Sunday, February 26, 2012

The worlds junk, is God's treasure!

1 Corinthians 1:9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
 11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Timothy 2:5-6

King James Version (KJV)
 5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
 6Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

The world likes NEW things. Their way of doing things is "Out with the old and in with the new." Old things are looked on with disdain. Everything's got to be new. We've got to have the newest fashions, newest cars, and new homes. People get bored with the old TV shows and press for new shows. News shows focus on the latest and most current events. Magazines and newspapers focus on the newest happenings with the hottest music and film stars. And the mantra goes on: New, new, new, new, new...!

Yet, some folks in this world can see the hidden treasures in the old things. Old people, rather than being a burden to them, are a treasure trove of wisdom, love, and understanding. Old homes are things that can be fixed up to make them look better than the new stuff. After all, they were built better than the new stuff! 

New houses use inferior material when compared to the old. New cars wear out quicker and are less able to handle a crash or two than their older counterparts. 

These folks can go to a garage sale and find and fix up things that would amaze the average person. Old instruments can be repaired. Old cars and motorcycles can be renewed and last longer than the new ones- if a person knows what they're doing. 

God looked down on a desperately evil and corrupt world. He could've decided to destroy it all and start over with a new creation. Out with the old and in with the new, right? Not so, with God!

God looked down and said, "I love them! They are idolaters, adulterers, murderers, proud, deceitful, they love themselves and pleasure more than they love me and others. I could start over, BUT.... I'm gonna make a way to make them new!"

So the murderer Paul becomes a great Apostle! The proud and boastful Peter becomes a humble and mighty evangelist. Millions of peoples lives have been transformed from the trash heap to become a shining example of the love, mercy, and Grace of God! 

So who'll be next? You? Will you head the master's call and respond? Will you follow his death, burial, and resurrection by Repentance, Baptism in Jesus name, and allowing him to fill you with the Holy Ghost? Will you let him pull you from worlds trash piles?

The world has told you that you're garbage! God says you're invaluable! The world says you're worthless. God says you're worth Calvary! Every stripe, every nail, every strip of flesh that hung off his body, every thorn in his brow- he says was meant to buy you back! 

It doesn't matter where you've been or what you've done, the invitation is open for whosoever will. The world will us you up and leave you to die. God will pick you up and set your feet on high. 

Come on! What are you waiting for? Today is the day of salvation! Won't you answer his call? 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saying "I do" to God: HIS way and staying true! The third commandment.

Exodus 20: 7Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Genesis 2: 24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Revelation 21:9
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

We've covered two very important commandments so far. Today we do the third. Yet, as you will see, even though the third commandment is very well known- it is not very well understood. This verse is about FAR MORE than not using the name of God as a curse word!

From the beginning of time, God has been all about relationships. When God created the first humans, he created marriage. Some foot notes here. In the Old Testament, from the first marriage on, there have always been several necessary ingredients to create a marriage: a) one man, b) one woman c) A Patriarchal (or father's) blessing. 

In the case of Adam and Eve, this blessing was given by God almighty. In the case of Isaac, this blessing was given by Abraham through his servant. With David's first wife, the blessing was given by King Saul. Every marriage is not given in detail, besides the fact that the couple married, but there's enough evidence in the scriptures to show these elements as being the norm. 

In the New Testament, Jesus' first miracle was done at a wedding ceremony. A legally binding ceremony that included the rabbi (or priest) in conducting it. There was also a whole range of ceremonies and requirements that are alluded to in the parable of the 10 virgins. However, there is enough evidence in scripture to support that there must be a) a bridegroom (husband-male) b) a bride (wife-female), and c) a legally binding ceremony officiated by a man of God. 

Now, even in Bible times, the wife took on her husbands name. She became, for instance, Mary, the wife of Joseph. Her name would've been something like Mary Eeshah Joseph, Eeshah meaning wife. Taking his name gave her all the legal rights and responsibilities that a wife could have under the law of the land. She HAD to take his name or there was NO marriage. 

