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Alpha Ministries, Inc

Church in the Woods at ....

Freedom Ranch

Choices

Dear Saints,

All of us are confronted with a multitude of choices to make daily. Many of them seem small and almost inconsequential while others seem overwhelming and life threatening. What makes life so complicated and hard is not just the choices we make but often it seems we really have no choice at all. Much of our confusion and frustration in life comes from the fact that we are not sure what choices we have, if we even have a choice, and exactly what choice we should make in any given situation. Welcome to the world of a control freak!

Seeking to control the people and circumstances in our life comes from a deep need to make ourselves secure in an insecure world. There is no guarantee that we will be unconditionally loved, accepted, and forgiven in this dog-eat-dog and often hostile world. In fact, chances are that we will be neglected, abandoned, or even abused. Likewise, unless we can control the people and circumstances in the chaos of this world it is impossible to find a real sense of importance, purpose, and competence. Wrong or bad choices seem naturally to lead to a meaningless and unsatisfying life.

Underlying all other choices we must make is the most important and basic choice. It is the choice the Bible urges us to make daily and describes it in a variety of terms. Jesus invites us to take his “yoke” upon us (Matthew 11: 28-30). Paul urges us to “present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God” (Romans 12: 1-2). James tells us to ask for wisdom from above (James 1: 5). Peter calls on us to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5: 6). All these directives (and many more) have one thing in common…surrender. We give up trying to make it happen and let God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

In the AA program of recovery the 3rd step describes this kind of surrender as deciding to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Making the choice to surrender all our decisions as well as our very lives to the control and care of God is the foundation and start of a new and satisfying lifestyle of grace in which God, through his indwelling Spirit, leads us, guides us into all truth, comforts us in our choices, reminds us who we are, and produces the very character of Christ in us. As Paul instructed the Philippians 2: 12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and do of his good pleasure. “

The fundamental choice we all must make each day is whether we want to let God control our lives. It is really a no-brainer since he is the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe and loves us so much he gave his life for us. For me it boils down to one simple prayer each morning, “Lord please remind me of who you made me to be in your son and guide me in how you want me to love others around me today”. I really do not have any other choice that makes sense.

John

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Prayer of Encouragement

Posted on 23 February, 2021 at 11:25

Dear Saints,

I am praying for you all. I asked God to give me words to encourage you in these difficult days and he said to tell you that I am praying the prayer Paul recorded in Ephesians 3: 14-21. In case you are not familiar with that prayer here it is in its entirety.

“For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.”

 

I am praying that God would strengthen the new person he has made you to be in Christ. That is the real you, not the old you’ve always thought you were. Paul calls it the “inner man” that is created in righteousness and true holiness and I am praying God would supernaturally strengthen that new you with his power through his indwelling Spirit. Such empowerment allows you to face the opposition of this world, endure its suffering, and overcome the obstacles that keep you from realizing who you are and living like it.

 

I am praying that Christ may be at home living in your hearts by faith. By this I mean that Jesus is not simply a guest in your home, but a permanent resident who has access to all areas and activities of your life. That your union with Christ is not just an academic concept but a reality so that you experience his life in you. That you understand he is your life and enjoy being rooted and grounded in his love for you so that you are truly secure and significant as a person having nothing to fear or prove.

 

I am praying that you and all the other saints will begin to comprehend the full dimensions of God’s love. That you would know and experience how inclusive and enduring his love is for humanity. That you would realize the depths he went to on the cross and the heights he raised us to in his resurrection. That you would begin to know by personal experience the love of Christ that is beyond words to describe.

 

Finally, I am praying that you be filled with the fullness of God just like Jesus. That you would realize just as you are in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father so both Jesus and the Father are in you as well. It is what Jesus prayed in John 17: 20-23 saying, “Neither pray for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me , and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory thou gave me I have given them; that they may be one even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

I pray these things in Jesus name, Amen.

John

 

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