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Families Again
Thursday, 17 November 2011
TruthTats:The Christmas Story - A First Wild Card Blog Tour Product
Topic: Book Reviews

For the past couple of years, as a father, I've really been trying to guide my family to focus on the Lord during the holiday season. During Thanksgiving, we have been concentrating on the true reason for Thanksgiving and not the commercialized reason. During the Christmas holidays, we have been finding a way to celebrate advent together. When the opportunity came up to review TruthTats:The Christmas Story, I was anxious to try it out. What a unique way to celebrate advent. I can't wait until this Christmas season to really try it with my kids. Read all about it below.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card is developed by:


and the Advent idea:


TruthTats: The Christmas Story

B&H Publishing Group

***Special thanks to Susan Otis of Creative Resources, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

SHORT PRODUCT DESCRIPTION:


Truth Tats: The Christmas Story
Celebrating the Season of Advent with Truth Tats

Designed just for the season, Christmas Truth Tats present a new way of telling the story of Christ’s birth. Truth Tats are temporarily on your skin, permanently on your heart.

This is a five week program leading up to Christmas day, each packet of Truth Tats includes a family devotional booklet that kicks off each memory scripture of the week. The twenty accompanying Scripture tattoos are a visual way to continually applying and memorize God’s word. Each week opens with a set of four identical Scripture tattoo designs so that each family member can have his or her own tattoo! Week two, there is a new Scripture for memorization and four new tattoo designs, again identical designs so each person is memorizing the same Scripture.

For over 1,000 years Christians worldwide have been celebrating Advent, a time of spiritual preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. The word “advent” comes from the Latin adventus meaning “coming toward”. So it is entirely appropriate that the four weeks prior to Christmas we will be preparing our hearts for His Advent.

Truth Tats are a unique way to celebrate the season as well as to “show and tell” God’s word to others. This is ideal for the classroom, family devotion time, and in personal Scripture memorization

Product Details:

List Price: $3.99
Unbound
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Language: English
ASIN: B005LDDJ1S

AND NOW...WEEK ONE OF ADVENT (Click on pictures to enlarge):






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Sunday, 16 October 2011
The 2012 Biblical Guide to Voting - A First Wild Card Blog Tour Book
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Book Reviews

I always here folks talk about how we should vote for the candidate that holds Biblical values - the person who does what the Bible says to do on the issues. The problem is, that sometimes it's hard to know what the Bible actually says about certain issues. Some things are obvious, but other things are a bit more difficult to discern. Well, that's what I liked about this book. It breaks the issues down and tells you what the Bible has to say about them. It doesn't tell you who you should vote for, but it tells you what to look for in a candidate if you are wanting to vote "Biblically correct" candidate. Read further to see what I'm talking about.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The 2012 Biblical Guide to Voting

Frontline (August 9, 2011)

***Special thanks to Kim Jones | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


What Issues Matter to You?
Who Should You Vote For?
How Can You Know You Are Choosing Well?


The 2012 election promises to be one of the most critically important of our lifetime and will be highly debated in both public and private settings, with deeply divisive opinions on all sides. Our choices today will likely influence the direction of our nation for decades to come.

Make Your Vote Count explains today’s major issues in a style that is easy to access and understand. This anthology of present-day issues will fortify you with the biblical perspective on which to base your decisions. With the Bible as the ultimate source of answers, you can be sure that your decisions will be grounded in faithful stewardship and godly obedience.

This book is not about being a Republican or Democrat; it’s not about endorsing candidates or telling you how to cast your vote. It simply provides a biblical foundation upon which to make voting decisions that will both honor God and best serve our country in 2012 and beyond.


Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Frontline (August 9, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616384662
ISBN-13: 978-1616384661

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


At Stake in 2012
Where do we go from here? And how do we get there?
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
—Proverbs 4:7, nkjv

Never has our nation faced a time of upheaval and tension such as this. Since Election Day 2008 we have endured a near implosion of our financial foundation with widespread collateral damage in the form of a continuing recession; a subdued, chugging, and burping economic recovery; unemployment that remains painfully close to the 10 percent threshold; real estate values that have yet to find their bottom let alone begin to mount any form of substantial rebound; bailouts; layoffs; massive deficits as far as the eye can see; a lecture from the media elite that our civic discourse isn’t civil enough, conveniently after their candidate was elected to the White House—recall how dissent was the highest form of patriotism, but apparently only until January 19, 2009—and the cherry on the bad-news sundae in the form of a tin-eared administration that responds to
the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression by ramming a multi-trillion-dollar socialized medicine new
entitlement down the throats of the American people.

It is hard now to decide what the larger insult added to injury was: the repugnant charade committed by Nancy
Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the rest of the Democrat-majority Congress under the name “deem and pass,” or the blatant hypocrisy across the county from the summer of 2009 and early 2010 as the talking heads of the media slandered the Tea Party with vulgar remarks night after night on television.

In hindsight, maybe we shouldn’t be shocked by anything this administration has done since taking office. They stated with vivid clarity near the end of the campaign season their intent not to “let a serious crisis go to waste.” And indeed they wasted no time concocting their “Stimulus Bill,” a moniker so breathtakingly steeped in Orwellian double-speak you had to wonder if they themselves ever wonder, “Can we really get away with this?”
They certainly did, and it’s quite challenging to arrive at any conclusion other than the political Left of the United States viewed their stimulus plan as their chance to raid the public treasury with the same reckless abandon they utterly wrongly ascribed to their political foes on the right during the Bush years, and specifically during the War on Terror following the September 11 terror attacks. Make no mistake—the political Left in the United States shrieked for more than six years in all their Bush derangements syndrome glory against the fraud and opportunism they accused the Bush administration of in response to the 9/11 terror attacks—and then turned around and did the exact same thing in reaction to the financial crisis of late 2008 and the ensuing recession that defined the first few years of the Obama administration.

Within that time span there was also the Obama Apology Tour in which the president attempted to curry favor with every left-wing goon around the world by attempting to apologize for everything the Bush administration had done. One wonders how the free people in Iraq felt about that apology, while popular uprisings across the Middle East hear not the first whisper from Washington in support of their calls for democracy. They must all wonder how the priorities of the United States got so far out of whack so fast.

And now we look ahead at what’s before us . . .

• What sort of economic fallout will there be in the years after huge deficits resulting from the economic stimulus?
• How will the freedom movements in the Middle East shake out in the long term?
• In the near term, will the instability of the Middle East and the corresponding spiking of oil prices completely derail the global economic recovery?
• How many candidates will join the fray for the Republican nomination? Will we be choosing between Newt and Sarah? Will Jeb Bush jump in?
• What kind of all-out blitz will the country be subjected to for the reelection of Obama, considering the raid on history the Left pulled just to get Obama in office the first time?
• Will the recovery have legs and start blooming jobs by the time the summer of 2012 rolls around?
• Or will there be some kind of double-dip, the recovery dragged down by the massive deficits and municipal debt at the state level or the slow-to-recover commercial real estate market?
• Will there finally be an energy policy grounded in innovation?
• And how much more spreading around of other people’s wealth will we have to endure before our economy gets back on a solid footing of competitiveness and growth?

As believers, we know to take our cares and concerns with thanksgiving and petition our Lord in prayer. And as
we said in the run-up to 2008, the first thing Christians must do is pray. Pray that the Lord will raise up godly
candidates whose values are based on biblical principles and who will govern in a way that is in agreementwith God's wisdom and honors the blessings God has given. And encourage others to pray as well.

Second, stay informed of where the candidates stand on the critical issues highlighted for you in this book.
Third, get involved. Speak up in support of candidates who hold biblically based positions on key issues.
Fourth, if you aren’t registered to vote, register now, while there’s still time to vote in the important elections
this fall.
Fifth, contribute financially to the campaigns of candidates you support.
Finally, cast your vote accordingly. May the new president we elect in November of 2012 be a godly, wise
servant of this wonderful nation who will lead us into a rich, wondrous future.

