bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Faith, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

The Narrow Gate

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:13‬
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This narrow gate comes with a shepherd to guide us. When we hold fast to Him our way is made sure.
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Join me starting Dec 7 as we explore 25 of the 1,000s of promises of God through the Book of Isaiah. “Follow” my blog to receive your daily “Hold The Line” posts.
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10 Bold Bible Verses To Read Today

What lies are you fighting right now? Bold faith, trust in God, and knowing His love for you are the weapons against satan’s ever present lies.

1. “The One born of God keeps me safe — the evil one cannot harm me” 1 John 5:18

You are a child of God. A raging battle is going on in the spiritual world for your soul. Knowing that your father is fighting for you and trusting that all things are done for your good gives us strength. Many Christians have issues with the idea of satan. But as I discussed with a fellow Christian, the Bible does not shy away from satan. Jesus had a number of conversations with him. If you are going to accept the blessings from God you need to accept that satan is at work trying to keep those blessings from you.

2. “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jer 31:3

The only love that will never fade is the love God has for us. It never wavers, it never decreases. Even if your physical world is not filled with love, we can draw on God’s love to persevere. This is not an easy task. A mom in a struggling marriage, with children who always seem disappointed in her said, “I remember that God loves me but sometimes I just need someone to physically hold me.” Run to the arms of the father. Fully surrender that need to God. He will light the way.

3. “He has rescued me from the darkness and I have redemption and forgiveness of sins.” Col 1:13-14

When we accept Jesus as our savior we throw up the lifeline to rescue us. Notice the word is rescue. If someone doesn’t want to be rescued they can make sure they aren’t. Throw up your hand and grasp His. You will be pulled out of your darkness. I have a Christian friend who had been a drug addict and alcoholic for many years tell me she had a dream of being a fish and a hook dropped down from out of the blue. She bit at it and it hooked her mouth and yanked her out of the sea. The next day she knew she never wanted another drink again in her life. God speaks in so many ways to us, just reach out.

4. “We are God’s handiwork.” Eph 2:10

When women sit around talking you’ll frequently hear us complaining about one body part or another. “I’m too chubby.” “Ugh, my hair.” “I wish my lips were plumper.” But think about it — you are uniquely you. You were created out of tiny DNA pieces that became you! It pains me to see satan’s forces at work taking our little complaints and elevating them to destroying our self-esteem. And worse, convincing people they are a mistake and must chop off body parts or take dangerous drugs to limit natural growth. No matter your height, your hips, your lips, your tomboy nature, your kinky hair, you are you and you are God’s creation. We’d save a lot of money and angst if we accepted that every time we looked in the mirror.

5. “I call you friend.” John 15:15

Boy do I wish I had known this when I was younger. An intimate relationship with Jesus and the Father not only brings us so many blessings but brings joy to the Almighty. He longs for that friendship. He will never stab you in the back. He will never forsake you. He is with you at 7:00 a.m. when your feet hit the floor and at 2:00 p.m. when you find out you were laid off. He’s even with you at 3:00 a.m. when your bills are swirling in your head. Pick up your spiritual cell phone and give Him a call.

6. “And I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Rom 8:28

I once heard a funny twist on “why do bad things happen to good people?” Instead, how about “why do good things happen to us bad people?” When we say “bad people” I’d bet most people think, “well, it’s not like I’ve killed someone or stolen a million dollars.” But a pastor asked, “Have you stolen anything at all? Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? Have you not been able to forgive someone? Have you ever coveted something?” In fact, there’s only one truly good person that something bad happened to — Jesus. And Jesus suffered on the cross so that our sins are forgiven. So with that in mind we must be thankful for the good stuff God sends our way and trust that any bad that we encounter God is working out a blessing for us somehow, someway in the end.

7. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs.” Eph 4:29

Yes, yes, we know not to gossip and to be kind to others. But are you gossiping about yourself? Are you unkind to yourself? When we talk to our friends, family and strangers how much do we tear ourselves down with “I’m not good at xy or z.” Or again with the physical degradation of ourselves? That’s not to say we should be boasting. But remember, we ARE God’s creation. So speak in positives. Don’t give the devil a hand up on tearing yourself or other’s down.

8. “As God’s co-worker (fill in the blank).” 2Cor 6:1

We are in this together. The entire story of the planet is built on covenants WITH God. He could’ve just made the animals and plants and wiped his hands on his robes and said, “Looks pretty darn good. Time for a nap.” But no, He made us. He made everything else FOR us. So He expects us to work with Him to tend to the needs of this glorious place. That includes sharing with others His love for His creation.

9. “We have the mind of Christ.” 1Cor 2:16

How often have you finished a prayer with “In Jesus’ name, Amen”? Do you know what it means? It means that Jesus is standing beside you, writing shorthand as you pray. He then takes that prayer to the Father and speaks for you. But the responsibility of a mature Christian is to discern the mind of Christ while speaking that prayer. We know His values and have His desires for us in mind. When we have the mind of Christ we can pray boldly and act boldly because we know that we are aligned with the spirit of God.

10. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

We can say we know God. We can know God loves us. We can see the blessings and be thankful. We can know the right things to do. But if we don’t go boldly and actually DO the Word of God can we really say we truly know God? We need to obey His Word and leave the consequences to Him. Surrender, trust and receive full blessings.

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Jesus, My Touchstone

The backdrop of our lives these last few months has been Covid but our “regular” lives haven’t stopped completely. What other trials have you experienced this year?
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On top of quarantine our family is facing cancer. My beloved mother in law has uterine cancer and has been receiving cancer treatments. Then after her 5th treatment she experienced another health emergency and was in the hospital for over a week. This incredibly vital, otherwise healthy, god-centered woman has really taken a hit. But her “down” days still are nothing of what I would expect of myself. She always has at least a glimmer of hope and trust. That’s why she is one of my touchstones.
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In John 12:9-11 the Jews were showing up in droves to meet Jesus and the man he had brought back from the dead. Lazarus was a powerful witness to Jesus’ divine authority. But the priests were threatened by this authority and looked to put Lazarus to death — again. There’s so many lessons in this vignette but I was struck with wondering what Lazarus must’ve been thinking. Here he had suffered a horrible illness and died. Then he was raised from the dead and now people wanted to kill him again because he was with Jesus. When was he going to get a break? And yet he stayed confidently with Jesus.
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When we are living witnesses of Jesus’ holy authority we are guaranteed to experience trials. When, in His name, we proclaim boldly what God wants for our lives we will be tested. But keeping Jesus firmly at our side will bring us through strengthened and loved.
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What are you being tested at today?
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Bold Steps

What bold steps have you taken? It’s time to rejoice. It’s time to re-ignite. It’s time to be honest. What steps have you taken toward your bold goals?

As a born “doer,” the Book of James really speaks to me. James writes, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?…As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” For many of you, fulfilling those deeds means having to be bold. And yet something is holding you back from having full faith that God has your back. For others, you have taken the step forward and are experiencing a revitalization.

You may be at a crossroad. I encourage you right now, at this very moment, to say a prayer and take that step forward.

IF YOU HAVE TAKEN BOLD STEPS PLEASE REPLY SO WE CAN CHEER YOU ON! IF YOU NEED ENCOURAGEMENT PLEASE REPLY SO WE CAN PRAY FOR YOU!