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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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More Than Conquerors

Posted on 17 June, 2020 at 14:05

Dear Saints,

We live in a strange time. People who are healthy have been quarantined and their lives disrupted. Businesses, churches, and schools have been closed. Social distancing and wearing masks is the new normal impacting our relationships. And the economy has suffered more than any terrorist attack on our country. On top of that, angry mobs have been rioting in the streets and law enforcement looks more like combat. While news pundits and politicians are quick to blame certain groups and some individuals, the real cause of such chaos is the spirit of anarchy latent in the human soul which is empowered by Satan to pave the way for the antichrist to come. As Paul declared in Ephesians 6: 12 the battle here is “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.

 

For those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear the current events we are living through now is but another manifestation of the invisible war that has been raging for centuries. Since the rebellion of Lucifer before the creation of the world it there has been an underlying spiritual battle that ultimately shapes human history. Today’s events are no different in that the ultimate cause of the current chaos in the world is the same spiritual conflict that has been raging. The apostle John warned us of this time when he wrote, “Little children it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know it is the last time”. John’s reference to “the antichrist” is the same one Paul identifies as “that man of sin”, “the son of perdition”, and “that Wicked one” in his letter to the Thessalonians. Later John wrote of the same person as “the beast” in the prophesy of the Revelation and described him as a world dictator masquerading as God.

 

Although the world has not yet seen this coming dictator there have been many historical figures that have embodied the spirit of the antichrist. Their selfish lust for wealth and power has always led to unspeakable genocide and destruction. Their empires, kingdoms, or governments have always been opposed to God and anti-Christ insisting that people worship them or their system. It is the same spirit that is at work today in the current chaos setting the stage for the coming of the antichrist prophesied in the Scriptures. Those who are blinded by that spirit see only the social or political conflicts reported by the news and seek security from human government and institutions. Their trust is in human effort, wisdom, and ingenuity to find and apply solutions to our greatest problems.

 

In strong contrast to the spirit of antichrist in this world is the Spirit of Christ living within each believer and confronting the evil of this world. Jesus called him the Comforter who comforts each believer in the middle of such chaos. He is also the “Restrainer” who will only allow the spirit of antichrist to accomplish what God allows. No matter how bad it looks, God is still in charge and will ultimately be victorious in the end. Jesus is not a loser in this conflict, but a victor. And he has made you “more than conquerors”.

 

John

 

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