The Ten Commandments: Number Eight & Ten

7th September

Appreciate what you have

You must not steal… you must not covet your neighbour’s house. You must not covet your neighbour’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbour.”

Exodus 20:15, 17

Don’t steal, Don’t be jealous

Today, as we take on the last two commandments given to Moses, we again address a heart issue in the topic of stealing, and ultimately of jealousy. Stealing is the consequence of coveting, lusting after or being jealous of what you don’t have and of what someone else does have. Coveting insinuates that you lack what others have. Yet what stealing and coveting really are, is a lie from the enemy. The enemy says ‘you don’t have’ or that ‘you lack’, but that is a clear contradiction from what the Bible says about us. Did not Jesus promise to look after us? Did He not say that we are more valuable than the birds of the air that He feeds? Did He not say that He already knows what we need before we even ask? Did He not promise to protect and provide for us? These are God’s promises!!

Stealing and coveting is in direct conflict with the truth; the truth that we are sons and daughters of the Most High God. That means that our Heavenly Father is God; Yes, the same God who created the world and everything in it, is our Heavenly Father. He has promised to never leave or forsake us. He has promised to shower us with every good blessing. He is a good God. We lack for nothing. That is not to say that God will give us whatever we want even, if it is not good for us. No, He gives us what we need. It is from His unlimited storehouse of goodness that He satisfies and meets all of our needs. All that we have is from God. That is where our contentment and thanksgiving should be found. That leads us in the opposite spirit of stealing and coveting.

Friends, as you try to work out these guidelines in your lives, know that God is your supporter. He wrote these to prosper you, to protect you and to share His heart with you, not to condemn you. Moreover, it is His grace and Holy Spirit in you, that will give you the strength to follow His guidelines into righteous and holy living.

The Ten Commandments: Number Nine

6th September

Calling to uplift and not knock down

You must not testify falsely against you neighbour.”

Exodus 20:16

Don’t lie

Lies are cruel and nasty things. They are, as Jesus said, the ‘native language of the enemy’. They’re destructive, can ruin people’s lives and breed so much hatred and bitterness. The root of this commandment was falsely accusing someone of something in a legal context, so as to condemn an innocent person for gain. Sadly the same things are happening thousands of years after God first gave this commandment to Moses. It even happened when Jesus was on trial. The Pharisees tried to “find witnesses to lie about Jesus, so they could put Him to death” (Matthew 26:59), which of course was their aim all along.

As believers, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to act and live in the opposite spirit. Instead of falsely accusing someone, or breeding lies about something, we are instead called to speak life and truth. We are called to “encourage each other and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11a). Paul again challenges the New Testament believers in Romans 14:19 to live in “harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” Living in the opposite spirit of lies, means that we practically and actively live to thwart the work of lies and replace the lies with truth. We live to extinguish the consequences of lies by showering people with truth. encouragement, grace and love. We live to BUILD EACH OTHER UP not to destroy people and crush them with lies.

Today, as you got about your day, find someone and tell them something encouraging about them. Build them up in truth and grace. Let us act in the opposite spirit of lies and falsehood. Let us practically and actively live to build each other up.

The Ten Commandments: Number Six and Seven

5th September

The problem starts in your mind

You must not murder. You must not commit adultery.”

Exodus 20:13-14

Jesus said the following words in His sermon on the Mount to His disciples. He said, “you have heard the commandment that says, ‘you must not commit adultery’. But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust had already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Although these are deep and challenging words for a Monday morning and the start of a new week, they are also a timely reminder to first of all, guard our eyes but also our hearts and our minds. Just like committing adultery with our thoughts, murder too has a starting point, which Jesus refers to as anger just a few verses before in His sermon on the Mount.

You see, all sin has a starting point. Very rarely do you just sin without a premeditated course of action before hand. Look at David for example, when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. He saw her bathing from his throne room, allowed his thoughts to get carried away and took action. It is the same with murder. It you don’t deal with the anger you have towards someone, it can eventually escalate to so much more. This is why Jesus highlighted that guarding our thought life is essential in our journey in purity and holiness.

As we start a new week, let us ask God once more to purify our hearts, clean our minds and lead us away from temptation. Let us put on the helmet of Salvation and the belt of truth to recognise the enemy’s lies and walk in the truth of Jesus.

Lord, would you help us to set our minds on Heavenly things.

The Ten Commandments: Number Five

3rd – 4th September

Weekend Edition

The blessings of parents

Honour your father and mother. The you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Exodus 20:12

Honour you father and mother

For some, commandment number five makes hard reading. Perhaps your parents have been abusive, exasperating or even not around in your life. Maybe you ask yourself the question ‘how can I honour my parents when…..’. Well firstly, there is hope. If you are a child of God, then know that your heavenly Father only has good for you, only has plans to prosper you and not to harm you (Jeremiah 29:11). The Psalmist also says of God, that He is the Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). He is a good Father and He loves us, His children unconditionally. If you have had a bad or painful experience with your earthly parents, know that your Heavenly Father, is going to restore your hurts and pains. He only has good for you and will lovingly and gently restore and heal you.

Parenting is a hard job. The responsibility to bring someone into this world, raise them, care for them, teach them moral values, provide for them, give them an education, food on their table and a roof over their head, is an enormous task. It is for this reason that God saw it fit to include ‘honouring your parents’ in the guidelines for healthy and spiritual living. Honouring your parents, although it may be hard to do sometimes, is a healthy and spiritual discipline. Paul, in Ephesians 6:1 also alludes to this and says, “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.” In addition, this is the only commandment with a promise of blessing attached to it. Even Jesus, hanging on the cross, made sure that when He had died, His mother would be taken care of. Moreover, it is God that gives us the grace to honour our parents, accept them for who they are (faults and all), and love them with the same love that God loves us with.

There is a huge blessing in honouring our parents. As you work out how this looks in your own life, may you find God’s strength, healing, grace and empowerment to honour them as part of your daily spiritual disciplines.

The Ten Commandments: Number Four

2nd September

Sabbath Day Principle

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. . . . ”

Exodus 20:8-10a

Keep the Sabbath day holy

What is the ‘Sabbath day’ and how can we keep it holy? Well, Biblically or according to Jewish law, the Sabbath was and is commonly know to be held on a Saturday. It literally implies, as per the law given to Moses, that no-one should do any work or labour on the Sabbath, including livestock, servants and even foreigners living among Jewish people (read the rest of verse 10). This principle originated when God created the world. He made the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. Of course God in His supreme nature does not need rest, but rather He was demonstrating the spiritual discipline of setting time aside for rest and communion with God.

Yet how can we make time in such a busy world to take a Sabbath day? Did Jesus? Jesus often had many conflicts with the over-zealous and religious Pharisees as to what a ‘Sabbath’ looked like. Jesus was often condemned for doing miracles on the Sabbath day, which would have been classed as ‘work’. Yet Jesus’ actions were demonstrating a principle rather than a black and white rule. Of course Jesus did not come to break or change the law but to fulfil it; in other words, show us how we can practically live out God’s guidelines in our lives. What Jesus did do, was to regularly separate Himself from His disciples and from the crowds and carve out time that He and the Father could commune and He could rest in the Spirit.

Friends, if Jesus knew that taking time out to be still and rest in God was important and necessary, then how much more should we make it a discipline in our lives. A challenge for us all is to implement a ‘Sabbath day principle’ into our daily lives, to carve out time to rest and refresh in God and to make it regular. Let’s not get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget to make time for Jesus.

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 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,