Beware Isolation

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired (1 Corinthians 12:18 ) Consider the analogies we have for Satan in the Bible: a ravenous wolf (we are sent as sheep among WOLVES into this world) and a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. How do both lions and wolves hunt? When prowling or stalking a heard of potential prey, they seek out the loners, the weak, the young, the elderly, the inexperienced. They then seek to separate one of these from the herd. Once isolated, the prey is surrounded and literally gang-tackled and slaughtered. Unless God Himself is calling an individual to isolation for a season of seeking His face and His will, for a season of intimacy with the Lord, unless that is the cause of your isolation, then a Christian ought NEVER to be an island, isolated and alone. No, we are a BODY, one body of believers in Christ each dependent upon, responsible for and bound by love to the others. God has placed you in THE body of Christ generally and in A body of believers specifically. Stay connected and fulfill your purpose within that body and do not be afraid or apprehensive about receiving from that body the ministry that God would deliver unto you. Whether Kole Qara Christ and Church without Walls or Voices on Fire for Christ or some other body of believers, you were meant to minister and be ministered to WITHIN a community. Amen?

Wake Up Sleeping Bride by Sister Claudia Torres

In these last days, so many Christian have had the opportunity to taste and see the goodness of Jesus Christ and the power on His resurrection life. How merciful is our God that saved poor wretches like us when no one cared about us, when there was no hope. Jesus didn't wait for us to get it all together; He doesn't wait for some light of hope, some good thing in us that we bring to the table. But "while we were yet sinners," the great shepherd of our souls went out into the darkness of our dead, sinful, rebellious lives and shined the light of His life on us. Yet, it is so sad that some of us take this grace and mercy for granted and use His great love as a license to sin, to allow worldly passions and pursuits to share His glory and fill our hearts, lives and even our churches. How sad that while our brethren in other nations MUST hide their faith or risk imprisonment or death, many Christian who have been given the liberty to worship God, to read the Bible in different styles, versions, colors and languages, to pray publicly, many who have been blessed with liberty would rather use it as a license to feed sinful lusts than to fulfill their blood bought purpose in Christ. All over the world, so many are persecuted for this gospel and what we are doing with this great salvation? Wake up brother and sister! It is not time to play games. The enemy of our souls and of our Christ is masquerading as an angel of light, wrapping sin, flesh, rebellion and death in beautiful, appealing lies to mislead, if possible, even the elect.(Mat 24:24). These ARE the perilous times! Remember how Christ in His very last teaching before being turned over to the religious authorities of His day, warned His disciples that they were to remain IN the world but not be OF this world (John 14), how that Jesus taught in the sermon on the mount that it is terribly troubling to be loved by this world but a great blessing to be rejected by it for His sake (Mat 5). Those who belong to God do not love the things of this world (1 John 2:15) for they know that the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:17). WAKE UP, you who sleep. The alarm is sounding. The bridegroom comes! Trim your lamps; pour in fresh oil of the Holy Spirit and shine forth Christ in this world. Our time is short. Now is the hour of salvation; but when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith, will He find faithfulness in the earth? Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing (Mat 24:45-46). To obey is better than sacrifice. Its time to wake up. AWAKE, SLEEPING BRIDE!

Song of Songs Sampling 3: Day 3- O, How He Loves Us

Song of Songs 1:8-11 If you yourself do not know, most beautiful among women, go forth on the trail of the flock and pasture your young goats by the tents of the shepherds. To me, my darling, you are... The Kings first comments to the bride acknowledge her singular beauty (MOST beautiful among women) and encourage her to pasture her young goats among the tents of his shepherds. The Christ loves His Church, His bride, even while we are as babes in Christ, stumbling & struggling between our new-found devotion and the habits and ways of our past. If we desire to learn of the Lord and grow in intimacy, then, like the Bride of Songs, we must bring our goats (those ideas, preconceptions, experiences, etc. that, while precious to us, must later be separated from the sheep) and go to the good pastors who feed their sheep sound doctrine and lead them in the paths that draw us away from this world system and deeper into the Way, which is Christ our Lord... The King follows this advice with encouraging words of praise for his bride. He sees her as unique and precious and desires to bless and adorn her with precious things... [Christ] offers to us the zoe perisosthe superabundant life. For we read in 2 Peter 1:3 that His divine power has granted to us EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. O, How precious, how wonderful, how unfathomable the greatness of His grace, love and compassion toward us! Just as a man puts a ring on the finger of his betrothed to remind her of his promised commitment to her and of their soon-coming day of matrimony, our Lord has given us His Holy Spirit as the seal of our betrothal and as a first fruits of the eternal bliss that awaits us. What great love the Lord has for us!

