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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Round 2, Topic No. 1 "May the Lord Bless You and Keep You"






Numbers 6:24-26 says this:

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace."

Unknown to many people is an archaeological discovery made in 1979 at Ketef Hinnom, just southwest of the old city wall of Jerusalem.  A team, led by Gabriel Barkay, found two miniature silver scrolls (or amulets) rolled up  inside a burial complex that had been used by the Turkish army to store rifles during the Ottoman Empire.   Etched in ancient Hebrew upon two silver scrolls was the inscription of the Aaronic blessing/priestly benediction from Numbers 6:24-26. These scrolls had remained rolled up for three years before they attempted to unroll them.  They were cracked and corroded.  It is the oldest extra-biblical reference to YHWH.  These silver scrolls date  back to 7th century BCE.

(taken from http://newepistles.com/2010/05/08/1635/)

The great Aaronic blessing: God desired his blessings to fall upon those who were faithful so that they could experience peace and wholeness in their relationship with their redeeming God.  This short blessing can be recited much like the Serenity Prayer when we need a reminder of who God is and how he acts toward us.  He blesses us; he cares for us; he is gracious to us; he is present with us; and he brings peace into our lives.

A blessing is a hopeful prayer. A blessing was one way of asking for God's divine favor to rest upon others. The ancient blessing in these verses helps us understand what a blessing was supposed to do.  Its five parts conveyed hope that God would (1) bless and keep them (favor and protect); (2) make his face shine upon them (be pleased); (3) be gracious (merciful and compassionate); (4) turn his face toward them (give his approval); (5) give peace. When you ask God to bless others or yourself, you are asking him to do these five things.

The simple words of this blessing reflect God's desire for his people. He is the source all blessings, grace, and peace in life; only through a relationship with this God can we hope to experience the fullness of life described here. The blessing seems to build to its final word - peace. The beautiful Hebrew word shalom used here means much more than an absence of conflict. It implies a complete sense of well-being, health, and contentment. God offers this to anyone who is willing to follow him, and especially to those whose
lives have been bruised and broken.  The blessing you offer will not only help the one receiving it, it
will also demonstrate love, encourage others, and provide a model of  caring to others. 

The wicked know nothing of peace. There is no peace saith the Lord, for the wicked; they are like the troubled sea - but you don't need to go to the Bible to find that out; if you will look around you, you will see it. If you have not got peace, it is a sure sign you have not found the true God, for the Peace of God will
keep your hearts and minds if you have found him. Look in the 6th chapter of Numbers, 26th verse: "The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." The Lord will keep thee; the Lord will
give thee peace,.. solid, real peace such as the world cannot give or take away. When a man has left a will, how eagerly we read it! We don't care much for a dry law paper, but if it has got our name in it with a legacy we never find it dry. Now God says, "My peace I leave with you."

Oh, child of God, have you got it? None of us have enough of it. I get angry and disturbed and make a fool of myself very often; I wish I had peace enough to keep me from it, but God gives good measures, shaken up, pressed down, full measure. Let our hearts be open to receive the peace of God. ~D. L. Moody http://www.abible.com/devotions/2004/20040531-1526.html


Questions & Answers to Share with your KOTH partner:

  1. What is the definition of a "blessing"?
  2. Name the 5 ways in which a blessing is to help or aid the person receiving it.
  3. What can we experience when we have a true relationship with God?
  4. What is the definition of "shalom"?
  5. Write out a prayer of blessing for your KOTH partner.  It can be lengthy or short, but it must be heartfelt and scriptural.  If you have trouble with this, write in your own words the scriptural blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26.

