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Alpha Ministries, Inc

Church in the Woods at ....

Freedom Ranch

Choices

Dear Saints,

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.

John

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We Cannot Lose

Posted on 4 February, 2021 at 10:30

Dear Saints,

 

Regardless of who you talk to these days there seems to be a lot of uncertainty and unrest in our land. The so called “culture war” between those who hold to the more traditional values and those who embrace the more progressive ideals has been brewing for some time now. The political divide between those who are conservative in their views and those who are liberal has been escalating to the point of violence in the streets. Despite the exponent...

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God of the Impossible

Posted on 28 January, 2021 at 13:00

Dear Saints;

 

Lately I have been impressed with the fact that our God is the God of the impossible. He continues to do for us what is impossible for us to do for ourselves. Every aspect of our salvation is a miracle of God doing the impossible. He has saved us from the guilt and penalty of sin by crucifying the old, selfish persons we were and creating a new person in holiness and true righteousness. He continues to save us from the habit and power of sin in our daily li...

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Confidence of the Comforter

Posted on 21 January, 2021 at 11:05

Dear Saints;

 

I can’t think of a greater blessing from God than that which Jesus gave to his followers concerning the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I know it is incredulous to the world, but for anyone who has experienced the new birth by faith in Christ that first “taste” of their personal salvation is amazing. Wonderful as that might have been, however, it was just the beginning of what Jesus promised for our lives in this world.

 

Bei...

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God and Mammom

Posted on 13 January, 2021 at 13:05

Dear Saints,

 

In his sermon on the mount Jesus spoke to an issue that concerns us all, our money. After telling us to quit trying to get rich on earth and instead get rich in heaven he explains, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” He further explains that what we focus on will determine our understanding and tells us bluntly, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to...

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The Bread of Life

Posted on 6 January, 2021 at 10:35

Dear Saints,

 

I recently read that Americans have lost faith in our institutions. They don’t trust the various systems they once relied upon for their sense of security. They don’t trust the government at all levels. They don’t trust the media. They don’t trust the educational system. They don’t trust big corporations. They don’t trust their healthcare systems. They don’t trust law enforcement, etc., etc., etc. This lack of c...

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New Year 2021

Posted on 29 December, 2020 at 10:25

Dear Saints;

 

As I look forward to the New Year, I have mixed emotions. On the one hand I am ready for an exiting year of growth despite the challenges we may face, but on the other hand I am concerned about the condition of our world. Part of me, the new man that I am in Christ is rejoicing in the hope of glory in the coming year, while another part of me, the flesh, is filled with resentment, despair, and anxiety. Yes, I realize this makes me somewhat schizophrenic from...

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Emmanuel

Posted on 21 December, 2020 at 13:00

Dear Saints,

 

Christmas 2020 has lost much of its glitter for many. It’s hard for people who are locked down, wearing masks, and living in fear to get excited about a holiday celebration. Those who have suffered from unemployment and are short on cash find this season anything but jovial. Celebrating with friends and family and even attending various Christmas programs is looked upon with suspicion and even forbidden in some places due to the social distancing manda...

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Peace on Earth

Posted on 9 December, 2020 at 11:20

Dear Saints,

 

As we approach the Christmas season, I’m a little confused by the angelic message given to the shepherds on the night Jesus was born. In Luke 2: 8-15 we have the story of an angel appearing to some lowly shepherds and announcing, “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people”. The angel further explains the “good tidings” as the nearby birth of a savior he calls Christ (the Messiah) who is the Lord. After telling them...

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Thanks Be To God

Posted on 24 November, 2020 at 10:05

Dear Saints,

 

There seems to be a general consensus that the year 2020 has been a bad year, at least for our country. Beginning with a shortage of toilet paper it seems like things kept get progressively worse as the year went on. The Covid-19 pandemic, the lockdowns, the economic setbacks, the call for defunding the police, violent protests in the streets of major cities, and unprecedented voter fraud during the elections all add up to make this year seem like the worst i...

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Napping in the Storm

Posted on 19 November, 2020 at 11:35

Dear Saints,

 

How do you take a nap in the middle of a ragging storm? The story of Jesus being sound asleep in the boat during a mini hurricane on the lake of Galilee amazes me (Mark 4: 35-40). Just getting in a boat usually makes me nervous never mind being caught in a storm. The fact that experienced fishermen who knew how to sail were freaked tells me this was no small storm threatening to destroy their boat. In fact, the situation was so dangerous as the boat began f...

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