The Ten Commandments: Number Three

1st September

Oh My…….God?

You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse His name.”

Exodus 20:7

Don’t take the Lord’s Name in vain…

Oh my God!” David shouted. “Yes,” God replied, “How can I help?” “Errr, well I was .. I.. just dropped my favourite cup……” David nervously said, “I didn’t actually think You would reply…”.

Imagine if the above conversation was real. Imagine if God really did answer when everyone called out His name. Sadly, the name of God is often used as an expression of insult, surprise or anger rather than to converse with God. The funniest thing, is that half of the people who use Jesus’ name as a curse word don’t even believe He exists. So why has Jesus’ name or God’s name been turned into such a common curse word? Sadly because everything that God has created to be good, the enemy has distorted.

So why do we cry out for God? Because there is hope in God’s name, because there is power in His name and because there is comfort in His name. In fact, as Paul says in Philippians, Jesus has been given the Name above all Names, that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is in Jesus’ name that many are healed, saved and delivered. It is in Jesus’ name that storms cease, needs are met and chains of addiction and sin are broken. It is in Jesus’ name that we have authority over every evil in this world. There is power in the name of Jesus. Power to bring hope in hopeless situations and life where there is none.

Friends, as we go about our day to day lives, let us give back the honour to Jesus’ name. Let us remember that we carry Jesus’ name as our banner. Let us, in love, challenge those who mis-use God’s name and use it as a platform to share the power of His name with others. Jesus is hope. Jesus is peace. Jesus is love. He is not a curse word.

The Ten Commandments: Number Two

31st August

Who is YOUR God?

You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.”

Exodus 20:4-5

You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image. . .

The second of the commandments, given to Moses, is often overlooked by most. We can kid ourselves, by saying ‘I don’t bow down to any idols or images so i’m safe from this one!’ Yet with that attitude we sadly miss the point. What was God really trying to say? Well or course, in it’s literal interpretation it does mean, don’t worship any other gods or any other images besides the One True GOD because in Moses’ day there was a lot of idol worship, Baal etc. ,(in fact as these commandments were being written, at the base of the mountain the people were making a golden image of a bull and worshipping it, see Exodus 32). But if we are to interpret this guideline in today’s society, then we should understand idols as ‘anything that is put in the place of God in our lives’; literally put, anything that becomes number one in our lives, other than God Himself.

If God is not number one in your life, then what is? Church, family, a football idol, children, money, a spouse or even food? It is not wrong to wholeheartedly love something or someone. Yet when it starts to take the place of God in our lives, our priorities for living holy and righteous lives become secondary to satisfying who or what is number one in our lives. If we keep God as our priority, as our number one, He gives us His love to be able to wholeheartedly love our children, families, and spouses. If God is number one, then our lives are lived for Him, which means we carry His presence with us in our schools, homes, and work places. It is then that God is made known to the nations through us, all because He is number one in our lives. Our characters become ‘God-like’ because we are giving and spending more time with Him.

The Ten Commandments: Number One

30th August

Who is God?

I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god before Me.”

Exodus 20:2-3

Sadly the Ten Commandments are often seen as a list of rules, a list of do’s and don’ts. Yet rather than looking at them like a list of rules and regulations, why not look at them as guidelines as how to live life in its fullness. The Ten Commandments were often quoted by Jesus, Paul and other New Testament writers. In fact, Paul said that He did not know what sin was but by the law. Over the next few days we will be exploring the richness and fullness of the Ten Commandments and see how we can practically and prayerfully implement them in our daily lives. Today we start with the first commandment.

You must not have any other god before Me

God, through Moses, graciously led His people out of the land of Egypt and out of slavery fulfilling His covenant to the people of Israel. God knew that the people’s hearts would and could easily forget who He was and what He did for them. So He gave them this commandment so that they would remember Him and the great things He did for them by liberating them from the hands of their oppressors. Sadly, we too can often forget all that God has done for us and forget His position and place in our lives. We too need reminding of who God is and how great He is. Today’s challenge is to search your hearts and ask yourself ‘who is God’? Has my image of God been changed by secularism, corrupted by materialism, or weakened by lies? Have I forgotten the goodness of my God, His favour and blessings, His love and kindness, or His grace and mercy? Let us search our hearts and declare who our God truly is!

