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Choose for Yourselves This Day . . . to Serve the Lord

May 6, 2017

Good day to you, wherever you are!  It’s raining here in Memphis, TN today, storms last night and more to come today.  BUT – God has blessed us with green trees, mild temperatures, and a home in which we can get in out of the rain and storms!  It’s a beautiful day to choose to serve the Lord, God!

 

It’s exciting to sit here and think about writing a blog . . . sending my thoughts out there into the nether world for all to see.  Not just for everyone to read, but for everyone to add their thoughts!  It’s exciting and a little bit scary – because I’m opening myself up to YOU!  I pray that as I write and upload my thoughts from time to time that I will represent Jesus Christ (as a Christian) and the church He established.  I pray all that I say will strictly be what God’s Word (the Bible) teaches – nothing more, and nothing less.   I pray that what I say will be a blessing for myself, and for you.  I also pray for you and your part in this undertaking.  I pray that you will be honest with your appraisals of what I say, and that you will share your thoughts on the subjects I present.  The theme that I’m going to write around is going to be the words of Joshua . . . “Choose for yourselves this day . . .” (Joshua 24:15).   From that point I will add a final few words.  Some of my subject matter (as I have it in mind right now) is:  Choose for yourselves this day . . . to serve the Lord.  Choose for yourselves this day . . . the legacy you will leave.  Choose for yourselves this day . . . what you look for (seek & ye shall find).  Choose for yourselves this day . . . how generous you’ll be.  Choose for yourselves this day . . . to never fall (2 Peters 1:10-11).  Those are a few of the topics I have on my mind now, so let’s go ahead and begin at the beginning . . .

 

In the beginning God created.  He created everything!  Light and darkness.  The universe around us.  The land and the waters.  Animals that fly, animals that swim, animals that breathe air, animals that don’t.  And the crowning glory of His creation was man.  On day 1, He saw that what He had created was good.  Same on day 2, 3, 4, etc.  After His creation of man and woman on day 6, He reflected on what He had done and saw that it was very good (Genesis 1:31).  Everything He had created showed character traits that God possesses . . . among other things everything was orderly and perfect in every way.  But have you ever pondered why He did all of this?  What was the purpose in creating the earth, the animals, and especially mankind?  It doesn’t really take very long to figure it out . . . because He tells us precisely what His purpose was.  Everything was created in perfection to praise the God of Creation (Romans 8:18-25; Isaiah 11:6-9; Ephesians 1:10). 

 

Mankind was the main event in Creation.   Ephesians 1:4 tells us that before His first act of Creation God purposed a purpose.  He had His plan made prior to starting time (the marking of time began on day one of creation), and put things in motion on that first day to accomplish that purpose.  His purpose, of course, was sending His Son to be born of a virgin, to live as a man, and to die while He carried the load of my sins . . . and your sins.  Everyone’s sins.  He carried the burden of all of our sins on that lonely hill of Golgotha.  He did that unthinkable thing for one reason . . . so that mankind could have a relationship with his Creator.  God yearns to have a relationship with every single one of us.  That’s what we were created for!  God made us so we would walk with Him, talk with Him, hold His hand, lean on His breast.  He paid the price so that we can do that very thing for eternity.  Our life on earth is our practice run . . . our stumbling and bumbling is preparing us for eternity.  Isn’t that what Heaven is?  A place prepared for those who have desired and pursued a relationship with their Creator?

 

So what is God telling us when He says (through Joshua), “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”  Obviously, He’s saying we have a choice.  We get to make the choice/decision, it’s not made for us.  God seeks us out, He calls us to Himself so that we can choose to serve Him.  So how do I go about serving God?  How do I have the relationship that God wants me to have with Him?  Scripture gives us ALL the answers.  God didn’t do all that He’s done for us to leave us hanging without answers.  He leaves nothing to chance – He tells us precisely what He wants. 

 

He wants us to come to know Him.  That means we need to study the Bible to know Who God is, His characteristics.  He wants us to know that He is love.  He is full of grace and mercy.  He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.  He makes all things work together for those that choose to love Him.  He is our Father.  He is our Master.  He is our Provider, our Healer, our Teacher, our Helper.  He wants us to know Him! 

