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Jesus once said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Matthew 7:13-14

I continue to be amazed at the dichotomies in the Christian life. We are told to follow this itinerant preacher who came on the scene from virtually nowhere, spent a few years here on earth and then was brutally murdered. His 12 closest followers all met the same fate, as did 1,000’s since then.

Who, in their right mind would agree to a proposal to follow a life in which you will have no pillow for your head, you’ll be ridiculed, and live in constant danger of death.

Yet, as the Psalmist writes, His will is where I want to be. If I follow his will completely I will stare adversity in the face. If I follow his teachings I will be labeled intolerant, out of touch with reality, and a whole lot of other social labels.

Still, regardless of all the external realities, He offers a peace and joy that nothing else can measure up to. His way will not be the easiest. His way will not be the most popular. But his way offers me something the world can never give me, nor take away. Peace. So, as Job said, ‘Even though he slay me, yet will I trust him’.


Eeyore, the always negative donkey in the children’s story, “Winnie the Pooh” has an incredible knack for seeing the negative in everything. I remember chuckling at some of his statements while reading to my children. In his world there was nothing good. There was no hope. Expectations always fell short.

We can chuckle at this fictional character’s outlook on life, but reality is, it’s easy for us to do the same. It’s easy to live trapped by our past. I’m grateful for a relatively boring childhood, but many are still grappling with abusive homes, dysfunctional families and sometimes, as a result, mental illness or addictions. It’s been said ‘our past can kill us or make us stronger’, and while there is some truth to that, its easier said than lived.

It’s also easy for us as believers to lose hope when we look around us at the direction society seems destined for. Often our belief in Jesus Christ is construed by society as intolerant, out of touch and irrelevant.

Peter wrote his book to Christ followers in a society that, believe it or not, was more brutal to the things of God that the one we live in. Yet he wrote of great expectations. Not because of his past, but because of his future. Not because of who he was, but because of who Jesus is.

Don’t base your hopes, aspirations and expectations on who you are or what you can do. Don’t allow the actions and accusations of others deter you from expecting great and mighty things in your life. Success by God’s standards comes from a live lived rich in integrity and holiness. Success by societies standards is like flags in the wind, being tossed by every new idea. Jesus gives you stability in an unstable world and hope among the hopeless.


What are we here for as believers? What was the constant message Jesus tried to instill in his followers? What task did he leave for us? What parting prayer did he offer to the Father God before his death?

Judging from what I see in social media today and hear spoken from the pulpits of some of our churches, our goal is to defend God and his word. Now, before you stop reading, let me say that Paul and others are very adamant about standing firm on the Word of God. It’s not only important, it’s a requirement.

However, in reading today’s verse, it occurred to me that perhaps our error is not in the standing, but in how we stand; it’s not in the message, it’s how it’s delivered; it’s not in making things ‘right’ but in being God’s light.

Paul seems to be stating here (and I encourage you to check the context) that his goal, and ours should be to present people to God as perfect. I envision the opportunity to present to God a brightly colored package with your name on it. Here is ‘suzy’ God. I’ve shown her your love. I’ve used the wisdom you gave me to bring her to you. I’ve relied on your power to make the change within. She is my gift to you.

Jesus attracted people by the thousands because he showed them God’s love and God’s truth in a perfect balance that couldn’t be resisted. That’s why the woman at the well, when her faults were exposed, ran to the village and said come and see the one…!

What gift are you working on today?


I remember the conversation well. He’s a personal friend who happens to be a billionaire as well. One day in conversation he said to me, rather sheepishly, “I don’t even know how much money I have. But God has blessed me to I can bless others.”

What a stunning statement. In a way it reminded me of King Solomon. He, like my friend, could have had anything his heart desired. Solomon sought all the earthly things. Gold, kingdoms, women, but none of them brought happiness. Finally in exasperation he confessed that there is nothing of any true value in earthly possessions. True value comes only from God.

Are riches bad? Of course not. Is it wrong to have a happy home, a good retirement and a whole bunch of friends? Of course not. But when those things take precedence over your relationship with Jesus, trouble is bound to happen!

Now, before you read this and smugly sit back and say, I got this covered, BEWARE! The enemy of our souls loves to deceive us into complacency and apathy. I have started the practice of trying to start my day with a prayer to ask God to use me and end my day with a prayer to ask God to search me, to dig deep into the words I say and the attitudes I have to make sure my life is in tune with him.

True blessing comes from the heart set on Jesus.


Those who have been bruised know pain like no one else. They’ve experienced the rejection. They have endured the guilt. They have wandered the wilderness of loneliness. No two bruised reeds handle pain in the same way. Some explain it away; some hide it under denial, chemicals or pseudo relationships. Some wear it as a badge and look for some sort of comfort in letting others know about their pain. This works for awhile, until people get tired of hearing about it.

The smoldering wicks of our world die a thousand deaths every day. The unmet expectations of others constantly remind them of their failure and guilt. The constant attacks of their inner being shame them into the realization (in their eyes) that they will never amount to anything; that they were some sort of cosmic mistake.

Jesus brings justice if we will listen. Unlike the justice of our society, which is based on man’s external assessment of the situation, the justice Jesus brings is truth. Not truth based on societies standards. Not truth which will come at some point in the future, truth that is here today. Jesus tells us the real truth about us. He knows a thing or two because he’s seen a thing or two. He’s seen every bruise. He knows every crushed dream. He’s gentle with your past failures (including the self-inflicted ones) and seeks to fan into flame the potential he gave you when he created you in his image to be a masterpiece.

Jesus knows the truth about you and loves you passionately.

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