My God

His grace is remarkable
Mercies are innumerable
Strength is impenetrable

He is honourable, accountable, and favourable


Unsearchable yet knowable
Indefinable yet approachable
Indescribable yet personal

He is beyond comprehension
Further than imagination
Constant through generations
King of every nation1

1Written by Spoken Word Artist, Isaac Wimberley, http://isaacwimberley.com/all/the-word-lyrics/

The Power Of Worship

29th August

 

And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away.”

1 Samuel 17:23

Did you know that before David had defeated Goliath, he was already serving in the palace as Saul’s armour bearer. In fact, even before serving in the palace, David was anointed to be King of Israel by Samuel. After David was anointed to be King, the Spirit of the Lord came strongly (powerfully) upon him. David was a blessed man. One of his many gifts was his ability to play the harp. Yet when David played the harp, it was more than just music; it was spiritual warfare.

The bible tells us that Saul, after disobeying and rejecting God’s leading, was rejected himself as King of Israel by God. In fact, so much so, that God allowed a spirit of depression and fear to torment Saul. Yet when David played the harp, this spirit would leave Saul and bring him peace. There was a power and anointing in David’s harp playing. The question that remains is can we have that same victory in our worship today? Of course we can. We worship and serve the same God David did. We have the same Spirit living in us. When we worship God, through prayer, through music and through song, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can also begin to experience victory over depression, fear, doubt, addiction and so much more. When we worship in the Spirit, we meet God’s tangible presence. And it is there, victory is won. Let us remember that, when we lift God up in praise!

The Lord Keeps His Children

27th-28th August

Weekend Edition

But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3

God is faithful. He truly is. He has committed and promised Himself to those who follow Him. We, His children, His bride, His church are joined through the covenantal sacrifice that Jesus made. The sacrifice that said, ‘I forgive you’, even if you don’t deserve it; ‘And because I forgive you, You and I are One’. And 100%, all the time, God is faithful to that covenant. He loves us with unconditional love. And it is this love towards us that strengthens us and guards us from the enemy.

It is very interesting that Paul uses the words strengthen and guard in the same sentence. Not only does the Lord protect us or guard us from the evil one, but He also strengthens us to withstand the evil one’s attacks and strengthens us when we fall down. He restores, renews and uplifts us. This is the covenant He has made to us His children. This is how much He loves us. Rejoice this day that God is faithful towards you and to the covenant He made towards you. Rejoice that He strengthens and guards us from the evil in this world. Rejoice that victory is yours in and through Him.

Thank YOU

26th August

All my heart will give thanks to You, Eternal One. I will tell others about Your amazing works”

Psalm 9:1

(The Voice)

More than powerful intercessions for others, more than daily supplications for our needs, thankfulness is what really has the power to transform your prayer life. Throughout the Bible there are countless times through many of the prophets and believers lives where they are going through or about to face hardships and their prayer is this…’Even if…. I praise you and thank you’. It is something so simple yet so often overlooked in our prayer lives. We can list all of our needs, and prayer until we can’t pray anymore, yet forget to thank God for the simple things in our lives; For family and friendships, for our own salvation, for Jesus’ gracious work on the cross, for food on our table, for clothing on our back, for a roof over our head and many more things.

Thankfulness should be the key to our prayer lives. Moreover, we can in faith, thank God already for the requests we do have. Thankfulness can be prophetic too. We can boldly declare, through faith, that what we are praying for will come to pass by thanking God for the answered prayer already.

This morning challenge yourself to spend the first few moments of your day thanking God for your life. You will be surprised how many things God brings to your mind to be thankful for and how many things we can look forward to being thankful for. Thankfulness; an attitude of gratitude for our past, present and future.

Kind Words

25th August

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Proverbs 16:24

Have you ever been in a situation where you are feeling down, discouraged or lonely and someone comes over to you and says something nice to you that completely transforms your day. This is the power of kind words said in love and truth. They are, as the writer of proverbs says, ‘sweet to the soul and healthy for the body’. In fact it has been proven that encouraging and kind words are beneficial for health, for children’s learning and for longer life. Moreover, there are proven cases were a kind word has stopped someone in the very act of suicide. Of course the opposite can be said of un-kind and slanderous words. They can cause more damage than physical violence sometimes.

