Enter through the narrow gate

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“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:13-14 AMP

We are commanded by the Lord to enter through the narrow gate.  Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life.  There is only one way to the Father and it is through Him.  What is interesting is that in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve could eat from every tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  But today on earth there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ.

Broad is the way that leads to destruction and many will find it.  We live in a culture and day where people claim to believe all types of things.  Our culture will claim there are many ways to God or that God doesn’t exist at all and a person is simply their own god.  But the truth of God’s word has not changed.  Jesus is the only way to the Father.  What is very said about this verse is that Jesus says many will find the broad road that leads to destruction.  One of the reasons I believe this is is because to follow Jesus a person must be willing to make Him both Lord and Savior and where many struggle is making Him Lord.

But small and narrow is the road that leads to eternal life.  It is not an easy road.  A decision to follow Jesus Christ is a decision to die to ourselves on a daily basis.  Our sinful nature and our flesh desire to be comfortable.  They desire to chase after the lust and desires of this world.  But for us to live for Christ each day we must abide in Him.  It is only through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit that we are able to do this.  It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us for all things.

No matter what the world and our culture claim there is only one way to God and that is through Christ alone.  For a person to be saved they must confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus is truly Lord.  It is through Him alone that forgiveness can be found because of His precious blood that was shed at Calvary.

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The Sovereign Lord is my strength

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The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

Habakkuk 3:19 NIV

The sovereign Lord is my strength.  The Lord is the strength of our lives.  He is the one who holds all things together by His mighty power.  He holds our very breath and moment in His hands.  So many times we allow our hearts to get focused on circumstances that are nothing compared to the God that we serve.  The Lord desires that we would cry out to Him and ask Him to move according to His will.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.  It is the Lord who enables us to do the impossible.  In a world filled with darkness, wickedness, and deception, it can seem that things are in chaos and out of control.  It can seem that it is impossible for the advancement of God’s kingdom.  But these are simple deceptions of the enemy.  The Lord desires that we would come to know His word and His heart.  That our prayers would be shaped by His character and His love.  Because we know with Him that nothing is impossible.

 

 

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him

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17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.  Psalm 103:17-18

The Lord’s love is everlasting and eternal.  His love and mercy is lavish upon those who love Him and walk in obedience to His word.  Our relationship with God is one that is based upon a covenant that was established through the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ.  To be able to be brought under this covenant requires a person to place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

The door of salvation is open to all people.  When a person is confronted with the truth of Jesus Christ it requires them to make a decision.  For those who receive and accept Jesus their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life because their sins have been forgiven.  But for those who reject Jesus and reject Him throughout their life time, they will spend an eternity separated from God because they have no answer to their sin.

God’s love is far greater than we will ever understand.  He simply desires to pour His love out upon us.  We have been created in His image and He has created us with plan and purpose.  He has created us with destiny.  As we come to know Him and walk closely with Him, we come to discover who we are and why we are here.  May we draw near and abide daily in Him.

Rejoice always, pray continually

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

We are called to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. This happens as we mature in Christ and come to understand that the Lord is in control of all things.

Circumstances can often discourage us, especially if things are not working out the way that we expect. This is simply how faith grows. As we experience tough challenging times the Lord is continually calling us to trust and seek Him. As we seek Him through every circumstance He will strengthen us and He will continue to grow and refine us.

God has a perfect will for our life and His ways are high and above our ways. It is not based upon our understanding but simply trusting the Lord each step of the way. The Lord will always provide and always lead. He has simply called us to follow and trust Him. He is our Good Shepherd. The safest place we can be is in the will of God. There is nothing more exciting upon the earth than abandoning ourselves to the plans and purposes of the Lord.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you,which can save you.  James 1:19-21

We are called to be slow to speak and quick to listen.  Many times we get ourselves into trouble when we simply speak without truly listening to someone.  Often when someone is speaking to us we are focusing simply on our point and not what the person is saying.  If we simply will listen to one another many of the issues that cause division and dysfunction would not exist.  This is why the Lord gave us two ears and one mouth.  When we take time to listen we will operate from a place of wisdom.

This includes listening to the leading of the Lord.  Often times we make decisions and make statements without truly listening to the Lord.  The culture of our day causes many to fail to develop an intimate relationship with the Lord.  But when we take time each day to get alone with the Lord we will develop discernment for the Lord’s leading and guidance.

We are commanded in scripture to rid our lives of all moral filth.  The culture and world we live in worships and glorifies the things of wickedness.  Our culture glorifies sex and violence.  But as believers in Jesus Christ we are called to be set apart.  We are called to be a living sacrifice unto the Lord.  The Lord desires to move us from glory to glory but this requires us to walk in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  For when we walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit we will remove all moral filth from our lives.

 

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”[c] Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him,so that God may be all in all.  1 Corinthians 15:20-28

It is through Jesus Christ that we indeed have victory (1 Corinthians 15:57).  This is the beauty of the cross.  What Satan thought would destroy the Son of God actually brought freedom and deliverance to all those who would put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  It is because of what Jesus has done that we are indeed free (John 8:36).

