Jun 24


In case you didn’t know…

Presidential elections begin 18 months or more before the actual date. It doesn’t matter who controls the White House, there is no shortage of individuals throwing their hat into the ring. The media helps to create the drama. They love a good horse race! Long before the Iowa caucuses, news outlets compile lists and bios for all presidential hopefuls.

#Pray 2020 is bathing the entire presidential process with the Spirit and direction of God. We ask Him for peace, order and fairness.

We’re on the brink of chaos!

It’s 2019. A very large group of people have not gotten over the election of Donald Trump. On college campuses, students protest with screams and cries, NOT MY PRESIDENT! Where does free speech end and political discord and chaos begin? Three years into a presidency and these groups continue their cry.

In the past, the two political parties would put aside their differences and come together. Unfortunately, that did not happen in this cycle. Since getting elected, Democrats have schemed for ways to discredit and indict President Trump. So far, nothing substantial has been uncovered. Don’t get me wrong–if Trump has done something criminal, he should be prosecuted. So far, all I’ve seen is speculation and a waste of money and time. Resources like air time are limited. Many valuable news stories don’t get air time because we are focused on railroading the president. #Pray2020

Freedom of Speech and Thought

The First Amendment is what makes America so remarkable! We don’t have to approve of the way others believe or speak but we need to let them have their opinions. If we don’t, we become North Korea or Communist China. In those countries, people who disagree with the State get sent to “re-education camps” AKA prison. I believe all people have the right to voice their opinion, even if I disagree with what they say! However, groups do not have the right to cause physical harm to others. Many of the college protests at Berkeley have resulted in vandalism. This crosses the line. #Pray2020

Popular vs. Electoral College

On this issue, I have to side with the electoral college. Do we want large cities like New York, Miami and LA will choose every president? Citizens living in Montana or Oklahoma will not bother to cast a vote because it won’t matter. However, I do believe the winner-take-all for the state’s electoral casting could be updated. Again, dissenting voices are silenced with this system. #Pray2020


Nobody likes a cheater. Nobody likes a sore loser either. If people suspect cheating, the legitimacy of the results comes to question. Remember the hanging chad controversy of the 1990’s? If not, the state of Florida had to recount thousands of votes. This was back when we used a stylus to punch out our choice. In the process of the recount, some of the punches got damaged and it was unclear who people voted for. #Pray2020

Project Veritas just came out with video from Google. It looks like the search engine is trying to shape the outcome of the election by manipulating the results of searches online.

Who is allowed to vote?

  • Dead people? Rumors have been circulating for years how thousands of deceased individuals cast ballots.
  • Convicted felons? Once someone completes his/her probation, should voting rights be restored?
  • Illegal immigrants? The debate rages on as to who should be allowed to vote. Recently, Congress approved voting rights for illegal immigrants.
  • Citizens without photo IDs? I have to show my ID to buy cold medicine or board a plane. Is it really too much to ask? #Pray2020
Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood

It’s spiritual warfare

Unfortunately, many of us (myself included) separate politics from spirituality. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6). The real puppet master is Satan! The only way to defeat him is through the Word of God and with prayer. That is why we need to start the #Pray2020. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are at stake! The new religion is humanism and the savior is government.

The silencing the voices of people of faith is in the “air”. This is why we need to pray for this upcoming election. This is why we need to encourage each other to pray for our country with #Pray2020. People on both sides of the political aisle both want peace and unity. We need to be specific in our prayers. Encourage others to act in fair ways and report those who do otherwise. Only if voters feel the election is fair and ethical can we abide by the final vote count. Prayers need to be lifted for our leaders to act in ways that are moral and ethical. The very existence of our country is at stake. Pray for our nation and pray often #Pray2020.

Apr 19

3 Reasons to Study Revelation NOW

The time is NOW to study Revelation

Like the spare room cluttered with stuff, needing to be organized, Revelation is this room. We shut the door and promise to deal with it later. Revelation is easy to find and we know the topic is about the end of days, but still we avoid it. Some people avoid it because it seems scary while others can’t be bothered deciphering the symbolism, disasters, seals, bowls and weird creatures.

To me, the book gives the aura of mystery and symbolism that many theologians and authors have twisted it into something complicated, making it too hard to fully understand. That is, until I stumbled on a Bible teacher who has a passion for the Word like none I’ve seen before.

