Alpha Ministries, Inc
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.
|Posted on 3 June, 2020 at 0:55|
We seem to be going from the pan to the fire as a nation. At least, that is what the media would have us to believe. From the worldwide pandemic to the riots in our cities, never mind the hateful political divisions, our world seems to be on the brink of collapse. These times remind me of an old song by Barry McGuire called “The Eve of Destruction” that described the chaos and cultural revolution during the late sixties. It appeared then as it does now that our country was so divided that it would soon fall apart.
But two things come to mind when I consider these current events. First, the motives of the media are not as pure as the folks in charge would have us to believe. Like all other industries the media is driven by the profit margin and bottom line. The fact that Americans are addicted to sensationalism has made the news media much more of an entertainment than educational endeavor. Add to that the power of the media to shape public opinion in a democratic society and it becomes ripe for political groups to manipulate for their own agenda. But above all, the individual members of the media have been conditioned by the secular society we live in to leave God out of the picture altogether.
Second, just because the media and even our own elected leaders have marginalized God or rejected him altogether does not mean God is not present or has stopped working. The first century churches faced the same kind of cultural and political issues we are facing and even began to wonder if Jesus had come back and they somehow missed out on it. In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians he assures them that no matter how evil their culture and corrupt their government there are two things that must happen before the end. First, a great “falling away” and second, the appearance of “the man of sin” or antichrist.
What we are seeing now is the what Paul calls the “mystery of iniquity” at work in this world according to the power of the god of this world, Satan. It is being held in check from fulfilling its agenda by the operation of God through his Spirit who is continually convincing the world “of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment” that they might be saved. The end will not come until God is ready to remove his restraint and the great “falling away” occurs. While biblical scholars have argued the meaning of the “falling away” Paul is speaking of, it is quite possible a reference to the rapture of the church which would remove the restraining force of evil in the world.
The appearance afterward of the “man of sin, the son of perdition” is an obvious reference to rise of the Antichrist to global power. He is the figure prophesied by the Scriptures to establish a global government and religious system that is opposed to God and will fulfill Satan’s ancient desire to be “like the Most High God”. It is then that the Son of God puts and end to the corruption of evil in this world by his coming to establish his righteous kingdom on earth. As bad as it may seem to us now, we haven’t seen anything yet compared to what is to come.
Although Paul’s encouragement may seem like, “cheer up boys, it’s going to get worse” the truth is that God is still in charge of this world we live in. Even as the “mystery of iniquity” continues to push its evil agenda around us our hope lies in the sovereign power of a loving God who has promised to never forsake us. As Paul told the Thessalonians, “Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled…”