I See God on That Narrow Road
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by Shirley Kiger Connolly
Category: Spiritual/Religion/General Nonfiction
Description: What kind of influence do you have on people today? Are you staying on the path God's ordered for you yet? Sometimes it's too easy to make decisions you think will be right only to discover later how wrong you were. And every man did that which was right in his own eyes from Judges 21:25 speaks to any who've done their own thing, in spite of what God may have guided through the counsel of His Word. Has that ever been you? We're responsible for the actions we take, for the choices we make each day. We can sadly lose our core vision when we open ourselves up to passageways that lead us astray from our focus. I See God on the Narrow Road gives the reader an opportunity to draw attention to the character of her or his life - to discover through personal choices and experiences how a single decision can become a positive or negative influence on not just one but many. The standards we set for ourselves make a difference. Do you know what kind of persuasion you have on people today who are on the same narrow path you are on?
eBook Publisher: Vinspire Publishing,
eBookwise Release Date: September 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [145 KB]
Reading time: 86-120 min.
If you've ever gone through the 119th Psalm, you might have come up with the same conclusions I did. Psalm 119 deals with a person's journey toward God.
In every group of eight verses in Psalm 119, we learn no matter where we are in our journey heavenward, as long as we're here on Earth, we find ourselves right back where we started over and over again. But Lord willing, with a different attitude.
During our expedition through the I See God series together, we've learned to look at God in several distinctive lights. It didn't stop various circumstances taking place in our lives. Those were going to happen anyway. But it did help us realize how much He's there for us.
David's life-struggles were about his highs and lows. Our lives are made up of highs and lows, too.
David learned from his mistakes, and still went through some of them again. Each time he went in his circle (Psalm 119 I mentioned earlier) he and any other writer of the 119th Psalm learned a little more about the process. Why? So they could better respond to God in spite of where they were.
I've included portions of Psalm 119 throughout this book, usually at the beginning of a lesson, to help us keep focus on that circle of life. You will discover as you move along, I also make mention of the Proverbs 31 virtuous woman a few times. The Proverbs 31 woman had her own journey to take, too.
I've found the journey of the virtuous woman is one that I desire most to emulate. The virtuous woman knew the route along the path of God so well it showed through every action of her life. I love how that woman could not only navigate her way beautifully up the narrow road to the throne of God, she taught the course correctly to us.
What an example she was for you and I. What an outstanding model she is for us today.
What do I show other women through the actions of my life that will affect them not only today but tomorrow?
When I ask myself that question, I'm reminded of something I read several times in the Old Testament: And every man did that which was right in his own eyes. That verse from Judges 21:25 speaks to one who does his or her own thing more than what God might be asking or in spite of what God says.
How many times have you made decisions you thought were right before your own eyes only to discover later how wrong you were?
We learn in the Bible that the road is narrow, and few there are that find it. It also says in various areas of scripture God orders our steps along the way. If you take the time to do your own little word study just by looking up the word "steps" you'll be amazed at how many places you can find special references to it.
Have you found the path God has ordered for you yet?
Here are some more thoughts to ponder as you go through some of the upcoming reflections.
How does the Lord want to minister to me but also through me today?
.How should my character develop in a way I can be certain I won't lose my direction?
.What choices did I make last year, last month, last week to make me a better person right now?
Some of my questions might seem somewhat redundant, but I've learned that sometimes I need to ask myself certain things in a slightly different way over and over before I take it to heart.
Don't put yourself in danger of allowing history to repeat itself, though, like I sometimes do. I've discovered it's usually because I haven't learned the lessons well enough yet.
What's most important?
I believe it's learning that will make us the person God has called us to be in the end, even if we do have to go through a situation repeatedly until we figure it out. It's like writing a story from the beginning, working through the middle, and by the time the end is reached, I still know the process has to be revised. The first draft is never enough.
The next time it will be with a wiser prospective, and it will come out so much better. The noted improvement will be noticeable by all, especially to the eyes of the editor.
Our life circles remind me of a movie I once saw with comedian/actor Bill Murray. It was called Groundhog Day. There, Murray's character showed a hint of that circle.
It was about a man making repeated mistakes. He found himself starting the same day over again. It kept happening until he finally got his focus.
There is a good lesson in that.
Until God is allowed to handle the shaping of our lives and we find ourselves in agreement with His will, He keeps at us, until we're finally acceptable to the season of life He's chosen for us to be in. Just like Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes to everything there is a season.
Are you satisfied with how God is shaping your character as you face your seasons of life?