Our society, for centuries, followed this same plan. When the man and woman married, she took on his last name. If she refused, there was no marriage. Only in recent times (the last 20-30 years) has the law changed to allow her to marry her husband and NOT take her husbands name. Personally, I contend that this should not be allowed. I refuse to knowingly do ANY wedding ceremony, where the bride is not going to take the grooms name. 

Taking his name means submission to him. Taking his name means dedication and love for him. Taking his name means carrying herself and representing her husband in a way that befits her station as his wife. Taking his name means she accepts all the rights and responsibilities that come with being his wife. She forsakes ALL other suitors and clings to him and him alone.  

Think I am being ridiculous? Look at how God sees it! "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain!" The word "vain" comes from the Hebrew word, "shav". It means: 1) emptiness, vanity, falsehood
a) emptiness, nothingness, vanity
b) emptiness of speech, lying
c) worthlessness (of conduct)

God declares that HIS bride: those of us in the church, do not take his name and then not hold to our vows to him! If we take his name as an empty promise on our part, and then refuse to carry ourselves in speech and conduct in a way that lifts up our husband and shows our dedication to our husband, then God doesn't take it lightly! In fact, he says "for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." 

WOW! God's not playing here! The word for Lord here is JHWH (Jehovah to some. Jahweh to others) and it means the self existing one. The word for God here is Elohim and in this case means "the true God". (Note to trinitarians: What since would it make for God to say he is the self existing ONE and then try to say he is more than one? It doesn't! Elohim is a plurality of attributes, NOT of persons.) 

So, the self existing one, our true God, tells us not to take his name and not mean it. If we do, then he will NOT hold us guiltless! 

How does the "bride of Christ" take the name of our husband? 

"There is only one name, given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Paul said we are "buried WITH HIM in baptism" (Romans 6:4). Peter said for us to be "baptized in the name of Jesus Christ FOR THE remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). Jesus said we "must be born of water..." (John 3:5). 

When we are baptized in water in Jesus name we have "put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27). He has become our husband. We have TAKEN HIS NAME! This is why the biblical prerequisite to water baptism is repentance. Baptism in Jesus name washes away our past sins. Therefore, repentance is required before hand for God to hold us GUILTLESS. If we do not repent (die to self and our old life of sin. Submit our all to him- to live for him, love him, be dedicated to him, represent him in all we do and say) before we are baptized, then our baptism is no Good. God will NOT allow his blood to wash us, because our commitment to be married to him isn't there. 

How many folks have we seen get baptized in Jesus name and there was no change? God didn't fill them with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. They kept on doing the same things, talking the same way, dressing the same ways. No evidence of God touching their lives at all. Why? Because there was no repentance before hand. No real love and dedication for their husband, so their groom never showed up at the altar! 

God became a man (Jesus) and died to create a bride (the church). He will not accept anything less than our all. False confessions, going through the motions, and checking the blocks are not accepted by him. Only our all will he accept. Then, he will show up at the altar and give us his saving name.

One more thing to drive this home. What does it mean to TAKE the name of the Lord? What does the word TAKE mean? Check out this list! Then, read each definition of "take" in place of "take" in the sentence, "Thou shalt not (take) the name of the Lord thy God in vain." I pray it will open your minds to just how serious this commandment truly is to God! 
        1) to lift, bear up, carry, take
a) (Qal)
1) to lift, lift up
2) to bear, carry, support, sustain, endure
3) to take, take away, carry off, forgive
b) (Niphal)
1) to be lifted up, be exalted
2) to lift oneself up, rise up
3) to be borne, be carried
4) to be taken away, be carried off, be swept away
c) (Piel)
1) to lift up, exalt, support, aid, assist
2) to desire, long (fig.)
3) to carry, bear continuously
4) to take, take away
d) (Hithpael) to lift oneself up, exalt oneself
e) (Hiphil)
1) to cause one to bear (iniquity)
2) to cause to bring, have brought

