Friday, June 10, 2011

#78 Empty Knocking

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Have you ever ran out of gas? Sadly, I have done it more than once. Every time it happened to me it was simply because I did not pay close enough attention to the fuel gauge. Shortly after moving to our current pastoral district I traveled to a school board meeting and I noticed before the meeting that my fuel was running low, but I felt that I had enough to make it to the meeting then get gas afterwards.

I was wrong. After leaving the school board meeting I was about two miles from the closest gas station when my car’s engine shut off and I began to simply coast down the road. I came to a stop in front of a nice middle class neighborhood and there were several homes with the lights on. I mustered my courage and went to knock on a door to ask for help. Keep in mind that I dress like a pastor: dress slacks, button-up shirt, and a tie many days. I hardly looked like trouble.

But when I knocked on the door of the first home I could see through the window that the family inside heard my knocking and simply turned back to what they were doing. I was shocked. They heard me but would not come to the door. At first I did not think too much of it, but the same thing happened at the next house. I had to knock on three doors before someone came to the door. The third family graciously opened the door and loaned me a couple gallons of gas. I went on into town, filled up my and their gas can and then took their can back to them.

Thinking back on that day I can’t help but make a spiritual application. You see Jesus is also knocking on doors. No, He’s not out of gas or lacking anything for that matter. He knocks seeking entrance to the hearts of men, women, boys, and girls that HE might bring them life. The problem is that far too many ignore His knocking too.

When I look back on my experience I suppose some may have thought I was a salesman or something and they did not want to bother with me, but Jesus comes knocking not to sale or ask for help. He comes to bring each of us a free gift; the gift of eternal life secured through His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. Many know this and still ignore His knocking.

Have you heard Him knocking friend? Have you heard Him knocking and ignored Him or have you gladly opened the door to your heart and received Him? He will not knock forever. No, He will only knock until shortly before it is time to come and take His children home. Won’t you let Him in your heart today friend? Won’t you let Him become Savior and Lord of your life? I can tell you from personal experience that there is no greater joy than living for and with Him. If you have opened the door before continue to do it daily and invite Him afresh day by day.

Dear Holy Father,
We thank You for Your endless goodness and grace. We thank You that Jesus comes and knocks on the door of our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit. Please teach us to surrender to His knocking and to open our hearts to Him completely. For this we pray in the name of Christ, Amen.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

#77 Destination: Adulation

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

As a young boy I had a fascination with martial arts and martial artists. I can recall watching Kung Fu Theater with my step-father and siblings. Yes, the movies were very horribly dubbed from Chinese with the movements of the mouths never matching the words we heard coming from the television.

But despite the poorly dubbed English of those old Kung Fu movies, we loved to watch them and as a little boy I wanted to imitate all that I saw on the T.V. screen. In my mind I was convinced that I too could jump, kick, and chop my way through any foe that may venture my way. As I grew a bit older I discovered ninja movies. My intrigue with martial arts grew even deeper as I watched the black-clad warriors flip, roll, and wield their Ninjato swords--shorter versions of the Katana favored by the Japanese Samurais of old. Of course I wanted to be a Ninja too.

Why was a I so fascinated with the Hollywood-style fighters? Why did I long to be like them and even attempt to portray them in my childhood playing? Because that is who I spent my time watching and observing. The more I beheld the skilled fighters the more I wanted to be like them. And we watched them so much and so often that my thoughts moved from mere fascination to adulation: extreme admiration.

Maybe Kung Fu and Ninja warriors were not your thing. Maybe you grew up wanting to be just like your favorite baseball or basketball player. Maybe you wanted to be like that famous movie or dance star you watched. Instead of Ninja swords made of dowel rods and black water pipe perhaps you brandished the jersey of your favorite sports legend. Maybe your walls were plastered with posters of your favorite bands.

As I look back on the forlorn folly of my own youth, it makes me very cognizant that I want so much more for my children. I want my children to grow up admiring Bible characters and ultimately of course the Lord Jesus Christ. How does one accomplish that? I think the answer is easier than we may think. It really boils down to giving our children the opportunity to behold the note-worthy men and women of the Bible instead of the fleeting and too-often non-Christian personalities paraded before the world as the next pop icon.

Are there those in our society worthy of admiration? Sure, but when it comes to setting up an example for our children to emulate and reproduce I want that example to be Jesus and and not Justin Bieber. I want it be Mary Magdalene--post conversion of course--and not Lady Gaga. Who are you teaching your children to admire in an extreme way? Is adulation of the Lord Jesus the goal you set for your family or do you leave them to shifting sands of pop culture? Let us be intentional about what and who we place before our own eyes and especially the eyes of our children. Please don't ever forget that our choices do not just effect us. May Jesus be the supreme object of our affection and may we teach our children to model the same.

Dear Father in Heaven,
As we come to You today, we thank You for the great example of Jesus. Please teach us to hold Him and His perfect character in the highest regard, and then teach us to teach our children to do the same. Please forgive us where we have allowed the world to shine more brightly in our eyes, and please turn our hearts to heaven this day. We pray in Jesus' holy name, Amen.