Let's get our backpacks and be on our way. I promise we won't get lost. And drop me a line while you travel. Let me know where you are on the road. I'll meet you along the way. After all, God will be there.
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My foot has held to His steps. I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips. I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. ~Job 23:11-12
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It's a Sad Thing Sometimes About a Goat...
I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep your WORD (hearing, receiving, loving and obeying it) ~Psalm 119:101 AMP
I appreciate all kinds of animals, all shapes, sizes, ages, and smells--especially the domestic ones. All, that is but those nasty rodents and furry raccoons, those ugly bats, and even certain bugs if you want to include them in the animal kingdom.
I'm not going to only talk about animals all through this devotional book, but I do want to mention something about one of my favorites--the goat.
Although my husband and I no longer raise our own, I miss them sometimes. Maybe that's why I must tell you about the goat I befriended a while back.
This particular Billie goat came to live across the road from us near the harbor. His name was Elliot. When I learned his name, it made me think of that film with the extra terrestrial creature, maybe you remember it.
The little creature in the movie looked sad and lonely, except for when he had company with the human who befriended him. The boy in the film was named Elliot.
The lonely goat across the road was like the little extra terrestrial. When Elliot was brought to stay with the neighbors many people on our block showed great concern. Not only had these particular neighbors packed in this goat to live with them, they also brought several toys, to include a big round above ground swimming pool with a torn liner, an old porch swing that didn't swing, a couple of old boats with holes, a wrecked van, and a huge old camper that leaked.
They soon increased their belongings to a live rabbit, a ferret, cats, a couple of dogs, and that was on the outside. After the neighbors piled all their stuff in and around their house, it seemed as if they soon forgot about their little treasures. The beautiful piece of property soon began looking like a neglected dump.
One day, I came across that friendless goat tied to the fence on a very short rope. He was left there what seemed like forever, and the rope around his neck was way too tight. It was pouring rain outside, and I heard him crying.
My husband and I could hear the cries from all the way behind our closed doors. I'm certain my dogs noticed too by the way their ears perked up and my Eli howled.
I've read and heard how domestic goats and other herding animals can't stand being out in inclement weather without any shelter to protect them. Like many animals of their kind, goats live and travel in herds and show a preference to the companionship of others, like humans. As far as shelters go, even a simple lean-to will do them well enough as long as they have something.
Most goats are not like mules or donkeys, tough and able to handle the rougher side of life. Still, I would wager a guess, regardless of the toughness, even a mule would love to be sheltered from the storms if he could be.
While Elliot was placed on a very short rope, he was attached to the neighbor's little fence next to their driveway. He was left with no fresh water and no food.
If there had been grain nearby, it would've done little good, for the grain would've gotten soaked from rain. And any goat owner knows soggy grain makes a goat sick.
If the neighbors ever did bring poor Elliot any food, because of the tightness of the rope around his neck, it would've been near impossible for him to lean his neck down to eat or drink anyway. Elliot could not move at all. And it hurt my heart to see it.
Hay is provided to give warmth and energy through the colder months to animals like goats. But Elliot went without hay also. And he had no edible scraps except on the few occasions he was given a bit of soggy molasses-filled grain. Most of the time, I should tell you, candied treats like that do little to provide good nutrients.
Elliot also had no straw to lie down on at night. In time, he was given a bit more space to move about, and at least a few weeds got tossed his way. I finally saw a small branch or two provided for him to chew on.
But most of the time, Elliot got himself tangled up to where he couldn't move again in the weed branches.
I began to wonder what was to become of poor Elliot, who was ignored most of the time. On occasion, I watched the neighbors take off for three or four days at a time, leaving him alone to fend for himself.
It got to the place where Tom and I had to do something. Sometimes, we'd head over to the property edge and give little Elliot fresh water, or crackers, even some of my chickens' feed. I know we were trespassing, but I thought at the time something was better than nothing. So much that we do is a matter of choice.
Elliot showed us by his facial expressions and the sounds he made how grateful he was. Every time he saw us, he cried out for us to come and make contact again. Tom and I did as often as possible. We would give him hugs. I would talk to him like I do my chickens. A little attention, I thought, was better than none.
Sadly, when the neighbors returned home again, we were told in no uncertain terms we weren't welcome there.
The situation with Elliot worsened. The goat started getting thinner and thinner, except for a bloated tummy. He'd stretch as far as he could just to try to reach a stray weed, anything edible.
Unable to stand it any longer, I chose to call the authorities and ask them to come and check up on the goat. It's not something I would normally do, for I usually try to mind my business. That phone call only helped a little, anyway. Even after the authorities told the neighbors they had to build the guy a little shelter and take care of his needs, nothing was done.
