Dr. Ray PritchardDr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 43 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, three daughters-in-law--Leah, Vanessa, and Sarah, and seven grandchildren. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
- 2014 Sep 18
We have heard it said many times that our choices matter. We know this is true because all of life is shaped by the choices we make. We make our choices and our choices turn around and make us.
As I ponder the situation, I realize that at the age of 61, I am nothing more than the sum total of all the choices I have made over all the years of my life. I am what I am, where I am, doing what I do, as a result of thousands of choices made over a long period of time. For instance, I was a college junior in Chattanooga, Tennessee when I began to notice this pretty girl on campus who I thought I’d like to meet, but I couldn’t think of how to do it because she was the secretary to the chairman of the Music Department, and I rarely went in that building. I don’t exactly remember how we met or what I said. We had our first date to a Valentine’s Banquet, then we went on a picnic double-date with Tom and Fay Phillips (who were dating but not yet engaged at that point). One thing led to another, and not long ago we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.We make our choices and our choices turn around and make us
We make our choices and our choices turn around and make us.
Because our choices matter, the Bible speaks of them often. Near the end of his life Moses challenged his people this way:
"This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).
As Joshua was an old man and nearing death, he reminded the people of Israel about what God had done for them. Then he exhorted them with these words:
"But 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" (Joshua 24:15).
Many years later Elijah stood atop Mount Carmel and addressed the people of Israel this way:
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).
Psalm 1:6 shows us the end result of the ultimate choice:
“For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (Psalm 1:6).
Then we have these familiar words from Solomon:
“There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Finally we can add this solemn warning from the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Every person is on a journey that leads to life or death. Jesus calls it a “way.”
One “way” is wide and easy.
The other “way” is narrow and hard.
Many take the easy way.
Only a few take the hard way.
Jesus is saying to all of us today,
“Make sure you are on the right road. You don’t want to end up in a place you never wanted to be.”
That brings me back to where I began. Our choices really do matter. We make our choices and our choices turn around and make us. Never is this more important than when hard times come and life seems to move against us. When trouble comes, you find out very quickly what you really believe.
That’s what is happening to Habakkuk.
He is finding out what he really believes.
Now God is bringing him face to face with the choice he must make.
You can read the rest of the sermon online.