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Saturday, June 30, 2018

I AM PERSUADED, SO I DEPEND UPON......


                                           
  I DEPEND UPON.... FOR THE OUTCOME


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“…therefore … [you]… choose ” (Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV). "...THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.... WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH... " (JOHN 16:13 KJV)
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Making a choice or decision is something that most likely has to be made, on some level, big or small, every single day of your life. What should I wear to work? What should I eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Should I marry him or her? What college should I attend? Should I go to a University in state or out-of-state?

Minor choices or decisions are made relatively quickly and are resolved based on routine or traditional information, past experience, or one’s own or someone else’s expert knowledge or skills. Major choices or decisions may require more strategies or brainstorming

All minor or major choices and decisions involve some effort or mental energy, but both types of decision-making need to be approached with an established process in mind.

However, there are complex, emergency, out-of-control, and ambituious choices and decisions that are sometimes made under duress or some kind of time restraint. These kinds of choices or decisions do NOT have the luxury of time or use of typical strategical tactics.

So when “making a CHOICE” - whether minor, major, or complex - what can a Godly process for, decision-making, be for the believer?

The suggested Godly process for decision-making is one that involves have a singled-focused standard, which is God’s Word.

God WORD is SPIRIT. “…THE WORDS … they ARE SPIRIT…” (John 6:63 KJV).

For instance, when making a decision to FORGIVE, what is the focused standard, from God’s Word, which is Spirit, that guides the CHOICE to forgive? “… forgive, if you have anything against anyone …” (Mark 11:25 NASB). “… First forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against…” (Mark 11:25 NLT). “… Forgive others, and you will be forgiven…” (Luke 6:37 NASB).

The Godly process for decision-making also involves evaluating all the biblical options, from God’s Word, before making a decision.

For instance, when making a decision to FORGIVE, what are the options, from God’s Word, which is SPIRIT, that aid in evaluating the CHOICE to forgive?  “…THE WORDS … they ARE SPIRIT…” (John 6:63 KJV). "If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you…” (Matthew 6:14 NASB). “… if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions…” (Matthew 6:15 NLT). “… Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart…” (Matthew 18:34-35 NLT). “… if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions…” (Mark 11:26 NASB). “… forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us…” (Luke 11:4 NASB). “… if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him…” (Luke 17:4 NASB). “… Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you…” (Ephesians 4:32 NASB). “… Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others…” (Colossians 3:13 NASB).


Making a CHOICE or DECISION using God’s word, which is SPIRIT, as a standard and evaluating the biblical options involve selecting the best option conducive for the situation at hand. “…THE WORDS … they ARE SPIRIT…” (John 6:63 KJV).

GOD’S WORD (spirit) says: FORGIVE

OPTIONS: 1. Forgive and the Father will forgive you. 2. Don’t forgive and the Father won’t forgive you. 3. Be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. 4. Willfully decide to show mercy to those who offend you and  choose o forgive. 5. Forgive BECAUSE Christ forgave you.

Select one or all of the biblical options when using this Godly process for decision-making. THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK unto you, they ARE SPIRIT, and they ARE LIFE…” (John 6:63 KJV).“…choose LIFE” (Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV).

However, using God’s Word, which is SPIRIT, as a standard for evaluating biblical options, and making a wise selection is easier when decisions are simple instead of complex, risky, ambituious, or pressured. For instance, in ACTS 27 the centurion had a complex decision to make. “…the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul” (Acts 27:9-21 NASB).

Not only was the centurion in Acts 27 persuaded to make a decision under duress, but the majority had also reached a decision too. “… the majority … [also] … reached a decision to put out to sea from there…” (Acts 27:12 NASB).

The Godly process is easily ignored when decision-making is more complex and challenging. “…the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul (who delivered a word from god)” (Acts 27:9-21 NASB).

People tend to fall back on more routine, tried, and traditional methods of decision-making when pressured.  “…the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship ” (Acts 27:9-21 NASB).

“…the centurion was more persuaded ” (Acts 27:9-21 NASB). The centurion was trying to decide whether to sail to another harbor or not. He probably often based his nautical decisions on the experts or his OWN experience and in the past these methods proved to be reliable. “…There is a way which seemeth right unto a man ...” (Proverbs  14:20 KJV).

In addition, when the centurion compared his dilemma with other ships that had been in the same situation and their outcome may have been favorable. The favorable past may NOT be the favorable future.  "…Behold, I will do something NEW,it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?…” (Isaiah 43:19-20 NASB). ""Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare NEW things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you..." (Isaiah 42:9 NASB).  “…Behold, ALL” THINGS are become NEW” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).

The centurion was under pressure to devise a strategy which would aid him in making a decision to sail or stay where they were. “… the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there …” (Acts 27:13 NASB).

The centurion had many complex, human factors to consider: ambituious winter weather, inadequate accommodations, safety, incommodious provisions, shortage of material necessities, and the lack of comfort and conveniences of the crew. “… the harbor was not suitable for wintering, …” (Acts 27:13 NASB).

