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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Idol Worshiper? Who? Me?

I like nice things. Who doesn't, right? In the society that we live in today, "things" abound. Cars, homes, things that fill the homes, clothes from Buckle (it's my fav.) 

So the question today is this... when does having nice things become serving nice things and count as worshiping idols instead of God? This questions plagued me after my bible reading today in Kings.  Quick back story:

The Children of Israel just can't seem to consistently get it right. They see the power of the Lord, they have a good king who serves the Lord and tears down all their foreign idols and they get back on the right track, then they get a bad king and they let other idols creep in again and down the path of God's anger they go. It really was a vicious cycle with these people. Kind makes me sick to read it. 

2 Kings 17:41 says: So these nations feared the Lord and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children's children--as their fathers did, so they do to this day.

It's that first line that got to me - "so they feared the Lord and ALSO served their carved images."
Do I do that? Serve the Lord and also serve the other "things" I hold important in my life.

I fear my answer is yes if I am honest. It is not purposeful, but I know it happens. 

Thinking hard on it makes my stomach turn. I have no desire to serve anything or anyone but the Lord, and yet our world creeps in and "things" take over the number one spot in my mind for a time. I can come up with excuses to make it seem not so bad, but in God's eyes - if something has taken His place in my life even for a moment, He is jealous and grieved. 

I am bought with a price. The precious price of God's only son and that makes me worth something to Him. Certainly worth more than any "thing" I have bought with a price. (TV, clothes, house, car, whatever...)

So I pose the question to you again: when does having nice things become serving nice things and count as worshiping idols instead of God?

Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves in the comment section,  hopefully after you have done a little self examination.

No Other Gods

©1993 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing
Words and Music by Brian Doerksen

Lord, break the power of idols 
Come and rule as king
Break the chains that bind us 
Come and rule as king

We will have no other gods
We will serve no other master but you
We will have no other gods
For it is written, worship the Lord, your God
and serve him only


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Solitude and Fresh Eyes

Going on a "working vacation" with your husband who works 50 hours during the  week and without your kids leaves a bit of alone time. I must admit that after 20 years of having children, I had forgotten what alone time was like. And I was not crazy thinking about having 7 days of it. But now that the time is drawing to an end, I have appreciated being thrust into it kicking and screaming. I believe God has spoken to me during this time and for that I am deeply grateful. 

Today, as I am working on the creative stuff for our fall series at church, I came across an email from Bob, who suggested a song for that series. I was familiar with the song but had not heard it in 20 years or so. As I looked it up on Youtube and began to listen - tears welled up in my eyes as the words sunk in deeply to my heart. 

I tend to go through my day, week, month year with not near enough thought to the enormity of the God I serve. The Jesus I am so in love with. The Holy Spirit that moves me.  I believe that the trinity of God, 3 in 1, become so familiar that I just get way to comfortable and begin to take Him for granted. 

While I believe like Abraham that we can be called the friend of God (James 2:23), God is also to be treated with awe and a holy fear. (Psalm 25:14)
While Jesus called the little children to his knee (Matthew 19:13), he also threw the money changers from the temple with a righteous anger. (John 2:13-15)
While the Holy Spirit is in us (1 Cor. 6:19), we are not to grieve Him, which I am sure I do without thinking on a daily basis. (Eph. 4:30)

So today, I listened to this songs with open ears and a tender heart and asked that God would reveal Himself to me in a new and amazing way. I hope He will do the same for you. What a MIGHTY GOD I serve. If you don't know Him, send me a message - i would be more than happy to introduce you!!

The Lion and the Lamb (you can listen here)

Who is He...The mightiest of all
Who is He...Creation trembles at His call
Who is He...The lowly sacrifice, who paid a victims price
His name is Jesus

Jesus...From the Father's own right hand
Jesus...Son of God and son of man
Jesus...Who died and rose again
Jesus...He's the Lion and the Lamb

Who is He...With the power none can tame
Who is He...That every foe would fear his name
Who is he...Who was humbly led away, to suffer that dark day
His name is Jesus

He's the lion and the lamb

He's the Lamb that was slain
He's the Lion that reigns
My Savior and King both the same

Who is He...With the eyes that burn like fire
Who is He...Oh the wonder He inspires
Who is He...Who bore the guilt and shame
For those who've gone astray
His name is Jesus

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Feasting in Arizona

I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love to eat it but hate to see the scale go up after I have consumed what I probably should not have. Vacations especially seem to exacerbate this issue. Not having to cook is a huge plus, but being in a hotel room where there is not refrigerator to store the "dogie bag" with the lefts overs kind of makes me want to clean my plate. (I am a bit scared to get on the scale when I return.)

Today alone I have been overtaken by the goodness of In-N-Out burger, which in my humble opinion is one of the greatest burgers known to man, AND my new found dessert love - a chocolate chocolate chip cake from a bakery called Nothing Bundt Cakes. You should totally look it up!!! Feast your eyes on the yumminess!

So it started my mind thinking about how many times I get wrapped up with the things of this earth that I think can not be topped and forget how much better the things God has waiting for me in heaven are. While I hope and pray there is an In-N-Out as well as a Nothing Bundt Cakes right down the golden street from my mansion in heaven, I know that the food at the wedding feast of the lamb will be so much more than my mind can even grasp. Why do I keep fixating on what can never satisfy me? How we should all long for the day that everything on earth will be eclipsed by His glory and nothing else will matter. Not even a burger and cake!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new. Also he said, Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. Revelation 21:3-5

Monday, July 5, 2010

Music - The Language of the Soul

Yesterday I had the pleasure of touring the Music Instrument Museum in Scottsdale AZ. Going in I was not sure quite what to expect. You know "museums", they tend to either be done really well or really badly. This one was a pleasant surprise. The building itself is a work of art and the contents are truly amazing. (Sorry I couldn't get a real photo)

Needless to say, for a musician, I was in a little bit of heaven for 2 hours. The experience included personalized headphones so that you could not only see but hear many of the instruments from literally around the world. They have rooms representing all of the continents and then broken down by county. I am not sure how many different instruments are contained in this building, but it is a true treasure.

My son has been talking about creating his own see-through guitar since he was about 8. Well, guess what I found? Sorry to burst his bubble about not being the first one to think of is - but it was really cool! I think one of the things that struck me most is that people truly make music on what ever is available. I saw some of the strangest instruments, things that most of us would not even put in the classification of an instrument and yet, here they were in a museum with a collection of some of the "finest" instruments in the world. Old gas cans, pop bottle tops, gourds, bent pieces of metal, wood, nylon, horse hair, skins, I could go on... One of the coolest things I saw was an electric guitar made in Africa from old gas cans with what we would term a "modern guitar neck." Sorry I don't have a picture (camera battery died), but not only did it look cool - it sounded AMAZING!! Whoda thunk? 

I will also include pics of two of the most "unusual" (for lack of a better word) instruments I saw. One made from a human tibia bone - you blew into that one - GROSS! and one made from a bull scrotum and bone. NICE! And I am not sure exactly how you play that one  kinda don't want to know. People across the world truly make music with what ever they have available to them. It kind of solidified my thinking that whether you consider yourself musical or not - music is in everyone of us. God put it there.

Music is a powerful thing. When listening to all the music from around the world, I was struck by the passion that was in it all. Without a spoken word, it had the power to convey joy, anger, sadness, hope and so many more emotions. I found myself laughing with the people in Africa as the celebrated, tense with the people of Samoa as they reenacted the Haka war dance and cry as I was moved by one of the most beautiful symphonic pieces I have ever heard. It made me really think about how narrowed my musical taste has become and long to branch out to give my spirit room to soar. 

I was also reminded about how the spoken word added to instruments can add power and move people. Many cultures that I had the privilege of catching a glimpse of used the spoken word added to music to pass stories down from generation to generation to instill values and keep the culture alive. Once again it reinforced that as a worshiper, I must KNOW the one I am singing and believe the words I am singing with my whole heart for it to hold the power that it should. 

With the power that music has been given by it's ultimate Creator, it is not wonder that it is to music I so often look for comfort, for healing, for joy and for inspiration. May your day be full of music that fuels your soul and allows it to sing to the glory of the one who gave you the song. I know mine will be!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Holy Discontent Wk. 7

OK - to start off I have to say that I had to skip our meeting this week due to a rehearsal so what I will write is purely from my reading, not the great conversation that I am sure occurred. So here we go...

This week focused on fanning the flame of your HD. One of the first things that jumped off the page to me was this - ...when a person is gripped by a powerful passion (or driven by a holy discontent), he or she literally enters into a completely different state of mind; in fact, they shift mental gears altogether and begin operating on an entirely new level.

To paraphrase much of the chapter, it is basically saying that if you are driven and passionate about your HD, it will demand that you pursue it with all you have got and if you don't it will eat you alive.

I can identify with that! It seems that the more I surrender to what God is stirring in me, the more passionate I get about it. One line I love in the book says "you could wake up one day and find yourself relocated to a place I've started to call life's "lunatic fringe," - I resemble that remark! I feel like some people look at me like I am a lunatic when I start going off about my HD. Can't help it! Sorry!!

Hybles also talks about moving from your "normal state" into the "fundamental state" (the place where you live and breathe your HD). He says that people will start to become attracted to the "thing" that you have, that passion. It becomes contagious and  you move to a place of "magnetic living." People will catch the fever and want to come along. 

It seems that maybe, that is how God intended it to be. When you are full of a passion HE fuels in your life and you exude it everywhere you go to everyone you come in contact with, people see you as different. People living in the mundane "normal state" long to move into that passionate "fundamental state" and have purpose in their lives. I think God furthers His mission in this way, through us. 

So, are you fueled up? Is passion oozing from your pores? If so, leave a comment and tell me all about it!

One more week left in the book. I bet it ends with a bang!


Today I am sitting in St. Arbucks far from home having a non-fat, extra-hot, with-whip, 1/2-pump, mocha-white mocha (how's that for an order - you may commit it to memory so that if you ever have need of a favor you will know I can be bought) and finding myself having a bunch of alone time to reflect. 

I find myself looking out the window at the people passing me by and wondering how many of them would consider themselves broken? Broken in some way, mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. How many are searching for literally God only knows what?

I know that I certainly fit in to the broken category in many ways. I guess we all do in our own way. We have sin to thank for that. But today I am finding myself broken in a different way. I find that God is breaking my heart in new ways for people who need Him. People who are broken because of this fallen world and don't know that only Jesus is the fix for that. 

I find myself holding back tears every few moments as I am touched by a song or a thought and know that I am not alone in my tears. God sheds them everyday for His creation that He loves so very much. Those that He longs to mend in various ways but will not turn to Him. His creation that turns away from Him to find fulfillment and healing in other things. 

So today, I welcome being broken. I embrace the tears and want to see my world as God does. I feel that unless I do, the people God puts in my path and on my heart will continue to be broken in a way that is not desirable. 

How long has it been since you took a good long look at the world around you and were broken as you saw it through God's eyes? Take some time and do it. Someones life could depend on it!

And if you are looking for a little light listening to spur you on, check out:
Mercy Me - Won't You be My Love
Hillsong Song - Hosanna
better yet- support the bands and go buy them on itunes :o)