On Idle

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“You can love these salt-dough cookies, but you can’t love them more than God. You can’t love anything more than God because then you would be worshiping idol’s.”

Emily ‘s quip while playing with salt-dough sounds ridiculous until you understand the heart behind it. The following Old Testament commandment has really taken root in her heart:

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. ~Exodus 20:3-6

Sunday drives to church she will ask, “Do those people love God? Are they worshiping idols?” as we pass softball and soccer fields. On the way to Clearwater Beach we pass through the Scientology capitol of the world. One of their tallest buildings always provokes the question, “Is that where people worship idols?”

I wish that the avoidance of idol worship was on the forefront of every believer, myself included. While professing Christians would gawk at the idea of bowing to a carved or wooden image, we daily encounter a world full of idols of the heart and mind.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.~1 Corinthians 10:14 (read the full chapter here)

Take a moment to consider the possible idols that we are tempted to worship in our day:

  • image
  • wealth
  • popularity
  • esteem
  • sensual pleasures
  • entertainment
  • food
  • sports
  • leisure
  • science-emphasized here because the claims of Darwinism are based on philosophical assumptions/preferences rather than repeatable scientific facts, laws, or discoveries contrary to Bill Nye the Humanism Guy’s* rants (here).

What comprises our idle time in action and in thought likely exposes idols our hearts most naturally drift towards. What comprises most of our waking time? What or to whom do our thoughts turn while driving, daydreaming, the free time in our mind?

 I have felt in the last two weeks a need to read the Bible more. I am constantly reading, but reading about the teachings of the Bible and reading the life-giving words of the Bible are two separate things. Indeed, if the the Body no longer knows and teaches God’s word, we are no better than salt that has lost its taste.

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When our minds are full of God’s Word then we open the door for meditation on God’s Word: the thinking on verses throughout our day. We equip ourselves with the Truth we need to return to during idle moments so that we make the most of our time. We will see the world and its lies exposed.

What thoughts does your mind turn to when on idle? What changes do you need to make in order to love God with all your mind and glorify Him with your thoughts? I am asking these same questions of myself friend.

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Bill Nye the Humanism Guy is a perspective piece written in the Jan.-March 2013 Answers Magazine

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Thankful in Rememberance

For ten years our family was unable to enjoy our backyard. Unfortunately our neighbors repeatedly ignored our association rules to “pick up the poop” after their dogs. Equally unfortunate was the fact that the favored potty was our own backyard. Although we have enjoyed new, responsible, and godly neighbors for the last year it seems even longer that we have enjoyed the blessing of running worry free through the grass as we play with the children.

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The years of biting our tongue, or conversely, saying too much in anger over the mess in the front yard (that would fall on my mouth), as well as the occasions we picked poop up ourselves, have all been replaced with a clean playground for the kids.

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Time is a tool that God uses to perfect the outworking of His Spirit in us. Had our neighbors cleaned up their act upon our first request, I am sure my current level of gratitude would be significantly diminished. The persistence of pestilence made the joy of relief all the sweeter.

One day the hardships, the temptations that seem more than bearable, and the suffering that is around us will all be overcome. There will be a time in the future we can reflect in thankfulness for the gift of the present. Faithful obedience in pain, and painstaking patience amidst trials will be rewarded either in this life or the next for those who trust in Christ Jesus.

Yesterday as I followed the children through the backyard a refreshing sense of thankfulness overcame me. God made our yard beautiful in His time so that we could enjoy the days with our children. Today, I am truly tankful in remembrance of this sweet smelling gift.

What does remembrance cause you to be thankful for today? What has God delivered you from or through that you can praise Him for with a grateful heart?

I pray this weekend is filled with thankful remembrance of all that He has done in your life. However, the greatest gift that we can say thank you for is the gift that matters most: The sinless blood of Christ was shed for the sinful acts of men. Those who believe on Christ for their salvation, confess and repent of their sinful acts and prideful heart, and profess Him as their Lord will one day join Him at Home.

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P. S. One additional mention of thanksgiving is of a heart transformation toward the task of laundry. You can read about that here.

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Lord Give Me Eyes to See

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In life, when  looking at something from a distance we often cannot make out what we see with exact clarity.

 “Circle, hand, flag, stable, cross…” Emily stated as she labeled each picture for the nurse administering the vision screening. The stable, really a cup, was discussed more closely and even revealed to Emily, but as she covered the other eye and read the symbols from right to left this time, she continued with, “cross, stable, flag, hand, circle.”

Perhaps it is the same with us adults? We see a situation looming in our near future or planted square in front of our noses and we have this ominous presence of anxiety about that which may happen.

Uncertainty can be a ferocious devourer of peace.

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For five months we have welcomed Little E into our family and hearts. We love and understand him more and more with each passing day, as he us. Recent progress made on the part of his family lead us to believe we will have him for only two months more. Right now we have many questions and concerns for him, for our children, and for ourselves:

How will the transition back to his own home and family affect him? How will it affect our children? What amount of time will we need a break before we invite another child into our home through foster care? How do I cope with the guilt of looking forward to some relief as a parent of three back to two and yet handle my own mixed emotions about losing the little one I have come to love? What if we need several months “off” before we are ready to again become the orphan’s advocate that foster care requires?

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These questions only target this one facet of our lives…we know many more people and situations that require constant prayer.

The anxiety levels can build as we look at the mess and needs around us. Its presence can pervade our days without our expressed knowledge but rather a feeling, a heaviness, that we desire to be freed from.

Thankfully, as both the nurse and I clearly saw the stable was a cup, God sees the struggles in our view as whatever cup they may turn out to be: cups of grace and mercy, deliverance from or deliverance through, or cups of pain and purification for His glory and our ultimate good.

He who was born in the household stable came to drink the cup of God’s wrath on our sin so we wouldn’t have to. Lord, please give us eyes to see, as your Son, the cup poured before us and let us say as He did:

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.

My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.

~Matthew 26:39, 42 (emphasis mine)

As we pray the Father’s will let us also claim His promises found in Philippians 4:6-7:

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be make known to God. And the peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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