Friday, 27 December 2013

What if?

Bronx subway platform
Did you ever stop to think about how a single decision might have changed your life?  What if you would have moved to a different city as you were growing up; what if you had made a different educational decision at age 18; what if you had chosen different friends; what if you had made a different career decision somewhere along the line?  In fact we know one couple who believes that the Holy Spirit directed them to a specific subway stop in the Bronx (NYC).  Two strangers struck up a conversation and the rest is history, they have been married for 25 years.  I know another couple very well, who found themselves on an on-line dating service.  The man stumbled into the site by accident in the middle of the night and the woman renewed her membership the same night just to respond to a message.  They have been married almost ten years.  I know of a young man who accepted one of three jobs offered to him purely on the basis of the starting salary, thirty-five years later he retired from that company.  What if he would have made a different choice?

The decisions that we have made over our life time have contributed to where we are today.  Some of those decisions have been huge in the scheme of things while others have been a matter of deciding to stay up too late and finding ones-self on a dating website.

Where a Christian’s free will collides with God’s ultimate will is speculative at best.  Certainly from a Christian perspective if we have been in prayer about a particular decision one would hope that it would align with God’s will.

Then of course Romans 8:28 which says that, “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.”  That is a game changer.  God can change the outcome of every decision if it is not in accordance with his ultimate will.  God can use the decisions we make and transform them into decisions that can ultimately bring him glory or at the very least contribute to our spiritual development.

In the final analysis the “what if” question is somewhat superfluous for a Christian because God will use all of our decisions to help us to grow to become more like the Son.  So if you are finding yourself in a particularly difficult situation because of a decision that you made yesterday or twenty years ago, know that God is working on your behalf to make the outcome that which is ultimately best for you.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Created for Good Works

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand.” Ephesians 2:10

I’m going to make a rash assumption that God does not expect that before He calls me home I will have won a Pulitzer Prize, discovered a cure for a rare disease, or written a book that changes the lives of millions.  However todays’ verse would suggest to me that He had some fairly specific things in mind for me to accomplish when He created me. 

So the way I see it, I need to continually seek His will for my life, to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide my decisions and actions, and to love Him and love my neighbor as myself.  Furthermore I assume that because of the experiences that I have had, He wants me to do everything I can to help couples to have a marriage that will glorify Him. 

Did you ever think that one of God’s purposes for you and me is to be a Godly husband/wife.  As a husband God has every right to ask me “Did you love your wife as much as you loved yourself?”  I’m hoping He grades on a curve. 

Since marriage is potentially a showcase for God’s love, a vehicle by which non-believers can see the desirability of God being the third strand in the marriage (as referred to in Ecclesiastes 4:12), perhaps that is His plan for you and me.  Perhaps in a country which is in moral decline we are to be the light on a hill.   

In Colossians we read that we are to be filled with all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that we might live a life worthy of God, please Him in every way, bear fruit in every good work and grow in our knowledge of Him.  We were designed to bear fruit in every good work, may it be so.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Who’s in Charge?

“Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will reserve it.” Luke 17:33

I recognize “Who is in charge?” can be a provocative question.  What I am specifically questioning is who is in charge of your heart each moment of each day?  I’d love to say that it is the Holy Spirit, I’d love to but I can’t.  I find that the more hectic the pace of life, the less I turn to the Spirit.  The more my routine is disrupted the more easily I get perturbed over stupid stuff. 

During busy times I find that my “To Do” list references another “To Do” list.  I find myself attempting to multitask no matter what I am doing.  If I am sending an e-mail out I might have two or three going at once.  If I’m helping to get breakfast ready in the morning I’m also taking the garbage out, putting out the food for the birds and squirrels while attempting to make coffee and empty the dishwasher.

Perhaps I suffer from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or LOCS (Lack of Common Sense).  The problem is that the more frenetic my pace the less I tend to rely on the Holy Spirit.  In turn that means that I am most likely going to make a bad decision, offend someone I love, or to be tempted to do something I ought not.(in my case eat something with sugar)  

The associated problem is that if for some reason I don’t do something idiotic, and I don’t hurt someone’s feelings and I resist the temptation to eat half a mince pie I begin to think I can handle life on my own.  I know that most of you were with me until the mention of mince pie.  As long as I’m out of the closet regarding my food preferences, I am also a devotee of fruitcake.  But I digress.

“For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature” Galatians 5:17

The reality is, whether I realize it or not, I am in a spiritual battle and will be until the Lord takes me home.  Whether I acknowledge the enemy, i.e. Satan, or ignore him, he is present.  The war is going on around you and me whether or not we choose to take up our armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and join the fight.
The weapons we have are the Word, the shield of faith, God’s truth and the Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit who resides in the born again believer, who guides us and enables us to make the right decisions, act in a loving way and avoid temptation.  I want Him in charge.