How does lasting change happen in our lives? We would love an “instant fix.” We would love God to snap His fingers and make us permanently free from temptation and sin. But God has a method that He has chosen whereby He works the ...
How does lasting change happen in our lives? We would love an “instant fix.” We would love God to snap His fingers and make us permanently free from temptation and sin. But God has a method that He has chosen whereby He works the life of His Son in us. That method is called process.
Without realizing it, we place our confidence in our ability to perform. With this mindset comes a drive to make our flesh better. We must realize that this attempt is futile—we can never make ourselves good enough!
When we keep—that is, observe, remember, and apply—the commands of Jesus Christ, Scripture explains that we not only demonstrate our sincere love for the Lord, but we also receive many rewards. Praise God that He does not just give us these commands, but He also does them in and through us!
When a person receives Christ as his Savior, he experiences the delight of “first love” for the Lord. God’s Spirit witnesses with his spirit that he is a child of God, and this newfound relationship brings great wonder, joy, and freedom.
We are created in God’s image, designed to reflect His character, so He is seen, enjoyed, and honored through us and in us. Consistent, lasting character comes from a changed heart, and a changed heart starts with becoming a new creation in Christ.
The Pharisees criticized the Lord Jesus over the proper observation of the Sabbath Day. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all give an account of two particularly dramatic events that took place on the Sabbath during the early days of Christ’s Galilean ministry and raised a storm of controversy. By calling Himself the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus was affirming that He was the Creator of the universe and the One Who instituted the day of rest.
When we understand the heart of the matter, the Sabbath Day is not a burden but a blessing! We can willingly lay aside our own ways when we are seeking God’s ways. As we learn to take pleasure in fellowship with God, we can more easily lay aside the lesser pleasures of this world. Filled with God’s Word, our own words no longer seem as important.
This week, we will turn to the positive application of this commandment. Elijah introduced himself to King Ahab with these words, “As the LORD God of Israel liveth” (I Kings 17:1). Speaking the name of the Lord in this manner was certainly not taking it in vain. In fact, the Hebrew form clearly indicates that Elijah was actually swearing “by the life of Jehovah.”
Have you ever wondered why many of the Ten Commandments sound so negative? Of the ten commands given, eight of them begin with the words “Thou shalt not.” This supposed negativity of the Law is actually a mark of profound gracious liberty. When we are commanded “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain,” there is a gracious liberty granted to use God’s name in every other lawful way.
On the surface, the second commandment seems old and antiquated. But it addresses far more than carved statues of wood and stone. The second commandment stands guard over the first commandment and flows naturally from it. Like a carefully constructed bridge, each one of the Ten Commandments strengthens and supports the entire structure.
From His encounter with Satan, Christ reveals how the first commandment can be applied in our own lives, quoting Deuteronomy 6:13: “Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
700 years after this commandment was given, the children of Israel had drifted into apostasy and idolatry. To a wayward nation stumbling toward darkness and destruction, the prophet Isaiah gave an invitation of light and hope: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22).
That time had come. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was on the throne. Throughout the Empire, Christianity was spreading at an astonishing rate. In spite of fire, sword, and beastly fury, Roman officers and even high government officials were being converted from paganism to serve the true and living God of Heaven.