A group of us Christians were gathered together in a bible study and the question came up as to what were some of the idols are in our life. There were many wonderful answers around the room that got us to thinking deeper. I always felt like my idol was the iPhone. But a few hours later after the class had been dismissed the question still was rattling around in my head and I came to the conclusion my idol was really “image”. Not the kind of image of how pretty we can make ourselves look but the image we create for others to believe when in reality we are something else. I want to be loved and accepted and to even appear to live perfect without stumbling but not at the cost of hindering my faith. The truth is I fail daily.
Everyone has a battleground that the enemy will meet us on. There is something that I have battled for a long time over and over that the enemy will not let go. He continues to try different tactics to cause further weakening. Call it “sin” call it whatever but yes it is a battle that the enemy finally gained enough ground to make it that much harder to overcome. I had prayed about it many times and even prayed as I fell into his trap. Does is matter what I did? No. Many people would say “Oh, that’s nothing, why would that be so bad?” But to me it was a big deal just as much as it would have been a big deal for the early Christians to eat the meat that had been previously offered as sacrifices. And then to make it worse it happened right before leaving for church. But you know what? I’m not happy about the failure but am thankful for the great lesson to be learned and blessing the Lord had for me.
On the way to church the enemy was doing the victory dance and having his great jubilee of screaming and laughing in my head of the failure. As the tears were streaming down my cheeks and thoughts running through my head on how I brought shame to the Lord. I prayed for forgiveness but the enemy challenged that as well and continued to recall it to memory over and over. No matter what, I was still going to church and serve him in spite of it all. When I walked into that door the overwhelming presence of love, grace and mercy called out from the cross. The songs they sang took on a deeper meaning to me and healing began. The bleeding lamb set before us to be offered so that we can be made alive and whole again. Power from God Almighty was there and in his presence he offered forgiveness and reconciliation. Deep love from Christ the Lord reached down and spoke from his word “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” Even though that will be another battle for us to replay our sins over again and again in our minds we must gain the victory that God does not even remember it and has cast it away as far as the east is from the west. He has already won the battle for us.
So for my life I want for my idol to be the “Image” of Christ Jesus. To be filled with his holy spirit, to bear the fruits of his love, peace, joy, longsuffering, being tender hearted to others and forgiving them just as Christ has forgiven me. Good godly and well-meaning people put so much pressure on each other to have a perfect walk with the Lord that we begin to live for each other instead of living for God. That is a living image or an “Idol” or my “sin” rather that I create for others and make them into the idol I worship instead of what we should do is live for God and be servants to each other.
God bless you all.
Crud, I’m trying to write and about 50 things start to go wrong . I figure it’s something that the enemy does not want anyone to hear about so he decides to hinder me so that I’ll give up. Typical to say the least.
Over the Thanksgiving Holiday our family had a wonderful time getting together for our very large family feast. It was a wonderful time of thanks and sharing fun stories of old times. We did our family portrait that has grown in larger numbers every year. What a wonderful time of making lifelong memories with the people I love the most.
Something happened that really got me to thinking a little deeper… and you all know that I can be a very deep thinker. (lol) Now you must understand that I’m not trying to pick one person out because this did not happen with one person but several and not the first time that I have encountered this before with many different people. Let’s say “This ain’t my first rodeo” so to speak.
When we are all setting down together sharing laughs and playing on our smart phones having a great time, I asked one of my sweet friends if I could look at some of their pictures of their kids that they have one their phone. No big deal right? The response is usually followed by “Sure if I can monitor which pictures you look at.” Is there something on their phone I do not need to see? Then their whole face changes and the squirm and nervousness begins to take hold. “Well Missy I just know you’re a Christian and I don’t want you to see any of the bad things that my other friends have sent me as a joke.” Hmmmmmm, isn’t that how is usually is that our other friends would sent us stuff but we would never… and I mean never have that on our phones unless someone was just was sending it as a joke. Right?