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Posted by tink38570 at 7:39 PM CDT
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Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Do You Have a Heart for Your Kids?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Book Reviews
Photobucket

I have a secret to tell you. I'm still reading this book. Don't get me wrong, I basically know what's in it or I wouldn't be writing this review. The thing is, this isn't a book to just peruse or read quickly. This is a book to devour. It's one of those books that you need to read a little, then take some time to think about.

I've been reading and thinking and then evaluating my own life and then usually praying and asking for forgiveness. Then I pray some more and map out a strategy for improving my weaknesses. Now, don't worry, How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids isn't one of those heavy theological books that weigh you down. The author, Rachel Carmen, doesn't write like that. In fact, her writing style is very entertaining and easy to read.

The problem, or really maybe I should say blessing, is that what she says is very thought provoking. It makes you not only think about your relationship with your children, but also about your relationship with your spouse, and, most importantly, your relationship with God.

Another blessing is that this book is very convicting. Through this book, God is constantly but kindly showing me where I've gone wrong. He's brought me to place of prayer for forgiveness.

Never fear, however, because this book is also encouraging. God, through the author, is telling me "It's OK to make mistakes. Let's just reevaluate and go from here. We'll do it together."

Rachael Carmen has divided this book into five parts. Each corresponding with a letter of the word HEART.

H - Have a heart for the things of God.

E - Enrich your marriage.

A - Accept your kids.

R - Release them to God.

T - Teach them the truth.

Each chapter of How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids is filled with Biblical truths and examples, good and bad, from the author's life. This book isn't preachy, but it is convicting. Please, though, don't let this scare you away from this book. If there is anything that I have learned from these chapters it is that each child is different - a gift from God. I also know that all of you are different and unique. God will not give you the same convictions that He has given me. He may not give you any convictions at all. He may even encourage you through this book. All I know is that this is a book that should be on every parent's book shelf. There is something for every parent within its pages.

Photobucket

How to Have a H.E.A.R.T For Your Kids is published by Apologia, the same company that publishes those great science textbooks. The cost is only $13 and you can find it and all of the other great Apologia books by clicking on any of the hi-lighted links above. As usual, many others from the TOS homeschool crew reviewed this book and you can find what they had to say by clicking here - http://homeschoolcrew.com/784031/ . Happy reading!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of How to Have H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids in order to use and give an honest review on my blog.


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Monday, 29 August 2011
Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know - A First Wild Card Blog Tour Book
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Book Reviews

I love verse reference books. You know, the kind of books that list topics and then tell you what verses from the Bible go with that topic. I love being able to just grab it and quickly look for a verse if I'm going through a difficult time, or if I'm counseling someone. I love to memorize verses that go along with a particular theme or topic.

Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know is different, but I like it just as much. It's more than a reference book. Although it can be used as one. It is a devotional that explains why these verses are life-changing. The authors, Erwin and Rebecca Lutzer, give illustrations of why these verses are important and give examples of folks who have used these verses during rough periods of their lives. I really like this book and know that it will be used for years to come.

Read on for more information and for the the first chapter.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor of The Moody Church since 1980, is an award-winning author of more than 20 books including Walking with God. He’s a celebrated international conference speaker and the featured speaker on three radio programs that are heard around the world. Rebecca Lutzer has used her gifts of hospitality, mercy, and teaching to minister to many women. She is an RN and enjoyed working as a surgical nurse for several years. They coauthored a book on the women in the life of Jesus and how He changed their worlds titled Jesus, Lover of a Woman’s Soul. They have been married for 35 years, live in the Chicago area, and are the parents of three married children.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of the Moody Church, and his wife, Rebecca, encourage readers to reap the blessings of memorizing Scripture in this gathering of relevant verses, 35 topics, insightful explanations, and engaging questions. This foundation of wisdom inspires readers to experience God’s Word in powerful ways.



