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WHAT'S YOUR REP?


Basketball great Charles Barkley, after signing a new million-dollar contract, once responded to reporters' questions by saying, "I'm so tired of talking about money, money, money. I just want to play basketball, drink Pepsi, and wear Reeboks!"

 

Barkley was joking, of course. Not only does his basketball playing earn him millions of dollars, he is also paid a lot of money for his endorsement of products like Pepsi-Cola and Reeboks. These companies pay Barkley, and other celebrities and athletes like him, to endorse their products because they want that star's name to be associated with their drink, shoe, car, or long-distance phone company.

 

Of course, celebrities want their name to be linked with good products, too. Charles Barkley probably would not have endorsed Dirty Joe's Puke Juice, even if they had offered him more money than PepsiCo. He probably would have turned down an offer from Ugly Shoes That Don't Fit 'R' Us, even if they could have paid him more than Reebok, Inc. Why? Because who wants his or her name to be associated with something crummy, shoddy, or "uncool"?

 

You can understand that, can't you?

 

If you can, then maybe you can see why God is so concerned about how his name is used. You can see why, in the Ten Commandments, God told his people not to misuse his name. And you can see why, in Leviticus 19:12, God said, "Do not use my name to swear a falsehood and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord."

 

See, God is a holy God. He is perfectly pure, good, and righteous. And because he's holy, he doesn't want his name to be associated with anything evil or false or frivolous (anything unimportant, silly, or careless). That's why it's wrong to use God's name in a profane expression. That's why it's wrong to use God's name thoughtlessly, even in popular expressions such as "omigod." That's why it's wrong to use God's name to cover up a lie or swear to something that's false. Because doing those kinds of things offends God's holiness.

 

If Charles Barkley and other famous people like him have good reasons to protect their names, God has infinitely better reasons.

 

REFLECT: When God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, the common practice was to swear an oath with the name of a God to make the oath more believable. Some people follow similar practices even today. Think of an example.

 

Do you ever tie God's name to anything evil or false or frivolous? Think about the commandment in Exodus 20:7. How can you change this behavior?

 

ACT: Place a soft-drink bottle (or your name-brand tennis shoes) in a prominent place in your room or school locker to remind you to honor God's name today.

 

PRAY: "God, I know that your name is misused a lot. The next time I hear that happen, whether it is a friend or me doing it, help me remember to..."


Teen Topics


I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NLT)

Yesterday, we talked a little about stress. Right now, there are many reasons to stress. It feels like so many things are uncertain and scary. You might know whether you’re going to school in person next year. Perhaps your parents are fighting. More than anything, you probably just want things to feel more normal.

 

It’s easy in times like those we’re going through right now to pick up stress. Things are uncertain and that can cause a lot of fear and anxiety in our lives.

 

If we’re honest, when we look deep, fear is often at the root of our stress. We fear for the future. Not knowing what to expect in the future brings us all anxiety.

 

However, the Bible has our solution to fear. It’s simply trusting in Jesus. If we will let Him, Jesus will supply everything we need. We just must trust in Him.

 

Putting your trust in Jesus when everything seems crazy right now can be hard. But the truth is that Jesus has provided us with everything we need. All through the Bible, God has always come through for His people. You are not the exception. God will provide you everything you need.

 

So today, choose to rest in Jesus. Let Him bring you the peace you need!


The 10 Commandments

God gave His law for our good (Deuteronomy 10:13). His 10 Commandments are not just for one group of people or one age group. They can be helpful to kids and adults. And if we break these good laws, we will have bad results.

The 10 Commandments show us how to love God. He made us, and He loves us deeply. So knowing the first four commandments helps us know how to love Him back.

The last six commandments show us how to love other people. It starts with our parents in the Fifth Commandment. Then the last five show how to get along with others. Thinking about what they mean can help kids be good neighbors and good future husbands and wives. Obeying them can help make other people happy. And we will be happier too.

What are the 10 Commandments for kids—and for everyone?

The First Commandment for kids

No matter how old we are, we must put God first in our lives. He is more important than anyone or anything else. He loves us deeply, and so we should love Him with all our hearts.No matter how old we are, we must put God first in our lives. He is more important than anyone or anything else. He loves us deeply, and so we should love Him with all our hearts.

The Bible gives many examples of young people who loved God.

