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Alpha Ministries, Inc

Church in the Woods at ....

Freedom Ranch

Choices

Dear Saints,

All of us are confronted with a multitude of choices to make daily. Many of them seem small and almost inconsequential while others seem overwhelming and life threatening. What makes life so complicated and hard is not just the choices we make but often it seems we really have no choice at all. Much of our confusion and frustration in life comes from the fact that we are not sure what choices we have, if we even have a choice, and exactly what choice we should make in any given situation. Welcome to the world of a control freak!

Seeking to control the people and circumstances in our life comes from a deep need to make ourselves secure in an insecure world. There is no guarantee that we will be unconditionally loved, accepted, and forgiven in this dog-eat-dog and often hostile world. In fact, chances are that we will be neglected, abandoned, or even abused. Likewise, unless we can control the people and circumstances in the chaos of this world it is impossible to find a real sense of importance, purpose, and competence. Wrong or bad choices seem naturally to lead to a meaningless and unsatisfying life.

Underlying all other choices we must make is the most important and basic choice. It is the choice the Bible urges us to make daily and describes it in a variety of terms. Jesus invites us to take his “yoke” upon us (Matthew 11: 28-30). Paul urges us to “present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God” (Romans 12: 1-2). James tells us to ask for wisdom from above (James 1: 5). Peter calls on us to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5: 6). All these directives (and many more) have one thing in common…surrender. We give up trying to make it happen and let God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

In the AA program of recovery the 3rd step describes this kind of surrender as deciding to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Making the choice to surrender all our decisions as well as our very lives to the control and care of God is the foundation and start of a new and satisfying lifestyle of grace in which God, through his indwelling Spirit, leads us, guides us into all truth, comforts us in our choices, reminds us who we are, and produces the very character of Christ in us. As Paul instructed the Philippians 2: 12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and do of his good pleasure. “

The fundamental choice we all must make each day is whether we want to let God control our lives. It is really a no-brainer since he is the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe and loves us so much he gave his life for us. For me it boils down to one simple prayer each morning, “Lord please remind me of who you made me to be in your son and guide me in how you want me to love others around me today”. I really do not have any other choice that makes sense.

John

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Daily Easter 2021

Posted on 15 April, 2021 at 11:10

Dear Saints.

 

Now that Easter is over we can get back to life as usual. All the special plans to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus have been completed and we are ready to move ahead with our own agendas, whatever they may be. The holiday weekend is over, and we are back to our routine.

 

Wait a minute! Is that all there is to Easter? Do we just celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead for a day or a weekend once a year? Isn’t there some...

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After Resurrection

Posted on 8 April, 2021 at 9:45

Dear Saints,

 

History reveals some exciting but also tragic times for the followers of Jesus after his victorious resurrection from the dead. The excitement felt by those who loved Jesus and mourned his death could not be contained when they saw him alive and in his glorified body. They were eyewitnesses to the fulfillment of his promise to rise again from the dead. Luke simply says, “They worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually...

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He's Alive

Posted on 1 April, 2021 at 11:45

Dear Saints,

 

The Easter story detailing the crucifixion, burial, and miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ has been told all around the world countless number of times over the last two thousand years. Those who hear the story naturally fall into two categories i.e. those who believe it’s true and celebrate and those who reject it as a legend or some kind of fairy-tale. Those who deny the story as being a true reality do so primarily because of the resurrection pa...

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A Blessed Easter

Posted on 24 March, 2021 at 14:15

Dear Saints,

 

The yearly Easter celebration is centered on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. While there have always been those scoffers who deny this fact and see the celebration as nothing more than a religious tradition, for believers the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact full of personal meaning worthy of daily celebration. The fact that Jesus rose again from the dead is especially relevant to our lives when we understand our own personal connection ...

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Divine Love

Posted on 18 March, 2021 at 10:45

Dear Saints,

God’s love is amazing! I’m not just amazed by the fact that God loves this dysfunctional world, but by the very nature of divine love itself. It’s no wonder that loving others the way God loves us is the highest calling we can ever know. To love another like that is the most amazing thing we will ever do, both for ourselves and those we love. Just think about the characteristics of this kind of love compared to our natural, human love.

 

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The Good Shepherd

Posted on 11 March, 2021 at 13:15

Dear Saints,

 

John records Jesus’ parable of the good shepherd in the 10th chapter of his gospel. The context of this passage makes it clear that Jesus was explaining to the religious leaders of his day why people were following him rather than them. By this time in his short ministry on earth Jesus had great multitudes following him around and ignoring the religious leaders and all their commandments. In short, they were losing their power over the people and tryin...

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Amazing Love

Posted on 2 March, 2021 at 10:35

Dear Saints,

All my life I have consistently underestimated the love of God for myself and others. Although I have grown spiritually to the point where I can recognize his love at work in my life and those around me, I still have a difficult time comprehending the full dimensions of his love. About the time I think I have some understanding of his love I realize I am just scratching the surface. His love is a lot more inclusive than I thought, a lot deeper than I thought, a lot longe...

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Prayer of Encouragement

Posted on 23 February, 2021 at 11:25

Dear Saints,

I am praying for you all. I asked God to give me words to encourage you in these difficult days and he said to tell you that I am praying the prayer Paul recorded in Ephesians 3: 14-21. In case you are not familiar with that prayer here it is in its entirety.

“For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthe...

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The Corruption of the Pharisees

Posted on 18 February, 2021 at 11:10

Dear Saints,

 

I find it remarkable that the warnings Jesus gave the religious and political leaders of his day are so applicable to our leaders today. In his scathing rebuke recorded in Matthew 23 he refers to them as “hypocrites”, “blind guides”, “serpents”, and “generation of vipers”. He says they make promises they do not keep, oppressive rules for others to obey, and are preoccupied with their own approval ratings. Rathe...

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Mask of the Pharisee

Posted on 11 February, 2021 at 13:40

Dear Saints,

 

The harshest words Jesus spoke here on earth were recorded by Matthew in the 23rd chapter of his gospel. They were an indictment against the religious politicians who ruled Israel with their own interpretation of the Law of Moses and claimed to be serving God for the welfare of the nation under Roman rule. The leading party was known as the “scribes and Pharisees” which had a long history of seeking to protect the nation Israel from God’s wr...

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