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736939520
ISBN-13: 978-0736939522

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Adversity

Psalm 46:1—God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

1 Peter 1:6-7—In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.


When we think back to the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed nearly 200,000 people, many images come to mind, but one image that stands out well above the others is that of a young mother being interviewed on television as she held a baby in her arms.

“I lost my son…he died in the rubble.”

“Did you get to bury him?”

“No, no chance; his body was crushed in the rubble; I just had to throw him away.”

Just then the camera zeroed in on her backpack as she prepared to board a bus. Stuffed in a side pocket was a Bible. As she boarded the bus she could be heard, speaking to no one in particular, saying, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…” Her voice trailed off as she disappeared from view.

When the report was over we just kept staring at the television for a while, pushing back tears and letting what we’d just seen sink into our souls. A dead child with no chance to plan a funeral and pay respects to her precious little one, a baby in her arms, and she was boarding a bus that was going she knew not where. Yet she still expressed belief; she still trusted that God is her refuge and strength.

Faith in adversity!

This mother—God bless her—began quoting Psalm 46, which was written as a praise song after God spared the city of Jerusalem from an invasion by Assyrians who were threatening to annihilate the inhabitants. In the midst of a harrowing escape, the Israelites found God to be an unshakable pillar.

God is our refuge. A refuge is a safe place you can run to for shelter when life’s storms are swirling around you. No wonder this dear mother found solace in this psalm, which continues, “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (verses 2-3).

Yes, the mountains did give way and fall into the heart of the sea, but God is unaffected by the fluctuation on events of earth; He is always there, solid, unmoved. When the mountains are shaking and the ground beneath you is quaking, run to God, and He will meet you. Yes, even when our world falls apart in the aftermath of a horrendous natural disaster, God is unchanging and remains with us.

In the midst of the devastation, God is our source of supply. The psalm continues, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells” (verse 4). Most likely that refers to a tunnel that had been built some time earlier to bring water into the city in case it was ever besieged. The people of Jerusalem saw this provision as God giving them specific help at their time of their need.

Then the psalm gives us a command: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (verse 10). Let us cease striving and let God be God. Even in adversity He is there; or perhaps we should say especially in adversity He is there!

Adversity should not drive us away from God; rather, it should drive us into His arms. He is there for the grieving mother, and for the family that has experienced indescribable loss. The psalm ends, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (verse 11).

God wants to be believed. And our faith is more precious to Him than gold, which perishes. When we continue to trust Him even when there appears to be no reason to do so—and we go on believing God’s bare Word, our faith will “result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7).

Reverend Henry F. Lyte was a pastor in Scotland who battled tuberculosis most of his life. On his final Sunday, September 4, 1847, amid many tears the congregation sang a song he himself had composed, “Abide with Me.” It spoke of the unchanging God in an ever-changing world:

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

The young mother in Haiti—who was clutching an undernourished baby in her arms and had no time to mourn the tragic death of her son—found solace in the God who was still beside her when the earth gave way. “God is our refuge and strength,” she said amid her grief and uncertainty of the future.

In times of adversity, our faith can hold fast. And God is both honored and pleased.


Taking God’s Word to Heart

Reflect on the account of the Haitian mother who tragically lost her son. How has Psalm 46 been a source of strength for you during adversity? What other Scripture passages do you turn to for help in difficult times?
What does it mean to you that God is your refuge? In life’s journey, why is God’s unchangeable nature a source of strength for us?
Recall an instance when God provided timely help for a specific need. What did that experience teach or confirm for you about God’s character?
What are some ways God has used adversity to shape your life?
Why is God honored and pleased when we exercise faith in times of adversity?

