Let Jesus In

In Revelation 3:20 Jesus said “I stand at the door and knock.”

Which door? The front door, we hope. That is the door we want Him to enter. We want Him in the part of the house most likely to be dusted and “picked up.” This is the part of the house that is ready for an honored guest.

But what if He is standing at the garage door or the back door? What if Jesus wants to come in through those “other” parts of our house? Are we as anxious to let Him see our storage room and garage as we are for Him to see the “parlor?” What if Jesus wants to see our clutter room and our “junk” drawer?

While Jesus is visiting are we going to take Him on a tour of all the house? Will we open every door and even allow Him to look into the closets and behind the shower curtain? How about the medicine cabinet and the magazine rack?

How long will Jesus stay? That depends on us. How long do we really want Him to stay?

Jesus will come into any house where He is invited. He will even stay and eat a meal. (Revelation 3:20 and Matthew 9:10)

However, if we want Jesus to be a permanent resident in our home, we will have to clean out all known sin and disobedience. He will not abide long where He is expected to share living quarters with known sin.

Such house cleaning cannot be done alone. We need the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will show us just what clutter and junk has to be removed and He will give us the ability to do our share of the clean up.

Prayer Thoughts

     Prayer and love tend to unite people. Perhaps we need to do more of both at church on Sunday. 


     Prayer should be a never-ending two-way conversation.


     Perhaps my most frequent prayer request should be "Lord, teach me to pray properly and what to pray for." Maybe knowing exactly what to pray for is what James had in mind when he said we should pray for wisdom. (James 1:5) 


     What does God do when I pray and ask for something that is against His will? Nothing! He simply ignores such requests and gives me what is spiritually and eternally best for me. But if my prayers always include a sincere request to learn to pray better, He will grant that request and I will not offer as many ill-conceived petitions.


     
     In order for a prayer to be effective, the attitude must be correct before the words are spoken. To "say" a prayer without having the proper attitude is simply "word uttering" and is worthless.


     Passionless people pray powerless prayers.


     My prayers must not be so much an attempt to get God's attention, but rather a response to the fact that He has already gained my attention. He knows me completely before I pray, but I need to clearly identify and express my wants and needs so He can show me the difference between them.

Do You Love Me?

When Peter said "I'm going fishing"(John 21:3), he was planning to return to his previous, before-Jesus way of life. He needed to be doing something while he sorted out the full meaning of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. He had earlier declared he would follow Jesus, but now there was no Jesus to follow.                  

Then Jesus appeared on the lake shore and asked "Peter, do you love me more than these?"(John 21:15.) Jesus already knew the answer, but He wanted Peter to do a self-examination concerning his love for the Master. 

"Do you love me more than these"...more than the life of a fisherman, more than family, more than boats and possessions? Was his love for Jesus greater than his love for the totality of all else? Jesus earlier taught a love that required "heart, soul and mind." (Matt. 2:37) Did Peter have it?

We are asked the same question each day. Each morning as we face sixteen active hours of our lives we have to decide if we love Him to that extent. If we answer "Yes", He then challenges us to prove it by being light and salt to the world.

Why should we be light? So others can see Jesus. Why do we want them to see Jesus? So together we can glorify God. 

Each day we plan our routine by saying something such as "I'm going to work" or "I have to run some errands." And it is good to have constructive ways to fill our time. God does not call most of us to make our earthly living through full-time "Feed my sheep" (John 21:15) activities.

But engaging in the necessary patterns of life must not mean "God, you wait here until I get my tasks done. Then I'll be back and we can talk some more." We must constantly be aware of his question "Do you love me more than these?"

An affirmative answer will produce a life that is holy,set apart for His glory. Before we can successfully feed His sheep we must become like the Good Shepherd.

Satan’s Banquet

In hell the celebration had begun about 3:00 p.m. the previous Friday. The banquet hall had been the scene of continuous revelry for more than twenty-four hours. The greatest victory celebration of all time was in progress. The music continued to be loud and raucous. The dancing was becoming increasingly lewd as the jokes grew more and more vulgar. Congratulations were being heaped on the host by every guest as they tried to ingratiate themselves to him. Toast after toast was offered to honor the treachery that allowed him to win such a great victory.

