What Are Idols?

What Are Idols?

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.  (Deu 6:14)

Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.  (Deu 8:19)

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  (1 Joh 5:21)

What is an idol?  An idol can be a statue, a god or deity, a symbol, a hero, or an obsession.  Hollywood and movie industry stars can be idols for people, as can a certain model of a car, or a favorite brand of watch or any number of other things.

The key is, what is the most important thing in life to you?  What do you talk about the most?  What do you think about and dream of daily?  Around what are your goals centered?  Are you determined to achieve riches and fame?  Influence?  Do you dream of becoming a political influencer? 

Any of these things, and more, can become idols in a person’s life.  But God’s Word warns us strongly to stay away from these things.  Therefore, we need to take stock of our thoughts and to acknowledge what we value in our hearts. 

A follower of Jesus would value their relationship with their Savior more highly than any other thing in their lives.  Equally, Jesus’ followers would highly value the Word of God.  And of course, we also choose to honor and to consistently obey the teachings of the Bible. 

We may each joyfully pursue our relationship with our Lord, and endeavor to mature in faith in our Redeemer.  Life is all about Him—not about us.  Our true hero is Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Glory to God!

Glorify the Lord

Glorify the Lord

One of our assignments, as believers in Christ, is to glorify the Lord.  Let’s look at what the Scripture says.

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . .  (Lk 1:46-47 NIV)

I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 12 I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.  (Ps 77:11-12)

I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.  (Ps 86:12)

Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the coastlands.  (Isa 42:12)

Glorifying God means to acknowledge His impressiveness and to give Him respect by praising and worshiping Him.  We do this mainly because He alone deserves to be praised, honored and worshiped.

God’s glory is the core of His nature, and we give glory to Him by recognizing it.  In glorifying God, we exalt Him; we recognize and honor His deity; and we elevate Him above all else in our lives and in our thoughts.

Adoration [devotion, high regard, esteem] is also a component of glorifying God.  When we have this type of respect for God, our reverence is shown in ways that we can’t even perceive.  However, other people do notice it, and hopefully it will lead them to ask us for the reasons that we have for the hope that lies within us!

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.  (Isa 59:19 NKJV)

In the New King James Version, the word STANDARD represents a force, like a narrow flood, that flows with great speed and force, and carries away everything before it.  By the word of the Lord and by His power, the attack of the enemy shall be broken.

Here’s the same Scripture from two other versions of the Bible. 

From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.  (Isa 59:19 NIV)

So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.  (Isa 59:19 ESV)

The Lord’s power shall come like a rushing stream driven along by the wind of the Lord.  The WIND OF THE LORD signifies the power and might of the Holy Spirit. This word image allows us to image the majestic power and authority of our God.  He is worthy of all praise!

How appropriate is the passage in Jeremiah:

There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?  For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.  (Jer 10:6-7 ESV)

Whenever the Lord drives the enemy to flight as described in the verses above, it will trigger a wave of humanity glorifying God and giving Him thanks, praise and honor.

If your church, community or family comes under an unprecedented campaign against you, meditate upon Isaiah 59:19 and ask the Lord to bring it to pass in your situation.

Humility and Wisdom

Humility and Wisdom

Humility and wisdom are two attributes that are praised in the Scriptures.  Blessings are frequently mentioned in connection with them.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  (Pro 11:2 NIV)  Humility and wisdom are frequent companions!

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  (Jas 3:13 NIV)  This verse informs us that humility comes from wisdom.  As a matter of fact, a person with humility coupled with the fear of the Lord will experience riches, honor, and life.  (Pro 22:4)

Toward the scorners He is scornful, but to the humble He gives favor. The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.  (Pro 3:34-35 ESV)  To people who are humble, the Lord gives favor; and the Lord bestows honor upon the wise.

Only we are capable of humbling ourselves; no one else can do it for us.  When we humble ourselves, the Lord promises to exalt us.  (Jas 4:10 NKJV)  The Bible reminds us that if we don’t humble ourselves, the Lord will do it for us.  (Mt 23:12 ESV)

James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God for it because He will generously answer our prayer.  Scriptures state repeatedly the many blessings that God bestows upon those who are wise.  See Ps 111:10; Pro 3:13-18; 4:6-7; 14:16; 16:16; 24:3-7; Lk 21:15; Jas 3:17.

