FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Inextricably Linked

This semester I asked my college seniors to unplug for one weekend.  No cell phone.  No laptop, iPad, desktop, etc.  No Twitter.  No Facebook.  No Instagram.  No Internet.

“No way!” they said.

But they did.

And they shared their stories which were hilarious – the reaching for the phone that was not there, the lost “don’t know what to do with myself” feelings, the disconnect, the struggle to get anything done without the Internet.

People are more connected to one another than ever before because ours is an Internet and Social Networking world.  When we are not talking, we are texting or instant-messaging or Skyping or tweeting or something. We are connected, and yet we are not.

Michael Price writes in his work, Alone in the Crowd, that we are “more lonely and distant from one another” in our “unplugged lives.”  It’s true.  Most any teenager will tell you that they’d rather text than talk.  And while a lot of adults won’t readily admit it, they, too, would rather email than talk.

We live in neighborhoods but don’t know our neighbors.  We work in offices but don’t know our cubicle mates.  We go to churches but don’t know our fellow parishioners.  Sometimes we live in houses and don’t know our family members!  Not really.

We were made to be social creatures.  In Genesis 2, God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and created for him a mate.  So why do we retreat behind locked doors, shut blinds and closed minds?  Well, probably for one – it’s just easier.  Less drama and less headache.  Admittedly, I’ve had my days when I have longed for an island.  But, again, we weren’t designed for long-term island living.  At least not in the sense that I mean – ALONE!

Like it or not, our lives are inextricably linked.  The choices we make affect others. Deuteronomy 30:19 (NASB) says, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants…” Every day you are choosing for yourself but also for your descendants. You must make decisions today with tomorrow’s impact in mind, and you must consider current choices in light of future generations.

Are you choosing wisely?  Someone’s life is inextricably linked with yours and the choices you make!  Ponder that this week along with the following Scriptures and questions.

Monday: Joshua 24:15 (NASB)

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Questions for Reflection:  Whom or what have you chosen to serve? What is the impact of your choice on your descendants – immediate (now) and later?  You may say, “I haven’t chosen.” Did you know that by not choosing you are choosing?

Tuesday: 1 Peter 2:9 (NASB)

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

Questions for Reflection: Make note of the choices you make today – what to wear, how to drive, whether to speak to someone you pass on the street or in the hallway at work, what to eat for dinner, etc. How many choices did you make? They may seem insignificant, but what is the impact of each decision – for you, for those around you – immediate (now) and later? Do your choices reflect well on you? On your Lord?

Wednesday: Romans 2:6-8 (NASB)

“who will render to each person according to his deeds:  to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.”

Questions for Reflection: Consider two choices you have made in the past – one selfless, one selfish. What has been the return on those choices – for you? For those you love? What, if anything, do you need to change as you go forward?

Thursday: Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Questions for Reflection: How do you make choices? Do you do what you think seems right, or do you pray for wisdom and direction?

Friday: Biblical Principles for Making Wise Decisions

www.watermark.org/blog/decision-making-principles/

Questions for Reflection: After reading the given Scriptures, reflect on each of the 10 questions found at this site.


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Beyond the Clouds

It rained today.

It rained yesterday.

It rained the day before.

I’m not fond of rain. It messes with my hair. It messes with my shoes. It messes with my mood.

James 1:17a (NASB) says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” Amidst this soggy season and my soggy mood, God gave me a good and perfect gift. I saw it while driving in the rain. A blue patch peering out from behind the dark, ominous clouds that loomed above as rain poured down.

Have you ever seen that? Just a little patch of blue peeking out from behind the gray of storm clouds. Though I was hurrying to class, I pulled over and tried to capture photos with the camera on my cell phone. They didn’t come out so great, but the image is forever etched upon my grateful heart – this reminder of God’s great love and that He is always there, just beyond the clouds.

Now the only thing that beats one gift is two gifts!

God gave me a second gift during the afternoon drive home. The sun had come out, so I enjoyed a surprisingly dry and breezy walk to my car. But during the 59-miles journey home I experienced a little sun, then an immediate and heavy downpour, more sun, some dark clouds which changed gradually to fluffy white clouds, then a quick shower and more sun and finally another downpour for the last 5-8 miles. All along my route conditions changed.

So what was the gift? It was this second reminder of God’s faithfulness through the storms of life. Just as I experienced sun, downpour, clouds and showers during my drive, so it is with life. We have sunny seasons, cloudy seasons and seasons of rain. But He does not leave us in one season. We pass through.

He is with us, and He will not leave or forsake us Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV).

A gift for you may be found in Deuteronomy 30:9 (NIV) which promises, though your season may be stormy, He will, again, delight in you.