Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10, K.J.V.
“The story is told of the engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge. During its building he was injured. For many long months he was shut up in his room. His gifted wife shared his toils, and carried his plans to the workmen. At last the great bridge was completed. Then the invalid architect asked to see it. They put him upon a cot, and carried him to the bridge. They placed him where he could see the magnificent structure in all its beauty. There he lay, in his helplessness, intently scanning the work of his genius. He marked the great cables, the massive piers, the mighty anchorages which fettered it to the earth. His critical eye ran over every beam, every girder, every chord, every rod. He noted every detail carried out precisely as he had dreamed it in his dreams, and wrought it out in his plans and specifications. And then as the joy of the achievement filled his soul, as he saw and realized that it was finished exactly as he had designed it, in an ecstasy of delight he cried out; ‘It’s just like the plan, it’s just like the plan.’ Some day as we shall stand in the glory and looking up into His face, cry out: “O God, I thank Thee that Thou didst turn me aside from my willful and perverse way, to Thy loving and perfect one. I thank Thee that Thou didst ever lead me to yield my humble life to Thee. I thank Thee that as I day by day, walked the simple pathway of service, Thou didst let me gather up one by one, the golden threads of Thy great purpose for my life…And now that I see my finished life, no longer through a glass darkly, but in the face-to-face splendor of Thine own glory, I thank Thee, O God. I thank Thee that it’s just like the plan.’”
James H. McConkey, The God-Planned Life
Today’s Study Text:
“Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10: 41, N. I.V.
“The Fragrance of His Presence” Part 9
“It’s Our Choice ”
“Choose well: your choice is brief and yet endless.”
In what ways have the choices in my life affected my journey?
How did Mary’s choice change her life?
“Lord, in the strength of grace,
With a glad heart and free,
Myself, my residue of days,
I consecrate to Thee.
Thy ransomed servant, I
Restore to Thee Thy own;
And, from this moment, live or die
To serve my God alone.”
Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
“Every moment you have a choice, regardless of what has happened before. Choose right now to move forward, positively – into your incredible future.”
Of all the gifts which my Father in heaven has bestowed on His children, the power to “chose” is the gift I treasure most. Back before the earth was created, God could have decided to populate our planet with beautiful men and women who were programmed to honor their creator with perfect obedience. Automated perfection! Think of all the problems created by men and women on this earth who have decided to use God’s gift of the power of choice in ways which have ended up in utter havoc especially in a world that began on such an upbeat note. As Genesis 1: 31 reveals: “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He approved it completely.” WOW! What a fantastic way for things to start out down here on earth. We can’t but ask the question, “How did everything go so very wrong?”
If we take a trip to a tree in Eden’s lush garden, we will find there was a wily serpent who resided in the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Genesis 3: 1, we’re told: “the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature…and Satan said to the woman, ‘can it really be that God
has said, you shall not eat from every tree in the garden?” Right at that point in time, the immense gift that God gave to every one of us was highlighted in a profound manner. Eve had a choice. She could continue to carry on a dialogue with a creature whose only goal was to paint God as a tyrant who meant evil toward His children by controlling their every move. Strange thing is that the opposite was the case. It was Satan, who by tricking and beguiling the first inhabitants of planet earth, tried to ensnare all of us in a net of death where no matter what we tried to choose would leave us lost forever.
But our dear Father, who could have left us to suffer from the result of our destructive choices, instead loved us with such a great love that He sent His Son to earth to show us, in a way so there would be no doubt, that when we choose to come within the fragrance of His presence, a change will take place. Our natures, which are prone to make bad choices, will be transformed.
How are we changed so our choices are in step with Jesus? I love what W. Hay Aiken penned in his book Thoughts for The Quiet Hour:
“At Jesus’ feet – that is our place of privilege and of blessing, and here it is that we are to be educated…here we are to renew our strength while we wait on Him…Here we are to find solace amidst the trials of life…and here we are to anticipate something of the blessedness of heaven amidst our days on earth; for to sit at His feet is indeed to be in heavenly places, and to gaze upon His glory.”
In the words of Jesus, “Mary has chosen what is better, the main course – and it won’t be taken away from her” (Luke 10: 41, N.I.V. The Message Bible) When I was writing my book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, I spent the chapter about Martha, which is entitled, “The Stressed-Out Woman,” discussing the choices Martha made which landed her in a heap of trouble. I’d like to share some of my thoughts as I was writing several years ago:
“(Martha) chose to be busy. She chose to fill her day with activity. She chose to complicate her life…And now, Jesus was asking her to think about the choices that caused her so much trouble. Jesus could not drag Martha out of the kitchen. He could not force her to sit down…However, He could invite her to rest. Choosing to rest with Jesus was her choice alone…On this day, with Jesus in the house, resting at His feet was not only the best choice – it was the only choice.”
Not long before his death, God’s chosen leader Joshua gave a “sermon” to the Israelites which is recorded in Joshua 24. If I was asked to put a title on this recorded speech, I’d call it “The Case For Making the Right Choice.” Tucked in the middle of Joshua 24, is a tremendous call to making heaven’s choice our own: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. The people answered, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other god’…Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve Him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’”
May our choice be to serve our Father and sit in His presence – every day.
“’Choose you this day whom ye will serve.’ It is a deliberate calculation, not something into which you drift easily…The proposition is between you and God…Profess before God, ‘I will serve Thee.’”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest
“Choose this day whom you will serve;
I will choose the living God.
The road is narrow that leads to life;
I will walk the way of Christ.
Faith is not our holding on;
Faith is letting go and trusting God.
I offer more than words, O God.
I offer you my life.”
Brian Woodcock, Adapted, Lent and Easter Readings
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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