Death entered the human race because of the sin of Adam and Eve.  It is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that has overcome death and redeemed that which was lost by Adam.  God was not surprised by the fall of Adam and Eve.  The plan of salvation was put in place before the foundations of the world (1 Peter 1:19-21).  Because of Jesus Christ we are able to have our relationship restored with God the Father.

There is coming a day when Jesus shall return .  When Jesus returns He will return with the host of Heaven behind Him (Revelation 19:11-18).  He will establish His kingdom and bring all His enemies under His rule and authority (Revelation 20:1-6).  He shall return to rule the earth with a rod of iron.  We who have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ will rule and reign with Him in His kingdom.

Once all enemies have been placed under the feet of Jesus Christ, He will turn all things over to His Father in Heaven.  For even Jesus the Son of God is subject to His Father in Heaven.  Our great hope is in what Jesus has done at Calvary.  Because of His death and resurrection we no longer fear death.  Death has been overcome and there is coming a day when death itself will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15).  Until that time may we live for Christ each day growing in our relationship with Him.  May we keep our eyes fixed upon the Lord in all circumstances.  He will always lead us to victory in all things.  He is continually producing within us His character and His nature (Gal 5:22-23)

 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9-10 NIV

Salvation is a result of declaring with one’s mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in one’s heart.  Salvation is a gift from God and is to be received.  It is not based upon works and it is not earned.  But works are a result of true faith in Jesus Christ.  Because if we have come to truly place our faith and trust in Jesus the Holy Spirit has come to live within us.  It is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out.

As the Holy Spirit continually transforms our lives it impacts the way we live our lives.  We begin to see the world around us as God sees it and we see the brokenness of humanity.  We are surrounded daily by those who are broken and lost and as we have opportunity we must be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Through faith in Christ we are justified before God.  Our sin debt was paid by Jesus as the cross and He took our sin upon Himself.  The wrath and punishment that we deserved was poured out upon Jesus.  Today we are free because what Christ has done at Calvary.

For the message of the cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV

Those who are lost and perishing simply see the message of the cross as foolishness.  We live in a day and age where few believe in God and His existence.  Many have made themselves their own god.  During the apostle Paul’s day many worshiped idols.  But in our time the focus of people’s worship is simply themselves.

The technology of our day has made life easy and comfortable.  Many see no purpose in believing in God because they see no need for Him in their lives.  Because if they believe in God they are accountable for the lives they live and few today desire to be accountable for the choices and decisions they make on a daily basis.

But for those who believe in Jesus Christ the message of the cross is the power of God.  It is the message of the cross that sets us free because our sins have been nailed to the cross.  Our righteousness is found in Christ alone.  When our faith has been placed in Jesus Christ, His righteousness if applied to our lives.  May our eyes and hearts be fixed upon Jesus and prepare our hearts daily for His soon return.

For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands

16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.  Deuteronomy 30:16

There is a connection between obedience and blessing.  If we truly desire the blessing of the Lord upon our lives then we must walk in obedience.  Before we come to Christ we are enslaved to the world and its desires.  We seek to fulfill the lust of the flesh.  But when we come to Christ we are called to repentance.  Repentance requires that we turn our back on the world and its desires and we pursue the Lord with our whole heart.

The Lord gave this command to the nation of Israel.  Throughout its history, Israel time and again walked in disobedience towards the Lord.  They incured the discipline of the Lord.  The Lord sent prophet after prophet, but the word of the Lord was ignored time and again until the Israelites were removed from the promise land.

We today who are in Christ are called to obedience.  But we are called to walk according to the Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us in all truth.  As we seek the Lord daily it is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out.  In following Jesus Christ we are called to make the Lord our priority of our lives.  He leads us one step at a time.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8 NIV

We are told time and time again in God’s word to love one another.  Jesus exemplified this in the way He lived His life and the way He laid down His life for us.  He didn’t have to go to the cross, but He chose to because of His love for us.  We are created in His image and the offer of salvation goes out to all people.  Those who receive what Jesus has done and placed their faith and trust in Him will spend all eternity in God’s kingdom.

The apostle Paul had to defend the gospel throughout his ministry.  Many tried to distort the grace of God; either treating it as a license to sin or falsely teaching that the gentiles had to keep the law.  The grace of God does not divorce us from walking in obedience to the Lord.  For before we come to Christ we are slaves of this world and the desires of the sinful nature.  But when we come to Christ we have been bought at a precious price and become slaves of the Lord and His righteousness.  Our lives no longer belong to us.  They belong to the Lord.

In loving others we fulfill the law.  When you examine the law it is God’s righteous standard and it is impossible for anyone except Jesus to keep the whole law.  But through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to walk in love.  For when we come to Christ it is the Holy Spirit who comes to live in our hearts and transforms us from the inside out.  May everything we do on this earth be done in God’s love and done to glorify His name.  For we are called to love God with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves.