Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He even gave up His only begotten, unique, Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3: 16
“God’s Plan Has Options”
“…Sell everything that you have and divide the money among the poor, and you will have rich treasure in heaven, and come back and follow Me – become My disciple, join My party and accompany Me. But when he heard this, he became distressed and very sorrowful, for he was rich - - exceedingly so.”
Luke 18: 22, 23
“Option” – Freedom to choose.
What choices have I made with the freedom God has given me?
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.”
William J. Bryan
“Why did God give the free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”
C. S. Lewis
Several weeks ago I asked my husband to go to the grocery store for me. I was making a roast that used “potato chips” and I didn’t have any.
When Jim got home he had an extremely exasperated look on his face. “What have they done to potato chips,” he exclaimed! “There used to be one version of Lay’s Potato Chips. Do you know how many there are now,” he questioned me? I told him that I did know how many flavors and types there were and I assured him it could be daunting to purchase any food item in this day and age because the choices were in one word, “overwhelming.”
Every day we are confronted with choices. Decisions that can force us into making a commitment to purchase one thing or another. Or to drive one way or another. Or to do one thing or another.
When Jesus came to earth as the embodiment of the Father and a witness of the Father’s immense love for His earthly children, Jesus also brought a message to you and me regarding the choice we have in our relationship with God. The disciple John wrote these words of Jesus: “The Light has come into the world.” Then Jesus goes on to tell about the choice some people made: “And people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light” (John 3:19, Amplified). Jesus brought Heavenly Light to the world, but some chose to continue to stumble around in darkness. Jesus went on to say the reason people didn’t want to come into the Light was that it would shed illumination on the “evil” in their lives. Then as they saw what wasn’t pure and holy, they would have to make a decision as to whether or not they wanted to change. And when they decided they weren’t going to change – they would be left alone to live in darkness.
This point was driven home in a most practical way in an experience Jesus had with a very wealthy young man. Dr. Luke records this ruler’s sad story in Luke 18. This boy was wealthy – extremely rich! Maybe he had inherited his money or possibly through hard work he had acquired his fortune. All the Bible tells us is that he had a great many possessions. As we quickly find out, these “things” meant everything to this young man. Who knows? Perhaps he let his whole self-worth and ego be defined by the total of his possessions. What we do know is that this man was offered, as we all are, a choice by Jesus. This ruler could sell what he had – those entanglements that were like shackles holding him back from a full commitment to Jesus – and if he did, he could follow Jesus and become a disciple. A choice. A decision. And when given the power to choose, the young man clasped the things he had and sadly walked away from the Light. As Thomas Brooks so insightfully penned: “Christ is a jewel worth more than a thousand worlds, as all know who have Him. Get Christ, and get all; miss Him and miss all.”
This young man had a choice. A gift from our Heavenly Father who never will coerce His children to choose Him. But who, with all the power of love He has, seeks to draw us into His circle of Light and bring us out of the shadows of darkness.
May we ask, every day, for God’s Heavenly wisdom to choose wisely.
“Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night,
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off, my heart was free
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”
“I will place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the Kingdom of Christ.”
Too Much Luggage
“Oh my Lord
I am carrying too much luggage,
And it’s weighing me down,
Holding me back.
I worry about losing it,
But I don’t need most of the stuff
I’m dragging about.
It blocks up the aisles and gangways,
Getting in the way,
Making people cross
And wrapping itself round my ankles.
I need to learn to travel light,
But I don’t know what to do with all this stuff.
Here, you take it.
I’m leaving it with you.
Perhaps you can find a better use for it.
For who knows me better than you,
Who has given me the substance of my life,
Bone and marrow, patterned in my
You are my unfolding and my unburdening.
You are the keeper of my deepest secrets.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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