Tag Archives: idolatry

Reaping the Whirlwind–What Idolatry Will Do to Us in the End!

28 Jun

There is a reason that gay marriage will never satisfy the people who enter into it.

It is against God’s design.  Therefore it is idolatrous.

It takes a person and puts him into God’s place, in the belief that that person can become not only our entire world, but also our god and our universe.  We fire God and try to replace Him with a human being.  It will never work.  It doesn’t work when heterosexuals try it either.  

Once we depart from God’s ways and God’s design, we are on our own.  And we make some huge mistakes therein.  Our hearts are built for worship.  If we don’t worship the true God, we will manufacture a god and worship it.  Right now, worship is being directed to the institution of gay marriage.  But it will not ultimately satisfy, and great will be the crash when the people who counted on that institution, and their partners in it, to satisfy them deep down inside, in that worship place.

You see, the suicide rate is not only high among gays because they are bullied.  It is also high because, deep down inside, they have a conscience with its alarm system going off.  They know that their desires are not according to God’s design.  They know that they are going their own way, apart from God.  And they sense that they will never, never be satisfied by the results of that sojourn.  

Even if they could force every other person in America to praise them for entering into a gay marriage, their own consciences would still affirm that something is dreadfully wrong.  And they would still face suicidal tendencies, from their own hearts, because their hearts are estranged from the true God. 

It is not a place I would wish for my worst enemy to be trapped.

And, you see, the huge difference between a gay idolator and a heterosexual idolator is that, if two heterosexuals marry each other in an idolatrous relationship, they can later get right with God and make that relationship work.  A gay couple can never, ever do that.

All idolatry is sin.  But homosexual marriages create a legalized sinful state that is going to produce some immense consequences for those who enter therein. 

No one wants to be estranged, not only from God but from their own souls.  And this is what will happen to gay couples who proceed along the road to gay marriage.

You can never, ever make a person god in your life and have your relationship and your life succeed.  You will live in brokenness, by definition.

I say this in utter sorrow, as today a friend since college is marrying his boyfriend.  I purposely did not tag this post to call his attention to it.  If he sees it later, that will be God’s intervention in his life.  

I don’t know what lies ahead for gay people.  It seems that programs to help them have heterosexual desires only work every once in a while, for certain people.  

So it seems as though gay people may need to purpose to be celibate, in order to serve God in integrity.

Not an easy life.  It is not easy for heterosexuals who don’t marry either.  Almost everyone wants to belong to someone in a physical relationship.  

But certainly, as Jesus said, it is far better to sacrifice certain temporal comforts than to sacrifice our immortal souls.  

Heavy things to ponder.  I am here to pray with anyone who needs me.

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Losing 110 Pounds in 20 Minutes!

28 Jun

Losing 110 Pounds in 20 Minutes!

I got my new base ID today and, with it, a new picture of me, replete in a new red dress. The ID I turned in had my picture 110 pounds ago, in a red jumper that was precisely 10 sizes bigger than the dress I wore today. In essence, I lost 110 pounds in the course of a 20 minute photography session!

I was thinking about the fact that there are no shortcuts to weight loss. And wondering why God designed the universe that way.

Weight loss (and weight maintenance in a healthy state) are decisions we make one mouthful at a time. And daily when we decide whether we can find a half hour to work out before we flip on the television or the Netflix stream on our computer.

With very rare exceptions, most of us carry weight that is mathematically related to the quality of what we eat, how much of it we eat, and how much we exercise.

I have learned to shudder when I see most snack foods–full of sugar and salt for cheap flavoring, full of preservatives so that they will last on a shelf for years, full of . . . zero nutritional value.

Never say never . . . but I want to make my consumption of processed foods a rare thing. It grieves my heart that they are the cheapest foods in the stores, even in the convenience stores where they are marked up pretty high. Teens and poorer people without cars often buy their food in convenience stores. Teens and poorer people without cars often don’t have access to education about the nutritional value of various foods (or, in the case of teens, they may hear nutritional information but choose to not process it!!!). And those poor brains, when all they get for nourishment is potato chips and Coke!!!

