Heads or Tails?

“. . . decide today . . .”
 

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“If you are not willing to serve him, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors worshiped in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. As for my family and me, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
 
This past Sunday afternoon Patti and I found a new hiking trail and followed it across a field, through the woods, and up a steep hillside.  On the way back to the car we were treated to the beauty of some bluebirds who were flitting back and forth from some tall weeds to a couple of stray trees in the field.  They were beautiful but difficult to photograph because they kept us at a distance.  I had to use a telephoto lens to capture them with very careful (lucky) focus.  It also meant I had to make a choice.  As you can see from the photo I had to choose which bird would be in focus and which would not.  It got me to thinking about choices . . .
 
Remember some of the first difficult choices you ever had to make . . . You were pacing back and forth up and down the toy aisle with just a certain amount of money in your hand.  That money was burning a hole in your pocket and hand.  There was no way that money was leaving the store with you.  You had to choose just one new toy, no more!  As you got older the decisions got more complicated but no less important – which person to date – which person to marry – to have children or not have children. . .  We know that there are many situations in our lives that require us to make a choice.  As much as we might like to sit on the fence or keep one foot in both courts we just can’t.  We have to make a choice, a choice that might have great impact on our present and future lives. 

Lent seems to be a good time to examine not just the choices we’ve made and the choices we might be called to make, but also, the way that we make our decisions.  As you look at your life now you might want to pause and ask yourself, “What choices have I made that have contributed to my present circumstances?  Did I make those decisions using the gifts God has given me like scripture, tradition, reason, and experience with the abiding presence of God’s Holy Spirit, or did I make some of those decisions based upon the persuasion or coercion of others?  In some situations did I simply fail to make a choice and let someone make it for me?  Am I happy and fulfilled with the choices I’ve made, or is this Lent a good opportunity for me to stop long enough to ask forgiveness for poorly made choices and the courage and guidance from God to make new and better choices? 

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the sweep of the crowd that we’re not even conscious of the choices we have made or are making.  We are responsible for our choices and will live the consequences of our choices, regardless of how much we might try to deny that reality.  Near the end of his life Joshua, the great Israelite leader who succeeded Moses and led the Israelites in to the Promised Land, confronted his people with the choice they had to make if their future was to be secure.  Basically he asked, “Who will you follow?” and before they could respond added his own answer, “As for my family and me, we will serve the Lord.”  He knew that unless the Israelites made a clear choice to follow Yahweh, they would suffer a devastating future. 

I pray that at all times (but especially now during Lent) God’s Spirit  will help me examine the choices I’ve made, give me the grace to change the ones that were misguided, and the courage to make the right choices in the future.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at www.wipfandstock.com and www.amazon.com.
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on March 13, 2013.

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