Clear Directions

Andrew, one of the young people from the church we attend was just graduated from high school and plans to attend a one-year Bible school this fall. Since Andrew was also on the high school tennis team which I help coach, I have gotten to know him quite well and he invited me to go with him, his dad, a fellow graduate who is also a Christian and played on the high school tennis team, and another man from our church to visit Montana Wilderness School of the Bible which is on the east side of the continental divide (we live on the west).  We left Friday morning and returned Saturday evening, staying over night at the school.

     Since none of us had been to the school, and it is very remotely located at the base of the Scapegoat Wilderness (just south of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Glacier Park), we definitely needed some “clear directions” to find MWSB.  So, we followed our on-board-GPS, “Sally’s” directions. The problem was, I don’t believe the school was registered in Sally’s data bank, so her instructions took us on the proverbial “wild-goose-chase.”  She told us to go through Augusta and take Warden Road which turned out to be a very bumpy gravel road that was leading us into a very desolate area some thirty miles from the school. When you have five men on board the vehicle, it is pretty hard to admit that you need help, but we finally came upon a little adobe house on top of a hill and saw a vehicle parked beside it, so stopped to ask for directions. The resident had never heard of MWSB, but when we told him the address for the school, he pointed to a mountain thirty miles to the south and said it must be located near that. Well, we backtracked to Augusta, got further directions, and managed to find the Bible school which is in a very beautiful setting next to the wilderness. We had a chance to do some hiking in the area before returning home. What a view!  I would love to have gone to such a school as a high-school graduate.
     As I was thinking of our attempt to locate the school by following “Sally’s” directions (and we, of course, can blame it all on her!), I couldn’t help but compare that to all the false information that millions (in fact billions) of people are following in hopes that they can gain eternal life in heaven. Some, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, believe they must be baptized as JW’s and that only 144,000 will achieve heaven, while the rest, through door-to-door work hope to gain everlasting life on earth. The Mormons believe that they will be resurrected by faith but saved (i.e., exalted to godhood) by works, including faithfulness to church leaders, baptism, tithing, ordination, marriage, and secret temple rituals–no eternal life without Mormon membership. Members of the Unification Church believe obedience to and acceptance of the True Parents (Sun Myung Moon and his wife) eliminate sin and result in perfection. Those in Christian Science believe that humanity is already eternally saved and that sin, evil, sickness and death are not real. The Unity School of Christianity teaches that each person is as much a son of God as Jesus is and that there is no evil, no devil, no sin, no poverty, and no old age. A person is reincarnated until he learns these truths and becomes “perfect.” Scientology teaches that there is no sin or need to repent. Salvation is freedom from reincarnation. Wiccans do not believe that humanity is sinful or needs saving. It is important for them to honor and work for the preservation of nature which they equate with the supreme being call the Goddess. Those in the New Age Movement believe they need to offset bad karma with good karma and that they can tap into supernatural power through meditation, self-awareness and “spirit guides.” This new self awareness is being “reborn.”  Islam teaches that humans are basically good, but fallible and need guidance. The balance between good and bad deeds determines eternal destiny in paradise or hell. Allah’s mercy may help tip the balances to heaven, for his will is supreme.  Salvation comes through submission to Allah and good works. Hinduism teaches that salvation is the release from the cycles of reincarnation and is achieved through yoga and meditation, which can take many lifetimes. Final salvation is absorption or union with God (Brahman). Transcendental Meditation teaches that humans have forgotten their inner divinity and that salvation consists of doing good in excess of evil in order to evolve into the highest state (final union of self with Brahman through reincarnation.  Buddhists’ goal of life is Nirvana, which comes through eliminating all desires or cravings, and in this way escaping suffering. It comes through following an eight-step plan.
     Well, there you have some of the many teachings on how to have eternal life in “heaven!”  Wow, no wonder people are confused as to who has the right way, or if there is one, or whether they all lead to heaven. Fortunately, the One who created the heavens and the earth and made each one of us (Gen. 1:1; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16), has given us very clear instructions on how to find eternal life in heaven. We can read it in the Bible, whose scriptures are inspired and infallible, being the very words God wanted recorded by the approximately 40 human authors (II Tim. 3:6,17; II Pet. 1:20,21).  God said in His Word that eternal life in heaven is achieved, not through human effort, or reincarnation, or God consciousness, but through putting faith in the sacrifice of God the Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth to take on a human body so He could die, shed His blood, and pay the penalty for our sin. The Apostle Paul, wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9).  He also wrote: “…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law, shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16). Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (Jn. 14:6). The Apostle Peter, “filled with the Holy Spirit” spoke these words: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:8,12). 
     There was only one way to get to Montana Wilderness School of the Bible. You didn’t happen to drop in there on your way to somewhere else; you had to specifically be going there and know how to get there, and follow the correction directions.  There was ultimately only one road that led there. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Mt. 7:13,14).  There may be only one way, and it may be narrow, but praise God THERE IS A WAY, and it is through the God-Man, Jesus Christ. He is the “gate,” and He is the “narrow way.”  Have you put your complete trust in Him? 
 
                                                                                                            Forever His,
                                                                                                                Pastor Dave
 
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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