Is that a good choice or a bad choice? What is the impact of your decision? on you? on others? Do you know how to make good choices? Is there anything that gets in the way or tries to get in the way of you making good choices? Pride? Position? People? Perspective? Is there anything that makes good choices easier for you? Truth? Belief? Faith? Trust? Hope? Love?
Do you realize the impact of your good choice on others? It can encourage them to make good choices too! It can help others in trouble! It can help others receive the benefit! Do you realize that some of the choices you have to make are life changing? Do you realize that some of the choices you make will transform your life and the life of the people around you? Everyday you will have choices to make! See wisdom from God and make good decisions!
1. Choose trust over worry … Psalm 55:12-23
16As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. 17Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. 18He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. 19God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change—he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God. 20My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. 21His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords. 22Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. 23But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay; the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days. –from Psalm 55
Points from today’s devotional…
- ‘Worry,’ as Corrie ten Boom wrote, ‘does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.’ No one goes through life without facing problems, battles and causes for worry.
- David faced many difficulties in his life. Here David speaks of one of the most painful battles of his life (v.18b). His ‘best friend’ (v.13b, MSG) has turned against him and joined the many who oppose him (v.18c). David, of course, found this more difficult than if ‘an enemy were insulting [him]’ (v.12a), as we all would.
- As in any battle, we have a ‘choice’ about how we respond. David chose to turn to the Lord and cry out to him ‘evening, morning and noon’ (vv.16–17). If you are involved in a confrontation with a close friend or family member, turn to God for comfort and strength. David did so and as a result he experienced God’s peace. He wrote, ‘he has redeemed my life in peace from the battle that was against me’ (v.18, AMP).
- From David’s own experience he is able to give this advice: ‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you’ (v.22a). Each year, I have written in the margins of my Bible the ‘cares’ that I have ‘cast upon the Lord’ in response to this verse. Most of them (though not quite all) have been more than resolved.
- As you face the worries, battles and disappointments of life, don’t allow them to overwhelm you. Like David, turn to the Lord, cast your burdens on him and then say, ‘as for me, I trust in you (v.23b).
2. Choose Jesus … John 3:22-36
27To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must become greater; I must become less.”
31The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Points from today’s devotional…
- John the Baptist had become a celebrity. He had a remarkable ministry. People ‘were constantly coming [to him] to be baptised’ (v.23). John’s followers were very competitive. They became envious of Jesus’ success. They came to John and said about Jesus, ‘He’s now competing with us… everyone’s going to him instead of us’ (v.26, MSG).
- John had to choose how he responded. He began by pointing out to his disciples that ‘it’s not possible for a person to succeed – I’m talking about eternal success – without heaven’s help’ (v.27, MSG). He chose to point people to Jesus rather than to himself: ‘You yourselves can testify that I said, “I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.”’ (v.28).
- John likens his own position to ‘the friend who attends the bridegroom’ (whom we might call the ‘best man’). Far from being threatened by the arrival of the groom, it is the very thing he has been waiting for, and he is delighted by it. Likewise, John explains that he has been waiting for Jesus, and is ‘full of joy’ at Jesus’ ministry. Jesus was John the Baptist’s successor. John says of Jesus: ‘He must become greater; I must become less’ (v.30).
- At times, all of us may be driven to become greater, more important, more highly promoted or better qualified. These are not all bad aims in themselves, but our daily choices will be swayed by these ambitions. You have to choose how you live your life. Are you focused on your promotion or on exalting Jesus? Is your ambition more for yourself, or for Jesus?
- Sometimes, we even see different Christian ministries competing with each other. This should never happen.
- Echo these words in your heart: ‘He must become greater; I must become less’ (v.30). Ultimately, the focus is not on yourself – it is always on Jesus. Our ambition must always be to point people to Jesus.
- John highlights the real issue: ‘Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn’t see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that’ (v.36, MSG).
- That is the most vital choice of all – do I choose Jesus or reject him?
3. Choose to serve the Lord … Joshua 23:1-24:33
14“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” –from Joshua 24
Points from today’s devotional…
- Worshipping and serving God is the way to a fulfilling life. Don’t waste your life chasing after false ‘gods’. As Saint Cyprian wrote, ‘Whatever man prefers to God, that he makes a god to himself.’ There are numerous other gods around today – perhaps the most common could be summed up as ‘money, sex and power’.
- Israel had enjoyed a long period of rest after all the battles (23:1). Joshua, ‘a venerable old man’ (v.1, MSG) at the end of his life, called all the people together and spoke to them. He told them that they had to choose how to spend the rest of their lives.
- He reminds them of everything that God has done for them and all the ways in which he has blessed them (23:14; 24:10). Now Joshua urges them to worship the Lord, their God, ‘in total commitment’ (v.10b, MSG).
- In response to all that the Lord has done for you, you are also called ‘to love the Lord’ (23:11), to worship and to serve him. Joshua says, ‘choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve’ (24:15). He lays out the options (vv.14–15):
- False ‘gods’ (‘gods’ of their ancestors or ‘gods’ of the conquered people), or
- The God of Israel, who is the one true God
- The gods of the conquered people claimed to be modern and ‘scientific’ –
with true control over agriculture, fertility and sex. The people of Canaan felt themselves intellectually and culturally miles ahead of the Israelites. But Joshua stresses the shortcomings of the ‘other gods’ as against the goodness and the power of God (vv.3–13).
- You have to make a choice. You cannot just drift. Many people just drift through life, never making a conscious decision.
- Joshua, like all good leaders, leads by example. He makes a deliberate, personal choice to worship and serve the Lord. He says, ‘But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord’ (v.15).
- The people answered, ‘We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God’ (vv.18,21,24). Joshua said, ‘You have chosen to serve the Lord’ (v.22). As a result, ‘Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua’ (v.31). While Joshua and the elders – trained presumably by him – were leading Israel, Israel served the Lord. Leadership is key.
- Joshua called the people to repentance and faith. This is always what God requires. First, repentance: ‘throw away the foreign gods’ (v.23a). Get rid of the bad stuff. Second, faith: ‘yield your hearts to the Lord’ (v.23b) – put your whole life into the hands of the Lord.