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Posted by tink38570 at 9:27 PM CDT
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Thursday, 25 August 2011
A Young Man's Guide to Making Right Choices - A FirstWildCard Blog Tour Book
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Book Reviews

There are a lot of books out there that are written for young people to "help" them make the right choices in life. Unfortunately, many are written from a very worldly perspective. However, some books from so called Christian distributors don't always fit the values that I have set forth for my family. When I saw this book, however, I knew before even reading it that it would be a good fit. And, after I received the book, I was not disappointed. Jim and Elizabeth George are well respected conservative Christian authors and I have no problem recommending this book. Read further for all of the details.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


A Young Man's Guide to Making Right Choices

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jim George and his wife, Elizabeth George, are Christian authors and speakers. Jim, author of A Husband After God’s Own Heart (a Gold Medallion finalist) and The Bare Bones Bible Handbook, has MDiv and ThM degrees from Talbot Theological Seminary. He has served in various pastoral roles for 25 years and on The Master’s Seminary staff for ten years. Jim and Elizabeth have two married daughters and are grandparents.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Guiding a young man toward making right choices will equip him to think carefully about his decisions, assuring a more fulfilling and successful life. Help boys to gain the skills they need for facing all life’s challenges.


In this book, Jim George focuses on all the high points of a young man’s life—the things that matter most. Teen guys will learn…



  • why prayer and Bible reading are so essential

  • what makes for the best kinds of friendships

  • how school and social skills contribute to a strong future

  • how to stand strong against temptation and peer pressure

  • what contributes to healthy and biblical perspectives on dating and purity

Young men will enjoy Jim’s balance of biblical insight, personal anecdotes, and candid forthrightness. And they’ll gain the skills they need for making right choices in response to all the challenges that come their way.



Product Details:

List Price: $10.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930256
ISBN-13: 978-0736930253

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Making the Right Choices

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.  —  Joshua 24:15
Jason, a typical teen guy, was suddenly jolted out of a deep sleep by the clamor of trash cans being rolled to the street curb. At first he was mad, wondering,     Just who do they think they are making all that racket so early in the morning? Don’t they know a busy guy needs his sleep? Then a second wave of adrenalin hit, this time with fear, as Jason rolled over and looked out his window. Oh, no!   That’s Dad doing my chores…again!   I’m really in for it this time!

What time was it anyway?   Jason thought as he looked at his alarm clock. Oh, no, I’m late  —  way late! Did I forget to set my alarm?   He had planned to get up early to finish his English paper, which was due today! Drat and double drat! There were a lot of things he had planned to do last night — finish his English essay, work ahead on his history paper, maybe catch up on his Bible-reading schedule for his church youth group, and finally get around to writing a thank-you note to his aunt for the birthday money she sent several months ago. (That was his mom’s Number One assignment for last night, and he had thought to himself,   No worries; it’s waited this long. Maybe tonight, right?   On and on…and on…Jason’s “Things I Meant to Do” list went.

But Jason had ended up getting a little sidetracked. And why not? The money his aunt gave him had been well spent…on a new DS game. Well, one challenge level led to another, and before long Jason had battled the “forces of evil” so long on his game (a full hour past the bedtime curfew his parents had sent) that his mom had forcefully interrupted and made him end his simulated life-and-death struggles and turn out his light.


Life Is Full of Choices

Jason had begun his evening with great intentions of making right choices. But something pulled him away from those good intentions. And in the end — actually, the next morning — he began to suffer a landslide of consequences due to those bad choices.

As the section title says above, life is full of choices. And the funny thing about choices is that sometimes the same exact choice might be bad for one guy but okay for another. Take, for example, the simple choice of breakfast food. Jason’s friend Marty is trying to make the basketball team. He’s a great shot, but he has a problem keeping his weight down, so he needs to be more disciplined about what he eats. Eating several bowls of a certain cereal each morning with lots of milk and sugar would be a huge caloric problem for Marty, but it wouldn’t be a problem for Jason because he’s as thin as a rail!

Do you realize your choices for each day begin at the end of the previous day, when you decide what time you need to get up and then set your alarm? And the next big choice is actually getting up when you hear the alarm clock…which then leads to getting dressed, doing your chores, eating breakfast, and getting to school on time. Your choices continue right on through your day and include doing your homework and being a good family member when you get home, until you set the alarm again at the end of the day.

