Chris Underwood’s Encouragement note January 2019 b

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13, 14

Who does not remember looking or thinking back at what could have happened if I had made another choice? Continue reading

#choices, #encouragement-note

Family bonds and Jesus

It’s not always the right thing to do but there are legitimate times when humanity can be divided into two divisions. Believers and unbelievers, male and female, and Jew and gentile are a few examples of reasonable divisions. Another such division would seemingly apply to people when it comes to one’s family bonds and Jesus … we’re willing to love one more than the other, or the other more than the one.

When it comes to family bonds and Jesus, some people refuse to admit or acknowledge the error of their family members. This truth is not only seen in the spiritual realm, it is also seen in the secular realm. “Suggesting” that their son or daughter, father or mother, or husband or wife is wrong produces an irrational response of deep denial, anger or a turning away from what is right.

When it comes to family bonds and Jesus, some people are willing to admit or acknowledge the error of their family members. This truth is seen in the spiritual realm and also in the secular realm. “Suggesting” that their son or daughter, father or mother, or husband or wife is wrong produces a reality and faith-driven response of acceptance, self-control and an encouraging spirit for others toward what is right.

These categories are not new. This challenge is not unique to the twenty-first century. When it comes to family bonds and our attitude toward them, the call of Jesus has not changed.

Will our choice be the blood that is thicker than water, or will it be the blood of the cross that we access through the water of the Lord’s command?

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:34-38 NKJV)

#choices, #family, #jesus

Do we make the choice that Moses made?

“He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” Hebrews 11:26.

He had the perfect cover. Rescued from the Nile and raised by Pharoah’s daughter, Moses had all the perks of growing up in the royal household of the world’s superpower at that time.

This just made the choice he had to make all the more difficult. Coming across one of his fellow Israelites being beaten, he killed the Egyptian attacker and then had to flee for the next forty years into the desert to endure the poor life of a shepherd.

Instead of enjoying the temporary pleasures of sin, he gave everything up to identify with God.

The book of Hebrews says that he did that “by faith” and that he was “looking ahead to his reward.

Do we make the same choice? There is no doubt that this postmodern culture we live in offers all “the treasures of Egypt.” We live in an unparalleled time of luxury and opulence with all the world’s lures of sin, sensuality, and stuff. We just need to reach out and take it.

Will we? Or, by faith choose to be mistreated along with the people of God, regarding disgrace for the sake of Christ of greater value?

Doug Kashorek

#choices, #faith, #moses

Moses had choices and so do we

By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26)

Kick back and relax? Moses could have chosen to kick back and relax with the best of today’s social media celebrities!

Live it up? Moses could have chosen to live it up with the best of today’s children of powerful politicians.

Don’t get distracted with religion? Moses could have chosen to go with the grain and follow his adopted culture’s popular polytheistic ways.

Live for today? Moses could have chosen to see this world as the end all be all when it comes to achievement.

Plain and simple – Moses could have chosen a lot of different things, but he chose a “life for good” over “the good life”, and such is the call that God’s anointed has given us today.

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:43-39)

#calling, #choices, #christianity, #following-jesus, #moses

Choice when provoked

“For in real life we are faced with moral choice not at the beginning of the day when we are alone and imagine that we can choose today to do either good or evil, but when someone provokes us and we are there and then tempted to respond with evil.”

—A.R.C. Leaney, The Letters of Peter and Jude (CBC), 45 (on 1 Pet 3.8-12)

#choices, #payback, #provocation, #vengeance

Three things I know for sure

There are three things that I know for sure.

  1. Satan will fight for our souls until we take out last breath. He will challenge us to deny God and declare ourselves to be his disciples until it is impossible for us to think or speak for ourselves. He is relentless and will never, never, never, give up in his efforts to destroy us in hell.
  2. God is more powerful and loving than Satan. God can and will aid us in our fight against Satan and God will grant salvation to us if we will commit ourselves to living for Him.
  3. The choice is ours. One of the great themes of the bible is that man has been given the power to choose God or Satan. We must exercise that choice one way or the other. I pray constantly that God will give me the faith and courage to decide in God’s favor and not Satan’s.

When I read the word of God it is very clear which choice I should make. I am interested in doing what is best for me, and it is obvious that to choose obedience to the will of God is best. Throughout the word of God disobedience is always punished and obedience is blessed. Therefore I choose obedience.

