Jesus made it plain that the path to heaven is narrow and difficult. The easier path, we think, is taking the broad road of secular happiness that comes without effort and transversing down those deceiving and enticing side streets to decadence and self-indulgence. But the way to eternal life is marked by submission and self-sacrifice and humility. The true Christian path is riddled with pot holes and narrow shoulders, sharp turns, and relentless inclines.
Jesus warned all of us to walk carefully and not be deceived about our salvation. Confusion can come so quietly that we can be deceived if we are not careful. Those of us who find heaven's road, that narrow and difficult path to salvation, are those who have given our hearts to Jesus and have acknowledged that His sacrificial death at Calvary has paid our sin-debt in full. This is extremely important because in the course of our lives we will meet many people from all walks of life and background who appear to be walking that narrow path though they haven't as of yet actually made a "decision" for Christ. These people appear to be like believers and they may even be feverishly busy with the work of the church but, sadly, they have placed their human performances before their commitment. Even though their activities may be quite commendable ... such as readily volunteering in various ministries and supporting missions, they may even go so far as to uphold some right beliefs, but we need to learn early that actions and thoughts aren't always an accurate reflection of our spirit or our heart.
There are many churchgoers who assume that works are so pleasing to God that heaven is an absolute certainty. But sadly they will be shocked by their ultimate rejection. At the judgment seat of God, Jesus will tell them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matthew 7:23). Lawlessness? How can we be practicing lawlessness with all the good things we do for you? they'll ask. But Jesus will stand firm against such as them. He will not accept anyone who has refused to be forgiven for her or his sins. We are all alike. We are all sinners and as sinners we must all ask to be forgiven. We all far short and are outside God's will and, therefore, we must all confess our sins to God and ask our Redeemer for forgiveness. Absolutely no one is excluded from this requirement.
Under no circumstances do we want to be counted among those who think their good deeds will earn them admission to heaven. There is only one way to get to heaven and that is by receiving Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord (John 14:6). Only then can we be sure that at the end of our earthly walk, we'll step off the narrow road into heaven and into the presence of God, eternally.
A Saturday blog. Surprise. Surprise. Well it just seemed to work into my schedule this week. I should have blogged yesterday but I gave in to worried family members and reluctantly went to the local emergency room and had my ankle looked at. The bruising is really crazy on this thing. I'm all bruised around the outside of my ankle then along the outside of my foot next to the ground, and then my toes. They were bright purple when I got to the ER and I had a hard time convincing the doctor that my toes aren't the point of injury. Granted they look just horrible (the color of my toes really clashes with the color of nail polish I have on! LOL) but that's not where I injured my foot. For anyone who doesn't know, I was sitting on the couch with one leg curled up under me and when I went to get up my foot was asleep and I couldn't make the step necessary to keep me from falling and so I took a tumble here in my living room. That was a week ago and every day my bruising has looked more spectacular than it did the day before. So my hubby and son were very concerned and on my son's way home from work he came by here and insisted on taking me to the ER to get it looked at. It took 3 long, agonizing hours and two sets of X-Rays to find out that I was right all along it was just a soft-tissue injury and it's getting better regardless of how bad it looks. But it really does look horrible. So anyway I spent my free time yesterday in the ER instead of blogging.
I had a seminar to attend at church this morning so I set my alarm for 7:30. I slept until it went off (I usually wake up just minutes before it is due to ring) and laid in bed for another 10 minutes before getting up. But I got dressed and took my devotionals outside to the deck and sat outside in the cool morning air and had my quiet time with the Lord. It was extra special this morning. I'm not sure what was so different this morning but it really was special. So I've decided to do the same thing again tomorrow. It was just a wonderful time of relaxation and fellowship with the Lord. I absolutely loved it and I hope to do it every morning from now on. I'm trying to figure out why it was so special this morning. And as silly as it sounds I think it was because I was dressed up and ready to go to my seminar. I'm sure I've mentioned that I'm wearing skirts and dresses these days in light of Deut. 22:5 although I am not being legalistic about it. I just thought I'd see how it goes and I've come to find out that wearing skirts and dresses is so much more comfortable and cooler than pants and shorts. I wear dresses that are all loose fitting with princess waistlines in lightweight materials. Anyway, I had my dress on already and it just felt different coming to the Lord that time in the morning all dressed and ready to go to my seminar. I know it sounds crazy, but it felt different in a special way and that's all I can think of. So I will try to repeat the process tomorrow when I get up to go to church. Hopefully it will prove to be as relaxing and refreshing as this morning was.
Today's seminar was Discovering Membership: 101 in the Christian Life & Service Seminars. It's a series of four seminars given once a month and today's class finished up the classes for me. I've taken all four of them and now I'm wondering what's next. They have all been so informative and useful even when you take them out of order the way I did. Each one can stand alone but they do progress as you go through the four. But today we looked at our salvation, our statements, our core values, our common identity, our affirmations, and our structure. The classes run from 9:00 to 12:00 and the time just flies by. There weren't many people there today probably about ten counting the pastor. Actually, I love it when the sessions are small. I can hear things better.
We've had some high clouds come in this afternoon. It's still hotter than blue blazes but it's nice to have that intensity of the sun's heat deflected a bit. It almost looks like a complete cloud cover moving in. We might have some sprinkles and lightning and thunder. I love summer thunder storms but the fire danger is so high right now that I'd just as well not have the lightning. It's 105.8 degrees outside right now. So you don't want to be out unless you have to be. I parked my car under the tree when I pulled up today. When I left church my car was so hot I burned my hands on the metal door handle. I don't like summer. I like today because I have my house clean and I'm dressed in a dress, the television is off (yea!), the cloud cover has moved in and the lighting in the house is subdued and the cooler is on. Has a whole different feel to things. I love the fact that my house is clean. We're having Leo over for dinner again tonight so I was forced to actually do some deep cleaning like mopping floors, etc. Every time I do this I swear I'm not going to let it get bad again but eventually, almost without noticing, things begin to clutter up and before long it's a major undertaking to get it back to the way I like it.
I will pick up Leo at the church this afternoon at 5:00. He wanted to have tamale pie for dinner. So I need to get in there and break up the lettuce [just thought to put the peach pie in the oven to bake] but I have to fry some bacon for Leo's salad. He likes bacon bits. Michael made the croutons the other day. Michael's making the main dish and I'm contributing all the side dishes including dessert and drinks. Leo just called to remind me. Leo, for those who don't know, is a 55 year old African American who attends my church who is slightly retarded. I guess he's what I would call simple. He can't read but he remembers just about anything. I trust his memory over mine any time. But we've been having him over every couple month for dinner and he just loves it. We've had spaghetti, lasagna and today will be the tamale pie. I'm not sure what he'll want the next time he comes. He's a dear, sweet soul that we love very much. Anyway, I do need to get in there and get the bacon cooked and salad made. I like to have everything done before he gets here and then we can spend our time visiting. He's so cute. Everything has to be just so. He wants to sit and have a pepsi while we visit, then iced tea with his dinner. And he has to have the bacon bits and then there's got to be desert. He's a sweet, sweet man.
So until the next time...