In God We Trust

In God We Trust 4 It is easy to speak of trusting the Lord in a crisis situation and to cite Bible verses about his faithfulness and dependability. There are many such verses in the Bible and reading them is worthwhile whether you are in a crisis or not. But when the darkness rolls into our lives, when we face uncertainty or some difficult situation, just how do we physically realize the benefits of trusting God? Written words are great, but how do we manifest this into the promised comfort and strength?

On this subject I hope to render some practical advice, attempting to suggest some constructive steps that I have found useful along with some sound Biblical principles. Perhaps there is no perfect answer to this question; surely it is in the darkest times of our lives that we find it most difficult to trust in anything, but I have found that when we are successful at approaching a loving God we find it is exactly in these trying moments that he is actually closest to us.

I think the first step we all must take, or be sure we’ve taken, is to repent. Now “repent” is one of those words that scares a lot of people, or perhaps we could just say it often has a negative connotation. But a quick look at this definition from dictionary.com should help us better understand the meaning of the word: “to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better.” The Bible has much to say about repentance, it is a central tenet of the Christian faith. Indeed, we see in Matthew 4:17 these words: “From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Simply put, until we repent of our sins, we are not yet in right relationship with God. So let us start by examining ourselves, looking for unconfessed sin, and let us bring that to God. The Apostle Peter taught us in Acts 2:38 that, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” It is not hard to do, each of us knows deep down in our hearts we have done wrong. To deny this is to be disingenuous. So open your heart and get honest with God. Speak the words out loud, he will hear and you will feel him lift the burden of sin from you.

I might think the next two items could come in either order, but let me first suggest prayer.  On the subject of prayer I will give no specific formula, other than to pray from your heart and in complete honesty. It is not necessary to know how to pray and you do not need special training. Just get alone and speak to God. Once again I will emphasize the importance of speaking your prayers out loud, there is power in verbalization. Many people also find it helpful to write down their prayers. Keeping a prayer journal will help you see patterns in your prayers and will make it easier to see how God is answering your requests.

I think I have found two key concepts for prayer most helpful: one is to pray expectantly. God longs to answer our prayers and promises to do so. James wrote in his book: “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16) And when teaching on prayer in Luke 11:9, Jesus said, “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” So pray expectantly. My other point would be to pray in Jesus’ name, for Jesus promised us in John 14:14, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.” There is power in the name of Jesus!

The last concept I’ll share here is very crucial for the manifestation of God’s presence and strength in our hour of need: we must read the Bible. I could write forever on the need to read the Bible, and almost certainly will say more in future blogs, but a few key reasons will have to suffice for now. First, to feel God’s comfort in times of trial we must have faith, and faith comes from the word of God. “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17, NKJV) It is in the words of Scripture that we find faith, and with faith being essential for experiencing the comfort of our Lord, our quest for faith must begin within the pages of the Bible.

The Bible is also our source for renewal. And one of the areas we most need renewal is in our thinking. Each of us have endured a lifetime of indoctrination into all kinds of worldly ideas, erroneous teachings, and cultural bias. It doesn’t matter where you live or what culture you have grown up in, whether in small ways or large ways, the simple fact is our thinking has become distorted. And the Bible is our reference point to undo this distortion. Paul beseeches us in Romans 12:2: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” And Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Space has run out for this blog, so I will leave you with these two final suggestions that I won’t be able to explore in depth: 1) The Book of Psalms allows us to combine Bible reading and prayer. Each psalm is a great example of bringing a problem or trial before God and seeking His wisdom, power and guidance. Try praying as the psalmists prayed. And lastly, 2) joining a local church allows you to have solid teaching and fellowship that can provide immeasurable hope, support, and healing in difficult circumstance. So if you are not already a member of a church, please consider finding a church soon.

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Real Love

Heart-cross  There can be little doubt that people are interested in love. We talk about it, we sing about it, we spend our lives looking for it. Studies have shown love to be one of our most basic and crucial needs. When we feel we have the love we desire, we are happy and content and full of smiles; but when love fails us, our entire countenance changes and some of us may slip into utter despair. So basic and essential is love that it is the subject of books, poems, plays, movies, songs, paintings, and many other forms of art and entertainment.