The ministry is called Thru the Bible and is founded by the late pastor Dr. J. Vernon McGee. His radio ministry desires to share the Word of God with the nations. In a 5-year plan, you can listen to Dr. McGee discuss every chapter of the Bible. The people at Thru the Bible have taken his radio messages and transcribed them into books. For some reason, these transcripts helped me learn better than the spoken word. Maybe it’s because I could see and better understand his teachings and then go over it again and again. Regardless, his teachings give me confidence and a better understanding of Revelation. Dr. McGee knows the Bible! While I learned a tremendous amount from his teachings on Jeremiah, Genesis and Matthew, I was blown away when I studied Revelation. Here’s why…

Dr. McGee states that Revelation is the EASIEST and most ORGANIZED book of the Bible?!

I have never heard anyone state this before. He says the apostle John is very clear in the text. Where John is recalling what he is seeing we are to take him literally and when John wants us to look at things symbolically, he uses the word “like” or “as”. And unlike the book of Jeremiah, Revelation is in chronological order.

The Church is raptured before the Tribulation

Here is another aspect that blew my mind…you know the debate of when the church will be raptured, is it before of after the Tribulation? With Dr. McGee, there is no debate. The church is mentioned up to chapter 3 and then no more until the end. Why? We are gone, taken to heaven. John does not explicitly say it but this lines up with God’s character. God never pours out His wrath on His bride. Sure, we get punished for bad behavior, but not like this. Look at Noah or even the Babylonian captivity recounted in Jeremiah and played out in Daniel. That “captivity” was God’s protection (Jeremiah 24). Those who stayed behind were destroyed. After Revelation 3, the only “church” left is the apostate church. Apostate is a fancy word that means turned away, particularly from one’s faith. Many of our friends and family will be left behind because they do not have a relationship with Jesus! You cannot be Christian merely by association or by doing good and godly things. We know this yet many people we think are saved are not.

WARNING: We need to know our ENTIRE Bible before we study Revelation.

Dr. McGee warns not to study Revelation unless you have a good working knowledge of the other 65 books. Revelation is the culmination of everything and often refers to passages found elsewhere in the Bible. I agree with this warning but add a little more. It is also helpful to know a little about Jewish religious feasts. Jews celebrate 7 times throughout the year: 4 in spring and 3 in fall. These are mandatory times of remembrance and celebration. When the Temple was around, they were required to travel to Jerusalem for the adherence 3 times a year. Those feasts with travel include Passover, Weeks, and Tabernacles.

What’s the Jesus connection?

Christ’s death, burial and resurrection coincide with Passover, Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits respectively. The Holy Spirit comes on the Feast of Weeks. The Rapture, Great White Throne of Judgement and Eternity line up with the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Tabernacles respectively.

The events of Revelation are not something a young believer would understand or appreciate. Many of us are guilty of focusing on only the New Testament and especially the “red letter” passages of the Gospels. Christ’s story is woven through the entire work of the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. Authors like Nancy Guthrie have done a good job of teaching this. My ladies’ group has done several of her studies. The ladies are always surprised to see Jesus in the “white spaces” of the Old Testament. Throughout the Bible we see shadowing and word pictures of what is to be fulfilled in Christ. Jesus constantly refers to Old Testament passages. They lose their significance if we don’t study those parts of our Bible too.

The end of God’s story concludes with Christ the victor. Both death and Satan defeated. Many of our friends and loved ones are also condemned and separated from God for all of eternity.

Reasons to study Revelation NOW:

1) Events appear to be lining up.

No one can deny we have the technology to carry out the events seen in Revelation. China is working on prohibiting buying or selling if you do not have a certain social score. Some European countries are beta testing implantable microchips for employees. Facebook recently purchased a government ID tracking software. Plus, there is no denying the push for one world government and currencies. Can anybody say Bitcoin?

Within a generation, white Europeans will be outnumbered by Muslim Europeans.White Europeans are in a negative population growth while Muslim women have many children each. The Middle East and Europe are destined to become one in the very near future.