I am hopefully not becoming a food snob, but I want to be a voice of reason in a crazy world of idolatry.

You see, I think the reason God made it so that we have to partner with Him to lose weight, one small decision at a time, is because we would otherwise make an idol of our food, rather than worship the giver of that food.

We still can and do. I read in the paper today that 41% of Americans regard themselves as overweight or obese when . . . it is actually 68.8% who are! Seven out of ten. No wonder the American Medical Association just gave in and declared obesity to be a disease. There is no fighting a statistic like that. We love our food in this country!

I have spent years at weights far higher than what my body was built to carry. I could do it again. I am not home free till I go to be with Jesus someday, to that world where temptations, sin, and idolatry no longer exist.

In the meantime, I struggle, one mouthful at a time, one decision to work out at a time.

But that is good, for the struggle directs me to the foot of the Cross, where I see Christ, who triumphed in my struggles for me.

I truly believe that, if we could eat anything we wanted and never gain weight or if we could will ourselves to lose 110 pounds and have it come off in a week, we would be neckdeep in food idolatry. I believe the struggle helps free us from the idolatry.

Food is a wonderful gift and, in one way, I will always be a foodie! I love cooking and trying new recipes and trying new herbs and spices and trying new combinations of things . . .

I just know that I can’t eat high density calories every day of my life. Either I eat them in smaller portions or I choose to eat something else instead.

And God is faithful, oh so faithful.

I am so totally ordinary, if I can do it, anyone can.

Just a Thought on Idols . . .

10 Dec

I John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

We assume that others want to get rid of their idols.  We assume that we want to get rid of ours, too.

For many reasons, that may not always be an accurate assumption.

Sometimes our idols are propping up another part of our life, a part we are trying to live independently of God.

Sometimes our idols have been in our life longer than God has and we have not identified them as idols because they are so familiar to us we can’t see the connection.  

Sometimes we even have habits we know are not pure but they are so familiar we can’t believe they could possibly be an idol.  

They can.

When we are ready to be serious with God, He will show us our idols, one by one.   

Pushing Back, Part VI (a new series for Thanksgiving week)

22 Nov

Ephesians 5:11-13, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light:  for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”

When our hearts, normal but sinful, betray us:  As a P.S. to yesterday’s post, I want to make it clear that I do not believe all conflict within the church is based on mental illness.  Some of  it is.  Maybe 10%, if I can make an estimate.  And that is if you include the people with a family history of things with which they themselves are not personally diagnosed.  They may have at least a tendency to not see the world accurately, both due to their genetics and due to the fact that they were raised around mental illness.

I have a holy awe for that situation myself, as I had a grandmother whom I never met who was diagnosed with mental illness several times in her life.  I keep my heart supple before God on this issue, realizing that, there but for the grace of God go I.  If I don’t stay in His Word, I could find myself believing some of the same lies I was told were a problem for my grandmother.

However, I believe that most conflict in the church is just caused by our sinful hearts that want their own way.

And I have seen that conflict become more insistent over the decades, as the world descends toward chaos and we follow behind the world in its descent by about ten years (I attribute that statistic to our former associate pastor, Tim Bell).

I have seen quiet whisperings within the Body of Christ (which were harmful enough, back in the day) become outright hostile confrontations in hallways.  And I have seen conversations about a person who is not present that express total contempt for that person.

I hate that.  But, more than that, I know it grieves the Holy Spirit of God.

When we are in conflict, the Bible makes our goal to be restoration.  Not contemptuous dismissal of the other person.  Restoration.

If we are not seeking restoration, humbly and with a willingness to forgive and work through difficulties, we are out of line.

That just has to be said.

We all sin and we all want our own way.  But we need to realize that about ourselves and not make an idol of our own way.

We worship God.  If we raise insistence on having our own way into the thing we worship, we will eventually become our own god.

Scary stuff, that.

Racism Breaks God’s Heart

4 Sep

Acts 17:26, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;”

It is a principle, throughout all of Scripture that God has made all human beings of one flesh, as the family of man, in a manner of speaking.  Not all of us are in the family of God—that takes being born again through Jesus’ sacrifice—but all of us are created the same way and have the same inherent value to God.  He loved us enough to send Jesus to redeem us, so He esteems us all very highly.

