Friday, December 16, 2016

Life's Two Roads

Chuckle: A child's comment on the Bible: "One of the oppossums was St. Matthew who was also a taximan."
Quote: "There is a time when we must firmly choose the course we will follow, or the relentless drift of events will make the decision." --Herbert V. Prochnow

"Oh, the joys (happiness) of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join with scoffers. But they delight in doing everything the Lord wants; day and night they think about his law (Word). They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail" (Psalm 1:1-3 NLT).
What is the source of your greatest joy? In our passage the writer begins by extolling the joys of obeying God and refusing to listen to those who discredit or ridicule him. He said, "Blessed (happy) is the person who does not conduct his life by the advice of the "wicked" ones of the world." Twice more he stressed the impact of this truth -- the happy person doesn't hang out with unbelievers, and does not identify with those who scoff at God's truths by staying in their company.
We should never underestimate the potential influence of others on our attitudes toward God and godly living. Their influence is profound, but sometimes so subtle that we are unaware that they are influencing the way we think and act. We live in a day when Christianity is being ridiculed and degraded by many who are hostile to the teachings of our Lord. How do you react when someone says something derogatory about God, Jesus, or Christianity? If we insist on close friendships with those who mock what God considers important, we may be drawn into the sin of becoming indifferent toward God and his will. Do the people with whom you associate strengthen your faith, or do they tear it down? True friends should help you draw nearer to God, not hinder you.
Let's be clear on a central truth. Jesus said we are to be in the world but not of the world. This means we do not avoid unbelievers, but rather seek them out, establish relationships with them, and lead them to salvation through faith in Christ. However, we are not to become as they are and we are not to adopt their values and actions as our own. We are to hate sin but love the sinner as Jesus does. We find this admonition and warning in Jude 22 (NLT): "Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. There are still others to whom you need to show mercy, but be careful that you aren't contaminated by their sins." The psalmist gives us some valuable "do's" and "don'ts" that will bring joy (happiness) to our lives while keeping us pure in God's sight:
1. Listen to God's Word and godly people, not unbelievers; 2. Delight in doing what God wants for your life; 3. Draw your strength from the Living Water (Jesus and his Spirit); 4. Bear much fruit (service to God and others) for his glory; 5. Seek advice (counsel) from Christians rather than unbelievers; 6. Do not regularly associate with unbelievers as close friends; 7. Do not join them in scoffing or discrediting God and his Word;
There are only two roads before us in life: God's road of faith and obedience or the road of rebellion against God. My prayer is that you will always choose God's road, because your choice will determine not only how you will spend eternity but whether or not you find true happiness in this life. For the Christian, the more we delight in trusting and obeying God, the more fruitful we become -- and the more fruitful we become, the happier we'll be.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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