Many issues in this fallen world present challenges in various capacities. This is not a simple question because what could be considered an “issue for Christianity” could be examined through the lenses of the Church, Christianity the religion, Christian orthodoxy (right thinking) and orthopraxy (right practice), or the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
A question comes to mind that may shed some light on contemporary thinking. What will be our Lord? Will the Church—organization, institution or body of believers—be our lord? Will adherence to some perceived or human-created standards of right teaching and practice govern our every thought and action? Too many churches get bogged down and sidetracked with these things. Our one Lord is Jesus Christ Himself, whether we accept Him or not. Ephesians 4:1-6, "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."
The most significant issue facing the Church and affecting our thought and practice is whether or not we accept the Lordship of the God of the Bible. It is really going to be a question of whether or not people understand and accept the ultimate authority of Scripture. Too many people even now get at least distracted and at worst turn themselves and others completely away from the faith. Families are and will be neglected. Sin is accepted and propounded—and things are only going to get worse. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Timothy 4:3). People—and whole churches—are already doing this, so over the next ten years we are going to witness things getting much worse, in the world and in the church. Judgement is coming. The question is will we be people who will endure God’s discipline and the world’s persecution? We can only do this by examining God’s Living Word and seeking deeper submission to the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness
for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.
Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and yet He was tempted.
1. Temptation often comes upon a believer with its strongest power when he/she is nearest to God.
Why does God allow temptation for a believer?. Look at a tree...storms make roots go deeper and deeper and enable to stand even greater storms. Oak trees don't become strong within a day or two; they go through different seasons and heavy storms.
2. Another example: Fire makes paintings on ceramics permanent and beautiful. Take examples of any missionaries, John Bunyan, William Tyndale or William Carey and many saints, who were going through temptations and testing and became a model for us.
3. When the devil tries to distract us from following the Lord, we need to overcome by the Word of God. Then we can feel the touch of our Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of the storms sufferings (Heb. 12:11). There are many examples from the Bible of people who overcame.
4. Our Lord Jesus stood the test and came out victorious, defeating the devil. Jesus said "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." We may experience various tribulations and temptations, but we have a victorious Lord in everything. Praise the Lord, let's follow His steps.
This devotion was sent to us from a friend who trains pastors in India.
"For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.
Our meditation today:
This is a wonderful verse which has very rich meaning of each of the attributes of our Lord.
3. The Lord of hosts
5. Holy one of Israel
6. God of all the earth.
There is a rich meaning of all the above attributes. We were meditating, He is our Redeemer. This redeemer aspects has relationship to all other attributes.
1. The Redeemer concept developed from Exodus onwards. The Lord redeemed Israel from their physical bondage which has a direct implication of our redemption from sin and death, spiritual.
2. No redemption possible without shedding of blood. Hebrews chapter 9 specifically deals with the issue of redemption, comparing OT verses NT redemption ( 9:9 & 14). 3. We were under the bondage of devil and his power (Colossians 1 13,14). Jesus Christ our Lord paid it by His precious blood and redeemed us.
4. Christ is our Redeemer, like Boaz became the redeemer of Ruth. Ruth symbolizes the church and Boaz as Christ.
5. We are redeemed to be His, His alone. Complete recovery to be used by Him, to be His servants.
Compared the following points and added into our meditation:
The purpose of God redeeming the people of Israel. This is a wonderful imagery of the real lifestyle of Israel and the New Israel, we the church and each one of us. The people of Israel are redeemed by God:
1. To dwell among them (Ex.25:8;29;46; Deut. 23:14; Jn.1:14)
2. To be their God (Lev. 25:38; 26:12,13; 2 Cor. 6:16)
3. To sanctify them for Himself, a special people for Him (Lev. 22:32,33; 1 Thess. 4:3)
4. To be His servants (Lev. 25:42,55; isa.41;8;42:1;43:10; Rom. 1:2)
5. To separate them from the Gentiles (Lev. 20:24, 26; Deut.26:18,19; 1 cor. 10:20,21; 2 cor.6:14-17)
6. To be a Priest and a Holy nation for the Living God (Ex. 19:5,6; 1 Peter 2:9,10).
The redemption brings a special privilege for a special responsibility to perform.
