Exodus 20:3-7 (NIV)

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

The first three commandments show how we are to live in reference to and in light of the only true and living God.

The first commandment tells us that we are to have no other gods but God. He is to be the exclusive object of our worship, the ultimate object of our love and desire. The second commandment is similar and tells us that we are not to worship God according to our own conception of God, what the Bible calls idolatry. We must worship God according to who he is and not according to what we want him to be. In other words, do not worship false gods, and do not worship God falsely.

The third commandment is actually similar to the first two. We are not to misuse or mistreat the name of God. We know God’s name describes his character, the essence of his being, which is why he told Moses that his name is “I am.” In other words, God is saying, “My name is that I’m self-existent and eternal.” To not misuse the name of God doesn’t merely mean that there are certain words we can or cannot say. It means that when we speak of God, whether through words or lifestyle, we are to fully honor and respect who he is.

Let’s consider the first two commandments a bit more. Say, for instance, you believe in your heart that attaining some goal in your life—prestige, a certain kind of job, a relationship with the person of your dreams—will provide you with ultimate comfort and will answer your heart’s desire for significance. In a daily functional way, you look to that goal to provide you with deeper comfort than God. That’s breaking the first commandment. You’ve turned your goal into God. Prestige, a certain job, or a person has become the object of your worship.
The flip side is that if you worship God because you believe that he should provide you with comfort by providing the prestige, the job, or the relationship that you desire and are looking for, you are also violating the commandments. You’ve imposed your conception of who God is on God. You’ve created a custom designer god, an idol. These first two commandments are that we worship God alone, that we worship God as a true God, and that we not worship a designer god or an idol.

So why do these commandments insist on us worshiping God alone and worshiping God as he is and not as we want him to be? Why is the third commandment so insistent on honoring and respecting his name and his character? It is because God created us with a desire that only he can fulfill—a desire for him. If we are always trying to change who God is or replace him with something else, we’ll never be at peace. We’ll never experience true comfort, true significance, or true joy. We’ll never be whole. But if God is at the center of our lives, not another god or a revised version of God, but the true and living God, we’ll truly be at peace.

This is precisely why Augustine wrote, “You’ve made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

John Lin


Exodus 20:3 New International Version (NIV)
“You shall have no other gods before me.

Because God created and loves us and knows what’s best for us, he gives us moral and spiritual direction about how to live life in the best way. The Ten Commandments are a love gift to us from God. Of course this is true of all Scripture, but the heart and soul of God’s guidance is found in the Ten Commandments. God spoke the words to Moses, and they were overheard by the children of Israel (Exodus 20). Later, Moses restated the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5). The Ten Commandments are to be memorized, pondered, and committed to as a way of life.

Jesus taught and clarified the deeper meaning of the Ten Commandments for us. As he explained the Ten Commandments in the Gospels, he raised the bar on our understanding of what God expects of us. For instance, in Matthew 5:21, Jesus explained the meaning of the commandment not to murder. He said that actually anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.

The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God, and Jesus summarized them as: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The last six commandments address our relationship with our fellow man, and Jesus summarized them as: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39).

The commandments are our treasure. We cherish them. They’re a great gift, a love gift from God. They guide us. They warn us. They protect us. When we keep them, we show others what God is like. When we fail to live them, we bring great harm to ourselves and we dishonor our Maker.

We have a problem keeping the Ten Commandments because man is born in bondage to sin and selfishness. And in the end we cannot help but break God’s holy law. But when we become a new creature by faith in Christ, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit. We’re freed from having to sin, and we’re given the grace to keep God’s law. Keeping God’s commandments is not onerous but helps us live at peace with God, with ourselves, and with our neighbors.

We can learn to live out the Ten Commandments as we realize that they’re God’s gift to us. It’s like learning to tell the truth. When you’re young, you sometimes feel that you must protect yourself by deceiving others and not telling the truth. You learn as time goes not to deceive others. We learn to speak the truth. We learn to practice honesty.

That’s why the prophets loved God’s law and why we should, too. Keeping the Ten Commandments protects us. It protects society. These principles are at the heart of how God created us to live.

John Yates


Fearful sky with fire

Fear is transmitted like a virus as we feed off each other’s fear and pass it on to the next person. Growing and growing until it becomes all encompassing and all you see, think and feel is fear.

2 Timothy 1:7, ESV: “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

In the midst of all this Corona virus chaos, where fear is growing, I have carried this verse in my heart and found comfort and peace with what is going on.


On Monday, I did my first ever 24 hour fast. It was an interesting experience, mostly because I was quite worried that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I started the day quietly in prayer asking God for strength of mind to do the fast. Then I prayed for open eyes, open ears and an open heart.

I have to say that throughout the day I felt incredibly calm and strong. My energy levels fluctuated a lot from low to high and then back again, food was often on my mind, but not uncontrollably, just there, a hint of temptation. Although I was at work, I did take time out during the day to pray and at lunch time I spent the time listening to a podcast. At the end of the day when I got into bed, I felt a huge sense of achievement. I wasn’t hungry, but was very tired. I lay back and went straight to sleep.

When I woke the next day, I felt incredibly rested and calm…a feeling which remained for the next two days.

Something I though was impossible was easily possible! “With God, all things are possible” Matt 19:26

I look forward to my next fast.