In the US, the darkness and degradation are at new lows. Have you seen the Fred Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? If we see a man with Fred Roger’s mannerisms, soft spoken, love for children, kind and gentle soul, we would question his intentions, wouldn’t we? Fred Rogers was a devout follower of Christ who lived out his ministry in the secular realm, sharing love and acceptance to all children. Any other man desiring to be around young children must have an ulterior motive, right? He’s a sick perv. Nope. In the 1960s and 1970s, there wasn’t as great deal of a sexual perversion like it is now.

It is now legal to kill babies at any time during gestation, including once it is delivered. Sex with children will be just as commonplace as homosexual relations. People are born this way after all. Don’t believe me? There are a subculture of men who openly admit to only admiring these youngsters. Have you ever heard of NAMBLA (National Man Boy Love Association)? I remember back in college in the early 1990s joking about this group. A gay friend followed them and would tell us they were known for having Will Wheaton sightings. At the time, Will Wheaton was a child actor on Star Trek Next Generation. Apparently, NAMBLA members put Wheaton on their hot list. Disgusting. Like a frog in a pot that slowly begins to boil, we forget how far we have fallen in our depravity until we turn around and remember what our culture used to be like. Right now in the state of New York, it’s a greater crime to be racist than to kill your unborn child in a fit of rage. God have mercy on our souls.

2) The message is imperative.

Do you “cheat” and read the end of the novel to see how it all works out? It can be relaxing knowing that the characters will be OK even though they are going through turmoil at the time. The same is true for us. Since I studied Revelation, I feel more at ease about the craziness of this life, because I know Who wins!

Stop reading the Bible and the stories about Jesus as if they were fiction. Spend some time on them, letting it sink in, this is truth! I remember over 12 years ago when I had this a-ha moment. It was when I first began studying the Jewish feasts, I began to realize God was real. Might sound stupid or silly but I can recall saying it over and over again…God is real, God is real. At the time, I had been a Christian for 10 years. I felt guilty of seeing Jesus as a story book character instead of God, King, and ruler of the universe!

Understanding Revelation makes me pray for other’s salvation. This should be our number 1 priority. Eternity without God is unbearable. Story lines like NBC’s the Good Place serve only to deceive us into thinking we all go heaven. Those outside of Christ’s righteousness will be cast into oppressive darkness and finally the lake of fire. This is the same lake of fire that is reserved for the Antichrist and Satan.

Dr. McGee says people want to be judged by God. They want to see if their good outweighs their bad. Unfortunately, God demands perfection if we come on our own merit. Since none of us have that to offer, the punishment is very clear: eternal separation. Eternal, forever. Oppressive darkness in a place that is real, not made up.

3) Helps us focus on what is important.

After studying Revelation, I can’t help but daydream about eternity. The small and insignificant things of this world don’t stack up. I care less and less about status, stuff, accolades, etc. None of it matters. It’s all fleeting, temporary and nothing compares to the riches that await me in eternity!

A side effect of studying Revelation is increased prayer for lost loved ones. How often are you concerned with the salvation of others? We will enjoy the bounty of never-ending peace and joy. Those who do not have a relationship with God will be judged and then cast out for ALL ETERNITY to a place of oppressive darkness, pain and torture. WAKE UP! This is real. Heaven is real; Hell is real!! TV shows like the Good Place, Touched By an Angel, and Ghost Whisperer all lead you to believe that we all go to some magical place of light when we die. It’s not true.

God is loving but His grace and mercy have a shelf life, a time limit. I’ve been drawn to Isaiah 55:6-7: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his ways and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and he will find mercy, and to our God for He will freely pardon.” The mercy of our God does not last forever. The fullness of time will come, and He will seek justice and unleash His wrath on all mankind. We like to think of God as loving but forget He is also holy. His holiness cannot be near our unrighteousness–it’s why we need to be covered with the blood of Jesus. For us,  there is no judgement, only reward. But for those who choose to stand on their own merit, they will be judged at the end of days.

This parallels the Jewish feast known as the Day of Atonement. Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Dr. McGee writes something peculiar to me. He says man wants to be judged by God. We want to stand before God and have our good and bad placed on scales to determine our entrance into paradise. What most people fail to realize is that God has an impossible standard. His acceptance is based on perfection. If we miss the mark, even by a little, we cannot enter His presence.

Hell is a real place. Make no mistake of it. Many people as well as many learned Bible teachers have claimed hell to be either a place outside the gates of Jerusalem where trash was burned or simply made up. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 assures us that everlasting punishment is real.

