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Numbers 32:13 "So the Lord's anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone."

Our Present Actions Affect Our Future

When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt their future was very bright. God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. All they had to do was to walk forward, follow Moses a short trip through the desert and possess it. God proved His power to them by the parting of the waters at the Red Sea. Yes, their future was very bright that day as they crossed on dry ground and rejoiced in God's love and protection. But when the going got tough and the way looked hard, instead of glorifying God for what He had done and praying for the Lordís strength and help, they lacked faith, didnít trust God and gave up. That one action changed their future. Because of their disbelief, they were made to wander in the wilderness for the next 40 years.

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28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. 20 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

The Present Is Training For The Future

Joseph's brothers were jealous of him and hated him because he was his fatherís favorite son and, also, because he had been having dreams which prophesied of his father and his brothers bowing down to him. One day, when he took them food in the field, they threw him into a pit and then later sold him to some Ishmeelites who took Joseph down to Egypt and delivered him to the captain of Pharaohís guard. This manís wife set her sights on Joseph but when he didnít reciprocate, she framed him by taking his garment and crying out that he had tried to rape her. Her husband then had Joseph put in prison. Sold by his family, falsely accused and locked up in prison. How unjust! You might think, ďHow could God allow all this to happen to this young man?Ē Well, sometimes bad things happen to good people for a reason, God has a plan! God needed Joseph to be right where he was to interpret the kingís dreams so he could be placed in a position of authority when the famine came on the land. He needed Joseph to preserve his family in the land of Goshen so they would live through the famine and also be kept a separate people until Moses came along later to lead them out. God was in control of Josephís life all along. He had a plan and He was working it. He has a plan for your life, too. Are you allowing Him to work it?

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9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

We Need Not Fear The Future

Zechariah was written to give hope to Godís people by revealing Godís future deliverance through the Messiah. Although it was originally written to the Jews in Jerusalem who had returned from captivity in Babylon, it can be applied to Godís people everywhere. The exiles had returned from Babylon to rebuild the Temple but had met with a measure of resistance and the work had halted. Haggai and Zechariah reminded of their task and encouraged them to finish it. Zechariah foretold of the Savior who would someday come. Just as the remnant of Judah met with opposition as they tried to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem we will meet with opposition as we work for God. Be encouraged. God is still in control! Evil was present when the Jews were trying to build the Temple back. There were men trying to stop them. The work on the Temple had been halted for nearly fifteen years because of the fierce opposition. The people had become discouraged and had just given up. They werenít thinking about a future. They were on cruise! Is your life on cruise? Evil is always present. Bad things are always going to happen to good people. Donít be discouraged. God has a plan and He is working it. He is still in control. NEVER forget that. We must press toward the mark and the mark is death to this life and life everlasting. Keeping that in mind, how can we be discouraged? We must press on for there is no other way to glory except through the future and He expects us to make the future the best it can be!

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1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. 2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father. 3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: 4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

The Past Affects The Future

In the scripture above, Jacob has called all his sons around and is blessing them before he dies. With almost every blessing he recalls something from each oneís past. He tells Reuben that he is unstable as water and will not excel because he went up to his fatherís bed and defiled it. He tells Simeon and Levi that because in their anger they killed a man (this was at Shechem when their sister Dinah was defiled) they would be scattered in Israel, or their tribes would have no inheritance. Our past does influence our future. What we have been through, whom we have been with, the things we look upon and read - put into our minds - all help make us who we are and decide what we do in the future. Thatís why it is so important for parents to monitor whom their children spend time with, the kinds of TV shows they watch, movies they go to and literature they read. Children are much like a computer: what you put in is what you are going to get out later on. The values you instill in your child today are going to last them for the rest of their lives. But, if you are an adult who has had a bad past, itís not to late to turn that around, either! You can change your future by changing your present actions. If you arenít already a Christian, I invite you to become one. Itís not hard; you just invite Christ into your life and do your best to live for Him every day. With Him on your side, the future can be bright again!

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