Our first tangible experiences with love often come from our parents, and research has shown how vital this parental love is to our development. Parents hold us, care for us, sing to us, talk to us, play with us, teach us, dress us, set rules and boundaries for us, and become our first role models. But even parental love often falls short of our needs and expectations, manifesting dysfunction in our lives that affects our ability to give and receive love as we mature.

Eventually we seek romantic love beyond our families of origin. It is here that we tend to experience our biggest hurts and frustrations. We extend ourselves toward others in hopeful expectation and often experience rejection and letdown. Many of us try multiple times before finding that one special person with whom we feel we can spend our lives. And then, in the midst of what we were sure was the perfect relationship, we find futility and heartache. Indeed, we often find, as the popular hit song declares: love hurts.

Maybe another popular love song has it right when it proclaims that we are looking for love in all the wrong places. The fact is, as vital as it is for us to have love in our human relationships, the starting point in our search for love must be with God. For it is only in God that we can find and experience perfect love. The Bible teaches that “God is love” (1 John 4:16) and it gives us the perfect description of love: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

The Bible is filled with examples of God’s love and assures us that “nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) When we seek His love we find all that we have been searching for; we find perfect, endless, limitless love. He will never forsake us despite our mistakes, our struggles, our bad habits, or our shortcomings.

And when we experience God’s perfect love it becomes our example of love: “We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19) and our definition of love: “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:10) And it is because of God’s love for us that we can approach Him in confident expectation. For we know that Jesus has experienced all our human struggles and He has empathy for us. “This High Priest of ours (Jesus) understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

So are you ready to lay aside your struggles and receive His love? It’s easy to get started, just get alone and talk to Him. Acknowledge He is Lord and that you need Him. “For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:8) It’s that simple and if you are humble and genuine, you will experience new life and new hope in a way that is real and tangible. And you will know real love at last!

Our hope for you, then, is summed up in this verse from Ephesians 3:19: “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

Want to know more about how to experience His love? Please visit KnowGod.org

Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

There’s A God in Heaven Who Loves You!

heaven 3 According to an article published in Psychology Today1, all of us have an intense desire to be loved. The article was written by Raj Raghunathan, PhD, who wrote, “The need to be loved…could be considered one of our most basic and fundamental needs.” But, it seems, this basic desire is a need that tends to go unfulfilled in many people. The Guardian2 reported in 2014, that one in five people feel unloved and one in ten people reported they don’t have a close friend at all.

Further, CBS News3 reported last fall on a Harris Poll that reveals 72% of Americans have experienced loneliness, and about a third of those say they feel lonely at least once per week. Perhaps it’s a result of the digital age, but whatever it is, there is no denying that people are longing for love and a sense of belonging. And with all the busyness most of us contend with, it can be hard to find the time for pursuing our needs.

But there is good news! There is a God in Heaven who loves you! His love is real, demonstrated, tangible. The psalmist, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote: “But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15) The Apostle John said it even more succinctly: “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) Yes, indeed, we find that love is God’s very character, the essence of who He is.

And he lavishes His love on each and every person. Just read through the following verses and see how God makes evident His love for us in real and sacrificial ways:

 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8)

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

When God gave us the Ten Commandments, He did so not to limit us or restrict us. Quite the opposite, His commandments are given to guide us and protect us. They are the curbs alongside the road of life that keep us from harm and they are a mirror for self-examination. In Moses’ sermon recorded in Deuteronomy chapter five, we are taught that God promises us that if we “stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow…you will live long and prosperous lives…” (Deuteronomy 5:33) And that is a promise from our Creator born out of the deepest love we can ever know. A love that wants to see us have long and satisfying lives.

As human beings we instinctively long for love, we long to know we are cared for, and in God we will find everything that we could ever ask or hope for. Yes, there is a God in heaven who loves you, and if you haven’t yet discovered “how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is,” (Ephesians 3:18) may today be the day you find His perfect love – the perfect love that casts out fear, that forgives absolutely, and that promises us eternal life.

