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Copyright © 2006 by Jim Hohnberger All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. Adapted from Escape to God, copyright © Pacific Press Publishing A s s o c , Nampa, Idaho. Used by permission. Published by: A m a z i n g Facts, Inc. P.O. Box 1058 Roseville, C A 95678-8058 800-538-7275 Cover design by Matthew Moores Text design by Greg Solie - Altamont Graphics ISBN 1-58019-205-X

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'Choose you this day whom ye will serve." —Joshua 24:15 ur efforts at simplification had yielded I wonderful results. The 'busyness and distractions of life had been eradicated. But this alone was not sufficient to bring me any lasting happiness or peace. I knew the Lord had led us out to the wilderness for the primary purpose of our spiritual development. While I had studied complex theological concepts for years, my studies had never produced the type of character changes that I desired to have in my life. I was still laboring under the misconception that more knowledge, a more complete understanding and a more perfectly understood theology was all I needed to produce a transformation in my life.

too busy. unlike any I had ever known settled upon me. we realized early on that our suburban lives were too complicated. As I shared earlier. once again. It was time. confusion. I still hoped for full assurance of salvation.2 A Bundle of Choices With this in mind I purchased five books from five well-known and respected theologians. It was clear that not one of the leading scholars agreed with the others. If they couldn't understand or agree on the gospel. Ifinallyhad both the time and the inclination to obtain a working knowledge of salvation. to simplify. That gospel would provide me a power with which to control my feelings. . Common sense told me that the true gospel would save me from those areas of my life in which my willpower had proved useless. Eagerly I started to read. my thoughts and my passions. what hope did I have? I knew in my heart of hearts that the gospel could not be as complicated as man had made it. Through the guidance of the Lord I had made many changes in my life and yet I still longed for peace with God. Only after we were in the wilderness did it begin to dawn on me that my theology was suffering from exactly the same problems that had so plagued our life in civilization. By the time J finished the last book. Here in the wilderness.

Some may complain I am oversimplifying the gospel. it became a living fountain. From its pages flowed a gospel message that was just as simple and had just as practical an application to my life as did the wilderness lifestyle that God had called us to live. Nothing could be further from the truth! Prior to discovering the true gospel. I knew that unless I found a better. straightforward. Those choices. . when combined together. Others may accuse me of teaching salvation by works.riving experience capable of saving Jim Hohnberger from himself. I went to the Word of God as a sinner in need of salvation. a deeper. The Bible taught me a gospel message. which in its simplest form is about choicessimple. a. I truly do not believe this is possible. This time I didn't go to prove some theological position or to gain some doctrinal understanding.A Bundle of Choices 3 I went back to the Bible with prayerful study. The gospel should be presented so simply that little children can understand it. everyday choices. compose the whole length and breadth of the Christian experience. It is my privilege in this chapter to share with you these choices that have so transformed my life. I was lost! When I approached the Bible with that humble and teachable spirit.

if you desire peace with God and the resulting peace within( yourself. but will.started it all. and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24). produce changes in the life of any man. then turn these pages and explore with me this bundle of choices.man^and his wife. These changes are the inevitable fruit of the gospel. This power ?is able to keep you from falling. or child who accepts it. if you want full assurance of salvation. As they sat in the departure lounge of the <Salt Lake City Airport waiting for their flight. A newly married.if you are inclined to be a critic. Yet. you may not-look with favor upon the following pages. and experienced a power outside of themselves. to change myself. . Those who object to the fact that the Christian can: truly obey and do good works have never tasted grace. in my own human strength. I am unashamed of the gospel of Christ which not only can. long for something better than* that which you have experienced. So. like me.4 A Bundle of Choices I spent my entire "Christian" life attempting to be good. not just theological mumbo-jumbo. But if you. Surely I understand the futility of such an experience. woman.

He sat a little ways across from them as he waited for the same flight. Suddenly the Bible shut as the young man stood and strode purposefully to this stranger whose attention they had so clearly captivated. He was a successful businessman in western Montana. a devout Mormon businessman noticed it too. He came to our home with two young Mormon missionaries. Al-became so enthralled as he-learned of our lifestyle. but God appeared to have other plans. averting his eyes if they glanced in his direction. our goals for country living. They were a hard couple not to notice.A Bundle of Choices 5 they visited quietly over the open Bible in his lap. The man was a recently ordained evangelical minister and his earnestness and zeal were unmistakable. Al had visited my family a few short months before. Al was a very proper man and would never want to be considered so rude as to stare at someone. Too late he realized that the young couple had been aware of his interest in them for some time. Al. He observed the pair as discreetly as possible. and . I assume the purpose of their visit was to enlighten me about Mormonism. so obviously in love and yet it was that open Bible which set them apart from the average traveler. not terribly far from where we live.

