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                         "MAKING WISE CHOICES"


INTRODUCTION

1. The Old Testament provides valuable lessons for the Christian - 1Co
   10:11

2. One such lesson is the importance of "Making Wise Choices" in our
   lives...
   a. Lot made a choice as to where to live, and as a result he
      experienced:
      1) War and kidnapping - Gen 14
      2) Oppression and torment by the ungodly citizens of Sodom - 2 Pe
         2:7-8
      3) Loss of all his possessions, death of his wife, and incest with
         his daughters - Gen 19
   b. David chose to commit adultery with Bathsheba, and as a
      consequence he suffered:
      1) The death of his infant son - 2Sa 12
      2) A daughter molested by her half-brother - 2Sa 13
      3) That son killed by her vengeful brother - 2Sa 13
      4) A rebellion led by that son, who shamed him publicly, and whose
         death brought even more grief to David - 2Sa 15-18

3. With Lot and David illustrating the need for "Making Wise Choices",
   let's consider...
   a. Some choices that greatly affect our lives
   b. Suggestions for making wise choices
   c. What to do when we have made the wrong choice

[We begin with a review of...]

I. CHOICES WHICH GREATLY AFFECT OUR LIVES

   A. CHOOSING JESUS...
      1. Will you follow Jesus or not?
         a. Will you become His disciple?
         b. Or will you refuse to accept His gracious offer of salvation
            - Mt 11:28-30
      2. This one decision will affect your life more than any other!
         a. It will determine your place in eternity
         b. It will have a bearing on every other decision you make
            1) As a disciple, you will be concerned with doing His will
            2) As a disciple, you will not simply "do your own thing"
               - Mt 28:18-20

   B. CHOOSING A CAREER...
      1. Even from a worldly viewpoint, your choice is important
         a. The job market is always changing
         b. The wrong choice could lead to financial ruin or fiscal
            hardship
      2. More importantly, the choice can have a lasting effect on:
         a. Your marriage and family
         b. Your service to God
      3. Make the choice to honor God first, and you will be blessed
         - Mt 6:33
      4. Make money the primary factor in your decision, and destruction
         will follow - 1Ti 6:6-10

   C. CHOOSING A MATE...
      1. This choice will determine to a great extent your degree of
         happiness - Pr 12:4
      2. It will have a permanent bearing on your children and their
         emotional well-being
         a. You may think you can simply divorce a person if they turn
            out to be a bad choice
         b. But once you have children, there is no way to reverse the
            choice you made as to who is the mother or father of your
            children!
         c. The children are not unaffected by the violence of divorce
            - cf. Mal 2:16

   D. CHOOSING YOUR FRIENDS...
      1. Having close friends can be a wonderful blessing - cf. Pro
         17:17
      2. But the wrong friends can be a curse - cf. Pr 12:26; 1Co
         15:33

   E. CHOOSING WHERE TO LIVE...
      1. It was this choice where Lot made his mistake
         a. It appeared to be a sound business decision - Gen 13:10-11
         b. But it was a poor moral decision - Gen 13:13
      2. Upon what basis do we choose where to live?
         a. Is it based solely on how much of house we can afford?
         b. Is it based upon the location to work, school, etc.?
         c. Do we consider whether it will help or hinder our service to
            God and His church?
      -- There may be some modern-day "Sodoms" and "Gommorahs" to avoid!

[For every action there is a reaction, and for every choice there is a
consequence.  To increase the likelihood that our choices will have good
consequences, here are a few...]

II. SUGGESTIONS FOR MAKING WISE CHOICES

   A. ASK GOD FOR WISDOM...
      1. He promises to give wisdom to those who ask in faith - Jm 1:5-8
      2. Asking for wisdom requires diligence - Pr 2:1-9
      -- Fill your prayers with requests for wisdom to make wise
         choices!

   B. ASK OTHERS FOR ADVICE...
      1. There is safety in having many counselors - Pr 11:14
      2. There is wisdom in heeding the counsel of others - Pr 12:15
      3. Two great sources for counsel:
         a. The Bible itself, especially a book like Proverbs
         b. Older, mature Christians
      -- Don't hesitate to ask others what they would do!

   C. COMMIT YOUR CHOICES TO THE LORD...
      1. Trusting that you have made choices pleasing to Him, put them
         in His hands - Ps 37:5-6, 23-26
      2. Make your choices with the understanding, "if the Lord wills"
         - Jm 4:13-15
      3. One might even ask the Lord that if a choice is not according
         to His will...
         a. He might frustrate the carrying out of the choice
         b. Or to otherwise show you what is His will
      -- Include God in your decision making, if you wish to make wise
         choices!

[There will be times when it becomes apparent that we made poor choices,
even wrong ones.  What can we do to avoid making matters worse...?]

III. RESPONDING TO WRONG CHOICES

   A. LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS...
      1. Do what Lot did:  Heed and flee!
         a. Heed the Word of God
         b. Do what you now know to be right without reservation
            (remember Lot's wife!)
      2. Do what Peter did:  Repent and serve!
         a. Repent, if sin is involved (as when Peter denied Christ)
         b. Serve the Lord with what time you have left in this life
      3. Do what Paul did:  Accept and live!
         a. Accept the forgiveness Jesus provides - cf. 1Ti 1:12-16
         b. Determine to live for the Lord to the best of your ability
            - cf. Php 3:13-14

   B. THE WRONG THING TO DO...
      1. Continue - remain in the choice you've made because of pride,
         or some other reason!
      2. Wallow - just feel sorry for yourself over your guilt or loss!

CONCLUSION

1. May the examples of such men like Lot and David...
   a. Teach us the importance of "Making Wise Choices"
   b. Serve as a warning not to make our decisions lightly

2. May we ever be open to the wisdom from God and the counsel of others
   as we make such   choices as...
   a. Our careers
   b. Our spouses
   c. Our friends
   d. Where we will live

3. Have you made the most important decision you will ever face in this
   life?
   a. The decision which will determine your eternal destiny?
   b. The decision to follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Why not decide today to follow Jesus, and become His disciple? - cf. Mt
28: 19-20; Ac 2:36-41
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