Character Qualities

Commands of Christ

Basic Life Principles

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” I John 4:7–11.
As human beings, we tend to love what is lovely. Conditional in nature, our natural love is based upon the worth of the object of our love. But God’s love is unconditional. It is eternal. It is unmerited. Thus, God is able to love the unlovely, the despised, the vile, the outcast, and every single one of us who are sinners.
We are all prone to think of our “neighbor” in the comfortable circle of those whom we already love. It is easy to define neighbor to include our close friends at church, the next-door neighbor who watches over our house when we are away, the coworker who shares our viewpoints, and the people with whom we enjoy socializing. But what about the family on the other side of the street with the barking dog? What about the coworker who is continually gossiping about other coworkers? What about the one person who always seems to ask the wrong question at the wrong time? What about people from a different cultural background than ours? Are these our “neighbors” too?
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). How many times have you heard this familiar, beloved verse? It has been used in a variety of ways. Christian business leaders have used it to encourage their employees to do their best. Christian politicians have quoted this verse to announce hope for the future. Christian military officers have referenced it on the eve of battle, encouraging the soldiers under their command that Christ gives strength for the victory. It has even been used by Christian volleyball teams as a pep cheer before a game!
In every circumstance, Elisha was content with God’s provision and protection. According to II Kings Chapter 6, on one occasion while Elisha and his servant were in the village of Dothan, an entire army was dispatched with the express purpose of capturing Elisha. The man of God remained perfectly calm and content in the midst of almost certain capture.
In today’s modern culture, we are bombarded with advertising. Christians who do not have a proper defense against covetousness can easily fall prey to impulsive spending. The opposite of covetousness is contentment. A contented man is a grateful man who has learned to rest in what God has provided for him, regardless of what God may have granted to others.
Before COVID-19, a person could not enter a bank with a mask on. The simple reason? Masks were not normally allowed in banks because a robber often used a mask to disguise his true identity. The eighth commandment states, “Thou shalt not steal.” In our study of the eighth commandment, we have been on guard against the dangers within our own hearts of robbing God or others. In this final article covering this particular commandment, we will consider not stealing from the perspective of guarding our own genuine treasures from the disguised, subtle robbers that abound, looking to steal and destroy from us.
We often hear the claim that the Pilgrims stole land, resources, and crops from the Indians. Plenty of scholars promote this view who see all European settlers as robbers and all North American natives as victims. However, there are plenty of scholars who vigorously deny all wrongdoing on the part of the Pilgrims and paint all Indians as bloodthirsty savages who killed and plundered, and needed to be placed in subjugation. Before any hasty or emotional judgment on the question of relations between European settlers, known commonly as “Pilgrims,” and native inhabitants of Cape Cod, known commonly as “Indians,” it is important to view the settlement question in the light of a broader, historical view.
We have become so accustomed to price tags that we take them for granted. But one hundred fifty years ago, price tags were rarely used in most stores in America. Merchants and consumers were accustomed to the system of barter and trade. If a merchant thought that he could sell you a good axe for ten dollars, why would he let a customer buy one for only seven dollars? Merchants intentionally did not show their customers a fixed price. But this system led to much corruption, and many people were taken advantage of over the years through unscrupulous and greedy “negotiations.”
Tithing was not intended to be a burden; rather, it was to be a blessing. Our giving back to God a part of what He has bestowed upon us is an acknowledgement of our relationship and dependence upon Him, the God of Heaven. He provides us with what we need to live. We, in turn, worship Him and support His Kingdom by the regular and cheerful giving of our tithes and offerings.
One of the most astonishing series of promises ever given from God to man were bestowed to Abraham. When the Lord called Abraham to leave his home in Ur of the Chaldees, God promised him: “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2–3).
If we were to visit the streets of any major city in England at the turn of the nineteenth century, we would be witness to a sad and pitiable sight. Roving bands of orphaned children begged and stole their way through life. Often they were dressed in rags, with little to wear and nothing to eat. One German-born pastor and his wife could not simply pass by while orphans died by the hundreds in the streets.
God wants each believer to grow in his knowledge of Him and in his understanding of His ways. He will use situations and circumstances to reveal His love for us and our need for Him. God will use disappointments, hindrances, and what seem to be “dead ends” or hopeless situations in life to motivate us to look to Him for His strength and timing for fulfilling a vision. As we wait on Him, God often works in ways that we never would have expected.
The Biblical principle of ownership involves recognizing that all that we have or will have ultimately belongs to God, and that He has entrusted us with these resources and responsibilities to steward for His glory.
The second commandment calls our attention from the graven images and man-made gods of earth to the invisible Creator in Heaven. In a similar manner, Paul’s exhortation urges us to look away from the things of earth that distract us and to look upward to the throne of God, where Christ is seated. Rather than looking at what we see with our physical eyes, the Lord is calling us to look with eyes of faith and see that the Lord Jesus Christ is central to all of life.
Throughout Israel’s history, Jehovah warned the Israelites against trying to repurpose pagan images and holy places. When Moses destroyed the golden calf, he did not melt it down to repurpose the gold for the altar of incense, the golden menorah, or the golden mercy seat that God had commanded him to make.
From the moment he entered the world, Jacob was a man of intense ambition. Jacob had obtained outward prosperity but at tremendous cost. Broken relationships, strained marriages, immorality, and divided affections resulted due to the path that Jacob had chosen: divided loyalty between the Lord God and his own choices.
Few people knew that William Borden was a millionaire. As the manager of much wealth, he still chose to dress nicely but simply. Meanwhile, he quietly wrote checks to Bible societies and mission works that amounted to thousands of dollars, but his gifts were always given in secret.
In order to fulfill the direction of God the Father, Jesus yielded His right to wealth, to a good reputation, to be served, to enjoy physical comforts, and to make His own decisions. As we surrender ourselves to the Father, He will form these characteristics of His Son in us as well.
The soloist’s voice filled the huge canopy. He possessed a rare, magnificent talent that moved his listeners to tears. Mr. William Kirkpatrick, the tent revival’s songleader, appreciated the man’s skillful vocal presentation. Yet he was burdened for the soloist’s soul. Every evening after presenting the special music, the man would leave, not remaining to hear the evangelistic messages. Mr. Kirkpatrick’s concern for the soloist’s salvation was so great that he began praying and asking the Lord to give him a song with words that would touch the singer’s heart! The soloist was so gifted—how much more glorious if he could sing about God from his heart? Mr. Kirkpatrick continued to petition God for this man’s life. While praying for the soloist, words suddenly came to Mr. Kirkpatrick. Eagerly, the songleader wrote this refrain: Coming home, coming home,Nevermore to roam.Open wide Thine arms of love,Lord, I’m coming home. Following those inspired words, more quickly came. Mr. Kirkpatrick swiftly jotted down verse after verse. Finally pausing, he saw he had written four stanzas! Thrilled with God’s answer to prayer, he quickly concluded writing the new hymn for the soloist to sing. That evening, how fervently Mr. Kirkpatrick must have prayed as the […]