The 5th Commandment

hugging father and sonThis is the sixth post in this series on the 10 Commandments. The previous posts in this series were:

1). Does God Change,
2). The 1st Commandment,
3). The 2nd Commandment,
4). The 3rd Commandment, and
5). The 4th Commandment.

In the 1st four Commandments God teaches us how we are to relate to, honor, obey and respect Him. In the following six Commandments God teaches us how to relate to, honor and respect each other.

So, let’s take a good look at the 5th Commandment, and consider what it says to us.

 

Exodus 20:12

   12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

Okay, so we have the command to honor our father and mother, but what exactly is honor and how do we express it? Let’s take a look at how an online dictionary describes honor:

Honor
1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions: a man of honor.
2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one’s family.
3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.
4. such respect manifested: a memorial in honor of the dead.
5. high public esteem; fame; glory: He has earned his position of honor.

So honor seems to describe a set of character traits such as honesty, fairness and respect we need to show our parents.

Now many people look at this Commandment from the view point of how a child and teen should treat his or her parents. And although that is definitely a part of it, I believe it goes even further. I believe it’s just as much directed to adults who are no longer under the control of their parents.

From the following scriptures I think it’s irrefutable that it’s extremely important to God how we treat our parents.

 

Ephesians 6:1-3

6 Children, obey your parents as you would the Lord, because this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, 3 so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.

Colossians 3:20

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Another thing I’d like to point out is in order to honor our parents or anyone for that matter, you must be an honorable person. That doesn’t mean perfect, that doesn’t mean someone who never gets mad or makes mistakes, it means being a person of character.

Now where things can get complicated is if one or both of the parents are not very honorable people. Honoring someone like that can be difficult if not close to impossible. What if someone was sexually assaulted by a parent while they were young, does God expect us to treat someone like that with honor?

What about if one or both of your parents were drug addicts or alcoholics and were abusive and neglected you? Does God expect us to treat such ones with honor?

I don’t believe honoring someone is always about holding them in high esteem or respect. Maybe in cases like that, the way your honor those parents is by forgiving the terrible things they’ve done. There’s no ignoring that some people are broken, selfish or just plain bad, and unfortunately innocent children often suffer. In such cases I don’t believe God would necessarily expect you to be involved in their lives. Of course, if you are Christ’s, you need to offer them the same grace as He offers us, if they repent of those things they’ve done to you. In such cases forgiveness and not holding a grudge may be the only way you can honor them.

With those exceptions aside I think most of us had parents who were imperfect, but loved us. My parents weren’t perfect, and were divorced when I was 11. And although there were periods of anger, sadness, fear and confusion during those times, looking back I can see both my parents loved me. They were imperfect as all of us are imperfect, but are definitely deserving of my respect and honor toward them.

If we want to make sure we are keeping God’s 5th Commandment, we need to understand if or how we are honoring or dishonoring our parents?

Do you rarely ever see or even speak to your parents, because you’re just too busy with your own life? When you do speak with your parents are you critical and argumentative toward them instead of showing them respect? Are you there for them like they were there for you? Do you try to help them financially, even in small ways, if they’re living on a fixed income? God expected the church to help widows who were truly widows, but he expected children and even grandchildren to help the widows and even elderly parents in their families.

 

1 Timothy 5:3-4

3 Support widows who are genuinely widows. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must learn to practice godliness toward their own family first and to repay their parents, for this pleases God.

I realize it’s not always easy to spend time with parents when you live states away. I know not everyone has lots of extra money to help their parents, but most of us can help in small ways. I know we may differ on politics, religion and other areas of life with our parents, but that’s no reason to dishonor them. There are many people and things I disagree with in life, but I don’t make it a habit to argue with them about it. We all have a right to our opinions and trying to argue others into agreeing with us is a dishonorable act. Even if you believe someone is misinformed or just plain wrong, we still need to treat them with respect.

Also, the 5th Commandment isn’t just about what we do or don’t do, it’s about what’s in our heart. We can just as easily honor or dishonor our parents and others in the way we think about them. Actions follow thoughts so if you’re thinking honorably or dishonorably about others, you’re actions will follow. If you are not treating your parents and others with honor and respect then there just might be a heart issue that needs to be dealt with. If that is the case, you need to go to the only one who can heal that heart issue.

