Character Qualities

Commands of Christ

Basic Life Principles

On July 8, 1741, a visiting minister from Northampton, Massachusetts, was scheduled to preach in a Connecticut village church. While not particularly famous or popular, he was known to be an honest servant of the Lord who relied upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
Evening was coming, bringing an end to a grueling, tragic day. The man was one of the religious leaders of the Jewish nation, a member of their ruling Council. He was wealthy and respected, but he had been unable to prevent the others from condemning an innocent man to death.
Often studies of the attributes of God focus mostly upon God the Father. But it is very important to recognize that the other two persons of the Godhead—God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—share equally in every attribute of God the Father. Last month, we examined that the Son of God is fully eternal, an essential attribute we must recognize.
Florence was a center of art and culture. Here lived Michelangelo and other famous artists of the Renaissance. The powerful Medici family ruled this opulent city, and their palace was stunningly adorned with all that money could buy. Silks, jewels, paintings, art, theater, and literature made this one of the preeminent cities in all of Europe. Into this city Savonarola had arrived in the plain black robe of a Dominican friar.
Can we say with confidence that Christianity is true and that all other religions are false? Our society today professes that such a view is extremely bigoted and fanatically arrogant. The social elite assure us that there are “many ways to God” and that different religions across the world are all different cultural manifestations of the same inner quest of man for the divine—that all religions are merely different paths to the same goal.
We live in a day of many uncertainties. In fact, our modern culture denies the reality of certainty altogether. In the thinking of many people, there are no absolutes. Uncertainty exists as to whether anything can be considered right or wrong. Truth is relative to these people, and they consider that what is true to you may or may not be true for someone else. Our modern society cannot even define male and female. This confusion is a symptom of a relativistic culture where the foundation of absolute truth is removed. In our generation, evil is called good, and good is called evil.
You love your children! You want them to be the best person possible and to bring glory to God. But sometimes your children’s actions, decisions, or even mannerisms can be so exasperating! How can you encourage your children in a way that will build them up and also please the Lord?
The final days and hours of a year are a good time to honestly evaluate our own hearts and lives. Have you loved your brother as you ought? Is there a brother in Christ against whom you are holding a grudge? Have you offended anyone and failed to ask forgiveness and seek restoration? If so, take the step of humility and restore. Do this before a new year dawns!
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?
According to God’s Word, “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with our God by faith is at the heart of true religion in both the Old and New Testaments. In our own day, there is an abundance of every sort of religion. But God is still looking for men whose religion springs from a faithful heart and is expressed by obedient hands. God is looking for men who will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. Will you be such a man?
We live in a day of rampant selfishness. Politicians are suspected of advancing their own interests for political power. Union labor strikes demonstrate distrust between employers and employees. Wars, crime, and acts of terrorism are daily reminders that we are living in a world where men and women do not love their neighbors. In contrast to the selfish culture in which we live, as God’s children we are commanded to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Could it be that faithful believers who are serving the Lord, doing good works, boldly proclaiming the truth, and standing firmly against error and compromise are actually neglecting their chief priority? Is it possible that in loving our churches, our families, and our communities, we may be neglecting to cultivate a love for the Lord Himself?
What is your focus: enjoying temporal pleasures here in this world or laying up treasures in Heaven? Is the Kingdom of God your pursuit over every other pursuit? Obedience from the heart is not legalism. True obedience is love in action.
In Matthew 22:37–38, our Lord Jesus referred to Deuteronomy 6:4–5 as the “first and great commandment” in the Law. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
For all his failures, David still obeyed the greatest commandment in the Law: he loved the LORD his God with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might.
Are our works motivated by the love of God that we have received and experienced, or are we doing good deeds from a sense of religious obligation in an attempt to earn God’s favor? The latter is iniquity; the former is a manifestation of knowing Jesus and His love.
The ninth commandment says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). As noted previously, this commandment is about far more than a prohibition against lying. It not only calls us to cease from lying, but the commandment calls us to a positive affirmation of walking in the light, speaking the truth, and presenting a Godly testimony to a skeptical world.
A captivating “read-aloud” nature story introduces the character quality of Virtue, followed by a story from the pages of Scripture! Character Sketches is designed to be a tool that fathers can use to teach their children basic concepts of Scripture that are also illustrated in the world of nature.
Homes, churches, and businesses suffer when lazy and selfish men take advantage of others. The Apostle Paul directly addressed the eighth commandment in the fourth chapter of his epistle to the Ephesians. In verse 28, Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
Tax collectors were despised by patriotic Jews in the first century. Tax collectors, or “publicans,” were viewed as collaborators with Roman tyrants at best, and merciless parasites or outright thieves at worst!