Have Dice; Let’s Decide

Proverbs 16:33

The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from the Lord.

Too many choices? Which way do we decide? Which option do we accept?

The other day I went shopping with my wife’s grocery list. One of the items was a small can of pizza sauce. The brand my wife preferred was sold out so I had to decide on an alternative. Since none of the other brands was a known commodity, and the ingredients were very similar in each, I resorted to the Biblical concept of throwing dice.

Though I didn’t have dice in hand, I simply selected a number between 1 to 6, and then counted left to right until my number fell on the small jar. Selection done.

Thought this is a simple example that doesn’t necessarily impact life’s major decisions, it gives you an example of how one is able to quickly reach a decision where one doesn’t really know which way is best.

The Bible illustrates many similar situations where people came to a fork in the road and had to decide. Rather than base their decision on political or monetary weight, they followed the principal of trusting God. Or in some cases, they didn’t trust God, but simply acted in a peaceful way to reach a decision. Generally, when you have two quarreling sides or powerful contenders, casting lots is a way to eliminate playing favorites, politics, or nepotism in a decision. It is a means which agreeable people can accept and move on with their lives.

We see from the beginning when Israel entered the promise land after wandering 40 years, they cast lots to decide which tribe gets which portion of the land (Joshua 18:10).

King David cast lots to decide between his musicians and leaders who would manage what responsibilities (I Chronicles 24-26). When Jonah fled from God, the crew on the ship cast lots to determine who was the cause of evil brought upon them. The lot fell on him (Johan 1:7). When Jesus was crucified, lots were thrown to divide his garments among the Roman soldiers (Luke 23:34). And when Judas was replaced by Matthias, the final decision was determined with lots (Acts 1:26).

So, if you are struggling to make a decision, and you are willing to accept the outcome no matter what it is, then maybe a roll of the dice or flipping a coin is your means to a quick solution.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Self-Destructive Desires

Romans 7:18

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

Galatians 5:16-17, 5:24

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do…And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Ephesians 4:22

…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

Jesus spoke much about your heart – that you worship what you treasure. The apostle Paul likewise reiterated the same train of thought through the above Scriptures. The battles we face are best managed by how well you and I channel our desires.

Without allowing God’s Spirit access into our deepest desires, the carnal wants will have their way with you and I. When we focus on the Spirit and God’s character, we are aiming towards the eternal, long-term benefits which we all know is good and beneficial for all, but delayed gratification is not one of humanities greatest strengths.  

The other day, I had a strong desire for chocolate. Our neighbor, who loves to cook, stopped by with a plate of peanut butter cookies along with a plastic bag of chocolate bars. Good, expensive, dark chocolate. The type that is good for you. However, if you have an addiction towards sweet foods, not the best thing to have around. In less then a day, I had devoured the entire bag and could have eaten more. Thankfully there was nothing more available.

I slipped and satisfied my bodily desires. If I had immediately gotten rid of them the moment they entered into our house, I wouldn’t have indulged in my lust. But, I didn’t. Instead, I gave into my fleshly desire and consumed ½ pound of chocolate within minutes.

Though this is a small, carnal desire in comparison with other more harmful, destructive acts, it’s a lesson that I remind myself of the importance of walking with God’s Spirit in full surrender at all times. That the battle we face each day is with how we respond to the desires that continually are filtered through our inner world.

Over the years there are many times that I simply pushed the chocolate away from me without any temptation. Other times when I least expect, the temptation comes and I give in. The solution is knowing yourself and how best to fight against your weaknesses and perceived strengths.

When we are prayed-up, focused outward based on a Christ-centered base, the temptation is simply batted away. However, when we are empty, swaying far from the center of reality and truth, our self-centered, carnal desires easily flow with no godly boundaries in place. We are like a castle whose walls have been penetrated by the enemy. The battle is soon lost.