For example, as a young boy, Samuel worked hard at God’s tabernacle. When God called, he answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” (That’s in 1 Samuel 3:10. Read more in our Bible story “Hannah’s Gift—Samuel.”)

The Second Commandment for kids

God is so great, no picture or statue can represent Him. And images of other false gods are worthless. They lead people away from God.

Josiah became king at age 8. Even when he was young, he learned about the many idols of false gods. He made a plan to get rid of them all over his kingdom. Read more in “Josiah: The Boy Who Became King.”

The Third Commandment for kids

God’s name is special. We have no right to use it carelessly or to use it to curse other people. Sadly, people today misuse God’s name all the time. We must avoid letting that get into our minds. Jesus even said, “Do not swear at all” (Matthew 5:34).

The Fourth Commandment for kids

God rested on the seventh day, and He wants us to rest too. It is a day to focus on God, on His beautiful creation and on our families.

Kids and families can do many things to make the Sabbath special. We share a number of these in the article “The Sabbath: A Blessing for Families.”

The Fifth Commandment for kids

Paul pointed out the blessing God gave along with the Fifth Commandment:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:1-3).

God wants us to treat our parents with respect. He is our Heavenly Father, and we must learn to treat Him with great respect too. If we do, we will be blessed.

The Sixth Commandment for kids

God gave us life. He wants us to realize how precious life is, and not to even think about hurting or killing others.

Cain got very angry and jealous of his brother. He allowed himself to get angrier and angrier. He murdered his own brother. We can learn why we should not think like that in the Bible story “Cain and Abel.”

The Seventh Commandment for kids

God created the family. He wanted a man and a woman to love each other and get married before they have children. He wanted the husband and wife to be faithful to each other before and after marriage.

Today Satan is attacking families. He tries to make people think it is okay to have sex before marriage. He tries to make pornography seem okay. He wants people to do things that seem fun but will hurt them and their families.

Kids can obey the Seventh Commandment by deciding to avoid Satan’s traps. They can decide to save sex for marriage.

The Eighth Commandment for kids

Everything we have comes from God. We should be thankful for what we have and try to work toward getting other things when we can afford them. But kids and adults can be tempted to take things that are not theirs.

God tells us not to steal. We should not focus on getting but on giving. God is the great giver, and we should learn to give, not take.

The Ninth Commandment for kids

It can seem so easy to lie. We can lie to try to avoid getting in trouble. We can lie to make ourselves look better. But lying will always have bad results in the end.

God is the God of truth. He loves honesty, and He wants us to always be honest. Study the lesson “Shepherding the Heart: Honesty” with your parents.

The 10th Commandment for kids

Most of the 10 Commandments discuss what we do. The 10th Commandment discusses what we think. (Of course, what we think often becomes what we do.)

Coveting—really wanting things we can’t or shouldn’t have—is another trap of Satan’s. He wants us to focus on what we can’t have. He wants us to be dissatisfied. He knows thinking like this will make us unhappy. It is the opposite of God’s way of thinking. It is selfish. God wants us to be loving and giving.

When we really think about all of God’s laws, we see that they are good. And they are for our good.When we really think about all of God’s laws, we see that they are good. And they are for our good.

Singing the praises of God’s law

David enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation as he cared for sheep. He wrote songs about the earth and the sky and the laws of God. Singing about God’s commandments helped him remember them and live by them.

Here is part of one of his songs about God’s laws:

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11).

David loved God’s law. In the next verse, though, David admitted that he still had faults. He knew he needed God’s help when he sinned.

What happens when we break God’s law?

God knows we make mistakes. He knows we can fall into traps set by the devil. He knows that everyone sometimes breaks His law. The Bible calls this sin. It says everyone has sinned, even the heroes of the Bible. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, didn’t sin.

As the Son of God, He was willing to pay the penalty of our sin for us. He was willing to die! If we repent—commit to change—God forgives us.

So the 10 Commandments show us what we did wrong. We tell God we are sorry for breaking His law. We tell Him we don’t want to do it again. We ask Him for His help to obey His good law. We think about His law. We figure out what to do to avoid sin. We commit to living by His good and pure commandments.

God loves to hear from kids. Jesus Christ made time for children. He pointed out their good examples. And He will help you. He can guide you by His Holy Spirit being with you. He can lead you to the time when you are ready as an adult to make the lifetime commitment of baptism. From then on, God’s Holy Spirit will not just be with you, but in you (John 14:17).

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