Choices And Consequences
God has given man the power of choice. Consequences come with each choice that we make. Good choices improve our lives and bad decisions make our lives more difficult. God sets before us a blessing and a curse and challenges us to "choose life." "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." (Deuteronomy 30:19) The choices that you make have an eternal impact, not only on you, but also on your descendants. Moses wrote, "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." (Deuteronomy 11:26-28) Those who choose to obey God also choose to obtain the most happiness possible in this life and to avoid the most misery possible. What choice are you making with your life?
Moses chose to serve God. The Hebrew writer wrote of Moses in these words, "By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward." (Hebrews 11:24-26) There is only one Moses in the entire Bible. Some names have several who wear those names; but there is only one Moses. His actions can be summed up like this: (a) Moses refused -- he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, (b) Moses chose -- he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God (c) Moses lost -- he lost the treasures of Egypt, and (d) Moses gained -- he lost treasures in Egypt but he gained greater riches in heaven. Moses was under great temptation but he made the right choice.
Mary chose to serve God. She chose to be a learner. "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me. And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42) Martha was more concerned with making sure things were just right for Jesus than she was about hearing His teachings. Mary, on the other hand, "chose the good part." Mary simply decided to give herself to what was most important. Mary chose to give herself to receiving the law from the mouth of the Son of God. She chose the good part because she chose to be with Christ. Have you made that choice? You can make that choice through your faith in Christ and baptism into Him. Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:15-16) Choosing the good part or choosing what is important should be our daily goal.
Judas chose to betray Christ. I wish I could tell you that everyone always chooses wisely, but that is not the case. Many make very bad choices. Luke wrote of Judas' choice in Acts 1:15-20, "and in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry. (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it'; and, Let another take his office." Judas was an apostle but he chose to deny Jesus for money. He became guide to those who took Jesus. Judas should have been guiding men to Jesus for salvation. Instead he guided men to Jesus for destruction and damnation. Judas' poor choices lead to his own personal ruin. Judas died in shame as a betrayer of Christ. What a terrible choice he made!
Agrippa chose to reject the gospel. Acts 26:24-28 gives the account of King Agrippa choosing to reject the gospel of Christ. "Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad! But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe. Then Agrippa said to Paul, You almost persuade me to become a Christian." Paul appealed to Agrippa concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Paul used Moses and the prophets to teach Agrippa concerning Christianity. Agrippa was almost persuaded to be a Christian. He said, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." (Acts 26:28) Many are almost persuaded and still choose to walk away from Christ. What a tragic choice!
Demas chose to forsake Paul. Paul said, "For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica -- Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia." (2 Timothy 4:10) Many of us understand this to say that Demas had forsaken the Lord’s work. The love of the world caused Demas to forsake Paul. John wrote, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (I John 2:15-17) Love of this present world is often enough to cause people to leave the truth and to leave the work of Jesus Christ. Please do not make a "Demas choice." Instead, choose to stay faithful. John wrote, "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2:10)
You can choose to be a Christian. To become a Christian hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism choose to remain faithful. (Revelation 2:10) There is no privilege on earth like that of being a Christian. Choose life!
- - - - Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: Children Hospital Birmingham Rehab Area: Ethan Flowers Diamond. In Need of Prayer: Willie Ainsworth, Lorene Beverly, LeRoy Boutwell, Mary Ann Bozeman, Willie Frank Burnett, Brenda Burkett, Camren Coleman, Bonnie Croley, Debbie Cunningham, Marietta Faulkenberry, Michelle Flowers, Gail Gipson, Devin Hawkins, Doris Hayes, Patrick Hicks, Felice Kendrick, Patricia Kennemore, Peggy Lassiter, Alice Little, Arthur Little, Larry Lucas, Annie McKee, Jewel McNaughton, Betty McQueen, Charlotte Miller, Jeff Miller, Jane Owen, Candice Parker, Elizabeth Perdue, Emma Peterson, Payton Pierce, William Pierce, Tina Pouncey, Shane Prater, Amber Raines, Dan Raybon, Lydia Ann Raybon, Candie Reaves, Peggy Rice, Timothy Rowell, Rosie Rudolph, Chuck Shepherd, Nathan Simmons, Margaret Skipper, Preston Steven, Bobby & Mary Lou Terrell, Arlene Thomas, John Tindoll, Jenny Trawick, Bobbi Walker, Leroy Waller, Gladys Warren, Jim Watts, Carlton Whittle, Jim Wood, and Cody Yelverton. Crowne Health Care: Helen Autrey, Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Betty Findley, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Nelda Sanders, Annie Ruth Tetter, and Alice Thompson. Georgiana Nursing Home: Earl Lowery.
