Make A Choice

Make A Choice

Isaiah 1:18-20 (NIV) “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Come now, let us settle the matter. In the course of a single day, people make more choices than they realize. Before arriving at work, there are more than a handful of decisions that must be made. Habits and routine take over so it becomes a ritualistic lifestyle. Like cattle through a turnstile going out to pasture in the morning, and coming back to the barn at night. Sounds monotonous doesn’t it? Well, how about getting up, head to work, stop for coffee, clock in, make eight, punch out, sit in traffic, cook dinner, do laundry, help with homework, and collapse in bed times five days a week. Where is the extraordinary in the midst of ordinary? How does one find the supernatural surrounded in the natural? It begins with a choice.

Psalm 27:13 (NIV) I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

When our son was diagnosed with cancer the first time, God asked me to trust Him and I did. The Lord promised me that our boy would live and not die to declare His Works. (God’s Promises do not change – He repeats them often.) Then our son was diagnosed again, and again multiple times. The third discovery was the most invasive covering most of body from neck to torso. The reality that God’s Healing might not be as I expected was weighing heavy on my mind. The Lord brought me to this verse. I must remain confident that God’s Goodness is for the land of the living. How quickly we dismiss God’s Promise for the future when things don’t turn out the way we expected? How often do we give up on faith when it doesn’t yield the return in the right time as our plans indicated? It was only when I had absolutely no control over our son’s life that I had to truly learn to trust the Lord from beginning to end. I had to make a choice. I had to settle it in my heart and soul to keep breathing. It was at that point in my life, I trusted God for Who He was rather than the outcome I expected. In total weakness, His Grace and Power flooded my life.

Free will can be difficult when one comes to the understanding that the Lord gives us the right to choose. Jesus chose to die for our sins and hand us the Keys to His Kingdom. He loves us. Therefore, love cannot force us to do anything and be love. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It doesn’t boast. It is not proud. It honors others and is not ever self-seeking. It doesn’t get angry. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never ever fails. For Jesus to force us to do anything would be contrary to His Own Definition of love found in the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. So with this in mind, the Lord will not make us do anything that we do not want to do. It is important to note that the Christ in you sets you free from sinful captivity which means the devil can’t make you do anything either. You have a choice to make. Who will you serve today?

Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV) “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

All the time in the wilderness, God did everything in His Power to show the Children of Israel a better way. His Way. The way of blessing and prosperity. (Deuteronomy 28) It is now time to enter the Promised Land. “Fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness”. This was the intention of Joshua for his household. It was settled with in his heart and soul. However, listen to the Word of the Lord to the people, “if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” God wants us to choose. Why? Half-hearted service to the Lord will only produce disappointment and discouragement in our life. It is only when we seek Him wholeheartedly that His Plan for our future unfolds. It is our willingness to serve Jesus with our life body, mind and spirit that our life will prosper as our soul does. The Lord detests “dishonest scales”. Sin is abhorrent to the Lord. Grace is provided because despite our best effort to remain sinless – our sinful nature will get the best of us sometimes but the Lord looks deeper than that to the intent of our heart. Who are you serving? The outcome of our life is directly connected to the master we serve.

John 15:15-16 (NIV) I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

Bear with me as I try to work this out in my own heart and mind, but God has called me and chosen me to prosper in all things. He appointed me that I might go and bear fruit. Fruit that will last. Whatever I ask in the Name of my Father it should be given. After our son went into remission, I was completely awestruck by God. At that moment, God did not have to do anything else for me for the rest of my life. Jesus saved me. He created a beautiful family out of all the pieces I brought to Him. Our children all love the Lord. The one on the verge of death with only a 2% chance of survival was back in school living his life. One would think it to be the greatest spiritual high of my life. It was not. The new normal was a difficult adjustment. The enemy came and somehow convinced me that I had reached the limit of expectancy. After all, God had granted life to our child. What greater gift could there ever be? I was so underserving of the new life that I have in Christ – it would be selfish to ask for anything else…right? Wrong! God’s Plan for my life is not finished or complete until I breathe my last breath, endure to the end and reach eternity with Him.

