The Choices booklet

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Health in Joy

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“This is a nightmare, and I can’t wake up! My soul is melting for sorrow because there is no hope.

“I refused to listen, for I didn’t want to mess up my lifestyle of good times and sweet pleasures. ‘They’ tried to tell me—I refused!

“How could I have been so stupid, so ignorant?

“My life goals were to cater to the pleasures of my flesh. Every thought, and the motive behind every action, were to satisfy my physical desires.

“I wouldn’t believe anyone who told me my body was just a shell—a temporary place in which to live as I made an eternal choice.

“I made the wrong choice! Why wouldn’t I listen? If I could, I’d kill myself to get out of this misery of my soul. But now I know... death is not an end. Death is a situation, a place, a way of life. That part of me which I catered to is dead, but I’m still alive.

“My body is dead... one moment I’m cruising down Highway 90 and the next... I’m released from my body because it has been damaged beyond repair. But I’m still alive! My body is all that is gone. That’s all. It really was, after all, just a temporary, fleeting place in which to abide.

“My life’s choice looms before me. Now I’m acutely aware of the filth and darkness of my ways as I’m faced with an eternity of death while I’m still living. I can’t stand this sorrow! How could I have been so blind?”

“I’d like to know why you had to be cruising down Highway 90 on my side of the road! If you were going to drink you should not have been driving!

“I don’t belong here! What am I doing in a place like this? I was always a good person! Unlike you, I didn’t live to satisfy my physical desires.

“I certainly believed in God and tried to live by the ‘Good Book’, I even prayed sometimes. I helped people all the time, and I never cheated on my spouse. I knew as long a I was good and didn’t hurt anyone, that it was enough.

“‘They’ tried to tell me, also, that I couldn’t do it my way—that I had to do it God’s way. I thought they were foolish, for I knew that God knew what was in my heart. He and I understood each other... and He certainly didn’t expect me to go to church with a bunch of hypocrites who thought they were better than anyone else!

“This heavy pain of my soul is far worse than any I ever experienced in my physical body! Why did I have to be so hard?”

“You two certainly deserve to be in this place, but I don’t! I am a good Christian and an important person in my church.

“Why—I’ve taught Sunday School, and I’ve even prayed for the sick. I was in church every time the doors were open, and I had my routine nightly devotional. I didn’t smoke or drink or cuss. I do not belong in this place with the likes of you two.

“I’ve never been seen even talking to people like you... I wouldn’t lower myself. You are both ‘scum of the earth’... heathen!

“My body is dead... because you heathen were careless. The pain of my spiritual body is so acute! I don’t understand! I did everything my church doctrine told me to do. I was ‘born again’ and baptized. So why this gnawing torment of my soul?

“Listen! Do you hear? Can you see him? That man over there went to my church! Why is he over there and I’m here? Gee whiz! He was such a fanatic, always talking about Jesus... trying to tell us to get into the presence of God by spending more time in prayer and Bible study. A lot of us thought he’d lost it. He actually tried to get us to go with him to visit the likes of you two.

“Maybe... maybe I should have listened to him rather than talked about him. Maybe he made the right choice.”

“Yeah, I see him over there! I remember him. He lived in my neighborhood. He was real kind... I could tell he actually liked me. He was one of ‘those’ who told me Jesus loved me just as I was. He tried to get me to choose life over death by accepting Jesus. Was I ever stupid to refuse Jesus—instead, I chose death for eternity! I can’t get relief from this dark heaviness.”

“I remember visiting with him at a hardware store. I really liked the ol’ guy until he started talking about Jesus. I just didn’t think people should talk ‘religion’. I had my own religion, so I cut him off and avoided him from then on.

“Who is that man he is talking to over there? His eyes are as a flame of fire! Is THAT Jesus?”

“Jesus... my Lord! You are Lord of Lords, and King of Kings! Thank You for bringing me to Yourself! You are wonderful and awesome!

“This peace in Your presence is so intense... my physical body would never have been able to hold up under such greatness. The joy, the love, the peace which once enveloped my soul and spirit in Your presence while I was still in my physical body has now increased beyond measure.

“It is such sweet freedom to be unhindered by the limitations of my physical body. I just want to rejoice in the dance before you!

“Thank You for providing me with the opportunity to choose life. Thank You for the privilege of choosing to know You.

