Taking the Lord’s name in vain

 

I used to think this meant swearing.  But another meaning has surfaced to me.  The people who God will not hold guiltless are those that claim to represent him, who take upon themselves His Name… falsely.

Those who preach “Health and Wealth.”

How many New Testament followers of Jesus had “Health and Wealth?”  Jesus certainly had Health, in fact He gave it away.  But the Bible doesn’t say He had Wealth (in terms of money).  Paul was not rich or healthy (eye disease?).  Timothy had stomach trouble needing wine.  After Jesus went to heaven his followers were persecuted, scattered, fleeing for their lives from town to town.  Not conducive for accumulating wealth.

Those who condemn you for a sickness because you don’t have “faith.”

How many lives have been ruined by those who tell someone dealing with mental illness to “get off your meds, trust God, and He will heal you.”  When the four friends let down their sick friend through the roof of the home Jesus was teaching in, it says that Jesus saw their faith, (the friends), not his faith, (the sick one).  And Jesus healed the sick one because of his friends’ faith.  There is a lesson here.  When you condemn someone for being sick and not having faith to get well, you are condemning yourself.  Because you are responsible to have enough faith.  Not the sick one.  Read about the “friends” of Job and what they said about him and what God said about him.  Job called them miserable comforters.  God said Who is this that darkens His counsel with words without knowledge?

Those who outwardly follow Jesus instructions in order to gain money.

Jesus’ principles make good business sense.  But if your motive is to gain money by doing them “you deny the power” of Jesus and his message of love for all.  You deny the love Jesus died to bring you and “your god is your stomach.”

Those who preach Jesus to have their own followers in order to feed themselves.

Jesus followers talk about Jesus and what he has freely given them and all others.  Self-seekers use Jesus as a means to get fame, fortune, power and pleasure (what satan and the world offer).

These people do not represent a true picture of God’s character and love for all.  They are harming Jesus’ reputation (Name) and hiding the true Jesus that loves them just the way they are.  That is why they are guilty.

 

Nobody’s perfect

 

Poor in spirit,
those who are not confident in their own ability to please God.

Mourn,
over the sin that they can’t stop doing

Meek,
great power under complete control

 

First Jesus says blessed are the poor in spirit,
and they that mourn.

He says my righteousness is to exceed the “Super Religious” (the scribes and Pharisees),

If I am angry with someone, if I call them “stupid” I am in danger of hell fire,

Adultery is looking at a woman to lust after her and is worthy of dismemberment.

Then He ends by saying for me to be perfect,
just as my Heavenly Father is perfect.

At this point I give up.

Because I know I cannot do this.

And my spirit becomes poor,

and I mourn over my sin I can’t stop doing.

And I know I do not have great power

and the power I do have is not under complete control.

And I know I hate my enemies.

 

And I realize

 

I need a Savior.

 

 

This time it’s not a test

Starting September 1, 2013 our family double-tithed for a month, we gave 20% of our income back to God, that is, to our local church.  God gave me a new job and other nice things happened.  (See, https://i-m-4-u.com/2013/09/29/did-god-pass-the-test/).  But that was 3 and a half years ago.

My wife and I were listening this morning to a pastor talk about the fun of miracles happening in our lives and in the lives of others.    I asked God to give me the desire to be receptive to his miracles again by doing what he says to do.  I remembered what we did back in 2013.  And so, the fire was lit.  We are going to do another double-tithe for a month.  While much happened for us last time, relationally and financially,  I am anticipating much happening for others this time.  Still, one of my goals is that my wife and two sons and myself grow in our trust of our invisible God.  I want God to make himself “real and tangible” in our hearts and minds.

So Jesus, we are ready for whatever you want to do in, through and for us, take it away…

Fear is your friend

“Dare to stand before those you fear and speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”
Maggie Kuhn

And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
– Paul, Apostle of Jesus,  1 Corinthians 2:3

 

I am guilty of judging content by delivery.  If someone is confident and smooth in their presentation, I sometimes give them much more credit than someone who is halting, trembles and shows their insecurity.

Fortunately God uses people like Paul who boasted of his weaknesses in order that Christ’s power would influence people, not his own power.

Last summer I stood up in front of about 100 people at a satellite campus of our church and presented a new ministry: hope for mental health.  My hands were shaking so badly I could not read my notes, and my voice was shaking as well.  But the comments I received afterwards about the content were positive, and we laughed about the delivery.

Perhaps you can relate less to the polished person than the trembling speaker, and you decline to talk about Jesus to others (friends, family, strangers) because of fear.

Fear is your friend.

If you trust Jesus with your eternity, trust him to fill you, and give you words and everything else you need to tell the people he died for, that he loves them.  Jesus takes full responsibility for you when you obey him.  And obeying Jesus is fun.  Being filled with Jesus and doing what he wants is the most fun I have ever had.  And I did it with shaking hands and shaking voice.  Fear was my friend because it drove away reliance on “me” and allowed Jesus to guide me, to do his work, his way, with his words.

Whatever your excuse for not doing what Jesus has commanded you to do is not worth holding onto.  Having the courage to obey Jesus does not mean you will not be afraid.  It means you love and trust Jesus more than your fear.