Tag Archives: Wise Choices

God’s ‘Safety Valves’

14 Oct

Passing by the primate area one day, a zoo attendant happened to notice a chimpanzee sitting on a rock with an open book in each hand. He looked first at one book and then the other.

Upon closer examination, the attendant identified the books:  the Bible and Darwin’s Origin of Species.

Curious, the attendant asked the chip, “What’s with the books?”

The chimp replied, “I’m trying to decide whether I’m my brother’s keeper or my keeper’s brother.” * LOL!

With some choices there’s not much difference ~ like choosing between vanilla and chocolate ice cream, a matter of taste. But other times, choices are as clearly different as those two books in the chimps hands. Some choices can change the direction of our lives.

Can you think back to a crucial decision that took you down a different path? Maybe it was a foolish choice. You didn’t anticipate the consequences. Looking back now, you wonder how you ever could have missed the signs, the clues that your choice was destructive or hurtful. It’s a choice you now regret.

Or maybe you made a wise choice that helped you grow, led to success or opened up more opportunities. You’re so glad you made that choice!

What was the difference? Was it just the choices before you? We have options to choose every day, all day long. The choices just are. Just like temptations. You might face one temptation and it’s like water off a duck’s back; face another kind of temptation and you fall head first! What makes the difference is our response. Temptations have no power unless we act on them.

1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us how to respond to temptation:“… God is faithful and he will not let you

A Safety Valve

be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape….” The same is true when faced with a wrong or foolish choice. We can always look for God’s “way of escape.” It is a safety valve that helps us when the pressure to sin or be unwise gets strong.

The way of escape may actually be proactive. All sin starts in the heart and mind, when we want something that is not good for us, something God has declared “off limits” or destructive.  We need to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) and mind. We need to be careful what we allow into our thoughts through the media, especially, because they can become a constant source of temptation. God provides mercy when we repent of and forsake any “ways” that are contrary to His ways (Isaiah 55:6-7) ~ wrong desires in our hearts, wrong habits and behaviors.

The way of escape comes when we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:16-25). It is not by our might or power, but by God’s spirit that we accomplish anything (Zechariah 4:6). The Spirit makes us overcomers! (1 John 4:4)

The way of escape also comes as we renew our mind (Romans 12:1-2). What we feed our mind will eventually come out, but we can change the direction of our thinking and refresh “the spirit of our mind” in Christ (Galatians 6:8a; Ephesians 4:17-24) and the Word of God. We study, meditate on, and apply the principles of scripture that help us stand strong against temptations and make wise choices.

The way of escape comes in our commitment to glorify God in purity (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). While will power can only take us so far (which is why we must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit), we can resolve to say “no” to temptations. We can purpose to make choices that lead to holiness.

The way of escape also comes through accountability. The Bible encourages us to exhort (encourage) one another and bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). We can ask Christian friends to help us fight temptation. We can seek God together for wisdom to make wise choices.

Are you facing some tough choices? Is temptation knocking at your door? God wants to give wisdom, and He offers safety valves ~ His way of escape in many forms. How will you respond?

* from CyberSaltDigest.com, 7-7-11

– Dawn

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Time to Resolidify?

28 Jul

Rhonda Rhea is a woman after my own heart. Chocolates bring her exceeding great joy.

In her new book, How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Rhonda described a day when someone gave her a big box of chocolates. *

“It was one of those boxes of chocolates with the map in the lid,” she said, and “that lid diagram is a treasure map. There are times when there’s nothing sweeter than digging for treasure.”

But then something terrible happened.

“I got sidetracked and forgot to take the box out of the car,” Rhonda said. “A few hours baking in the car and instead of a box of chocolates, I ended up with a chocolate ooze that eventually resolidified into one giant chocolate.”

She learned a tough lesson. “I’m tearing up just thinking about it,” she said. “It’s just too sad when good chocolate goes bad. Treasure lost.”

Rhonda is known for her quirky comedic train-of-thought, but also for her biblical applications. “How it must break the heart of God,” she said, “when we get messy, slow to learn spiritual lessons… how often do we forget about self-control and turn back to that old way, conforming to the evil desires we had when we lived in ignorance? Why do we even look back at the darkness once we’ve seen the light?”

I’m all about choices, and so is Rhonda. She asks her readers whether they are ready to choose obedience to God and commit to right choices. “Time to resolidify,” she said. Just like that chocolate.

Resolidify? What does that mean in a spiritual sense?

Rhonda explains: “Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the old paths of sin. Sometimes those old paths are well-worn and easy to slip back onto. Ask Him to give you the wisdom to choose well. … You can choose well, even without a map in the lid.”

Choosing well… choosing the path of obedience. I’ve never regretted one instance of obedience to God, have you? Every time I’ve responded to the Holy Spirit’s nudges in my own spirit, I not only bless my Heavenly Father, I also end up blessing my own life with new opportunities to obey! In many ways, my life has been one act of obedience after another ~ an exciting, joyful journey of obedience with the One who loves me and has an incredible purpose for my life … just as He has for your life.

