Category Archives: Devotional Studies Through the Bible

An Altar of Earth

You shall make an altar of earth for Me,

and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings

and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen;

in every place where I cause My name to be remembered,

I will come to you and bless you.

Exodus 20:24


There is something about this verse of Scripture that makes me read it over and over and over again. In my very much inadequate ability I am going to attempt to share why this verse captivates me so.

The children of Israel had just spent the last 400 years among altars of gold, among temples, among man made images to false deities. Here, after God has given them His commands of what not to do, He gives them a command of what they are to do.

They were to build an altar to Him from the earth.

When I read this my mind goes back to the garden. It’s amazing how often God brings me back to the garden… back to Genesis… back to the beginning.


Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place,

and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 

God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas;

and God saw that it was good.

 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, 

and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”;

and it was so. 

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind,

and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind;

and God saw that it was good. 

There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Genesis 1:9-13

The waters were to be gathered to one place and then the earth appeared and out of the earth would come life. Out of the earth would come fruit trees that were meant to bear fruit… after their kind. They were to yield seed and the seed were to grow and bear fruit of their own… after their kind.

The children of Israel had been gathered out of the nations… they passed through the water and they now appeared and God said this is good… now go and be a witness to the rest of the nations and bear fruit after your kind… after Me, your God. Do not bear fruit from the gods of these other nations bear fruit after after Me… I am going to use you to bring forth life as you witness as my priests, as my preachers.

God told the children of Israel that they were to make an altar of earth for Him and there make their sacrifices. Did God mean He just wanted them to pile up a big mound of dirt and sacrifice on it?

I live in Alabama. We have a city near me called Moundsvillle. It is full of ancient mounds built by the early Native Americans as tombs and altars of worship to false gods. I don’t believe this would be what God was calling Israel to do… it would contradict the previous “not to do” commands. God simply was not like these other gods and He would not be treated as though He were.

So there must be more to this altar of earth…

 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground,

and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;

and man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

Man was formed from the earth… from the dust of the ground.

Oh precious one, did you see it?

The altar of earth?

The body?

Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,


 After saying above,



(which are offered according to the Law), 


He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:5-10

Everything has always pointed to Him, to Christ, to this God-Man with a body of flesh that would be the ultimate sacrifice and the only place where His name would be remembered and when we come to Him, to this One who says “Remember Me“… and we lay our sacrifice on this altar… here we are blessed. Here our God comes to us, to meet with us, when we call on Him the One who would cause the name of God to be remembered forever.

I have to look up the names of the false gods worshiped through out history… I forget them.

However, whether they love Him or hate Him… no one who has ever heard the name of Jesus can forget Him.

His name is always on the tip of their tongue, on the back of their mind, naggingly whispering… who do you say that I am?

He is indeed unforgettable… even if all you have ever heard about Him is just the name. He will cause His name to be remembered.

Now my friend, let me ask you, have you prepared your altar of earth on which to worship your Creator God?

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God,

to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, 

acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 

And do notbe conformed to this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

so that you may prove what the will of God is,

that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

God doesn’t want a big fancy temple. He doesn’t want an altar of gold or silver or an image of brass or bronze. He wants the dust of the earth that He formed to be a man and breathed life into. He wants this broken, dirty, fallen flesh of earth that He created to bear His image.

He wants this altar of earth to go and be used by Him to cause His name to remembered. If you will give Him this altar and lay out this body as a living sacrifice to Him and here worship Him… He will come to you and He will bless you.

The children of Israel were being told here that no matter where they were, no matter where they got scattered… if there was earth, they had a place of worship. They had a place, and all the material they would need, to build an altar to call upon the name of their God.

Oh Father,

I am overcome and overwhelmed with You. This earth belongs to You and this body of earth belongs to You. I offer upon this altar of earth my everything. You offer us the opportunity to worship You wherever we go. No matter our material possession, no matter our geographical location, earth is everywhere… and our body is with us wherever we go. You came to this earth in a body… and then You come and dwell within this body of mine to dwell with Me and make you this body, this flesh formed from the earth, Your temple. Yes, I am overcome and overwhelmed with You. My Jesus, take this altar of earth and use me to cause Your name to be remembered.   

It’s in Your name I pray,



That I Might Not Sin

Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid;
for God has come in order to test you,
and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you,
so that you may not sin.”
Exodus 20:20


God has just delivered the last of His Ten Commandments before the children of Israel. We read in Exodus 20:18 that all people saw and perceived the thunder and lightning and the sound of the trumpet through which God spoke. They saw and were afraid and stood at a distance.

I love thunderstorms. I love them because of verses like these in the Scriptures. So many times we read of God being in the midst of the storm. We read how thunder and lightning surround His throne.

Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. 

And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne,

which are the seven Spirits of God;

Revelation 4:5


So when thunder and lightning are surrounding me I worship my God and I give Him praise because in the midst of the storm I know He is near.

Sin entered the entire world, the whole earth is in rebellion to Him… why wouldn’t the earth quake in fear and the atmosphere rage in rebellion when it’s Holy Creator has entered its presence.

It’s opposites in the mix, sin and holiness, like cold and hot air create a tornado or hurricane, when sin and holiness combine an unforgettable event is about to happen.

This powerful presence of God before the children of Israel was to be a reminder to them of God’s authority. It was to be a reminder of the day they heard these commands. The reminder was for those days when life seemed ordinary. Those days when God’s blessings upon His people turn into a curse because life gets so easy that they actually begin to think they have what they have because of themselves, not because of their God.

This thunderous trumpet sounding of God was to help remind the children of Israel that their God was a holy God. That their God was a God of His word. That their God was not wood or stone, but alive and active. This display was to command their attention and was to stamp their memory so that they would share it with their children, with their grandchildren, and their great grandchildren, for generations still to come.

This was to test them, so that the fear of God would remain with them, so that they may not sin.

We live in a day where many have forgotten the fear of God. Many in the church, have chosen to ignore to teach about the God of wrath and have chosen to only pull the attributes of God out of Scripture that make people feel good. You know the ones that don’t scare them or make them nervous or make them question His goodness.

God is not afraid of our questions… when Christ came He tried to get people to ask them.

It was the fear of the wrath of my earthly father that kept me in check just as much as it was the love I had for him, and the love that I knew he had for me, that kept me from wanting to disappoint him. I knew both sides of my father. My father used to say that God gave him two hands for a reason, he loved me with one and disciplined me with the other. However the truth is that he loved me with both at the same time.


Hebrews 12:5-6


Our Heavenly Father loves us with an everlasting love and because He does He wants us to live. Therefore, since the wages of sin is death… He reminds of His wrath and of His power and of His disciplining hand so that the fear of Him would remain with us so that we may not sin… because sin leads to death.

Remembering the sound of His voice as a thunderous trumpet would hopefully make the children of Israel think twice before they indulged in some fleshly foolishness. Likewise, remembering the wrath of God that was poured out on Christ on behalf of our sin should make us think twice before we indulge in fleshly foolishness of our own.

Oh Father,

Let me never forget that You are Jehovah-makkeh, the LORD that Smiteth. You love me, I in no way can deny that. You demonstrated how very much You loved me when Christ died on the cross for my sins (Romans 5:8). May I never be guilty of mistaking Your kindness for weakness or Your grace for ignorance. May I live each day working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) so that I might not sin against You.

My Jesus, it’s in Your name I pray,

Eye Protection


You shall not covet your neighbor’s house;

you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife

or his male servant or his female servant

or his ox or his donkey

or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Exodus 20:17


Once again in the commands of God we see that God intended man to possess certain individual rights. We live in a day where coveting is rampant. I find it interesting that this command is the last. When we look at the rest of the commands we can see how coveting could be the root of them all.

Why would we bear false witness or lie except that we covet our own selves or that we covet the prestige of another and want to discredit them.

Why would we steal, except that we covet what we do not possess?

Why would you commit adultery except that we covet another’s spouse?

Why would we murder, except that we covet another’s life?

Why would we not honor our parents, except that we covet their authority over us?

Why would we not honor the Sabbath except that we covet what we might gain by ignoring it?

Why would we not honor God as God except that we also covet His authority over us and others?


What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?

Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?

You lust and do not have; so you commit murder.

You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.

You do not have because you do not ask.

You ask and you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,

so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

James 4:1-3


You lust and you do not have, so you commit murder. Is this not we have seen from the beginning?

The serpent of old lusted for the authority of God. He coveted God’s kingdom. He coveted God’s house, he coveted God’s bride, and he coveted God’s servants. Yet he could not get them, so he committed murder.

Is coveting not what the serpent used to entice and deceive Eve? Did she not covet the fruit? Did she not lust after the power and knowledge that was claimed by the serpent would come with the eating of the fruit? Did she not take what was not given to her?

She coveted the fruit of the one tree that God had denied her. She lusted and did not have and so she committed murder. In her coveting she brought death to Adam, and Adam brought death to all mankind.

Let us never mistake that coveting is a serious issue. It is a secret sin like no other. It is a sin that cannot be seen by others. It is a sin of the eyes and of the heart and of the mind.


But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin;

 and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

 James 1:14-15


In Matthew 6:22 Jesus tells us that the eye is the lamp of the body. My husband attended a safety conference for work. In one of the safety workshops the speaker pointed out that the eyes were the only unfiltered opening to our bodies. Our mouth can be closed. Our nose and ears have cilia that filter impurities, but our eyes take in it all.

