Taking The Lord’s Name In Vain

Exodus 20:7 “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.

So the people of God try to follow this mandate by not saying phrases like ‘Oh my God’. Only we need to really look at what this commandment means because it encompasses so much more than that. Attaching God’s name to our opinion is what it means to take the name of the Lord in vain. When we attach his name to a statement we had better be sure we understand his point of view before giving his endorsement.

What we do know is that he has told us not to take his name in vain. In other words we are not to take his name and attach it to our own agendas. We can’t assume to know the mind of God. We have clear direction, as we know what his word says since it’s written in the bible, but we can’t afford to second guess God as the commandment is clear that he will not hold us guiltless.

My kids love to say things to other parents like, “I’m sure my parents wouldn’t have a problem with it.” They say this in instances where they want to do something but they don’t want to check in because they aren’t completely sure we’re really okay with it. So while they say they are sure, we are not always okay with it. We tell them all the time, they need to check with us first before they agree to something in our name. This is what this commandment is saying. God is saying that we are not to add His name to things that are not of Him. Do not add His name to things you think are of Him.

How do we take the Lord’s name in vain? By professing Christianity and not living the lifestyle it takes to profess it. Matthew Henry’s Commentary says it like this:

Those that name the name of Christ, but do not depart from iniquity, as that name binds them to do, name it in vain; their worship is vain (Mt. 15:7-9), their oblations (the act of offering something) are vain (Isa. 1:11, 13), their religion is vain, Jam. 1:26.

Some of the other ways we take the Lord’s name in vain is by vows (I swear to God) that we don’t keep. Or when we lie under oath (So help me God).

Matthew Henry continues that God is jealous for his honor. Of course he would be. We all hate when people put our names on things we don’t approve of. This is why we have to be careful about what we say God is for and what he is against. Human reasoning doesn’t apply to God. In all things there is the heart factor and that is what God judges.

When Christ hung on the cross he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” In other words there is grace when we don’t know any better. Does this mean that this grace excuses followers of Christ? Well, when we are ignorant of a precept, maybe for a season, but our responsibility as followers of Christ is to get ourselves straightened out in things of God so I believe that after a while there is a time when we begin to take not only the name of God in vain but the grace of God in vain as well.

From Beth Moore’s Site


Beth Moore had her simulcast this past weekend and she wrote the following on her blog. It bears repeating!

My Dear Sister

If Christ is Your Savior

You are the dwelling place

Of His own Spirit

You have it IN YOU

to be secure.

Every day of your life

You have a choice to make

You can live in your old defeat

Or you can turn from your unbelief

And choose life

Make up your mind

To put off the old you

And put on the new you.

Never, ever, ever forget

That the Lord is your security.

He will keep your foot

From being caught in a trap.

He will take care of you

To your very last breath.

Now, leave this place

And go out into the world

And act like a person

Who knows she’s dearly loved.

You were born to be exceptional.

So, Girlfriend, go forth

And walk worthy of your calling.

You are clothed in strength and dignity!

Now unto Him

Who can keep you from falling

Be glory and majesty

Power and authority

Through Jesus Christ our Lord

Now and forever more


So Long, Insecurity!

Get A Bigger Bully

When the bully at school took your lunch money what did you do? Some people had an older sibling they’d go to or they had a friend who had a older sibling. They would go to that older sibling and tell them their problem and the older, bigger sibling would go up to that bully and push back, and often the bully left them alone. Your solution to the bully problem was going and getting a bigger bully. I always envied the kids who had older siblings!

Well what’s changed from those days? Honestly, think about it, you have a bully that picks on

YOU all the time!

His name is Satan and he comes and tries to take your lunch money most days. Only now the situation looks helpless! Calling our older sibling seems silly as what can they really do to help us in these adult situations? So Satan keeps on picking on you and he dares you to call on your friends for backup because he thinks he can take them too.

Only you have the key in your pocket! Maybe you haven’t thought about it but the way you handled it as a kid works!

Jesus is your elder brother.

All you need to do is go tell your older brother that the bully down the street is picking on you. The same way you used to combat the natural bully is how you combat the spiritual bully. Call Jesus into the fight, he belongs to a whole kingdom that has an army on the ready to fight your battles. And let me just tell you a secret,

Satan is scared of Jesus.

So the next time you find yourself being bullied, don’t cry, don’t lose sleep, don’t worry or stress, and certainly don’t give up your lunch money!  Just go get a bigger bully!

