Instructions to Live By

Instructions to Live By

Deuteronomy 6:6-7
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Have you ever bought something without the owners manual and really didn’t know how to properly use the product? That can be very frustrating! Having the instructions on how to use a product you purchased is important to the enjoyment of the product.

Having instructions for life is also important to the enjoyment of your life. You often hear people say that the instruction manual was not included when a child was born. That is not true! God does give us an instruction manual on how we should live, and that instruction manual is the Word of God. God’s Word is the instructions by which we should live. If you live according to those instructions, then you will find the greatest enjoyment in life, but if you ignore those instructions you will find life will not be as enjoyable as God intended for it to be.

There are several things God says in these verses on how we should live. The first thing we learn is that the Scriptures should be of great value to us. Notice that He says, “And these words…shall be in thine heart:…” Without the Word of God in your heart, you will find that sin will be a regular part of your life. God says in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” You will never find enjoyment in life without taking God’s Word to heart and making It important.

Second, you should be diligent to teach God’s Word to your family and others. The word “diligently” means to be careful or conscientious that you teach God’s Word correctly. Don’t be flippant about the Word of God. When it is time to read the Scriptures and to teach them, you should be careful not to add your preference, but make God’s Word the basis of what you teach.

Third, you should begin early with God’s Word. The importance of getting your instructions from God early in the morning cannot be stressed enough. I know you hear this often, but do you read God’s Word first thing every morning? Don’t wait till later in the day to get your instructions, but “when thou risest up” be sure to take time in God’s Word.

Fourth, incorporate God’s commandments in your daily life. God says in verse 8 that you are to “bind them…upon thy hand…” In other words, you should have daily reminders to serve the LORD. The Israelites would often tie a not on a garment to remind them of God’s commandments. I don’t know what you need to do, but God’s commandments need to be incorporated in your financial life, family, workplace, marriage, church and personal life. No matter what you do, you need to be sure to incorporate God’s commandments in every aspect of your life.

Christian, don’t take God’s commandments lightly. If you will live by them, you will find enjoyment to its fullest in your life.

Stopping Short of God’s Perfect Will

Stopping Short of God’s Perfect Will

Numbers 33:55
“But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.”

When defining the will of God, you must understand that God has a will for many areas of your life. We put much emphasis on the will of God, and we should, but because so much emphasis is put upon God’s will, many have a false assumption that God has one perfect will for your life. Actually, there is a perfect will of God for every area of your life. There is a perfect will for your marriage, family, church membership, etc. In each of these areas it is important for you to find God’s perfect will and do it until the day you die.

In the verse above, God warned the children of Israel about stopping short of His perfect will. God’s perfect will was for them to completely drive out all the inhabitants of the land. God knew that the habit of the children of Israel was to stop short of His will. They stopped short of His will in the wilderness by not going into Canaan the first time. They stopped short of God’s perfect will when they gathered too much manna. Once again, God warned them that if they stopped short of His perfect will that they would suffer for that decision for the rest of their lives.

It is wonderful thing to find the perfect will of God for your life. Nothing will bring more happiness than finding God’s perfect will and doing it. There are many people who find God’s perfect will, but they don’t do it. Then there are some who find God’s perfect will, but they stop short of completing it. When you stop short of doing all of God’s perfect will, then you end up not obeying it. It doesn’t matter that you started doing God’s will, what matters is that you complete it to the extent that God wants. Stopping short of God’s perfect will is nothing less than disobedience.

Finding God’s perfect will in the area of marriage is wonderful. You can find that person whom God wants you to marry and marry them, but also God’s perfect will is for you to stay married until the day you die. God’s perfect will is for you to stay faithful to your spouse to the day of your death. Stopping short of any of these is as if you never did His perfect will at all. Don’t stop short of God’s perfect will for your marriage because of personal differences or another person. You’ve come this far, now complete God’s will for your marriage. If you’re having marital problems, then get help, but don’t stop short of God’s perfect will for your marriage.

Likewise, don’t stop short of God’s perfect will for your calling in life. If God called you to do something, then do it until the day you die. I have seen too many people start God’s calling for their life, and then quit during times of hardship. God’s perfect will for His calling on your life is to do it until you die. Just because greater financial opportunities arise doesn’t mean His will has changed. According to Romans 11:29, God’s calling doesn’t change. Do it until He calls you to Heaven.

Though we only discussed two areas of God’s perfect will, let me encourage you to not stop short of God’s perfect will in any area. Always remember that when you stop short of God’s perfect will, you are only asking to bring hardships upon your life. God’s perfect will may not be easy, but there is peace and personal satisfaction in doing it.

It Catches Up

It Catches Up

Numbers 20:28
“And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.”