Our prayer today Lord discipline us, help us, give your grace to be used by you. We're yours, your servants alone. Give us a single eye devotion towards you and to live in your presence eternally.
(This is not our original work. The original author is cited at the bottom).
Have you ever noticed how in the scriptures men are always going up into the mountains to commune with the Lord?
Yet in the scriptures we hardly ever
hear of women going to the mountains,
and we know why — right?
Because the women were too busy
keeping life going;
they couldn’t abandon babies,
and a thousand responsibilities to make the climb into the mountains!
I was talking to a friend the other day,
saying that as modern woman
I feel like I’m never “free” enough
from my responsibilities,
never in a quiet enough,
or holy enough spot
to have the type of communion
I want with God.
Her response floored me,
“That is why God comes to women.
Men have to climb the mountain to meet God, but God comes to women where ever they are.”
I have been pondering on her words for weeks and have searched my scriptures
to see that what she said is true.
God does in deed come to women
where they are,
when they are doing their ordinary,
He meets them at the wells
where they draw water for their families,
in their homes,
in their kitchens,
in their gardens.
He comes to them
as they sit beside sickbeds,
as they give birth,
care for the elderly,
and perform necessary mourning and burial rites.
Even at the empty tomb,
Mary was the first to witness Christ’s resurrection,
She was there because she was doing the womanly chore of properly preparing Christ’s body for burial.
In these seemingly mundane
and ordinary tasks,
these women of the scriptures found themselves face to face with divinity.
So if — like me — you ever start to bemoan the fact that you don’t have as much time to spend in the mountains with God as you would like. Remember, God comes to women. He knows where we are and the burdens we carry. He sees us, and if we open our eyes and our hearts we will see Him, even in the most ordinary places and in the most ordinary things.
Original 🖌: Heather Farrell
John 14:6—Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father apart from Him. In other words, we are lost, in confusion and dead apart from Christ.
Proverbs 14:12—There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. I can’t figure out my own way, become enlightened, or find wisdom on my own which will give me life. Therefore, I am at God’s mercy for life. Am I receiving His mercy? Picture:
Kind of like Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, God is giving life to our mortal bodies, one day to be fully revived—resurrected.
-Romans 8:9-11—the spiritual life should be seen in my mortal body
God is making every effort to revive me.
-Romans 8:18-21—God’s creation longs for this.
-Sufferings are actually Holy Spirit breaths and pressure from God’s Word—from Scripture—to keep my new heart going.
I have to participate in the revival process—I have to receive God’s help!
Psalm 51:8, 10-13—David as an example. He knew he needed a new heart. He also knew he needed God’s help in sustaining this new life.
Ezekiel 37:1-6; 37:11-14—the Valley of Dry Bones. God is the one who gives it life and he is the one who will be glorified. This should be the same in my life!
John 15:1-2…God is making it so we will be more fruitful. We have to participate in the “pruning.” vs. 8-9…I have to let go of anything not helping me to love others
9th Commandment: You Shall Not Give False Testimony Against Your Neighbor (Ex. 20:16)
This passage in Deuteronomy illustrates how seriously OT Israel was to take this commandment: Deuteronomy 19:15-21…the person accusing falsely was to bear the punishment of the one convicted. THE FIRST LIAR: Satan (Genesis 3)—when we lie in any way, we are aligning ourselves with the devil.
Why would a person give false testimony against their neighbor? There could be many possible motivations. Like most of the other commandments this sin is probably rooted in selfishness: bringing someone else down for my gain. Whether that is profiting through bolstering my image/status, actually monetary or physical gain, or just simply feeling better about myself, it is a selfish action. It is an attempt to put myself in God’s place, as if I actually know everything about a person’s actions and motives behind their actions. I may even be convinced in my own mind about someone, but it could still be a false perception. The Jews in Jesus’ time were convinced about their status as God’s children, but sought to justify themselves apart from Jesus—they were actually children of the devil! (John 8:42-47).
