WAITING

Rev.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 will dine with him, and he with Me.

Advent is the season where Christians are waiting for Christmas, we are waiting for the appearance of Christ. I know we are waiting for the second Advent, the return of Christ at the end of the age, but what if He is among us and coming to us on a daily basis? Jesus said as much when He said that when we fed the hungry we were feeding Him, or if we visited a prisoner we were visiting Him. If we have eyes to see, He comes to us every day in the hurting people that are part of all of our lives. He is there when our friends are in the hospital, He is there when someone we know is in jail, He is there when someone loses a family member in death. Jesus said when we show love to those who are hurting we are showing love to Him. Here is how Dietrich Bonhoeffer describes this coming of Christ.

“Jesus stands at the door knocking. In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human being among us. Do you want to close the door or open it? It may strike us as strange to see Christ in such a near face, but he said it, and those who withdraw from the serious reality of the Advent message cannot talk of the coming of Christ in their heart, either.”

All of us fail to see Him in these arenas getting caught up in all of the important activities that crowd our lives. Maybe this Christmas season we can ask the Lord to open our eyes that we can see Him when He comes to us in these ways as we also wait for His soon Second Coming. When He does open our eyes then we must open our hearts to pour out His love on these hurting precious people. Maybe this is what Advent is about after all.

WHAT DOORS ARE OPENING IN YOUR LIFE IN 2018?

Rev.3:8 – I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it…

What kinds of open doors are opening up before you in the next year? The Lord opens doors that no man can shut, we just have to be in a place to see them and be willing to go through them. I was recently looking up today’s verse in several commentaries. Here is a short thought from several of them. John Wesley spoke about a door of joy open to us as we serve the Lord.

“I have given before thee an opened door – To enter into the joy of thy Lord; and, meantime, to go on unhindered in every good work.”

The Lord is the source of all of our joy. The good news is that it multiplies when we are involved in His endeavors. Matthew Henry believed that liberty, freedom itself, comes from the Lord. He believed the Lord has opened doors of liberty for us. Here are Henry’s words.

“I have set it open, and kept it open, though there be many adversaries. Learn here, Christ is to be acknowledged as the author of all the liberty and opportunity his churches enjoy.”

I love that, there is not only freedom but plenty opportunities that come from proceeding through His open doors. John Trappe believed that these open doors would not only advance the kingdom, they would also prove to be beneficial to us. Here is what Trappe said about this verse.

“A fair opportunity of doing thyself good; which those that go about to deprive thee of shall be sure to lose their toil and tallow (blessing).”

Not only are we blessed, those that attack us end up losing their blessing. Finally, William Barclay said that open doors of ministry are all around us. We don’t have to go on a mission trip to find open doors of ministry, they are right here. Here are Barclay’s thought on this verse.

“There is a door of missionary opportunity before every man and he need not go overseas to find it. Within the home, within the circle in which we move, within the parish in which we reside, there are those to be won for Christ. To use that door of opportunity is at once our privilege and our responsibility.”

The truth is that there are many doors of ministry and blessing right in front of us. Embrace the Lord and He will gently lead you through them.

OPEN YOUR HEART

Rev.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.

I have been reflecting on the “open door” that the Lord has put in front of us over the last few days. Of course my mind turned to this verse and it’s powerful ramifications. Most times Christians hear this verse and think the Lord is speaking only to the lost. Is it possible that this word is a passionate and tender word to His people to draw near to Him for fellowship? Maybe this is even a specific word to you. Maybe, just maybe, the Lord is calling out to you. Has your heart become hardened or even closed to the Lord. Before you rush to an answer, I think this verse is for His whole church. In one sense, all of us need to open our hearts again to the Lord’s love for us. This is the beginning of every ‘open door’ in our lives. We open the door of our hearts and revelation and guidance begins to flow into our hearts. Suddenly, our actions are spurred by His love rather than some spiritual obligations. Here are some comments from the Fire Bible on today’s verse.

“This verse is often cited as an invitation for “unsaved” individuals who have yet to receive spiritual salvation and personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. However, while that is a valid invitation, we must also keep in mind that Christ originally gave this message to a church whose people had neglected their relationship with Christ and were out of touch with him. In its self-sufficient prosperity and worldliness, the church in Laodicea had excluded the Lord Jesus Christ from its congregations. Christ’s invitation, spoken from outside the door, is a request for renewed companionship with any individual who will turn from his or her own way and return to a devoted faith and renewed passion for Christ. Christ’s invitation is to sit down at the table with them and share spiritual nourishment. The Bible also speaks of a great “wedding supper” for Christ and his bride—the church. But only those who “eat” with Jesus now will eat with him then.”

