The Good Life

by Rick
The Good Life

The Good Life: Learn the power of understanding both THE BLESSING and THE CURSE that are outlined in Dueteronomy Chapter 28. In this chapter we learn what God desires for us (THE BLESSING) and what He does not (THE CURSE). Part of what Jesus did on Calvary’s cross was to connect us with The Blessing of Abraham and to protect us from the Curse of the Law. I pray these lessons will bless you greatly:

Understanding THE BLESSING:

The Good life

The Requirement is Full Obedience

Blessed in The Earth

In You Shall All of the Nations of the Earth Be Blessed

Desire the Blesser

Blessed Wherever You Go!

Blessed at Home and at Work

Give us this day our Daily Bread

The Blessing in your Daily Affairs

The Promise of Protection

Blessed With and Blessed In

His Holy People

Gaining the Attention of the World

Protection from Every Attack

The Lord Wants you to be Blessed

The Lender, not he Borrower

The Head, not he Tail

Respecting The God of the Word

Receiving The Blessing, Rejecting The Curse

Getting back to the Garden of Eden

The Cursed System of the World

A Hedge of Protection

Giant Giant-Killers

The Power to Choose!

Understanding THE CURSE:

Failure, Starvation and Barrenness!

The Curse briings Failure

Terrible Diseases and Crop Failures

Not Settling for less than God’s Best

Physical and Psychological Health

Protection for Family and Possessions

Protection for Children

Oppression and Abuse

What is Your Name Synonymous with?

Embrace The Good Life

Take Heed to the Examples set Before us

Choose The Blessing by Choosing Obedience

The Good Life (back to the top)

(Gal 3:13,14 NIV) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

From my family to yours we wish you a Happy and Blessed 2008.  My prayer for you is that 2008 will be the best year of your life.  We normally start out every year with a fresh series.  As I prayed about what to teach on for this New Year the Lord led me to the 28th chapter of the book of Deuteronomy.  This chapter outlines both “The Blessing” associated with the covenant God (Jehovah) made with Abraham and “The Curse” associated with failing to walk in accordance with the parameters of the covenant.  It is important to understand both the blessing and the curse.  In studying the blessing we will see what God desired for the nation of Israel, in studying the curse we will see what He did not want them to experience.  The blessing is what God wants Abraham’s descendants to have; the curse is what He wants them to be protected from.  When you experience the combined benefits of receiving the blessing and being delivered from the curse I call that “The Good Life!”  So our new series is aptly entitled, “The Good Life!”  I have shared before that God is not out to get you and He does is not looking for ways to strike you down.  God is literally looking for ways to bless you.  We will see that in this series.

Now, you may be thinking, “But Rick, that was for the Israelites; the descendants of Abraham.  I am not a Jew.”  I understand that, but I also understand what Jesus did when He came to the earth.  In our focus text Paul tells us that:

  1. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law:  So the curse we will learn of in Deuteronomy 28 doesn’t apply to us.  That is Good News!
  2. Christ died so that the Blessing of Abraham could come upon the Gentiles:  If you were not born a Jew, then you are a Gentile.  The blessing of Abraham did not apply to Gentiles until Jesus shed His blood.  The Blood of Jesus gives us access to the Blessing of Abraham.

Most believers focus in on the Blessing of Jesus.  This is not wrong in and of itself.  The blessing of Jesus is what the writer of Hebrews calls a “better covenant” that is based upon “better promises” (Heb 8:6).  The blessing of Jesus is a spiritual blessing and it is ours to enjoy, but we will see that the blessing of Abraham is also ours to enjoy and it is more practical.  The blessing of Abraham did not give the Jews spiritual gifts, but it did bless them with the practical and secular affairs of the earth.  Believe me, most Jews understand the blessing of Abraham and they enjoy it well.  When we realize that this blessing is also available to us, then we will release our faith to enjoy the blessing of Abraham, as well as the blessing of Jesus.  This is “The Good Life!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should want everything that God wants you to have.  God wants you to enjoy Him in the spiritual and secular affairs of life.  He does not want you to thrive in the church, but then struggle at work.  He does not want you to operate in spiritual gifts at a great level, while naturally speaking you can’t even hold down a job.  No, God wants you to experience “The Good Life” and it has always been His desire for you.  If we want the best for our kids, then how much more does our heavenly father want the best for His?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I want everything You want me to have.  As I know better, I declare that I will want better and I will do better.  As I learn about the blessing of Abraham and I declare, by faith, that I will accept it and that it will begin to manifest in my life.  The blessing of Abraham and the blessing of Jesus are both for me.  Jesus died so that the blessing of Abraham could come to me.  I accept it and I accept the Good Life NOW!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Requirement is Full Obedience (back to the top)

(Deut 28:1 NIV) If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.

This morning we continue our new series for the New Year entitled, “The Good Life.”  As previously stated, the meat of this series will come from the 28th chapter of the book of Deuteronomy.  Before we get deep into the 28th chapter, let me give you a little background.

The Lord used Moses to lead His people out from under the bondage of Egypt.  However, they had been under Egypt’s control for about 400 years.  So when Moses led them out he had successfully gotten the people out of Egypt, but it would take some time to get Egypt out of the people.  They made mistakes along the way and a journey that should have taken a short time wound up taking 40 years.  Yes, God blessed them in the wilderness, but His best for them was Canaan; the land flowing with milk and honey.  In preparation for entering Canaan Moses repeatedly told the people that they would have to clearly “Obey the Lord.”  It was God’s desire that they accept what He wanted them to have and that they abstained from what He did not.  They were to accept what was blessed and abstain from what was cursed.

In the 27th chapter of Deuteronomy Moses said, “When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin.  And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali” (verses 12&13).  Even in crossing the Jordan and entering in to the land flowing with milk and honey, Moses wanted to ensure that the people understood The Blessing and The Curse.  Six tribes were to speak blessings and the other six were to speak curses.  The blessings were what they should have and the curses were what they should abstain from.  This now sets the stage for you to better understand the 28th chapter.

Deuteronomy chapter 28 opens with our focus text where Moses said, “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.”  I want to be very clear.  Over the next several weeks I will be teaching about God’s desire for us to live “The Good Life.”  At no point will I insinuate that you can have this life outside of (1) having a true and intimate relationship with Him, and (2) fully obeyingHim and His word.  The first thing that Moses said, even before outlining The Blessing, was that they (and us) must fully obey the Lord and carefully follow His commands.  Notice the words, “fully obey.”  Partial obedience is disobedience.  There were many people then, and there are many people today, that want to get things FROM God without having a true relationship WITH God.  Moses made it clear that The Blessing was reserved for those that were willing to make the sacrifice of full obedience.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that this is a good time (the beginning of a New Year) to check your motives.  Search yourself and make sure that you are following God for the right reasons.  Are you after Him to get ‘stuff’ from Him or do you simply hunger after a pure relationship with Him.  Believe me, if you seek after Him you will be blessed, but that should not be your motivation.  Make a decision today to clearly and truly follow after God.  Seek Him in full obedience.  If you do, you will experience The Good Life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I search myself this morning and I purge myself of all impure motives.  My motivation is to please you.  My desire is to have a pure and intimate relationship with You.  As I pursue You, as I seek Your face, and as I engage in intimacy with You, I know that You will bless me greatly in 2008 and I will experience The Good Life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Being Blessed IN the Earth (back to the top)

(Deut 28:1 NIV) If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.

This morning we continue our new series for the New Year entitled, “The Good Life.”  Yesterday I focused in on how our first priority must be our relationship with God.  I run across people all the time that want things from God without desiring a true relationship with God.  This should never be the attitude of the believer.  Our first priority must be a true and intimate relationship with Him; one that is birthed from our dedication to full obedience.  Moses started off this powerful discourse on The Blessing with a caveat.  He laid out a condition that must first be met for The Blessing to take affect and that condition was full obedience to the Lord and to His Word.  Those that were willing to meet the condition were ready for the follow-on promises.  The first promise mentioned was that that their nation would be set – by God – high above all the nations of the earth.

Here we see God speaking through his spokesperson (Moses) to His people and He promises that if they are obedient that He would ensure that they were set high above all the nations of the earth.  The timing of this statement is very important.  Remember, it had not been long since they had been delivered from Egypt.  They were a band of people in the wilderness and they were looking to establish their identity.  Originally, they were not sure how to establish corporate worship so they built a golden calf.  That was a big mistake, but it was their attempt to be able to identify with something.  God was not only promising to make them a valid nation, but He was promising to make them a prosperous nation in the earth.

I highlight the fact that God promised to bless them in earth, because it directly applies to us today.  As a matter of fact, the follow-on verses all deal with natural and practical blessings; things that apply to the secular and not just the spiritual.  This is very important to understand, because I run across believers all the time that are so focused on heaven that they are no earthly good.  Remember, the people we are trying to reach are in the earth and they are not spiritual.  They will not care how long you pray at home or how well you sing at church; they might not ever come to your church.  See, I don’t expect sinners to be anything other than sinners.  I don’t expect a sinner to desire spiritual things.  Sinners want to know how your God is ‘working for you.’  If they can’t “see” The Blessing, then they assume that you are not blessed.  God knew that for Israel to make a true impact in the world that they would have to be successful in natural things, so He promised to bless them naturally, not just spiritually.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants you to be blessed IN the earth, not just in heaven.  God does not want you to live broke, busted, and disgusted; frustrated, disillusioned, and hard to get along with in the earth, only to have a great time in heaven.  No, God does not have two wills: a will for you to be blessed in heaven and a will for you to struggle in the earth.  Sure, I know that our lives are a grand-sum-total of our decisions.  So if we make poor decisions we will get poor results, but poor decisions were decisions that were made without the counsel of God.  If we seek God for counsel He will NEVER lead us to make poor decisions.  God-led decisions will ALWAYS lead us towards success, victory, and peace.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am convinced that You want me to be blessed.  My life is a grand-sum-total of my decisions.  I know it is important to make wise decisions if I am going to experience Your best.  So I declare that I will seek You and Your Word for counsel concerning my decisions.  I know that when You lead me my decisions will result in success, victory, and peace.  You promised to exalt Israel above all the nations of the earth.  That was a natural blessing and I thank You in advance for blessing me naturally and spiritually.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

In You Shall All the Nations of the Earth be Blessed (back to the top)

(Deut 28:1 NIV) If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.

This morning we continue our new series for the New Year entitled, “The Good Life.”  I trust that you have enjoyed the series thus far.  I closed out last week with a message from this first verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  My emphasis was on the fact that The Blessing of Abraham is a blessing that affects us in natural ways.  The Blessing of Abraham is not a blessing for heaven; it is a blessing for the earth.  It is ‘something’ that came upon the Jews that caused them to prosper in every area and aspect of our lives.  When you look at The Blessing in operation in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and etc., you see that there was clearly something working in their lives that caused them to be successful everywhere they went.  It not only affected them, but it affected everyone around them.

While Lot was with Abraham he was abundantly blessed with earthy possessions and protection.  They got to the point where Abraham and Lot had ‘too much stuff’ to continue on together.  Once they separated, it was clear that The Blessing on Abraham was affecting Lot.  Once Abraham was gone The Blessing was gone and Lot ran into trouble.  When you look at Jacob you see a man that had The Blessing in operation in his life so strong that his Father-in-Law (Laban) did not want him to leave.  The Blessing in operation in the life of Jacob made Laban a rich man; once Jacob left, Laban was never the same.  Look at the life of Joseph and you see The Blessing clearly.  Joseph arrived in Potiphar’s house as a slave.  Soon he was running Potiphar’s entire household and Potiphar was abundantly blessed because of it.  Joseph was a prosperous slave.  Potiphar’s wife wanted to sleep with Joseph, when he refused she lied and he wound up on prison.  Guess what happened?  He wound up becoming the Assistant-Warden.  Joseph ran the entire prison. He was a blessed prisoner.  Then one day, just like that, Joseph was taken before Pharaoh.  The Blessing was on his life so strong that Pharaoh promoted Joseph, without looking at a resume, without looking at his education, without asking for references, but Joseph was taken from a prisoner to the Prime Minister of Egypt in one minute.  Guess what happened next?  Joseph made Egypt the richest nation on the planet at the time.  What was that?  The Blessing in operation.

Now, let me reiterate, part of the reason that Jesus died on the cross was so that this blessing, The Blessing of Abraham, would come upon the Gentiles (that’s us).  For those that still might be confused about whether or not The Blessing of Abraham is for us, Paul makes it clear.  Paul wrote, “Even so Abraham believed god, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.  Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.  The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.’  So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer” (Gal 3:6-9).  In Genesis 12:3 God Himself told Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in him.  In our focus text Moses is repeating this blessing to Abraham’s descendants.  In this series I am repeating it for you, those who have been engrafted into the bloodline of Abraham by the Blood of Jesus!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that The Blessing is already on you if you are a Born-Again believer.  Now, you may not have known what this means, but my prayer is that you learn to appropriate The Blessing in your life as you learn more about it.  So open up your heart and prepare to learn how God wants to use you to Bless Others!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I know that the Blessing of Jesus is for me, but I am now learning about The Blessing of Abraham as well.  I open my heart and my head to receive what You want me to know.  The more I know, the more I will do, the more I will expect, the more I will believe.  Use me today and every day to be a blessing to others.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Desire the Blesser! (back to the top)

(Deut 28:2 NIV) All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:

This morning we continue our new series for the New Year entitled, “The Good Life.”  There are 68 verses in Deuteronomy chapter 28 and we will go through them all in this series.  This morning we get to the second verse and we immediately see a reiteration of what was stated in the first: the requirement for obedience.  As previously stated, full obedience is the clear requirement from God.  Partial obedience is disobedience.  Moses drives home the fact that none of what He is about to say by way of blessings apply to those that fail to meet the obedience requirement.  Why?  Because those that seek to get things from God without the desire to obey Him are people who want the blessings without the Blesser.