Monday, November 28, 2011

KOTH - Topic No. 11 - "The Christ Child"

Luke 2:1-20
New International Version (NIV)
Luke 2
The Birth of Jesus
 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests
.”
 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

            It is possible to be an intelligent, critically thinking person and still believe that the story told above is accurate and true.
            Have your opinions ever been swayed by someone’s eyewitness account of an event?  Then the story told through scripture above should sway your opinion about Jesus.  This event really did happen.  Eyewitness testimony accounts for it.
When you hold a Bible in your hands, essentially you are holding copies of ancient historical records.  
Hundreds of archeological findings have been unearthed, and they actually support the testimonies of eye witness accounts of Jesus.
Over 60 different prophesies were fulfilled when Jesus was born.   Jesus Christ himself said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46, NKJV) Moses himself spoke of the coming Messiah:  'I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him'.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-19, NKJV).  It was prophesied that He would be a descendant of Noah’s son, Shem,  and Shem’s son, Abraham, and of Abraham’s line through Isaac, of the seed of Jacob, in the family line of Jesse, of the house of David, that He would be born in a small town of Bethlehem, and born of a virgin Mary (Genesis, Numbers, Jeremiah, 2 Samuel, Micah, Psalms).
It was also prophesied in the Old Testament that the Savior, Jesus, would come while the Temple of Jerusalem was still standing, that He would perform many miracles (Isaiah 29 and 35), the Gentiles would believe in Him and the Jews (His own people) would not (Isaiah 8, 28, 49), that a messenger from the wilderness would prepare a way for Him (Malachi 3), that He would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9), He would be betrayed (Psalm 41) for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11), and that money would be used to buy a potter’s field (Zechariah 11), Jesus would be beaten and spat upon (Isaiah 50), His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22), that His bones would not be broken (Psalm 34), his clothing would be divided and they would cast lots for them (Psalm 22), He would be given vinegar and gall to drink (Psalm  69), He would cry out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”, (Psalm 22), He would be buried with the rich (Isaiah 22), His body would not decay (Psalm 16), He would be resurrected from the dead (Psalm 16), He will ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68),  He will be seated at the right hand of God (Psalm 110), and He would be the Son of God (Psalm 2).
The probability of all of those exact prophecies being fulfilled is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000.
Need I say more?

The Messiah: Prophecy Fulfilled

Starring Nick Mancuso
a compelling Gospel drama A compelling Gospel presentation centered on a Jewish Seder dinner (Passover)
Platinum Award Winner 2002, Houston Film Festival

Questions and Answers to share with your KOTH partner:
1.      Would you bet on a horse in the Kentucky Derby who had a 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000 chance of winning?  Why not?
2.      Were you aware of all of the above-mentioned prophesies being foretold hundreds and hundreds of years before Christ’s birth?
3.      Look up just 5 of the prophesies, and find their corresponding fulfillment of scripture in the New Testament, and share them with your KOTH partner. (Here’s some help:  http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/messianicprophecies.html )
4.      When you see a baby Jesus lying in a manger this Christmas season, will you be reminded of all of the prophecies His birth, life, and resurrection fulfilled?
5.      How can you use this information to help you witness to a non-believer?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Topic No. 10 - "Salt of the Earth"



"You are the salt of the world. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty again? It's good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled on by people.”  - Matthew 5:13

            We all know that salt flavors food and makes it pleasing to eat.  But did you ever stop to think that salt also acts as a preservative in food and keeps it from putrefying (spoiling)?  Salt preserves from corruption and salt prevents bacteria and decay in foods.  As disciples of Christ, we are to preserve the world (and ourselves) from general corruption.  If salt has lost its flavor, it has also lost its preservation quality.  It preserves no longer.  It is fit only to be tossed out and thrown on the ground.  If we who are called to be the salt of the earth cease to teach others about Jesus’ saving grace, we are fit to be cast out and trampled.

            One study bible says that salt had religious and sacrificial significance. It symbolized the making of a covenant. To eat salt with someone meant to be bound together in loyalty.  As the salt of the earth, Christians are meant to be preservers of God's covenant and give proper flavor to society. By acting as salt, we preserve what is necessary, and we keep something important from perishing. We add an ingredient to humanity that enlivens everything, bringing out what is alive and meaningful, brightening the flavor of life. Without our own savor or flavor, we cannot do this. We become useless.