AV — (bare, lift, etc...) up 219, bear 115, take 58, bare 34, carry 30, (take, carry)..away 22, borne 22, armourbearer 18, forgive 16, accept 12, exalt 8,regard 5, obtained 4, respect 3, misc 74

Look through this list! Here's one chosen at random, as an example: "Thou shalt not (bear) the name of the Lord thy God in vain." That one will make you think some, huh? Remember that the next time the enemy tempts you to watch something, read something, or go somewhere you know God wouldn't approve. If you do, then you have just taken his name in vain! 

This verse includes cussing. However, it's so much more than that. It's a LIFESTYLE that honors our husband in all we do and say. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A look at the commandments, Part 2: the second commandment.

Exodus 20

 1And God spake all these words, saying,
 4Thou shalt not make unto thee 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.
 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy 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;
 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Lets look a little at this passage. 

Verse 4 tells us the command. Verses 5 and 6 explain why. 

Some folks have actually read verse 4, stopped right there, and came to some dangerous conclusions. I do not mean deadly. They just start a string of events that the command was never intended to start. 

4Thou shalt not make unto thee 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.

If you read it and stop there, then there are a whole host of things that are a part of our everyday lives that we would have to Jettison out of our lives. We cannot have, if you take just this verse alone, any carved (graven) image of anything. No stars and planets. No decorative figurines of animals, fish, birds, people, waterfalls, etc. 

Some folks have taken this verse so far out of context that they are against pictures and drawings, as well. Yet, are there any clues here to help us to better understand what he means? 

The word for graven is the Hebrew word, "peh-sel". It means: "idol, image". So is this command referring to all images, only carved images, or what? Read the next verse for clarification. 

5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:

OK. So according to verse 5, together with verse 4, we can safely assume that this commandment is referring only to idols. 

There used to be a street vendor here in PA that could carve amazing things using ....... a chainsaw. I'm not joking. I  saw him in the process of carving (out of a huge log) 2 Bear cubs climbing a small tree. The detail was extraordinary! Whoever wound up with the piece, truly gained a work of art. 

Some folks say that this is a sin. Yet, no one was near it praying, bowing, etc. It was a wonderful piece of art, but it was NOT an idol. So relax. You can unpack those dolphin figures from your bathroom. If anyone were to buy a figurine, take it home, and begin to bow and pray and sing to it, then it becomes an idol.  

That having been settled, let us look at idols a bit. There are the obvious ones: The statues of Buddha, Vishnu, Mary (whom they call "the mother of God" and "the queen of heaven"), Rosary beads, statues of "the saints", the Totem poles, the idols used in Voodoo, and such. Anyone who bows down and worships these things, prays to these things, makes sacrifices to these things, etc, are definitely guilty of breaking the second commandment.

But, we civilized peoples say, we don't have idols! Really? Anything can become an idol, under the right circumstances. Look at Gideon's fleece in the book of Judges. Gideon and God used it as a tool to illustrate to Gideon that God really was calling him to go to battle and defeat Israels enemies. That's all it was- an object lesson. 

Yet, after the defeat of the enemy, Gideon and his sons set it up for all to see. Ostensibly, it was done to remind Israel of God's answer to prayer and their new freedom. However, scripture states that it became a stumbling block to the people, for it became an idol! 

How tricky the enemy of our souls is. We must guard our hearts carefully with prayer and the word of God. If we aren't careful, the very things that God used as tools to free us, can be used to become idols in our lives- pulling us away from God and ensnaring us worse than we were before. This is how we get a phenomenon that we call "preacher worship".

It's not new. Paul refers to it in 1 Corinthians 1. It manifests itself in statements like "I go to Brother or pastor/bishop/apostle so-and-so's church". "I was baptized by...". "Look how God used brother (x)! He's a mighty man of God." 

