Invited to the Kingdom of God

One of God’s gifts to us is that of free will. We are not robots. He has given us the opportunity and responsibility of choosing to receive, trust, and obey Him. This week’s scriptures and reflections focus on choosing well.

Monday – Genesis 12.1-9, Genesis 15.1-6. The story of Abraham’s responses to God’s call and promise illustrates the power of the choice God gives us to trust Him in obedience. The decision to trust God, and take Him at his word, changes human destiny. Centuries later, Paul would remind the church in Rome that, just as it was for Abraham, it is by our choice to trust God’s grace that we are made right with Him. Now the choice is through faith in Jesus. He puts us in right standing with God. Thank God today for the gift of being able to choose to trust Him.

Tuesday – Deuteronomy 30.11-20. The freedom to choose God’s way is a gift from God. Moses reminds the children of Israel that significant responsibility comes with that gift. In some of his final words, Moses tells them of a bright future if they choose to love and obey God. He also prophesies disaster if they choose otherwise. Your life is a gift from God to you, and to others. Ask for the grace to choose to love and follow Christ today in all your relationships.

Wednesday – 1 Kings 2.1-3. Another leader of Israel, King David, made some good choices in life. He also made some disastrous decisions that needed God’s redemption. In this passage, he is at the end of his reign, transferring power to his son, Solomon. He is challenging his son to “man up”, as the popular term in now used. How? Being the leader Solomon needed to be would involve him choosing faithfulness to God in his personal life Pray for grace to be obedient to God in your life choices today.

Thursday – Joshua 24.14-18. Joshua, at the end of his leadership of Israel, reviews God’s faithfulness with the children of Israel. They are on the threshold of finally entering the land of promise. On the basis of God’s faithfulness to them, Joshua calls the people to a decision. Their destiny depends on their choice. Isn’t that true for us today? The shape of our character and our destiny involves our choice to respond to God. Ask God for insight and grace to enable you to follow him in a specific area of your life today.

Friday – Ruth 1.1-18. The book of Ruth introduces us to a non-Jew, Ruth, who made a life- changing choice. That choice was based on her love and dedication to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Both were widows, and their future looked bleak. Ruth’s decision to break with her past led to a bright future that she could not then see. She eventually became the grandmother of a shepherd boy named David, and had a place in the family tree of none other than Jesus! Thank God today for decisions (yours and others before you) that have placed you in the family tree of Jesus.

Saturday – Luke 19.1-10. Zacchaeus, described by Luke as being short and rich, was among a group hated by Jewish society. He took advantage of people for his own gain. When Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house, it was a game-changer type of encounter. We are not told how he got down from the tree, but as Frederick Buechner notes “the chances are good that he fell out in pure astonishment.” His encounter with Jesus resulted in his choosing to right the wrongs of his life. Ask God to show you if there is anything you need to make right in your relationships. Then, in response to God’s grace, and with His grace enabling you, choose to obey.