Choices by Randy Rowley 7/8/10 ©


Bass fishermen have many choices on how we can try to fool bass with artificial lures.  We can choose topwaters that make a lot of commotion, such as poppers, buzz and torpedo baits, and dog walkers, to imitate baitfish such as shad and minnows feeding on the surface.  Or we can choose soft plastic frogs or toads that mimic the real things.

Or we can opt for shallow-running spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and swimbaits that mimic crawfish, perch, and shad.  Or we can decide on crankbaits or jerkbaits that look like minnows and rattle and wobble from side to side at various depths.  Or we can choose jigs or soft plastic lures, such as worms, crawfish, lizards, flukes, creature baits, grubs, and tube baits, for slow finesse presentations along a lake’s, river’s, or pond’s bottom.

Part of the fun of bass fishing is figuring out what they want to eat and how they want it presented.  These options also help us develop a passion for free will – the right to choose without restraints.

The Bible has several stories about choices, including:

  • Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
  • Joshua 24:14-15 says, “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.  Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.  But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.  But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

In both of these passages, the Israelites had a choice of who they would serve.  The Israelites chose to serve the Lord, and God blessed their choice.

Luke 23:39-43 says, “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!”  But the other criminal rebuked him.  “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’”

Both criminals had a choice to believe in Jesus or reject him.  One chose to believe in Jesus, and he received eternal rewards.  The other decided to reject Jesus, and he received eternal punishment.

In the NASB version, God said, “You shall” 864 times, often followed with promises of blessings for obedience, and “You shall not” 277 times, often followed with promises of consequences for disobedience.

With people, many situations have shades of gray.  But with God, everything is black and white – right or wrong.  For example, he didn’t say, “Don’t rob banks, but it’s OK to keep bass over your limit.”  Instead, he said in Exodus 20:15, “You shall not steal.”  He didn’t say, “Don’t watch X-rated movies, but it’s OK to look at scantily-clad women in lingerie magazines.”  Instead, he said through Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality.”

I challenge us to look back at our lives and examine our choices, especially the wrong ones.  The number of poor choices many of us have made probably exceeds the number of lures in our tackle boxes and fish we’ve caught in our lifetimes combined.  Although we’d probably say, “I wish I hadn’t made those choices,” at the same time, we’d say we’re grateful God gave us free will, provided a way to cleanse us from our rebellious choices (sin), and the resolve to resist temptation and make right choices.

1 John 4:16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”  God loved us so much that he sent his only son to be tortured and die a horrible death to take the punishment for our sins.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” and Acts 3:19 (NLT) says, “Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sins.”  If we confess our sins to God and repent (turn from the direction we were heading and turn to God), he will cleanse us of our rebellious choices.  As a bonus, we get to spend eternity with him.

If we are his children, he will continually cleanse us of our rebellious choices if we repent and confess our sins to God.

God isn’t a killjoy.  He doesn’t want us to live boring, unfulfilling lives – he wants us to have abundant lives.  Jesus said in John 10:10b, “I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.”  But just as a loving father will tell his young children, “Don’t touch that,” when they’re about to touch a hot stove, God loves us so much he tells us, “Don’t do that,” to keep us from hurting ourselves.

Although it’s often hard to decide what lures to use when pursuing bass, God gives us only two choices – right choices resulting in his blessings, and wrong choices resulting in punishments.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, reading God’s word, praying, and seeking Godly counsel, we can find the strength to make choices we won’t regret and not put a question mark where God puts a period.

Categories : Devotionals

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He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.