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Forks In The Road

If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him.
James 1:5

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” This is a quote from baseball legend Yogi Berra. Yogi is called baseball's greatest humorist. There are many forks in the road of life, and Yogi is right—we have to take one.

One of life’s hardest lessons is to learn that we have to live with the consequences of our decisions. That is why it is so important for us to choose carefully the forks we take. None of us are immune from making wrong choices. One of the most important skills we can develop is the ability to make wise choices. We are constantly encountering forks, bends, and crossroads.

What helps me most when facing decisions and choices is to pray about them first. I know that I should never make a hasty decision. When I do, I don’t always like the consequences. Yes, every decision we make will have a consequence—maybe a good one or maybe a bad one.

Many forks can lead us into deep sin. We need direction from God so that we can stay on the right path. Choosing a better fork in the road can lead us to a more godly lifestyle. This lifestyle will bring us peace and joy that we can’t find in any other way.

I find encouragement in our verse for today. God gives generously to all without finding fault. God never says, “I told you so.” All of us need help in making decisions and choices. God really cares about the decisions we make. He has a plan for our lives. He knows all about us because He created us. He wants what is best for us. He knows the dangers we face. God also knows the joys we can experience when we allow Him to have dominion over us.

The beginning of a new year is a good time to make changes in our lives. I hope you will join me in seeking God’s guidance when we come to those forks in the road. 

Georgia Andrus

New

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9



We like new. We like new cars, new clothes, and new homes, and new medical discoveries. We place our hopes in each New Year. We like adventure that takes us to new places. When Christopher Columbus saw the Americas for the first time he called them the “New World.” Are these things genuinely new or just new to us? King Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, was the wisest man who ever lived and he concluded through worldly living, that there is nothing new under the sun.

The good news is that all things are made new in the Son.

“New” in the New Testament means fresh and unlike anything else in quality or nature. 

We have a new covenant (Heb. 9:15).

We have a new commandment (John13:34).

We are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

We have a new self, created to be like God (Eph. 4:24).

We will have a new heaven and a new earth. (Rev. 21:1)

We will have a new song to sing (Rev. 5:9).

God is writing a new story in each of our lives. When my husband, Cal, faced surgery to remove cancer a few months ago, he and his family feared the outcome might be the same as that of his former wife. She underwent the same procedure several years ago. Tragically she died within days, from unexpected complications. 

I sympathized with their fears, yet God’s peace filled me and He gave me words to share in a card of encouragement to Cal. God impressed on my heart that He was going to do a new thing (Isaiah 43:19) through my husband’s experience. He did. Cal regained his health and is cancer free!

Lord, may we keep our eyes fixed on You. Your ways are higher than anything “under the sun”. You alone make all things new.

Karen Sims

The Wide And Narrow Door

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 
 Matthew 7:13-14


“Let’s Make a Deal” is a game show that has been watched by nations around the world for years. The contestants make deals with the host, trying to win the best prize offered. Sometimes a contestant is shown three doors. He has no idea what is behind each door.  He must randomly chose a door and hope for a good prize.

Perhaps you feel like you are playing this game in life. Doors can represent beliefs, choices or even opportunities. Which choices are best? Which direction is right? Which door will lead to a life of satisfaction, joy and fulfillment? 

In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus describes two kinds of doors (gates), which people enter on their quest for heaven, joy or meaning. There is a wide door-- the popular door. A person who travels through a wide door can take all his baggage with him. He can take his suitcase filled with his own views or the views of the world. He can take his ‘good’ works--those things he does that he believes will earn him a place in heaven. The door is wide, allowing each to carry with him what he deems best. Many choose this door.

Then there is the narrow door that few enter. It is a narrow door because it allows for no baggage. The person who enters must be stripped of all but one thing—faith in Jesus Christ. He must leave behind all his trust in himself, his trust in his own views and his trust in his own good deeds. When he enters through the door, he acknowledges that his trust is in Jesus--Jesus alone. 

Which door is the right door to enter? Which door leads to heaven, to eternal life, to lasting joy, to true satisfaction and fulfillment? Jesus warns that the wide, popular door does not lead to heaven; it leads to destruction. The narrow door leads to life. Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father, except through Me (John 14:6).

Which door will you enter?

Jan Burkhart

Gentleness

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:29


Gentleness! Isn’t that a sweet, comforting word? The Greek word translated gentle can also be translated meek. Gentleness or meekness is not a weak quality at all. Gentleness is a restrained and disciplined strength that leads to great blessing.

My pastor, Dr. David Dykes, says this about meekness (gentleness): “Meekness is not weakness; it is strength under control.” In our Scripture for today, Jesus describes Himself as gentle and humble in heart.

Gentleness and meekness are words that are totally misused and misunderstood today. We think these words describe one who is passive, submissive, weak, and like a doormat ready to be stepped on.

My husband and I enjoy a TV show on Netflix, “Heartland,” that is filmed in Canada. The leading actress is Amy. Amy trains horses. She can take the wildest horses and tame them to do just exactly as she wants. She actually does this in real life also.

The Greek word for meekness is the regular word for an animal which has been domesticated. So gentleness is like a horse that has been broken to ride. The stubborn will of these horses has to be broken. In the same way, our stubborn will has to be broken by God. A well-trained horse wants to follow his master’s directions. We must be broken to follow our Master’s directions.

How do we become meek or gentle? We must allow the Spirit of God to break us from our self-centeredness and arrogance. Only the Holy Spirit can produce gentleness in the heart of a Christian.

Today’s Challenge:  PRAY FOR A GENTLE SPIRIT AND A HUMBLE HEART.


Georgia Andrus

Just Do It

Be doers of the word and not hearers only.
James 1:22


“Just Do It” is a phrase Nike coined in 1988. It’s a slogan to inspire athletes to out run, out train, and out move. The apostle James used similar words to inspire Christians hundreds of years earlier. 

James said, Be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22). In other words, we are to do more than simply listen to the Word of God. According to James, we must apply God’s Word in our daily lives. 

I was encouraged recently by an example of someone being a doer of what Scripture teaches. It happened when my husband and I went to a big sale at the mall. We purposely went early to beat the crowd, but apparently the crowd had the same idea. The parking lot was already full, and cars were circling to grab a spot.

We eventually parked and entered a store. The aisles were jammed with people, inching slowly toward their destinations. It was Christmas shopping on steroids, worse than Black Friday. 

For a moment we considered going home. However, since we were already there, we decided to split up, shop for an hour, and then leave. When we met seventy minutes later (yes, I was late), my husband shared this story with me.

While he was shopping in men’s wear, a nice sales lady had answered his questions and helped him find his size. When he checked out, she was working the cash register at the end of a long, impatient line of customers. As he paid for his purchase, my husband asked her how she was able to deal with such a trying situation. 

She replied, “I just ask Jesus to help me love everybody.” Her answer blessed my husband, and me, when I heard it. She was a doer of the Word.

God has said we are to love others. That sales lady purposed to obey God and trusted He would enable her to do so. I am reminded by her example that the Spirit gives us the ability to obey God when we ask his help.

Father, impress us with the importance of obeying you in daily life. 
                                                                                       
Carol