Sunday, March 13, 2011

Life is Hard

Deuteronomy 30:19 is a verse that concludes all the giving of the laws, commandments, and statutes.  In this verse, Moses sums everything up by stating that he has set before the Israelites the blessing and the curse.  And then he tells them to make their choice.  One path leads to life everlasting and one to death with all its' finality.  The choice seems obvious....who would consciously choose death?

Our rational minds tell us that no one would possibly choose death but the fact of the matter is that we choose death every day in every generation.

Several years ago I worked with a man who was a faithful church goer.  This man let everyone know what a great christian he was by frequently mentioning his church and his frequent attendance.  He was also very vocal about how much money he gave to the church.  During the time when we all heard of the Columbine shootings and learned of the young girl who would not deny G-d before the shooters and was therefore shot to death this man told me that if he was ever held at gunpoint and asked to deny G-d he himself believed that it would be ok to deny G-d because G-d really knew how he felt and knew he didn't mean it but that he was just protecting his life.

My bible tells me otherwise.  Matthew 10:33 states that "whoever denies me before men; I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven." 

Sometimes choosing life everlasting costs us our life.  Most believers probably believe that horrible choice will never happen to them.  We read historical accounts of the apostles and breathe a quiet sigh of relief that we did not live during that time period.  We read news accounts of events like Columbine and hope it never happens to us.

But sometimes life can side-swipe you.  I am currently going through something that is really testing my faith.  My flesh keeps telling my heart that it is ok to do what my heart wants - the alternative (to walk through fire) is abhorrent to my mind and I am having a really hard time accepting it.  What I am having to accept in order to stand by the Word of G-d is unthinkable.  I think I really know what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego must have felt knowing they would be thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to the king.  I'm sure their minds contemplated denying G-d to save their lives.  Anyone who argues otherwise is a liar.  We have a strong instinct to live..... The only people I know who would willingly choose death are those that are caught up in satanic stuff of some sort or another.

I have done all and am standing by grace according to Ephesians 6 - I've put on the armor of G-d and am standing firm.  One of my weapons of warfare from scripture is Psalm 119.  I usually avoid reading this Psalm in my daily Psalm reading because of how long it is but the repetitious reading of these verses concerning keeping G-d's word is just the medicine I need everyday while walking through this.  These 176 verses dealing with keeping G-d's law are hard to argue with and encourage my flesh to submit to G-d and deny itself.

I think a synonymous verse to Deut 30:19 is Matthew 7:13
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
Christians should ask themselves why there are so many churches and so many people calling themselves believers when they read this verse.  I know it scares me.

At the same time Hebrews 4:1 makes me quiver and keeps me seeking G-d: 
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
I found this excerpt in something published by First Fruits of Zion:
Our lives as believers are ineffective or seriously hindered when we allow subjective standards to have authority in our lives. If we allow our feelings, our opinions, other people, circumstances and other things to determine how we live, we will miss the mark 100% of the time. The Scriptures are our sole authority for daily living because they are objective. We are to live daily according to the Spirit, [Galatians 5:25] but not at the expense of the Word. The Scriptures must come first, for the Scriptures alone are God's objective disclosure of truth. G-d has revealed His instructions to us in the Scriptures.
If we choose to live according to only part of the Scriptures, we are choosing to live according to only part of G-d's instructions, and we will be dysfunctional and useless to Him. In the same way, if we choose to live according to our subjective interpretations and not pursue the objective truth of Scripture as arrived at by the illumination of the Spirit and confirmed through sound hermeneutics, we will continue to vacillate and be tossed about by life.
The Scriptures teach us everything we need to know, and they do not care about our station in life or how much the truth will cause us discomfort or inconvenience. Things making sense to our minds or sitting well with our spirits are not criteria for determining truth. If there is anything worth putting our faith in, it is the Word of G-d.
I am trusting G-d to see me through this.  But I may go to my grave without seeing His answer.  When I was 6 years old I prayed my salvation prayer.  I told G-d that I loved Him more than anything in the world and I asked Him to keep my for heaven and to never let anything keep me out of heaven.  Now He is asking me to show Him how much I meant this prayer.  This life is but a vapor - it's the life on the other side that is for all eternity.

Psalm 119:30
I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Thine ordinances before me.

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