Christianity is Not Natural!

Which is more natural:

To resent someone who’s hurt me, or to pray for my enemy, returning good for evil?

To love those who love me, or to love even those who are different from me or hostile toward me?

To be interested primarily in my own affairs, or to be genuinely concerned about the needs of others?

To spend my waking hours totally involved in the things of this world, or to invest considerable attention in a world beyond time and space that I cannot detect with any of my five senses?

The two choices

Christianity is not natural. It is supernatural in its origin and its orientation.

Doing what comes naturally or living by faith? Which shall we choose?

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A Serious Look at Fun

In view of the options

Can anyone doubt that entertainment ranks high on the scale of American values? With the explosion of media technology, entertainment choices are practically unlimited.

Would it be safe to say that ours is the most entertained society in history?

Question: Are we a better people for all that?

Certainly there is a place for wholesome entertainment. Amusements of the right kind can provide the diversion we need from daily stress and refresh our weary spirits.

Choosing wisely

If we truly want what’s best, we’ll steer clear of anything that could corrupt our minds and hearts (Titus 1:15; Philippians 4:8).

And we’ll take care not to let amusements pre-empt Bible study, prayer, and serving others (Ephesians 5:15-17).

As with everything else in life, we must be selective—with God in view.

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What’s Your Choice?

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A matter of personal preference

Many love baseball; others never watch or play.

Some can fish for hours; others would be bored stiff.

Opera has its devotees; many can’t stand it.

Choices that lead somewhere

Is devotion to God in the same category as a recreational pastime–fine if you like it, fine if you don’t?

With the free will God gives us we can seek Him, or we can pursue a myriad of other options.

But are we prepared to argue that all choices are equally valid?

Christ offers us a choice—the way that leads to life or the way to destruction. Few choose the former; many the latter (Matthew 7:13-14).

Which shall we choose? Or more accurately, which are we choosing?

We’re on one path or the other—right now.

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Aimless Living

My dilemma

As I approached graduation from high school, anxiety possessed me. I had to make a choice: What would I do with my life? I recognized that saying “yes” to one thing meant saying “no” to everything else, and that felt like a burden too great to bear.

But the most important decision was much easier than that. It was not what would I do with my life, but who would I serve?

My decision

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

That one decision has made all of the others in my life.

Don’t live aimlessly. Aim to please God.

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By guest writer: Randy Daw (Johnson Street Church of Christ, Greenville, TX)

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Two and Only Two

So many options

Years ago when you had your teeth cleaned, there were no flavor options. Now the dental hygienist asks your preference of mint, cinnamon, or strawberry.

From colors of paint to selections of greeting cards, from choices of breakfast cereal to college courses—the options are almost endless.

Either/or

In contrast, Jesus often spoke of two and only two alternatives—one good, one bad.

Wise or foolish. Treasures in heaven or on earth. God or Mammon. Narrow way or broad way. Life or destruction. Prepared or unprepared.

There are two and only two realms at the present time (Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:13), and two and only two realms in the age to come (Matthew 25:46).

It’s a matter of life or death, and the choice is ours.

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Not Welcome

Their choice

No sign on the edge of town announced: “NAZARETH—HOMETOWN OF THE MESSIAH.”

When Jesus reminded His fellow Nazarenes of God’s kindness to Gentiles (1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 5), they became so angry they tried to throw Him off a cliff.

This only confirmed what He had just told them, “. . . no prophet is welcome in his hometown” (Luke 4:24).

About three years later there was a sign—but on the cross: “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Our choice

 “. . . those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God . . .” (John 1:11-12).

Some received Him; many did not.

With which group do we align today?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Why They Stayed

What the crowds wanted

It was a low point in Jesus’ ministry. After He fed thousands with only five loaves and two fish, they tried to make Him king, but not the kind Jesus came to be (John 6:14-15; 18:36).

They returned the next day, wanting another meal. Jesus offered them something far better: eternal life.

When they realized Jesus wasn’t playing their game, many walked away.

What Peter knew

Jesus asked His disciples if they too wanted to leave.

“Lord,” said Peter, “to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68).

The crowds had their reasons for leaving. Peter had his reasons for staying.

Which was right?

Faced with the same choice, what will we decide?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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