The Narrow Way

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. – Matthew 7:13-14

There are many gates that lead to various paths of destruction.

Jesus is the only way out. There is no other. He is the gate. He is the only way that we can embark on a journey of life that leads us to the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s also important to know that Jesus has a strict and narrow way that He wants us to live.

So, there seem to be two core issues here.

First, we accept that this world is full of destruction and the only escape is Jesus.

Secondly, we understand that Jesus has standards that we are supposed to live by as we walk with Him in faith.

My personal experience make this difficult to write about because there is just so much to consider. This is my Christian walk in a nutshell, as is the case for many of us. There are many ways in which we can go astray from putting Jesus first as the only way to salvation. Then, once we accept Jesus as our savior, there are many who come in His name who would lead us astray. Many lead us astray with false teachings that mischaracterize God, the gospel, and the Christian experience.

It’s truly remarkable that any of us find the straight gate and narrow way. It is the grace of God.

The best thing I can think to say about this is to humbly seek Jesus in faith. If we recognize that we are lost and confused and if we truly want to know what is true, He will show us. At times, we might not like what we see, but if we wrestle with the truth in faith and continue seeking Jesus then He will make us strong as the Spirit of Truth works in us.

The manner in which He teaches us can vary for each individual, but the lessons we learn are the same in the end. We are learning how to be a son of God as we follow the life of the Son of God in faith, trusting in His forgiveness and relying on His Spirit to guide us and equip us along the way.

It’s important that we value the truth. Read 2 Thessalonians 2. If we do not love the truth, then this means we take pleasure in unrighteousness and God will allow us to be under strong delusions.

Many in this world are under strong delusions because they do not love truth.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.”

Yet, even in seeking Jesus many things come against us as I experienced and as the Parable of the Sower describes (Matthew 13).

Despite it all, nothing can come between those who are chosen by the Father to be raised as sons of God through the adoption of Jesus Christ.

It is truly remarkable and although the process can be difficult, painful, and confusing at times, we will get to a place of being more established in the faith as we see Jesus working in our lives, showing us what His narrow way means, and changing us so that we can walk in Spirit with Him better overtime.

I apologize if I’m being too generic. Like I said, it gets complicated for me and I know that we all have our own experiences. It’s easy to point to the gate. It’s Jesus. Period. As for His narrow way, it can seem broad at times because He has a lot to say. Though, it isn’t really. The gospel is simple and as Jesus said, “my burden is easy and my yoke is light.” It’s this world that complicates things and our walk can get messy because we are flawed, but if we follow Him in faith, He will lead the way.

If we follow Him, we can expect to live like He did in some measure.

We should testify to the truth, even when the world hates the truth. We should use the gifts Jesus gives us by His Spirit to reach those who are spiritually blind, maimed, and enslaved to the destructive and deceitful ways of this world. We should submit our will to the will of Jesus, just as He submitted Himself to the Father. We should expect to be hated, maybe even killed. We can also expect to live forever despite it all, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God. If His grace is for us, nothing can come against us.

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series.

PREVIOUS POST IN THIS SERIES: Do to Others as You Would Have Them Do to You

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A Look at Postmodernism and How to Fight It

What is postmodernism?

If you’re like I was before today, you might not be able to answer that question outright. Or, maybe you can. I’m falling way behind here, I know.

Whether you can or cannot, we all recognize the ideas contained within postmodernism because they heavily influence our culture today.

I have experienced it in many ways. It was postmodern thinking that led me to a place of complete confusion and despair about 8 years ago, particularly my involvement with New Age religion thinking that states all religions are acceptable to God and Jesus is just one way of many.

It’s total confusion and chaos, because there is no truth. They themselves say that there is no truth. For them, truth becomes whatever you say it is. So, it’s no wonder that Jesus, who is The Truth, is considered to be just one path to God of many.

The corruption of truth is the cornerstone of Postmodernism, or so it seems to me. In their view:

There is no absolute truth. To claim to know the truth makes you an oppressor, because each person has the right to define what truth means for themselves personally.

Logic is rejected. Objective facts and logic cannot exist because truth does not exist. Rather than argue based on reason and facts, emotions and personal opinions dominate discussion.

Morality is personal. Moral standards are not set, but rather subject to change based on a person’s personal interpretation of morality.