I run into people from time to time that can quote scripture from Genesis to Revelations, but they don’t know God.  They know the Word of God, but they don’t know the God of the Word.  They study the Bible as a textbook, but they don’t live it as a life-book.  They have their reasons.  Then there are those that I have met that only search the Bible for what they think they can get from God.  Any scripture to do with sacrifice, commitment, obedience, dying-to-self, etc., are conveniently omitted from their study.  Believe me, God is not some ‘Sugar-Daddy.’ Our God is a loving, caring, and sharing heavenly Father.  He wants the best for his children, but what he wants the most is US.  Think about that for a moment.  The God of the Universe, the God that created everything, the God that spoke to darkness and created light, that spoke to chaos and created order, that spoke to death and created life; that same God spends time thinking about you.  Jeremiah tells us that He has thoughts and plans for you (29:11).  God, Jehovah, has you on His mind.  He thinks about you.  He hungers after a relationship with you.  He is grieved when all you ever seek is His hand and not His face.

In this chapter and in this series I am going to teach you about The Blessing (singular), not blessings (plural).  But before I get into it I warn you not to seek The Blessing without having a true and intimate relationship with The Blesser.  How would you feel if your children only came to you when they needed something?  That’s not a good feeling; so don’t do that to God.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that The Blessing is available to you, God wants you to live The Good Life, but He wants to birth The Blessing out of your close and pure relationship with Him.  One of the clearest ways you can show God that you are serious about Him and His Word is to obey the Word that you know.  Sure, you may not know the entire Bible, but you know some of it.  If you seek to obey the Word that you know and you do it with a pure heart, God will be pleased.  That’s what Moses was telling the people.  If they would obey the Lord they would be blessed.  I tell you the same thing this morning.  If you obey the Lord, if you seek to have a pure relationship with the Blesser, then the Blessing will be in operation in your life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I love You and I seek You all the days of my life.  I seek Your face, not just Your hand.  I want You and not just Your stuff.  I love You and I want to enjoy Your presence every day.  In Your presence in the fullness of joy.  When I am in Your presence I forget about anything that I may be facing.  Your presence is dear to me.  I know that sin separates me from You so I repent of all sin and I seek to obey You with a pure heart and pure lips.  Show Yourself strong in my life today.  I seek the Blesser and I because I seek You, I know The Blessing is in operation in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Blessed Wherever You Go! (back to the top)

(Deut 28:3 NIV)  You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life.”  With the third verse we really start to see the affects of The Blessing laid out.  Remember, The Blessing is not “things,” but the things laid out in this chapter are the affects of The Blessing resting upon our lives.  In our focus text the Lord through Moses says that they would be blessed in the city and in the country.  Before we go any further I guess we need to deal with the word “blessed.”  This word literally means, “Empowered to prosper” or “Empowered to succeed.”

The Blessing (from God) – that would rest upon their lives if their lived a life of obedience to God and His Word – would rest upon them and cause them to be blessed (empowered to prosper) everywhere they went.   It would not matter if they were doing business in a city or if they were farming the countryside, if they were completing a deal in the midst of a built-up area or if they were alone with their sheep, if they were with their family or if they were surrounded by strangers.  Their physical location was not a limiting factor for The Blessing to work in their lives.  God was promising that they would be “blessed” no matter where they went and no matter what type of business they had to do when they got there.

I love this verse.  I often remember this when I travel.  It does not matter where I go; I know that The Blessing goes with me.  People know that I just got back from a trip to Kuwait and Iraq.  Several people have asked me, “How was your trip, how was it over there?”  I sometimes get strange looks when I reply by saying, “Great!  I had a great time.  I have a great time everywhere I go.”  Why can I say that?  Because The Blessing is on my life and it is working.  The Blessing is working whether I am in Augusta or Baghdad, whether I am speaking at a Minister’s Conference or a Military Conference, whether I am in a meeting at church or at work, whether I am playing with my kids or getting on a C-130.  The key is that I know, I understand, and I appreciate the fact that The Blessing (from God) is on my life.  It does not matter where I am, what I am doing, or whom I am doing it for, I believe that whatever I put my hands to do will succeed (see Psalm 1 and Joshua 1:8), because I am supposed to be empowered to prosper (blessed) everywhere I go.  Do I have setbacks?  Of course.  Do I encounter challenges?  Certainly.  But I never expect to lose and I never expect to fail.  I believe God and I expect His Word to be made manifest in my life.  I can have that expectation, because I am fulfilling my part of the deal.  My part is to be obedient to Him and His Word; His part is to provide The Blessing.  Are you fulfilling your part?  If so, then you can have an expectation to be blessed!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God desires for you to be blessed, for you to succeed, for you to prosper, and He desires for you to walk in His Blessing everywhere you go.  His blessing is not limited to one place.  His blessing is not limited to one facet of your life.  His blessing is not limited to one portion of your day.  Whether you are in the city or the field, at home or at work, with your kids or with your boss, in a combat zone with eminent danger or a daycare center with two-year olds J; the bottom-line is that God wants you to be blessed.  Your part is obedience, His part is The Blessing.  If you do your part He will provide His.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for desiring Your best for me in every area and aspect of my life.  I thank You for providing Your Son to die so that I could have eternal and everlasting life.  You were concerned about my eternal salvation and I also thank You for being concerned with the daily affairs of my life.  Thank for you caring about me and what I care about.  Thank You for providing The Blessing to work in my life so that I can be successful at home, at work, with my family, and with society.  No mater where I go I expect to be blessed.  No matter what I am doing I expect it to succeed.  I thank You for the wisdom to make the right decisions and I thank You for The Blessing that makes the difference in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Blessed at Home and at Work (back to the top)

(Deut 28:4 NIV)  The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life.”  In this fourth verse we find three powerful promises.  God, through Moses, promised that The Blessing would work in the lives of their childrentheir land, and their livestock.  This Blessing was of the utmost importance because it dealt with their family life and their livelihood.  Speak to any parent what is worth their salt and you will quickly find out that they desire better for their children then what they had.  As parents, we want our children to prosper.  When God promised that The Blessing would rest upon the fruit of their womb He was promising to provide The Blessing to their children.  This should have provided them tremendous solace, because they could rest assured that The Blessing would pass down from generation to generation.

The promise to bless their children provided the personal peace, but the rest of the verse provided a more practical peace.  Ever since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden man has had to work by the sweat of his brow (Gen 3:19).  There are countless families today that are struggling to make ends-meet.  Because of it, many people are not doing what they love to do; they are doing what they have to do to get by.  The pursuit of money, if even just for daily provision, has consumed the lives of many; to the point where they don’t even seek God.  God does not want us to be concerned about money, especially not so concerned that it consumes our lives and destroys our relationships.

The two major ways for the people of the time to make money was to either farm the ground or raise livestock.  This dates all the way back to Cain and Abel.  Cain was a farmer and Abel was a herdsman.  Cain raised produce and Abel raised sheep (see Gen 4:2).  This gives new light to our focus text.  When God promised to Bless the crops of their land and the young of their livestock He was literally promising to bless the farmer and the herdsman.  Not only did God want them to be productive at home, blessing their children, but God wanted them to be blessed at work, blessing their livelihood.

This is important to understand, because this has nothing to do with going to heaven.  I want it to be clear in your mind that God does not just want you to go to heaven, but he wants you to enjoy your time here in the earth.  He wants you to live The Good Life!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants to bless your family life and your professional life. He wants you to enjoy His Blessing upon your children and your workplace.  He wants you to take pleasure with your family and He also wants you not to have to struggle to make ends-meet.  So accept The Blessing and agree with it with your own lips.  Speak life and not death, blessings and not cursing, over your children and your career.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for being such a good God and for wanting me to live The Good Life.  I know You want my children to be blessed.  I declare, with my own lips, that Your Blessing rests upon me, my children, and my children’s children.  The Blessing is past down from generation to generation.  My spouse and I will produce all the children we desire and all our children shall walk in Your Blessing.  I also thank You for desiring to bless my work.  I declare, with my own lips, that my business dealings are blessed.  Everything I put my hands to do prospers.  You promised to bless the Israelites’ land and livestock.  I am neither a farmer, not a herdsman, but I believe You will bless what I do.  You are my source.  I look to You for provision and I declare that You provide more than enough to meet the needs of every situation.  I am blessed at home and I am blessed at work!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Give us this day our Daily Bread (back to the top)

(Deut 28:5 NASB)  Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life.”  In this fifth verse we find a promise that deals with personal prosperity, with an emphasis on food.  Now, this is hard to understand for most Americans, even for me.  I was the first of my family born in the United States and I was raised in relative poverty.  I thought I was poor.  I was told that we were poor; not by my mother, but by others in my environment.  We received food stamps, I stood in line for government cheese, my mother sometimes struggled to make ends-meet.  But even with all of that, I can NEVER really say that I went hungry.  I don’t ever recall a time that I did not have “Good” food to eat.  Never.  That says something about this country.  Are there people in this country that are struggling to get by?  Are their kids in this country that are hungry?  I am sure there are.  But my point is that in the United States, for the most part, hunger is not a major issue.  However, in other countries it still is.

When I was a kid I my mother used to take me to the Dominican Republic and show me other kids that had it a lot worst than I did.  When I stayed with my grandmother we had no running water and no electricity.  This was a reminder to me to appreciate everything I had.  My wife, for example, does not have my testimony.  She knows what it was like to be hungry.  She knows what it is to go days without meat (and not by choice).  She was raised in Dominica and in her country there is no government assistance.  When you are poor, you are poor.

See, in my home, we know what it is to have and not to have.  That is why I am absolutely convinced that God does not want us to be poor.  God does not want us to struggle, because my wife and I have struggled and we know that it is NOT of God. God wants us to have more than enough, so that we can be a blessing to those that don’ have.

In our text God, through Moses, promises that their “basket” and their “kneading bowl” would be blessed.  This basket was used to carry fruit or grain (see 26:2).  This is what they used to bring in their food from the fields.  The “kneading bowl” is also translated “bread bowl” and was used to prepare family meals.  This was a promise for their daily bread; a promise that there will always be food on the table. This is important, because we will see that the curse (v.17) states the opposite.

So what does this mean to you today? The message this morning is simple, part of The Blessing is a promise to provide your daily bread.  This means that your daily provision, whatever your family needs on a daily basis, is part of God’s promise to you and it is part of His blessing.  It is never a blessing not to have your daily bread.  I have three children and one of them is still a baby.  When Joshua (the baby) cries for milk, my heart hurts when I think about what I would do if I did not have the money to buy him the milk he needs daily.  I thank God that I do and I thank God that our daily bread, our daily provision, our daily needs are met in an abundant fashion.  Remember, God wants you to be blessed so that you can be a blessing to others.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for giving me and my family, this day, our daily bread.  I am a giver, therefore I declare that I will also be a receiver.  I am a sower, therefore I declare that I will also be a reaper.  I give and it shall be given to me.  I am blessed to be a blessing and You said in Your Word that You are able to make all grace abound towards me so that I would always have all sufficiency all things; having more than enough to meets the needs of every situation.  I am able to give, in abundance, towards Your good works and I thank You for it.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Blessing in your Daily Affairs (back to the top)

(Deut 28:6 NIV) You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the sixth verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  At first glance we are not really sure what this means.  The reason for that is because we are not Jewish (or Hebrew).  Just like I hear phrases in Georgia that my family in New York would not be accustomed to, the phrase Moses used in this verse is a Hebraic idiom.  It literally means that you will be blessed in every area of your life.  If we subtract the “blessing” from this text, and we isolate the “coming in” and “going out” portions we find out that this is a reference to daily life.  Basically, the things that you have to do and the affairs that you engage in on a daily basis.  To further clarify this, let’s take a look at some other verses that use this phrase.

I love the 121st Psalm.  In this psalm we learn that God is our helper.  The psalmist tells us to lift our eyes to the hills from whence comes our help.  He also tells us that our God, our helper, never slumbers, nor sleeps.  God stays up so that I don’t have to J.  The psalmist then closes out the psalm by saying that, “The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”  This was a promise that the Lord would be involved in our daily affairs.

In Deuteronomy 31 Moses was at a stage where the Lord had already told him that he would not lead the people into Canaan.  He was up in age and he knew that his time as leader was almost up.  Let’s look at what he said to the people that he led, “And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in” (v.2).  By saying that he could no longer go out and come in, he was saying that he could no longer lead the daily affairs of the nation.  In preparation fro his replacement Moses had a conversation with the Lord.  Moses said, “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd” (Numbers 27:16 & 17).  Notice that Moses asked God for a replacement that could “go out and come in;” someone to handle the daily affairs of the nation.  The Lord replied by saying, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him” v.18).

