Sunday, August 8, 2010

Worshipping Idols...who ME?

Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)--[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]. Amen (so let it be).
1 John 5:21

This scripture really spoke to my heart the other day. I was thinking about idolatry and doing a little study about it in the Bible. God couldn't stand idol worship. Jesus said the first commandment was "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37) I have to admit, as simple as this sounds, I don't find it very easy. It seems like there is so much to occupy my heart and mind these days. To name a few: family, friends, entertainment, technology, dreams, goals, plans, etc. After reading this scripture I've started praying that God would show me if there are idols in my life. Honestly, I've come up with a big one, ME. Not an easy one to elimate either, right? In thinking about what occupies the place in my heart that is due to God, what am I substituting for Him, what am I putting first? Me. Wow, it's true. I serve myself much of the time. I have my own schedule, I do as I please. I do what I want, when I want. I'm spoiled by the conveniences of this modern age. I'm engrossed in my own obligations and daily chores and routines. I'm guilty of putting me first and giving God the leftovers.

Well, I don't want to be guilty of this anymore. I want God to have my best because that's what He wants. I'm trying to start off each day with a fresh time of surrender to Him and a simple prayer from my heart that God will have His will and His way in me. Lead me Lord and I will follow, show me Your way that I may walk with You! :) Your will be done! Change my plans if they are not what You want for me! Thank you!

More about idolatry:
idolatry - 1. an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.
2. any person or thing regarded with excessive or blind adoration, reverence, or devotion, etc.
3. a figment of the mind: fantasy.
4. a false conception or notion.
5. any being other thant he one God to which divine honor is paid.
6. a person who is revered, admired, or highly loved.
7. hero worship
8. false worship
synonyms: obsession, madness, mania.

The sin of idolatry is one of Satan's most effective tools in turning people away from God. People desire to place fellow people, as well as valuable material things on a pedestal as objects of worship.

Exodus 20:3-6 - You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. You shall not make yourselves any graven image (to worship) or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the inquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing mercy and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Deuteronomy 11:16 - take heed to yourselves, lest your (minds &) hearts be deceived and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.

Exodus 23:33 - They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.

Snare - 1. a device, often consisting of a noose, for capturing small game
2. anything serving to entrap or entangle unawares; trap
3. to catch or involve by trickery or wile; capture by trickery

Why Wait?

Separates from God
Alienates from others
Incriminates the guilty
Imitates joy
Impersonates love
Agitates your mind
Constipates your dreams
Stagnates your future
Abbreviates your life
Devastates your eternity

Demonstrates His love
Advocates for the broken
Illuminates darkness
Penetrates problems
Alleviates pain
Celebrates surrender
Activates the spirit
Saturates the soul
Recreates the heart
Fascinates the forgiven

God will not discriminate
Don’t hesitate
Don’t procrastinate
You can participate!!!

Why wait?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free. John 8:36

I hope this will speak to you and touch your heart today! :) God bless!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Water Baptism

We have been learning about water baptism in my girl's class at church. Last week we learned why we have baptism in the church (because Jesus commanded us to be baptized). Our memory verse is Matthew 28:19 - Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

This week we learned about the purposed of water baptism. 1. It's an illustration of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, 2. It's an illustration to others of what happens to a person when they ask Jesus to come into their life and forgive their sin. Their old, sinful self is dead and buried, and they are made new and clean. That's why they call it being born again! :) 3. It's an act of obedience to God.

We read some verses from Romans 6 tonight and I thought I'd share them. :) I'm so thankful for the changing power of God! I thank Him for the work of salvation. I'm thankful for the day that I laid down a life of sin and became a new creation in Him!! If you have a minute, read this passage. I hope you will be excited and encouraged by it like I was!

Romans 6 (NIV version)
Sin’s Power Is Broken
1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

12 Do not let sin control the way you live;[a] do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

19 Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.

20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

I hope you are living a life of freedom through Jesus, but if you're not and you want to. Click the "Are you ready for heaven" link at the right.

I wish you freedom, joy and peace in Him! Be blessed!

