But I will give him the key to the house of David— the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. ~ Isaiah 22:22 NLT
When Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose again, eternal doors which had been locked, suddenly became open to those who would love him and obey his word. Jesus responded to Peter’s revelation of Christ’s true identity as Messiah with this promise in Matthew 16:19, “And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Since we have access to these formidable keys, which doors do they open and which do they lock? The primary work of the “key” of the Cross is to open the door to eternal life with Jesus, and lock the door to death’s fear and power over us.
The work of the Cross also closes the door of sins power to control us. The glorious door of freedom from condemnation (Rom.8:1) is unlocked. Along with that comes access to God’s favor and grace. Jesus promises that, as we pray in his name, Father God answers our prayers.
The Cross opens the door of spiritual transformation. We were once stuck, imprisoned in hopelessness and despair. Now we enjoy having the mind of Christ and begin our journey of becoming all that Father God created us to be. His purposes and plans for our lives are suddenly released and we are flooded with the light of his truth and the hope of future glory with God. The roots of our hearts begin to grow roots deep into God’s love and we enjoy a deep sense of belonging and worth.
My favorite door that is opened in the Cross is access to God’s presence and the promise of joy in his presence forever! As I confidently enter God’s presence to receive his mercy and grace (Heb.4:16), I lock the door of anxiety and worry about the future behind me.
What door is God asking you to unlock by faith in your life? Which needs to be closed? Step into the authority you have been given in Christ. Believe the marvelous truth that, with the Holy Spirit’s help, you can open and shut doors in your life as you align with God’s promises and purposes. Thank God for the Cross of Christ and the powerful “key” it becomes to access the “full and satisfying life” Jesus promises us. (Jn.10:10)
Dear friend, be blessed as you ask God what doors need opening and locking in your spiritual life. You were designed to be a blessing to others and live a full, satisfying and fruitful life. Is there something that may be blocking that? Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your faith to believe that all of God’s plans are for you are good. He invites you into partnership with his Son Jesus (1 Cor.1:9) and he has already given you the keys you will need. Be blessed as you joyfully receive them. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ February 24, 2021
But you also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. ~ Matthew 24:44 NLT
Wednesday, February 17th, marks the first day of Lent. Many Christian traditions use this forty days before Easter to prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Jesus repeatedly warned his followers that they must be ready, prepared for his return. That preparation may be a lifelong maturing process, but it is well worth it.
I have found Lent is a good time to clean and update my spiritual house so I can receive more of Jesus now. As I do, I also ponder the sacrifice Jesus made for me and all that it means to me. The realization of what Jesus did fills my heart with thanksgiving and praise, and sadness, too, for all the ways I let him down.
How is your spiritual house? If you are willing, ask the Holy Spirit to show you. He will be delighted to help you. Here are a few suggestions if you choose to do some house cleaning.
Clean the windows. What has built up in your heart that may be filtering out the light of Christ’s presence and truth? Throw it out and refuse to let it back in.
Check out your closets, those places in your mind where you hide things from sight. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you dispose of any stored-up sin or shame. Release them to the Cross and receive forgiveness and cleansing. You will feel much lighter!
Check the corners for any cobwebs of doubt. Brush them away by recalling God’s faithfulness and goodness to you in the past. Make a list daily of five things for which you are thankful to keep those spiders of doubt and confusion from doing their work.
Be sure to clear away anything on the floors that might trip you up or cause you to fall. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any lies, false beliefs, and their consequences and any vows you may have made as a result of believing them. Renounce them and nail them to the Cross.
Clean your refrigerator of any outdated habits, and toxic food like unforgiveness or bitterness. Receive God’s forgiveness and his grace to keep them in the trash. Replace them with things pleasing to the Lord.
When you are ready, remember what Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “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.” Hear his voice? What an Easter celebration is awaiting you! Enjoy!
Dear friend, be blessed as you commit to make more room in your mind and heart for Jesus. As you hear Christ’s voice and invite him in, may you feel his pleasure and joy and be filled with his love. Be blessed as you know and believe that you were created for friendship with God. After all, you are the reason Jesus hung on the Cross. You are his masterpiece, made in his image, created before time began to live in his presence. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ February 20, 2021
But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you.
These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;
their vindication will come from me.
I, the Lord, have spoken! ~ Isaiah 54:17 NLT
Many of us are tortured with accusing thoughts. When we make one mistake, maybe believe we should have done better, or loved more, we slide into the old recording, “I am bad.” “I’m stupid!” “I will always fail.” “God couldn’t love me.” Sound familiar?
So, from time to time we have to stop and remember that we are in a spiritual war. It is also helpful to recall who our real enemy is, and how Satan is out to defeat us. Even though he knows Jesus has already won the war for us, he operates in such a way to cause us to forget the war, and to ignore that the battle is in our minds to control our thoughts.
The weapons the devil attacks with are familiar: fear, deception, distraction, disruption. But the silent killer of hope, faith and peace in believers is accusation. It beats us down, discourages us, destroys our power and the belief in our authority over the devil. In fact, one of Satan’s names is the Accuser. (Zech. 3:1) What we may tend to forget is that he is able to make those accusations in our own minds, disguising them as our own thoughts.
But God, knowing how toxic accusation is, has given us a promise, a powerful weapon, written nearly 3,000 years ago by the prophet Isaiah. God promised that “in that coming day”, the time after Jesus’ resurrection, we believers, empowered with the Holy Spirit, would silence every voice that accuses us.
So, let’s destroy them. First, by remembering who we are in Christ. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. (Matt.28:18) We are in Christ and he is in us. (Jn.14:20) We share in his spiritual authority on earth.
Then we remember where we are in Christ. Ephesians 2:6 tells us we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, far above all powers, rulers and spiritual authorities in this dark world. When we tell harassing, accusing demons to leave us, they must go, just as if Jesus were speaking to them. So why put up with the misery of accusation?
The lying devil wants us to believe that the accusing voice is God’s. Our Lord may rebuke us, but in a manner that draws us closer to him, never in a way that discourages us or causes us to feel defeated. Romans 8:1 tells us clearly that we who are in Christ are free forever from condemnation. That critical, negative, cursing voice is never God’s. He is a kind, gentle, compassionate Father.
We will all make mistakes and have a long way to go. But we have a loving Father cheering us on! We belong to a good and merciful God who desires for us to keep growing, to keep reaching out to him, and who loves to see us succeed. Let’s capture those accusing thoughts. Let’s fix our minds on Jesus and the good and beautiful things in our life and keep moving forward in confident hope.
Dear friends, praise God who centuries ago knew we would need the promise of Isaiah 54:17. Be blessed to cause fear to flee as you grow in your trust in God and his Word. Be strong and courageous as the Holy Spirit trains you in the weapons and strategies of spiritual warfare. Be blessed with joyful thanksgiving as you live without the voices of accusation. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ February 10, 2021