The Road Less Traveled

The possibility of two roads demanding our choice of one is an old concept.
M. Scott Peck (1936-2005) wrote “The Road Less Traveled” using Frost’s theme for his title.
Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” contains the line “Yes, there are two paths you can go by…”
Jesus also said there are two paths from which we may choose. One is broad and leads to destruction; the other is narrow and             leads to life. (Matt. 7:13-14)
The Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu scriptures written at least two centuries before Christ, describes two paths to gain emancipation.   (One is better than the other.)
Jesus also said, “I am the way…” (John 14:6)

While all Christians acknowledge that Jesus is the way, most stop at a point in time–the time they “got saved,” not realizing that   He said He was the ‘Way’–not just a point at the crossroads.
Sincere Christians then begin to walk one of two paths, neither of which is the way to complete salvation/emancipation.

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Jesus Was an Anti-social Rebel

Check for images of Jesus on Google, and the plethora of possibilities is quite pronounced. Each of them, including the photos of actors portraying the Son of Man, is different. There was a certain tendency, however, until modern times, to portray Him as somber and/or soft. Most of the religious imagery until the 20th century falls into this category.
Sadly, our concept of the man is often colored by the images we’ve seen, rather than by the Book we’ve read.

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Dry Places

2 Peter 3:9a   The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, …

Moses spent 40 years on the backside of the desert–a dry place–waiting to hear from God. Took God that long to get Moses ready for the work he was called to do.

The nation Israel spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness–a dry place–waiting to get to the promised land. Took God that long to get them ready to conquer the inhabitants.

Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness–a dry place–waiting to hear from God. The only voice He heard was that of Satan.

Although we know that the Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness, it does seem that He tends to take forever when we are the ones doing the waiting. Once I’ve gone more than a few days without hearing from the Lord or sensing His presence, I would usually begin to question even my salvation.

I am once again in a dry place–and I sense that there are many others also in the same experience.

The dry places will do one of two things for us:

1. We will either dry up and blow away, or

2 We will send our roots down deeper looking for water.

As for me, I no longer question the mind of the Lord. I will send my roots down deeper and wait for Him.

How about you?

NOTE: after posting this today, I came across another post with a video that relates to our struggle. Check out the video by Tenth Avenue North on this blog.

Philippians 1:9-12

Php 1:9-12
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;    KJV

We have been studying these four verses this week, and giving our insights, thoughts, and applications at Philter48, a forum set up by a couple of brothers in the Lord for this purpose. Everyone is welcome to participate in this ongoing study as we seek to live out what it means to have “every joint supply” (Ephesians 4:16) that which is necessary for the Body.

It is a verse-by-verse study, which can sometimes become tedious, and sometimes bring up things that are not necessarily the main intent of the passage, but always enhances our understanding and experience in the Lord. So, join us, please.

Paul is stuck in prison as he writes this letter. Rather than asking for prayer for his release or safety or any other personal thing at this time, he prays for the saints at Philippi. (For those who do not know how to pronounce that word, I’ll steal a line from Swanny who wrote Fill-A-Pie).

When he prays for the saints at Philippi, I take that as a prayer for me also, and a lesson is contained within the prayer itself.

Paul indicates that the Philippian saints were a manifestation of love when he prays that their love may abound even more.

But, this is not some sort of a fuzzy, touchy-feely kind of love, as we shall see further into the letter. It is a love that is manifested in action. Here, though, the apostle wants their love to abound by increasing in knowledge and judgment.

We can see from this that true agape love does not just accept and tolerate anything and everything that comes along, but is most truly shown by its exercise of discernment. It is a love that knows how to distinguish between good and evil, and between the good and the not-so-good. And that discernment has a purpose: to keep one pure and blameless until the day of Christ.

In other words, it is not enough to just love. It is not enough to just know. It is not enough to distinguish. One must act on love’s discerning knowledge.

That action, that doing what is called for in the moment by reason of a loving awareness, will produce the fruits of righteousness in the believer.

Lest they forget and think that it is by their good efforts, Paul reminds them that it ALL is by Jesus Christ. The love, the knowledge, the discernment, the sincerity, and the blamelessness are all of Him. He provides, leads, and guides; and it is up to me to do. But even the doing is of Him.

