It Really Is All About The Choices We Make
People are quick to blame God for all the ills of the world or at very least say things like ‘Well if God is so loving why doesn’t he do something about [you fill in the blank]. The world is in the mess it is in because of all the bad choices the human race has made through time. And if we are honest our personal lives are the sum of the choices we have made. In this blog I want to consider the importance of choices.
By Lenora Pressley
People make choices every day. We choose what time we need to get up in the morning. We choose what clothes we are going to wear each day. We make choices about what food to eat, what TV shows to watch, what TV shows and video games to let our children watch and play and the list goes on and on. Life is about choices. We can choose to do good and do the “right thing” or we can choose to do what we want to do which may not always be the right choice. But regardless of whether we choose to do good or to do the “right thing” it is up to us to make the choice. God gave us free will and an individual mind to make everyday choices because God is not a dictator; He is a gentleman. He never forces Himself on us but He is always there for us if we need Him – all we have to do is ask.
We need to know that the choices we make also affects others around us. We are commanded to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 19:9) so when we make choices we should be aware of the consequences and consider how our choices affect others. If someone has been drinking too much and then makes the choice to drive their car that choice affects all the other people who are driving on the highway. If they get in a wreck and injure or kill someone that is because of the choice they made to drink and drive. It is not God’s fault that person chose to drink and drive. It’s not God’s fault for any of the bad choices we make. Bad things happen to good Christian people all the time and it is because of the choices we make or choices other people make. All of our choices affect someone at one time or another. My brother-in-law was killed riding his motorcycle home from work last year. The person in the car in front of him was texting and not paying attention to the cars in front of her. When she realized the cars in front of her had stopped, she slammed on her brakes which caused my brother-in-law to lock up his motorcycle and lose control of it. He was just riding along doing something that he loved to do trying to make it home but because of the choice of the driver in front of him he never made it home that day. She made a bad choice and because of her choice my sister is now left without a husband and soul mate. My sister blamed God for the loss of her husband at first. She now realizes after I explained about choices to her, that it wasn’t God’s fault but the fault of a choice made by another person. Does it hurt any less? No. Is she still grieving? Yes.
We have all blamed God for one thing or another at some point in our lives. But it is not God’s fault for the choices we make. School shootings, the tragedy of 9/11, other acts of terrorism, drunk driving deaths, drug overdoses, etc., are all a result of choices people have made. God cannot be expected to intervene every time someone makes a bad choice. Let’s face fact: most of the time God doesn’t intervene because He is not asked to intervene. We think we don’t need His help so instead of praying and asking God to direct our path, we just do whatever we think is right or whatever we want to do. If we would stop blaming God for our choices and start asking him to direct our path maybe we would start making right choices and right decisions. Isaiah 48:17 says “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go”. If we know God will direct us in the way we should go, then why are we not asking him to do so? If we believe what the word of God says, we should be asking God to direct us in all our ways. After all, we are here for His glory – not ours.
I just want everyone to realize how our choices affect the lives of so many other people. This includes but is not limited to our actions as well as the words that come out of our mouths. When it comes to the words we speak, we also have a choice whether to speak good edifying words or evil hurtful words. We can choose with our words to either build people up or knock them down. Ephesians 4:29 says “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” So be careful what you say to others and about others and make sure your words will build that person or their situation up and not knock them down. My mother always told me when I was growing up “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all”. That is good advice. We should think about what we are going to say before we say it. Ask yourself “Is what I am about to say or do going to glorify God?”. If not, then why bother. After all that is why we are here: to glorify God and to bring people to Jesus.
So before you make that choice or before you speak those words, remember to think and pray about it first. Let’s see if we as Christians can make a difference when it comes to the choices we make.
Teaching Children To Make The Right Choices
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
Personally I think you should never use the word punishment. There should be consequences to their actions with the goal in mind of correcting them not just a punishment for their crime. Make sure a child understands ahead of time this is the reward for these actions and choices and these are the consequences for these actions and leave it up to them to choose. That way it isn’t you to blame as the parent. They make the choice. Just make sure you follow up on the consequences agreed upon or after a while they won’t believe you. This teaches real life lessons that in real life there are consequences and rewards. As they get older spanking is not appropriate but have solid consequences in place for their actions.
First of all the earlier you start correcting them the better. Don’t think you can wait till they are teenagers and straighten them out then. That is probably too late. Is it easier to bend a young green twig or a grown oak? When they are young that is time for spanking not when they are older.
- Be a parent before being a friend.
- Positive reinforcement. Reward them for doing well in school, having a good work ethic, being respectful, etc.
- Trust but oversee.
- Boundaries give a child security whether they admit it or not.
- Spend time doing things with your children. Time is better than gifts. Don’t just buy them off.
- Have open dialogue. Keep channels of communication open. Remain calm and don’t be shocked or fly off the handle with some insecure traditional belief when they tell you something.
