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Posts tagged ‘Choices’

Defining Choices – Choices

ChoicesWe think of the Psalms as wonderful examples of praise to God and powerful expressions of the range of human emotions in relating to God.

We probably don’t think of them as instructional.  But here’s a catechism lesson!

Interact with God’s Word

Psalm 15:1-5

  1. What does David’s question imply about God? … about what separates people from Him?
  2. Why isn’t David’s answer about ritual purity or offering sacrifices?
  3. Is the conduct David describes an unreachable ideal or a basic reflex that can be drilled into our lives with the help of the Holy Spirit?
  4. What kinds of consistency are required by verse 2 over time? … between words and actions? … between the public and private? … between ends and means?
  5. Does mere external conformity to moral standards cut it for David?
  6. Could you do the things to be avoided (in v. 3) while remaining strictly truthful?
  7. What does verse 4 tell you about being morally discerning?
  8. In our interest-based economy, what kinds of “gouging” are still prohibited?
  9. What does “stand firm forever” mean? How does it refer back to David’s question?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God for the strength of character to actually be what you claim—as a model to those who observe your life, and to prepare you to live in His presence.

Psalm 15:1-5

1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?

2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends.

4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts.

5 Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

Defining Choices – Envelope Flap

ChoicesKey Bible Verse: The Lord demands fairness in every business deal; he sets the standard.  – Proverbs 16:11

Bonus Reading: Deuteronomy 25:13-16

In the very early days of Inmac, we received a shipment of tear-resistant envelopes from a supplier. During the unpacking, I accidentally sliced into one-third of the envelopes. It sickened me, because those represented 5 percent of the money for our fledgling company’s inventory. I couldn’t bring myself to remove the damaged items from the inventory.

When the first order for those envelopes arrived, I shipped a number of defective ones without thinking twice about it. Suddenly all of our orders stopped. Not a single call for three days.

As I was praying that night, I remembered those envelopes and sensed that God was trying to get my attention. I asked Him to forgive me for cheating that customer and vowed to make it right.

First thing the next morning, utterly embarrassed, I apologized for my mistake to my bewildered part-time employee. Then I rushed out a replacement shipment to the customer.

Normally, we experienced our lowest volume on Thursdays, but that day the orders came pouring in again—making up the entire shortfall from the beginning of the week! I believe the Lord was saying to me, “Ken, if I can’t trust you in the little things, how can I trust you in the big ones?”

—Ken Eldred in God Is at Work

My Response: How am I practicing honesty, service, and excellence on the job?

Thought to Apply: You must consider the bottom line, but make it integrity before profits.—Denis Waitley

Adapted from God Is at Work (Regal, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

 

Defining Choices – Sacrifice Play

ChoicesKey Bible Verse: Those who … keep their promises even when it hurts … such people will stand firm forever.  – Psalm 15:4,5

Bonus Reading: Psalm 15:1-5

When our younger son, Bryndan, played Little League baseball, he was on the Atlanta team one summer that played in the Little League World Series. At season’s end, the team invited him to play with them the next summer. When Bryndan heard about it, he was really excited. (So were Karen and I.)

But there was a hitch: Long before the LLWS team opportunity came up, Bryndan had given the coach of his neighborhood team his word (and so had I) that he would be playing with his team that summer.

This was a dilemma; if Bryndan played on the LLWS team, the skill level, exposure, and number of games would really contribute to his development. Yet, as we thought and prayed about it, I concluded that Bryndan’s word meant more than taking advantage of a great opportunity.

“Son,” I told him, “I’m not going to let you do that. We promised our neighborhood coach that you’d be on his team this year. This is a test. It’s important that you grow up to be an honorable man who won’t walk away from what you say you’ll do. If God wants you to play baseball on a team like the other one, He’ll give you that opportunity without sacrificing your integrity.”

—Crawford Loritts Jr. in Never Walk Away

My Response: A time when sticking to my word really cost me was …

Thought to Apply: One thing you can give and still keep is your word.—Source Unknown

Adapted from Never Walk Away (Moody, 1997)

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

 

Defining Choices – Mickey Mouse Rules?

