The Power of a Decision

Growing up, my mother made sure we got to visit all our relatives on a regular basis. Every once in a while Dad would come too.

I didn’t know it then, but family ties have a great deal to do with how we live our lives, whether it is immediate family or extended. As a youngster I looked up to a lot of cousins, and aunts and uncles, especially those who emulated Christ’s character.

I’ve always wondered what the phrase “family ties” means. At first glance you might visualize all your first and second cousins tied to each other, and to you with one big long invisible thread. Or you may think of the less literal interpretation, the genealogy connection.

Lately I’ve been thinking of “ties” in terms of how our decisions affect the ones we love. Our decisions resemble a rock falling into a pool of water. The circular ripples echo outwardly and touch everyone from our inner circle onward. We forget about how people watch and learn from one another.

I believe that is why Jesus taught us so much about love. If we act out of love for God, for ourselves and others, our ripples are going to create joy, encouragement and generally build one another up (in the faith I hope). If we act out of selfishness our ripples can cause pain, concern and genuine discouragement.

What decisions are you making today that will spur your family on to greatness of character? What choices have you made lately that will strengthen your faith and your family’s?

We cannot hope to be the best we can be for ourselves, and our family without help from God. He gives us grace as we grow, and we must extend that same grace and patience, and prayer generously.

Making sound decisions (based on biblical principles) is a challenge. It is easy to give into status quo.

May I conclude with a sincere warning to those people who are near and dear?

Please watch what you say and do, someone’s future faith depends upon it.

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Sounding the Alarm!

Recently a dear loved one fell.  Immediately when I read the charges I cried for them and for their family.  My thoughts did not gravitate towards condemnation but to the words “help us Lord!”  Every single one of us are in danger of crossing a line simply because we live on a fallen planet.  It isn’t enough anymore to recognize we are sinners and need Jesus – we must go further.  We must fight to stay awake, be alert, and aware of the the spiritual battle around us.  God was not kidding when he said, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”, 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV).

We need to walk beside one another and cultivate accountability relationships with serious intention.  We must also live out grace, the kind our Lord Jesus grants us so mercifully.  Thankfully Christ’s sacrifice on the cross offers forgiveness for the repentant heart, healing and restoration, and a future!

In the meantime I have decided to embrace these tears and cry with our beloveds, to lift them up in prayer at every waking moment.  We have a bond that goes beyond flesh and blood, we are one in the spirit and when one of us makes a mistake the whole body hurts.

Last night I sat down after a long day and thought it might be nice to zone out by watching something on my computer.  Interesting how even at a time like this we dare entertain the thought of zoning out.  We are untrained and undisciplined and we have been found wanting!  I’ve told myself time and time again that I can be choosier about what I watch on my computer than with the selection that is available on television.  This is not the case anymore.  In fact, was it ever?

One could conclude by using a computer under our personal control, we have less of a chance at compromising our faith.  Sadly, browsing the internet to find some innocent cooking show has become like looking for groceries in an exotic night club.  You might think you are not interested in the “darkness”, but the vulgar pop-up images and ads can eventually dumb you down.

With our dear friend’s name still fresh on my heart, I began to peruse the television show titles on my computer and realized his situation was effecting my choices for the better, but never do we wish to learn important lessons at the expense of another.  A soft voice and pretty face advertisement for a new murder mystery entitled; “Motive”, kept playing in the background, flashing fictitious dead people’s faces to the beat of a ticker tape click as if death itself was merely art.   I scrolled down to read the title of another new show whose pilot was now available, entitled “The Following”.  After reading the synopsis I clicked “play”, thinking the serial killer content would be more mental analysis rather than graphic.  I was wrong and within seconds shut it down but not soon enough to prevent haunting images from sticking to the back of my eyelids.

I thought it might be an interesting exercise to list some of the show titles and their subtitles in order to make a convincing case for abandoning television altogether, but by making a list I bring attention to the very thing I hate.  By my own calculations forty percent of what was available on computer viewing last night was about murder or a death of some kind.  Twenty percent had strong sexual themes not to mention almost every television show today from murder mystery to comedy to talk show – begins or ends with some inappropriate sexual escapade.

In conclusion I would like to apologize to the Lord and to my children.  It is more evident now than it ever has been, that I could have been more diligent in their impressionable years especially with regards to warning them about our soul’s clever enemy.  However, nothing’s saying I can’t be more outspoken now.  Nothing’s keeping me from sounding the alarm!

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.