Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Last Arrow* (Part 2)

Every life is created by God and endued with unique purpose.  But He leaves it to us to discover it.
An abundantlife is worth fighting for.  Without it, all we know is an existenceshaped by the circumstancesand dictatedby others.
The Last Arrow - 2 Kings 13:14-19
Elisha was testing the desireof Jehoash for God’s full blessing.
How many victoriesare lost before the battlehas even begun.*
How many times in life have we thought God failedus, but actually, the only thing that happened was that we quit.
We must shoot the arrow and recognize that there are things outsideour control, and we must strike the arrow and take responsibilityfor what is in our control. *
The Arrows of Life - Psalms 37:5
It is easy to become satisfiedbefore we realize our potentialin life.
Tragically, too many people spend their lives working to filltheir quiversand measure their success by how many arrowsthey still have in the end.
God wants to deliverus and we just want to survive!
We can become so afraid of failurethat we never riskand so afraid of painthat we never discover how strongwe really are.*
Avoiding deathis not the same as pursuing life.*
Not quitting does not mean to keep doing the samething the sameway while continuing to fail. That would be called insanity.
Passionand Urgency
Passionis about what fuels us; urgencyis about how much it matters right now.*
The most importantthings in life rarely come with urgency.
Tomorrowis not our friend today.  
The Last Arrow isn’t about what you cando or coulddo; it’s about what you mustdo.*





*Adapted From: The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life-
Erwin Raphael
McManus

Friday, September 28, 2018

Christ and the Scriptures (Part 2)

For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:18-19 NASB
Our Lord’s view of the scriptures was more than a way to know the Father, it was a guide and direction for life.  His high view of scripture is captured in His opening teaching on the mount. Jesus Christ discovered life and purpose from the scriptures.  His life was a depiction of the Word, He lived the Word.  If the Word was not what it said it was, then He would not be who said He was. 
Christ's Opinion of the Scripture (v18)
While men debate how much of the Word of God is inspired and to what degree it is inspired, Jesus DECLARES it is inspired down to the “smallest stroke or letter".  He did not see the scriptures as coming from the mind of man but the hand of God.  II Timothy 3:16-17 says,All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Jesus saw the scriptures as carrying the context and course of all of history for humankind that would be revealed “until all is accomplished” as written.  This means that there is much power or authority in scripture.  The scriptures will be the standard upon which all of mankind will be judged. There is no higher authority.  For a person to ignore the direction and claims of the Word of God, he must declare that there is a higher authority that allows him to live apart from the scriptures.  Jesus clearly displays that the Word of God is the final court in all matters of men and eternity.
Christ so identified with Scripture that He is one and the same.  John wrote that Jesus not only fulfills the Word of God but literally is the Word of God revealed.  John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  He is the final revelation of the Word which is by Him, for Him, and about Him.  In a clear and powerful way, the writer of Hebrews displays that Jesus is the continuation and manifestation of the Word of God.  For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.  (Hebrews 2:1-4)  Scripture and Christ cannot be separated. 
The preciousness of the Word of god cannot be measured this side of heaven for the life, ministry, comfort and salvation of man.  It is ours to read, believe, apply and teach to all men.  It is our authority and the revelation without which we would not know God or Christ.  
Scripture to Claim:
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.  Psalms 119:14-16 NASB

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Christ and the Scriptures (Part 1)