           
Questions/Answers to Share with your KOTH Partner:

1.     We are called to be a positive influence on the world.  Can you think of ways that you can be a positive influence in your own home, your church, your neighborhood, your place of employment?
2.    Go to scripture and find one other verse that speaks of being “salt of the earth” and share it with your KOTH partner.
3.    In what way can your KOTH partner pray for you in regards to this topic?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Topic No. 9 - "I'm Holier Than You Christianity"


I’ve done it.  You’ve done it.  It’s been done to me, and it’s been done to you.

This unmistakably holier-than-you attitude is extremely destructive to true brotherhood and proper fellowship and unity. Luke 18:9-14 records this teaching of Christ concerning self-righteousness and its effects on these matters. Those who elevate themselves in their judgment of themselves as compared to their fellow members bring on themselves this condemnation. God does not justify them when they make this kind of judgment.

Having a holier-than-thou attitude is very caustic to true sisterhood and proper fellowship and harmony.

Luke 18:9-14 says,

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

   13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
   14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Our nature seeks to exalt itself above others, to esteem itself "holier than thou" (Isaiah 65:5).

“Yet they say to each other, 'Don't come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!' These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.”

God will humiliate those who seek to exalt themselves for He does not pay attention to the spiritually proud but to the contrite and humble (Isaiah 66:2).

These are the ones I look on with favor:
   those who are humble and contrite in spirit
.”

Each person is responsible for cleaning up his character and humbling himself before God. Each is not responsible for judging his brother so critically it drives a wedge between them and separates them. Such a person does not even see his own sin! In such a case, he could not be in God's Kingdom because that manner of thinking would continue right on into it, and God will not allow it there.

Humility is the key to oneness with God. Consequently, it is also the key to oneness with our brethren. God's way of achieving oneness is for each person to be so attuned to God that he is motivated to do everything possible to ensure that the relationship (with God or fellow man) is never broken.

Remember that God is judging us individually within each group. An attitude that we should not allow to grow in us is to think that we are the only ones who retain a true-church identity. The other side of that same concept is that, even if we agree that others are still part of the true church, we are still better than they are—indeed, everybody else is less than we are by comparison.

Luke 6:42:  How can you think of saying, 'Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.

KOTH Questions and Answers:

  1. Have you ever experienced someone's "I'm-Holier-Than-You" attitude towards you?  How did that make you feel?
  2. Did that attitude draw you closer to Christianity...or push you away from it?
  3. Define "humility."
  4. How does God want you to witness to someone?
  5. In what way can you have more humility when witnessing to others?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Topic No. 8 - God's 10 commandments...the rest!

Keepers of the Home – Topic No. 8 – Following God’s Commands

We have already discussed God’s first and second commands, but this week we’ll be studying the rest of the commandments:

From Exodus 20:1-17
1.      You shall have no other gods before me.
2.      You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.
3.      You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
4.      Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
5.      Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
6.      You shall not murder.
7.      You shall not commit adultery.
8.      You shall not steal.
9.      You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
10.  You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor
God’s 3rd command, “You shall not misuse the Lord’s name.”  How often have we callously thrown around God’s holy name in a curse?  Did you know that the ancient Hebrews as well as some modern-day Christians refuse to even speak the name “God” because it is so holy, so sacred to them that they would dare not even speak His name?  You might have seen them type out “G-d” even?  Exodus 15:11 says, “"Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you--majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”

God’s 4th command:  “Keep the Sabbath Day holy.”  C’mon, admit it…do you really have a day where you set it aside to focus on God and growing closer to Him?  I want you to answer truthfully here!  For some, Sabbath Day is Sunday.  For others, it’s Saturday.  But whichever day you deem the Sabbath, you MUST set aside one day each week to rest your body, rejuvenate your mind, and focus on the Lord God Almighty.  Do you HAVE to sit in a church pew to do so?  Probably not…but I highly recommend you get in the habit of doing so!  Learning to devote a day to the Lord will teach your children to do the same.  This is a requirement of the Lord for everyone.