One way we are all the same is our tendency to move within a comfort zone of people who are like us.  Sometimes that is people of a similar income level, sometimes it is people of a similar educational level, sometimes it is people with a similar national or ethnic background.

Problem is, that can become idolatry in about twenty seconds flat!!!  There is no scriptural principle that would indicate people are to remain segregated by any of these factors.  If we focus on ethnic/racial divides in the U.S. today, we soon see that in some places, these divisions are turning into chasms.

Oddly, our Generation Y adults spend more time with people of other races than any other generation in the history of our country but they still often reveal as little understanding of each other ethnically as their parents and grandparents.

I can’t count the number of times that I have seen, in my experience with the Navy, people come together for work, then bad mouth each other after hours.  I have heard white liberals making hateful, racist statements against blacks; I have heard white conservatives do the same.

I understand from black friends that there is the same tendency among black adults when whites aren’t present.

Meanwhile, what are we conveying to our children, who must grow up and move about in a multiethnic society?  It is like a national schizophrenia.  We treat each other nicely by day, then go our separate ways for evening activities.  Many, many churches are still segregated, even to the point that a historically white church might be in the midst of what has become a black neighborhood and still not have black members.

Just for one example, the verse at the beginning of this post is interesting because it supports the concept of the family of man.  It has been twisted in the past to say that people shouldn’t marry members of other races.

But look at the verse.  If it were truly forbidding marriages between people outside the bounds of their own habitation, it would be condemning me, for marrying someone from Britain, not American blacks and whites who marry each other as fellow countrymen!

This election year has made me heartsick.  Both parties have made statements that have divided us racially.  Whether those statements were intentional, they have done their damage.

As a conservative woman, I am very used to being treated as though I vote for my own enslavement, so I can relate to the feelings of black conservatives, who tend to be treated as though they are insane.  This election year has probably been particularly hard on them.

But the fact is that God cares less about our politics than we could ever imagine.  He cares about individual hearts, and whether they are right with Him.  And hearts filled with hatred for people who are different from us, whether racially or otherwise, grieve Him.

I John makes it plain that we cannot say we love God and at the same time hate our Christian brother or sister.  Many of our Christian brothers and sisters have different skin colors than us.  It has been that way since the early church (research the different nationalities mentioned in the list of names in Romans 16).

John 17 shows us, in Jesus’ High Priestly prayer right before He went to the cross, His heart’s cry that we all might be one, as one body of believers in Him throughout all the world.

One family of Christ, made up of all believers.  One family of man made up of all human beings.

We practice idolatry when we refuse to see people as God sees them; to love people as God loves them.

A Father to the Fatherless

24 Aug

Psalm 68:5,  “A father of the fatherless and a judge of the widows is God in his holy habitation.”

Yesterday, preparing to go to the Midwest to look at a possible college for our son, I got a little weepy.  Well, a lot weepy.

Parents have a special relationship to their children, one that most of us feel we should do more than we do to cultivate.

I think that parental guilt about not doing more is probably the sign of a healthy, thriving relationship.

While planning our route to southeast Wisconsin, which will probably pass right through Chicago, I was remembering various trips to Chicago in my youth.  I was last there when I was in my mid-20’s, visiting a friend.

I also got a letter from my mom yesterday, with eight photos I never knew existed, taken the month of my high school graduation (and surprise 18th birthday party).

There was a photo of a dear friend who has died.  There was  also a photo of my high school best friend, with whom I have somehow fallen out of contact since our 20th reunion in 1996.

That friend reminded me of Chicago, too.

She and I listened to a song on the radio back then that went to #1.  It was called “The Winds of South Chicago” and was by a group called Garden.

I can’t find it anywhere on the Internet now.  Well, one European site will sell a copy for around $40.

Maybe it is better this way.  I think we memorized the words.  The music was probably melodramatic and distracting anyway.

One verse, the best I recall it, went:

“Child of South Chicago, with childish dreams around you

You missed the kiss that found you, in the darkness as he tried to say goodbye,

And now Chicago will seem a little colder when someone who has told her has left her room forgetting how to hold her.

