Alpha Ministries, Inc
All of us are confronted with a multitude of choices to make daily. Many of them seem small and almost inconsequential while others seem overwhelming and life threatening. What makes life so complicated and hard is not just the choices we make but often it seems we really have no choice at all. Much of our confusion and frustration in life comes from the fact that we are not sure what choices we have, if we even have a choice, and exactly what choice we should make in any given situation. Welcome to the world of a control freak!
Seeking to control the people and circumstances in our life comes from a deep need to make ourselves secure in an insecure world. There is no guarantee that we will be unconditionally loved, accepted, and forgiven in this dog-eat-dog and often hostile world. In fact, chances are that we will be neglected, abandoned, or even abused. Likewise, unless we can control the people and circumstances in the chaos of this world it is impossible to find a real sense of importance, purpose, and competence. Wrong or bad choices seem naturally to lead to a meaningless and unsatisfying life.
Underlying all other choices we must make is the most important and basic choice. It is the choice the Bible urges us to make daily and describes it in a variety of terms. Jesus invites us to take his “yoke” upon us (Matthew 11: 28-30). Paul urges us to “present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God” (Romans 12: 1-2). James tells us to ask for wisdom from above (James 1: 5). Peter calls on us to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5: 6). All these directives (and many more) have one thing in common…surrender. We give up trying to make it happen and let God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
In the AA program of recovery the 3rd step describes this kind of surrender as deciding to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Making the choice to surrender all our decisions as well as our very lives to the control and care of God is the foundation and start of a new and satisfying lifestyle of grace in which God, through his indwelling Spirit, leads us, guides us into all truth, comforts us in our choices, reminds us who we are, and produces the very character of Christ in us. As Paul instructed the Philippians 2: 12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and do of his good pleasure. “
The fundamental choice we all must make each day is whether we want to let God control our lives. It is really a no-brainer since he is the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe and loves us so much he gave his life for us. For me it boils down to one simple prayer each morning, “Lord please remind me of who you made me to be in your son and guide me in how you want me to love others around me today”. I really do not have any other choice that makes sense.
|Posted on 4 November, 2020 at 15:30|
Before writing this message I was waiting on the outcome of the presidential election yesterday. But this morning it seems we still don’t know for sure and it occurred to me that it really doesn’t matter. The message I have is not dependent on who the president is or what the political landscape in our nation looks like. This is not to suggest political apathy or indifference, but to focus on a deeper issue concerning God’s eternal plan for...Read Full Post »
|Posted on 28 October, 2020 at 10:55|
The more I learn the more I realize how much I do not know! Solomon discovered the same thing and it drove him to drink (see Ecclesiastes 2). After forty-five years of studying and teaching others about God I have to say I still do not understand him. When I was young there were times I thought I had a pretty good handle on who he was, what he desired, and how he worked in the affairs of men. But the more I learned the more I realized how much I really did ...Read Full Post »
|Posted on 20 October, 2020 at 10:00|
The government our founding fathers established for this nation was unique to the world. Having endured both religious and political persecution they sought to establish a government of the people, by the people, and for the people that would prevent such tyrannical institutions from abusing God ordained power to govern others. Using biblical principles of equality and freedom for all they declared their independence as a nation and developed a constitution t...Read Full Post »
|Posted on 16 October, 2020 at 0:40|
This being an election year it is no surprise we have conflict in our nation. While this year may seem to be more intense than previous years with violence in the streets of some cities, the struggle has always been there. Any nation founded upon biblical principles acknowledging the God of creation is bound to have conflict in this world. Our history is filled with intense conflicts, including a civil war, to ensure the freedom of our own citizens as well a...Read Full Post »
|Posted on 8 October, 2020 at 10:35|
In a world full of bad news and fake news the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ shines like a light in the darkest part of the night. I am not talking about the “religious good news” offered by so many religious groups today. Their good news boils down to the kind of good news Paul described in his letter to the Galatian churches when he wrote, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto...Read Full Post »
|Posted on 30 September, 2020 at 13:55|
Even a superficial reading of the New Testament reveals how important our relationships are to God. In every book or letter there is a major passage describing the way God wants us to relate to each other. The letters of the apostle Paul, comprising much of the New Testament, are filled with “ one another” statements concerning the way we should or should not interact with others around us. Clearly, God is not just concerned with our relationship...Read Full Post »
|Posted on 24 September, 2020 at 11:45|
Living by faith sounds so good but is a real pain in the butt! Most Christians know that we are supposed to be living by faith. We are told that without faith it is impossible to please God, that whatsoever is not of faith is sin, and that the just shall keep on living by faith. Faith is a “biggie” as far as God is concerned. But what exactly are we supposed to trust when we live by faith? What are we going to believe in?
F...Read Full Post »
|Posted on 17 September, 2020 at 11:05|
The more I study what it means to love another person like Christ, the more I realize how difficult that may be. Our romantic idea of love is glamorized by books and movies to be something that is exciting for both the person doing the loving and the one receiving that love. But when the excitement wanes or obstacles get in our way romantic love soon disappears. The relationship which follows will often degenerate into a painful experience of defensive maneu...Read Full Post »
|Posted on 10 September, 2020 at 13:50|
For over forty years now I have known and taught that our loving others is the sure sign that we are followers of Jesus. At first, I did not really know what exactly that meant nor how to actually do it. Neither did I understand the difference between the divine love we are called to share with others and the natural human love we are used to. But I was sure that God wanted us to love each other regardless of the circumstance we find ourselves in. Slowly m...Read Full Post »
|Posted on 3 September, 2020 at 11:20|
In the middle of all the current chaos of social unrest, political division, and pandemic fears there is a “still, small voice” of hope that can comfort and direct all who will listen. It is the voice of Jesus expressed by his indwelling Spirit in every believer who will be still long enough to hear it. It offers both comfort and direction to those who are willing to trust it. It is the personal assurance and work of the Comforter, the Spirit of ...Read Full Post »