The Possibility of Keeping His Commandments

It is critical that we keep God’s commandments.  However, it is impossible to keep them…if we do not have faith.

What is faith?  It is the assurance that Jesus sees everything – the conviction that nothing escapes His notice.

Without that assurance, you will not be able to find the strength to consistently do His will.  With that assurance, His strength will be yours.  Keeping His commandments will be the delight of your heart.

Therefore, strengthen your faith that you might keep His commandments.

Faith is not an alternative to keeping His commandments; it is a path to keeping His commandments.

Posted in Obeying Him | Leave a comment

OT481 – Psalm 3

Reading the Old Testament with Jesus in Mind: Job through Song of Solomon (podcast)

There is an app that will allow you to automatically download this daily podcast to practically any smartphone.  Just go to your smartphone’s app store and search on “mike gantt.”

Suggestion:  If you are not already familiar with the New Testament, I would not advise you to listen to this podcast at this time.  First, get your grounding in the New Testament.  You can begin with one of these Bible Reading Plans which are focused on Jesus.  You can also listen to my podcast series Reading Through the New Testament a Chapter a Day (SCNT).  The Old Testament needs to be understood in the light of the New Testament; this is what Jesus taught us.  Therefore, we today read and understand the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.

Posted in Podcast | Leave a comment

Living for Self or Living for Him

Each day, we have the opportunity to live for ourselves or live for Him.  We make a lifelong decision to serve Him, but we have the opportunity each and every day to renege on that commitment. That is the temptation – the snare – we seek to avoid.  But it is so easy to fall into it.

Before Christ,

  • I was a man…to seek my own dreams in life.
  • I was a husband…to make my life better.
  • I was a father…for what it would do for me.
  • I was a worker…for how I could further my career.

Since Christ,

  • I am a man…to seek the fulfillment of His dreams.
  • I am a husband…to make my wife’s life better.
  • I am a father…for what it will do for my children.
  • I am a worker…to further His purposes in my workplace.

It is so easy to fall back into that “before Christ” way of thinking.  We must form new habits of mind; we must constantly reinforce them.

Before Christ, we lived for ourselves.  Maybe we didn’t even consider ourselves all that selfish.  Still, we were in it for ourselves.  The life lived for Christ must truly be for Him.  The day before us is His day, to do His will, to advance His agenda.

It’s a totally different way of living.  This must be our declaration:  Today, I will be a man, a husband, a father, a worker to serve His interests and not my own.  (Translate to your own circumstances.)

This is what it means to “take up our cross daily and follow Him” (Luke 9:23).  Your old life is under a death sentence anyway; live today for His purposes!  (His commandments, as I wrote yesterday, will help you do that.)

…so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
–  1 Peter 4:1-2

Posted in Serving Christ | Leave a comment

OT480 – Psalm 2

Reading the Old Testament with Jesus in Mind: Job through Song of Solomon (podcast)

There is an app that will allow you to automatically download this daily podcast to practically any smartphone.  Just go to your smartphone’s app store and search on “mike gantt.”

Suggestion:  If you are not already familiar with the New Testament, I would not advise you to listen to this podcast at this time.  First, get your grounding in the New Testament.  You can begin with one of these Bible Reading Plans which are focused on Jesus.  You can also listen to my podcast series Reading Through the New Testament a Chapter a Day (SCNT).  The Old Testament needs to be understood in the light of the New Testament; this is what Jesus taught us.  Therefore, we today read and understand the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.

Posted in Podcast | Leave a comment

To Understand Love, Understand God’s Commandments

I wrote yesterday (Understanding the Structure of God’s Commandments) that when Jesus told us to love one another, He was not eliminating or replacing the Ten Commandments.  Rather, He was explaining them.

His servant Paul made the point this way (quotations from the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters):

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.  For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
–  Romans 13:8-10 [bold emphasis added]

Thus “love your neighbor as yourself” is a summary (“is summed up”) of God’s other commandments for human relations.

If you are adding numbers to achieve a sum, does it change the sum if you eliminate one of the numbers being added?  Of course.  Likewise, if you remove one or more of the commandments being summarized, you alter the meaning of the summary.

James, another servant of Jesus, explained it this way:

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.  For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
–  James 2:8-11

James is showing how removing one of God’s commandments from the mix changes the mix.  That is, remove one or more of God’s commandments that are summarized as love, and you no longer have love as God has defined it.

Those who seek to justify perversions of marriage – such as “same-sex marriage” and unilateral divorce-on-demand – on the basis that “love is love” and “all love is equal” and “ending an acrimonious marriage is more loving to the children” are simply redefining the word “love” to suit their own selfish purposes.

If you want to understand what Jesus meant when He told us to love, seek to understand and obey the commandments that add up to love.

Posted in Obeying Him | Leave a comment

OT479 – Psalm 1

Reading the Old Testament with Jesus in Mind: Job through Song of Solomon (podcast)

There is an app that will allow you to automatically download this daily podcast to practically any smartphone.  Just go to your smartphone’s app store and search on “mike gantt.”

