Luke 6:12 How To Make A Decision

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One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Luke 6:12

Jesus had started to pray about something. In the end He had prayed all night long. The very next morning, Jesus chose twelve men to disciple. These were to become the men who would take up His ministry and move it forward once He left.

Everyday people are having to make all kinds of decisions. Most of the decisions are easy to make and take very little thought or major concern.

However, there are days when a major decision has to be made. These types of decisions can have a major impact on one’s life, family life, career, finances, health, or some other area of their life. Or it may even, as is often the case, have a major impact in multiple areas of his life.

It is common for people to call friends to ask advice on how to make that decision. Others will search on the internet on what the best choice would be. In the church, people will seek the advice of elderly friends or leaders in the church. People will look back on their own personal lives to try and seek out a path that they should choose for their future.

While none of these methods are necessarily bad, they are not the best choice for seeking advice. Each of these are seeking advice from people. People who are fallible and do not see everything clearly.

Jesus went into prayer to His Father all night in order to make the right choice as to who to choose to be a disciple. There were hundreds of people available, but only twelve were to be chosen. There were hundreds available, but only a few would be the right ones to do the job.

There will come a day when you have to make some major decision in your life. You need to look to God for helping you make that decision. Before you choose, take time to read God’s word and see what it may have to say about the choice to be made.

Then take even more time to pray about it. Find out what God wants you to do. God is there to help you make every decision in your life that you have to make. He wants you to make the right choice.

I pray today that you will seek God for all decisions; that you will hear God’s answer to you; that you will follow God’s answer for you; and that you will do great things for God each day.

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Choices And Resolutions

 

New Year ResolutionsEvery January, as the new year begins, many people start to make some resolutions. They think about what they want to accomplish in the new year. The resolutions that people come up with are as varied as the number of people on the planet.

Most resolutions are about health and relationships, although there may be others about finances, housing, jobs, schooling or other things.

The older people get, the more people realize the importance of good health and good healthy habits. People choose to lose weight, work out more, or eat healthier food. All of these are focused on being a better person or living longer.

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While all of these resolutions can be good, they are only temporary fixes. Regardless how healthy a person eats or works out, there will come a day when he will die. Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden and sin entering the world, people die.

I am not saying that eating correctly or working out is bad. Over the years I have learned to try to eat a little bit more healthy. I still continue to struggle at working out to keep in good physical shape. Probably half the reason I am in as good of shape as I am now, is because I spent a number of years in the Army where I had to work out physically everyday. It started me out on the right path, though I when I got out, I was not one to go to a gym and work out at all, though I have tried at times.

While the physical eating and working out is good, there is something that is more important. My spiritual health is more important than my physical health. I have to work out and grow more spiritually to have true life and one that will last for eternity, regardless if I die or not on this earth a physical death.

In order to be spiritually fit, I must work my spirit in the right way. It begins with knowing God’s word. I must take time daily to read God’s word. Not only must I read it, I must take time to understand it and apply it to my life. If I read the Bible all the way through and can explain all of it very well, but do not apply it to my life, it is worthless. If I do not live by God’s Word, it is no good to me. My spiritual health will decline.

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One of my resolutions this year is to get into God’s word more and apply it to my life more. This means reading it, memorizing it, and applying it to my life daily.

Another part of being spiritually fit, is to spend time with God. This is taking time to talk to Him and listen to Him. Prayer.

Many people find prayer very boring and seemingly worthless. They pray, but do not see immediate results, so they give up. Some feel as though God is not listening or does not care about them. Others feel as though they are praying the same boring prayers all the time and never getting anywhere.

This can happen in communication with anyone. Couples who have lived together for 20 years grow apart because the communication is broken down between the two. For one or the other it gets boring and worthless.

God hears yours and my every prayer. He wants to spend time with me to help me get to know Him better. Paul said that we should pray without ceasing. I need to always have a prayer on my lips or in my mind. Open, continued communication with God at all times.

