I Will Come In

jesus-christ-standing-at-the-door-art

“The Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt

Many of us have probably seen a variation of the painting of Jesus standing at a large wooden door knocking. Many churches have one hanging on a wall somewhere in their building. Some have possibly never taken a moment to look at it closely, and honestly, really grasp the meaning of some of the symbolism in the picture.

The original version of this painting was done by a man named William Holman Hunt in the 19th Century, and the painting that he did brought attention to a detail that he explained in a beautiful way. I want to share that way with you today.

As you can see in the picture, “The Light of the World”, Jesus is standing at the door knocking.

The story is told that someone asked Hunt if he forgot something, pointing out that the handle on the door was missing. I believe Hunt’s reply is something that we all need to understand today in our own Christian walk…it is straight out of scripture and revealed much more meaning behind the painting than folks knew.

Hunt’s reply was simple, and came from Revelation 3:20 where the scripture says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear me and opens the door, I will come in…”   Hunt’s reply was, “No, it is not missing – The handle is on the inside.”

Hunt’s painting had grasped what this verse in Revelation was saying to each of us…I am at the door, but it is up to you to make the decision to open it…

Jesus knocks daily at our heart’s door until we take the initiative and open it to him. The scripture plainly says here that Jesus is standing at the door knocking…he also says that if any one hears his voice…so not only is he knocking, he is calling out to us to open the door. He has come all the way to the doorstep of our hearts, now it is in our hands on what to do next.

He says to us, “Let me in, I want to eat with you, please……Open the door.”

It is on us to open the door…there is no handle on the outside, it is on the inside as Hunt said.   It is not up to the Savior to push his way into our hearts, he has done everything to get to our doorstep and asks us to simply open the door.

There are many today who know who Jesus is. They say they believe in him, they even say that they believe in what he came to do…but they continue to stand behind the door and wait to open it. Jesus has come to us, he shed his own blood in his traveling, he has journeyed to our heart’s door and is now knocking and calling out to us, but he cannot and will not open the door; it is our job.

When you open the door to someone, you are inviting them into your home; Jesus wants to be invited in…so, will you open the door to him? Remember, the handle is on the inside.

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Standing Up!

There are a few things that I have been thinking about with all the changes that have been going on here in the area.  It has been an eye opener for many, but the big question that looms … why are Christians not standing up?

Many have been complaining about the changes that are taking place, but why will they not take a public stand?  The problem that faces the church today are people who want change in the church and area, but are unwilling to stand up for their morals and beliefs.  It is a travesty the way that people will fuss behind closed doors, bicker and argue with each other over what is right and what is moral, but when it comes to standing up and speaking out for the Lord; they back down, get quiet and keep their feelings put away.

Why?

There is a fear that standing up will create hardships, but think about this…had Jesus not taken a stand at the Temple by turning over the tables, who knows what would have happened that day.  We have to turn over the tables if we want to get things done!  There are a number of folks who would rather sit back and talk about what needs to be done, but not take the steps to do it.  We, as a family of Christians, have to step up and speak out against the things that are affecting the youth and family life where we live.

Am I speaking about anything specifically?  Not really, only that we know what is morally right in the eyes of the Lord.  Anyone who calls themselves a Christian knows what is right and wrong scripturally speaking; we cannot sit back any longer and allow the devil to take a foothold.  So I’m asking each one of you who cares about keeping our religious freedoms to stand up and do the same…Stop talking about what needs to be done in the comforts of your church or home…stand up and speak out against the issues that are turning the hearts and minds of many vulnerable young people.

The name Christian means that we are Christ-like…but are we? Or are we just throwing the name around to sound better to those around us?

I encourage each one of you to strongly consider your actions…strongly consider your background…remember your chains.  I ask that we would all unify for the same cause…the Cause of Christ!  If you feel an issue needs to be addressed, don’t just talk about it, address it…pray about it…allow God to work through you!

God can change the world, but he can’t do it without help…not because he isn’t capable, but because He gave us free will; freedom to choose….freedom to speak out…freedom to be His Children in a broken and fallen world.

Christ turned the temple upside down for the sake of His Father’s name…are we willing to turn the world upside down for the sake of Christ?

Discretion

“Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” – Proverbs 2:11 (NIV)

The best example I can think of for discretion would be movies; thinking about how “Viewer Discretion is advised”.

