Choices

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:21

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“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Galatians 6:7-8

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in southern Colorado)

Problem Solving And Decision Making

The Book of Proverbs is full of good stuff…advice that is straight to the point, understandable and most of them are less than 140 characters…

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Proverbs 9:10

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Proverbs 18:10

Plans fail for lack of counsel,
    but with many advisers they succeed.”

Proverbs 15:22

“Listen to advice and accept discipline,
    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:20-21

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”[a]

Proverbs 3:5-6

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Commitments

How do we get better at staying the course?  This New Year’s resolution business is almost always a path to failure.  Some of the most common mistakes is over-committing to too many things or setting unrealistic goals and achievements as well as a lack of patience for change in this fast paced, immediately gratification world.  The biggest mistake we make is either not asking God to guide us or not listening and looking for His will for our lives.  We are easily distracted and believe we have to maintain everything on our own.  The best change we can make is turning towards God first in all aspects of our lives.  Amen.

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Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)

Choices

Which race are you running?  The one the world lays out that is chasing after money, possessions and status among this world or the race that has been marked out for you by God?  God’s gift of free will does give us a choice…it is important to keep in mind that all choices come with a cost. The world’s race has been called the ‘rat race’ and in order to run that race we have to make choices that leaves a trail of broken relationships…if we choose to pursue the race that God has marked out for us we will be persecuted by others for not conforming to the way of the world.  Neither race is easier than the other, the biggest difference is that in choosing the race that God has marked out for us we will never be running alone and most importantly when it comes to the end of our race where we end up is significantly different.  Seek God’s wisdom for the path that you are on and the race that you are running.  Amen.

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota)

A Different Way Of Living

Because God has given us free will, we can choose how we want to live.  It is not up to others, no matter how much we tend to blame them, we are responsible for how we respond to everything in our lives each and every day.  In the bible, John the Baptist is an excellent example of the characteristics of holy living.  You can read more about him in the Gospel of John.  John the Baptist makes a statement that truly shows his humility, in referring to Jesus he states…“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30) We can’t control what others will think, say or do, yet we do control how we choose to respond.  Choose a different way of living, choose to follow Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Colossians 3:12-14

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)

An Invitation

Jesus invites us to follow Him.  God’s love gives us the opportunity to choose to follow Christ and to live eternally in heaven and God’s gift of free will means we have a responsibility to own our choices.  God wants a relationship with each one of us and a relationship is a two-way connection.  He wants to be in relationship so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son to provide The Way.  Take a look at Luke 5:27-28, Mark 10:17-31 as examples of Jesus extending an invitation to follow Him.  No matter where you are or what your life circumstances are, you are invited to follow Jesus Christ.  How will you choose to respond to His invitation?  Amen.

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Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

Decisions…

Don’t go it alone…don’t assume you have all the information…seek wisdom and knowledge…seek to understand.  So often we fail to speak with God about decisions.  We believe that God doesn’t care about this insignificant decision or event in my life…yet we know we can’t comprehend God’s infinite knowledge and the ways He is working in our life so who are we to say?  I continue to be amazed at where God shows up in life and I only realize it because I am trying to make a conscious effort to pay to attention and ask myself where did I see God today?  God is with you and He is working in your life…seek Him and His plan and ask God to help you see when you are making your decisions.  Amen.

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Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)

Wisdom From Above

What is wisdom?  The dictionary definition is…’the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement; the quality of being wise.’  So in order to have wisdom we must have time invested in having experiences, time spent learning to get knowledge and have made decisions regarding an area of life in order to grow our experiences and knowledge.  Now if we reflect on our own lives and how we spend our time, what are our experiences, where do we get our knowledge from…what things do we make decisions about that help foster our growth?  How do our experiences, knowledge and good judgement align with faith and our spiritual life?  If we truly want to learn about where God is in our lives and what He is asking us to do…we need to spend more time gaining wisdom about heavenly things and spend less time on earthly wisdom.  Amen.

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“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

James 3:17

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling through Colorado)

Choices

We all have them…we have them for little things…we have them for big things…we have choices to make everyday…even not deciding is a choice.  We are bombarded with messages about what we “should” want, what everyone “needs” and the quick and simple things you can do to have it all.  Um No.  This is evil and the sinful nature constantly at work telling us me, myself and I are the only important things to focus on.  Every step we take towards the sinful nature is a step we choose to take away from God.  We need to focus on the fruit of the Spirit “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”  (Galatians 5:22-23)  These are free, they are choices we can make in our everyday interactions.  Choose a life based on the foundation of Faith and trust in Jesus Christ with every aspect of your life.  May you be blessed with wisdom in the choices you make.

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“Do not conform any longer tot he pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin)

What Path Are You On?

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Life is full of choices and decisions.  We all have been given the gift of free will.  The hardest part of this isn’t necessarily making a decision, rather it is holding yourself accountable for what happens after your decision and being open to changing things as you move forward in life.

Look around you…take inventory.  How are things going in your life?  If it is not good from your perspective…look in a mirror…that is the best place to start to make a change in your life, start with you.  On the other hand, if things look ok or pretty good from your perspective, give thanks and praise and begin to think about how you can share and support others.

No matter what your result, good or bad, we all have made decisions in our past that have led to where we are today…right now.  I encourage you to think about what those decisions have been so you can identify what has put you on this path.  If it has been bad look for ways to improve on your current situation…I caution you here, do not believe you can go back to change a decision that occurred in the past to make things better now…instead, live in the present, learn from the poor decision and make new decisions to improve things going forward.  If you can identify decisions in the past that have been good and led to great things learn what you can and share to help others.

This reflection can be helpful because sometimes when we look back things have changed and what we thought was a good or bad decision at the time it was made might be different now and we can learn things for life going forward.  None of this is easy…we were never promised easy…we have always been promised Hope…and you can have Hope every day, if you choose to believe and follow Jesus.  As always the bible provides instructions in this matter…

“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

                                                                                                                Matthew 7:13-14

I pray we all ask for wisdom so we can make decisions that will lead to Life.

Peace.