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Tag Archives: choose

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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The Law Concerning Slaves

These are the ordinances that you shall set before them: When you buy a male Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. But if the slave declares, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person,” then his master shall bring him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life. When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt unfairly with her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife. And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out without debt, without payment of money. (Exodus 21:1-11, NRSV)

You shall keep the Hebrew slave for 6 years, but in the seventh year, he shall be set free! No long-term slavery. Unless he chooses to after he is released.

Then the master takes him to the post and drives an awl through his ear and gives him a ring and he becomes the master’s slave for life. The male slave likes his place there so the master puts a ring on it!

That is what I tell people happened to me, that I loved serving God, that God pierced my ears!

Has God pierced your ears?

 

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mercy

So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters, I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, “Out of Zion will come the Deliverer; he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.” “And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:25-36, NRSV)

Why are you a part of the covenant?

Is it your birth right?

Did you do the right things to be included?

Israel is included even though they are an enemy of God according to the gospel, but according to the election of God, they are chosen. And we who are not a part of Israel are included because of the gospel, and the election of God.

You see it is all based on mercy. God’s mercy freely given to those whom He chooses and those whom He chooses will choose to follow Him.

So rely on God’s mercy and know it is not of your own doing that you are chosen!

 

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choose life

170216See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the LORD your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:15-20, NRSV)

Do we have to do anything to get the grace of God, no we do not. God’s grace is freely given.

However, we can choose to live in grace or not.

So we can choose life or choose death. We can choose to allow the grace of God to flow over and through our life.

And life we choose is not something we are waiting for or will come after this earthly life is over. It is a life that starts right here and now.

Life in God does not mean smooth sailing or not problems, but life in God is better than death and living without Him.

 

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jealous

160222The word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Thus says the LORD: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts shall be called the holy mountain. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the LORD of hosts? Thus says the LORD of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country; and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness. For thus says the LORD of hosts: Just as I purposed to bring disaster upon you, when your ancestors provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the LORD of hosts, so again I have purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; do not be afraid. These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the LORD. The word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying: Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be seasons of joy and gladness, and cheerful festivals for the house of Judah: therefore love truth and peace. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, the inhabitants of many cities;  the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Come, let us go to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I myself am going.” Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favor of the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from nations of every language shall take hold of a Jew, grasping his garment and saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” (Zechariah 8:1-8, 14-23, NRSV)

We usually think of being jealous as a bad thing. We should not be jealous of what someone else has because that can lead to coveting. And we should not covet what someone else has.

But here we read in Zechariah that God is jealous for Zion. With great jealousy and great wrath.

God is going to watch over Zion and dwell in her midst.

And so I thought about it. And God is jealous for us because we get to choose, between following His will or the way of the world. And He loves us so much, that He sent His Son to die for us, to make us His own, and He does not want to lose us. So He is jealous over us. With a great jealousy and a great wrath.

 

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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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