Chorus:  Who’s gonna tell her Daddy’s gone?

Who’s gonna tell her life goes on (and on and on)?

Who’s gonna tell her Daddy’s gone, that means gone for good, that means from now on . . .

And the winds of South Chicago will blow .  . .”

Leaving aside the fact that the words are the attempt of a white writer in the era of the Civil Rights movement to explain the realities of a black child (so, historically, they are far from perfect), the imagery of that song pricks me to the heart even now.

If we are not careful, we Americans, both black and white, both conservative and liberal, can come to see the tragedy of the fatherless home as a huge problem that only grows by tens of thousands of children every year.  We can see it in terms of numbers of children abandoned.

God sees it in the heart of every single individual child waking up to realize that Daddy is gone for good.  He understands that every single one of those hearts cries out, then grieves.  He knows that every single one of those hearts wonders what they did wrong to send Daddy away.

It is almost a grief beyond measure to contemplate the collective number of tears shed by children, black and white and other races, abandoned by their daddies.

Because it is such a huge grief, we tend to not want to think about it.

God thinks about it.  God feels it.  He wants us to love as He loves.  He calls us to help in various ways.

The main thing all children need to know is that God is their Father.  He wants to be in relationship to them.  He promises He will be a special Father to the fatherless.

That is the living bread we provide.  But the Bible says if that living bread is offered to someone who doesn’t have actual bread to eat, it won’t be heard.

My best friend in high school, mentioned above, had parents who took in foster children.  Since we lived in a nearly all-white area back then, I met some of the first black people I ever knew in the crib at my friend’s house.

Her parents didn’t save every black child from fatherlessness.  But they did their part to rescue a few from poverty and introduce them to the Savior.  And we can, too.  

 

Note:  I realize that some may be shocked that I have focused almost exclusively on fatherlessness in the black community.  I know that it is a problem elsewhere, too.  It is just that God is breaking my heart right now with the state of racial relations in this country.  We think if we don’t use the words “black” and “white” that we can paper over the underlying issues and they won’t really exist.  That approach is not working, folks.

I believe we are literally breaking our Lord’s heart with the racially ugly remarks we make when we are not “on the record.”  I have heard both conservatives and liberals dehumanize blacks.  And I understand a lot of ugly things are stated against whites in our black communities.  We all need to realize that God is having none of that.  He has created us all and wants to be a Father to us all in every way.

We need to do away with the idol of supposed racial superiority, whichever way we have internalized that one.  It is sin.

My Idols are Better than Your Idols

13 Aug

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqTq8gckf8E

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  Amen.”  I John 5:21

This post is dedicated to a friend who will recognize a conversation we had not long ago about the idolatry of a modern song that is attracting some of the emergent church/edgy/trendy Christians.  The song has the message “I will die for my own sins, thank You very much!”

My friend and I understood that the song was meant to be a shocker to those of us who are slightly older.  She was vastly offended by it.  I was trying to think how to wrap my mind (and heart) around this song, something so foreign to any experience I have had or even thought to have.  I wanted to try to understand why it would attract any person, let alone a believer in Jesus Christ.

It is so easy for me to see that this is Generation Y idolatry, pure and simple.  I am not defending the song.  It truly sounds shocking.  I haven’t heard it and I don’t plan to go looking for it on Youtube.

Yet, in God’s economy, that night I was ironing and turned on one of those satellite stations that plays whatever genre you want to hear at the moment.  I put it on ’70’s songs, the music I listened to in college (I went to a state university).

The song in the above link came up and I nearly dropped my iron.  What an amazing thing.  That song . . . I loved it when it was out.  So . . . let’s get this straight.  In December of 1979, I was listening to a song that suggested that a man and a woman could be born again in each other’s love?

Not exactly Christian thought there.  More like pagan.  More like the fertility cults of Baal and Ashtoreth in the Old Testament, truth be known.  Wow!

Why is it so easy to love our own idols and to explain them away, while condemning the idols of another group or generation?  I love how God will not let us off the hook of answering that question!

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