Songs of Songs Sample 1: Introduction

The Song of Songs tells the deeply romantic saga of Solomon & the Shulamite woman's relationship from falling in love, to betrothal to marriage and stands within the pages of the Bible as an example for romance and marriage within the community of believers. However, as any remotely serious student of scripture knows, the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation is a book about Christ, a revelation of God's nature, character, person and purpose. Thus Songs also serves as a metaphor for the Love between Jesus the Christ and His beloved Bride, the New Jerusalem built of living stones which we are, or more simply, the Church. Through this series, I will endeavor by the power of the Holy Spirit to share samplings of a larger devotional, which the Holy Spirit is placing on my heart and which, should He allow, will be published and made available in its entirety at a later date. Together we will walk through the pages of Songs seeking to glean what the Spirit allows from these pages about the love of Christ for the Church and the Love that we, His betrothed, ought to manifest toward our Lord and Savior, the great Lover of our Souls. May you find a deeper intimacy, a closer walk, greater victory and a more driven devotion as we journey into the Song of Songs, which is Solomon's.

Song of Songs Sampling 2: Day 1 Longing for Intimacy

May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine. Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you. Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers. We will rejoice in you and be glad; We will extol your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you. (Songs 1:2-4) Songs opens with the Brides confession of her need for intimacy and companionship of her Beloved. His love is better than wine and His name is purified oil. In the Bible wine symbolizes joy and celebration while oil represents healing, anointing, priesthood and/or royalty. To the Christian, the name of Jesus invokes a flood of emotions and draws the believer into the presence of the King where there is safety, security, peace, hope and joy unspeakable for our Lord is never further than the mention of His name and in His presence there is fullness of joy.. May the kisses of His Word be sweet upon your heart, His presence powerfully felt and your heart run to and with the Lover of your soul who died that you may live. Be blessed in the Lord Jesus! Amen?

One Gate One Path Part 7 (Conclusion)

Mathew 7:13-14:Enter through the narrow gate.  .  .  Forthe gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few there bethat find it.

 

At last, having bypassed the wide, pliable gate andthe broad road and having come through the straight gate, we come to theglorious narrow path.  The word fornarrow here means pressed upon, compressed and straining like the pressing ofgrapes to produce new wine or of olives to produce fresh oil.  It implies pressure, affliction, conflict andsuffering. Remember that when Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the lifeHe used this same word for way.  O,glorious narrow Way!

You see, the narrow way is a life where I no longerlive but Christ lives through me.  It isnot MY being pressed and crushed; it is not about MY suffering, determinationand effort.  It is ALL Christ.  I surrender my life & will to Hiswill.  It begins with a Gethsemane momentwhere I recognize my sin and the futility of my efforts at righteousness.  I confess and repent of my sin, recognize theLordship of Jesus Christ, and accept His free offer of LIFE.  Immediately, I am reborn, regenerated with anew heart, new spirit and the very Holy Spirit of God comes to make His home inme.  Then begins the process ofsanctification whereby my mind is transformed by His word; my spirit and newheart are strengthened and directed by His loving presence; the old heart isslowly removed and my flesh is brought into subjection to the new spirituallife that is the zoe perissosthe abundant new life of Christ, absolutefullness of the God kind of life!

Dear friend, from Gethsemane to Calvary, Christsuffered, was betrayed, tortured and crucified for OUR sin.  From the grave to Resurrection Sunday, He triumphedover every enemy, taking captivity captive, spoiling principalities and conqueringof Death, Hell & the grave. Jesus paid it all; He dealt with every excuse,every malady of the heart, every sin, bondage, brokenness and abuse of thehuman condition.  YOU have an opportunityto come through the narrow gate of the torn flesh of the Son of God whosuffered and died for YOUR sins, to walk the narrow road of salvation thatleads to life.  Would you join the fewwho find true salvation and new life in Jesus Christ by surrendering your lifeto His will and allowing Him to guide your future and give you new dreams andplans in accordance with His will for your life?  Pray to Him; repent and be SAVED!  . .  .

One Gate One Path Day 6- The Narrow, Small Gate

Matthew 7:13-14:Enter through the narrow gate.  .  .  Forthe gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few there bethat find it.