Have questions about God? Want to know more about how to experience His love? Please visit KnowGod.org

Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
1 The Need to Love, posted January 8, 2014, Psychology Today
2 One in 10 Do Not Have a Close Friend and Even More Feel Unloved, Survey Finds, published August 12, 2014, TheGuardian.com
3 Feeling lonely? So Are a Lot of Other People, Survey Finds, published October 12, 2016 by CBS News

True Confessions

true confessions  Would it be fair to say that you have something in your past that you wish you wouldn’t have done? Something you regret? Someone you hurt you wish you hadn’t? A dark moment that you’d do differently if you only could? If you’re like most of the human race, you probably have several such things lurking in your past. And from time to time, they problem tug on your conscience.

The past does have a way of creeping into our thoughts and affecting our future. Try as we might, we can’t always escape the consequences of our prior actions, and sometimes the residual effects of our past affect us in unpredictable ways. So what do we do when faced with our own history? Is there any escape from the regret we feel? Any way to truly put the past in the past?

Fortunately, the answer is yes! God has made provision for our forgiveness and our path forward. His mercy is actually part of his very character and when we turn to him and sincerely seek his forgiveness, he does not withhold it from us. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9) God actually wants to forgive us.

In twelve step recovery programs, dealing with the past is paramount to success. From the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, pp 63-64: “We launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us.”

Indeed, in AA, steps 4-9 all deal with setting the past right. Steps 4-7 primarily focusing on setting our relationship with God right and steps 8-9 solidifying that spiritual direction by pursuing reparation with those we have hurt. Few people realize that the twelve steps are based on Biblical principle, which certainly explains why they have been so successful for so many. Turning to God is the natural solution for our Creator longs to render us aid!

So when those darker things from your past creep into your today, turn to the one whose very character is defined by his love, grace, and mercy. Find a close friend, confidant, or spiritual leader and make your confession. You will feel an instant and tangible easing of your burden, like having a weight taken off your shoulders, and you will start to feel a new freedom and a new nearness to your Creator. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

God loves you. More than you will ever know or understand.

Here are some links that you might find helpful:

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

KnowGod.org

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Future Things

Future Things-532989_960_720

For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

As you look at the world around you, what do you see? Everywhere, people are going about their activities, rushing to and fro, seemingly with ant-like singleness of purpose. From a higher vantage point, perhaps that’s even what we look like, ants darting around. And while we hear stories on the news and have at least a casual awareness of international events, we seldom give them much thought, at least not enough to truly affect our plans. Wars, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, tsunamis, economic collapses, people dying of starvation or suffering persecution at the hands of oppressive regimes, and so many more things are happening all around the world but life goes on and those things fade into background noise as we focus on executing our own plans. We go forward with every expectation of living our lives to their fullest extent.

But it’s all coming to a climax. We don’t like to think about it, we don’t know much about it, and we mostly try to deny or dismiss it, but despite our ant-like bustling around, way deep down inside each of us knows that there has to be a day of reckoning; that this growing global chaos cannot continue forever; something has to give. Perhaps as evidence of a burgeoning concern for our collective future, attendance at the fall prophecy conference put on by Jan Markell and her Olive Tree Ministries last October was double expected levels. More than 6000 people attended, some waiting in traffic for more than an hour to get inside for this event. Indeed, it seems people are becoming at least more curious about what is to come.

But we don’t have to wonder too hard. God has made it clear in the Bible that the end will come and Jesus will return as he promised. The question really is: when? And Jesus answered that question in Matthew 24:36-44: “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

Of course, probably every generation since Jesus ascended to heaven has thought the end was near. So are there any signs right now that signal us we might be truly getting close to the end? Well, certainly the reestablishment of Israel as a nation in 1948 is a unique event of epic proportions and a signal we should not ignore. But a little closer look at the world today reveals certain situations that fit with Biblical prophecy as signs of the times. Space here doesn’t allow an exhaustive list, but let’s take a cursory look at some of them.