“Thank You! I worship You and praise You, Oh Lord of Hosts! Thank You for writing my name in Your book of life. Thank You for letting me be a part of Your plan.

“I sense Your joy over my being here. Thank You for wanting me to be with You.

“I don’t feel like a stranger in this place. It feels like home. This is the place I’ve been longing for! To be able to spend time in Your presence, unhindered by my flesh, is the answer of my heart’s cry! Thank You, Jesus, my Lord, for eternal life... for the joy of knowing You and being with You! I’m looking forward to what is next in Your plan!”

“I am well pleased with you, as you have continuously sought to know what is on My heart. You have been faithful and obedient to do My will when you understood what I required of you. And you will take part in the rest of our Father’s plan.

“Enter now into the joy of your salvation. Partake of the fullness of life... eternally.”

“Ha! And all three of you can now enter into the fullness of death!”

“Who are you?”

“I’m the one each of you has been pleasing very nicely all your lives.”

“You!? What are you talking about?”

“When you rejected Jesus you chose death instead of life... you chose me. You each served me.

“One of you cut loose and ran wild, gratifying your flesh. Another lived a clean life of self-justification, with your own brand of religion. The other was very self-righteous and lived very religiously with a form of godliness but no true power because, like the others, you ‘did it your way’. Disobedient, every one of you... men after my own heart!

“Enter in... each of you... into your eternal life of death. Yes, your soul will be heavy, there will be pain, anguish and loneliness. Your soul will melt for sorrow. You haven’t felt anything yet. That’s how I want it! It’s written that this will be my end... and I’m bound and determined it will also be the end of many human beings! I’ll not suffer torment alone! Welcome!”

Dear Reader,

Your life is your responsibility, no one else’s. You may not be able to control everything which happens to your physical body, but you can control what happens to your spiritual body—the invisible you—the part of you which will be eternally alive and aware.

Although your physical life is temporary, your spiritual life is forever. Your physical body is the place in which you live while on this earth, as you make your eternal decision.

You either choose Jesus, and hence life, making up your own mind to obey Him and do things His way; or you choose to reject Him, deciding to do it your way, hence embracing death even while you live. You see, death is not an end... it is a state of being. Only for the body is death final.

Eternal death is torment to the soul of man. It is full of sorrow and emotional pain, bitterness and hatred, darkness and heaviness. The emotional pain and sorrow we sometimes experience when someone dies physically is only a taste of that which awaits those who choose death over life.

The Mighty, Holy God has made provision for man to be released from such an end... and eternal, never-ending death... by giving His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, as a sacrifice to set us free.

Jesus willingly gave His life so that you could be free from the torment of death. But to be free you must want life, and you must ask for it. You must believe in your heart that what Jesus says about Himself is true.

Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me. If a man loves Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him” (John 14:6,23).

God says, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live: that you may love the Lord your God and that you may obey His voice, and that you may cleave to Him: for He is your life and the length of your days...” (Deuteronomy 30:19,20).

Life or Death? It is your choice. No one can force you to choose life. But know this: the Holy God loves you, and He doesn’t want you to be brokenhearted and full of dark heaviness without comfort for all time. He wants you to take the gift of life which He, at this moment, holds out to you. He wants you to experience the joy of salvation. Won’t you choose life?

Simply ask Him to reveal Himself to you and He will, because He loves you. He longs for you to know Him.

You may pour out your heart to Him and talk with Him just as you would with anyone you can see with your eyes. He will hear and He will move on your behalf if you come to Him with a heart wanting to obey Him and live His way. You must be willing to lay aside your own ideas of what He expects from you.

The way to the Father is through Jesus. You must ask Jesus to come into your life, and He will forgive you for any wrong things you have done. Just ask Him.

If you make the decision to choose life by choosing Jesus, it is important that you find others who truly love and know Him and who can help you learn His ways. Get a Bible that you can understand, and study it; and pray to the Father in Jesus’ Name. The “religious” character in this story did all the things he felt he was supposed to do; however, he did not know Jesus intimately, and hence he did not obey Him. Saying you are a Christian doesn’t cut it if you do not live as the Bible (God’s Word) instructs. Seek God with a pure heart, and He will bring you to the place you need to be.

I hope you will be one with whom someday I will “rejoice in the dance” before our King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Psalm 30:11,12).

© 1992 by RANAN! Publishers of Gospel Literature, a Ministry of New Life Church in Thayer, Missouri | Written by Joan M. Williams

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