Monday, October 22, 2012

Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

I was thinking about a scene from one of my all time favorite movies, the Princess Bride. 
I am embedding the clip just in case you have not had the pleasure of reading the book or watching the movie. 

I was thinking about those decisions in life when one must chose to go one direction or another. How can you decide what to choose? I can at times find myself sometimes looking at decisions much like Vizzini the Sicilian. Me with all my dizzying intellect can start to think that the world revolves around me. 

There are always choices that we must make along life's journey, so how do we decide. For a long time I would look at decisions and choose what looked to be the more difficult path. I've come to realize there is really no way to tell when standing at a fork in the road which path is the better one. I ask myself questions like. Which of these paths will draw me closer to the Lord. In which choice will I have to lean on the Lord rather than on my self sufficiency? Which path do I feel God's peace as I think about it. Some times one does not seem to be better than the other. Apples and Oranges are both good and with my choice I have to decide which one I want and I need to move forward and make the best of it and enjoy what that choice affords me.

This topic reminds me of the story of Abraham and Lot in Genesis 13. They had been traveling together for a while and God had blessed them to the point that their herds and servants had begun to fuss over the available resources. Can you wrap your mind around being blessed so much that you would need to part company. Abraham and Lot stood together on the hill side over looking the lands that they each could choose. Here's the actual passage. Genesis 13: Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” 10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.

Abraham is gracious fellow and allows Lot his nephew to choose first. Lot choose the more fertile land that looks to be the better and easier choice. As you read on in the story he eventually ends up living in Sodom and Gomorrah, among a people that became so wicked that God finally wipes them off the map. Lot was looking for the "good life" rather than the "God life." Yet he lived a good enough life that God sent angels to rescue him and his family before destroying Sodom. Seems only one good man could be found and that man was Lot. In the end Lot could only convince is wife and daughters to flee the city as the angel instructed. They were told to not even look back but Lot's wife can help herself and is turned into a pillar. I can't help but wonder how the story might have played out if Abraham had taken that direction rather than Lot. What if rather than separating they managed to figure out how to continue to live together?  

My thought today was about how we need to keep in mind that God's purpose is to conform us to his image and he will do that no matter what decisions we make along the way. It did not matter what cup Vizzini choose - in the end both had the poison in them. Wesley is only able to live because he has spent months building up a tolerance or an immunity to the poison. God is the only one with an immunity to sin. We are always affected by our sin and the sins of others. God knows all the fears and failures that we see as we face the choice before us. He knows and understands and he desires to lead us and guide us along the way but our pride in our dizzying intellect can often blind us to the truth that we can only manage the cup before us and the poison of sin that it contains with the help of Jesus. 

In the end, God will use what ever choice we make, be it good or bad, to conform us to His image. I believe He is blessed when we choose to look to him for direction, when we choose to trust him and take steps of faith. When we chose to be thankful rather than griping all the time. I'm not saying that there are no stupid choices, there are choices that can have painful consequences. A person who has set their heart to follow God and do things His way, must prayerfully make each decision. Just don't get stuck there at the crossroads, at some point you will have to make your best decision and take that step of faith into the unknown that lies before you. It is much easier to steer a moving ship then one that is dry docked if doubt and fear. 

Prayer: Lord you know the decisions that are before each of us today. You alone know what lies around the bend in the road. Help us to take that step of faith to follow you and to trust you. Help us to be moving and not stuck so that you can gently move us along the path you desire for us. 

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