Yes And No

http://www.selbunett.no/ atberg?id=61/

Suze Orman said something great! “You say yes out of fear versus no out of love.” I loved this statement and it hit my heart so powerfully that I wanted to share it with you.

When she was talking it was in terms of financial decisions but it really does apply in all areas of our life doesn’t it? Those of us who are mothers usually know the answer to our children’s questions of us, but because we often are afraid of the confrontation, and because we don’t want to hear the whining and the crying, and God forbid they get mad at us, we tend to say yes out of fear of what may happen or because it’s just easier.

When it comes to our spouse or boyfriend we say yes out of fear that he’ll be disappointed or angry or won’t let us then do something we want to do. We are scared to say no even when we know it’s the right thing to do.

When it comes to ourselves, we say yes to things we don’t really want to do because we are afraid of what others may think of us. So to protect our reputation with others we are willing to lose our reputation with ourselves. Is that crazy or what? We say yes out of fear rather than no out of love even when it adversely affects our life!

Isn’t it interesting that our yes out of fear is more important than our love for the other person? The fact that we are willing to compromise what we know is right to do to appease others, when if LOVE truly reigns in our life, then it would show up in our firm NO truly says a lot about us.

How many times in our lives have we said yes instead of facing the fact that we really didn’t want to? How many times have we said no to something we’ve really believed in, only to cave in because the other person got mad? It hit me that maybe we don’t love as deep as we think we do. It hits me that maybe how we are perceived is more important that our moral standard.

This isn’t just something in the big picture items; these belief systems erode in the little things first. Michele Cossey, a mother, who was charged with buying her minor son weapons and pleaded guilty a few years ago, just wanted her son’s depression to ease and she wanted to make him happy. Maybe we aren’t buying guns but we are trying to buy ourselves out of confrontation of unpleasant things.

Think about your yes and your no answers. Were they truly lead by your heart? Were they led by the selfish flesh part of us? We say to each other, “Tell me what you really think”, but the fact is we don’t really want to know. What we are truly saying is, “Tell me what I want to hear”. So then in turn we tell others what they want to hear.

Today challenge yourself to examine yourself realistically. Ask yourself; do you say yes to things out of fear when you know that you should say no out of love? If you do, why do you do it? I am going to consciously pay attention to what my heart is saying about a situation without thinking about the confrontation that may come along with it. Then I am going to pray and ask the Lord to help guide me to the proper response! How about you?


http://www.flickr.com/ photos/alshepmcr

There are usually three reasons that people change.

The first reason is they are inspired to change. Inspire means to affect, guide or stimulate through action. In other words, the person wakes up to the possibilities in their life, and they determine by prompting or through guidance to change an aspect of their life either in a positive way or negative way as change goes both ways. They determine that the place they are in is not where they want to stay and they make a decision to change rather than get stagnant. This is the least painful kind of change because it means there is a true agreement with change. It doesn’t make it the easiest as change isn’t easy, but it makes it the least painful.

The second reason someone changes is because they learn enough to change. Just as we went from big fat crayons in Kindergarten, to pencils in first grade, to pens in third grade, we learn to change. This is not an adaptation but rather a concerted effort on a person’s part to change. This means old habits have to go. Forming new habits can be a difficult thing. As we learn, we grow, and hopefully change. This is my inspiration to continue to read and access new thought processes because I know I can make things easier on myself. I love discussions with others on what works in their lives because as I learn I can adapt those new ideas to my life. This is the best course for change because if what we are learning is positive. then the change becomes positive as well.

The third reason we change is because we hurt enough to change. This is the most painful way to change and yet often it’s the only one which motivates us to change. We’ve all heard about that man who through work and outside influences neglected his first wife to the point that she left him. He then finds and marries the second wife and treats her like a queen. He wasn’t inspired to change and he didn’t learn to change, he hurt enough to change. Sometimes things have to just fall apart before we determine that a change needs to take place. Human nature is interesting because there are clues all around us to provoke the change, and yet we continually ignore the clues thinking they aren’t really going to happen, but deep down knowing they will. The human mind rationalizes things very well.

Change in any of these three ways is never easy. It requires diligence. Change is also inevitable if we are going to move forward in our lives so it must happen periodically. The key is to change those things in your life that are needed so that we can grow and move to new levels in our lives. We all know people who get left behind in a thought process because they haven’t adapted to the new climate and atmosphere in their world. Let us be diligent to examine ourselves and to if not embrace change, be open to the possibility that it may be necessary.

