Choice to Choose

by Jordan Villacorta

It’s pretty interesting to see how mostly everything in life is a choice, or in other words, the (or my) decision to choose. We overlook these things because it’s so subconscious, but from the moment we wake up to the moment we sleep, we have to make choices. A common example from my life: Choosing which cereal to eat; LIFE (cinnamon of course), Honey Nut Cheerios, or Frosted Mini Wheats (We will save commentary on my cereal selection for another time)? Other possible examples:

Do I wear comfortable clothes or do I dress nicer?

Do I text back or do I wait a few minutes?

Do I take a shower in the morning or night?

Whatever the case, we are constantly deciding something.
It can even be over a huge life decision:

Do I move to Kansas City or stay in Colorado Springs?

Should I give my tithe this month even though I can barely pay rent?

Do I really need to forgive them for the way they hurt me?

I can’t control every single outcome or circumstance, obviously, but I can still choose how to respond to these events. Something a huge leader in my life used to say was, “We can’t fall IN love, because if we fall in love, then we can fall OUT of it. Love is a choice.” God chose to love us from the very beginning.

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8 NIV)

He chose to love ME, Jordan, and though I take it for granted many times, I know He will continue to love me forever. I am, without a doubt, human and flawed, and I have to choose to love God in return. Do I always do so? I genuinely wish I did. But a part of growing as His child IS learning how to love Him better each day.

God, in all His grace, allows me to literally make choices every day, and after I (inevitably) make mistakes, STILL entrusts me with His calling and purpose for my life. I love how David, in one of his most humiliating moments as king, is able to look past his problems and to the greater reality.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” (Psalm 34:8 NIV)

It can seem pretty crazy, but deciding to CHOOSE to see God as trustworthy and good, despite our current circumstances, is totally worth it.

For those of you who don’t know, I am living in Kansas City. I decided to take a “leap of faith” (Christian lingo for being crazy) and join the launch team for a church plant. Honestly, it hasn’t been the easiest switch, and I’ve had many moments of doubt and confusion as to if this move was the right choice.

To the world’s point of view, I’m completely wasting my time and life. Even some well-meaning friends think I’m not making the “wisest” choice. All of their reasons are logical and have valid, but I know that God has called me here specifically for this time and place.

To be vulnerable, yes, I may be quite lonely at times, it may not exactly look the way I thought it would, but, like David, I’m going to choose to taste AND see that He is good – because how I view and praise Him should not be based on how the circumstances around me are looking. Regardless of my current thoughts, feelings, and hopes, He’s still good and faithful. This I can be sure of.

“Faith makes fool of what makes sense.” - Hillsong United – Here Now (Madness)

I am consciously deciding to abide in Him. I put my hope in the choice I made to follow Him. I’m doing my best to faithfully follow Him, despite all the reasons why it may not seem “logical”.   

I can’t say I’m very good at this, or that every time I decide to say “yes” to God, but I can confidently say there’s not been one point where He has let me down. No, I’m not always going to understand why God does things the way He does, and yes, I do freak out sometimes (don’t we all at some point?). But my life is a testimony that He is faithful to me, that He has the best in mind for me, and that His leadership, timing, and reasons are perfect. God’s peace is incredible, and I love that it “…transcends all understanding…” (Phil. 4:7), meaning it breaks through the walls of doubt, uncertainty, and fear in my heart and mind; remaining with me even when nothing else makes sense.

I know this is a long read, and I’m aware that none of what I’ve written so far is “mind-blowing” or huge revelation, but my prayer is this: That you would grasp the concept that choosing Him will always be the best decision.

“The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24 NIV)

Passing Pleasures

by Amy Perkins

A quick Google search showed that there are over 152 million blogs on the internet; I thought I would add to the clearly obvious need for another voice. “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” — William Faulkner. That’s just another quote I found through Google. So here it goes…

I sat on the floor looking out my window and watched the Kansas City sunrise for the first time. The Colorado snow capped mountains used to be my view, but I’ve recently moved to Kansas City. I felt a little nudge as I sat with my Bible open on the couch to get up and go look at it. So I did. But of course my furniture isn’t positioned right in my new house to watch it, so I found myself sitting on the floor.

Beholding beauty in the sunrise only lasts for a moment. I always wish these moments lasted a lot longer than they do.

This drive in all of us begins almost instinctively as a toddler. We want things to be “mine.” Don’t take it from me! It’s mine! If it belongs to someone else, I want it! My little Aiden hasn’t learned the word “mine” yet, but I find my own “mine” rearing its ugly head in this season.

The nature to possess permanently is in constant conflict with the reality that most pleasure is momentary. God created pleasure. He isn’t against it, but I’m learning about how he uses it. Pleasure is never permanent. It’s mostly in little moments. It’s the 10-minute sunrise. It’s the 2 minute eating of a cupcake. It’s the 5-day beach vacation. It’s the 30-day color change of the leaves. Beauty, bliss, pleasure, it’s always in moments.

And yet for some reason it’s my temptation to always try and figure out how I can have it longer than it always lasts. Always. How can I enjoy this again? How can I get it?

God’s gifts are meant to lead us to him, the Giver. Like Abraham and Isaac, Abraham wanted to have Isaac permanently. Here’s my prayer in all of this:

“God my possession is always you. The gifts lead me to you. I see my little kid coming out. I want it to be 'mine!' I want to have it for myself where nobody can take it away. Forgive me, Lord. You give and take away because you don't want anything to possess or own my heart except for you. You will never let me have something that I forever get to own and dictate what I do with it. The things you give me to enjoy will always be temporary because you won't let these things have me. You want me.”

What is on the throne of my heart? This is continually the issue. The Holy Spirit inside me and my desire for things bumps him right off that throne.

Sunrises and seasons are reminders that God is the God of change. He’s always changing things because he doesn't want us to be comfortable...he doesn’t want anything to own us. This is his jealousy. He won't let his gifts rival him. He'll always win.

Why do gifts rival him? Because He is the Gift! He is the ultimate Gift given.

These moments of pleasure, enjoyment, or delight are his gifts to us. And he’ll never let us posses them because otherwise they will possess us.

I’m trying to breathe in the moments of beauty or delight more deeply for when I have them and let go when they fade away.

The best things in life we can’t put in a little bottle on the shelf to be picked up whenever we want to enjoy them again. Most of these things can’t be obtained or captured. And if they are, they’re never justice for the real thing. So just when you’re tempted to try and figure out how you can hold onto something longer, just stop, and enjoy the moment for what it is. Look at the sunset. Look your child in the eye and smile. Savor those bites of the cupcake. Breathe in the air on your vacation. Then look to Jesus and thank him for the moments he gives you. Because he wants you, after all, and all those things were meant to lead you to him to begin with.