Tag Archives: kingdom of god

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Image Credit: http://gracepieces.com/
Image Credit:
http://gracepieces.com/

Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God

kingdom of God

Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are
His people and the sheep  of His pasture. (Psalm 100:3 NKJV)
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
(John 11:25 NKJV)
Not by might not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV)
Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the
Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19 NLT)
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is
taught in the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NLT)
Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
(Psalm 119:133 KJV)
May the words of my moth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing  to You, O Lord, my
Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 NLT)

Words of Jesus – Enter 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 the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

Kingdom
Kingdom (Photo credit: photoscott)

Jesus tells us that there is only one way to enter God’s Kingdom, through the narrow gate. Therefore, since there is only one way to enter, it’s important for us to know where that way is, especially since He says that only a few ever find it…

I love trying to discover shortcuts and new ways home, however, my children have never fully appreciated this little quirk of mine. Whenever I would suggest taking a shortcut, my children would usually groan and whine, and try to talk me out of it. You see, exploring and trying to find shortcuts might be okay if you have a sense of direction, but they learned at a very young age that their mother has absolutely no sense of direction. My shortcuts often found us miles and miles away from home, by the time I figured out where we were.

I always looked on it as an adventure. I figured we would eventually wind up somewhere I recognized. However, this was more troubling to my children, who may have wanted to get home in time for a favorite show, or even more urgent, they may have needed to use the bathroom.

English: Narrow road at Cwmmiles, Login
English: Narrow road at Cwmmiles, Login (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, I have to tell you that as much as I like to ride, and as much as I enjoy riding around aimlessly in my car (Of course, this was when gas was affordable!), it would be horrible to spend my life, thinking I’m on the right road to the Kingdom of God, only to discover that I missed it. And listen to this, Jesus said that only a few ever find that road. Did you pick up on that? That means that there’s a whole lot of people who are going the wrong way, and only a few who have managed to go the right way.

Now for someone like me, who has no sense of direction, I want to make sure I study the road map and check to make sure my GPS is up to date, because I definitely want to be on the right road for the Kingdom of God. Therefore, I’m going to really dig into this so that I’m prepared for my journey to the Kingdom of God… Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate.” 

 The Greek word for narrow is stenos, which means narrow & strait.

Dictionary.com defines narrow:

  1. of little breadth or width; not broad or wide; not as wide as usual or expected: a narrow path.
  2. limited in extent or space; affording little room: narrow quarters.
  3. limited in range or scope: a narrow sampling of public opinion.
  4. lacking breadth of view or sympathy, as persons, the mind, or ideas: a narrow man, knowing only his professional specialty; a narrow mind.
  5. with little margin to spare; barely adequate or successful; close: a narrow escape.

Dictionary.com defines strait:

  1. Often, straits. ( used with a singular verb  ) a narrow passage of water connecting two large bodies of water.
  2. Often, straits. a position of difficulty, distress, or need: Ill and penniless, he was in sad straits indeed.
  3. Archaic. a narrow passage or area.
  4. an isthmus.
  5. narrow: Strait is the gate.
  6. affording little space; confined in area.
  7. strict, as in requirements or principles.

The first thing we have to know if we plan on journeying to the Kingdom of God is that the gate we’re supposed to go through is very narrow… It affords very little space, it’s very limited… And look at this – this narrow strait way is very strict in its requirements and principles. Do you understand the magnitude of this?

Day 306/365 - One Way
Day 306/365 – One Way (Photo credit: Great Beyond)

If we want to go on this journey to the Kingdom of God, then we’re going to have to go through a very narrow gate. We’re going to need to search for it, because it’s small and tight… And we’re going to have to meet some strict requirements and principles…

Okay, I can almost hear what you’re saying – “What about grace?” And that’s a fair question… Let’s examine this closely, because I don’t want to miss it, and I certainly don’t want to steer anyone down the wrong road.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB) Brothers and sisters, you will never hear me dispute that we are saved by grace through faith, and that works do not save us. Scripture is very clear about this.

http://www.sunministries.org/Narrow.html
http://www.sunministries.org/Narrow.html

However, why were we saved? For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT) We are not saved as a result of our works, but we are created to do good works after we’re saved… So, brothers and sisters, let’s examine ourselves, because the road is narrow and there are some strict principles that we must meet, not to earn our salvation, which is a gift from God, but as proof of our salvation.

Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can’t save anyone. Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well” — but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all — it is dead and useless.

Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” I say, “I can’t see your faith if you don’t have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds.”

Do you still think it’s enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?

Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was declared right with God because of what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to do. His faith was made complete by what he did — by his actions. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous.” He was even called “the friend of God.” 

So you see, we are made right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. Rahab the prostitute is another example of this. She was made right with God by her actions — when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. Just as the body is dead without a spirit, so also faith is dead without good deeds. (James 2:14-26 NLT)

The Strait Gate
http://goodjesuitbadjesuit.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html

Do you see, brothers and sisters? On this narrow road, we must have a living faith, and faith without works is dead. There’s so much to say about this narrow road. You see, singing in the church choir, preaching from the pulpit, even casting out demons is no guarantee that you are walking on the narrow road.

In John 14, when Jesus is speaking to the disciples about His imminent departure, He talks about the way to where He is going.  “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:1-6 NKJV)

Do you see it again brothers and sisters? There is only one way, and this straight and narrow one way road is through Christ alone. And understand this, even though obedience is not popular, it is required. Do you love Jesus? Obey Him. Do you really love Jesus? The evidence of your love will be shown in your obedience to Him. Obedience is a requirement on the narrow road, don’t let anyone mislead you. Look what Jesus says about this:

  • Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32 NKJV) 
  • “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15 NKJV)
  • Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:23-24 NKJV)
  • “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10 NKJV)
  • “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:12-14 NKJV)

Do you see how important obedience is to Jesus? Brothers and sisters, don’t let anyone mislead you. I’m not saying you have to obey in order to get saved. If that was the case, none of us would ever find that narrow road. But once you are born again, that changes.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV) You see, my old sinful nature passed away (it died), and I got a new nature… Before, I had no desire to obey or to please God. Now, I love Him, and more than anything, I want to please Him. Because I love Him, I want to obey Him, and because I love Him, when I disobey Him, it breaks my heart.

Brothers and sisters, if you’re not living a life of obedience, if obeying the Lord doesn’t seem important to you, then you need to begin to question yourself. Am I walking on the narrow road, which is difficult and confining?

Or is my way fairly easy? I don’t worry about obedience, because God loves me. He knows my heart. Brothers and sisters, I assure you that you’re right. God does know your heart. Remember? He’s the One who said,  “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV) 

Brothers and sisters, let’s pray to the Father of Lights that He would show us the strait and narrow way, and that we would boldly walk that road, knowing that there will be periods of loneliness, because only a few ever find it.

Words of Jesus – Enter the Narrow Gate – Introduction

“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 the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

At the risk of sounding like an intolerant person, I need to tell you that there is only One Way to the Kingdom of God. It’s not a two way street… There are not many ways… It’s not an easy road… It’s not a major highway or multi-laned interstate…

Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate… But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” He also breaks it down for us, making it really clear that in order to get to this glorious kingdom, we’ll have to travel down a small narrow road.

I always think of The Road Not Taken, the great poem by Robert Frost when I read this passage.

http://complicatedmelody.com/content/road-not-taken
http://complicatedmelody.com/content/road-not-taken

Jesus makes it absolutely clear to us that though there may be other roads, there is only One narrow way to the Father’s Kingdom. Yeshua said, “I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 CJB)

Brothers and sisters, every one of us has at some point in our lives come to a place where, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” and we’re each forced to make a choice. Will you travel the broad, open well-traveled highway? Remember, The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. I know it seems so much easier and maybe it even appears safer to travel down the well-traveled road, but my friends, it isn’t.

You see, that road branches off into many other super highways, and you will be offered many choices, but don’t be fooled. Each one of those other roads, though well-traveled, ultimately lead to hell, and eternal separation from God and His Kingdom. Those seemingly well-lit highways will lead you to ultimate darkness and infinite loneliness.

Brothers and sisters, please choose to go a different way, down a much less traveled road. Yes, the pathway is rough and steep, and there will be many obstacles along the way, but be of good cheer! Though you will sometimes suffer loneliness as you travel this road, and though the way is not as well-lit as the highway to hell, continue on this less traveled, narrow road, because it will ultimately lead you to the Kingdom of God, where there you will enjoy the light of the Son, and all your tears will be wiped away.

Brothers and sisters, I close with the last stanza of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, and this is my prayer that each one who reads this post will join me in saying:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This was just a brief introduction to this passage (actually, it was all I was going to write about the topic at first, but I feel the Spirit leading me to go more in depth about it). Therefore, I devote another post to the narrow road, and yet another to the highway to hell,  followed by a final one summing up everything we’ve studied together.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

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Words of Jesus – Don’t Worry

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/tree-sparrow-photo-2472.html

 “So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are.  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not.