May you always be inspired, through learning, to make the necessary positive changes in your life!

The Image

chillingcompetition.com/ 201001/25

I was in a discussion with others recently and we talked about how there are people in our life who run around saying they are Christian, but their talk doesn’t match their walk. We all know those people who love to tell unbeliever’s what they need to do, and who believe that it’s their place as a Christian.

When I was a new follower of Christ I was happy when our company hired another follower. That joy quickly waned when he took the time to correct others without seeing his own fault. He was critical of the owner (an unbeliever) of our company and the way he chose to run his business. He complained about everything, and when he found out I was a follower of Christ he said pompously, “Don’t even talk to me about Christianity until you can explain in detail what you believe about the trinity, pre-trib or post….” I tuned out at this point. I don’t even think I knew what pre-trib and post meant at that point. It was crazy stuff for me in that time and space.

This would all be funny if those of us who are followers of Christ don’t constantly have to fight this fanatically image. If we didn’t hear of so much abuse of perceived power in the body of Christ. Yet, I am reminded that if we were looking for a power trip prior to our salvation then we will be looking for one after our salvation. We somehow miss the part about being a new creation.


The Image has to match the things coming out of the mouth.

In the early days of my Christian walk I was a closet Christian often because of these types of representatives. I didn’t want to be included with “them”. There is a t-shirt that depicts Jesus walking among the throngs of people and the caption read, “Jesus save me from your people.” Although it was made with an anti-Christian campaign in mind, I identified with it on some levels. I knew what it was talking about. It was talking about those people who yelled at others for not being Christians. The Image unfortunately continually perpetuates as we don’t learn the lessons of love. Jesus drew people to him by his ability to help others. The only harsh words I see him speak is to the religious. So, rather than point the finger at the world who really doesn’t believe what we believe, or know what we know or what we are talking about, we need to be more introspective with the finger pointing. Only that would reveal those flaws we want to mask with The Image.


The bible says of those of us who follow Christ;

John13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”


A True Friend

http://www.flickr.com/ photos/jakerome/ 74578802/

Pastor Doug preached once on what it means to be a true friend versus a well-wisher. It really has me thinking about my friendships. I pray for my friends, I call them, I send an email, and check on them from time to time, but does that mean I am a good friend?

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ

This was the scripture in my devotional today and it caused me to think about the sermon and my friendships. His sermon was based on the bible passage of the man with palsy (Luke 5:18), and what friends are willing to do for one another. When put in this perspective it makes you take a look at your friendships.

Do you have friends that if you were paralyzed would go and get you, carry you and your bed to Jesus, climb a ladder, cut a whole in a roof, and then lift you and your bed up and over into that cut hole and lower you in front of the feet of Jesus? Or would they merely say they will pray for you? Hoping you’d get better? It’s a powerful question.

Luke 5:18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” 21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

More to the point are you that kind of friend? Are you the kind of friend who bears the burdens of another? Maybe our friends aren’t physically paralyzed but maybe they are emotionally paralyzed in pain over their divorce or their breakup? Maybe they have another kind of loss or pain and they need you, their friend, to go and get them! Are you whom someone would consider a true friend?

The Christian Dress Code


The Christian dress code is the controversy that keeps on going. What do you wear to church?

It seems to be one of the controversies where we make judgment calls on others based on their outfits. I have to admit I am conflicted and (maybe?) outdated on my thoughts here. On the one hand, I LOVE the idea of “Sunday Best” and I dress for church. The question becomes what is best for me on Sunday may not be so for you. On the other hand, I hate the fashion police mentality. Jeans on the platform, no jeans on the platform is one question. Most Christians have rules on this.

Do jeans make me sing better or worse?

Do jeans say something about me?

What is it that it says about me?

Does it say I have such a great relationship with Jesus that we no longer pretend that I am not a jean’s kind of girl and wear a pair most days?

What length of skirt pleases God? Does one below the knee make him happy or does he like my bony knees? Boots, do they offend him or is He more concerned with my open toed shoes because they show my red polish?

And if God only judges my heart does he care what is on the outside or is what on the outside determine what is on the inside?

