Jeremiah 21:8 Two Paths Of Choice

Brown and green leaves

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.’ Jeremiah 21:8

When traveling people often will have choices to make along the route. As one travels he may come upon a road that is closed due to road construction. To continue down that road, will lead to destruction by running off the road or getting stuck.

If he chooses the detour route, it will mean he can continue on safely. A choice has to be made.

God was getting read to destroy Israel as a nation and send the people into exile in Babylon. If they stayed in the city, they would die. If they went to Babylon in captivity, they would live. A choice had to be made between life and death.

There is still a choice for people to make to this day. Jesus died upon the cross and rose again to give every person a choice to make. The choice is still between life and death, captivity or personal freedom.

Making the choice of personal freedom, allows one to do what he wants and when he wants, but at the cost of death in the end. This is what sin is. It is doing everything to please self, and reject God.

Choosing to follow Jesus is to choose life, but in exile and captivity. One is bound to God to obey God. He is in exile away from this world and its sinful ways.

In the eyes of the world, this is suicide and ridiculous. And it is. Believers are to die to self so that they may live for Christ. It is the real path to real life that will last for all eternity, not just temporary happiness and enjoyment, ending in death.

Just as the Israelites had to make a choice between life and death, you must also make the same choice. This is not a one time choice, but a daily, even hourly or by the minute choice to make. You have to choose to die to self and to live for Christ on a regular basis.

Make the choice to follow and obey Christ. In the eyes of the world this is crazy, but in the end it is eternal life and worth the cost of being  enslaved to God.

Choose today the path of life in Christ Jesus, and reject the path of death this world is on.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will guide you in turning away from all sin; that you will be a slave to God and His ways; and that you will know the abundant life Jesus has for you.

Harriet (movie review)

Harriet movie poster

Movie: Harriet
Opening: November 2019
Rating: PG

The movie ‘Harriet‘ is a movie about the life and work of Harriet Tubman. She was a black lady who was raised as a slave in the early to mid-1800’s. She was injured by an accident and was unable to be reliable help on the plantation where she was a slave. As a result, the slave owner chose to sell and remove her from her husband. Instead of being allowed to be sold, she chose to run away to freedom.

After successfully escaping by traveling on foot for about 90 miles, she chose to go back and rescue her family. No one would support her, but she put her trust in God to give her strength and favor. Over time she had been credited for going back multiple times and rescuing about 100 people from slavery.

The movie does show some of the violence against slavery. It makes it very clear the dangers of a slave running away. There is some violence in the movie, but not extreme and no extreme graphics are shown. One thing that I caution on is that there is some foul language in this film and a lot of language used against the black people, showing the prejudices of the people.

One thing that I found great in the movie was showing how Harriet had trusted in God. She would be traveling with some escaped slaves in the wild, planning to head a certain direction. Suddenly she would get dizzy and have a vision from God as to what to do. She often felt God turn her to a new direction. She would go that way, though often it did not make sense at the moment. In the process of doing that she had avoided getting caught many times.

For me this was a challenge in my belief and trust in God. As a believer, we are to fully trust God’s leading at all times. He said that He would never leave us and that His Holy Spirit would always be there to guide us on our path in this life.

Every believer needs to keep his heart open to hearing from God and obeying His every command. It may not always make sense as to why God has us move the direction He has us move, but we can know that it is for our best interests. This movie has challenged me to learn to step out in faith and trust God’s leading more in my life.

I do recommend this movie, but with caution. There is the language and his movie is not suitable for younger children. It is a great movie for middle school and up children and can lead to great discussions about slavery and following God.

May your trust in God increase as you walk with Him.

Joseph: Faith-God Is In Control

Handcuffed hands

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of Egypt. Genesis 45:8 

The next person of faith that I want to look at is Joseph. It is not common to think of him as a person of faith, but he was. I will quickly retell his story leading up to why he is a man of faith and how his faith looks.

Joseph grew up as the youngest for many years in a large family of twelve plus children. Not only was he the youngest, but he was much younger than the rest of his brothers. He was different in that God had given him visions, even at a young age.