On the surface, these are true statements and can be alright to say. However, there's a PRIDE that enters in the attitude of the person saying these things. They'll have that sly smile and glint in their eye, as if to say: "I'm associated with THIS!" 

There's also a subtle hierarchy involved. They seem to deem themselves, and especially the "man of God" in question, as somehow better than others. 
Folks will even argue- heatedly- over who the greatest preacher is, how this man's anointing and preaching is so much stronger than all others. Watch out! This is idolatry! 

If God spoke through a donkey, we would do well to remember that just because he speaks through a man doesn't lift him higher than others. He just has a different calling on his life! 

One of the biggest idols in the land right now is "women's hair". It has it's roots in preacher worship, but has taken on a life of it's own recently. Br Lee Stoneking- a man whom God has used greatly over the years- is human. He preached a message about the power of women's hair recently that, to be perfectly blunt, was just dead wrong. 


He, like many before him, took this scripture WAY out of context and ran WAY away from the word of God: 1 Corinthians 11:  10For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

The theory here is that there is something magical about a godly woman's hair. He went on to speak of instances of a woman praying over her sick husband, etc, and pulling her long tresses over the man's diseased body and- get this- "God healed him because of the power in her hair". He even went so far as to quote witches about the power in a woman's long hair! 

This is blatant idolatry! 

Verse 3 clearly says that "her head" is her husband. The "power on her head" that a woman has is a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with her husband and her God. This is symbolized by her long hair, which shows her submission to her husband and God, but the long hair itself is not the source of her power. 

When God answers a woman's prayer, it's NOT because of her long hair, it's because she is his daughter and is in submission to him and her husband. Because she is submitted to him, then her desires are lined up with God's desires, so she prays in accordance with God's will and God says YES! It's that simple.

Samson's strength wasn't in his long hair, it was in his obedience. When he became disobedient, he lost his strength and became a captive of the enemy. How many Apostolic men and women today are losing their strength with God because they are worshiping her long hair as an idol! 


Be careful. Anything or anyone can become an idol to you. An entertainer, a writer, a politician, a computer, a game, a TV set, food, a house, a car, a sports team, a church building, etc. This is why we are warned to "set your affections on things above...". We need to carefully guard our hearts, bathing ourselves in prayer and the word of God. 

Now, lets look at three other things here:

5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy 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;

Ever hear the term "generational curse"? This is where it comes from and what it means. God says, if a person hates me, I will visit their sins on subsequent generations after them. 

The devil lies and tells us that our sin doesn't harm our loved ones. It does! Your secret sin may never be brought into the light of day for the world to see, but watch your kids. 

Abraham was called the friend of God and father of faith. Yet, he lied- twice. His son Isaac after him lied for the same reasons his Father lied- to protect his own hide. Jacob became a liar AND a thief. See the sin passing down and getting worse? 

Abraham also took a concubine and committed adultery with her- with Sarah's permission (that's truly mind blowing to me!) all in an attempt to bring God's promise of a son to pass. Jacob took 2 wives and was married to both of them at the same time (polygamy)! Follow the family tree and you'll find David taking several wives and Solomon taking hundreds of wives and concubines! See the sin passing down and getting worse? 

Did these men hate God? Yes- in the areas of their lives that they did not give over to God and allow him to cleanse them. Totally hate God? No. Yet, God allows their sins to be passed down and grow worse! The sins of their people grew worse and worse. Yet, along the way, there were curse breakers! 

Josiah became king at 8 years old. He brought mighty revival and cleaned up the nation beginning when he was 26. He threw down their idols and commanded the people to walk with God in HIS ways. He was a curse breaker!

Preachers! Teachers! Parents! We need to take personal stock! We need to pray "Lord, examine my heart. If there be any wicked thing in me, show me that I may repent!" Then, we need to boldly step up and begin to throw down the sins of our homes and churches! Cast down the idols! Get rid of the snares the enemy has your people trapped in. CAST OUT THE UNCLEAN THINGS! Then, we can break the curses! 

