Friday, July 12, 2024

Ten Core Values for the Christian life (3)

Jesus taught His disciples to pray: Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored (Matthew 6:9).

To honor the name of the Lord comes as the opposite of misusing that name, or using that name in vain. And that brings us to part 3 in this new blog series, to the third commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Exodus 20:7).

It is one thing to claim we don’t use the Lord’s name in vain. We don't swear, we don't misuse His name. But for what purposes do we use His name? 

Are we bringing honor to His name? Do we have a genuine love for His name? Is everything we do and say then, done in His name?

‘Lord’ is not a word to end our sentences with when we talk to Him, nor is it a filler to make our prayers sound more holy and authentic. ‘Lord’ (YHWH) is His personal revelatory name and He gave it to us for use on a daily basis. Why?

Because God's presence is connected to His name.

  • In Exodus 20:25b, for example, God says Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.
  • Or, as Jesus said, in Matthew 18:20: For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
  • And let's not forget the announcement of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:23): Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.

Whenever we call on the name of the Lord, He will be right there. His presence is in His name.

πŸ‘‰The core value I have attached to the third commandment is PRESENCE

We seek the presence of God daily by honoring His name and His presence brings peace, healing, and revelation.

πŸ•‚πŸ•‚πŸ•‚πŸ•‚πŸ•‚

For more on this topic, read my book 'In My Name' (Inviting God's holy presence in daily situations). The book is available on Amazon in your country.


Saturday, June 29, 2024

Ten Core Values for the christian life (2)

Come, let us bow down and worship Him; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker [Psalm 95:6].

Let's continue this blog series with the second commandment: You shall not make any idols and you shall not bow down to them or worship them (Exodus 20:4-5).

That's the second commandment in a nutshell. As we have seen in the previous post the first commandment is about not having other gods before Him. The second commandment specifies this in more detail: don't make images of other gods (idols) and don't worship them.

I truly believe the second commandment is at its core all about worship. It is a call to worship and bow down to no one else but God alone. Now, if all is well, Christians do not worship or bow down to idols (although we might never have missed an episode of Idols on TV). Yet, I have met believers who were more devoted to their church, their denomination, their dogma's and doctrines, or their preachers and worship bands, than to God!

Which brings us to a realistic and probing question. What would be left of our modern-day Christianity when all is taken away: the buildings, the meetings, the money, the power, the titles, the theology, the music, and the concerts? What would be left?

We might find ourselves on our knees again, without anything. Just us, on the floor… waiting for God to speak, waiting for Him to come. After more than two thousand years of Christianity, we might find ourselves bowing down again, empty-handed, with nothing but our time and lives to give Him.

Jesus prophesied that the time was coming when by the power of God’s Spirit people would worship the Father as He really is, offering Him the true worship He so desires. Have you ever wondered what true worship would be like? It begins where idolatry ends.

πŸ‘‰The core value I have attached to the second commandment is WORSHIP.

Our gratefulness and devotion towards God express themselves in a lifestyle of worship.

πŸ•‚πŸ•‚πŸ•‚πŸ•‚πŸ•‚

For more on this topic, read my book 'True Worshipers' (Answering the Father's call for a lifestyle of pure devotion). The book is available on Amazon in your country.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ten Core Values for the christian life (1)

'Going from commandment to core value is, in essence, going from theory to application', I wrote in my previous blog.

If you have read one or more of my books in the series about the Ten Commandments you will have noticed that the books are not about what we can or cannot do, but about what the Holy Spirit wants to do through us.

So, let's start with the first commandment: You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).

The first commandment is more than just a rule, a law, a decree, or even a mere prohibition. In essence, it is a call to holiness. My free interpretation comes down to ‘No compromise’, which is quite radical in a world full of compromises, choices, and alternatives.

We want it all and we can have it all, but in the process we are becoming more and more disoriented and less and less focused. Major confusion, whether mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually, is the disease of our time.

