Sent: October 29, 2001
Subject: Making Choices
Dear Ethan, Emily, Christopher, Elizabeth, Jeremy, Matthew, & Nathan,
(Sent to my two children and my niece and nephews)
While going through some papers this weekend, I cam across a letter I wrote and gave to a group of Emily’s friends: Erin, Josh, Jake, Logan, and Brian on the night they left Colorado after spending Spring Break 2000 with us. In just the very short time we got to know them, we came to love them, and we are so grateful, Emily, that you have such wonderful friends…and brought them into our lives.
The thoughts in this letter came from my heart as I challenged them to make the most of their lives in living for the Lord, and I would now like to send the same letter to you. Although I have already covered some of these topics in earlier devotions that I have sent to Ethan & Emily from my morning devotional and quiet time with the Lord, I am sending this letter in its original format as I gave to Emily’s friends in March 2000…only the names have changed.
Please read carefully. It is long but my prayer is that you will focus on God’s promises…and be challenged and blessed by them.
Dad (Uncle Larry)
Dear Ethan, Emily, Christopher, Elizabeth, Jeremy, Matthew, & Nathan:
I cannot express in words how great it has been to have all of you in our home. Each of you holds so much promise and potential, and our prayer will be that you always give God first place in your heart and lives.
One of the greatest blessings of my life has been in these last several years to read the Bible through each year from cover to cover. I do this early in the morning each day, and I have been so blessed as I have communicated with the Lord in this way each and every day. I have made it a priority, and nothing replaces these moments to be in His Word.
I have just finished Deuteronomy and am beginning the book of Joshua. These last several days of reading have been so rich, and I would like to share with you several passages from these books.
In Moses’ final challenge to the children of Israel before they entered Canaan, he summed up God’s expectations in the following manner:
“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” (Deut. 10: 12-13). Focus on the verbs: Fear, walk, love, serve, observe…this is what the Christian walk is all about.
Later in Deut. 30: 11-20, Moses continued in an amazing passage: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land….”
Wow!…what alternatives!…and God leaves the choice up to us. I pray that you will commit yourself daily to making the right choices.
Finally, after Joshua has assumed leadership and right before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, God spoke to Joshua these awesome words:
“…As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the fight or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart form your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”(Joshua 1: 5b-9)
What can I add”…just that after many years of walking with the Lord, I have found that God’s Word IS true and that simple “obedience” is the key to all of success and blessing in the Christian life. Obey…not out of a legal necessity…but out of love for all our Lord has done for us. This is the way we demonstrate the genuineness of our love…and what we get in return is greater than anything the world has to offer!
May God be real to you every moment of every day…
Larry and my wonderful wife Marilyn