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You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. Exodus 20:7

The story has been told of the tribesman who ventured into the city for the first time. Of all the trappings, he was most captivated by the city lights. He was determined to bring this miraculous thing back to his people and went about obtaining a light bulb, a socket, and a light switch. Returning to his village he climbed the highest tree and hung the light. His fellow tribesmen inquired, “What are you doing?” but all he said was,

Wait until dark and you shall see!”

As word spread and as the sun set, the entire village gathered around the tree eagerly waiting for this thing to be seen. As darkness covered the people, the tribesman held the switch high above his head. When the crowd gasped, he flicked the switch.

We Know What Happened

Nothing.

Nothing happened because the light bulb was not connected to a source of power. The light bulb the man brought back to his village was in fact a light bulb, but it was a light bulb in name only. Because it was not plugged-in, it was worthless for the purpose for which it was designed and worthy only of the village trash heap.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:4

What’s Your Name?

The text from John 15 is very clear; if we are not plugged into the source of power in Christ Jesus, we are Christians in name only. Remember, we too were made for a specific purpose. I believe that when the Law came down off the mountain, this is what the Father meant when He said to not take the Lord’s name in vain.

Consider the definition of the word vain from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

  1. Empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance
  2. Fruitless; ineffectual. All attempts, all efforts were vain.
  3. Proud of petty things, or of trifling attainments.
  4. Unreal
  5. Showy; ostentatious.
  6. Unsatisfying. The pleasures of life are vain.
  7. False; deceitful; not genuine; spurious.

If we call ourselves by His name, then the action implies a desire to be connected to the power associated with the name, hence emptiness becomes profusion, pride turns to humility, and falsehood yields to truth. Conversely, taking Christ’s name in vain is to akin to denying the Son in order to maintain depravity. Frankly, I could make the case that those guilty of this are also lying adulterers, after all, the church is the bride of Christ.
What would you call a wife who takes her husbands name, but continues to carry on in a worldly fashion as if not married at all?

This is what Jesus says,

Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:22-23

It doesn’t have to be that way. Confess the sin for what it is, turn away from it and turn towards Jesus, and start walking in His ways and not your own. You’re married…start acting like it.

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But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

My wife had to be the first to know

Several years ago I approached my wife and told her there was something I needed to tell her. “You should sit down,” I cautioned her.

“What is it,” she said nervously.

“You are not number one in my life anymore,” I determined the remark must sear both our hearts.

Quickly (and I do mean quickly) I explained how Jesus Christ was numero uno and why that was important to our relationship. Our relationships with Jesus Christ could not take a backseat to our relationships with each other.

Am I number two?

“Well honey, maybe.” I expected a handful of coasters to come flying in my direction.

“In God’s economy,” I continued, “everything is number two.”

What I finally was able to convey to my wife is that Jesus Christ is our top priority and we must depend upon Him to prioritize the rest of our lives. In so doing we can trust that all our relationships will be enhanced, not to mention all our other needs.

The List

Many Christians have them. “On my list,” they might say, “God is number one, my wife is number two, my kids are number three, my job is number four,” and so on and so forth.

Friends, we should toss out those lists. Why? Because God is not a respecter of individuals, therefore our lists should not reflect that we are.

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” Acts 10:34

If you have a list, go back to it for a moment. Imagine you took the day off from work to celebrate an anniversary with your spouse when the school calls announcing  your child was just rushed to the emergency room. Let me ask you,

Who is number two on your list now?”

And if I may be so bold to ask, where does a stranger fit on your list? Number five? Six? Fifteen?

But (a certain lawyer), wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ Luke 10:29-35

I can’t help but wonder where the Samaritan was going that day. Did he have a list? Was he walking to ‘number four’ (work)? Was he rushing to ‘number three’ (to see his son’s athletic event)? Wherever he was going doesn’t really matter, because when he encountered this situation, it took priority.

Think about it; the priest and the Levite (who ignored the stranger) did so because they were selfishly locked-into some prioritized and pre-manufactured list. What a shame. Not only did they miss out on an opportunity to help a stranger, they totally ignored the divine appointment God had specifically arranged for them before the beginning of time!