When will I ever get to the place where I realize on a moment-by-moment basis that I am nothing without Him? When will I get to the place that I do not secretly long for some sort of recognition?

 

NOTE: For a good read about one who is learning to trust the Lord on a moment-by-moment basis, read This is The Day.

Blogged Bible Study–John 19

Done!

John 19:30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.   KJV

When my middle school students would be given an assignment in class, they would call out, “I’m done!” when they had finished it. Quality was not the issue for them, but getting through the requirement.

Jesus had a goal–an assignement, a task–and He set His face toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) to complete His assigned task. His task, and His commitment to that task, however, included quality. Perfection was His aim.

According to this verse in Luke, Jesus understood that it was time for His “being taken up.” The Ascension–His being seated at the right hand of the Father–was the ultimate goal.

He knew that the way to accomplish this also included the cross, yet He set His face toward Jerusalem. He was so determined in His demeanor that the people did not try to dissuade Him from His course.

Do you have that sort of determination about the things the Lord gives you to accomplish? Are you so determined to fulfill the will of God in your life that neither people, places, nor things can distract you?

I’m not there yet; but I am moving in that direction. Are you?

When Jesus had accomplished all that the Father had given Him to do, He said, “It is finished.” And with that, His earthly life and ministry was completed.

Done.

That was not all that was finished, however.

God’s plan for eternal redemption for a lost humanity was also completed, for that was the purpose of Jesus’ ministry. (Luke 19:10)

When that was completed–when He said, “DONE!”–all was accomplished.

When all was accomplished, I was included in that statement.

Were you?

 

NOTE: for other insights into this chapter of John by other writers who have the Spirit of God, go here.

Blindness

2 Corinthians 4:4

among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. (NET)

whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV)

in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NASB)

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NIV)

Is there a difference between the god of the age in which Paul wrote these words and the god of the present age? Probably not. Most believers recognize the “god of this age” as Satan.

But, then we can classify what it is that people of the age worship, such as money, power, prestige, fame, etc. Again, we would be hard-pressed to make a dinstinctive difference for the two ages. We do not know for a certainty, however, what it was like in those times. However, we do have some witnesses who have left us written records.

Is it important to know if there is a distinction? NO.

Why?

Because the result is the same–they are blinded to the light of the gospel.

Are they victims? The plain statement is that they have been blinded by an outside force. In our society of today we take that to mean “It’s not my fault! Someone else has done this to me!” And so we cry and bemoan our miserable situation.

And the Lord has spoken plainly to us about that very thing:

Proverbs 19:3
The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the LORD. (NKJV)
A person’s folly subverts his way, and his heart rages against the Lord. (NET)
A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD. (NIV)
People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD. (NLT)

The truth, however, is hidden in plain sight–unbelief is the cause. Satan can only blind those who do not believe.

And that, my friend, is your responsibility.

To believe, or not to believe; that is the question, is it not?

You have been given more than one opportunity to believe the Lord Jesus, and to this point you may have rejected those opportunities. But, you are here today, reading this blog by the mercy of God.

Today is your day.

Stop your unbelief. Believe, and call on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

John 18–Blogged Bible Study

What is Truth?

Jn 18:38
Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?      KJV

Is it not interesting that Jesus did not respond to this question?

I imagine (please note that this is my imagination, not the Word!) that Pilate asked that question with a sneering attitude:
       “Humph! You Jews have one group that lords it over everyone else because they are sinners. And you have another group that thinks they are special because they are the only ones who know there is no resurrection. And you have another group who is looking for some sort of messiah to rescue them from Caesar’s rule. Each group claims to have the truth. So, Big Shot, what is truth?”

And since Jesus found no sincere asking, He did not respond. He had been responding. But not now.

He had already told everyone who would listen that He was the truth (John 14:6).

And had he answered Pilate with the truth of “I am,” would Pilate have been able to stand? (for more on this thought from another writer to this blog click here.)

There had to be a reason that Jesus did not reply, did not say anything.

Is it necessary that I always have a response or a retort to whatever is spoken in my direction?

Is it not possible that truth would be better served by my silence in some situations?

Must I always run off at the mouth?

Ps 141:3
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.     KJV

NOTE: Others also contribute to this study throughout the week. Go here to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches