Choices: What Will We Choose series, Relationship, Series

Choices (series): When Our Hearts Must Choose

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve spent the last few months reading through the book of Jeremiah. The thing that struck me was how many times God gave His people the choice of whether or not to forsake their idols and worship Him. As I read, I realized how many times we have choices to make. In our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and especially with God. These next few weeks I will be sharing a 5-part series on choices (Read other posts here). I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what helps you make wise choices.

~~~~~

We always have a choice.

We are children of a God who always loves.

The thing is, God doesn’t manipulate us to love Him. We have to choose Him.

In Jeremiah’s day, the people knew God had brought them into the Promised Land. But in the hundreds of years since that epic event, their hearts had grown cold. They’d turned to other gods.

Other lifestyles.

They called God the Lord Almighty, yet they didn’t live as if He was truly Lord in their lives.

God sent His messengers to His people. He spoke of His love through the prophets. He also spoke of what would happen if the people continued to betray the covenant between Him and them.

They didn’t listen. Their hearts grew colder and more wicked.

And yet, God waited.

His first choice was not to pour out judgment and wrath on them. God’s first desire was to have intimate fellowship with His people.

When the judgment began, God’s discipline was gradual. He didn’t just declare He was done with them and abandon them. He did, however, allow His people to lose those things that were precious to them.

When Nebuchadnezzar took the first wave of people from Jerusalem, he also took all the tools of the temple. Those valuable, precious vessels that were supposed to be used by the people in their worship of God.

They weren’t worshiping. So, God allowed the vessels to go into the hands of a foreign king.

As soon as items used for worship were gone, the people wanted them. “Prophets”  declared God would bring them back.

Only, God had never said this.

How easy is it for us to take for granted the gift of relationship with God? We become busy with many other things. And often, these tasks are necessary.

But we relegate our relationship with God to that back corner of our hearts. Knowing He’s there, if we really need HIm.

And we forget Him.

We make our own choices, snap decisions, and move on in our days, our lives.

We forget God.

We forget how sweet our fellowship with Him was. How He filled us with His peace, with depth, with wisdom.

Relationships need nurturing. Whether it’s with a spouse, or our children, or friends. No nurturing—no time spent together—equals drying distance between hearts.

God won’t force Himself on us. He wants us to choose Him.

If we ignore God long enough, we lose our connection with Him. And when we need Him in a hard moment, He may not answer.

In Psalm 107, there’s a verse that talks about how people had gone their own way. They were living their lives, doing what needed to be done.

And then the storms came. It was only when they cried out to God—when they humbled their hearts before Him—that’s when He stilled that storm.

And, He guided them to their desired safe haven.

When we cry out to God in humility . . . .

When we acknowledge in our hearts how desperately we need Him . . . 

He meets us in our place of need. 

Let’s not become like the people of Jeremiah’s time who went into captivity before seeing how much God loved them. How much they needed Him.

Let’s be the people who nurture relationship with our Father on a daily basis—seeking Him, hearing His words, and obeying them.

What about you? When have you been in a place of need and seen God’s provision? How do you nurture your relationship with God and others?

Click to Tweet: No nurturing—no time spent together—equals drying distance between hearts.

Today I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth

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20 thoughts on “Choices (series): When Our Hearts Must Choose”

    1. Andrew, any words you share here are a blessing. I love what you said. God’s eyes are always on us, even when we think we’re running away. His presence is near His children even when we turn away. Thanks for that reminder, friend. I’m praying for you today.

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  1. Good morning, Jeanne … you’ve given us a needed caution here today … let’s not put God on the back shelf, in second place. Let’s keep him front and center where He is so worthy to be. And remember that we have that blessed privilege, that sacred choice to do so.

    Appreciate this … and the beautiful pictures you’ve shared in the process.