So many questions and I have more! Could it be that God wants me in church regardless of what I wear? Does God really hate for me to show my shoulders or do you hate for me to show them? Is he really offended by flip-flops or are you? Did he create me with a certain style or did I pick one up?  Do I need to change for him or for you? Would it bother you to wear a suit if I didn’t? Would it bother you if I wore a dress and you preferred pants? Why does it bother you?

Why does it bother me that it bothers you?

And while we are here, who appointed either of us spokesperson? I have a confession, I hate when people wear pajama bottoms or slippers to Sunday service. I don’t care if they wear them to bible study.

What would Jesus do? Would he be thrilled that I chose to be with a group of followers who want to access the power of unity in prayer or would he be appalled at my clothing? Would he tell me to get over myself and love people and quit caring what they wear or would he ask me to gently guide them to more holy clothing? Although, admittedly he technically has never asked me not even with the pajama wearer.

What is holy clothing?

This is going to sound so stupid, but it’s my blog so I will take license today, but Nirvana’s song Come As You Are keeps going through my head as I write today.

Come as you are,

As you were,

As I want you to be,

As a friend, As a friend,

As a known enemy,

Take your time, hurry up,

The choice is yours don’t be late, take a rest….

Come doused in mud,

soaked in bleach,

As I want you to be,

As a trend, as a friend….

The song always invokes a “make up your mind” feeling when I hear it. As if nothing the writer did was the right thing to do. As if people tell him to come as you are but really want him to come as they need him to be.

This is what the Dress Code invokes in me. As if no matter what side I pick on this issue it won’t be right. No matter what I do it won’t be right. Help me Jesus to allow me to see in others what You sees in them.

Let me look past the exterior to the beauty that was created in each of you. Let me instead of looking at your outfit; see the fingerprints of your creator.

I think I could find peace in that. Maybe.

Maybe I could get past all of this. I still prefer to dress in ‘Sunday Best’ but whose to say I’m right? Maybe I could past all of this.  Then again, I’d probably still check out your shoes.

Cell Phone vs. Bible

An oldie but a goodie!

I wonder what would happen if we treated our
Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several time a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go…. hmm…where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing…

Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill……and no dropped calls!

Makes you stop and think, “where are my priorities?”

Be Still and Know


Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God;

How often are you just quiet before the Lord? How often do you tune out he static of life to truly listen to what is going on within you?

New age calls it meditation, but followers of Christ call it meditation as well. The process is the similar because the principal of meditation doesn’t change.

Psalm 48:9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.

The temple of God is not a place. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

So what does it mean to meditate on the word? When I worked in a large city I had a masseuse who taught me to mediate because she said I was too tense. She said I had to get to a quiet place in my mind and the way to do that was to count back from 100 to 1 with each breath until I could do so without any other thoughts of things to do, thoughts of breathing or anything else that came to mind to distract me. Honestly, I was never able to do that. My mind would wander and I’d forget where I left off in the breathing. It’s impossible to not think about anything, so I changed my meditation time in to learning to be still before the Lord. Have you ever tried to still your mind? It’s very difficult. Yet, the bible says that God speaks to us in that still small voice. (1Kings19:12) The only way to hear a still small voice is to be as quiet as possible. When people whisper you have to be quiet and draw near to hear.

The noise of the world often drowns out the possibility of hearing from God. We have noise wherever we go. We have even created noise machines so as not to sleep in silence. The very thing we need to exist in peace, wisdom and love, we drown out in the chaos of life. Jesus often went away from the crowds to be still. You must often get to a quiet place in your life where you are still. In those moments of stillness are where revelation comes, where problems can be resolved, and where wisdom is imparted. In those quiet moments is where God speaks to the scared part of your heart, the wounded part of your heart, the healthy part of your heart, and the inquisitive part of your heart. Is it any wonder that the enemy of your soul surrounds you with noise? Televisions that are on all night, music in elevators, can you ever find a quiet place unless you make room for it? Some people I know actually feel edgy in quiet times. Simply they have not learned to be still. Quiet makes them nervous because they’ve never learned to dwell in the peace of stillness. Quiet can be scary because it forces you to face fears.

Noise is sent to distract us from the union between God and us. I’ve heard people say that they decided to shut the TV off for a set number of days and that boredom caused them to read the bible. Do you have a quiet place? Can you access it regularly? If not, I urge you to find one. Try to find a place where you are still. To find a place where you are able to hear God’s still small voice. It’s the direction and the peace you need. Sometimes my best prayer time with God is when I am quiet and I listen rather than speak.