And I (Jesus) will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
I love vintage doors. They have character. They are solid. The door knobs of marble, crystal, and brass are beautiful. The keys are even artistic though they are often called skeleton keys. Behind these doors are treasures: the walls reverberate with sounds of days gone by–laughter, tears, love, arguments, rough-housing children, creaking rockers, the tick-tock of grandfather clocks; the smells of life–bread baking in the oven, illness, flowers cut from the garden, diapers, cedar at Christmas, supper every night, museums of artisans crafts used in building, in the bricks laid for the fireplace, carvings of the crown moulding, arches of doorways, hand painted portraits, tapestries hanging, bits of newspaper stuck in the walls to cut down on the chill of winter, strips of cloth and string from quilting bees, iron skillets and irons, and milk glass vases and silver spoons. A slower, more thoughtful, purposeful life? Not necessarily, but certainly its tools more lasting.
The Bible has a lot to say about keys! In the past few months, the Lord has directed my attention to His keys. Simple implements used to unlock or secure something of value. In Revelation 1:18 Jesus says He holds the keys to death and Hades and in Matthew He tells us He has the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Keys equal control. Right? And HE is saying He will give ME the keys? What? He is going to hand me the keys of heaven? Control? I cannot even make a decision about where to go eat on Friday night! Why on earth would He entrust me with HIS keys? How am I supposed to affect decisions in Heaven when I cannot figure out my own life? Does this freak you out just a bit like it does me? I may have to go back through ALL the “fear nots” to tackle this subject! I feel an anxiety attack coming on………Hmmmm, not from above so I need to proceed. Someone wants me NOT to know this information!
Are you as intrigued as I am? Is this where the “power” of heaven is accessed? Is understanding the keys in my possession, as a child of the Most High God, and all they represent how I live the abundant life? So, would you like to dig in with me and see what is required in order to put these keys to use? Keys are worthless if you are clueless what they “go to.” I personally like “master keys:” One key for all the locks! Let’s see if there is one. But if not, I want to know what these keys He says I have are for and which door they unlock and when I am suppose to use them to secure what needs to be bolted down.
Webster’s Dictionary defines a key as: 1 a : a usually metal instrument by which the bolt of a lock is turned b : any of various devices having the form or function of such a key. 2 a : a means of gaining or preventing entrance, possession, or control b : an instrumental or deciding factor.
The Hebrew word for key is maphteach an “opening instrument.” The Greek word for key is kleis. This word “denotes power and authority of various kinds; the ability and opportunity to obtain knowledge.” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) The Hebrew is the masculine form of key and the Greek is the feminine form. This fascinates me. Did you know in the mechanical world they have joints that are male and female and when speaking of how things “fit together” they will say “I need a male/female part.” So let’s think about this. The key is the male part and the locking mechanism is the female part. So an instrument is required to open the power and authority and knowledge. What is the key??? What is this instrument we need to start unlocking all this we read is available to us? Is the key symbolic or an actual key or both? Whew! This is a lot of questions to find the answers too. Looks like Sir Webster combined the Hebrew and Greek definitions into one.
The only way I know to tackle this is like I did all those “fear nots” and “timeouts.” Search the Scriptures and let the Word explain itself. It always does. So, let’s take this slow and deliberately. I do not want to miss any of this. I have an enemy I sure would like to lock up so I can live a bit more victoriously! What key do you need to get out of prison? Isn’t it time we turn the tables and live as Christ said we could? “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12)
It is time for the Bride to wake up, break out of the prisons of fear and doubt, and move as Jesus did among people doing good and making a difference in their lives. I want to find the treasures behind the doors and learn to use them…..
O Church Arise by Keith and Kristyn Getty
Well of Grief by David Whyte
Grief. I know this word, this place, this pit well.
An attempt to hang on to what one holds dear.
A hole so deep there is little if any light.
A time out you do not know if you will survive or if you even want to. A time death looks like a friend.
Some say if you are a Christian you should never experience this time out because you know God is in control and knows best. This is HOGWASH!
From an early age I have wrestled this out with our heavenly Father. I have come to the conclusion the Lord did not “hardwire” me for all this because it was NEVER suppose to be this way. The way it was suppose to be is the way it was in the Garden when we walked with God in the beauty of the creation and life was designed to live eternally in peace and fellowship. Man’s free will destroyed all this and we have struggled ever since. Listen to the Psalmist as he cries out:
1 O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
2 See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish. (Psalm 83:1-3)
Do you see how the Psalmist recognized who the real enemy is? Do you see we are not alone in our struggle to deal with this world and its pain and suffering?