I’ve only regretted the times when God gave me clear direction, either through the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the counsel of godly people, or my own conscience, and I didn’t listen. I didn’t obey.

Who knows what treasures ~ what adventures with God and opportunities to bless and reach others ~ I missed through disobedience.

God gives us a precious treasure map (His Word) … but we’re not willing to follow it. How foolish is that?

“There really is treasure in obedience,” Rhonda said, “and in leaning on Jesus, loving Him, serving Him, bringing glory to His name.” Rhonda is quick to point out that our richest treasure is Christ Himself:  In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).

Have you discovered the treasure of obedience in your own life? Can you remember specific instances when God spoke, you obeyed, and either your circumstances or ministry changed? Do you see the precious treasure of Jesus, your Savior, and how He has transformed your life through His truth and light?

Thank God for those precious treasures…. and for the Word of God and the counsel of the Holy Spirit.

Want another LOL moment?

Rhonda says she discovered a silver lining in the chocolate-melting incident in her car.

“Now that it’s one big hunk,” she said, “I can eat the whole pound and still tell people I only had one piece.”

* Rhonda Rhea, How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?: Bright Ideas for Delightful Transformation (New Hope Publishers 2011), pp. 81-82, 85


Nurture Your Humor!

8 Jul

Humor can soften the stresses of life, if we will let it. 

A frantic man got home from work to find his wife doubled over in pain. He grabbed the phone and called the hospital.

“You’ve gotta send help now!” he yelled into the phone. “My wife’s going into labor!”

“Oh, I see,” the nurse said. “OK, calm down. Is this your wife’s first child?’

“No,” the distraught man screamed. “This is her husband!” LOL!

Author  Karen O’Connor wrote many practical books with fun titles, including Gettin’ Old Aint for Wimps, Walkin’ with God Ain’t for Wimps and three other “wimp” books, plus books on aging beautifully and dealing with senior moments.

Karen is a frequent contributor to the blog, Finding God Daily. In a recent post, she wrote about “Finding God in Humor.” 

She asked, “Have you considered finding God in humor? … I believe God wants us to be full of joy and laughter, and to give up fretting and worrying.”

I thought Karen’s article, “Five Ways to Nurture Your Sense of Humor,” was helpful, and I want to encourage LOL with God readers to check their lives to see if these tips are part of their everyday experiences. Karen says:

1. Share a funny or embarrassing moment with someone you know, and enjoy it together.

My friend Melissa called to say she sprayed her hair with furniture polish. “It fell flat but had a nice shine!”

2. Laugh at yourself even when you feel like crying. I thought I’d misplaced my cell phone only to discover I was using it right then to speak with my neighbor. Oh my!

3. Cheer up sick friends with a book of humorous stories or jokes. Help them discover that, as Will Rogers said, “Laughter is the best medicine.”

Hmm… I wonder whether Rogers got that concept from the Bible?  Proverbs 17:22

4. Find humor even in serious situations. A woman whose hair was growing in after chemo treatments said her husband Dan helped her laugh every day. “We had a short-haired dog a the time, so when my hair started coming in, he clapped me on the back and said, ‘Great. Now I have a short-haired wife, too!’ I liked my new look so well, I never let my hair grow long again.”

5. Make a list of scripture verses that encourage laughter and tack them up on your mirror or bulletin board to review each day. Here are a few:

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:2).

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful … ” (Proverbs 15:13).

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” (Luke 6:21).

Finding God in humor is easy, Karen says, once you look for him there.

She’s so right. Our circumstances can change in a moment, but we will always have the option of choosing our attitudes and looking for God and the lessons He might want to teach us in those circumstances.

I recently heard about a woman whose husband died. In time, she discovered that her life in widowhood ~ which would never be the same ~ had some unexpected blessings. God often surprised her with wonderful moments of joy in her new, single-again adventure with Him. It wasn’t easy, but with great courage, and trusting in the Lord’s presence and promises, she chose to look for positives and “grow” her joy.

I like the word that Karen used … nurture. We must nurture our sense of humor. We must actively help it grow. Karen gave us five ways, and I want to add one more. I think that one of the most effective ways to nurture our humor is to relax in the great purposes of the sovereign God who loves us.

I was at a playground recently and I watched children laugh and play with abandon, knowing that their parents were watching over them. They felt safe, so they could give in to joy! It reminded me of one of my favorite songs: “This is my Father’s World.” One of the verses says: “This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet”

Yes, God is in charge. Even in the tough times, God rules! His purposes are sure. He has a plan for our lives. Ultimately, we will rejoice in praise and worship throughout eternity ~ but we get glimpses of that incredible joy this side of heaven, too.

In her post, Karen quotes Isaiah 55:12:  “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” What a great picture!

Want a big smile? Imagine God leading you forward in joy and peace ~ in victory in the midst of your circumstances.

And then picture the mountains bellowing out a hearty, happy song of praise with all the trees joyously swaying and “clapping” along.

Are you smiling yet? Talk about finding God in humor!

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