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses thatof the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17&20
The high and holy view of scripture in the life of Christ was not merely proclaimed, but displayed throughout His life, ministry and death.  The best way of discovering the real meaning and purpose of the Word of God is to see how it was used and responded to by Christ.  While there is always the danger of Bibliolatry, or the worship of scripture to the same level as God or Christ, we must be willing to accept the standard and authority of scripture at the level that our Lord demands.
Scripture has a purpose in the Christian’s life that must be realized and received for a life know the full blessing of God.  Those who would create a faith apart from Christ must do so by the creation of their own authority.  Many an individual has an opinion about God and Christ based on their personal authority and not scripture or history.
Jesus made it clear that He was not separating Himself from the Revelation of God in Scriptures.Do not thinkis the strongest possible prohibition. It was unthinkable to suppose that he had come to set aside his own religious heritage. His teaching was due, not to heresy, but to a "deeper and fuller understanding of the Law."'
When He said, thatIcame,Heexpressed His connection to the eternal purpose of God revealed in history through the Word.  Jesus' sense of mission showed that God had sent him into the world for a purpose. 
Jesus did not intendTo destroyor to set aside the Law or relax its authority andsay it was no longer necessary to obeyit.  He accepted the Law in principle and saw it as a valid expression of the character of God.  His teaching was not in reality an attack on the Law, but an attack on the traditional interpretation of the Law.  The elders had practically destroyed the Law by attempting to build a fence about it. Thus,Jesus had to warn his disciples against a misunderstanding of his teaching and practice at this point.
What did the Jesus teach about the Bible?  According to these verses Jesus taught that He did not come to supplant the Scriptures or to oppose them. He came to fulfill them and to fulfill them precisely. Jesus saw the scriptures as carrying the context and course of all of history for humankind.  The scriptures will be the standard upon which all of mankind will be judged. There is no higher authority.  
For a person to ignore the direction and claims of the Word of God, he must declare that there is a higher authority that allows him to live apart from the scriptures.  Jesus clearly displays that the Word of God is the final court in all matters of men and eternity.
What does this mean for us today?  If the Word of God was so powerful in the life of Christ, just what can it do for us today? 

Scripture to Claim:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  II Timothy 3:16-17

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Word

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.  Psalm 19:7-10

The Word of God is as eternal as the God who spoke it. Sometimes we rush through reading scriptures or let our mind drift if we are listening to someone else read a passage.  But there is great value in breaking down the word of God and looking closely at the true meaning the authors were trying to convey.  Yesterday we looked at verses 7-8 and today we will look at verses 9 and 10. 
The FEAR of the Lord is CLEAN, ENDURING FOREVER.  v. 11
FEAR - revered truth, not common or temporal.  We do not approach the Word of God as we do the wisdom of other men.  We have a different respect for it.  God's Word Is to be elevated above all other forms of wisdom and knowledge.
IS CLEAN - Holy, set apart, other than.
ENDURING FOREVER - It will not change or end in its effect for it is ultimate truth.
The truth of God is to be revered and set apart.  It will stand forever in its original form and purpose.
The JUDGMENTS of the Lord are TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS.
JUDGMENTS - How God views and responds to men. 
TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS - in accord with reality, He is right in His dealings. No man will ever be able to say that God was unfair In His dealing with him. God is judging us against the truth and light that He has revealed.  He is God and can do so in a proper manner.
The application of God's revelation and His judgment is in accord with what we deserve and just to the furthest degree in both punishment and reward. 

God’s word is the revelation of Him and His design for power and fullness to all men in life.  It Is not to be evaluated by men but is to be used to evaluate men.  The word of God is not to be understood, received, or studied as much as obeyed.  The real power of God’s word only comes when we apply it to our lives, and when we obey, not just acceptance of it.  It is to be desired more than gold.  It is worth more than the greatest riches we can fathom.  The word of God brings more richness to life than any other thing.  



Scripture to Claim:
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 
Psalm 19:11

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Word

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.  Psalm 19:7-10

The STATUTES of the Lord are RIGHT, REJOICING the heart.  v. 9
STATUTES - precepts, rules of moral conduct, guidelines for living.
ARE RIGHT - equal. Just in themselves regardless of who set them.  Many a man who has not discovered a relationship with God has found a meaningful life by living in accordance with the precepts of His Word.  The morality of the Bible brings fullness to men. 
REJOICING THE HEART - bringing Joy to life.  How many lives are filled with despair and fear because of direct transgression of God's direction for living.  Much joy belongs to the person who can receive and obey the desire of God for men.  
The COMMANDMENT of the Lord is PURE, ENLIGHTENING the eyes.  v. 10
COMMANDMENT - The directed truth of God for men.  These are the demands of God for men to follow which come directly from His nature.  These are the unquestionable demands of God for men.
IS PURE - bright, giving light, not mixed with selfish motive or gain.  The commandments of God are merely the basics for relationship with Him.  They do not vary because He is the same always.
ENLIGHTENING THE EYES – guidance, revealing, giving light to those who receive them.  Some refuse to accept the revelation of God and attempt to construct their own concept. The commandments of God display who He is and open the door for relationship to Him.
The guidelines and directions appointed by God are Just and equal (not just because God gave them!) and bring joy to those who follow them. The commands of God are not mere counsel, but issue from His person.  As such, they are free from selfish motive and have no variance. They will illumine the way for every disciple.
Our Heavenly Father is a just God.  He is fair and equal, and His word brings meaning and joy into our lives. He wants good things for us.  When we follow His direction, we find our hearts and lives full of joy.  His commandments for us are not to restrict us, but to bring freedom to our lives. 


