This mission and the recovery were much more difficult than I ever imagined it would be. Five months later, I have pieced together team pictures to make this video showing just a little of what we did. Most could not be photographed because we were involved in prayer walks on the streets of Moshi, Tanzania, Africa during the days and ministering on the streets of the red light district at night. Our ministry ended with a banquet for the girls and ladies we met there.
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. ~ Deuteronomy 11:26-28
Blessing – a special favor, mercy, or benefit; a gift bestowed by God; to bestow good of any kind upon; protect or guard from evil
Curse – to wish or invoke evil, calamity, injury, or destruction upon a person or group; to afflict with great evil
God set before His people the choice of receiving a blessing or a curse. If they obeyed God’s Word and remained separated from the sin of the surrounding nations, then God’s blessing would come upon them wherever they were. However, if they adopted the ways of the world, God’s curse would come upon them and rob them of life and blessings. Unfortunately, Israel did not take God’s warning seriously and too often they went the way of the unbelievers and fell under God’s curse.
In the book of Joshua, a similar command is given regarding obeying the Word:
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. ~ Joshua 1:7-8
In order to possess the promised land, Joshua and the Israelites had to commit themselves to obeying God’s written Word. It was to be their primary authority. They could not depend on human ideas, traditions, or religions. God commanded Joshua to be faithful to the written word by talking about it, meditating on it, and obeying it fully.
Four requirements for success according to Joshua 1:7-8
- To be strong and courageous
- To make God’s Word your guiding authority for all believes and actions
- To study and meditate daily on God’s Word
- To recognize and respond to God’s presence in every area of your life
Meditate – to read quietly or to talk to yourself as you think about something. It implies studying and carefully thinking about God’s Word to know and understand its principles and meaning.
After meditation should come application. After we get understanding, we must apply the Word to every area of our lives. Those who know and obey God’s Word will be prosperous and successful because they will possess the wisdom to do what is right and to achieve God’s goal for their lives. God’s goals and His will equal success. Keep in mind though, that often this doesn’t look like a worldly success.
But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. ~ Joshua 22:5
God gives the same choice to each of us today. If we hate sin, follow Christ and seek to serve him, then his blessing and power will be ours. If we depart from God, we will lose God’s presence, help and covenant protection.
Father, gives us the strength and wisdom to make the right choices today. Help us to stay in Your Word, to hate sin and follow and serve Jesus alone. Help us to do so with a right heart of love. In Jesus Name. Amen!
“And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:” ~ Deuteronomy 8:2-3; 11
My dad died when I was young, and one of the most vivid memories of his death was that immediately more than anything else, I wanted to remember his voice. It was before the days of casual recordings and voicemails so all I had was what I could bring to mind. For years every night, I would think on his voice and his words to me. Words of instruction and love and how he would laugh and kid with me. He couldn’t carry a tune, but I wanted to remember his out of tune singing so much. As I got older and his absence became more familiar, I stopped thinking about him every night, and just every now and then would sit and remember his voice. I will never forget the day and the grief I felt when one day I sat and tried to recall his voice and I couldn’t bring it to mind AT ALL. It is something that I still can’t remember and still grieve and it has been a valuable life lesson to me. No one is immune to forgetting, and we are not only given a command to remember the Lord in our passage today but we are given a warning – BEWARE that thou forget not the Lord thy God!!!!
Remember – to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; to retain in the memory; keep in mind; to mention to another; to possess a memory
Forget – to cease or fail to remember; be unable to recall; to omit or neglect unintentionally; to leave behind; leave unnoticed; to fail to think of; to neglect willfully; disregard or slight.
Beware – to be wary, cautious, or careful of
Yesterday in the One Year Bible we read in Deuteronomy 7 that Israel was instructed to remember the power of God and his faithfulness in leading them out of Egypt. Today, in Deuteronomy 8 they are commanded to remember the provision and faithfulness and benefits of God in the wilderness. They are commanded not to remember just bits and pieces but ALL the ways the Lord led them and His goodness.
There is great power and value in remembering. When we become forgetful of what God has done we drift away. Eventually, we can drift so far that we remember little at all. We see forgetfulness over and over in the lives of the Israelites, and many of us can see it just as often in our own lives.
This week of Easter is a week of remembrance of how Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and on the third day arose from the grave. This week we will remember in detail the pain, the torture, the sacrifice, the LOVE as the week goes on and Sunday approaches. Sunday will be a celebration as we remember the resurrection. It is good to remember. Jesus instructed His disciples to remember His body and His blood when He gathered with His disciples, and they sat to eat the Passover. (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20)
And when he had given thanks, he brake it (the bread), and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:24-26
Communion or the Lord’s Supper is not only a command of Jesus to His disciples and to us, but it is a beautiful act of remembrance of who Jesus is and what He did for each one of us that we might have eternal life.
Today let’s not forget the cross. Let’s not forget Jesus. Let’s not forget the sacrifice of His body and His blood. Let’s not forget all His benefits. Let’s not forget those that are searching desperately for the love and life we have found in Jesus.
