this scribe did take the steps necessary to enter the Kingdom of God.
I recall a gospel tract from many years ago titled, "Missing Heaven by 18 inches". The basic premise was an emphasis on believing with the heart, which summarizes our response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not just head knowledge but heart knowledge is essential (thus the "18 inches" from the head to the heart).
Both head (mouth) and heart are involved in the salvation process: "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
Consider that the Almighty God of the universe has called you to be His child and paid a tremendous price to adopt you. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). Today rejoice in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and praise Him who richly blesses us! Let's not just stand outside the door to the Kingdom of God but let us walk in and experience all that God has in store for us!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are "richly blessed" when we call upon You to save us from our sins. You desire to share riches of eternal value with the redeemed. Far too many play around with the idea of surrendering their hearts. They think about it in certain settings or when influenced by believing Christians or persuasive Scripture. We pray that they would not just stand outside the door of the kingdom, but take the necessary steps to step inside the kingdom of God by confessing with their mouths and believing in their hearts that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead. When we truly believe and boldly confess we are changed from within and our actions from without. That's the mark of the true believer. May our lives give evidence of Your redemptive work and boundless blessings. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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