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My second resolution is to make more time for talking and listening to God. He is there to guide my every step. I won’t know that step if I am not talking and listening to Him.

The other thing that God wants for His people is for each one to be His witness. He called every believer to be a witness of the gospel of Jesus. His whole purpose in sending Jesus to the cross was to save the entire world.

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I have been given the greatest gift a person can every receive–forgiveness and eternal life. This is not a gift that is for me alone. It is also a gift that the more I give it away, the more I have.

If I have such a great gift I must not hoard it to myself, but be willing to share it.

Along with being a great gift, it is also a warning to the people. The world is on a track heading for death, unless they switch tracks. They do not see the warning signs that there is only death ahead. I need to love them enough to warn them of the coming death.

My last resolution is to be a witness to as many people as possible. This starts with my own family, leading them to Christ Jesus, then it works out to my co-workers and people I know. Finally it reaches out to the world, those I don’t know, but come into contact with.

I want to be spiritually fit for God and others in this world. So my resolutions are:

  1. Reading and applying God’s word more
  2. Talking and listening to God more–prayer
  3. Being a better witness in this world

As I do these three things, everything else will fall into place better. God will guide me in what to do to be in better physical shape.

As you make resolutions this year, what do you want? What is your desire in this life?

I pray that God will guide you in the resolutions that you make and will help you to achieve each one. I also pray that God will draw you to Him more and make you more like Jesus in this new year.

Joel 3:14 The Valley Of Decision

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14

Joel is telling the people that God is getting ready to pour out judgment against the nations. The nations that crushed Israel will have to pay for their sins. The destruction of the nations will be great and it will be a time of great turmoil. Many will be in a place of making  decision. They will have to choose who they will follow–God or some idol.

Every day people have to make decisions. Billions of decisions are made daily in every nation around the world. Some decisions are made after a lot of careful thinking, while others are made by instinct or experience, using very little thought.

When a person walks into a dark room at night, it takes very little to decide to turn on the light in order to see. As a person drives down the road, it takes very little to decide to stay on his own side of the road.

Other decision such as what to wear to work, planning a meal for the family, which movie to go watch, and what to do on a day off from work take a little more thought in making the decision.

More challenging decisions that require a lot of thought and planning are some such as choosing whether to move or not, which job to accept to work at, how much money can be spent and how much should be saved, and whether to get married to someone or not.

Life is full of decisions. One that every person must make is whether to follow Jesus or not in their life. Right now, for many, that does not seem to be an important, pressing choice to make. However, the day of the Lord is near and it needs to be made.

You do not know if you have tomorrow, or even the next second to live. You have to make the choice now as to whether you will follow Jesus or not. As you go through your day, you will be offered choices to sin against God or to follow Him. Only you can make that choice. And that choice has to be made over and over again and again.

You are in a valley of decision.

What are you going to decide today? Follow or reject?

I pray today that you will make the choice to follow Jesus; that you will choose to turn from all sin; that you will choose to be a witness for Jesus; and that you will decide to build the kingdom of God.

Daniel 3:17-18 Even If God Does Not Help

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:17-18

King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a large statue of gold of himself and wanted every person in the nation to bow down to it. Three young men, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, known more as Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, had refused to bow down to the statue. The king gave them several chances to change their minds, warning them that they would be thrown into a hot, fiery furnace if they did not do it. The men stated that God would deliver them, but even if He did not, they still would not bow down to that statue. They would obey and follow God, no matter what happened.

It is common to hear of a person who had believed in God for a time, but chose to walk away from God because God did not deliver them from something. One of the more common reasons is that the person prayed for either healing for a loved one and God did not heal the person. The person prayed for died in without healing. The one praying gives up on God and walks away.

Acting like that does not give God absolute authority or control. God is the one in control and knows what is best for each and every person.

