Please part 1 of this devotional story, which was read to us at our church's Women's Retreat last weekend, before you read this part. You can find it here.
Before long, He asked, "Do you have a workroom in your home?" Out in the garage of the home of my heart I had a workbench and some equipment, but I was not doing much with it. Once in a while I would play around with a few little gadgets, but I wasn't producing anything substantial. I led Him out there. He looked over the workbench and said, "Well, this is quite well furnished. What are you producing with your life for the Kingdom of God?" He looked at one or two little toys that I had thrown together on a bench and held one up to me. "Is this the sort of thing you are doing for others in your Christian life?" "Well," I said, "Lord, I know it isn't much, and I really want to do more, but after all, I don't seem to have strength or skill to do more." “Would you like to do better?" He asked. "Certainly," I replied. "All right. Let me have your hands. Now relax in me and let my Spirit work through you. I know that you are unskilled, clumsy and awkward, but the Holy Spirit is the Master Workman, and if He controls your hands and you heart, He will work through you." Stepping around behind me and putting His strong hands under mine, He held the tools in His skilled fingers and began to work through me. The more I relaxed and trusted Him, the more He was able to do with my life.
THE REC ROOM
He asked me if I had a rec room where I went for fun and fellowship. I was hoping He would not ask about that. There were certain associations and activities that I wanted to keep for myself. One evening when I was on my way out with some buddies, He stopped me with a glance and asked, "Are you going out?" I replied, "Yes." "Good," He said, “I would like to go with you." "Oh," I answered rather awkwardly." "I don't think, Lord Jesus, that you would really enjoy where we are going. Let's go out together tomorrow night. Tomorrow night we will go to a Bible class at church, but tonight I have another appointment." "I am sorry," He said. "I thought that when I came into your home, we were going to do everything together, to be close companions. I just want you to know that I am willing to go with you." "Well," I mumbled, slipping out the door, "we will go someplace together tomorrow night." That evening I spent some miserable hours. I felt rotten. What kind of friend was I to Jesus, deliberately leaving Him out of my life, doing things and going places that I knew very well He would not enjoy? When I returned that evening, there was a light in His room, and I went up to talk it over with Him. I said "Lord, I have learned my lesson. I know now that I can't have a good time without You. From now on, we will do everything together." Then we went down into the rec room of the house. He transformed it. He brought new friends, new excitement, and new joys. Laughter and music have been ringing through the house ever since.
THE HALL CLOSET
One day I found Him waiting for me at the door. An arresting look was in His eye. As I entered, He said to me, "There is a peculiar odor on the house. Something must be dead around here. It's upstairs. I think it is in the hall closet." As soon as He said this, I knew what He was talking about. There was a small closet up there on the hall landing, just a few feet square. In that closet, behind lock and key, I had one or two little personal things that I did not want anyone to know about. Certainly, I did not want Christ to see them. I knew they were dead and rotting things left over from the old life. I wanted them so for myself that I was afraid to admit they were there. Reluctantly, I went up with Him, and as we mounted the stairs the odor became stronger and stronger. He pointed to the door. I was angry. That's the only way I can put it. I had given Him access to the library, the dining room, the living room, the workroom, and now He was asking me about a little two-by-four closet. I had to give in. "I'll give you the key," I said sadly, but You will have to open the closet and clean it out. I haven't got the strength to do it." "Just give me the key," He said. "Authorize me to take care of that closet and I will." With trembling fingers I passed the key to Him. He took it, walked over to the door, opened it, entered, took out all the putrefying stuff that was rotting in there, and threw it away. Then He cleaned the closet and painted it. It was all done in a moment's time. Oh, what victory and release to have that dead thing out of my life!
