More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

Mark 12:33-34
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

While we no longer literally offer burnt offerings and sacrifices we still do it in type. Many times I might rather love my neighbor, whoever that might be, from a distance rather than up close and personal. Just allow me donate some money for their cause, or pray for them, anything, but don’t make me become personally involved in their lives. Most of us like our own space and some of us like to be around friends and family, but even that has its limitations. How much time do I have for my neighbor, those people that I encounter in my daily life, business or work? Many times we might think to ourselves, “You know, I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to get involved with someone else’s.” If we love ourselves enough to care about our problems, our needs, our wants, desires and goals in life, then aren’t we mandated to care about the similar needs of others as well?
Most of us would agree that in a world where every time you turn around someone wants to sell you something or ask you to contribute something we begin to become rather cold and callused. We build these walls to try and keep these people out. It is true, we can’t be everything to everybody and we do only have so many resources, still, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves? All of the things that I do for me, am I willing to do them for someone else? Personally, I am not a real people person and the majority of the time I am quite content and comfortable to be by myself, doing my own thing, but can I really love my neighbor as myself from that position. Loving others is always stretching us. It causes us to move out of our comfort zone. It causes us to come out of the place of just making the token efforts of the burnt offerings and sacrifices and requires me to get involved. Jesus was involved with those around him and not just with the upper crust, the easy to get along with, the likeable or the ones that could benefit Him. He was relating to humanity at all levels, classes, sexes and races. He would relate with children and adults alike, to the whole and the broken, rich and the poor and to the sinner and the righteous. Jesus was not a respecter of persons and He was sensitive to the heart cry of people. There are a lot of people out there that just want to take advantage and use others. This tends to make us wary and cynical, but the Lord wants us to tune into the heart cry of others. Listen, by the Spirit to the real need in people. It often isn’t what we see being portrayed on the outside or in their actions. We need a spirit of sensitivity, not to be duped by everyone that comes along, but to see into the heart need of others.
As the ambassadors and representatives of Christ in this earth we are the channels of God’s blessing, healing, restoration and reconciliation. If we don’t take the time and make the time for the needs of others, then who will. If I want someone to love me, be sensitive to my needs and to just care then that is the love I need to be extending to others in whatever capacity I have to give it. It isn’t the religious gestures that I make and the token giving that the Lord is looking for. He is looking for my heart to be one with His heart in me. He desires me to love Him through the way I love others, through a heart that is really caring and concerned for the needs of others. So often we are like the Scribe, the Pharisee, “the Christian”, who walks to the other side of the road when we see our neighbor in need. We don’t want the inconvenience and the investment of our time and resources to get involved. If my neighbor is important to the Lord, then they have to become my priority also. We have to remember that our mission in the earth is not about us, it is about Him through the way that we serve others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are all part of the same pie.
“Lord, give us sensitive hearts and eyes to see into the real needs of others and to make ourselves available and willing to minister to those needs in what ever way we can. Give us your heart to really love others as we would love ourselves, not from a distance, but up close and personal. Help us to truly be the extension of your compassion, love and grace. May the world truly know us by our love and not just by our name and religion. Allow us to be willing to pay the price of the personal sacrifice required in the giving of ourselves and that which cost us personally to love You with all of our hearts; to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter who they may be.”

Blessings,
#kent

Doors

January 23, 2015

Revelations 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Doors

As I close my eyes I could envision rows and rows of doors in different colors and appearances. As I read the Word concerning doors it became apparent that doors are a place of entrance and exit, not just physically, but spiritually as well. Doors represent the decision making “yes” and “no’s” of our thinking and being. Through our door things come in and go out of our life. When Christ knocked on the door of our heart and understanding, he revealed Himself to us there. Our soul stood at that door and we made a decision to allow Him to come in or we shut Him out. We make that same kind of decision concerning many things that knock at our door, but none so crucial as that decision we made for or against Christ.
Behind every door is a different story, because behind every door is a different life. Each life is made up of many doors that we use to compartmentalize our lives. Jesus isn’t welcomed into every life, but to those lives that He is invited into we bring Him into our living room, the main room of our home. If the Lord is now truly a resident and not just a guest then He will knock on the various other doors within our house as well. Many of us tend to allow Jesus into only certain parts of our house, while we conveniently exclude Him from the others. We compartmentalize our home into categories and it is often this type of thinking that allows us to sin in one area while we tend to be very spiritual in another. This apparent paradox is often do to these closed doors where we don’t allow the Lord to come in.
In order for us to have the most intimate and full relationship with Christ we can have, we must open all of the doors to Him. This is often a process we go through as we mature in faith, because He keeps walking through the house of our life and knocking on all of these individual doors. He knocks on the door of our study for us to invite Him into our business and the financial part of our lives. He knocks at the kitchen for us to invite Him into what we take into our bodies in what eat and drink. He knocks at our bedroom to be invited into the intimate part of our lives and relationships. He even knocks at the door of our closets where we often store our hidden things. He is asking us to open every door to Him that He may come and live in every part of our house. This includes all of the dynamics and dimensions of our lives. At every door there is a decision to be made to open or close that door. Just because we opened the door one time doesn’t mean that we can’t or won’t change our minds and close it to the Lord at another. Every day Christ is knocking at doors and it is not just the door of salvation, it is doors that lead to every dimension of our hearts and lives. What we must realize is that as we open our doors to Jesus we are, in turn, walking through spiritual doors that lead us into greater dimensions of relationship with Him. As we allow Him into the most intimate places of our heart and life, He, in turn, allows us into the intimate places of relationship with Him.
Be careful what doors you and I may be shutting, because we want to hold on to that former life. We must resolve that there will be no locked doors to Him concerning our life. As we unlock our doors to Him we will find Him to be an open door to us. Is your life an open door to Him?

Blessings,
#kent

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