ChoicesKey Bible Verse: “Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and hate every kind of deception.” Proverbs 8:6-7

Bonus Reading: Proverbs 11:1-6

While in line for tickets at a theme park, I suddenly realized, “I’m a liar and I’m teaching my children to lie.” That horrible moment of realization came shortly after I told my 11-year-old daughter, “If they ask, tell them you’re 10.”

It wasn’t a huge lie. People do it all the time. It was easily rationalized: She wasn’t tall enough to ride all the rides, so we shouldn’t have to pay full price for her ticket. Those parks are ridiculously overpriced anyway. And besides, if they cared enough, they’d be more scrupulous about checking age.

Those excuses flooded in but were stopped in an instant by a simple fact: I was being dishonest. Worse, I was modeling dishonesty to my child, and even dragging her into it. Hardly worth a $20 difference in the price of a ticket!

Since that day, I’ve made a commitment to play by the rules. If the menu says kids’ meals are for a certain age, we abide by it. If the adult-priced ticket costs too much, we don’t rationalize; we just stay home.

My track record so far isn’t perfect. But I know that every time I follow the rules, even when no one else does, I’m placing another block of character in my fortress, ready for the larger tests ahead.

—Mark Geil in Georgia

My Response: One way I recently chose the path of integrity was …

Thought to Apply: When you have a fight with your conscience and get licked, you win.—Grit

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

 

Defining Choices – Flight Plan

ChoicesKey Bible Verse: “Be just and fair to all,” says the Lord. “Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you. Blessed are those who are careful to do this.” Isaiah 56:1-2

Bonus Reading: Psalm 25:1-5,21

My tires screeched rounding a corner at the airport parking garage. Debbie and I were running late. I spotted an open parking space. Backing up to squeeze in, I forgot about the trailer hitch we’d just installed. It hit the car behind me. I jumped out to inspect a slightly damaged bumper.

What to do?

The right thing was to leave a note—but taking the time to do so would make us miss our flight. Besides, the car was old, with dents and scratches. The damaged plastic probably would have no effect on the car’s owner, I told myself; but missing our flight would have a big effect on us. “We’ve got to get to that plane!” I announced, and headed for the terminal.

But I hadn’t gotten very far when a voice called inside me. “Is catching a plane so important,” it asked, “that it’s worth forfeiting God’s favor?” I stopped in my tracks, turned to Debbie, and said, “I’m sorry, Honey. I just have to leave a note.”

“I know,” she replied without a hint of misgiving. So I wrote a note with my phone number, and left it on the damaged car.

We did miss our flight, but lined up a later one and enjoyed a leisurely lunch.

—Robert Morris in From Dream to Destiny

My Response: Am I attempting to ignore, or listening for, that inner voice?

Adapted from From Dream to Destiny (Regal, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

 

Defining Choices – Stroke of Lick?

ChoicesWho Said It…Kris Young

Kris Young has worked as a screenwriter for more than 20 years and currently teaches screenwriting at UCLA and the Los Angeles Film Studies Center. In his courses, “Emphasis is given to the role of Christian faith and values as they relate to script content.”

Kris lives in the Southern California foothills with his wife, Celine, and son, Skye. His love of dogs shines in Four Paws from Heaven, a book he co-authored.

What He Said…Stroke of Lick?

Once in a while I’ve gotten letters and packages with uncanceled postage stamps. Finding one used to be like winning a micro-mini lottery. I’d cut out the stamp, soak it off, and reuse it, thinking I was doing some positive “recycling.”

One day I received an unblemished 55-cent stamp and proceeded to do what I’d always done. Suddenly, a Scripture came to mind: “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV). My brain launched into dialogue with my Creator.

God: “Kris, why are you reusing that stamp?”

Me: “Because as a freelance writer, I’ve sometimes worked for years without earning a penny, so I’m trained to take advantage of any and every rebate.”

God: “Why?”

Me: “Because I don’t really believe You’ll meet my needs.”

Now any uncanceled stamp I receive in the mail I toss into the trash. God doesn’t want me to cheat over a stamp when as His child He’s promised to meet all my needs.

