Posts tagged ‘walk with God’

He’s Knocking

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”   Revelation 3:20

Every Christmas Eve my grandparents came to our house for dinner and then we would open the gifts they brought with them. Those are the only gifts we opened on Christmas Eve, but this only heightened my anticipation for the evening. I would sit in our living room waiting to hear for their knock at the front door. There was something warm and cozy about those nights. The meal, the conversations, the gifts, the love all came together to make me feel that life is safe and filled with joy. 

Every time I read Revelation 3:20, I am comforted by the visual of Him knocking on MY door, wanting to share a meal with me so He can talk with me and share with me. The really cool thing is that He always brings a gift for me – one that I need at that moment. Sometimes it is a word of encouragement. Other times it is a reminder that I am His child with citizenship in His Kingdom. And then there are the times He points out what I am doing wrong and how I can correct it. But no matter what, He always has the gift of salvation for me.

My problem is that there are too many times I am so busy with life or wrapped up in my own thoughts and troubles that I do not hear His knock. I worry about my schedule or my health or what others are thinking of me or my next project that needs to be completed. I get so consumed with the busyness of life that too many times I am not listening for the knock of Jesus. And I ask myself why I anticipated the presence, conversation and gifts from my grandparents once a year more than I anticipate the presence, conversation, and gifts from Jesus every day. I eagerly awaited the knock from my grandparents. I always heard it and answered the door. 

Why do we so often not hear the knock from Jesus? What does it look like for us to wait for Jesus? What does it look like to listen for His knock on our heart’s door? As I think of my experiences on Christmas Eve each year, I realize I need to focus on the door! I need to listen for the knock.

I find myself listening for His knock when I truly want to eat with Him. And so I find that He knocks as I read the Word and pray. That it seems an obvious time to hear His knock. But I have found that He also knocks throughout the rest of my day if I am listening. He knocks as I see a homeless person on the street, during a conversation with a critic, at a board meeting when tensions are high, and during a crucial conversation with a friend. When I answer the door, Jesus always has just the gift I need for that situation. And then I wonder why I don’t listen for His knock ALL the time!

How do you look and listen for Jesus in your life? What can you do each day to optimize your awareness of Jesus at your door? What does sharing a supper with Jesus look like for you? 

 

The Benefits of Being a Private Disciple

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away.  John 19:38

Joseph of Arimathea had been a secret disciple. What an intriguing thought. When I think of a disciple of Jesus, I think of someone who boldly follows Him and tells everyone she meets that Jesus is her master and her Lord. And yet we find that Joseph of Arimathea was afraid to let anyone know that he believed Jesus was God. He was afraid of the Jewish leaders, which means that he wanted to keep his status intact in his community. But that changed when Jesus died on the cross. Once he saw Jesus on that cross, he became a public disciple at the very time the previously public disciples became afraid of the Jewish leaders and then became secret disciples. 

As I ponder this story, I realize there are times when most, if not all, of us are secret disciples. There can be lots of reasons we become secret disciples. Sometimes it’s because we question His presence, reject His plan, and doubt His power in our lives. Other times it may simply be because we need to get away and be alone with God. Whatever the reason, the cross demands a response that may need to be processed privately or require a choice that can only be expressed publicly.  

No matter what our reason is today, the fact remains that Joseph of Arimathea was a private disciple because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders! That doesn’t seem like a very good reason, and yet he was still identified as a disciple. I find courage in the fact that he was identified as a disciple even when he didn’t want anyone to know it. As much as we need one another, there are times we need to get away and be alone with God. I have spent the last few weeks away from the responsibilities of work. I have spent hours alone with God seeking His will for my life as a pastor. As a private disciple, I have rediscovered the connection between physical and spiritual healing. As a private disciple, I have found the wisdom, balance, and strength to be a public disciple. 

I am thankful God gives us the freedom to be a private disciple, and the power to be a public one. When are you a private disciple? What do you learn about your walk with God during these times?

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