It makes me think of the childhood song, be careful little eyes what you see…

Could this be why Jesus said If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you…” (Matthew 5:29).

Could this be why Job said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes…” (Job 31:1).

Could this be why David wrote, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes…” (Psalm 101:3). David knew well the consequences that come with coveting.

Oh precious one, let us fix our eyes on Christ, let us behold His glory alone, let us desire Him only. May we be content, as Paul was content, whether we have a little or a lot, no matter our circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). May we simply do what is right and trust God to meet our every need in His time and His perfect way.

Oh Father,

How easy it is to fall into the covet trap. This temptation I would say is the devil’s most valuable one. It works so very well. We can even convince ourselves that we are justified in our coveting by rationalizing our desire as a pursuit of happiness. This is why Jesus tells us to stay alert, to pray, for the spirit is willing but our flesh is indeed weak. Help me Father to recognize this tactic of the enemy of my soul. May I not allow my eyes, my heart, or my mind to deceive me because I have not kept my mind renewed by Your Word and or my spirit alert through prayer. Keep me, oh God, in Your truth, Your Word is truth.

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,



Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire



You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  

Exodus 20:16


There are few things in life that cut deeper than a lie against you, especially when that lie is from someone you would call a neighbor or a friend. The fact is, even lies from someone we would call an enemy bring us pain? Maybe that could be because “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…” (Acts 17:26). Are we not all to be neighbors, friends, and family?


for in Him we live and move and exist,

as even some of your own poets have said,

‘For we also are His children’.

Acts 17:28


Jesus uses the lie to show us the difference between children of God and the children of the devil. He tells us in John 8:44 that the devil not only was a murderer from the beginning but he also is a liar and the father of all lies. Jesus tells us “that he does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

In Romans 1:25 God uses the pen of Paul to show us how we become children of the devil, He tells us that we “exchanged the truth of God for a lie (literally this text is to read the lie), and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

What is “the lie“?

Well, my friend, the lie goes all the way back to the beginning…

“Indeed, has God said…”

Genesis 3:1

Satan bore false witness against God. He is indeed the father of lies, the instigator of gossip, the first to bear false witness. So when we lie, when we bear false witness who’s nature do we imitate, who’s image do we display, who’s child do we show ourselves to be?

It certainly is not God’s, for it is impossible for him to lie (Hebrews 6:18). 

We have all been guilty of telling a lie. For me this is one of the most obvious ways to illustrate the depravity of man at conception. We sin because we are sinners. Children do not need to be taught how to lie. They just know to do it. It is part of their nature. They also do not have to be taught when to lie. This they also already know, it too is a part of their nature.

In Romans 1:18 we read that the wrath of God is revealed against those that “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”. To suppress something, we must first possess it. Romans 1:19 goes on to say to us “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” You see the fact that we know when to lie proves that we do in fact recognize the truth when we see it.

However, just because we see the truth and know the truth does not mean we are able to live out the truth. I have learned in my own personal experiences with this sin that there is one specific thing that will lead me into a lie every time- fear.

Fear of being hurt.

       Fear of getting caught.

               Fear of not gaining approval.

                                               Fear of rejection.

                                                                Fear of failure.

How many lies have been spoken from the lips of one who’s heart was a slave of fear.

Yet here is our hope, “perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)  

In this command we see specifically the kind of lie that condemns us the most, the bearing of false witness. This is the lie that someone makes up to tell against another person. When Christ was brought before the high priest we read in Mark 14:53-59 of many coming up against Christ and giving false testimony.

They lied. They twisted His words. They manipulated the truth and distorted it in order to make Him appear to be something He was not. We still see this false witness being bore against Him today.

 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ?

1 John 3:22

This is the lie that eternally condemns.

How do we know if we are this liar? How do we know that we have come to know that Jesus is the Christ? How are we to know that we no longer suppress the truth, that we no longer believe the lie, that we no longer worship the creature instead of the Creator?

By this we know that we have come to know Him,

if we keep His commandments.

The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’

and does not keep His commandments,

is a liar,

and the truth is not in him;

but whoever keeps His word,

in him the love of God has truly been perfected.

By this we know that we are in Him:

the one who says he abides in Him

ought himself walk in the same manner as He walked.

1 John 2:3-6

Whose manner do you walk in?

Oh Father,

Thank You for Your perfect love that lives in me and casts out all fear. Forgive me for the times that I forget this love and allow fear to control me and let a lie come forth from my lips. If I say that I do not fail here at times then I would make You out to be a liar (1 John 1:10) and would show Your Word to not be in me, but because I see the sin in me and bring it to You I show that I am Yours. Only You can cleanse me of all unrighteousness and I daily need to come to You to be washed in Your Word. Your Word cleanses my heart and renews my mind and as I become more filled with Your truth, when my heart is squeezed by fear, it will be Your truth that leaks out, not a lie of self protection.          