Revelation goes into great detail to assure us that hell is where the Antichrist, false prophet, and eventually Satan will be cast. God created hell for them, not for us. Unfortunately, man sinned and lost his ability to be in relationship with God. Our Savior is a gentleman and does not force Himself on anyone. We either choose it or not. Islam, the religion of Satan, is not like that. In Muslim countries, 90%+ follow the faith. The very name, Islam, means submission. There is no freedom, no choice, only submission.

Here’s the bottom line…I know it can be difficult to believe the fantastic events of Revelation. Rest assured, they will all come to pass just as John foretold. Here’s why. God has a 100% track record on predicting the future. Recall the numerous prophesies regarding the birth and death of Jesus? They all came true! God is a God or order. The death, burial and resurrection align with Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and the Feast of Weeks. I highly encourage you to study the fall feasts. The next one is the Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah.

Don’t be afraid

Remember God has not given us a spirit of fear! Perfect love casts out fear! Before you start worrying about the what if’s of the future, remember how God has provided and protected you in the past. For me, it was Snowpocalypse here in Atlanta. The entire town went to work and then decided to leave early because of a bad snow storm. Roads were jammed like never before. It took commuters 5-12 hours to get home. Some never made it. Cars were left on the roadsides, abandoned everywhere! I was downtown at the time. Took me 5 hours to drive to my sister-in-law’s place. It’s a drive that should take 20 minutes. My biggest fears: running out of gas, no food or water, having to go to the bathroom and being stuck in traffic. God took care of EVERYTHING! Found a bathroom downtown at the only convenience store in all of downtown. Not only did I not have to wait, there was toilet paper! Had a stash of snacks and water in the car and safely made it to a gas station despite skidding out a couple of times. I narrowly made it to the drug store to get saline for my contacts. The store closed shortly after I arrived. For 2 days, I was a refugee with my sister-in-law. God provided food, safety and shelter for me. Whenever I start to worry about the impending destruction, I remember this story.

Find comfort in words from God found in Psalm 91. It’s said every evening by Jews in their bedtime prayers.

Dec 10

When faith isn’t enough

Have faith in your faith. Just believe. Do you feel God? Feel the Spirit. There is MORE to faith than these trite sayings…

Faith is the foundation of modern Christianity. It can seem shaky because we teach faith based on platitudes of goodness, love and on the testimony of men and women 2,000 years removed. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). What? I have a hard time getting my mind around this verse on faith.

Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to God must believe that He is (exists) and that He rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Faith is essential to the Christian walk. But, how do we have faith in someone we can’t see? I completely trust in the absolute authority of the Word of God. However, these verses on faith are difficult for me to understand and put into practice.

Say “NO” to emotional faith

Walking with a faith based on emotions and we are vulnerable to the least difficulty of life.

If I don’t feel God, is He there? Does He hear my prayers? The answer is YES. Even when we don’t feel God, He is there and will answer our prayers. He hasn’t left us. In the bad times, the sadness, the struggle, the depression, He is there.

This, again, sounds trite– it sounds like encouragement with false hope. But, this one is TRUE. We believe what God says because He doesn’t lie. It is not in His nature to lie. Jews daily remind themselves of God’s faithfulness. Several times a day they recite prayers to remind themselves of how God rescued them from slavery in Egypt. They recall the miracle allowing them to escape across a body of water on dry ground! We need to make remembrance a priority in our spiritual lives. God has done amazing things for His people and is able to make a way for us too. Truth is our foundation–absolute truth that does not shift or waiver. If we base our faith on truth instead of feelings, we will be rock solid!

Christ the solid rock

Base your faith on Christ, the solid rock. The Bible (and pastors) tell us He is truth, incapable of lying. His promises never fail us. If we build our lives on anything other than Jesus, we will be dissatisfied. Neither fame nor fortune, relationships nor things will ever be able to fill the void. Buried deep within the center of our being, we long for purpose and meaning. Put your faith, hope and trust in man (or woman) and you will be let down 100% of the time.

