Make a Choice, Make a Difference

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.                                                                                  Hebrews 5:14 NASB

We’ve lived in the same house almost 15 years. That means I’m on about the 5,375th consecutive day of turning on the garbage disposal instead of the light. Oy, habits.

I was working on forming better habits though. Breakfast, for instance. Surely I could at least pull together a bowl of cold cereal, right? Not as easy as you’d think. That first cardboard flap of a new cereal box? Major box-opening stress there. One wrong rip and the tab will never fit in the slot. You could hardly convince me I was not cutting diamonds.

Fast-forward to my discovery that I should never cut diamonds. The box looked like it had been opened by ferrets. Who probably don’t even eat bran flakes. I wanted to quit—and that was before I got to the titanium-reinforced bag inside.

Seriously, what are those bags made of? While I’m asking questions, is bag-rage a thing? Because I may have had that. When you finally find the one weak spot in the forcefield that IS that bag, how many times does the cereal just explode all over the kitchen?

People. If I was really meant to make this breakfast choice, wouldn’t a box of cereal be easier to open than a bag of Oreos?

We make choices every day. Often, we can make a mess, make an excuse, make a scene, make a get-away—or make a difference. Sometimes we only get to pick one.

The fact is, good habits don’t necessarily come with a switch to flick. We don’t make good choices according to how easy they are. They’re built with perseverance—and I need to be reminded often. Peter obliges in 2 Peter 1:12-13 (CSB): “Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you now have. I think it’s right, as long as I am in this bodily tent, to wake you up with a reminder.” This? It’s a worthy wake-up. Breakfast of champions, really.

I love looking at the verses right before in the Amplified version: “Therefore, believers, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you [be sure that your behavior reflects and confirms your relationship with God]; for by doing these things [actively developing these virtues], you will never stumble [in your spiritual growth and will live a life that leads others away from sin]” (vv. 10-11, AMP).

The word “diligent” here is from the Greek spoudasate, which means to labor over an endeavor—quickly and with earnestness. My natural selfishness encourages me to choose garbage habits—the easy way. Flicking all the wrong switches.

Yet my God will give me the want-to to choose well, and then He will give me the ability to persevere in it. Paul said in Philippians 2:13 (CSB), “For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.”

Paul offers a great testimony in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (CSB): “So I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” It’s an entirely different kind of “boxing,” I know. But I want to take on the challenge implied here with everything I’ve got. I want to make a difference.

Father, empower me to choose well. Work in me to accomplish Your good purpose, I ask. Grant me the discipline to stay at it with perseverance—all for the glory of Your kingdom.

That’s my prayer. And I’m going to make a habit of praying it.

TWEETABLE
Make a Choice, Make a Difference – encouragement and wisdom from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated: A Novel by [Rhea, Kaley, Rhea, Rhonda]

Rhonda and Kaley have just released a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie division announces they’ll briefly be allowing submissions for new Christmas movies, Harlow finds herself paired with a reluctant co-star. Jack Bentley may be the biggest Heartcast Original Movie name in the business, but he is anything but formulaic.

Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: How do you train yourself to make better choices?

Leftover Loaves

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

Long ago a little boy gave up his lunch. We gave away our time.

I will never forget the day when we offered to use our ham radio to make a call for a friend’s friend. It’s unforgettable because people keep reminding me of it even these thirty-three years later.

It was just an ordinary morning, business as usual at the mission house, as my husband prepared to dart out the door to meetings. Then came a call from a missionary friend: could he bring a friend over to talk with us? Nothing unusual about that except for another unusual request. His friend needed a favor. Would Chuck make a ham radio contact with a doctor in Brazil?

Our friend arrived with Fernando, and his sad story unfolded. His wife had a brain tumor. There were no doctors in Bolivia who could perform the surgery. Also, at the time, neither were there phone lines connecting the Amazon areas with the outside world. Thankfully, the weather conditions cooperated in connecting all parties. To our surprise, the doctor recommended a medication before surgery (which also didn’t exist in Bolivia) and agreed to send it. Weeks later, the medication completed, another scan of her brain revealed no tumor! A miracle!

We became good friends with Fernando and Charo. Together, we helped start a church in their house that now thrives with 200 members in a beautiful church building. We are more than friends. We are family and co-workers for the Kingdom. Last week, they came to visit with their youngest son and his fiancé. The conversation turned to the wedding. Jesse and Dyanna asked if we would be spiritual parents for their marriage––as we are for Jesse’s brother and sister also. It’s a custom in Bolivia offered to only closest relatives and friends. We were honored. And of course, we agreed!

There is another memorable day recorded in the Bible. Thousands of years later, we still remember when the sacrifice of a small lunch made a big difference.

Most likely, you’ve heard the story. A crowd of people needed lunch ––a crowd of 5,000 people. A little boy from the crowd stepped up. The disciples told Jesus, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9 NIV) Far enough that there were twelve baskets of leftovers after satisfying the hunger of a large crowd!

For us it was a simple ham radio call, but it turned into a long-lasting friendship and the beginning of a church––and a miracle healing.

Do you wonder what difference you can make for God’s kingdom? Nothing is too small for our big God to use! Do you think the small things you do won’t make a difference?

Will you step up to Jesus and offer him your small “lunch”? Just as the five barley loaves and two small fish were multiplied, so will God multiply our small gifts to Him, with more than enough leftovers to share.

TWEETABLE
Leftover Loaves: Nothing is too Small for Our Big God – insight from Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. Peggy is also an author. Her heart for children led the way to write the picture book series Really Rare Rabbits: Books 1-3.* If you’re looking for children’s books for Easter, these adorable rabbits tell the story of Jesus to Guarding the Inca Treasure Fires (The Really Rare Rabbits Series Book 1) by [Cunningham, Peggy]children in a unique and entertaining way. Books are available on Amazon. Find out more about Peggy at her website: www.PeggyCunningham.com

*also available in Spanish at  https://amzn.to/2SLGEyc

Join the conversation: What can you give that God could use in an unexpectedly big way?