It should be clear by now that this phrase is a reference to the affairs of daily life, but if it is not, let me drive this home by sharing with you the New Living Translation (NLT) version of this text.  The NLT says, “Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed.”  Does that not sound like The Good Life?  It does to me.  However, remember that all of these blessings are reserved for those that fully obey the Lord and His commands.  When you obey God you are supposed to be blessed.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God is not only concerned about your eternal salvation, but He has also made provisions for you to be blessed in the daily affairs of your life.  God wants you to be blessed in your coming in and your going out.  He wants The Blessing to be in operation in everything that you do and wherever you go.  That’s The Good Life and that is God’s will for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for wanting me to be blessing coming in and blessed going out. I thank You for wanting Your Blessing to be in operation at home, at work, in school, with the kids, with my boss, with my coworkers, on the road, in a plane, on a ship, EVERYWHERE and ALL THE TIME!  The Blessing, Your Blessing, is working in my life and it is working in all the daily affairs of my life.  I am blessed in every area and in every way.  I am obedient to You, Lord, and You provide the Blessing.  I live The Good Life and I love it!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Promise of Protection (back to the top)

(Deut 28:7 NIV) The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you.  They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the seventh verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  After promising to bless them at home and at work, to provide them daily bread, and to bless all they put their hands to do, the Lord through Moses promised to provide them protection.  Protection was then, and it remains today, a sincere desire for all people.  We will live in a time today where terrorism is an overwhelming problem.  Wars and rumors of wars are a reality of life.  Believe me, the Israelites did not have it much better back then.  They were a wandering people.  Constantly moving a nation, a wealthy nation, through a desert is not safe.  The Israelites had to raise up an army and their army had to be ever-ready to fight off the attacks of their enemies.  Yes, I said, “enemies.”

The word “enemies” is used eight times in this chapter alone and Israel was not out looking to make enemies.  They were supposed to BE Blessed TO BE a Blessing.  But people came up against them anyway.  Today, Israel is one of he most hated countries in the world.  There are nations that raise their children to hate Israel.  My point is that you don’t necessarily have to do anything to make enemies.  I believe I get along well with people.  I am outgoing and I have lots of relationships.  I have been blessed in the military (and outside of the military), and I seek to be a blessing wherever I go.  I sincerely enjoy helping people.  One of the greatest disappointments I have had over the years is the reality that there are people that don’t like me, that have even attempted to do things against me, whom I have never met and whom I have never said anything to or about.  For whatever reason, people attack others and many times without cause.  Our youth call these types of people “haters.”  I have shared before that the good news is that their poison can’t stop our purpose.  Glory to God for that!  I can confidently declare that because I understand the principle of protection that is laid out in this verse and many more like it.  God is ready, able, and willing to protect those that are obedient to Him.

Let’s take a closer look at what God promised:

  1. God promised that their enemies would be defeated.
  2. God promised that they would have the privilege of “seeing” the defeat of their enemies, before their very eyes.  This would help build up their confidence in God and His protection.
  3. God promised that they enemies would not only flee, but flee in seven directions.  This means that their enemies would not only be defeated, but also fearful and unorganized as they retreated.

Remember, we are in Christ and are therefore Abraham’s seed.  This promise of protection applies to us as well.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you don’t have to be afraid of others, it means that God is your protector, and it means that God will fight for you.  So don’t be afraid of what people may say about you or even attempt to do to you, just keep trusting God.  Stand your ground IN HIM!  Know that He will protect you and you will literally “see” attacks turn around right before your eyes.  I have seen it happen time and time again in my life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You are my shield, You are my protector, You are my God, in You do I trust.  You protect me from every scheme devised against me, every ill word spoken about me, and every attack launched at me.  My confidence is in You.  I am so confident in You and Your love is so developed in my life that I pray for my enemies.  I ask You NOT to destroy them.  I ask You to give them grace and mercy when they come against me.  They don’t really understand who they are attacking.  Forgive them, Lord.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Blessed With and Blessed In (back to the top)

(Deut 28:8 NIV) The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the 8th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  After promising to bless them with protection the Lord through Moses promises three things in this verse:

1.  To send a blessing on their barns:  The King James Version of this text says, “command the blessing;” which has a stronger connotation.  This gives us to know that the Lord would command, or release, or bestow His blessing upon their barns.  Their barns/granaries/cellars were where they kept their grain, corn, wine, and oil.  By commanding The blessing upon their barns the Lord was promising to preserve what they had stored up.  He had already promised to bless their land, now he was promising to preserve the places where they stored up the harvests from the land.  This was very important to them, because if vermin or other creatures got into their barns and destroyed their harvests, then all the work in the fields would be in vain.  In other words, the Lord was promising to not only bless what they did in the fields, but also to bless the results of what they produced.  God would preserve their harvests, which was also a source of their wealth.  This tells me that when The Blessing is in operation in our lives that the fruit of our labor is also preserved.  God wants us to be productive, but He also wants us to be able to enjoy the fruit of what we produce.  The Blessing protects us from the “devourers” of life.

2.  To send a blessing on everything they put their hands to do:  This was another reminder that God would bless everything they put their hands to do.  The Blessing would not only be upon their barns and their harvests, but it would be upon THEM.  That meant that everything they did would be blessed.  When The Blessing is upon us it should affect everything we do and every area of our lives.

3.  To bless them in the land He was giving them:  The land referred to here is the land of Canaan; the land flowing with milk and honey.  This special land was promised to Abraham and his descendants.  Moses was reiterating the fact that the promise was still valid and the land was still coming.  This tells us two things: (1) Delay does not mean denial.  Although it had taken a long time, the nation of Israel was still going to receive their promised land.  And (2) God did not just want them to possess the land, but He wanted them to enjoy it.  He promised not only to bless them WITH the land, but He promised to bless them IN the land.  This tells me that God not only wants to bless us WITH things, but He wants to bless us IN them.  Meaning that He wants us to enjoy whatever He blesses us with.  Part of the reason that Jesus came, lived a sinless life, died on Calvary’s cross, and was raised from the dead was so that we could not only HAVE life in Him, but that we would also ENJOY life in Him (see John 10:10).  God wants us to literally have and enjoy abundant life!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God is concerned about you and what you do on a daily basis.  This same Blessing is available to you and it is God’s will for your life.  God wants to bless you and all that you do, but remember that this Blessing is reserved for those that walk in obedience to Him and His commands.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for wanting to bless me with fruitfulness.  You desire that I be productive and effective at everything that I do.  You desire that I bring forth fruit and that my fruit remain.  You rebuke the devourer for my sake.  You protect everything that You have blessed me to posses.  Everything that I have is Yours and I am simply a steward of it.  I ask You to keep Your protection on every possession You have blessed me to be a steward of.  I not only walk into what You want me to have, but I declare that I will also enjoy everything You bless me with.  I have and enjoy life in You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

His Holy People (back to the top)

(Deut 28:9 NIV) The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the 9th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  After promising to command a blessing upon them and their barns, the Lord through Moses provides them a very personal and powerful promise.  This promise was not about “things,” but rather about them.  Let’s take a closer look at what God said.

  1. The Lord will establish you:  The verb used here as “establish” is used other places in Deuteronomy as well.  The other senses that it gives are “to raise up” or “to confirm a covenant.”  All the meanings apply here.  The Lord was promising to confirm His covenant with Abraham and Abraham’s seed (descendants), by establishing them or raising them up as His holy people.  It is important to understand that our God is a God of covenant.  He says what He means and He means what He says.  If He promises something, He will perform it.  No matter how long it takes, the promises of God shall come to pass.  The nation of Israel may not have felt like a covenant people with a covenant God, while they were wandering through the wilderness, but God reassured them that He was still there, He was still with them, and He was still committed to fulfilling His promise and His purpose in their lives.  I say to you this morning that the same holds true in your life.  The Lord is committed to you.  He will confirm His covenant in your life.  He will establish you and raise you up wherever you are.  He will bless you to be a blessing within your sphere of influence.
  2. His holy people:  The word “holy” means “set apart for God’s service.”  God wanted the Israelites to know that they were His people and they were supposed to be different from the world.  They were supposed to be a kingdom of priests (see Ex 19:5,6) that would lead the world to God.  In some ways they failed in their assignment and their assignment has been opened up to include the Gentiles (that’s us.)  In the New Testament we see that we are now to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  Peter said, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people.  You are a kingdom of priestsGod’s holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people; now you are the people of God. Once you received none of God’s mercy; now you have received his mercy” (1st Peter 2:9,10).  We are now, you and I, God’s holy people.  Act like it today and every day.  Allow people to see God’s light shine through you.  Allow His light to pierce this dark, dying, and decaying world.
  3. Walk in His ways:  Remember that none of this applies to those that fail to keep God’s commands and walk in His ways.  The word walk in scripture is a biblical metaphor for a lifestyle of faith and obedience.  God requires faith and God requires obedience before His releases His blessing, The Blessing, upon our lives.

So what does this mean to you today? It means God wants to establish you as part of His holy people.  This is not a small thing.  There should be something different about you.  There should be some identifying characteristics that differentiate you from the world.  An unbeliever should be able to identify that fact that there is something “on” you that is not “on” them.  So walk in the light, live in he light, and allow God’s light to shine through you today and every day!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare that You are my Lord, my God, and my King.  I declare that You made me and I did not make myself.  I am in covenant with You and You are in covenant with me.  I love You and I know that You love me.  You establish me, You confirm our covenant in my life.  I am holy, I am set apart, I am light in the midst of a dark world.  I allow Your light to shine through me so that people may know that You are God and besides You there is no other.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Gaining the Attention of the World (back to the top)

(Deut 28:10 NASB) So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the 10th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  After rattling off a litany of blessings that would be the affect of The Blessing being upon their lives, Moses gives Israel part of the reason for The Blessing.  This verse starts with the word “so.”  “So” is a conjunction and I remember Conjunction Junction (from Schoolhouse Rock) and the conjunction’s function: hooking up nouns, verbs, and phrases.  The word “so” used here connects the blessings listed before the “so” with the purpose listed after it.  God wanted the Israelites (and us) to be blessedso that all the people of the earth could “see” that they were called by the name of the Lord.  The phrase “Called by the name of the Lord,” is a common phrase in scripture and it denotes a covenant relationship between Jehovah and His people.  It insinuates that God has ownership of these people; therefore they are called by His name.  This ownership brought with it the responsibility, on God’s part, to bless and protect His people.  Israel’s covenant with Jehovah meant that they could totally trust in Him to provide for them and to protect them in an ever-dangerous environment.  As we see in this passage, The Blessing was not only a spiritual covenant, but it also involved success and victory in natural, secular, and earthly things.

Some people ask why?  Why is God concerned about blessing His people with earthly things and in secular areas?  Part of the reason is found in this verse: so that all the people of the earth would “see” that Jehovah was their God.  This is important to understand.  Let me explain it this way.  When the prophet Samuel was sent to Jesse’s house to anoint the next king of Israel (Saul’s successor), he went and asked Jesse to line up his sons.  Jesse only lined up 7 of his 8 boys; David remained in the field.  Naturally speaking, both Jesse and Samuel assumed that God would pick the eldest son (Eliab).  After all, the custom of the time was that the greatest blessing went to the eldest son.  When Samuel saw Eliab and how big, strong, and handsome he was, he thought that he was the one.  But the Lord corrected Samuel and said, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1st Samuel 16:6,7).  Most people that preach or teach from this verse highlight the fact that God does not look at the outward appearance; God has the ability to interrogate our hearts.  God does not look at the outward man, He looks at the inward man.  This is a valid point and it does hold true, but the opposite is also true.  Man does not look at the heart.  Man does not look at the inward man.  As human beings in the earth, the unbelievers of the world are looking at “stuff.”  They look at the outward man.  They want to know how your God is working for you.  They want to know whether or not it is beneficial for them to enter into covenant with your God.  If all they see in you is problems, then they will not be attracted by problems, they have enough of that.  They want to see The Blessing of your God working in your life.  They want to see you live “The Good Life.”  That’s what they are drawn by, that’s what they world is attracted to.  Jehovah wanted to bless Israel to gain the attention of the nations and thereby to attract the nations unto Himself.  The same holds true today.

So what does this mean to you today? It means God wants you to represent Him well so that you can attract the world to Him.  These are not spiritual people.  They are not looking at you through the lens of the Spirit.  They want to see that you have a relationship with a God that can make a difference in their lives in a real way.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for allowing The Blessing to work in my life so strong that I gain the attention of the world.  Unspiritual people are able to see that something is working in my life.  When they ask me what that something is, I am able to tell them about Your goodness, Your mercy, and Your Son.  Use me to attract others to You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!
Protection from Every Attack (back to the top)

(Deut 28:10 NASB) So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you.

I trust that you had an enjoyable weekend and that you enjoyed the holiday yesterday.  It is very appropriate that we celebrate/recognize the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I know firsthand how ugly racism can be and I also know that we must continue to make efforts towards racial equality in this country and abroad.  Unfortunately, 11am on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in the United States.  It is my sincere prayer that we break down the walls of racism and prejudice, especially within the church.  The only true color that matters in the Body of Christ is red; the red that comes from the Blood of Jesus!  Please do your part to tear down the walls of prejudice and racism within your sphere of influence.

As we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” we take another look at the 10th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  Last week we closed out the week with the first part of this verse and we saw how The Blessing of God upon our lives should catch the attention of the world.  However, I did not get to the latter portion of the text where Moses said, “And they will be afraid of you.”  Let’s take a closer look at this portion of the text.