God’s 5th command:  “Honor your father and mother.”  Many parents are not teaching their children to respect their authority in the family home.  Too often, the parents are left cowering at their children’s demands instead of their children obeying their parents’ commands.  “Kasey, it’s your turn to wash the dishes.”  Kasey should wash the dishes.  Sure, she may complain about it, but in the end, your request should be fulfilled.  “Johnny, pick up your toys before we go out to play.”  Johnny stomps his feet and throws himself onto the floor.  At this point, some parents would cajole or bribe Johnny into picking up his toys…however, a parent who is teaching respect and authority for elders will stick to their guns and not take Johnny out to play until the toys have all been picked up.  

God’s 6th command:  “You shall not murder.”  I once heard a sermon on this very commandment.  The pastor preached that the original word for “murder” in this verse actually means to take an innocent life.  Others believe this is a command against any form of killing or death. 

God’s 7th command:  “Don’t sleep with someone who isn’t your spouse.”  This is the proper translation for this command.  Premarital sex, extra-marital affairs, both of these fall under God’s 7th command for our lives.

God’s 8th command:  “Don’t take what isn’t yours.”  Ever been to a grocery store and realized that the cashier gave you back too much money?  Ever wanted something in a store so badly that you took it without paying for it?

God’s 9th command:  “Don’t speak falsely of someone else.”  Whether you’re visiting with a group of gal pals or angry with your coworker, you should never lie about something they have or have not done.  It’s okay to get irritated with someone and want to talk about it with your close friends, but you should never, ever lie about the situation to make it look better for yourself.

God’s 10th command:  “Don’t be jealous of what others have…and you don’t.”  This is a tough one in modern-day society.  Americans have been taught that if they want something badly enough, even if they can’t afford it, just put it on a credit card and pay for it later.  Or your best friend gets a brand-new car and you’re jealous because you can’t afford one.  Or…and this one’s tough for Christian women…a female church member has a handsome husband, two cute, well-dressed kids, and a beautiful ring on her finger.  She arrives to church on Sunday mornings with a smart, new outfit and a fabulous new hair cut…and we want that life, too. 

Questions and Answers to Share with your KOTH Partner:
1.    Can you list all 10 commandments to your children without peeking?
2.    Do your children know all of the 10 commandments?
3.    Out of all of the 10 commandments we have studied, which one is most difficult for you…and why?
4.    Can you pray about these 10 commandments in the upcoming week and ask God to reveal to you which areas of your life He would have you focus on in relation to His 10 commandments?
5.    Please share with your KOTH partner which area you would like to have specific prayer for in regards to God’s 10 commandments.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Topic No. 7 - Being a Proverbs 31 Woman

Proverbs 31:10-31 (New International Version)

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

___________________________________________________

This poem is designed to show what type of woman you ought to be:
  • Noble
  • Priceless in your family's eyes
  • Trustworthy
  • Giving
  • Hard-working
  • Helps provide financially to the household's income
  • Wakes early and is not lazy
  • Business-minded
  • Physically fit
  • Helps those in need in her community
  • Doesn't fear hard times
  • Provides all her children and servants require
  • Dresses nicely (not a slob)
  • Has a respected husband
  • Her children respect her
  • Dignified & well-mannered
  • Wise
  • Knowledgeable
  • Teaches her children to be respectful
  • Trains up her children to love the Lord
  • Holds her tongue
  • Is never idle but is always busy looking after the affairs of her household
  • Fears the Lord
How many hours per day do you sit in front of your television compared to the number of hours per day you take care of your home and your children and your husband?  If you have a hobby, is your hobby taking up more time than you are devoting to your home?  When people come over to your house to visit, do they see a woman who takes care of her home and keeps it tidy and clean?  Or do they see a woman who struggles to maintain order and cleanliness?  Would your husband say that you are all of those qualities listed above?  If he would not, what areas do you feel he would disagree with, and why?  If your life were put side-by-side to the woman spoken of in these above verses, would you feel that you are basically a good representation of a godly, biblical woman/wife of noble character, or do you fall short in being a godly, biblical representation of a woman of noble character?

