Deuteronomy 2:14-15: And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord sware unto them. For indeed the hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed.

It took 38 years for the Lord’s word to be fulfilled, for all of the men 20 years and older to die so that the people of Israel could enter their promised land (ref. Numbers 13:1-14:34). The remaining two years would be spent facing the two kings of the Amorites (inheriting their land for 2.5 tribes) before entering the land promised to them. Now, in the 40th year (and 11th month), the Israelites are receiving Moses’ final words and instructions prior to his death (Deuteronomy 1:3).

Pray Before Decisions

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Reference: Joshua 9:3-27

God told Moses that they were to smite and utterly destroy the inhabitants of the lands they were to possess (Deuteronomy 7:1-2). The neighboring country of Gibeon was in fear of their lives and sought to deceive the Israelites (Joshua 9:24). To act as if they were from a far country, they came to them with old sacks upon their donkeys, old wine bottles, old shoes, old garments, and even dry and moldy bread (Joshua 9:4-6). Though the men of Israel suspected they were of the neighboring country, the men made their decision without consulting the Lord on the matter. Joshua then made a league with them to let them live, and the princes of the congregation swore unto them.

When they travelled through Gibeon to destroy the city, the Israelites were reminded of their oath, though they were deceived. Joshua honored his oath and allowed them to live. The people of Gibeon became bondmen, and hewers of wood and water for the altar of the Lord (Joshua 9:22-27).

Be mindful to seek the counsel of the Lord before entering into agreements, contracts, and business arrangement with others.

Greatest of All Time

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G.O.A.T. is an acronym for the Greatest of All Time. Many times this reference has been used to describe sports athletes or recording artists, but in whatever application, it refers to someone or something that is undisputedly…the best.

From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, and soul (Joshua 22:5; Matthew 22:36-41).

May the greatest commandment of all time become our greatest focus and priority in life.

Love Bomb

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The Lord wants you to love.

Everyday we meet people at their worst, living contrary to our beliefs, and care very little about themselves or others. And though they may not say it or show it, each of them wants or needs love.

Love is what we owe every person whether we agree with their behavior or not. Love transcends sex, race, position, rank, and condition. Everyone deserves to be loved.

You don’t need a spiritual gift to love. It’s the one thing we all can do.

Romans 13:8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

A Good Name

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There is one thing you have been given since birth that will remain forever. It can be worth more than the finest riches or be compared to mere pennies. It can become your greatest asset or your worse ally. And though you can earn millions of dollars throughout your lifetime, it will never compare to what you have been given at birth, if you consider its true worth. It takes years to build and only moments to lose. And you have complete control over its value: a good name.

Proverbs 22:1 - A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

You can never underestimate the value of having a good name. Popularity, money, friends, and other material things will come and go throughout your lifetime, but the memory of your name will remain in the hearts and lives of every person you encounter.

Even now, every action, involvement, and choice you make either builds or tears down the prospect of having a good name. Though people can help you build a good name, the ultimate decision of having one lies with you. No one can make you have a bad name. You have to care enough about your name to ensure it has great value.

There are many people that give little to no thought about the value of their name. They squander it at the prospect of frivolous and compromising endeavors that bring discredit to their name. They allow themselves to continue in life without any thought to the man they desire to become or how they want their family, friends, and most importantly, God to view them.

Every decision you make is one that cannot be taken away. Lord willing, you will have thousands, if not millions of opportunities to build a good name…and with each opportunity, you can also choose to discredit your name.

When people say or think about your name, what memories do you want them to have?

When you stand before God, what thoughts do you want Him to have of you? What record will He give about your life and your name?

Making Dreams a Reality

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Genesis 41:33-36 - Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.

After Pharaoh told the two dreams to Joseph, he spoke to Pharaoh on what answer the Lord would provide. In providing the interpretations, he revealed the coming of seven plenteous years and seven years of famine. Joseph stated Pharaoh should look for a discreet and wise man to be placed over Egypt and gather a fifth part of food from the plenteous years in order to prepare for the famine.

In a personal application, the Lord often shows us visions via dreams, people, His Scriptures, etc. Just as Joseph implemented a plan in response to the dreams, we should prepare as well. Many people are looking to receive a ‘word’ from God, but may not do anything to prepare for its coming.

When God shows you what’s to come, make sure you’re ready for it.

1. Write it down. As the Lord told Habakkuk to write his vision and make it plain (Habakkuk 2:2-3), those that read it can run with it. Writing down what has been given allows you to (1) remember what God shared (especially if years go by); (2) provides an opportunity of clarity, focus, and encouragement/perseverance in trying times; and (3) having the vision available to share with those with a heart to help and support the vision’s fruition.

