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January 31, 2019
Recently my husband and I took a trip to the rain forest. While we were there we hired a guide to take us on a hike through Tenorio National Park. It took us several hours to hike through the park. We saw a beautiful waterfall, several different species of wildlife and a beautiful view of the River Celeste. We climbed hundreds of stairs, scaled rocks, crawled through narrow spaces and trekked part of it in the rain. Although we were following a path we had never been on, we felt safe because the path was specifically designed for hikers and we had a guide that had traveled the path hundreds of times.
When it began to rain the path became muddy in places and it also made the rocks slick. One part of the path we encountered was narrow and steep. I was practically crawling when the guide stopped, turned around and gave me his hand and helped me take the next step to level ground. I chose to put my trust in the guide to help me because he had been there before. His experience allowed him to know exactly where to place his feet without slipping. What could have been dangerous for me alone became easier because I leaned into him for help?
Every day I am presented with a choice to choose the narrow path or the broad path. Matthew 7:14 tells me that the narrow gate leads to life. I have to choose individually which path I will take and I want to choose Jesus and life. When I choose the narrow path I am deciding to follow the Lord moment by moment. I am allowing Him to lead me and trusting Him to guide me knowing He has walked there before. When the path becomes hard or treacherous I trust that He will reach out His hand and help me return to level ground. He created this path for me and He will lead, protect and guide me on it until the end.
Two paths lie before you. One is narrow and one is broad. Depending on which path you choose, your life will turn out completely different. You will become different. Which path are you on today? Pray and allow Holy Spirit to show you the path you are on. If needed, repent and choose today to begin on the narrow path. It will lead to abundant joy and life.
January 24, 2019
In this day and age concentration seems to be a lost art. In our ever-increasing digital world, there is a flashing screen, funny cat video, or interesting social media argument around every corner trying its best to steal our focus away from our intended task. Distracted driving is thought to account for approximately 25% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities. Even as I write this blog, I’ve locked myself in my office space to drown out the sounds of YouTube and video games to allow my thoughts to collect themselves into something useful. This frustrating dynamic seems to follow us wherever we go. Unfortunately, it can easily seep its way into our spiritual lives as well.
God has graciously provided a path for us, through Christ, that leads us to eternal life (Matthew 7:13). He has also promised to use His Word as a guide to keep us centered on this route (Psalm 119:105). The enemy often seeks to bring cloudiness and confusion to our walk by using distractions. In Matthew 14:22-33 Peter was provided with a direct path to the waiting arms of Jesus when he stepped out in faith and walked on water. The problem came when he allowed himself to look away from the Savior and become distracted by the wind and waves around him. This opened the door to doubt and fear causing Peter to sink. The wonderful thing is that Jesus still stands near with an outstretched hand ready to help us recover our faith and focus. We simply must recognize our condition and call out. The Lord is more than able to cut through the wind and waves of distractions and pull us back onto the correct path with focus and clarity.
Is your walk with God being cluttered up with unnecessary distractions? Pray and allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate areas of distractions in your life. Repent if necessary and recommit your focus to the path that God has set before you.
January 17, 2019
By Dana van Noppen
Based on some very loose internet research, the average person makes about 35,000 choices every day. This number includes choices made instinctively, like deciding to eat breakfast, and choices made through the science of reason, like which route gets you to work in the most timely manner. As children of God, there is a path for us that is not always easy, but it is always full of adventure. Jesus talks about that path in Matthew 7:13. Jesus presents the path as a choice between an easy one that leads to destruction, or a narrow path that leads to true life. Like most of the decisions we make every day, our choice of paths profoundly affects the rest of our lives. All choices cost something. Each time we make a choice, we compare the expense with the opportunity. For instance, if we decide to skip breakfast in favor of being on time, we will inevitably feel the pain of hunger as a result of that decision. However, if we decide to be late in favor of eating breakfast, we will absolutely feel the consequences of our tardiness. All of our decisions are based on our desire. Each decision we make and the reason we make it is based on a deeply personal set of circumstances, feelings, habits, and beliefs. Our hearts are often revealed by the decisions that we make.
God loves us and cares about the choices that we make each day. The choices that matter most revolve around obeying God. God does not demand that we always wear yellow socks, or that we eat red apples instead of green ones. God is concerned with “which gate” we will enter and our determination to stay on the narrow path. In his message on Sunday, Pastor Scott mentioned that a most important assignment had been given to the least qualified group of people in the book of Acts. The disciples decided to trust Jesus’s message with their entire lives. They decided to be led by the Holy Spirit. What they wanted most was to embrace the Holy Spirit in all 35,000 choices made throughout their day. They compared the cost of following Jesus with the reward of true life. Although the path was not always going to be easy, they decided to be led by the Holy Spirit. Their decision was based on what they had seen and heard as they walked with Jesus. It was based on a desire to know God.
A challenge for you:
Have you decided to be led by the Holy Spirit? Do you believe that the message of Jesus is worth the cost of the narrow path? When we hear the Holy Spirit, we answer with our lives. Each choice we make is a reflection of our answer. What choices do you make every day to answer or ignore the Holy Spirit? What are some practical ways that you can be mindful of your choices?
