What she needed all along was Jesus…
Another year has come and gone, and God has remained the same. I’m so thankful for this journey with Him, and how He has changed my life and me as a person completely. Where there was no peace, there is now peace that surpasses all understanding. Where there was no joy, there is joy in the Lord. Where was no hope, there is the hope that is an anchor for the soul: Jesus Christ.
Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
– Psalm 40:4 (NLT)
O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.
– Psalm 84:12 (NLT)
Friend, I pray today that if you don’t know Jesus, that you seek Him while He may be found. He is the greatest of Treasures, so worthy of all our love and worship. His love is matchless. His mercy is extended to anyone who will only repent of their sins and turn to Him. Anyone. Even me. Even you.
I could never put into words, no matter how many words I chose to use to try to describe, how excellent and wonderful, how majestic and praiseworthy is the Lord. I don’t know all that the future holds, but I know who holds the future, and I know He is faithful. What joy for those who trust in Jesus! And oh, what perfect peace!
My reason to live,
My reason to breathe.
The King of all.
The song that I sing.
The real reality,
Alive inside of me,
Broken chains, He made me free,
No words could ever say,
How He takes my breath away,
In His presence I long to stay,
My strength and peace are in Him,
All my life I live for Him,
For my heart He did so wonderfully win,
These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
1 Corinthians 10:11
I wonder how many of us have read the Bible this way – as containing a series of examples for us to learn from. Both the Old Testament, and the new, are full of illustrations of what to do, and what not to do.
We find in this portion of scripture (1 Corinthians chapter 10) that Paul is talking specifically about the lessons to be learned from Israel’s idolatry. There are those who think idolatry isn’t an important issue, but it was important enough not only for Paul to address is specifically here, but to be warned against, time after time after time throughout the scriptures.
It is no small thing to have an idol. It is not an innocent thing, it is not a harmless thing, and it is certainly not a thing winked at by God.
God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.
In context here, what was Paul preaching about? He was troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in Athens, and was preaching to the people about the real God, the One True God, and how He should not be viewed in the same manner as these idols. And Paul was right, as the idols he was preaching against were not merely things made of stone, wood, or metal, but an abomination to God Himself.
But what is idolatry? Is it merely the worship of some kind of statue? No, there are many forms of idols. Ephesians 5:5 tells us that a greedy person is an idolater, worshipping the things of this world. We see from this verse, that even at this point in the Church’s history, it was well known and taught that the definition of idolatry has a broader scope than merely bowing before an object or giving food offerings to a statue of a false god.
One website states:
Idolatry is the universal human tendency to value something or someone in a way that hinders the love and trust we owe to God. It is an act of theft from God whereby we use some part of creation in a way that steals from honor due to God. Idolatry conflicts with our putting God alone first in our lives, in what we love and trust (see Exodus 20:3-5; Deut. 5:7-9; Romans 1:21-23). In idolatry we put something or someone, usually a gift from God, in a place of value that detracts from the first place owed to God alone, the gift Giver. That thing or person is an idol. The way out of idolatry is always to love and to trust the gift Giver without interference from any gift or any thing other than God. We will then be able to love and to appreciate gifts appropriately, neither giving them too much power nor failing to be thankful for them. We will then be free indeed, and not in bondage or addiction to anything that cannot fulfill us or give us peace.
This is true, and idolatry is theft from God. There are many things in our world today that are made idols. Money, clothing, people, gadgets, food, entertainment, even brand names. And there is a part of creation very widely idolized by many Christians today that simply should not be – that part of creation is men, particularly men of the celebrity kind. These celebrities are worldly, they lead people away from Christ whether knowingly or unknowingly, and yet many in the Church see no problem with embracing them and what they stand for.