But thankfully we have a God who gracefully understands our human weaknesses and loves us even more than we can fathom. He restores us like the child who falls for the umpteen time, but her loving dad picks her up and encourages her to keep on trucking. Eventually the falls occur less and less, and maybe, the child even grows up and wins a goal medal in the Olympics.

Who knows what the future brings? But until then, the battle lies with the desires that explode us. I for one am grateful for our King who has gone before us, won the battle with the enemy, and now mentors us on how best to fight the carnal desires that evade us.

How? Holy Spirit have your way with us!

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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What Do You Desire Most?

Psalm 73:25

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

Ever wonder what is the primary difference between the person who says there is no God and the one who says there is a Master Designer? People have debated this for centuries without a universal, agreeable answer. So, I am going to add my two cents into the equation; not because anyone asked, but it has been on my heart lately.

I always thought it was an intellectual exercise to determine whether or not God existed. Most of the time we witness two people debating the issue on stage – one for and the other against. At the end of the day the audience wouldn’t change their mind. Whatever side they agreed too at the beginning of the debate is where they remained at the end of it. That is why I now wonder if it has little to do with intellect and more to do with one’s desire.

I look at my own life as an example. In my mid-teens, life was a total mess. Looking back, I was rebellious, angry, and troubled to the point if things didn’t change, I would soon be joining some of my associates either in prison or the cemetery. Out of desperation one evening, I knelt at my bedside and for the first time cried out, if there was a God, I needed him to save me from the mess I have gotten myself into.

Up to that point, I was probably more of an agnostic. But from that moment forward, I began to slowly change the course of my life. I started to read the Bible. I would go to the library and check out books on all the main religions and world known philosophers. Then one day in my senior year of high school, I found myself standing in the middle of the hallway between classroom changes just being mentally bombarded with the thought “what is the purpose of life?”

My intensity to discover the answer grew. I realized the first hurdle was to determine whether or not God was real. Because if there was a God, then the Master Designer would have had a purpose in mind. But if there wasn’t a God, then there would be no objective purpose for life.

The switch has been thrown. For the next several years, I lived life with one leg acting as if God existed and the other leg as if there was no God – no easy task. However, the more I read both sides of the argument and witnessed the lives of people who professed in a God, the more I began to realize if there was no God, life would be better with One.

So, I made the choice one day to begin living life as if God did exist. I searched out and became a member of a faith community. I began to learn to pray and study the Bible. (after reading other religious manuscripts, I most likely initially chose the Bible because of cultural acceptance). In many ways, those early years in my twenties, I still had one leg for God and the other leg being pulled for no God. But there was one scripture that became my marching order – Romans 12:2. I began to test God’s will.

Long story short. The more I looked for Him to act upon my prayers, the more I witnessed outcomes which made me stand back in awe. Initially I thought they were coincidental. But when favorable solutions repeatedly happened in a variety of unpredictable circumstances, you begin to take notice. You witness hearts and attitudes change in people who hated you.  You witness financial and physical intervention in your life and others which leave you scratching your head in amazement. You begin to witness invisible, life-giving forces weave through people’s lives which only makes you want to better understand its Source.

Over time, you begin to grow a relationship with an invisible God. You align what you read in Scripture with what you face every day. You realize you have taken what you have acquired in knowledge, learn to apply each day in your world, and grown from the experience. In hindsight, either you are crazy or you are truly experiencing the with-God life. I choose to believe the with-God life.    

Yes, the long journey included acquiring knowledge and experiencing God’s grace in action. But it all started with a strong desire to know whether or not God existed. Without that desire, it would have been easy to invest only one hour toward the study, reach a negative conclusion, and move on from there. However, with the scientific mind of starting off with a hypothesis, and then spending years putting God to the test, I can now say like David wrote in the Psalms, there is nothing on earth I desire more than knowing Father-Son-Spirit.

So, you can argue mentally all day long. But I now believe only when you have the intense desire to truly search for HIM, you will find him (Hebrews 11:6).  

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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