“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13).
Hey Gang, now here is a piece of historic trivia that might earn you a bucket full of money, if you happened to be a contestant on jeopardy. Did you know that Edwin Thomas became a renowned master on the stage as a Shakespearian actor at the age of fifteen? And did you also know that his brother, John, played the part of Brutus in Julius Caesar with Edwin? But did you also know that two years later John assassinated President Abraham Lincoln?
Did you also know that Edwin, while standing on the platform waiting for his train, saw a well-dressed young man lose his footing and fall between the platforms and into the path of an oncoming train? And with hesitation, Edwin locked his legs around a railing and pulled the young man to safety. And finally, did you know that young man was none other than the son of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant? And that my friends you can take to the bank.
Edwin and John had the same mother and father, profession and passion – yet one choose life, the other death. One wonders how that happens but this we know- it does indeed happen. We were blessed with four children in our quiver; all lived under the same roof, interacted with the same parents and siblings, attended church together but each one, in their own way, is vastly different.
King David wrote, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are your works, and my soul know it very well” (Psa. 139:13-14). And to each one, He placed the raw materials, the unique abilities that made each one of us so different. Is it not fabulous that we are all different?
Would it not be a boring world if we were all prophets, or evangelists, or doctors, or truck drivers?
Yes, God formed us, we are fearfully and wonderfully made but there are times when I wonder, if He made a mistake when He did not place a stop control in us, so that when we choose to go our own way, a siren or red light would appear. Oh, but He did! It is called that still small voice in the recesses of our heart and mind that says, ‘Hey buster, you are out of line!’
How many times have you heard the phrase, “I did it without thinking”? Sorry, that does not compute in God’s kingdom. There is a mechanism built into our electric system called choices; without them we are but mere robots driven by the wind, subject to be moved and shaken by the whims that come into our mind. Paul talked about that when he said, ”I do the very things I hate?” (Rom 7:15) But that is not God’s way. He placed a conscious deep in our soul -that is that red light and siren- but He also gave us the choice to turn it off!
Throughout the Bible we see many examples of those who shut it off; Cain and Able, both sons of Adam and Eve. Cain choose murder, and God let him. David and Saul – both kings of Israel, one choose God, the other one power – and God let him. Peter and Judas, both denied the Lord, one sought mercy and forgiveness, the other choose death, and God let them.
So, good folks, before this day is over we will have opportunities to make a choice on whether we will feed the white dog or the black dog. Jesus was very clear: those who make the choice to go their own way are choosing eternal punishment; but, praise God, we also have the option to choose eternity in His presence in that place He prepared for His sheep.