“We can know that we know God only if we walk “the narrow, hard way.”
(Walt Henrichsen – Day 216 Red Book)
I pray you have had a productive week “in” the Lord….
This week I was going through some old stuff (oh, that endless stuff) and thought about this backpacking trip years ago when I was a Scoutmaster. I have used this photo before, but wanted to pull it up again. It was from a 50-mile backpacking trip down the Paria Canyon, one of the longest & deepest slot canyons in the world, just outside Page Arizona. Regardless, you seldom see backpacking on your hands and knees 🙂
Here is a photo (with flash) of two of the boys in one section of the slot canyon. In certain areas the walls are so high that even at 12 noon it’s dark while you hike. As we were backpacking, a small cloud dumped some rain miles upstream and when it hit the slot the water started to rise. Even though the U.S. Park Service gave us a green light, it’s times like this that give you pause. You have to keep your mind focused and persevere. Trust me, it’s not that simple. The boys were concerned and the leaders had to keep the morale up and make sure none of the boys pulled a boot off in the suction-like mud your hiking through. There were moments where the journey was “narrow and hard.”
These moments can be analogous of our walk with Christ. What are you willing to do for the cause of Christ? Do you wake up ready to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). How about denying yourself and taking up your cross every day ready to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). Are you asking the Lord to be crucified with Him and to fellowship in His sufferings (Gal 2:20, Phil 3:10). Are you staying disciplined to have solid time in the Word and quiet time communing with the Creator of the Universe? Are you obedient to His commands? These are just a few of the things that will keep you on that narrow path. According to Jesus own words, the way that leads to life is narrow and hard and FEW FIND IT.
As you prepare for this upcoming weekend, take some time to evaluate how you are going to spend the time that God has given to you. Remember, “What do you have that you did not receive….?” (1 Cor 4:7)
His power is made perfect in our weakness,
“But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ…..” (Philippians 3)
The Narrow Gate and Where Do You Want to Live – Red Book Day 216 & 339
The purpose of these devotionals is to help you think Biblically
Audio Message of the Week:
Reprobate mind at highest level – By John MacArthur (9 min)
A brother in the bay area sent this clip from one of MacArthur’s sermons. I can’t think too many would preach this Biblical message from the pulpit today!
Click Here: https://youtu.be/AndplFBcWFY
Video of the Week:
The American Gospel: Christ Crucified – 2hr 56min Trailer: https://youtu.be/nDW19ItmZXQ
If you liked The American Gospel: Christ Alone, you will appreciate this one! The gospel message of “Christ crucified” has always been offensive. In our culture it is common for preachers to soften the offense of the cross, and the attributes of God that are displayed in the person of work of Jesus Christ. “American Gospel: Christ Crucified” explores how the paths of post-modernism and progressive Christianity lead to a different gospel, and a god created in our own image.
Facts of the Matter 10/5/2005
THE NARROW PATH
Picture a modern eight lane highway with scores of high speed cars cruising with ease down its expansive thoroughfare. Unnoticed and off to the side is a crooked narrow path, fraught with hazards that winds its way steeply up the side of the mountain. If you look closely enough you will observe one lonely pilgrim, staff in hand, arduously working his way up its demanding corridor.
Those cruising the highway who happen to notice the path taken by the struggling pilgrim would naturally conclude that such a course is,
- Not for us big dogs
- Too demanding
- Rather odd and out of step with the main stream
Jesus spoke of this path, “Go by the narrow gate. For the wide gate has a broad road which leads to disaster and there are many people going that way. The narrow gate and the hard road lead out into life and only a few are finding it.” (Matt. 7:13,14 Phillips)
Christ’s statement is in league with other “narrow” Biblical pronouncements, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again… Without holiness no one will see the Lord… Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” …. Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn. 3:3b; Heb. 12:14b; Matt. 7:21; Jn. 14:6)
Our natural response is to reject what appears to be truth that restricts. Yet exacting truth can spell the difference between life and death: Remember the erroneous “O” rings related to the tragic destruction of the “Challenger” space craft? Or the 900 sincere but misguided Cool Aid drinkers in South America?
The narrow path could be a teenager who, against extreme social pressure chooses to say “no” to pre-marital sex. Or a businessman who decides against the common practice of padding his expense account. Or a person who refuses to allow into his mind any stimuli that does not meet the high standard of Philippians 4:8: That which is “ true – honorable – right – pure – lovely – admirable – excellent – and worthy of praise.”
The irony is that the narrow path leads to freedom rather than bondage and to eternal life. The alternative path titillates us in the immediate but in the long term proves to be a dead end street of disillusionment and death.
Which path are you really choosing?
~R. Dwight Hill~
Ok, after all that, here is a great hymn that is so calming: ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
William J. Kirkpatrick – 1882