Yes, life is full of choices. Someone said it well:

My life is not made by the dreams I dream but by the choices I make.1


Choices Through the Rearview Mirror

You’ve probably been to a camp or retreat or youth meeting where there was a “guys’ sharing time,” a time when those who were brave enough recounted some of the choices they made in their past. It’s as if they’re looking at their past in a rearview mirror. (If you drive, you know all about looking into the rearview mirror to see what’s going on behind you, and if you don’t drive, you will one day!) Now, the guys who shared were no longer living back in their past, but they could still see, remember, and taste the consequences of their choices — both the good and the bad. Their sharing may have included phrases like…

I wandered off the path…

I became like the prodigal son…

I fell away from the Lord…

I got sidetracked in sin…

I lost my first love…

I strayed from the truth…

I made some wrong decisions…

I went off the deep end…

I got in with the wrong crowd…

I’ve sat in on a few of these sharing sessions myself, and I couldn’t help but wonder, What happened? How does someone wander off the path, lose their first love for Jesus, stray from the truth, fall off the deep end, or get involved with the wrong crowd?

Well, we both know what happened, don’t we? Somehow, at some time, for some reason, a wrong choice was made. Maybe it was just a little lie. Just a little shading of what’s right. Just a little bending of a rule. Eventually, as this happens again and again, there comes a day when making wrong choices became all too easy. And it’s usually not until then that a guy realizes his life has become a mess.

Checking Out God’s Word

It’s one thing to read a book written by an author about a subject, but it’s quite another to read the Book — the Bible — written by the Author of all things, God Himself. In this book, I’ll share a lot of thoughts and tips with you. Most of them are things I’ve learned over the years. I’ll pass them on to you as a young man who’s in the process of making decisions that will shape your future. But the things you should definitely make sure you take to heart and pay the most attention to are the things God Himself tells you in His Word, His Book, the Bible.

When you get to this section in each chapter — entitled “Checking Out God’s Word” — you’ll find a number of Bible verses. I’ve included the text of the verses for you so you can read them without having to grab your Bible. I also invite you to mark up the verses and make notes. You don’t have to do that if you prefer not to. But don’t hesitate to circle certain words and underline things you want to remember. Put a question mark beside anything you wonder about or want to know more about. You can even draw in the margins. I’ve tried to leave enough space for you to write out your thoughts about what God is saying. Do whatever will help you understand the verses and make them your own. (And of course, it would be a good idea at some time to look up the verses in your Bible.) Here we go, from God’s Word to you.

The Israelites made a choice — Joshua, the leader of God’s people, asked them to do exactly what we’ve been talking about — to make a choice. Listen in as Joshua speaks to the people about choosing between serving God and serving false gods. According to the verses below, what choice did Joshua give to the people? And praise God, if you read further in the book of Joshua you will discover that the people made the right choice, choosing to serve God.

Fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:14-15).
Lot made a choice — Lot was the nephew of Abraham. Because of the large number of cattle the two men possessed, Abraham asked Lot to choose between two parts of the land. One part was green and with plenty of water — perfect for grazing cattle. The other part was dry hill country and not so perfect. In fact, it was a desert. According to the verses that follow, what was Lot’s choice?

Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered…So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east (Genesis 13:10-11).

Sadly, Lot did not choose wisely. He chose the grassy green pastures — which just happened to be near the two most wicked cities of his day, Sodom and Gomorrah. His choice was based on what looked good. Unfortunately, the consequences of that choice were devastating for Lot and his family.
Joseph made a choice — Joseph was a teenager when his jealous brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. There, in a strange land, Joseph was all alone without family. In time, his master’s wife flirted with him and wanted him to sin with her. After all, nobody was around, she explained. Who would ever know?

How should Joseph respond? Note his choice and the reason for his choice.

He refused…[and] told her…“How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:8-9).

Joseph chose to live his life God’s way. He honored God. God then honored Joseph’s choice and made him a leader of the land of Egypt and the savior of his family.

