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Tag Archives: Choice

Genuine Love

9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. (Romans 12:9-13, NRSV)

This is Pride month. I’m not sure where you are at on the issues of LGBTQ people, but I found it interesting that this passage comes up just as June is starting and I had just recently shared this picture on Instagram and Facebook. And one of my friends from college commented that they wished their mom believed this.

We may not agree with someone, but that doesn’t mean we have to hate them. God loved you when you were separated from him and while you were still covered in your sin, He sent Jesus to die. So there is no reason for anyone of us to hate another of God’s creation.

Hate is a choice. Choose Love!

 

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Bribery and Lies

11While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day. (Matthew 28:11-15, NRSV)

Have you ever heard a story that was in contradiction to another story you had heard about the same situation? Which one do you believe?

Here we have a choice as well. Either we believe Jesus walked out of the tomb or the story the chief priests came up with. Which do you believe?

 

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God’s Tangible Word of Life

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4, NRSV)

What is joy? And beyond that what is complete joy?

Is it not having any problems or worries? Because that doesn’t exist.

Is it being happy all the time? Well, life will always give you a reason to be down if you let it, and happiness is really a choice.

Complete joy is knowing the love of the lord is something God gives to you freely because He wants to. Not because you earned it, or deserve it, but because He wants to be in a relationship with you.

God gives us life eternally with Him because he wants to and that my friends is joy.

Do you know this joy?

 

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The Plot to Kill Lazarus

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus. (John 12:9-11, NRSV)

They wanted to kill Lazarus because people were believing in Jesus because of him! Was it honestly because of Lazarus or because Jesus brought him back to life? And did Lazarus really have any choice in this?

People want to eliminate any and all adverse effects against what they believe. We will go to the end of the world to eliminate a foe against our thoughts or beliefs before we look to see if we are wrong. Why do we look to eliminate rather than to see if we might be wrong?

What is wrong with being wrong?

 

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Trust

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I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods. You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted. Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required. Then I said, ‘Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.’ I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.  Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever. (Psalm 40:-11, NRSV)

Where do you find happiness?

Or what makes you happy?

You see every day you actually have a choice to be happy or not. Your happiness is not based on what you have or don’t have. It isn’t based on what is going right or your way in your life.

Those who trust in the Lord are happy because the maker of Heaven and Earth has got their back!

So in what do you trust?

Or better yet, in whom do you trust?

 

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Why do we falter?

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
(Psalm 139:1-18 ESV)

God knows us. Scary as that is it should also be the most comforting statement ever made!

Scary that God knows us because He knows what we will say and do before you do it. And He loves us enough to let us make those stupid mistakes. Have you ever done that as a parent, told your kid not to do something and then stand back and watch as they did the thing you just advised them not to… They learned a lesson didn’t they. Well sometime we get it and sometimes we don’t, but He allows us the freedom to be who we are and He still loves us.

And God’s knows us is a comforting statement because He knows what is going to happen and has our life in view. He knows what He needs for us to do and works in and through our lives and the loves of those around us to will His plan for the world. There is nothing that happens that He does not know about. It is like the song from Casting Crowns Already There. One day we will stand with God and look back over the dvr version or Tivo of our life. But God has already seen it, because He is already at the end of our lives waiting on us to get there with Him.

SO why is it that we are so hung up on making sure the decision is right before we move and do what we feel God is calling us to do? Why do we want the road map laid out in front of us. We need to know every bump and turn so we can be prepared.

Well you know what?

We do not need to be prepared because God already is. He has the plan, we need to trust and have faith. We need to trust that the God who created us, who knows everything we will say and do before it happens, but loves us anyway, will be there to guide us on our paths.

Below is a song from David Wilcox called Hold it up to the Light. It is one of my all time favorite songs, and I listen to it when I have a big decision to make. I prefer the live version off of his album Live Songs and Stories. There David interjects the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Two roads diverge in the woods and sorry I couldn’t travel both, but the choice is not between 2 it is actually 4 different things that we could choose. We can go left, or right, or turn around and go back where we came from, or stay right where we are. But no matter what choice we make, we have to make a choice, and our life will be what it is because of that choice, and whether it is the right choice for the plan that God had is something we might see when we rewatch our life, or it may just flow like a wonderfully orchestrated mess. No matter where we are and if you have a major decision or a minor one, step out in faith, knowing that God is there with you, and He will never let you fall.

 

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chose who…

John 15:9-17 continues the gospel lesson from last week, the final discourse from John where Jesus teaches the disciples about the vines and branches. How we are all interconnected…

We are all branches and leaves interconnected to the vine. We get cut off and thrown away, or pruned back so we produce more fruit. And because we are connected to Jesus, the vine, we are suppose to love others.

But the point I caught today is something we all know is true and know for a fact. We as Lutherans like to point it out all the time, we can do nothing to obtain the grace we have been given. Jesus chose us, we did not choose Him. He chose us to be a part of the branches and attached to the vine.

We have no choice on when we get in, or if. Jesus chose us and called us to be His children, His friend, and He wants us. And He chose us. And while we are a part of the vine, an important branch that produces fruit for the kingdom, we have no choice of the branches or leaves next to us. Jesus chooses who He wants, and we have no say in that. We are called to love everyone…

Reminded me of a story I have heard many times:

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money! Twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Jerry, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake!

‘And why’s everyone so quiet,
So somber? – Please give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said, ‘it’s because
they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’

So love as Jesus loved you and chose you to be a part of the fruit producing kingdom even when you did not deserve it, and don’t judge who Jesus chooses because they are probably ready to judge you!

 

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