Please make your choice for God in everything. Don’t allow Satan to win the struggle for your soul and cause you to be lost forever. Follow the example of Joshua who declared, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

May God bless you this week and keep you safely in His hand is our prayer for you.

With Much Love,

Ted & Barbara

THE EDIFIER • 1 Cor. 14:26, “Let all things be done unto edifying”. An E-Letter from Ted and Barbara Knight to our Romanian family

#choices, #god, #satan

Making the choice for Satan

Last time we looked at the reasons we should choose God as our master. Now we will look into the second choice for a master; that is Satan.

Some might think that no one chooses Satan as their master; however those who think that way are wrong. Maybe a person doesn’t make that choice directly but an examination of scripture will show that by not choosing God, you are automatically making the choice for Satan. Continue reading

#choices, #devil, #satan

Two Choices – Choose God as master because he is Creator

We’ve learned about the two choices we have for Sunday worship and the two choices we have about how to treat others. With this lesson we will start to look at the two choices we have for a master.

What is important to know at the beginning is that a choice for master will be made. By not picking God you automatically choose Satan. God and Satan are the only two choices there are. You do serve one or the other. This will become evident over the next couple of lessons. Continue reading

#choices, #god

Your life is controlled by one of two beings. The choice is yours!

God has given man the opportunity to choose to serve either Christ as master or Satan as master. There are many contrasts in the Bible concerning Jesus and Satan that should help us make our decision.

It is an obvious truth that you cannot serve both Christ and Satan. Continue reading

#charles-box, #choices, #devil, #jesus-christ, #satan

there she stood in the doorway…

In Proverbs 9, two ladies call out from high places in the city. They invite those lacking understanding to dine with them. One of the ladies has prepared the meal she offers; the other has stolen hers. One lady does not seem to mind if people know about your visit; the other wants to keep it a secret. One offers wisdom; one offers pleasure. You must dine with one of these women. Choose wisely. They may both mean well, but one of them will kill you.

For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you. (9:11)

‘Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is sweet to a man.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. (9:17-18)

Lord, deliver us a daily dose of discernment and decision-making power: the discernment to distinguish between these two ladies; the decision-making power to accept the right invitation.

#choices, #death, #dinner, #invitation, #life, #pleasure, #proverbs, #solomon, #wisdom

In July 2008 retired Denver executive John Beech…

. In July 2008, retired Denver executive John Beech sent a check for $100,000 to a charity. It was postdated and accompanied by a sealed envelope. On the outside of the envelope it read “wait until you hear from coroner”. The charity opened the envelope anyway and found Beech’s Last Will and Testament, leaving his entire estate to the charity. It became clear Beech was planning to commit suicide. So faced with a choice, the charity director decided to keep the check and allow Beech to follow through with his planned suicide. What would you do: keep the check or contact authorities that might help prevent Beech from killing himself? This is Just-A-Minute

#choices, #just-a-minute

Going Places

For most of us, going home is something to look forward to. At the end of our work day home is the place we want to go. But, we also look forward to going other places. On our anniversary, my wife and I like to get away from home and go to a place where we can relax and enjoy the scenery without the burdens of responsibilities of home. Many people plan vacation trips to places they haven’t been before. We are a people that like to go places.

There is a place that each one of us will eventually end up in. God gives us a choice of two places. How we live our lives will determine which of those two places we will go to. The Bible refers to these places in various ways. Jesus makes reference to these two places in Matthew 25:46 by saying “…these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Even before the day of judgment comes, those that die await the coming of Christ in either of two places: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:22-23).

Those that have been faithful to God in death will reside in “Abraham’s bosom” but the disobedient will end up in “torments”.

While we live on this Earth, going places is often what we like to do. Where we go is a choice we get to make. Where we end up after our life on earth is done is also a choice we get to make. God only gives us one chance; we only get one life to determine what our eternal place will be. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

Make the choice now where, in eternity, you will be going. Make the choice to go “into life eternal”.

In Christ, Steve Preston

#choices, #destinations

Sermon Snippet from John 5:31-47

Here’s a point that I’m going to use in tomorrow’s sermon from John 5:31-47 that could be used in a lot of other places:

God’s word doesn’t pick sides – it makes them (Leviticus 19:15Deuteronomy 1:17, John 5:39)

A thought like that can cause us to think about, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) in the right way.