The morals of the oppressed are law. Anyone can have their own set of morals so long as they do not conflict with the morals of those who are “oppressed” by traditional codes of morality, including women and those with various sexual or gender identities.

The voice of oppressors should be silenced. They do not believe in an exchange of ideas and facts in order to come to rational decisions, because this places limitations on people’s ability to define truth for themselves. So, if you claim to speak for an absolute truth, then you are an oppressor and your voice is not worthy to be heard. In-fact, you must be silenced.

All authority is false and corrupt. All religious and secular modes of authority are abhorred and intertwined with oppression.

Collectives are favored over individuals. Collective property ownership and a shared, baseline wealth is favored while individual enterprise is rejected. People are also categorized into groups rather than viewed as individuals. Individuals who belong to an oppressor group are oppressors at the core and cannot be otherwise unless they become “woke” to their inherently oppressive nature and make necessary restitutions.

Environmentalism is supported at all costs. Western culture is responsible for the destruction of the planet. “Mother Earth” must be protected at all costs, even at the expense of human life (especially the oppressors).

How do we fight Postmodernism?

We speak the truth.

Postmodernism is a conglomeration of many lies, with a few truths mixed in. There are some causes worth considering that should not be ignored, but they should be weighed with the proper weight, placed in their proper place, and the lies that are mixed in must be eradicated.

There is a standard of truth, and it all begins with Jesus who is the Truth. So, it’s no wonder that they hate Him. We stand by Him and all that He teaches, and in so doing we will stand firmly against postmodernism and in the right spirit. We will not hate them or deny their basic human rights, even though they deny ours.

We will show them the love of Christ and His iron-clad Truth that makes free, because we know that lies only destroy and those who follow Postmodernism are destroying themselves and others–as anyone who has had personal experience with this will fully know and understand.

Having lived through it, I suggest that we should approach people who are possessed with the ideas of postmodernism with a generous dose of compassion and unyielding loyalty to the Truth as we “fight not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness in high places.” Don your Armor of God (Ephesians 6) and let’s get to work!

Do you have any information to share about postmodernism? What have your personal experiences been?

Considering Proverbs 11:24

There is that scatterth, and yet increaseth: and there is that whitholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

The more we give, the greater the increase. The more we withhold for ourselves, the greater the poverty.

It might seem like keeping good things to ourselves will make us rich because giving away what we have will make us poor. This might be true for riches in this world, but it is not true when we are considering the things of God.

Any good thing that we receive from God should be shared with others, and when shared, there is increase. There is increase in those who receive what we share, and we are also increased now and in the Kingdom of Heaven to come.

This is a positive attribute of something Jesus said, “with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you again.”

We must “let your light shine before man, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” We must invest our talent and not “bury it in the earth.”

Jesus shares everything with us, and both we and He are increased.  We all grow together in Christ and Jesus is glorified in us and the Father in Jesus. As God is glorified in us, we are blessed even more.

The blessings of God take many forms, and we each must use what we receive in Christ to build others up in Him. We cannot simply keep it to ourselves. In-fact, Jesus expressly instructs us not to on multiple occasions, as cited above.

Based on my personal experience, I don’t understand how we could keep the gifts we receive from God to ourselves if they are truly given by Him, because He causes us to increase and He stirs our hearts up to do the work He created us to do. We cannot resist because there is a persistent nagging in our conscience to give what we have received to others.  

It does not matter how simple or small the thing might seem to us or how much lack we perceive in ourselves as we seek to have our gifts perfected, we must do what we can in faith, knowing that it is the Spirit in us who does the work truly.

It’s hard to imagine someone burying their talent or hiding their light without repenting and doing as God would have them to do. God always makes His servants do what He created them to do, even when they don’t want to or are afraid. Like Jonah, for example. We cannot run from the calling we have if we truly have one.

Yet, these teachings are given so we should listen. His word goes out to stir our hearts up so that we can and will do His work. So, if we need to hear then He will cause us to. We will give and increase, and He will be glorified in us.

Those who are of this world and not of the Kingdom of God tend to spend their efforts investing in themselves and not others. Such a life is void of meaning and it leads to spiritual poverty. We see a lot of this in our culture. That’s the basic attitude my previous article addressed: “Its Hard Not to Let Them Consume You.”

