DayBreaks for 9/15/17 – Your Garden of Gethsemane

DayBreaks for 9/15/17: Your Garden of Gethsemane

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

Have you ever stopped to think how many decisions you will make in any given day?  We make decisions all the time without even thinking about it.  When we think of decisions, we tend to think of the weightier matters of life – and that’s a good thing.  Weighty matters deserve lots of thought as we try to decide what to do.  Hopefully, if you are a Christian, the very first thing you contemplate is whether or not the thing you are doing is in God’s will.  Regardless of whatever other factors you choose to apply to decisions you are facing and making, that one should be the most prominent. 

How do you know His will?  I’m not going to try to provide an exhaustive list here, but certainly His revealed and written Word is our primary tool for discerning his will.  If we cavalierly throw that out the window, we have no solid basis for a decision.  God expects us to follow the Word when we are facing decisions.  That means we have to accept it as truth, not try to explain it away or rationalize why it doesn’t apply to us.

One of my favorite stories about the life of Jesus has to do with his night in the garden of Gethsemane, my favorite place in the Holy Land.  I am moved by that story – even more, I think, that by the story of the crucifixion itself.  Physical pain is one thing, but spiritual pain can be far worse.  It was in the garden that we’re told Jesus was in agony – not on the cross.  (I’m not minimizing what happened upon those old timbers – I am sure there was incredible agony there, too.)  It was in the garden that he wrestled with both flesh and blood and principalities and powers in the heavenly places.  Why?  Because in the garden he was faced with the decision that would form the crux of his life.  It all culminated there, in the shadows of the olive trees, as the Son of God knelt down in the dirt and made the most crucial decision in all of history: would he do things his way, or God’s way?

There are times and decisions in our lives that are seemingly insignificant (although I’d like to argue that one with you – notice I said “seemingly insignificant”), but then there are moments that clearly rise into the stratosphere in terms of importance.  At those times we are faced with our own garden of Gethsemane.  We must decide whether our prayer will be, “Nevertheless, my will not Thine be done,” or if we’ll echo Jesus’ words: “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” 

You may be wrestling with a decision today that has life-altering potential, that once made may not be able to be undone ever.  Have you considered what God’s Word would say about it?  If you know how God feels about it, what will you do about it?  You may be facing your own garden of Gethsemane right now.  What will your prayer be?

PRAYER:  Spirit, help us not to fail the test in moments of crisis.  Strip away Satan’s deceptions from our eyes so that we can see what is at stake in the decisions of life!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 08/21/13 – Choices, Habits, Character

DayBreaks for 08/21/13 – Choices, Habits, Character

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/21/2003:

How many choices do you think you make in the course of a day?  I really don’t have any idea, nor do I know of any studies that reflect how many choices, or decisions, we must make in a day.  But I’m sure that when you stop to really think about it, the number must be staggering.  Consider just a few of the things you decide, either consciously or unconsciously, each day: what time to get up, what side of bed to crawl out of, how long of a shower to take, what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, whether to say “yes” or “no” to the many questions you will be asked, whether or not to do someone a favor, what you will think about in the moments your mind is idle, what you will say in response to questions, which way to drive to work, school or home and how to get home.  The list is mind-boggling.  The simple truth is that every time you do something, you made a choice, a decision, to do THAT instead of something else that you could have chosen.  I would venture a guess that we consciously or unconsciously make tens of thousands of choices each day.

It was Augustine when he noted that our choices become our habits, and our habits eventually become our character.  C. S. Lewis echoed that sentiment in these words: “Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.  And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into either a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature.”  If, as Gregory Boyd suggests in his book, Satan and the Problem of Evil, “Decisions, however small, are not morally neutral activities.  Certain decisions tend to create future possibilities, while other decisions tend to squelch them” is right (and I think he is), we need to weigh our decisions more carefully perhaps.  Elsewhere in his book, Boyd states: “We are now deciding the kind of eternal beings we will become.  In this period we make choices, though in time our choices make us.

Perhaps this is why Paul wrote in 2 Cor 10:5 that “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  (NIV)  Paul took pains to point out that it is “EVERY thought” (emphasis mine) that needs to be take captive.  Our choices are the result of thoughts…and over time, our choices lead to habit patterns, and over even more time, those habit patterns define our character. 

You and I need to be more aware of our thoughts and the choices we make.  They are moral decisions – every time – either for good or bad.  Only you can decide which path you will take and what kind of person you will become by the decisions you make.

PRAYER: We make so many decisions each day, Lord, we ask that You help us make them wisely, considering their implications in our lives and future!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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