Because the end of the ages is approaching, all believers must live carefully and intentionally for the Lord.  Let us each take inventory of our strengths and our weaknesses; and if we are lacking in wisdom or humility, take steps to mend our ways. 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  (Eph 5:15-16 ESV)

Work is God’s Gift

Work is God’s Gift

This statement may shock you or surprise you:  Work is a gift from God!

And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.  (Eccl 5:19 NLT) 

Our work is a blessing to us because through it, we receive finances, satisfaction, and fulfillment.  We use our skills and talents to carry out our work, and we should actually enjoy making use of these talents.

The Bible shows us many, many passages that demonstrate that God, Himself, works.  Here are a few of those passages:

All men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider His doing.  (Ps 64:9)

Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.  (Ps 66:5)

I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.  (Ps 77:12)

In life, as we pursue an education, it is for the purpose of building skills, becoming trained, and uncovering our gifts and talents.  The more skilled and talented that we become, the more that we gain self-esteem, as well as a sense of purpose and accomplishment.  In this way, we are happy to acknowledge that we have contributed something good to the world.

When we work to a high level of skill and excellence, we bring glory to God and honor to His name.  When we work with a sense of joy and eagerness to discover solutions, we improve the environment of our workplaces.  In cooperating with and respecting our co-workers, we quietly acknowledge that we’re all made in God’s image. 

In such ways, we can contribute the love of God to those with whom we work, and thereby find favor in God’s eyes. 

The Treasure of Our Tongue

The Treasure of Our Tongue

There is a fairly well-known book titled The Treasure of Our Tongue authored by Lincoln Barnett, published in 1962.  This is the story of the English language from its obscure beginnings to its present eminence as the most widely spoken language, and it’s a very interesting book.

We, as believers, have another—even better—Treasure of Our Tongue

For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.  (Job 34:3, emphasis added)

My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.  (Ps 35:28)

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.  (Ps 37:30)

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  (Ps 34:1)

He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.  (Ps 40:3)

Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.  (Ps 54:2)

I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue.  (Ps 66:17)

My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits.  (Ps 71:15)

Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.  (Pro 21:23)

The treasure of our tongue, from these verses in the Bible, is our ability to praise God daily, and to speak of His righteousness not only to other people, but to ourselves!  Test the words of your mouth and determine if they edify others or put them in a negative frame of mind.  Proverbs 21:23 reminds us that when we guard our words, we keep ourselves out of trouble!

We have been given a new song, a song of praise, since our rebirth into God’s family.  The author of Psalm 54:2 invites the Lord to pay attention to the words that he speaks!  You must be very sure of yourself before you invite the Lord to pay attention to your words. You words would be full of praise and would speak forth the wisdom of God.

Psalm 71:15 states that the psalmist does not know the limits of God’s righteousness or His salvation.  What a positive, faith-filled declaration!  Let us join with the psalmist in lifting our voices in praise to God, and in glorifying His righteousness and his salvation.  This is an honor and a treasure that we believers have been given, so let us exercise it.  

A Relationship Picture

A Relationship Picture

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.  (Ps 91:15-16)

This verse is a word picture, to my mind, of Jesus’ relationship with every believer who pursues Him and values their salvation.  Here is the image this passage paints to me:

  • Jesus and I are in a dynamic relationship with each other. Glory to God!
  • I call upon Him in prayer, and He answers my every prayer and meets my need. Hallelujah!
  • Jesus is with me when I am in trouble, and He shows me the way to escape the trouble—which I do, because I obey Him.
  • Jesus honors me by hearing and answering my prayers, and by valuing my relationship with Him. He demonstrates the fact that He values our relationship by fulfilling His own Word to me.
  • Jesus has given me long life—not only on this earth—but also in the fact that I will live eternally with Him.
  • He has proven and validated His salvation to me. He has done that by:             (a) answering my prayers; (b) meeting my needs—in every area:  healing, finances, relationships, life’s complications; (c) always being with me; (d) upholding and sustaining my life; (e) giving me wisdom and revelations; (f) always loving me; and by (g) allowing me to be filled with His glory.

What God has done for me, He has also done for you!  Take inventory of how blessed you are, and rejoice, dear one.