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Summary: THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF ESSENTIAL CHOICES WE MUST MAKE CONCERNING GOD. BEFORE WE CAN DO ANYTHING ELSE WE MUST CHOOSE TO ACCEPT HIS GIFT OF LOVE AND SALVATION. ALL OTHER CHOICES WE MUST MAKE CONCERNING GOD ARE ADDED TO THIS ONE.

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CHOOSING GOD’S LOVE

JOHN 3:16-18

TODAY I WANT TO BEGIN A SERIES OF MESSAGES ON THE CHOICES WE ARE CALLED TO MAKE IN LIFE. EVERY DAY WE ARE CALLED UPON TO MAKE HUNDREDS OF CHOICES. SOME OF THESE MAY BE MINOR IN NATURE, SUCH AS WHAT WE CHOOSE TO WEAR, OR WHAT WE HAVE FOR BREAKFAST. OTHER CHOICES ARE MAJOR IN COMPARISON. DO WE CHANGE JOBS? HOW DO WE INVEST OUR MONEY? DO I CHOOSE TO BEGIN A DIFFICULT HEALTH TREATMENT?

EQUALLY TRUE IS THAT EACH CHOICE WE MAKE HAS IT’S OWN SET OF REWARDS AND CONSEQUENCES THAT YOU AND I MUST OWN UP TO.

IF I CHOOSE TO STAY IN BED AN EXTRA HALF-HOUR THEN I MUST ALSO ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCE OF THAT CHOICE WHICH IS TO SKIP BREAKFAST AND BE HUNGRY HALFWAY THROUGH THE MORNING.

ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CHOICES WE MAKE IS ALWAYS DIFFICULT. MANY TIMES WE SECOND GUESS OURSELVES, WONDERING IF WE MADE THE RIGHT DECISION, OR IF ANOTHER OPTION WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER. WITH THE ACCEPTING OF RESPONSIBILITY COMES THE ELIMINATION OF EXCUSES.

1 CORINTHIANS 10:13:

NO TEMPTATION HAS OVERTAKEN YOU EXCEPT WHAT IS COMMON TO MANKIND. AND GOD IS FAITHFUL; HE WILL NOT LET YOU BE TEMPTED BEYOND WHAT YOU CAN BEAR. BUT WHEN YOU ARE TEMPTED, HE WILL ALSO PROVIDE A WAY OUT SO THAT YOU CAN ENDURE IT.

SATAN DOES NOT CAUSE YOU OR I TO SIN, WE DO IT OURSELVES. SATAN CREATES THE OPPORTUNITY THROUGH TEMPTATION, AND WE ARE FACED WITH THE CHOICE OF SUBMITTING OR RESISTING THE TEMPTATION. WE MUST ALSO ACCEPT THE RESULTS OF THAT CHOICE.

WE ARE ALSO CALLED TO MAKE CHOICES REGARDING OUR SPIRITUAL WALK AS WELL. VERY FEW, IF ANY OF THESE CHOICES ARE OF A MINOR NATURE. SPIRITUAL CHOICES NOT ONLY DEAL WITH WHERE WE WILL SPEND ETERNITY, BUT HOW WE LEAD OUR DAILY LIVES. THEY MAY NOT ONLY EFFECT US, BUT OUR LOVED ONES AS WELL.

CONSIDER THESE SCENARIOS?

BILL, HAS BEEN WORKING IN THE ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT OF THE AJAX MANUFACTURING PLANT FOR SIX YEARS. HE IS A DILIGENT WORKER, A FAITHFUL FAMILY MAN, AND A DEVOUT BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN. BILL HAS THREE CHILDREN, AND JUST FOUND OUT FROM HIS WIFE THAT A FOURTH CHILD IS ON THE WAY.

THE COMPANY HAS BEEN MAKING SOME CHANGES AND THE POSITION OF HEAD OF THE ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT IS OFFERED TO BILL. NATURALLY IT INVOLVES A SUBSTANTIAL RAISE IN PAY.