I am a friend of God. My relationship with Jesus Christ is a friendship with benefits. Do you have any friends in “high places”? Influential or powerful people who the Lord has placed in your life. A friend who favors you? God operates in relationships. Friendships are important to our reproductive growth in the Spirit. Fruit of the Spirit is cultivated in our fellowship with other people. The first commandment is to love God but the second cannot be fulfilled outside of relationships. God has called us to cultivate fruit. In Genesis 1:27-28 – He calls us blessed. Not you might be, could be or possibly will happen – God specifically blessed mankind. He also ordained them for certain things – be fruitful (purpose), increase (prosper), fill the earth (generosity), and subdue it (rule and reign over ever earthly thing). Sin separated us from God but did not end stop the blessing or calling of our life. Jesus came and His Blood eliminated the debt of sin so that now all mankind is free to walk out the ordination of God for their life. Purpose is both earthly and heavenly. Prosperity is earthly and heavenly. Generosity is earthly and heavenly. God’s Power is for the earth just like heaven. It is time for believers to stop segregating their life into earthly and heavenly things. Our existence in Christ makes the unification of earth and heaven complete. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

Psalm 65:4 (NLT) Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.

We must choose who to serve each day. James 4 is a firm and true commentary on submission to God. God waits for us to surrender our life to Him. This is not an act of authoritative force meant to make us miserable but instead to entrust with everything He promised because we know what do with it. Most lottery winners lose their fortune in the first three years. Why? Having money doesn’t change our life and habits. If the winner could not manage the resources at hand previously more money is not going to change their behavior. God has power to release in you when you are ready to receive it. He will not let a thief in the Kingdom. If you are only after God’s Hand with no intention of knowing His Heart, the door will remain closed to God’s Promises and Prosperity. Those are obtained only in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

In Isaiah, the Lord says, “Come let us settle the matter…” Do you want God’s Promises and Prosperity in life? To settle means to appoint, fix, and resolve definitely and conclusively in agreement. It means that our life must agree with God’s Will, His Way and His Word. It is to place our life in a desired state of order pursuing the pathway of life. We must decide to agree with God concerning our life. Those who do will apply God’s Word to their life more and more each day which produces the good things He has promised. (Proverbs 8:8-11) We will speak God’s Word over our life and not man’s predictions. We will listen to the Lord and His Still Small Voice over the roar of the crowd and opinions of people and we will prosper! (Psalm 25:12-13) I must believe that God’s Goodness is for the land of the living enough to live for the Lord right now.

Revelation 3:15-17 (NIV) “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Life is limited in lukewarm living. The entire planet is subject to sowing and reaping or planting and harvest. It is natural productivity. When we choose to invest our life into something wholeheartedly, there is generally a substantial return. Why? God honors a choice. However, for those who choose to remain lukewarm – their life is equated to vomit. Is the yield of your life satisfying? Sometimes we may have more than we ever thought possible yet have no peace or rest. I cannot live in close friendship and fellowship with Jesus Christ and be yoked to anything else. (Matthew 11:28-30) I must surrender my life to His Will, His Word and His Way to have the Way, the Truth and the Life that is rich and satisfying. Prosperity in heaven does not mean I must live an impoverished life – nothing could be further from the truth. Who wants that kind of parent? The one who gives stones to hungry children rather than bread. Nobody! He is a Good Father. God’s Plan contains a future and hope secured when I pursue Him wholeheartedly. I must choose today who I will serve. I cannot serve two masters for I will love one and hate the other. To choose Jesus as not only my Savior but my Lord leads me to discover the goodness here in the land of the living. It will bring heaven to earth.

Psalm 25:12-13 (NIV) Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.

Make Up Your Mind

Make Up Your Mind

Colossians 3:1-3 (NKJV)

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Every morning my husband and I make our bed before heading out for the day. We were taught as children to do so and it has carried over into adulthood. According to Hunch.com, in a survey of 68.000 people – 59% of people do not make their beds and only 27% do. About 12% pay a housekeeper to make it…lucky them. Of those who made their bed, 71% considered themselves happy but 62% of non-bed makers admit being unhappy. Bed makers were found more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly and fell well rested, but those who did not make their bed indicated that they hated their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired each day. Overall those who took the time to make their bed each day were happier and more successful overall.