Romans 6 (Amplified version - I just love this version, it's wordy, but I love how it makes it so clear)

1WHAT SHALL we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God's grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow?

2Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?

3Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

4We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.

5For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].

6We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.

7For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].

8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

9Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him.

10For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].

11Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

12Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.

13 Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.

14For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy].

15What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God's favor and mercy? Certainly not!

16Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?

17But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.

18And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action).

19I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification.

20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

21But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None] for the end of those things is death.

22But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life.

23For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Another day, another prayer!

God, lead me to where you want to be. You know all of my needs and wants, but more than that, You know what You want for my life. You know what is best! I surrender completely to what You want for me and my family. I only ask that if you want us to move that you will make the way plain before us and make it very clear exactly where You want us to go! We are totally dependent on You! We cling to You and we are confident in You! The world is uncertain, but You are not. Thank you for being our rock and our anchor! You are calm during a raging storm, You are peace when my heart and mind are worn. You have settled my past, I give you my today, and I thank you that You hold my tomorrow! I trust You for EVERYTHING!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Prayer for Today!

God give me boldness to speak the truth in love & be a light in this dark world! Forgive me for my shortcomings & for the times I choose to go my own way. I admit I am stubborn & hard-headed, but I pray that you will help me to be stubborn about following You & hard-headed against sin. Help nothing I do or say be a stumbling block to others. Help me to know when to speak & when to keep my trap closed! AMEN!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Listening and Obeying

Well, these are some lessons that I'm learning about, but have definitely not mastered. My husband would agree that I can be VERY stubborn and hard-headed! :) That's a trait that I hope will change over time! :)

Over the past several months as I've done Bible study, the topics of listening and heeding or obeying have come up again and again. So...either I'm not getting the message or God is just really hammering this message in hard. I thought I'd share these thoughts with you.

John 10:27 according to Everett's Alphabet Bible Songs cd: "my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow Me"

After we hear Him, we obey (DO WHAT HE SAYS).

James 1:22 - But be doers of the Word (obey the message), and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves (into deception by reasoning contrary to the truth).

Obey means:
- to comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of
- to respond conformably in action to
- to submit or conform in action to

I Samuel 15:22 - Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Why is obedience better than sacrifice?
Sacrifice was a religious ritual, an outward show
Obedience comes out of true devotion and a desire to please the person obeyed; obedience is from the heart!

I believe that if we are willing to listen God speaks to us often. Sometimes it can be something very simple. Sometimes I think we probably dismiss His voice as just a silly thought, but we would be so much better off doing what He says! An example of this is a simple lesson I learned recently that I will not forget: NO GRAPE JUICE IN THE LIVING ROOM!

The other day I was thirsty and having made a big pitcher of grape juice that morning I decided I would sit down with a nice tall glass of it and drink it while I checked my email. As I was thinking about this, in my heart I heard "no grape juice in the living room". That's a silly thought I thought to myself. After all, I am an adult, been drinking from a cup for a very long time, I know what I'm doing, I'm thirsty and I want grape juice. So, I proceeded to pour that tall glass, walk into the living room and sit down at my computer. I sat my glass down on the table and started reading email. Soon I became thirsty and reached for my glass, but instead of grabbing it, I knocked it over spilling grape juice all over my living room rug, tile floor, etc. Arggg, I thought as I caught the cup and placed it back on my computer table and ran to get a towel. As I mopped up the mess, I realized that I was... STILL THIRSTY (are you getting it yet that I am extremely hard-headed?). So I reached for the glass and knocked it off the table the other way spilling it all over the other side of the rug and on my couch. Hmmm....and the moral of the story is not really "no grape juice in the living room", it is if you hear God speak (and yes, I really do believe that simple instruction was from the Lord), don't reason with Him thinking you know better, you're a big girl and can do what you want, LISTEN AND OBEY...or you'll be cleaning up the mess that follows after your disobedience!

My prayer today is that I will learn to be sensitive to God when He gives commands about the little things so that when the bigger things come I will already have the habit of obeying Him!

Have a great day everyone!!! :)