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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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The Overcomer

Posted on 23 June, 2020 at 13:30

Dear Saints,

 

“Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good”. These words written by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans are a simple , but profound statement of the life believers are to live in this world. Certainly evil abounds in the world today just as it did two thousand years ago when these words were written and the need to overcome it with good is just as relevant today as then. But how do we do it? What does it take to overcome evil with good? It seems like a never ending and impossible task.

 

John sheds some light on these questions by assuring us that we are, in fact, overcomers. In 1 John 3: 4-5 John writes, “Whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that beleiveth that Jesus is the Son of God?” The first and greatest way we overcome evil with good is to believe what God says is true. Jesus told his disciples that what defiles us is the “evil thoughts” that proceed out of our hearts. Those are the thoughts of trusting and depending on everything and everyone but God in our lives to make us secure and significant as persons. Believing that God has already done everything necessary to make us worthy in Christ is the way we overcome evil with good.

 

Although our beliefs, especially about ourselves, are vital to overcoming evil it is just the starting point. The personal hope we get from trusting that God has made us worthy allows us to remain strong resisting the evil forces in this world. Being engaged in a spiritual war we must “put on the whole armor of God” and stand fast against the continual onslaught of evil. That armor includes the “under armor” clothing of truth, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the sword of the spirit. It is our protection from the lies, the doubts, the fears, the accusations, and the apathy meant by the enemy to destroy us. Our offensive weapon is the “sword of the Spirit”, the Word of God, which is alive and powerful able to cut through the confusion and break the chains of those in captivity.

 

Believing the truth of our new identity and worth in Christ and standing firm in hope against the continual opposition of evil in this world, we are ready to be deployed according to the strategy of the Captain of our salvation, Jesus. Only the Lord of Hosts has the battle plan against the evil of the world and only his Spirit can direct us in our individual missions. Our responsibility is to give “attention to orders” continually trusting the indwelling Spirit of God to direct what we do and say each day. Regardless of the job we are assigned to the mission we are given, all overcomers are engaged in a ministry of eternal value. There is no big or little, no essential or unessential, important, or unimportant work to be done in loving others like Christ.

 

As believers each one of us has been given the privilege of overcoming evil with good. We are not at the mercy of the evil of this world but are made “more than conquerors” in Christ and called to be his ambassadors on earth. Despite the continual threat from various forms of evil in our day, the promise of Jesus remains the same, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33).

 

John

 

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