9:35 AM

Back from a whirlwind trip to (northern) Virginia to see a young friend graduate from high school. I like the word "whirlwind." I use it alot. Maybe because everything I do seems to be in the speed of a whirlwind? Hmmm. As they say, "time is a precious commodity." Anyway, The Little Bro and I were down there by 7:00 pm on Friday night and back by 6:00 pm Saturday night. It was good times... had encouraging conversation with friends, almost no conversation with other friends (bummer!), rejoiced with another friend and sadly said farewell again.

I came back meditating on a quote that one of the graduates mentioned in their speech.
"This is a straight and narrow path, and we're not making it one inch wider for you."
And I've been exhorting people with it since then. Youth. Adults. Myself!!.... because I was challenged to continue to uphold the standard of the Gospel. Living for Christ is about giving all, surrendering our entire lives to the King, submitting our will to the Master. Because this is HIS way, there is also no room for compromise. There is no room for making excuses or justifying the sin of myself or others. You don't get to choose your own path to Christ! It's give all or go to hell.

Don't think I take this lightly. I cannot throw the word "hell" around. It hurts me to even think of the excruciating, crushing tortures of hell. How many nights am I tormented by the thoughts of my friends, my family, those I love who do not choose to follow Christ? The most painful are those who have known redemption, the presence of God and all His goodness, and still turned away. How is it possible to love Him and leave Him? This I do not know. If my heart is broken, and I am made in His image, I cannot fathom the sadness that He feels over even one lost sheep. Now I understand so much more the parable of the lost sheep. The Shepherd will leave those 99 safe sheep and go seeking the lost one. What lovingkindness! What mercy! The Shepherd has gone to seek a sheep who willingly turned from Him, who ran to find some greener grass, who deserted the safety of the fold. He loved, He sought after and He found....

"The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want."
Psalm 23:1

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