The Narrow Way

Jesus describes the way into His kingdom in three passages.

  1. Matthew 6:13,14 “Enter by 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 confined is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
  2. Matthew 6:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
  3. Luke 13:22-28 “Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. “When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ “then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ “But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.”

This is very sobering when we consider the calls to live life without restraint. “We are free from sin and able to do anything now”. OR ARE WE? We lived in a kingdom where we thought we were free but in fact we were in bondage. We thought we were free but we were lawless doing our own thing.

If we don’t feel confined maybe we are walking on the broad way to destruction. Jesus says that His way is confined. We are to be followers who are not walking in a lawless manner. We are to be obedient to Holy Spirit not using our freedom to do our own thing.

What a challenge. Jesus said “He did nothing except He saw and heard the Father do it”. That is why He was the image of His Father and He could say “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father”. Can we say that about ourselves. If others see us do they see the Father. That is the way it should be.

Holy Spirit help us!

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Hello world!

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What is The Thorn in the Flesh?

In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul said that because of the "abundance of revelations he was given a thorn in the flesh".

What does he say about it?

  1. It is a messenger of Satan.
  2. Its task is to buffet or beat him.
  3. He has pleaded with the Lord three times to remove it.
  4. The Lord said about it "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
  5. In 1 Corinth 12 9,10 he describes the resulting weakness as "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake." He also says "For when I am weak, then I am strong."

All this would indicate that a messenger of Satan was assigned to Paul to organise that these things would happen to Paul. In the same way as Job’s life was affected by Satan as Father gave him permission to touch Job, Satan was also given permission to touch Paul’s life.

In 2 Corinth 11:23 – 33 Paul outlines all that he has gone through choosing to "boast in the things which concern his infirmity".

In Numbers 33:55 the Lord says "those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell.

So the Thorn in the Flesh is a messenger of Satan who has been given permission to use people and the situations of life to beat Paul to the point where he is kept weak. In this weakness, by grace, Father will demonstrate His strength through Paul.

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What is the order of creation? Gen 1:20 – 28 or Gen 2:19.

In Genesis 1:20 – 28 we are told that the order is:
5th Day: sea creatures and birds
6th Day: cattle, creeping things, and beast of the earth. Then he made spirit beings called man, male and female beingings.
7th day God rested
 
According to Gen 2:5 plants are not yet in the earth and the herbs have not yet grown because there is no man to till the ground.
 
Next in Gen 2 :7 it would appear that after the 7th day God formed the first male physical body from the ground. Then in vs 8 He planted a garden eastward in Eden. Out of the ground He made the trees.
Next in Gen 2:15 He takes the man and puts him in the garden to look after it. He is told what trees to eat and that He is not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God now says that it is not good for man to be alone in the garden so He decides to make him a helper.
Now He forms out of the ground every beast of the foeld and every bird of the air. This is where He makes a sample of everything that he has made and brings them to Adam to name them.
None of these are suitable so in vs 21 He puts Adam to sleep. He then takes a rib from his side and makes Eve out of it.
 
So in fact God creates animals and birds on two separate occasions, Gen1:20 – 28 and Gen 2:19..
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Please consider. Who is Santa?

Yahweh (Father of Jesus) 

Santa (Satan)

False God

Known as God the Father

Known as Father Christmas

 

Seated on throne of grace.

Usually seated on a throne in the centre of shopping centre.

 

Bible says He lives on the sides of the North.

Santa is supposed to live at the North Pole.

 

Knows everything about every person.

Knows whether every person is naughty or nice.

 

Father has Book of Life.

Santa has his list.

 

Yahweh is eternal.

Santa is supposed to have always lived.

 

God says “Do not make any carved image or likeness of anything”.

Images and statues of Santa are everywhere. In fact Santa is a walking idol.

Idols are set up for worship.

People come to Father and make request in prayer.

Children come to Santa and make request for Christmas gifts.

People come to idol and make request in prayer.

Angels serve Yahweh

Elves help Santa.

Priests usually serve idol.

God does not need food.

People leave out cookies and milk for Santa to eat.

People bring food to idol for god to eat.

 

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Whose birthday is it?

At this time of the year most of the world is embracing a god that presents himself to the world in place of our Lord. He is worshiped in place of Jesus. Millions of people across the world are giving that spiritual god authority over their lives. Tough talk but true.

I am deeply disturbed that some churches, as much as any other group, have given Santa a place at this time of the year. Many people are prepared to set up images of him even when Father commanded us never to do that. They give him a position in this world that belongs to Jesus and Him alone. The realm of the spirit realises it and it gains incredible power at this time because of it.

Jesus was not born at this time of the year but if we are going to celebrate His birth now then He should be the focus of Christmas and not Santa.

Merry Christmas!

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Giving – Sacrifices, Tithes, Offerings or What?

Giving is an important principle within our Christian walk. What does God expect of us?

Under the Law of the Old Testament it was simple to know what to do because God defined for His people every aspect of giving. God used a strict system of sacrifices and offerings to bring about atonement and support for His work.

We understand that today we are not required to sacrifice animals and offer gain to God but we still see the obligation to tithe to support the church. Other than two instances of Tithing by Abraham and Jacob our total knowledge of tithing relates to the Law.

 

What obligations do we have to the Law?

In Acts 15 Paul had conflicts with the Jews over the Law’s requirement that people be circumcised. In fact the statement was made in Acts 15:1 “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved". Paul went to the leaders of the church in Jerusalem to discuss this question. After heavy discussion the leadership released this statement.

 

Acts 15:24 – 29 "…Some who went out from us have troubled you with words ‘You must be circumcised and keep the law’ – to whom we gave no such commandment-…. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.”

 

As a gentile believer I have no obligation to the Law other than what is required by this statement. This being the case my giving is not determined by the Law of Moses. My giving is therefore not according to sacrifices, tithes, and offerings from the Old Testament.

 

You may say that tithing occurred before the Law. Let us look at the two instances outside the Law.

  1. Abraham in Genesis 14.
    Here Abraham has returned from a battle to get back his nephew who had been captured by enemies. Returning from the battle he was met by Melchizedek, a priest representing God in Israel. In response to a blessing from Melchizedek Abraham gave him a tithe of the spoils of battle. In verses 23 – 24 Abraham did not keep any of the spoils. Abraham’s action was in response to God’s deliverance of his enemies into his hands.
  2. Jacob in Genesis 28
    Here Jacob made a vow. “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set up as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to you.”

In both of these situations it appears that there is no obligation on Abraham and Jacob to give but each has responded to the Lord’s past or future blessing.

 

What does God ask of us?

After Jesus’ death everything changes. He has been the fulfilment of the Law with its sacrifices and now all are free of the obligations of the Law. In Acts 4:32-35 we see a new attitude.

 

"Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”

 

What a change!

 

In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 Paul discusses the importance of giving and the attitude required in giving. Please read it all but here are a few key points.

  1. In 8:12-15 Paul says “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack – that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
  2. In 9:6-8 Paul shows us the qualities of a giver. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having sufficiency in all things, have abundance for every good work.”

In summary we are not under the Law with the requirements of sacrifices, tithes, and offerings. Our giving should come from a generous heart which believes that nothing that we have is our own but is to be shared so that no one has any lack.

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