Thursday, July 7, 2011

The narrow gate

6:22 p.m. Today's project was to teach our Thursday Bible study, on I Samuel 19, a chapter that opens with murderous intrigue, moves on to determined and deadly pursuit, but ends with the Holy Spirit's divine intervention to protect David, the man after God's own heart.

As we shared today, with open discussion throughout the teaching time, so many of our group of women are in serious trials of physical affliction, financial duress, uncertainty in critical matters with deadlines, or facing the loss of a loved one. Some of the issues, like my husband's mental decline, are frightening; other issues verify the steady harassment of the devil against the child of God. Yet, testimonies of grace and guidance from God's Spirit uplift us continually, in large matters and small. God is with us!

My devotion this morning, from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, was very challenging in regard to trials, and I will be quoting portions from the July 7th message:

Enter ye at the strait gate...because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way..." Matthew 7:13-14.

If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome. Do we so appreciate the marvelous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?


If we obey the Spirit of God and practice in our physical life what God has put in by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes, we shall find that our own nature as well as the grace of God will stand by us.

Thank God He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a glad thing, but it is also a heroic, holy thing. It tests us for all we are worth. Jesus is bringing many "sons" to glory, and God will not shield us from the requirements of a son. God's grace turns out men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not milksops. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things. It is always necessary to make an effort to be noble.

It's hard to see the nobility in raising the funds to put a strong spring on the above-pictured gate so the dogs won't get out again, including paying someone to do it. But that's the kind of task I find myself confronted with, along with re-teaching my husband table manners, dressing and grooming. But aren't we tested "in the arena" of everyday discipleship? I confess that my temperament fails more tests than it passes, but each day the Lord gives me a fresh word from scripture, and a fresh start, with encouragement so supernaturally uplifting that it can only be from Him. There's no other way to account for the joy and excitement I live in daily, the keen anticipation of a mighty work in my life, not a wish, but an assurance that God is with me!

The gate and the way to eternal life are narrow and difficult indeed, but the Light that goes before me is Jesus Himself.

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