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,


Stealing vs Trusting


You shall not steal.

Exodus 20:15


Why do we steal?

What does theft show about our character?

How does it illustrate the depravity of our minds?

In John 10:10 we read that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

When we steal we show ourselves to have the like character of the one who destroys. When we purposely steal it is always out of pure selfishness. We take something that belongs to another because we desire it and refuse to wait for it or work for it.

Sometimes we steal out of self preservation. I love this prayer in the Proverbs:

Two things I asked of You,

Do not refuse me before I die:

Keep deception and lies far from me,

Give me neither poverty nor riches;

Feed me with the food that is my portion,

That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?”

Or that I not be in want and steal,

And profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30:7-9


Some steal from another because they have not the faith to believe that God will provide for their every need. They have not come to stand on the promise of Psalm 37:25, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.”

I think that usually when we hear of someone stealing in order to feed themselves or their family we do not view it as evil, we are much more inclined to scream mercy rather than justice in this case. 

“Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry;” Proverbs 6:30. 

However even this reason does not make stealing permissable.                                                                                       

Sometimes we steal things unintentionally.

My girls joke with me about being a pen thief. I do not steal pens on purpose, but for some reason whenever I borrow one to use at a store or another location, I will walk out every time with this borrowed pen in my hand.

I do not enter into the store with a predetermined plan of intent to steal the pen. I will even use the pen in the store and be determined to remember to return the pen, but then I will go right on and end up walking out with the pen in my hand. Then my girls will start singing, “Momma is a pen thief, Momma is a pen thief”

I used to shrug this “petty theft” off with a head shake of frustration and drive off with the pen because I did not want to be inconvenienced with having to walk back into the store, confess my sin, and return the pen. However, now I take the time to return the pen.

Possibly the song of my children helped to encourage this, or possibly just the simple fact that they were watching me. The right thing to do was to return the pen, no matter how much it inconvenienced me at the time. My girls seeing me love God by honoring and obeying His commands was definitely most important.    

This command of “thou shalt not steal” also shows us that God created us with intent to possess things. Genesis 15:7 reads, “And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.”

To steal something someone else has to have ownership of it. All the world belongs to God and everything in it (Psalm 50:12). God owns the world but He created man and said here this is yours, take care of it.

He then divides things to us as individuals and families and nations.

This is yours.

Be content with what is yours and do not steal what is another’s.

God wants us to possess our possessions. We are to possess the possessions; the possessions are not to possess us. 

That is where the trouble comes in isn’t it?

When we allow the possessions to possess us?

When the things of this earth rule over and subdue us instead of us ruling over and subduing the earth (Genesis 1:28)?

This is why Jesus said.. 

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,

where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,

 where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Matthew 6:19-21


We must honor God in this command and not attempt to justify stealing, no matter the excuse we have, whether it be fear, hunger, ignorance, or pure selfishness and greed.

Let us make the possession of the kingdom of heaven and the inheritance of Christ our main focus and be content with what we have and live a life of righteousness. Let us walk in righteousness and seek to honor God in our everyday lives and let us trust Him to add to us only what will not take us away from our knowledge of dependence on Him.

Oh Father,

I love You. I thank You for Your Word, and I pray again the prayer of Agur in the Proverbs. My Lord, keep deception and lies far from me and give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is my portion for I do not want to become so full that I deny You or forget You and I do not want to be in such want that I steal and dishonor You in my attempt to meet my daily needs. May I trust You each day for my daily bread remembering that it is You who brought quail from out of nowhere and manna from the heavens and water from the rock.

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,


Marriage Image


You shall not commit adultery. 

Exodus 20:14


God instituted the covenant of marriage in the beginning. He designed one woman for one man for one lifetime. They were meant to become one flesh. God is very serious about this seventh command even if our society today is not.

We live in a day where adultery is almost expected in every marriage. We are not shocked when we hear of it, we are not even shocked when we are approached by another married person with an invitation to commit it.

There is a reason that adultery and idolatry sound so similar. They are the same act but one is against our covenant with God, the other against our covenant with our spouse. (Well actually both are against our covenant with God.)

In James 4:4 we read, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

God refers to our relationship with Him as a marriage. He uses marriage to teach us of Himself. He uses marriage to illustrate His covenant with us (Ephesians 5:22-32).

He tells us that we are to have eyes only for Him.

In our marriages we are to have eyes only for our spouse.