Please keep in mind that a woman may suffer from some physical or emotional problems that may prevent her from being and doing all of these things listed above.  My point is:  Are you doing all that you can?

Questions and Answers to Share with your KOTH partner:
  1. Have you ever read this chapter in your bible?
  2. What strikes you or impresses upon you in respect to this chapter in the bible?
  3. Out of all of the characteristics listed above, which ones do you struggle with or disagree with?
  4. If you struggle or disagree with the above-noted characteristics of a Wife of Noble Character, why?
  5. Which characteristics listed above do you need to bring before the Lord in order that He may help you become a Wife of Noble Character?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Regarding Topic No. 1 - Eating Healthy - GMO Foods

The truth is, when it comes to genetically engineered foods, there is no labeling requirement. These foods have been altered at the molecular level. They are appearing on supermarket shelves with increasing frequency - in fact, 94 percent of all U.S.-grown soybeans are genetically engineered!

Environmental Working Group thinks this is wrong. You have a right to know what you and your family are eating. That's why we've joined forces with more than 300 organizations to launch the Just Label It campaign and tell the federal Food and Drug Administration that Americans have the right to know when they're eating genetically engineered food. Our partners at the Just Label It campaign put together a video to spread the word about genetically engineered foods - will you watch it, sign the petition, and then pass it on today?

The only way the FDA will act is if it hears from all of us.
Click here to sign our petition to the FDA and to watch a special video from the Just Label It campaign, Dining In The Dark.


Consumers might choose to avoid some of these foods if they had all the information.

The issue is not just fresh produce. According to the Congressional Research Service, 60 to 70 percent of processed foods available in American grocery stores likely contain some genetically engineered ingredients. These ingredients are prevalent in many products you may buy every day, including breakfast cereals, cookies, chips, sweetened soda, frozen meals and more.

The scientific debate about the benefits and risks of genetically engineered crops will continue for a long time. Meanwhile, an entire generation will have grown up consuming them. We should all have the right to participate - or not - in this sweeping experiment with our bodies and our environment.

Several polls and surveys have found that the vast majority of Americans want genetically engineered foods to be labeled. Many other countries including Japan, Australia, the European Union and even China require labeling of genetically engineered foods. Let's make sure the FDA gets the message that the U.S. shouldn't be left behind. Join EWG and its 300-plus campaign partners in demanding that the FDA insist that genetically engineered foods be labeled.
Click here to sign our petition to the FDA, and watch the video, Dining In The Dark.
Thank you for taking action. We all have the right to know what we are eating.

Sincerely,

Ken Cook
President, Environmental Working Group

Topic No. 6 - The Likeness of God

In this week’s topics, we’ll be discussing God’s Second Commandment. This topic is lengthy, so please make sure you can devote a few minutes to reading this topic thoroughly, and then praying and asking God to reveal to you what He would have you know about the second commandment.

