God’s Rules


“Be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely.” Leviticus 25:18

James was driving his three young children over a snowy mountain pass. Suddenly their van hit a patch of black ice. James felt a sickening sensation as the van veered across the oncoming lane, smashed into a snowbank, and skidded on its side for thirty yards before finally coming to a stop. Shaken and fearing the worst, James looked behind him—and was relieved to see all three children still strapped snugly in their seat belts, none the worse for their rough ride. He was so thankful he’d followed the rules for seat belts that day.

God has rules for our journey through life, too. They’re called the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3–17). Each bears truth and wisdom designed by the Creator to guide and protect you and your children from harm. They are: 1) Worship no other gods than the Lord. 2) Do not make idols for yourselves. 3) Do not misuse the name of the Lord. 4) Observe the Sabbath as a holy day. 5) Honor your father and mother. 6) Do not murder. 7) Do not commit adultery. 8) Do not steal. 9) Do not give false testimony against your neighbor. 10) Do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

You will pass on thousands of lessons to your kids over the course of childhood. If you keep these ten at the top of the list, your family will feel the touch of God’s hand: “He who respects the commandment will be rewarded” (Proverbs 13:13, rsv).

Before you say good night…

How well do you and your children know the Ten Commandments?

Is your family living by each of them?

Dear Lord, we are so grateful for Your holy instruction. Thank You for laws that show Your eternal love for each member of our family. May we persevere in passing on all of Your commandments to our children. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.



The Truth About Love

Dallas Willard

The dark truth is that we may praise love (or, more weakly, “benevolence” or “compassion”), and few people would refuse to do so when love is rightly understood. We may wish to be loving—to be kind and helpful in our relations to those near us. But we do not trust love, and we think it could easily ruin our carefully guarded hold on life. We are frightened of the world we are in, and that makes us angry and hostile, and contempt makes it easier to harm or disregard the good of others. So the world boils with contempt. The more refined the human setting, the more fine-tuned the contempt.

You don’t have to know that God exists and that Jesus is for real to know that love is the good and the right for human beings. It is laughably false to say that if there is no God, everything is permitted, provided everything else remains as we now know it to be. It takes little intelligence to know that to live in love is the morally good and right way to live. But entering into and growing in love—actually being it and doing it in the context of real life—is quote another matter. Many misunderstandings of what love is has to be worked through before one can come to peace in it. Evil has a vested interest in confusing and distorting love.

Above all, one has to find by thought and experience that love can be trusted as a way of life. This can be learned by interaction with Jesus in all ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. He can bring it to pass that we rely on love; and that is why he boldly asserted that the only mark of being his student or apprentice in life was how his students love one another (John 13:35). And it is, again, why one of his best students could say, on the basis of a lifetime of experience: “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Love is not God, but God is love. It is who he is, his very identity. And our world under a God like that is a place where it is safe to do and be what is good and what is right. Living in love as Jesus defines it by his words and deeds is the sure to know Christ in the modern world.

From Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge. Copyright © 2009 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

New International Version (NIV)

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