God is the only righteous judge—the one who has given the Law and set the standard (Psalms 7:11; James 4:11-12). This was ultimately realized in Jesus. (I am the Way, the TRUTH and the Life—John 14:6).
This commandment can be broadened from the courtroom setting to everyday life—not even listening to rumors or gossip, or things that we are not certain are true. The truth that the LORD is God (Exodus 20:2) is what *should* rein in our tongue/speech (James 2:3). If we are undisciplined in what/how we speak, then we are perpetuating the way of death (James 2:4-8).
No human being can “tame the tongue” (James 2:8); therefore, all have broken this commandment and are under God’s wrath! But Christ fulfilled the Law (Matt. 5:17). By the power He gives, our tongues can be “tamed.” (John 8:31-38…have to have room for His word in our hearts!) In other words, we can subject ourselves to the truth of God—being made new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17)—and in His love, speak what is really true. Love rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. 13:6). Ephesians 4:23-25 also speaks to this.
James 3:9…takes this a step further. If we truly are new creatures in Christ, able to tame our tongues, then why would we curse—or speak against—our brother?
Remember, it is not our place to judge people, but rather to love them out of the riches of wisdom in Christ (Matthew 7:1-5; Colossians 2:2-3).
“Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)—>this should be one of our foundational guiding principles as Christians. Everything we have is from God. His mercy; His love; His wisdom; revelation of His word; power of His Spirit.
Everything should be done to build up others in the faith, not tear them down. Ephesians 4:1-13 ; Jude 20-25. This may require speaking hard things to people, but how we do it is important. The reason should be to encourage, exhort, and build up. 1 Timothy 5:1-7 highlights how any teaching and correction in the body of Christ should be done with care, and in a personal way.
God’s Word, through the working of the Holy Spirit is what will convict people of sin and guide them into all truth as they seek Him. (Hebrews 12: ; John 16:13)
Therefore, we should leave judgment to God and simply speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
What if someone speaks falsely against us? Jesus cites Deuteronomy 19 in answering this question in Matthew 5:38-42, ““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”
—We should even be seeking to build up those who are trying to tear us down! It is not possible for a person to have this outlook apart from the Love of Christ.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33).
Jesus, help us!
How we live our lives should be a clear picture of the mercy of our Savior and everyone’s need for Him. —2 Corinthians 4:1-12.
Let’s get rid of secret ways which always seek selfish ambitions and distort the word of God.
8th Commandment: You Shall Not Steal
To steal is to take or use something that does not belong to me without permission. It points out, like most of the other commandments, how selfish a person can be.
Stealing can take many forms. We could outright steal a physical possession of someone, or their money directly or indirectly. Sometimes we might just “borrow” it with the intention of returning it, but better to ask permission! This may seem overly strict, but why risk offending someone and cutting off a relationship which the Lord has given us to share His word and make His love known? “Love…does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:4-5).
We can steal time, too. Let’s say I make an appointment with a friend from out of town which requires him to set aside other plans for the day. If I cancel that appointment last minute, I have stolen my friend’s time! If I waste time at work on things which do not contribute to the school, my students, or bettering myself as a teacher, then I am stealing time from my employer.
It’s safe to say we have all broken this command. Let’s throw ourselves at God’s mercy.
Romans 7:21—8:8…Paul says he wants to follow God’s Law, but he can’t due to the influence of the flesh. However, he has been set free by Jesus who has given Paul—and us—the Spirit which has given us life and peace. Now the question is, “do I have my mind set on the flesh (selfish desire) or on the Spirit (true life and peace)?”
If I have my mind set on the Spirit, I will not be allowed by Him to steal anything. In fact, He will show me things I never would have thought were wrong. One example is not using my work computer for personal business. I don’t think I would get in trouble for this, but a little less usage will probably make the school-owned computer last a little longer…
My desire to have more than I do will diminish, too.