Choices our understanding of the gospel that he and I drew close together as we visited. Traveling near Als office one day." my friend replied.. he proceeded to tell me of his experience in the airport. must know! Now let me ask ." the young minister said as he approached." said the earnest young man. if our flight were to crash before we reached our destination and all of us were to die would you be sure of eternal salvation?" "I think I would. forming the beginnings of a lasting.Al. an independent thinker who was unafraid to examine his own beliefs and values. "Excuse me. This rare trait endeared him to me and I was determined to keep in touch with him whenever possible. hardly saying a word while Al undermined the very reason for their visit with his interest in our religion. was genuinely glad to see me and after greetings had been exchanged. May I ask you a question?" "Certainly" Al responded. "Sir. Meanwhile the two missionaries were quiet and uncomfortable. "I couldn't help noticing your glances in our direction. I found Al to be a fascinating man. while inwardly chiding himself for disturbing the quiet young couple. He. "You. I decided to visit him. "That's not good enough. Sir.6 A Bundle of. friendship.

" John 6:47. are you a Mormon?" he asked distastefully. but have everlasting life. bewildered at the sudden change. "Verily." was Al's honest response." "There. but have eternal life. "You used to go out on missions! Why." "You know." said the young minister becoming animated.A Bundle of Choices 7 you again. "Listen." he said triumphantly." "Missions!" the young man squawked. I used to have that kind of zeal when I went out on my missions. I believe so. "I am the resurrection.and the life: he that believeth in me. "Now. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. though he were dead. if you were to die today would you be saved?" "Yes. yet shall he live. "I really admire your enthusiasm. verily I say unto you. As he flipped through the pages of." Al said. he read: John 3:15. his Bible. "Yes." and finally John 11:25.16: "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish. "Then. . He that believeth on me hath "everlasting life." said the minister. "you are a Christian and you have eternal life." Ah said. that whosoever believeth in him should not perish." Al said to the young man. If you were to die today would you be saved?" "I don't know.

whether he was saved or lost. creeds. Can you shed some light on this subject?" "I'll try." I prayed in my thoughts. "but Mormons wont be in heaven. but rather the Christian life is a bundle of choices. Al was struggling with the deeper issue of how to know. It was clear Al wasn't concerned about the unfair and prejudiced treatment he had received. or church membership." With those parting words he turned and walked away. reforms." I responded.8 A Bundle of Choices "Why didn't you say you were a Mormon?" "You never asked." said the minister. "Lord. Al slowly turned to me and said. Help me to reach across the barriers we place between each other because of denominational affiliation and doctrinal bias. "Jim. it . the Christian life is not made up of doctrines. As he finished his story. When God brings a truth or light to our understanding." As I turned to give Al my full attention I said. He was intelligent enough to ignore the irrelevancy of the young man's bias." "Well. I picked up my pen and began. "give me the wisdom and the words to satisfy this man. really know. I'm confused. "Al. It is not even made up of beliefs. "Can I have a piece of paper so I can illustrate?" Al handed me a scrap of paper.. I'm sorry.

that thief didn't know a whole lot about the Christian life. "Let's say for purposes of illustration that the Christian life in its entirety is made up of a hundred choices. He nodded. "Well. He was aware of many truths in God's word. "Yet. When God has all my known choices. then He has me." I. he was fully submitted to God. let's say perhaps ten." I said as I scribbled down the numbers. looking at Al. the Jewish high priest who wanted Jesus killed. He had lots of light and that gave maybe seventy choices. Had he lived longer he would have had opportunity to have advanced in his Christian experience and his choices would have deepened and broadened to encompass the whole gamut of the Christian life. "Then there was Caiaphas. let's say that he made a free will choice to submit .A Bundle of Choices 9 always comes with a choice. placing the number on the paper. His mind may have only been aware of a handful of the choices that compose the ChristianTife. Christ could offer him full assurance of salvation not because of his great knowledge. We must choose to submit to the will of God or refuse. "Remember the thief of the cross?" I asked. but because he chose to surrender to God in ALL his known choices.said. But for those ten choices that he knew of. so I continued.