Scripture to Claim:
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 
Psalm 19:11

Monday, September 24, 2018

Word


The Word of God is as eternal as the God who spoke it. There is a timelessness to the Word of God due to the fact that It speaks to the nature of man which never changes and the basic needs of man which are the same in any generation. Sermons preached by great prophets of old can be proclaimed in the pulpits of the 20th century with little if any adaptation.  
It is our joy and privilege to receive the blessing of God's Word In a variety of forms.  In the Bible there are passages of direction, wisdom, consolation. Judgment etc.  For every need of man there is a corresponding message from God.
All of us respond differently to the various forms of the message of God.  Some appeal to us more and others are clearer for us to understand.  The Psalmist gives thanks to God for the various forms of the Word of God in expression recognizing the distinct value and truth of each one.  We are going to look at these verses above, translating the words of the Psalmist into our language to help us to gain the same appreciation he had.  
The LAW of the Lord is PERFECT, REVIVING the soul. v 7a
LAW – In the Bible, the word law is the revealed truth about God and all His work.  It stands above all the scientific truth seen in nature.  This is the basis of our doctrine about God and His nature, desire and work for us.  
IS PERFECT – The law of the Lord is perfect – or complete, able to accomplish its task.  God’s revealed truth displays all that fallen and needy man needs to know to be changed. The Word of God has a purpose and it is able to accomplish it.  
REVIVING – The law of the Lord is reviving – or restoring, turning about a soul.  God’s purpose is to bring us to a new and meaningful relationship with Him.  The Word of God gives us the needed truth.  
The TESTIMONY of the Lord is SURE, MAKING WISE the simple.  v. 7b
TESTIMONY -  A testimony is a stated truth of God for men.  God spoke through the prophets, the angels, and His Son.  
Is SURE – the testimony of the Lord does not vacillate and cannot be shaken.  God never contradicts Himself.  His words are spoken from the unchangeable truth of eternity.  There is no reason for change.  
MAKING WISE THE SIMPLE – The Lord gives wisdom to all who hear it in faith.  
What these verses say to us is that the revealed truth of God is able to accomplish its proposed work of restoring a soul to God, and the testimony of God cannot be shaken and will give wisdom to all who need it.  His truth can restore anysoul to God.  Any broken down, steeped in sin, back-sliding soul still has hope because His word is perfect, and His testimony is unshakable.  His wisdom is free for all who want it.  

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Last Arrow

Adapted from: The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life
By: Erwin Raphael McManus
2 Kings 13:14-19
Life is a series of challenges, adventures, and yes, even battles. There will always be giants to subdue and dragons to slay. The question is whether we have the fortitude to continue to battle in order to know victory in our lives.  Every life is created by God and endued with unique purpose.  But He leaves it to us to discover it.

God has a plan for every life that can only be lost when we surrenderto the pressuresand circumstancesof life.
There is more couragein us than dangerahead of us. You are strongenough for the battles ahead.*
“In our zeal to make a livingwe have forgotten to make a life.”  Lewis Timberlake 
Things don’t have valueso much as we valuethem. 
The Danger of Mediocrity  Psalms 139:13-14
We will find ourselves defined by the averageif we do not choose to defy the odds.*
What we do in this one life has infiniteimplications, and beyond that, our stories are bigger than history.*  
Average protects us from the risk of failure, and it also separates us from futures of greatness.*
The Damage of Distractions  Proverbs 16:1-3;9
Many a vision of the accomplishment of great things has been burnedon the altar of the tyranny of the urgent.
Many people have been convicted about the changesthey need to make and yet they never followed through with aplanto achievethem.
You can become so concerned about failingthat you never succeedto the level you are capable of attaining.
Never underestimatehow much God intends for your life.


