You Decide

Choices. We make them every day. Some are thought about for a long time, while others are made on the spur of the moment. There is power in a choice. The decisions we make today will impact our future and the future of others. They reflect our personal needs, desires and our very character. Our will is determined by what we think, feel and know. It is a reflection of the heart and mind. There is power in our “will”.

According to the Merriam/Webster Dictionary, “will” is described as desire, wish, choice, consent, appetite, passion, determination. Something desired: a choice or determination of having authority or power. Mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring or intending. Act according to principles. Power of control over one’s own actions or emotions.

Even though God is Sovereign, meaning He rules and controls all things, from the very beginning He has given mankind the freedom to make choices. They are a matter of our own will; what we desire, wish, determine and choose for ourselves. But He has also given clear direction for how to make right choices. The power of the will determines how you will live your life.

God places His desires for each of us in our hearts and when the time is right, He gives us the wisdom to make right choices. If there is a desire in your heart that will not go away, ask Him to show you clarity of knowing if this is of Him or simply something that you want to do. Seek Him for the answers through prayer and scripture and He will give direction. Remember, the choices you make today will impact your future.

Questions to ask when making decisions:

  1. Lord, is this Your will or simply my own desire? Jeremiah 29:11
  2. How do I move forward from this – what are the next steps? Proverbs 3:5-6
  3. Will my choice impact others for good? Jeremiah 6:16
  4. Show me your way that I may walk in it. Isaiah 30:21
  5. How will I know You are speaking to me Lord? John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let now your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

When God gives the answer and direction, you will experience a sense of confidence and peace internally. You will feel confident in moving forward with your choice even when it seems impossible – even when you do not feel equipped to handle the outcome. God will never lead you to a choice that is not in keeping with His perfect plan for you. He will not lead you to go against His Word.

The first example of free will is written in Genesis 3 when the crafty serpent tempted Eve by questioning what God had told Adam in the garden. The decision she made to eat the forbidden fruit and then give to her husband changed the course of history for all mankind. Her choice didn’t just impact her life. It impacted life for all forever. That is how powerful free will is in our own lives. We have the power to change the world around us.

RIGHT Choices….lead to

RIGHT Actions…that can

IMPACT our World for

RIGHT Living.

When we make decisions without seeking the will of God in a situation, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and possible failure. But in seeking Him, we are equipped to make right choices leading to right actions that can impact our world for right living. I know I have made poor choices in my past and have not always sought the Lord in my life and decisions. But I am thankful for the lessons I have learned in my spiritual journey to “seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness” knowing all I need or want is provided as I follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is never too late to turn things around for good. Praise Him for His patience and faithfulness.

Worry Free – Part 2

Matthew 6:33 is the first verse I memorized as a new believer. As a young single, unbelieving mom, I had been a worrywart of the worst kind. My life was filled with uncertainty. But when I came to know Christ, this is a verse He used to help me overcome my fears and anxieties.

Worry is a constant state of anxiety over what has happened or may possibly happen. Its root is “to choke” and “to divide” (strangle). Worry fills you with fear, stress and thoughts of a negative nature that keep your focus divided and choke your joy.

A mind divided (worried) is one that is filled with thoughts of many different things at one time. When we are worried, we may be trying to take care of the task in front of us while our thoughts are consumed with difficulties that have nothing to do with the task at hand.

Worry can also be about something that has not happened, but that we think might happen. The “what if” of worry can choke our joy in a way that we are unable to move forward because of constant fear over an expected negative event in our lives.

We all deal with different types of circumstances that are difficult.

  • Will there be a paycheck
  • Is my job secure
  • Are my teenagers safe, are they bullied
  • Does my husband love me
  • Will my baby be healthy
  • Can I prevent disease in my body, and so many more…

And so, how do we overcome the worries of the day so we can be undivided in our hearts and minds to experience joy in the everyday of life? Perhaps Matthew 6:33 will help you as it has me.

“SEEK FIRST” – The verse begins by telling us to seek first – that is to look toward one specific thing before anything else. What are you going to look for first when difficulties cause your anxieties to escalate? What is that one thing?

“HIS KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS” – Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. There is a future kingdom to come, but there is also a present kingdom. It is the establishment of the rule of God through Christ in your heart. It is allowing Him to be the King and Lord of your life. When Jesus said your life is more important than food, clothing and the body, He was talking about the life you find in Him by allowing Him to be the King and Lord of your life in the present. He rules and reigns in your heart as you allow Him to by seeking Him. Therefore, when decisions are to be made or worry threatens disruption in your peace, seek Him first. He will guide you and give you peace. How do we know this?

“GIVEN TO YOU” – He has made a promise to us in the very next phrase of the verse. “all these things will be added unto you.” All what things; everything your mind is divided over. When you take your worries to Jesus in prayer, He will give you wisdom and lighten your load simply because He loves you. When you seek Him first for the answer to life’s problems and allow Him in your heart as Lord and Savior, your future is secure. There is no need to worry with a future secure in Him. Trust Him with your cares and allow Him to be in control of your life. The thing about a Kingdom is that there is a King. With a King, there are people under his care.

How do you seek Him first? Prayer is the answer. Time alone with Him in conversation and trusting Him for peace and joy. Jesus is your King and He cares for you. In Him, you can be worry-free!