Jesus couldn't have given him full assurance of salvation. and without accepting Him as Lord." "Do you love the Lord with all of your heart and mind and soul?" "Yes. fully in submission to all your known choices? Are you at peace." I said. Why? He had not submitted all his known choices and-surrendered his will completely-to God whereas the thief had.with-God? "No.10 A Bundle of Choices to God in only fifty of those choices. he was in rebellion to God. yet despite his greater knowledge and more choices." "Then. at this moment. I do. "Then you have not accepted Christ as your Lord. You must have Jesus as Lord of your life. "you have accepted Jesus as your substitute. I'm not." "A1. That is good. your desire to have Him as your savior is not sufficient to bring you either peace with God in this . but it is not in and of itself complete. "do you believe that Jesus came to earth and as your substitute paid the "price for your. If he had been on the cross instead of the thief. I do. was surrendered in more'of his choices than <the thief. Are you.I said. He had more choices. sins?" "Yes." Al answered quietly.".

"Thank you." Al said. For these two are inseparably one! "You see. Therefore. Al. No matter how much we may desire Jesus to be our savior. Two other men made choices we . just as it did Lucifer. All the known choices of the thief on the cross were surrendered. the Christian life is not so much a matter of how much you know or how active you are. but whether all your known choices are surrendered in the present to the will of God. will in the endj destroy us. any man. stubbornly and persistently resist in even just one area and this resistance will eventually lead him to join in the great revolt against'God started by Satan himself. obviously struggling to come to terms with this new understanding. "But Al.A Bundle of Choices 11 present life." "I see. he was one hundred percent God's. no matter how much we feel our hearts are drawn out in love towards Him. let a man. Jim.Al ended there. even though there may have been areas in his life that needed correction of which he was unaware. or salvation in the life to come. I've never understood this be r fore. but there is more in that Bible story that we could understand. determined resistance to His leadership." My conversation with .

. thy will be done" (Matthew 26:39. O my father if this cup may not pass away except I drink it. Though just a simple fisher-man. but the struggle is evident in His pleas to His father in Gethsemane. his exposure to Jesus may have given him. if it be possible let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will. his cultivated national pride.first was Peter.42). and soon he found himself denying that he even knew Jesus.as many known choices as the high priest. ifi a few small areas. Jesus is the other man who was faced with choices that day. He had followed Jesus for most of His active. and his stubborn self-assurance were not surrendered to God. Jesus demonstrated only surrender and submission to His Father's will in His choices. he would not submit. but as thou wilt. "O my father. to most of them. but thine be done" it will lead us to choose correctly even when we don't feel like it. However.12 A Bundle of Choices can learn from that same day. His desire for self-exaltation.ministry. If we will adopt Jesus' attitude of "not my will. He was Christ's own disciple andBhe failed because he had hot submitted all his known choices. He had great opportunity and had been exposed to great light. He had to choose just like we do. The . And Peter was in submission.

Christian life. It always ends in defeat. How then is it possible to live every day. and making sure there is nothing to prevent us from hearing His voice. nature. but has to allow time for. We too. We are to live as Jesus did. When we leave our place of quiet devotion.living the. must take time to give ourselves to God every morning. We . Many attempt to accomplish this through their own humanity. -Day in and day out I am to live for Jesus. we can rest assured that He will guide us. to take God with us in order to commune with Him throughout the day. His way. God speaks to us through the Bible. They set out with their strong willpower and their teeth gritted in determination to live the Christian life. Every morning Jesus took time with God. every moment to the glory of God? It's very simple. every hour. it is essential. Then after communing with our Father. for becoming a Christian is not a one-time choice but rather a minute-by-minute.us to commune with God and really listen to what He's saying to us individually. My focus is to be in His will. continuous choice to let God have all of me. It can't be a rushed thing.A Bundle of Choices 13 It is at this point that many are confused and finding difficulties in . to surrender at the beginning of every day. providence and the impressions in the mind.

and learn to submit our wills to always do His will. As we learn to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's promptings upon our hearts.14 A Bundle of Choices need to learn to ask. Salvation is fully the giftof God. then self dies and the victory is won and then God supplies all the power to meet the temptation. "What would thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). When surrender is my choice. then it is that "Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20). In the past. perhaps the very same temptation that we have often yielded to before. But then temptation comes. but it is the only path to peace and joy as a Christian! Now choice doesn't merit me anything with God. This experience is hard because self must die. There is no peace or joy in such an experience. yet it is that choice to submit . God wants us to know we are not in this alone. I am not saved by my choices. The very desire to make the choice of submission to God is a gift from His grace. the true conflict of temptation occurs in the heart. I first must decide if I want to remain surrendered to God. we have gritted our teeth and tried to resist the temptation until we either failed or forced ourselves to obey. We need help from a source outside of ourselves at the beginning of the day and then all through the day. Friends.