 

We have considered the wide and pliable gate, thebroad road and the popularity and utter ruin that come from these.  Now, by contrast let us see the gloriouslittle gate that leads to the path of LIFE. Slow down, weary wanderer, or you will miss it entirely.  This gate is small or narrow.  Its name in Greek is stenos meaning not onlysmall, straight and narrow, but deriving from a root word meaning to groan, tostrive with anguish or distress.  Thisgate is so narrow that it will take effort, distress, a stripping away and aleaving behind of much to even get through it. You will have to give up some things, be stripped of certainpossessions.  But fear not, the greatestanguish, the true pain and suffering required of the narrow gate has beenaccomplished by another.


You see, on the narrow road you have a guide, aMaster, a conquering King who has gone before you.  He was wounded for our transgressions,bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was laid upon Him andby HIS stripes, His wounds, His sufferings, we are healed of our sin sickness,cleansed of our mortal disease, of the weakness and infirmity of iniquity.  Jesus paid it ALL!  The narrow gate has a lock called Calvary anda key called the Cross.  All who enterherein must come through the veil of the torn flesh of the Christ who paid theprice of admission. We must pause from our journey, from all our strivings andvisit Calvary.  .  .   

One Gate One Path Day 5- The Broad Way

Matthew 7:13:" for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction,and there are many who enter through it."

 

We are now ready to consider the path and outcome ofthose who enter by the wide gate.  Thisflexible, have-it-your-way, carpe diem (YOLO )gate leads to a broad and spacious pathwhere every decision of life is open to interpretation, where truth, good andevil are relative terms, where every person chooses his or her own path and allpaths converge to form one broad way that leads to DESTRUCTION!

You see the pliable gate leads to a broad way whereSELF sits on the throne of Christ. Whether one claims to be a Christian or not is irrelevant because allthose on the broad path live essentially by the same ethic, the foundationalethic of Luciferianism: do as THOU wilt or more simply do you.  Life is consumed in following MY dreams, MYplans, fulfilling MY desires, finding MY best life NOW!  This life is popular because it appeals toour desire to be our own god, to live however we like and believe that nomatter the path I choose as long as I can find some personal definition of goodin it, I am still a good person.  Manyalso choose this path because it is the path of least resistance, the path ofmany where I can be popular and never have to stand up for true righteousness.

BEWARE, weary traveler, when you find yourself onthe broad path for Christ assures us that it leads to destruction: apoleiautterdestruction and eternal ruin.  What doesit profit you to gain the whole world, to be popular with people now andfulfill your lusts now, and chase a fleeting empty dream now, yet forfeit youreternal soul to the destruction of hell? James 4:4 warns that friendship with the worldthis world system, itsethics, beliefs, ideals and goalsis ENMITY with God.  There are no two ways about it; if you are onthe broad and popular path with all the world, you are walking away from Godand toward eternal destruction.  Turnback, weary traveler; turn back to God!

One Gate One Path Day 5- The Broad Way

Matthew 7:13:" for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction,and there are many who enter through it."

 

We are now ready to consider the path and outcome ofthose who enter by the wide gate.  Thisflexible, have-it-your-way, carpe diem (YOLO )gate leads to a broad and spacious pathwhere every decision of life is open to interpretation, where truth, good andevil are relative terms, where every person chooses his or her own path and allpaths converge to form one broad way that leads to DESTRUCTION!

You see the pliable gate leads to a broad way whereSELF sits on the throne of Christ. Whether one claims to be a Christian or not is irrelevant because allthose on the broad path live essentially by the same ethic, the foundationalethic of Luciferianism: do as THOU wilt or more simply do you.  Life is consumed in following MY dreams, MYplans, fulfilling MY desires, finding MY best life NOW!  This life is popular because it appeals toour desire to be our own god, to live however we like and believe that nomatter the path I choose as long as I can find some personal definition of goodin it, I am still a good person.  Manyalso choose this path because it is the path of least resistance, the path ofmany where I can be popular and never have to stand up for true righteousness.

BEWARE, weary traveler, when you find yourself onthe broad path for Christ assures us that it leads to destruction: apoleiautterdestruction and eternal ruin.  What doesit profit you to gain the whole world, to be popular with people now andfulfill your lusts now, and chase a fleeting empty dream now, yet forfeit youreternal soul to the destruction of hell? James 4:4 warns that friendship with the worldthis world system, itsethics, beliefs, ideals and goalsis ENMITY with God.  There are no two ways about it; if you are onthe broad and popular path with all the world, you are walking away from Godand toward eternal destruction.  Turnback, weary traveler; turn back to God!

