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THAT’S ALL

 Deuteronomy 10:12-13 “12 ‘Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?’” 

EXPECTATIONS

 I worked over 30 years in the Children’s Homes ministry throughout the Southeast.  Whenever I talked with a child about getting along with the Houseparent or anyone else in authority, I would ask them, “Do you know what they expect from you?  Do you understand the rules?”  Most of the time, when they began to realize those, they got along much better.

Here it is in a nutshell.  God boils it all down.  Here is what He expects from us.  Fear the Lord.  Walk in His ways.  Love Him.  Serve Him.  Keep His commandments and statutes.  If we do that, rebellion won’t be on our minds.  Our hearts will be surrendered to Him, and all will be well between us.

TEACHING MOMENT

 Now, this is a principle you want to make sure to teach to your little Susie and Johnny.  The earlier they learn this, the easier their walk with the Lord will be.  Of course, as believers in Christ, we have the extra benefit of the Holy Spirit residing in us.  He reminds us of our love for the Savior.

Your children are more than likely going to rebel or resist you at some point.  Make sure they understand what you, as a parent, expect from them.  Keep your expectations age appropriate, but most importantly, keep them Christ focused.  If your children are pleasing their Master, they should be pleasing you too.

Perhaps you need a reminder today of your allegiance.  We adults can get so distracted making our children mind that we forget that we are required to do the same.  Are you fearing, walking, loving, serving and keeping?

Law Giver, I am thankful that Christ came to fulfill the Law.  I know I am still required to surrender my life to You on a daily  basis.  Today, I do that afresh.  Thank You.

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WORTH REPEATING

 Deuteronomy 5:1 “Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: ‘Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully.’”

 IS THERE AN ECHO AROUND HERE?

 The ten commandments were repeated by Moses here before the people began to enter the Promised Land.  Why?  Didn’t they know them?  Didn’t they understand them?  I guess the Lord and Moses felt they needed to hear them again.  Read them again in verses 7-21.  Which one of those hits you the hardest?

How many times have you had to “relearn” something?  Boy, it happens to me all the time.  If I don’t do something a lot, I have to get out the instructions again.  It was the same with God’s directions to the Israelites.  They had to be reminded of His expectations over and over again.

TEACHING MOMENT

I bet you never have to repeat yourself with your kids, do you?  I can hear you laughing now.  Sure you do.  Our children may hear you the first time, but for some reason they don’t understand it the next time.  Repetition is needed for them to get it.

Aren’t you glad we don’t have to “repeat” salvation?  Oh, our children need to understand this.  “Once saved always saved” is true if you are truly saved.  Repetition is NOT needed here.  The repetition comes in our need to die to self daily.  Every day we have to surrender to Christ and say no to our flesh.  Now that’s worth repeating.

I don’t know about you, but I have to do that every second of every hour of every day.  My flesh is wicked and strong and wants to rule my life.  But when I say no to it and yes to Christ, life makes sense.  Joy returns!  Peace reigns.  Repeat!  Repeat!

Lord of all creation, You have made us flesh and blood.  You knew we would have to choose to follow You.  Help me today to choose You in all I do.  Thank You for salvation that is sure!

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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

 Deuteronomy 3:5-6 “‘25 Let me, I pray, cross over and see the fair land that is beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ 26 But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me; and the Lord said to me, ‘Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter.’” 

STOP ASKING ME THAT!

 How many times have you begged someone for something?  I mean really beg.  Moses, had undoubtedly asked the Lord to allow him to go into the Promised Land more than once.  But because he had disobeyed Him way back in the wilderness, God’s decision was final.

Do you remember that incident?  God had told Moses to speak to the rock, and it would give water.  Instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff.  Water still came out, but Moses had not followed God’s instructions.  God said then that Moses would not enter the Promised Land.  I guess Moses had held out hope that as they neared the Promised Land the Lord might reconsider.

TEACHING MOMENT

How many times have your kids done this to you?  You hand down a consequence for disobedience, and they start right in begging for mercy.  How many times have you given in, just to get them quiet?  Come on, be honest.  You know you’ve done that.

Don’t do it.  It’s okay to reconsider and lessen the consequence, but don’t do it because of their whining.  That teaches them the wrong thing.  This will go with them into their adult life –  whining, complaining, murmuring until they get their way.  That won’t work in the workplace or in their marriage.  Be firm and hold them accountable.

You may be thinking, “Carl, it’s too late. I have already created a monster.”  No, it’s not too late.  Start today following the Lord’s example.  Moses got to see the Promised Land (that was a little compromise the Lord gave without changing the consequence), but he never stepped foot in it.  You, too, hold firm.

Lord, I am so tempted to give in to pressure from others when they want me to change my mind on something that I know is right.  Give me the courage and strength to stand firm.  Help me teach my children the value of sticking to your word.   

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WANDERINGS

Deuteronomy 2:7 “‘For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.’”

 DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING?

 Deuteronomy begins with a recap of how the Lord has led the Israelites since they left Egypt.  Moses reminds the people in verse 7 how He sustained them as they wandered in the wilderness.  Now, don’t forget that the wandering was punishment for not going into Canaan.  But God still, even in the midst of their punishment, sustained them.

God’s love for them and His purpose for them had not changed.  He took care of them all through those years.  This was no small feat.  They were a great number.  Some estimate anywhere from 200,000 to over 2 million.  Can you imagine the amount of water that was needed for that crowd?  But God provided it.