There are many stories in the Scriptures that sadden me as I read them, and the story from the verse above is one of them. Aaron had a big part in Israel coming out of Egypt. He was Moses’ right hand man. He stood in the beginning with Moses when nobody understood that he would lead Israel out of Egypt. When others attacked Moses, Aaron was always by his side. When others questioned Moses’ leadership, Aaron was the one who vindicated him. Aaron could have easily hurt Moses and caused division in Israel, but he did not.

Yet, one action caused Aaron to miss the Promised Land. That one action led to the verse above when it says, “And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar…” I can only imagine the humiliation this must have brought. For close to forty years, Aaron wore those garments. For forty years Aaron was the high priest, but his actions finally caught up with him and caused him to be stripped of his garments.

Christian, sin always catches up to people. I have watched many people think they got away with something, only to see it catch up to them in the end. This story of Aaron being stripped of his garments can teach us several lessons that we must keep fresh on our minds.

First, one bad action can ruin years of many good actions. Honestly, this seems unfair, but it is simply the way of life. If you were to honestly look at Aaron’s life, you would find more good than bad, but one bad action cost him his dream. You must always remember that all it takes is one bad decision to ruin years of hard work. It only takes one time to destroy everything for which you have worked. Don’t let one bad action ruin years of hard work.

Second, sin always strips you of your dignity. The humiliation that Aaron experienced must have been great. To have the robes of the high priest stripped from him and given to another had to be humbling. Here was a man who was second-in-command, yet one action took that from him. You must always remember that sin will humiliate you and strip you of your dignity. Sin doesn’t care who you are or what you have done, the only thing it cares about is taking your dignity from you. Always remember that if you choose to sin, you choose to let it strip you of your dignity.

Third, your actions will catch up to you. You may think that you have gotten away with what you’ve done, but it will catch up. Many years had passed from the time that Moses and Aaron smote the rock, but it caught up to them. I have never found the person who is fast enough to outrun sin. Sin always seems to outrun any person. Always remember that you will not get away with what you are doing.

Finally, God still forgave Aaron. This is my favorite thought about this story. Though sin caught up to Aaron and he was stripped of his dignity, he still went to Heaven. Christian, God is in the forgiving business. If you will fess up to what you have done, you will find that God will forgive you. The best way to keep sin from stripping you of your dignity is to confess your sin to God and let Him forgive and cleanse you from it.

Don’t ever forget that sin takes and never gives. Sin has horrible consequences, and you must daily ask God to keep you from sin’s temptation. When temptation comes, always remember this story of Aaron and remember that if you yield to sin’s temptation, this will eventually become your story.

The Importance of God

The Importance of God

Numbers 6:6-7
“All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.”

One of the things I appreciated about my mother is that she never stopped teaching me. To the day of her death my mother taught me the importance of God. One month before she went to Heaven, I was at my mother’s hospital bed, when she made me promise not to cancel a meeting when she went to Heaven. She expressed to me that she would be fine because she would be in Heaven, and that God’s work shouldn’t be cancelled because she was gone. Though it was difficult to fulfill that promise, I’m glad she taught me that God is more important than anything or anyone.

This principle is taught in the verse above. God commanded the Nazarite not to defile his body by touching the dead, even if the dead were an immediate family member. God said the reason they could not touch the dead is because they were consecrated to God. In other words, God took preeminence over family, friends and possessions. He took preeminence because they were consecrated to Him.

The word “consecration” in the verse above means, “to be declared or separated for God.” In other words, when a person took the Nazarite vow, they declared themselves for God. They set themselves apart for God’s service. It is similar to a person enlisting in the armed forces. For four years that person declares themselves as a soldier for their country. They belong to their country until that vow is over. Likewise, the Nazarite set themselves apart for God, and He took preeminence over all.

The importance of God can certainly be seen in this verse. Too many people today don’t understand God demands that He take preeminence over everything in their lives. You may think you didn’t take the Nazarite vow, and you surely didn’t, but when you got saved you signed yourself over to God. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” You can see that when you got saved your body became the “temple of the Holy Ghost;” therefore, God should take preeminence over everything in your life because you belong to Him.

Furthermore, God commands in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Christian, you have no choice but to put God first in every area of your life. That means that God should never be pushed back for something else. If you must choose between God and something else, you always choose God. He is more important than anything in your life.

Though you may think that if you do this you will lose in life, that is not what Matthew 6:33 teaches. This verse teaches that if God takes preeminence over everything in your life then He will be sure to take care of you. When you make God more important than anything, including family, then He will be sure to add to your life.

My question for you is this, does God take preeminence in your life? Is God of more importance than your job, money, friends and family? This is what God desires, and this is what He demands. You will never lose when you make God the most important aspect of your entire life.