There are times coming, and may even already be here where the following scripture talks about a generation will be all about themselves and dishonorable toward their own parents.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-3

1 But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good,

I am starting to see more and more of that behavior in a lot of the younger generation, and it saddens me. Or course if you’re reading this post, I’m pretty sure you don’t fit into the category of the above scripture. With that said, you still need to ask yourself if you have been honorable toward you parents. If you haven’t, you need to fix that. Even if something has happened and you’re on the outs with your parents you can turn it around. Do whatever is in your power to make things right. Ask for God’s guidance and help, and you can trust He will help you make things right; at least on your part. And if it turns out because of hurt or anger your parents don’t want to make amends, you can still honor them by your forgiveness and willingness to make things right.

Being a parent is tough and it deserves all the grace and honor we can afford them.

God bless you all!

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The 4th Commandment

4th commandment

There are four posts leading up to this one, in this series on the 10 Commandments. Although it’s not totally necessary, you might want to read them first as they build upon each other. The previous posts in this series were:

1). Does God Change,
2). The 1st Commandment,
3). The 2nd Commandment, and
4). The 3rd Commandment.

This particular post on the 4th Commandment has been difficult to write, because I know people have strong feelings about this topic. When you suggest to someone they may be doing something incorrectly, they often take it as a personal attack and go on the defensive refusing to hear what you have to say. So, let me be clear, my intent is to share what I believe to be scriptural truth, and for it to be a blessing in your life. What you choose to do with what I share is totally between you and God. I am not your judge, accuser or arbiter of all truth, but I think I have a compelling argument for what I’m about to talk about.

What do you say we start out by asking ourselves a few important questions regarding the 4th Commandment. First, is the Sabbath day applicable to man today or was it done away with? Second, if the Sabbath is applicable, which day is it, or does it even matter? And third, what is the purpose or reason for the Sabbath? What or who does it benefit, and how?

Right off the bat I have to ask an interesting question regarding this issue. Why is it that you can’t find one website, article or book written to Christians explaining away any of the 10 Commandments except for the 4th one. No books on how we no longer have to follow the Commandment not to steal, commit adultery or commit murder. But you can find all kinds of websites, articles and books on how it’s no longer necessary to keep the Sabbath. Well, I just ask that you read this post and scriptures through and then decide for yourself.

I think one problem we have as Christians in this day and age is many don’t really know what’s in their Bible. Oh, I know we all have one, many people read their Bible during Sunday school, and maybe even turn to scriptures during a sermon. But how many of us really read our Bible every day, and not only read it, but study it?

How many people research the times in which the Bible stories took place? Have we studied what the different cultures were like back then, and what kind of baggage Christian converts brought with them? Did you know that many of the books of the New Testament are personal letters written to particular churches with particular situations that may have been unique to that group?

Did you know that the Bible was written without any punctuation marks, spaces between words, verses or chapters? Man has added all those things and has done a pretty good job in most cases, but not all. Moving a comma before or after one word can totally change the meaning of a verse. Did you know that many of the Greek converts to Christianity were vegetarians which had been a part of their pagan beliefs, and now causes a lot of misunderstanding on what we should and shouldn’t eat?

If you haven’t really dug deep into the scriptures and the culture of that time, how can we know if what we’re doing is right in God’s sight? Does scripture back up everything we profess as a followers of Jesus Christ, or do we just follow along with what were told by well meaning parents and ministers? Let’s look as some scriptures and see what God says.

Genesis 2:1-3

1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

As you can see, God created the Sabbath on the 7th day of creation. God blessed it “His favor and protection put upon it.” He sanctified it, “set apart as or declared holy; consecrated.” Why did God put His favor and protection on the Sabbath day, and why did He set it apart and declare it as holy? Was it for God’s benefit, or was it created as a blessing for man? Let me point out another thing which is often overlooked. When God created the heavens and earth, there was no such thing as a Jew. Adam and Eve were not Jews. The nation of Israel which sprang from Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, did not come onto the scene for a couple thousand years after the creation week.

Did God create the Sabbath day at the beginning because He was tired and needed a rest? I don’t believe so. Did He create it and not tell anyone about it until Moses lead the children of Israel out of Egypt? Again, I don’t believe so.