*From:The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life-
Erwin Raphael
McManus

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Sinking Ship

Submitted by Lara Cook
Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.  Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.  For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’  So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.  But we must run aground on some island.” Acts 27:21-26 

Faith and trusting in God is hard stuff, especially when you are in a storm and ship is going down.  In the passage above, Paul is a prisoner on a ship headed to Rome to be tried before Caesar.  It was smack dab in the middle of storm season and they were headed directly for a big one.   They were laid over in a harbor because of the weather and were faced with a decision – should they sail on or wait?  Paul advised them that they should not sail on, but stay because it was past the autumn equinox, so it would be stormy from then all the way through winter.  They didn’t care about Paul’s advice.  He was just a prisoner so on the advice of the owner of the boat, they set sail as soon as the winds died down.  They soon found themselves in the midst of days on end of storms battering their ship.  They began to throw out cargo, tackle and provisions.  They had very little hope of surviving, but Paul gave them good news – an angel of God had spoken to him and told him that no one would die.  The ship will be destroyed, but they would all survive.  In order to survive the storms, they would have to shipwreck their boat on an island.  They ended up shipwrecked on a reef, and all made it to shore alive and well.  
A Shipwrecked Life
A lot of shipwrecks can be avoided by making a different choice.  These guys did not want to wait, they wanted to do things their own way, even though they knew it was risky and dangerous.  It appeared for a while that they would not survive the storm they sailed into.  We do this to ourselves in our own lives.  We don’t have patience to wait on God, or we take advice from everyone BUT God.  Waiting when the storm is raging, and ship is sinking is the hardest thing of all.  It’s easy to run our lives into the rocky shore, bringing disaster on ourselves and others around us.  The sailors left the safety of the harbor, in spite of the warnings, intending to stay close to the shore.  But the storm pushed them out from the shore into the raging sea.  They tried to fix the problem on their own, by trying to get rid of some of the baggage and cargo but it didn’t work.  There was nothing else they could do, and they became hopeless.  
The grace of God spares the sailor’s and prisoner’s lives.  Even though they make the wrong decision, they only lose the ship.  Like the sailors, we push ourselves out from God in our sin, far away from safety.  We often try to fix our problems on our own, bargaining with God and trying to make a deal.  There are always consequences for the wrong decisions we make, but there is also the grace of God that saves us from total destruction, if we learn.  If we don’t learn, there is certain to be many more shipwrecks in our lives.  God’s hand protects us in our hard-headed decision making.  When we think we know better and choose our will over His, He lovingly waits for us to return to Him.  When we do, we are safe in His protection and love.

Scripture to Claim:
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.  Psalm 138:7

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Grace

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9  
The apostle Paul knew the secret of grace.  In the face of opposition, God gave him a revelation. Why is this verse so important?  Because Paul truly depended on God.  He recognized that whatever came against him, he didn’t have to fight it in his own strength.  He trusted in God’s ability and strength to continue in the work of the ministry.   
How are we to get to the other side of whatever we are facing?  The same way – by grace through faith (by God’s ability and our faith in that ability).  Just as we operate in faith, we need to operate in His grace.  How can we activate the grace of God in our lives?
1. Simply ask for it.  God will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly.  Hebrews 4:16, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  God’s ability is ever ready for us.  We need only ask.
2. Be humble.  Pride will always get in the way of God’s grace.  Think about the person who is lost, driving around for hours trying to find a certain location, when they know they could just stop at the gas station and ask for directions.  What keeps them from just stopping?  Usually pride!   The “I know how to do this” or “I can handle it” attitude never cuts it when it comes to grace.  If you could do it yourself, you would have done it by now.  God’s ability works best in a thoroughly yielded vessel.  But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."  James 4:6
3. Know the Word. When you know the Word, you’ll be fully persuaded of God’s ability.  In fact, the more intimate knowledge you have of God, His ability will be multiplied in your life.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.  II Corinthians 9:8 
4. Be patient.  Being delivered from a problem is not the only work of grace.  Actually, grace is better known for delivering us in the problem.  Grace is the power that sustains us until deliverance happens. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
5. Trust God.  Just holding on may not be evidence of faith.  We may fear letting go because where we are is more comfortable than where we might land if we let go.  Faith may call for us to let go and trust God.  If I have asked God for grace and wisdom, humbled myself to His plan and confirmed it in the Word, I need to be willing to go where He leads to stay in the channel of His will.  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
God wants us to be everything He created us to be.  He not only has a plan for our lives, He also has a power available to bring it to pass. Draw upon it in each and every situation.  God’s best is ahead of you, as you take hold of His grace.
Scripture to Claim:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge,  1 Corinthians 1:3-5