TRANSFERRING THE TITLE
A thought came to me. "Lord, is there any chance that You would take over the management of the whole house and operate it for me as You did that closet? Would You take the responsibility to keep my life what it ought to be?" His face lit up as He replied, "I'd love to! That is what I want to do. Let me do it through you and for you. That is the way. But, "He added slowly, "I am just a guest. I have no authority to proceed, since the property is not mine." Dropping to my knees, I said, "Lord, You have been a guest and I have been the host. From now on I am going to be the servant. You are going to be the owner and Master." Running as fast as I could to the strongbox, I took out the title deed to the house describing its assets and liabilities, location and situation. I eagerly signed the house over to Him alone for time and eternity. "Here," I said. "Here it is, all that I am and all that I have, forever. Now You run the house. I'll remain with You as a servant and friend."
Things are different since Jesus Christ has settled down and has made His home in my heart.
There it is. I've read it a few times now, and it is something I could blog about till my fingers fall off, but I'm still learning and growing, and building upon my faith and understanding of Jesus, and what he wants from us. I'm curious about what you all think about this story? Has it effected you as it did me? Did it make you think about your relationship, if you are a believer, with Christ? If I'm going to ask for you thoughts, it's only fair I give mine. So here goes:
The Study: The first thing I think of when I reflect on that part, is the TV shows and movies that I watch. I'm sure Jesus would be unhappy with some of the content. And I'm ashamed to say that I don't see that area changing either, as I like my Grey's Anatomy, Chelsea Handler, Kill Bill, 300, recently Law Abiding Citizen.
The Dining Room: the line: [ " If you want food that really satisfies you, do the will of the Father. Stop seeking you own pleasures, desires, and satisfaction. Seek to please Him. That food will satisfy you." ] says it all for me here. When it comes to volunteering for my church and community, I fail miserably. I tell myself that I don't have the time to do that stuff, but if I'm really being honest here, I could make the time. If I'm really being honest I would say something like, "I've got better things to do" Ouch... that hurts to even type out! I feel like if I stopped wasting some of my time with stuff that doesn't matter, doesn't help people, and doesn't make a real difference in the world - I would have time to do more volunteer work, and though I might miss some of the time-killers that I've grown acustomed to, I would be completely satisfied.
The Living Room: This part speaks to me the most by far! I welcomed Jesus into my heart YEARS ago, read my bible (occasionally), go to church (not often enough), absorb our Pastor's sermons, study my faith and grow in it, but when I really face the facts... I have neglected Christ. There are certainly days where I don't pick up my bible (lots of days there), don't share God's word with my children, and completely forget to speak to my Lord. I, like I said before, am so busy that I forget all about taking the time to pray. Praying doesn't have to be a sit down - hands in your lap - head bowed - meditation, it can just be a 5 second, "Dear Lord, Thank you for my amazing family! Please help me do your work today." But in all the chaos of life, those 5 seconds can be forgotten about. I am working on this section particularly!
The Work Room: I fail here too. I have tools that I could use to serve God, and to serve my community more, but I don't use them as much as I should. I love children, and enjoy teaching them, and want to help lead little ones to Jesus, but I do not teach Sunday school at church. I tell myself that when Connor is a little older and I can trust he'll go to the nursery and not cry the whole time, that I'll teach... we'll see next year if it happens. I also love to sing, but do not sing in a church choir. This makes me sad since I haven't sung in a choir since college, and I miss the rush of being a part of a performing choir. Why I do not make the time to join one of the choral groups at my church I just do not know.
Overall: I make plenty of excuses for myself, and I'm sick of it. I've neglected my relationship with Jesus, and I want to make a commitment to Him to meet with him in the Living Room of my heart everyday, even if just for a few minutes. I want to pray about and reflect on how I feel I can best put my skills and time to use... and follow through. And I want to remember each time I have a problem I can't seem to handle on my own, to give it to Him and ask him help me solve it, to give me the clarity to tackle the hurdles in my life. I also need to make a more consious effort to teach my daughters, and soon my son, the word of God and His will as I understand it to be.
So, in the end, I am a sinner, and what a perfect time of year for me to remember that I am forgiven because I ask to be, because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of my sins, and that is so good.