TEACHING MOMENT

The next time your child “rebels” against you and has to be disciplined, remind them of this story.  You are not going to stop feeding them just because they are in trouble.  You don’t withhold clothing from them because they are grounded.  No!  You still love them and protect them, even though you have to carry out the discipline.

Do you enjoy disciplining your child?  Neither does God.  He has to because He loves us, but He had much rather see us walk in fellowship with Him.  He had rather have us obey.  He had much rather bless than correct.

Let me ask you this question.  What are you doing right now to obey God?  Is He pleased with your walk right now?  It is so important for us to walk worthy of our Lord.  Others are watching.  They are watching to see how we handle life.  Will you let the Lord guide you?

O God, I am so guilty of wanting to do things my way.  I am just like the Israelites in my rebellion against You.  Forgive me and set me back on the right path.

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KISSIN’ COUSINS

 Numbers 36:10 “Just as the Lord had commanded Moses, so the daughters of Zelophehad did:”

 KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

These women, the daughters of Zelophehad, had gone to Moses to ask that their father’s inheritance be passed on to them since he had no sons.  That made sense.  But now others from their tribe were concerned that they may marry outside the tribe, thus causing the lands to be transferred to another tribe in the future.  So, the Lord instructed them to marry within their own tribe to protect the inheritance.

It says later that they married their uncles’ sons – their cousins.  Now, today that is frowned upon and even illegal in some states.  But back then it was pretty common.  It may have required them to give up their own desire for what was best for the family and to obey the Lord.

TEACHING MOMENT

Hmmm!  What do you think would happen if you told your child they had to marry their cousin?  I bet there would be a fight and outright rebellion.  Now, you are not going to do that (at least I hope not).  But what about asking them to do something for the good of the family that is in agreement with God’s Word?  How do you think they would respond?

Training our children to be obedient later in life begins when they are young.  You can’t wait until they are 16 to ask them to make those decisions.  Decision-making skills are taught from an early age.  Always point them to God’s Word as they make their decisions.  They should always follow His direction.  I guarantee that will always be what is best for the family.

What decisions have you made without considering the Lord?  How many of those turned out good?  You may have lucked out and gotten by with one or two.  But most of the time, those kinds of decisions come back to bite us.  Seek His wisdom in all things.

O wise and holy Father, give me the wisdom to seek You first.  Let me make my decisions only after going to You in prayer and seeking godly counsel from those You have placed in my life.  Thank You for Your wisdom that is available through Your Word.

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COLOR INSIDE THE LINES

 Numbers 34:1-2 “1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 ‘Command the sons of Israel and say to them, “When you enter the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance, even the land of Canaan according to its borders.”’” 

 BORDERS

 I have always like coloring.  And I hate to brag, but I was pretty good at it.  I mean, I could stay within the lines.  Lol.  Did you know you can even buy adult coloring books now?  I need to get one of those to unwind with.

The Lord is telling Moses here to “stay within the lines” that He is drawing for them.  Why?  After leading them to this point, why would He limit where they went and possessed?  Maybe He knew their limitations better than they did. You think?  He knew what they needed and provided it for them.

TEACHING MOMENT

Children need borders too.  Not giving children clear guidelines invites trouble.  I know parents who don’t give their children bedtimes.  Trouble!  Others don’t enforce curfews.  Trouble!  Still others allow unlimited access to social media.  Trouble!  Borders are necessary to protect our kids.

Now, expect your little Susie or Johnny to buck at this a little.  They want freedom, and they can earn that.  But before freedom is given, responsible behavior is necessary.  Why do you think the Lord gave us the ten commandments?  Borders!

Are you bucking God’s borders in your life?  If you are like me, I like to be free.  Don’t hem me in.  But I also know that left to my own choices, my flesh will choose the wrong things.  I need borders in my life.

Lord, thank You for giving me fences.  I may not always appear grateful, but I am.  When the time is right I know you will expand those fences or open the gate.  Right now I trust You to keep me safe.

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AHA!

 Numbers 31:32 “Now the booty that remained from the spoil which the men of war had plundered was 675,000 sheep,” 

 NOW I UNDERSTAND!

 Remember yesterday’s lesson?  If you missed it, I wrote about the Lord’s requirements for the sacrifices each day.  Where would all those animals come from?  Well, here we see one answer.  In one battle the Israelites captured almost 700,000 sheep.  I have to believe that many of these were suitable for sacrifice.  God was already providing the resource for the people to use to honor Him.

But it wasn’t about what they captured.  They captured sheep, cattle, donkeys and even slaves.  I truly believe the Lord was trying to show them to trust Him for their provision.  They defeated the Midianites and did not lose one fighter, not one.  That’s amazing!  God protects and provides.

TEACHING MOMENT

 Little Elrod and Gertrude need to be taught to trust the Lord for everything in their lives.  “How do I pay this bill?”  God’s got the source.  “Lord, I need healing.”  God knows that and can heal according to His will.  “Lord, I really need to do well on this test.”  Study, apply yourself and leave the rest to God.

Every situation in life can be solved through the power and faithfulness of God.  I am NOT teaching prosperity gospel here.  I am merely saying that when we trust Him, He will come through according to His time and His plan for our lives.  We may not understand or even appreciate it at the time, but He is still in control.

What do you need right now for God to do in your life?  Is there that one thing that you just can’t let go of?  Let it go!  Let Him have control.  Submit to His will and let whatever comes your way come on.  Complete abandonment is what He desires.

Master Planner, You have directed me perfectly when I have bowed to your leadership.  Let me bow again today.  I trust You and believe You are able.

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