I hope what I am about to say burrows its way deep into your heart….
There are many good philosophers and self-help gurus–well-educated men and women who have a wealth of messages to cause us to view the world and ourselves in a more esoteric way. The messages they teach cause us to look at our environment, communities, the person next door and ourselves in a way that draw utters of ‘amens’ from our mouths because the words are so soothing, so gentle…so right, right? They may even be filled with words we are accustomed to hearing from our childhood with church-attending parents or grandparents, but are not seeing much of in our places of worship today, such as love, peace, kindness, patience, mercy–good moral qualities, all.
Every society that has ever been established from the beginning of time has had traces of humankind with deep convictions and good moral judgment and qualities. When those people are gone from the earth, I shutter to think what the world will be like. Eloquent speakers take the best of the best of all disciplines and doctrines, faiths and philosophies and string them together like pearls for a necklace, building a foundation of one feel-good message atop the other, and salted with the words we’ve been taught to strive for all our lives.
The problem is that not everyone is right. Regardless of what you’ve been told, truth is not based upon your particular and diverse set of circumstances. Not every message leads you to the right path. Sadder still is that not every person will achieve a gold medal — or silver or bronze, for that matter. However, the LORD Himself has strung His own pearls together on the Thread of Life. He is asking you to this day to choose whom you will serve. If you choose Him, you are instructed by wedding vows on how to relate to Him: “Forsaking all others, keeping only unto Him, as long as you shall live”.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” KNJV
Joshua 24:14-15, “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” NKJV
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” NLT
Matthew 7:13-16a: “Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
“Beware of the false prophets! They come to you wearing sheep’s clothing, but underneath they are hungry wolves! You will recognize them by their fruit….”
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” NKJV
2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” ESV
Galatians 1:8 “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” NASB
Acts 17:11 “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, AND searched the Scriptures daily to FIND OUT whether these things were so.” NKJV
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in Him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. CJB
John 10:11-30, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, since he isn’t a shepherd and the sheep aren’t his own, sees the wolf coming, abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf drags them off and scatters them. 13 The hired worker behaves like this because that’s all he is, a hired worker; so it doesn’t matter to him what happens to the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own, and my own know me — 15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father — and I lay down my life on behalf of the sheep. 16 Also I have other sheep which are not from this pen; I need to bring them, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
17 “This is why the Father loves me: because I lay down my life — in order to take it up again! 18 No one takes it away from me; on the contrary, I lay it down of my own free will. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. This is what my Father commanded me to do.”
19 Again there was a split among the Judeans because of what he said. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon!” and “He’s meshugga! Why do you listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the deeds of a man who is demonized — how can a demon open blind people’s eyes?”
22 Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, 23 and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo’s Colonnade. 24 So the Judeans surrounded him and said to him, “How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us publicly!” 25 Yeshua answered them, “I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. The works I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, 26 but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, 28 and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. 29 My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father’s hands. 30 I and the Father are one.” CJB
John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” ESV
Matthew 25:31-46, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, accompanied by all the angels, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. 33 The ‘sheep’ he will place at his right hand and the ‘goats’ at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, 36 I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the people who have done what God wants will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and make you our guest, or needing clothes and provide them? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ 40 The King will say to them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!’
41 “Then he will also speak to those on his left, saying, ‘Get away from me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels! 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 a stranger and you did not welcome me, needing clothes and you did not give them to me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick or in prison, and not take care of you?’ 45 And he will answer them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you refused to do it for the least important of these people, you refused to do it for me!’ 46 They will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what God wants will go to eternal life.” CJB
Palm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” NKJV