God is jealous over us. He loves us and will not share our affections with others. He will not permit idols. Would you allow your spouse to begin sharing themselves with others and only give you a small amount of their affections? Of course not. You'd get angry. Why? Because if you truly love your spouse, you will be jealous over them! We are the bride of Christ- God is jealous over us and will not share us. 

Finally, look at this amazing verse: 
6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

God is a merciful God and will forgive our sins, but we have to love him! He will cleanse us, but we must submit to him and his ways. How does he know we love him? We keep his commandments. In other words: He says jump and we say "how high". Our job is to trust and obey him. 

Oh, we can ask questions. He does say "come let us reason together". Yet, sometimes, he doesn't give us an answer to every question we ask that we can see. He says "wait". We may not see or understand the "why" of it until we see him on the other side. But, we still must obey him.

Now, this commandment was given to Moses for Israel. Israel was millions of people strong! Yet, the Lord says he shows mercy unto "thousands of them that love me". Thousands? As opposed to millions? WOW! That's a small percentage. Why?

Is it because God picks and chooses and plays favorites? No. He says whosoever will let him come. 

Is it because God doesn't love those that he doesn't show mercy to? No. The scriptures declare that he loves the whole world! 

Is it because those that he shows mercy to are so much better than the ones he doesn't? No. ALL have sinned and have fallen short. 

It's a question of trust and obedience. If we submit to him, he will show mercy to us and allow us into right relationship with him. If we do not submit to him, we are doomed. It's that simple. 

I urge you today. If you haven't been born again of the water and the spirit, obey Acts 2:38 "37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
 40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
 41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

If you have been born again, let us let him search our hearts and show us the idols in our lives. Then, let us repent and cast them out of our lives, allowing God to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. 

God will have a people: will we be a part of that number?

God will have revival: will we be a part of it? 

Psalm 51

 1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
 2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
 3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
 4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
 5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
 6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
 8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
 9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
 10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
 11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
 12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
 13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
 14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
 15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
 16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
 18Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
 19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.        

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A look at the commandments: Part 1

Exodus 20

 1And God spake all these words, saying,
 2I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
 3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
 4Thou shalt not make unto thee 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.
 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy 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;
 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Many of us have seen the "10 Commandments" movie, or seen them posted on a wall somewhere. Many of us have at least heard them at some point of our lives, or even read them a time or two. But, have we ever truly studied them? Perhaps we should take a closer look and see what nuggets of truth are there for us to dig up and treasure!

First of all, GOD spoke the 10 Commandments. These were not man made rules. God said for us to follow these COMMANDS! I was a soldier once on man's Army. The commands from my superiors were called ORDERS. We had to obey the orders of our superiors whether we liked them or not. How much higher a superior can there possibly be than God? When HE issues orders (commands), we need to follow them to the letter.

He next says for us to remember what he's done for us- and especially WHO DID IT for us. If you have been biblically born again (Acts 2:38), then you are no longer in bondage! You have been brought out of the sin you were once in and have been allowed to walk in freedom in his marvelous light! Why? Because you (or I) were so great and awesome? NO! 

Psalm 23

 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

He did it because he loves us and to show forth the Glory of HIS name! He is the awesome and great one! We don't deserve even the smallest of his blessings. He reached down and drew us (not made us to- we had a choice) out of our hog pens, cleaned us up, and set our feet upon the rock that we might be able to stand to show forth HIS glory!

Because of what he's done for us, he has a few rules he'd like to lay down for us to follow. These are not suggestions. We belong to him. We were bought with his precious blood and belong to him. He has a right to command these things from us. 

