Nancy Henry – I love sharing the HOPE of JESUS. "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 NLT
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17 NASB1995
How much do you REALLY need? Covetousness is the violation of the first commandment – whether other gods, another’s goods, or restless dissatisfaction with our life. It hides in our hearts: “covet” is repeated for emphasis, and it is comprehensive – it covers everything. Instead of looking at others possessions, we should be thankful that our neighbor has what they have. It’s okay to have desires, but not when it becomes an obsession. “If only…” is one of the most destructive phrases in existence. In Joshua, chapter 7, covetousness cost Achor his life. Paul warns the Corinthians about covetousness:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB1995
Cultivate contentment, not complacency. Be satisfied; subtract ungodly desires, add dependence on Christ. Contentment defined: The learned, divinely empowered ability to be satisfied with the providence of God in any and every circumstance of life. (1 Timothy 6, Hebrews 13:5 Philippians 4:13) Through the Strength of Christ, we can be content. SEE what you have and be thankful.
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:9-15 NASB1995
I have a reallyhard time keeping my mouth shut. (Really????) All my life, I have struggled with listening. I’m going to blame it in part to being ADD (or ADHD) – my brain has a difficult time focusing. Anyway, I listen, but when I hear a point I want to respond to, my mouth immediately starts moving before the person can finish what they are saying. I’m quick to hear, but equally quick to speak. My Dad would say “Think before you speak.” In his first letter to the church, James says to be quick to hear and slow to speak.
“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:19-20, 26-27 NASB1995
“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.“ James 4:1-3, 17 NASB1995
I know that speaking before thinking is wrong. A sin. I’m actually much better now than I was, and I strive to continue to be better at listening first, and hearing what is really being said, rather than reacting to the first thing that hits me. Responding, instead of reacting. As Christians, we need to be able to do that. There are so many conflicts that the enemy is throwing at us and threatening us with. Prayerful responses. I’m talking to me, especially.
LORD, be with me as I struggle to find Your voice instead of my own. I pray for those who read this, and who might struggle as I do to listen and to think before speaking. Help me, help us, as Your children, to promote You rather than us. I love You, LORD, and praise You. Thank You for the life You have given me. In the Name of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, I pray. Your will be done. Amen.
God created us and He knows us. In knowing us, He also knew that we needed guidance and rules – Commandments. Exodus 20:1-17 lists the Ten Commandments as given to Moses. Everyone knows them, but, do we really? They are listed in descending order of importance.The first four are about God. The fifth pertains to our family. The last five are about our community.
Worship only God
No use of God’s Name in cursing
Keep the Sabbath holy
Honor our parents
God is GOD alone. He is not shared. The Bible is clear that He is monotheistic: “In the beginning GOD” – singular. There are no other gods out there, but there are many things that we elevate to that status. We are not to worship, or sacrifice to, or put any of those things in front of God, especially the false god of self. To dislodge any false gods we have to pursue the LORD – the positive counterpoint to the second and third commandments of “do not” or “no” is to love Him first and foremost. In Isaiah 45, five times God says “I am the LORD, there is no other.” Many times in scripture He reinforces that we are to love Him first. If you deny Jesus you deny the Father because He is a Triune God, THE Triune GOD. Look at the positive counterpoint to the “do nots”.
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5 NASB1995
When we put God first, worshipping only Him, it’s easier to keep the remaining nine commandments, but we are often like the Pharisees. We keep busy showing the world how religious and righteous we are. The thing is, no matter how much we love and reverence the LORD, we will break His Commandments. Peter, who was Jesus’ right-hand man, was adamant that he would never forsake his Lord. Hear His response, because Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself. Then read Peter’s reaction, later, after being asked if he knew Jesus.
Then he [Peter] began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. Matthew 26:74 NASB1995
The truth is, we all have broken the Commandments. We have all broken the law. Is there anyone who hasn’t, at some point, said anything derogatory about their parents? Even the smallest thing? Can you honestly say you have never put anything or anyone above God, even for a moment? Have you ever disregarded your sabbath? It doesn’t have to be Sunday (or Saturday), but we do need a day of rest. God did it. Are we better than Him?
As for the rest, murder, adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting, we are all guilty. I certainly am! I haven’t committed the physical act of murder, but I have murdered in my heart. I have committed adultery in my heart. I admit to stealing. If you have even taken so much as a piece of paper or a paperclip, you have stolen. Picked flowers without permission. That’s stealing. Lies. There is no “white” lie. Withholding information is a lie. Being jealous of someone – looks, clothes, wealth, spouse – we are guilty of coveting.
“There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.“ John 1:9-13 NASB1995
There’s good news! Yes, we are all guilty. We have all sinned. God knew it before we did it. God knows it….. and He loves us and forgives us anyway. Jesus left heaven and came to earth, knowing that He would be put to death in the cruelest imaginable way. He did it to cleanse our sins with His blood. I don’t understand it. I can’t explain it. But I know it, and I am forgiven. Inexplicably, unimaginably, gloriously forgiven.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name,“ John 1:1, 3-5, 12 NASB1995
My power? What power? I don’t have any. I used to think that I could make things happen, and change my world to suit the way I wanted things. Do you think that you have gotten to where you are through your own effort and power?
“Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Deuteronomy 8:17-18 NASB1995
I was very busy making my circumstances conform to what I wanted, so much so that I alienated my family. Does your family support you in your power? We weren’t at the point of feuding, but my actions were enough to create a gulf between us. I wasn’t concerned about God’s will, only mine. In my journey through life, I’ve come across several families separated like mine, but there were a few who were feuding, and it tore them apart. I didn’t want that for my family.
He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. …. Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” Luke 11:17, 23 NLT
Finally, I came across a church with people who could see me, and who helped me to see how my destructive behavior was harmful to me, and to my family. Did my younger sisters and brother see me, and use my behavior as a reason for their own rebellion? I don’t know the answer to that, but I know that my behavior harmed our relationships. I wasn’t working for the LORD. I was working for me, for my heart, and it didn’t work out too well for me.
How is your heart? Are you in control of your life? Is the power in your hands, or have you relinquished it to God? He loves us, and He only wants the best for us. So why are so many people in bad situations? There are consequences for our actions. Sometimes they are immediate, but sometimes they are delayed. I am dealing with the consequences of my actions from years ago, and they will stay with me until I die. Often, we get to deal with the consequences of our parents, grandparents, and so on. All of humanity has to live with the decision, the exercise of their free will, of Adam and Eve. Sin was introduced in the Garden, and runs rampant throughout the world today.
God gave us the solution when Jesus, His only Son, came to earth to have His Blood cover us and cleanse us. I need that cleansing, and I have received it. Does that mean I’m now perfect and my life will be filled with rainbows and butterflies from now on? No, I am forgiven, but I still have those consequences for my actions.
From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Matthew 16:21-23 NLT
Are you looking at life like Peter was? I know that for the majority of my life, that’s how I’ve seen and done things. Strictly a human view, and not waiting for God’s view. Too impatient. I still find it difficult to slow down enough in my thoughts to consider what God would think or want. Who’s in charge of your life? If you consider yourself a Christian, like I do, a follower of Jesus Christ, should we be saying “Get away from me, satan!”?
What are you facing today that you need to pray about and wait for God’s leading? Where are you looking at things from the human view, from our human feelings, instead of leaning on the LORD? When do you need to say, “Get away from me, satan!”?
All for one. One race, the human race. Ordained by God, the Creator. He created Adam, then he created Eve, and he told them to go and procreate and populate the earth.
Because of Adam and Eve’s bad decision, human kind were banished from the garden and placed in the world ruled by the enemy. Not because God wanted us gone from the garden and His Presence, but because man chose to separate himself from it. That hurt God, and we have continued to hurt Him with our bad decisions ever since. But the ALMIGHTY God wasn’t going to let us, His finest creatures, created in His likeness, to be destroyed by the enemy. He sent His Son, His own being, to earth to atone for our sins. ONE for ALL; once for all.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NASB1995
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” … For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.” Psalms 91:1-2, 11-12 NASB1995
Who do you rely on? Who do you trust? I mean really trust? There are a few people in my life whom I trust, but there is a caveat. As much as I love them and trust them, I recognize that in spite of that love and trust, they will put their wellbeing over mine. That’s okay, too. They are human. Their immediate families should be their focus. I don’t expect them to put themselves into harm’s ways to protect me. I love them in spite of that, and I don’t judge them for it. There is one upon whom I know I can always trust, always lean on, and always depend on. His name is Jesus. Name above all names.
Do you know Him?
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.“ Romans 5:8 NASB1995
He doesn’t require anything from us. He offers us a gift. A gift that is without obligation, at no cost to us. We use our own free will to either accept it or reject it. There is no in between; no place for indecision. He is reaching out to you. Will you take His hand and accept Him?
It’s your responsibility to lead yourself well by knowing exactly what you’re good at, what bothers others about you, and what your blindspots are. So ask someone today:
1) What am I good at?
2) What is holding me back?
3) What are the blind spots in my life?
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalms 139:23-24 NASB1995
What am I doing to add value to my family, my team at work, my friendships?
Jesus said to the disciples “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:13-17 NASB1995
If you are are a Christian, you know that Jesus is God. As God, He is immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible. As man, He is subject to everything that we feel and experience. He felt the weight of responsibility to obey and satisfy His earthly parents just as we do. His ministry was a huge responsibility, to teach His followers the Truth. He experienced hunger and thirst. He got hot, and cold, and was physically uncomfortable. He knew His “job”, and didn’t shirk from it. He spent hours in prayer with the Father, leaning on His relationship with Him to clarify what to say, where to go, what to do. He knew what He was good at, and He wasn’t above doing the lowest jobs. (Think: washing feet) I think He talked to His disciples and listened if they had any criticisms about Him. I don’t think Jesus had any blindspots like we do, and even though we know that He was perfect, He still suffered.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 NASB1995
The bottom line is this. When you are struggling with these questions of what am I doing, what am I good at, what is holding me back, and what are my blind spots, take council from someone who will honestly help you, and pray. Jesus has experienced everything we have, plus more. He has the answers!