In Other Words: Taking the Narrow Road in 2016

In Other Words

This week I am taking some time to write a post in response to PATRICIA’S IN OTHER WORDS CHALLENGE.

The quote we are being asked to spin off of is…

“If you spend too much time thinking about
a thing you’ll never get it done.”
Bruce Lee

Find Patricia’s other contributors at the underlined link above:

Here is my post:

Taking the Narrow Road


by JE Lillie

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Ma. 7:13,14

They say “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

While I will take the word of Jesus over the word of “They” any day, I think in this case both Jesus and “They” are talking about the same thing, at least in some respects.

The “wide gate and the broad road” are the “road to Hell”, one and the same. This wide broad road to Hell is filled with well-intentioned people, good people. Some of them are way better and more likable than I am. The fact remains they are on the road to Hell, a real place of real punishment.

That is because good intentions and even good behavior don’t get you to Heaven; Faith does.

Paul said, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Later he wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inb Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Early on in the same letter Paul revealed that the method of receiving this gift of eternal life (Heaven defined) is by faith when he wrote, the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,e just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”Romans 1:17

Jesus himself said faith was the key when he stated, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son John 3:16-18

Over the course of my life as a minister I have asked thousands of people to put their faith in Jesus and follow Him. Some have rushed to embrace Jesus as their living hope.  More however waved me off saying things like:

“I’m just not convinced yet.”

“If God will prove Himself to me first then I will believe Him.”

“I tried Jesus once. It didn’t work.”

“I have a lot of things I want to do first. Religion will come later.”

One man even said to me…

“If I have to accept Jesus to go to Heaven I am perfectly happy to go to Hell.”

Most of these people (even the guy who said he was happy to go to Hell) were people I liked, were people I would want to know for eternity. Most of these people were filled with lots of good intentions even in the midst of what I considered their misguided priorities.

But all those intentions are “wide-road” mentalities, earthly mindsets that will fade with their lives unless they do the one thing which can put them on the narrow road. That one thing is putting faith, hope, focus, love and life energy into following Jesus. Nothing else matters until that commitment is made.

Maybe as 2016 dawns on your life you are wavering over the Jesus decision. To you I give Bruce Lee’s warning as the New Year begins.

“If you spend too much time thinking about
a thing you’ll never get it done.” Bruce Lee


Will 2016 be the year you begin to trust Jesus as your God?

Cee’s Black & White: Brick By Brick, Stone By Stone

Cee has challenged us to bring her our black & white BRICKS AND STONES this week. You can check out the stonework of Cee’s contributors by clicking the underlined link.

Here are mine…


There is little else besides stonework at this part of Trinity College in Dublin.



Ancient Stone steps lead away from Torc Falls in Killarney


Stone breakwaters in Doolin


The stone walls of Cabras Castle’s stable yard.

The Road Through Romans: When Man Plans and God Laughs

Today we are moving into a whole new realm with our discussion on Romans. For those of you who missed it we just completed a five part series on the gifts of the Spirit using Romans 1:11,12 as our spring board. Those discussions can be found on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.

Today we will begin moving on to Romans 1:13,

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,d that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.


There are many words I would use to describe Paul. One of those words is not Fly-by-the -seat- of- your -pants. By his own admission in verse 13 Paul was a planner. By his own admission also in verse 13, some of his plans were “prevented” from coming to pass.

Who or what prevented Paul’s plans from coming to pass? Was it the people? Was it lack of money? Was it Paul’s physical condition? Was it the Devil? Was it Jesus? The answer to those questions is: Yes, maybe, probably, assuredly and ultimately absolutely (in that order).

People can get in the way of our plans for sure and for certain.

Money is always an issue when we are trying to walk out the plans we make.

As far as physical condition goes, the older I get the more this becomes a consideration in what I do for Jesus or how I do it for Him in the very least.

The Devil, He sniffs out my plans on a regular basis and always try to put the old kibosh on anything that would benefit me or God’s kingdom.

But ultimately God is in charge of my plans. Sometimes he allows people, money, my physical state and even the Devil to be used as tools to direct and guide me in the way I should go. Everything and I do mean everything is just an implement in His hand to get me going in the direction I need to head in.

Sometimes when I plan a thing (even what I consider a very good thing) I can almost hear God laughing as He puts his own countermeasures in place to change or modify my course. Have you ever been there? Are you there right now?  Don’t despair. Have faith that God is on your side (Read This).

Jesus is pulling for you to succeed and sometimes that means He has to mess with your plans because they aren’t exactly going to get you where you need to go. So stop being angry with God if He seems to be laughing at your plans. Choose to laugh with Him and accept that the course he is charting for you will take you exactly where you need to go even if it is a little different than the course you had planned.

Friday Fictioneers: Looking Into the Sun

It is time once again for Friday Fictioneers. That’s the place where 100 authors share 100 words to tell 100 stories from 1 photograph shared by Rochelle our hostess.

Take a peek at all the stories Rochelle’s contributors have shared from the photo below by clicking the underlined link above.

Here is my story:

Copyright Jean L. Hays

Copyright: Jean L. Hays

Looking Into the Sun

by JE Lillie

I smiled. The movement was as unfamiliar to me, as slow dancing in the rain. Now I had done both of those things.

I ran nervous fingers through my sopping hair and looked at her, the inspiration for smiling and dancing. I sipped my coffee and wondered how it had grown to this.

“You’re quiet.” She said.

She twisted water out of her own curly locks into a hand towel she had hidden in her purse.

It made me question, did she dance in the rain often?

She smiled at me and I no longer cared. It was like looking into the sun.



Weekly Writing Prompt 17: Prophetic Song For the New Year

It is time to write my last poem of 2015. Using the Secret Keeper’s list of words I am choosing to use the Shadorma form  to sing my way into the 2016.