After God brought Israel out of Egypt after 430 years of slavery, how much do you think they forgot over 400 years of time? That would be like us trying to know how we should live by examples of pilgrims 400 years ago without any history books. Israel had forgotten the Sabbath since it was something they weren’t able to keep for over 400 years. All the things God shared with them in the 10 Commandments were known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob before they were subjugated into slavery in Egypt. If you think about it logically, and consider Abraham’s obedience to God, you will understand that God’s laws existed before they were given on stone tables on Mt. Sinai. Mt. Sinai is where they were reintroduced.

So let’s now look at what God had to say to Israel about the Sabbath when delivering the 10 Commandments on Mt. Sinai.

Exodus 20:8-11

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

Again, God blessed and hallowed or set apart the Sabbath day. Also consider, that these Commandments were given to not just the Jews, but all of Israel, plus the “stranger” within their gate. A stranger within their gate would be someone who was not of the blood line of Israel, but had all the rights and privileges of the Hebrew people as long as they chose to follow God as He commanded them.

That’s just as applicable today. Even though we may not be of the physical blood line of Israel, if we choose to follow God, and want the blessings that comes with following God, we are expected to follow and obey God. God does not have one set of rules for Jews and another for Christians.

Also, this is not a matter of grace versus works, as we in all our obedience cannot earn salvation because it is a free gift. But, that free gift is not a license to live any way we choose. God does have mercy on us and has paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, but that does not mean He gives us free reign to choose which of His commands we will and will not keep. Nor does any man have the right to change them.

Also, remember what God inspired Paul to say in Galatians:

Galatians 3:28-29

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Two things to consider regarding this scripture are, 1. Paul was speaking to a church that was almost entirely gentile, and 2. the encouraging words that stated if we are Christ’s, we are spiritually of Abraham’s seed which makes us more than strangers that walk with Israel; we are grafted in as children because we have God’s Holy Spirit. So, if we are Christ’s, we are under the same laws and blessings that the blood line of Israel are under.

Exodus 31:13

13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.’ “

The Sabbath is a sign between God and His people, not just people of a particular blood line, but His people who call themselves by His name. Remember, if we call ourselves by His name, and don’t live as He has commanded us, we risk breaking of the 3rd Commandment.

Ezekiel 20:12

12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.

To keep the Sabbath is to be sanctified or set apart as one of God’s chosen not just in blood, but in spirit. It shows a very special relationship we have with God.

Ezekiel 20:23-25

23 Also I raised My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries, 24 because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols. 25 “Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live;

When ancient Israel refused to keep God’s Sabbath as they were told, and started worshiping other gods, they were dispersed into different parts of the world through war and slavery; and their identity has been lost to this day.

Ezekiel 20:11-13

11 And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them.’[a] 12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. 13 Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’;[b] and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.

Another scripture shows us what God did to ancient Israel because of disobedience to His commandments, including the breaking of the Sabbath:

Isaiah 56:5-7

5 Even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them[a] an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 6 “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants— everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant—7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.

Did you catch that in verse 6? 6 “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants— everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant.” Since we are even closer than a foreigner who follows God, does that not even further show our relationship with God, and our need to keep His Sabbaths? And did you notice at the end of verse 7: For My house shall be called a house of prayer for “All Nations”. Not just Israel!

Isaiah 58:12-14

12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. 13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 66:22,23

22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord, “So shall your descendants and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord.

This is a prophecy stating what will take place when Jesus returns for His Saints at the end of the age. All flesh will be keeping the Sabbath, “All Flesh”. Would God create the Sabbath, change the Sabbath to another day or change the whole keeping of it to a new tradition, then return the Sabbath to its’ original creation again? If that were the case, it would seem God wasn’t really sure about what He wanted from us. Do you believe that? I don’t. God does not change.

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Mark 2:27

27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”

So, if Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, and we are Christ’s, doesn’t it seem that we should be keeping the Sabbath? So often man looks upon the Sabbath as a burden instead of the blessing it is and was meant to be. The Sabbath is a day to rest, to be refreshed, renewed and to be in communion with God. It is a day to come out of the world and celebrate our calling and the amazing future that lies before us in God’s Kingdom. He gave it to us as a delight and a blessing. So, why do so many argue and fight against the Sabbath? Why do so many want to argue that it was done away with? Why would God do away with something that He talks about continuously through the scriptures? Why would He do away with something that He has Sanctified and made Holy? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Now there are those who will say that these following scriptures show that the day to worship is the 1st day of the week instead of the 7th. I would ask you to read these in context and consider what they say as opposed to thinking about what other men have told us they mean.

