and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Backwards Through the Ten Commandments- #2

       In the mid eighties I had a girlfriend that was in a long distance relationship with a boy in another town.  At some point, I remember her telling me she was weirded out: he had made a statue of her and proceeded to worship it.  We may think this commandment is one North Americans don’t really practice, but I strongly disagree.

2. You shall not make to yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Ex. 20:4 (pesel- carved idol)

       In my mind, addictions are idols, images we carve out in our lives to give our attention, time, affection, finances, in excessive (thus sinful) attachment.  (Anything which takes over God’s place of importance in our hearts.)  Many of the idols of today are based in technology: tv, computers, social media, video games, cell phones, tablets, etc.  In work places, church pews, at dinner tables, at school, while watching tv, doing homework, and even in beds at night, devices never seem to be turned off.  One kid I know used her device three times a minute for most of her waking, non working hours.

       Addiction is characterized by an inability to abstain from something that may cause, "Impairment in behavioral control or cravings" plus may cause significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships.  Addictions affect your day to day life and the lives of those around you.  If you want to know if it’s an addiction, go completely without for one week.  Can you do it?  Can you even go one day without?  How agitated are you without it?

Here are some things we could have as idols today:

     Tv, movies, stars, singers, music…
     Internet, computer/ video games, Facebook, 
     Devices: cell phones, tablets, game systems,
     Cars, houses, money, clothes, shoes, decorations…
     Our appearance, clothes, shoes, working out…
     Drugs, alcohol, smoking, money, gambling…
     Food, junk food, coffee, tea, chocolate, chips…
     Work, parties, position or power…
     Sex, pornography, sexual fantasy, self pleasure…
     Reading, sports, jogging, shopping, eating…
     Ourselves, our spouse, children, friends…
     As Christians we can hold different idols such as:
     Pastors or teachers, the local church…
     Bible studies, a way of doing things, specific group…

       Remember when thinking about this one, it can be anything in excess that takes the place of importance due to God Almighty and interferes with our relationship with others. 

Nor should we be idolaters, even as some of them, as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 1Cr. 10:7
Therefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. v.14

Commandment # 2 – broken often, daily

Friday, March 14, 2014

Today is my birthday…

       Sorry to break with the series, but there are some things I’m thinking about today on this, my 47th birthday (wait, lemme think… yep, 47’s right!).  They say you shouldn’t ask a woman her age, but quite frankly, I’m pleased to still be here and breathing 47 years later.  My life started out in jeopardy:  according to my Mom (first hand report obviously) I arrived, flying out of her quickly and the student nurse barely caught me before I hit the ground, and just before the doctor walked in after his lunch.

For the nurse who caught me (I hope you read this some day)- thank you very, very much!

       I rode my bicycle throughout my teen years, daily to high school, on higher speed roads with trucks and sometimes 60km then back in a day- all by myself.  My parents never stopped me (once they knew) but I did find out they worried.  Of course I was only run off the road a couple times…  As a fifteen year old there was a failed suicide attempt, while later that year I spun out on black ice and headed straight off a bridge.  By then I was saved, and cried out ‘Jesus’.  The next thing I knew, I was down the road a bit headed straight again.

       While surviving all these things was essential, the biggest miracles in my life were the changes inside of me- in my mind, my heart and my spirit throughout the years as I struggled in trial after overwhelming trial.  Many think I am a good teacher, but I think I’m a very poor student because it took A LOT of trials to change my stubborn heart to genuine faith in God.  Yet through it all, through every awful trial I stand here, alive and present in this moment, grateful for EVERY painful step and overwhelming pressure that brought me to THIS incredible (almost unbelievable) place with God in my life.

My being here and alive after 47 years is a miracle!

       But God is good.  God is great.  And He is ever so patient with us even when we are outright jerks to Him.  For every time I ‘kicked’ and screamed at Him denying His presence in all my tough places, in hindsight, He really never left me.  He is bigger than I thought, much more than I imagined, and far beyond what I ever hoped.

