Not a pleasant way to live

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another. But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, … Titus 3.3-5

People are not innately good. In fact, they are quite the opposite! When left without discipline, a child will learn to be very selfish, throwing fits of temper when they do not get their way. Unfortunately for the child, no one takes pleasure in their company and many may cringe when they arrive. As an adult, their behavior will cause them many problems.

Paul wrote to Titus describing how man acted without God in their life. It was not a pleasant way to live. It was very negative and often full of strife. It seemed hopeless. Mankind has not changed.

Then God stepped into the picture. He had always been there waiting for the right time. God loves man. He always has. But he gave mankind the ability to choose. Man did not choose wisely. Romans 3.23 reads that all sin and fall short of God’s glory. Once having sinned, you are stained and not capable of restoring a relationship with God. Romans 6.23 teaches that the wages of sin is death; that is what is earned.

But God, in his kindness and mercy, made it possible for everyone to make another choice. One choice is to stay in sin, thereby being separated from God, Isaiah 59.1-2. Or you can be born through the washing of the new birth, through faith, obedience, and baptism. The basis of his mercy makes it possible. The result is renewal through the Holy Spirit bringing peace and hope.

#risingjoy #Titus #choice

I have a choice

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. Notice the kindness and harshness of God – harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And even they – if they do not continue in their unbelief – will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. Romans 11.21-23

God has provided a solution to our problem. Sin is our problem. Romans 1.16 states that the gospel is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, both Jew and Gentile. The gospel is for everyone. However, belief is a necessary part.

God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us, John 3.16. He did this while we were still sinners, rebellious, and weak, Romans 5.6-10. God took the initiative. He made possible a way to return to him. We just have to hear and respond in a positive way.

People want to focus only on the kindness of God and his love. There is a balancing side to his kindness that is very clear in Romans 11.21-23. God is harsh to those who have fallen into sin and do not want to repent. For those who are repentant, there is the condition that I must continue in his kindness. I must be obedient.

Is it unfair? No, for I have a choice. I can decide if I want to obey or not. If I choose not to obey, there will be consequences to that decision. However, if my choice is obedience, I will have God’s blessing and favor. What will your choice be?

#risingjoy #Romans #choice

I choose faithfulness: Psalm 119.30

“I choose the path of faithfulness; I am committed to your regulations.”

Psalm 119.30

Early in this acrostic psalm about the word of God, the writer focuses on his need to choose faithfulness to God’s law and commitment to his ordenances.

The new covenant requires the same choice of following Christ faithfully and commitment to the Lord’s commandments. His Word is central to our faith.

#votd #Psalms #commitment #choice

If we choose to accept it

Encouragement Note for Feb. 2018, by Christopher Underwood

Two men with knowledge and the benefit of knowing Jesus Christ show us the power of mercy from the Lord if we choose to accept it.

Number 1: He had been angry enough to cut an ear off a man, scared enough to leave Jesus to face an angry mob, frightened enough to deny that he knew the Son of God, cursing loudly and profusely to convince everyone he was not a follower of the Lord. He was full of sorrow to see the face of the Lord, possibly embarrassed that he had gone to such extent to prove he was nothing like Jesus. He was miserable and crying with knowledge that his courage to be put along the side of the Lord had failed him – if only he had said “If you kill him, you have to kill me too” like he had said he would do before. Continue reading

#choice, #encouragement-note, #judas, #mercy, #peter

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September-4-2017  The Time Is Now

When their government oppressed God’s people, the Prophet Elijah asked the timid Israelites, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21 NKJV). Good people cannot survive in a society (or world!) by shrinking away from the inevitable choice: good or evil. Joshua challenged his people: “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV). Paul wrote there will be “the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel” (Romans 2:16 NKJV). There will be “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!” (Joel 3:14 NKJV). The “cowardly” will burn in Hell with “all liars” and sinners (Revelation 21:8).
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#choice, #good-or-evil

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6-12-2015 The Time Is Now

When their government oppressed God’s people, the Prophet Elijah asked the timid Israelites, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21 NKJV). Good people cannot survive in a society (or world!) by shrinking away from the inevitable choice: good or evil. Joshua challenged his people: “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV). Paul wrote there will be “the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel” (Romans 2:16 NKJV). There will be “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!” (Joel 3:14 NKJV). The “cowardly” will burn in Hell with “all liars” and sinners (Revelation 21:8).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#challenge, #choice, #cowardly, #decision, #government-oppressed, #opinions

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(#141) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:16-Do or Die

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 19:16: “He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of his ways will die.”