People who are extremely self-absorbed not only destroy themselves, but they also destroy others. I wonder if this has something to do with the “bottomless pit.” Some people and some ideologies are never satisfied. They consume and consume. Destroy and destroy. Sucking all life out of others in attempts to live themselves, but they cannot truly live unless they repent of sin and turn to Jesus.

 Many do not, and “the beast” certainly will not. They cannot turn to God because they consider themselves to be gods. They consider their ways to be above His ways. They are “above all that is called God and all that is worshipped.” They judge and condemn the ways of God and those who keep them and Him. It’s Satanic.

If we remain in the faith of Jesus, He will provide us with everything we need to stand fast despite living among those who only use others up because He has more than enough to supply our needs. At least in Spirit. They might kill us bodily eventually, but He keeps us and He will breathe the Spirit of Life into us again. We will increase. They will see the greatest poverty: everlasting destruction.

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:23 – “The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

The purpose of this bible study in The Proverbs is to consider present-day events in terms of the teachings and wisdom of Jesus ChristFollow in WordPress or subscribe by email (red button at the bottom of each page below the comments) if you would like to join this discussion and receive updates of future postsVisit the link above for easy access to all posts within this series.

It’s Hard to Not Let Them Consume You.

It’s hard to live among the godless. It’s hard to accept that such a person exists.

There are people who really do not care about anyone or anything unless it benefits them in some way. There really are people who do not truly value others or themselves. They have no real understanding of consequences or care for what their actions bring. They only want to consume as much pleasure as they can in the moment or resist as much care or obligation as possible.

There are people who will tear down anyone or anything that inconveniences them in the slightest, or God forbid, holds them to even the most minor of standards of natural affection, duty, and care for fellow man.

There are people who do not take care of anything. They only use up. There are people who do not value anything unless it can bring temporary pleasure or relief from the painful truth about just how empty and dead they are inside.

There are people who cannot see people. They cannot see themselves. They cannot see the harm the do, or maybe they simply do not care. They do not care that they destroy everyone around them as they cling to an existence that is as void of meaning, connection, responsibility, and care as possible.

The lives of others have no value to them. Their own life has no value to them. They are like animals that just exist in the moment, doing whatever seems expedient at the time without regard for what their actions will cause even moments from now. Someone can stand right in front of them, pleading with tears and they do not care. The tears only make them angry. How dare you inconvenience them so?

It’s hard to think these people are real, but they are. What’s harder is knowing how to deal with them as the pit inside your soul grows, fills with rage, self-hate, and questioning.

Why does God allow this? Is He really with us? Has He abandoned us?

Maybe we suffer because of our sin. Sometimes God allows destructive people and other forces into our lives because parts of us need to be destroyed. It’s painful, and sometimes it seems like the good things in us will die too. Our compassion, our love for others, our hope, our motivation, our care for doing the things we must do in this life. Our faith.

We fear that we will turn into them one day. Empty and destructive. They became that way for a reason, and they create more like themselves as they kill, steal, and destroy.

Yet, we hold on to the faith. We know that God will not abandon us. He will let the pain purge us from our selfishness, our vain ambitions in this world, our idolatries, and our love of wicked things.

If we continue in the faith, the love of Jesus will keep us. It will not die out. Our lights will not go out because He fills our lamps with everlasting oil. We will find a strong love of that which is good, true, pure, kind, loving, patient, meaningful, courageous, and strong as we wait for our Lord to come and avenge us.

Sometimes we do not suffer because of sin, but because we continue in a good thing as we avoid doing sin that would make our escape possible. We could escape by harming those that harm us. We could escape by denying the teachings of Jesus. We could escape by becoming whatever the wicked want, just to avoid their wrath for a little while.

Yet, we can’t because our faith will not allow us to. We might succumb in small ways at times, but we will not be moved. We will turn to God and we will be made strong.

If we suffer in faith while doing that which is good, we have a reward in Heaven that nothing and no one can steal from us.

So, we push on. We seek Jesus and we lift our spirits as we praise Him. We thank Him for caring enough about our spiritual growth to allow us to suffer. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn thy statutes.”

We do not suffer for no reason. Whether we suffer for sin, whether we suffer for righteousness sake, or whether we suffer as Job simply because Satan wants to prove that those who follow God are easily overthrown, we will overcome because Jesus overcame first.

