Chopping Down Idols

Acts 7:41: And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

My first thought when reading this was, “People don’t make idols anymore like they did back in those days.” But then I really started thinking about this, a lot – and began to see idolatry in a new way.

Leviticus 26:1: “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.”

I take away several things from this verse, but the main one is this. “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image…” This implies that not all idols are a graven image or image of stone. Therefore I had to ask myself, what kind of idols is it talking about then? Are there things that I sacrifice too much time to, when I should be giving it to God? It can be anything that is put before God. The tricky thing is, there isn’t anything wrong with these examples in normal circumstances: television, social media, money, computer games, food, etc. But they can become problems if they become idols. If they are made into idols.

This certainly put a new perspective on things.

A couple of days ago, my Internet went out for 10 hours, and I was a wreck. How would I talk to my friends? How would I check my email? How would I check who has posted on WordPress? How would I do research for my novel? I was much more frantic than I should have been, and in every activity I tried to immerse myself in, my thoughts came back to it.

Why couldn’t I think about Jesus this much?

I cringed inwardly and was so convicted.

I knew I really enjoyed being online, but I hadn’t realized how much of an idol it had become, getting in the way of studying the Bible and being with family.

First Corinthians 10:14: Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

I’m also reminded of Daniel 3:16-18, where Nebuchadnezzar decreed that all would worship the golden image: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

They were thrown into a fiery furnace that was heated seven times hotter than usual (Daniel 3:19) because they refused to bow down to an idol. They didn’t fear burning or dying for their God. (Even though He saved them, they didn’t know that before going in.)

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

I have to ask myself… if I was there with the three of them that day, would I have done the same thing they did? I’d like to think so, but then the conviction hits… when faced with a similar scenario of an idol without an image or a face, would I do the same thing?

They can creep in without us realizing it sometimes, and once they are seen for what they are, they cannot remain. The graven image has to fall. With that being said, I’m going to take a short blogging break to chop down the idol. I plan to return at the end of the month with poems, photos, a Liebster Award acceptance post, and more if things go well. 🙂 Jesus must be the only God in my life, for He is King of kings, Lord of lords, and God of gods.

I’ll miss you guys! I love you all, and I hope that you have a lovely October! ❤

Following Him,
Grace 🌸

 


 

P.S.: I don’t know what the little black wooden figure is supposed to be; I got it at a flea market many years ago (it was in a big box labeled “free”) when I was in my dark Gothic phase, and at the time I thought it was really cool. Now I find it to be really creepy. I am curious about what it is, and what it represents, but there’s another part of me that is unsure of if I want to know… But I thought it might make a good “idol” for this post, anyway. 😅

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Faith Is Like A Tea Bag…

Thanks to Angela for having a discussion with me about tea – I couldn’t stop thinking about tea after that, and then I remembered a quote I’d read once by Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” I propose that faith is like that as well… you never know how strong it is until you end up in hot water.

And I’d love to take this analogy a bit further. If faith is like a tea bag, then what does the water represent? Trials and hardships, perhaps?

If this is so, then here there is only one thing left to ask: When placed in hot water, does your faith make tea, or do you turn the water lukewarm with an icy heart?

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15 & 16)

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Humility – Simon Peter And The Fish

If you read my post Humility – Jesus In The Wilderness, then you know I have been studying the Gospels and Andrew Murray’s book, Humility. These are a few notes I made while in Luke 5. 🙂

Luke 5:1-7: And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.”

Okay, so put yourself in Simon Peter’s place. They have already fished the whole night and caught absolutely nothing, and then Jesus comes along, preaches, and then tells them to launch the nets. “Why, Lord? We’ve already done that without results. Why do You want us to do that again? There can’t be any fish there.”

And Simon answering said unto Him, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net.”

I love this response. Basically, “We’ve tried that and caught nothing; but because You asked, we will do it anyway.” Acknowledging that they tried and failed (with their own power), yet, also acknowledging that He is superior and they listen. The fish weren’t there earlier, but they are now!

And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

They caught nothing all night on their own, but when Jesus says “Fish, and here’s where to do it,” they catch so many that their nets broke. XD He can give more than anyone ever asks for, in His perfect timing.

And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

Then they call for help and there are so many fish, their ships start to sink! That’s a lot of fish.

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon.
And Jesus said unto Simon, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”
And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him.

Jesus says they will from now on catch men instead of fish. And then they trusted Him and left the boats and fish to follow Him.

It is really interesting to read this and then read John 21:1-6: After these things Jesus shewed Himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed He Himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His disciples.
Simon Peter saith unto them, “I go a fishing.”
They say unto him, “We also go with thee.”
They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
Then Jesus saith unto them, “Children, have ye any meat?”
They answered Him, “No.”
And He said unto them, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.” They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

They cast the net this time without the “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing…” comment. They had been through this before. I assume that as soon as He told them to fish out of the right side of the boat, they knew it was Him, and they knew to follow His leading and just do it. Humility – knowing that He is God and that we are not. (That line about Him being God and we are not came from a song called Thy Will by Hillary Scott & Family. My Internet connection isn’t good enough to load YouTube videos, but I think this is it.)

Even if it doesn’t make sense to us at the time, His way is the best way!

