Tough Choices

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  And he took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be troubled and deeply distressed.  Then he said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.  Stay here and watch.”  He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.  And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.  Take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14: 32-36.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                After eating the Passover meal, Jesus and his disciples traveled to a garden area near the temple, known as Gethsemane.  There, in solitude, clothed in a heavy garment of darkness, the first drops of blood and sweat dripped from the forehead of God’s Son; a peaceful garden became the scene of the greatest battle ever fought; the knock-down-drag out fight for the redemption and salvation of mankind.  With the pain of his crucifixion dawning on the horizon, he succumbed to overwhelming anguish.  Falling on his face in agony, Jesus pleaded with God to use an alternative means of accomplishing His deliverance.  In the same breath he said, “nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”  In one sentence the battle had been won, and the world would come to know true obedience.  God’s will and our will are often in great opposition; like Jesus, there are moments when we are faced with tough choices.  Do we choose to do what is right despite any resulting hardships; or do we choose what is evil because it is less painful.

                [Warning:  This illustration is emotionally disturbing; if you have ever committed the sin outlined below, remember that God loves you; if you have asked for forgiveness you are guilty of nothing; by the blood of Christ you are a ‘new creation.’]  ‘Nearly 43% of all women will have at least one abortion by the time they are 45 years old.’  Every year, 42 million women choose to abort their developing babies because it is the easy way out.  A trip to the clinic and a life is traded for a few more years of freedom; a future job; or, greater financial security; in a 2004 study, 86% of abortions were justified by one of the following excuses: ‘unready’ (25%); ‘Can’t afford a baby now’ (23%); ‘has all the children she wanted, or all children are grown’ (19%); ‘has relationship problems or wants to avoid single parenthood’ (8%); ‘is too immature or young to have child’ (7%); ‘would interfere with education and career plans’ (4%).  Regardless of excuse, the true cause is selfishness (Definition of selfishness:exclusive regard to one’s own interest or happiness; supreme self-love or self-preference which leads a person to direct his purposes to the advancement of his own interest, power, or happiness.’)  Every child forming in the womb has already taken shape in the eyes of God; this year, like Jesus, millions of women and men will be faced with a choice; to obey the will of God and endure hardship, or to obey their own desires and avoid adversity.

                Women and men who choose life, have made the choice to do what is right; the correct path is often the most difficult.  Following God’s path is very costly.  Every disciple must embrace hardship and self-sacrifice.  Denying our own desires to satisfy the will of God is a daily battle that can only be won when we say, “nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”  The cost of eternal life is death; to live, we must lay down our lives.  May we all choose to serve God rather than ourselves; may we do what is right, no matter the cost; may we joyfully embrace a life of sacrifice; and may we always do the perfect will of our Almighty Father.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and praise You; You are truly an amazing God.  Help us to do Your will.  Give us the strength and the courage to embrace any difficulties that may arise from doing what is right.  Guide and direct us, that we might know what is pleasing to You.  May we deny our own desires when they are not congruent with Your desires.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

 

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