These celebrities, of all fields, be it movies, music, sports, television or what have you, all lead people away from Christ. They teach that it’s okay and actually encouraged to seek fame, and fortune. They teach that it’s okay to take the Lord’s name in vain, and then to thank Him with empty words when they are presented with a little golden trophy that tells the world how “great” this human being is instead of God. They teach that it’s okay to sin, to act like the world and then call yourself a Christian when it’s convenient.
But the fact is this kind of behaviour will only appeal to a heart uncircumcised. A true follower of Christ will be disgusted, offended, and upset by these idols and how they are leading so many people astray.
“When God raised up his servant, Jesus, He sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.”
If you read the Bible, you can see that there are many patterns that are woven throughout it, of history repeating itself, and mankind repeating himself – and often not in good ways.
The Israelites in the old testament were quick to forget the miracles God did for them. They were also quick to run to mischief, turning their back on God seemingly only moments after He had done a great thing for them, in favour of the abominations that were their idols.
Even after many very physical displays of God’s majesty and sovereignty, they still forgot Him in the midst of abundant blessings and in moments when discomfort came again. They continued to forget His power.
No sooner had they left the bondage of Egypt, having seen the ten plagues – an awesome display of God’s power – then they panicked, as soon as pharaoh and his army pursued them in the desert. God had done so much…but they didn’t believe He could protect them from this fast approaching threat. Had Moses took them out here to die?
Even with the vast majority of them being filled with unbelief, God did another miracle by parting the sea for them to cross safely. The Israelites did cross without injury, and they beheld as pharaoh and his army were consumed by the very waters they had just passed through.
When they were hungry, God gave them manna from heaven. But yet they failed to be lastingly thankful and failed to have faith that He would provide them with water. Even so, with great love and mercy, He provided them with water! They grew to despise the blessing of manna, growing tired of eating the same thing day after day. They demanded meat, and even said (as they had many times by this point) that they would have been better off in Egypt. Even so, God provided them with meat – with quail.
These people demanded physical miracle after miracle, and even when they were given them, things they could behold with their own eyes, things they could touch, eat, and drink – they still forgot God and rebelled against Him.
In the New Testament we find during the earthly ministry of Jesus Himself, that the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would come to set up an earthly kingdom that he would win by waging war against the Romans.
I posted the following as a note on Facebook, recently, and I felt I should share it here, on my blog, as well.
A while ago, I tried on some purple nail polish. I usually don’t go for dramatic colors on my nails anymore, and in fact, don’t wear nail polish very often at all. But on this day, I thought I’d give it a try. I wasn’t sure if my husband would like it, and while applying it, I did wonder what he would think, but I put it on anyway.
Turns out he didn’t like it. I said I’d remove it later, at first intending to wait until later that night. But knowing he didn’t like it made the color on my nails bother me, and after a couple of minutes I found myself hurrying to remove it – just wanting it gone so that my nails would look the way he liked them again – natural.
To most people, nail polish is such a trivial thing: but there’s a lesson in here.
There are times we do things that we’re not sure God will like. We may even wonder what He would think of what we’re thinking of doing. But if we’re unsure, we shouldn’t just plough ahead anyway…we should find out first, and if He wouldn’t like it – don’t do it. There are times when we will have done something that God doesn’t approve of, and He will let us know – how we handle that is important. We shouldn’t be like the world, who would get indignant and say, “It’s such a small thing, get over it, I want to have my way just a little bit here and there.”
Instead our hearts should be saying (and not just our lips), “I’m sorry, Lord, Your opinion matters to me more than my own.” And then we should haste to correct our ways the best we can…and leave the rest in God’s hands, trusting Him to help us change the things that we cannot change on our own.
According to CBC’s Here and Now (Newfoundland provincial news), There are many MUN students in this province that cannot find the Atlantic Ocean on a map, or other basic knowledge of the globe. That’s a saddening commentary on the education my peers have attained.
