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My God is…the Gate John 10: 7-10

John 10:7-10 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come

I am the gate

I am the Gate

before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Have you ever locked yourself out?

There is nothing as precious as getting into your home when you’re locked out. It may start like this. You walk up to the door thinking your spouse is home. You reach for the door, it’s locked. You realize the other car is gone. You jiggle the handle again. No problem, you think, I have a key here somewhere. No luck. Your pockets seem deeper than ever as you practically pull down your pants trying to dig the non-existent key from your pocket. Unfortunately you have always felt keeping a key hidden outside was a security risk, so you don’t have a back up. You have not made friends with your neighbors, so none of them have a key either.

You start to strategize. You think, if I were a burglar, how would I get in. I’m not breaking into my own home. I’ll call my husband. He doesn’t answer. Normally this alone would send you into a rant, but right now you have bigger issues than him not answering the phone. You try all the windows, hoping your husband has not diligently locked them all. But of course, his efficiency has doomed you. You’re desperate to get in.

Have you ever locked yourself out?

Sometimes we lock ourselves out from heaven. We’re desperate to get in. We want eternal life. We want there to be something after death, but we want to be free to do whatever we want. We want to be open-minded. We want to believe that people of all religions go to heaven. Sadly that thinking locks us out of heaven. The only way to heaven is through the gate. Through Jesus Christ. All are welcome, but only those who believe that Jesus died and rose again to save them from their sins and strengthen their faith will be able to walk through that gate.

God doesn’t lock the gate

God is always there. He never locks the gate. He never keeps you from entering heaven. That’s why he sent Jesus, so that no matter what religion you were before, no matter what sins you’ve committed and no matter how pretty you are, you can enter heaven through the gate, Jesus Christ.

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.

Whoever. Some people say that Christians are bad because they say their the only ones going to heaven. The truth is we’re the only religion where you going to heaven isn’t somehow reliant on your own actions. Everyone is allowed in, if they come through the gate, Jesus Christ. Whoever enters through Jesus will be saved. We will not be saved by being good, giving away money, going to church or anything else. We go to heaven only because Jesus died for us.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

God wants what’s best for us. When we believe and know where we’re going when we die, we are given freedom in grace that allows us to live fully. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow, because our future is planned out for us. We are going to heaven. In response to His great love, we may very well do the things I listed above, but not to gain entrance to heaven, but as a reflection of the love He has given to us. We are free to do what we want, but if we believe in Christ, our wants will change to match His.

Are you able to live life to the full?

 

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in John, My God is the Gate

 

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My God is…the Vine John 15:5

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

I am the Vine

I am the Vine; you are the branches

Out here in Oregon, there are a lot of vineyards. It makes for some fantastic wines in the area. Quite a few years ago (the 60’s?) someone figured out that the soil in Western Oregon was good for producing Pinot Noir. Since that time this area has been booming with vineyards.

In the verse above, Jesus compares himself to the vine, and us to the branches. If Jesus is the vine, what was His soil? I think it’s God the Father. Jesus was always making sure his behaviors pointed back to the Father, and always wanted to do His will.

Nutrition is important

How do you get your nutrients? The branches on the vine get all the nutrients they need from the vine. When they’re separated from the vine, they wither and die. What you put into yourself is important. What do you nourish yourself with? Maybe you eat really well, and don’t have any of the struggles with weight and eating that I’ve had, but let’s think of a different kind of nourishment. What are you feeding your soul? Do you listen to the lies of the devil as he tells you you’re not worthy of forgiveness. The truth is we’re not. And that’s ok, because Jesus, our Vine, is, and has taken your place so even if we don’t deserve it, we’re given salvation. Why? Because He wants us to have everlasting life with Him. Because of that amazing love He has for us, we’re able to be changed and grow. He provides everything we need to produce fruit. He changes us. He gives us the nutrients that each of us needs individually. He meets our Spiritual needs.