Bible speaks of this as a death to self.A Bundle of Choices 15 which allows God the freedom to transform our lives through the ministry of His grace upon the human heart. This type of Christian life is like a yo-yb. How is wheatgrown? It must be buried in the grave. it bringeth forth much fruit" (John 12:24). and for the rest of the plants life it draws its strength from this grave. it abideth alone. "except a kernel of wheat fall into the ground and die." The. rooted . Christians must live in the same manner. to say yes to God and no to self. through a living faith. which is simply how to allow Christ full access to all my decisions and then •-by His grace. contending for the management of the life. continuously up and down. Christ illustrated it this way. so to speak. butif. It is-vitally important to see-this for most who have taken the name of Christ live a strange amalgamation of Christ and self. Every choice to which we are brought offers an opportunity for us to choose to surrender our. there is rest for the soul: Then we learn the true science of salvation and the language of heaven.it die. Being born of the Spirit is going from this experience to allowing Christ to be sole ruler of the life. will and way . When this amalgamation ends.to God.

One cold winter morning not that very long ago Lawoke at my normal time and spent more than two hours in Bible study and prayer. but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh." This is true Christianity. Perhaps 2 Corinthians 4:11 says it best: "For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus sake that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. yet not I. Paul wrote about this in Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live. but a true entering into a Calvary experience. Obviously Paul did not literally die daily but what he referred to is the true Christian experience where we must die to self daily. Lseek after God in the morning. not merely an assent to Calvary. Let me illustrate.16 A Bundle of Choices in Calvary." Paul also said. "I die daily" (1 Corinthians 4:10). I live by the faith of the Son of God. No. but we can die to sin. we cannot die for sin as Christ did. The choice of putting self to death and submitting to God's will is well illustrated in scripture. . We are encouraged to "reckon ourselves dead to sin and self and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11). knowing my own weakness and realizing that yesterday's experience will not save me from today's trials.

of snow in the mountain valley where I live. We get a lot. After our family worship time. You will remember that we were living on a_very small income and a three thousand dollar western plow with hydraulic lift was totally out of the budget.A Bundle of Choices 17 Every morning just before breakfast time. many. However.is a.special time for our family that draws us together in strong bonds ofjove that last throughout the day. and there are several ways we can remove that snow. I looked out the window on the beautiful sight of sixteen new inches of white fluffy snow. With'one of my favorite breakfast meals underway. I decided I needed a plow to fit on my Toyota Land Cruiser. many feet of it each winter. ter—but shortly after moving to the wilderness. It. I can use a snow shovel—the hard way—or I can use our large snow blower—bet. Now. using a little . My wife was making waffles and I could see the blueberry sauce bubbling on the stove to go over them. we gather together to worship God as a family and to ask His guidance and protection throughout the day. I love waffles and adding the blueberry sauce is just like icing on the cake. I decided to-take a few minutes while the waffles were cooking and plow out the driveway.

road surface.the snow flowing off the plow to each side. I.sensed the still small voice of God warning me that. After all. I attached this to the front of my bumper and it would free float over the road clearing the snow and saving me huge amounts of time. The plow rode up over the berm then dropped down toward the.18 A Bundle of Choices ingenuity and investing about $60 in some lumber. when the front end of the vehicle started to drop back down toward the road. and while it wasn't necessarily beautiful. it lodged firmly on top of the plow. The front tires were useless. . My driveway is a third of a mile long and towards the end I could see that there was a great big berm of snow left by the huge county snowplow. I had plowed through piles of snow before. I built a V shaped plow out of trusts and covered it with tin. In the meantime while the plow was dropping downward. Traveling down my driveway with. but I reasoned it away.I should not try and fight my way through. I was very pleased with my homemade plow. i was enjoying the Christmas cardscenery and having a great day with the Lord. the effort it saved me was beautiful. So. holding it in the air. my vehicle was driving up over that big pile of snow.