He will keep us. We can keep looking to Him, praise Him for all He has done, and know that even though our enemies seem to get away with it all and live in ease as we barely cling to life, they will come to and end and none will help them.

Do to Others as You Would Have Them Do to You

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. – Matthew 7:12

Treat others the way you’d want to be treated. The “golden rule” came from Jesus first, and this is a good rule to live by. Although it seems simple enough on the surface, living this out can be challenging.

Instead of treating others the way we’d want to be treated, we often treat others the way they treat us. When someone treats us good, we treat them good. When someone treats us badly, we feel justified in doing the same to them.

It’s easy to love people who are easy to love, but it is often those who are difficult to love who need us to love them the most. That’s not really the topic here.

How do we treat others the same way that we’d want to be treated?

There are some variations depending on our personalities and preferences, but we have enough in common to know how to deal with people in a general sense.

People generally like to be dealt with honestly. People generally appreciate kindness, compassion, and understanding. People generally appreciate having a helping hand in times of trouble or need. People generally like to have people around them who will protect their name, not gossip about them or slander them. People generally like to be appreciated for the things they do that make life a little better for others. People generally like to feel welcomed, encouraged, and supported.

Sometimes we are just too self-centered to think about other people like we should. Sometimes we are too caught up in our defenses to think about other people like we should. Sometimes we are too full of pride or a desire for vengeance to think about other people like we should.

If we seek Jesus in these things, He can show us our selfishness, fears, pride, and vengefulness. Other things get in the way too, like envy and greed. Basically, all the downfalls of human nature get in the way of treating people the way we’d like to be treated—so this simple command becomes very hard for us to do in many instances.

In a society that encourages selfishness and pride as it breeds fear and glorifies vengeance and indignation in the name of justice-so-called, we need to hold this teaching dear to our hearts. In a society that is greedy, envious, covetous, and full of deceit that calls evil good and good evil, we need to hold this teaching dear to our hearts.

If we treat people the way we’d want to be treated, even when it is hard, we might convert some to Jesus and strengthen those who already carry His Name.

Sometimes we don’t know how to deal with a situation. Maybe we need time away to pray and reflect, or maybe there is some sin in our heart that we don’t want to face and deal with. Some situations are complicated, but if we aim to keep to the “golden rule,” Jesus can help us grow in this, and the more we practice treating others the way we’d want to be treated, the more natural it will become. Even when it is hard.

How does this saying fulfill all the law and the prophets?

Elsewhere Jesus says that the great commandment is to love God with all your mind, heart, and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself.

What if your neighbor is doing something very destructive to self or others and they do not want to do any different? What if you were in such a state? What is the loving thing to do if someone is headed to their doom and adamantly so? When God sees us in such a state, He will do whatever He must to get our attention.

I suppose, if we don’t want to be helped, we should expect to be left to our own devises. There is a time for that too. The more our world seems to love wickedness and despise any help, correction, or leading in the right way, it seems more complicated. Yet, I’m certain that there are enough every-day scenarios that we can deal with and strive to do better in. “Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.”

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series.

PREVIOUS POST IN THIS SERIES: Seek and You Will Find

Subscribe by entering your email address and clicking on the red button at the bottom of this page to get future posts by email or follow in WordPress.

Considering Proverbs 11:23

The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath. – Proverbs 11:23

I’m not sure how to read this proverb. Is it saying that the righteous should expect to receive good, or is it saying that the righteous focus on that which is good? Is it saying that the wicked should expect to receive nothing but wrath, or is it saying that the wicked focus on that which brings wrath?

Both are true, but I’m leaning more towards the second.

The righteous are focused on bringing good to others while the wicked are focused on bringing vengeance and destruction.

Justice is a good thing, and sometimes justice requires vengeance. However, in Christ we know that vengeance belongs to God. If He says that it is time for vengeance and wrath, then it’s time for vengeance and wrath. However, as those who want to be righteous, our focus should be on brining blessing, not cursing.

Jesus says, “Bless those that curse you and pray for those that hate you and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. For He causes the sun to shine on the evil and the good and brings rain to the just and the unjust.”

Until He doesn’t.

