The Gift of Choosing

From the beginning of creation, the One who created all things decided to make human beings in so many ways like Himself. One of those ways is he gave human beings the gift of choosing.

He chose the millions of kinds of vegetation to plant in the earth, and in the sea. He chose what colors to paint the stripes on a lemur and the feathers on a Burrowing Owl. He chose the shape land would take and the shape of the first man’s eye. He chose us. He actually calls us his chosen ones.

He still chooses us. Even when we choose other affections. His gaze is still on his masterpiece, his finger still pointed at our soul with purpose and intention. One result of us being made like him is we have the same ability. Some call it free will. I call it the gift of choosing. It is a sort of… side effect of love.

“For God so loved the world, he gave…”

So every day we get to wake up and breathe in fresh air, and one of thousands of choices we get to make (after making our coffee, of course) is, “will I place my attention on Him today? My trust in Him with that one thing?”

Will I choose Him back?

Something that flew off one of Paul’s letters (the first one he wrote to the believers in Corinth) and seemed to float in front of my face for a while, was one thing he wrote about love. He wrote about what is is, what it isn’t, what it does, what it doesn’t. One thing he said was that love does not insist on its own way. It does not seek its own interests. In my mind, this statement was directly correlated to that gift of choosing.

If God is love, and love does not insist on its own way, and it does not seek its own interests, we’d see it plainly in the life of Christ. As Hebrew 1:3 states, Jesus was the exact representation of God the Father … only tangible. So we would see Jesus never insisting on His own way. And we do. We see this time and time again.

What I read, whenever there are letters in red, is a submission of his will to the will of his Father. It is His way that Jesus insists on. In this, his own way is yielded and set aside.

When he cried and sweat blood in the garden the night before he was murdered, he called out to His Father to see if there was any other way. But he left that garden yielded. Left his will, set aside. What does this speak about his use of control?

He had control over all of it. Even Satan used this to tempt him 3 years prior. But He wouldn’t use his control if it was to accomplish something his Father wasn’t ok with. That would be abuse of a gift from God.

Do I abuse gifts from God? I wonder what they are. How often I do.

Choosing is a gift. Like money. We get to use choices in a way that will bless, encourage, make the most of a moment, exalt the Lord – or in a way that will keep our thoughts on ourselves, ignore or berate others, waste a moment. Neglect our Creator. In all these things, in the choices we make, we exert control over our lives. He’s ok with that. He made us like that. Like Him. But perhaps this is something that we would benefit from remembering:

Love controls oneself, not another.

He chooses us and in his love, he lets us choose who we want in return, because real Love, agape love, lets the other choose. Real love pours out, does not withhold, and does not manipulate or attempt to control because of fear or insecurity.

As we choose Him, Let’s let others choose.

And in doing so, let us stay steadfast in our trust in the One true God who is Love.

Asking for What You Already Have

(A writing I originally typed out and on September 23rd, 2015 and then forgot about. I re-read it today and still believe every word. I still consciously pray this way leading with thankfulness)…

I asked myself the other day,

Do children ever ask for gifts they know they already have? Like, put them on their Christmas or birthday wish list?

Probably not. Unless they’re greedy little ankle biters, I bet the only reason they’d do that is ignorance. Kids, at least many American kids, are used to having so many things – games, toys and devices – that sometimes they forget what they own.

They’ll ask, but not check first – “do I have that already, in my bin?” Maybe they’ll ask for it because they never opened the first one, or used it once and then it got lost in the chaos of the bedroom.

It came to me today, we are like that. I hear and read prayers all the time, asking God for things he’s already not only already promised us, but given to us in the person of Christ or in the gift of His Spirit who came to make our heart – mind – body – his home, here on earth after Jesus ascended. So it seems to me that we HAVE what we need.

Right NOW.

Well, I’m not sure about some tangible or material things like braces or loans paid off, but we know we have all we need pertaining life and godliness.

Peter writes just that…

God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and for godliness. This power was given to us through knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and integrity. (‭2 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭3‬ GW)

So now what? Do we sit around and get self conscious about how we’re praying? God forbid! No, I believe that a worthy response to this news of praying for what I already have would be to simply reformat most of my prayers into those of thanksgiving.

Just think it through first, do a bit of an inventory-check and you’ll find that what you’re about to ask him for – I bet you have in some form, already.

Here are some down to earth examples:

  • If you need to manage your anger, instead of praying, Help me not to sin when I am angry…thank him for his peace that enables you to do so.

