Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 13, 2018

Learning From Others — If Only . . .

Day 2980: Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Scripture: 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.” So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. Exodus 20:20, 21

Thoughts/questions: There are many and various reactions to the Ten Commandments, but if only everyone in the world obeyed merely the last 6! There would be no family rebellion; no killing of innocents; no sexual cheating on spouses; no stealing; no lying; and everyone one would be satisfied with what they had! Wow! What a world that would be.

But we humans can’t accomplish that even within a small town! But regardless of our inability to do what we should, God’s intention for us is so that we may not sin! And if we didn’t sin, life would be grand!!! Good for us and good towards our Creator!

No, these commandments aren’t given to us by a demeaning, controlling God! They are for our welfare! So, on a personal level – how are you doing regarding the list in today’s first paragraph? These ARE commandments remember! No wiggle room!

Suggested Prayer: Living God, Your commandments even show me how much You care about me. Help me to do my best to live up to Your expectations of me . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 12, 2018

Personal Sharing — No Contest!

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 10, 2018

Learning From Others — More!

Day 2978: Live to serve – even on the weekends!!!

Scripture:  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

Thoughts/questions: This commandment is foundational to the other commandments. Coveting is having a strong craving or desire for something one doesn’t have. A couple of thoughts.

When we want something we don’t have, then lying, stealing, adultery, and killing can potentially result. We ‘can’t get no satisfaction’ as The Rolling Stones sang, and where there is a lack of satisfaction combined with a lack of restraint, chaos results.

More! Our ‘wanter’ always wants more or newer and better. What we crave will never satisfy! For example, if I desire the best guitar, I will always have to be buying new ones as better guitars will continually be made and marketed.

Our eyes are also never satisfied – they always want more. Consider the eyes of a male at the beach. After one bikini clad girl goes by, his eyes say ‘well, that’s enough for me’ – no, as the next one walks by, those eyes act as if they’ve never seen a female before! MORE! We always want more.

God knows this propensity of ours to want what we don’t have and the problems which result from coveting, hence this commandment. Be satisfied with what you have, while not being satisfied by how much you serve! Most everything you want will be found in the garbage dump after some time has passed anyway!

Suggested Prayer: Almighty God, You’ve given me so much. Help me to always count my blessings and be satisfied . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 9, 2018

Learning From Others — Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Day 2977: It’s Friday; I’m retired; who cares . . . Kidding! But not about this TGIF. Thank God I‘m Forgiven!!!

Scripture:  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  Exodus 20:16

Thoughts/questions: Fake news, X amount of lies during a political speech, manipulative  words – a basic case of liar, liar pants on fire has run amok in our present world. Who can you trust? Who/what does one believe? God’s standard is much different!

Perjury is still against the law in the U.S., but lying/cheating is gaining traction among college students around the world who admit to lying about where their answers/essays came from. And it’s so easy to do and often the benefits are great, so the attraction is obvious!

But what trouble don’t we bring upon ourselves when we spin one lie, much less a web of deception! Integrity with our words can define us. I just heard sports commentators discussing an NFL coach who said one thing, but didn’t follow through on his word. One commentator did not see anything wrong with it.

God expects our yea to be yea, and our nay to be nay – regardless of what might result from staying true to our word. Sometimes a ‘white lie’ or ‘just kidding’ seems to be acceptable, but it is still a lie! Integrity, character, godliness – all substantiated by merely ALWAYS telling the truth! We all can follow this commandment! How are you doing?

Suggested Prayer: Father God, may the words of my mouth be words of truth . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 8, 2018

Learning From Others — Make Knowledge Acceptable!

Day 2976: Keep looking up!!! Your help comes from the Lord!

Scripture:  You shall not steal.  Exodus 20:15

Thoughts/questions: Maybe because this impacts me more than most ‘sins’, I selfishly despise stealing. Taking something not earned and causing minimal to massive difficulties for the person who was stolen from – that really chaps my hide.

Thankfully, most agree stealing to be wrong as my family had a ‘stealer,’ and we were able to discipline our kid for that and ultimately change their behavior. Other moral behaviors are much more controversial regarding being right, acceptable, or wrong.

I have used my family’s issue regarding stealing to talk to those involved in ‘controversial’ morals or in discussions about those behaviors. I ask them if I should have tried to ‘change’ my child’s behavior, and they all agree that I should have. Then I ask them about the ‘controversial’ behavior we’re discussing as to why they don’t consider that behavior similar to stealing and why someone shouldn’t try to get people to stop that specific behavior.