No. 2: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.”
       You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments.Exodus 20:4-6
This Second Commandment clearly forbids the use of any type of non-living or lifeless imagery, “any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath,” in the worship of the living God. Yet God did create on earth a likeness of Himself in humans. He specifically tells us that He “created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27
Only God can reveal what He is like
In one sense, in the Second Commandment God tells mankind: “Don't try to tell Me what I am like. I will tell you what I am like! It is important that you correctly understand that I will accept no representations of Me.
The perfect example
However, we are not without a perfect model of God's character. Jesus Christ as a human being so perfectly represented what God is like that He told His disciples, “
He that has seen me has seen the Father…John 14:9
Paul describes Jesus Christ as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.Colossians 1:15. He describes Christians as those who “have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.Colossians 3:9-10
God wants to change your spiritual nature. Just as Christ is “the image of the invisible God,” so does God the Father want to recreate your character in His image. The time is coming when God will transform those who have become like Him in heart and mind from a physical to a spiritual existence. Paul described to the church in Corinth how this will happen. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.1 Corinthians 15:50-53
That is how God will complete your wonderful transformation to becoming like Him. John described the same ultimate transformation when he wrote, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.1 John 3:2. Being like God is your destiny, providing you surrender your life to Him in obedience to His Commandments.
God requires accountability
This brings us to the latter part of the Second Commandment: “
You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments.Exodus 20:5-6
God holds us accountable for our words and deeds. Bowing before an idol to pay honor to your own image of God may appear to be an act of great devotion, but you may be ignorant of God's great purpose for your life! God expects those who worship Him in truth and understanding to demonstrate their love for Him by keeping His Commandments from the heart, not by going through useless rites in front of any object. Jesus made this clear when He said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.John 4:24. We are not to worship God with images and meaningless rituals. Jesus explained that “the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.John 4:23
In conclusion, people fashion idols and images out of metal, wood, stone, and plastic. They also fashion idols mentally, that is, they create false ideas about God. These ideas about God are man’s feeble attempt to describe God.  Parents who place emphasis in images or concepts are bound to influence their children. They set the example, whether good or bad. Children should be taught the right way of God, not the wrong way of idols and false concepts. Children who are taught error most likely will reflect that error all their lives. They will often follow the gods of their parents with negative consequences.

Christians by the millions accept what they are taught in their churches without questioning anything. They believe their particular denomination teaches the Bible. How can this be when many of these denominations disagree with each other? They cannot all be right. Some of our most respected religious celebrations and holidays come directly out of paganism. Anyone who is willing to check the encyclopedias can quickly find this out.

A converted woman walks with God. She loves the way of God. She finds no fellowship with those who oppose God, who walk in opposition to the Laws of God. What does God say about these human ways of opposition? “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isa. 55:8). One cannot be doing the will of God by participating in its various forms of idolatry-religious concepts, images and idols, fundamental concepts, etc. An idol is anything that takes the place of God. Anything that is more important than God is an idol. Idolaters are guilty of breaking the second commandment.

Remember: an idol is a representation of an idea or concept. Whether you serve a tangible idol or a concept/idea, the result is the same. You have been deprived of the true knowledge of God. To be accepted, many people do not have the courage to reject these things. To live a truly godly life is not popular. Just as in the days of Christ, “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43). What should Christian service be? Paul tells us, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2). Forms of religion that are approved in this world may not be approved by God. It is imperative that we know the difference. Mark Twain once remarked, “religion is a very dangerous thing unless you get it right.”


Questions and Answers to share with your KOTH Partner:
1.    In ancient days, people worshipped the god of the Sun, or the god of the Moon, or the god of the Seas in order to be “blessed” by these gods (little “g.”)  In modern society, what gods are you worshipping instead of the one true God?  Example:  Money?  Success?  Popularity?  Horoscopes? 
2.    Take a hard look at your beliefs of what God is like.  Write these beliefs down on paper, and then go to scripture (or Google scriptures on the internet) to find if your beliefs line up with what the Bible states about God.  Share these with your KOTH partner.  If you struggle with this task, then just write down two beliefs you have about God, and go to scripture to find out if this is in line with what God states about Himself.  Example:  I believe God is a jealous God, so I would go to scripture and find out if this belief is correct.
3.    Is there a ritual or a belief in your own church that you question?  Write this down, and then go to scripture to find out the Truth of this ritual or belief.
4.    What false beliefs have you been passing down to your children or family members? 
5.    What idols have you been “bowing down to” instead of bowing down to the One, True God?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Topic No. 5 – Modern Christians and the 10 Commandments


Do I need to obey the Ten Commandments?
Has God's law changed? What does Jesus Christ expect Christians to do about the Ten Commandments?