God tells us that we are not even to look at the ways of false gods and idol worship and desire them (Deuteronomy 4:15-20) and Jesus tells us the same about our relationship with each other.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’;

but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her

has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:27-28

God knows that as we think within ourselves so we will be (Proverbs 23:7). Our thoughts unchecked become our actions.

Adultery is the breech of a covenant. It is a wound like no other. What we must realize is that adultery can begin before the actual marriage takes place. I am to have eyes only for my spouse even before I meet them face to face, even before the marriage is consummated. I am betrothed to them at birth even though I know them not, and this is how I should live and think.

I am not to defile another’s marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4) in the search of making my own.

The bond of marriage is sacred may we treat it as such. Let us respect and honor our spouses and in doing so we will also honor the spouses or future spouses of others. May our marriages be an example of Christ and may we display the image of our God as we live out our covenant with each other. 

The phrase, to give in marriage, comes from the word “halal” and it means to be clear, to shine, to make a show, to boast, to celebrate, glory, give light. The duty of marriage is “ownah” and it means “to dwell together” 

Our marriages to each other are to be a clear picture of the image of God. They are to shine and to show His image and they are to celebrate Him. They should display the glory of God and they should give His light to those who are lost in the kingdom of darkness. 

In our marriages we are to dwell together as one flesh. 

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, 

and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father,

full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 

Our marriages should also be full of grace of and truth.

Just as idolatry and adultery sound similar… so do marriage and image. 


Oh Father,

Thank You for blessing us with the covenant of marriage. May we never forget that our marriages have a purpose bigger than mutual satisfaction and self-gratification. Our marriages are designed to display Your image to a broken, fallen, and blind world. As we hold true to one another in this covenant relationship, maintaining eyes and hearts for each other alone may we also illustrate the way mankind is to only have eyes and hearts for You, their Maker, and their Husband (Isaiah 54:5).

My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,


The Murderer Within


You shall not murder

Exodus 20:13


I believe the first thing we have to do when we read this sixth commandment is define the word “murder“. In Hebrew this word is ratsach and it means to dash in pieces, to kill, to murder, to put to death, to slay. As we study the word we see that God makes a differentiation in what it means to kill and what it means to murder.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3 we read There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-… A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up.” God has made it clear that there is a time to kill.

In Genesis 9:6 we read “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.” There is never a time to murder, but there is a time to kill.

In Deuteronomy 19-20 God teaches us the difference. A murderer is someone “who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes him so that he dies” (Deuteronomy 19:11).

We were given a picture of a murderer way back in the beginning. We meet the first murderer of man in Genesis 3:1. If we look back at this verse we see that Satan laid in wait for his opportunity to deliver his death blow to mankind. Then we see how Satan works in the lives of men to continue his murdering as we read of Cain slaying Able in Genesis 4.

Cain slew his brother in hate, it was not an accident, and it was not in battle. In John 8:44 our Lord declares, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning…”

This is why we must be very careful to guard our hearts. We might can look at our hands and say these hands have squashed a few bugs, killed a few spiders, might even have ran over the neighbors cat, but I am not a murderer.

Or are you?

You have heard that the ancients were told, “You shall not commit murder”

and “Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.”

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother

shall be guilty before the court;

and whoever says to his brother, “You good-for-nothing,”

shall be guilty before the supreme court;

and whoever says, “You fool,” shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar,

and there remember that your brother has something against you,

leave your offering there before the altar and go;

first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Matthew 5:21-24

Could these words of Christ in Matthew 5:21-24 give us a greater understanding as to why God would not accept Cain’s offering in Genesis 4?

God warned Cain that if he did not address this issue with his brother, that sin was crouching at his door and it’s desire was to devour him. Cain did not address the anger and hate in his heart and it led to the murder of his brother.

In the New Testament, James is writing a letter to the church, for the church. In James 4:1-4 he is addressing the quarrels within the church. He shares how the source of the quarrels is simply everyone’s own personal lusts and pleasures at war within them.

In James 4:2 we read, “You lust and do not have; so you commit murder.”


Murder in the church?


How many times has the unaddressed hatred and jealousy in the heart of a believer delivered a death blow to another believer?

I believe much more often than we would like to admit. Often enough that God saw fit to address it in His word and preserve it for the church for all generations.

Oh precious one, it all begins within the heart. Jesus came to show us that we must address the evils within us. We must deal with what is hiding in the dark of our hearts and minds. This is why God gave us the Law, so that we might see these hidden things.

The Law of God is a light into our souls to show us how very sinful we are, how very corrupt we are, from the inside out. When we come to the light of the Law and let it do it’s work in us, we realize how desperate we are. Then when Christ comes and offers us life… we run to him.

The light of the Law leads us to the life of Christ.

