Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Talk Tuesday-When An Idol Crumbles

The idols we identify in our own lives reveal truths about ourselves that are often hard to swallow. Sometimes we project our unaccomplished hopes and dreams onto our children, making their life's success an idol in our hearts. Sometimes we look to a relationship to fill a void within us that only GOD can fill. Sometimes we allow our careers or material possessions to define who we are and what direction our lives should take. We can also put people on pedestals, holding them above GOD in our hearts, expecting perfection from them and loving them too much. Is there any such thing as loving too much?

A passage of scripture that has often been misunderstood is Luke 14:26: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters-yes, even their own life-such cannot be my disciple."

What is Jesus really saying here? Is he actually asking us to 'hate' the things we value and love the most? Herein lies the answer. He is asking us to not value those things 'the most'. They must not be idols but must be relegated to their proper place in our hearts. The word 'hate' in the context of Luke 14:26 comes from the Greek word μισέω -miseō, mis-eh'-o; from a prim. misos (hatred); to detest (espec. to persecute); by extns. to love less:-hate (-ful) (Strong, James. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Hendrickson Publishers; Peabody, MA)

Jesus is not asking us to break the Ten Commandments, but he is teaching how to observe them. You see, we MUST PUT GOD FIRST IN ALL THINGS. The first three commandments instruct us to hold no idol above God, to revere His holy Name and to worship Him alone. The fifth commandment instructs us to honour our parents. We cannot honour our parents, love others and be honourable in relationships if we do not love GOD FIRST, FOREMOST and ABOVE ALL ELSE. We must love all these other things 'less' in comparison to how we love GOD.

Our idols will inevitably crumble at the altar of our worship. At some point in time a relationship will disappoint, a job will disappear, material wealth will dissipate and the thing we pay homage to will leave us feeling empty. When this happens, remember to redirect your attention towards the truth of God's Word. That TRUTH is the mirror whose reflection will show us what is inside our hearts. That TRUTH will help us to reorder our priorities. Then as we repent and put GOD first, all other things will fall into their rightful place in our hearts. We will be able to fulfill the call of GOD upon our lives, loving and cherishing those things in the way there were intended to be. Remember Jesus' words:

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33

Please share your thoughts and ideas with us on this week's Talk Tuesday Topic. We here at BGO look forward to hearing from you. Remember, the crown is not given to the swift, but to those who persevere and FINISH! Let us spur each other on to the prize of our salvation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Talk Tuesday-The Pain of Idolatry

Idolatry is the age-old sin that is constantly beckoning us to indulgence. It is the sin of worshiping someone or something else, over and above God. You see, our GOD is loving and fiercely jealous for His creation. He created us for His pleasure and ours-to be in intimate relationship with Him. Our sin in the garden of Eden destroyed the intended order of things. Yet God, in His fierce love, sent Jesus Christ as a ransom for our sin and to RESTORE our broken relationship with Him.

The Old Testament tells of the pain that idolatry causes to both GOD and man. I distinctly remember how stunned I felt when I first read Judges Chapter 10. After all that the LORD had done for Israel, they continued to allow themselves to be seduced by the cultures around them, adopting their gods and engaging in idolatry. "Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him" Judges 10:6. The LORD withdrew His protection, and the children of Israel became enslaved by the Philistines and the people of Ammon.

"Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, 'We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.' The LORD replied, 'When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!' But the Israelites said to the LORD, 'We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.' Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD." Judges 10:10-16

Then the Bible reveals one of the most touching aspects of the heart of Father GOD. When GOD heard Israel's cry and saw their pain, it says of the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the GREAT I AM that, "HE COULD BEAR ISRAEL's MISERLY NO LONGER." Judges 10:16

GOD could bear their misery no longer???!!!! I felt a multitude of emotions simultaneously. I hurt for their sin and mine. I was humbled by the extent of the Father's love. I became aware of the pain of idolatry. How many times have we erected idols on the altar of our hearts? How many times have we grieved GOD and caused ourselves pain? What are some of idols that we need to be aware of? Does our culture encourage idolatry, and if so, what can we do to protect ourselves from idolatry's call? Click on the comments link to share your thoughts with the BGO community. We want to hear from you. Let us spur each other on towards the prize of our faith.

"Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." 1 Corinthians 10:14

Bible Talk - May 23-29 - Numbers to Deut

Keep on reading, learning and sharing.

The scripture reading for this week:

May 23: Num 23-25
May 24: Num 26-27
May 25: Num 28-30
May 26: Num 31-32
May 27: Num 33-34
May 28: Num 35-36
May 29: Deut 1-2

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Talk Tuesday-The Subtlety of Sin, Temptation's Call

I recently disconnected my cable. For the last three years, I have been 'shut in' due to illness and have not been watching much t.v.. However, from time to time I went on binges, watching hours of spiritually draining shows. So, a few months ago, I simply got rid of it all. I mean, why watch stuff that impedes my spiritual growth? Doesn't the Bible instruct us to be holy? Aren't we encouraged to hold on to a separate value system from the world's? And how can we do that if we are constantly feeding ourselves 'bad food'?
"...for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8

Well, last week I discovered online t.v. I could watch shows on the internet for free! I love action and adventure, so I began to watch a few new cop series. I had to stop the programs on two separate occasions because the language and content were questionable. Great self-control and discipline, right? Well, NOT really. The thought process leading up to my decision was both enlightening and disturbing.

Here's the thing. I WANTED to continue watching them. I was thoroughly engaged, on the edge of my seat, enjoying the action. My first thought was, 'It's not that bad.' My second thought, 'Don't let anyone/Andrew catch me.' My third thought, 'No one will know.' My last thought, 'But GOD will know.' Yikes. Seriously?! Yes, seriously. I was amazed at my reasoning process. The first thing I tried to do was convince myself that what I was watching wasn't all that bad. Then I thought about hiding. Then I tried to convince myself that I could keep it secret, after all I wasn't really doing anything all that bad. And shamefully, my last thought was of reality that GOD is all-seeing. Today, as I was reading the book of James, I came across this scripture:

"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." James 1:12-15

This made me think of the SUBTLETY OF SIN. So, what safeguards can we put in place to protect us from falling into temptation? Please share with us as we endeavour to encourage one another to run this race worthy of the calling of Christ. Click on the comments link below. We want to hear from you...and thanks!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Prayer Wall - May

Post your prayer request and we will pray for you.

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