Like with any other portion of scripture, we should understand what this meant (back then), before we seek to make any conclusions about what it means (to us today).  Israel was a nation on a journey through the wilderness, on their way to the Promised Land (Canaan).  The wilderness was not a safe place.  The Israelites were surrounded by pagans who worshipped idols, objects, and people.  They were different, they were peculiar, and they stuck out.  I already shared with you that The Blessing would draw the attention of the world, but it was supposed to draw attention in a good way.  Unfortunately, some of attention they received was unwelcome.  Some of the attention came from people wanting to do them harm.  So the Lord assured them that He would provide them protection.  He was with them and He fought for them many times.  The news of what the Lord did for Israel spread and it caused other nations to fear Israel and their God.

Well, for us today this may not apply to foreign nations with foreign armies seeking to destroy us, but it does apply to us personally.  The Blessing of the Lord upon our lives will draw the attention of the world and sometimes that attention will be of the wrong sort.  I can personally attest to the fact that I have been attacked and slandered several times for no apparent reason.  The Blessing of the Lord upon my life has drawn the attention of many that want to know about my God, but it has also drawn the attention of some who despise the success of others.  My comfort is in the fact that I too, like Israel, am protected from every attack.  My trust is in my God.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that The Blessing upon your life will draw the attention of the world and not all of that attention will be from those that desire good.  There will be some people that despise you simply because you are seeking to live “The Good Life” in God.  They will seek to talk about you with hopes to discredit and defame you; but the good news is that God is bigger than any attack and stronger than any adversary.  Your God will fight for you.  Instead of seeking revenge, pray for them.  Pray that God would grant them grace and mercy.  Sometimes they simply don’t know who they are messing with.  Allow the love of God in your heart to be bigger than the hatred in theirs.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am abundantly glad that You are bigger than any attack and any adversary.  People may come up against me, but their poison can’t stop my purpose.  I know that most attacks come out of ignorance and I ask You God to forgive my attackers.  I ask You to make Yourself known to them and that You send people their way so that they may come in contact with You and Your love.  I may not like what they do, but I still love them and I desire for them to have a true relationship with You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Lord wants You to be Blessed (back to the top)

(Deut 28:11 NIV)  The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the 11th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  In this verse the Lord, through Moses, seemingly repeats what He said in the 4th verse, but this verse is not meaningless.  Yes, in the 4th the Lord promised to bless the fruit of their womb (many children), the young of their livestock (many animals), and the crops of the land (large harvests).  But when we look at this 11th verse we see something added with the reiteration.  First of all the Lord makes it plain by saying that The Blessing upon their lives would cause them to experience abundant prosperity.  Now, I will admit that in today’s society and in the climate of today’s church there is an overemphasis on and a skewed view of the word “prosperity.”  When most people think about prosperity they think “money.”  That is not incorrect, but it is incomplete.

When we look at this verse and this passage we see what God was really saying.  Jehovah wanted (and still does want) His people to be blessed and to enjoy “The Good Life.”  He wanted them to enjoy prosperity in every area of their lives.  Pay attention to where the Lord says that He wanted them to experience all of these things “in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.”  This is a reference to the land of Canaan.  Canaan was already a land flowing with milk and honey.  Canaan was already a prosperous land.  The inhabitants of Canaan were living well and they were enjoying the fertility of the soil, the abundance it produced, and the beauty of the landscape.  When the Israelites sent in spies to Canaan they brought grapes back that were so big that it took more than one person to carry them.  By all accounts Canaan was already a blessed land, but the Lord wanted to be clear that He wanted His people to enjoy large families, large herds, and large crops; and He wanted them to do IN CANAAN.  As if the blessing of living in Canaan was not enough, God wanted His people to enjoy the land, enjoy their families, enjoy long life, enjoy lasting relationships, enjoy His protection from their enemies, enjoy His abundant supply in every area of their lives, and etc.

Prosperity is not just about money.  I know lots of people, people close to me, which have large sums of money that are not prosperous.  There are people that are monetarily rich, but live miserable lives.  But then again, there are people that have great relationships, good health, inner peace, but then financially struggle to make ends-meet.  God does not want money to be our focus, but He also does not want money to be a thorn in our side.  God wanted His people to live The Good Life back then and I sincerely believe that He still desires the same.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants you to live in abundant prosperity, now that may not mean that you are a millionaire, that you drive a Rolls Royce, and that you live in a penthouse.  But it does mean that God wants your needs met, He wants you to have good health, to live a long life, to enjoy great relationships, to have and enjoy your children, and to be blessed to the point where you can BE a blessing to someone else.  Why?  So you can make an impact in the world and so that He can use you as a conduit by which He can change lives for the better.  That’s the whole point, God wants to reach others through you, but it’s hard to do if all you represent is stress, struggle, and strain.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You said in Your Word that Jesus came that I might have and enjoy life, His abundant life.  I thank You for wanting me to enjoy life.  I thank You for desiring The Good Life for me.  I also thank You for teaching me that the purpose of prosperity is to be blessed to be a blessing to others.  I know You want to reach others through me and I declare that I will be a conduit of Your anointing, a channel of Your love, an example of Your goodness in the earth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Lender, not the Borrower (back to the top)

(Deut 28:12 NIV)  The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.  You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the 12th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  In this verse the Lord, through Moses, gives the Israelites three powerful promises:

  • The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season:  This is a powerful promise.  We must remember that most of Israel’s sustenance and income came from crops and herds.  Whenever there was a drought it caused a tremendous strain on both the crops (that need the water to grow) and the herds (that need the water to live).  On the other hand, too much rain is a problem as well.  If the Lord allowed too much rain to fall then the fields could flood and the crops would be lost.  Moses knew that they had no control of the rain (naturally speaking) and that they completely relied on God to provide the right amounts of rain at the right time.  These were people that spent a great deal of time and effort in the fields.  To them rain was of the utmost importance.  The Lord promised not only to provide rain, but He promised to provide the right amounts at the right time.  God would give them the rain “In season.”  Just what they needed and just when they needed it!  That’s a blessing and it is a result of The Blessing that was upon their lives.  This can apply to many areas of our lives.  The point is that when we walk in obedience to God and His Word we can expect Him to provide what we need, when we need it!  Glory to God!
  • To bless all the work of your hands:  This was just another reminder that God was going to bless their work.  It can be quite frustrating to work and work, to put forth great efforts, but then without results.  God does not want us to be fruitless; He desires that we be fruitful and that we be productive in everything that we put our hands to do.
  • You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none:  In context, this is a reference to the abundance of their crops.  Because God was going to bless the work of their hands and because He was going to release the right amounts of rain at the right time, the nation of Israel was going to have abundance at harvest time.  They would have so much corn, grain, and etc. that they would have no need to borrow, but rather they would have a surplus that they could in turn lend to other nations.  This goes back to the Blessing of Abraham (Gen 12) where God promised that Abraham and his descendants would be blessed TO BE a blessing to others.  This is an important lesson to learn for believers, especially in the United States.  Debt has become a borderline epidemic and most believers are living on the fringes of their income.  They are so committed and so stretched that they can’t BE a blessing to anyone else.  God does not want us to live that way.  God wants us to live in surplus so that we are free to give whatever to whomever He leads us to.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that a life of obedience to God produces a life that is strong, stable, secure, and a life where you live with a surplus; so that you are truly in a position to BE a blessing to someone else.  God will bless the work of your hands, but He wants to do it so that you will be in a position to BE a blessing to someone else.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for sending the right amounts of rain at the right time.  This means that everything that I need to succeed will be there for me.  You bless the work of my hands and it causes me to experience a harvest in every area of my life.  I understand the purpose for the surplus and I am here to BE a blessing in the earth.  I learn how to be a good steward over everything You bless me with and I also learn to be led of Your precious Holy Spirit concerning what to do and how to do it for others!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Head and Not the Tail (back to the top)

(Deut 28:13 NIV)  The LORD will make you the head, not the tail.  If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the 13th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  Before I get into this verse too deep let me share with you that it baffles me how many people in the body of Christ have a problem with messages like the ones that I am sharing in this series.  If I attempted to skew God’s Word to somehow teach people that it was God’s will for them to struggle, then people seem to be OK with that.  Why?  Because they correlate messages of stress, struggle, and strain with their experiences of the same.  But just because we may have lived a life of struggle, it does not mean that it was God’s best for our lives.  I grew up on welfare, food stamps, government cheese, and etc., but that does not mean that I should stay there.  Most people are where they are because of the decisions that they have made.  Your life is a grand-sum-total of your decisions.  If you make poor decisions you will get poor results.  That is the point of messages like these.  God wants you to know and believe His Word.  Once you are able to expand your capacity to believe to the point where you believe something is possible for you, then you will be equipped to make the proper decisions to get you there.  Once you start making the right decisions you loose God to release His grace and favor to bring them to pass.  This series, like everything that I share with you, is coming straight from the Word of God.  It is my prayer that you embrace it, receive it, believe it, and start to make decisions for it; that way you and your family can enjoy The Good Life God wants you to have.

The verse we look at this morning is pretty self-explanatory.  God desired for the nation of Israel – and us now who have been engrafted into the lineage of Abraham by the Blood of Jesus – to be the head and not the tail.  This is a reference to the anatomy of an animal and it is a metaphor for the position of God’s people in comparison to the world.  An animal has a head, which is the uppermost part of his body, and it has a tail, which is the lowermost part.  The head is honorable and the tail is vile.  God wanted (and still wants) His people to be the head, to be superior in the affairs of life, to be in charge, to be supervisors, leaders, directors, overseers, etc.  Most people have an innate desire to be on top.  Why?  Because they have an inborn desire to be where God desires for them to be.  Now, notice that God said that He would “Make them” the head.  That means that they would not have to struggle to make it happen on their own.  Their part was to pay attention to the commands of the Lord and to carefully follow them.  God’s part was to promote them and set them on the top and never at the bottom.  Now, notice that God reiterated obedience over and over and over.  The Goodness of God is not released in your life without full obedience to Him and His Word.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you obey God, if you live a life that is pleasing to Him, if you submit your spirit, soul, and body to His plans for your life, you will experience His Blessing.  When you do you part (obedience) God is free to do His.  God wants you to be the head and not the tail, God wants you to be on top and never on the bottom, but it is going to take a life of obedience to Him and His Word.  If you choose to obey God He will release His Blessing.  If you don’t, you won’t experience The Good Life.  That does not mean that you are not His child, it does not mean that you are not going to heaven, but it does mean that you will not experience His best for you in the earth.  If you want God’s best, obey Him!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I want Your best.  The more I read Your Word the more I am convinced that You want Your best for me as well.  I am convinced that You don’t want me to live a life of stress, struggle, and strain.  You desire that I be blessed in every area of my life.  You want me to be the head and not the tail, above only and never beneath.  I am obedient to You.  I remove every blessing-blocker and I release Your hand to release The Blessing in my life!  I live the Good Life because it is the life You want me to live.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Respecting the God of the Word (back to the top)

(Deut 28:14 NASB)  And do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the 14th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  In this verse the Lord, through Moses, gives a warning before transitioning from The Blessing to The Curse.

The words “do not turn aside… to the right or to the left” are used others places in scripture as well (see Num 20:17, 22:26, Deut 2:27, Josh 1:7, and more).  This phrase takes us back to verse 1, where we started this series, where Moses started his declaration by saying, “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.”  When we started this series I made it clear that the requirement of God has always been “full obedience.”  Partial obedience is disobedience.  In this morning’s text the Lord comes back to this point to drive home the importance of what He is saying.  We are not to turn aside from God, or His Word, not to the right or to the left.  This means that His desire is that we remain on His path for our lives.  God’s Word is His standard, it is His will explained, it is His mind documented.  Any wavering from His clearly marked path and His clearly defined standard is sin.

I drive this home because we live in a society that seems very ‘casual’ with God to me.  I meet people all the time that tell me that they are Christians and they love the Lord, but they routinely and openly practice things that are clearly against God and His Word.  I don’t discuss things like this with others unless I am led to do so by the Holy Spirit, but it does grieve me to see people take God so lightly; especially people that claim to have a relationship with Him.  Now, let’s be clear, I am not advocating living a life where you are so sin conscious that you are afraid to do anything.  That is not my point at all.  On the opposite end of the spectrum I know people that live their lives like they are always ‘walking on egg-shells,’ afraid of doing something wrong before God.  Believe me, God does not want us to live that way either.  But He does want us to reverence (Godly fear) Him and His Word.  We are to take God seriously.

When we look at the setting of the text we see that God was saying a great deal through Moses that day, but even with all that He was saying, He wanted it to be unmistakable that they were not to take ANY of it lightly.  They were not to turn from it, to the right or to the left.  They were not to follow after any other foreign gods and they were not to disrespect the God that had brought them that far.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you are to fear the Lord.  Now, I don’t mean a scary type of fear, but I do mean a reverential type of fear.  When we revere God, when we respect and worship the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we don’t take Him or His Word lightly.  We know that what is in the Bible is important.  God said what He meant and He meant what He said.  God will watch over His Word to ensure that it comes to pass (Jer 1:12), and He will bless those that live by His Word.  Are you the type of person that takes God seriously or are you very causal with God?  Examine yourself this morning and ensure that you are obeying God’s Word and respecting the God of the Word.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I love You, I honor You, I worship You, and I fear You.  I respect You and Your Word.  I do not take You lightly.  I do not approach You casually.  I know that You are my God and beside You there is no other.  I know that it was You who made me and I did not make myself.  I do not become the lord of my own life and I refuse to acknowledge any other lords.  You are my Lord, You are my King, You are my God, and I worship You.  I respect my God and I obey His Word!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Receiving The Blessing, Rejecting The Curse (back to the top)

(Deut 28:15 NASB) “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:”

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the 15th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  Most preachers never get to this verse.  We like do deal with the first 14 verses of this chapter because they outline the benefits of walking in obedience to God and experiencing The Blessing in our lives.  Now remember, this passage was directly applicable to the Jews; those that were born of the seed of Abraham.  But as we made clear when we started this series, the primary purpose of Jesus’ shed blood on Calvary’s cross was to penalty for our sin.  Thank God for the blood that will never lose it’s power.  The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ is our means for salvation.  But another reason why Jesus died on the cross was so that this Blessing, The Blessing, could be made available for everyone, not just the Jews.

