29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. — Acts 17:29, 30 NIV
When we read scriptures about idol worship, we tend to think of those that worship statues or symbols of dead men or useless religions. While we may not have an image of the dollar setting on the mantle of the fireplace, we can still be worshiping all the things that money can buy. While we may not have statues of anyone in our homes or churches, we can still hold others in higher esteem than we hold Jesus. If someone asks you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or violates your beliefs and you go ahead and do it, you have placed that person above Jesus. Our work here is to do the will of the Father, not the will of those around us.
38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.– John 6:38 NIV
We are not in a popularity contest. Our goal should be to please our Father. If we do that, He will take care of us. If we are obedient and seek Jesus and His righteousness, He will handle all of the issues that satan puts in our way.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matt. 6:33 NIV
“All these things” is everything that we need to live a Godly lifestyle. Everything means every thing. Don’t stress out. Repent, Relax, Remember, Repeat.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
9 So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God.
–Hebrews 4:9 NLT
In Exodus, when God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, His plan was that they would enter into a land of milk and honey. They would eat crops they had not planted, drink water from wells they did not dig, and live in houses they did not build. In other words, God had prepared a place of rest for them. Because they were stubborn and refused to believe that God could and would deliver them, they disobeyed again and again. God became angry at their disobedience and refused to allow any of that generation to enter into the land of Canaan except for Joshua and Caleb. These two men had shown faith in God when all others refused to believe, thus they were allowed to enter into the land of rest. God’s plan was for man to work six days and then rest, just as He set the example in His acts of creation. His plan is for us to enter a period of rest when we leave this earth and then to reign with Him forever. But for us to enter that land of rest, we must accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Just as God showed grace to those in the Old Testament who believed, He shows us grace through faith. The difference being that He was the perfect sacrifice forever and there is now no need for another sacrifice of any sort. As believers, our place in the land of rest is assured by the blood of Jesus.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. — Psalm 42:8 NLT
This Psalm was written by the descendants of Korah. Korah, a cousin of Moses, was the one who led the rebellion against Moses during the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. He was the leader of the group that was killed when the earth opened up and swallowed all of the rebels. Not all of the sons of Korah rebelled. There was a remnant left to carry on the family name. This family had experienced both the wrath of God and His loving kindness. From these experiences, we can deduce that they understood that it is okay to complain to God as long as it is done in a respectful way. Just as this Psalm begins with how much they long for the goodness of God, then it proceeds to alternately complain and remember the blessings of God.
When we are complaining to God, it is good to mix in a little worship with the whining. It is good to recount the times He has blessed us and thank Him for those times. The writers of this Psalm question themselves. What reason do they have to be sad and discouraged ? We need to ask the same question and arrive at the same conclusion they did. If we put our faith and our hope in God, we won’t be sad and discouraged, but we will be filled with joy and praise for God and His goodness. We will long for His presence just as a thirsty deer longs for a drink of cool water. God’s presence is like an oasis in a desert of depression. Spend time in that oasis, drink deeply from the healing springs and thank Him for His goodness.
11 You will make known to me the path of life;In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. — Psalm 16:11 NASB
In our busy, busy world, we often think about just getting away from it all. Just go somewhere and relax, where we don’t even have to think about anything. Perhaps, at some time in the past, that was possible (I doubt it), but, not now. Why? Because we take everything with us. It fits easily in our pockets, it is lightweight and it is our umbilical cord to the world. We think we can’t live without it. I posit that we can’t truly live with it. It is time to cut the cord and relax in the arms of Jesus. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” So, to experience life, we must experience Jesus. To experience Jesus, we must spend time with Him, both in quality and in quantity. Time with Him and Him alone. While we do need time away from our jobs with just the family, we need time away from everything and everybody with just Him; Our God is a great God and a good God. Yes, we need to fear (as in respect) Him for who He is, but we also need to understand that He loves us and longs for our companionship. He longs for us to be focused and fully dependent on Him. So, if you are looking for real life, real peace and real joy, run to Him, curl up in HIs lap, marinate yourself in His presence and just experience His love. You will never want to leave that spot. It is totally impossible to live a life of joy and peace without being completely addicted to Jesus.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” — Matt. 11:28-30 NLT
37 Pilate said, “So you are a king!” Jesus answered, “You are the one saying I am a king. This is why I was born and came into the world: to tell people the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me.” 38 Pilate said, “What is truth?” After he said this, he went out to the crowd again and said to them, “I find nothing against this man. 39 But it is your custom that I free one prisoner to you at Passover time. Do you want me to free the ‘king of the Jews’?” 40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Let Barabbas go free!” (Barabbas was a robber.)—John 18:37-40 (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Jesus states that the purpose of His being be born and coming into the world was to tell people the truth. Now, Pilate asks the ages-old question–“What is truth?”
(Maybe this is where the old cliche comes from–“You wouldn’t recognize the truth if it was standing right in front of you.) Before Jesus answers this question, Pilate turns to leave and goes out to the crowd again. Does this remind you of anything that we do on a regular basis? We pray and earnestly seek God, then we get up and go about our business without giving Him time to answer our prayers. When we get to heaven, we will find out that Jesus answered all of our prayers, we just didn’t hang around to hear the answer. How rude of us! What if we were having a serious conversation with someone and just when we were getting to our point, they just got up and walked out of the room. We do it to Jesus all the time. Instead of being in such a hurry, take the advice of the Psalmist.
13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. 14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.—Psalm 27:13, 14 (NLT)
Don’t talk to God, talk with God. The first few minutes after talking with God, we need to just “be still and know that He is God”.