The Kingdom of Heaven is Closer Than We Believe

We have been taught to expect the Kingdom of Heaven only within Heavenly places. The photo above is from one of those places. Just outside Paris, France is an incredibly spiritual place, the cathedral Charte. I believe it is impossible to walk into that place without feeling the Kingdom of Heaven.

Every time I walk into a new church facility, I take notice of the absence or presence of the Kingdom of Heaven. Absence occurs when the Father is not invited to reign supreme over the sacred space. It is the most important invitation to extend for any church leader, “Father, come abide within your people here!”

The Kingdom of Heaven is present anytime we give up access to our lives to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Once we do that, the Kingdom of Heaven moves us. Our constant prayer should be less of us and more of Him.

This presence of the Kingdom of Heaven, however, is not limited to just sacred spaces—it is omnipresent.

Over my lifetime, I have experienced, and continue to experience, the Kingdom of Heaven outside “sacred spaces.” The Kingdom of Heaven is closer than we have believed.

Recently I was in a shopping mall buying shoes. Now, you wouldn’t expect the Kingdom of Heaven to be hanging around inside a Sketchers store; but the Kingdom of Heaven is not limited to our expectations. There was a Hispanic mother in front of me at the checkout line who was buying bundles of shoes for her three children in tow behind her. You could tell by how well-behaved the children were that she was a wonderful mother. The Kingdom of Heaven was near.

I wanted to engage her in conversation but just didn’t get the chance—oh well, maybe next time. I walked out of the store into the mall only to find the mother and her three kids now in conversation with their father sitting on a bench. Opportunity knocked. I walked up to the family and told the mother what I was feeling while watching her inside the store—told her how much the Father was pleased with how she carried herself and what an example of grace she was to her family. Her husband caught on and chimed in to express his affirmation for his bride and mother of his children.

When she began to weep, a bubble of the Kingdom of Heaven ignited and expanded, surrounding all six of us. We laughed, cried, and hugged one another—and for a moment in time, a White man and a Hispanic group of six became a family. In the Kingdom of Heaven, family is not confined to ethnicity.

As I walked to my car, I reflected on how the Kingdom of Heaven was close. For a brief moment, we entered a special, spiritual place; similar to being inside the cathedral at Charte—and very much like my time in Heaven.

“Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

The Kingdom of Heaven is not limited to sacred spaces, unless you consider shopping malls Holy—maybe we should.

18 Comments

  • I think you always know when you are in the presence of a kind hearted and spiritual person, we always seem to be drawn to them. What a wonderful conversation to have with a mother of 3 young children. What a wonderful gift to her and what a wonderful experience for you. Good Mothers as a blessing to not only their children, but to all those who are touched by her and her children. Everything good I am, I am because of my wonderful mother. I was blessed. I believe God is everywhere as are his angels. I am often more connected to him and heaven sitting in solitude near a peaceful lake. This earth is, after all his creation, his gift to all of us.

    • Thank you for sharing Margaret! Motherhood does tend to be a thankless job, but they are so crucial to who we become! My wife, Elaine, has been the greatest blessing to me and our children as a wife and mother!
      I love the quiet peace of rivers myself. At a river fishing is when I feel a special connection to God.

  • Hi Steve, your mission is so critical in my opinion because it brings the Father and Son into the present (21st Century) and reinforces what I observed when we met at Church, that you are a Present Day Apostle of Christ.

    • Thank you, Paul, for those kind words, but I would say that we are all ambassadors of Christ and the Kingdom. EVERYONE can access the Kingdom of Heaven repeatedly, and should!

  • I guess this is more of a question…I spend 20 or so minutes in prayer fairly often. I kneel and rock back and forth, I lift my hands in praise, I moan and try to speak in a prayer language (in faith because I’ve never felt anything supernatural was happening etc.) I ask sincerely for the filling of the Holy Spirit and on and on. All that ever happens is a quiet, empty feeling of loneliness. It’s as though God is just laughing at me for some reason. What am I doing wrong ? I read scripture out loud, speak positive words, I get loud sometimes, I will thump my heart with my fist in an act of humility, I ask for any kind of indication that He is there or that He is listening or cares at all and yet there is only crickets…..I witness to my faith when I’m out and about, I have no further sins to confess and I believe I’m forgiven but there is never any sense that God is hearing or answering me at all. HELP !!! I want all that God has to offer. How is it some people see visions or go to heaven or hear audible voices and I can’t even get an impression of anything…? It just doesn’t seem fair especially when others not only have a supernatural encounter with God but have them over and over again. By the way I listen to scripture with an ear bud all night long and the only TV I watch is Christian programming. I kneel in front of the tv and sing along with praise music as I pray sometimes. The only thing I don’t do is fast but I am already too thin for my height and my wife doesn’t think I can afford to lose any weight or I would do that too. What can be done for me ? I feel like Esau or Saul or Sampson and that God has just abandoned me.

    • Patrick, I do not think it is lack of effort on your part, but I want to warn you against expecting God to respond to you. I will have a future post that talks about this more in depth, but when our mindset shifts from anticipating to expecting, we make ourselves the master: bending God to our will and wants. This is very dangerous because the Lord is King, supreme above all!
      Rather than expecting God to show up during your times of prayer, simply be open to whatever God has planned for that time with Him (even if it is just silent time with him). Anticipate, rather than expect. That way, if God puts something on your heart, you are ready and willing.
      My most recent blog, “The Womb Room—Where A Soul Can Connect Deeply With God” talks about how you can set up a space to reconnect with the Lord.

