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 ponds 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 make our own choices without restraints.

The Bible has several stories about choices.  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 choices on whom 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 of these criminals had a choice on how to respond to Jesus – to either accept or reject him.  One chose to believe in Jesus, and he received eternal rewards.  The other chose to reject Jesus, and he received eternal punishment.

In the New American Standard 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 naked women in Playboy.”  Instead, he said through Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality.”

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

God is love.  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.  If we repent and accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, he will cleanse us of our rebellious choices.  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.”  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 confess our sins and repent.  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.”

God is not a killjoy.  He doesn’t want us to live boring, unfulfilling lives.  But just as a loving father will tell his young child, “Don’t touch that” when they are about to touch a hot stove, God loves us so much that he tells us, “Don’t do that” to keep us from hurting ourselves.

Although it’s often hard to decide what lure to use when we pursue bass, the Lord gives us only two choices – right choices that will result in his blessing and wrong choices that will result in his punishment.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, we can find the strength never to put a question mark where God puts a period and make choices that we won’t regret.

Categories : Devotionals

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But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You.


 January 2022