How do you fill this void? Become like King David. He loved God’s word; he loved God’s law. Study the Bible by yourself and especially with others. Talk about the passages. Understand how it all fits together. I highly recommend studying the Bible itself and not doing a teacher’s 10-week study. Dig into the Bible and use commentaries. My weekly group did this with the book of Jeremiah. This is a complicated book but very worthwhile to study! One of the members made a timeline to help us understand the history of kings. Some people used Wiersbe. I used J. Vernon McGee. We went chapter by chapter and taught each other. At the end of the study, I received an unexpected surprise… When you understand the book of Jeremiah, it helps you understand several other books of the Old Testament! I’m talking about books you might not otherwise read like 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, Daniel, Lamentations, and Ezekiel. All of these books feed off of the story in Jeremiah.

Nuggets I received from the book of Jeremiah:

  • Jeremiah was considered successful in the eyes of God yet he had ZERO converts. Nobody listened to him.
  • The remnant taken to Babylon (the people in the story of Daniel) were the ones who were faithful to God. This capture was God’s provision and later blessing. This remnant later formed the group to go back and rebuild the Temple.

The secret to faith: a relationship with Jesus

I don’t have faith in my faith nor hope in my hope; I have faith in the Trinity, Father, Son, Spirit. Christians are not weak people walking through life leaning on the crutch of Jesus. We can have evidence, proof, legs to stand on our faith! Where do we get this proof? Judaism.

When you study Judaism you will see meaning and significance to the life, death and resurrection of our Savior. When you study the Temple and the sacrifices you will understand why Jesus was called the Lamb of God and the significance of events that took place in the Temple at the time of His death. The stories of the Old Testament, the rituals, the feasts all point to the saving work of Jesus Christ.


Do you think Jesus died on some random day? Do you think the Jews or the Romans killed Him? NO! He laid down His life at precisely the right time.

Jesus died during the feast of Passover. It’s a holiday of travel–all males were required to go to Jerusalem to sacrifice a lamb at the Temple. These lambs were not just any lamb, they were perfect male lambs, killed in their prime, born in Bethlehem. This is also why Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem.

The very hour that Jesus died on the cross was exactly the same hour the lambs were sacrificed in the Temple. When Jesus finally passed away, the Bible says the giant curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom. A curtain over 12 feet tall and so heavy and large it took 100 men to carry it tore on its own!

Even more incredible was the fact that merely entering this inner sanctum was strictly prohibited. The Holy of Holies was the special place that could be entered only once a year and only after the priest was cleansed completely. If he didn’t cleanse himself to God’s specifications, death was imminent. The Holy of Holies was where the Spirit of God dwelt. Jesus died on the cross and got rid of the need for the blood of an animal to cleanse us from our sins. Instead of dwelling in a building, Jesus’ Spirit will live in us if we ask Him.

Why did Jesus stay buried?

A better question is why did Jesus rise from the dead on Sunday morning? The Sunday after Passover is a feast known as Firstfruits. Jesus is shouting to the world the promise of eternal life! Therefore, instead of focusing on Jesus being in the grave and where was He, focus on why He waited and what it means. Bodily rising from the dead, Jesus promises the same for us one day. The first of everything belongs to God: animals, crops, first born male, etc.

When we put our faith in the all-powerful, holy, truthful person of Jesus Christ, we can stand rock solid! Today is the day to begin a relationship with the God of the universe. Everything and everyone in this life will let you down. They cannot fill the emptiness inside no matter how hard you try. Only a relationship with Jesus can fill the empty space. Seek Him while He is found, call on Him while He is near…


Jun 01

How to Live as a Christian in 6 Easy Steps

live as a ChristianIf you ask the typical believer how to live as a Christian, you might get a perplexed look and a jumbled response. Are we taught how to live out our faith in a simple and methodical manner or have we made it too complicated? We are inundated with so many books, sermons, advice–it makes my head spin too! Learning how to live as a Christian in 6 easy steps sounds like an impossible task or some kind of gimmick. And why 6 steps? Why not 7 or 10? Believe it or not, these 6 steps are ancient, having been practiced for centuries. I’ll be honest with you, this list is not labeled how to live as a Christian but it might as well be!

Many of our churches and sermons are focused on getting people saved; we forget to help these new believers grow. I need step-by-step directions. What does it look like to live as a Christian once I become one?