Daniel made a choice — Can you imagine being taken prisoner and forcefully moved to a foreign land as a teenager? And once you got there, you were told to turn away from your religious beliefs and to follow instead the ways of those who lived in the pagan land? Well, that’s what happened to Daniel. In the place where he was taken, Daniel was told to eat foods that were forbidden by his Jewish background. What pressure! What did he do?

Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way (Daniel 1:8).

Daniel chose to live life God’s way — not only on this one occasion, but also numerous times during his many years in this foreign land. At every step and every day, God blessed Daniel and promoted him to high positions of leadership.

Things to Remember About Choices

 — Attractive choices sometimes lead to sin.

 — Good choices have positive long-term results.

 — Right choices are sometimes difficult.


Making the Tough Choices


I’m sure you already know your actions are a matter of choice. Sure, some choices are made for you. They are out of your control, and are made by those who are responsible for you…like your parents, your teachers, your coaches, and your youth leaders. But many choices each day — and almost each minute of the day — are yours to make. Do you yet realize that these choices are a matter of your will? You get to decide what you will or won’t do, how you will or won’t act. You make the choices, which means you can’t blame anyone else for what happens next.

As you prepare to make the tough choices, the choices that must be made, can you think of one tough choice you need to make right now? What’s holding you back? Peer pressure? Fear? Pride?

Pray young Solomon’s prayer right now. He asked God, “Give me wisdom and knowledge” and “Give your servant a discerning heart…to distinguish between right and wrong” (2 Chronicles 1:10 and 1 Kings 3:9). Then make that choice — the one that’s keeping you from living your life God’s way. Make the right choice, however tough it is to do so.


Things to Do Today to Make Right Choices


Read again the section “Choices Through the Rearview Mirror.” Do any of the comments mentioned in the guys’ sharing time fit your life today? If so, talk it over with God. Admit to God any wrong choices you’ve made. Then ask Him for the wisdom to make the right choices starting right now.

Read again Joshua 24:14-15 (see “Checking Out God’s Word”). As you look at your life today, do you think you are making the kind of choice Joshua and the people made, the choice to serve God and God alone? Why or why not? What first right choice will you make to begin choosing to serve God, to live for Him? Is there something you should be doing, but aren’t? Something you know God wants you to do, but you’re not? Be honest. The king and warrior David was brutally honest with God. He asked God to…
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).

As you have already read, choices are a matter of your will. You get to decide what you will or won’t do, how you will or won’t act. Think of two or three things you can do daily that will better prepare you to make right choices. Then, of course, begin doing them.
Guy to Guy


Jot down three things Jason failed to do that started his day down the road to chaos.


What could you tell Jason to do differently tomorrow?


Of all the verses shared in this chapter, which one meant the most to you, and why?


In what ways are you like Jason, and what new choices do you need to start making?

Would You Like to Know More?

Check It Out


Read Proverbs 1:10-19. What warning is given to the young man in verse 10?


What is the advice given to this teen guy in verse 15?


What is the end result for those who make the choice to participate in evil deeds (verse 19)?


It’s your turn to read about Lot’s choice. Read Genesis 13:5-11. How is the situation described that made a decision necessary (verses 5-7)?


What did Abraham propose as a solution (verses 8-9)?


What choice did Lot make, and why (verses 10-11)?


Now quickly scan Genesis 19:12-29. What were some of the results of Lot’s choice?


What choice was made by two brothers in Matthew 4:18-20?


What choice was made in Matthew 9:9?


Have you made this choice, or do you need to? Be sure to think about it.


God’s Guidelines for Making Right Choices


Treat each day as being important. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Admit your need for wisdom…and ask for it!    “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5)
Work at developing a deep respect for God.    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
Make sure you have a vital relationship with Jesus.    “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).
Be willing to pay any price for the truth. “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23).


God’s Guidelines for
Making Right Choices

Treat each day as being important. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Admit your need for wisdom…and ask for it!    “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5)

Work at developing a deep respect for God.    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

Make sure you have a vital relationship with Jesus.    “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).

Be willing to pay any price for the truth. “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23).

 

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