After raising my own animals and reading about the proper care of them, it didn't take me long to figure out this goat might not survive. If he did, he would be in a terrible state.
I knew he just wanted someone to listen or respond. But, no one did. Nothing changed. No one answered or came.
Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted someone to listen or respond, and no one did?
Late January came around, and the weather by then left us with frost on the ground. We often have sleet, and the wind from the North blows in with great fierceness to as high as 60 or 80 mph. Here, the wind registered at 40 mph. The sleet and hail were as big as a chicken pullet's first egg which is about the size of a boulder marble.
My dogs wouldn't go outside. Forget the cats. And I felt sicker inside than ever for the goat across the road. By now, Elliot was no longer on a short rope, but he still had no shelter of any kind. Whenever Tom or I could get close enough to see him, we would find him twisted up, caught in a position where he couldn't lift one of his legs.
Sometimes his neck was wrapped up, and he looked as if he struggled with his breathing. It got so bad Tom marched over and leaned into the property and got him untangled in spite of what the neighbors told us.
Seeing all this happen made me consider what it would be like if we were in the same condition as the goat.
If you had to witness a pitiful situation going on, what would you do? How long might it take you to do it? Could you just sit and do nothing for fear of reprisal?
There comes a time when things must stay out of a person's hands and left in the Lord's. It's important to hang on to the fact God not only loves us, He loves the creatures He formed for our pleasure. I had to depend on that then, just as I do now. But like witnessing people cruelty, animal cruelty is hard to watch, too. Unfortunately, both are alive and present on this old planet Earth.
I began to believe the Lord might take poor Elliot home to Him as the days went by. I also came to believe it would probably be the better road to travel for the animal.
So, what's my point in all this besides the importance of prayer, waiting, and trusting God to handle a difficult situation? It all goes back to the choices we make and what we are willing to do in various situations.
What if you found yourself stuck in the wrong environment or in a situation against your will? What would you do?
.How would you feel if you had no access to any scriptures to give you your daily nourishment? How would you get fed? Who would you call upon to help you?
Believers who end up in an environment without access to spiritual food (like little Elliot) weaken quickly from the abuse. They could become spiritually malnourished like Elliot, who got physically malnourished.
If that was me, it would make me realize the importance of planting God's Word in my heart ahead of time to prepare for a situation like that. I'd build a network of spiritual friends to pray for me no matter where I was.
Unfortunately, Elliot couldn't do that.
What if your environment was so unsavory you found yourself placed on a short rope, and you couldn't move far enough to have fellowship of any kind?
If I had no way to fellowship with other believers, I would soon notice the lack in my life. We need the spiritual advice of others wiser than ourselves. We need human and spiritual companionship as part of our daily walk. We need each other.
Thankfully, being one of God's daughters, you or I can trust that the Lord will be there to respond if we call upon Him from our heart from anywhere. He'll not only show us He hears, but that someone else does as well. God would want to reassure each of us no matter what we go through, we can always believe we're in His hands.
Sadly, poor Elliot had no one.
Maybe you're acquainted with someone whose life is similar to Elliot's. Aren't you glad we have access to God even in the silence of our heartfelt prayers? Aren't you glad it's only a matter of our calling up to Him, realizing He has our situation in hand? That He's aware of everything that goes on before it happens?
"Father, I'm calling home. Do you hear me?" Yes, He does.
By the way, I heard a rumor the other the day little Elliot died. It sounds like the difficult way to have to move along that narrow path, but for that poor goat, the Lord, ready to meet him on the other side, took that mistreated goat to a much better place.
How about you? Where are you going today in spite of your circumstances?
For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me...without a cause. But I give myself unto prayers. ~Psalm 109:2a, 3b, 4
Ask the Lord to show you someone or several who might need your prayers right now because of their environmental situation. List their names below and remember to lift them up regularly.
What are some things you can do to help a person you discover in a situation like Elliot's besides prayer?
.If that person was you, how would you choose to help yourself?
.How do trials and difficulties prepare a person on that narrow road to God?
Isaiah 43:1; Proverbs 3:5; Psalm 126:5; Psalm 109:2-4; Psalm 17:6
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Choosing to be with Him
Lord, I call upon You now. I know so much of life takes me to the fact it is only a matter of my calling upon You and You will do the rest in Your time. Thankfully, being one of God's daughters, I can recognize Your presence in my life enough to reassure me no matter what I go through or experience, I am still in Your hands. Comfort anyone who is with me now in this prayer with Your reassurance, for it's in Your name we pray. Amen.
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers...~I Peter 3:12a