The first one seems simple enough: 

 3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

So what does it really mean? Does he mean that it's OK to have other gods, as long as he is number one on our list? Sounds ludicrous doesn't it? How many folks actually live that way, though? We give God a portion of our lives- maybe even the best parts- but do we give him our all? We sin on Saturday and serve him on Sunday. We check the blocks of Christianity:

A) Prayer: check (we said prayers with our meals and at bedtime)
B) Bible study (We read a verse or two this week)
C) Helping others (We bought a soda for our coworker)
D) Witnessing (we agreed with someone that God is real)
E) Gathering together with other saints (We went to church Sunday AM)
F) Modesty (we don't dress too much like the world)
G) Godly conversation (we didn't cuss this week)
H) Godly living (we don't smoke and drink. The shows we watch and the things we read aren't too bad- are they?) 

But, is that all God expects from us? Jesus said the greatest commandment is: 

Mark 12:30
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, andwith all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

What does he mean? 

The heart is our emotions. We are to love God by submitting our emotions to him! God is an emotional God. He gets happy and sad. He loves and he hates. He is judgement and mercy. God expects us to love him by submitting our emotions to him. Emotions are wonderful things- if used within the guidelines of scripture. But, they are terribly destructive things if they are left uncontrolled! Be angry and SIN NOT, we are told. LOVE, but don't love the wrong person in the wrong way. HATE sin, but love the sinner. WITH MALICE, we are to throw away our sins as something we abhor- but don't have malice for your brother or sister. Let God have control of our emotions and they work wonderfully. If we retain control- it can be deadly.

The soul is who we are. Many believe that man is: spirit+body+soul=man. This is not what scripture teaches. We don't have time to break it all down today, but suffice it to say that the real computation is: body+spirit=soul (man). The soul is the sum totality of who we are. And we are to love God with ALL of who we are! ALL of us- not some of us- belongs to him. He demands our all. He deserves our all. He bought our all. There is no room for any other god or any small piece set aside just for us. It's ALL or nothing with God.

The mind is our thoughts. You mean he even wants our deep thoughts and desires? YES! Why? Our emotions are primarily guided by our thoughts. If our thoughts are under control, our emotions will be. Our actions follow our emotions. So is we have Godly thoughts, our emotions will stay under Godly control. Then, our actions will be Godly. If our thought life is NOT submitted to God, then our emotions get out of control. Then, our actions can go haywire! This is why scripture warns us: 

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,think on these things.

Finally, what is our strength. These are the things that we are good at. The gifts that God has given us to benefit our families, society, and his kingdom. But, like anything else, our gifts can become a curse if they are not submitted to God and used in Godly ways. How many pop singers were "discovered" singing in a church? Yet, they were pulled out and began singing ungodly songs. They made millions! But, their lives are in shambles. And how many of their fans were led astray by following them? 

It's easy for us to trust and submit to God in the things we are not good at. We pray, "God help me". But, when it's something we are confident at because we are good at it, we tell God: "Stand back, Lord. I can do this." It may go good for a while, but it will fall apart and cause damage at some point if we don't give our strengths-and their uses- to Jesus!

3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

So what does this mean? Look at the words BEFORE ME. In the Hebrew in means IN HIS PRESENCE. So where is his presence?

Psalms 139

7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
 11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
 12Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

God is omnipresent! He is everywhere. There is NO PLACE where God is not!So what do we do with this commandment? 

This is not simply placing God at the top of the list and we can do what we want with the rest. This is making God our end all be all. It's about giving him complete control. It's about handing HIM the pen and paper of our lives and saying: "I trust you Lord. I am yours. YOU make the list. YOU do what you feel is best for my life. 

There is NO room for all the little gods our society says are so important. God needs to be our focus- our all in all.

So, whatever little gods we may have been hanging on to- we need to throw them away, repent, and give our ALL to the one who died for us- Jesus! He is the whole list! He is the first and last, beginning and the end. He is the single most important being in the universe! He is all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere. Why would we hesitate to give him control of our lives? He loves us. He died for us. He shed his own blood for us. He gave his all! Why would we not give our all to him!