Movie companies use this line to get themselves out of a lot of hot water by mentioning who they think should be watching.  Also, another example is when a TV show advises it’s viewers to watch at their own discretion.

In other words, use your judgment to decide whether or not this is appropriate for you.  You make the choice and see how it may impact you…you weigh to options and use your discretion.

When this is applied to the Christian life, we see what Solomon was saying in Proverbs.  You will protect yourself if you use discretion, you will keep your feelings in check if you weigh the options and decide the best possible outcome for you in what you’re facing.

He then takes it a step further, stating that understanding will guard you.  Not only does making the right decision protect you, but knowing why you’re making the decision guards you.  Knowing why you would decide not to partake in something because of the understanding that you could be hurt in some way can play a part in your discretion.

As Christians we must always be aware of the things around us, we must always be ready to decide what the proper path to follow is.

I would encourage everyone who reads this to do this:

1) Memorize this verse – Proverbs 2:11…and apply it to your life in all your decisions.

2) Post the verse in random places that will help you keep your eye on the true prize that awaits those who are fully committed to Christ and His purpose.

3) ALWAYS use discretion.

You may not know what is right, you may be confused in some situations, but my encouragement to you is that you would stay focused, stay determined and seek to know what would help you in your life.  The scripture guides us and understanding the scripture will lead to us guarding our hearts and our minds and gaining the knowledge that will lead to the discretion we must take in our lives.

Use your training that I talked about last week, and train yourself and those around you up in the art of discretion.  It may be as simple as choosing to walk away from a certain conversation, choosing not to wear something that could be considered too revealing…it could even be choosing to confront a loved one about something that you have noticed is hampering their walk…or maybe just leaving an issue alone and knowing that God knows best.

Use Discretion in the decisions you make…protect yourself!

Awakening

“They advance against me; now they surround me. They are determined to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush. Rise up, Lord! Confront him; bring him down. With Your sword, save me from the wicked. With Your hand, Lord, save me from men, from men of the world whose portion is in this life: You fill their bellies with what You have in store; their sons are satisfied, and they leave their surplus to their children. But I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.” Psalm 17:11-15 (HCSB)

Something about this scripture stirred my heart…something stuck out…something drew me in

It started with me listening to the scripture as I was exercising. I listened to it a couple of times and then pulled out the bible and looked for myself. How had I not seen this before? How was it I had read the Psalms many times and I had not really grasped it? It was a moment that brought me to my knees…a moment that opened my eyes to everything we need.

I realized that all we need is wrapped up in these words of the Psalmist; it was only sweet irony that a lion has caught the attention of so many recently. There in the words of David I found hope for today and confidence in tomorrow. Here in the words of Psalm 17 I became aware that the struggles we are facing today are not new to God. I found here in the words of David that we are not alone in our battle, and I found that no matter what struggle we face we are always to be confident in our circumstances.

As I began to look over and study this scripture, what leapt like a lion off the page at me was how much it seemed that David was writing this today. “They advance against me; now they surround me. They are determined to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush. (vv. 11-12)” Look at what we are facing today! Christians are being surrounded on all sides and each one ready to pounce on a weak moment.   The enemy is determined to destroy us because they do not agree with our God…but they do not agree because they do not understand Him. We have become comfortable in our surroundings while the lions have encircled us awaiting the moment to strike.

This comfort has caused us to be vulnerable and we are now, like David, crying out from the ground for deliverance. We are now crying out to God to deliver us from the wicked deceit that is happening all around us, we are becoming broken, but we cannot give up or give in.

We can continue looking at what David says to find our answers today. Continuing in verse 14 where it says, “With Your hand, Lord, save me from men, from men of the world whose portion is in this life: (v. 14a).” There it is; what I had missed in prior readings…David crying to be saved from men, men whose portion was in this life. That is what we need to see, those who attack and strive to bring us down are only after what they can accomplish in this life…they have no hope in anything but what they can see or touch, they are only out to accumulate for today and have lost their hope for the future. That was it, they do not see the bigger picture.

Our hope, like David’s, is found in more than material possessions.

Look at verse 15, “But I will see Your face in righteousness;” We will see God’s face in righteousness. We have the hope of seeing Him, but even more beautiful are the last words of the Psalm, “when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.” When I awake? Is David looking beyond his death to the promise that lies ahead?

I think we can find the courage to face whatever comes our way in these words. When we awake, we find peace the presence of God. Awaken from your sleep! Find comfort and happiness in the presence of our God!