Only One True Kingdom by Jim Nelson
In January, our whole family had an amazing trip to Disney World. We went to Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studio, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. Lynn and I then took some time to reflect on the trip with a few thoughts.
We saw the amazing joy and happiness of our grandchildren Taylor and Jake as they actually experienced the magic of Disney. For the next seven days we all felt like we were living in a “make believe world”, no worries, a full schedule of fun, rides, pool time, and relaxation. We had a beautiful condo overlooking a natural 100 acre savannah in Animal Kingdom. Every morning we would have a cup of coffee and watched zebra, Wildebeest, Gazelle, Impala, Antelope, deer, giraffes, and many other animals from our decks as the sun rose. Seriously, God must have a great sense of humor when He created the Giraffe. I found this a great time for prayer and worship. The constant sunny 80 degree weather was a big plus also. Taylor and Jake’s eyes were wide open with excitement and anticipation every day. We enjoyed Papa’s favorite ride, Splash Mountain – 3 times one day, I’ve never heard Jake laugh so hard. Nana took both Jake and Taylor in Spaceship Earth in Epcot, where Jake thought he saw Jesus, the beauty of a child! Taylor had an amazing dinner with Cinderella in the Magic Kingdom Castle.
Between all the parks, Disney displayed over 1500 Christmas trees, some were 60 feet tall. Also, an endless amount of beautiful Christmas decorations. It was a pleasant surprise for us to hear the many beautiful old Christmas hymns in every park. As we toured Epcot, every country had these hymns in their own language. This was very meaningful to our family. It was fun to sing along and worship our new born King.
Disney does provide for a great family vacation. As great as Disney is, it’s still part of our fallen world. At the end, you are exhausted, shocked by how much money you just spent, and you are ready to go home. You see, Disney offers you a fantasy that isn’t real.
Lynn and I then discussed how different our lives are In Christ. As a Christian, we are In-Christ not only for today but for all of eternity. Just to mention a few of the amazing blessings we have; we are forgiven, we are adopted into God’s family, we are set free from the power and the penalty of sin, we are being sanctified, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit guiding us and empowering us to live out the fruit of the Spirit. What a picture of deep joy and peace, and this is eternal and very real.
As believers, we are grounded in the Biblical truth that real joy, peace, and happiness comes only from a relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It reminds us that Jesus entered this broken world to redeem and reconcile us back to Him. As we reflect on Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”. The eternal kingdom of God is a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ. In comparison, the Magic Kingdom is far from free and definitely is not everlasting.
Are you putting your faith into man made systems, idols, or even some religious systems instead of receiving the gift of salvation given to us by faith in Jesus alone. We need to fully meditate on the amazing life we have in Christ.
Jake wanted to know when we can go back to Disney World. This type of joy and happiness as wonderful as it was is not sustaining – only Christ can do that! In life, we find false fulfillment, meaning, and happiness from systems, places, and people that will never be able to fulfill our deepest needs. In this regard, the hollow feeling leaving the Magic Kingdom (or other places) is probably a good thing. These places provide an amazing vacation and great memories. But, the experience is temporary. There is ONLY one type of eternal happiness. It comes from JESUS ALONE.
Please take some time this week to reflect on the following; do you know Jesus at a personal level and are you experiencing Him in your day to day life? And, Is He changing and sanctifying you into His image? Let’s not put our hope in any world system, but ONLY IN JESUS! The way to the true eternal kingdom.
Your brother In Christ, Jim Nelson