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LifeSpots 2014

LifeSpots 2014

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Published by EdGallagher
Challenging thoughts for Christian growth and experience, produced weekly. Suitable for church bulletins, or as discussion items in small groups. 2014 collection. May be used freely for non-commercial purposes with the attribution: Ed Gallagher.
Challenging thoughts for Christian growth and experience, produced weekly. Suitable for church bulletins, or as discussion items in small groups. 2014 collection. May be used freely for non-commercial purposes with the attribution: Ed Gallagher.

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Published by: EdGallagher on Mar 16, 2014
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11/23/2014

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LifeSpots 2014: Scripture counsels for Christians on the move
 …
Page 1
Decisions
Choose Life
The history of the world can turn on a decision. To see an example, look up “Cuban missile crisis 1962”. In the same way, the history of your life can turn on a decision. Can you name an illustration from your own years? A few things in life just happen to us. But most things that happen to us come from our own options. A man named Lot was given open choice on which parcel of land to claim. His poor decision plunged him and his family into a cauldron of evil, and eventually Lot’s choice cost the life of his wife. Make this new year one of excellent decisions for you and your loved ones! “Choose life so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19
(MSG)
.
Choose God’s Way
England, 1978. Canal workers come across a huge chain. Thinking it’s a hazard, they decide to winch it up into their boat. Then they go home. Later, police observe the boat sitting on the bottom of the dry canal. The workers have unknowingly pulled the canal’s plug, draining the water! It’s like this with life. Through poor information or bad judgement, we can pull the plug on the good course of our lives. Think Samson, king Manasseh, Judas Iscariot. Praise God, there’s rescue if we want it. The first two of these three found victory at the end. But they couldn’t undo their destruction. Will you choose God’s way? “Live in his presence … follow the road he sets out for you.” Deuteronomy 10:12
(MSG)
.
Choose Jesus
Here’s an actual message sent to someone by a government department in the USA years ago: “Your benefits will be stopped because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.” It’s a reminder that for each of us, the clock ticks, and now is the best time to claim the benefit of Heaven. One day a dying criminal changed his circumstances with the words, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” Luke 23:42
(MSG)
. That moment, his destiny switched. God gives us the privilege of personal decision. At the point we choose, each of us can alter our eternal circumstances with a prayer, “Jesus, remember me.”
Choose the Better
Two sisters welcome Jesus into their home. Martha turns her attention to “all the things that have to be done.” Kitchen time with a vengeance. Mary turns her attention to their guest. She sits at Jesus’ feet, listening. OK, someone has to do the work, right? Maybe. But Martha does not have to become worried and upset. The next week or the next year, will it matter if lunch is late, or if the meal is simple rather than fancy? The entire world of believers can be divided into Marthas and Marys, and it’s not an issue of genetics, but of choice. “Mary has chosen what is better.” Luke 10:42
(NIrV)
. You could go through life as a frenetic Martha, and still be saved. But think of the blessing, if you choose what is better.
Copyright © 2014 by Ed Gallagher, Auckland, New Zealand. Individual “LifeSpots” may be used for non-commercial purposes without specific permission, with the acknowledgement: Ed Gallagher.
Scripture acknowledgements.
 NIrV. New International Reader’s Version®. Copyright ©1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society www.ibs.org. All rights reserved worldwide. / MSG – The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
 