In Christianity, Godly decision-making is a spiritual process that is undergirded by God’s WORD. “… We can make our plans, but the Lord (the WORD) determines our steps…” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT). “…The steps of a good man are ordered (directed) by the Lord (the WORD)” (Psalms 37:23 KJV).

God’s WORD is selected as the STANDARD that guides a CHOICE or DECISION among many other so-called established standards or beliefs. “…THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK unto you … they ARE LIFE…” (John 6:63 KJV). “… choose LIFE ” (Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV).

When God’s WORD is selected as the STANDARD that GUIDES decision-making, hopefully it will be based on the biblical values, biblical options, and the biblical beliefs that PERSUADE the one making the CHOICE or DECISION. “…I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day…” (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).  

Making a CHOICE or DECISION is the method in which problems are solved. The centurion made a decision to sail to Crete and thought it was an optimal, satisfactory, overall solution to the problem. “… they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete…” (Acts 27:13 NASB).

The majority of decision-making is expert-based, experienced-based, or science-based, but NOT necessarily spiritually-based. “….Don't put your confidence in … people (not experts, the experienced, or scientist); there is no help for you there….” (Psalms 146: 3 NLT).

People apply their most persuasion knowledge to their decision-making process. “…the centurion was more persuaded ” (Acts 27:9-21 NASB).

Some Christians, when pressured to make a decision, will exercise FAITH rather than rely on established, human approaches. .…Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV).

When God’s WORD is selected as the STANDARD that GUIDES decision-making the OUTCOME, whatever it may be, is IN God’s HANDS. “…I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day…” (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).  

When God’s WORD is selected as the STANDARD that GUIDES decision-making it becomes a spiritual work. “…It is God who works IN YOU TO WILL and TO ACT (DO)” (Philippians 2:13 NIV). “…the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works…” (John 14:10 KJV). 
Experts, the experienced, and science can help under pressure, but ultimate TRUST is GIVEN to GOD for the RIGHT outcome. God is a God that will guide his people in the way they should go. “… I will bless the Lord who guides me…” (Psalms 16:7 NLT). “…[My God] guides me along the right paths…” (Psalms 23:3 NLT). “…The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases…” (Proverbs 21:1 NLT).

When making a CHOICE or DECISION becomes a spiritual work the believer has surrendered the outcome to God, regardless of other methods, and will be EMPOWERED by God to have FAITH in his solution! be content with what you have, because God has said “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you…” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). “God is [your] refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1 KJV).

Apostle Paul said, “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want…” Philippians 4:11-12 NIV). His secret, “…I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13 KJV).

The spiritual work of decision-making occurs when the outcome is committed to God. “…Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship …‘Do not be afraid, …” (Acts 27:22-25 NASB).

The spiritual work of decision-making is entrusted to God, usually, in the face of uncertainty and WITHOUT having control over the outcome. “…Do not be afraidI believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told…” (Acts 27:22-25 NASB).

Even though God promises ALL things will work together for good; most people are uncertain whether they will benefit from trusting God or suffer harm. “..all things work together for GOOD  to them that LOVE GOD, to them who are THE CALLED to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 KJV).

“…there will be no loss of life …” (Acts 27:22-25 NASB). “….And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land…” (Acts 27:44 NASB).

Completely TRUSTING God, for the outcome of a decision, creates havoc on the human emotions, especially when what is SEEN, with the eyes, doesn’t LOOK favorably. The seamen’s HOPE died. “…from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned (gone)…” (ACTS 27:14-19 NASB). God said: “…there will be no loss of life …” (Acts 27:22-25 NASB). AND “….they all were brought safely to land…” (Acts 27:44 NASB).

When “making a CHOICE” and God’s WORD becomes the STANDARD in which you make that DECISION; you are CHOOSING to have FAITH in God for the OUTCOME. “…The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. …The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. … they are righteous altogether …” (Psalm 19:7-11 NASB). “…THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK unto you … they ARE LIFE…” (John 6:63 KJV). “… choose LIFE ” (Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV). “…I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day…” (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).

CHOOSING to have FAITH in God for the OUTCOME of a DECISION is to “…live by faith (depending upon god), not by sight….” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV). “…walk by faith. (depending upon god)..” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV).

WALKING BY FAITH (depending UPON God), is the GUARANTEE that “all things” will produce a FAVORABLE OUTCOME. … [Indwelling] …FAITH IS the substance (guarantee) of things hoped for…” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). … [Indwelling] … FAITH IS …the evidence of things not seen…” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). “…ALL THINGS for which you pray and ask, BELIEVE (walk by faith or depend upon God) THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED THEM, and they will be granted you” (Mark 11:24 NASB). “…Jesus said unto him, If THOU CANST BELIEVE (walk by FAITH or depend upon God), all things are possible to him that believeth (walk by faith or depend upon God)…” (Mark 9:23 KJV). “… all things work together for GOOD  to them that LOVE GOD, to them who are THE CALLED to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 KJV).