Answer:
Jesus explicitly shows that our obedience must include obeying the Ten Commandments.
"Now behold, one came and said to Him, 'Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?' So He said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.'
"He said to Him, 'Which ones?'"
In answer Jesus listed a number of the Ten Commandments as well as a summary statement:
• "You shall not murder."
• "You shall not commit adultery."
• "You shall not steal."
• "You shall not bear false witness."
• "Honor your father and your mother."
• "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (
Matthew:19:16-19).
Obedience to God begins with accepting the Ten Commandments as the permanent standard for our values and behavior. But our obedience must extend beyond just keeping the Ten Commandments.
Jesus also said: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill [from the Greek pleroo, meaning to 'fill to the full']. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled [from a different Greek word, ginomai, used in the sense of 'come to pass'].
"Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew:5:17-19).
Sin is disregarding, refusing to do, what God tells us to do. Jesus tells us He had no intention of annulling or abolishing God's commands and that anyone who presumes to teach that is in grave spiritual danger.
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This week, we’re going to explore Commandments 1 through 5 and how these commandments apply to you as wife, mother, and grandmother. 

(Next week, we’ll finish up with Commandments 6 – 10.)

No. 1: "Nothing and No One Comes Before God."


"You shall have no other gods before me."

We all know what happens to someone who falls off a building or some other height. The law of gravity carries with it a severe penalty. It is one of the laws of nature. We do not doubt its existence, yet we cannot see gravity. We only see its results. The Law of God - the Ten Commandments - acts in the same way. We only see the results when we break it. These commandments were given to protect man from the pain and suffering he will surely experience in this physical life by disregarding or failing to appreciate them. What does the Bible say?  You must do more than profess God and Christ.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
It is deceptive to believe that belief in God is sufficient to put you in favor with God. Believing alone is insufficient; you must act upon what you hear.
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devil also believes, and trembles. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (Jas. 2:19-20).
If you put your own desires above the commands of God, you are deceiving yourself.  You are NOT truly worshipping God.  You are worshipping yourself.  You must practice what God requires of you!  Those things in your life that are more important than God are your idols.  Set them aside.  Your idols include all of your desires and passions that get in the way before God.
Here are some modern-day examples of idolatry that may take place in your home:
·         You don’t pray to God on a daily basis, but you’ll watch TV on a daily basis.
·         You don’t read God’s word (your Bible) on a daily basis, but you’ll read Facebook status updates on a daily basis.
·         It’s Sunday morning and you’d rather sleep off the party headache from the night before than get up, get dressed, and attend a church service.
·         You spend your time making your outward appearance beautiful, but you forget that God wants you to be beautiful on the inside, first and foremost.
·         You are more concerned with what you see in the mirror than you are with how God sees you.
·         That new car you’re driving is a status symbol to everyone who sees you driving it.
·         You spend $100 a month on newer, trendier clothes, but you find it difficult to help a neighbor in need.
·         You think that getting closer to the Lord is something only obsessed Christians will do.  You’re more comfortable praying occasionally than in getting on your knees and really talking with the Lord.
·         You take your children to the latest cinema theater at least twice a month, but you haven’t taken them to church in years.
·         It’s more important that you fit in a social event than it is that you fit into Heaven.
·         You’ve read a commandment of God’s but you feel that your situation is different and therefore doesn’t apply to this command.
·         You’re raising your hands in church as you sing, but you’re secretly very pleased with your latest acrylic nail job instead of really singing the words to God.
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Questions and Answers to Share:
1.    Name one area you struggle with idolatry in your life or in your family. 
2.    Do you want to grow closer to the Lord, or are you happy where you are in your Christian walk?
3.    Name a way that you can improve your relationship with God on a daily basis.
4.    How can you show your children/grandchildren/family members that God is THE most important person in your life?
5.    Find one scripture from the bible, different than those quoted above, that speaks of idolatry.  Write it out.
6.    How can your KOTH partner pray for you in regards to idolatry and the verse, “you shall have no other gods before me”?