Two Are Knocking, One Can Enter

This year, I felt lead to read through the Bible. It may take me longer than a year, but I started at Genesis 1 and am slowly working my way through the living pages.

A verse that has been stuck in my mind for weeks now is this: ...Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:7). I recently learned that the word crouching in this verse is much like that of a roaring lion. These words were spoken by the Lord to Cain, who was angry because the Lord accepted Abel's sacrifice and not his own. God graciously came to Cain and gave him a warning to repent and do what was right, but he ignored it. In the very next verse, Cain lead his brother Abel out into a field and killed him. Sin, because it was not mastered, had entered through the door. In this case, sin was: anger, jealousy, then murder.

In contrast, I can't help but think of another scripture reference to Someone knocking at the door. Revelation 3:20 says: Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Ahhh, the Master Jesus is knocking, the Prince of Peace, the Comforter, the Helper, the Encourager, the Overcomer. When He enters, a trustworthy and caring relationship enters with Him. This Master is the only Master that can master sin. No one can overcome sin alone.

So the way I see it, two are knocking, but only one can enter. When temptation comes (not if temptation comes, but when), will I let my enemy enter in "and dine with me"?  Or, will I let the Master who conquered sin come in? I have a choice every time there is a knock, every time there is a temptation in thought, word, or deed. Who will I allow to invade my mind and heart, the spirit of sin, or the Holy Spirit that helps me conquer it?

What about you, my friend? When temptation comes, who will you choose to cross the threshold of your heart? One brings havoc; he is the adversary that prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The other brings peace, and He eagerly waits to do His marvelous work. Let's both choose the right One.

"Please Lord Jesus, help me to choose You! When the spirit of fear, discouragement, pride, anger, or deception comes knocking, help me also to hear Your knock as well. Your knock is inviting me toward Your love, the other is only luring me further away. Please come in; invade me with Your holy presence. I need your Spirit to overcome the temptation of my flesh, and I need your Truth to conquer the way of the Deceiver. Yes, come in, dine with me today, Lord Jesus, my Savior, my Master." Amen.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and detest the other. Matthew 6:24

A Word for the Year

For years now, I have joined in with many others who have started the New Year with a selected word to claim for the next 12 months. For me personally, this word is not necessarily humanly picked; rather, through thoughtful prayer, I feel as if it is divinely planted. Eventually, at some point, the word just comes to me, and my heart knows, "this is it."

I encourage you to think and pray about a word for the year. Allow the Lord to speak to your heart. One friend of mine has chosen the word "good". Another friend has chosen the word "listen". I have yet another friend who has a pottery painting party for many, so that these differing choice words can be painted on cups, vases, or plates to claim, celebrate, and remember all year long.

In 2016, my word for the year was "bend" (bend to listen intently, bend to know Christ more).  I wasn't completely sure of what all the Lord was going to teach me with this word, but He already knew full well. It turns out in March of that year, I was asked to go through a 40 day prayer journey with a group of women. The author of the prayer guide suggested that I start and end the day on my knees. Because of the humbling benefits of "bending" in this way, I have kept the practice ever since.

In 2017, my word for the year was "pursue" (pursue Christ, pursue others for Christ with my giftings). Again, I experienced the unfolding of this word all year long in God's creative ways. One example is that in September of 2017, my husband Mac and I were asked to do a couples Bible Study with Bill and Terri Howard, who are the founders of none other that PURSUE Ministries. God indeed has a plan!

In 2018, for some reason, and at this point only God knows fully why, my word is "forward" (forward with His plans, forward march with His ministry). What will this year unfold pertaining to this word as I seek, trust, and obey Him? Today, I do not know, but I certainly look "forward" to what He has had planned from the beginning.

Seek His Word first, and let Him guide your heart. Ask Him to divinely plant a word in you; then wait and listen.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21

Prince of Peace

Last Sunday, my pastor Rob Sweet, enlightened me to a new thought concerning an ancient title. He pulled apart this familiar Christmas passage:

And a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah9:6

Concerning the title, Prince of Peace, Rob explained that another term for Prince is Administrator, and then, another word for Peace is Wholesness; thus, the Prince of Peace becomes the Administrator of Wholeness. I like this thought. It gives me a new perspective on what Jesus wants to do for you and me. Our well-being is His concern.

We must understand from the start that His peace is not like the world's peace which tends to numb feelings or cover hurts with temporary fixes. No, His peace does the opposite, really. The Prince of Peace seeks to expose wounds and uncover hurts for the purpose of administering wholeness in our souls. Truly, only Christ, through His Spirit can touch us with this kind of healing.

And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:17-18

Will you let the Prince of Peace have your heart this Christmas? Remember, even in the manger bed, the Messiah had the cross set before Him for the purpose of making you whole. There, He bore all your sorrow and all your sin. He reconciled all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of the cross (Col. 1:20). Let Him have you, all your wounds, all your hurts, all your pain. Unveil your deepest longings as well as your most hidden sins to your Savior. This is why He came. He is able to administer peace that is beyond anything that this world could offer. Will you allow Him to do this for you?

This Christmas season, each day, say to Him in faith, "Prince of Peace, please come."