Archive | October 2018

The Awesome Gift of Choice



Do things just happen to you or do you cause things to happen?

Do you make your own choices or do you allow others to choose for you?

Do you feel as if you are in control your life or do you feel as if your life is out of control?

We have the power to choose our destiny

Through the thoughts that we think and the words that we speak, we choose our destiny. God declares this in his message to the Hebrew people, saying, “I have set before you today life and good, death and evil . . . blessing and cursing . . . Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days” (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19-20 ESV).

This week I spent some time meditating on this passage and thinking about this awesome gift of choice. In my journal, I wrote the following prayer.


Lord, I thank you that you have given me the power and gift of choice.
Today, I choose life instead of death

I choose love instead of fear
I chose health instead of sickness
I choose gratitude instead of ingratitude (complaining)
I choose joy instead of resentment
I choose self-control instead of anger
I choose forgiveness instead of unforgiveness
I choose mercy instead of revenge
I choose to let go of injury instead of hanging on to grudges
I choose faith instead of guilt
I choose trust instead of despair
I choose self-worth instead of shame
I choose peace instead of anxiety
I choose self-acceptance instead of self-rejection
I choose compassion instead of hatred
I choose righteousness instead of unrighteousness
I choose that which is good instead of that which is evil
I choose diligence instead of laziness
I choose godliness instead of ungodliness
I choose action instead of passivity
I choose to serve instead of to be promoted
I choose self-discipline instead of self-indulgence
I choose generosity instead of greed
I choose your blessing instead of a curse
I choose to obey Jesus instead of Satan, the world, or the flesh

Father, I make these choices intentionally.
Holy Spirit, by your power and grace, empower me to follow through with all of these choices so Jesus will receive the honor he deserves.

Suggested Action:

  • Meditate on the above Scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what it means for you to choose life instead of death and good instead of evil.
  • Write down the choice(s) you will make this coming week.
  • Share your thoughts with me and/or a friend. 

Read about the relationship between God’s grace and our choices in  my book Emotional Freedom 

Emotional Freedom: The Choices We Must Make by [Ault, Jane]

 

This entry was posted on October 26, 2018. 4 Comments

Something More Important Than Schedules

 



Time management has always been challenging for me. I can’t count the number of times I’ve designed and redesigned schedules. I  don’t stick to any of them very long. A schedule feels like a straight-jacket. A restriction that blocks my creativity.  Yet, I know my time on earth is limited.

The Psalmist said, “the days of our life . . .  contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years”(Psalm 90:10). God has blessed me with eighty years. I want to make the best use of whatever years, days, hours, and moments my generous God continues to give to me.

If schedules don’t work for me, is there a different way for me to manage time? 

Part of the answer to my prayer/question came this week in the words of Dallas Willard. In his book, The Allure of Gentleness, he talks about the concept of redeeming the time, a phrase used in the book of Ephesians.  To redeem something means to cash in, by back, make useful. How can we make the best use of time? Willard’s answer: “by interacting with God where you are”!

Interacting with God means having a 24/7 conversation with Jesus. Isn’t that exciting? It’s another aspect of practicing the presence of God. By keeping that conversation going, I’m able within the boundaries of time to love God and love my neighbor as myself. Is there any better use of time than that? 

Does this mean I can forget about schedules? No. I still schedule my various activities, but as the following poem says, I  don’t watch the hands of the clock. I watch Jesus. 


The clock moves on . . .
but God is still.
Hurried flesh knows not his will.

Like Mary, we must turn aside,
deny ambition,
give up pride,
leave our projects,
choose to wait.

We cannot love unless we hate.
We cannot live unless we die.

God will not rule
while we still try.
He will not force us to repent . . .
but soon our days
will all be spent.

Jesus waits . . .
time hurries on.
Choose Jesus now before time’s gone.

2002 Jane Ault
 


Time

Time is for loving
Time is for caring
Time is for doing God’s will.

Time is for learning
Time is for growing
Time just never stands still.

Time is for daring
Time is for risking
Time is for choosing a yes or a no.

Time is for hoping
Time is for dreaming
Sometimes, time seems too slow.

Time is for singing
Time is for dancing
Time is for praising the Lord.

Time is for sowing
Time is for reaping
Time is for saying a word.

Time is for crying
Time is for weeping
Time is for healing my pain.

Time is for now
Time is for using
Love, done in time, remains.

1995 Jane Ault

This entry was posted on October 12, 2018. 6 Comments

What Does “Being Perfect” Mean?

 



This week several people told me that when they made mistakes, they were very hard on themselves. They wanted to be perfect and they condemned themselves for failures. To live with someone who expects 100% in everything can be very difficult, especially if that person is yourself. 

I know. For years I lived with that self-expectation. The belief that I must be perfect came from a misunderstanding of Jesus’s words, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 ESV). With the help of my theologian husband, I learned the true meaning of Jesus’s words.

Perfection Redefined

The word used by Jesus (that in English is translated ‘perfect’) comes from the Greek word ‘teleios’. Teleios means mature.  When Jesus said, “you must be perfect”, he was talking about inward character change. 

 Character change requires time. There’s no quick fix. No 30-second cure. We don’t become butterflies overnight. We must remain in the cocoon of God’s protective and nourishing love. Taste his goodness. Receive his instruction. Saturate ourselves with his beauty. In doing so, we become like Jesus.

Gradually, we are transformed.

  • We learn to love what Jesus loved (righteousness) and learning to hate what he hated (wickedness). (Hebrews 1:9NIV)
  • We learn to honor our heavenly Father as Jesus did. People rejected him, but he did not care about his own honor. (John 8:49, 50NIV)
  • We learn to value Jesus did. “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being . . . he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8 New Living Translation).
  • We learn to respond in every frustrating, difficult and painful situation like Jesus did. He consistently displayed what the Bible calls the fruit of righteousness: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22, 23 NIV)

As we are learning (growing toward perfection), we will make mistakes.

We will fail. When that happens, these are the choices we make:

  • We face the truth or we deny it.
  • We accept responsibility or we blame others
  • We receive forgiveness or we condemn ourselves

The following poem describes the choices God makes.


God is patient with us when we’re learning new skills.
He gently instructs us to wipe up our spills.
He does not berate us or call us cruel names
But speaks with kindness, remembering our frame.

He shows us the way when knowledge we lack,
He explains by example. He never attacks us,
Because of our ignorance or because of our fear.
He surrounds us with love and fills us with cheer.

With hope, we continue to flourish and grow.
Empowered by faith, we conquer each foe!
Strengthened by grace, our hearts feel secure.
Because of God’s goodness, we can mature!

Jane Ault 

 

This entry was posted on October 5, 2018. 8 Comments