It's All Grace

Amazing things can happen when you allow the Lord to work in your life.

Taking Shortcuts

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” Ephesians 4:13.

Life is full of shortcuts. High-priced technology has changed the way we live and made shopping so easy we can get what we want with a simple click of a mouse or a wave of a debit card. Although technological advances have also made homeschooling easier, there is one aspect to teaching our children at home that can’t be fast forwarded — your children’s spiritual growth. Developing biblical values and godly character requires a daily, concentrated effort in building God’s truths precept upon precept. Money simply cannot buy instant access to Christianity or purchase shortcuts in learning God’s lessons in humility, obedience, and submission.

Trying to fast track Christianity has been a problem since the Lord returned to heaven. In Acts 8:13-24, Simon, the ex-magician, thought he could bypass the disciplines of being trained in righteousness. Wanting to impress the crowds and perform miracles like Peter, Simon offered money to find a shortcut to the Holy Spirit’s power. Rebuking him for his fleshly attempts to control God, Peter said, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:20b-21).

What about you? Are you guilty of looking for shortcuts in your spiritual growth? Quick prayers and short devotionals are not enough. Spend time alone with the Lord today in prayer and Bible study and let the Holy Spirit reveal those changes that need to take place in your life. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection” (Hebrews 6:1a).

Lord, forgive me for being like a child and looking for the easy way out of Your lessons. Help me to walk with You today and not run ahead of the disciplines that teach me Your truths. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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Choose the Right Entrance

Matthew 7:13-14  “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.”

The gate is wide and stands open.  You may go in this gate with all your lusts about you; it gives no checks to appetites or passions.  It is a broad way and there are many paths

The way to eternal life is narrow.  We are not in heaven as soon as we enter through the strait gate.  Self must be denied and corruptions mortified.  Daily temptations resisted; duties must be done as we will go through trials and sufferings.

We go through gates of many kinds.  However, some are more like turnstiles.  You know, like at airports and amusement parks?  Most of the time, they are one-way.  You go in and you don’t back out.

Jesus tells us to “enter by the narrow gate”.  He also speaks about the way being hard is the way that leads to life.   Going through a narrow gate in itself is uncomfortable, and now He tells us the way will also be hard.  Expect it.

There is also a wide gate. Many will go through this gate because it is easy.  It won’t require much of us.  We won’t feel uncomfortable and rarely ever make a sacrifice.  We will always be accepted by others.  All you need to do is say a prayer, admire Jesus, and say you believe in love.  It’s lazy and lets you move along with the current.  It’s what we do naturally.  But what does Jesus say it leads to?  Death.  Eternal death.

I had a friend one time who made a “profession of faith” and when things began to get difficult…I mean really hard…she told me, “If this is what Christianity is all about, YOU CAN HAVE IT!  I DON’T WANT ANY PART OF IT!”  After gasping at what she had said, I was stunned then sickened as I immediately thought to myself, “have I given her the wrong image of Christ?”  Since then, I have come to realize that there are people everywhere who want a ticket to heaven…but they want the easy road.

Many Christians think that trusting Jesus as their Savior makes life easy, and now that they have Christ, there will be nothing but smooth sailing.  That’s not what Jesus has told us – yet the contrary.  We will be constricted.  We will need to believe things we cannot see.  We will have to forgive those who hurt us, and be kind to those who really irritate us.  We will have to say no to some things that others are free to do.  We will be mocked, made fun of, and slandered.  We will standout and be very different at times when we wish we could just blend in with the crowd.  We may even lose our life.

What do we get as Christians?  Well, everything.  Even through all the difficulties we will encounter we can live with joy and peace.  We will have courage when others would cave in fear.  And best of all, we have the promise from One that cannot lie.  We have the hope of life eternal in His very presence.  I would say that’s worth some discomfort.

You have to choose:  narrow or wide?

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