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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Joshua 24:15

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"The Fundamental Decision"

"But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15). "Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in His ways" (Psalm 128:1).

Today let us consider a great verse of consecration as we begin the New Year. I'm sure many of you have heard it and sung it as well. When I preach I often conclude my message by quoting this verse as a reaffirmation of my decision to serve the Lord as well as a challenge to the congregation to make that same decision. Of course for many of them it is a reaffirmation of a decision they had made many years earlier.

Decision sign
We will all make many, many decisions this new year. Life is just full of choices and decision-making, from tiny daily choices such as what brand of soap to purchase or what to have for dinner to major, life altering decisions such as our choice for a mate or career. Many decisions do not have moral consequences but many others are a choice between right and wrong. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12).

However there is one fundamental decision we all share, based upon a portion of Scripture in the Old Testament.

Some 3,400 years ago Joshua gave his final challenge to the children of Israel. He had lived a life of steadfast commitment to God. He's first mentioned in Scripture as the trusted commander of Moses' army shortly after they crossed the Red Sea during the Exodus. He, along with Caleb, was one of only two spies to bring back a faith-filled report that essentially said, "With God's help we can do it!"

Joshua's final message
He had faithfully served under Moses during the 40-year period in the wilderness and now had himself led God's people in the conquest for some 25 years.  He's now 110 years old and musters enough strength for a final challenge to faith and commitment that rings through the ages.

He called for the people to "Fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness." We have such a lack of the proper fear of the Lord in our times, sadly even in the Church. A healthy, holy fear of God is an essential component in the life of the maturing Christian. And in a culture where our Lord's holy Name is used in vain countless times every day and a common reference to Him is "the man upstairs", we need a good dose of the fear of God. Today let us indeed walk in His love with fear and reverence toward Him for the Bible says, "Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in His ways" (Psalm 128:1).

Joshua set the fundamental choice clearly before them with these words, "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve." In the context of the time their fundamental choice was between the one true God and "the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living." 

In a broader sense the choice now and in every generation is between the one true God and what the apostle Paul called "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4). People then and now have this fundamental choice, for the one true God does not force people to love and serve Him.

Father praying for child
Joshua sets a great example for the people of his time and through all subsequent ages, including our own. Let us begin another year by joining him and proclaiming this day, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" It's easier to declare this bold statement in the company of other like-minded believers than to carry out this commitment in the home, workplace, and even when no one else is around. Beware that sacrifice, obedience, and prayerful commitment to following God's commands will be required of those who make such a declaration.

Be encouraged today and have a blessed New Year as you daily choose to serve the Lord!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have drawn us with an everlasting love; You have drawn us with your loving kindness. This new year Your bountiful provision overflows with the material, physical and spiritual blessings that only a loving, caring heavenly Father can give.  We choose this first day of the year 2013 to declare to all who will hear, "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord."

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"The Family Prayer Song"  Video   Maranatha Singers

"Today I Choose (As For Me And My House)"
Brian Doerksen

"As For Me And My House"  Video  John Waller

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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