“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 (NIV) 

Here’s a command parents love more than most kids!  It’s a command with a promise.  Most parents could translate that promise like a comedian did for his kids in a joking way, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out. I can make another one of you.”

Seriously, though, consider the value that the word “honor” presents.  It’s more than just obedience, but willing obedience, considering the worth and respect for the ones you are obeying.  Honor comes out of genuine love and results in harmony, peace, and healthy relationships at home. Continue reading

“Give me a break!”  Ever felt that way? Here’s some good news!  God designed one for us!  It’s called the Sabbath. God commands us to take a break – a day off every seven days.  Here are a few of the benefits you will experience from keeping the Sabbath:

  • Physical restoration

To His own disciples who had just returned from a busy season of ministry, serving and teaching, with so many people pressing them that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” The King James Version puts it like this, “Come … apart into a desert place and rest a while.” I love the way one old preacher quoted that from the King James Version. He said that Jesus told His disciples to come apart so that they wouldn’t come apart!  Are you coming apart at the seams? Continue reading

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work … For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV) 

In the Fourth Commandment, we are given the means for a balanced life and how to avoid the all-too-common problem of burn out.  Think about it for a moment.  God commands us to take a day off every week!  Workaholics make an idol of their work.  Taking a day off is trusting God to provide while you rest.  Learn to rest in Him by trusting Him to work on your behalf.  The Sabbath simply means a day of rest.  It may be the most violated of the Ten Commandments among Christ followers today.  With all sincerity, we strive to serve God, yet fail to trust God by taking a day off.  Relax!  But, how? Continue reading

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”
Exodus 20:7 (NASB) 

What’s in a name? Everything.  Your name represents all that you are – your character and your reputation.  You’re only as good as your name.  The name of God was so respected among the Jews that they avoided writing any Name of God casually because of the risk that the written Name might later be defaced, obliterated, or destroyed accidentally or by one who does not know better.  In the Third Commandment, we are instructed to honor God’s name and never take His name in vain.  This command came with a warning, “… for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His Name in vain.”  Most assume that this is the command against cursing, but there is so much more to taking God’s Name in vain than using it as a curse word. Continue reading

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.”  Exodus 20:1-4 (NASB) 

It’s easy to look at the Second Commandment and think: “I’m off the hook on this one. I don’t have any idols.”  The problem is that we view idols only from a historical point of view.  We read about the idols that people worshiped in the Old Testament and cannot imagine bowing down to some wooden idol or golden calf. But, when you examine the most common idols in the Bible times, you’ll find some striking similarities to idols we worship today.  They have different names but, ultimately, accomplish the same destruction in our lives as those idols did then.  Here are just three of the most common idols mentioned in Scripture.  Let’s consider how these same idols continue to distract us from the one true God. Continue reading

When most of us consider the Ten Commandments, we tend to view them as restrictive, limiting our freedom and fun.  But, behind every negative “Thou shalt not…” is a positive and powerfully liberating truth that will set us free to be all that God intended for us to be and experience a quality of life packed with the sheer adventure of His saving life!

For the next couple of weeks, I want to invite you to join me in exploring the positive benefits of these age-old commands.  Whether you are Christian, Jew, or Muslim, we all find common agreement on these commands as given by God. Continue reading

by Chris Shook and Megan Shook Alpha

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)

Beauty begins with a love that never ends because beauty begins in the heart of God.  This kind of beauty is best reflected through commitment.  It’s not left to the changing winds of feelings, nor dependent on the response of the one loved.  This kind of love is unconditional.  It is the glue that bonds a relationship and holds it together regardless of the challenges and adversities of life.  The beauty of God’s love, the Scripture says, is that it never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. If you’ve ever experienced that love, then you have seen real beauty.  That kind of commitment can only come through the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.  Real beauty begins at the Cross.  God took the ugliest event in all of history and turned it into the most beautiful act in all history.  On the cross, Christ took our ugliest sins, mistakes, and failures and replaced them with the beauty of forgiveness, purpose, and – one day – heaven.  That’s where beauty begins. Continue reading

by Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha

“Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it.  Love makes up for practically anything.” 1 Peter 4:8 (MSG)