Contentment. I know the Lord is the giver of everything I have, but it is taking some time to really be content—which if I am lacking can lead to the temptation to steal. Proverbs 30:8-9 says, “Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.”
Focus on Giving, not Getting. Paul connects these two ideas as opposites in Ephesians 4:28, “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” It is important to note here that there are a lot of giving people in this world who don’t know Jesus, but claim to have altruistic motives. To truly give as God would like us to, we have to realize what Paul says just before this in verses 22-24—“Put on the new self”—really Christ HIMSELF. This requires us to lay aside the old self which has been “corrupted by the lusts of deceit.” In other words, every person on this planet is deceived into thinking they have some good in them. They are not focused on the things of God, rather excluded from the life of God apart from Christ (vs. 18).
Our giving should always be focused on the advancement of God’s kingdom. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15…”sowing” or giving will, by the grace of God, result in a harvest of righteousness, and God will be glorified. The LORD is the source of all things and deserves all thanks, praise and glory given to Him!
Psalm 24:1…Everything belongs to God. Therefore, if I am claiming anything as my own, not using it for God’s purposes, then I am stealing from God.
Our giving should always be to please God, not people. Matthew 6:2-4…giving in secret. If I am giving to receive attention/glory from others, then I am stealing God’s glory! The person receiving will have no choice but to see that the gift is from God. Our reward: we may see someone come to Christ!
If we truly have our mind set on the Spirit, the best reward we could receive on earth is seeing people give their lives to the rightful owner—Jesus Christ.
7th Commandment: Do Not Commit Adultery (Exodus 20:14)
Adultery: Taking someone else’s spouse (or allowing oneself to be taken) whether in action or thought. Again, this commandment seems straightforward, but there are also deeper meanings.
OT Perspective: God made a covenant with His people, one to take most seriously as a marriage. Time and time again, they broke that covenant, yet God showed mercy. He had to continually send them judges, prophets, and teachers to turn them back to Him. There will come a time when each person in the house of Israel will know God and will have no need to be taught of their God who has always been a husband to them. (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
Isaiah 54. God affirms his role as Redeemer and husband of His people—His holy city.
Jesus’ teaching: Matthew 5:27-30…lust is the same as adultery. Cut off anything that may make me sin! Matthew 19:3-12…divorce and remarriage is adultery. Better not to marry in the first place. Whatever we do should be for the purpose of the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, it can be concluded that our commitment to God and His kingdom supersedes all else. To be distracted from this is adultery.
Paul points out that God has not cast away His people Israel, but now the Gentiles have been grafted into the holy “tree.” (Romans 11:1-16) God’s desire is that His people would turn to Him by jealousy, if necessary. Now we who are not descended from Israel should also be careful to “stand by [our] faith” else we be cut off from the tree even though we have been grafted in (vss. 19-21).
Ephesians 5:22-33…The marriage relationship is a picture of Christ and the Church. Wives should be subject to their husband because the church is to be subject to Christ. Husbands should love their wives because Christ loves the church and wants us to be presented to Himself spotless. Husband leaves father and mother—there should be no more attachment to previous life.
James 1:27—what matters is keeping oneself unstained by the world. We are in the world and should be interacting with people ("orphans and widows”—those with whom we have something to share). However, we should be different, separate—holy.
Jude 1-4—Kept for Christ. We belong to Him; therefore, keep with the faith. No License to sin.
Revelation 19:1-8—there will come a judgement on the “harlot”—someone or something which has worked against God’s work with His people—“bondservants.” At the wedding supper of the Lamb, the church is described as His bride and it will be given her to clothe herself with fine linen, which is the “righteous acts of the saints.” Not all the imagery makes sense to me right now, but we can clearly see that “righteous acts” are expected of us while we wait for this day. So let’s be careful not to be distracted from being ready for that day.