LifeSpots 2014: Scripture counsels for Christians on the move
 …
Page 2
Choose Intimacy
Bad decisions aren’t usually planned—they just happen. They don’t come from a careful weighing of options. Instead, they spring from thousands of tiny decisions on character and attitude, made through the years. King David didn’t get up one morning and say, “OK, I’ve decided today’s my day for committing adultery—and after that, murder.” The wretched choices of our lives can be prevented only by a consistent building of intimacy with the heart of God. Will you pray the prayer that followed David’s great sin? “God, create a pure heart in me. Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you. . . . God, you will gladly accept a heart that is broken because of sadness over sin.” Psalm 51:10, 17
(NIrV).
Choose the Best
If you want a mediocre life, keep choosing the good over the bad. At your funeral, people will say some nice things, then the mourners will move on. If you want a life that is more than mediocre—producing a harvest ripe with blessing, then you must move beyond mediocre. What changes mediocrity into excellence? Going beyond the minimum of choosing good over bad. Instead, choose better over good, and best over better. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, apostle Paul—you get the idea. Plus a few people we can think of in our own lives. “I forget what is behind me. I push hard toward what is ahead of me. I move on toward the goal . . . . Christ Jesus himself.” Philippians 3:13–14
(NIrV).
Choose Forward
Take your mind forward, then look back. It’s a secret for improving your choices. God has given us this ability—to take our imagination forward by weeks, months, or years, and identify consequences. “If I choose this option, how will I think about it a week from now, a year from now? What if I choose the other option? How will my choice affect me and other people, five or 15 years from now?” This simple secret is good for individuals, leaders, churches, families. It improves health, spiritual life, relationships, and finances. It saves heartache and regret. “Watch out! Be on your guard.” Luke 12:15
(NIrV)
. You might have fallen short on this most of your life. But you can change that forever, today.
Choose Wisdom
Relationships, health, money—life in three words. Choices about these determine our success or failure, our happiness or misery. Can you think of decisions in these areas you’d like to take back? Sadly, even people who are very intelligent can sometimes be very stupid. But as with Abraham, Peter, and many more, God bears long, gives grace, and converts foolishness into wisdom. “God gives out Wisdom free. . . . Good Sense will scout ahead for danger, Insight will keep an eye out for you. They’ll keep you from making wrong turns, or following the bad directions of those who are lost themselves.” Proverbs 2:6, 11–13
(MSG)
. For the rest of your life, will you follow the wisdom God gives out free?
Copyright © 2014 by Ed Gallagher, Auckland, New Zealand. Individual “LifeSpots” may be used for non-commercial purposes without specific permission, with the acknowledgement: Ed Gallagher.
Scripture acknowledgements.
 NIrV. New International Reader’s Version®. Copyright ©1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society www.ibs.org. All rights reserved worldwide. / MSG – The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
 
LifeSpots 2014: Scripture counsels for Christians on the move
 …
Page 3
Share the News
Our Calling
Are you an evangelist? According to the New Testament, you are if you receive it, believe it, obey it, serve it, share it, tell it, proclaim it, teach it, declare it, and live it. What is “it”? The good news about Jesus, the Gospel.
Gospel 
 and
evangelise 
 are essentially the same word in the New Testament—the first is the noun, the second is the verb. The noun tells us what to share. The verb tells us to go share it. In the Gospel of Luke, the first evangelists are angels—“good tidings of great joy”. The second is John the Baptiser—good news for all. The third is Jesus—good news of the kingdom. The fourth are Jesus’ followers—proclaiming and healing. Now it’s our turn. Are you ready? Will you go?
Our Privilege
The question again—Are you an evangelist? Paul names evangelism as a special role, and refers to a couple of people as evangelists. But remember a truth that goes deeper and wider. There were 12 disciples, but we are all followers. There were a few apostles, but we are all sent ones. There were prophets, but we’re all called to speak God’s Word bravely. Only a few are called to full-time, supported ministry—but all of us are “the body of Christ”, the church, serving with the gifts God provides. Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12. You have heard and received the Gospel. You believe it. Now you can convey it in everyday life. This makes you a “gospeliser”—an evangelist. Praise God and do it!
Our View
“The good news of God’s kingdom is being preached,” said Jesus. “And everyone is trying very hard to enter it.” Luke 16:16
(NIrV)
. Think about this. According to Jesus’ view, people are eager to hear and accept the Gospel. They are clamouring for it. “The harvest is huge.” Matthew 9:37
(NIrV)
. Have you wondered why our view is opposite to Jesus’ view? We’re skeptical. We see bare earth and weeds instead of a huge harvest. We anticipate little, and our expectation is precisely met. Our minds are confined in the impossible—but Jesus frees us to believe that “all things are possible”. Will you exert your freedom in Jesus? Let’s believe. Let’s share. Let’s play our part in a huge harvest.
Our Method
After persecution, the believers didn’t run away and hide—they ran away and evangelised. The title for these people? Not “evangelists”, but “believers”. As believers, they lived and taught the Gospel in everyday life. They moved beyond religious circles to people who had little interest in God. What did these believers teach? “The good news about the Lord Jesus.” What identified their mission? “The Lord’s power was with them.” What was the result? “Large numbers of people believed and turned to the Lord.” Acts 11:19–21. Later, some apostles came to share in the joy, affirm the believers, and help advance the mission. Here it is—
church 
 at its finest. Will you play your part in it today?
Copyright © 2014 by Ed Gallagher, Auckland, New Zealand. Individual “LifeSpots” may be used for non-commercial purposes without specific permission, with the acknowledgement: Ed Gallagher.
Scripture acknowledgements.
 NIrV. New International Reader’s Version®. Copyright ©1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society www.ibs.org. All rights reserved worldwide. / MSG – The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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