“The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”

“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophesy, and have power over waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”

The above quote refers to the two witnesses in Revelation 11. I bolden that last bit, “as often as they will” for emphasis. Perhaps they will choose not to, but I don’t know. I hold space for that because I believe that it is good for the righteous to focus on bringing good, not wrath.

Even so, there is a time for all things and as wicked men grow worse and worse, and as the world forgets that God is He who holds all things in balance that we take for granted, a reminder might be called for. God will shake the heavens and the earth. He will give man into the delusions of a false god, so perhaps calling our attention to Him is warranted in those times.

It is good to remind mankind of all that He does for us as many hate Him, slander Him, and kill His people. It is good to remind mankind that all things were created by Him and for Him. It is good to remind mankind that blessings are from Him, the power that upholds all things is from Him, true wisdom and righteous judgment is from Him, and Jesus is the only name by which man can be saved from the death that we all have coming because of the destruction we have wrought on the earth.

What are a few plagues compared to the coming of a false christ and the wrath of God that follows? It might be that these things will cause some to wake up and turn to Jesus. That would be good.

Jesus will let us know all things in His time, but I am somewhat moved fearfully as my perceptions of this start to change. “As often as they will” might be often indeed because man will wholesale forget God and follow another, including many who professed the faith of Jesus Christ. Mankind cannot be allowed to forget God, because when they do, He will show Himself and they cannot withstand it.

However, in any time we find ourselves, we can strive to bring blessing. Maybe we bring blessing in the midst of bringing trouble just as God remembers mercy in the midst of judgment.

However, I do not expect any blood-thirsty to receive any such thing from God.

This world is full of blood-thirsty people who jump at any occasion to destroy someone, especially when they feel justified in doing so.

What’s worse is when good becomes evil and evil becomes good. Then, people are happily condemning and destroying the righteous, all the while thinking that they are justified in doing so.

Let us not think that we are better, because we know that any good thing we have comes from God.

Without Him, we would corrupt judgement too and we would condemn the guiltless. This is the nature of man, and the erosion of our Christian culture shows us how great an impact the teachings of Jesus have had on mankind. When abandoned, there is nothing but destruction.

In a world of destruction, we can still do our upmost to bring good and look for that which is good in the world, in others, and most importantly focus on the good things of God in Jesus.

We can bring the gospel of Jesus Christ and we can seek Him so that we can live out the gospel as servants and sons freed by His blood and made alive in His Spirit.

We can praise Jesus despite troubling times and be lifted in spirits as necessary, look inward and repent sorrowfully as necessary, and rejoice in knowing that all things are working together for our good and we will live in the end.

We can focus on that which is good no matter how wicked the world gets, because Jesus provides us with many good things that will never be removed from us, because He and His Kingdom are forever.

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:22 – As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

The purpose of this bible study in The Proverbs is to consider present-day events in terms of the teachings and wisdom of Jesus ChristFollow in WordPress or subscribe by email (red button at the bottom of each page below the comments) if you would like to join this discussion and receive updates of future postsVisit the link above for easy access to all posts within this series.

5 Choices That I Hope My Adult Sons Will Make

Life can be hard. It can be especially hard when we don’t have proper guidance as children and young adults. We make foolish choices, often in youth, that negatively impact our entire lives.

My sons have dealt with some blow-back from the foolish choices I have made. We do alright, but some things are just hard.

My oldest son was having a hard day today.

So, I decided to take him out. Just the two of us. We ran a couple errands, and I thought that now would be a good time to let him know some important truths about life.

For one, the difficult things that he has to deal with now are temporary. He has his whole life ahead of him, Lord willing, and if he makes the right choices, he can have a great life.

As far as I can tell, there are five major life choices that will affect the life you live, and I encouraged my son to remember these when be becomes an adult–which is coming sooner than I’m ready for!

1. Put Jesus first.

Jesus has a lot of wisdom to share about how mankind should order their lives, but most importantly, I know that if we serve Him and seek Him first, then He will lead us and all things will work out for our ultimate good. I also know that He works in us to change us into someone who is more like He is. This is the greatest aspiration I have for all my children.

2. Marry a Jesus-loving housewife.

Next to following Jesus, the person we choose to marry might be the single most important decision we make. This affects all areas of our lives and the lives of our children. Although my son will have his own preferences, I do hope and encourage him to marry a good, Jesus loving woman who wants to stay home and raise children.

