Tag Archives: Choices


It is important to become aware that at every moment of our life we have an opportunity to choose joy. Life has many sides to it. There are always sorrowful and joyful sides to the reality we live. And so we always have a choice to live the moment as cause for resentment or as a cause for joy. It is in the choice that our true freedom lies, and that freedom is, in the final analysis, the freedom to love.

~~~Henri Nouwen

If it seems evil to you to serve Yahweh, choose today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.

~~~Joshua 24:15

Life is full of choices. We must choose things as simple as what we will wear today or where we will eat. More important choices come in the form of our finances, behavior and relationships. Our choices can lead us to harm or produce great good.

When I was the pastor of First UMC Mansfield, Louisiana, I was called out on Christmas Eve early in the morning to minister amid a tragic event. A young firefighter had been killed when his truck was struck by a train and immediately burst into flames. The event was sad enough, but the circumstances made it worse. It was Christmas and he was newly married with a baby on the way. If that were not bad enough, the chief told me that he did not have to respond to the call. He made a choice and it ended tragically. Sometimes we do not even have a clue as to what might happen as a result of our choices. I realize that this event is simply a random act, but we are in control of so many things. We cannot protect ourselves from things which we do not know, but we can make choices that better our lives. Bear in mind that the results of our choices can be incredibly significant.

The young man made a choice that he thought was the right thing to do, but chance took his life away from him. We all have choices to make about our daily activities, and there are things that are out of our control. We must remember that there are quite a few choices that we enter with our eyes wide open. Let us look at a few of them.

We choose how to react to situations, both good and bad. It is purely your choice whether you turn the other cheek or strike back. Are you going to continue an argument or move forward? We are faced with these types of choices every day. Joshua refers to the greatest of all choices. Choosing God determines much about how we make every other choice. Who do we serve-God or the world? This choice is where we begin.

As servants of the true God we choose a path in life that brings blessings. Many times in our lifetime, we have a path or direction to choose. These choices come in the form of a job opportunity, a chance to move to a bigger or smaller home or choose a good over evil. Life is full of these types of decisions, and we must make the most of them.

I feel that the biggest choice we have is how we react to an offence or a hurt. Statistics bear out that personal argument and disagreement are involved in many violent crimes. What does that mean? It means that how we react to hurt feelings, insults and unfairness is a great determining factor behind violence. Make the right choice and move forward. Nouwen stresses that choice gives us true freedom. A freedom to live life in a way that we determine. That is what choice really is-freedom.


Lord, You have given me the freedom of choice in my life. Help me to make the right choice and to always bear in mind that my choices have grave consequences. Protect me from the temptation to be led away from you by the lure of the world. Keep me on the path that will usher in your goodness to my life.


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Choices – they seem unending, especially at Christmas.  The Scriptures can be our guide as we observe the way God chooses and the way he challenged others to choose.  From the very beginning when Adam and Eve chose their own way over God’s provision, each person who has ever lived has faced that decision.

Martha, out of self-righteous frustration, reprimanded Jesus because he would not condemn her sister, Mary, for not helping her with chores.  Jesus simply tried to help her understand that Mary, in choosing to simply sit in His Presence and internalize his every word ,had indeed chosen “the good part.”  Mary chose the part that never goes away, never gets old – the part that is eternal.

The rich young man expected a quick, easy answer from Jesus.  He needed to know how to inherit eternal life.  He could not imagine that inheriting eternal life could be any more challenging than inheriting his father’s wealth.  But Jesus told him he would have to make a choice between what the world could give and what God could give.  The rich young man chose the part that goes away – the part that is temporary.

The Christmas narratives portray God’s nature by the choices He made.

  • God chose a teenage peasant girl, not a daughter of a ruling Pharisee.
  • God chose a carpenter, not a king.
  • God chose Nazareth, not Jerusalem.
  • God chose a stable, not a palace.
  • God chose a feeding trough, not an ornate cradle.
  • God chose shepherds, not rabbis.
  • God chose to show his star to Gentiles, not Jewish royalty.
  • God chose poverty, not wealth.
  • God chose humility, not position.
  • God chose service, not recognition
  • God chose earth, not heaven.

This Advent, this season of endless options, is a perfect time to evaluate our decisions, to align our choices with the eternal and holy and divine.  Jesus told us that a good person with a heart full of good treasure makes good choices, lives a good life, recognizes holiness, and lives in the Kingdom of God.  He told us that choices reveal our souls, our decisions come from what dominates our hearts, and our lives mirror the Master that controls them.

A Prayer About Choices

O God, you know that today-or very soon-I must make a decision which is going to affect my whole life.

Help me to choose rightly-and to choose the right way.

Grant me your guidance, and with it grant me the humble obedience to accept it.

Help me not necessarily to choose what I want to do, but what you want me to do.

Grant that I may not be swayed solely by fear or by hope of gain, by selfish love of ease or comfort or by personal ambition, by the desire to escape or by longing for prestige.

Help me today in humble obedience to say to you, “Lord, what will you have me to do?” and then await your guidance, and accept your leading.

Hear this prayer of mine and send an answer so clear that I cannot mistake it.

This I ask for your love’s sake!


William Barclay

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