Humility – Jesus in the Wilderness

Some of you may remember that I’m slowly studying Humility by Andrew Murray and reading through the Gospels while paying attention to His humility. I thought perhaps you all would like to read a few notes I’ve been making as I go:

Matthew 4:5-7: Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, ‘He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.’ ”
Jesus said unto him, “It is written again, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ ”

Not only is Satan misquoting verses on Psalm 91 here, it wasn’t until a friend told me about this verse (I’m slowly working my way through the Gospels but I haven’t gotten to the end yet) that I realized how many angels Jesus had that He could have called, but didn’t:

Matthew 26:53: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”

Legion: “a military division varying at times from 3,000 to 6,000 foot soldiers, with additional cavalrymen.” (Thank you, Webster’s dictionary.) So, my friend encouraged me to do the math here. At the very least, 3,000 X 12 = 36,000, and at the most, 6,000 X 12 = 72,000.

And He said “more than.”

That’s a lot of angels.  😮

Just think, when the mobs surrounded Him, when Satan tempted Him, and when He was sent up to Cavalry to be crucified, He could have called 36,000 – 72,000 angels – or more! – to deliver Him.

But He didn’t, because it wasn’t His will – it was the Father’s will He obeyed. Now that is what I call humility.

The Three Fors: Forgive, Forget, Forward!

Forgive.

Matthew:18:22 Then came Peter to him, and said, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”

Ponder this:

Jesus saith unto him, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?’

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

Forget.

*Note: It has been brought to my attention that “Forget” my not be the best word to describe the point I’m trying to get across. (Thank you, Denny! 😊) We can’t learn from something we have forgotten; but the ill feelings associated with unforgiveness can remain and rule our hearts if we allow it. The ill feelings is what you want to forget about having after forgiving! The way Denny put it, to keep up with words that begin with F: Filter the good from the bad so we can Flourish in the Future.

Philippians 3:13&14: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

This may be a bit of a stretch, but remember in Genesis when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah how he spared Lot and his family? Do you remember what happened to Lot’s wife when she looked back to what all she was leaving behind? She looked back at all the evil and sin that God was about to destroy, and she turned into a pillar of salt!

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t learn the lesson; that is, forget it and then do it again. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we can sin whenever we please because He will forgive us.

Forward!

Philippians 3:13&14: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

When God sent the ten plagues on Egypt to release the Israelites in the book of Exodus, the people considered turning back because it would be better to be slaves than to be dead. I know it’s easier for me since I know the story and how it ends, but really. Who sent the plagues? Did they think He would not see them through? The third option: go forward!

And likewise is it better to be a slave to sin? I’m not a huge fan of being dead either. God, please give me the strength to leave the past in the past and look ahead to the prize!

I’ve heard that when we look back at sins that God has already forgiven and continue to beat ourselves up for it, it’s like saying that Jesus’ dying in our place wasn’t good enough. That really hit me hard. It’s hard to let go, but Jesus was enough. More than enough. He was the final sacrifice.

So remember the three for’s: forgive, forget, and move forward!

Don’t Be Lukewarm!

To almost forgive
Is to hold onto hate.
Malice flows like a sieve,
While odium waits.

To almost believe,
Is to blatantly deny.
Skepticism must leave,
Or one will surely die.

To be almost sincere,
Is to genuinely lie, I’m sure.
Not being as one appears
Is oneself’s way to perjure.

To be almost saved,
Is to be totally lost.
The eternal grave,
Is the fiery cost.

There is no “almost” to be found,
Of this, I must warn!
There is no middle ground,
Don’t be lukewarm!

boiling-water-in-pot

Matthew 22:36-38:
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

Revelation 3:15&16:
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

He knows all that we do, and He knows all that we feel too. He tells us that the first commandment is to love Him with all our heart. I don’t want my love for Him to be “almost hot”; no, I don’t want to be lukewarm. I don’t want Him to spit me out. I want my love for Him to burn like a fiery flame!

 

Thank you to Miriam for the idea to do this post! 🙂 ♥

Also, thank you to a church sign for the quote that started the poem: “To be almost saved is to be totally lost.”

Mistaken Humility

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“Ironically, those with this mindset are often fixated on self, thinking about self all the time and how awful self is… but still very much giving all their energy to self.”

That was a response that one of my best friends had the Depression and Denying Self post I made last month. Quote from that:

Denying self. What does this mean? For years, I thought it meant denying self-worth. Statements like, “You don’t deserve (finish this sentence with any good thing, want, or idea)”, “You’re a worthless sinner”, “You’re not good enough” went through my head, and I let them have free reign. (And then those thoughts took the reigns, cut them, and let the worst run free inside me, and it nearly destroyed me. But that’s another post for another day.)

I guess today is that “another day” I mentioned.

I didn’t understand what humility was. I thought that it was “feeling humiliated”. So when my thoughts aimed to beat me up inside, I let them, saying, “This is humility. Jesus wants this.”

Wrong.

Oh, how mistaken I was; the truth was blurred into obscurity for quite a while.

Humility implies the state or quality of being humble; the absence of pride or self-assertion, while being humiliated implies feelings of embarrassment, making a fool of, dishonored, and shamed.
Even though it was self-loathing, it was still a focus on self that I shouldn’t have had. What a sneaky way for pride to attack; under the guise of mistaken humility!

 

Humility:

Mt:11:25: At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”

Lk:23:34: Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.”

Lk:23:46: And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit:” and having said thus, He gave up the ghost.

Jesus always gave glory to the Father. He was the prime example of humility.

 

Humiliation:

If being ridiculed, spit on, beaten up, forced to wear a crown of thorns, and hung naked upon a cross doesn’t give the impression of humiliation, I don’t know what will.

 

He went through the ultimate humiliation, but nowhere have I seen where He humiliated Himself. He knew Who He was and what He was placed here to do.

Likewise, I should know what I am here for and what I am here to do. Bring God glory. Spread the Gospel. Love Him.

(Special thanks to Pete for his Pride series; that was really helpful when writing this. 😊)