“THE FEW, THE PROUD . . . “

“BUT SMALL IS THE GATE AND NARROW THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO LIFE, AND ONLY A FEW FIND IT” MATTHEW 7: 14 READ: MATTHEW 7:13-27 ‘THE FEW, THE PROUD…’ MANY OF US CAN FINISH THIS SLOGAN. THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORP HAS USED THIS MAGNIFICENT LINE…’THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARINES!’…SEEMINGLY FOR DECADES. THIS MAY BE THE STRONGEST RECRUITING SLOGAN OF ALL THE ARMED FORCES. THE MARINES HAVE A SPECIAL BOND, A UNIQUENESS, WHICH THEY PERSONALLY IDENTIFY. THE SLOGAN MAGNIFIES THE BROTHERHOOD WHICH SETS THEM APART. TO TAKE NOTHING AWAY FROM OUR OTHER ARMED FORCES; THE ARMY HAS THE RANGERS. THE NAVY HAS THEIR SEALS. THE AIR FORCE HAS THE WORLD’S GREATEST PILOTS. BUT, THE MARINES ARE THE FEW, THE PROUD. THERE IS ANOTHER SPECIAL GROUP WHO ARE SET APART AS ‘THE FEW AND THE PROUD’. CHRISTIANS. ARE YOU PART OF THE FEW AND THE PROUD? WITH A LARGE PART OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION, THERE ARE STILL LIMITS TO THE NUMBERS OF CHRISTIANS. CHRIST TELLS US IN TODAY’S BIBLE READING OF THE SMALL GATE AND THE NARROW ROAD. WE UNDERSTAND, THE SMALL GATE REFERS TO THE FEW WHO WILL BE ABLE TO ENTER AND THE NARROW ROAD IS FOR THE FEW WHO WILL BE ABLE TO COMPLETE THE WALK IN ORDER TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. JESUS TELLS US IN VERSE 21 OF TODAY’S READING: “NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, ‘LORD, LORD,’ WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, BUT ONLY THE ONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.” ARE YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE TO ENTER THE SMALL GATE AND WALK THE NARROW ROAD AS...

“I WILL GIVE THEM A PIECE OF MY MIND!”

“WHOSE TONGUE UTTERS NO SLANDER, WHO DOES NO WRONG TO A NEIGHBOR, AND CASTS NO SLURS ON OTHERS;” PSALM 15:3 NIV READ: PSALM 15:1-5 HAVE YOU EVER GOTTEN SO MAD, YOU THREATENED TO GIVE SOMEONE A PIECE OF YOUR MIND? AT A TIME LIKE THAT, YOU NEED TO BE REMINDED OF A FEW GOOD WORDS OF ADVICE; ‘IF I KEEP GIVING AWAY A PIECE OF MY MIND…IT WILL NOT BE LONG UNTIL I WILL NOT HAVE ANY OF MY MIND LEFT!’ AT A TIME OF ANGER, YOU ARE BETTER OFF TO THINK MORE AND SAY LESS. IT MAY NOT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER AT THE MOMENT, BUT YOU CAN KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT YOU WILL BE BETTER OFF IN THE LONG RUN. DON’T GIVE IN TO SATAN’S TAUNTS WITH HARSH WORDS. THERE IS A GENERAL RULE OF PHYSICS: ‘ONE MASS OR OBJECT CANNOT OCCUPY THE SAME SPACE AS ANOTHER MASS OR OBJECT.’ WE CAN USE THIS EXAMPLE TO HELP US UNDERSTAND HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT IN YOU PREVENTS SATAN FROM BEING IN YOU. WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLED WITHIN US, SATAN USES ALL OF OUR OUTWARD SENSES TO INFLUENCE US. SATAN USES OUR TOUCH, TASTE, SMELL, SIGHT AND HEARING TO TEMPT US TO HIS WAYS. SINCE HE CANNOT INFLUENCE YOUR HEART, HE WORKS TO INFLUENCE YOUR MIND FROM OUTSIDE YOUR BODY. GIVING SOMEONE A PIECE OF YOUR MIND MAKES IT EASIER FOR SATAN TO HURT THEM AND YOU. GIVE OTHERS ENCOURAGEMENT FROM YOUR HEART. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS INDWELLED IN YOU AS A BELIEVER. THE HOLY SPIRIT HOLDS YOUR HEART. SPEAK TO OTHERS FROM YOUR HEART, NOT FROM A...

“WHO IS YOUR NEIGHBOR?”

“‘WHICH OF THESE THREE DO YOU THINK PROVED TO BE A NEIGHBOR TO THE MAN WHO FELL INTO THE ROBBERS’ HANDS?’ AND HE SAID, ‘THE ONE WHO SHOWED MERCY TOWARD TOWARD HIM.’ THEN JESUS SAID TO HIM, ‘GO AND DO THE SAME.'” LUKE 10: 36-37 NIV READ: LUKE 10:25-37 DO YOU KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS? WE USUALLY KNOW THOSE WHO LIVE DIRECTLY NEXT DOOR, BUT HOW ABOUT TWO DOORS AWAY? WHAT ABOUT THREE OR FOUR DOORS FROM YOU OR THE FAMILY LIVING AROUND THE CORNER? WITH THE INVENTION OF AIR CONDITIONING DECADES AGO, WE FOUND IT WAS MORE COMFORTABLE TO STAY INSIDE THAN OUT. THIS LED TO LESS AND LESS SOCIALIZING WITH OUR NEIGHBORS. IN DAYS PAST, WE NOT ONLY KNEW WHO OUR NEIGHBORS WERE, WE KNEW ABOUT THEIR LIVES AND FAMILIES. WE KNEW WHERE THEY WORKED, WENT TO CHURCH, THE NAMES OF THEIR CHILDREN AND MORE. JESUS TOLD THE STORY OF WHO OUR NEIGHBORS ARE. HE EXPLAINED THE SIMPLICITY OF LOVING OUR NEIGHBORS NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE. HE STARTED WITH TEACHING US TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS AS OURSELVES. JESUS’ PARABLE TOLD US OF A MAN ROBBED, BEATEN AND LEFT TO DIE ON THE ROAD. BOTH A PRIEST AND A LEVITE PASSED HIM WITHOUT OFFERING HELP. THEN, A SAMARITAN CAME BY AND HELPED THE BEATEN MAN. THE SAMARITAN (WHOSE PEOPLE WERE LOOKED DOWN UPON BY THE JEWS) BANDAGED HIS WOUNDS, PLACE THIS INJURED MAN ON HIS DONKEY AND TOOK HIM TO AN INN. BUT, THE STORY DOES NOT STOP THERE. THE SAMARITAN EVEN PAID FOR THE ROOM FOR THE MAN AND OFFERED TO PAY THE INNKEEPER ADDITIONAL FUNDS ON...