The Lord is always faithful to call us back to Himself. Respond to His love, open the door of your heart and enter into an amazing place of fellowship with the Lord. This place of fellowship is where every other door will begin to open up to you.

I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU AN OPEN DOOR

Rev.3:8 – I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it…

I was praying on the last day of the year in 2017 and I kept hearing this verse of scripture in my heart, “I have set before you an open door”. One of the beautiful things about the Word of God is that it is alive and active. That means that it speaks specifically to us; it also means that it applies to many people and circumstances in our lives. In other words, the Word of God can have many applications in our lives. The first thing I thought of when I heard this verse was that the Lord is giving us fresh access into His heavenly places. I know we always have access into His presence by faith in His blood, but sometimes there are open doors for more of heaven itself in our lives. I believe we are moving into one of those seasons. Here is an interesting comment from Albert Barnes on today’s verse.

“He had given them the most unlimited privileges. The temple of salvation was thrown open to them; the celestial city was accessible; the whole world was before them as a field of usefulness, and anywhere, and everywhere, they might do good, and at all times they might have access to the kingdom of God.”

Open your heart wide as we begin this new year. Expect fresh outpourings and infusions of His glory. This verse also speaks to open doors of fruitful ministry. There are clearly distinct seasons of harvest from the Lord. I believe that is what the Lord is saying, He is giving an open door of fruitful ministry in this season. Here are some thoughts from john Gill on today’s verse.

“This “open door” may design an uncommon opportunity of preaching the Gospel; and a very great freedom of mind in the preachers of it, and great attention in the hearers, whose hearts will be opened to observe, receive, and embrace it; and a very large gathering in of souls to Christ, and his churches; much and frequent preaching of the word with great success, which it will not be in the power of any creature to stop or hinder: now will the abundance of the sea, the forces of the Gentiles flow in, and the nation of the Jews shall be born at once…”

I love those seasons of harvest. Engage in ministry, walk through the open doors of opportunity. This may be a time of unprecedented harvest in the kingdom of God.

YOU MAKE ME SICK

Rev. 3:15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.

Rev. 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

 

That’s one thing you never want the Lord to say about you, “You make me sick”. That verse always reminds me of a prophesy in the book of Amos: 5:23 “Take away from Me the noise of your songs,

For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.”

The Lord told the people of Israel through Amos that He was sick of their services. Whew! You thought you were the only one that got sick of church. Can you imagine? Even God was sick of the services. That’s when you really know you need a change. The Lord is not so much about how professional or talented the music is or how dynamic the preaching is. What is He after? He is after the heart. He just wants it to be real, not perfect. Here are some thoughts on today’s verse from Jonathan Edwards.

 

 

“The Scripture distinguishes mankind into three sorts: those that are cold, who are those that have no appearance or show of religion and are not to be looked upon as visible Christians; and those that are hot, those that are true Christians, that are fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, that have within them that holy ardor and engagedness of mind in religion that has been spoken of; and those that are lukewarm, that is, those that make a profession of religion and have some show of religion, but are not thorough in it, are cold, dull, and lifeless, are an indifferent sort of professor, have no great concern about the honor of God and interest of religion, who are not true Christians and never will be accepted of Christ as some of his if they continue….The lukewarm Christians are more hateful to Christ than the openly profane, than the very heathen that make no pretenses to religion. Christ declares expressly that he had rather men should be quite cold than only lukewarm…. As the stomach nauseates lukewarm water more than either cold or hot, so doth Christ abominate lukewarm Christians that are destitute of Christian zeal in religion.”

 

That really takes a lot of pressure off. All of us are not that talented but we can all be real. The Lord would rather endure the passionate off key singing of one of His children than the professional hirelings that have no passion. Rather than the Lord being sick of our songs He comes and sings and rejoices in the midst of His children.

