Friday, April 26, 2013

Devotions: How To Make Good Decisions

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 23

"In Henryk Sienkiewicz’ historical novel 'Quo Vadis,' Peter flees the persecution of Rome. Leaving the city, he encounters Jesus entering the city. Peter asks Jesus 'Quo Vadis Domine?' (Where are You going Lord?). 'I'm going back to be crucified again...' This led Peter to turn around, go back to Rome, and face his own martyrdom.

Quo Vadis? Where are you going? It is still an important question today? What way should we go? Who should we follow? How shall we decide?

God’s word teaches that faith is a gift of God.  Peter said this in his first letter when he said that we have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1.3). But following our new birth of the Holy Spirit, there are numerous decisions to be made. 

When it comes to important decisions in life we should use the reason God has given us. We gather information. We weigh the pros and cons. We consider reasonable outcomes based on past experience. This is all good common sense.  We should remember how Solomon prayed for wisdom when he was called to be king of Israel. He literally prayed for a “listening heart” (1 Kings 3.8; 3.9 Hebrew).  All good decisions begin with a humble attitude and a willingness to discover what is good rather than to assume narrow mindedly we know.  We need to be open to options.

For Christians there is more. We test the common sense against the truth of God’s word.  In Proverbs 16.21 we read: “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel – that will stand.”  In all our decisions we need to consult the word of God and make as sure as we can that our plans are in harmony with God’s ways.  Paul urged us:  “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3.17).

Thirdly, we pray for God’s help and blessing.  As Ezra was preparing to lead the people of Israel back to Jerusalem he faced many difficulties.  And so we read: “Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions” (Ezra 8.21).  In prayer we seek the way and ask God to bless all our thinking and our understanding of God’s word. 

Finally, we turn the matter over to God and trust that He will help us through everything. “The lot is cast into the lap, but every decision is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16.33).  Once we’ve made a decision we need to live with it and endure the consequences either temporally good or bad.  Notice that I said, “temporally.”  By that I mean that all decisions made in faith will ultimately work for good.  This is God's promise in Romans 8.28, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.”  This is a comforting promise that enables us finally to make decisions rather than be paralyzed by fear not knowing the outcome. Trust in God will carry us through.

What decisions lie ahead for you?  Should I join this church or another? Should I go to college, and if so, which one? Should I marry this person or not? Should I take this job or not? Are there important changes that I could make in my life to enhance it?  We all have many decisions to make in life.  Reason, Scripture, Prayer and Trust will help us make wise decisions and live with them.

The Bible assures us that God wants to lead us and guide us. He wants to be our Shepherd to take care of us in all the decisions of life.  

Hymn:  The Lord's My Shepherd  

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for His own name’s sake.

Yea, tho’ I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy, all my life,
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house forevermore
My dwelling-place shall be.

Prayer:  Good Shepherd of the sheep, we pray that You would lead us and guide us in all our ways that we might walk in the paths of righteousness.  Bless us in all our decisions that You might use them for our good and for the good of others. In Jesus' name, Amen.  

1 comment:

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