Tag Archives: choice

Choosing joy

There’s choices each day.

So many, at times they can feel overwhelming.

One of those choices we all make each day, sometimes minute by minute, is what we choose to do.

What we think on, what we meditate on, what we listen to, what we read, all are choices.

These choices either build our faith or tear it down.

When faced with uncertainty, tragedy, and pain we have a choice.

Despair or trust.

Will we praise God through the current circumstances or will we complain about the havock?

Throughout history we see God using the things Satan meant for evil and turning it to good.

As followers of Christ, we need to choose to find joy in Him, even in the midst of incredible pain.

For we can choose joy even while we suffer.

Acts 5:41 KJV — And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Yes, there will be trials and tribulations.

Yes, we will struggle, suffer, and experience tragedy.

No, it won’t last forever, because Jesus promises eternal life in Paradise.

And thus, we can choose joy.

Not a false pretense of faking it.

Not denying the fear or hurt or loss we are experiencing, but in those things choosing to cling to Jesus.

Choosing to praise Him for He is worthy.

Choosing to find hope and joy in life eternal.

It’s not easy, nor is it popular.

Yet God’s Word is truth and in it we find our example:

Luke 23:34 KJV — Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Romans 5:8 NKJV — But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

In God’s Word we have the answer.

Romans 5:3-5 NKJV — And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8:28 NKJV — And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

In His promises we can find joy.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for life eternal in You because You sacrificed Your life on the cross. Thank You for showing us how to handle tragedy, fear, and pain. Please continue to guide and direct us as we walk daily with You. Lord, let our hearts be full of Your Word and our lives settled securely in Your truth. For this is not our home, that awaits us in heaven. Praise You, Lord Jesus! Amen!

…your adornment

3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. I Peter 3:3‭-‬4 NKJV

These instructions are timeless.

How we adorn ourselves speaks volumes about us.

Not just in our wardrobe choice, but in where we place our value.

Pharaoh was robed in the most expensive and up-to-date fashion of his time yet he’s remembered for a heart that denied God.

Camel skins covered a man whose ministry was the entrance of the Messiah.

It’s not about the clothes, it’s about the heart.

Because styles change, bodies grow old, hair turns color or falls out, but the character of a person is visible to God at all times.

How will we live in today?

What will we choose to spend our time, interest, and money on?

What do we truly value?

Is it a temporary thing or an eternal one?

Isaiah 40:8 NKJV — “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the truths we can apply and the guide we can measure our hearts with. Lord, please continue to teach me how to adorn myself in Your Word and Your ways. Lord, help me to be a gentle and quiet spirit, beautiful before You. Lord, if there is anything in my heart which does not align with Your Word, please show me. Lord, I do not want to harbor anything which would hinder my relationship with You. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Things in the world

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. I John 2:15‭-‬17 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/1jn.2.15-17.NKJV

The things of this world bring a snare.

Lust and pride are dangerous and can kill faith.

Matthew 13:22 NKJV — “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”

Thus, we must be on our guard, at all times.

Because pride is easy.

And desire breeds the idea we deserve…

Our flesh, stirred up by the enemy, wants to follow after these things.

Jesus taught that all the things and the pursuit of them isn’t following God.

Instead, He clearly explained that loving God is the opposite.

Matthew 6:24 NKJV — “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Matthew 6:33 NKJV — “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Jesus’s parable of the seed and the soils (Matthew 13:3-23) provides a perfect word picture.

The Gospel is the seed and the ground is our hearts.

Matthew 13:23 NKJV — “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

What type of soil we are has a great deal to do with what we choose to do with the Word.

No one is immune to the temptations of the things of this world, but we can focus on Jesus and His Word.

Romans 12:2 KJV — And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Let’s be wise and prudent gardeners, pulling up the weeds and allowing the Lord Jesus to water the seed with His scripture and prayer.

Colossians 3:1-2 KJV — If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

We can live in today, praising God for His gifts and blessings, being thankful for what we have and the beauty of creation all around us.

We can walk with Him in humility and love, remembering this is not our home, we are simply travelers, on our way to Paradise.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Lord, please help me to be on guard against pride and lust and the love of things. Lord, help me to instead love people and to walk with integrity before You. Lord, help me to see the snares and tricks of the enemy and to be wise about what I look at, what I listen to, what I meditate on. Lord, this world is passing and my life is fleeting compared to eternity. Please help me to live for You today and not to be choked out by the cares of this world. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Obedience? A daily choice.

Scripture is full of the stark differences between those who obey God and those who do not.

Proverbs 14:16 KJV — A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

Scripture instructs us of our need for a Savior.

Romans 3:23 NKJV — for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

God shows us that it is through Him and only through Him that mankind can be saved.

John 14:6 NKJV — Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

And it also warns us some will choose to follow God and others will not.