This often leads to a non combative conversation about how we determine something to be right or wrong, as we have both fundamentally agreed that there IS a wrong behavior that needs changing. Now we move from a place of agreement to a discussion that can get very deep and easily move into talking about God and a supreme authority.

I trust this might help if you get into a discussion about so many of today’s ‘controversial’ behaviors. Establishing a point of agreement first goes a long way towards discussing issues so that ‘the tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable!’ (Proverbs 15:2)

Suggested Prayer: Lord God, may my words be such that when I speak about You, my knowledge is acceptable to the hearer . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 7, 2018

Personal Sharing — God’s Table Talk

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 6, 2018

Personal Sharing — Character is Key!

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 5, 2018

Learning From Others — Something Special!

Day 2973: Yes, Romans 8:28 is true – God does work out all things for our good . . .

Scripture: You shall not commit adultery.  Exodus 20:14

Thoughts/questions: When you combine a high concentration of nerve endings; testosterone; desire for pleasure; need for procreation; visual arousal; and the desire to make connections intimately – then God’s special treatment of sex is understandable!

Yes, the command addresses adultery in a very similar way to others and is specific  – DON’T! And Jesus expanded on this commandment referencing lust as the same as actual adultery. And then Paul’s teaching put sex in a different category. from the others

Instead of being commanded to stop or to give deference to the weaker vessel, we are told to marry if we can’t handle the lust and to allow the spouse to determine the level of sexual activity within a marriage. Not the standard approach for other sin issues. Why? Because sex is something special!

God knows the power of the information within the first paragraph, and we are all aware of historical and current sexual liaisons which have ruined lives and changed the course of nations! Sex is not something to mess with!

God wants us to enjoy a healthy sexual life without guilt or fear! Done His way, there is no guilt (nothing to be guilty of) and no fear of disease (one partner, not STD’s)! So for us humans, God knows sex can be especially good or especially bad.

He made us this way, but the choice of good/bad is up to us! Choose wisely, but never neglect the power of this destructive drive!

Suggested Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving us sex. Help me to enjoy it wisely . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 3, 2018

Learning From Others — Innocent Life!

Day 2972: It would be nice if a little winter came California way! Another commandment today!

Scripture: You shall not murder. Exodus 20:13

Thoughts/questions: According to Wikipedia, “The Torah and Hebrew Bible made clear distinctions between the shedding of innocent blood versus killing as the due consequence of a crime. A number of sins were considered to be worthy of the death penalty . . .” In Proverbs 6:16, one of the six things listed which God hates is the shedding of innocent blood. How does the reality of that extend to our worldview expressed on earth?

Today we’ll be a bit more cerebral and look at one somewhat controversial debate – ‘How can one be pro-life and also believe in capital punishment’ is a charge against those who are both. It sounds like a contradiction on the service until ‘innocent life’ is inserted into the discussion.

A baby in the protection of their Mother’s womb is certainly innocent and a life needing protection. But is the taking of an innocent life when someone commits a certain crime similar? We value the innocent life of the in womb baby by protecting it. We value the innocent life of someone who is murdered in the first degree by our response to the one who took that innocent life.

When someone takes a life, but is allowed to live – have we valued their life over the innocent life taken. Some would say yes; therefore, to demonstrate how much we value the life of the innocent one taken, we correspondingly take the guilty life in response.

I’ll be more encouraging in the next post!!! Promise!

Suggested Prayer: Father God, may we always be strong in defending innocent life . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 2, 2018

Learning From Others — Honor and Respect!

Day 2971: May the Lord grant you peace and rest this weekend . . .

Scripture:  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

Thoughts/questions: God created family and throughout Scripture family is emphasized over and over again. We now know that the Psalmist referencing God weaving us in our Mother’s womb is actually the ribbon of DNA each of us have from our parents! And they got theirs from their parents and so forth!

We are connected physically thru this process, but more importantly we are to be connected relationally and spiritually! Relationally – do you extend more patience, kindness, grace and love to people you hardly know or friends than you do your family? Your family deserves your best. Your silence at times, your faithfulness, your self-control, and regular expressions of your love. How’s it going?

Spiritually – what are you doing to impact the members of your family’s relationship with God? Prayer, communication, encouragement, modeling, direct involvement, or ? Sometimes we shy away from addressing spiritual issues with family especially. This probably should not be so. How about a simple start – with one or all of your family members ask them this simple question, “How are you doing spiritually?”

We often ask them about so many other things, so this shouldn’t be that hard – yet it seems to be! For sure try it, and let God work thru that simple question!

Suggested Prayer: Almighty God, may I prioritize my family like You do . . .

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