"Jesus could force us into our safe place, but we have free will to choose" by: Betsy Monico

   My column idea began Friday night at my parents’ house. 
   We celebrated the “Passover” later than originally planned with our second annual Seder. 
   Our Seder plate was full of symbolic foods. 
   We also laughed, visited, wrestled the dogs, and watched the fiasco of getting the chickens back into the coop for the evening. 
   My parents have mature chickens and some that are just “teenagers.” 
   Guess which bunch my Dad struggled with? It was the teens! Oh, I can relate. 
   I thanked the Lord that Dad was the one outside. 
   He would have probably chimed in and shared a few stories about trying to reel me in as a teen. 
   Chickens are so popular these days. We gave up years ago with ours. 
   We lost several sets to our lab and Jack Russell. After we finally beat the dogs enough and trained them to live in peace, we gave up.  
   The eggs sat for days without being collected and coop cleaning days were infrequent.  
   Our days and nights back then were chaotic and busy. 
   We ate most of our dinners at the ballpark and spent more time in our cars than we did at home. 
   We should try again I guess. There is nothing better than fresh eggs. I made a pound cake yesterday and attributed its deliciousness to the fresh eggs and buttermilk. 
   My parents’ chickens, like ours back in the day, are free to roam during the day, but required to sleep inside the coop at night. 
   When chickens all enter their safe place for the evening hours and the door is closed, you can assume they are safe. 
   The plan of daytime play and freedom, but going in at night to sleep safely seems fair. 
   Well, watching my Dad trying to get the teens in for the night for protection, reinforced everything I know to be true about teens and even us adults when we chose to live in childlike ways. 
   See where I am going here with the chickens and life? 
   Why would we choose to not enter the “coop” and appreciate that we have a safe place to rest daily? 
   Human nature, in the form of our flesh and sinful nature, makes us want to run around and do as we please. 
   We are hard-headed, selfish, and just plain dumb at times. Even when we know Jesus personally, we still go through times when we struggle with not entering our “coop” and being obedient. 
   Now, my Dad could have manhandled the teenage chickens and forced them into their cozy, safe home.  
   He could have also summoned my boys to help him; however, he took his time and let them finally make their way inside. 
   Likewise, Jesus could force us into our “safe place” and even close the door to lock us in.  
   There is nothing He cannot do! 
   Jesus rose from the grave. He conquered death. However, He will not force us into the “coop” or make us do anything. 
   We have free will. That means the door is open at all times, but we have to walk in on our own. 
   The gift of salvation operates in the same way. 
   It is a free gift, open to all, but individually we must accept the gift of eternal life. 
   If you need salvation, the door is open. Walk in. If you are a struggling Christian today, walk back in the door. 
   In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” 
   The door is open. Walk in. 

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