Mark 10:22 NKJV — But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Although, following God seems to be a “some do” and “some don’t” it’s actually much more of a continual choice.

Each day the choice is there, and each day brings opportunity to either obey Him or turn away from Him.

Psalm 119:59 NKJV — I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies.

For God is a merciful God and His Word tells many times of the length He goes to reach out to us.

Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV — Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

With this knowledge, let us, each one, choose to follow Him today.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word and for the truth of Your scripture. Lord, You know that I am a sinner living in a sin filled world and it is easy to fall into many temptations and snares. Please provide a way of escape, keep me from being tricked into those things which are not of You. Lord, please shine Your truth into each circumstance and help me to view all of life through Your Word. Lord, please help me to hide Your Word in my heart and to be mindful to think about Your truths through out my day. Lord, help me to make choices based upon Your Word and not fear or urgency. Lord, please help me to rest in You, and not be double minded. Thank You for Your promises. Thank You for all Your love and Your unending care. How great and awesome You are! I love You. Amen.

The foolish

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘ There  is no God.’ They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.”
Psalms 14:1 NKJV

Denying the existence of God is foolish.

Yet, there’s so much more than a statement here.

When dealing with the heart one can easily see it’s a far more complex idea.

If the fool says in his heart there is no God, he is choosing to limit the Almighty to his own understanding.

But before we pass by this with a self satisfied, “that’s not me”, “I believe in God”, let’s turn the tables a bit.

To be foolish is to doubt God, it’s the opposite of faith.

Thus no one is immune to folly.

All it requires to be foolish is to allow doubt to enter our hearts.

Who else besides Eve has heard the enemy’s cunning: “Has God indeed said…?”

And doubt is always wrapped in veneer of something else, thus we need to be careful.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

The enemy of our souls has used the message of doubt and fear most effectively throughout history.

1 Peter 5:8 NKJV — Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

On top of this our own sinful nature is constantly warring against the truth of God.

Galatians 5:17 NKJV — For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

But all have hope through Christ Jesus for good, for salvation, for wisdom.

John 10:10 NKJV — “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Therefore Jesus, Himself, saves us from folly.

When we put or faith in Him we are saved.

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
John 17:13‭-‬14 NKJV

Fight the foolishness of doubt with faith in Christ.

It’s not a “once and done” choice, but a diligent daily effort.

“O Lord , how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, Nor does a fool understand this.”
Psalms 92:5‭-‬6 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your faithfulness. Thank You for saving us from folly through Your Word. Please help each one of us to be on guard for the tricks and snares of the enemy. Please show us where we have allowed doubt to cloud our belief. Lord Jesus teach us, that our hearts might be steadfast and our choices good. Please do not allow us to be double-minded, unstable in all our ways. For Your way is right, Your Word is true, and in You we find all that we need. Thank You. Amen.

Wisdom

“Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?

She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.

She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:” Proverbs 8:1-3 NKJV

The scripture is full of verses about wisdom and how it comes directly from God alone.

Proverbs 8 puts a personality to wisdom, and we are allowed to gain insight from these words. It begins with wisdom calling from the path, the gateway, and the door.

Each place is a choice.

On the hill where paths meet, the person must choose to take one or the other.

The same is true with the gate and the door, either enter or turn away.

With each of these moments of choice we see Wisdom calling out to those making these decisions.

“All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.

They are all plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.

Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;” Proverbs 8:8-10 NKJV

Wisdom is waiting for those who are making daily decisions to stop and listen before choosing, to look for the truth of what would be best, what would be right and we see what is gained by listening to Wisdom: righteousness, understanding, knowledge, and instruction.

And is it any wonder that if we turn to listen to God’s wisdom we gain those things for it is with wisdom He created.

“When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,

Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,

Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
And my delight was with the sons of men.” Proverbs 8:29-31 NKJV

Wisdom rejoiced at His inhabited world and delighted in the sons of men.

Wow.

Wisdom has always been an option if we will simply ask God.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 NKJV

Wisdom is given when sought.

It is up to the individual.

Will you seek God’s wisdom?

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word and for the promise to provide all we need, including wisdom. Lord, help us not to be stiff-necked, but to instead seek You and Your wisdom for our lives each day. You alone have the understanding of how this world is put together and how to handle the different issues we face. Lord, thank You for knowing ahead of time what we would need and providing it for us in Your Word. Lord, let us be those who seek after wisdom as those who seek treasure, never giving up. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Tuesday

So far, this has been a week of changes.

My husband and our son left Saturday for a hunting trip.

They returned Sunday night, because our truck is not running correctly.

I prayed a lot while they were driving home.

The Lord was merciful and they made it safely.

My husband made many phone calls, in an attempt to find an opening to get it fixed.

None of the repair shops have any openings till mid September.

So, he and Jase unpacked all the camping and hunting gear yesterday.

Later the guys were going out to play a round of “cheap” golf.