 

How does making your bed improve your life? Apparently, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, it creates a positive state of mind, lowers stress, prevents embarrassment and leads to other good habits. Who knew? I made my bed as a child because my mother asked me to. I make it now because it is a habit. According to Time magazine, it is one of the top 12 things extremely successful people do along with waking up early, exercise, spending quality time with family, connect with spouses, and pursue passion. Success is a mindset. We develop the habits and routines that define our ability to be productive in life. How can something as simple as making your bed better your life? It has nothing to do with a piece of furniture covered in sheets sitting in the center of your bedroom. It is all about that much smaller space located in between our ears and the lobe of thinking mass called our brain.

I believe the secret to success in the natural and spiritual realm is achieved by having a made up mind every single day. When we awaken in the morning after hitting the snooze button one, two, three or more times, precious time is lost in our morning that could be committed to a made up mind. It sets the course of our day. I am not a morning person. I try not to speak that in the natural anymore because I know now that my words hold power. I use them here simply so one may relate. I find sleep deprivation to be the biggest challenge for me at times. I require a certain amount of sleep to function properly. However, I used to be a night owl staying up all hours of the night to early morning. I had to begin going to bed at 10:00 PM disregarding if I was tired or not, but just doing it so that I could get up earlier and spend time with the Lord each day. I get up around 4:45 AM on the average during the week and around 7:30 AM on the weekends. It is my routine. When I get up, I head straight to my prayer closet and spend time with the Lord. I want Him to tell me something new about Him. I want Him to reveal something in me. Anything is fine. It can be something good or something I need to work on. It really doesn’t matter just as long as He is here.

 

What I have noticed over the years is that as I have taken control of my schedule, established a new routine, and developed better habits – my life is more successful. My flesh still fights some of the changes even though my mind is aware of the benefit. I must make up my mind each day who is in control. It begins by reconciling my thoughts to Jesus Christ. I must set my mind on things above, not on things on the earth. My life is hidden in Christ. I must make up my mind to find my life in Jesus.

Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

This morning when I woke up, this verse was circulating in my mind. The Holy Spirit was clearing up and running before I opened my eyes. It is not unusual to be stirred by the Lord in our sleep. I think God wakes us up at 3:00 AM sometimes because it is the only time that He is able to get undivided attention. If we give Him time in each day, maybe there would be fewer times that we cannot sleep at night. Hold fast the confession of hope without wavering. The Lord is clearly telling me that I must make up my mind about something. I am pretty sure what that is but maybe you have something you are wavering about?

To waver means to sway to and fro. It is to become unstable. To begin to fail or give way. To shake. It is to feel or show doubt. We must have a made up mind in Jesus Christ. Every day there is a battle in our mind for control. Will we give in to our flesh or maintain our new life according to the Spirit of God within us? It really is up to the individual. You control who or what has power and authority in your life. It is all part of the freedom given to us in our new life in Christ. The devil cannot make you do anything. He only has dominion over you to the extent allowed by you. No weapon against you can prosper. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. Jesus overcame the world. Do you believe it? This is the presiding question in each new day.

The Power of God and His Promises are not dictated by our faith in Him but His Faithfulness alone. When we come to the Lord by faith with confidence in the hope, it will produce success in our life simply because we trust the Lord. Trust is destroyed the moment doubt is present. Doubt is a detriment to our life and sin that requires repentance. (James 4:8) James 1:6-7 tells us that a doubleminded man is unstable. Doubt represents a lack of faith. Faith is required to please God. Are you holding fast today? I am getting a grip for sure.

Romans 4:19-21 (NKJV)

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Around this time two years ago, our son was still battling cancer. The “experimental” treatment had been denied and I was waiting on their final answer. When it came back as “no”, I was absolutely rocked to my core. The world had decided the price of life too high at roughly $350K. It is a great deal of money. My son is priceless. I remember thinking and praying during that time envisioning Abraham going up the mountain with Isaac. His son, his promise, his future determined to give the Lord exactly what He asked. I kept recalling God’s Word that our boy would live and not die. I dissected His Word over and over. Finally, I could see my feet digging into the side of the mountain as I made my ascent dragging our son with me. I had decided that God would do a miracle if we made it to the top. If I had to drag his lifeless body all the way up Mount Zion, God would do what He said. Giving up and giving in was not an option. God said it. I believe it. That settled it. No matter what the world said, I would have to hear God tell me different to stop me.