Acts 20:6-8

6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. (Ministering at Troas) 7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together.

All it’s saying here is that the disciples came together and ate a meal because Paul was getting ready to leave the next day. Also Paul never passed up an opportunity to share the gospel no matter what day of the week it was. If you or I had a good friend and/or loved one getting ready to move away with the possibility we may never see them again, wouldn’t we have a meal for them and spend as much time together as possible before they left? This says nothing about Paul changing the day of worship to Sunday. Paul, and all the Churches he started, including the Gentile churches, all kept the Sabbath.

1 Corinthians 16:1-3 — Collection for the Saints

16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 3 And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.

Here again, there is no inference to changing the day of worship to Sunday or changing how the day of worship was kept. He was telling them that on the 1st day of the week to start gathering supplies to send help to the brothers in Jerusalem.

As I said, the early New Testament Church, both Jew and Gentile, were Sabbath keepers for well over two hundred years after Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection. It was later that the Catholic Church changed the day of the Sabbath, as you can see below:

You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify. (Gibbons J., Cardinal. The faith of our fathers: being a plain exposition and vindication of the church founded by Our Lord Jesus Chris, 83rd reprint edition. P. J. Kenedy, 1917. Original from Pennsylvania State University, Digitized Oct 14, 2009, pp. 72-73).

In the Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, we read:

Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea, (A.D. 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday….
Q. Why did the Catholic Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?
A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday, because Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday, and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles on a Sunday.
Q. By what authority did the Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?
A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday by the plenitude of that divine power which Jesus Christ bestowed upon her!
—Rev. Peter Geiermann, C.SS.R., (1946), p. 50.

Does the Catholic Church, or any man for that matter have the right or authority to change what God has set apart as Sanctified and Holy? I will leave that between you and God to answer.

Although I keep the Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset as originally commanded by God; I realize there are many who see it differently and are sincere in their beliefs. I’m no one’s judge, but I have to ask, even if you believe that Sunday is now the true day to worship; do you keep it as the Sabbath, as holy and set apart? Do you keep from working on that day, or shopping or cutting the grass on that day? Or like many, do you go to church and then treat the rest of the day like any other? Something to think about!

Now, I don’t keep the Sabbath perfectly, as I am not a perfect man; but I do try. I have found the Sabbath to be one of God’s greatest gifts to man. It is a day that I am able to take all my problems, my worries, my wants and all the distractions of this world and lay it all before my Savior; and find true peace for a day. I come out of the Sabbath rested and strengthened.

If your time with God consists of a couple hours on Sunday only, you are cheating yourself out of a blessing that can only come from a life that puts God first. Now I feel it’s important for us all to ask the question of ourselves, “How does God feel when we ignoring something that He Himself has called Holy and good”?

Again, I’m looking to bless you and not condemn you. I’m sharing with you what has blessed me and deepened my relationship with God. Also, again, I’m not advocating earning salvation or anything else by keeping God’s commandments. Salvation is a free gift, and when we keep God’s commandments, we earn nothing, as we are only doing what is expected of us.

Luke 17:10

10 “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”

So, keeping the Sabbath earns us no special rewards, it is our duty; but a duty that will bless our life in so many ways.

With the financial bubble we live in, the Islamisation of Europe, the insane and bloody acts of ISIS and its sights set on the US, we are heading into a very dark time in my estimation. Our country, the family, the rule of law, and our legacy of patriotism are all being dismantled from the inside out. We now call light dark and dark light. We call evil good, and good evil.

I am not looking forward to seeing some of the terrible things that are going to happen, but I don’t fear them, either. I have great hope in our Redeemer, and know that I am on the winning side of the calamity that threatens us and the world.

My reason for ending this post this way is to say to us all, there is no longer time to mess around. God needs to be number one in our lives without hesitation or doubt. We need to do everything possible to make sure we are walking according to His will and not our own. I pray that you will prayerfully consider what I have shown you about the Sabbath day. Go before God humbly asking Him if what I have written here is true or false. Then do as you feel the spirit leads you to do.