Paul said, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit” (Gal 3:13,14).  This is important to understand, because we are about to start looking at the verses that deal with The Curse.  Why should we want to know about the curse?  So that you know what Jesus died to deliver you from.  Jesus became a curse for us.  By becoming the curse, Jesus delivered us from it.  If you are Born-again believer you have been redeemed from the curse of the law.  It is important to understand all that is encompassed in the curse, so that we don’t mistake it for ‘the will of God.’  I am absolutely convinced, from what I know about God and His Word, that walking in the curse is not His best and it is not His will.  The things we are going to learn about from verses 15-68 are part of the curse and they are not God’s desire for our lives.  They were listed as results of disobedience to God’s commandments; not just the 10 commandments, but all the commandments of the law.  Those that lived their lives attempting to fulfill all the commandments of the law lived very legalistic and restricted lives.  We are no longer under the law, but rather we are under Grace.  Paul makes this very clear in his letter to the church at Galatia.  The law was very strict, but Jesus came that we might have liberty in Him.  Not liberty to sin, but liberty to live, to love, and to be led by His Spirit. Paul said, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Gal 2:21).

So we see two powerful truths highlighted today: (1) Jesus died to connect us with The Blessing outlined in verses 1-14 (that we already learned about) and (2) Jesus died to deliver us from The Curse outlined in verses 15-68 (that we are about to learn about).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus came so that you could have and enjoy life, to the full, until it overflows (see John 10:10 AMP).  Jesus paid the penalty for your sin, He sealed the covenant that connected you with the Blessing of Abraham with His own blood, and He protected you from having to accept the curse by becoming a curse for you.  Now that’s what I call the Good News of the Gospel!  That’s Good News and that is living The Good Life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die so that I could live.  He paid the penalty for my sin and I am eternally thankful for that.  I also that You for allowing the Blood of Jesus to engraft me into the covenant that You established with Abraham.  The Blessing of Abraham is for me and I receive it by faith.  I also thank You for allowing Jesus to become a curse for me.  He became a curse so that I could be delivered from the curse of the law.  I rejoice in my salvation, I receive by The Blessing, and I reject The Curse.  I live The Good Life in You and I do it by faith. In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Getting Back to the Garden (back to the top)

(Deut 28:15 NASB) “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:”

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” and we remain in the 15th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  Yesterday I talked about the fact that Jesus died to connect us with The Blessing and deliver us from The Curse.  For us to truly understand this we must go back to Genesis to see what happened in the Garden of Eden.  There is a law of scripture interpretation called the law of first mention.  The law of first mention, basically stated, is that whenever we want to know what God truly intended for something we must investigate the introduction of it in scripture.  The point being that if we find out what God originally desired for something (the first mention of it), we will find the true purpose of it.

You are I are human beings.  Human beings are first mentioned in Genesis 1:26 where God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  So we see that God’s original intent for man was to rule and dominate in the earth.  We see a clear and vivid picture of this – His original intent – in the second chapter.  God made Adam and he had:

  • Purpose:  God gave Adam something to do.  He was to rule over the garden, to tend it, and to keep it.  He had responsibility and he was fulfilling it.
  • Provision:  Everything that Adam needed was provided.  He had a forest of trees to eat from; way more than enough for him.  The garden was fed with four streams (from one source) so the provision would not run out.  There was a natural mist that permeated the garden to keep everything watered.  Adam did not have to be concerned about rain.  It was a perfect situation.
  • Parameters:  I have stated before that provision without parameters is dangerous.  Not only did God provide him purpose and provision, but God gave Adam the right of free choice.  Adam was no puppet.  He had the right to decide for himself.  He was free to eat of all the trees in the garden EXCEPT one.
  • Power:  God gave Adam the power to name, thereby giving him the power to define.  Whatever Adam named the animals was their name.  He did not go to school for this, he had no books, he had no training, he was receiving everything by revelation.  He was completely walking in and by the Spirit of God.
  • Partnership:  If everything Adam had wasn’t enough, God blessed him with Eve.  He even had a companion to enjoy The Blessing with.  He had it all.  He was living the Good Life.  The chapter closes out by stating that Adam and Eve were naked and they were not ashamed.  They were so Spirit conscious that they were not ashamed in any area of their lives.

We will continue this tomorrow and we will see that Adam and Eve lost it all, because of their decisions.  We will see how the man, the woman, and the serpent were all judged and The Curse was introduced into the world.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus died to get us back to The Good life that we see in Genesis chapter 2; prior to the fall and the judgment of man.  God wants to restore you back to The Blessing of Abraham and truly all the way back to the life that Adam experienced prior to the fall.  Don’t fight against God’s desire.  His desire is implanted down in you.  You have an inherent desire to experience God’s best.  In this series you will learn to accept and embrace it, so that you can live the life God wants you to live in the earth!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am learning more and more about Your goodness and Your mercy towards me.  I see that You are a Good God and You desire that I live the Good Life in You.  I accept it and I embrace it.  I desire what You desire for my life. In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Cursed System of the World (back to the top)

(Deut 28:15 NASB) “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:”

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” and we remain in the 15th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  I can’t move on until finish giving you the background for the curse that we will lay out over the next few weeks.  Yesterday I laid out for you God’s original intent for mankind.  Adam and Eve had everything you could ever want in the garden.  They had purpose, provision, parameters, power, and partnership.  This was God’s best and it is The Good Life.  This is important to understand, because Jesus came to restore that which was lost.  To understand what was lost we must understand the 3rd chapter of Genesis.

In Genesis chapter 3 we know that Eve allowed the serpent (satan) to deceive her into entertaining the possibility of eating the fruit God had forbidden them to eat.  Remember, she had dominion.  She could have easily ended the conversation by taking authority over the serpent, but she didn’t.  She entertained it and it was only a matter of time before she ate and she then gave to her husband and he ate.  When Adam ate, thereby disobeying God, they both died immediately; not physically, but spiritually.  Their eyes were opened and they realized that they were naked.  They attempted to cover their nakedness, because of the guilt and shame that is accompanied with sin.  Notice that obedience or disobedience was their decision to make.  It was not God’s desire that they eat of that fruit and it was not His will that they have to experience the repercussions of their decision, but He gave them the right to choose and choose they did.

Adam, Eve, and the serpent all had to deal with the consequences of their actions.  God judged them all.  God cursed the serpent and let him know right then that a “seed of a woman” would some day come and crush his head.  This was a reference to Jesus the Christ. God judged the woman and sentenced her to a life of painful childbearing and submission to her husband.  God judged the man and sentenced him to a life of hard work in the fields.  God said that the ground was now cursed because of what he did and he would have to endure painful toil to eat from it.  Adam, and all men after him, would have to work by the sweat of their brow.

If all of this was not bad enough, God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to work the ground.  The Good Life, as they knew it, was over.  Because of this the earth, in many ways, is cursed, because it has been judged.  When we are born we are born as heirs to the inheritance that Adam left us.  We are born disconnected from God and we are born into a system that requires us to work hard to make a living.  Most people work so much that they don’t even think about God.  Why do I bring this up?  Because this is the background that we must understand if we are going to understand Deuteronomy chapter 28.  Abraham was working under the system of the world for 75 years of his life, before he came in contact with God. God offered him another life, a better, what I call The Good Life. Abraham accepted, he entered into covenant with God, and he and his descendants were blessed for it.  They were living in a judged world, but they had protection from the curse.  That’s what The Blessing is all about; it’s about walking under the protection of God.  I will explain this more tomorrow.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you are with God, if you are Born-Again, if you are in covenant with Jehovah, you can be in the world, but you can be protected. Jesus paid the penalty for what Adam did.  Through Jesus you are redeemed from the curse!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I openly and unashamedly profess that Jesus is my Lord and He is my savior.  I am covered by the Blood of Jesus, I am anointed by the Holy Spirit, and I am redeemed from the cursed system of the world.  I am in the world, but I am not of the world, I am in covenant with Jehovah!  I experience His best for my life. In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

A Hedge of Protection (back to the top)

(Deut 28:15 NASB) “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:”

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” and we remain in the 15th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  I’m still giving you the background for the curse that we will lay out over the next few weeks.  I’ve explained how Adam and Eve had he ultimate Good Life in the Garden of Eden and how their decision to disobey God (sin) cost them everything.  They were separated from God and banished from the Garden.  Yesterday I talked about Abraham and how God offered this 75yr. old man a better life.  Abraham accepted, he entered into covenant with God, and he and his descendants were blessed for it.  They were living in a judged world, but they had protection from the curse.  The Blessing is about walking under the protection of God.  I liken it to an umbrella.  Let’s say that rain represents The Curse, and let’s say that because of Adam it rains all the time in the world.  When God cut covenant with Abraham He basically offered Abraham the protection of an umbrella.  That way Abraham could live in the world that Adam left behind, but he could be protected from the inheritance that Adam left for us (the rain).  Now, God made it clear to Abraham and his descendants that the protection of he umbrella was conditional. If they obeyed God they would receive His protection, therefore being blessed in a cursed environment.  That’s why the believer can be in the same place as everyone else, but he can experience a better life, The Good Life, because the protection of God (the umbrella) enables him to thrive, even in environments where others are not.

Verses 1-14 of this chapter, the verses that we have covered thus far, deal with The Blessing.  They detail the life that was available to the descendants of Abraham if they were obedient to God.  The remainder of the verses in this chapter (15-68) will deal with the curse.  These are the things that they would be exposed to if they disobeyed God.

There is one important point that I must highlight before we move forward.  In Hebrew there is a causative sense and a permissive sense.  The translators of some of the translations of the Bible chose to use the causative sense in many places where scholars today say the permissive sense should have been used.  The point being that as we read through this passage we will see scriptures that say things like, “The Lord will send… the Lord will cause… the Lord will make…” certain things happen.  Many Hebrew scholars believe and I agree that most of these should have been translated, “The Lord will permit… the Lord will allow…” certain things to happen.  Going back to my analogy of the umbrella, it is more like the Lord will remove His protection (the umbrella) when you live a life of disobedience towards Him.  Believe me, God does not have to cruse us.  If He removes His protection from us and He leaves us exposed to the kingdom of darkness, then satan will take care of the rest. A clear example of this is found in the book of Job.  Job was exceedingly blessed spiritually and naturally.  The Bible says that he had 7 sons, 3 daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys, and very many servants.  God pointed Job out to satan and satan complained about how blessed he was.  Satan identified the source of Job’s blessing to be a “hedge” that God had established around Job.  The hedge kept satan from doing anything in his life (see Job 1:10).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus died to give you and I a means to be in covenant with God.  This covenant gives us access to the hedge that Job had (the umbrella).  This hedge can protect us and keep us from every attack of the enemy.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I choose to live a life of obedience and submission to You.  I accept Your guidance I don’t fight against it.  I walk under Your protection and I am thankful for the hedge that is around me and my family.  I have Your umbrella.  Your umbrella enables me to maneuver through the world without being affected by it!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Giant Giant-Killers (back to the top)

(Mark 9:23 GNT) Jesus said to him, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.”

This morning we take a pause from our current series (The Good Life) to share a message about the Super Bowl last night.  I am a huge Giants fan.  I remember when the New York Football Giants won their first Super Bowl in 1996 (Jan 97).  I was a kid and I remember running outside, at night, in Brooklyn, and seeing everyone else doing the same.  We celebrated like there was no tomorrow.  I also vividly remember the Giants’ second Super Bowl in 1990 (Jan 91).  I had just joined the Army and I was in Advanced Individual Training (AIT).  I was not surrounded by many Giants fans, but I clearly let them know I was one as we celebrated our second Super Bowl win.  The Giants did not win in their 3rd Super Bowl appearance, although I was still watching.  My unit was in the middle of a rotation at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, but that did not stop us.  One of the soldiers brought his DirectTV dish, stuck it in the sand, and we watched the game in a tent.  Needless to say, I was excited about last night’s game.

The Giants were a 12-point underdog.  Very few of the sports commentators gave them a chance.  Last night was ‘supposed’ to be a night to celebrate a perfect 19-0 season for the New England Patriots.  Although New York bears the name, New England was in most people’s opinion, the real giants on the field. They had broken most of the elite records this year.  They had an unblemished record.  They had an almost mechanically-accurate quarterback (Brady) and a seemingly unstoppable receiver (Moss).  The stage was set for the Patriots to make history.  However, there was one problem in their plan, someone forgot to tell the Giants that they did not have a chance.

For those of you that have been receiving Today’s Word for a while, you should remember the series I did entitled, “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  In that series I dealt with the awesome power that is unleashed when we believe.  When we believe we open ourselves up to the possibility of receiving whatever we are able to believe for.  It was obvious that Eli Manning and the New York Giants believed.  They were down by 4 points with less than 3 minutes left in the game.  Eli Manning drove the Giants down the field for 83 yards and capped it off with a game-winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left.  After the game Manning said, “The guys on this team and the run we’ve made, it’s hard to believe – it really is,” but believe they did.  They got there and they won because they believed.  Manning went on to say, “There’s something about this team, the way we win games, and performed in the playoffs in the stretch.  We had total confidence in ourselves.  The players believed in each other.”  Their ability to believe was their key.  They gave themselves a chance when no one else did.  I believe Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce summed it up best when he said, “We shocked the world but not ourselves.”