Then the Holy Spirit moves in and He is ever present with us to let us know when our hearts are leading us wrong. He is there to say to us “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and it’s desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:6-7). 

Oh Father,

Thank You for loving me enough to show me my heart. Thank You for teaching me that I am not to hide deeper what is lurking in my heart and mind, but I am to drag it into the presence of Your light. I do not have to justify my sin, I can bring it to You and You can remove it. How often do we hang on to hate and anger out of justification, thinking that our holding on to this is somehow getting back at the one we are angry with? “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15). May I live this day offering grace to others, not withholding a single drop. May I walk this day in obedience to Your warning, letting You lift up my face and my countenance and letting Your light shine within me. You have given me power over sin, in and through Christ; it is never to conquer me again. Help me today to master it. 

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,


Teaching Honor


Honor your father and your mother,

that your days may be prolonged in the land

which the LORD your God gives you.

Exodus 20:12


As the fourth commandment of God is the only commandment that tells us to “remember” this fifth commandment of God is the only commandment of the Ten Commandments that comes with a promise.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Honor your father and your mother

(which is the first commandment with a promise),

so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

Ephesians 6:1-3

Now as we look at this command let me ask you, is a child born willing and ready and able to honor their mother and father? If you as a parent just spoke this law over them would they get it and obey it? Whose responsibility is it to teach them to obey this commandment?

Yes, it is the parent’s responsibility. If you do not teach your children to obey and honor you, then you are almost guaranteeing them a life without the blessings of God. You may shower them with all their wants and desires and they may be up to their ears in material blessings, but if you have not taught them to honor you, then you have led them to a short and upsetting future. 

We are living in a day that is full of children who were not taught to honor their parents. This has left us with a generation that curses his father and does not bless his mother, a generation that is pure in their own eyes but is not washed of their filthiness (Proverbs 30:11-12).

We have a generation that thinks they owe nothing to anyone and they even feel justified in any behavior they exhibit because they see no wrong in their own eyes. They will call others names and ridicule their beliefs or shortcomings and laugh about it never seeing the condition of their own hearts. It is a generation that honors no one and places no value on a person, not even themselves, because they were not taught to do so. Life is centered on them and their own vain imaginations because they have been left without guidance. They only know survival.

I was raised by parents that taught me to honor them. My mother taught me to honor my father and my father taught me to honor my mother. They had each others backs. They did not tolerate disrespect from us, not towards them or any other authority in our lives.

I remember when I started school my parents told me that if the teacher told me the sky was purple and not blue that I was not to argue with her. I was to respect her, then come home and tell my parents that she said the sky was purple when I know that it is blue. Then they (my parents) would go and discuss the issue with the teacher, but I was to respect the authority of my teacher.

My parents taught me how to honor them, and how to honor others, and this has made the way for me to easily be able to honor my God. My parents taught me how the authority over me was there for me, for my good, for my defense, for my protection.

I hope that you were able to see a picture of that by that simple example of the teacher. Yes my teacher had authority over me when I was in her class, but my teachers authority did not out rank my parents. My parents had the authority over the teacher.

In like manner my God has the authority over my parents. My God tells me to honor my parents, and well if they are parents who tell me the sky is purple when the sky is blue, then I am still to respect them. I then go to my God and trust Him to deal with my parents, but I am to honor my parents.

When we look in the book of Leviticus we read again in Leviticus 19:3, “Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father…” Did you notice that this time the Lord says “every one of you” not just children. We are never exempt from this command to honor our parents. In Matthew 15:3-9 Jesus makes it clear to us that our parents are to always be a priority. We are to take care of them as they cared for us, and we are to take care of them even if they failed miserably at taking care of us.

Oh precious one, if you are a parent, teach your children to honor you. Teach them first by example, “A righteous man who walks in his integrity- How blessed are his sons after him.” (Proverbs 20:7). As parents we must lead by example. When our children see us honoring our parents, and honoring the authority figures in our lives, and most importantly when they see us honoring God and submitting to His will and obeying His commands then it shows them we are serious about what we expect from them because God is serious about what He expects from us.


Oh Father,

What a great privilege and responsibility You have given us as parents and as children. You care deeply about the family and You show us that all through Your Word. Help me Father, to teach my children to honor You by teaching them to honor me and by also demonstrating to them what honor is as I honor my own earthly parents and You, my God and Eternal Father. Forgive me if I have failed in this and help me to begin today living in obedience to this command. May I not use the actions of my parents as my justification not to honor them, nor the affection of my children as an excuse to not require honor from them.

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,




Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  

Exodus 20:8


I began this devotion on the fourth commandment of our God and had to stop. As I read it I couldn’t get past the obvious fact that as a modern American church this is the one and only commandment we do not teach nor practice to observe as it is written. 