Lord, help us today to be people of remembrance. Show us how to remember and celebrate and proclaim Your greatness and your faithfulness. Show us and convict us when we are becoming slack and not remembering You as we should. Show us, so we don’t become one of the forgetful. I love You, Jesus and I thank You for dying for me on that old rugged cross that I might have life eternal. I thank You for having Deuteronomy 8 as my manna…to show me the consequence and the Hope in remembrance. Revive us all with Your Spirit that we might remember, today and every day…In Jesus Name, Amen!
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” ~ Luke 6:46-49
Who am I? Am I the wise one who hears and practices or am I the foolish who hears but then goes ahead to do my own will?
Do you ever get a feeling that God is telling you to do something? Sometimes, we are convicted to do things that are difficult and all we want to do is run away. But running away is only a temporary comfort. One day you will find running from God and what we know is His will is always a compromise. We want the benefits of a relationship with God, but when He asks us to obey Him, we are not willing to do the hard work. What area of your life is God convicting you to honor Him with?
Jesus says that he will show us what it’s like when someone comes to him, listens to his teaching, and follows it. It like a man who builds a house with a strong foundation.
Through listening to Christ teachings and following them in our lives, we can have a strong foundation in Christ. With Christ’s help, we can withstand whatever Satan throws against us. Jesus describes this as a house with a strong and deep foundation. When the storms and winds come, the house can survive. But a house with a weak and shallow foundation can not survive the storms and strong winds. Without Christ as our strong and deep foundation, we cannot survive the storms of life and the strong winds of Satan.
It is not an instant transformation but step by obedient step building of a strong foundation. As each step of obedience strengthens, each step of disobedience tears down and weakens our foundation. Some wonder why they are not receiving from the Lord or don’t feel as close to Him as they once did…here is a key. Are you following His instructions? I heard an interesting quote this week…
When we stop honoring people, we stop receiving from them. ~ Jeremiah Johnson
That really spoke to me and made me think this – if to honor someone includes listening and heeding words of instruction, encouragement and/or correction, then when we dishonor in our hearts and actions it is evident because we are not receiving from them. We ignore their Godly counsel and rebel. It is the same with God. If we have no honor for God and His instructions, encouragement, and correction then we go about feeling as though He isn’t speaking because we aren’t receiving…from Him or His chosen vessel. We rebel against what we hear, if our ears are even open to hear it. It is not the Word going forth that lacks instruction and revelation to build our foundation! Lack of honor has given us a deaf ear and hardened our heart. The wise man honors Jesus and His Word.
Father, help me to honor You by listening to your teachings and following them today. Help me to build a strong foundation. Your word Lord is so clear and I thank You because You do not leave me to try and keep Your commandments in my own power. You have promised Lord that with man it is impossible but with you all things are possible. You have promised to work in me both to will and to do Your good pleasure. Today Lord let me be like the wise man, help me hear and practice that which I read in Your Word. Let Your love and the power available through the Holy Spirit infuse me with obedience. Thank You for Your love and grace that saves me. It’s in Your name that I pray, Amen.
“Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.
Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.” ~ Psalms 66:5, 16-17
We have an invitation to come and see what God has done. To see how merciful He is towards us; how awesome He is to display His power; how wonderfully He demonstrates His love and allows us to encounter His presence.
The shepherds who were keeping watch over their flock the night Jesus was born were moved to go and see the newborn Messiah “…the shepherds said to one another, “… Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us…” ~ Luke 2:15. We too have an opportunity to go and see and worship Him.
We also have the call to share what we have seen. Later in Jesus’ life a man by the name of Philip encountered Him when He began His earthly ministry. Philip invited Nathanael to come and see Jesus., “And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.” ~ John 1:46
In Psalm 66:5 the Psalmist invited us to come and see what God has done and how awesome his deeds are to us. Then in verse 16 he invites us to come and hear. The author’s personal testimony would be a powerful witness to anyone who would listen – that would fear the Lord. To fear the Lord is to exhibit reverence and respect for who God is. The psalmist was ready to tell what God did for him.
“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” ~ Psalms 66:16
Once you see, you are more open to also hear. Before people will listen to you they often have to see something that would cause them to want to hear and listen to what you have to say. Your testimony is a powerful witness to those who would hear. Never underestimate the power of a personal testimony of your encounter with God. What He has done for you must be told to others. He wants to speak to others through you!!!
Heavenly Father, Help us always to accept your invitations to come and see; to experience You for WHO You are and worship You. Let us be aware that though You reveal Yourself through mighty signs and wonders You also reveal through Your abundant grace and mercy. Lord, help us to realize more and more just how awesome You are. Help us respond to the invitation to come and see and come and hear and for others to come to know You as we testify of Your goodness. Let our testimony speak of Your praises and what You have done for our souls. May we always glorify You. In Jesus Name. Amen!