One Gate One Path Day 4- the Wide Gate

Matthew 7:14: "Enter through thenarrow..."

 

Let us consider the popular, wide gate.  This gate is well liked and chosen by manybecause wide not only means that it is easily accessible, but the Greek here[platys] means pliable, flexible, easily reshaped.  We often harp on the narrow road as the wayof false religion and non-christian beliefs, and so it is.  But would you consider, dear friend, that themodern, "gotta-be-relevant," American Christian church alsoencompasses many who entered their "Christian Life" by way of the WIDEgate?  Theirs is a flexible,have-it-your-way, buffet style Christianity where the "believer"chooses which parts of the Bible to accept, how to live and even whether or notthere will be a heaven or hell.  Thispsuedochristianity allows its professors to mold Jesus to their own likingallowing them to feel free of the burden & guilt of sin while taking on NORESPONSIBILITY to live holy.  They go tochurch on Sunday, (if they FEEL like it and it's convenient); but they areequally or even more comfortable in a bar, night club or house party. Theyspend much time & energy watching tv and enjoying worldly entertainment,but have little or no time for prayer or Bible reading.  Such believers make statement like, "Iknow the Bible says... but MY Jesus..." or "I believe in Jesus, but Ichoose to live my life..." or more simply, "MY Jesusunderstands."  THIS IS NOTCHRISTIANITY!

Such pretenders to the faith ignore such verses asJames 2:19-20 "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even thedemons believe--and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faithwithout works is dead?"  Jesus,Himself addressed such pretenders to the faith in Mat 7: 21-23, "Noteveryone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, buthe who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not... in Yourname?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, youwho practice lawlessness!"  Here wesee people who EMPHATICALLY profess allegiance to Jesus Christ crying"Lord! Lord!" and having done many great works in His name; but thetestimony of Jesus against them is that He NEVER knew them and that they are"workers of lawlessness."  Thatphrase literally means "those who live as though I never gave them a lawto follow."  Believers are free fromthe old law; but we are beholden to Christ's law of love and God's moral law,if you are a true born-again believer, is written on your heart.

If you call yourself a Christian, but your Christianexperience allows you to shape and mold Jesus to YOUR desire, if you are morecomfortable in the world than involved in the things of God, TURN BACK, turnback NOW and find the narrow gate that is Christ alone.  Amen?

One Gate, One Path Day 3: Significnce of Gates

Before we consider our choices and evaluate thefirst point of entry, the Wide Gate, we must note first the deeper meaning ofgates to the culture to which Christ was speaking. The Greek word here [pyle]represents not only the entryway or threshold to a new city or realm, but alsothe powers, administrators and ruling authorities of that realm. To "enterby the ____ gate" then means to make a choice, enter into a particularcondition of life, to bend the knee and recognize a ruling authority over yourlife. As Joshua put it so eloquently: "Choose you this day whom you shallserve..."

Friends, there is a most ominous and vital choicebefore you this morning. You may thin that you can delay or ignore thatdecision but to delay or avoid, to stand back and claim neutrality is to make achoice. Jesus said, "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who doesnot gather with Me, scatters" (Luke 11:23). Make a choice today to standfor righteousness, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, to submit to His willand purposes for your life, to enter through the Narrow Gate.

One Gate, One Path Day 3: Significnce of Gates

Before we consider our choices and evaluate thefirst point of entry, the Wide Gate, we must note first the deeper meaning ofgates to the culture to which Christ was speaking. The Greek word here [pyle]represents not only the entryway or threshold to a new city or realm, but alsothe powers, administrators and ruling authorities of that realm. To "enterby the ____ gate" then means to make a choice, enter into a particularcondition of life, to bend the knee and recognize a ruling authority over yourlife. As Joshua put it so eloquently: "Choose you this day whom you shallserve..."

Friends, there is a most ominous and vital choicebefore you this morning. You may thin that you can delay or ignore thatdecision but to delay or avoid, to stand back and claim neutrality is to make achoice. Jesus said, "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who doesnot gather with Me, scatters" (Luke 11:23). Make a choice today to standfor righteousness, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, to submit to His willand purposes for your life, to enter through the Narrow Gate.

One Gate One Path Day 2: Two Choice, ONE Way

 Matthew 7:13: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gateis wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many whoenter through it."