January 10, 2019
Once when I was a kid, I went through this maze at some sort of event. The event organizers had turned this old shed/barn-like building into a twisting winding maze that was nearly pitch black. Everyone was having fun trying to go through it, bumping into each other, getting lost, and trying to find a path out. It legitimately was a good time. It probably was not the safest thing, but fun. However, when I went through it, I did something wrong. You see what made this maze special was that it was two levels. You had ladders and ramps that allowed you to go to a second floor. But what I did, was accidentally discover a 3rd floor in the shed. It was very low, more like a crawl space than an actual floor. This was an area that I was not supposed to discover. This was an area that was just as pitch black, and I wasn’t sure where I was or how to get out.
I could feel fear beginning to consume me as I wandered through the darkness. This third floor was closer to the tin roof, and I could feel the temperature getting hotter and hotter. I crawled around desperately looking for a way out. I could hear people below me laughing and rushing through. There was no way they would have been able to hear me. I stopped for a moment to try and focus and look around the crawl space in the dark. It was at this moment of focused determination that I saw it. There was a small gap in the panels of the tin roof. That small gap allowed just enough light that I could see through what I was looking for, an opening to the bottom floor.
I can’t tell you how elated I was to be back on the path. I wasn’t out of the maze yet, but there was a sense of peace and security knowing that I was once again, where I belonged. That sense of peace is something that every believer has access to when they put the following verse into action.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
We sometimes find ourselves lost, on a path that will lead us down destruction. But if we allow the word of God to be a guiding light to us, we can find ourselves on the correct path again. You may not come out of the proverbial woods just yet, but you will at least be heading the right way.
Have you found yourself going down the wrong path? Take some time this week to reconnect with the Lord. Ask Him to forgive you and redirect you. On the practical side, create a plan of action for being more in the word of God. If you have questions on how to do that feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Leave a comment below and let us know what you thought of the blog and also let us know what your daily life in the word looks like.
December 13, 2018
This past week, we were challenged by a word about how God WILL and has fulfilled His plan. That sounds contradictory, but it’s not. God HAS fulfilled his plan in that up to this point, His plan for salvation has come to happen if you’d like to know more about that click the link below to hear that message. But He ALSO will fulfill his plan in that there’s still more that He’s yet to finish.
There’s so much left to be done on this earth. So much left that God has for you and to do through you. One problem that some run into, and maybe yourself too, is that when they hear that God wants to do something, they just can’t believe it. So what builds up their faith? Romans tells us this in chapter 10 verse 17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of God.”
This verse tells us two things. Faith is build up in an individual when they hear about what God has done. It also tells that if we want to build up the faith fo those around us; we need to speak up and share the testimony of what God has done in our lives. When we begin to that, those around you will find their faith in the plan of God, strengthened.
Write our testimony this week. Write out what God has done in your life and through your life. Then find an opportunity to share it with someone. After you do, email us at email@example.com!
December 06, 2018
This past week our lead pastor, Scott Ethridge, taught about how God has had a plan from the beginning, Jesus wasn’t a plan B. He didn’t scramble to come up with something new after Adam and Eve sinned. He had a plan for salvation for mankind from the beginning. If you’d like to hear, that message clicks the image below.
What’s interesting about having the revelation that God has a plan is that should the believer grab hold of it, they will find a tremendous amount of comfort. Yes, they’ll even find comfort in the worst of times. If you take a look at Jeremiah 17:7-8, we see a concept that echoes our discussion from last week’s blog.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Once again we find the concept of purposefully, placing ourselves in a place to grow. In this context, we find that a person is blessed if they purposefully place their trust in God. What’s interesting in this is that it points out that there will be times of drought for those who follow God. But if the follower has been deliberate about placing their trust in God, in His plan, then when drought comes; they will continue to be a fruitful believer.
Take time this week to dig into the word of God and re-acquaint yourself with the plan of God. Ask Holy Spirit to help you to place your full trust in the Lord so that you can be fruitful when the drought comes.
November 28, 2018
This past week, our lead pastor spoke about being thankful. He took us to 2 Thessalonians 5:18 where we are challenged to “give thanks in all circumstances.” He then went on to give us 4 reasons to give God praise. You can hear this message by clicking the image below.
It's no secret that we live in a very cynical world. At times we allow that negativity you shape our attitude. Making that shift in our mind, to come into each situation with thankfulness can be a struggle. So how do we do it?
Psalms 1:3 tells us that a blessed man is "like a tree planted by streams of water…” the word planted tells us that it is a purposeful thing. We need to purposefully train ourselves to be thankful. How does that work?
It starts by is not giving thanks for only big things. We need to learn to give thanks for small things. Monday morning, give God thanks for the fact that you have a job to get up for. Look around you and give God thanks for what you have, for what He's kept you from, and what He's given you.
Spend this week giving God thanks for all the small things. Get into the practice of being thankful. Remember that we operate in grace. Go through a day without being thankful? Give thanks that you can start fresh in the next moment!