To You my Lord, my Precious Love, the one I desire more than breath or life itself:

       Thank You with all my heart

       I am Yours, forever,


But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth
but in seeing you and knowing all is well between us.
And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied,
for I will see you face to face.
Ps. 17:15 TLB

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Backwards Through the Ten Commandments- #3

        One time as a young teen I remember seeing the word ‘Grand Prix’ and not realizing the x was silent, I voiced it out.  My Mom promptly slapped me across the cheek for swearing and I was dumbfounded.  I had never heard that swear word before and didn’t even know what it meant (it was over 30 years ago!).  We knew better than to take the Lord’s name in vain (swearing using God’s name) because that was against the 10 commandments and we’d be in worse trouble than for non-God swear words.

3.  You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain. For Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain. Ex. 20:7

And you shall not swear by My name falsely; nor shall you profane the name of your God. I am Jehovah. Lv. 19:12

name- shem- name, reputation, fame, glory, designation of God
                      by implication- honour, authority, character (His significance)
vain- shav- emptiness, vanity, falsehood, nothingness, worthlessness

       While I thought this one would be easy, still thinking it merely meant not swearing using His name, looking up the two main words changed everything.  We are not to take His name, reputation, fame, glory, honour, authority or character irreverently, falsely, indifferently, making it worth worthless or nothing.  That’s a mouthful.  So even if we never use God’s name as a swearword, we can still break this command.

       Why is this even important to God that He should put it in the ten?  God’s nature and attributes, the totality of His being, and especially His glory are reflected in His name.  Think about it: if people use His name, authority and such disreputably, then it can damage His character, reputation in other’s eyes.  Do not be quick to say things such as: “God said,” “The Lord gave me a word for you,” “By God if you don’t…” “You need to ____ because God said so in the Bible.”  What if you are incorrect?  Know before you attribute (by any method, verbal or other) something to God.

       This command also includes those who swear by God’s name.  God’s judgment was on those “who swear by the name of Jehovah and make mention of the God of Israel (but not in truth nor in righteousness).(Is. 48:1)  And those who use God’s name for their own benefit, for gain of money, reputation, fame are at risk.  God will judge if they are doing it for Him or for self?  God knows every heart (Lk. 16:15; Jr. 17:10; Rm. 8:27).

       Blasphemy is damage to God (name, reputation, character), by denying that which is due and belongs to Him, or attributing to Him that which is not true to His nature*.  Have we ever done things like this?  Do our words or our actions make Him common, defile or violate who He is or bring Him into contempt?  Lv. 24:15 says not to do this (curses).  I imagine commandment # 3 includes any indignity offered to God by words or writing; reproachful, contemptuous or irreverent words uttered impiously against Jehovah.

       Am I taking this all too far?  Reread the meanings of the original Hebrew and decide for yourself.  I think it means far more than we ever though and thereby we are condemned.

Commandment # 3 – broken too much

*Of interest- The beast of the sea that the Harlot sits on (Rev. 13,17) had (a) name(s) of blasphemy on it’s 7 heads and had a mouth speaking blasphemies.  This beast is anti-christ.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Backwards Through the Ten Commandments- #4

       We kept the Lord’s Day every week growing up.  We dutifully got dressed up for church, put on our best shoes, quietly drove to the beautiful, old church across the bridge, and quietly sat in our pews- staring up at the colourful scenic Biblical pictures on the ceiling to keep from boredom.  We stood, sat and kneeled at all the appropriate times- because this had become habit.  About an hour later we finally got to leave…

4.  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy… Ex. 20:8

(the rest is paraphrased)
Six days you shall labour and work at your job.
On the seventh day, no one (servant or not, foreigner or not, not even animal) shall labour.
A reminder of how God created the world, then
Even God rested (ceased from labour) on the seventh day.
God blessed and sanctified the seventh day. (v.11; Gen. 2:3)

       Then on the way home the sibling fighting would start up again.  Lunch was devoured without true thanks, Dad went off to work, Mom did chores, we did whatever we wanted, and God was mostly forgotten until the next Sunday.  One time as I left my first evangelical church with a family giving me a ride home, I noticed they weren’t much different.  Mom and Dad were angry and expressing it mostly through tones at each other and the kids.  It was a very uncomfortable ride and I wondered how we can sit and learn in church but not change.  That’s a shame.