Six days you shall labor and do all your work,

but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God;

in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter,  

your male or your female servant or your cattle

or your sojourner who stays with you.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,

the sea and all that is in them,

and rested on the seventh day;

therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20:9-11

As I was discussing this thought on the Sabbath commandment online with family and friends one of them pointed out that this is the one commandment that begins with God telling us to “remember” it. I would agree with her that there must be a very good reason for that beginning. This commandment also is the last commandment that addresses our relationship with God specifically.

Do we as the modern western church choose to ignore this commandment? There are Christian denominations that choose to observe worship on Saturday instead of Sunday, but is that the same as keeping the Sabbath holy?

What does Jesus have to say about the Sabbath?

In John 5:18 we read that “the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He was not only breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” There is something terribly wrong with this picture.

The Jews are saying that Jesus is breaking the Sabbath. We know that this cannot be true, because Jesus kept the Law of God with perfection. We have to look at the context of this verse and find out why the Jews made this accusation. When we do this, we see they accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath because He healed a man and told the man to pick up His pallet and walk.

Now these Pharisees tell this newly healed man that he is breaking the Sabbath because it is not permissible for him to carry his pallet on the Sabbath. If we look back at Exodus 20:8-11, I do not read anywhere that God said, ‘thou shalt not carry thy pallet”.

So by this we can know that Jesus was not breaking God’s Sabbath, but the Jews sabbath. It was for this that they sought all the more to kill Him. A friend of mine pointed out that in this verse we do not see the Jews even consider giving praise to God for this man’s healing; they are only concerned that He is breaking their rules.

In the book of Matthew we read more of Jesus and the Sabbath. In Matthew 12:1-8 we read of the Pharisees accusing the disciples of Christ of breaking the Sabbath because they have picked grains of wheat to eat in their hunger. Jesus then points out to the Pharisees that the priests of the temple do themselves break the Sabbath as they continue to perform their temple work on that holy day. He then tells them that something greater than the temple is here. In Matthew 12:8 Jesus declares “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Then in Matthew 12:9-14 Jesus goes on to heal another man on the Sabbath. The Pharisees then question Him about whether or not it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. If I was Jesus I would probably be rolling my eyes at this point and shaking my head in disbelief at these men, but Jesus simply answers, “What man is there among you has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep!”

These Pharisees, these religious tyrants, had missed the whole point of the Sabbath command. They missed it because their focus was to control men by the Law, not help them. Truth be known they probably did value the sheep over the man because their sheep would make them money which would bring them power and that man would cost them money and they would have to humble themselves in order to serve and help him.

The fourth command is to remember the Sabbath. In Mark 2:27 Jesus tells us that “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” The instructions following this command concerning the Sabbath in Exodus 20 tells us that we are to remember this day by rest. In Isaiah 30:15 we read that “in repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.”

So what exactly is Jesus trying to get across to these religious men about their view of the Sabbath? How does what Jesus say to them relate to us today? Are we breaking the Sabbath by worshiping on Sunday instead of Saturday?

Let us reason together.

We have to remember what this command says. It tells us to remember to rest.

To rest in rest?

No, to rest in God.

I don’t know about you but Sunday is not a day of physical rest for me, but here’s the thing, I don’t believe it was really designed nor intended to be. When we are called to assemble together as the church we are called to serve and be employed, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10). Sunday is the day we come together as a body of believers to grow in grace and truth. It is the day that we are supposed to spend building each other up. I believe this is separate from the Sabbath, which is to be a day of rest. 

We are commanded by God to remember the Sabbath and commanded by Christ to remember Him by the Lord’s Supper, the breaking of bread and the drinking of the cup (Luke 22:19-20). Remember the Sabbath and remember Me, the Lord of the Sabbath, when you come together by the Lord’s Supper.

Remember by the breaking of this bread and the drinking of this cup that you could not work enough to earn your salvation. Remember that I alone am God, set up no idols of worship in your heart, and do not consider My name as useless or ordinary because it is by this name that you are saved. Remember the Sabbath and rest in Me, knowing that in Me you are complete, in Me you are free, in Me you are not slaves… you are sons. Remember that in Me it is finished.

I believe that we are called to remember the Sabbath and to come together and worship on Sunday. The Sabbath is for us individually (Mark 2:27) and the Lord’s Supper for us collectively, “Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:17).

Let’s just for the moment look at the observance of the Sabbath in practicality. Just imagine if we as a church would put away the idols of immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires and greed (Colossians 3:5), would we rest more?

If we put these idols away, what would happen to the round the clock work day?

Would we need to run a business 24/7 if we did not worship the idol of greed?