A bit malnourished

This week I’ve been feeling a bit malnourished. I’ve been focusing on myself. Worrying about something the Lord has proven over and over again that he’ll take care of…Money. Funny thing is, I don’t even know if it’s a problem or not yet. My husband and I still need to let the dust settle and see if we’re able to make a go of it on his salary alone. While I love that idea, I have not been enjoying the possibility. Instead I’ve been worrying about the money. How is it going to stretch? How are we going to pay the bills at the right time. I’m not opposed to working, but would love to find something as flexible as I have had up to now. During all this fretting, I turned to the Lord at every turn. HA! No I didn’t. If I had turned to God every time I was concerned, He would have provided me with comfort and direction, but for some reason, instead I find myself lingering in the problem instead of the solution, Christ Jesus.

A New Diet

So feeling a bit malnourished, because I haven’t “remained in Him”, I need to start on a new diet plan. A plan that refocuses me on my Lord. I need to spend more time with Him through His word and His people. I need to allow the Lord to meet my needs, and not fret. Will that be through a new job opportunity or the opportunity to stay home, I don’t know, but I know that my nourishment will be found in Jesus, so I need to get healthier with Him.

Apart from me you can do nothing.

Instead of continuing to try to cling to my own ways, focusing on the negative, I need to find the blessings from the Lord in my family, His word and the life He has given me. I have big plans for myself. I want to be a writer and speaker, but apart from God I can do nothing. I must trust in Him to give me the strength, sanity and opportunity. Time to spend some time in His word and in prayer.

Are you malnourished?

 

 


 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in John, My God is the Vine

 

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My God is … God Psalm 46:10

Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Be Still

How often are you still? Do you stop? Ever? Many of my friends hardly ever stop. Even when they do stop physically, their minds are still racing, and they don’t truly get any rest from their hectic lives. Being still takes focus. It’s not easy at all. You can start to feel guilty, wiggling around thinking about all of the things not getting done while you’re “being still”.

What do we miss in our hectic lives

In Psalm 46:10, God says to “Be still and know that I am God”. What a blessing of being still! For many years I had worked a 40 hour a week job. I actually worked a lot more hours than that, because I had a virtual commute. It always sounds so wonderful. I got to work from home! But that has its pluses and minuses. Yes I could run and get my boys when I needed to, and if something came up I could take care of it. The truth is, usually those things didn’t come up, but instead I would be more likely to allow my work to impede on my family time. I would be doing fine, playing a game or watching a movie with the boys when I would think of one more thing that I could get done before tomorrow (so that day would be “easier”). I would work on that while I was “with” my boys. I would not be fully present in either, not accomplishing anything of value in the end. The next day was not easier, as I had plenty more to worry about that day.

Each day my minds raced. I wanted to be sure that my work was visible even though I wasn’t in the office. I wanted to make my work successful for the business, my bosses and myself. I wanted to do well, so I could feel good about my work. What really happened, because I never took down time for my brain is I was not my best. When I would over work myself, in the name of dedication, I would push myself beyond what was useful for any of us.

Clearing your mind

I don’t know about the other women out there, but clearing my mind is a foreign concept to me. Even when I am sitting still in a quiet room, my mind is not clear. I may be having 25 different thoughts in less than a minute. My mind is all over the place. Do you remember the scene in Ghostbusters when they’re told to pick what will destroy them by what they think, and their plan is to clear their minds so that nothing will destroy them? That was always such a ridiculous scene to me, because I couldn’t even conceptualize emptying my brain. Is that a man/woman thing, or just a problem I have? I’m not sure, but if it had been me out there, we would have had 20 or more things to fight off with our proton streams.

 

And Know that I am God

Being still, clearing our minds takes practice. One of the great benefits of having the hours you spend for work reduced is you have time to practice being still. Since I reduced my hours (and recently had them reduced again for me), I have been given the opportunity to work towards being still and knowing He is God. I have started to use the prayers I learned at the prayer retreat I went to (the Jesus Prayer and Lectio Divina) to get me closer to being still. Then I will sit after those prayers and just try to “be” in God’s presence. I’m not saying I’ve perfected it, but the promise to know God better is one worth doing.

Do you know how to be still?

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in My God is God, Psalm

 

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