in a dangerous position here. Then I quickly added. I am. surrender it to me. Crawling under the front end I found myself immediately facing a new frustration and temptation to let go of Jesus and give vent to my feelings.surrender my thoughts and feelings.drive vehicle was stranded: I was stuck with my truck blocking the road and I began to-get concerned because where I live-there is-a long blind curve and. "Jim." that still small voice said. I had chosen that morning to surrender all my choices to Him. Now I had to renew that choice and even though I hate inconveniences.A Bundle of Choices 19 My four-wheel. I chose to. I know our road-gets very little traffic. Just as^this anxiety began to rise in my flesh. You see when you are plowing fluffy white snow . the Lord called for my heart." There was only one thing to do. I was going to have to get under the vehicle and jack up the front end. but please don't let me get hit out here. "Lord. With the plow out of the way I could lower the vehicle to the ground and reattach the plow.anybody coming up that way could easily hit me without ever having a chance to stop. This would enable me to disconnect the plow and pull it out of the way..

" I responded. the drops fell in my eyes. It is a question of your willingness to surrender even these irritations to me. but this melt carried with it all the grime of the undercarriage right into my eyes. I was so tempted to say poor me and have a pity party. It was anice hard whack. I felt like I was in a shower. which would have been irritating with clean snow melt. the kind:that raises a lump on your skull. Immediately I wanted to feel sorry for myself." I responded." God called. self-surrender.head on the back'of the engine. it is not a question of whether you like this. you can have these circumstances. As if this wasn't bad enough." I said.20 A Bundle of Choices and you crawl under a hot. "Lord. in His quiet voice to my thoughts." You see. "But Lord. all the snow that has been kicked up on the undercarriage melts. "I don't like this!" "Jim. "Yield it to Me. I struck my . "this just isn't fair and I don't like it!" . "OK.engine. Oh no! I thought and as I rushed to extricate myself from under the truck. "Just don't let me get hit here in the middle of the road." Almost instantly I coUld hear another vehicle coming down the road. It was dripping down my exposed face and neck. is the substance of the teachings of Christ. Lord. I was still learning this hard lesson.

but also a surrender.to self. I wanted to straighten them out. My flesh wanted to rise up and fight back and again Jesus called to me to surrender it and by His grace through faith.A Bundle of Choices 21 "Surrender those feelings to me. "Why don't you get a real plow?" one of the men said. The gospel is quite simple. Looking over at the vehicle on the road. They were trappers and came over to investigate." I said. They hadn't even said "hello" to me and they were making fun of my plow. hourly. I noticed it had stopped and two men got out. It's just a matter." Once again I had to choose and once again through thei'grace of God I submitted to God and gained the victory over my thoughts and feelings. but the Lord spoke to me again and asked me to surrender the irritation to Him. "Look. of all my choices to Him. daily. They looked at my plow and the mess I was in with amusement. Do you fellows think you could hook up a chain . That's a faith that works. Faith is not only belief in God. I could just feel the anger rising iii me. of saying "yes" to God and "no". I'm with you. Jim. Tnvin quite a fix here. moment by moment. I made the choice to surrender those feelings to Him. Don't yield to them.

"Well.out of the middle of the road. so she-figured there must be a problem and sent him down to check on me. I thanked them and they went on their1 way. My wife knew how long it should take to plow the drive. so you guys can continue on your way. Sadly I could recall. all too well that when I would let go and give in to the frustrations I would take it out on my wife and family. I would be grumpy with them as if it were . In the past any single one of those . Seeing that I was OK he asked. It was only nine o'clock in the morning and I was exhausted." I told him." I felt as though I had just fought a war and had won.inconveniences would have been enough to make me let go of Jesus and give way to self. as long as you're all right. "I am going to go down the road to the neighbors." Andrew continued. "What happened?" "It's a long story. My youngest son Andrew came down the driveway at this point. They're away and I promised to feed "Odie" for them.22 A Bundle of Choices to the front of the plow and use your truck to pull it out from under me? That way I can hook it back up in just a minute and get." They consented to do this and within minutes I was back in business.

