Tag Archives: decision

The Jordan River Decision



Don't settle 2

Why settle for an ordinary life when you can live an extraordinary one? After all, the convenient path in life is rarely the most rewarding.

In chapter 22 of the history book of Joshua, God promised Joshua that the 12 tribes of Israel would cross the Jordan River, enter the land of Canaan, and defeat all the enemies they faced. If they settled there, they would enjoy rest on every side. All of God’s promises came true for those who crossed over.

But the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh liked the fertile grazing land east of the Jordan River for their massive herds of cattle. All the tribes had camped there before crossing the river, and the two and a half tribes grew comfortable there. So they promised Joshua they would lead them across the Jordan and into battle to defeat their enemies if he would allow them to return and settle on the east side of the Jordan River as Moses said they could.

After seven years of battle Joshua conceded, “You kept your word to the Lord, to Moses, to me, and, perhaps most importantly, to your brothers in arms…therefore turn and go to your home in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan. Take good care to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away; and they went to their homes.

On the surface it might appear that the two and a half tribes lived happily ever after. But when we look a little deeper into God’s gift and Moses’ concession, we discover a different result.

God gave the land west of the Jordan River.

Moses gave the land east of the Jordan to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh as a concession for fulfilling their promise to fight with them. There is no record of Moses consulting the Lord about it or receiving His approval.

It was God’s will that all 12 tribes cross-over, claim their inheritance, and settle into a close relationship with Him. Nine and a half tribes were obedient and enjoyed rest on every side.
Two and a half tribes chose not to cross-over. Instead they chose to divide the nation of Israel, abandon the covenant of the Lord, separate themselves from God’s promises, live in a pagan land, and bow down to gods they did not know. In doing so, they invoked the wrath of Almighty God and later were carried away by Assyrian kings, never to be heard from again.

As believers, we face the same Jordan River decision–to cross over or not to cross over–to move forward in God’s will and receive His blessings or retreat to our comfort zones and leave His blessings behind.

God has so much more for us than we can imagine. He doesn’t like for us to distance ourselves from Him. He doesn’t want us to settle for the comfort of what we know. He wants us to step out in faith, trust His plan, and claim all that He has for us. He wants us to lean on His promises of safety, security, and rest and exchange the ordinary life for an extraordinary life with Him. That is the desire of His heart.



Meet Christian Writer Linda Hultin Winn

Mac, 15, and Linda
Mac, 15, and Linda, ageless

My mission as a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker is to encourage others to listen for God’s voice, engage Him in conversation, and think from His point of view. I’m an Advanced CLASS graduate with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. My first book, Happy Tails: Inspirational Stories for Dog’s Best Friend, published by Thomas Nelson, is a result of God moments with my dogs. My current book project is What’s So Great About Being A Christian, and I’m developing the second interactive session in my speaking series, A Gathering of Chicks. I’m represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary. Below is a chapter from Happy Tails.

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The Gate Is Closing by Linda Hultin Winn

Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. (Luke 13:24)

A couple of weeks after Mac got used to being fenced in, I began letting him run for a few minutes before breakfast. It was the only free run he was allowed, because I knew he wouldn’t be gone longer than five minutes. He didn’t want to miss a meal. But one morning Mac scoured the shoreline of the cove while I stood at the back gate calling him.

“Mac? Come. Here, Mac.”

He bounded half way up the hill and stopped.

“Good boy, Mac. Come on. Let’s go to the house,” I said.

He looked at me then looked back at the lake. I didn’t know whether he’d rather feed his belly or his instinct to hunt; but I hadn’t won him over yet, so I softened my voice.

“Mac? Come on, buddy.”

He took another step in my direction, then he looked back at the lake again.

While he was still trying to decide whether to follow my call or to follow the call of the wild, I spoke his name once more.

“Come on, Mac,” I said. “The gate is closing.”

His eyes widened as he watched my hand pull the gate toward me. Then with a sudden burst of energy, Mac sprinted inside before being completely shut out.

As we walked to the house I thought, we humans are just like Mac. We stand on the edge of eternity not knowing when that narrow gate will close, but one thing we know for sure. The gate will close. So today we have to make the same decision Mac had to make. Will we follow the Good Master home or will we follow the ways of the world?

Jesus said, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow [gate], because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But He will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from Me all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out,” (Luke 13:24-25, 27-29).

Today while the gate is still open, Jesus urges us, “Come, follow me.”

But one day Jesus will step out on a cloud and call His followers to the home He has prepared for us. People will come from all points of the globe to feast in the kingdom of God. Will you be among them? Will you have made the only decision that matters during your life here on earth?

The gate is closing now. Do you feel the urgency for deciding? Mac did. He sprinted to be inside the gate with his master. How will you respond? Not to decide is to decide.

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Happy Tails is available in paperback and Kindle at


For autographed hardcopies, email Linda at lhwinn@comcast.net

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