Take 5 (July 17-21, 2017)

Michelle Thompson • Early Childhood Director

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Choices – You Have the Freedom

My grown kiddos will tell you that there is something I have said to them hundreds, if not thousands of times (I have a lot of children!). As they were (and are) leaving the house, I am famous for saying, “Make wise choices!” I also often tell them to “make wise choices, because after you make your choices, your choices make you.” This week, I’d like for us to take a look at several people who made choices that affected their lives and in some cases millions or billions of others.

Monday: Adam & Eve

Genesis 3

We often blame the worst choice in the history of mankind on Eve, but when we read the account, we see that Adam was there with her and was a willing participant. Whether he was the first victim of peer pressure or if they talked it over and Eve would not be persuaded and he chose to fall with her, we don’t know. But what we do know is that they made a terrible choice by listening to the temptation of Satan. We also know that their choice had a far greater impact than they probably realized it would; affecting all of mankind for eternity. From this experience we can learn that the voice of God is the only one we should listen to, because Satan is sneaky and will add just enough truth to his lies to make them seem believable or justifiable.

Today, purpose to listen to the truth of God and not to the subtle or overt lies of the enemy.

Tuesday: Lot

Genesis 12:1-5, 13:1-18, 19:24-29

When we first read about Lot, he is not wealthy, but is traveling along with his Uncle Abraham, Aunt Sarah, and all of Uncle Abraham’s wealth of livestock, silver, and gold. As the story progresses, we see that Lot has acquired much wealth himself, probably from his generous uncle. Lot, growing up in this environment, would have known that he should respect his uncle as an elder and that he should honor him. But when given a choice to choose the best for himself or give his uncle the better land, he makes a selfish choice. The cities in the fertile valley had a terrible reputation as being “sin cities,” but Lot moved into the valley very near the city (and later into it), while Abraham moved his herds and servants into the drier plain and built an altar to the Lord. The choices of these two men play out in their later lives, affecting their wives, children, and descendants.

Today, take the time to think about how your choices may affect the generations to come–because they do.

Wednesday: Joshua

Joshua 1:1-9, 24:14-15, 24

Joshua had it rough. He followed Moses—a man who was a living, breathing legend in his own time! The Israelite people had been through so much with Moses. He had delivered them from Egypt, walked with them through the dry Red Sea, and watched with them as the same sea collapsed on the entire army of Egypt. He had delivered the Ten Commandments, helped them through the poisonous snake epidemic that killed many, and talked face to face with God on their behalf! Joshua now has to follow in those enormous footsteps. We see in Chapter 1 that God tells him again and again “fear not.” By Chapter 24, we see that Joshua has chosen to obey God’s commands and has become a brave and courageous leader of the nation. He chose courage, and he chose to serve the Lord (24:15).

Today, make the choice to serve the Lord God, come what may, and let that be your legacy for those following you!

Thursday: Esther

Esther 2:16-20, 3:8-13, 4:8-16

Esther must have been gorgeous. But unlike many of today’s beautiful young women, she was also obedient, brave, and godly. She had been raised by her cousin, Mordecai, and continued to do as he advised, even after she had become queen of the land. And in today’s reading, Esther had a choice to make. I love when she realizes that God allowed her to be queen for the specific purpose of saving His people. Her nationality, up until this point, was a secret. She had to choose whether to risk her own life to save many or whether she would try to hide out in the palace and hope no one realized she was a Jew. Esther made the correct choice and saved a nation… and had a book of the Bible written about her!

Today, God has you in your place at this time to have an influence for Him. Are you choosing to make good choices and to represent Him well each day?

Friday: Job

Job 1, Job 2:9-10

Job was a man of impeccable integrity and is known by the horrible suffering he endured. He made wise choice after wise choice, even when his wife told him to give up, curse God and die. (What kind of wifely advice is that!?) We can learn so much from this man. First, integrity matters—it pleases the Lord, and it is noticed by those around us. Job made good choice after good choice, day after day. But the thing that surprises me as I study his life is that Job was a worrier. He worried his children may have sinned, and so he offered sacrifices on their behalf regularly (1:5). We also read in Job 3:25 that he feared losing his children and possessions—and it happened. But one of the biggest things I think we can learn from this story is that we can rest assured that if we are following the Lord and doing the best we can to make good, obedient choices, He will see us through even the toughest of times.

Today, make only good choices and do it again tomorrow and the next day. That is the path to integrity!