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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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Amazing Love

Posted on 2 March, 2021 at 10:35

Dear Saints,

All my life I have consistently underestimated the love of God for myself and others. Although I have grown spiritually to the point where I can recognize his love at work in my life and those around me, I still have a difficult time comprehending the full dimensions of his love. About the time I think I have some understanding of his love I realize I am just scratching the surface. His love is a lot more inclusive than I thought, a lot deeper than I thought, a lot longer than I thought, and a lot higher than I thought.

 

God’s love is so wide that includes the whole world. There is no one that ever has lived or ever will live that God has not loved. Perhaps the most amazing thing about his love in this respect is that it is totally unconditional. Paul wrote, “But God proved his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5: 8) God didn’t wait for us to clean up our lives and behave ourselves before he loved us. He loved us just as we were. Such unconditional love is beyond our natural ability to understand or practice.

 

In addition, God’s love is so deep that that it can only be described as sacrificial. As John writes, “For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son…” (John 3: 16) There are a lot of things I may be willing to sacrifice to love others, but if it came down to me sacrificing my only child I could not do it. In describing God’s sacrificial love for the world the closest we can come to understanding the full depth is to think of sacrificing our only child. While this idea doesn’t do it justice it gives us a glimpse of the cost God paid to love us.

 

The length of God’s love embodies the idea of how consistent it is. Because God is love and he is eternal there is no variance or inconsistency in his love. God loves us this very minute as much as he ever has, and he will love us in the future as much as he does today. His love never varies since it is not conditioned upon our behavior. There is nothing you can do to get God to love you more than he does right now. And there is nothing you can do to cause him to love you less. As Paul writes in Romans 8, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Finally, the height of God’s love is only glimpsed when we understand the position he has given us in Christ. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2: 4-7, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus.” Although I do not fully comprehend the love of God, what I know about it is enough for me to trust him with my life and all that I have.

 

John

 

 

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