Why is that?

This might seem old-fashioned, but there is wisdom in this. Children need a mother who is loving, available, and there to care for them and the home. A working mom can only do so much, and a woman who is self-centered or lacking in good character is not a woman I want my son married to or mothering his children. A woman who is willing to put her all into raising a family is the bedrock of a good home and a good life for my son and his children.

However, for this to be possible…

3. Take care of your wife.

My son has to be a good husband and father, and this means being responsible and taking care of his family. He has to work and provide for them. He has to spend time with them. He has to be a strong example of morality and lead his family in following Jesus.

A family is only as strong as the father, and this is a hard truth that our society wants to deny.

So, I want my son to be a good, God-fearing man who will do what he must to be a good husband and father, because this frees his wife to care for the kids—which is critical for a well-balanced and healthy family life.

4. Do something you’re passionate about.

Sometimes reality does not allow for us to follow our passions. We have to be responsible, but if at all possible, I hope that my son can support himself and his family by doing something he loves. Work is a big part of life, and it seems like a good idea to do something that you think is worth-while.

5. Stay away from drugs and alcohol.

A man cannot do any of the above well if he is consumed by drugs and drinking. I’m not opposed to all alcohol use, but any use should be moderate and heavily tempered by self-control. Alcohol should never be used to self-soothe stress or mental and emotional troubles. As for drugs, including tobacco, just don’t. They are addictive, expensive, and they control your life too much. I want my son to be free, not bound to chemical substances.

I hope that I can raise all my sons to make these five important life choices as adults. I don’t care how old-fashioned they might seem because life has shown me just how important these are. Yet, I know that there are many things that will try to influence them, so I pray. I pray that Jesus will guard them and lead them in the right ways.

The dissolution of strong men, strong women, and traditional families is destroying our nation.

Children need mothers and fathers. Mothers need husbands and husbands need wives. It is a cooperative effort that makes the whole family strong, happy, and healthy.

The idea that traditional families are oppressive to women is one of the biggest lies that our society teaches. The idea that men can be women and women can be men is insanely destructive.

All ideas that tear apart at the fabric of the biblical, nuclear family are worth vehemently opposing, as are all ideas the sexualize children. It is all related and it is all abhorrent and abominable. These should be obviously true, but the obvious truth is not within reach of those who love lies and perversions.

God help our nation. God help our sons to be men and our girls to be women. Our future depends on it.

What is Distracting You from Jesus?

How do we develop “ears to hear?”

Jesus says that if we seek, we will find. He speaks to us by the Holy Spirit, but we have to become practiced at this because it can be difficult to hear that “still small voice” and learn to discern His voice from our own.

If we continue praying, learning scripture as we are able, and seek Jesus earnestly—and most importantly—if His grace is for us and we are not asking for things that displease Him, we will receive from Him.

I have been reflecting on the things I’m writing in These Things Saith He, and I know that something is missing from my understanding of Sardis. This is why I write drafts first, because I’m still learning how to listen to the Spirit too.

This morning, I turned to the Lord and simply asked Him. “What scripture to I need to listen to today?” I decided that instead of listening to music while I clean my house or listening to political commentators on YouTube, I should listen to the audio bible. I need to Hear Him better and get away from all distractions.

After I acknowledged this need to hear from Him and not my entertainments or concerns over the world’s issues, and after I asked, “what scripture do I need to hear today?” I got an answer. “Galatians.”

Galatians. Of course. I’m such an idiot, but God is so good and truly if we do seek Him, we will find. As I listened to Galatians, I saw what was lacking in my understanding of Sardis.

We can take what I wrote in These Things Saith He — Overcoming Sardis and filter it through Galatians, which is summarized as being justified by faith and the grace of God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and not works of the law—including our legalistic, one-time prayers or outward observances of “holiness.” The law makes dead, but faith in Jesus and the gifts of the Spirit make us alive.

Each person needs to work out their own salvation and gifts of the Spirit. I cannot tell anyone what to do, but I do know that sometimes this world is too distracting. It is for me. Some have a gift in political/social matters and this is good because we need leadership in this. That is not for me, though I do what I can in the Proverbs study. It is very limited.

