Sunday, January 25, 2015

Knock Knock; Please Let Me In


Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates,
    waiting for me outside my home! Proverbs 8:34 NLT

In life we enter and exit many things. We enter and exit doorways at restaurants, businesses and our homes. We also enter/exit business deals, relationships, and careers. Have you ever stopped to think about all the entrances/exits you make in life and who/what is at the entry way or at the exit? If you are like me I can guarantee you that you really have not. For example when you enter your favorite restaurant, whether or not there is a greeter there to greet you, you enter because you are there for a service. When you enter a business deal, do you stop to think about whether or not there are some guards that will protect you from harm (you know the little fine print that may/may not say, if this deal goes south your assets are protected at 100% or are not protected at all). Today I ask you; who are you letting in?

The leading scriptures mention three key words that we must examine as we look at this topic. The first key word is listen: which means to pay attention to sound, to hear something with thoughtful attention, to give consideration, to be alert to catch an expected sound.  The second key word is watching, this word has a root word of watch which is defined by Webster’s dictionary as; to keep someone or something under close observation; to keep under guard. The third and final word is wait which is defined as to stay stationary in readiness or expectation, to be ready and available, to look forward expectantly. Let me pause here for a moment and take a poll: How many of you are listening for and to God, watching, the movement and manifestation of God and His promises, as well as waiting for His directives? It is when we are not (waiting, listening, or watching) that we are caught off guard in life. When you are not watching, listening, and waiting on God you are subject to let your guard (the Holy Spirit) down and you will find yourself answering the door to anyone who says: Knock, Knock, please let me in! In the message version of Proverbs 8:34 it tells us to listen carefully and those who embrace these my ways are most blessed. (To be blessed, means to bring pleasure, contentment, or good fortune. There are many doors in our lives and there are many things be it people based or situational that are knocking at our doors saying…knock knock please let me in?  Let’s be real, many of us need a guard at the doors of our thoughts and emotions. The word door; is defined as “a means of access or participation”. Who/what is coming through your door.  We not only have physical doors in our lives but there are spiritual doors in our lives. Our spiritual doors are eyes, ears, mouth, and heart. Each of these doors give access to the essence of you. Who is knocking at your door? Who are you letting in?

 

What are you watching with your eyes? What are you listening to with your ears? What are you speaking with your mouth? What is driving your heart?  Are you listening, speaking, and driving those things that are rooted in the fruit of the spirit or the fruit of the flesh. God tells us in Galatians 5:16-23 (MSG)

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

      It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified. (Galatians 5:23-24)  It is time for us to closely examine who comes through our doors. Next time you hear a knock at the door, proceed to open only after you have listened, waited, and watched for God’s directive. 

Prayer

Lord I thank you for this day. I ask that you forgive me of my sins. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me Help me to listen to those things lurking around me. Teach me to test everything that is trying to enter my life. Help me to watch my actions/interactions with others. Help me to clearly see who/what should be granted access and give the ability to deny access to those harmful situations.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

©Tiffany R. Easley, January 25, 2015

 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


 

What Caused the Break?
But when you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure,  idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group—and there will be wrong doctrine, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  Galatians 5:19-25 TLB
 
Since we started dealing with brokenness, have you taken a moment to think about all that we have learned? Have you been looking at your own area(s) of brokenness as you start the healing process? We must understand that when we recognize there is a problem when need to take action and work toward solving the problem.  Too often we make decisions to hide behind the issue or we live in a state of denial never acknowledging that the problem exist. Today I think it is time that we take a look at what caused the break. Today's scripture shares with us the fruit of the spirit and the deeds of the flesh. I have realized that when we operate in the fruit of the spirit we are less likely to be the cause of someone's break or become broken.  Today I want to talk about a few attitudes/behaviors I believe are main causes brokenness. 

Jealousy/Envy! More often than not, we find individuals operating in jealous and envy. If we are true to ourselves we can admit that from time to time we too have battled with one or both of these. Jealousy is : an unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has. Envy is the feeling of wanting to have what someone else has. If we would focus on the word of God which teaches us to operate in love, with peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then we would not allow the feeling of jealousy and envy to come upon us. This stops us from becoming broken and from being the cause of others brokenness. 

Anger!  Has anyone ever made you angry?  Did you allow that anger to impact the way you treated that person? We must learn to deal with the issues instead of evading what is really going on.  I will be the first to admit when someone hurts me it is easy to just become angry and I am less likely to deal with them. I know that it is time for me to truly operate in love and forgive those that have made me angry. When someone causes you to become angry, stop reacting and respond. Begin to pray for them. Began to take a moment and really seek God on their behalf because they may be going through something that is causing them to behave the way they do.
Hatred! Hate is something that can truly impact your mental health. If you let anger have its way it will eventually become hate. Hate is defined as a very strong feeling of dislike.  We know that we are to love others, if we are hating then we are being disobedient to God's Word. When you hate others you spend a lot of time thinking of the hurt (brokenness) they may have caused you instead of loving them with the love of Christ in hopes to draw them to a relationship with Him. Your heart should have no room for hate.
Today it is time to take a moment and complete some introspection. Think about and journal your responses to the following. What caused the break in your life? How are you handling the cause of the break? Will you resolve to change negative behaviors so that you can be made whole again?
Prayer
Lord thank you for this day. Thank you for your Son Jesus who died for my sins. Lord forgive me of my sins. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Lord help me to identify what caused my breaks in life and help me to deal with them and heal from them. In Jesus Name, Amen.

©Tiffany R. Easley, Daily Devotional, March 12, 2014