6th Commandment: Do not Murder
This command seems really straightforward. So what is murder? It is one person killing another in cold blood—usually for selfish reasons (so not as a soldier in war, etc.). In our (American) society, it is a crime often punishable by death—especially when it is intentional. What was meant in ancient times? In Jesus’ time? And what does that mean for us today?
OT: Exodus 21:12 and Leviticus 24:17…point out the seriousness of the offense. Genesis 4:3-13…the first murder. Look at God’s mercy! He knew what Cain was about to do and instructed him how to overcome his selfish desire to kill his brother. God gave Cain a way out and still showed mercy after he failed. It is not as though God’s character has changed. Exodus 21:28-29…Not working to prevent harm to someone is the same as murder.
Every person is without excuse because we have God’s law and His attributes have been clearly seen from the beginning (Romans 1:18-20).
Jesus’ teaching: Matthew 5:21-26; Matthew 6:14-15
1 John 3:13-17…here, John is not only talking about emotions/feeling of hatred, but also an apathy towards others’ needs. If we are not going to help them when it is in our ability, it is the same as murder—just letting them die!
James 1:19-20…be slow to speak and quick to hear. Don’t let anger get any hold on you. In other words, be proactive and seek to be a better doer of God’s word (vs 21-22), the “word of truth.” (vs 18). In the broader context, James is speaking of trials and suffering which we as Christians have to face. We will be hated by some people, but don’t let how this world treats us anger us.
The 5th Commandment: Honor your father and your mother.
Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”
Observations: This is the first command which speaks to how we should relate to other people. The first four speak to how we should relate to God. The rest of the commandments which follow speak to our relations with other people. This seems to be a transitional and pivotal verse. This spoken to OT Israel was a command with a promise: that their days in the promised land would be prolonged. Why is this significant?
When it is restated to the people in Deuteronomy, another aspect is added: “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you” (vs 16). The converse must also be true: if they would not honor their mothers and fathers then it would not go well with them.
-Leviticus 26:3-13…speaks of all of God’s commandments. Follow them, blessings flow
-Exodus 21:15…strike your parent, stoned to death
-Deuteronomy 21:18-21…stubborn, free-loading son should be put to death
God’s people are to take this commandment seriously! It is dishonoring to parents not to listen to them and to take advantage of their provision, not working when able to.
-Proverbs 23:22—it is not just when we are children that we should listen to our parents. As long as they are living, we should honor them by listening to them.
-Proverbs 1:7-8—Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. What follows then is listening to your parents and living a life in accordance with their teaching (they are not always there to help you make every decision). This highlights another truth about the importance of honoring parents. God has set parents up as authority figures in our lives to take care of us, and ultimately point us to HIM.
-These verses in Proverbs also speak to implications for parents. They should be seeking to teach their children to honor God. If a parent is telling you to do something which does not honor God, then we should not do it. Deuteronomy 6:7—responsibility to teach children falls on parents. Ephesians 6:4—bring children up in the fear of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-3—Paul cites the 5th commandment in his exhortation to the church. We should obey our parents “in the Lord.” Those who will equip us to do battle: Ephesians 6:10-17. There may be a time when someone other than our biological parents serves as a spiritual parent to us. We should heed these peoples’ instruction.
The command as given in Exodus spoke of the result of honoring one’s mother and father: a good life in the promised land.
Our promise is the same, but of a heavenly land: Hebrews 12:14, 25-29 “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord…See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’ This expression, ‘Yet once more’ denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.” Pursuing peace with our parents would mean honoring them—listening and heeding the wisdom and instruction, especially as it pertains to following the Lord. It will go well with us as long as we are looking for the unshakeable kingdom of God.
Honoring our parents is ultimately honoring God, our Father.
He honored His earthly parents his whole life: Luke 2:51; John 19:26 (made sure Mary was taken care of)
He honored His heavenly father: John 5:19-24. The way for us to receive eternal life is to honor Jesus. This is what parents should be teaching us; what we should be teaching our children.
We will occasionally post Scripture meditations, encouraging stories, answers to prayer, or Bible Study notes here.