Some of the visions he had been given had made his brothers angry with him. They realized that the visions meant that at some point in the future they would bow down to him. In their anger they were about to kill him, but was stopped by one of the brothers. Instead they sold Joseph into slavery.

Abu Simbel temple

Despite being in slavery, God was with him and gave him great favor. He had started out being the head of the house of Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials and captain of the guard. This was a very high and honored position to have. Potiphar trusted him completely.

However, Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph sexually. Joseph refused and she had him falsely accused and thrown into prison.

Even while in prison, God was still with Joseph and continued to give him favor. He was made the head of all the prisoners because of his faithfulness. Yet, he was still a prisoner, locked up in prison for a false accusation against him.

While in prison, two prisoners had a vision and were unable to understand what the vision was about. God gave Joseph favor and gave him the meaning of the visions. Both of the visions became true.

Human eye

Later, Pharaoh had some visions and no one could interpret them. One of the released prisoners then remembered Joseph interpreting his dream and mentioned him to Pharaoh. He brought Joseph out of the prison to get the interpretation. Again, God gave Joseph favor and he was able to interpret the dream for Pharaoh.

Pharaoh then honored Joseph and made him second, only to him over all of Egypt. Joseph was the person who would save Egypt and much of the world during a very long famine in the land. It was Egypt that would provide food needed by people from many nations.

Some time later, his brothers came to Egypt looking to get some food. Immediately Joseph recognized his brothers, but did not reveal the fact until later, because they did not recognize him. They thought he was either dead or in slavery yet.

When Joseph did reveal himself, he told them not to worry about what they had done wrong to him, but that it was all God’s doing. God had put him into slavery in order to get him to Egypt, in order to have him in position to save Egypt and the world from a famine.

Egypt pyramids

This is where his faith comes in.

It is commonly thought that when a person becomes a Christian believer in Jesus that everything will go alright, that there will be no problems. It sounds nice. Think about it God is with you, He will protect you, and He will meet all of your needs. Why should anyone think anything different?

Yet, this is not the truth. Yes, God is with you, is protecting you and is meeting all of your needs, but the process may be through tough times. God is also going to use you to meet the needs of others. In order for that to happen, you may have to be moved or have to go through something to get you in the right position to be able to meet those needs.

Being moved into a downward position does not always make sense. Why would God move someone down, when He said He would lift a person up? God gave Joseph a vision that he would rule over his brothers. Why would God make him a slave then?

Puzzle pieces

God sees the bigger picture. He is standing above all watching what is happening and is able to know where each person needs to be to fulfill His work. We, as people at the bottom of the picture, or in the picture, cannot see the full picture. We cannot always understand what God is doing or why He is doing it. We cannot always understand why God is allowing certain things to happen in our lives.

This is where faith comes in. Remember, faith is being certain of what you cannot see. Joseph could not fully see what God was doing, but He had faith that God was in control. Instead of blaming his brothers, he was able to see that it was God’s hand that moved him to where he was in the way that it occurred.

God may have placed a vision or a dream in your heart as to what He wants from you. As you strive to achieve that dream, you may have to go down a different path that appears to move you further away from it. You may have to go through some difficult times to achieve that vision.

During those difficult times, do not give up on God. Do not lose faith in God. Have faith in God, knowing that He is still in control and knows what He is doing.

Burning car

Do not allow yourself to become bitter because of the circumstances you may be going through or have already been through. Everything that you go through is meant to build you up in Jesus–to make you more like Jesus. It can expose areas that need to be worked on, areas that need to be strengthened, areas that need to be removed and cleaned up, and areas that can be honored and broadcast.

Every believer has some area to improve on to become more like Jesus. No one is perfectly like Him, so there is room to grow. Trust that God is in control and is working towards that goal–that is faith in God.

Looking up

Seek God to understand why you are going through tough times or had gone through tough times. Find out how you can use those tough times for His glory and His kingdom.

This is faith. You cannot fully see the whole picture, but can know that God does. God is working all things out for your good. Have faith that this is true and will always be true.