Faith Matters - Current Posts

Friday, October 5, 2007

Don't Misuse My Name!

How would you feel if you heard someone gossiping about you, or saying that you are a cheat and a liar?” It would hurt and you probably wouldn’t like it. Did you know that God is also sensitive about the use of his name?
It’s important enough to him that the third of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” The initial meaning of this commandment was not what we most often think of today. It was saying that when you use God’s name to swear a promise, as in a court of law, always make sure that you keep the promise. It still applies to marriage vows, baptismal vows, court testimony or whenever the name of God is invoked.
The second understanding of misusing God’s name is profanity. One of the most frequent insertions into every-day American conversation is, “Oh my God.” People say it in regards to the weather, sports, or just about anything that is happening. I don’t even know that they hear themselves saying it. But such flippancy in the use of his name is really an insult to God. We wouldn’t like it if our names were used in a similar way, and God doesn’t like it either. It’s a matter of respect. Remember, “The Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

Related Scripture: Exodus 20:7

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Benefits to Being a Christian

Did you know that there are enormous benefits to being a Christian? The Bible says that when you put your faith and trust in Jesus “you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This doesn’t mean that when we become Christians we’ll never sin, make mistakes or face hardships in life; it means that there is nothing that will take us down or that God cannot overcome.
The Bible was written during the time of the Roman Empire and the picture is of soldiers marching to battle. In the Roman army a unit of one hundred soldiers was called a century – and its leader was a centurion. If the century was marching along and one soldier tripped or fell, the assurance was that the century would not leave that soldier behind, they would help him up.
The same promise is being made to Christians. Becoming a Christian isn’t just an insurance policy for heaven after we die, the benefits begin immediately. And one of those benefits is that God will come along side of us and help us not to fall or be destroyed by the circumstances of life.
A second benefit is a rich welcome into the presence of God. Every Christian is guaranteed a place in the eternal kingdom of God. When you think of it, this life is comparatively short, while eternity lasts forever! Believing in Jesus fills our lives with joyful anticipation of the destination that awaits us.

Related Scripture: 2 Peter 1: 10-11

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Seeking Confirmation

There’s nothing quite like a free trip! Recently I cashed in some frequent flyer miles. I went online, entered my Frequent Flyer number, chose my destination and travel dates, and selected my flights. I was issued a confirmation number but I wanted to talk to a real person to make sure. So I called the 800 number. The agent said, “You’ve got an e-ticket.” Well, I wanted something more tangible so she offered further confirmation by e-mail, fax, or by mail. I told her that I would like all three. I really wanted to be sure I was getting that trip!
I was reminded of St. Peter’s words when he told us to be “eager to make your calling and election sure.” Peter wasn’t writing about an airline destination, but about our eternal destination. He was talking to those of us who have called up God in prayer and asked for a reservation to go to heaven.
God gives two confirmations. First there is confirmation from the Bible. It says, “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Then there is a change in our behavior. Becoming a Christian changes a person’s desires and behavior. It’s not that living a good life makes us a Christian; it’s that being a Christian makes us live a better life. Seeking confirmation of our eternal destiny from God enables us to joyfully anticipate the benefits of our reservation.

Related Scripture: Romans 10:9

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Monday, October 1, 2007

Like Father, Like Son

One of America’s top crimes is larceny-theft. It can be robbing a bank or writing a bad check. It can be copyright infringement, especially with music where you are cheating someone out of their royalty. There are lots of different ways of taking something we shouldn’t have.
There’s a story about a father who found out from the school authorities that his son had stolen pencils. The father was outraged. When the son came home, he gave him a spanking and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Why do you steal? Don’t I bring home enough pencils for you from work?”
Compare that with the actions of Ascension Franco Gonzales, an illegal immigrant living in Los Angeles. He earns $1,300 a month as a dishwasher and sends $800 of that to his parents in Mexico every month to help them build a concrete block house. The newspaper reported that Gonzales saw bags of money fall out of an armored truck. He agonized over what to do but then called the police and turned it in, knowing that he risked being deported. It turned out to be $203,000. He said he just couldn’t keep it. It wouldn’t be right. He was raised by his parents to be a good Catholic and he could not steal what was not his.
In both stories it was like father, like son. If we are trusting in God as our father, when we face temptation we’ll know what to do.

Related Scripture: I Corinthians 10:13 & Matthew 26:41

© 2007 Leith Anderson