Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Roll the Dice!

In biblical times, the lot may have been several pebbles held in the fold of a robe and then drawn out or shaken to the ground. It was a common practice for making decisions, like throwing dice today or flipping a coin. However, God—not chance or luck—is in control of how things turn out. (Proverb 16:33)

You love the new house you’re moving to. Finally you’ll get a bedroom of your own, apart from Emily, your younger sister. One bedroom has a tiny window, but the corner bedroom has two huge windows with trees right outside. In your mind, you’ve already decorated that room. When your family moves in, though, Emily wants that bedroom and refuses to take the other room. Your parents say that since you’re the oldest, you can have first choice. “That’s not fair!” Emily cries. You think about it for a moment. “Let’s try something that is fair,” you say. “Dad, flip a coin for us, okay? Emily, do you want heads or tails?” You trust that God is in control. If he wants you to have the corner room, you’ll get it.

This is what people in biblical times did when they cast lots. What was the point of casting lots to make decisions? It was fair—and it stopped people from fighting. “Casting lots causes contentions to cease, and keeps the mighty apart.” (Proverbs 18:18 NKJV) The next time that you and another person want the same thing—the last piece of pizza, choosing the TV channel, or picking a movie—try “casting lots” and bring peace to the situation.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Going Backwards

People who follow God for a while but later return to their old ways of sinful living are sometimes referred to as “backsliders.” A backslider’s life is eventually filled with negative consequences. Megan was sad when her friend Tia stopped coming to youth group, where they had both sung with the praise band. Megan continued to sing on youth night, and eventually the band was asked to perform in church. Months later, the group made a music CD. Bit by bit, Megan’s dream of being a Christian vocal artist was coming true. And Tia? The new crowd she hung out with preferred parties to church, and one night Tia was injured in a car accident. The driver was underage and drunk. Tia would be in therapy for months to regain use of her legs.

What happened to Tia was the result of her own actions, not a punishment from God. Actions have consequences, either positive or negative. If a farmer planted weed seeds in his field, he would harvest a worthless crop of weeds. It wouldn’t be God doing anything to him. It would be the result of his own actions. “Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you.” (Jeremiah 2:19 TNIV) Sinful living simply has its own consequences.

So pull out the weeds in your life. Plant healthy seeds in their place. Then get ready for a harvest of blessings!