“And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He more surely care for you? You have so little faith!

“So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:24-34 NLT)

Thank You Lord, for speaking this word into my heart right now, when I’m beginning to get anxious.

http://dl.creationswap.com/15645.jpg

God’s timing is always perfect. He’s stretching me, and can I tell you? It’s scary sometimes. You see, I need to apply for disability, and there’s no guarantee that I will be approved. I may be without health insurance by the end of this month, and my husband’s pension and his business are not enough for us to live on, even if we get all of our debts paid off.

My way of dealing with difficult situations is to try not to look too hard at them (as I secretly hope that it will go away), while my husband’s way of dealing with things is to worry and talk things into the ground… Truth be told, neither way is very helpful, but I guess the Lord put us together to sort of balance things out… Because he dwells on things, I am forced to deal with those things that I’d rather just ignore and pretend aren’t there, and because I don’t like to dwell on the unpleasant, I’m able to lighten my husband’s burden.

So here we are. Because I’ve not been making the income I used to receive, we have fallen behind on our debts. I don’t like that. I want to be honorable and pay my debts, but I’m not able to do so. My sister and her husband graciously offered to give my husband and me a gift that will help to wipe out most of our debts back in September. I was truly humbled by the kindness of their generous offer.

http://mikecorthell.blogspot.com/2011/09/humble.html
I don’t know if any of you can relate to this, but I really was humbled by this offer. I had to let go of pride in order to accept their offer. Wow – pride is something that seems so right, and yet the Lord shows us over and over again just how wrong it really is. You see, I felt like a loser, because my husband and I don’t have a lot, but what we do have, we’ve worked for – until now. Now, I didn’t have to swallow my pride – I had to KILL my pride in order to accept their gift. You see, the Lord not only wants us to learn how to give graciously. He wants us to learn how to receive graciously.

At the time, she and her husband said they would give us this gift in a couple of weeks. Then, they told us they would give us the gift by the middle of November. That was last week. Now, I’ve got bill collectors calling and I told them that I would try to pay them by the end of the month, thinking that we would get the money by the middle of the month and we would be able to pay things off.

I haven’t allowed myself to think about things too much, but I’ll confess to you that I’m beginning to worry… So, I decide to go think about other things and continue writing about the Words of Jesus, and isn’t it just too funny that Jesus wants to talk to me about money and about worrying about what’s going to happen?

Is anyone else awed by how much He loves us? It’s no coincidence that this would be the   next scripture passage in this series of His words. He knew before the foundations of the earth were laid, that I would be sitting here trying not to worry and struggling, and so when He ordained me to begin this study, He planned that I would read His words about worrying and trusting in the Lord.

“So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing?” (Matthew 6:25 NLT) Yes Lord, life consists of far more than food and clothing. It consists of loving and being loved, of knowing You and walking with You, talking with You and trusting in You.

“Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are.” (Matthew 6:26 NLT) Thank You Lord, for loving me and for valuing me. Yes, thank You because I mean more to you than birds, or any other animal or creature… Thank You for calling me Your beloved, for calling me the apple of Your eye, for saying that I am precious in Your sight. Thank You, because if You take care of these creatures, how much more You will take care of me?

http://sundogsayings.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/field-of-dreams/

“And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He more surely care for you? You have so little faith!” (Matthew 6:30 NLT) Yes You will care for me Daddy. If You take care of flowers that are only here for such a short time, You will surely take care of my needs…You will surely take care of my medical needs when I have no insurance to pay for them, because You are Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals me… And yes Lord, I confess to You that my faith is much weaker than I thought. Lord, help my unbelief!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV) Lord, I choose to trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I want to please You, to seek You and Your kingdom. I’m seeking Your righteousness. Lord, I don’t just want to seek what You can give me or do for me. I want to seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness first. I want to see Your face. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You and not on my circumstances. Give me dove’s eyes Lord… I’m casting my cares on You, because You care for me, so I’ll trust You to take care of my needs.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34 NLT) Forgive me for worrying, Lord. You’re absolutely right. Tomorrow will bring its own worries. All I ask is that You help me deal with today’s trouble in Jesus’ name.

Father, thank You so much for Your holy word. Thank You for being an on-time God. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

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  • Worry (thedistinctdot.com)