 

Many are in the valley of decision today. In Joel 3:14, it declares that “multitudes” upon multitudes are in such a place as the Day of the Lord draws near. Are you? Am I? It is a place of indecision when we do not have a made up mind. When anyone or anything can dissuade us from our faith in God and trust in His Ability, we are in the valley again.

Romans 8:5-8 (NKJV)

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Just as it is proven in many studies that successful people demonstrate certain habits and behaviors consistently, so it is with successful believers. The secret to spiritual success is not habitual although changing our habits will aid in the process. It begins with a choice. Will I serve my flesh today or will I walk in the Spirit? Will I be carnally minded believing what I see and reacting to it? Or will I walk by faith not by sight and respond to the Love of God that I have found? These are two profoundly different pursuits. It requires a choice. We decide who we live for today. There are only two choices. We live for the Kingdom of God or this world. There is no gray area so we must make up our mind.

Jesus has given us the freedom to choose. (Romans 1:28-32) If we do not choose to follow Jesus, there is only one other choice left. You cannot come to the Lord halfheartedly and completion. It is with our whole heart that we experience His Love firsthand. We must steady our anxious thoughts. Stop worrying about what God has already provided. He has supplied all our needs according to His Riches in Glory. He is doing more than we could even think to ask for. We only have to make up our mind and live pursuing Jesus wholeheartedly. Our mind must be continually renewed day by day to have a transformed life. (Romans 12:2) We must have a willing heart and mind committed to finishing every good work that the Lord begins in us seeing it through to fulfilment because God is faithful to finish what He starts. (2 Corinthians 8:10-12) We should be committed to doing the same. Every thought, idea, emotion and feeling must be made up into a sound mind as we reconcile our entire existence to Christ. (Colossians 1:19-23)

Philippians 3:12-16 (NKJV)

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

I have made my bed for many, many years now. I have instructed my children to do the same. It was only recently that I discovered it to be psychologically beneficial in the studies I found on line. I had no idea that it might potentially lead to other successful habits and routines in life. It is discipline. I began doing it because my mother made me. I continued to do it because it is a habit. It is only now that I realize it potentially has led to my success through discipline. See the Word of God doesn’t always make sense, but when we are obedient – it leads to success. As we praise God in His Faithfulness, looking back we can see how it all worked together for our good but during the process many times it seemed like failure was imminent. God’s Ways are not like our ways. There are many things that we are instructed to do in the Word of God AND from the pulpits in this world. I encourage you today to allow Jesus to renew your mind with His Word and His Spirit until it is set on the mark of your high calling. So that you can safely discern if the word you are being fed by mankind is in alignment with that Calling according to Jesus Christ. We must know. We live in a day and age of mixed religion, diluted doctrine, convoluted grace and inaccurate portrayals of God’s Kingdom, His Truth and His Way. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4) Without a deliberately and disciplined made up mind…one might be deceived and risk everything on a lie.

We have the Mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:13-16) Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh who gives us His Spirit to help us understand and guide us through this life safely into Eternity. Any thought or idea contrary to God’s Word, Will or Way is enmity against God. It is literally hostile to the Lord and His Purpose in our life. Doubt is a faith killer. Negativity is a dream crusher. The thoughts in our head produce the words that come out of our mouth that hold life-giving power or doom and despair. We must make up our mind today…while it still is today who we will serve body, mind and spirit which is to the benefit of our soul. We do not know what today holds. God does and He prepared everything we need to be successful and prosper. God is good. He is for me never against me. He will never leave me or forsake me. He pursues me with His Unfailing Love from which nothing can separate me. All these thoughts and ideas are true and must become the foundation of my life and faith in Christ.

Am I willing to make up my mind each day? To sacrifice my mind, thoughts, ideas and emotions to the Lord as a living sacrifice? Do I want what He wants for me? A doubleminded man or woman is unstable. Those who waver do not get the promise. We must make the decision each day as we make up our bed to make up our mind. Be strong in our commitment to follow Jesus and trust His Way. Lord, help me have a made up mind today. I give every thought and idea to you for spiritual filtration and fulfillment in Jesus Name.

Psalm 26:1-2 (NKJV)

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.