Was it an easy choice? Having come out of many years of New Age deception, I readily chose to serve God over mammon, and never looked back. God provided in ways I would have never dreamed. His ways are always higher than ours. Special events like the recent Porterville Air Show, one day sales at various stores, etc. Not always, but it is getting easier as the years go by. In fact, it has become a delight. On a few occasions, I would choose to do something that was not in keeping the day holy. The first few years I attended was before I was a Christian. The last year I went, I was miserable.
For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:. For the balance of my time this morning I would like to share with you, in some detail, two personal experiences. One comes from my childhood and the other from my adult life. With each experience I found myself faced with a choice: in one case I made the wrong decision and the lesson came the hard way, whereas in the other I finally listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and was able to make the right decision.
However, from each experience I learned a valuable, life-altering lesson. My purpose this morning is to try to bless your lives by sharing with you some of the lessons I have learned as I have made critical choices.
Choose you this day whom ye will serve - Zimmermans Creations
At first I thought I would share only experiences where I made the right decision, but none of us are perfect, and many of the important lessons of life are learned as we make mistakes and repent. Choosing Him and His ways has always brought the best blessings and opportunities into my life. We spent three marvelous years in that wonderful country. Prior to Christmas in , my young friends and I determined that we all wanted BB guns for Christmas. I began discussing my request with my parents early in the fall, since many of our Christmas presents had to be purchased in the United States and sent by mail to Italy.
My father sent the money for my BB gun to my Grandmother St.
Clair well before Christmas, and yet the gun did not arrive until February of Despite regular encouragement from both myself and my father, my grandmother seemed reluctant to buy and send the gun to me. She repeatedly emphasized to us in her letters that she did not feel good about my having a BB gun at such a young age. When the gun finally arrived, my father took great care to teach me how to use it properly. He not only drilled me on various basic safety rules, but he repeatedly emphasized that I could not take the gun out of the house without his permission.
I remember distinctly that my gun was the most powerful and best model that Daisy Manufacturing Company made, and my friends were both impressed and, at least in one case, somewhat jealous. One boy in our group of friends did not receive a BB gun that Christmas. Very early one Saturday morning we went out to an open rocky area, not too far from where we lived, to hunt lizards. I recall that the lizards were far easier to shoot during the early morning hours when they were still somewhat lethargic.
I vividly remember shooting my first lizard and for the first time feeling a clear sense of taking life from another living creature. It was a feeling I have never forgotten, and I remember from that time forward being content to shoot only at tin cans and other inanimate objects. Toward the end of April , on a Saturday, my parents went to Naples to pick up some friends. My brother and sister and I stayed with the maid. As the morning progressed, I became bored and decided that I would take the BB gun and shoot for a while from the flat roof of our apartment building.
I also remember that the maid frantically pleaded with me not to take the gun, but even at the tender age of eight almost nine , I was more concerned with what I wanted than with what the adults in my life knew was best for me. Little did I know that before that day came to a close, my life would be forever changed.
What Was Nailed to the Cross?
Never again would I think or feel or see things the same way. After shooting for a while, I invited one of my friends to come over. At some point I decided that I would have greater success if I climbed atop the small building covering the steps that exited from the main part of the building to the roof.
After shooting from that vantage point for a while, I handed the gun down to my friend, who had remained on the main roof, and I jumped from the small building. When I asked for the gun back, he moved away from me, refusing to return it. Then spontaneously he raised my BB gun to his shoulder and shot me twice. I remember standing there as he pointed the gun at me, hardly able to believe what was happening.
The first BB hit me in the body and the second BB struck me in the right eye. I fell to the roof, completely stunned by what had happened. My friend dropped the gun and ran away. I have no idea how long I lay on the roof of that building. My recollection of it today is that it was not very long. I finally scrambled downstairs to our apartment, and when I encountered the maid, she immediately became hysterical. I went to the bathroom mirror in hopes of assessing the damage to my eye. Later the doctors explained to me that this is a normal response to severe eye injury, though the eyelid itself was not damaged.
I was frantic, to say the least, because as I pried my eyelid open, I realized that I could not see with my right eye.
- I Will Never Leave You : Memoirs of Surviving Grief through Spirit Communication;
- Choose Ye This Day Whom You Will Serve.
- Joshua ESV - Choose Whom You Will Serve - “Now - Bible Gateway.
At that point I think the maid took me downstairs to our friends who lived in the first-floor apartment. They immediately put me in their car and started for the hospital.
Living More Abundantly in Today’s World
On the way to the naval hospital in Naples, they stopped at a local Italian hospital. The doctor there made a cursory examination of my injured eye, simply bandaged the eye, and recommended that they rush me to the American hospital. She immediately began to weep as she took me in her arms. Even after all these years, I grieve at the pained expression I can still see etched on her face.
“Choose You This Day”
My father followed us to the hospital in our car. When we arrived, they took me to the emergency room, where one of the doctors rinsed my injured eye with a sterile saline solution. I remember one of the doctors in the emergency room that day was a navy captain. The balance of that day is a blur. Fortunately, a young navy ophthalmologist, Dr. Woods, had been temporarily assigned to the hospital in Naples. Woods was summoned to the hospital, and after a thorough examination he determined that the retina had been severely and irreparably damaged.
He gently recommended that the eye be removed immediately. The trauma of the injury, compounded by Dr. We pleaded for time to think and time to see if by some miracle the sight in my eye would be restored. That night Dr. Woods, using a powerful electric magnet obtained from a nearby Italian hospital, removed the BB from my eye. Because I had a slight fever, the doctor determined that it would not be wise to use a general anesthetic; therefore, he numbed my face with several injections of Novocain. I distinctly remember Dr. Woods explaining that the BB had been lodged deep in the eye, very close to my brain.
After the BB had been removed, the doctor bandaged both eyes, explaining to us that by covering both eyes, movement in the right eye could be restricted, thus promoting healing and recovery. Woods was immensely supportive and genuinely kind and gentle. I was immediately impressed by him and consistently felt confident in his skill as a physician. They are linked to our developing the attributes of godliness, returning to our Heavenly Father, and receiving enduring joy. Obedience to His commandments is not blind; we knowingly choose God and His pathway home.
Indeed, God desires, expects, and directs that each of His children choose for himself or herself. He will not force us. It allows us to get off, or not. Just as we cannot be forced to obey, we cannot be forced to disobey. No one can, without our cooperation, take us off the path. Now, this is not to be confused with those whose agency is violated. They are not off the path; they are victims. But when we get off the path, God is saddened because He knows that this eventually, but invariably, leads to diminished happiness and forfeited blessings.
In the scriptures, getting off the path is referred to as sin, and the resultant decrease in happiness and forfeited blessings is called punishment.
King James Version (KJV)
In this sense, God is not punishing us; punishment is a consequence of our own choices, not His. When we discover that we are off the path, we can stay off, or because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can choose to reverse our steps and get back on. In the scriptures, the process of deciding to change and return to the path is referred to as repentance.
Failure to repent means that we choose to disqualify ourselves from the blessings God desires to give.