Choose Life

“This day I call the heavens and the 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” - Deuteronomy 30:19

Dear Friends, On the edge of entering the Promised Land, as the Hebrew people were set to exchange forty years of wandering in the wilderness (and generations of slavery in Egypt before that), for the milk and honey and home God promised, Moses gave them some instructions… and a challenge. The book of Deuteronomy chronicles an overview of their journey, the gift of the Law and then these final moments of Moses with the people who he has lead to this moment. They have overcome much together and they have lost many loved ones - an entire generation, actually, has died off because they failed to trust God. Now, Moses exits stage left with a challenge. He had gathered them on the verge of the Promised Land, facing two mountains - Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. They symbolized the two clear and distinct choices set before them. They can choose to be a people who curses or a people who blesses. They can be a people who delights in death or one who experiences life. They can be a people whose hearts are given over to the gods, who are not gods, of their past journey or their new geography… or they can be the people of the God who has walked with them every step of the way. Moses pleads that they would “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 he swore to give your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” While I am certainly no Moses, and we have not wandered in the desert for forty years (as much as it might feel like that), I feel like this is a clear Mountain Moment of choice for us all. God has gifted us with incredible minds, skills to create beautiful artwork and the creativity to grow crops, even in the seeming wasteland. God has blessed many with the courage to step into harms way when catastrophes strike, putting their lives on the line in fire, flood and other disasters, to save the lives of others. God has poured out incredible dexterity and amazing intelligence to medical experts to treat, cure and eradicate so many of our physical ailments over the centuries. How many diseases, barely two generations ago, stole the futures of our children before they could be realized? Polio, Measles, Mumps and Rubella, the Whooping Cough - I still remember the anxiety in my mother’s voice if we were to step on a nail and get Lock Jaw from Tetanus! And yet we have been able to basically eradicate these diseases… through the God-given gifts and skills of faithful medical practitioners over the years. I don’t know what it was like when the Polio vaccine was first introduced to the public, nor any of the others. Was there great debate in the public square or fear in the homes of families questioning whether they should get vaccinated? Maybe. But I do know what it’s like to grow up and raise three kids who don’t worry about being disfigured, disabled or dying from Polio, Measles, Mumps or the rest, and I look forward to them, raising kids who don’t worry about dying from Covid, because their parents and grandparents chose life today. If you’ve held off getting vaccinated for fear of future side effects, a story you read online or something you heard from a friend, I ask you, as your pastor, to prayerfully re-consider. I truly believe that God has given us an opportunity. I pray that we will all trust Him and choose life. If you need help or want to talk more about this, I’m happy to talk or meet and pray with you too! Welcoming You to Grow in Jesus, Pastor Don

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