" So. You can feed the dog and I will plow outtheir drive. and everyone around us unhappy. "Andrew. sloping drive. "go ahead on in and feed their dog and I will get on theTadio and asked mother to send Matthew down here with the chain saw so we can remove these trees and be on our way home. "Andrew" I said "why don't you hop in and. Turning down their long." I.at last. You see that's what sin does in our lives. That way when they get home they will be pleased that they don't have to dig themselves out. off he went to the house.: I felt like I should never have gotten out of bed this morning. Sally promised to send Matthew right down and I got out of the truck to look the . It makes us. "Great!" saidjAndrew and down the road we went to the neighbors. Again I had to choose to submit my feelings and thoughts to God. I'll drive you down there. For it is only by a constant renunciation of self and a-continuous dependence oh Christ that we can live the Christian life.said. I had plowed most of the way to the house when I came upon four trees that had fallen over the driveway in the snow. I am stuck! I can't back up their drive because of the homemade plow and now I can't continue forward.A Bundle of Choices 23 their fault.

You can choose to hold on if you want to" "All right. Lord. "No. You have held on this far.24 A Bundle of Choices situation over." Starting out to see what had become of Matthew. Lord. "yield those thoughts to me. Jim" "OK. we. Don't give up now. What struck me most was that he had .had barely climbed up the drive before he came panting down hauling the chain saw. I'll just go and look for him. sight and once more the flesh wanted to rise and think all manner of evil about my son because he was not there by the time I felt he should be. by which time Andrew was back. "Jim. Please don't forsake me." God's still small voice spoke in the quiet of my mind. Lord. Jim. but he was nowhere in. I will never leave you nor forsake you. "You don't have to let go. I don't want to have a flat tire!" I wailed. This is just too much. Matthew should have been here by now. Lord. I will submit this to you. "Odie won't let me in the door!" he exclaimed I wanted to get upset and again I felt the constraint of the Lord to keep quiet and speak gently to my son. only to glance down and see that I had a flat tire. But I'm getting tired." I got out the jack and proceeded to change the tire.

the chain saw was here now and I could almost taste the waffles. The dog was not letting them on the porch to feed him." There was no way I could trust myself to speak to my son. Matthew.. The promptings of the Lord were clear.A Bundle of Choices 25 obviously been working hard.." I said. I'm going to clear the area by. I could see the boys were having problems. "Father. I have been cutting down the trees leaning over our driveway and. I'm sure he'll let you in. Besides it mattered not where the communication had broken down. He was perspiring and just covered in sawdust and wood chips from the chain saw. "We'll talk about i t later. you go down to the house with your brother and help him feed that dog. I told the boys. The temptation to complain about my boys immediately rose up in my flesh and I wanted to ." I said you get in and drive the truck and I will go in front of you and saw those trees out of the way" This is what we did and shortly the last tree was removed. Odie knows you real well.their garage. "Matthew. "Listen. "He's not letting us in" Matthew said." As I finished the last couple of swipes in front of the garage." "Never mind son.

"Hang on Jim! Hang on to me. You don't have to let go of me and say words you'll regret. "I'm going to grab hold of that dog and when. "You're doing great. Father!" my boys encouraged me. I shut the door and climbed wearily into the driver's seat. They were out of the house in short order. He was growling and snuffing and fighting for all he was worth.I do. He was still there. "Listen. I grabbed the dog and got him in a headlock. he ran over to his bowl and started to eat." None of us have to let go. My boys knew . I'm hungry!" Then to myself I added. My boys never moved so fast as they fed and watered that dog. "Can't you guys do anything by yourselves!" Thankfully the Lord had not left me. The devil was saying. boys. "Let go! Go ahead and let go!" God was there too. please don't let that dog bite me! That would just be too much!" Odie is not a little toy poodle." I said. Then we will go home and have breakfast. As soon as I let go. He was whispering to me. "Lord. No one knows us. like our families. or the struggles we go through.26 A Bundle of Choices say. He is an Alaskan Elk Hound and just as big and tough as the name of his breed. It's always a matter of choice. you run in there and put that food and water down as fast as you can. pleading for my heart.

tired. The words "Thank God it's all over" were hardly out of my mouth. Finally he got into a house and leaned his hand on the wall only to have a serpent bite him. trials you are having this morning and it was not fair that .A Bundle of Choices 27 that their father would normally have been in real trouble with only a fraction of the problems we had faced this morning. knowing we are tired and starting to relax. "this is not fair! I'm very. Thank God it's over. I had been running from the lion and had evaded the bear and guess who was waiting for me at home? That's right—the serpent. There never is a time when the Christian can . World War II and the Vietnam War all by myself this morning." I breathed to myself. It's not fair the. when the bottom of my plow fell off." I managed to say weakly." I said pulling into our driveway. I can almost smell the waffles and now another problem. That's the kind of morning I was having. I feel like I fought World War I. "Well.relax and say it's all over. "Lord." "You're right Jim. Amos 5:19 tells of a man who lots of trouble. He was fleeing from a lion when he ran into a bear. That's just when the devil loves to kick us. stopping me almost within sight of the house. praise the Lord. "But I'm getting tired. all over.