  • If you lack financial provision, thank him for his promise – God you said when I seek first the Kingdom & your righteousness, ALL these things shall be added to me. (Matthew 6:31-33)

  • If you feel completely alone, or want to ask God for his presence, perhaps you’ve forgotten, he said he will be with you always – even til the end of the age. You can thank him instead for what he’s promised – Father God, I know you will never leave or forsake me. You’re always there. Instead of: Be with _______ (us, them, so & so), how about, “Thanks god, that there is no place your presence cannot find us. If I go to the depths even there, your love will pursue me. You draw us all to you.”

  • “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you.”

      John‬ ‭14‬:‭16-17‬ AMP

    There is something powerful about the declaration of a promise and of thanksgiving. The acknowledgement of Him in all our ways – it will be the very thing that will direct our path and straighten our perspective.

    New


    Well, I am but a sheep that tries
    To pull the truth out from the lies
    To listen to my Shepherd’s voice
    I have no choice (have no choice)
    .
    If I follow & believe, then no man can
    Pluck me out of his mighty hand
    If I follow & believe, then my future
    Is secure (is secure)
    .
    Dead to this age
    That chapter’s done
    Let’s turn the page (to a…)
    .
    A New Life of sacrifice
    A new mind, set upon the truth (x2)
    .
    bridge:
    Aren’t you so – grateful
    How’s he’s so – faithful
    How he’s brought you – so far
    (But refuses to) leave you the way you are
    .
    Pre-Chorus
    Chorus
    .
    Lord I wanna live a… (2 drum beats) NEW LIFE of sacrifice
    Give me a… (2 drum beats) NEW MIND, set upon your truth
    Set upon your truth,
    Set upon your truth,
    Set upon your… (2 drum beats)

    Doing a New Thing

    God, I know that things in me have to die in order for you to do new things in me. Kill my self-aborbed thinking. Pour contempt over all my pride. Crush it. Help me to live as the new me, that the old me would fade away with the world & all its riches. Take from me my selfishness and idolatry – I am so prone to wander from your cross. I see it more clearly now.

    But it’s like you quietly follow my footsteps, and no matter where I am, I can turn around to find you & you know what? You’re so much closer than I thought! We’re face to face! You’re right there, ready to match my blesssings according to my faith. You are ever-patient, with my dreams, my calling, my future full of hope, all in your open hand. And I see it today. Your loving kindness brings me to repentance. You have brought me through so many things.

    Isaiah 43:18-19  “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

    lyrics to a new song: Express it Confess it Embrace

    this song just reflects how i feel about people increasingly growing inward – i guess growing isn’t the right word. we’re regressing to become more introverted & more self-reliant. sometimes i wish i could push a time machine button & swooosh -we’re all back to the 50’s like in ‘the truman show’ when there were no garage door openers…no self-check-outs…no email or texting or atm’s. it’s like the goal these days is to decrease human interaction as much as possible. i dont know bout you, but that makes me sad. so i wrote a song about it – wanna hear it, hear it goes:

    express it confess it embrace

    by, Chelan Rene’ Russ

    l see you’re holdin’

    quite the load

    can i walk beside you

    down this dusty road

    see, i know you’ve got a story

    ya know it…never hurt – no one to talk

    but it seems like society…keeps takin’ a step back from unity. we replace a

    face w/another machine & we praise advancement of technology

    what would happen if we did life face to face?

    express it, confess it, embrace

    make the time to touch…take a chance and feel

    express it, confess it, embrace

    you – gotta want to

    sacrifice

    free up a hand to

    serve a brother; realize

    how love is the best investment

    you don’t always bank on a return

    (prechorus/ chorus)

    (dont ya think our… lives would change if… {repeat chorus})

    go on, express it, confess it, embrace

    adlib:
    go on a walk, party on your block, send a letter in the mail, bbq
    volunteer, spread the cheer, raise
    a hand tell ’em what you’re goin’ through
    express it, confess it, embrace

    Contentment

    I am content. I don’t think I’ve learned the great lesson in how to be content in every situation – no, not by a mile. But I am right now. And I really really think I’ll have contentment if & when a great tragedy hits my life. I think I’ll still have joy, although way down deep. It might be mixed with confusion or sadness or anger for a while. But it will remain. I know my Savior loves me. And I trust in His goodness and His plan. So there are no “but what-if…”s to ponder, for me. I’m strivin’ for holiness – a cleansing of sin – a searching and doing of the Word – Godliness. I read somewhere that along with it, if you have contentment as well, there is great gain.