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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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What Are Our Choices?

Modern Americans live in an age of endless choices. Ever since Burger King told us we could "have it your way," we have increasingly become a culture which demands - and receives - the right to choose. Result: today you can choose between Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free Coke, Coke Classic, and Cherry Coke. If you want potato chips with your Coke, you have to choose between regular, ruffled, ranch, barbequed, smoked, onion, cheese, or vinegar flavored chips. And if you choose to stop at McDonald's for a hamburger, you are confronted with a choice between a Big Mac, a Big and Tasty, or a quarter pounder! Still, as Kervyn Dimney of Colorado Springs, Colorado, reminds us, choices sometimes are rather limited. He writes, "It is so rare to be offered a meal on airlines these days that I was surprised to hear the flight attendant ask the man sitting in front of me, 'Would you like dinner?' 'What are my choices?' he responded. 'Yes or no,' she said." (Reader's Digest, 12/02, p 202)

A pluralistic age that denies the existence of absolute moral and spiritual truth has convinced millions that God and truth can be whatever we choose them to be. Result: from the cars we drive to the places we eat to the sexual acts we prefer to the politicians we elect to the religions we embrace to the churches we attend - Americans demand multiple choices. Actress Penelope Cruz captured the lackadaisical, salad bar, mix and match, clear as mud, multiple choice approach to religion now popular with millions. In Plugged In (May, 2001, p 10) she says, "I was baptized and had my first communion, and I believe in God in my own ways. But the philosophy I most identify with is Buddhism because it's the one that doesn't say, 'This is the only way.' I don't like to put a title on what I believe.' " I wonder if Cruz believes her belief that "there is not just one way" is the one and only way to believe?

Spiritual choices are severely limited. Two verses in Revelation 21 sum them up: "the water of life" (verse 6), or a "lake of fire" (verse 8). The Bible closes in Revelation 22:17 by offering all people God's great invitation: "And the Spirit and the bride say,'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." The next two verses warn that if we would have our part in God's Book of Life and His holy city, we must not tamper with God's Word by adding to it or taking away from it. What are our choices? To gain God's favor we must "have it God's way" and do His will (Matthew 7:21). Any other choice will at last leave us without Christ.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