Every time we are plunged into the pit of loss we are forced to make one of two choices: wallow in the mud of the pit or look up and reach for the HAND of the ONE who alone can pull me up out of the depths of despair. The crawl out can be hard and long and I have often wallowed before I looked up . But in the words of Ann Voskamp in her new book The Broken Way, “Maybe the love gets in easier where the heart’s broke open?” and “Maybe the deepest wounds birth deepest wisdom.” (#TheBrokenWay)
I recently had new revelation come from Ephesians 6:12, ‘ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ Our struggle in this life is not with people! It is who the struggle comes at us through but it is not with them!!! I must look past the situation and see into the “high places” at exactly who our struggle is with–THE ENEMY!!! (See Freda’s post on Oct 6, 2016, we really did not copy each other!)
THE ENEMY is a thief. Is a murderer. Is a liar. Is a roaring lion. Is a deceiver. Is an adversary. “He uses God’s holy objects (vessels, containers of the Holy Spirit) for unholy purposes.” (Beth Moore, The Daniel Study) He uses Christians to harm Christians on the stage of a watching world. This is why we look like the only army that shoots its own wounded! #@BethmooreLPM
This quote in The Broken Way, slapped me cross-eyed: “….a woman who’s been more interested in self-preservation than anyone else’s situation,,,,,,” because the eyes of my understanding of a grievous situation in my life suddenly made sense in light of Ephesians 6:12! We have all been in this place if we are honest! We are all just trying to survive what life has thrown at us and we get tunnel vision. #thebrokenway
I have found the Psalms give voice to our “unspoken broken” as we pour out our lament before the Lord. In Bilman and Miligore’s Rachel’s Cry, they write, “ Lament is that unsettling biblical tradition of prayer that includes expressions of complaint, anger, grief, despair, and protest to God.” This differs from complaining (an abomination) because complaints are faithless grumbling and “declares that God is not sufficiently good, faithful, loving, wise, powerful, or competent.” (from Jon Bloom, How to Complain without Grumbling).
At the moment, I am sitting on the edge of the grief well. It has taken a long time to reach this point of rest. The next phone call may plunge me back into the pit. The Word reminds us “in this world you will have trouble!” We as believers are not immune from the attacks of the enemy. But the Word also makes it clear in Colossians 1:13, “For He (God the Father) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” and in I John 3:8b, The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. Can I come to take the dare and believe as Ann Voskamp, “ to let all my brokenness—be made into abundance. Break and give away. The broken way?” To discover that, “Somehow I wonder if it’s in shattered places, with broken people, we are most near the broken heart of Christ.”
From past experience with this kind of timeout, the answer is a resounding YES!
Psalm 142:3-5 puts it this way:
When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
Grief (John 16:33) can come at us from many directions: illness, anger, jealousy, injury, death, gossip, slander, libel, divorce, differences of opinion that divide us, and the list is endless. May we remember our struggle is not with God’s creation (man) but with an enemy that has been defeated. May we allow the Father to take our time out and birth something beautiful and new and full and glorious. (John 12:24). Something “abundant!” #thebrokenway
Be Still My Soul by Kari Jobe
Surprised by Joy
It was such a quiet moment
No one even noticed
Yet I was immersed in such joy
An understanding of a deep peace
The world did not stop
Conversations around me continued
but I knew that in that moment
I had been surprised by my Heavenly Father!
To tell you the details would not impress you.
I knew God was looking out for me.
It was the calm assurance that God was watching over his child.
Sometimes we take for granted the blessings that come our way.
A special sunrise that burst forth from behind the morning sky with rays that stream from heaven to earth. It was a reminder that one day we will see Jesus burst forth from the eastern sky with a shout and the voice of a trumpet.
What brings that quiet, calm joy to your heart?
Maybe it is music that calms you and brings joy to your spirit.
Beethoven’s Ninth symphony is one familiar to us all. Such a gift from someone who by the end of his life could not hear but wrote music with such complexities that evokes deep emotions. For some just listening to great classical music will calm anxieties and lower blood pressure.
Maybe it is a newborn that sleeps quietly in your arms.
Maybe it is a word of encouragement that has come unexpectedly.
“Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long. And in Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength.” Psalms 89:15 NKJV
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
Father I thank you for quiet moments when you surprise us with unexpected blessings. In your word, you tell us to “consider the lilies how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.” I ask, Father, you to help us to trust you to take care of things in our lives. Then, remind us to be thankful and praise you for all things, great or small.
O Lord Jesus, help us watch expectantly for your surprises of joy that calm our fears and bring a peace and quiet rest.
Wash over us Father with joy unspeakable. All we are comes from your love.