#bible-study, #choices, #gods-word, #judging, #sermon-snippet-from-john-5

Parents, Put Your Foot Down

Read a story yesterday about a mom who punished her 11-year-old daughter for “twerking” at a school dance in which the school itself did nothing about. And some people think the preacher has no reason to still talk about the spiritual dangers of dancing to young people???

I for one was glad to actually read about a mother in the news that was trying to actually instill some self-respect into her daughter. I don’t know anything about the woman’s spiritual condition, but what I do know is that she obviously has some kind parental radar that’s actually turned on!

Parents need to put their foot down every once in a while when it comes to their kids, and it doesn’t need to stop as long as they are living under your roof. That’s right, your child needs to know who’s paying the bills, who’s buying the food, and who’s in charge of everything from their media diet, to the clothes they wear and right down to body that wears them until the baby bird leaves the nest.

I’m not saying kids shouldn’t have any freedom of expression – what I’m saying is that when they fail to show necessary discretion then it’s time for the parent to reserve the right of censorship, guidance and discipline!

If a parent refuses to put their foot down when it’s needed then the result will be a child that walks all over the parent. And if any parent thinks they’re doing their child a favor by being their friend instead of their parent or by not being proactive and reactive to the bad decisions they make, then they’re doing their child a disservice on multiple levels.

And parents, please, please, please don’t fall into the lame trap and so-called excuse that says, “Well, I did it when I was a kid so I can’t say anything about it.”

Just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to learn from that mistake or that you’re not obligated to try to instill some wiser wisdom learned from those mistakes into others. I just used a double, yes, even a triple negative in the previous sentence, but that doesn’t mean I can’t tell my daughter that it’s improper English to do so! It’s on me if I fail to warn my daughter about the dangers and stupidity of my past mistakes – and it’s on me if I stand by and allow her to intentionally make the same decisions because of some supposed hypocrisy accusation from her or anyone else. A person who calls that hypocrisy has no idea about what the word actually means!

Parents put your foot down as you raise up your child!

Give your heart to teaching, and your ears to the words of knowledge. Do not keep back training from the child: for even if you give him blows with the rod, it will not be death to him. Give him blows with the rod, and keep his soul safe from the underworld. My son, if your heart becomes wise, I, even I, will be glad in heart; And my thoughts in me will be full of joy when your lips say right things. Have no envy of sinners in your heart, but keep in the fear of the Lord all through the day; For without doubt there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Give ear, my son, and be wise, guiding your heart in the right way. Do not be among those who give themselves to wine-drinking, or among those who make themselves full with meat: For those who take delight in drink and feasting will come to be in need; and through love of sleep a man will be poorly clothed. Give ear to your father whose child you are, and do not keep honour from your mother when she is old. Get for yourself that which is true, and do not let it go for money; get wisdom and teaching and good sense.” (Proverbs 23:12-23 – BBE)

#children, #choices, #dancing, #guidance, #hypocrisy, #learning-from-the-mistakes-of-others, #news, #parenting

Choosing whom to serve

In yesterday’s e-bulletin, I mentioned the choice that Joshua made to lead his family in service to the Lord (Joshua 24:15). In truth, every person faces the choice every day of whom they will serve. God made us creatures with choice. In making us creatures of choice, he also made us creatures of responsibility. That is, only humans, out of all of God’s creations, are accountable for their actions.

Our slogan, ‘Everyone must do his own work,’ is based on the idea that I alone am responsible for my actions. 2 Cor. 5:10 and John 5:28-29 are personally responsible for the outcome of our life and the location where we spend eternity.

Joshua gave the people of his day a choice: the gods their fathers had served or the gods of the land in which they dwelled or the God of heaven.

Our choices today are also heavily weighted, by sheer number, on Satan’s side. We can serve ourselves through pleasure, comfort, money, convenience, recreation and a host of such matters. Jesus described those who serve these things as rocky and thorny soil. The gospel is received with joy, but worldly desire and comfort soon create a path back to self-serving living.

I believe that some folks get the idea that because God gives us the ability to choose, it means that he gives us the freedom to choose as we want. If that were the case, no responsibility would attach itself to our choices.

Brothers and sisters, our ability to choose sin does not give us freedom to choose sin. As a matter of fact, “the wages of sin is death.” Each of us will give personal account of our own work. So, no matter what others may be doing, I pray that you will always choose to do right.

Everyone must independently do his/her own work.

Mike Glenn

#choices, #freedom, #responsibility