In the Old Testament, God made the rule not to bow down to idols. The young men chose to do that regardless of what God does. They did not set any stipulations on obeying God.

You have to set it in your heart that you will follow God, no matter what the cost is or what He will or will not do. You have to trust that He is doing everything that is the best for you.

Make the choice to not bow down to any idols in this world. Worship God and God alone. In reality, the worst that can happen is death, which then will allow you to step into heaven for eternity.

Who are you going to bow down and worship today?

I pray today that God will reveal His power to you; that God will strengthen you to not bow to sin; that you will turn from all sin to God; and that you will not fear this world or anyone in it. 

Jeremiah 38:2 An Insane Sounding Plan

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives; they will live.’ Jeremiah 38:2

God had a plan to use the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and Judah and bring all the people into captivity. The people had a choice to make. The choice was to either fight against the Babylonians and not go with them, or to surrender to the Babylonians and go with them. God said that those who refused to go would die in some manner. Everyone who went with the Babylonians would live.

Looking at the plan God had for the people it looked insane. Why would God want His people to surrender to the enemy?

The Israelites had chosen for a time to reject God and not follow Him. Going into exile in Babylon was a punishment meant to get them to focus back on Him. In the process of this plan God had their best interest in mind. Living for self or sin would only bring death, living for and following God would bring about life.

There are times in life when God has a plan for a person’s life that looks insane. It does not allows appear to make sense in why God has the person walking down a certain road, yet He does.

Walking into persecution, prison, punishment, pain, or suffering does not appear to be the best thing for a person…according to man. God sees a bigger picture. He sees the end results and the value of everything that occurs in a person’s life.

Going through these situations will be a very difficult choice to make. You need to trust God’s decision and see what God wants you to learn through the situation. The reasons for going through the situation may be one of many different reasons. Know that God has you going through it, if for nothing else, to make you more like Jesus.

The world gives you a path that appears to lead to life, but will only end in death, staying in the city. God will only give you a path that appears to lead to death, but will lead you to life.

One appears sane, but brings death. One appears insane, but brings life. Which will you follow?

I pray today that you will know the plan God has for your life; that you will trust God’s plan for your life; that you will know the life God has for you; and that you will follow God with all of your life.

What Are You Watching?

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Watching television and movies is a favorite pastime of many people. People love to watch something. It allows them to escape into a different world for a short time. It allows them to step out of reality into a fantasy world.

The things that people watch cover an extremely broad band of categories. Many of those categories overlap each other, creating new categories. Fantasy, drama, horror, and comedy are the base line of movies. Then they broaden out to fantasy/drama, or comedy/horror, or some other combination.

Movie Types

It is very interesting to watch what most movies are about. If you really look at them closely, most of them tell the same story that has been told a dozen times before. The only real difference is in how it is told. One time it is live action, next time it is with fantasy, next time it is with anime, the next is with puppets, the next is with music, and the variations of the same story keep going.

Other times it is the same type of story, such as boy meets girl, falls in love and after a time of rejection from her they get married. This story has been told hundreds of different times in different ways. Or the hero saves a person, city, nation, or the world. Or the flip side the bad guy does not get caught or die in the end, and they come back with a sequel.

Billions of dollars are spent every year watching movies, whether in the theater, pay-per-view, paid channels, television, or online rentals. People love to watch movies.

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Now you may be asking why did I say all of this. Where am I going with all of this?

During this past week the movie, “It,” came out as a remake of this classic movie. Many of the students I teach in 6-8th grade had went to see it. Several had seen it several times. Along with those in my public, non-Christian school, I know of several in the church that also went to see it or want to see the movie.

During one of my classes, one of my students asked me if I was going to see the movie. I had told the student that there is no way I would go and see it. The question was then raised as to why. The answer to that is what led me to write this post.

People who study movies and plays will always try to point out the good in a movie. They want to point out how the bad guy loses in the end. How good always triumphs over evil. They point out the good moral points of the story. It is true that in every movie there is usually some good moral point in it, no matter how bad it appears as a whole.