Keeping God’s Sabbath isn’t the easiest thing to do in our modern world, but it is well worth it. Remember what God said in Isaiah 58:

Isaiah 58:13-14

13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

God bless you all!

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The 3rd Commandment

BibleThis is the fourth post in the series I’m doing on the 10 Commandments. The first one was called “Does God Change” where I expressed my belief that the commandments are just as binding today as they were in the time of Moses. The 2nd and 3rd posts were on the 1st Commandment and 2nd Commandment. Next, of course, we will be covering the 3rd Commandment and just how easily we break that one without giving it a second thought.

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

I don’t think God could be any clearer, but I wonder how many people really understand just what God means by taking His name in vain.

Most folks believe we take God’s name in vain when we use God with a damning of someone or something. That is a form of taking the Lord’s name in vain although God is not really a name, but rather a designation of a being. If you study the scriptures a bit deeper, you will find that god is used in many ways, and many are not referring to the One we call God.

Then there is the use of Jesus Christ in less than a prayerful application. Of course, let’s not leave out all the euphemisms we use for the expressions of our anger, frustration and surprise. What about jeezzz and gosh, both euphemisms for saying Jesus or God.

So, what is it about these words and expressions that causes them to be taking the name of the Lord in vain? Is it the damn after God that does is, or the strong emphasis or expression of Christ after Jesus? Is it about the words themselves, or does it go deeper than that?

I’d like to submit to you that it’s not just the expression or words, but the use of these words, names or expressions in a way that is totally flippant and void of the respect and honor owed to our God. When someone responds with oh, god, in frustration they have dishonored God. When you say Jesus or Jesus Christ and it’s not in prayer or conversation about our Savior, you are breaking the 3rd Commandment.

I think these examples are probably rather apparent to most of you who read my blog, but let’s take it a little further or go just a little deeper.

What about when we call ourselves Christians, but don’t live the life? What about when we call ourselves Christians, but gossip and condemn others? How about when we call ourselves Christians, but regularly hang out with profane people seeking to be accepted by them? How about when we call ourselves Christians, but turn our backs on the needs and misfortunes of others. Isn’t calling ourselves a Christian while doing these things using the Lord’s name in vain? I believe so!

How would you feel if someone used your name or some designation of you every time they got angry or frustrated about something? What if your family, friends and all the people you knew used your name flippantly all the time, how would you feel?

I know people don’t do these things with the intention of using God’s name in vain, but we are responsible for the things that come out of our mouths. God is loving, kind and merciful, but as He said, “the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain”.

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The 2nd Commandment

jesusThis is the third post in the series I’m doing on the 10 Commandments. The first one was called “Does God Change” where I expressed my belief that the commandments are just as binding today as they were in the time of Moses. The second post “The 1st Commandment” talked about how easy it is to break that commandment in our present world, and the ways we do that. In this third post I want to talk about what the 2nd commandment is, and see if we’re living up to God’s expectations in keeping.

Exodus 20:4-6
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

So how do we break the 2nd Commandment?

Have you ever seen someone cross themselves and then kiss a cross or some saints medal that they have around there neck. That would be breaking the 2nd Commandment.

Although I believe churches do it in ignorance, many have a big cross or statue of Jesus at the front of their worship service. What would you call that? “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above”.

God tells us let our yes be yes, and our no’s be no; because He doesn’t want us swearing an oath. For there is nothing that we have created to swear by, but all was created by God. He tells us not to pray on the street corners to be seen of men, but to go into a private place to pray. These two things alone tells us that God is not impressed with our outward shows of piousness or religious worship. People need to know we’re Christ’s by our actions, our attitudes and our works, not religious speak; nor symbols on our bodies, cars and walls.

If someone wears a cross as jewelry I’m not saying they are breaking the 2nd Commandment, I don’t know their heart; but I have to ask, “What’s the purpose or reasoning”? How do fish symbols on our cars deepen our relationship or worship of God? Are they a form or worship of God or are they show for others?