Suggestion:  If you are not already familiar with the New Testament, I would not advise you to listen to this podcast at this time.  First, get your grounding in the New Testament.  You can begin with one of these Bible Reading Plans which are focused on Jesus.  You can also listen to my podcast series Reading Through the New Testament a Chapter a Day (SCNT).  The Old Testament needs to be understood in the light of the New Testament; this is what Jesus taught us.  Therefore, we today read and understand the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.

Posted in Podcast | Leave a comment

Understanding the Structure of God’s Commandments

Here are the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17):

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol…
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy…
  5. Honor your father and your mother…
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet…

When Jesus was asked “What commandment is the foremost of all?” He did not pick one of them.  Rather, He answered with two commandments.  Here they are, paraphrased from Matthew 22:34-40 and Mark 12:28-34.

  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

As you can see, Jesus’ first commandment is a summary of #1 through #4 of the Ten Commandments.  And Jesus’ second commandment is a summary of #5 through #10 of the Ten Commandments.  The first part of the Ten Commandments is about love for God; the second is about love for man.  Therefore, love is the common denominator.

God’s commandments do not conflict with one another; they all fit together into a cohesive code of love.

Posted in Obeying Christ | Leave a comment

OT478 – Job 42

Reading the Old Testament with Jesus in Mind: Job through Song of Solomon (podcast)

There is an app that will allow you to automatically download this daily podcast to practically any smartphone.  Just go to your smartphone’s app store and search on “mike gantt.”

Suggestion:  If you are not already familiar with the New Testament, I would not advise you to listen to this podcast at this time.  First, get your grounding in the New Testament.  You can begin with one of these Bible Reading Plans which are focused on Jesus.  You can also listen to my podcast series Reading Through the New Testament a Chapter a Day (SCNT).  The Old Testament needs to be understood in the light of the New Testament; this is what Jesus taught us.  Therefore, we today read and understand the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.

Posted in Podcast | Leave a comment

The Golden Rule

Here are the Ten Commandments that apply to our relations with other people:

  • #5  –  Honor your father and your mother…  (Exodus 20:12)
  • #6  –  You shall not murder.  (Exodus 20:13)
  • #7  –  You shall not commit adultery.  (Exodus 20:14)
  • #8  –  You shall not steal.  (Exodus 20:15)
  • #9  –  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  (Exodus 20:16)
  • #10  –  You shall not covet…  (Exodus 20:17)

Now let me ask you some questions about these commandments.  Please don’t consider my questions silly.  Spend a few seconds honestly answering each question in your heart.  Notice particularly how you feel when you consider each possibility.

  • Do you want your children to dishonor you?
  • Do you want other people to hate you, or murder you?
  • Do you want your spouse to commit adultery, or even think lustful thoughts about others?
  • Do you want your things stolen?  If you’ve ever had anything stolen from you, do you remember how it made you feel?
  • Do you want other people to lie to you?  Do you want them to lie about you?
  • Do you want other people wishing they could have your stuff?

If you’re normal, you don’t want any of these things be to done to you.  Understanding this, you can appreciate why Jesus said:

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you…
–  Matthew 7:12

In other words, since you don’t want to be treated this way, don’t treat others this way. You can also appreciate why Jesus went on to say in that same sentence:

…for this is the Law and the Prophets.
–  Matthew 7:12

In saying “treat people the same way you want them to treat you,” Jesus was summarizing the Ten Commandments (and everything else in “the Law and the Prophets”) that applies to our relations with other people.  This summary commandment is often called “The Golden Rule.”

Some people today are misusing the Golden Rule.  For example, in our sexually-promiscuous society, there are people who use the Golden Rule to justify acceptance and promotion of “same-sex marriage,” unilateral divorce-on-demand, and all sorts of other perversions of marriage as God designed it.  They justify such “adulterations” of marriage by interpreting the Golden Rule as if it is a stand-alone commandment that essentially means “anything goes, so get over it.”  However, to interpret the summary commandment while ignoring – and thereby nullifying – the individual commandments it is summarizing is quite unfair to the One giving the commandments, don’t you think?

Don’t take the Golden Rule out of context.  Take it in the way Jesus taught it: that is, take it as a summary of the Ten Commandments, not a replacement of them.

Posted in Obeying Him | Leave a comment

OT477 – Job 41

Reading the Old Testament with Jesus in Mind: Job through Song of Solomon (podcast)

There is an app that will allow you to automatically download this daily podcast to practically any smartphone.  Just go to your smartphone’s app store and search on “mike gantt.”

Suggestion:  If you are not already familiar with the New Testament, I would not advise you to listen to this podcast at this time.  First, get your grounding in the New Testament.  You can begin with one of these Bible Reading Plans which are focused on Jesus.  You can also listen to my podcast series Reading Through the New Testament a Chapter a Day (SCNT).  The Old Testament needs to be understood in the light of the New Testament; this is what Jesus taught us.  Therefore, we today read and understand the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.

Posted in Podcast | Leave a comment