I have been reading in Malachi this morning and I see the anger of God in the false offerings of the people of Israel. God told them to bring their best and to sacrifice their offering because He is worthy of nothing less. Today I am focusing on the choice; do I give my best or do I give what I think I can afford? Every part of history repeats it’s self over and over because people like me never stop to learn from the mistakes of others. I love God and I am truly thankful for this new life but I am convicted today that I don’t give my best. Just like the priests my sacrifice is blind and crippled and I go about my life as two people. On the outside I am strong and confident and on the inside I am looking for someone else to rescue me. For months now I have prayed and ask God to come and to bring revival to this country. I have asked Him to stir up the hearts of His people and to stomp out the false teachings and the traditions that keep us locked in religion. I ask Him to weed His congregations and set the hearts of His people on fire so we can light up the darkness that surrounds us. Every time I read God’s word I see the destruction of this country by our own hands. The division of the people fighting to go in opposite directions and the complacency of the church trying to give leftovers and expecting God to bless it and just like Israel the anger of the Lord is what we will receive. This is not about money, time, or effort, God is hearing my prayers and true to His word He is starting here. “I am a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God” and yet I hold on to the things I think I can’t afford to lose. I realize that I am not alone here and that so many others struggle with truly letting go and letting God be enough but truthfully I feel very alone. I will confess that on day one my thought process was, I will conquer the parenting mistakes, live an example of them to my sons and life will be better? It took less than a week for God to show me it is so much deeper than that. So ultimately the answer to my choice is the Sunday school answer, “I chose you Lord” and it is really that simple and not that simple. I find myself for the first time with a true challenge from God and I know with everything in my soul that He is not going to move until I do. He is not going to take it from me and He is not going to push me away if I don’t give it to Him but we are at an impasse, either I move or I stay. He will love me just as much either way I go and He will continue to use me either way I go but now that I am here I clearly see the choice is victory or defeat. I have never understood the battle for the mind before this very minute and I have never really looked at Jacob wrestling all night with God in such a way but I have a new understanding of that night and a new perspective of the change from his victory. Every bit of life is about choices and change and growing but when sin and pain and wrong choices took over I began to be drug through life and I started to believe I didn’t have a choice or if I did I would make the wrong one. For years I have let others make my choices or just lived with the consequences of not choosing at all and that has kept me from seeing myself and picturing life the way I want it. My eyes were open to this struggle when I decided to remodel my house instead of selling it to buy a new one. That choice actually started out of rebellion but in the process I stopped to consider who I want to be in the next phase of my life. I don’t want a bigger house and more work I want a warm house that is inviting and where people feel welcome. Choosing the way I want things done and how I want it to look gave me a little more of the picture, I want my house to be full and I want my grandchildren to have fun and to play and to leave their handprints on everything. I want them to have a dog they can cuddle with while they watch a movie and I don’t want to stress over the popcorn getting turned over. I want my home to reflect me presentable and roughed up around the edges but full of love. I see my life in a beautiful place, it isn’t perfect and without struggles but it’s real and secure and I am the master of my choices. I have said for years that love is a choice and I have used that to bring my own surrender to things I didn’t like or feelings I didn’t want to deal with. “I will just chose to love” but that is not what I was choosing, the choice of love is freely given when it is made from an understanding of why it is being given. I come back to this place with God and my first decision is, will I choose to love God for who He is and not for what He has given me? Will I choose to love Him even when I don’t like what He is doing and He doesn’t feel the need to explain Himself? Will I chose to love Him even if He takes away everyone I have desperately tried to hang on to? Everything in my soul is screaming yes and even though I know the answer my mind doubts I can do it. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”, I’m going to cling to that verse today and hash out the next step with God.