      As far as supernatural acts, God has made each of us unique and has gifted us with even more personal spiritual gifts. Rather than seeking out supernatural gifts or events to happen to you, try figuring out what the Lord has already blessed you with!We each have a personal relationship with the Lord and He speaks to each us differently. Not everyone sees a burning bush, and that’s ok! You don’t need to experience supernatural acts to experience the Lord’s touch. The Kingdom of Heaven is all around us, and you can experience it anytime!

      I hope this has helped you, and I look forward to how you interact with our future content!

  • That is somewhat helpful. I don’t want to feel like I’m trying to order God around but rather sense He is there. I get the impression that that is something you see happen with regularity and that it is something all believers should anticipate. I will wait for your next posting.

  • This is for Patrick and Steven. Patrick, you have a good heart, to want more of God. I am sorry for the pain you feel. I bet Steven has also had years of unanswered questions, felt God’s silence. But He feels and “gets” all you do. I have spent years discovering how God speaks, often in unexpected small things. I sense that like me, you need to unlearn wrong religious teachings and let Jesus heal your view of God with His love. He knows how to do it. Our view of Him needs healing. He is right there, loving you. Ask Him + receive His personal love. Two good resources for healing our view of God are Malcolm Smith’s you-tube webinars, and Susan D. Hill’s book, Closer Than Your Skin”. Steven, there is no way to thank you enough for sharing your story. Your unreligious, real, humble servant-heart shows through as the real deal. I just reread your book. So encouraging! I desperately sought God, and a gifted lady said she saw me and Jesus in two rockers (they are in my “womb room” + the next one), + Jesus held my hand and the message was, “It’s okay. “God saw me reading your book, + was saying,” It’s okay for you, too, now. I am here with you”! She knew nothing about Jesus saying that to Steven. So many are being blessed to hear God say this to them! Only His personal touch drives out fear, trauma, loneliness, unanswered questions. Patrick, ask Jesus to show you His real heart for you. Bad teachings, life, unloving people + the enemy twist our view of Him. He is better than we think! He is helping me relearn His heart in the face of PTSD and loneliness, being overlooked in others’ busyness. He is my truest friend.

    • R. H.
      Thank you for this comment! I completely agree, Patrick, that a big portion of your struggles is coming from wrong religious teachings. The Lord of Lords is not religious, He’s relational! He knows each of us intimately and wants to share life with us. The Kingdom of Heaven is not limited by one practice or doctrine. The Kingdom of Heaven is already, but not yet. By that, I mean that everyone can access the Kingdom of Heaven repeatedly, and should!

      Praise God, R. H. that the Lord is comforting you in your time of need! He is always with us! I pray for continued nearness for both you and Patrick with the Father.

      Blessings to you both!
      -Steven

      • Thanks for replying, Steven.I don’t fully understand God’s seasons,even years, of mostly silence or a lack of “warm fuzzies”. All I can guess is that what God meant for a shorter season, was prolonged when the enemy, or life, twisted our view of God into being distant or uncaring. This vicious cycle made it harder to hear or trust Him.A child won’t jump into the pool unless they trust the love of the person catching them. We need to understand God’s love in a real personal way.Love enables trust. The church tells us “backwards” to trust without knowing His love,first.His love is what casts out fear–absoloutely knowing that.He is kind + gentle.Patrick, remember how patient + reassuring He was getting Gideon to lead the army?Ask Him to make His love more real to you, + how He really srrs you.He isn’t holding out on you.

        • Oops–should be “how He really SEES you”.Also, Patrick mentioned seeking God for a prayer language. That is Okay.I asked God for 1 1/2 years! Steven, do you agree that it can be a good prayer tool, but is often wrongly taught that, “you HAVE to have it as a sign of His indwelling spirit”.Not true! My daughters deeply love the Lord, but think it’s just weird!

        • R. H.
          These times of “wilderness” that you are describing are talked about quite a bit in scripture. Unfortunately, the church can sometimes mistakenly relay these times as some sort of punishment, but that is not true! In scripture, the wilderness is only ever used as a time of character development, NEVER punishment. It may be 40 days or 40 years, but if you feel you are going through the wilderness, just know you are not alone and you are being shaped to handle what comes next. God is always with you, both of you – and you don’t need to speak in tongues to confirm that, it’s a fact, proven by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross!

          • Thanks, Steven. I agree. These things were years ago, and wrong teachings didn’t help, at the time. Many of us have had dry times or unanswered questions.It doesn’t mean we are being punished, like you said. I was even later told “the Lord honors you, for still standing after hard battles”. He was not displeased with me at all, but surprisingly the opposite!You’ve got it right.Thanks!

  • Thank you for reading and replying to my sincere, heartfelt expression of desire to truly sense God is working in and around me. I have been away from home for the last ten days and it was nice to see several responses today when I returned. I will hang in there and continue waiting for that closeness to manifest in my heart. I want JOY not happiness and only the Lord can bring that to my heart. If I know you mention me in prayer on occasion I will be glad. I know some of my problem comes from an inability to forgive myself for past sin. God has forgiven me but regret pushes into my mind during sleepless nights. My absolute number one problem in life that has plagued me is PRIDE. He has smashed that out of me but I wish it had happened sooner. So much pain. Thank you for caring.

    • Your vulnerability is incredible Patrick! I can not wait to see how your new mindset of anticipation and relationship leads you to the Lord!

  • Thank you for your refreshing honesty, Patrick. God will honor your desire for Him. Steven says it better than I can, that Jesus just wants relationship + friendship with you.Invite Him to come. I just reread + watched “The Shack”. It’s all about relationship, not performance. Pride sneakily says, “shame on you. You are better than what you did”. God says,”I love you past that+ want to do this with you”.

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