Essentially their list became their stumbling block.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Time is Short…Toss the List

God has set our priorities. Don’t allow some list to stand in the way of what He would have you do today. Throw out the list and trust God to provide your spouse and family with their much-needed ‘number two’ time. You should because He will.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

  1. What do these passages say about God?
  2. What do they say about us?
  3. What changes should we prayerfully consider?

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Awake, O north wind, And come, O south! Blow upon my garden, That its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden And eat its pleasant fruits…I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. (To His Friends) Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones! Song of Solomon 4:16 + 5:1

I’m Selfish

When I’m alone, I want to be left alone. When I’m with my wife or kids, I don’t want any intruders. When I’m communing with Jesus, I don’t want to be disturbed. When somebody talks or coughs during church service, I’m irritated. When I’m having an awesome time of fellowship with a friend or two or three, I’m not fond of others butting in and changing the topic.

The list could go on and on.

You and I are within our rights when it is our desire to maintain these cherished bonds, especially when the activities are both wholesome and pleasing to the Lord, aren’t we? After all, Jesus would be pleased that we wouldn’t want these moments with Him interrupted, right?

Not necessarily according to this portion of the Song of Solomon.

Song of Solomon

You may know that there are several ways we can analysis the *Song of Solomon, but I feel it’s most beneficial to see the entire eight chapters of the book as an allegory, that is a symbolic narrative that depicts Jesus Christ as the Groom and His subsequent love and purpose for the church, His bride.

With that…

“Awake, O north wind, And come, O south! Blow upon my garden, That its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden And eat its pleasant fruits.” Song of Solomon 4:16

Here, the bride speaks first and we see in her an attitude of eager and loyal submission to her Husband. Her first sentence is an invitation for His scrutiny. She effectively says to her Lord to let the revealing and sanctifying winds of adversity blow — she is subject to His ownership, authority, and redemptive power.

She further recognizes that not only does she belong to the King, but the garden and the fruit therein belongs to Him as well. Her confidence comes in knowing she is robed in His righteousness, that He alone is good, and that He creates good things for His good pleasure. The fruit she bears under His covering was produced by Him and for Him and as she freely brings Him blessing she is essentially fulfilling her God-given objective. As a result, she is filled with joy realizing her true purpose in the world.

“…For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure…You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Philippians 2:13 + Revelation 4:11

Later on in the New Testament, Jesus Himself builds on that doctrine when while walking with His disciples He hungrily comes across a fig tree and curses it for being barren. We need to know that Jesus was not being cruel, but rather He was taking the occasion to illustrate a critical point to the church: fruitlessness is worthlessness and it defies the purpose of a Christian’s mission.

This cursed tree is for our example, but remember, Jesus knows the beginning from the end and whether-or-not a tree (or an alleged disciple) will ever in their lifetime produce. I personally find comfort in the parable He shares in Luke’s Gospel, as it reminds me that Jesus is the God of second chances and restoration.

“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ” Luke 13:6-9

Back to the Song

Her Beloved Lord now speaks…

“I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. (To His Friends) Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones!  Song of Solomon 5:1

He comes to the garden, again making the distinction that it and all within belongs to Him. He communes, He partakes, He is blessed, and He brings home unexpected guests to His new bride.

I recall a time when my dad did that.

He was late for dinner, the food was getting cold, and mom couldn’t wait any longer; we were instructed to sit down at the table. In walked dad and it appeared that perhaps he had a little too much wine…without the milk. Right behind him walked his buddy Head-gear (whose real name was Edgar).

Honey, I brought home a dinner guest!

Let’s just say my Mom was not pleased, but in her defense her reaction was slightly influenced by my dad’s pre-dinner indulgences that day. Be that as it may…

God is saying here in the Bible text that He doesn’t always travel alone — His bride is representative of His corporate body, the Church. And not only that — sometimes He brings home some folks He loves that are not of the church in order that they too might be blessed, fed, and subsequently led into His family. Jesus is not just in love with us individually, He’s in love with the body entirely and those who might become His followers. Jesus is proclaiming that when we’re submitted to Him, we’re also submitted to His directives towards those He loves. What Jesus implies here in the Old Testament He  later affirms in the New.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Some Questions:

  1. Are you submitted to both Jesus and to His doctrine?
  2. Do you see yourself and your stuff as belonging to Him?
  3. If not, are you submitted to sanctification and being refined?