The focus I have in Jesus is to edify the Church by returning our focus on Him above all else. Those who have a focus on Him and are strong in Him might be given other tasks to do, and that is between them and God. However, many of us are weak in the faith and we need to be strengthened, and that is my God-given work. So, I cannot be distracted overmuch with this life.

I say this because I know from experience, and this is a good example, that when we want to hear from God through the Spirit, we need to listen. We cannot listen if our minds are occupied on other things. Even good things, like bible studies, church, Christian music, or reasonable care for the events in our nation and world.

We have to take time out from all of this and focus on Jesus personally. He will answer us in the way that He deems best according to what He would have us to in service to Him and our brethren in Christ.

What is distracting you from Jesus? For me, it’s “cares of this life.” My kids, my work in this world, my cares over the state of the nation and globe, my character inadequacies and fear of failure—just to name a few.

We have to lay it all aside, seek Jesus in faith, and humbly ask Him to reveal to us what He deems best for us, and we should do this daily in some form.

He is our daily bread, our water of life, and He is what sustains us in all things. He gives us forgiveness of sins and He gives us life, even eternal life. Put Him first and keep striving to. Overtime, we will grow in our ability to hear what He is speaking to us. No one can do this for us. We have to do this ourselves.

Seek and You Will Find

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? – Matthew 7:7-11

In another place, Jesus says that “it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” It seems like the things that we should be asking for are those that pertain to the kingdom of heaven—a kingdom in which righteousness dwells and Jesus is Lord over all things.

We do not see that kingdom, but it will come. He will come. Jesus must rule on the earth. A false one comes first, then He comes.

This is also true in heart. First, sin rules. Then, Jesus comes by His Spirit and we are given knowledge of truth that makes us free as He works in us.

The experience of the kingdom that is “within you” is a life-long process of seeking, asking, and receiving from Jesus. However, we don’t always know what to ask for.

One thing we can always ask for is the truth. This world is full of false ideas and half-truths, so having a solid foundation of what is true is good thing to have, especially as the world is given into destructive delusions.

As we learn about what is true, we might need to ask for more things. We might need to ask for mercy, because we have not lived according to what is true. We might need to ask for strength do live in accordance with truth and to speak the truth in a wicked world that hates the truth.

Truth is vast. Jesus is the truth, and the Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of Truth.  There is a truth that tells us who Jesus is. There is truth that tells us what sin is. There is the truth of the fallen state of man. There is truth that tells us what it means to love others as we are loved by God, which requires us to set ourselves aside, live humbly, mercifully, justly, and to care for the needs of others above our own. There is truth that makes alive and there is truth that kills.

There are also many kinds of anti-truth, just as there are many anti-christs. There are many false and lying ideas that possess the minds and hearts of man. There are anti-truths that make sin permissible and claim that man is innately good. There are anti-truths of self-love, self-indulgence, pride, vengeance, greed, and injustice. Anti-truths only destroy. They cannot make anything alive, despite their promises. The only life they can offer is false promises of security, prosperity, power, and pleasure.

Ani-truths cannot withstand the real Truth, because the real Truth will destroy them.

Therefore, let us seek and find Truth, and Jesus is the only way. When we find truth, we need mercy and forgiveness of our sins that “miss the mark” of truth. The blood of Jesus provides this for us and there is no other way. Then, when we keep the truth as demonstrated by the teachings of Jesus, He will send us the Holy Spirit of Truth, also known as The Comforter.

With the Holy Spirit within us, teaching us, leading us, and conforming our hearts and minds to Jesus, we will experience another true saying of Jesus which is, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Our natural state is to speak lying things because we have a corrupt heart. Jesus gives us a new one, and this is the beginning of our inheritance as sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven as demonstrated to us when we receive the Holy Spirit as the “earnest of our inheritance.”

We need to seek Truth, particularly the Holy Spirit of Truth that only comes in the name of Jesus to those who keep His words and want to live according to them. See John 14-16 for more information on this topic.

Jesus tells us to knock and the door will be opened. If He wills it, He can “set before you an open door, and no man can shut it.” The door that He opens is one that brings us closer to Him through experiential knowledge of the Truth and the ability to live in the Truth by the power of the Truth that is within us.

We cannot do anything on our own because we are all liars without Him. Thanks to God the Father who loved us enough to give His Son for us, who died to forgive our sins.

