The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, January 14, 2011
We passed this gate and winter rural view along Rissermill Road yesterday.
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"The Narrow Gate"
"Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; The righteous will enter through it" (Psalm 118:19,20). "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13,14).
I suppose I have always been intrigued with farm gates; the way they operate, their various styles, colors and sizes, etc. It probably goes back to my childhood when I often played on my Uncle Gentry's farm in southern Missouri and later worked on a farm during my senior year in college.
Brooksyne, on the other hand, grew up on a small farm and was pretty accustomed to opening and closing gates both at her home in Oklahoma and at her grandparents' farm in northwest Arkansas.
As a child she often heard, "Make sure the gate's shut." She's told me more than once of the humiliation she experienced as a teen having to chase in the cows, horses (and even pigs) that ran loose in the neighborhood due to someone forgetting to close the gate.
“Gate” is a common word found in the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. That's not surprising since the Bible was written during a time when virtually every reader was familiar with agriculture. In fact the word is used some 350 times depending on the translation according to my study on Biblegateway.com. This site features a handy word search that includes a total of times the word is used.
But in that time the word, “gate” was not used merely in the agricultural sense but also for city gates, the portals through which one entered or departed. The temple also had gates and thus we have the marvelous phrase from Psalm 100:4, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”
We often sang this verse over the years and I recall one Sunday morning, over 25 years ago, when Mike Matangelo put into practice the meaning of this verse. He was teaching an adult Sunday School class and marched his students outdoors so they could purposefully enter the “gates” of our church with rejoicing in their hearts and thanksgiving on their lips. I doubt that anyone present in that class has ever forgotten that spiritual exercise!
But today we want to consider a spiritual gate, one that through Christ's atoning work, is open to all who place our faith in Him! The Psalmist begins the first daily verse with a plea, "Open to me the gates of righteousness." He follows through with this commitment, "I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD."
The Psalmist identifies the owner of this gate: "This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous will enter through it." This gate is revealed in a teaching by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13,14).
In this age of religious pluralism, diversity, and tolerance these words of our Lord may seem harsh and even unloving. It's amazing to some of us that our country's slide into decadence would be so great that a national memorial service regarding those tragically slain last Saturday in Tucson would be opened in "prayer" by a pagan medicine man. As one editor put it, “he began the off kilter scene with his pseudo-blessing of rocks and trees, northern doors, and -- well, whatever he was blessing, anyway.”
I address the faithful here; those who have "eyes to see and ears to hear" the words of our Lord. Let us faithfully adhere to the teachings of Christ revealed in the Holy Bible and let us enter through the narrow gate that leads us to His paths of righteousness.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, there are so many options laid out for us that are man-made, popularity driven and financially motivated directing us to the broad path of destruction where the majority go. Instead we, as Your redeemed people, make the willful choice to enter the gate that is small and the way that is narrow. It is not the easy choice, but it is the right choice. The broad gate diminishes the traveler’s hope as they come to the end of their perishable walk and see nothing but a dead end. But the narrow, righteous path increases our hope as we see no end in sight but an upward path leading to eternal life where no sorrow, sin, or suffering is permitted. It is there that we will enter the gates of heaven and dwell for all eternity with our glorious Redeemer and all the saints who chose to enter the narrow gate here on earth. Keep us faithfully walking the narrow path, we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Anyone know what these are? (place mouse over photo for answer)
I like this view of a dinner bell that's still being used.
We stopped by to see some friends. Luke and Anna Mae are busy making whoopie pies at the kitchen table. We sampled them and they are, oh so good!
Anyone interested in an Australian cattle puppy!
See here for video of Moses showing off the puppies.
Ester is feeling better and slowly regaining her energy, although resting more than usual these days. She loved holding this puppy.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"I Will Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving In My Heart" Video Maranatha Music This is the song Mike led the class in many years ago! Great song that will bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart!
"You Are My Hiding Place" Video Maranatha Singers
"The Narrow Gate" Video An interesting video witness.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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