Putting God's Word into Practice…

Revelation 3:14-22 ~ Lukewarm…blah!

There are several things that when experienced as lukewarm are worthless. A lukewarm “I love you” or hug leaves me feeling uncertain about the giver’s love. A lukewarm shower leaves me feeling unclean. Lukewarm coffee is not nearly as comforting as a steaming hot one.  And lukewarm eggs or oatmeal will usually find themselves in the trash and myself feeling undernourished.  People can be “lukewarm” in their faith, too.  And Jesus said, lukewarm people leave him with a sick stomach!  “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (vomit) you out of my mouth.”

Lukewarm things and people don’t generally know that they are lukewarm.  Usually when we judge our lives we feel just right.  Unfortunately, we aren’t the judge of our lives!  Jesus is!  In verse 14 He describes His writing as, “The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning (source/originator) of God’s creation.”  Amen literally means “so it is.”  Amen is a word that signifies absolute truth, it is constant and unchanging–the final word!  Jesus has the final word when describing our lives, and only His opinion matters.  When I think of a faithful and true witness, I picture a courtroom and the one on the witness stand swearing on the Bible to give “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”  What Jesus says about our lives is sworn truth–even if it is different from our perspective!  And because He is the source and originator of all creation, Jesus has supreme authority over our lives and permission to judge them.

When the Laodicean Believers measured their own lives, they were blind to their self-sufficiency, their spiritual poverty and blindness.  They were keeping Christ outside of their lives and trying to go it alone.  This isn’t just a judgment against the Laodiceans–I find this to be true in my own life on a regular basis. What we provide for ourselves doesn’t make us prosperous, only what God provides can do that because He knows the true definition of prosperity.  When we think we are covering our sins, we are really exposed.  Only Jesus’ righteousness covers our sin and shame.  When we feel like we are insightful and humanly wise; we are really blind.  Only Jesus can open our eyes and cause us to see clearly.  We have nothing apart from Jesus– we are just lukewarm oatmeal!

In the following verses we see that Jesus is loving, faithful and patient with us.  “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so BE ZEALOUS and REPENT.”  GET HOT!!!  As I’ve been typing, my coffee has become lukewarm =(  I could let it sit on the table all day and get film on the top until I decide to empty it and wash it out, or I could add hot coffee to it and stir it up so it’s drinkable or zap it in the microwave.  (I chose option 2.)  It is the same with our spiritual lives.  In February I experienced a real soul revival, but by April I’m back to feeling stagnant.  Guess what–Jesus doesn’t want me to stay stagnant!!  He wants me to get hot and repent!  He loves me too much to let me sit around and get film on my life.

Repentance is the first step!  But we also have to let Jesus back into our lives–in every area.  Verse 20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”  Jesus, the one who holds the keys, is standing outside knocking???  Jesus doesn’t force Himself into our lives or willingly leave us to ourselves.  When we push Jesus out of our lives, He patiently knocks and knocks and calls to us until we open the door and ask Him back into our lives.  He wants to be close to us, He wants to experience life with us.  He offers to eat with us–to be part of a daily necessity.  He doesn’t offer us renovation and domination–He offers us fellowship.

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Sleeping on My Feet

Back in the day before seat belts and car seats, I was a little girl riding in a truck with my dad standing up in the middle of his torn bench seat!  (Don’t judge him–he is an amazing dad!)  I had a supernatural ability to fall asleep standing up on trips.  Was this safe? Nope!  Was I steadfast and unswayed? Nope! Did I miss a lot of road-trip action and sights? Yep! 

This memory reminds me of my prayer life!  Over the past few days I have been sensing that my passion for the Lord has been diminished, I have felt lukewarm in my love for the Lord, and I have not had victory over sinful attitudes and thoughts in recent weeks–maybe months.  I have been easily distracted and lacking zeal.

This morning my husband had to get up early and surprisingly I was able to get out of bed about an hour earlier than I normally like.  I entered the spare room, took my OneCry (www.onecry.com) daily prayer guide and looked up the verse Exodus 33:13, Moses said to the Lord, “Please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight.”  I continued reading…in verse 18 Moses boldly asked the Lord, “Please show me your glory.”  And God did it!  The Lord asked Moses to prepare His heart–to be ready–and to present himself to the Lord–standing and waiting to see the glory of the Lord.  

After a brief time of prayer, I asked the Lord to show me what was wrong in my heart and started my Bible study lesson from Priscilla Shirer called, Can We Talk? (Week 6, Day 4).  The first verse said, “STAY AWAKE AND PRAY so that you will not enter into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Then it went to Ephesians 6–the armor of God–which ends with the verse, “With EVERY PRAYER and request, PRAY at all times in the Spirit, and STAY ALERT in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”

I had my answer to my waning passion and lukewarm love.  If I really want to know the Lord, I have to be prayerful.  If I really want victory in my life, I have to be alert and prayerful.  If I want strength from the Lord to stand, I have to be awake!  There is no such thing as sleeping standing up!   I don’t want to miss any more action and any opportunities to see God’s glory.  I don’t want to waiver or sway.

Sleep has become an idol in my life.  It has kept me from alert, watchful prayer and instead has rationalized the idea that “preeping” (praying, sleeping, praying, sleeping, praying, sleeping for about 45 minutes every morning) is substantial enough to start my day!  It is no wonder I have not been experiencing the strength of the Lord, the ability to stand under temptation, and closeness with the Lord. 

If you read this, please pray for me that I will be able to incline my heart to the Lord, devalue sleep, and highly value prayer.  Thank you!