My necessary words this week are:  | PART | STONE | FLAW | STRICT | NOTE |

Prophetic Song For the New Year


by JE Lillie

Still as stone

The old year sounds dead.

Flawed strict notes

Cannot be

Played again. Their parts undone,

I sing a New Year.

Flaws begin

With new notes unheard.


Parts falter.

Strict rhythms fall apart like

Water crumbling stones .

A cycle

Then more than a song


Flawed strict notes

My new theme a stone in place

 Part  of larger work.

The Road Through Romans: The Thing About Spiritual Gifts Pt. 5

I know this post was expected four days ago but it got holidelayed (see what I did there?). Today we are moving on from Romans 1:11 to Romans 1:12. We are however continuing our discussion regarding the Gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

If you have missed any of our previous discussion on spiritual gifts you can find them on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.


Romans 1:11,12 reads,  “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—  that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

Whatever you may believe about the spiritual gifts: how they come upon a person, when they come upon a person or what the first evidence of their arrival is there is one thing that cannot be questioned; That is the purpose of those gifts.

The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to encourage those who experience them  in the faith. The purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is to strengthen the force of love in the lives of those who are baptized.

Paul says in effect that the reason he longs to impart the spiritual gift to the Romans is so that they and he may be built up in their mutual faith.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit must make a palpable difference in the lives of those who are baptized. It should also make a powerful difference in the lives of those around the one baptized otherwise the baptism is all for nothing.

In 1 Corinthinas 13:1-3 Paul says it this way,  If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

The long and the short of it is that  a person can be baptized in the Spirit and still miss the point. The gifts: tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, healing, working of miracles…all of these things are just the method, not the point. If the gifts are manifested but they do not increase the three things which will last forever (faith, hope and love) then it is all just so much useless noise and wasted energy.

I don’t know about you but I have no time or energy to waste! I must let the baptism in the Holy Spirit drive me deeper into faith, hope and love!

Stand Or Fall!

“If you do not stand firm in your faith,
    you will not stand at all.” Isa. 7:9


Our youth Pastor, Brad Hackett preached the service last Sunday. His was a hard message about repentance and the hardest verse to read in the Bible.

At the beginning of his pastoral chat he made a prediction. 2016 will be a year when many people will have to make a decision to truly make Jesus Lord and begin obeying Him or forsake Him altogether.

He’s not wrong. There was a time when Christians could just sort of blend in. Our culture and our faith were close enough in appearance that being a Christian and being a non-Christian were not that different in terms of behavior. Most people, Christian and non-Christian thought things like abortion, sex before marriage, living together, homosexuality, rebellion in teenagers were bad things, problems for society. Most people, Christian and non-Christian thought sexual purity was a thing to be honored, life was a thing to be valued and marriage was a valuable and essential aspect of society.

Have you noticed Christians don’t blend so well anymore? When you say something like “Living together before marriage is an ungodly choice.” or “Homosexuality is listed as a sin in the Bible.” You might as well say,”I would really like it if you would just hate me and ostracize me from polite society.”

Listen, I am not much for focusing on people’s sins. I believe we ought to focus more on bringing them to Jesus, but the truth of the matter is the latter leads to the former every time and folks are coming to the place where they are not just down on our moral choices they are down on the God we serve. Jesus is OK as long as He is just a friend, buddy or acquaintance, but when He starts asking to be Lord, well that’s where many in our society are starting to get off the band wagon.

In such an atmosphere Christians are learning that if we are to stand at all we must stand firm or we won’t stand at all. We are given less and less wiggle room in this world where license is lauded and Christianity is considered more of a scandal than a faith. The world may hate us for it but they need to see a faith that will do two things: Stand firm and Stand firm lovingly.

So as 2016 approaches let me encourage you to first stay sweet. Don’t let the morality slide of our culture turn you into a hate mongerer BUT stand firm. Don’t let anyone shame you for taking a stand for holiness. Be kind in your convictions. Be loving in your convictions. Be biblical in your convictions. In doing those things you will stand firm.


Share Your World 2015 Week #52

And folks this week is a wrap for 2015. Next week we start a whole new season of sharing our worlds and I believe 2016 is going to be a whole new ball of wax. It’s going to be the bee’s knees. It’s going to be the cat’s pajamas!! Oh boy am I excited to see what the New Year brings!!

The great host of Cee’s 2015 contributors can be found by clicking HERE





Tell how you are feeling today in the form of a weather report. (For example, partly cloudy, sunny with a chance for showers, etc.) 

Foggy with a mix of precipitation and an occasional thunderstorm. I am admittedly a bit tired and cranky today.

What is most memorable about your high school years?

The most memorable thing about high school was my involvement in a group called Christ’s Ambassadors ( C.A.’s for short). It was in this group that I made all of my long term friendships and truly learned what it meant to be a disciple of Christ. I met my wife in C.A.’s and was called to the ministry out of that group.

Have you ever owned a rock, pet rock, or gem that is not jewelry?

Yes! Yes! and Yes! to all of the above. I was a rock collector as a child and when my parents wouldn’t buy me a pet rock I made one. His name was Charlie.

Complete this sentence:  I like watching…

Sci-fi/ fantasy. I know…I know I should probably say Bible stories or preaching videos but I am a science fiction fantasy nerd . While there are many Scyfy shows I cannot in good conscience watch I do watch others. I particularly like shows like The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl. I just started watching The Expanse and dare I say it I am a Haven junky. I just saw that the Shannara Chronicles is coming to MTV. I am going to have to give it a look see even though MTV has never been allowed on my television set.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for a peaceful Christmas (I actgually had two whole days off). I am looking forward to all God will do in 2016.