EYE-SALVE OF THE SPIRIT

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-
“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” (Revelation 3:18)

Have you yourself ever been around anyone that just isn’t seeing the beauty of Christ? It would be like standing in the middle of the Grand Canyon and saying, where is it? Or listening to the roar of Niagara Falls and snuffing at it. The sad part is we all at some point missed or have not tapped into “the mystery of Christ, the hope of glory”. Offenses, pain, anger and our mama dropping us on our head when we were young caused us to lose our sight of the Risen one. The Laodicean Church in Revelation, thought they were rich and had need of nothing but Jesus said they were poor and naked. Jesus begin to give them counsel to anoint their eyes with eye-salve so that could see. I will never forget sitting in revival meeting after revival meeting crying/laughing under his presence and I overhead a famous preacher lean over and say- ” I don’t feel anything do you?” To be honest—-that was me for many years. I was so busy with “doing, confessing, laying hold, pressing in, casting down, and pushing”, I never saw his hand upon the door dripping with myrrh.
Listen to this quote by C Vaughan when he says, “A traveler with his imperfect vision is passing through a landscape, charming with forest and field, bright glancing steams are gliding through orchards and meadows, sweet with bloom and verdure, fair human homes are here and there dotting the landscape, and the cattle are browsing knee-deep in the lush grass, but the dim eyed traveler sees nothing and his heart receives no pleasure from all this wealth of beauty. He sees little immediately about him, and in this he is better off than one who comes behind him totally sightless and dog-led through an endless night. The gospel is intrinsically full of joy, it is glad tidings of great joy, it is a flowing and full fountain of peace and hope. It only fails to reveal this priceless energy because the eyes are too dim to see it. When the Eye Salve of the Holy Spirit touches these injured organs they begin to know the things of Christ and as the gracious influence strengthens the vision more and yet more, they begin to know all things.”
Does this describe you? Have you gotten so “glommed up” with the cares of this world that you have lost sight of Christ and His beauty? It isn’t too late my friend. He comes when we draw near to Him. The precious eye-salve of the Holy Spirit will once again make you see as the blind man did when Jesus put mud on his eyes. He will put that sparkle back and even in New Orleans you will see his beauty all around you!

GOT ANY SPIKENARD?

Merry Monday by Parris Bailey
GOT SOME SPIKENARD?

Song of Solomon, 1:12 “While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.”
In Rev.3:20 there is an interesting scripture that Jesus speaks to the Laodicean church. It says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock, and if any man hear my voice, and opens the door, I will come into him and sup with him.” He beckons us to sit at His table, for union and communion. I am thankful that the bride acknowledges that it is truly THE KING that is sitting at His table. He condescends to us, to sup with us. The table is mentioned throughout scripture. Jesus met in a special room the night before He was crucified, eating around the table giving instruction and if fact said, “this do in remembrance of Me”. We can remember Mary walking into the room with her alabaster box while Jesus was eating with Lazarus who had just been raised back to life, anointing His head with that costly perfume while the room with filled with that beautiful aroma. Song of Solomon is a depiction of Mary being filled with emotion, can stand it no longer, in her expression of adornment, she breaks open her alabaster box. Jesus even remarks, that this will be remembered of her. And last of all, the book of Revelations culminates at the great marriage supper of the Lamb where the Bride will have made herself ready. We have so much to be grateful for, He has changed our lives forever. The King sits at His table today, will you not join Him?
Tonight at church, Marysong girls all got up to sing a song they had written together while in worship. I guess you could say their spikenard was flowing. Smiling faces and joy flooded from them onto us. Yes, they gave forth a good smell. It is the smell of victory.
Spurgeon says, “He sits at this table to see his guests (Matt. xxii. 11), to see that nothing be wanting that is fit for them; he sups with them and they with him (Rev. iii. 20); he has fellowship with them and rejoices in them; he sits at his table to bid them welcome, and to carve for them, as Christ broke the five loaves and gave to his disciples, that they might distribute to the multitude. He sits there to receive petitions, He has promised to be present with his people in his ordinances always.”
And then we reciprocate by honoring Him and adoring Him. Our spikenard begins to send forth its smell. Can I get you to understand this smell? Why, its the smell of communion and fellowship. We can hear the blind man at the table saying, “I once was blind but now I see, the women at the well exclaiming, “come see a man who told me of all of my life”. What a marriage feast we will have! The conversations will be glorious as each of us recount of what Christ the King has done for us! Our hearts were broken by repentance, and filled with gratitude. We got healed from our past hurts and became inflamed by a holy love. Yes, you bet we send forth a smell of love, holiness and ardor back to Him.