Christians will be very quick to point out that the bible does not say that a person should not watch movies. Many will be also quick to point out all the immoral stuff that is written in the bible. With both these arguments they want to say that it is acceptable to watch anything that they want to watch.

The first thing I would like to say is look at what Paul had said:

1 Corinthians 10:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

Paul says that you may do whatever you want, but not everything is beneficial. There are things that do not benefit you at all. It does not help you in any way.

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Romans 8:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

God does not work that way. Everything that God does has a purpose. Everything that God allows has a purpose.

Many people think that God is just a great big ogre out to make life miserable for them. That He will not allow them to have any fun in life and is always out to get them or punish them.

God has given you the right to do whatever you want to do. However, what many people do not like to hear is that there are consequences to the choices made. If you want to make a choice to sin, God will allow that, but the consequence is death. God allowed Adam and Eve to make that choice, and He still allows people to make that choice.

Ezekiel 36:26 New International Version (NIV)

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

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God wants to give you a new, living heart of flesh. He wants you to live life to the fullest.

John 10:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

With God giving you a new heart and a new life, you should live the way He planned for you to live.

Going back to watching movies.

Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Paul says that you are to think about certain things. These things are what are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

When watching a movie, the movie may be excellent in the way it was made. It may have excellent acting and excellent filming, but that does not finish out what Paul said to think about. Does it fit the pure? Is it admirable? Is it praiseworthy? Is it lovely?

Watching someone or something just go around and kill does not fit the description of what Paul said to think about. Watching a couple or a person be unfaithful in their marriage is not pure. Watching the thief or crook be honored as good, is not praiseworthy.

Time To Decide

And of each of these few examples, how do any of them really benefit you? Do any of them bring you closer to God? Or make you more like God? If not, why watch them?

What you take into you will eventually come out. If you fill your life with garbage, that garbage will come out in the end.

Everything that you say, do, watch, or listen to should be done for the benefit of God and to bring you closer to God, or to bring others closer to God. Yes, you are allowed to do whatever you want, but there is a price to do it. If you choose things that bring about death, then it will be death that you will receive.

Take a moment and think about the movies or shows that you watch. What benefit is there in watching those movies or shows?

If Jesus were standing right next to you, would He choose to watch them with you? Would you be comfortable with watching them with Him next to you?

Ask God what He wants you to see or watch before you watch something. See what He has to say about it.

Jeremiah 21:8-9 Choice Of Life Or Death

“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. Jeremiah 21:8-9

The king of Judah had sent someone to Jeremiah to ask God to stop the attacks on Jerusalem. God’s answered that He was going to destroy the city and there was nothing that could be done about it. He also stated that they had a choice to make. The two choices would be a matter of living or dying. If they stayed in the city, they would die. If they surrendered to the hated enemy, they would live. God left the choice up to the people.

God has not changed at all over the years. He still gives each person a choice and that choice involves life or death. Many try to say that God does not really give them a choice. They say that they are who they are, and there is nothing that can be done about it. Or that they are in the position they are in and cannot leave it.

Even today you have a choice to make. One option is to stay where you are at, in sin, in this world, not really living for God. Even as a believer, you have to keep growing and moving with God. If you stay where you are, you may end up not following God, you stagnate and begin to die.

The other option is to leave where you are at and follow God. Live your life fully for God, following and obeying Him in every area and you will live. God will make the way.

The leaving may not be a physical leaving, but it is one of leaving behind the past sins, and leaving a sinful life, and obeying God. This will open the way to eternal life.

God always makes a way for this to happen. Think of the Israelites when they were fleeing Egypt. God made a way through a sea that looked impassable. He can make a way for you to make that choice, if you want too.

Choose life today.

I pray today that you will know the path God has for you; that you will choose to live for God; that you will choose to obey God; and that you will know the life He has for you.