The only way to keep (save) one’s “soul” is to keep (obey) God’s commandment. The only other choice one has is to lose one’s soul by refusing to keep God’s commandment!

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given a charge with consequence: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (Genesis 2:16-17). When they ate what was forbidden, they “died,” since death is a separation from life and they were separated from the “tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24). When they left Eden, God gave them a way to worship Him acceptably (Genesis 4:3-7), and Abel did but Cain did not (Hebrews 11:4).

Those who lived under Moses’ Law had the same decision placed before them. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

Jesus Christ summed it up in His first recorded sermon: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). The Apostle Peter pointed out the better of the two choices when he said: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Saul of Tarsus was told: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

The Judgment Day will be simple, also: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Don’t care-less, accept the invitation: Do or Die!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #careless, #choice, #consequence, #decision, #faith, #jesus-christ, #judgment-day, #keeps-commandments, #obedience, #proverbs, #salvation

The Battle is Over—Did You Vote for the Lord?

The election is over. Your candidate of choice either won or lost. Did you pray the Lord’s will be done as you went into the booth and did you vote in favor of the Lord’s will? It is a serious matter and if a Christian thinks it is not he is mistaken in his thinking. Note the words of the psalmist: “for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:2-3, ESV). Just who are the upright in heart? The Lord’s servants, of course. Consequently, when arrows are (or were) shot from the candidate you chose, were those arrows shot toward (and against) the Lord’s servant, against the foundations of morality that are crucial to a civilized society? I may not be able to make much of a difference in the community in which I live, but I will always try to make a difference in this respect. RT (A bulletin article of the Highway Church of Christ. 11.11.2012)

#choice, #morality, #voting

Through the centuries Christians have practiced some horrid…

Through the centuries Christians have practiced some horrid deeds: the Crusades, the Inquisition, and witch hunts, for starters. But none of these activities were authorized by God or commanded by scripture. Though their perpetrators claimed they were conducted in the name of the Lord, they were actually works prompted by the devil. God does not force-feed goodness and righteousness. God created us in His image with volition and free will. Forced conversion is no conversion. God is love and extends His love through Jesus Christ who invites all to come to Him who will. But the final decision is up to us. “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned.” This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#choice, #gods-image, #just-a-minute, #volition

The Bleakest Bible Passage

One of the bleakest passages found in the Bible is found in Romans 1:24, where the phrase “gave them up” is found. The phrase is again repeated in verse 26 and 28, emphasizing the fact that when God gives an individual (or individuals) up, there’s no hope for that individual. Through the power of choice (Joshua 24:15), they have determined and sealed their own eternal destiny.

In his commentary on Romans http://www.searchgodsword.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=ro&chapter=001, Brother Burton Coffman provides the following comment regarding this phrase:

“These dreadful words, thrice repeated with increasing intensity, are a kind of litany of the doomed, showing how dreadful is the fate of them that are given up of God, that is, handed over to the consequences of their rebellion.”

When God gives us up, there is no bleaker moment.

#bible, #bleak, #choice, #destiny, #determine, #emphasize, #eternal, #hope, #individual, #passage, #phrase, #power, #repeat

David Lemmons has rescued from the pages…

David Lemmons has rescued from the pages of the old Firm Foundation a nice little poem, “The Church of His Choice.” Since it’s not online, I’ve added it here:

http://jasrandal.posterous.com/the-church-of-his-choice-a-old-poem-by-dick-e

#choice, #church, #poetry

I received Randal Matheny ‘s book,”Cho…

I received Randal Matheny ‘s book,”Choose! 13 Choices to Transform Your Heart and Soul” today. It’s chock full of Choice thoughts, Choice scripture and Choice quotes! This book will be a blessing to everyone who gets it, possesses it and reads it.

#book, #choice

There is a point at which everything bec…

There is a point at which everything becomes simple and there is no longer any question of choice, because all you have staked will be lost if you look back. Life’s point of no return.

Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish diplomat, U.N. Secretary General (1905-1961)

#choice, #everything, #look, #lost, #point, #question, #return, #simple, #staked