This was the all-out, no-holds-barred victory party of all time. After all, the gathering was commemorating the most significant event to occur since the creation of the universe.

Jesus was dead!

Satan had won the battle. Evil was more powerful than good. The heavenly foe was forever defeated. Lucifer now had free reign in the lives of all people for all time. He could hardly contain his glee. He tingled with anticipation as he considered all the pain, agony, death and destruction he would create in the coming years.

Jesus was dead!

Never again would Satan’s efforts to destroy mankind be thwarted by Christ’s goodness, power and love.

Jesus was dead!

Then sometime early Sunday morning it happened. As suddenly as a lightening bolt but as gentle as a butterfly, Jesus appeared and stood in front of Satan.

The music stopped. Glasses of wine halted in mid-trip between table and mouth. Jokes remained without a punch line. There was no movement or sound anywhere in the hall. All eyes were riveted on Jesus, the man who could not be there.

For what seemed like hours, Jesus looked at Satan. Then He gradually became larger and larger while Satan became smaller and smaller. Everyone in the hall could see it happening. Soon Jesus loomed huge as Satan shrunk and seemed to back away, although he never moved at all.

The Jesus spoke. His quiet, controlled voice carried the power present only in the One who created the entire universe, including Satan himself. Though spoken softly the Messiah’s words carried to every corner of the universe and echoed into every eon of time.

“Oh death, where now is your victory? Oh grave, where now is your sting?” The He was gone. He simply vanished.

The demons looked at each other and then at Satan. Where moments before he had seemed a vibrant, victorious general, now he had the appearance of a deflated balloon.

Jesus was alive! The crucifixion had not been successful. The tomb was empty!

Jesus was alive! Satan’s death grip on mankind was forever destroyed.

Jesus was alive! God’s power to transform His children’s lives remained intact.

Jesus was alive! Satan was eternally defeated. There was nothing left to celebrate.

Slowly, one by one, the guests filed silently from the hall. Satan’s pathetic appearance discouraged them from even trying to give him some parting words of encouragement. Jesus was alive and He would remain alive for all eternity.

And Satan knew it!

God’s Surgery

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God…is sharper than any two-edged sword…dividing asunder soul and spirit…(KJV)

 

We would be devastated if a doctor gave us the bad news, “I’m sorry, but it is cancer and it is malignant.” We would rejoice if he continued, “But it is localized and surgery can provide a total and permanent cure.” In this situation we would welcome the surgeon’s skill and expertise. We would trust him to make the necessary incision and remove all that was diseased. As we lived healthy lives in the years afterward, we would recommend to others both the doctor and surgeon whose skills and knowledge had helped us.

In much the same way Jesus, the one with the sharp, two-edged sword, comes to us and says, “I’m sorry but there is sin in your life. It is malignant. Left unchecked, it will continue to grow and destroy our relationship.” But, similar to the surgeon, He offers to use the razor-sharp “sword of the Spirit” to remove that sin.

We would not welcome either diagnosis, nor would we look forward to the process that would remove the problem. However, after the treatment we would be able to live  healthy, active, fruitful lives and praise God for providing the cure.

As Christians we seem all too willing to live with spiritual cancer while we demand the immediate, total removal of the physical disease. We would never argue with the doctor by saying, “Well, maybe I do have a little cancer. But it isn’t my fault. That’s just the way I am ” or “At least I don’t have as much cancer as my neighbor” or “If that’s the way you are going to talk to me, I’ll just go to another doctor.”

But when the Holy Spirit comes to us and shows us we have sin in our lives we often respond in these or similar ways.

We must seek and accept God’s diagnostic revelations of our spiritual health. We must allow him to perform whatever surgery is necessary. His skill and knowledge are equal to the healing task. Our only role is to give him permission to do what needs to be done.

We can never enjoy spiritual health until we accept the Savior’s work.