Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Certain Journey


                                                                         



Scripture:  (King James Version)
Matthew:7:13-14
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

The Bible constantly uses such words as "way" "path" "road" "walk" "run" "go".
All of these words allure to the fact that in life - we are on a journey.

                                                         Life Is A Journey
                                     
                                    A Certain Journey.

Our destination - Eternity.  There are only 2 places to spend eternity.  Heaven or Hell.  To arrive at either destination, there is only one way.

                                                        jour·ney
 [ j├║rnee ]   
  1. trip somewhere: a trip or expedition from one place to another
  2. process of development: a gradual passing from one state to another regarded as more advanced, e.g. from innocence to mature awareness
  3. travel somewhere: to travel to a place or over a particular distance


                We are traveling on a journey from where we are to a place where we want to go.
One of most unhappy feelings to experience while traveling is to be uncertain.  Uncertainty about whether or not going we are headed in the right direction - uncertainty of arriving at the destination safely - frustrated and anxious. Many people are uncertain about what they want to be in life, where they want to live, etc.
                                   *No need to be uncertain in the journey of life. 
However, it is imperative that you make sure your journey is certain.
In order to reach your destination successfully - there are some basic decisions you must make.
1 - Decide where you want to go.  To constantly change your mind or put off decisions makes the journey become more dangerous.  You will never accidentally drift to a worthwhile goal.  Heaven should be your ultimate destination and goal - but it won't happen on it's own.  You must decide!   Many people get lost on their journey in the valley of decision.  They wait too long to decide.  Don't let this be you.  One great truth that everyone must face - YOU have to live somewhere forever! 
 2 - Decide today where you won't go.
Once you have made a decision on where you want to go and where you don't want to go -  secure the best map or guide book available.  A wise man studies his charted course that he has decided to follow.  He wants a reliable guidebook (The Bible is reliable!)  In order to reach your destination on your journey to Heaven, The Bible keeps you on the straight and narrow road; the right path; the correct way.   It will keep you from uncertainty and from the frustration of "zig-zagging."

The story goes about an old farmer and his dog.  They had just pulled into town with their horses and wagon.  The dog was exhausted, laid down in the grass and was panting.  The farmer said to those nearby, "It's the road that tires him, it's the zia-zagging.  Me and the team only traveled 10 miles but this poor dog traveled 50.  He had to enter every gate he saw open.  He gave chase to every cat he saw and barked at every dog.  While the horses and I kept to the road, this dog ran all over the countryside."
Don't these farmers words describe a lot of people.?  They borrow needless trouble.  They waste valuable energy and get side tracked on their journey of life.  They become distracted by working hard to make a living, by the pleasures and thrills that bring temporary satisfaction.  The distractions are countless.  Regarding spiritual matters they become easily swayed by doctrines, man's views and denominational differences.
But as a preacher friend of mine used to say,  "I'm making a bee-line for Heaven.  I don't have time for side tracks."
                       "Dear God - help us from zip-zagging on our journey to eternity.
                                Help us to stay with  The Bible - your Word, your roadmap,
                                        so that we can stay on the straight and narrow and see Heaven our home."

Decide where you want to go...Decide where you won't go...Secure the best map for the journey and ...

3 - then - Begin the journey.    Venture forth.    Enjoy!     Invite others to join you.
Planning the trip can be pleasant.  To just talk about and plan about becoming a Christian won't change your heart and make you a born-again believer.  You must decide! 
                                           You must change the uncertainty into certain.
                          Make life's journey a certain one!
 You will never get there if you don't start.  "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

4 - Turn right and go straight..........these are the final directions to your destination.
5 - Continue on your course - keep traveling -until the end!

                         



 For further reading about Moses and a journey - The book of Numbers  - chapter 10
                                           
                                                                 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Be Like A Tree

Recently I spoke about Palm Tree Christians. 
(Did you know that in the Bible there are 42 different kinds of trees that are used as a symbol of Christian life?)  

Can you imagine living in a community where there weren't any trees?  In storms there would be little protection and there certainly wouldn't be much beauty.  Trees are a blessing!  They provide protection and thankfully they provide beauty.
Can you also imagine what a community would be like if there weren't any Christian men and women or  Christian young people (young saplings)?

                                                                       

Scripture:  (King James Version) 
Psalm 1:1-3
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

How can you be like a tree?

The Roots
The roots of a tree must be firmly planted and deeply rooted.
Once planted and rooted, the roots need nourishment (the Word of God), stability and they must be unseen. (unseen power of the Holy Spirit.)

The Trunk
The trunk of the tree is the avenue or channel through which the sap, water and minerals are carried to the branches.  The Holy Spirit works through channels.  Our lives are to be channels.

The trunk has to grow in diameter to support spreading branches.
We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.  Palm trees for example, grow from the inside-out.  Our hearts have to be devoted to God before we can manifest the Glory of God.

The trunk of the tree is also useful after it is cut down.  Not only is our life supposed to influence others while we are alive but our life is also to be an influence after we are gone.  What kind of testimony will you leave behind?

The Branches
Branches of a tree provide shade - protection and comfort.
These three elements of the branches on a tree speak about our influence and a life that is reaching out to others.
Branches on a tree also give out oxygen.

Oxygen speaks of life.                                                                    
A productive life produces fruit.  Galatians 5: 22-23
*Love  *Longsuffering  *Faith  *Joy  **Gentleness  *Meekness  *Peace  *Goodness  *Temperance



A powerful story goes......
 
                                                                       
"The boy flung himself down under a tree.  A bitter, angry scowl was on his face and dark despair in his heart.  He'd give up!  No use trying!  Never did have a good chance, and now.......  Almost unconsciously he reached for the blossom which had brushed his cheek.  He saw the lovely symmetry of the petals, fashioned in green and gold.  Gradually the scowl gave way to a smile.  He breathed deeply and the fragrance of the flower dispelled his black despair.  He realized the beauty of the spring day and the big tree seemed to give him companionship.  His eyes traveled up the sturdy trunk and then he saw a scar left by a broken limb.
"If you can take it, old storm-broken tree, I guess I can too," he said.  He arose to his feet and stood with hand on the tree and eyes turned up to where leaves and blossoms grew in spite of its loss.  His faith returned, and he whispered, "Like a tree!  Lord, help me to be like a tree."  The boy went on his way like a man who faces life, rejoicing in the strength to bear disappointments and to overcome obstacles."