Before I get into the list of how to live as a Christian in 6 easy steps, I want to tell you what this is NOT:

  • Magic. This new life takes work, study, dedication– changing old habits and ways of thinking.
  • Easy. While the steps are easy, doing them perfectly is not. We battle against an enemy who wants you to fail at every turn.
  • Popular. Remember the Purpose Driven Life or the Prayer of Jabez? At one point in time, everyone was doing those studies. This is not one of those studies or paths or lifestyles. While it might not be well-known, it is biblical. Like I said, this list has been practiced by the Hebrew people for centuries. We need to stop trying to re-invent the wheel!

This list is not mine and it’s not new–it’s very old, thousands of years, in fact. It comes from the Jews and can be found in the Jewish book of prayer known as the Siddur. Part of living within the Covenant of God includes following 613 Commandments.  Many of them deal with issues like cleanliness, family life, food, holidays, etc. Here is an excerpt from Orthodox Union on the subject:

“Mitzvos (good works) are generally classified into two categories, time-bound and not time-bound. Time-bound mitzvos can only be fulfilled at certain times, such as eating matzah on Pesach or shaking a lulav on Succos. Even most mitzvos that are not time-bound cannot be fulfilled all the time. For example, one cannot fulfill the mitzvah of mezuzah if one doesn’t have a door. There are, however, six mitzvos that Jews are instructed to fulfill at all times and in all places. Riding the bus? You can fulfill six mitzvos. Laid up in bed with a bad cold? You can do these. These are called the six Mitzvos Temidios or ‘Constant Mitzvos.’”

These 6 are the cornerstone of daily living, to be observed at all times of the day. By observing these commandments, one will be in a closer relationship to God–and I agree! Just because we live under the New Covenant doesn’t mean we need to throw off every Jewish teaching. In fact, some of these commandments embrace Christ without even knowing it!

The 6 Constant Mitzvos (moral deed performed with religious duty)

Yes, God gave the Hebrews 613 Commandments to observe but thankfully only 6 to perform at all times. Before you discount these commandments, know that none of them are undone by what Jesus did on the cross. Judaism has a lot to teach us if we are willing to open our minds and accept their ways. We will see that we serve the same God–the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Why study the 6 constant mitzvos? The commentary in my Siddur, the Jewish book of prayer says our reward is boundless! Stop and think about this for a moment–boundless reward. Tapping into the True Vine at all times gives us boundless rewards. If we perform these 6 constantly, the reward is boundless. 

  1. Faith in God
  2. Don’t believe in other gods
  3. God’s oneness
  4. Love God
  5. Fear God
  6. Don’t stray after your heart and eyes

Faith in God. I am the Lord your God who has taken you out of Egypt. 

This concept is tied to the exodus from Egypt. Stop and think about the miracle that is the exodus of the Old Testament. Over 1 million people left slavery of Egypt and traveled a long distance to what is now Israel. But even before the exodus were the 10 signs, the plagues cast onto the Egyptian people and especially pharaoh. God didn’t need to do all of those incredible signs and wonders. He chose to do them to show the world His power and to provide us a shadow of the sacrifice and covering that was to come in Jesus, the Lamb of God. Several times a day, Jews commemorate this event in remembrance. For the Jew, it is the center of their faith, the miracles of the exodus, the deliverance from slavery.

This event shows that God has total and complete control of the world and universe. This first mitzvos shows that it is the obligation of every Jew, and I say every Christian, to believe in the God who brought about these miracles. Recall the story of Joseph and how God sent him ahead to Egypt. Through God’s favor and wisdom, Joseph collected food in the years of plenty so that the Hebrew people would have plenty to eat during the famine.Jacob and his family entered Egypt as a group of about 70. Four hundred years later they emerged as a nation of over a million! It solidifies the story of God calling out His nation, establishing them and delivering them into their promised land.

Don’t believe or worship other gods. You shall not have other gods in my presence. 

Sounds easy for most of us since bowing to a statue of Hindu god or Buddha seems silly. But when you get down to the meat of this mitzvos, we will see how guilty we all have been. Anything we put above God is worshiping it: our children, significant other, our wants, money, stuff, prestige, etc.  Putting anything or any one above God is worshiping them. Our God is jealous and wants no others before Him! If we ever thought that God would delegate His role to an angel or some other entity, then we are breaking this mitzvos. This includes worship of saints or the Virgin Mary. God, alone, is to be worshiped.

God is ONE.