28 A Bundle of Choices I should have to leave heaven to die for your sins. You have a choice! This may be unfair but you can still surrender it to me and gain the victory" "Very-well. I could hear God calling to my heart. You don't push a snow blower! They are self-propelled. Instead. Andrew got out the snow blower to clean the area around the garage and Matthew went in to help his mother. calling for me to surrender. I had placed a false." I said. I was shaky and as I walked toward Andrew. and weighing it down. I continued to wrestle with the plow. My blood' sugar was down. As I approached the garage I could see Andrew pushing our snow blower around the corner of the garage. fairness has nothing to do with the situation. Now I nailed it back in place and pulled up to the house. "WHO DID IT?!" Andrew just stopped dead in his tracks and said nothing. I felt tired and weak. Matthew and Sally had come out . It was broken! NO! I just couldn't take another problem. I blurted out in harshness and anger. Lord. Jim." I went to the garage to get a hammer and some nails. I chose to vent! I gave way to irritation.bottom on the plow to keep snow from accumulating inside it. This could only mean one thing. "you can'have it.

The Lord had allowed me to see more than twelve feet away in sixteen inches of fresh snow. Make things right!" But I wasn't sure I wanted to. and there I was. Everyone." I said to my family. My family was incredulous! I could easily read their thoughts.town to get a new setscrew. What a good God we serve! I replaced the setscrew and joined my family at the table for our belated breakfast. if there is any mercy. please be merciful .I am so happy.to me and forgive me. Why can you be smiling? You just let go. it! "Look. I had a grin on my face that went almost ear-to-ear.1 could see that a little setscrew that held the gears in contact with the drive shaft was missing. had seen and heard what had happened.blower. We all saw you do. I could-hear God calling on my heart. Jim. Closing my eyes I said. a little black speck.A Bundle of Choices 29 to the porch to call us in to eat. but today I . We live in the wilderness and it is a three-hour round trip to. I lifted up the snow blower and dropped down on my knees to look for the problem. "Lord. Walking over to where it lay. "I know you are wondering why. Looking at the snow. I saw it was the setscrew. "Come back." Opening -my eyes I saw something out of the corner of my eye.

Yes. It was the most awkward experience I can . Croix. The one we noticed most was driving on the left or the wrong side of the road as we view it. For example. a former British possession. This island.St. When we learn to choose Christ as first. externals don't need to control us. I repented right away and asked His forgiveness and now I ask yours. but because I can see the Lord working in my life and I know that He who has begun a good work in me will finish it!" Praise God. After obtaining a rental car from the airport. I gained victories over irritation today that I have never gained before. I'm excited not because I failed. last and best in everything continually. I pulled over and told the whole family that they were going to help me drive this car because absolutely everything was on the wrong side. soon our choices become habit and habits form our character.30 A Bundle of Choices held onto Jesus in more trying circumstances than I have ever held on to Him before. "retains several customs from the United Kingdom. my family was privileged to spend a month on the island of. I know that I failed out there with the snow blower and yet I didn't wait for an hour or a day or even several days to return to the Lord.

A Bundle of Choices 31 recall. We could still drive just the same as we always had. I had retrained myself and now it was as easy to drive this new way as it had been to the old. However just as we found we could still drive in the U. I had to force myself not to revert to old driving habits.. Amazingly enough after thirty days I found that I could drive about without even thinking about overcoming the old habits. There was no transition at all. they will find it becomes easier and easier to submit. . He has instead given us a bundle of choices. It is hard for us to change the manner in which we have always responded to God and many who start to walk with God find it so awkward and so crucifying to their self-will that they are inclined to quit. Choice is precious to God and He never takes the power to choose away from any of His children. On our return to the United States. Yet if they persevere. so will the Christian find that he can still choose at any time to go back to the old life of sin. Those choices determine our eternal destiny as well as our present happiness. Here was a lesson we could readily apply to the Christian walk. we wondered whether we would have the same kind of adjustment back to the old ways.S.

32 A Bundle of Choices Escaping to God is simply returning all our choices to Him. continually until habit becomes character and we are fully His! .

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