Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Mark 1:16- 20
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Why is it that many feel cut off from God - maybe HE exists - maybe HE cares - and others fight the good fight? Just as He says -
The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.
We are transparent to our Heavenly Father and HE does not ask us to Judge one another. And we will make that important distinction first. I would venture a guess, with all the trees He writes of.
48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.
It might be HIS opinion, the narrow door is like the book - "The Secret Garden."
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart
The famous analogy four blind men discover an elephant / an analogy of God. They grope about, seeking to understand and describe this new phenomenon. One grasps the trunk and concludes its a snake - perhaps those who dismiss the Bible as hateful - or flexible and wobbly. Another explores one of the elephant's legs and describes it as a tree - has possibilities and the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the examination, and it proves unfruitful. A third finds the elephant's tail and announces that it is a rope - like Jacob - a way to contend with God for blessings. And the fourth blind man, after discovering the elephant's side, concludes that it is, after all, a wall - the law is solid.
Each describes the same thing in a radically different manner. For the last eleven posts we have looked over well-known prophets Samuel, Peter, the Disciples running away from Jesus, minus beloved John, Jonah. Add to the group - Moses. Jeremiah resisted the call.
What drew these people to God - who would send His Son. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. How often He has longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and for the willingness to be gathered. The enormous compassion, because we were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Nathan saw God loves like a Shepherd. Tenderly caring in love.
Samuel mourned. Like the Prodigal Father - He longed to run to his son and have that embrace.
Jonah mourned a plant - not even caring for the repentant. Jonah had no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
Abraham felt God should be merciful, asking God to spare mankind. And earned the blessing of the millenniums. God's attitude on mercy - Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Ishmael was said to be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.
And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.[f] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.
Abraham gathered blessings and mercy for others. This is what drew him to God.
Moses wanted justice for the people he felt were abandoned. God provided more than justice, and the slaves left with their former masters' gold and jewelry. God guarded them tenderly.
Jacob fought God all of his days for a Blessing and sought to bless his children and grandsons. God granted Jacob the blessing all of his days. As Jacob believed he lived the blessings of God.
Eli wanted God's Words to be fulfilled. He wanted Hannah to be blessed. And Samuel to hear. Eli lived to see all of God's Word fulfilled.
Jeremiah wanted to be left alone. Well, unfortunately for Jeremiah - he was left alone. And God grew him. Jeremiah began in the most glorious of religious reigns reviving the Temple and discovering the forgotten Word of GOD. Jeremiah gave God's prophecies, enduring ridicule, and lived to see the Word fulfilled, immediately. He lived to see an abandoned Jerusalem have peace.
Isaiah jumped into serving GOD with glee. He got his feet wet in Uzziah's reign and lived seeing Isaiah 6.
Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10 Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
He joyously bringing the Good News of faith in the LORD let the people to hear, understand, see and perceive, the heart of the people worked tirelessly to be turned and healed. King Hezekiah's faith brought the prosperity of God bring faith in placing HIM first.
Isaih's willingness was a forerunner of "behold the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
Elijah was pressed to the wall in famine, unbelief and war. He believed God. Listening to the reassuring small voice - "God had not forgotten him."
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Elisha saw the measure of Elijah's faith endure and carry him through hardship. He began seeing the blaze of Elihah revealing God's glory, in a time of abundance as Ahab was defeated. The joys of the world were not going to overcome his faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
Ezekiel believed better times were coming during war. He knew God would show up when their righteousness was gone. He trusted God to be merciful to them.
5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel
Daniel understood a concept of God.
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name
1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Habakkuk cried out for help so loudly, insistently with expectation. God answered.
“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
The last paragraph is daunting for us believers. However Moses did not lead his people into the promised land. Why? God buries his workmen, but His Works go on. Joshua did not reclaim all of Israel for the Children of Israel. David did reclaim the land and did rend his family. He was unwelcome to build the Temple. Solomon built the Temple and fractured David's Kingdom for David's grandson in his own indulgences towards family life. These people understood the huge work God placed in front of them. Samuel lived Saul's kingdom, not David's. We can Always Depend Upon the Promises God Gives Us. God's Word is Enough.
Lord, let us put out our hands like Isaiah and live with joy, salt, light and verve for the day you give us. Give us the Day! You be our Bread of Life and in You we will be fruitful. Forgive us our sins, and assist us in Your mercy and grace to forgive those who sin against us. Only because Your name is Holy, and upon Your goodness alone, do we claim the Promises of God allowing us to move, dwell and have our being with You. For Yours is the Eternal Kingdom of Power and Glory, to the Highest Name of Jesus, as LORD do we pray and say the great Amen.