What’s sadder is an equal (if not greater) amount of ignorance and ill education in the church! People who don’t know what’s really in the scripture…why? Because they can’t be bothered to actually study it. They rely on the opinions of men instead of learning for themselves, “whether these things are so” like a Berean. Not only is it expected of a student to crack open their textbooks and study, but it should be expected of a Christian to open their Bible and study it. How else do you expect to be able to listen to someone talk and know if it lines up with scripture or not? By comparing it to a preacher’s opinion, which can err, or by comparing it with the scriptures themselves?
When you were a child and studied for a test, did you study what your friends thought about the material, or the material itself? And how well did that work? Without a doubt, a better score is gotten by studying the actual material. Likewise, unless you study scripture, you’re just not going to get a good understanding of God, of Biblical history, the importance of obedience to Christ, or the rebellious nature of man. In fact, it’s this very rebellious nature which plays a part in why Bibles are going unread by so many professing Christians.
Reading the Bible – really reading it, not just skimming it, not just reading the one or two verses pointed to by your devotional, but really, prayerfully reading it – you find out that it really is what it claims about itself:
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Yes, reading this Book can be uncomfortable at times, yes, you WILL be convicted. You will come to realize with more depth that God is great and mankind is, as a whole, foolish and wicked.
Humanity is supposed to be so ‘intelligent’ these days…yet the generation in Universities and colleges now (my age) can’t find themselves on a map. People think they’re so smart…but in reality mankind is going BACKWARDS not only spiritually but even with their knowledge of their own geography. And without a doubt, other areas of their education.
Yes, mankind as a whole has acquired so much knowledge…but who really has it? Or what? In reality it’s stored in books (which people don’t want to read), and on the internet. Many students make haste for their smartphones, tablets, etc to google something they need to know. Little is kept as head knowledge by many of today’s students. So what happens if you lose your internet connection? That resource you tap into has gone, what knowledge do you have now to help you face life?
For most young people (in reality, people in general), their heads are filled with secular song lyrics, video games and the hotkeys thereof, movies, TV shows, gossip, and other forms of entertainment. Many can recite to you the ‘vital stats’ of their idolized sports stars, actors, or musicians.
But they won’t be able to tell you (without Google) what James 4:4 says, or John 14:15, or recite the Ten Commandments. They won’t be able to tell you what repentance means, or what the significance was of the veil in the temple being torn in two when Jesus died on the cross.
These days…they can’t even seem to point out where each of the seven continents are!
And for many church goers, their heads are filled with: guess what? Secular song lyrics, movies, TV shows, gossip, and other forms of entertainment. Many can recite to you the ‘vital stats’ of their idolized sports stars, actors, or musicians. But most won’t be able to tell you (without using google) what James 4:4 says, or John 14:15, or recite the Ten Commandments. They won’t be able to tell you what repentance means, or what the significance was of the veil in the temple being torn in two when Jesus died on the cross.
These days, they can’t even seem to wrap their head around the idea that they should really read and study their Bible, because a textbook is to a student what a Bible is to life!
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
And if you wonder what James 4:4, John 14:15, and the Ten Commandments are, here they are:
You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
If you love me, obey my commandments.
The Ten Commandments:
1. You must not have any other god but Me (Jesus Christ).
2. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind.
3. You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God (ie take in vain). The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
4. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.
5. Honour your father and mother.
6. You must not murder.
7. You must not commit adultery.
8. You must not steal.
9. You must not testify falsely against your neighbour.
10. You must not covet.
You need to study the Bible to know what it actually says. If you don’t, it’s so much easier to be blown about by every wind of doctrine, so easy for you to get complacent in your walk, so easy to be between lukewarm and cold. For many people, the indoctrination given to them by secular media has closed their minds to the things of Christ and opened them to all kinds of sin, both to tolerate it and to partake of it. This should not be so.
If you are a Christian and you love God, and you can read, what keeps you from reading His word? In the same way that a wife cherishes a love letter from her husband (and vice versa), so too should a Christian cherish and hunger continually for the Word of God…His love letter to us.
Be a Berean!
And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.