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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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Independency From the Flesh

Posted on 1 July, 2014 at 13:25

Dear Saints;

Independence Day, the 4th of July, is the day our nation celebrates our independence and freedoms as a nation. It was on this day in 1776 that our founding fathers declared their independence from the tyranny of a King who ignored their needs and committed themselves to the task of building a new nation under the King of the universe who would meet their needs. That declaration was a step of faith in divine provision and leadership in developing a nation under God that would assure the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. While the form of democracy they established with the Constitution and Bill of Rights gave us assurance of political freedom, it was assumed that the individual citizens would exercise their spiritual liberty to perpetuate this new government.

To be successful as a nation we must have the rule of law that each individual willingly submits to for the good of all. Law is necessary for maintaining the integrity of all groups of people from the family to the nation. Our founding fathers chose the Mosaic Law as the basis for all other laws as evidenced by the presence of the Ten Commandments on our state buildings in Washington. While the moral code of the Ten Commandments provides a useful and necessary standard for healthy and righteous living, it takes another kind of liberty to actually bring that life to pass. No matter how many laws are made to control the selfish, dysfunctional, and sinful nature of man, the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, can never change the natural disposition of the human heart.

It is for this reason that God sent his only begotten son, Jesus, into this world. The apostle John tells us, “The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Since the law cannot possibly save us from the evil of our own nature or that of others, “God sending his own son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; so that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” By his amazing grace God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves in making us righteous. At the cross God condemned sin in the flesh as he offered his son as a sacrifice and, at the same time, crucified the old persons we were in Adam and raised us up as brand new creations in Christ. By his mercy and because of his great love for us he made us alive in Christ Jesus and set us free from the bondage of sin. This is true, personal, liberty!

As we celebrate our political liberty as a sovereign nation under God, let us also “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”. (Galatians 5:1) Our new life in Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death as well as a lifetime of bondage under the law. As believers we now have the indwelling Spirit of God to personally guide us into a new lifestyle of grace and truth rather than the natural lifestyle of law and lies. What counts with God is not our feeble efforts to devise and keep a set of rules, but our faith in his provisions in Christ which will continually work itself out in our love for others. Trusting God to have made us new persons in Christ we also trust him to lead us, guide us, teach us, comfort us, and remind us through his indwelling Spirit.

Celebrating our personal liberty in Christ means that we are free, not to do whatever we want (using our liberty as an occasion to the flesh), but to live and love others just like Christ. We are assured that all the law is fulfilled when we love others. It is our liberty in Christ that sets us free to love others as we celebrate our independence from political tyranny and the tyranny of sin as well.

John

 

Categories: Flesh