2. Building in Annai: Please pray that everything can come together for the completion of the building in Annai, Guyana, South America. These brethren need this place for worship. Thanks to everyone who is helping to make this a reality.
3. Crowne Health Care: There will not be a class at Crowne health Care on November 24th and December 29th. A special “Thank You,” to those who continue to help with this good work.
4. Basics Training: Mitch Bozeman is in basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Please keep him in your prayers.
5. Anniversaries: Celebrating an anniversary this week: November 22nd Jason and Debbie Jean Owens, and November 23re Johnny and Janice Cole.
6. Birthdays: Celebrating birthdays this week: November 18th Alainia Bagents, November 19th Florida Wilson, and November 22nd Tracy Chance.
7. Thank You: Thanks to Wheeler, Tracy, and Meredith Chance for hosting the Youth Devotional on Saturday. We are blessed to have this good family as part of the Walnut Street Church of Christ.
8. Jerry Barr Mission Fund: Please contribute to the “Jerry Barr Mission Fund.” This fund was set up by Joan and other members of Jerry’s family. This money will be used to help with mission trips, build building and support other mission needs. Make checks to Walnut Street Church of Christ – “Jerry Barr Mission Fund.” Jerry’s love for mission work lives on.
9. Carl Sessions Camp Fund: Please contribute to the “Carl Sessions Camp Fund.” This makes it possible for all Walnut Street Children to attend Bible Camp. Make checks to Walnut Street Church of Christ and mark them “Carl Sessions Camp Fund.” A very special “Thank You” is given to everyone who has given to this great work. Lives are being changed!
10. Sign-Up Sheets 2013: The sign-up sheets for 2013 are on the bulletin board. Please volunteer to help during 2013. Many of you do so many good things. Thank You!
11. Pray For Our Elders: Elders in the church have great responsibility. Pray for Mike Bagents and Bobby Terrell daily.
12. Be a Daily Bible Reader: It takes about seventy-two hours to read the Bible completely through at an average reading speed. Fill your heart with the word of God daily.
13. Bring a Visitor: Set your goal to make an honest effort to bring a visitor to the services of the church. There is someone that we can all influence to go to heaven. Let us all join together and win souls for Jesus. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30) Do what you can to help build the church.
Fellowship Builds Family
Luke spoke about the first Christians in Acts chapter two. I want to begin by highlighting several phrases that he used, which indicate a strong bond of fellowship between those followers of Christ. “And they devoted themselves to…the fellowship…Now all who believed were together…breaking bread from house to house” (Acts 2:42-47). The closeness and unity exhibited by those early Christians has always stood out to me. They shared the bond of Christ in joy, faith, and love even though they stood a very real chance of being woefully persecuted or killed for the cause of Christ.
One aspect of fellowship is spending time together. The early church did this at times of worship AND day by day…doing good works together and growing together. Can you imagine what kind of church we would have if we all did those things as often as possible. What problems could we help one another through? What temptations could we keep one another accountable for? How many more lost souls could we encourage?
Physical families usually spend a lot of time together. Fellowship brings strength to each member and the group collectively. Neglecting to spend time together can cause the family to suffer. Children need daddy and mama. Mama needs daddy & daddy needs mama. Families suffer when one member is not dedicated to spending time with the others.
Spiritual family health only improves the more time we spend together. It just makes sense that a Christian would want to be around people who will help them get to heaven. If a person is REALLY convinced that God, heaven, and hell are real, what kind of people will they want to spend time with? If your spiritual health were gauged by the amount of time you spend with your church family, how healthy would you be? If every Christian viewed or practiced fellowship in exactly the same way you do, what kind of church would there be? Honor God, and do yourself a priceless favor by basking in the joys and benefits of Christian fellowship.
- - - - Darrell Powell
Don’t Just Own A Bible, Read It!
Walnut Street Church of Christ
P.O. Box 551
Greenville, AL 36037-0551