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Choose Your Lane

I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  John 10:7

It is time to pick a lane.  We have looked at both the wide and narrow paths and it seems that just rolling through life on the wide path, living it up, is not the way to go.  It may seem like THE WAY to go for a while, but easy street will leave you behind, broken down and empty.  There is so much more to life than all the superficial fluff the world hands us.  A deep, meaningful relationship with Jesus that leads to eternal life can only be found on the narrow path.  Every decision we make along the way points in one direction or the other.  Where do you want to end up?  How do you want to be known?  What would you want your obituary to say about your life?  Now is the time to decide, not later when you have done all the “things” you want to do, because no one is promised later.  This is a no brainer - don’t over think it.  One path leads to destruction, one leads to life.  Which way will you go? 
"Not to decide" is to "decide not to follow" Jesus
The choice of a gate is the choice of a way and the choice of an end. The choices we make in life all have a beginning and an end.  If you can think through all the way to where a choice might take you before you act on it, you can save yourself some trouble.  It is well worth a pause when making choices to see which path it leads you down – the narrow path or the wide path?  

Commitment is following the next revealed step of God for your life. Is it time to be baptized? Is it time to start witnessing?  Is it time to enter into service? Taking the narrow way certainly doesn’t guarantee a life with certainty.  It is all about faith.  Much of our walk in faith is down a blind path, a path we can’t see the end of, a path of uncertainty.  The certainty comes in our faith in Christ.  Taking the narrow path means trusting Him and committing to the path He lays before you.  
The cross is the gate to eternal life - discipleship is the way. You can preach it, point at it or stand by it, but until you enter it there is no reward. 

A life that seeks to find happiness on easy street and all it has to offer, is a life that will never be truly satisfied.  There will always be a longing that goes unfulfilled, keeping you searching and trying the wrong things until you decide to get off that one-way road to you know where.  Switch lanes and take the next exit.  Get to the narrow path today and find the fulfillment that only Jesus and living a life that pursues Him can offer.  It is a life of sacrificing and giving up to get more in the long run.  Jesus is the only one that can satisfy the longing that drives us deep down in our hearts.  His promises are not empty.  He doesn’t lure us with false security.  He truly cares about us and wants us to have the abundant life He gives.  

Scripture to Claim:
Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.  John 14:6 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Access Road to Heaven

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.  Matthew 7:13-14
The Access Road to Heaven
We all need directions in life whether we want to admit or not to get where we want to go. Jesus gave us some insight as to our itinerary through life.  Yesterday we talked about the deceptively easy way or the “wide path”.  Satan makes it so easy for us to get on the wrong path.  He is luring us around every bend and he is waiting to catch us when we are worn down and tired.  But the easy way only leads to trouble, not the life we are looking for.  The narrow way may is the way that leads to the life we seek. 
• It’s a Toll Road - You will not come to Jesus by accident or follow him by human nature.  It will cost you something.  The narrow way requires us to deny ourselves - our sinful desires, and selfish ways.  You cannot stay as you are and come to Jesus.
• It's a Demanding Road - "the way" looks much like "the gate".  Continuing fellowship brings continuing transformation.  A meaningful, purposeful life is not the product of chance but of decision. It’s a choice.  Great men are not the product of chance but determination.  The farther you go the narrower and more fulfilling it gets.  Freedom always costs because it makes us responsible.  Anytime we demand our rights, we are asking for responsibility.  
• It’s a Less -Traveled Road - Fewer friends but truer friends are on this road. When you choose your friends you basically choose your life. Proverbs says, "as iron sharpens iron so does a friend shape the countenance of his friend."   This is true also in religion. Beware when many desire It. 
• It’s an Important Road - It leads to eternal life, abundant life, Jesus Life.  This comes at the end of a narrow road.  You can only know the end by knowing the road. 
Christianity is a way of life, not just an event.  A Christian way of life has restrictions that establish character, integrity and identity.  Peter says we are a peculiar people that stand out from others.  We choose not to pursue worldly things in order to have a greater reputation and ministry. The great rewards of discipline create value, purpose and character. Taking the narrow path is not always easy, but it is a narrowness that leads to broad and lasting fulfillment, and everlasting life.  

