Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Life or Death Decision

Last Sunday, Kent preached about “choices.” Life is full of choices isn’t it? Kent said that “the most spiritual thing you can do is make decisions.” Even “not deciding” is a decision all on its own. Like the saying goes, “not to decide is to decide.”

Our lives are a compilation of choices - both good and bad. You are who you are now because of the choices that you made. Your good choices lead to good things and the bad choices lead to bad things. Of course, none of us like the consequences of our bad choices, but that‘s what happens. There is no escaping it; regardless of how our selfish society tries to deceive us into thinking we can get away with anything. Bad choices come with a price; both to us and the ones around us. Everyone suffers.

However, there is good news! God can and will redeem the bad choices that we make! Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” That is God’s promise and that is the hope that I cling to in my own life. I’m a child of God, and I love Jesus. I have the assurance that no matter what goes right or wrong in my life, God will work it all together for a purpose because He has a plan for my life; just like He does with all of you!! Nothing in your life comes as a surprise to God!! Everything that you have ever done, or will do, is already known by Him. He is an awesome and amazing God and He knows how to work it all out!! All we have to do is believe and trust Him and put it into His hands.

Kent shared a lot of things in his message; and I encourage everyone to listen to it when it’s available on our church website. He shared about how even in the garden of Eden, God provided Adam and Eve with lots of “good choices” and only ONE bad one. We have the same kind of opportunity. There are LOTS of good decisions to make; but, only ONE bad one; that one choice being disobedience to God. We need to stay away from the “trees” that are no good. There are bad fruits that God tells us to stay away from and not partake in because HE KNOWS that they are not good for us. We overcome those bad choices by the one good choice to obey. Just like a parent laments over the mess their child gets into and says, “If you had only listened to me” so our heavenly Father is just pleading with us to listen to His words of love, protection, and guidance.

Ok, now, I know some of you may be thinking, “So, why do we have bad choices available to us to begin with?” Well, that’s because of Satan and his deception to Eve - which she chose to believe. Therefore, sin entered the world and now, the biggest choice we have NOW is whether or not we want Christ to pay the penalty of our sins or pay for it ourselves. If we pay for it ourselves, we will spend an eternity in Hell paying for it. Sin demands that consequences be paid and justice served. But, if we accept the sacrifice that God provided (Jesus’ death on the cross) then, the debt is already paid and we have eternal life and an eternity in heaven to look forward to!! We won’t have to payoff a debt that we already allowed Jesus to pay for us!! GOD DID PROVIDE A WAY OUT!! We don’t have to suffer as our sins deserve because we have a wonderful, loving, and merciful God to spare us!! He sacrificed His own Son to do it!! Wow, that’s love!! GOD’S choice to make sure that we didn’t have to be eternally separated from Him works out for good for all those who believe in what He has done for them!!

Kent encouraged everyone to align themselves with God. We need to be led by the Spirit and enable God to be the first thought in our decision making process. He illustrated that by giving us all packets of M&M’s and telling us to pick one. He asked us all which color we picked and how/why we might have picked it. He also asked if anyone had wondered or asked God which one they should pick. It makes you think because then you start wondering how often you include God in your decision making - not just with the “big stuff” (like who to marry, what job to take, car to buy, etc.) but with the every day choices. Do we include God in our simple decisions as well as the big ones? Do we listen to His ways of freedom or our own selfish ways of bondage? Are we led by the flesh, which continually choose bad decisions, or are we led by the Spirit of God that will show us the right and good things to choose for ourselves? Sometimes, the decisions can even be as simple as obeying a gentle nudge by God to take a different way to work or saying “hi” to a stranger or someone that just needed to be asked, “how are you doing today?” How many times do we hear stories of people who say, “Something told me not to go that way to work today and it saved my life because there was a huge accident. It could have been me.” Or, maybe someone decided to reach out and say “hello, how are you?” to someone and it just made their day. Gosh, it reminds me of the story Jama told us at lunch the other day about how her, “hi, how are you?” made all the difference in the life of someone. Sometimes, people just need someone to talk to, and making those small every day decisions and obeying those God-instilled prompts to “decide” on what He’s telling you to do makes all the difference!!!
Of course, the biggest decision of all is whether or not to choose Christ to be Lord and Savior of your life. It’s a “simple” yes or no question: “Do you want to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior?” Either answer will drastically change your life. One for the bad, and one for the good. What’s your answer? How will your life (and the life in the hereafter) turn out based on that ONE decision; that one choice?? It’s laid out before us just like God did in Deuteronomy 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

Some choices really are about life and death - and this is the ultimate one. It really does decide your whole life. Choose wisely and carefully!! If you have already made the choice for life, praise God!! I’m glad to count you as a brother/sister in Christ!! If you have yet to choose life, (and you would like to) talk to me, a pastor, or a Christian brother/sister about it!! Please, don’t wait!! The burning question isn’t on fire forever; there is a deadline (that is, when you’re dead!). Respond to the question while you still have a chance to answer!

May God bless all who read this and I pray that all your choices, whether big or small, are good ones!!

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