He also said, “it is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you. But if I depart, I will send Him unto you and when He comes, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Jesus also died to make the Holy Spirit available to us all, not just to some as in the Old Covenant. We can all seek. We can all find. We can all receive and serve Jesus and His Kingdom in Spirit and in Truth. As Jesus said, this is what the Father wants. He is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in Spirit and in Truth.

Any god-so-called that is not of the truth is anti-truth and anti-christ. If we abide in the Truth, we will not be moved and we can rest on the true, faithful promises of Jesus who will keep us in all things, even raising us from the dead at His coming—a coming that will burn as an oven, destroying all lying things with TRUTH.

“I am come to set fire on the earth, and what will I, if it be already kindled?”

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series.

PREVIOUS POST IN THIS SERIES: Don’t Cast Your Pearls Before Swine

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Considering Proverbs 11:22

As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

An article of golden jewelry is beautiful until it is placed in the snout of a pig. It is the same with a beautiful woman who lacks sound judgment.

This is an interesting proverb. I wonder if this is the reason why many feminists are fond of nose rings that look like a jewel in a pig’s snout. Do they do this to scoff at this proverb, or does God enjoy this bit of irony as He gives them over to this modern fashion statement?

It’s easy to poke fun, but we might be lacking good judgement ourselves when we do. I know at least one, nose-ring-wearing feminist, and I love this person and I hope that God will call her to Jesus someday. She and I have a very similar history, and I know that any good judgment that I have came from God.

I’ve been a very foolish person in many ways, and as I’ve written about before, my lousy judgment had a lot to do with living with a trauma-riddled brain. It’s amazing how difficult it is to make good, wise, and strong decisions when you have no real bases for what is true, what is good, and when you do not trust your own perceptions of reality. I don’t know how common this is, but I sympathize with women who are foolish because of trauma thinking.

I also know that Jesus can do amazing things. He can teach us discretion (judgement). In-fact, I think that those who do not trust in themselves and their own judgment are just the sort of people that Jesus can use and teach, because He is glorified in them since they know just how foolish they naturally are without Him.

There are a lot of women in our society that need to learn sound judgment. There is an epidemic of sorts in this regard, leading to all sorts of problems in our nation.

It does not matter how a woman looks outwardly when she does not value the right things.

If a woman does not value strong, male leadership, then she will find herself trying to do it all on her own or joined with someone who makes her feel as if she might as well be alone—or worse yet—wind up moving from man to man because she attracts the wrong sorts of people.

If a woman does not value motherhood, she might jump on the bandwagon of “my body, my choice,” thereby condoning the murder of her children before they are ever born. Or she might take up motherhood half-heartedly and negligently while she makes friends with other moms who justify her bad mothering.

If a woman values serving herself instead of others, she will find praise in a society that encourages her to do whatever makes her happy, no matter who she hurts along the way. Women today are encouraged to be vain, self-serving, and to distort reality in favor of “their truth.” Their unhealthy lifestyles and poor mental states are considered brave and fashionable.

A society full of damaged women without good judgment is sure to fail.

I know of a woman who was raised by a mother who lacked good judgment. This mother was emotionally and physically abusive and encouraged all sorts of worldly mindsets, including a half-hearted Christianity based on an idea of an all-love Jesus with no standards of righteousness because we are simply forgiven when we pray a prayer once. This woman was raised to hate men and to rely on herself, but she was also raised to hate herself and to do whatever she must to get even the smallest morsels of love, even if that meant denying her own boundaries and judgments.

This woman I know feels as if our society is being raised by her mother, and it’s going to be hell.

Yet, there is hope for all of us in Jesus.

If we turn to Him, He can do amazing things. He can free our minds from untruths as He shows us His truth and makes us strong in Him. He can take that ring out of the pig’s snout, put it to the fire, reshape it, and make it into something new and useful. I know because I have experienced it, and there is more to be done. There’s always more to be done, but we can still look at what has been done and be thankful.

Truly, nothing can get in-between our Savior and those He chooses to save. Nothing.

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:21“Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.”

The purpose of this bible study in The Proverbs is to consider present-day events in terms of the teachings and wisdom of Jesus ChristFollow in WordPress or subscribe by email (red button at the bottom of each page below the comments) if you would like to join this discussion and receive updates of future postsVisit the link above for easy access to all posts within this series.