Friends, as children of God, it is imperative, as Paul says to make sure our conversation are ‘seasoned’ with Godly salt (God-like vocabulary), kind and uplifting words and encouraging statements. Even if you yourself are feeling down, encourage someone else and see the change it makes in your own being. Kind words are truly like honey; They can stop depression, stop negative emotion and stop hateful thoughts. Kind words move in the opposite spirit of negativity, hate and sorrow. Let us challenge ourselves this week to, daily, give a kind word to someone and see the change it makes in them and in you.

He Lives In YOU

24th August

Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”

Ephesians 3:17

The 1994 Disney Film ‘The Lion King’, is famous for its many emotional and powerful ballads. Yet there are only a certain few that made it onto the musical theatre production, one of which is the song ‘He Lives In You’1. The song states that Mufasa (Simba’s father), will always live on in Simba to support and guide him leading the pride. Although this song probably has roots in Animism (as in the gods and ancestors live in everything) there is also a Christian truth to it too. God lives in us, He watches over us and guides our lives.

In fact, it is Christ living in us, according to Paul’s letters to the Colossians, that is the hope of glory. Christ living in us shows the world that salvation is for all. It gives us, who believe, the assurance to boldly share the Good News with others. It is through faith that we believe and accept the message of salvation and it is through our roots in God’s love that we keep strong. Christ, the creator and ruler of the world, live in US. Christ living in us, gives us the comfort to know that He is for us and not against us, that He is willing us on, and that He is always watching and guiding over us. He will never die. He is eternal. And He live in Us.

1He lives in you
He lives in me

He watches over
Everything we see
Into the water
Into the truth
In your reflection
He lives in you
Music and Lyrics by Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Lebo M, 1994; Lion King

Our Mighty God Living Among Us

23rd August

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Zephaniah 3:17

The book of Zephaniah is not an easy read. It contains a lot of ‘judgement’ for the nations who have rebelled against the one true God, Yahweh. It shows that our God is not a God to be mocked. With sin comes judgement. With rebellion comes punishment. Yet as in every book of the Bible, there is always a remedy. The God who lives among His people, Jesus Christ. Although Jesus’ Name is not specifically mentioned, all of Zephaniah’s prophetic words point to Jesus’ coming. Whose name means ‘the Lord saves’? Jesus’, our Mighty Saviour. Whose perfect love casts out all fear? Jesus’ love. Who came to live among us? Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ coming was not just a fulfilment of prophecy for ancient times, but a promise for all of eternity, to save us from our sins, redeem us from the righteous wrath of Almighty God, and set us free from fear of being condemned for our wrong doings. Just as it was with Israel, so it is with us; God never leaves us without a way out of our sins. God is faithful and just, righteous and holy, kind and loving. That same God lives among us, He lives in us. His home is in our hearts. His temple is our bodies.

For I Believe In God!

22nd August

 

..and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in His goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you. So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as He said.”

Acts 27:24-25

Paul, upon appealing to stand trial before Caesar, journeyed to Rome via a prisoner ship to stand before the great Emperor and face Roman judgement for his ‘so called crimes’. His journey proved to be dangerous and very testing due to the tempestuous storms they faced. The storms were so violent that eventually it shipwrecked Paul and all the other 276 crew members who were with him. Yet God had promised Paul, that not one of the people he was with would perish.

Paul, in the midst of the storm, received a word of encouragement and hope from God. Yes it looked like a perilous situation and yes it seemed like a hopeless situation, but God had clearly spoken to Paul about his and the others survivals, even though the ship they were on would be completely destroyed. So he encouraged everyone with the words found in today’s key verse.

What gave Paul the confidence that he would survive? What gave him hope in a hopeless and perilous situation? The answer, the word of the Lord. Friends, we too live in a perilous and hopeless world. We are surrounded by insecurities. We are surrounded by fear and anxiety. Yet just as in Paul’s situation, we are the spokesmen and women of God to bring hope where there is none, and life where there is certain death. We go against the road to destruction and become beacons to show the path to eternal life. If God says, that in Jesus is eternal life, joy, hope and peace, then we need to join with Paul and declare it to all who will hear, ‘don’t jump ship, there is hope! Take courage! For I believe God! I believe there is a way out!’