2. Pray about what was shared and how you can help prepare for it. We may not have every answer to see the vision come to pass or even know how to prepare for it, so prayer becomes a key component in seeking God’s will. Notwithstanding, we should always pray. Jesus told His disciples that they should pray and faint not (Luke 18:1-8, see also Psalm 119:170; Matthew 7:7-11, 21:22; Philippians 4:6-7). James 1:5-8 says:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

3. Surround yourself with sound counsel.

Proverbs 15:22Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Be discrete in those you seek counsel from. Not everyone around you is capable of providing sound counsel.

4. Establish a plan. As you write your vision, pray, and seek wise counsel, it’s important to establish a plan to bring your vision to fruition. Even as you establish a plan, it’s important to note that God can change/alter the manner you thought it would come to pass (see Proverbs 16:9).

Looking back on Joseph, he was shown two visions where both his father, mother, and brothers would bow before him (Genesis 37:5-11). There was probably no way for him to know that for his vision to come to pass, he would first be sold into slavery by his brothers, accused of attempted rape by his master’s wife (after refusing to sleep with her), and placed in an Egyptian prison.

Sometimes, there will be nothing you can do to bring your vision to fruition…God will do all of the ‘work,’ but ensure you’re living righteously before Him. Patiently grow where you’re planted…

Hebrews 6:12That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Commentary on Matthew

Matthew 2:7-13: In these verses, Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem to search for the young Jesus and bring him word, so he could ‘worship’ him. After they found the young Jesus, worshipped him, and presented Him gifts, God warned them in a dream that they should not return to Herod. Then when the wise men departed, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Jesus and his mother into Egypt for Herod was going to seek for Him (in order to destroy Him).

There are many ways the Lord ‘speaks’ to his people. Both the wise men and Joseph were given instructions in their dreams to follow. Individually, the Lord reached them in order to protect their lives and ensure Scripture would be fulfilled.

Many people today are worried that God doesn’t speak to them, however His silence does not mean they are without God’s love, guidance, or support. He has many ways to reach us when He needs to and we only need to be receptive to His guidance, in whatever ‘delivery’ He determines is best. The Lord may use young children, family members, strangers, dreams, signs, wonders, etc. His messages may not come come in some huge grandiose display (as we would hope or expect), but a still, small voice, the quiet of a dream, a gentle whisper in our spirit.

While you are waiting to the Lord to speak, continue living a life worthy of honor and righteousness in His sight.

Commentary on Matthew

VERSES 18-20: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

It’s interesting to note the character of Joseph. The Scriptures record him as being a just man. After finding Mary pregnant with a child that wasn’t his, he didn’t want to make a public example of her. Even in a circumstance of possible adultery (from his perspective before the angel of the Lord appeared to him), his purpose wasn’t to bring any open ‘shame’ to her life or action. Additionally, his decision wasn’t rash as he thought about the situation and his decision.

Though we may not find our spouse with a child that isn’t ours, there are many other situations where we have the option not to publicly embarrass someone or act out of anger. Though something done to us may upset us, we can look on Joseph’s just example and live with similar conviction. Think of the actions that lie before you and do what is just in the eyes of God.

Light Path

Psalm 119:105 - Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

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When thinking about this Psalm, I considered the times I was in my dark bedroom unable to see. Without the ability to see exactly what is around me, I’m prone to bump into one of my bed posts, dresser, or television stand. I have the potential to injure myself while trying to navigate to another part of the room.

As we live in a world surrounded by darkness, we’re often injured by trials, tribulations, and sin. No matter how badly we want to navigate through this dark place, we will only hurt ourselves and others without God’s Word. It is God’s Word that will allow us to see where we have been, keep us mindful of the steps ahead, and allows us the opportunity to choose the path we know we should be on (Psalm 1:1, Psalm 37:23). However, we can’t flick God’s Word on and off when convenient. We must stay in His Word and allow it to guide our steps.

The light is available to us…we only need to use it.

Family Tree

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1 Corinthians 12:13-14 - For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.

1. One God…many denominations. Across the landscape of Christendom, there are hundreds, if not thousands of separate denominations and churches. Some are separated due to personal convictions or callings to specific locations and people groups, but many are due to varying doctrinal beliefs and earthly traditions. Sadly, these differences have created great schisms in the body of Christ.

Many believers do not consider that the all churches around the world represent the ONE church and ONE body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13-14; Ephesians 4:4-6). They only consider their own denomination, fellowship, or church to be that worldwide body of Christ, separate from any other group or church – those that share similar beliefs and traditions.
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