This concept is extremely important in the Jewish faith. It’s in the first part of the Shema, 

the daily pledge of devotion said twice a day, every day. Because God is our healer, deliverer, merciful, etc. it is easy to see Him as many when in reality it is all coming from one source. For us as Christians, we worship a tri-une God: Father, Son Holy Spirit.

Thousands of years before Jesus, the concept of the oneness of God was paramount. This oneness is so significant, it’s a message of utmost importance to God yet overlooked by the Christian church. I just told you earlier in this paragraph that Jews announce the oneness of God several times a day, every day. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE!” It’s such a significant concept that Muslim’s have a similar saying about their god, proclaiming his oneness. Islam is Satan mimicking the one true God. For both faiths, this oneness principle is key.  Muslims consider Christians to be polytheistic, worshiping more than one god. This could not be farther from the truth. I hope you are beginning to see the importance of this oneness characteristic of God. If it’s important to Him, it should be important to us. From the beginning of time, the Lord God has been telling us that though He appears as many, it all is part of the same God, the 3 in one.

Loving God. You shall love the Lord your God. 

The Shema says we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Trust, adoration, praise, worship, giving, thankfulness, etc., are all ways we can express this love to Him. I like to think of it this way, loving God is our part. When we are faithful to do our part, God will be faithful to do His part: taking care of everything else in our lives. It’s a level of gratitude that says every good thing comes from the gracious hand of a loving Father, and we need to let Him know how grateful we are. The patriarch Jacob did just that in Genesis 46:29. His favorite son, Joseph was thought to be dead. It was 22 years later when the two were reunited.” As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father[h] and wept for a long time.” We think Jacob was hugging his son and weeping over him. If you study the original text, you’ll see that there is much more to this reunion than we think.

AND WEPT ON HIS NECK A GOOD WHILE — The phrase ויבך עוד signifies weeping copiously. So, too, עוד has the same meaning in (Job 34:23) “For He doth not place upon a man עוד” — which means something more than is proper: God does not place on him accusations additional to his sins (the sins he has really committed) Here, also, he wept greatly and continuously — more than is usual. Jacob, however, did not fall upon Joseph’s neck nor did he kiss him. Our Rabbis say: the reason was that he was reciting the Shema (renewing his allegiance to God immediately on settling in a new land).

This is a commentary from the sage, Rashi. For centuries, Jews recite the Shema over and over again–in times of joy and in times of sorrow. It is central to the faith–loving God with all we have. Whether in the good or in the bad, this principle of loving God transcends our joy and our sorrows. He is with us and is worthy of our love and devotion no matter what. This fourth mitzvos reminds us to love God at all times.

Fearing GodYou shall fear the Lord your God. 

Is this the trembling kind of fear or is it respect and awe? In my opinion, it should be a little of both. We live in an era where disrespecting authority is encouraged. Children don’t need to obey parents or teachers and adults are constantly pushing the limits of what’s deemed right and wrong. We forget the sheer awesomeness of God and what He is capable of doing. We do not tremble at His majesty and the power He wields over the very elements of this world. Fearing God is what guards us from sinning. God knows, God sees all that we do, whether in public or in secret. A better way to phrase this is to be in awe of God. We need to realize that our actions have consequences, both physical and spiritual. At the end of days, there will be a judgement of all the things we have done. Thankfully our eternal destination is not determined by our deeds done here on earth. But, our reward in heaven will be based off of what we did. Is your life centered around yourself or others? Are you a person of high moral character even if no one is watching?

Do not stray after your heart and eyes.

Who doesn’t love expensive things are lavish lifestyles? This used to be a real struggle for me. I would envy everyone around me who had newer and fancier everything. I would feel badly about myself and begin to covet. Little by little, the Lord has revealed to me that those things will never satisfy the inner longings of my soul like He does. They are like a mirage you might see while wandering in the desert. When you get to one area you realize there is something better just on the horizon. Stuff will never satisfy. You will never be rich enough, thin enough, successful enough, popular enough. You will always yearn for more and it will never satisfy. Look at Hollywood, stars who seem to have it all yet commit suicide. Jesus tells us that if our eye causes us to sin, pluck it out, our hand, cut it off. He is a jealous God who will not have us worshiping any other. Sounds like what we learned in the 2nd mitzvot.

There they are, how to live as a Christian in 6 easy steps.