~ ~ ~

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*I selected the Kings James Version of the text because it omits the explanatory notations that were not a part of the original text. Labels such as: The Beloved, The Shulamite, and The Daughters of Jerusalem aren’t inspired words of God and occasionally they are inaccurately placed within the text.

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Why are we counted as beasts, And regarded as stupid in your sight? Job 18:3

All Men Are Bozos

That of course is a lie; men are not Bozos. You will not find Bozo-theology offered as truth anywhere in the Bible. What you will find are sinful people (like Job’s friend Bildad) saying foolish things, as he does in Job 18:3. The truth is that God does not count men as beasts, nor does he regard us as stupid. The concept is a lie from the pit of hell.

What the Bible Has to Say on the Subject

Two Bible verse jump out at me:

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1a

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool. Proverbs 28:26

On the surface, those are pretty incriminating passages, but when we sort through the rhetoric it’s plain to see that sin-nature is the true culprit. We should also take note that the passages are not gender specific—human beings are foolish when they are ensnared by their own sin, men and women alike.

So What’s My Point?

My point is that men are not Bozos, despite the fact it’s a lie perpetuated in almost every single TV sitcom.  The truth be told, men are sinners, and we have discovered a convenient lie to hide behind so that we may continue in our sin. In other words, we often pretend to be stupid so we can continue to be selfish and lazy. There, I said it. Let the fireworks begin.

I’ll give you one example from my own life: doing laundry. I use to do my wife’s laundry, that is until I ‘accidentally’ shrunk a few things in the drier and turned a few white things ‘pink’ in the washing machine. My wife took back the chore when we both agreed I was an idiot.

Now let’s examine the facts. First, I am not an idiot—I know how to do laundry. Any moron can figure out and recall the basic steps of separating colors and whites, the use of hot and cold water, and what can and cannot go into the drier. The problem is not that I am stupid, the problem is that I’m lazy (aka: a sinner). 99% of the time you can get away with being a lazy launderer, but every so often your sin will find you out.

Here’s what really happened: I could have a) objected to being called an idiot and defended my laundering skills, or b) accept the idiot moniker and never have to do my wife’s laundry again. Hmm…tough choice huh? While choosing ‘plan b’ seemed like the wise, manly thing to do it, was also the sinful thing to do. “Yup, I’m a bozo honey; couldn’t agree with you more (have fun washing your own clothes)!”

The Spiritual Fork in the Road

I’m rocking a very sacred boat and I suspect this is where I am going to lose a lot of the men. Why would I even dare to raise the issue? I bring it up in the light of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians’, particularly this passage in chapter 5:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27

Men, if we are hiding behind a lie in our marital relationships, we are not loving our wives as Christ loved the church nor are we cleansing them with the washing of the word. What we are doing is deceiving our wives and giving them a sinful example to emulate. Men, we are not Bozos…we are sinners. As painful as it is for us, we must reject the notion of the world that we inane and accept that truth that are hearts are deceptively wicked. Change that is pleasing to God cannot come until we confess our sin and repent.

 

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Then Nathan departed to his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!” When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. 2 Samuel 12:15-20

Today’s blog is not about abortion, but I need to say up front that abortion is wrong. I need to say that because today’s blog is on the matter of letting your perversion die, and considering the text, somebody’s liable to come away with the erroneous conclusion that abortion is okay when it is not. As a matter of fact ~and~ as it pertains to the baby in this story, we must take note that God took him and that he was not brutally murdered by the hands of men.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13

The deeds of our body refers of course to our sinful nature and the byproducts of our aberrant existence. Our Father has taken this historical event and used it to effectively illustrate that these things must be put away, as if dead and this dying child is a picture of David’s perverted lifestyle. The text is not suggesting that children born out of wedlock are evil things that must be destroyed, but rather that this baby is a type representing the evil deeds we do. I hope this is clear.

