By: Bobot Apit

Dec 14, 2010 - Tuesday Meditation (Consequences of the Choices We Make!) 
Good intentions are not enough. And promises don't count unless they are performed. Jesus encourages us to think – to think about the consequences of our choices, especially the choices and decisions that will count not just for now but for eternity as well. 
Memorial of St. John of the Cross 
Zephariah 3:1-2, 9-13 
Psalm 34:2-3, 6-8, 17-18, 19+23 
Matthew 21:28-32 "What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 29 And he answered, `I will not'; but afterward he repented and went. 30 And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir,' but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him. 
Meditation by Don Schwager 
Jesus asks us a simple question: What do you think? Who will inherit the kingdom of heaven? Scripture warns that the proud and the haughty will fall, but the humble and lowly will be raised up. Pride leads to sin and rebellion. Humility leads to repentance and submission to the will of God. The prophets of Israel warned their people that unfaithfulness and disobedience would lead to their downfall – they would be scattered among the nations and lose everything that was once precious to them – their temple and holy city Jerusalem, their royal priesthood, their unity as a holy nation, and their covenant relationship with God as his chosen ones would be damaged as well. Israel suffered disgrace and lost hope of mercy and restoration. The prophet Zephaniah reminded his people that God would bring healing, pardon, and restoration to those who turned back to him with repentance and trust. 
Jesus shocked the self-righteous Jews, who outwardly practiced the external rituals of their religion while inwardly harboring evil thoughts and intentions, by declaring that the tax collectors and harlots would enter the kingdom of God before them. Jesus illustrated his point with a simple story of two imperfect sons. The father amply provided for his sons everthing they needed – food, clothing, and shelter. He thought they would be grateful to work for him in exchange for his generous provision and care for them. He expected them to show their gratitude and respect through their obedience and diligence in tending his vineyard. Although the "rebellious" son told his father to his face that he would not work for him, he afterwards changed his mind and did what his father commanded him to do. The "good" son said he would work for his father, but didn't carry through. He did his own will contrary to his father's will. Now who was really the good son?
Both sons disobeyed their father; but one repented and then did what the father told him. 
Jesus makes his point clear: Good intentions are not enough. And promises don't count unless they are performed. God wants to change our hearts so that we will show by our actions that we respect his will and do it. God offers each of us the greatest treasure possible – unending peace, joy, happiness, and life with him in his kingdom. We can lose that treasure if we refuse the grace God offers us to follow in his way of truth, love, and righteousness. Jesus encourages us to think – to think about the consequences of our choices, especially the choices and decisions that will count not just for now but for eternity as well. The choices we make now will affect and shape our future, both our future on earth as well as in the life of the age to come. Are you ready to obey your heavenly Father and to choose for his kingdom of righteousness and peace? 
"Lord Jesus, change my heart that I may desire to do whatever is pleasing to you. Help me to respect your will and give me the strength, joy, and perseverance to carry it out wholeheartedly." 
Supplementary Reading 
Daily Benefits 
“Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits...” - Psalm 68:19 
This morning when you woke up, what was the first thing that went through your mind? Maybe you have a deadline to meet or a big appointment at work. Maybe you are facing a challenge or going through a difficulty in a relationship that seems to consume your thoughts. Today, I want to encourage you; instead of focusing on what your circumstances have to offer, focus on what God has to offer you. His mercies are new every morning, and His compassion never fails. He has victory in store for you today; He has provision in store for you today; He has joy in store for you today, and He has peace in store for you today. He daily loads you with blessing! 
The key to accessing these daily benefits is setting your focus in the right direction. You can’t wait to see how you feel, what kind of mood your spouse is in, what the traffic is like or what the stock market is doing. No, you have to choose to set your focus by saying, “This is going to be a great day. I am blessed and cannot be cursed! I know God is directing my steps; something good is going to happen to me today!” 
Heavenly Father, today I choose to focus on You. I open my heart and mind to receive Your daily benefits. Show me ways to be a blessing to others and a good example of your love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.— Joel & Victoria Osteen