Two Different Paths – The Pagosa Springs SUN

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By Stan Counsell | OVERVIEW Columnist

We certainly live in a convoluted world, don’t we? Since the Civil War, this nation has not been so shamefully divided. Even peace on our planet seems so out of reach. At one point, disturbing differences were covered with polite respect. Now politically charged people often see dissimilarities as a threat to everything near and dear to them. Their blood boils, obscenities are thought out, written or proclaimed loud and clear. Today, “You’re No. 1” is a common “salutation” given to anyone who dares to see things from a different perspective.

Such scatological actions are part of our deeply rooted fallen (sinful) nature that dates back to Adam’s choice to disobey God. Since then internal corruption has become part of the human condition.

Without the Lord, we are just wrecks and wrecks adrift on the angry seas of life. King Solomon wrote such continual havoc in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Here in Ecclesiastes 1: 9-10 he clearly states, “There is nothing new under the sun. It is heartbreaking; everything in humanity is a replay of the endless B-List. In Ecclesiastes 1:14, Solomon also wrote down the folly of “chasing the wind”. At first glance, this seems like such a “depressing” book to read. But, isn’t it? Not at all.

As the Lord Jesus walked the earth, fulfilling all that had been prophesied about him as the only Savior of the world, he encountered many wounded souls who were in dire need of God’s intervention. They were hopeless in life, deeply distraught and dejected. But, being God in the flesh, nothing was new to Jesus. He was not caught off guard or hit. He didn’t need an angel to retrieve a current repair manual for his immediate use.

People in need were of all ages, ethnicities, nationalities, education, religion and health levels. Many of these tortured souls felt marginalized, neglected and rejected by society. Tragically, such despicable actions have also been incorporated into their religious frameworks. So where was God in this endless mess?

We are starting a new year. We see the need to improve ourselves, to improve ourselves, our nation and the world. Yet futility reigns as evidenced by the countless resolutions that are regularly made and soon broken. But, the Lord is only a sigh away. Right from the start, he offered us two paths to choose from when it comes to our relationship with him.

One is the only way to Him. On this path, we can fully immerse ourselves in his infinite love, his salvation, his forgiveness, his tenderness and his unfathomable grace. The other way is the self without restraint, generating unbridled depravity, empty of Him by our own choice. The Lord wants to lead us to Him through the proven / documented death, burial and resurrection of His son, Jesus. But, we keep demanding our own way because, after all, we know better, don’t we?

In the beginning of time, Cain, the firstborn of Adam and Eve, had little regard for God, presenting an insulting “get-by / easy” sacrifice to the Lord. Abel, his younger brother, gave the best of himself. Because the Lord only accepted Abel’s sacrifice, Cain plotted and executed the brutal murder of his younger brother.

Cain, according to Genesis 4: 9-16, did not seek forgiveness but rather reacted somewhat sarcastically towards God. Because of his actions, the Lord said he would be a wanderer on the earth. Cain, refusing to repent, also admitted this and tried to place a shameful blame on God, but not on himself.

Once expelled from Eden, he settled in the land of Nod. Interestingly, the word “Nod” meant “wandering.” When our thoughts and actions declare that the choice is self, rather than the loving way of the Lord, we are wandering much like a ship without an anchor.

Consider the account of a blind man who was healed by Jesus. Mark 8: 22-25 reports that a blind man needs his sight. Some men brought the emergency man to Jesus. Like a prayer of intercession, they called out loud to Jesus to touch the man. What depth: the Greek word “to touch” meant “to seize, set on fire”.

Look at the love of Jesus as he placed the way of God before man. In verse 23, Jesus took the man’s hand. The word “taken” is revealing (no pun intended). It meant “to hold on, save from peril”. He who wanders is in danger, unable to see the many trials imposed on him.

The blind man looked down as Jesus prayed for him. His recovery was only partial, now seeing a distorted view of the people around him. For Jesus, it was not good enough. He wants us to see clearly on our way with Him. Psalm 119: 105 says, “Your word is a lamp at my feet and a light on my path. Jesus prompted the man to look intently at his face as he prayed again. This time the man was completely healed. Do we look at Jesus the same way?

Jesus in verse 26 sent the man home. Did you know that the Greek word for “sent” means “to send back in a state of freedom”? That’s right, Almighty God wants to free us from our continually broken ways. Or, as John 8:32 reports that Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ”

As a 19 year old, my life was a big mess. Suicide seemed the only way out of my troubled life. I had no goals, friends, future, or education. Then I felt a strong urge to call on God to save me, calling me “mission impossible”.

He “took” me from my perils, held me firmly, igniting me spiritually. I had my first real taste of freedom. Jesus ultimately led me to ministry as a pastor and chaplain for over 35 years.

Dear reader, if you are looking for genuine salvation, it can only come through Jesus Christ. If, as a disciple of Jesus, you have lost your bearings, he wants to tell you the truth clearly, to love you and to set you free. OK, he’s waiting.

This column may include both fiction and non-fiction, and the views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the SUN. Submissions can be sent to [email protected]

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