Now first off I must asked “what does it really matter what I personally think in the first place?” Of course I’m not trying to be nosey or pry into some ones personal life to begin the judging process. That is not my place nor ever will be. But, I have to say what a wonderful compliment that people view me as such and sees something in my character that would somehow convict them of their wrong doing. It is an honor to be identified as such and I’m very thankful for that but this truly is not about me or how I think or what I may say. But this really gets me to thinking how we all lack the accountability of other. Today with the vast availability of smart phones we are able to view anything we want to in the privacy of our house, cars, office, etc. without anyone knowing. The problem is we are so attached to our phones that we even sleep with it next to our beds. We are the only ones who have it all to ourselves without having to worry about anyone ever picking it up just to see what we are viewing. This became such a problem with home computers that many families choose to keep it in complete view for all to see. But the phone is a more powerful tool than a regular desktop would ever be and can be kept in your pocket. You can get on the internet in you bathroom at work!
But getting back to heart. We all need someone for an accountability partner. Whether we want to dwell on it or not some day we all will stand before the most Holy Lord God and he will ultimately judge us for our good works and bad. He is the one that we need to worry about. It is not “I” or your friends or even your accountability partner because in the end we are all standing there together. And when he says to you….”My child, let me look into the photos and scenes of your life to see what you have been doing…..” It will not be a time to squirm or get nervous and say to the Lord “Hold on Lord… Let me delete something because I am to ashamed for you to see me for what I have been doing……” It is high time friends for each one of us to clean up the closets of our lives.
When your standing alone with God and he asked you that question your responds needs to be “Lord, I have done my best but you know that is not good enough. I have failed you many times and been tempted by the lust of the world. Lord, I could never make it on my own but while I was on Earth I surrendered to the cross and on my knees of knowing that I could never be good enough i looked to your son hanging there. He was innocent but he took my place and I asked that he apply the blood he spilled out for my life. Lord, don’t look at my life but look at his for he took my place.”
We all need each other for accountability. And as the Christmas Holiday is upon us, let us remember that there was a savior that was born into the world was perfect and humble in every way and he so graciously took that punishment for each one of which we would have deserved.
May the Lord Bless your heart this season.
Anyone who has spend any amount of time with me will quickly learn that I am the “Angel of Death” when it comes to trees. I’m not talking about trying to grow them and not having the “green thumb” so to speak. More like if the tree don’t fit into my master plan it is cut down and thrown into the lake of fire. You may laugh but this is very true. When we moved to our property 3 years ago I was determined to have every pine and sweet gum tree cut. Over 120 trees lost their lives in my path of destruction but the end result was a masterpiece.
Trees mean a lot more than just to provide shade and homes for the birds. Often times they are referred to in the bible as people. Just a few weeks ago I published a story “Different, but yet the same” that spoke about pine trees and how they can be compared to the Christian life. Their lives can tell the story of the death, burial, and resurrection of the life of Christ. Or you may be thinking how it tells the stages of our lives thru spring, summer, fall, and winter. It is the great circle of life and the very intelligence hidden within them comes from God. Trees are fascinating creations that appear to be hands springing forth from Earth reaching up to the heaven to praise God.
Now in this mindset let’s look deeper at how my destruction can give you perhaps a deeper revelation.
As any young couple with their first new place would be, we were excited to get started on the projects and making the place our own. Looking back now if this old place didn’t hold sentimental value from a dear friend who passed we would have never considered buying it and taking on the renovations it needed. It was so overgrown in pines and gum trees, prickly thorns, and the poison ivy was just unreal. Since we were not able to see our neighbor’s house we thought, “hey, let’s go down and meet them.” We knocked on the door and after a brief introduction the first thing she asked was “Are you going to cut those trees?” We had the best laugh. Bless her heart, they had lived there for years dealing with the mess of the pines shedding and doing damage to their driveway. We can so easily identify with them as Christians who are praying for the hope of redemption from being heavily burdened by sin of the world. The thorns and the Poison Ivy represents all the adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, and revellings of what we as Christians have to deal with. It was a relief for us all to get rid of these burdens.