As Christians, we should never mix our faith in God with the enticements of this world. This is dangerous ground… unstable ground and the Bible warns us repeatedly not to go that way. ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ means much more than just refraining from worshiping idols. Of course, we have no other gods besides the Lord in our lives, if all is well.

But let’s be honest here; how big is the influence of the world in our lives? Are we refusing to let the world corrupt us? It seems this evil world is closing in on us, which can be quite a frightening feeling. All the more reason to stick with Jesus! The first commandment is therefore a call for undivided loyalty towards the Lord.

πŸ‘‰The core value I have attached to the first commandment is LOYALTY.

Our loyalty is to God alone and we will not be distracted by the concerns of this world. 

πŸ•‚πŸ•‚πŸ•‚πŸ•‚πŸ•‚

For more on this topic, read my book 'No other gods' (Why undivided loyalty to the One and only living God matters in these days). The book is available on Amazon in your country.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ten Core Values for the christian life (intro)

It has often been said, that the Ten Commandments are not the ten suggestions. I agree.

πŸ‘‰Although nowadays we might struggle with the idea of 'commandments' we cannot change the fact that the Bible orders believers to do or restrain from certain things. A commandment is an instruction, a directive, or an order.

God commands His angels to watch over us* (oh, how we like that) but He also commands us to love our enemies (ouch).

A happier and safer society

While writing my book series about the Ten Commandments in the 21st century, I discovered that they basically represent ten core values for a dedicated and fruitful Christian life. A core value is a principle or belief that a person or organization views as being of central importance. I feel free to say that the Ten Commandments describe values that would make for a happier and safer society... if applied.

New Covenant

Although the Ten Commandments have not changed, the way we make them come true is totally different under the new covenant. Merely obeying or keeping a set of rules can turn into legalism. However, making the teachings come true by fulfilling them in daily life is a whole different story, as Jesus had to explain many times. The apostle John understood it. He wrote:

Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining (1 John 2:7-8, NLT).

Do you see that? Jesus lived the truth of the commandments. I believe we are called to do the same. It is the way to push back darkness! No longer is the emphasis on dos and don’ts but on what a life, led by the Holy Spirit, could be like.

From theory to application

It is one thing to say we don't steal, but are we generous? It is one thing to say we don't bear false witness, but do we speak truth when we open our mouths? Going from commandment to core value is in essence going from theory to application.

So, in the next blog post, we will start with the first commandment (You shall have no other gods before Me) and discover the core value hidden within this commandment. It is my hope that you will join me in this series. Along the way, the Holy Spirit will expand our understanding of a proper balance between law and grace.

*Psalm 91:11

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Expand my territory!

"I like the idea of expansion, as long as it is not my waist or weight 😁", I wrote in my blog post on January 4th of this year. The post was about my #oneword for 2024: EXPAND. You can read that post HERE.

Expand as in the prayer of Jabez: Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! (1 Chronicles 4:10).

Expand as in Psalm 119:32: I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.

Europe Teen Challenge Conference

We're talking territorial as well as spiritual expansion. I like that idea. This past weekend, we attended the Europe Teen Challenge conference in Warsaw, Poland. With our non-profit organization Traveling Light, we support Teen Challenge programs (faith-based rehab and discipleship programs) in more than 30 countries in Europe. So, the annual conference is always a great opportunity to meet with staff and students from all over Europe.

Book table

We are always present with our book table, which is a blessing as well. Several of my books have been translated into other languages (German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Farsi, and Polish, to name a few). This time I had two new books/editions on the table:

  • No other gods, which is the tenth and final book in my series about the Ten Commandments in the 21st century, and
  • Duch Prawdy, which is the Polish edition of my book Spirit of Truth.

Ten Core Values

While writing that final book in the series, the idea came to me that the Ten Commandments are basically the Ten Core Values for a dedicated and fruitful Christian life. I wrote a book about each commandment, and each book represents a core value that we live out in our daily lives.

πŸ‘‰I decided to do a blog series about those Ten Core Values. I surely hope you will take the journey with me. Along the way, the Holy Spirit will expand our understanding of a proper balance between law and grace.

PS: My books are available on Amazon in your country!