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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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The Wisdom of God

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Dear Saints,

 

Things are not always the way they seem. Especially when it comes to how God is working in our lives and the world around us. Often it seems that things are going along just fine when suddenly everything falls apart. Conversely what seems to be a terrible tragedy actually turns out for the best. I suspect the reason for this is found in the fact that we just don’t see things the way God sees them. What we see as good may actually turn out to be bad and what we see as bad may work out for our good.

 

All of us have been conditioned by this world to see things through the eyes of human wisdom based on our own knowledge of good and evil. In his first letter to the church at Corinth the apostle Paul contrasts the common wisdom of the world with the wisdom of God. In 1 Corinthians 2: 6-8 he writes, “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

 

The wisdom of God is radically different than the wisdom of this world and cannot be understood by the natural mind. Paul goes on to quote Isaiah saying, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2: 9-10) Only by the revelation of the Spirit of God can men see things through the eyes of the wisdom of God rather than the wisdom of man. So, Paul declares the good news in verse 12, “Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.”

 

I am sure that the reason things are not always as they seem is because I am seeing them through the eyes of human wisdom rather than they eyes of God’s wisdom. Human wisdom tells me I am still the old dysfunctional person I’ve always been, that the news media reports are the truth, that God doesn’t care about me, and that the world is going to hell in a handbasket! No wonder I’m depressed! But when I see through the eyes of God’s wisdom I can see the truth about myself, others, and God. God’s indwelling Spirit teaches me that I am not a victim but more than a conqueror, that the media and politicians (princes) have no idea of the truth, that God is continually working all things to my good, and that He is in the process of making a new heaven and earth. In short, the “things that are freely given to us of God”.

 

God has promised to work all things together for our good. The all things include even those things we naturally think of as bad for us according to the wisdom of the world. In addition, he has given each believer his Spirit living in us to comfort and guide us into truth. Seeing things around us through the eyes of God’s wisdom gives us all the assurance we need to love others no matter what is happening in this world.

 

John

 

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