So what does this mean to you today? It means that all things are possible to him that believes.  In our focus text Jesus basically said that there are no impossibilities in Christ for the person that is able to believe God.  I used the Super Bowl last night as simply an analogy for life.  We will all face giant obstacles in life and from time to time we will all be on the short end of giant odds, but if we believe God and if we take our limits off of our limitless God, we too can become Giants by becoming Giant-Killers!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I expand my capacity to believe You this morning.  I take any artificial limits that I may have placed on You and I remove them this morning.  I know You are a limitless God and I believe I can do all things through You.  I may face giant obstacles, giants challenges, and giant adversaries; I may also be against giant odds, but I declare, right now, by faith, that I – like David – will become a Giant by becoming a Giant-Killer.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Power to Choose (back to the top)

(Deut 28:15 NASB) “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:”

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” and we remain in the 15th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  As I stated previously, Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God (sin) resulted in them being separated from God and banished from the Garden.  They lost The Good Life they were experiencing in the Garden of Eden.  Their removal from the Garden was not God’s will and it was not God’s best, but God gave them the power to make their own decisions and they decided to disobey.  Because of Adam all of us were born with what he left for us; we were born separated from God and in a judged world.  When God offered Abraham a covenant He offered Abraham a better life.  When Abraham accepted he entered into a covenant with God that included presence, peace, and protection. This passage is all about choices.  God, through Moses, says to the descendants of Abraham that if they would obey Him – in other words, if they would choose to live in the covenant established by Abraham – they would enjoy the presence, peace, and protection the covenant offered.  Obedience would lead to a life where The Blessing would overtake them (v1).  However, if they chose to disobey God, if they chose to violate the covenant, then the following curses (what we will see in verses 16-68) would overtake them.  It is not that God would have to literally curse them, or make these things happen to them, it’s just that He would remove His protection.  Believe me, you don’t want to walk through life without God, His presence, His peace, and His protection.

Let me give you a couple nuggets before we get into explaining the curse:

  • You and I still have the power to choose:  God gave Adam and Eve the power of choice.  That meant that they were (and we are) free moral agents.  They could choose to obey God and they could choose to disobey God; but either way, they were going to have to reap the repercussions of their decisions.  The same holds true for us.  Our lives are a grand-sum-total of our decisions.  If we make good decisions, decisions that line up with God’s Word, we will experience God’s best.  If we don’t we won’t and it won’t be because God did not desire His best for us.  I run into people all the time that put everything on God.  We have to take responsibility for our own decisions.  God did not want to banish Adam and Eve from the Garden, but He had to because of their decisions.  When we make the right decisions we will experience the right results.  If you obey God He has promised to be with you.  If you continually disobey God He may remove His protection from you and believe me, you don’t want to live that way.
  • Curses are not blessings:  As we get into learning about The Curse we will see what God Himself calls a curse.  We will see things like sickness, disease, broken relationships, poverty, barrenness, etc.  These are not blessings.  I run into people all the time that experience things like this and say they are “Blessings in disguise.”  What is that?  God is not trying to trick you, so don’t trick yourself.  God does not have to strike you down with sickness to teach you something.  Would you do that to your own kids?  Well, God wouldn’t either.  God can teach you through His Word, His Spirit, His assigned Pastors in the earth, and etc.  God does not desire these things for us, but we open ourselves up to things when we disobey Him.

So what does this mean to you today? I guess the power of choice is summed up best in Deuteronomy 30:19.  It says, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for making me a free moral agent.  I have the power to make my own decisions.  I declare, by faith, that I make wise decisions; decisions that are directed by prayer; decisions that are aligned with Your Word; decisions that lead me to obey and not disobey You.  I reap what I sow and I sow good decisions.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Failure, Starvation, and Barrenness (back to the top)

(Deut 28:16-19 NIV)  You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.  Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.  The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” by getting into understanding the curse.  Remember that the curse was a result of disobedience to God.  Once they disobeyed God they could no longer be promised God’s presence, protection, and peace.  Remember that this was not God’s best, nor was it His desire, but this is what they opened themselves up to when they disobeyed God.  See, sin opens the door for satan.

These verses, 16-19, are a direct opposite to verses 3-6.  Let’s take a close look at each:

  • (v.16) Cursed in the city and in the country:  This is a direct opposite of verse 3 where I taught that obedience would cause them to be blessed (empowered to prosper) everywhere they went. It would not matter if they were doing business in a city or if they were farming the countryside, if they were completing a deal in the midst of a built-up area or if they were alone with their sheep, if they were with their family or if they were surrounded by strangers.  Their physical location was not a limiting factor for The Blessing to work in their lives.  God was promising that they would be “blessed” no matter where they went and no matter the type of business they had to do when they got there.  The opposite holds true for the curse and for disobedience.  God wants us to do well, He wants us to succeed, He wants us to prosper, but when we live a life of disobedience we hinder Him from helping us to experience His best.
  • (v.17) Cursed basket and kneading trough:  This is a direct opposite of verse 5 where I taught that their “basket” and their “kneading bowl” would be blessed.  This basket was used to carry fruit or grain (see 26:2).  This is what they used to bring in their food from the fields.  The “kneading trough” is also translated “bread bowl” and was used to prepare family meals.  This was a promise for their daily bread; a promise that there will always be food on the table.  This curse was a curse for not enough food.  It is never God’s will that we starve, that we be hungry, or that there be hunger in the world, but God is restricted from getting involved in our lives when we fail to involve Him and when we live lives of disobedience – lives opposite to Him and His will.
  • (v.18) Cursed womb, fields, and herds:  This is a direct opposite of verse 4 where I taught that God would bless them with lots of children, crops, and herds.  Children were a major desire for women and crops and herds were the two major means for the men to make a living.  God promised to reward obedience with an abundance of children, large harvests, and fertile herds.  The opposite holds true for disobedience.  Barrenness is never the will of God.  Barrenness is listed here under the curse, not the blessing.
  • (v.19) Cursed coming in and going out:  This is a direct opposite of verse 6 where I taught that this phrase is a Hebraic idiom that is a reference to daily affairs.  It was God’s will and His best to bless their daily affairs.  If they obeyed Him, then He would be with them as they performed their daily affairs and His presence would bring with it His blessing.  But a life of disobedience brings separation from God and it results in us attempting to perform our daily affairs without God.  When we do that we are setting ourselves up for failure.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants to bless you, but you hinder Him from doing so when you live a life of disobedience and when you fail to involve Him in your daily affairs.  God will not force Himself upon you.  If you want God involved in your life, then you need to involve Him through prayer, worship, and obedience to Him and His Word.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I clearly see that Your desire for me is blessing and not cursing; it is life and not death; it is good and not bad.  I have failed to get you involved in the past, but I declare, by faith, that it stops today.  I invoke and involve You in my daily affairs.  I want to walk with You and not without You all the days of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Curse brings Failure (back to the top)

(Deut 28:20 NIV) The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with the 20th verse of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  Let me state up front that most people, most believers even, don’t like to study passages like this.  They don’t want to know about things like this, but when we understand that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law, then it is a blessing to find out what He redeemed us from.

In this verse several strong words are used: confusion, rebuke, everything, destroyed, sudden ruin, and forsaking.  Let’s take a closer look at each of these key words:

  • Confusion:  In the original Hebrew this word was used in reference to a defeat in a battle.  The Blessing (verses 1-14) was there to ensure that the nation of Israel was successful in battle, but it is clear that God was saying that if they disobeyed Him that they would lose in battle.  Why?  Because they would enter the battle without His presence, power, and protection.  Believe me, you don’t want to enter the daily battles of life without God.
  • Rebuke:  Interestingly enough, this is the only place in the Old Testament where this Hebrew word is used.  It means strong, stern, or sharp disapproval; a reprimand.  God was very clear that He was pleased when they obeyed Him and He was very displeased when they did not.  This rebuke would come for correction, just like we correct our children when they are in error.  God corrects us because He loves us (see Heb 12:7,8).
  • Everything:  Just like The Blessing meant that everything they put their hands to do would be successful, The Curse meant that everything (literally) they put their hands to do would fail.  It is almost better to have never known God and never known His Word than to have known Him and then walk away.  James taught us that if we know to do good and we fail to do it, it is sin for us (James 4:17).  If you and I know better, we ought to do better.
  • Destroyed / Sudden Ruin:  God was not saying that disobedience to Him and His commandments would bring them mild discomfort or slight uneasiness.  No, these were very strong words.  He was making it clear that they could either choose to be blessed or choose to be cursed.  If they chose the latter they were literally making a decision for destruction and sudden ruin in their lives.
  • Forsaking:  Notice that God considered a deviation from His commandments as a literally forsaking Him.  To forsake what God has said is to forsake Him.  To ignore His Word – once you know it – is to ignore Him in your life.  God considers a disregard for His Word to be a disregard for Him.  Remember, God established a covenant with these people (Israelites) and a covenant requires both parties to fulfill their part of the agreement.  God’s part was to bless them; their part was to obey Him.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you ought to sincerely thank God for Jesus and thank God for grace!  I thank God that we are no longer under this type of tight scrutiny.  Does this mean that God overlooks sin today?  Of course not.  There are still repercussions for sin and we can/will still reap what we sow, but Jesus redeemed us from having to attempt to live within the confines of the strict and legalistic Law.  We now have liberty in Christ and we have the freedom to be led of the Holy Spirit.  We don’t need to know all the rules, all we need to do is to be led by God’s Spirit (Gal 5:16), who will always lead us according to the Word.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I can better see what Jesus delivered me from.  I thank You for sending Your Son to establish a new and better covenant with us.  I am not under the curse of the Law.  I do my best to be led by Your Spirit who lives within me and I am continually thankful for Your grace and mercy; for Your goodness and kindness towards me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Terrible Diseases and Crop Failures (back to the top)

(Deut 28:21-23 CEV)  The LORD will send terrible diseases to attack you, and you will never be well again. You will suffer with burning fever and swelling and pain until you die somewhere in the land that you captured. The LORD will make the sky overhead seem like a bronze roof that keeps out the rain, and the ground under your feet will become as hard as iron. Your crops will be scorched by the hot east wind or ruined by mildew.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with verses 21-23 of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  Let me restate that the purpose of learning about the curse is to know what Jesus delivered us from.  I thank God that verses like these do not apply to me.  I am eternally thankful for God’s grace, mercy, kindness, and goodness towards us.

In the verses that dealt with The Blessing the Lord promised things like: the right amounts of rain at the right time, health and strength, long life, plenty of crops, and etc.  Here the Lord made it clear to the Israelites that a life of disobedience would keep them from experiencing His best.  On the contrary, a life of disobedience would open them up to terrible diseases that would cling to them without relief, burning fevers, swelling, pain, and other physical maladies.  Additionally, God made it clear that even if they made it into the Promised Land, disobedience would ensure that they never enjoyed the benefits of the land flowing with milk and honey.  The sky would block out the rain and the ground would shut up its harvest.  Their crops would be destroyed by either overwhelming heat or overpowering mildew.

This is definitely not a picture of The Good Life.  This is not a picture of God’s best.  This is not a representation of God’s desire.  This is simply not God’s will for His children.  So here we see that sickness, disease, fever, inflammation, and crop failures are listed as part of the curse and not part of The Blessing.  Why is that important?  It is important because we must never settle for something that God does not desire for us to have.  It is not God’s will that we accept these types of things in our lives and it is definitely not God’s will that we attribute this to Him.  I run across people who experience things like this and attribute it to God.  Some literally say God gave me this or God put this on me for… whatever reason; as if they are good things.  No, even before I gave my life to Christ I knew that health was good and sickness was bad.  I knew that big harvests were good and crop failures were bad.  But for whatever reason some have preached that these things are good and that God gives them to us to teach us some sort of lesson.  Now, you and I both know that God is much better than we are.  So let me ask you this question.  If you had the ability to put a terminal disease on someone, would you put it on your son to teach them a lesson?  I hope not.  If you did that you would be a terrible parent.  Or would you put the disease on your son, only to heal them later so that you could be glorified?  Wow.  If you did that then your perspective of glory would be terribly skewed.  God is simply not this way.  Now, God does give us the ability to choose.  He does give us the ability to either accept or reject His best, but when something comes upon us, we should not blame it on God.  Remember, there is a devil and we do live in a fallen world.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the Good News of all of this is that you now better understand what God doesn’t want you to experience.  So if you ever experience anything like this, anything listed under the curse, you should resist it (in faith) and never accept it in your heart.  Don’t allow the enemy to trick you into thinking that it came from God and that you should live with it.  Stand firm in faith and continue to believe God to bring you out!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am a believer and not a doubter.  I overcome fear, doubt, unbelief and the tricks of the enemy.  I accept what You desire for me to have and I stand firm against those things that You don’t.  I refuse to accept anything listed under the curses as Your best for my life.  I stand firm in faith and no matter how long it takes, I will never accept what You don’t want me to have.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!
Not Settling for Less than God’s Best (back to the top)

(Deut 28:24 & 25 NIV)  The LORD will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.  The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with verses 24 and 25 of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  Once again, the purpose of learning about the curse is so that we can better understand what Jesus delivered us from.  When we wholly embrace the fact that things like this do not apply to us, we will resist them when or if they ever come upon us.  Its not that Christians will never get sick, or experience challenges, or run into obstacles, or etc.; of course we will.  Jesus Himself said, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  No, being a Christian does not exonerate us from challenges, but we should know how to face the challenges, and that is with a mentality that says, “I know what comes from God and I know what comes from the enemy.  I will accept things from God, but I will resist – with every fiber of my being – everything that comes from the enemy.”  James said, “Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).  Resist the enemy and everything that comes from him.

