Security System

“And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  -Genesis 4:7b

“Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking.”  –Revelation 3:20a

 

We just bought a security system.

Signed the contract, had them install the box, the whole deal.   I’ve never been much of a security guy, but we’re living closer to the city now, and it just seemed the smart thing to do.

We kept it simple–just a tiny sensor at each of the four doors leading into our place.   When the system’s armed and a door is opened, the monitoring company is notified and the police are called.

The problem is, that alarm box doesn’t know who’s at the door.  So when I come home with my arms full of groceries, that alarm’s gonna beep at me the same as if some burglar had broken in.

You and I have a similar problem.   We can’t always tell who-or what to let through the doors of our hearts.   Even scripture points out the confusion.    In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, Jesus tells us to listen, because he’s the one knocking on our door.   In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God warns Cain that Sin is lurking just outside the door.

That’s interesting.   Christ wants in.  Cool.   But Sin wants in, too.   Not Cool.  We need a personal security system that helps us filter the bad from the good.

And we have it.   It’s called discernment.

When I walk into the door of my house, that alarm beeps for 30 seconds.  I have that amount of time to press the disarm button on my key fob, or to enter the code at the alarm box.   Either of those actions allow the alarm to discern that there’s no threat, and it will disarm.

Similarly, God has given us intelligence, intuition, and wisdom which help us discern what is Christ-worthy and what is sinful.   If we are alert, perceptive, and intentional, you and I can be open to all kinds of things–but able to shut the door on that which is not healthy or holy.

Our ability to discern good from evil is God-given and invaluable.  Without it, we might have to keep our doors closed all the time, for fear of being hurt.

It may take you 30 seconds, or 2 minutes, or several days to discern what to let in to your heart, but be thankful…

 

God is monitoring 24/7.

 

Have a great week,

 

Mitch

Prayer In-Law

Well, my in-laws are in town.

And you know what that means, right?

Well, no, you probably don’t.  I mean, there are a slew of stereotypes about dealing with “the in-laws”, but we always enjoy our time together.   They like to sight-see and we like to sight-see.  They like to clean our kitchen and fix our ice maker, and we like to let them.   Even their tiny schnauzer and our half-lab seem to get along, most of the time.

They love to eat at new restaurants, and we love to eat at new restaurants.  However, that’s where the problem creeps up.   You see… my in-laws are pray-ers.

And hand holders.

There we are, in some hip, happening place, and our food has finally arrived, and the waiter is hovering nearby, and my mother-in-law will reach out her hands, and we’ll all join together, and my father-in-law will say a prayer.   Not some expedient “God is great, God is good” prayer, but a real prayer about people, and having a good day together, and for the sake of the world.

Don’t they know people are watching?  We’re making a spectacle of ourselves!  I try my hardest to pay attention to the words of the prayer, all the while wondering what other people are thinking.  I confess I feel relief when we finally get to the “Amen”.

We had been doing so good to fit in. Up until that moment we were just like everybody else.  But with this public display of prayer, we’ve made it clear to anyone who asks:  We’re Christians, loud and proud.  I think it’s funny that of the four of us sitting there holding hands, the two that might be the most uncomfortable are the two pastors!

And what of the people there, watching?   What about the waiter, or the people at the next table?   Are they rolling their eyes at us?  Are they making judgements about us being that kind of Christian?   Well, maybe.

They may also be intrigued.   Maybe they go to church, too, or used to.   Hmm.  Isn’t it in the realm of possibility that our waiter will go home tonight and remember to invite his son to say his prayers before bed?  Isn’t it possible that the woman at the next table will find herself taking a deep breath tomorrow morning while stuck in traffic, reminded to open herself up to God?

Wow.  Just when I start to lose sight of the power of prayer, my wife’s crazy parents come back to town and remind me.    It seems like such a little thing, praying in public, but a simple act of devotion can send ripples across the whole world.   Or at least a whole restaurant.

Some say it takes faith to stand up in front of a congregation and preach a sermon.

To them I say, “That’s nothing…

Have you met my in-laws?”

Have a great week,

Mitch