Daily Lent Devotional #2 (March 10, 2011)

During this Lent Season, I will be including a Daily Devotional here to help anyone who desires to grow in their Christian faith.  My prayer is that this will be a tool to help you encounter and love Jesus more during this Easter Season!

Today, I want to look at a few passages that speak about two “places”. 

Jesus talks about a place that is being set aside in Heaven for those who believe in Him.  Jesus also speaks about another place.  This place is under our control and requires our permission to enter.  We often refer to this place as our “heart”.  It seems that God not only wants us to be saved from our sins and to be united perfectly with Him in Heaven, but that a deeper union is possible here on Earth, as well.  The first passage comes from the Gospel of John, at the time of “The Last Supper”:

John 14:1-3, 23-24

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

Jesus speaks about both “places” in this chapter.  One of Jesus’ roles in returning to Heaven is to “prepare a place” for us, one that has been in pre-planning stages before the world was made.  He will return one day to bring his family home, and what a joyous promises that is to remember on our days where we feel “homesick” for that place we have yet to see.

The second passage refers to how God becomes real and present to those who believe in Him as they stay connected to Him through obedience to His commands.  Sin creates static and distortion in our relationship with God.  When we live with repeated and unaddressed sin in our lives, that produces a relational problem.  Despite our eternal forgiveness for our sins, this disobedience has earthly consequences in our walk with Christ.  Another passage from Revelation addresses this further:

Revelation 3:14-20

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

   These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

   19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

In Jesus’ “Revelation Letters” at the beginning of this book,  the Apostle John records directly from Him commands and promises that were intended for specific churches during that time in history.  These commands still hold much wisdom for our churches today, as it relates to what pleases and upsets the risen Christ.  To the Pastor and church in Laodicea, Jesus writes a stern warning.  They are Christians in name-only.  Their lifestyle does not match that description.  These folks would likely meet regularly for church service and appear dedicated to God, but we find that they have other ‘gods’ that they are relying on:  wealth, being the prime one.  Remember:  Jesus is writing to Christians!  Jesus is trying to awaken them to the reality of their passion-less and faith so that they can repent and turn back to Christ with a full heart, ready to do His Will.

Then we get to verse 20.  A very popular verse for evangelism, in terms of Jesus knocking on the door of our heart and life, asking us to let His saving power in.  I agree that this is a very likely comparison of what Jesus does in the salvation process, but that is not what this Scripture is referring to.  Jesus is asking Christians to let Him in to their life.  What a ridiculous request, right?  “Of course, Jesus, you can come into my life!”  But is He really “allowed” into the daily workings of your life?  Is there a daily practice of prayer and Bible study in your days to confirm this?  Are their evidences in changed attitudes and behaviors that show that he is at the helm of the ship of our life?  Has Jesus been allowed to stay and “eat with you” as you enjoy your daily bread that comes from Him?

Will we give him “space” in our life out of love, as He is working on the “place” that is being prepared for us in Heaven?  May God help us all to do so as a matter of discipline and obedience during this Lent Season and always.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on March 10, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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