We’ll start with unrest and lawlessness in Europe. Greece’s fall into near financial ruin and the well-publicized Brexit vote both signal dissension and economic instability in the European union. Meanwhile in Switzerland, the opening ceremony for the Gotthard Base Tunnel showcased a bizarre and tasteless opening ceremony that featured a dancing goatman, which is often symbolic for Satan, with other dancers bowing down in what appears to be an act of mock satanic worship. And more open borders and mass refugee immigration from troubled areas of the world have led to increased terrorist activity leaving citizens and governments alike on edge. Many prophecy experts believe the Antichrist will arise from Europe and the current unrest there certainly seems to be the perfect breeding ground for such a thing to happen.

And we have wars and rumors of wars seemingly in every direction we turn. One country threatens another, terrorists seem to operate everywhere, and North Korea is stirring the pot in the biggest of ways. Rogue nations dabble in nuclear programs while the people of the world watch powerlessly. On December 23, 2016 the UN voted against Israel while Israel’s greatest ally, the United States, abstained from the vote. This seems to align with prophecy in Zechariah 12:3, which speaks of countries aligning against Israel. And, rather obviously, this only adds to the tension in the middle east.

And people are falling away from sound Christian teaching in large numbers. Just as the Apostle Paul prophesied in his second letter to Timothy: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) This is evident in so many ways all across the globe. Even some churches have become nothing more than social and political outreaches, promoting lifestyles and politics completely inconsistent with sound Biblical doctrine.

So we see that there are, indeed, many signs that the end could truly be much closer than any of us care to think. We are called to be watchmen on the wall, praying day and night and sounding the warning, and there seems to be plenty to warn the people about, for indeed, if that day draws near, and it sure looks like it does, then the time to get right with God is now. Right now.

To learn more about prophecy and eschatology, we are proud to recommend these resources to you:

Olive Tree Ministries

Behold Israel

Pastor Mark Hitchcock

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Your Stalker

stalker threatening-1541063_960_720   Your stalker is out there. You may not ever see him, or even know that he’s lurking about, but he’s watching you. He watches you when you wake up in the morning, he watches while you shower and while you dress. He follows you on your morning commute and he watches with steadfastness while you go about your daily work activity. He’s got eyes on you when you stop at the gym after work, when you’re having a drink with friends, and on your way home. And as you settle into bed after a long day, he’s there waiting. Your stalker never rests, always watches, always waits. In broad daylight and creeping around in the dark of night, he’s there. He’s always there, a shadow lying in wait.

Your stalker’s name is Death and Death is a hunter. A patient hunter, stalking his prey with precision and endurance. He never worries about missing his quarry, for he knows they all succumb eventually. It doesn’t matter how adept his subject is at survival, Death will introduce every victim to his partner, the grave. And all your efforts to avoid Death are in vain. It doesn’t matter if you eat right or work out regularly. Neither the fitness guru nor the glutton can avoid their common fate. Some things we do may help delay the inevitable, but even then Death often strikes without warning. Auto accidents, cancer, storms, and fire are just tools in the hands of Death.

Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

It may seem this subject is a bit grim but let’s face it, the one statistic we can be sure of is that 10 out of every 10 people will die. That’s you, me, them. Everyone. Most people don’t like to think about it, but almost all of us have already faced death with the loss of a friend, family member, or coworker, so we know how real death is. But it is so much easier to focus on our careers, our hobbies, our friends, our social lives, our favorite TV shows, our vacation plans, or just about anything else. Death is not a subject we like to think about.

But the fact remains, death is stalking us, and as much as we may not wish to think about it, it may come much sooner than we care to imagine. We all know someone who died much too young and tomorrow anyone of us could be that person, so time is short. And we all instinctively know that death is not the end, so making sure we are ready for it should be our highest priority. So how can we be ready?