So our journey continues as we walked out into our field and marked each tree that was to be saved. Then we sent our workers out into the fields and told them to cut down every tree that was not marked with that red tag nor save any tree that other tree that would not bare good fruit. We had them push the rubble into big piles to be burned. Then all the stumps were to be ground up and remembered no more. It was like the Angel of Death moved across and judgment fell upon the land. This just reminds me of how God will do in the same in his great judgment for those who are not covered with the blood of the lamb and who bare his holy spirit. All of those poor trees lost their lives but one pine still stood. Now why do you think that I choose that one out of all of them to keep? It’s actually interesting but that tree was originally on the list to be cut. At the very end when it became its turn, something caught my eye and I took a liking to it. Now that tree stands strong and is a beautiful reminder of the “thief on the cross” and how he found favor with the Lord at the end of his life.
We then had a fence built with large gates on each side of our property. All the old went away and the new trees were planted. Have you ever heard of story of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13? I became that sower and scattered the seeds to the new trees all over. Some fell on rocky places, some were scorched and withered, some were chocked out from the other plants, but then there were the strong that took to the ground and sprang up in the ground. Once they began to grow and become deeply rooted it was pleasing. Then I decided to test their strength and send trials upon them. The ground was not smooth enough to mow easily so I asked my husband to take a tractor and devastate the ground once again to smooth it out. He asked, “honey, what about all the work you put into replanting the new trees, will they not all die?” I thought to myself “maybe they will but the ones who survive this will be the cream of the crop and will be worth saving.” Amen? Now think of this isn’t that how we become his bride? Trials will come and about the time you start to grow a little here comes another trial to mow you down. Stand firm on the ground get deeply rooted into the word of God. It reminds me of “but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” Matthew 24:13. “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
So now that the dust has settled and I look out across the land. I notice this little gum tree trying to grow up in the fence line. He’s growing up on both sides and thinks he is safe!!! That is annoying and of course he has got to go, but what can we learn from him. How many Christians do you know that think they can have one foot in the world with their drinking parties and adulterous relationships and then have one foot in the kingdom and come to church on Sunday? They join that church or organization thinking that will cover them enough to be safe. No!!! Hypocrite!!! Just remember the Lords words in Matthew 7:23 will echo in their ears, “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Well, in a way you can’t fault the little guy for trying because it sounded like a good idea at the time, but in the end he was cut down.
Now we have to move and were unable to finish up the remaining cleanup of the trees in the front yard. There are many oaks planted in the mist of the pine and gum trees. Even though it is a small remnant we plan is to save them but they will have to go through the destruction when we return in four years. Think of these trees remaining as the Great Tribulation Saints. They will be saved but look at the destruction that will be all around them that they have to witness and endure when the Lord returns. What about the dead trees on the outer perimeter that belong to the county that are peering over in to my land? These trees can be thought of as the souls that are in prison who never belonged to the master in the first place who are crying out across that great gulf and can never enter in.
It is just fun to take the life of a tree, study it, and apply it to the Christian life. You may never look at them the same again. Each has it’s own purpose and can tell the great story. I think of the little persimmon tree; had it been given more light (which is revelation) it would have grown twice its size. Or I think of the old pecan tree that had fed so many through the years (which is the seasoned pastor). One tree planted here is a cedar that someone took a chain and wrapped around and forgot about removing it later. The chain grew so deep into the tree and bark that it nearly died. Doesn’t that remind of you someone who has heard a wrong teaching and then battled the chains of legalism to the point it has choked them out from growing to their fullest? Even the tiny sapling can represent the new believer. But the greatest of all is the 200 year-old Red Oak can reminds us of our grandparents who have left each generation with their legacy. Even when a tree sheds its dead limbs (sin) it will reproduce a new one in its’ place (this is the new nature).
I hope you will have fun with looking at trees in a different likeness. Think about its purpose and how it applies to your own life. I realize we each have our own faith. Many lose fellowship because of our differences. My goal is not to get you to believe the way that I do but only to perhaps spark an interest in getting to know the Lord more. I can’t answer for you nor can you answer for me. And none of us can go hanging on the back of our mothers’ skirt. It is an individual decision and my hope is you become deeply rooted and can place your identity in him.
Can you see the parallel of the masterpiece?
May the Lord bless you,