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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?