Scripture to Claim:
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude 1:24-25

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Wide Path

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.  Matthew 7:13-14
We all need directions in life whether we want to admit or not to get where we want to go. Jesus gave us some insight as to our itinerary through life. In essence He said, “You need to pick an exit.”.  We are in such a hurry to get to the next place, the next appointment, the next event that we miss a lot of life.  Salvation and sanctification does not just "happen" to those who "flow" with others but to those who "seek". Christ gives clear instruction to beware following the easy way while disregarding its inevitable end. 
The Deadly End of Easy Street – The Wide Path
• It is Easy to Find - The wide path is the one most traveled. It is the easy path.  We don’t have to look hard to find it because we naturally drift towards it.  You do not have to do anything to walk this path. Apathy puts you on it.  If you have not chosen to leave it, you are in it. 
• It Has No Boundaries - It is spacious, easy, no restriction – anyone can get on.  
• It is a Popular Road to Travel - If you like to travel with the crowd you will go this way. You will never seem alone.  It provides a false feeling of security and pleasure.  People on this road use each other because it is a self-centered life.  Most on the wide path don't really like the road or the crowd - they just don't know how to leave it 
• It’s a Dead-End Road - Most people don't look where they're going.  A very important question for all of us today is "If you get where you're going, where will you be?"  Nowhere is this question more important than when it is related to eternity.  At some point all of us will come to the end of our road.  Jesus said, if you find yourself on this road you will find yourself at this destination. 
The wide path has many ways that you can take and stay on the path.  Substance Abuse, pride, materialism, sexual sins, hate, and bitterness are just a few things that will keep you on this path. The point is, you don't have to do anything to ruin your life. As a matter of fact, that's how you ruin it - by not doing anything.  Most people don't care where they are going just as long as the way is spacious and filled with pleasure and friends. 
All too often sin comes dressed in an adorable disguise and so we play with it.  We focus on what we want and before we know it, we find ourselves going with the flow on the wide path, and it is hard to get off.  But Jesus Christ is the way off the wide path and onto the narrow path, the path that leads to the abundant life we truly seek. 

Scripture to Claim:
There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.  Proverbs 14:12

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Exit Here

Matthew 7:13-14
A meaningful, purposeful life is not the product of chance but of decision.  Salvation and sanctification do not just “happen” to those who “flow” with others but to those who “seek”.  Christ gives clear instruction to beware following the easy way while disregarding its inevitable end.

I. The DeadlyEnd of EasyStreet v.13b

A. It's Easy to Findthe gate is wide

B. It Has No Boundariesthe way is broad

C. It is a PopularRoad to Travelthere are many who enter through it

D. It Is a Dead-EndRoad - leads to destruction

II. The Access Road to Heavenv.14

A. It’s a TollRoad– the gate is small

·  You cannot stayas you areand come to Jesus.

B. It's a DemandingRoad– the way is narrow

· A meaningful, purposeful life is not the product of chancebut of decision. Great men are not the product of chancebut determination.

Freedom          Responsibility
               Balanced        Response
                                          Overprotection
         Irresponsibility

·  Any time we demand our rights, we are asking for responsibility

C. It’s a Less-traveledRoad– few who find it

D. It’s an ImportantRoadleads to life

III.Choose Your Lanev.13a  Enter through the narrow gate

A. Not to decideis to decidenot to follow Jesus.

B. The choice of a gateis the choice of a wayand the
choice of an end

C. Commitmentis following the next revealed step of God for your life.

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved,”John 10:9
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“I am the way, the truth and the life.”John 14:6

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