I had an uncle who has since past that had a little figurine of Mary, Jesus’ mother on his counter facing the front door with a jar full of change next to it. He told me it was supposed to bring him good financial luck. I have another uncle who is a Jehovah Witness who will not walk into someone’s house if they have a Christmas tree. I understand his problem with the tree, but not the power he gives it. Does a Christmas tree or any tree for that matter have power for good or bad? I think not.

When God says He’s a jealous God, He’s not kidding. With that said, He is also a loving, merciful, generous and kind God. But does not want our worship the way we want to worship Him, He wants us to worship Him the way He has said. He doesn’t want us praying to likenesses of Him, but to Him alone.

So many things boiling down to our hearts and intentions. If you’re not sure you’re worshiping God properly, go into a room by yourself, open your bible and ask God to show you in the scriptures how He wants to be worshiped. If you give your heart to God, He will bring you to where you need to be.

The 1st Commandment

Pagan idolsIf you are a follower of the Bible, and reading this post, you are probably no stranger to the 10 Commandments listed in Exodus 20. I decided to do a series of posts on The 10 Commandments looking at each one on its own. Now let’s start by first saying what the 10 Commandments are not. They are not the 10 suggestions or the 10 recommendations; they are the 10 Commandments.

If you have not read my last post titled “Does God Change”; I would suggest reading that first? It will help you to understand where I’m coming from and where I’m going with this. Now, we all know that keeping God’s law does not earn us salvation; that my friends is a gift from God. Also following God’s law does not give us special brownie points for being so good.

Look at what Jesus said in the book of Luke:

Luke 17:10
10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

So keeping the law is our duty, and earns us nothing.

Now, let’s look at the 1st Commandment.

Exodus 20:1-3 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.

Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? But have we considered what that really means? At first glance we might say, “I don’t worship false gods, I would never think of such a thing”.

Well, let’s look at the word god found in an online dictionary:

1. (Ecclesiastical Terms) a supernatural being, who is worshiped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force.
2. (Ecclesiastical Terms) an image, idol, or symbolic representation of such a deity
3. any person or thing to which excessive attention is given: money was his god.
4. a man who has qualities regarded as making him superior to other men

So, as you can see, the breaking of the 1st Commandment does not have to be praying to Dagon, Moloch or Baal. I think the 3rd and 4th definition above is probably where most people run smack dab into the breaking of the 1st Commandment. It seems we as a people are obsessed with actors, singers, sports figures, body image, clothes, cars, money, and the list goes on and on.

Now am I saying there is anything wrong with enjoying music, movies, reliable transportation, making a good living, etc.? No! But there is a big difference between appreciating or enjoying something, and being obsessed with it, which is to preoccupy the mind excessively with something.

When people are spending thousands of dollars to see a World Series game, I think there’s a problem. When we purchase magazines to read about all the salacious details of some celebrity’s life, I think there’s a problem. When we go deep into debt to buy a vehicle or home that is way beyond our means to look impressive to others, I think there’s a problem. When we spend more time thinking only about ourselves while ignoring the plight of others, I think there’s a problem. When you can’t pass a shoe store without buying a new pair of shoes, there just might be a problem.

How much time to we meditate on the things of God as opposed to our favorite characters in a movie or TV show? How much thought goes into what others think of us as opposed to what God thinks of us? How much time do we spend in praying or talking about God as opposed to talking about our favorite TV show or sports team? How much thought do we put into blessing others as opposed to what we hope others will do for or think about us.

Anything that we place above or before God is a breaking of the 1st Commandment.

Now, if you find yourself coming up short, there is a fix. You repent, and strive to do better. Every time you fall down, you get back up, brush off the dust, and get back at it.

God knows that none of us can keep the law perfectly because we are flawed people. But God does expect us to work at it, and to give Him our best effort. Also, God will help us overcome the things that cause us to break His Commandments if we will just ask Him. We just need to get our priorities lined up with God’s priorities. We need to live every day being the best we can, while striving to be a blessing to others. We should also get up each morning thanking and glorifying God for every new day He gives us.

I hope this post has helped you see the 1st Commandment a little more clearly, and maybe get you a little more focused on the importance of God’s Commandments.

Also, if you like what you read, please sign up to receive updates when I post new articles; and send your friends a link to YourSpiritMindandBody.com. I will be talking about the 2nd Commandment soon, and hope you will stop by and check it out.