Adapted from Four Paws from Heaven (Harvest, 2006)

Prayer for the Week:  May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

 

Defining Choices – Choices

ChoicesWe think of the Psalms as wonderful examples of praise to God and powerful expressions of the range of human emotions in relating to God.

We probably don’t think of them as instructional.  But here’s a catechism lesson!

Interact with God’s Word

Psalm 15:1-5

  1. What does David’s question imply about God? … about what separates people from Him?
  2. Why isn’t David’s answer about ritual purity or offering sacrifices?
  3. Is the conduct David describes an unreachable ideal or a basic reflex that can be drilled into our lives with the help of the Holy Spirit?
  4. What kinds of consistency are required by verse 2 over time? … between words and actions? … between the public and private? … between ends and means?
  5. Does mere external conformity to moral standards cut it for David?
  6. Could you do the things to be avoided (in v. 3) while remaining strictly truthful?
  7. What does verse 4 tell you about being morally discerning?
  8. In our interest-based economy, what kinds of “gouging” are still prohibited?
  9. What does “stand firm forever” mean? How does it refer back to David’s question?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God for the strength of character to actually be what you claim—as a model to those who observe your life, and to prepare you to live in His presence.

Psalm 15:1-5

1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?

2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends.

4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts.

5 Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

Defining Choices – Envelope Flap

ChoicesKey Bible Verse: The Lord demands fairness in every business deal; he sets the standard.  – Proverbs 16:11

Bonus Reading: Deuteronomy 25:13-16

In the very early days of Inmac, we received a shipment of tear-resistant envelopes from a supplier. During the unpacking, I accidentally sliced into one-third of the envelopes. It sickened me, because those represented 5 percent of the money for our fledgling company’s inventory. I couldn’t bring myself to remove the damaged items from the inventory.

When the first order for those envelopes arrived, I shipped a number of defective ones without thinking twice about it. Suddenly all of our orders stopped. Not a single call for three days.

As I was praying that night, I remembered those envelopes and sensed that God was trying to get my attention. I asked Him to forgive me for cheating that customer and vowed to make it right.

First thing the next morning, utterly embarrassed, I apologized for my mistake to my bewildered part-time employee. Then I rushed out a replacement shipment to the customer.

Normally, we experienced our lowest volume on Thursdays, but that day the orders came pouring in again—making up the entire shortfall from the beginning of the week! I believe the Lord was saying to me, “Ken, if I can’t trust you in the little things, how can I trust you in the big ones?”

—Ken Eldred in God Is at Work

My Response: How am I practicing honesty, service, and excellence on the job?

Thought to Apply: You must consider the bottom line, but make it integrity before profits.—Denis Waitley

Adapted from God Is at Work (Regal, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

 

Defining Choices – Sacrifice Play

ChoicesKey Bible Verse: Those who … keep their promises even when it hurts … such people will stand firm forever.  – Psalm 15:4,5

Bonus Reading: Psalm 15:1-5

When our younger son, Bryndan, played Little League baseball, he was on the Atlanta team one summer that played in the Little League World Series. At season’s end, the team invited him to play with them the next summer. When Bryndan heard about it, he was really excited. (So were Karen and I.)

But there was a hitch: Long before the LLWS team opportunity came up, Bryndan had given the coach of his neighborhood team his word (and so had I) that he would be playing with his team that summer.

This was a dilemma; if Bryndan played on the LLWS team, the skill level, exposure, and number of games would really contribute to his development. Yet, as we thought and prayed about it, I concluded that Bryndan’s word meant more than taking advantage of a great opportunity.

“Son,” I told him, “I’m not going to let you do that. We promised our neighborhood coach that you’d be on his team this year. This is a test. It’s important that you grow up to be an honorable man who won’t walk away from what you say you’ll do. If God wants you to play baseball on a team like the other one, He’ll give you that opportunity without sacrificing your integrity.”

—Crawford Loritts Jr. in Never Walk Away

My Response: A time when sticking to my word really cost me was …

Thought to Apply: One thing you can give and still keep is your word.—Source Unknown

Adapted from Never Walk Away (Moody, 1997)

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

 

Defining Choices – Mickey Mouse Rules?

