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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Narrow Gate, Endless Adventures

“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.”  John‬ ‭10:9‬ ‭NLT‬ http://bible.com/116/jhn.10.9.nlt

Consider how narrow a gate is in relation to the pasture it leads to. Very narrow. But once the sheep are through that gate, they've got an entire field to graze and frolic in. 

Jesus says that He is a narrow gate that leads to open pastures. Some people think that being a believer means a boring, restricted life. But this is just not the case! On the contrary, life with God is like being given beautiful pastures to move freely in. A place we can be free. A place we can be ourselves. A place to rest. A place to get to know our Shepherd that loves us and laid his life down for us.  

Yes, the gate is narrow. By only One Name can we enter. But once we are through that gate, our adventures are endless! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Worth Giving Into

How gentle our Father is as He talks us down from our self preservation. He's not the drill sergeant we might expect. No, Jesus is the Lover and Wooer of our souls. We can hear the Holy Spirit cheering us on to loosen our grip as we hold on to our lives with a closed fist.

"Open up. Let me in. Let yourself go -- your whole self. I'm offering you Life worth holding onto. My Plans are greater. You are trading up!"

There are no scare tactics. No guilt trips. No manipulation. He doesn't push Himself on us. He respects our boundaries as He gives every reason why He is worth surrendering to.

And He clarifies things saying, "Giving your life to Me is not doing what you decide will make Me pleased with you. See my Hand extended? Take it. Giving your life means opening your hand, grabbing onto Mine, and walking with Me wherever I go. Follow Me."

Saturday, October 8, 2016

REST

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)


REST. A four letter word we have trouble embracing in our culture. Heck, even our vacations seem to lack its presence. For some of us, we need a vacation after we get back from a vacation. 

Jesus gives us this amazing invite: Come to Me and I'll give you rest -- not just physical rest, but a rest that's so deep inside us that all restlessness is silenced. The pressure to perform is off. We can relax with Him knowing we are fully accepted, loved and entirely safe. To rest in Him is one of the greatest expressions of faith and trust in Him. 

And notice! Jesus GIVES rest. There's no earning our way to it. We can not conjure it up. It's His Gift to us and simply the result of being with Him. 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Poisoned By Our Own Weeds

Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/heb.12.15.nlt

Who is affected by our unforgiveness and bitterness? Is it just the person harboring the bitterness? No. When you choose to hold onto unforgiveness and bitterness, it is like you are nurturing a poisonous plant in your heart. That plant will eventually grow up and not only poison your very soul, it will affect all those around you as well.

Consider how much nurturing a plant requires. Bitterness and unforgiveness will literally suck the life right out of you. Is that really what you want to spend all of your energy on? The choice is ours. We can either nurture this poisonous weed in our hearts or allow God to pull it up by the roots. God wants us to be free and untangled by the things that will choke and poison us to death.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Established in Love

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:16-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/eph.3.16-19.nlt


God is getting us to the place where we are so confident in His Love that it no longer comes up in conversation with Him. The question ceases to arise whether He cares for us. We are no longer blown by the winds of doubt that make us wonder His true feelings for us. Like a tree, our roots are buried so deep and are established so securely, that even hurricane force winds of doubt could not uproot us - our Love with Him is established in His Holy Ground. 

May we go deeper, then, wrapping our roots around the soil of His surrounding Love.  How wide, how long, how high and how deep!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Rich, Yet Poor

What makes a person rich? What makes them poor?

In the eyes of man, it's based on money and possessions. But God has a different perspective. Wealth has nothing to do with the money in your pocket or what you have saved up. True wealth is the the wealth that lasts for eternity -- the treasure that is only found in having a relationship with Jesus.

Are you only considering your earthly wealth? Are you spiritually rich or spiritually bankrupt?

How does it profit a man to gain all that he wants in this life, but walk into eternity with nothing?

*****

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

"Then he said, ‘This is what Iʼll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And Iʼll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’

"But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

"This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:13-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬
http://bible.com/111/luk.12.13-21.niv