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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
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January 1996

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 As 1995 comes to an end, and 1996 looms before us. I marvel at the great things that God has done for us in the past year. He has indeed "loaded us with benefits" and we must surely praise Him for His goodness to us.

 In reflecting on this, my thoughts turned to a consideration of what God expects from me this year. The passage of Scripture that He challenged me with is found in Joshua 24. In verses 1-2. Joshua reminds the people of Israel that their forefathers had served idols, ye Jehovah had saved them and taught then to serve Him. In verses 3-13 he recounts to them all the many miracles and blessings which God had given to the Israelites over the years since He had freed them from Egypt. Then in verses 14-15 he issues them a challenge, which I challenge you with today. He says,

"Now therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth."

 Joshua's call for commitment is rooted in the great blessings that God had given to His people. Because of these, he calls for God's people to "fear" and "serve" the Lord. "Fear" is a word used to show respect and reverence. God is to be revered by His people. We who are Christians must have respect not only to the Person of God, but also to His commands and His will. Each decision I make should be shaped by an awesome respect and reverence for My Almighty God. The natural result of Biblical "fear" is Biblical "service. " Two descriptive terms are applied to the idea of service by Joshua, the first is "sincerity", which carries the idea of "entire, complete, full, without blemish". God is worthy of our complete service, with nothing ever coming in front of His work. "Truth" related to "stability, certainty, faithfulness". God wants us to be committed and steadfast in our service. Far too many Christians serve based on feelings rather than faithfulness. In light of God's goodness to us, how can we do less that reverence Him. and serve Him totally And consistently?

 In verse 15, Joshua concludes his challenge. He tells the Israelites that if it doesn't seem to make sense to serve the lord. Then they are to choose who they will serve:either the gods they served before Jehovah, or the gods that the unbelievers around them serve. You see, there are only two choices - you will either be committed to the service of the Lord, or you will serve some other god of your choosing. You can't serve God half-heartedly. For when you are not sincere in your service to Him you are in fact serving another! Joshua finishes by saying.

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
I pray that this will be the cry of every Believer this year. I'm calling for the church to make a commitment to putting Christ first and basing all our decisions on an awesome reverence for the majesty and glory of God. May each of us make 1996 the Year of Commitment, and watch what God can do. Mark J Montgomery
Your Pastor
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