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Hard Decisions



“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!” Joshua 24:14 The Lord spoke to a man named Merlin Carothers and said, “I have no grandchildren.” Merlin thought on that long and hard but could not come up with what God might mean by that, so he asked the Lord. And the Lord said to him that every person must be saved in his own right, not on the rights of his parents, because if it were on the rights of his parents, that would make him a grandchild, not a son or daughter of the Lord, and God has no grandchildren. Salvation is a very personal, individual thing. No one is saved on the merits of his parents. Having grown up in a Christian home does not make one a Christian. Each person must be born again for himself. As Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he CANNOT see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 It’s not a suggestion, it’s the statement of an absolute fact. The born-again experience cannot be overlooked, it’s the very beginning of a person’s story. vs 6-7: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You MUST be born again.'” When one is born again, it may be costly for him, for he must “put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river.” For many this means parting from the ways of their parents, or maybe the religion of their parents. One must take a close look and determine if the religion they were brought up with is a religion of TRUTH. It may not be - it may be simply a tradition. “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and unprofitable things.” Jeremiah 16:19 Every believer is brought to decision. He must examine the ways of his family and culture and traditions and see whether they are established in the truth. Many a time that will mean having to decide between the truth and tradition. If the truth is not in the traditions of his family, leaving those traditions might cost him his family. This may be the greatest decision he will make in his lifetime. “I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” Jeremiah 3:14 The Lord calls one here and one there because that’s the only way to bring someone to the importance of the decision he is called upon to make. It would be so much easier to just keep the peace and go along with the traditions of the family, but many a time that would mean living in “lies, vanity, and unprofitable things.” “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26 Obviously the Lord does not mean we are to bear hatred toward our family members, for the Lord has said: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15 So what DOES it mean, then? It means that each person must place God before all and above every family member, friend, culture, and tradition - being willing to part with them if necessary. “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served…” Joshua 24:14 When a person is born again, that day is the first day of the rest of his life. The Lord begins the work of deliverance, healing, and restoration and the great battle for the soul of this person begins - through which the Lord delivers him from evil -one enemy at at time. vs 11: “Then you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho. And the men of Jericho fought against you —also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I delivered them into your hand.” There will always be enemies and there will always be warfare against you, but when you stand in faith and in truth, the Lord will deliver you from them, one at a time, until you are free. This can take a lifetime because it is a work so deep that it totally transforms the person. As you walk with the Lord, you will see his deliverance time and time again, for the work is not yours, your job is to surrender and follow him, his part is to restore you and bring you to victory. And he surely will. As you abide in devotion to the God who saved you, remain in the truth and place your trust wholly in him; he will deliver you from your enemies, set you free from the bondage you are in, and preserve you throughout the entirety of your journey until you reach eternity. vs 17: “…for the Lord our God is he who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed.” Make the right decisions, for your decisions will determine your eternity. vs 15: “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve THE LORD!” More: Born Again -What Does That Mean?