The God of Our Relationships

Love your neighbor as yourself.

There it is. Pretty simple command. But what does that actually look like? Are we talking feelings and emotions or are there real actions that we need to take? How do I know if I am on the right track?

Have no fear, God has taken care of you quite well. Commandments five through ten give us the application of neighbor love in real-life terminology.

Honor mom and dad.tenCommandmentsWallpaper

Don’t murder.

Don’t commit adultery.

Don’t steal.

Don’t lie about people.

Don’t covet.

It is that simple. Wouldn’t it be an amazing world if we all just obeyed these commandments?

The challenge for us all is that we DON’T obey. That is our whole problem. Kids rebel. People throw off authority in their lives. Not only do murders occur, but people are angered to the point of hate and bitterness. Relationships fall apart. Sexual immorality is rampant. Divorce affects so many. We steal. We take what isn’t ours and justify it. We gossip and tell untruths. And we long to have those things that we just can’t reach, thinking that if we had them we would be satisfied.

What is our problem?

Oh yeah. Sin. That whole garden thing isn’t just a myth, is it? We have come to know the difference between good and evil because we continually experience the evil that we do.

As Christians, we know that the righteousness of Christ clothes us. Even when we fail to love our neighbor, the love Christ has shown for us in his death and resurrection is enough to forgive us and empower us to continue to seek to follow these laws.

This week we will study together how God is the God of our relationships. When he tells us to love our neighbor, he shows us just how to do it. May God grant us wisdom to see where we fall short and grace to repent and trust Christ.

 

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The Loving Lawgiver

 

planet-of-the-apes-net4
Wait…that’s not right.

I bet that when a lot of people think of Moses and the Ten Commandments, visions of Charlton Heston flash through their minds.

May favorite part of that iconic movie is when Heston can finally speak again after his throat injury and belts out the words, “Get your stinking paws off me you dirty ape!” Wait…that was a different Heston classic, wasn’t it?

charlton-heston-as-moses-in-the-ten-commandments
That’s more like it.

We all may be guilty of not being as familiar with the actual giving of the Ten Commandments as we should be. In addition, we are probably not exactly sure how these commandments come into play in our current lives. Aren’t we under grace and not the law?

I hope and pray that these next few weeks will help us learn what the commandments are and how they function in our lives.

Rebellion Against The Redeemer

The Golden Calf.
text-neckJust the phrase evokes all sorts of mental images and reminds of us of all kinds of teachings that we have heard on the idolatry of Israel. We may sometimes feel distant from the impact of this moment in Israel’s history because not many of us bow down to golden statues or wooden idols or stone figurines. However, we do seem to bow our heads regularly to little glowing devices that fit into the palms of our hands, but that is another discussion.

Our Bible study lesson this Sunday is on idolatry. Idol worshipers distort true worship. When our hearts are not fixed firmly upon Jesus we are worshiping something other than God. God gives us desires that are to be used to point us to him. But when these desires turn into demands, idolatry has shown up at your door.

I really like two quotes that were included in the lesson material this week. One was from Augustine, the other from Adrian Rogers.

“Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that is meant to be worshiped.” -Augustine

“Anything you love more, fear more, serve more, or value more than God is your idol.” -Rogers

May we all approach God with humble hearts as we ask him to identify the idols of our hearts.

The Wilderness Test

wpe11611Time for school!

Those words can conjure up any range of emotions and responses depending on who you are and what stage of life you are in. For Israel, their school year lasted 40 years. The wandering through the wilderness pressed important truths into Israel’s psyche and history.

The problem that the Israelites had, though, much like many of our children’s responses to school, was that they grumbled. They took the great opportunity God gave them to learn these indelible truths, and they complained about it all.

In this lesson we are going to try to learn from our predecessors and discover how we can learn the lessons we need to learn while not griping and grumbling at the One who is teaching us.