WHEN BILL MEETS WITH THE OWNERS, THEY EXPLAIN TO HIM THAT THEY WANT HIM TO DO SOME ILLEGAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES. THEY ALSO TELL HIM THAT IF HE DOESN’T ACCEPT THE JOB AND PERFORM THE ILLEGAL PRACTICES, THAT HE WILL BE FIRED.

BILL HAS TO MAKE A CHOICE. HIS CHRISTIAN WALK AND HIGH MORAL STANDARDS, WILL CAUSE HIM TO LOSE HIS JOB WITH THE COMPANY. IF HE ACCEPTS THE PROMOTION THEN HE COMPROMISES HIS CHRISTIAN STANDARDS. EACH HAS THEIR OWN SETS OF RESULTS. WHAT RESPONSIBILITY WOULD YOU ACCEPT IF YOU WERE BILL?

MICHELLE IS A MIDDLE-AGED HOUSEWIFE, WHO HAS THE POWER OF ATTORNEY OVER HEALTH MATTERS CONCERNING HER MOTHER, WHO IS IN HER MID-NINTIES AND IN A NURSING HOME.

HER MOTHER HAS BEEN IN A COMATOSE STATE FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS AND DOCTORS FEEL THAT AT THIS POINT THERE IS NO HOPE FOR ANY RECOVERY.

MICHELLE’S MOTHER DEVELOPED PNEUMONIA AND THE DOCTOR MEETS WITH MICHELLE REGARDING TREATMENT. MICHELLE MUST DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO START THE TREATMENT.

MICHELLE FINDS THE ISSUE OF GUILT INVOLVED WITH THE DECISION TO BE UNWINNABLE. IF SHE TREATS HER MOTHER, SHE REMAINS IN A COMATOSE CONDITION. THE OTHER OPTION IS TO KEEP HER MOTHER AS COMFORTABLE AS POSSIBLE UNTIL DEATH OCCURS.

MICHELLE, AS A CHRISTIAN FACES THE ADDITIONAL BURDEN OF NOT KNOWING HER MOTHER’S SPIRITUAL STATE, AND THE ADDED PRESSURE OF HAVING TO MAKE A DECISION THAT HAS ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES FOR HER MOTHER.

WHAT DOES SHE DO? WHAT WOULD YOU DO? HOW WOULD YOU DEAL WITH THE RESULTS OF YOUR DECISION?

YOU CAN SEE NOT THAT THE SPIRITUAL CHOICES WE HAVE TO MAKE ON A DAILY BASIS CAN EFFECT US, AND OUR LOVED ONES, AND AS WELL HAVE ETERNAL IMPLICATIONS. THE QUESTION NEED BE ASKED “IS THERE ANY WAY OUR FAITH IN GOD CAN HELP US MAKE THE CHOICES WE FACE? I BELIEVE THERE IS, AND THAT HELP IS THE BASIS FOR THIS SERIES.

POINT ONE: CHOOSE GOD

IT BEGINS WITH THE INITIAL CHOICE OF CHOOSING GOD’S LOVE. THE FIRST CHOICE WE MUST MAKE IS TO CHOOSE GOD.

AS SURPRISING AS THIS MAY SEEM THE THOUGHT OF CHOOSING GOD’S LOVE DOES NOT COME NATURALLY TO PEOPLE.

1. THERE ARE INDIVIDUALS WHO WOULD SAY THAT GOD IS NOT WHAT YOU WOULD CHOOSE. I’VE HEARD PEOPLE SAY “THAT’S ALL RIGHT FOR MY MOTHER OR FATHER, BUT I DON’T REALLY BELIEVE ALL THAT STUFF.”

2. SOMETIMES WE REACH OUT IN A TIME OF CRISIS. “LORD, SAVE ME FROM THAT TRUCK THAT HAS JUST SWERVED INTO MY LANE,” AND WHEN HE DOES AND THE FEELINGS SUBSIDE, SO DOES THE CRY FOR HELP.

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