Monday, January 28, 2019

Lesson One: Excellent Choices

This week we are in the first lesson of "The Choice is Yours" by Terrie Chappell.  If you don't have the book, you can find it on Amazon (Kindle is faster but paperback works too), or just go with the flow.  I will quote from the book from time to time, but definitely not putting it all in the blog...I'm not into plagarism. 

The key verse for this first lesson is in Philippians 1:9-11.
  "(9) And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
   (10) That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
   (11) Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."

Whether we claim to be followers of Christ or not, we all make choices each day that make differences in not only our lives but in those around us.  Some of us make some pretty lousy decisions at different times in our lives (raising my hand high here), some of us seem to make better decisions as if they actually read the directions.  I obviously sit in that first group, I fully admit it. 

We don't have to make those lousy choices.  We can plan ahead and prepare ourselves for the choices we have in the future.  Grounding ourselves in the Bible and with solid Biblical preaching/teaching will help in that tremendously. 

The first and most important choice we have is accepting Jesus' gift of salvation, applying His blood to our sin account, according to the Scripture.  Without salvation, without having the Holy Spirit with us, we genuinely cannot make the best choices that help us obey Him, and without obedience to Him, we don't have the joy He gives.  Make sense?? 

Now, I am not saying the choice to be obedient is an easy one.  We are human.  I'm right there with you, I have days I don't want to do what I know is right.  I'd rather do my own thing.  Most of us, if not all of us, are like that.  It's part of our sin nature.  But, we can choose each day to obey what we know from the Bible and His Holy Spirit.  It could be just little things like that nudge the Holy Spirit gives to do something in particular for a person He points out to you, or your daily bible reading (that one is actually harder for me to keep up with than listening to the nudge), or choosing to keep tempers under control.  Whatever it is that you are needing to make a choice may not be easy.  We have the world, the flesh, and the devil all fighting us each step of the way, but you can do it. 

"Some choices we make are simple--like which flavor of ice cream to select at Baskin Robbins or what color of shoes we will wear.  Other choices, however, are life-changing--like how we will respond to adversity or what importance we will give our walk with God."

Obviously Mrs. Chappell hasn't been with me at the local Braum's store!!  It's hard to make a choice there, it's all so good!! 😀

Something Mrs. Chappell asks: "Have you ever attempted to do something that you really didn't know how to do?  And have you ever had opposite results than you hoped for?"

Oh boy have I!!  Many of my crafty adventures have went that direction.  I didn't have instructions most of the time, half of the supplies have been "make-do", and most of it was flying by the seat of my pants.  Did it turn out?  Nope.  But, when I took time to read the instructions, watch Youtube videos on the subject, and try things with the right equipment, it turned out.  For instance my sewing--it's amazing what can happen with the right equipment, reading the manual for whichever machine I'm using, and using the right needle and thread weight.  Or when I'm cleaning out and oiling a machine, paying attention to illustrations or videos on how to take it apart correctly and do what is needed done and reassembling correctly.  This is actually an ongoing prospect as I learn more with each machine I work with, and I enjoy trying out different machines (mostly vintage/antique). 

On a more serious note of choices, I did make some poor choices in my late teen and early adult years that led to life long consequences.  I am not proud of them, believe me.  I wasn't following the Lord at all, had not desire to.  My choices led to basically unofficial bankruptcy, losing my beautiful 1875 Victorian home (ok the mortgage company officially owned it but I paid on it), repossession of a new car, and in essence being homeless.  Later choices put me in single parenthood, starting over from scratch with a medically fragile child, in a women's shelter, and finding out that Jesus really does care.  There's life long consequences to some of those choices--the credit ones have fallen off over the years, the parent one, well...there's no going back on that one.  He's 17 now.  I made a long series of poor choices that led to single I don't regret the child but I do regret many of my poor choices that led to the actions.  My choices focused on me, myself, and I...and all 3 of us were not in line with the Lord. 

Have you made choices without thought of consequences or the future?  Sure you have.  We all have.  Did something go wrong and you blamed "bad luck"? 

"Unless we make conscious decisions to choose wisely, we will base our choices simply on what looks best to us at the moment.  As a result, our lives will end in a disheveled disarray--not at all the picture we had in mind when we started.  On the other hand, if we daily make well thought out choices, the accumulated result will be beauty and symmetry."

We will wrap this up for today, but be thinking about how your choices have affected you and your life, your walk with Jesus, your family, and so on.  Feel free to comment and chat!!

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