 

He wants us to spend time with Him.  Just as an earthly parent wants a child to spend time with them, our Heavenly Father wants our time.  But since God is a Spirit, how do we spend time with Him?  Isn’t He in Heaven?  How can we possibly spend time with him?  God’s Spirit lives within EVERY single Christian.  Not a tiny portion of the Spirit, but the whole entire Being lives within you, just like he abides within me.  Don’t ask me how that works . . . let’s find out together on the other side of eternity.  But with God living in us, we don’t have to make a trip to Heaven to visit.  This is much easier than visiting the parents!  There’s no drive involved, you can visit in your pajamas, hair uncombed . . . you can even visit over your first cup of coffee each morning!  God knows our hearts, He knows our thoughts, He knows our actions before we even realize we’re going to take action.  So, spell it out – how do I spend time with God?  How do I visit??  Again, I turn to the Bible for the answer.  I take the time to read my Bible.  I take the time to consider what it says, how I’m going to apply it to my life.  I think about the everyday things in my life, studying my choices, decisions, to see if they are in alignment with God’s Word.  It means more than reading through the Word, then putting it down to live life.  It means analyzing every aspect of my life . . . is this TV show something I would want to be on if the preacher visited?  What about your Creator who is sitting there with you???  Is this group of friends helping or hurting my life as a Christian?  Will my choice of spouse help or hurt me in regards to my relationship with God?  Will these clothes I’m wearing let people know that I want what God wants for my life, or will they paint another picture of my life?  Spend time with God by spending time in the Word, and also by spending time weighing your choices and decisions in life.

 

God wants us to love Him more than we love ourselves.  Now that’s a hard one!  I’m #1.  I’m my own priority.  He wants me to love myself, right?  Yes, actually He does want you to love yourself!  He has never created something that’s second-rate.  That includes YOU.  You were created by a perfect Creator, but you live in an imperfect world.  A world where everyone gets to make the same choices you do . . . whether to love themselves more than they love God, or vice versa.  If I want to live my life showing the world that I love God, that means that there are times when I won’t get to do exactly what I want to do.  I won’t get to throw the temper tantrum and cuss someone out – whether they deserve it or not.  (LOL)  I don’t get to be hateful and hurtful to those who have hated and hurt me.  By choosing to love God more than we love ourselves means I have to retrain my thinking – I can’t treat my enemies with contempt.  I can’t return the hurt and pain that someone has given me.  I can’t slap someone who has slapped me.  I’ve got to learn to turn the other cheek.  I’ve got to learn to subdue my desire to get even.  I’ve got to learn to control my tongue when I want to shout to the world what someone has done to me.  I’ve got to love my neighbor.  I’ve got to treat other people the way I have a desire to be treated.  I’ve got to treat others with love and respect, even (and especially) when they don’t deserve it (in my opinion) – because when I treat others with love and respect, I’m showing my love for God.  I’m treating Him with love and respect.  I have to remember that when I bite my tongue to keep from saying something ugly to or about someone, I’m showing my love for God.  When I don’t treat others with love and respect, but give them what I think they deserve .. . then I’m loving myself more than I love God.  So again – loving God more than I love myself comes down to making conscious decisions. 

 

These are very simple things to put into action if your purpose is to choose to serve the

Lord.  Truly, it boils down to one action throughout my life, in every aspect of my life.  I choose to take the time to read and study God’s Word.  I choose to think about what I’ve read and studied, and I choose to weigh or judge my thoughts, actions, and decisions based on what I’ve read and studied in God’s Word.  God loves each of us.  He gave His very best for us (Jesus), and continues to want only the best for us.  When you know God and you understand how very much He loves you it makes it a little bit easier to choose to want what He wants.  He doesn’t want you to take the easy way in life – He wants you to choose to be better, to be stronger, to be His!  Choose to fulfill the purpose you were created for.

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All the churches of Christ greet you.  Romans 16:16

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