 

The nextthing we will notice about this verse is that there are only two gates, tworoads, two types of people. In this life either you are righteous or sinful,saved or lost, born again or spiritually dead,  a child of God or a servant of Satan. I know welike to think that "all roads lead to Rome;" that there's a highway,a broad walk, a stairway and a thousand other ways to heaven and that every"good person" is going to heaven as long as they approach God somesort of way. Such thoughts are comforting, humanistic and WRONG! Jesus said"I am THE way, THE truth and THE life. No one comes to the Father exceptthrough ME." Jesus didn't come to make bad men good; He came to make deadmen live! This is the essential difference between Christianity and every otherknown religion: the human heart loves religion- rules, rituals and standardsestablished by and enforced by men that allow us to believe that we are pullingourselves up by our spiritual boot straps and making ourselves acceptable toGod, earning our way into paradise. Jesus reminds us that all of ourrighteousness is filthy rags because such efforts assume our own perfection androb God of the glory and credit for HIS sanctifying work in our lives. Bycontrast, Jesus invites you and me to die to our own efforts; accept thesinless perfection of His life as a sacrifice for the penalty of OUR sin; tosurrender our lives to Him and allow Him to make us perfectly righteous beforea holy God.

To be free of ALL your sin, guilt, striving andefforts and submit to the will of God; to be given by the only Perfect, Goodand Holy Being in the universe a new heart, new spirit and the POWER to renewyour mind: THAT'S BORN AGAIN NEW LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS! Either you are followingHim or you are walking away from Him. If you are walking away from God and you findreligion, make adjustments and choose a new direction 90 degrees different fromyour previous life, despite all of your efforts, you are still walking in thewrong direction on the broad path; but if you surrender ALL to Christ Jesus;give Him the reigns to your life, that's born again, that's the narrow road. .. . and few there be that find it. May you be blessed to be counted among thefew.

Counting All Things Loss

I count allthings loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: forwhom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that Imay win Christ.     -Philippians3:8 KJV

 

      Brothers and sister in Christ, as we approachfall and the holiday seasons, especially Thanksgiving Day, with anticipationand gratitude, what is the focus of our giving thanks?  How often do we rush to give thanks forwealth, homes, possessions, positions, accomplishments,.  . .  blessings?  All the while forgetting the pearl of greatprice, the treasure hid in these earthen vessels.  We have access to the very throne room of theAlmighty Creator and Lord of heaven and earth. He calls us daily to eat at a table more precious than any set here onearth:  the banquet table of intimacywith our Lord.  Yet how many of us arefocused on THIS table?  How many of uswill stop the chaos of the holiday season or awake early, not to get to thatspecial early bird sale, but to seek the face that shines like the morning starand partake of the life-giving bread of His presence?  We focus our time energies and even ourprayers on getting things and getting ahead and winning the race.  But do we pause to ask what race?  What prize? What am I chasing?

      Pauls words to the Philippian churchremind us that we have the opportunity to take up our crosses, follow Jesus andwin the very heart of Christ.  In hislife-changing book, Hungry for More of Jesus, Pastor David Wilkerson remindsus, we win Christ by the choices we make that are pleasing to him, decisionsthat prove our faithfulness to feed only on Him.  If we love Him unreservedly, hungering forHim continuously, we will remember Him in every choice.  We will ask ourselves, Will this pleaseHim?  Will it make Him say to the angels,See, My love has left all else for Me? Beloved, this holiday season let us give thanks, not with words alonebut with our actions and attitudes, for the access we have to Gods veryheart.  Let us join the apostle Paul indetermining to win Christ.  May God blessyou richly with a deeper walk with Him as you hunger to win His heart.

One Gate, One Path to Glory

A Devotional Reflection on Matthew 7:13-23

V13: "Enter through the narrow gate; forthe gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there aremany who enter through it."Before we approach any discourse on the Jesus'famed teaching on the two paths of life, before we engage the reality thatthere are only two choices in life- either you are saved or lost, righteous orsinful, alive in Christ or dead to God, redeemed or damned, a child of God or servantof Satan- before we consider the gates/points of entry or even the differencesbetween the broad and the narrow paths, let us consider the opening imperativeas it is presented here in two These two words- in the Greek, eiserchomai dia-represent a divine imperative. The phrase means to enter into a condition,state of being or state of employment "by few" meaning to do so withurgency. Brothers and sisters, as we embark upon a study of the divine andheavenly narrow path vs. the diabolical broad road, let us first note that wemust take God at His word and make a decision with urgency and care. May theLord lead us into his Word and truth and make our hearts ready to hear what Hewould speak to us.