“WHO IS THE THIEF?”

“BUT THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME LIKE A THIEF. THE HEAVENS WILL DISAPPEAR WITH A ROAR; THE ELEMENTS WILL BE DESTROYED BY FIRE, AND THE EARTH AND EVERYTHING DONE IN IT WILL BE LAID BARE. 2 PETER 3:10 NIV READ: 2 PETER 3:8-17 WHILE MAKING A PURCHASE OF STEEL PIPE FROM A COMPANY’S STORAGE YARD, I OVERHEARD THE OWNER TELL ONE OF HIS EMPLOYEES TO ‘KEEP AN EYE’ ON A CERTAIN CUSTOMER. THE OWNER HAD WATCHED THE MAN PUTTING SOME SMALL ITEMS INTO HIS TRUCK. LATER, THE MAN WENT TO PAY FOR ITEMS THAT HAD BEEN LOADED ONTO HIS TRAILER. THE OWNER ASKED; “WHAT ABOUT THE THINGS IN YOUR TRUCK?” THE MAN MUMBLED THAT HE HAD ‘FORGOTTEN’ ABOUT THE ITEMS. THE OWNER OF THE BUSINESS TOLD ME HE LOSES 3% OF HIS INVENTORY TO THIS TYPE OF THEFT. HE LOSES THREE DOLLARS OF EVERY ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS HE SELLS. WITH THIN PROFIT MARGINS IN A SMALL BUSINESS THESE LOSSES HURT HIS ABILITY TO KEEP HIS BUSINESS OPEN AND TO MAKE ENOUGH PROFIT TO PROVIDE FOR HIS FAMILY. WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO GIVE THREE DOLLARS OF EVERY HUNDRED DOLLARS OF YOUR INCOME TO AN UNDESERVING THIEF? AS WE LOOK AT OUR SOCIETY, RETAIL STORES HAVE ATTACHED SECURITY TAGS AND LABELS TO ALMOST ALL TYPES OF PRODUCTS. THEIR EXIT DOORS ARE WIRED TO SOUND AN ALARM IF THE CASHIER DOES NOT REMOVE OR INACTIVATE THE TAGS. STEALING HAS REACHED AN EPIDEMIC LEVEL. OUR SOCIETY IS MORE AWARE OF THE ONGOING PROBLEM. TOO MANY OF OUR CITIZENS FEEL WHATEVER THEY WANT IS THERE FOR THE TAKING. IT MIGHT BE...

“GOD HAS A PLAN!”

“‘FOR I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU,’ DECLARES THE LORD, ‘PLANS TO PROSPER YOU AND NOT TO HARM YOU, PLANS TO GIVE YOU HOPE AND A FUTURE.'” JEREMIAH 29:11 NIV READ: JEREMIAH 29:10-14 “IF I DIDN’T HAVE PROBLEMS, I WOULDN’T HAVE ANYTHING!” IS YOUR LIFE THAT PESSIMISTIC? DO YOU GET UP, GO TO WORK, COME HOME, GET A LITTLE SLEEP, JUST TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN? WE ARE EITHER BLESSED WITH OUR ROUTINE OR OUR ROUTINE CONTROLS US. FOR SOME, IT SOMETIMES FEELS LIKE WE ARE EITHER FACING A PROBLEM OR WE ARE ON TOP OF THE WORLD. A COMFORTABLE POINT IN BETWEEN IS RARE IN THIS HECTIC WORLD. IS THERE A STORM IN YOUR LIFE THAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK? YOU DON’T NEED TO JUST ENDURE A SITUATION. THE TROUBLES IN THIS LIFE ARE SATAN’S GRASP ON HUMANITY. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT SATAN CAN CONTROL YOU. YOU CAN DEVELOP A FAITH THAT SAYS ‘NO’ TO SATAN AND ‘YES’ TO GOD. YOU CAN RELY UPON GOD’S STRENGTH WHEN YOU STOP DEPENDING UPON WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS YOUR OWN STRENGTH. YOU CAN RELY UPON GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU. ACCEPT THESE FACTS: YOU NEVER HAVE HAD THE WISDOM OF GOD. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE WISDOM OF GOD. YOU NEVER WILL HAVE THE WISDOM OF GOD. GOD KNOWS MORE THAN YOU CAN EVER DESIRE TO KNOW. GOD HAS A PLAN. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU. GIVE UP LIVING LIFE YOUR WAY AND EMBRACE GOD’S WAY. DO YOU HAVE A PLAN FOR GOD IN YOUR LIFE? TODAY’S PRAYER: “DEAR GOD, THANK YOU FOR HAVING A PLAN...