In the 24th verse we see another consequence to disobedience.  In the previous verse we already saw that the sky over their head would seem like a bronze roof that kept out the rain.  Since the sky would yield no rain the surface of the earth would be reduced to powder.  This type of powdery sand can easily be taken up by strong winds.  This would result in what seemed like showers, but showers of sand instead of rain.  It is said that sandstorms in the East can bury entire caravans.  So instead of enjoying the right amounts of rain at the right times, they would have to endure sandstorms, all because of their disobedience.

The 25th verse is a direct opposite of the 7th verse.  In the 7th verse the Lord promised to make their enemies flee from them seven ways.  The number seven in scripture is the number of perfection.  Obedience to God would result in perfect protection. When God’s protection was removed, because of their disobedience, they would wind up with perfect destruction.  Their military planning would be useless.  Their military might would easily be destroyed.  Instead of being an example of righteousness to all the nations of the earth, they would wind up being an example of terror.  This would all happen if they chose to live a life of disobedience and not obedience.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

  1. You should know what God calls a blessing and what God calls a curse.
  2. You should accept everything God calls a blessing and resist – with everything you can – whatever God calls a curse.
  3. There is a difference between suffering for God’s sake and reaping what you have sown.  This passage is an example of reaping a negative harvest for sowing negative seed.  If you have sown negative seed in your life (poor decisions), then quickly repent, ask for forgiveness, and move forward.
  4. Once you receive God’s forgiveness, learn to forgive yourself.  Once you are forgiven by God and yourself, then expect His best to manifest in your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I gave great expectations that The Blessing will work and is currently at work in my life.  I accept The Blessing and I know it is Your will for me.  I reject The Curse and anything associated with it.  I repent for the poor decisions I have made in the past and I declare, by faith, that every decision I make now will be a decision that is bathed in prayer and birthed from my relationship with You.  I accept Your forgiveness, I forgive myself, and I enter into this day with great expectations.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!
Physical and Psychological Health (back to the top)

(Deut 28:26-28 NASB) Your carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away.  “The LORD will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. “The LORD will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart.”

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with verses 26 – 28 of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  I will be honest with you, I have mentioned that most preachers don’t address passages like this and I am beginning to see why.  I don’t like dealing with, especially having to teach from, passages like this.  I am an upbeat person.  I like to preach positive messages, but we can’t pick and choose what parts of the Bible we teach.  When the Lord told me to teach from Deuteronomy chapter 28 I thought I was only going to deal with The Blessing (the first 14 verses).  But when He told me to teach the entire chapter I was both excited and apprehensive.  I was excited because I know that we should all understand what God DOES NOT want us to have.  But I was also apprehensive, because this is not the type of material I normally deal with.  Nonetheless, we are here, I am on assignment, and we must continue the task.

These three verses paint a terrible picture for those that opted to live a life of disobedience.  Once God removed His presence, protection, and peace the Israelites would be exposed to all sorts of evil.  Here the Lord, through Moses, told them that they would be physically discomforted and psychologically dismantled. Physically their disobedience would open them up to receiving boils, tumors, and scabs that could not be cured.  The boils would bring them surface level (skin) irritations and pain.  The tumors would bring them internal pain and the itching scabs would make it impossible for them to be at peace.  Not only that, but they would lose their sight.  So think of a person that can’t see, is hurting internally, has boils all over their body, and then scabs that provide a continual itch.  This endless pain and irritation would eventually drive them mad.  The Lord says that they would lose their mind (literally).  So now you have a person that is plumb crazy, blind, itching, and in tremendous pain beyond what any doctors could deal with. Wow!  If I every saw a picture of the curse this is it.  Physically distraught, psychologically undone, this is definitely not a picture of God’s best.

But wait, there’s more.  When this blind, crazy, and hurting person could not take it any more and they died, the Bible says that they would not even have the decency of a burial. For Israelites it was a great tragedy to be unburied.  This is something that they took very seriously.  But part of the curse was that they would not even have a proper burial.  Their remains would be exposed to the elements and then picked apart by the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.  This is not a fate that I would wish upon anyone.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the opposite is God’s will for you.  God wants your skin to be healthy, your internal organs to also function in perfection, for you to have a sound and stable mind, and for your remains to be paid the proper respects when you are gone.  Yes, God does want you to live The Good Life.  He is concerned about you and He is concerned about these earthly and natural things.  Nothing listed in this chapter is about eternal life.  This is not a picture of heaven.  This is a picture of what God desires for you to have in the earth.  Does He want you to make it to heaven?  Of course!  But He wants you to enjoy the ride J!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for blessing me with healthy skin.  Any irritations that I encounter on my skin are handled quickly and accurately.  I also thank You for healthy internal organs.  Every organ and cell in my body, all the tissue and the ligaments, all my bones and joints, they all function in the perfection in which You have designed for them to function.  I take care of the body You have blessed me with.  I have a sound, stable, and strong mind.  I live long and I live strong.  I enjoy my days in the earth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Protection for Family and Possessions (back to the top)

(Deut 28:29-31 GW) You will grope in broad daylight as blind people grope in their blindness. You won’t be successful in anything you do. As long as you live, you will be oppressed and robbed with no one to rescue you.  You will be engaged to a woman, but another man will have sex with her. You will build a house, but you won’t live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you won’t enjoy the grapes.  Your ox will be butchered as you watch, but you won’t eat any of its meat. You will watch as your donkey is stolen from you, but you’ll never get it back.  Your flock will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue it.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with verses 29 – 31 of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  I know I had read this passage before, but I don’t seem to remember all of this.  In this chapter God paints a vivid picture of the destruction, disaster, and dismay that can result from a life of disobedience.  Just like every angle in covered in The Blessing, every angle is covered in The Curse.  There is a lot said in these three verses.  Let’s take a look at them in bite-size chunks.

  • You will grope in broad daylight as blind people grope in their blindness:  The Jews were (and still are) very astute business people.  At this point there business dealt with either livestock or grain.  This tells me that they could be making a business deal, even the most evident deal they could make, and they would still make mistakes.  It would be as if they were walking in darkness in the middle of the day; not being able to see the most obvious things.
  • You won’t be successful in anything you do:  This has been a clear theme during this entire series.  The Blessing brings success, The Curse brings failure.
  • As long as you live, you will be oppressed and robbed with no one to rescue you:  Growing up in Brooklyn I know a little something about being oppressed and robbed, but this was to be a way of life for the one who chose to live in disobedience and no one would be available to help or rescue them.
  • You will be engaged to a woman, but another man will have sex with her:  This seems very cruel to me.  Sex before marriage was a capital offence back then.  Marriage was sacred and being engaged was very significant.  This would have been (and still is today) a terrible, terrible thing to happen to someone.
  • You will build a house, but you won’t live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you won’t enjoy the grapes:  Imagine going through all the work to build your house, literally, only to have someone else come in and take it from you.  The same holds true for all the hard work involved in preparing the land for and then planting a vineyard.  All that work, only to have someone else come in and enjoy it.  Part of The Blessing is enjoying the fruit of your labor.  Part of the Curse is working hard and never enjoying it or having anything to show for it.
  • Your ox will be butchered as you watch, but you won’t eat any of its meat. You will watch as your donkey is stolen from you, but you’ll never get it back. Your flock will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue it:  Not only would the farmer not enjoy the fruit of his labor, but the same would hold true for the herdsmen.  His livestock would be taken from him and in some cases, even butchered right before his eyes, without him ever getting any of it.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the opposite is God’s will for you.  God wants you to operate in His wisdom in business, to be successful in everything you do, for your loved ones and your possessions to be protected, and for you to enjoy all the fruit of your labor.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for bestowing Your wisdom upon me.  I have an advantage in business matters, because I have Your Holy Spirit.  You lead me and guide me in the ways that I should go.  Everything that I put my hands to do is blessed.  My family is protected from every attack and all the possessions you have blessed me to be a steward over are also protected.  I work hard and I am able to enjoy the fruit of my labor.  I am a blessed man (or woman) and I enjoy The Good Life today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Protection for Children (back to the top)

(Deut 28:32 GW) You will watch with your own eyes as your sons and daughters are given to another nation. You will strain your eyes looking for them all day long, but there will be nothing you can do.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with verse 32 of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  Of all the things we have covered thus far about the curse, and we have covered many terrible things, I believe this may be the worse.  The Lord has blessed me with three children and I love them to life.  Children are a tremendous blessing and they are also a tremendous responsibility.  As parents we are to enjoy the blessing of our children, but we are also to embrace the responsibility of raising them, teaching them, and protecting them.

I was hit by a car (a 1975 Lincoln Continental) when I was three years old.  I was knocked unconscious and I had blood coming out of my ears, nose, and mouth.  My father had recently left and my mother saw me as all she had in a foreign country, surrounded by foreign people.  Whenever my mother told me the story I remember seeing the hurt in her eyes; the pain that came from a mother’s love.  My mother knew it was her responsibility to protect me.  She was in pain because she thought she had failed.  But praise God that she prayed!  She dedicated me to God as she was covered in blood, in a cab, headed to the hospital.  As soon as she prayed her prayer of dedication I woke up.  I got to the hospital and the doctors saw the blood on me and on my mother, but to their amazement they could find no internal bleeding, no broken bones, no loss of blood, no scratches, no bruises – NOTHING!  They called it a miracle.

Why do I share that story?  Because it is about a parent who knew it was her responsibility to care for, to protect, and to nurture her children.  The Israelites were no less responsible parents.  They took children very seriously.  In many respects their children were the glory of the mother.  The same holds true today in many households.  If you are a parent, then you can identify with the love and responsibility you feel when you look at your children.

With all of this in mind we get to our scripture for today.  Part of the curse was that they would literally have to stand by and watch as their children were taken from them and given to other nations.  Basically, their children would be sold as slaves and there was nothing they could do about it.  They would have no might to fight the people taking their children, no power to rescue them, and no money for ransom.  Their tear-filled eyes would look for their children all day long, but there would be no relief, no return, and no hope. There was literally nothing they could do.  Wow!  That’s a curse.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the opposite is God’s will for you.  God wants you to have and enjoy your children.  He wants you to know that He will help you to love, raise, instruct, and protect your children.  Part of The Blessing is that you will have great relationships with your kids.  Your children will call you blessed.  They will submit themselves to your authority.  They will accept and obey your instructions.  They will have and enjoy a strong relationship with you and you will have the power to protect them, no matter what may come their way.  Thank God for The Good Life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for my children – those that are born and those that are not born yet.  I declare, by faith, that I have strong and loving relationships with them.  We have open communication.  I have Your wisdom concerning parenting and I am able to teach and train them in the way that they should go.  They are not rebellious.  They accept my love and my instruction.  They submit to my authority.  They grow up and call my spouse and I blessed.  No evil shall befall them, neither shall any plague come upon them.  I release angels to protect my children today and every day.  They are obedient, intelligent, loving, and committed children.  I love them and they love me.  Together we enjoy The Good Life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!
Oppression and Abuse (back to the top)

(Deut 28:33-35 GW)  People you never knew will eat what your land and your hard work have produced.  As long as you live, you will know nothing but oppression and abuse.  The things you see will drive you mad.  The LORD will afflict your knees and legs with severe boils that can’t be cured.  The boils will cover your whole body from the soles of your feet to the top of your head.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with verses 33-35 of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  In these verses the Lord, through Moses, reiterates some of what we have already covered.  We already discussed the fact that their disobedience would open them up to madness (going crazy) and boils.  The boils mentioned here, however, are more specific.  These would be boils that covered their entire body, from the soles of their feet to the tip of their head.  Needless to say, this would cause extreme pain, discomfort, and irritation.  Some scholars say that this phrase was used as a metaphor forwidespread sickness that could not be cured.  Either way we get the point.  They would probably be physically incapacitated to the point where they could barely walk.  And even if they mustered up the strength to walk, it would be extremely painful.  All of this pain and calamity would literally drive them crazy.  They would have no rest in their soul (mind, emotions, and will).

