I flipped through television channels on our satellite guide the other day amazed at all the choices transmitting through space into our TV. All these choices, and I have the power to chose what plays on the screen. Sadly, many of us lose the courage to chose what voices we answer to and which ones we refuse.

One of the greatest gifts God has given us is our freedom to CHOSE. We decide. Even if someone else makes us conform to certain rules — no one can chose our heart’s interior attitude but us. Like the little boy who proudly stated, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing on the inside!”

The life of Moses teaches us the importance of choosing and refusing. Here’s the three things we talked about last Sunday at The Bridge…

1. The Courage to Chose the CALL and Refuse the CROWD

Listen to Courageous Living pt. 3 

Yesterday, I had random people in the audience start calling my cell to interrupt me speaking. Every time it rang — I had to chose, “Do I answer it? Or, do I refuse it?” We need God to give us the courage to answer HIS CALL, and REFUSE the crowd’s!

Hebrews 11:24 “By faith Moses…refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” 

Moses faced the burning bush (Exodus 3) and had to make an important choice…Do I answer THE CALL or do I remain complacent. Matthew 22:14 says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” We need the courage refuse the crowd and CHOSE TO BE CHOSEN.

God’s divine invitation is sent to us all, but must chose to accept it.

Revelation 3:20  “Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” If you read the verses, before this you find the church at Laodicea did not have the courage to CHOSE and REFUSE the right things and became lukewarm.

2. The Courage to Chose Correction and Refuse Condemnation 

It takes courage to be corrected! No one enjoys it. It’s not fun, but it’s necessary to improve.

Correction: adjustments made to increase accuracy and proficiency.
Anyone that plays a sport knows that small adjustments can make a big difference!

We know that God corrects those He loves (Rev. 3:19).  In Numbers 20: 8-12 we see how God had to correct Moses for his disobedience in striking the rock instead of speaking to it. The interesting thing to me is in verse 10 where Moses asks the people, “must WE (meaning he and Aaron) bring water from his rock?” What did he mean WE? How many miracles had he seen GOD perform and now it’s come down to he and Aaron to do it? The Lord corrects him and says…

“Because you did not trust me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I will give them.” Numbers 20: 12 NIV

God had to correct Moses as a model for the people. If God can’t correct us, how can he correct those we influence…our children…our employees?

The beautiful thing to me is how God wants us to humbly receive correction but not CONDEMNATION! Condemnation is the feeling of hopeless penalty and judgement, like we are sentenced or doomed to be unloved and without God. Even though Moses would not enter the promise land himself, God took him for a redemptive walk up the mountain and showed him the land, assuring him that his children would inherit it!

Romans 8: 1 “There is therefore no no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”

3. The Courage to be Thankful and not Cynical

What is cynicism? It’s a bitter or sneering distrustfulness of anything that looks good. One person said a cynic is the person that sees flowers and looks for the funeral! 

We read Moses’ song of thankfulness in Exodus 15 after crossing over the Red Sea. The people are dancing, praising and thanking God for delivering them from all their enemies…until 3 DAYS LATER…and they have no water! Suddenly their thanksgiving turns to cynicism.

In verse 22-27 we see how the people finally came to water, but when they drank they discovered it was BITTER! Here, Moses could have joined the people in their whining and CYNICAL complaining, but instead he “cried out to God” (vs. 25) and showed him a piece of wood to place in the water and it turned it SWEET. The wood is a redemptive foreshadow of the cross! The only way we can remain thankful and inoculated to cynicism is to apply the cross to all our bitter waters! 

May your Thanksgiving holiday abound with thanksgiving and refusing cynicism from any disappoints from this year. Through the power of the cross, we will overcome! 

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Lead Pastor at The Bridge Church in Denton, Texas.

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