Tag Archive: choice


The Fish Gate

Fish ladder Window

Fish ladder Window

 

‘There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.’  (Proverbs 16:25)

A way?  I wondered, ‘what is this particular way?’  Surely there are MANY ways that seem right, if there is only ONE way that truly IS right.

Now I understand.  It is the way of the crowd, the way of peer pressure, the way of group consensus.  The way of ‘everybody’s doing it’.  It just seems right, because that’s the direction of the flow.  Most times it doesn’t even occur to us to question it.  We go along without thinking, without critical examination.  It’s what we’ve been taught is ‘normal’.

But, while all the world is swimming downstream, God made Christians, like salmon, to swim upstream.  As we study God’s Word, our eyes become opened to what is acceptable behavior for us, in God’s eyes, and what isn’t.  As long as we submit ourselves to walk IN THE SPIRIT, we find ourselves having a constant urge to swim against the flow.

But the current is strong.  If we don’t continue in The Spirit, we will find ourselves swimming with the crowd too.  But again and again, the urge to go against the flow will return.  Yet if we don’t FOCUS our attention on that urge within us–that inner leading of the Holy Spirit–we will find ourselves passing the same scenery again and again.  Upstream, downstream.  We just don’t seem to be making any progress.

WE MUST CHOOSE to submit ourselves to God daily.  We must CHOOSE to put His will before our own.  We must CHOOSE to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  If we do, His Holy Spirit gives us the supernatural strength and motivation to swim against the flow.  And the longer we do it, the stronger and more motivated we become–just like the salmon that find the water purer and more oxygenated the further upstream they go.  Soon they smell the familiar scent of the shoals where they spent their early life: home!

But if we DON’T choose to submit ourselves to God daily . . . if we DON’T choose to put His will before our own, if we DON’T follow His leading, we will simply be carried along with the flow.

There is yet a deeper parallel here: the issue of fish ladders.  Take the case of the Chittenden Locks: here boats are moved between Lake Washington and Puget Sound.  As always, water moves downstream.  However, it is not advantageous for migrating salmon to get caught in the huge locks, because the way they are constructed makes it virtually impossible for them to make their way upstream.  Therefore, a narrow ‘fish ladder’ was constructed on one side of the lock.  (But not every salmon finds it.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiram_M._Chittenden_Locks#Fish_ladder

Understanding the fish ladder brings new understanding to Jesus’ parable:

‘Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’  (Matthew 7:13-14)

Although God made us a ‘fish gate’, a way of salvation, we still must STRIVE to enter in.  We still must be the ones to CHOOSE to swim upstream and make the journey.  God has put everything needful in place for us, and will even turbocharge us to reach our destination, but He’s not going to airlift us there.  What is needful, is for us to choose to TURN and SWIM!

‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’  (Luke 13:24)

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If you think that just by believing in Jesus, you’ve got a guaranteed ticket to Heaven, think again. You can’t live just any way you please. Only those who heed the Holy Spirit and ‘abide’ in Jesus Christ, through obedience, will make Heaven their home.

‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven.’ (Jesus, Matthew 7:21)

Do you think God is such a pushover that He is going to let willful, rebellious children into Heaven?

Note this, and remember WHO is the author of ‘The Law’ . . .

‘If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and [that], when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son [is] stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; [he is] a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.’ (Deut. 21:18-21)

You may argue that we are now in the ‘age of grace’ and are no longer under The Law. This is true–but be sure you don’t misunderstand grace. Here is what the NEW Testament has to say, about willful, rebellious Christians:

”For if we sin WILFULLY after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ (Hebrews 10:26-31)

CHOOSE daily to walk in obedience to God’s Word, and to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit, and Romans 8:1 will apply to you:

‘[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT.’

How many pastors today are preaching the truth on this subject? From my experience . . . not many. Instead, they let their congregations or their board of directors/elders dictate what they will preach . . .

‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.’ (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

‘. . . this [is] a rebellious people, lying children, children [that] will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.’ (Isaiah 30:9-11)

If your preacher preaches ‘smooth things’ instead of edifying and convicting truth, then you can be sure that your church is being led by rebellious men (or women), rather than by the Spirit of God. Get out before you suffer their fate!:

‘ . . . them that perish; because they received not THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH, that they might be saved. And for this cause GOD shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ (2 Thess. 2:10-12)

The day has arrived that we must ‘shake the dust off our feet’ in regards to some of the people in our lives that we have been trying to persuade to Christ.  When the time arrives to ‘shake the dust off’ in regards to a specific person, the Lord will speak to your heart.  It is important to  listen, because God knows the heart and He knows the point at which a person has decided that their ‘final answer’ is ‘NO’.  Beyond that, you are wasting precious time.

He may already be speaking this to your heart about some of the people in your life, and you may have found it very confusing–but He does not call us to devote our life to persuading anyone to turn to Him.  When He sent out the twelve disciples to different villages, two by two (as their first ‘solo flight’, as Christians ministering the gospel through the power of God) Jesus gave them specific instructions. Part of that instruction was:

‘if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.’

His desire is that we present the truth, live the truth, and minister in what ways we are able.  We are not to so heavily invest ourselves in someone that we bind ourselves to them and make their choice our responsibility.  The Lord wants people who truly desire to walk with Him–who choose Him out of their own free will,  not from constant badgering or guilt.

He called us to be witnesses–to the truth and to what He has done in our lives–not salesmen.  It is the job of the Holy Spirit to persuade men of their sins and personal need for a Savior.  In fact, if we go beyond presenting and living the truth and ministering as we are able, we may very well have the opposite effect and actually get in the way of the Holy Spirit and cause a person to harden his heart!  People come to Jesus out of hunger!  Force feeding has the opposite effect.

And that brings us to the unfortunate situation of people who are ‘unequally yoked’.  If you are married to an unbeliever, you need to prepare your heart.  The day is soon coming that you will be confronted with a choice: will you choose to join your unbelieving spouse and turn your back on God, or will you stand firm in your faith, and lose your spouse?

When the time to choose arrives, the Lord will speak to your heart

‘Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.’

Will you heed His voice?

There comes a time when you have to let go of your hopes for someone and accept things for what they are.  I am not saying you should leave your spouse–that is a choice for the Lord to direct you in.  I am saying, don’t be surprised if your spouse leaves you.

Prepare your heart for the possibility that your spouse will leave you, in the not too distant future, if you continue to serve God.  Evil has greatly increased on the earth and people are now, consciously or not, making spiritual decisions.  As things get more difficult, they will act out of what is in their heart, and the spiritual decisions they have made.

Make up your mind now, what you will do when that time comes.  You will be very vulnerable to making a choice you will regret, when that horrible day arrives.  There are few things more agonizing than being left by the one you love.  But the Lord will sustain you through that time, if you choose to remain in Him.

The hour that Jesus spoke of has arrived:
‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’

There has recently been a shift in the spiritual realm. It seems that people are no longer restraining the evil that is within their hearts.  Evil wants nothing to do with good, and good wants nothing to do with evil.  Everyone seems to be choosing one side or the other.  The Lord is calling us again, to devote ourselves fully to Him, and to begin to emotionally distance ourselves from those who have rejected Him.

[Here is a word to those of you who think that you can hide behind your  unbelieving spouse:
Do not listen to the lying whisper that tells you you can just keep quiet about being a Christian, find some way not to get ‘The Mark’ and be ok, (because you know your spouse will take it and will still be able to buy and sell, thus providing for your needs)!  The Lord knows your heart and is not pleased.  Repent and put your faith in Him.]

It’s Time To ‘Shake The Dust Off’ (Part 2)

You Only Die Once–Make It Count!

Here’s The Deal . . .