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Preaching the whole Word of God to the whole person.

Devotionals for encouragement and life application from the Word of God.

Taking God’s Name in Vain

In Exodus 20:7, the 3rd Commandment says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.” What does this mean? The common thought is the God’s actual name should not be used in any way that dishonors Him. It is thought that as long as we do not use God’s name in cursing or in a profane way we have honored this commitment. Although this is true in our faith as it is true in any religious faith, the purpose embodied in this commandment goes much deeper in a very profound way.

When you take a person’s name, it implies a covenant relationship with that person. For example, when a wife takes the surname of her husband, it implies a covenant relationship characterized by unconditional love and fidelity. When this covenant relationship is violated, it is common that divorce results and the person who violated the covenant is ostracized.

Using this analogy, what then is the scriptural intent of what it means to “take” the name of the Lord in vain? One of the great theological disciplines is the study of the names of God. Although the actual number of the names of God that are revealed in Scripture is debated, what is agreed is that the names of God reveal His attributes as well as the essence of His character, which is sometimes referred to as His communicable attributes i.e. those attributes that we, as humans, can possess.

At the incarnation of Jesus Christ, that is, when He became human, He became the personification of God in every way. This truth is at the very heart of our Trinitarian belief. His character and conduct were on full display which is a major theme in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In the Gospel of John, Jesus emphatically stated that to see Him was to see the Father. The study Jesus’ character and conduct as seen in His humanity is a study of God the Father in every way that we can humanly comprehend. This is dramatically seen in Jesus teachings in the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-13. Jesus’ expectations of kingdom citizens were not only clearly taught, but they were also seen in His character and conduct. A parallel illustration of these expectations is also seen in the writings of the Apostle Paul. In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul’s description of the expected character of believers, which is prompted by the fruit of the Spirit of God, includes love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

When we believe in Jesus Christ, we take on all the expectant kingdom citizen traits as well as the spiritual fruit that is prompted by the Holy Spirit. In essence. Taking the “name” of the Lord is tantamount of displaying all these traits in one’s life. So to take the name of the Lord in vain is to live one’s life in the absence of, or not being aware that with the name “Christian” comes the Scriptural expectations that God desires us to mirror the full stature and person of

Jesus Christ in everything we say and do. Anything short of this is taking His name in vain.

In one of the great conditional promises of God to His people recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14, God addresses His people as those who are called by His name. From God’s perspective, there is a spiritual and physical reality in the promise offered based on His covenant relationship with His people. The challenge before each one of us today is no different. We are called “Christians” based on our covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. We must live in such a way where our character and conduct reflect the person of Jesus Christ. Let us live in such a way that God is glorified in our lives even as Jesus Christ lived and glorified His Father, who is in heaven.

Rev. Dr. Olah L. Moore


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A Biblical Manifesto for Millennials

In Psalm 119:9-16, the acknowledged audience would not be children, but young adults between ages 18 and 34 years old who are called millennials. Millennials make up the largest generation in this age range in U.S. history, they are slower to marry than earlier generations, and more likely to live at home longer, subsequently waiting to move out and live on their own. Sadly, the millennial generation has also been labeled the worst generation ever because so many are involved in immoral behavior. At the same time, however, they are the most educated, with many becoming involved in political issues and social causes. But there is a segment of millennials in the Christian Faith.

What (these) Christian millennials need is a “Biblical Manifesto” to govern their lives, giving them purpose in this dark and spiritually dead world. A manifesto is defined as a written document publicly declaring the intentions, motives, or views of its issuers. It is a strategy or plan to accomplish a desired action. Historic examples on ministers include The Communist Manifesto, the Protestant Manifesto, and the Civil Rights Manifesto. Psalm 119:9-16 is an excellent manifesto for Christian millennials.

Psalm 119:9-10 reads,

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your . I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands.”

 
The decisions we make when we are young, form habits that are hard to break when we get older. This is true for both good and bad habits. A ‘pure life’ is more than simply a moral life. A pure life encompasses the totality of our life, which includes both character and conduct. A scriptural example of a positive outcome of this commitment is seen in the life of Daniel, when he was a millennial. It is recorded that Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food or wine, which were against the moral dictates of his faith. God honored Daniel’s commitment and he prospered politically. Growing up, we sang a song with words that motivated us to make such a commitment—“Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone, dare to trust the Word of God, dare to make Him known.” This sums up the foundation of this Biblical Manifesto: To live according to God’s Word.Psalm 119:11 reads,

“ I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.”

Christian parents often express that when their young adults go off to their universities, one of the major problems is that these millennials often ‘lose their faith’ and get involved in all sorts of sinful activities. It is easy to lay the cause of this on the church and the parents. While it is true that both the church and the parents must fulfill their institutional and familial responsibilities, this verse places the responsibility where it should be placed, squarely on the millennial. To ‘hide’ God’s Word in one’s heart means to treasure it as being important. What is more important than not sinning against the God of the universe? Sin is used here in reference to its genera nature, not to any specific aspect or act of sin. Hence, it covers the totality of one’s thoughts, words, and actions. In short, sin here is not simply related to what we

do that is wrong, but it also covers what we do not  do, which honors God.Psalm 119:12-16 reads, “Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees. With my lips, I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth. I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word.”

 
In any manifesto, there must be a well laid out strategy. In these verses, the writer lists four steps to accomplish this mandate. First, one must pray. There are two prayers: The psalmist prays for God not to let him stray from His commands, and that God would teach him His decrees. We need to pray the types of prayers that only God can answer. As a personal testimony, I would have never imagined that as I sincerely prayed this prayer, that God would give me the opportunity to go to seminary to study His Word and teach scores of millennials in West Africa, which was an answer to their many prayers. Second, don’t be afraid to vocalize what you believe. The psalmist states emphatically that he would speak of God’s moral standards to others. Speak out, everyone else boldly speaks of their worldview and moral propensities. Third, millennials must discipline their minds to think on spiritual realities. The essence of meditation is to visualize the spiritual in order the its reality may become one’s life reality and experience. And finally, fourth, even if one has an== abundance of the knowledge of God’s Word, it means absolutely nothing unless on commits to obey it. Obedience to God’s Word is always the litmus test of genuine Christianity.
“Why call me Lord, Lord, and do hot what I command you to do?”
Luke 46:6 
Will you dare to be a Daniel?!?
Rev. Dr. Olah L. Moore

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Feb 8, 2017
5 Things God Uses to Grow Our Faith
 
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  • Feb 8, 20175 Things God Uses to Grow Our Faith
    Feb 8, 2017
    5 Things God Uses to Grow Our Faith