“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.” (Exodus 20:7) A most interesting truth to be talking about at Christmastime, but still a much needed one for us to ponder.
Misuse doesn’t mean to turn God into a cuss word, but to commit evil in the name of God. “When an irreligious person commits evil, it doesn’t bring God into disrepute. But when a religious person commits evil in the name of God he destroys the greatest hope for goodness on earth – belief in a God. [Thus,] they are doing terrible damage to the name of God.”
Some people have stopped looking for a relationship with God because of what has been done in His name – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc. – no one has a particular corner on the market when it comes to doing evil in the name of Christ and/or God. Because of that fact, Exodus 20:7 shows this to be the only Commandment with a negative side-effect attached to it. Pretty heady stuff!
This Christmas, who are people seeing in our lives? One of the names given to Jesus in the Tanach (Isaiah 7:14) and at His birth is Immanuel (Matthew 1:23), which means “God with us.” As believers in Jesus, God is with us every where we go, including all the preparations we make for Christmas day from shopping and spending to cleaning and celebrating. This Christmas season what Jesus are people seeing with you?
Let your shine in both your actions and words because you’ve been letting Him rid of your drugs of choice so He can truly be the Prince of Peace in your life.
S“E”t Free Nowww
“The brave may not live forever, but the cautious never live at all.” Change takes bravery – the ability to see past what is normally and routinely felt to risk experiencing the joy that freedom brings. Mind you, it is a risk as you don’t know what freedom will feel like.
Imagine the brave steps Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi took on their road to experiencing something that was far beyond any of their wildest dreams. Yet, they took those steps and were changed forever.
This Christmas season be brave. Be strong. Listen to and follow Jesus in new ways of thinking and living as it’s worth the risk – a life changed forever!
Set Free Now“W”w
Wisdom dictates that you stand behind your shield, not in front. It’s also wise to have your shield up rather than down. These might be “duh” statements, but here is the reality. How often do you go throughout your day with your shield down at best and in back at worst?
Here’s something to think about. Have you listened to Jesus in the Word today? If not, your shield is down. Have you committed to memory what He either told, pointed out or challenged you with? If not, your shield is behind you. If both are true, your enemy’s lies have carte blanche to hit you square between the eyes; and to be blunt, you have no one to blame but yourself when you face defeat.
Correct this dangerous situation! Stop what you’re doing. If you’re in a place to read and listen to the Word, do it. If not, still ask Jesus to bring to your mind the specific truths you’ll need to defeat the lies your enemy will shoot at you today. When you do, at least you’ve given yourself a fighting chance for victory as your shield is now in front. It’s up to you in the power of the Spirit to hold it up throughout your day.
You know the enemy will attack. It’s in his nature to do so. Therefore, protect yourself! Put specific lie fighting truths into your brain and then keep thinking on those truths throughout your day. This is a winning battle strategy. Shield up and in front.
Set Free Now“W”w
“Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem.” (John 10:22) This Feast is now called Chanukah. Today is when the third of eight candles will be lit after sundown. In this passage, Jesus is celebrating this Feast, which contains a wonderful lesson for all of us.
In 167 BC, a Jewish priest led a revolt against the world’s super power at the time. Why? Political freedom? Nope. Religious freedom? Wrong again. It was a revolt to stop the compromising in order to walk with the Lord according to Scripture. Society was putting tremendous pressure on the Jewish people to stop living God’s way. A number had become Hellenized, meaning they started living like the world through one compromise after another. Some stopped circumcising their children. Others went so far as to reverse their circumcision; especially athletes, who at times competed in the nude.
This pressure culminated in the government putting an obscene idol in the Jerusalem Temple – a final compromise that couldn’t be tolerated. The government overstepped itself. A revolt ensued and a miracle happened, which had nothing to do with the Menorah lighting. It was that these men listened to their God and followed Him regardless of the pressure to do otherwise. No one was going to tell them how to live, but God Himself. God used this tiny band of Jewish soldiers to defeat the world’s super power! Historians still speak of this awesome undertaking.
This is the historical background and the context of Jesus’ statement in John 10:27. Jesus performed miracles right before the very eyes, much like what they were celebrating at that very moment; and, they still refused to believe in Him. He went on to say, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” Despite the pressure, you don’t follow what any government, culture, family or friends say if it doesn’t match with Scripture. Your senses will get poked and prodded to make a compromise here, another one there, until there are no compromises left to be made. You either listen to Jesus or you don’t, which is your choice. You can’t enjoy all that He has to give you if you want to fit in with those around you.
Government may take our rights away. They may infringe on our religious freedoms. They cannot, I repeat cannot stop us from listening to and following Jesus!
If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you are His sheep and He knows you! How cool is that, right? Who are you listening to this Chanukah and Christmas season? One leads to your drugs of choice and failure, while the other leads to the sweat taste and celebration of victory. God is in the miracle business of changing lives. Keep listening to and following Him, and Him alone, and your life will be changed!
“S”et Free Nowww
My enemy’s been poking a finger into a healing wound of mine lately. And it’s been cool to experience God’s Word fight him off.
I had a dream last night about someone taking my measurement by placing my back against a wall and then drawing a line where the top of my head reached. You’ve probably had this done as a kid or did it with your kids. This person then proceeded to tell me that I didn’t measure up and was lacking whatever was needed to succeed. Poke. I wasn’t good enough and didn’t have the right stuff to accomplish anything of value. Poke.
Dreams as well as every day experiences must be filtered through God’s Word. I just smiled when I woke up this morning. I know who and whose I am – a secure child of God. And I used specific lie fighting truths from where I just “happened” to be in my BIG reading this week – Isaiah.
The LORD said to Israel, “I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13-14)
God calls Israel a worm and little! Can’t get much lower than a worm! And, talk about not measuring up? Yet, it isn’t about the measurement of the person, but the size of God inside the person! I don’t have to measure up to what others think of me. Jesus takes me by the hand and will accomplish His will for my life (Ps. 57:2; Eph. 2:10). Armed with that truth, what did I have to be stressed over? My adversary’s poke simply hit my shield of faith and fell harmlessly to the ground leaving me smiling.
Want a smile? Be in the Word listening to Jesus give you the specific lie fighting, joy enhancing truths you’ll need to fight off your enemy’s pokes. Let me tell you something. Victory based smiling feels a whole lot better than defeated sadness.
“S”et Free Nowww