Anne and I were taking dinner over to Sis’s house and hanging out there.

We did and it was lovely.

Just before bed, I was chatting with my husband.

I’ve been praying for him and wondering how he felt about all this.

His vacation is completely ruined when it comes to hunting.

But to my relief and joy he wrapped his arms around me and kissed the top of my head and said,

“I’ve had a really good day. It’s been nice.”

“Well, praise God! I’ve been worried about how you might be feeling.”

He just laughed and hugged me.

I know from an outside appearance one ruined hunting trip probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, and in many ways it isn’t.

As a wife, I see it as a part of a much bigger picture.

My husband has had to give up so much this last year.

He’s a country guy who loves hunting, fishing, and camping.

Between my poor health and our move he’s left nearly all of it behind.

To camp, fish, or hunt he has to take time off work, plan around the travel, and then drive hours.

He used to go across the street or down the road.

Our son’s first turkey was shot in our field.

(Yes, we ate it. That’s why we hunt.)

Through giving up on the things he enjoys, my husband has had a heart of love and compassion.

He has said more than once how the little he has to give up are nothing compared to what I have had to give up.

But there’s a difference.

My health has taken away my choice, I can’t do the things.

He has chosen to be obedient to what God has placed on his heart and has given up to honor Jesus.

And he’s doing it again this week.

I don’t know what our Tuesday is going to hold, but I’m so glad I have my precious husband to walk with me.

I love that Jesus is holding us all and His plans are perfect!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your love and provision. Thank You that even in the things we see as disappointment You see as an opportunity. Lord Jesus thank You for growing my husband and I closer together through all of this. Thank You for teaching us daily that Your plans are best. Amen.

It boils down to…

What you believe.

Do you believe the Bible?

John 17:17 NKJV — “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

“Yes, absolutely. It’s the Word of God Almighty.”

Do you believe I am good?

Luke 18:19 KJV — And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

“Yes, Lord. I know You are good.”

Do you believe I give good gifts?

Luke 11:13 KJV — If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

“Yes, Lord, I believe You give good gifts.”

Then why doubt? Why fear?

Isaiah 41:13 KJV — For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

If I call you to walk through it, it will be used for My good.

Isaiah 43:2 KJV — When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Do you believe that?

Acts 16:31 KJV — And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

“Yes, Lord, I believe.”

I wish I could say the Lord has only had this conversation once with me, but it’s not true.

He has brought my fearful heart back to this truth many times.

He has held me, patiently, while I worried away in prayer, only to softly ask me, do you believe.

Because it boils down to that.

What I truly believe makes all of my attitudes and actions.

And if I truly believe God is good and gives good gifts to His children and that I am His child, then I will not respond to circumstances with fear, worry, or anxiety.

Because there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Instead, God promises:

John 14:27 KJV — Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I love how this verse reads.

“Let not your heart be troubled…”

We have a choice.

And it begins with what we believe.

Instead

My husband’s great grandparents.

Years ago, (like more than twenty) the Lord taught me a very valuable lesson.

I was struggling with anger on a fairly regular basis.

One day, as I prayed and washed dishes He gave me a beautiful gift.

Instead of being angry, choose to do something else.

And I remember being so surprised.

I had a choice.

I could focus on my emotions or I could choose something else.

As soon as possible I got some notebook paper and began a list.

At the top it said: Instead of being angry:

Then I had bullet points.

* pray

* make a craft

* bake cookies

It went on, but I can’t remember them all.

This same lesson applies to today.

Instead of being angry or afraid we have a choice.

These times we find ourselves in are an opportunity.

Especially when we look at the children.

What kind of example are we going to be for them?

How can each of us capitalize upon the opportunity before us?

Because it is times like now when our character shows, our examples set a statement about the condition of our hearts.

Courage, love, compassion, and selflessness should be our clothing.

Words of truth and gentleness should be our conversations.

How we handle ourselves will either sow seeds of trust in the Lord, or seeds of doubt, fear, distrust in both God and in our fellow man.

I’m certain our ancestors were not expecting all the trials and tribulations they walked through.

But we still retell the stories of those who sacrificed, loved, and stood for what was right.

What kinds of stories will our children have to tell about us?

What kind of a legacy are we leaving?

Instead of being lead by emotion, I’m choosing to be purposeful.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 NKJV — Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls, Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your faithfulness. Lord as we find ourselves in this chapter of unknown and many are afraid, we ask that You will show Yourself to the nation’s. Lord, please walk us forward into Your will each day. Help us to pattern ourselves after Your Word as we face this time of crisis. Lord, we know the names of those You used in the past to make a forever impact for Your kingdom. Lord, let us be people “for such a time as this”. Please work through our lives to bless others. Please work through the nations to draw people back to You. Father, You alone hold all that is worthwhile. Help every heart to turn to You, for the glory of Your name. Thank You, Lord.