Archive for March, 2021



The Narrow Path

JESUS SPEAKING

     “Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mathew 7: 13-14.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     In the ancient world, cities were places of safety and refuge.  Most were surrounded by large walls designed to protect the inhabitants from hostile enemies.  The size of the walls depended on the prosperity of the city.  Babylon for example, one of the wealthiest cities in the ancient world, was rumored to have had walls that were 80 ft. thick and 320 feet high (15 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.)  Every ancient city had one main gate (a large opening in the wall through which the majority of the merchants, travelers, and citizens could freely pass.)  There were also several smaller gates that served a number of different purposes. There were gates for livestock; gates for horses; gates for importing fish, and gates used to export garbage and waste. Many of these little gates were not directly connected to the major highways; making them more difficult to reach.  The majority of individuals entered through the main gate; because it was quick, easy, and convenient.  In much the same way, the road to eternal separation from God is quick, easy, and convenient; but the path to eternal life is difficult and the gate is much smaller; it requires genuine discipline, sacrifice, and selflessness.

     Repentance and forgiveness of sins are both integral parts of the gospel message.  Before ascending into heaven, Jesus said to his disciples, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  One day many years ago a friend took me to a church service; that evening, for the first time in my life, I heard the full gospel message.  I received Jesus, knowing that God expected something from me as well; I was required to repent and obey.  I would need to turn away from fornication, idolatry, pornography, drunkenness, lewdness, and deceit, etc.  As I sat in that church auditorium, I knew in my Spirit that I had to change.  [Note: At one point during Christ’s earthly ministry, He chose to spend the evening in the home of a notorious sinner named Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus was a corrupt tax-collector.  During the night, Jesus presented him with the whole gospel; and Zacchaeus received it gladly.  He immediately repented of his evil deeds and offered half of his wealth to the poor; he also promised to repay everyone from whom he had stolen.]

     Zacchaeus had heard the complete gospel message and was transformed by it.  He chose to follow the narrow path.  After receiving salvation he immediately obeyed the teachings of Christ.  Unlike Zacchaeus, many today refuse to repent.  Millions of people claim to be Christians but continue on in blatant sin; they are seeking to enter through the wide gate; because it’s easy and requires very little sacrifice; and yet it leads to eternal separation from God.  Fewer people choose the narrow path; because it’s difficult, requires repentance, and demands transformation.  Which path are we taking?  Are we willing to embrace the complete gospel and become followers of Jesus Christ?  If we choose to take that step, we will be blessed beyond belief; and we will know perfect joy.  

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we receive Your gift and we take hold of Your sacrifice; may we turn away from the ways of this world and embrace the commandments of Your only begotten Son.  Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and give us the courage and strength to travel down the narrow path; the path of righteousness; the path of repentance and transformation; the path that leads to Your Eternal Kingdom. Have mercy on us, that we may enter Your dwelling place with joy and thanksgiving.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!

Giving God the Glory

JESUS SPEAKING

  ‘Now around the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this man know letters, having never studied?” Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not my own, but His who sent me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority. He that speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” (John 7: 14-18.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

  The educated men who had heard Jesus speak were astonished at His perfect knowledge of scripture. Unlike them, He had never attended a notable Hebrew school; nor had He sat at the feet of some prominent rabbi. Instead, His knowledge and wisdom had come from God. The Jewish Scholars demanded praise and admiration for their many years of extensive learning; whereas Jesus sought only to honor and glorify God. Chasing after our own glory is a vain and empty endeavor; but seeking to glorify God and His only Son is to live correctly.
  One man who thoroughly understood this principle of righteous humility was John the Baptist. When Jesus began baptizing people in the Jordan river, John’s followers became concerned, saying “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him.” John replied, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven […] He must increase, and I must decrease.” John’s heart was devoid of selfish pride; permitting him to humble himself and glorify the only Son of God.
    Today, although Jesus Christ reigns in heaven, His deeds continue upon this Earth. He performs His miracles through His disciples. Some however, who selfishly desire glory, will take credit for God’s works. And yet a trustworthy servant renders to God the praise and honor He deserves. To glorify God we must humble ourselves. He must increase and we must decrease. As followers, we must often forgo admiration so that God may receive what is rightfully His? We must speak the words of Jesus Christ; give in the name of Christ; and love in the name of our wonderful Lord and Savior. We must die so that He can live. Only in death can we experience immeasurable joy and everlasting peace.
  “Lord Heavenly Father, may You increase as we decrease. May we let go of our selfish desire to be praised; that You would receive the credit for the good works that You are accomplishing in us, and through us. May we continue to be vessels of Your love and messengers of Your mercy. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit Lord; that we might always be pleasing to You. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.” God bless all of you!


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