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV

Seeing True Thanksgiving

“Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I Thessalonians 5:16 NIV

 

Last week I saw what it truly looks like to give thanks in all circumstances. We visited my niece in the physical rehab facility where she has been for many weeks following an extensive hospital stay. Her legs will not hold up her body and she was continuing to get weaker and weaker. The doctors finally diagnosed her with Gillian Barre Disease. It is a rare and unusual disease causing weakness and paralysis.

As we visited, I was amazed at her sweet and positive attitude. Just before we left, I prayed for her. Immediately following the Amen, she said; “Can I tell you something. The way I am able to cope with this is by being thankful. I just tell the Lord all day long how thankful I am for everything that happens, and I know this experience will simply strengthen my testimony for ministry.”

I was speechless. This is a young woman in her 30’s, married with three children. She has a busy life and certainly doesn’t have time for this illness. She lives in West Texas and was brought to a Dallas hospital, then transferred to Fort Worth closer to her Mother. She has been away from her young family for at least two months and is unable to walk. But she is thankful. What a testimony of faith to others she already has, beginning with her Aunt Virginia in that humble moment of sharing.

And I was not only speechless, but deeply humbled to realize how much complaining I have done in my life. I learned a very important lesson in seeing the scripture lived out in my sweet niece. When God said to be thankful in all circumstances, He knew it was not an impossibility. He did not give a task we would not be able to accomplish. Audrae is living proof of it.

Today I want to wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving filled with an attitude of gratitude. May we all be thankful in all circumstances for that is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.

And if you would please remember Audrae in your prayers and give thanks for her testimony of faith as God does His work of healing in her life, I know she would appreciate it. I am thankful for you. Have a blessed weekend.

Virginia

For Faith and Freedom

In 1620, the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts after a difficult voyage from England. Following a winter filled with hardships, the native Indians helped the pilgrims learn how to plant corn and produce crops. At the first harvest, in November 1621, pilgrims and native Indians joined together for a meal to give thanks for the harvest. And so, we in America have followed this tradition of our forefathers in celebration each year on the day that was designated as Thanksgiving.

But have we lost sight of what we are celebrating? Do we look at it as just another holiday when we don’t have to work? The pilgrims sacrificed lives and property in order to come to this new land to have the freedom to worship and practice their Christian faith. Thanksgiving was the day to give thanks to God for His freedom and provision. This faith was passed from generation to generation, but somewhere along the way, the Christian faith has lost national momentum.

In Second Timothy, as Paul gave thanks to God for Timothy, he was thankful for the faith of that young man. He stated it was a faith that had been passed down for two generations that Paul was aware of. This faith was lived out by Timothy’s mother and grandmother before him. Paul’s personal purpose in writing the letter to Timothy was to give him encouragement for carrying on the ministry in Paul’s absence. Apparently Timothy was timid in doing so, therefore, Paul’s words were given to empower him to overcome his fear. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (II Timothy 1:7) He was thankful for Timothy. His prayer of thanksgiving was personal, powerful and affirming. Paul was pouring into the life of the next generation for the purpose of growing others in faith for generations to come.

As we approach our designated national day of Thanksgiving next week, let us remember the purpose of our forefathers’ arrival in this land. Let us be thankful for the sacrifice they made for a country of freedom and for our current day military serving to keep our country safe and free. Let us not forget the purpose of this holiday. And then, may we make our thanksgiving personal, giving thanks and encouragement for those close to us who need an extra boost of affirmation for their life’s work and calling of God as we pass along the faith of those who have gone before us. Pour into the next generation the faith made possible for us by the sacrifice of Jesus. Pour into the next generation the history of our country and the true meaning of Thanksgiving that the momentum of the Christian faith may be revived in America.

“Thank you O Lord for the freedom we have in Christ. Thank you for those who have gone before us as a testimony of faith and freedom. Amen”

“I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did,

with a clear conscience, as night and day

I constantly remember you in my prayers.”

II Timothy 1:3 NIV

All of You

November has arrived with a chill in the air and turning back the clocks one hour. It feels like we have gone from one extreme to another related to seasons and weather. And while we are to be thankful each day of the year for the goodness of God, November is known as the month of Thanksgiving in America.

As I was reading my Bible this morning, the study notes reminded me that the Apostle Paul is credited with writing 13 letters (or books) of the 27 in the Bible’s New Testament. In every one of those books, with the exception of Galatians, Paul began his letter with thanksgiving to God.

In the first chapter of Romans, verse 8, Paul said, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” Who was Paul thanking God for – all of you!

As you begin your November, think about who is the “all of you” in your life. Who are you thankful for and why? Paul was thankful for those in Rome whose faith was so strong as to be known all over the world. Do you know anyone with a faith that strong? If so, pray for them and give thanks to God for their testimony of faith.

As I thought about this question, the names that came to my mind are Mike and Laura Fechner. Their story is truly a testimony of a faith known around the world. We have known Mike and Laura since they were 25 years old and today they have young adult children and a daughter-in-law. Mike and his sweet family are the “all of you” I am thankful for today. Please take a moment to read their amazing story in A Step of Faith and say a prayer of thanksgiving for them.

Be challenged and encouraged this week to be thankful for the “all of you” that have influenced your life and made an impact for Christ in the world.

 

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