First, we must admit that we are a sinner. That should be really easy, for who among us would ever consider themselves perfect? Indeed, we all know deep inside we have made mistakes, we have done things that have hurt those around us, so let’s not waste any time with denial. Next, we must repent. This is also really simple; we just acknowledge that we are sinners and we turn from doing things our way and we start doing things God’s way. Lastly, we put our faith in Jesus Christ. For “if you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Please, please take these steps today, for everyone likes to think they have another day, or year, but the reality is we may not even have another minute. May God bless you richly as you consider your eternal future and the reality that God loves you enough to send his only Son that you might be forgiven.

Learn more at: KnowGod.org

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Before Anyone Else

BAE couple-1599046_960_720

BAE. Before anyone else. A term to describe the most important person in your life. Most use the term to describe their significant other; so, for example, I would say that my wife is BAE. And she definitely is…in human terms. But there is one who comes before her, and should be BAE for all of us, and that one is God. This is not just my opinion, it is one of God’s commandments, one that God gave us for a very specific reason. Let’s look at God’s Word:

“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.” (Exodus 20:2-6)

Now, some people can find the meaning of these verses from the ten commandments a bit troubling, but in reality they are not so difficult at all. God is communicating to us his intended design that places Him first in the order of all things, and especially as it relates to our relationship with Him. Any difficulty in understanding often comes when we bring our own, modern day understanding to the text (a poor practice called “eisegesis”, which space doesn’t allow us to discuss in detail here). When we use the technique of understanding the text in terms of the original writer’s perspective (a more acceptable practice called “exegesis”) then we begin to understand what God is saying to us.

When God is described here as a “jealous” god, the word in the original language is “qannā,” a word that refers directly to the attributes of God’s justice and holiness. He is to be the sole object of human worship and he does not tolerate man’s sin. Understood this way, we see that the term “jealous” in Exodus 20:5 is not the same kind of jealousy we might feel in our lives, rather, it reflects God’s ordained order of things, and His rightful place in that order is before anyone else, or BAE. Anything less will not be tolerated.

This is a good point for us to be reminded that when God says “don’t,” He means “don’t hurt yourself.” There is a clearly designed order in God’s creation, of which we are a central part, and when we stray outside that order we begin to experience consequences that may take many forms. To stray from God’s intended order in any way is to sin, and sin always comes with repercussion. And this is where we see God warning us in Exodus 20:6 – “I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected…” So maybe the cliché “don’t means don’t hurt yourself” might better be stated: “don’t means don’t hurt yourself and others”.

As human beings, we often have a strong tendency to think only in terms of ourselves, but our lives are not our own, and our choices and the actions we take affect those around us as much as they affect us, and this is especially so within our families. Most of us have known family dysfunction at some level, and we see here that the ultimate root cause of that dysfunction stems from not recognizing God is BAE. So when we lose sight of God in His rightful place as Lord, and we pursue all those things that we desire, we really make ourselves BAE (even if we don’t realize it) and all those things, those pleasures, they become idols to us.

So what are we to do? How do we escape this tendency to put ourselves in the center of our lives? Simple, really: we accept God’s forgiveness and we start doing our very best to keep God at the center of our thinking and our lives by reading the Bible, praying, and trying to follow His commands. Psalm 119:1-9 offers us this encouragement:

Joyful are people of integrity,

who follow the instructions of the Lord.

Joyful are those who obey his laws

and search for him with all their hearts.

They do not compromise with evil,

and they walk only in his paths.

You have charged us

to keep your commandments carefully.

Oh, that my actions would consistently

reflect your decrees!

Then I will not be ashamed

when I compare my life with your commands.

As I learn your righteous regulations,

I will thank you by living as I should!

I will obey your decrees.

Please don’t give up on me!

How can a young person stay pure?

By obeying your word.

We can see that when we keep God as BAE, and follow His commandments, then we experience joyful living. That doesn’t mean we will be without trials or difficulty. Quite the contrary, it means we will be joyful despite our trials and difficulties, and that joyfulness will bear witness of God’s power to all those around us, and to our own families, and family dysfunction will start to fade away. And that seems an admirable goal, doesn’t it? So…is God BAE in your life?

Learn more at: KnowGod.org

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.