Additionally, we see here that their hard work would be pillaged.  No matter how hard and how long they worked on their fields, and no matter how much produce the harvest brought in, they would not enjoy it.  People they did not know would come in and take it from them.  As also previously stated in this series, they would not be able to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

If all of that were not enough, this passage says that they would know nothing but oppression and abuse all the days of their lives.  Just to be clear I looked up the definitions for these words.  Oppression means:  unjust, cruel, and/or excessive exercise of authority or power.  Abuse means: corrupt practice; improper or excessive use or treatment of someone or something.  So in other words this passage says that others would unjustly and cruelly exercise power and authority over those that disobeyed God.  This would result in the improper treatment of those that were supposed to be experiencing Gods’ best.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that this is all good news for you.  If you are a Born-Again believer that is walking a life that is pleasing to God then you should enjoy the fact that Jesus died to connect you with the Blessing of Abraham and also to deliver you from the curse of the Law.  This curse, everything listed here, is not intended for you. It is not God’s will that you experience widespread sickness.  It is God’s will that you be protected from it.  It is not God’s will that you experience madness.  It is God’s will that you have and enjoy a strong and sound mind.  It is not God’s will that you work hard, only to have others take the fruit of your labor.  It is God’s will that you produce much fruit and that you enjoy the fruit you produce.  It is not God’s will that you be oppressed and abused by others.  It is God’s will that you enjoy His protection from every enemy and every attack.  What is all of this called?  I call it The Good Life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for allowing Jesus to die so that I could live.  He paid the penalty for my sin on Calvary’s cross.  Additionally, He connected me with the Blessing of Abraham and He delivered me from the curse of the law.  The curse is not for me.  I resist sickness, because I know it is not Your will for my life.  I declare what You desire and that is that I live long and live strong.  I resist madness, because I know it is not Your will for my life.  I declare what You desire and that is that I have a strong, sound, and sharp mind.  I resist oppression and abuse, because I know it is not Your will for my life.  I declare what You desire and that is that I am protected from every attack and every attacker.  You are on my side, You are in me now, who can be against me?  I experience The Good Life today and every day! In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

What is Your Name Synonymous with? (back to the top)

(Deut 28:36 & 37 NASB) The LORD will bring you and your king, whom you set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone.  “You shall become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the LORD drives you.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with verses 36 and 37  of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  In these verses the Lord, through Moses, continues to paint a picture of the destruction and doom that we open ourselves to when we disobey God.

Remember, this is the reward of the disobedient.  Because they were disobedient, they obviously would not seek God for wisdom concerning whom to select as a king.  The result would be a people-appointed, instead of a God-appointed king.  Once they had the wrong king he would lead them to the wrong land.  Instead of leading them into the Promised Land (Canaan), – the land flowing with milk and honey – this people-appointed king would lead them into nations that neither they, nor their forefathers knew.  They would enter into strange lands and wind up being influenced by strange people.  Before they knew it they would be worshipping and serving gods made out of wood and stone, instead of worshipping and serving the true and everlasting God, Jehovah!

Basically, they would be on their own. They would be making their own decisions, with the limited power of human wisdom, and they would have to reap the harvest of every decision they made.  No longer would they be God’s chosen people, but rather a godless nation of wanderers who failed at everything they did. The text says that it would get so bad for them that they would become a horror.  They would literally become a proverb of warning against disobedience towards God.  To mention these people would be synonymous with failure, destruction, and disaster.  Their name would become a metaphor for failure.

I am an avid METS fan.  I have been a METS, GIANTS, KNICKS (I know how bad the Knicks are) fan for as long as I can remember.  In the 1986 World Series the Mets were playing the Boston Red Sox and they were down 3 games to 2.  In game 6 it looked like the Mets were going to lose.  I was 14 yrs. old and I was down on my knees (I know its foolish), praying for a win.  Mookie Wilson hit a slow roller down the first base line and it definitely looked like the World Series was over, but the Red Sox first baseman, Bill Buckner, somehow allowed the ball to go through his legs.  That mistake allowed the Mets to come back and win game 6 and the next day they won game 7.  After that, the name “Bill Buckner” became synonymous with mistakes of monumental proportions. If someone made a tremendous mistake, someone else would say, “They pulled a Bill Buckner.”  To say that the disobedient Israelites would be so cursed that they would wind up a proverb is to say that they their name would be synonymous with destruction and failure of monumental proportions.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the opposite is God’s will for you.  God wants your name to be synonymous with success, victory, and excellence; not failure, destruction, and disaster.  God wants you to have His wisdom concerning decisions, He wants you to be led into the right places, as the right times, for the right things to happen to you.  This is His will and it is The Good Life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for helping me to clearly see a picture of the Blessing by seeing a picture of the Curse.  When I see the Curse I see what You don’t want me to have.  I therefore reject anything that comes from the enemy and that is part of the Curse.  I accept and welcome the Blessing, because I know it is Your will.  I operate in Your wisdom.  I am led to the right places at the right times for the right things to happen to me.  My name is synonymous with victory, success, excellence, and peace.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Embrace The Good Life (back to the top)

(Deut 28:38-42 GW) You will plant many crops in your fields, but harvest little because locusts will destroy your crops.  You will plant vineyards and take care of them, but you won’t drink any wine or gather any grapes, because worms will eat them.  You will have olive trees everywhere in your country but no olive oil to rub on your skin, because the olives will fall off the trees.  You will have sons and daughters, but you won’t be able to keep them because they will be taken as prisoners of war.  Crickets will swarm all over your trees and the crops in your fields.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with verses 38-42 of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  This series has been tough on me.  It hurts my heart to read and study verses like this every day.  It hurts me because I know that there are millions of people in the world living without God.  Things like those that I have described in the curse are a way of life for many.  I want them to know that there is a better way.  And then there are many, many Christians who know God, but who accept everything as “God’s will.”  Everything is not God’s will.  I hope this series has opened the eyes and the hearts of those that have accepted a life that is below God’s best.  Do bad things happen to good people?  Of course.  There is a devil!  But believers are supposed to submit to God and resist the devil and we are to do it like we do everything else in the Kingdom – BY FAITH (James 4:7, Hebrews 11:6).

Let’s take a brief look at the results listed in these five verses:

  • (v.38) Action: Plant crops                        Result: Crops destroyed by locusts
  • (v.39) Action: Plant vineyards                  Result: Vineyards destroyed by worms
  • (V.40) Action: Olive trees everywhere     Result: Olives fall off all the trees
  • (v.41) Action: Have children                    Result: Children taken captive
  • (v.42) Action: Trees and Produce            Result: Destroyed by crickets

These five verses drive home the affects of the curse.  It’s really not about crops, vineyards, trees, or children, it’s about understanding that they would not be blessed if they chose to walk away from God and disobey His commandments.  Nothing they did would succeed.  Nothing they put their hands to do would prosper.  This is the curse and it is not God’s will for us. Jesus died to redeem us from the curse of the Law.  Praise God for that!

I am going to summarize the rest of this chapter over the next few days and we will wrap up this series.  I believe the Lord has allowed me to make the point by now.  You can see that not everything is God’s will.  God, like every other parent, desires good things for His children.  He wants you to have and enjoy The Good Life.  The Bible says that Jesus came so that we could have abundant life (John 10:10).  Like with anything else, your part is to learn to desire what God desires (love, peace, mercy, kindness, goodness, etc.) and to dislike what God dislikes (sin, hatred, unbelief, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc.).  If you learn to embrace what God wants you to have and reject – by faith – what He does not, before long you will realize that you are living The Good life.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God is a good God and He desires good things for you.  Walk in obedience to Him and His Word, embrace the things that please Him, reject the things that don’t, and allow His goodness to overtake you while you are in the land of the living!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for Your goodness, Your mercy, and Your kindness towards me.  You are a good God and I know desire good things for Your children.  I am Your child.  I accept and desire what You want me to have.  I reject, by faith, everything that is less than Your best for my life.  My mind is focused on You.  I am in perfect peace this morning and I face this day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Take Heed to the Examples set Before us (back to the top)

(Deut 28:43-46 GW)  The standard of living for the foreigners who live among you will rise higher and higher, while your standard of living will sink lower and lower.  They will be able to make loans to you, but you won’t be able to make loans to them. They will be the head, and you will be the tail.  All these curses will come to you. They will pursue you and stay close to you until you’re destroyed, because you didn’t obey the LORD your God or follow his commands and laws, which I’m giving you.  These curses will be a sign and an amazing thing to warn you and your descendants forever.

This morning we continue our series for the entitled, “The Good Life,” with verses 43-46 of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  As we head towards the close of this series it is my prayer that you have received the counsel of the entire series.  Do bad things happen to good people?  You and I know that the answer is yes.  But the point of this series is to learn not to blame those things on God.  God is a good God and He desires good for us.  Walking in obedience to God and His Word should be our aim.

As we look at these verses that further explain the Curse we see that things like a lowering standard of living, debt, being the tail and not the head (this can apply to lots of things) as part of the curse.  Having more month than money is not a blessing.  Drowning in debt is not a blessing.  Being the tail – the bottom end – in every affair is not a blessing.  The text says that these things will pursue them and literally cling to them until they are destroyed.  Why?  Because of their disobedience.  When we walk in obedience and we walk in the Blessing other things – good things – pursue us.  Things like what David said in the 23rd Psalm where he said, “Surely, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life” (v.6).  If I have a choice between goodness and mercy pursuing me and the things associated with the curse pursuing me, then I would clearly choose the former.  Well, you and I do have a choice.  We have the choice of living of life of obedience or a life of disobedience towards God.  Trust me, obedience is better.

The point of all of this is that we should learn from their mistakes.  If I see someone touch fire and get burned then I should register it in my mind that fire is bad.  I will learn from them and I will know not to touch the fire myself.  Our text says that the curse outlined in this passage would serve as a sign and an amazing warning to the Israelites and their descendants forever.  Let’s learn from them and not repeat their mistakes.  This reminds of 1st Corinthians chapter 10.  Paul opens up this chapter by referring to the nation of Israel when they were delivered from the bondage of Egypt.  It was God’s will for them to head straight into the Promised Land (Canaan).  However, the problem was that they were out of Egypt, but Egypt was not out of them.  Because of their unbelief and disobedience, they wound up wandering around in the desert for 40 years waiting for everyone from their generation (except for Joshua and Caleb) to die off.  Paul tells us that their bodies were scattered all over the desert.  This was a result of disobedience and unbelief.  Paul then says, “These things have become examples for us so that we won’t desire what is evil, as they did” (v.6).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that both the good and bad examples are documented in the Bible.  We are to learn from the good as positive examples of what to do and we are also to learn from the bad as negative examples of what not to do.  Take it from someone who was walked in both The Blessing and The Curse, the Blessing is better!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for every example You have given me in scripture.  I have examples of good and examples of evil.  I learn from both.  Like eating fish, I take in the meat, and I spit out the bones.  I take in what is good and I spit out what is bad.  I adapt what is good and I refuse to implement what is bad.  I take heed to the warning.  I learn from those that have gone before me.  I live a life of obedience and I experience Your best while I am in the land of the living!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Choose The Blessing by Choosing Obedience (back to the top)

(Deut 28:61,66,67 BBE)  And all the diseases and the pains not recorded in the book of this law will the Lord send on you till your destruction is complete.  (v.66) Your very life will be hanging in doubt before you, and day and night will be dark with fears, and nothing in life will be certain: (v.67) In the morning you will say, If only it was evening! And at evening you will say, If only morning would come!  Because of the fear in your hearts and the things which your eyes will see.

This morning we bring this series, “The Good Life,” to and end with verses 61, 66, and 67 of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  We have been in this series for the last 8 weeks and I pray that it has been a blessing to you.  Our next series will be “Faith and Patience Volume II: Joy and Peace in Believing.”  I am excited about continuing our teaching on Faith and Patience and I know it is going to be a tremendous blessing to you and yours.

There are three final verses I was led to this morning to help close out this series.  The 61st verse says something that is worth highlighting.  Moses mentioned all sorts of terrible diseases and pains in this description of The Curse.  Without verse 61 some could argue that other diseases, let’s say “newer” diseases and pains, that were not mentioned in this passage, may not be covered under the curse.  But Moses made it clear that even the ones that were not recorded are part of the curse.  Sickness and pain are not a blessing.  They were not a blessing back then and they are not a blessing today.  They are part of the curse and they are part of the things that we should resist as believers.  Now, does that mean that we will never to sick or hurt?  Of course not, but it does mean that we should not accept it as the norm.  Like anything else, we should resist, by faith, anything that God does not desire for us to have.

The 66th and 67th verses explain to us that the curse also included fear, doubt, and uncertainty.  I have taught against these things already in series like “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” “Faith and Patience,” “Developing the Language of Faith,” and others (you can access those series’ on the website).  You cannot be in fear and in faith at the same time.  Faith cancels out fear, just like fear cancels out faith.  Moses tells the people here that their disobedience would lead to a life of fear, doubt, and uncertainty.  Simply put, God does not want us to live that way. It is impossible to please God without faith (Heb 11:6).  So for us to live a life that is pleasing to him our life must be a life of faith.  We are called to get saved by faith (Eph 2:8,9), walk by faith (2nd Cor 5:7), live by faith (Rom 1:17), pray the prayer of faith (James 5:15), and fight the good fight of faith (1st Tim 6:12).  Everything we do in the Kingdom of God we are to do by faith.  The people described in this passage (The Curse), people living in disobedience, were people not living by faith.  The result was that they were overtaken by fear and their outlook was ever uncertain.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that your life is a grand-sum-total of your decisions.  You are where you are today because of the decisions that you have made in the past.  The decisions you make today will affect your tomorrow.  In this series I have laid out for you The Blessing and The Curse.  I have also explained that part of what Jesus did on the cross was to connect us with The Blessing and to deliver us from The Curse.  So choose to accept God’s best and to resist anything less.  Will you experience challenges?  Yes you will, but that does not mean that you should settle in them.  Seek to overcome every challenge and every attack by faith; standing firm on the promises of God.  I will close out this series with the words of James, “Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (4:7).

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I choose to live a life of obedience.  I choose to live a life of faith.  I choose to walk in The Blessing and not The Curse.  I choose to walk, live, pray, and fight by faith.  I am a believer and not a doubter; committed to You completely.  I submit my entire self to you – spirit, soul, and body – I resist the devil and he will flee from me in accordance with Your Word.  I welcome The Good Life and I enjoy Your best.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!