ChoicesKey Bible Verse: “Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and hate every kind of deception.” Proverbs 8:6-7

Bonus Reading: Proverbs 11:1-6

While in line for tickets at a theme park, I suddenly realized, “I’m a liar and I’m teaching my children to lie.” That horrible moment of realization came shortly after I told my 11-year-old daughter, “If they ask, tell them you’re 10.”

It wasn’t a huge lie. People do it all the time. It was easily rationalized: She wasn’t tall enough to ride all the rides, so we shouldn’t have to pay full price for her ticket. Those parks are ridiculously overpriced anyway. And besides, if they cared enough, they’d be more scrupulous about checking age.

Those excuses flooded in but were stopped in an instant by a simple fact: I was being dishonest. Worse, I was modeling dishonesty to my child, and even dragging her into it. Hardly worth a $20 difference in the price of a ticket!

Since that day, I’ve made a commitment to play by the rules. If the menu says kids’ meals are for a certain age, we abide by it. If the adult-priced ticket costs too much, we don’t rationalize; we just stay home.

My track record so far isn’t perfect. But I know that every time I follow the rules, even when no one else does, I’m placing another block of character in my fortress, ready for the larger tests ahead.

—Mark Geil in Georgia

My Response: One way I recently chose the path of integrity was …

Thought to Apply: When you have a fight with your conscience and get licked, you win.—Grit

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

 

Defining Choices – Flight Plan

ChoicesKey Bible Verse: “Be just and fair to all,” says the Lord. “Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you. Blessed are those who are careful to do this.” Isaiah 56:1-2

Bonus Reading: Psalm 25:1-5,21

My tires screeched rounding a corner at the airport parking garage. Debbie and I were running late. I spotted an open parking space. Backing up to squeeze in, I forgot about the trailer hitch we’d just installed. It hit the car behind me. I jumped out to inspect a slightly damaged bumper.

What to do?

The right thing was to leave a note—but taking the time to do so would make us miss our flight. Besides, the car was old, with dents and scratches. The damaged plastic probably would have no effect on the car’s owner, I told myself; but missing our flight would have a big effect on us. “We’ve got to get to that plane!” I announced, and headed for the terminal.

But I hadn’t gotten very far when a voice called inside me. “Is catching a plane so important,” it asked, “that it’s worth forfeiting God’s favor?” I stopped in my tracks, turned to Debbie, and said, “I’m sorry, Honey. I just have to leave a note.”

“I know,” she replied without a hint of misgiving. So I wrote a note with my phone number, and left it on the damaged car.

We did miss our flight, but lined up a later one and enjoyed a leisurely lunch.

—Robert Morris in From Dream to Destiny

My Response: Am I attempting to ignore, or listening for, that inner voice?

Adapted from From Dream to Destiny (Regal, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.

 

Defining Choices – Stroke of Lick?

ChoicesWho Said It…Kris Young

Kris Young has worked as a screenwriter for more than 20 years and currently teaches screenwriting at UCLA and the Los Angeles Film Studies Center. In his courses, “Emphasis is given to the role of Christian faith and values as they relate to script content.”

Kris lives in the Southern California foothills with his wife, Celine, and son, Skye. His love of dogs shines in Four Paws from Heaven, a book he co-authored.

What He Said…Stroke of Lick?

Once in a while I’ve gotten letters and packages with uncanceled postage stamps. Finding one used to be like winning a micro-mini lottery. I’d cut out the stamp, soak it off, and reuse it, thinking I was doing some positive “recycling.”

One day I received an unblemished 55-cent stamp and proceeded to do what I’d always done. Suddenly, a Scripture came to mind: “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV). My brain launched into dialogue with my Creator.

God: “Kris, why are you reusing that stamp?”

Me: “Because as a freelance writer, I’ve sometimes worked for years without earning a penny, so I’m trained to take advantage of any and every rebate.”

God: “Why?”

Me: “Because I don’t really believe You’ll meet my needs.”

Now any uncanceled stamp I receive in the mail I toss into the trash. God doesn’t want me to cheat over a stamp when as His child He’s promised to meet all my needs.

Adapted from Four Paws from Heaven (Harvest, 2006)

Prayer for the Week:  May the choices I make, Lord, honor You, showcasing Your transforming power at work in my life.