A FAVORABLE OUTCOME is a guaranteed RESULT of “WALKING BY FAITH or DEPENDING UPON GOD.” … [indwelling] … FAITH IS …the evidence of things not seen…” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV).

“TRUSTING, by walking by faith or depending upon God, the OUTCOME to GOD,” and “making a CHOICE” by using GOD’S WORD as a STANDARD is the substance of things hoped for. … [Indwelling] …FAITH IS the substance (guarantee) of things hoped for…” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). “…walk by faith...” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV).Trust in the Lord with all thine heart …” (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV).  “… choose LIFE ” (Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV). “…THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK unto you … they ARE LIFE…” (John 6:63 KJV). “…Iam persuaded that he is able to keep …” (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).

In Hebrews 11 we see the FAVORABLE OUTCOMES of having FAITH in God or depending upon God for the OUTCOME. Especially, after making a DECISION based on CHOOSING his WORD as a STANDARD and being empowered, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, to walk by FAITH. “…FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, and hearing by the word of God…” (Roman 10:17 KJV).

BY FAITH we understand

BY FAITH …Abel brought

BY FAITH …Enoch was taken up

BY FAITH …Noah BUILT

BY HIS FAITH Noah CONDEMNED.

BY FAITH …Abraham obeyed

           he lived there BY FAITH—

BY FAITH …SARAH WAS ABLE TO                                                    HAVE A CHILD

BY FAITH …THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL                                       WENT RIGHT THROUGH THE RED SEA

BY FAITH …the people of Israel MARCHED  AROUND  JERICHO FOR SEVEN DAYS

BY FAITH these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death….” (Hebrews 11:1-35 NLT).

“…I will show you MY FAITH by my deeds (conduct, actions, mannerisms, transformation, etc.)...” (JAMES 2:18 NIV).

“… BY FAITH (by depending upon God) we understand that THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE WAS FORMED at God’s command, that what we now see (the universe) did not come from anything that can be seen (the Holy Spirit).

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Abel brought A MORE ACCEPTABLE OFFERING than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by HIS EXAMPLE OF FAITH.

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Enoch was TAKEN UP TO HEAVEN WITHOUT DYING—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.

And it is impossible to please God without faith (depending upon God). Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

 It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Noah BUILT A LARGE BOAT to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God (followed God's Word, which is SPIRIT), who warned him about things that had never happened before. BY HIS FAITH (by depending upon God) Noah CONDEMNED THE REST OF THE WORLD, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Abraham obeyed (followed) when God called him to LEAVE HOME AND GO TO ANOTHER LAND that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there BY FAITH (by depending upon God)—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. 

It was BY FAITH (depending upon God) that even SARAH WAS ABLE TO HAVE A CHILD, though she was barren and was too old. She believed (depended upon) that God would keep his promise.  And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that ABRAHAM OFFERED UP ISAAC as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises (God's WORD, which is SPIRIT), was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”  Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.  

It was BY FAITH  (by depending upon God) that Isaac PROMISED BLESSINGS FOR THE FUTURE TO HIS SONS, Jacob and Esau. 

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Jacob, when he was old and dying, BLESSED EACH OF JOSEPH’S SONS AND BOWED IN WORSHIP AS HE LEANED ON HIS STAFF.

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL WOULD LEAVE EGYPT. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Moses’ parents HID HIM FOR THREE MONTHS when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.  

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Moses, when he grew up, REFUSED TO BE CALLED THE SON OF PHARAOH’S DAUGHTER. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.  

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Moses LEFT THE LAND OF EGYPT, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Moses COMMANDED THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL TO KEEP THE PASSOVER and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that the people of Israel WENT RIGHT THROUGH THE RED SEA as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.

It was BY FAITH  (by depending upon God) that the people of Israel MARCHED AROUND JERICHO FOR SEVEN DAYS, and the walls came crashing down.

It was BY FAITH (by depending upon God) that Rahab the prostitute WAS NOT DESTROYED with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

HOW MUCH MORE DO I NEED TO SAY? It would take too long to recount THE STORIES OF FAITH (or of  people who depended upon God) ... Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.

BY FAITH (depending upon God) these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death….” (Hebrews 11:1-35 NLT).

CHOOSING to have FAITH in (or depend upon) God for the OUTCOME of a DECISION is to “…live by faith, (by dependence upon God) not by sight….” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV).

WALKING BY FAITH (dependence upon God, the Word, which is SPIRIT), especially indwelling faith, is the GUARANTEE that “all things” will produce a FAVORABLE OUTCOME. “… all things work together for GOOD  to them that LOVE GOD, to them who are THE CALLED to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 KJV).

A FAVORABLE OUTCOME is a guaranteed RESULT of “WALKING BY FAITH (by dependence upon God).” … [indwelling] …FAITH IS the substance (guarantee) of things hoped for…” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV).

 When “making a CHOICE” and God’s WORD IS the STANDARD in which you make that DECISION; you are CHOOSING to have FAITH in God (or depend upon God) for the OUTCOME. “…THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK unto you … they ARE LIFE…” (John 6:63 KJV). “… choose LIFE ” (Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV).