I May Lose Everyone I Love Over This – Part 1

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 

-Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭13-14‬ (NIV) emphasis added

I used to struggle with this verse. All my days as a young child and even in the past few years as I have grown as an adult I didn’t understand what Jesus meant in these two simple verses. I could see multitudes of people around me claiming to know God and to believe in Jesus. I mean, I live in the Bible Belt, grew up in church, have been to countless conferences, and seen salvation after salvation. I kept thinking that the “narrow road” Jesus spoke of was just “narrower” than the broad road to destruction.

How wrong I was!

Jesus said exactly what He meant, as I have learned He always says what He means. I was just to afraid to see that He was speaking the truth;

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

I was too afraid to admit to myself that the people I love; family, friends, coworker, even fellow church attenders are going to hell! 

This is where those same people I mentioned might not stay with me. I knew when I started writing this I might lose those very people I love.  Please do not think I am standing on a pedestal looking down on everyone around me.

God has recently brought me to my knees, flat on my face, tears pour from within me as He showed me how wrong I have been about the so called “Christian” life I have been living.

It began a few years ago when we helped start a small town church. I was 21, young, and as they say in the south “On fire for God”. (I see now I was just more vocal about God than most 21 year olds and NO where near on fire). We met one Sunday in our new building as usually. We ate breakfast and fellowshipped as normal, but this Sunday was about to be the beginning of a long and overdue wake up call for me.

I told you I had been in church my who life; I’ve helped with the children’s ministry, been a youth leader, and even taught a class on sharing your faith. I thought that everything I needed to learn about the bible my pastors would teach me. That’s why that Sunday I got a rude awakening.

As the service started, Stewie stood before the crowd and told us we were going to partake in the Lord’s Supper. I knew this was the plan since I ran screens for our small gatherings. No big deal I had taken part in a few of these. Take the bread, take the grape juice (in the South it’s grape juice). No big deal.

Stewie said something that day that now haunts me:

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup you are telling others about the Lord’s death until he comes.

So a person who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is not worthy of it will be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. Look into your own hearts before you eat the bread and drink the cup, because all who eat the bread and drink the cup without recognizing the body eat and drink judgment against themselves.

That is why many in your group are sick and weak, and some of you have died. 

-1 Corinthians‬ ‭11‬:‭26-30‬ (NCV), emphasis added

There is a physical consequence to not seriously looking within ourselves before partaking and asking God to forgive us. If we do not take this covenant seriously we could become sick and even die. It is not to be taken lightly.

After he read this he said something I have never heard from a pastor before: “If you are not right with God, if you have not asked for forgiveness of your sins, if you are not going to take this seriously, I urge you to not take part.” And that day several refused to partake!

Many pastors today are not urging their congregation to take this seriously, even though the consequences could be death!

As I said before this was only the beginning of my journey to the realization that those around me claiming to be true followers of Christ might actually be going to hell.

For now I will leave you in suspense. In part 2 of I May Lose Everyone I Love Over This! I will use Matthew 25 to explain how I first came to realize that the path is truely narrow.

Lord,

God will speak to us. Show us your great and mighty power.  Guide us and make our paths clear. Give us the knowledge and wisdom to see and hear you. And open our hearts and minds to you and change our lives.

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What Did He Say?

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

-Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV) emphasis added

 

I have heard it my whole life; pastor after pastor preaching from the stage “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  For years I believed this.

 

I thought because a pastor said it with a verse to back it up, it was true.

 

And I know others are the same way!  I found this on Pintrest weeks ago:

 

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There are hundreds of these. Crafters on Etsy are making signs and mugs and anything you can think of with this verse.

 

While it’s message seems to have good intentions and it makes us feel safe knowing God is going to fight for us, we just need to hold on. But it’s not true!

 

Here it is again with only one extra verse:

 

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.

 

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 

 

-Exodus 14:13-15 (NIV) emphasis added

 

Clearly what we are taking as truth is in no way what God said.  God is for us as Christians, but He in no way told us to stand still and let Him do all the work!

 

We need to move!

 

We, as Christians need to be challenging what our pastors and leaders say, not just taking their word as truth.  Don’t hear me wrong now, I don’t think pastors are liars.  I think in order for us to grow and to keep everyone honest, we should be reading the verses before and after what pastors are using and referencing.  Not only will it ensure something hasn’t been lost in context or misrepresented, but it will also bring you closer to God.  It’s a great way to start digging deeper into God’s word.

 

Here’s another great example of why we need to check the referencing.

 

I saw this on Facebook a week or so ago.  I in no way support this message. I’m trying to prove my point.

 

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I don’t expect a non-Christian to read the bible, but I would expect a Christ follower to see this and immediately look it up in their bible. I fear people see this and believe it. The full verse is as follows:

 

Then Moses said to Aaron and his other sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Don’t show sadness by tearing your clothes or leaving your hair uncombed. If you do, you will die, and the Lord will be angry with all the people. All the people of Israel, your relatives, may cry loudly about the Lord burning Nadab and Abihu.

 

-Leviticus 10:6 (NCV), emphasis added

 

Aaron’s two other son had just been destroyed by God for disobeying Him and Moses was saying not to mourn for them in the traditional way of that time. It would be wrong for a priest to mourn someone God had punished for disobeying since they were to uphold God’s law and to cleanse those who had disobeyed.

 

Lord,

 

Fill our lives with your love and mercy. May your glory shine through us so we can be stars in this dark world. Help us to challenge the scripture other are quoting to help us grow stronger in Christ. Do no allow us to just accept what someone say is in the bible and remind us to study the truth for ourselves.

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Stars in a Dark World

My dear friends, you have always obeyed God when I was with you. It is even more important that you obey now while I am away from you. Keep on working to complete your salvation with fear and trembling, because God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.

Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be innocent and without any wrong. You will be God’s children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you, among whom you shine like stars in the dark world. You offer the teaching that gives life. So when Christ comes again, I can be happy because my work was not wasted. I ran the race and won.

Your faith makes you offer your lives as a sacrifice in serving God. If I have to offer my own blood with your sacrifice, I will be happy and full of joy with all of you. You also should be happy and full of joy with me.

-Philippians 2:12-18 (NCV)

I chose the title of this blog long before I knew what God was going to show me through it.

A few months ago I was reading Philippians for our Bible study group. And the bolded verse stuck with me. I liked it so much I titled the blog after it and then forgot about the blog.

Lately I see how I am to be a a star in a dark world. I work with great people! I love them all! Some, however, are not saved and look down on Christians and absolutely hate God.

That is my time to shine for God.

I struggle to not lash out negatively. I get offended by the things they say because it’s not me they are trash talking, it’s my God and I get heated when you dis my God. I am typically quiet, even if you are being rude to me or hurting my feelings in most way but I do not put up with someone talking down about my Savior.

But I digress.

I want God to use me to shine like a star in a dark world. I want to let His glory show through me every day! I want what I say and do speak volumes for who God is and what He has done for us to those who say “God is not real and Christian are nothing but judgemental hypocrites.”

As for the purpose of this blog I want to help others by using it to talk about what God has taught me and the things God wants me to share. Whether it be a simple verse or a lesson I have learned in my walk with Christ. I pray that what I write here helps at least one person.

Lord,

You are the bright and morning star. Fill our lives with Your love and mercy. Let Your glory shine through us so that we can be stars in a dark and dying world. Give us opportunities everyday to show Your love to those around us.

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