       So I won’t get into the debate on keeping Sabbath, the Lord’s Day (Sunday) or every day unto the Lord because my point in this series is to point out how we think we are doing okay following the Lord, but how something we can’t follow something as simple as the 10 commandments.  I failed as a child and I continue to fail today.  For even if I subscribe to keeping one day holy (holy- qadash- consecrated {set apart as sacred}, sanctified, dedicated), I fail.  We fail because we are human and cannot be holy by our own efforts.

       My belief is the real reason God gave this commandment is two-fold: so we would spend some quality time with Him instead of work and tasks, and also to give our frail, human bodies a rest.  If we neglect that rest, we are in jeopardy of poor health.  Notice that no one or any animal should work for all are to have rest (even slaves).  We are to remember what He has done and spend some time thinking of Him.   

If you turn your foot because of the Sabbath, from doing what you please on My holy days, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of Jehovah, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in Jehovah… Is. 58:13,14

       Interesting verses aren’t they.  The Lord added His own commentary to further explain what He meant.  Don’t do what pleases you, delight in the Lord, honour Him, follow His ways, not going after your own pleasure or idle talking, then you will delight in the Lord.  Wow, what a promise that was.  And how convicting is that- whether you believe one specific day or all days.  Following the above I think it’s impossible to follow commandment # 4.  Maybe that’s the point (hint, hint). 

Commandment # 4 – broken every time LL

Just For Fun

Backwards Through the Ten Commandments- #5

       In the news last year was the fact that in China, caring for your parents became an obligation, a law.  Strange how I thought they were far advanced than us on that matter for here it seems like few care for their own parents- we pay others to do it while others get ignored.  In fact, I noticed this winter how few older people get their driveways shoveled by the neighbours.  It used to be we all cared better for the elderly.

5. Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long upon the land which Jehovah your God gives you. Ex. 20:12
And he that curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. Ex. 21:17

honour- kabad- negatively heavy, burdensome, positively honourable, promote. Bascally here meaning honour and value.
  honour- revere, respect, treat with deference and submission, perform relative duties to.
  value- rate at a high price, have in high esteem, hold in respect and estimation (importance),
   take account of (Webster 1828)
curses- qalal- make light of, of little account, despise, lightly esteem, make insignificant, treat with contempt/ dishonour. 

     I find it interesting that we (in North America) more often consider caring for parents negatively or burdensome.  True, some parents need major help physically or are struggling with mental diseases, but often we think mostly to our own inconvenience.  We don’t have the time for them.  In our already heavily scheduled lives, are we really to give up any downtime or relaxation time for our parents when we get little enough of it ourselves?  This commandment says yes.

       In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees and scribes tried to squirm their way (and taught others as well) out of taking care of their parents by attributing godliness to their actions.  Isn’t it amazing how they tried to use God to justify their actions?  Not much has changed… we still find good, logical reasons to not honour this command.

For Moses said, "Honor your father and your mother." And, "Whoever curses father or mother, let him die the death." But you say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, Corban! (that is, A gift to God, whatever you may profit by me) and you no longer allow him to do anything toward his father or mother, making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have delivered. And you do many such things. Mr. 7:10-13

       Apparently, if you claimed your land, money, etc was a ‘gift to God’ than you could ignore your parents’ financial needs.  This man written tradition made God’s Word of no effect.  How often do we make God’s Word (of honouring parents, loving, being kind, etc) of no effect by our own justifications?  “But they’ve been nasty to me, I don’t have the time, I’m too tired, I promised to serve in my church, I have to work overtime (to feed my desires not needs), they drive me crazy, my kids are my priority …”

       And how about how we treat them even if they can take care of themselves?  Even if our words to them sound respectful, what’s going on in our heads?  I know for a fact the mind can be ‘cursing’ while the words are reasonable, because my Mom drives me nuts sometimes and my head is not in a loving place.  Also, forgetting to call them or visit is also neglectful as I was gently reminded by my ever so sweet Mom-in-law who said she missed us.  Big oops!  Now I schedule phone calls, and should start scheduling visits.  This command’s not easy due to time constraints, but necessary.

Keeping this one should be easy, but it's not.

Commandment # 5 –broken often L