- Do not allow disrespect. Start early letting them know that eye rolling, disrespectful attitudes and tones will not be tolerated. Not just because you are the parent but because you are a human being worthy of respect.
- Don’t be shocked by profanity or nudity on TV, etc., make it a teachable moment.
- Teach girls they are worthy of respect and not to allow guys to degrade or mistreat them. Teach boys to respect girls.
- Talk with them about sex by the time they are 8 years old. They might not understand everything you are explaining but at least they hear it your way and not from the media or some other kid.
- Model the right behavior before them.
- Involve them in something outside themselves like some volunteer or charity or mission work. This will go far in making them realize how good they have it.
- Keep a game face on. No matter what you are going through don’t take it out on your kids or burden them with it. Don’t talk about your problems to your kids. They need you to model strength, authority, wisdom, knowledge and control. They should not have to take care of you. You should take care of them.
- Teach them the value of taking care of their stuff and making it last.
- Don’t buy them all the latest designer stuff. If they want something besides basics let them do something to earn money to buy it.
- When they start working they should pay their own way to movies, eating out, buying their clothes, car and gas. Don’t give them a car. Co-sign for it or whatever but make them pay for it.
- Fix healthy meals for them. Let them know what they are eating and how it is good for them.
- Teach them to cook and wash clothes. These are skills they will need. It is sad how many adults don’t know how to cook.
- Teach them other skills if you have them. Teach them to work on a car, use tools, etc.
- Discuss their future especially when they near end of middle school.
- You should have started a college fund when they were a baby not when it is time for them to go to college. There are insurance policies you can get cheap when they are babies to save up for their future like Gerber.
- Teach them to lead a balanced life mental, physical, spiritual and social.
- Teach them to defend themselves. Martial arts classes are helpful. Teach them firearms safety and they will respect guns and not abuse them. Don’t teach them fighting is never appropriate teach them when it is appropriate.
- Take them to a good church that doesn’t just preach it but they live it. They need to be around other young people trying to live right.
- Teach them difference between fantasy and reality. You would be surprised the effect video games have. I restrict games to those that they can play the hero and do what is right not games that teach them to steal and be abusive like Grand Theft Auto.
- Beware of changes in behavior. Lots of time in their rooms listening to screamo music, secretive, sad, signs of drug use.
- Single parents can be good parents. Even if one or the other is totally not in their lives reinforce with having adult friends of the missing gender. There are valuable lessons and insights to be learned from both genders. Don’t talk down missing parent, be truthful and let them decide for themselves whether they are a person they want in their life. Don’t ever force them to spend time with delinquent parent.
Our Relationship To Our Choices
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
Relationship with God is probably the biggest part of what it is going to take to walk this walk in Christ. His Holy Spirit now guides and directs us. He speaks to us and leads us in the way we should go. If we listen to His still small voice within He will love us, He will lead us, He will bring us understanding of His Word. This is what apostle Paul calls ‘walking in the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16, 25). When we walk in relationship with Him we are listening to His voice and that voice of the flesh gets fainter and fainter. We will actually find ourselves making right choices and not ruled by our fleshly appetites. It is a daily choice though, sometimes a minute by minute choice! If you make bad choices based on your fleshly desires you are keeping that old nature alive (Romans 6:19). And this makes you double-minded and James said, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:18). It is so true. It is like you are trying to walk in two worlds. It is like you are schizophrenic or something. Don’t yield to that old nature. The devil also wants to bring you down and he can’t appeal or rule in your redeemed spirit so he will make his play to your flesh and tempt you to make fleshly, selfish, destructive choices. If you yield to the flesh God’s voice will grow fainter and fainter. That is just the way it is.
“Like an ether all about us and in every living thing is a vast invisible ocean that fills us all with life and connects us to the Creator. Within it there are often storms but it is always filled with the ripples caused by each created being’s choices good and evil and even those things that are basically neither good nor evil. The most peaceful and enlightened among us still send forth a steady ripple, an energy that stabilizes the instability in the ether. We are all connected. All we do affects every other thing. Our actions cause the greatest ripples of all but have no doubt our very thoughts also affect all living things and all creation. For all actions are preceded by thoughts. Potential actions present themselves every day to the courtroom of our minds to be tried by us, then we make our choices. It all begins with a thought. Some would say there are some things that affect our world more than others and it may seem so but the reality is every thought, every action, every choice has no less effect than another. How can it? We are all created and began as a thought in the Creator’s great mind.That great ether all about us is truth. From it every living thing proceeds. And everything is a living thing. Truth is from the Creator and the Creator is truth.”
—Eli, Book 3 of RAVENQUEST by Benjamin Raven Pressley, ‘A Ripple In The Ether’
WANT TO READ THE ENTIRE 7 VOLUME SERIES? BOOK 1 IS FREE TO LISTEN TO OR READ.