Let us even consider the medical field. How much emptier would our hospitals be if we removed all the patients that were there due to stress induced illnesses, from being overworked or from immoral living?

Let us consider the prisons. How much emptier would they be if we put away the idol of greed and remembered that God was our Creator and Sustainer and Provider? How much emptier would they be if we remembered God and remembered that our families come second only to God?

How many of our families would still be intact if at least one day a week we chose to rest in God. To be still before Him. To not require work from our children or our employees and to do none ourselves. If we just stopped in the midst of all the craziness of life and worshiped our God by casting all our cares on Him and enjoying the abundant blessing of Himself and trusting that He would take care of tomorrow.

I don’t believe it’s that we are to not move on the Sabbath or carry our pallet or pick grain in our hunger or heal a man. I believe it is simply that we are not to strive on this day. I believe God is saying “I am mindful that you are but flesh, I know the worries of this world that flood your soul, just give Me one day. One day. And I promise if you will stop this one day and remember and fall into My arms, then I promise I will carry you the rest of the week. Just trust Me.”

Just ponder it my friend. Then look at your own heart and examine yourself. Are you remembering the Sabbath to keep it holy? Let us not forget that we are blessed when we rest.


Oh Father,

Thank You for Your Sabbath. Thank You for giving us permission to rest. Forgive me Father, for not giving You this time. You are indeed my Creator and You will carry me. Help me to honor You in this way, by willingly allowing You to carry me. Calling on You in my time of need and not wasting Your time by striving on my own. My Jesus, I cast my cares on You this day and I come to You, my God, for rest (Matthew 11:28).

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,




What’s In A Name


You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain,

for the LORD will not leave him unpunished

who takes his name in vain.  

Exodus 20:7


What exactly does it mean to take the LORD’s name in vain?

We seem to all be united on the fact that using God’s name, any of His names, as a curse word is taking His name in vain. However this was not an issue when God delivered this commandment. The children of Israel then, and still most of the Jewish people and nation of Israel today, so reverenced the name of God that they would not speak it or attempt to even write it out in its entirety. In most Jewish letters and writing you will see the name God written out as G-d.  

So, with this in mind, let us dig a little deeper into this third commandment and see if we can discover exactly what it means to take the name of the LORD in vain. To begin let’s look at the Hebrew translation of the word “vain.” Vain in the Hebrew is shawv and it means desolating; evil as destructive, ruin, guile, uselessness, false, lie, lying and it is from the Hebrew word sho which is an unused root meaning to rush over. Now with this knowledge let’s read this third commandment again, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…”

Oh precious one is it sinking in?

You shall not use the name of God to desolate another.

    You shall not use it for evil in any way.

          You shall not speak lies about the name of God.

                You shall not rush over the name of God.

                        You shall not make the name of God useless.

Have you been guilty of taking the name of the LORD your God in vain?

Let’s dig even deeper.

Let us look at the Hebrew word for name. In the Hebrew the word name is shem. Have you heard this word before? Shem was the name of one of Noah’s sons. Shem is the son through which Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and David and yes, Jesus was born.

The word shem means conspicuous position, an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality, honor, authority, and character. In the Bible names are very important. Someone’s name defined who they were, their character, and their position in life. Many times a child would not be named until the parents could tell who he would be, or they named him according to who they desired him to be. A name mattered. It should still matter today.

So my friend, do you see how very vast this command is? It is so much more than just using God’s name as a curse word. It is lying about His character and position by our use of or lack of use of His name. If we do not trust in His name, we take it in vain. If we consider His name as useless, we take it in vain. If we do not trust in the character of our God as defined to us by His names, we take His name in vain. If we rush over His name, not considering Him our strong tower, our refuge, our help, our salvation, our hope… we take His name in vain. If we doubt Him, we take His name in vain.

The Ten Commandments booklet I shared about earlier states that “Many who have heard much about God carelessly assume they know Him- that they have an acceptable relationship with Him. Yet they have never learned really to respect Him. They demean and degrade Him by flippantly using His name in everyday conversation. They unwittingly announce to all who hear them that respect for God is simply not important to them, even though they may believe He exists.”

Oh precious one, spend some time today learning His names.

                    Read through the Psalms and see how often they call attention to the name of the LORD.

If you are indeed a Christian, then you carry the name of Christ and your actions in this name either bring honor to God or blaspheme His holy name. Oh my friend, represent Him well, for He is worthy. Let His name be lifted higher and higher and higher.  

Oh Father,

I carry the name of Your Son. I am Yours. Might I never forget that You are holy and holy is Your name. As I am coming and going in this life may I honor Your name. Let me not disgrace Your most glorious name. Let me never forget that I represent You and I do not want to represent You wrong. I might be the only Bible that another reads and I want to accurately deliver Your truth.

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,