The struggle to connect lies in our understanding of love – how we receive it and how we give it.  We tend to give love in the selfish way we need it rather than how others need it.  In an effort to connect, we find our relationship disconnecting and we wonder why.  To really connect it’s vital to know each other’s love language.  What communicates love to you may not be the same language that communicates love to someone else.  Imagine trying to speak to someone that didn’t understand English?  No wonder couples struggle to connect.  If you want to really connect on a deeper, more intimate level with the people you love find out what communicates love to them.  Here’s a list of ways people feel loved that could be a catalyst for connecting with those you love. Continue reading

by Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha

“Kindness makes a man attractive.” Proverbs 19:22 (TLB)

What is it that makes a person attractive?  Billions of dollars are spent trying to improve our appearance so that others will find us attractive.  The Bible says, Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)  So, if we really want to improve our appearance, we need to see what God looks for in a man or woman that makes them irresistibly attractive.  Here are four biblically proven qualities that will improve anyone’s appearance: Continue reading

by Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha

“And He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” Malachi 4:6 (KJV)

Our heavenly Father is in the business of redemption. God delights in a father’s heart being turned back toward his sons and daughters, and it is His will that this becomes a reality. So, while you may feel alone, the truth is that God has your back, dad. God has your back, husband. Regardless of the quality of your efforts, he sees the heart behind them and will give you the strength and the compassion to be present for that son or daughter or wife you may have neglected over the years. When it comes to living in God’s kingdom, there is always hope.  It’s never too late. Continue reading

by Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha 

“You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words…

You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way….

You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride.

You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes.”

Song of Solomon 4:1, 7, 9 (NLT) 

If a woman’s greatest struggle is seeing her true beauty, then the question we guys should be asking is, how can we help her see the truth?  One of the most important ways we can do that is by reassuring women of the truth that they are truly beautiful.  In Song of Solomon, King Solomon speaks words of reassurance to his wife. Four times in this passage alone, he tells her she is beautiful!  You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful. He’s reassuring her of the truth that she is beautiful. Continue reading

by Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman.” Job 31:1 (NLT)

Women need to know that we will fight for them. That we will do whatever it takes. That we will lay down our lives for them if necessary. We will give up our wants and needs to put them ahead of ourselves. We will push through uncomfortable and awkward situations and initiate conversations if it promotes a stronger marriage. We will put our pride and selfishness aside and accept responsibility for our mistakes. We are called to be the spiritual leaders of our families. That means we are to lead by serving them and meeting their needs ahead of our own. When we fight for them and alongside them, we reflect the beautiful character of Christ. Continue reading

by Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha

And the Lord God said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs.” So the Lord God formed from the soil every kind of animal and bird, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever he called them, that was their name. But still there was no proper helper for the man. Then the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and took one of his ribs and closed up the place from which he had removed it, and made the rib into a woman, and brought her to the man. “This is it!” Adam exclaimed. “She is part of my own bone and flesh! Her name is ’woman’ because she was taken out of a man.” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife in such a way that the two become one person. Genesis 2:18-24 (TLB)

Too often, marriages gravitate to the relationship of teammates when our deepest longing is for a soulmate.  God saw that need in the first man, Adam.  Even before sin ever entered the picture, God said there was something not good about His perfect creation.  He said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone….”  So, God set out to make a companion for him, a soulmate with whom he could share his life and love as they ruled together over all of God’s creation. Continue reading

by Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha

“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting.”  Ephesians 5:25 (MSG)

A woman doesn’t need a man in her life to define her, but she needs one who will delight in her and help her see her true beauty.  A man who will go all out in his love for her!  That’s the challenge for every husband, father, or son out there who’ve had, have, or will have a place in a woman’s life.  The thought that we (men) could somehow give women their identity is silly.  That comes from God and God alone.  But, what we can do is affirm their sacred reflections by becoming their biggest fans! Continue reading

by Chris Shook and Megan Shook Alpha 

“Generation after generation stands in awe of your work; each one tells stories of your mighty acts.”  Psalm 145:4 (MSG)

This verse from Psalms tells us two things.  First, we are encouraged to tell the next generation about God’s mighty acts.  It’s a practice that inspires awe and praise in those who hear.  Second, the ways in which God has intervened in and redeemed your story need to be told; it’s what people used to refer to as a personal testimony. Continue reading