Guilty, By False Accusation

Guilty, By False Accusation

Genesis 39:19
“And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.”

We often hear in the news of someone who was found not guilty of a crime after spending several years in prison. Sadly, someone in the past didn’t do their homework on the investigation, and an innocent person paid for a crime they never committed. Every time I hear this, I am saddened for that person who had several years of their life taken away because of a poor investigation.

Joseph can certainly understand the feeling of being falsely accused. In the verse above, you see that Joseph was found guilty of something he never did. Potiphar believed that Joseph was guilty because his wife told him a lie. To some extent I can’t blame Potiphar for believing his wife, but he should have done an investigation before having a man thrown in prison. Imagine how Potiphar felt when several years later he saw that Joseph was promoted to second in command in Egypt. All this happened because Potiphar believed the report from someone he loved as truth without doing his homework to find out if it was true.

This story happens often in society. Parents believe a report from their children without doing any research to see if their children are telling the truth. A child comes home from school and tells their parents a false story of how they were treated by other children or even the teacher. Going off the story of their child, those parents go in and make fools of themselves because they didn’t hear the whole story.

Moreover, I have watched people believe false reports about others without doing their own research to see if the accusation is true. Someone they loved told them something, and because they have loved and trusted that person for many years, they take it as truth without doing their own research. Many people have fallen on the wrong side of a situation because they believed the report of someone close to them without doing their own research.

Let me give you a friendly warning to do your own research before you believe an accusation. Just because someone you love and trust tells you a story does not make it true. You must remember that there are always two sides to every story. If you don’t do your research, you could find yourself on the wrong side because of your lack of researching it yourself.

Furthermore, everyone is capable of lying. I know you may not want to believe someone whom you love would lie to you, but it wouldn’t be the first time. Most people have their own agenda. Often, when someone does something that will hurt their agenda, then they can quickly get in the flesh and falsely accuse someone to keep their agenda going.

Let me encourage you to do your own research when you hear accusations. Don’t believe someone is guilty just because a close friend or family member told you they are. You can find yourself charging someone as being guilty who is truly innocent if you don’t do your own research. Always move slowly on accusations, and do your own research before you make your guilty decision. This will keep you from much embarrassment and regret.

Dealing with Wayward Children

Dealing with Wayward Children

Genesis 28:6
“When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;”

Rarely, do I preach in a church without someone coming to me and asking me to pray for their wayward child. There is probably nothing that weighs heavier on a parent’s heart, other than a sick child, than to have a child who has gone wayward. I have talked to many broken-hearted parents who were seeking for answers concerning their wayward children.

Having a wayward child is not a modern-day problem, it has been a problem from the first two children born. Isaac and Rebekah experienced the pain of a wayward child in Esau. Certainly, there were some extreme circumstances that led to Esau’s rebellion, but that still didn’t take the pain away from Isaac and Rebekah. The Scriptures even show us that it broke their heart when it says in Genesis 26:34-35, “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” Well before the incident of Jacob stealing the blessing, Esau had been a wayward child. Let me give you some thoughts from the life of Isaac and Rebekah on dealing with wayward children.

First, you must ask yourself if you have done anything wrong. Please do not take this as a condemnation of your parenting skills; I am not trying to cast stones at you. However, when you look at Esau going wayward, you can see that his parent’s actions had a part in leading to his wayward heart. Whenever a child goes wayward, you must look and see if there is something that you’ve done that has led to this. I’m certain you will come up with many things, for none of us are perfect parents. But, I’m specifically talking about some action that is glaring that you can correct. Esau’s parents played favorites, and gave his blessing to Jacob. Though Esau should have trusted God, Isaac and Rebekah were partly at fault. If you are doing something that could lead to a wayward heart, then correct it.

Second, pray for your child. A day should never go by that you don’t bring your child to the LORD. The LORD can deal with your child’s wayward actions much better than you can. Too often, parents want to preach at their children instead of pray for their children. I promise you, praying for your child will do more to bring them back than preaching at them every time you get a chance. They expect you to preach at them, and that only makes their heart harder, but prayer gets God involved in bringing them back, and He can deal with them in a way that you can’t.

Third, love your child where they are. I’m not saying condone their actions, you should never do this. I am saying that your child still needs your love. They need to see that your love is unconditional. Part of loving your child is not compromising who you are to bring them back. When they see that you still love them unconditionally, that will bring great conviction on their heart.

Finally, don’t ever give up on them coming back. Esau eventually changed his life, but it was many years later. You may think your child will never come back, but I encourage you to keep praying and loving them. You never know what is going on in their heart. Just keep doing what you are supposed to do, trust God and never lose hope that they will come back to God.