And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. 2 Samuel 12:20

Prior to the baby’s death, David was emotionally distressed and his heartache is a picture of our grief when we struggled to give up our favorite sin(s). Now that the child has died, many are perplexed to see this turn around in David’s life, but hopefully not those who have reckoned their own flesh dead. Formerly, David was pleading to hold onto his sinful past, but now he’s worshipping. How come? Because when sin dies there is freedom! Perhaps you remember when this happened to you; when you finally realized that perverted thing in your life was dead. Remember the cleansing, the anointing, and the changed life? Remember how you went into the house of the Lord and worshiped?


Letting Go

That’s the message of the text. With David as our example we can see how difficult and painful a process it can be, but more importantly we can see that it doesn’t have to be that way. Example is the best teacher, but God has not mandated that it be our example; we can learn from others and in so doing bring honor, and glory, and blessing to Jesus Christ.


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Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Genesis 39:1-5

W. J. W. D.

What do I do when I find myself in an adverse situation—do I lament, “This isn’t fair, ” or proclaim, “why has this happened to me?” Do I arrogantly declare, “My talent is being wasted, ” or do I swear vengeance against those who have wronged me? And what would I do if I were in Joseph’s sandals? If anyone had the right to gripe, Joseph certainly did, but instead chooses a superior course to follow and in so doing expresses what Jesus would do.

Christian Prosperity

A whole lot of churches are getting the wrong message about prosperity. If the Lord elects to bless a person with worldly wealth, so be it, but in so doing God is not declaring that this is what (godly) prosperity is or that we are all somehow entitled to it (wealth). Prosperity is characterized not by that we possess, but by an attitude we express. In Joseph we see a man who is blessed by what he has been given and not grieved over that which he does not have, demonstrating that in the pursuit of God’s righteous there is satisfaction.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

A Blessing to Others

I like that the Bible records that as a result of Joseph’s behavior and attitude, that the Lord blessed Potiphar’s house as well. My mind immediately goes to the work-place—can my boss say of me, “This is the best employee I have ever had—whatever he does is a blessing to me, ” or do I let my feelings get in the way of my performance? Wherever I find myself, are those around me somehow blessed because of my obedience to God? In emulating Joseph we imitate Christ Jesus—let our focus be on His promise and His provision for His honor, glory, and praise.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 10:31 & 1 Peter 4:11


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Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that *I may live because of you.” So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels. Genesis 12:13-16
~
Sarah is Our Example

In this story we see Sarah’s righteous conduct and Abraham’s appalling ways, but more importantly we see God’s faithfulness. In the Lord’s covenant with Abram He declared (among other things) that He would protect Abram and his family. And so He does…

But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. Genesis 12:17

Despite the fact that Abram was making incredibly bad choices, Sarai submits to her husband’s authority and as a result God honors her sacrifice and demonstrates His steadfastness. In the story God gave us an extreme example in order to illustrate an extreme doctrine.

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 1 Peter 3:1-6

In the 1 Peter 3 text, Sarah is again raised up as a model for the godly wife. The scenario she faced was bizarre, even by today’s standards, and orchestrated for her by God for this specific purpose. The passage should not suggest [to us] that if a husband wants his wife to break the law, or if he is breaking the law, that she should go along with those things. That is not the point of the story. Rather, it is God’s purpose to demonstrate that a Christian woman has His protection when she is obedient. Naturally, the same is true for any Christian man.

…A sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it is a sacrifice.”

This may sound somewhat inane, but a sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it is a sacrifice. In the case of a wife submitting to her husband, the very act of submission is a sacrifice to God. It was never about your spouse; its always been about Jesus. The notion that there is another way is an act of selfish disobedience. We take further note that not only was Sarah protected in her submissiveness, but is so doing, the Lord abundantly blessed the family as well.

He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels. Genesis 12:16

Needless to say there are Christian women who will not adhere to God’s will in this regard, just as there are countless men who do not obey Him. The good news is that your salvation is not in jeopardy necessarily (only God knows your true heart). However, there is an abundant life promised for our obedience.  A denial of that reality is to reject those blessings and the rewards of Heaven — I once heard it said that it would kind of be like being a kid in a candy store with no money to spend.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7

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