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 often 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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Commentary on Judges

Judges 3:1-4:  The Lord allowed several nations to remain among the Israelites to (1) teach them war and (2) to know whether or not they would heed His commandments as given through Moses. Oftentimes the Lord will allow things to occur in our lives and we do not understand why or how come. Regardless of the season our lives face, may be be rooted upon the foundation of His Word and presence.

Judges 3:5-8: After the children of Israel took daughters from among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites (and gave their daughters to them), they did evil in the sight of God and forgot the Lord, and served Baalim and groves, they were sold into the hand of the king of Mesopotamia.

Think about this for a moment…instead of serving God and following His commands, they chose to do what they thought was ‘right’ and ended up in captivity. Though we read through these verses with ease, I’m sure their experience in being taken captive was not a pleasant experience. A person in captivity does not have the ability to freely move and conduct themselves how they choose. They live under the rules of the one over them.

As they chose not to follow the commands of God (who loved them), they were forced to obey the commands of someone that did not know God or care about them in the same manner as God.

After eight years of serving the king of Mesopotamia, they collectively cried unto God…and God raised up a deliverer for them….until they would do evil in His sight again…

Process of Expectation

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Source: 1 Samuel 1:1-28

Hannah lived with her husband, Elkanah, and his second wife Peninnah and her children. The first description of Hannah her lack of children. In ancient Israel, a barren woman was seen as a sign of a woman’s and family’s greatest misfortune.1 Though Hannah bore him no children, he still loved her (1 Samuel 1:5).

When her family went up to the house of the Lord in Shiloh, Peninnah and her children would receive their portion, but Hannah received a worthy portion from Elkanah because of his love for her. Even as she endured the shutting of her womb by the Lord, her adversary provoked her sore, causing her to fret (1 Samuel 1:6). This provocation occurred year after year as she went up to the house of the Lord. She would cry and not eat.

When Elkanah saw her, he asked why she was crying, wouldn’t eat, and heart was grieved (1 Samuel 1:8). He asked if was better to her than ten sons she could bear him. Though she would eat and drink, she went into the temple of the Lord in bitterness of soul, prayed unto Him, and wept sore (1 Samuel 1:10).

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Doing what’s right in public pleases people, doing what’s right in private pleases God.

Quick Quote…

A Question on Position

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Many people seek positions of status and wealth.  A person’s status and wealth provide them access to certain people and places not typically offered to others of a lesser status or wealth.  In Psalm 15:1-5, David asks the Lord who shall abide in His tabernacle and who shall dwell in His holy hill.  Here’s the response:

  • walks uprightly
  • works righteousness
  • speaks the truth in his heart
  • backbiteth not with his tongue
  • does not do evil to his neighbor
  • does not take up a reproach against his neighbor
  • in whose eyes a vile person is contemned
  • honors them that fear the Lord
  • swears to his own hurt, and does not change (keeps his promises even when it hurts)
  • does not put not out his money to usury (with interest)
  • does not take a reward against the innocent

The Lord states that he that does these things will never be moved.  Status and wealth can change overnight, but someone that lives unto the Lord in the manner spoken of in Psalm 15 shall never be moved.  Choose your status and position wisely…