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    1. Linda, it’s too easy to put God on a back shelf in our hearts, isn’t it? I’m thankful for His patience, but I don’t want to test it. You’re right. We do need to remember we have the sacred choice to choose Him first. We need to follow through on that too. 🙂

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  2. Recently I was reminded of a hymn from my childhood church days-Lord, let me be an instrument of your peace. When it comes to choice, I try to make my compass God’s peace and then hopefully nurture my relationship with others by being God’s instrument of what St. Francis speaks of in the lyrics of his famous hymn. I’m grateful for so many teachers, and thank you for being one!

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    1. I like the picture of making God’s peace our compass. I guess to be an instrument of His peace we need to first be seeking Him, don’t we? Like you, I’m thankful for those in my life who speak truth and help me to grow in my relationship with Him. I’m thankful for your insights too, my friend.

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  3. I love this, Jeanne. And this entire series. We are so prone to forget that all-important step of consulting with God, aren’t we? I know I too often choose my own way instead of asking Him what His way is. Thank you for this important reminder to choose Him first always. As always, your photos refresh my soul. I especially love the sunsets. Or are they sunrises? Sometimes I can’t tell. But it doesn’t matter, does it? They display God’s glory either way. 🙂 Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy, thank you for your kind words. It seems like it should be second nature to ask God’s thoughts on decisions first, but I struggle with that too. I’m getting better at going to Him before consulting myself, but . . . I’m still a work-in-progress. Sending love and hugs back to you, friend.

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  4. Another great post Jeanne. “How easy is it for us to take for granted the gift of relationship with God?” …apparently it is very easy.
    I think we sometimes get caught up in going before God with our needs and complaints. He welcomes that and really wants us to pour out our hearts to Him, BUT at some point it becomes His turn to speak and we are supposed to listen. That’s how relationships work. We find His response in His Word and through deep prayer, and that’s where we often fall short. We just take for granted that He heard us and we don’t stick around to receive our marching orders. He actually expects more from us than just a want list.
    Sometimes I wonder if His patience with us will one day run out!

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    1. Gene. Guilty. I’ve been the one who has poured out my heart and run off into my day without being still before Him and listening to His thoughts. My word for the year is Intentional. I’ve been working to be diligent to be still before Him more and to listen more. Funny how my year has been even busier than previous years, making it harder to be still and listen. I don’t have this mastered, but I’ve come to see this year, that I need to be still and listen in every area of my day, not just in the time I dedicate to spend time in His word. Thank you for sharing your wise words here!

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  5. Jeanne,
    Next to love, humility is the most often talked about topic in the Bible. Hmmm….wonder why. We are a people prone to wander…prone to wander away from our wonderful relationship with God. We go against His ways that are good for us and still He is patient, waiting for us to humble our hearts and return to Him. It’s amazing in Jeremiah how many times the people turn away. I may not worship idols, but I am guilty of putting God on the back burner. Thank you for this beautiful invitation to put Him front and center in my/our lives.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. Bev, someone else recently shared about how humility is one of the most talked about topics in the Bible. I guess this quality is pretty important to God, huh? 😉 I’m thankful for His patience with me as I return to Him, as I learn how to grow in humility (usually after I’ve been prideful in some way), as I learn to seek Him in every area of my life. May we both be intentional about keeping God at the forefront of our lives. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your words here, my friend!

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  6. Wow, Jeanne, this is spot on! It’s always about choice, and accountability. When we recognize that, life gets so much simpler. Lately I’ve been using the word “invest”. Who or what am I choosing to invest my heart, my time, and my resources in? Thank you for this gentle reminder!

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    1. Alice, I like that word. Invest. That’s a choosing too, isn’t it? As we decide where we will invest our time, our energy, our emotions, our finances…we always get to choose if/how much we invest. Thank you for adding this dimension to the conversation!

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  7. Jeanne – Looking forward to all the posts in this series! How true…all relationships require nurturing…even (or especially) the one we have with our heavenly Father….but how often it is that special fellowship is the one that gets the least of our nurturing. Praying to make the wise choices that will draw me even closer and keep me in fellowship with Him.

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    1. Jennifer, I am guilty of giving God my tidbits rather than my whole-hearted devotion. I’m working to change that. I know He understands the ebb and flow of life’s seasons, but I still want to be drawing close to Him in every season. I’m praying those same prayers, my friend. Thank you for stopping by!

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