pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Layers, Ripples, and Depth

Reading: Exodus 20: 12-17

Verses 12-17: “Honor your mother and father… you shall not… murder… commit adultery… steal… give false testimony… covet…”

Today we look at the last section of the Ten Commandments. These six deal with our relationship with each other. They are not written in isolation but within the context of all ten. The covenant relationship that God establishes with us in the first four commandments influence our relationships with each other. Just as the first four revolve with loving God fully, so too do the last six center on loving each other completely.

On the surface level the last six are pretty straight forward and easy to understand. Yet each also has layers to it. For example, the command to “honor your mother and father” is generally about our relationship with our parents and the lifelong benefits of doing so. But this commandment can also extend to all who help parent us – grandparents, teachers, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and even some of our bosses.

The layers on some can come from the ripple affects they cause. For example, committing adultery is simply not an act that affects just the two people involved directly. It also impacts families and friends and self and maybe even employment or social standing. The same can be said of all of the other six. We never sin in isolation.

The depth or breadth of a couple are also amazing when we take time to really ponder them. The command to not give false testimony is about not lying. Simple enough, right? But is not telling the whole truth or not being fully honest the same sin? When we think of a few other ways that false testimony can play out we can see how deep and wide this sin can really be. Do we gossip? Do we slander? Do we compare others unfairly to elevate ourselves?

The last of the Ten Commandments fits all three of the above. When we covet it can begin as an attraction. But it can soon become an obsession. The layers or levels of covetousness can also create ripples. Who we use or what we are willing to do to get that “thing” can leave a wake of hurt and pain in our trail. The sin of coveting can also become widespread. While it certainly is in our society, it can also become contagious in our lives. Finding joy or pleasure in getting some “thing” can lead us to search for joy or pleasure in other things and in other ways.

But all is not lost! When we love others as God intended, all is good in our lives and in the world. May we love well today!


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Our Worship

What kind of worship do you think God likes best?  Yes, I did ask that.  I think God most likes the worship that brings all the glory and honor to Him.  That may happen in a lot of different styles and settings and experiences.

Ezra read from the scriptures and the people listened attentively.  They raised their hands up toward heaven, seeking to connect to God.  They bowed their heads low, seeking to demonstrate their obedience and submission to God, to His holy Word.  In prayer they laid low to the ground.  All of these gestures were done to bring honor and glory to God alone and to indicate the conditions of their hearts – hearts fully committed to God.  But this is not the only way on can worship God.  David danced in the streets as he worshiped God.  Jesus went alone up on the mountain to worship God.

In our churches, our worship can vary greatly too.  It amazes me how many ways we can worship God and bring our praises to glorify God.  Musically it can be a stirring organ or a rocking praise band or a beautiful piano gently playing a song.  Vocally it can be a moving choir or a single voice lifted beautifully in praise or it can be a whole congregation raising the roof.  Prayer can be vocal with hands lifted high or it can be kneeling at the rail with head bowed low in reverent silence.  The Word can be read together or it may just be the liturgist.  The variances in tone, gesture, inflection, pace, and so on can be great even within one sermon.

God desires our worship to reflect the condition of our heart.  Does our individual worship on a Sunday in church reveal a faith fully committed to God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength?  Does our worship fill us so completely full of God that we have to go through the week ahead pouring Him out to all we meet?  This is the worship God desires.

Scripture reference: Nehemiah 8: 5-6