May 26, 2017

I AM Free to Run … (Part 2 of 3)

1 Corinthians 10: 6-7, 13-14

These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.  So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.

Last night was another breakthrough in my media fast.  I went back to 1 Corinthians to review some of the Scriptures my pastor used in his sermon Sunday.  I want to talk about two things that kept revealing itself to me in the Scriptures above:

 

Idolatry – What is it? 

Idols – What are they?

 

Let’s start with idolatry first.

What is idolatry? 

The dictionary defines idolatry as:

    : the worship of a physical object as a god 

    : immoderate attachment or devotion to something

God instructs us in of 1 Corinthians 10:7 to not be idolaters, correct?   If so, we then need to ask ourselves if there are any idols in our life.  We need to start first by finding out what the word IDOL means.

The dictionary defines the word IDOL as:

idol

 noun \ˈī-dəl\

: a representation or symbol of an object of worship

 : a false god

I want to focus on the definition of “an object of worship”.  What does that mean to you?  The word worship means to praise something or someone; to honor; to put above.

In today’s world, there are many things that we worship, or idolize, that we may not even be aware of.  I’m talking about the things in our lives that we are “attached” to, can’t live without, we have to have every day, and so on.  These are things that if someone were to take them away from us we would not be happy at all!  These are things that we have become so attached to that they have become a part of our daily life without us even realizing it.  They are things that we think so highly of that sometimes nothing else matters and we get angry if anything comes in the way of us enjoying these things. Does anything come to mind when I say that?

Let’s take a look at some of the things that I am talking about and see if you recognize any of them:

  • Television
  • Money
  • Soap Operas
  • Romance Novels
  • Video / Computer Games
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol

And let’s not forget the ever popular Social Media:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Do any of these things mentioned above take a high priority in your life?  Ask yourself this question:  “If someone were to take any of these things out of my life, would it make me happy?”  If you answered NO to that question, then most likely this thing(s) are an idol in your life.

For me, I can see several things on that list:  Television, Money, Social Media, Games.  During this media fast that I am currently doing, I found out that taking away my Facebook or Pinterest is really a hard thing!  I really never realized how much I am on Facebook, and/or the reasons WHY I am on Facebook, until this fast!

Some of the reasons I like Facebook:

  • A way of connecting with family & friends (not a bad thing)
  • It’s a way to kill time
  • It’s a way to fill the void in my life
  • It’s a way to beat the loneliness

I have had to seriously look at the reasons why I was spending so much time on Facebook.  Was what I was doing on Facebook productive?  Most times, not.  It was just a way of killing time, or beating the boredom, or filling the loneliness.  Yes, I head up a Women’s Ministry where most of what I do is on Facebook, but I’m talking about the things outside of what I do in this ministry.  I was using Facebook to fill those voids in my life, when I actually should have been turning to the Lord!  Yes, I could hear God’s voice in the background asking for time with Him, but did I give it to Him?  Not always.  In fact, if I am going to be honest about all this, not a lot of the time!  I hate admitting that, but it’s the truth!  I was putting Facebook above God.  I was worshipping an idola false God was getting my worship instead of where my worship should have been going!

Can you see yourself in any of this?  I know I am not the only one.  If I were to come to your home and tell you that I was going to remove all of your televisions in your home for 30 days, how would you, and your family, react?  Would you panic?  Would you begin to get nervous?  Would you fight me to keep your televisions?  If so, your televisions are an idol in your home, and in your own life!

If I were to come to your home and tell you that I was only going to give you just enough money to pay your bills, buy groceries and gas, and a $25/week allowance, how would you feel?  Would you begin to panic?  Would you freak out wondering how you were going to buy all of those other things that you so desperately wanted, and just had to have?  I see another idol in your life!   Believe me, I am preaching to the choir here, too, Sister!!  I’m seeing these things in my own life, as well!  But I want to show you what the Lord has been teaching me about this, so that YOU can walk away from the idols, as well.

I’m not saying I am an expert in this area because this is all brand new to me, sort of.  I’ve known about all this stuff for many years, but to be honest, I’ve never really put them into practice.  I’ve just begun to realize how much of an idol certain things are in my life!  So I’m walking this journey along with you!  I just want to share what the Lord has laid on my heart, so you can begin to meditate on these things, too!

Matt6_24

I looked up the word mammon to get its true meaning.  It means: riches or material wealth.  But, I also looked at some synonyms of the word mammon.  This is what I found:

  • Possessions
  • Money
  • Gold
  • Almighty Dollar
  • Graven image
  • Idol

There’s that word again!!  Did you see it?  IDOL …  We just can’t get away from it, can we?

In verse 13 of 1 Corinthians 10, we are told that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able; that He will provide a way out.

Then in verse 14, we are told to flee idolatry.

If God is telling us to flee idolatry, and that He will provide a way out, we need to take Him at His word, and realize that it CAN be done! He isn’t going to tell us to do something if there isn’t a way to do it!  When I finally come to the decision that I am ready to remove the idols in my life, He will provide a way for me to handle the voids in my life!.  I need to trust that when I am struggling, all I need to do is pray and He will provide a way out.

I can choose to walk by the flesh and cave into these cravings for the idols in my life; or I can choose to walk by the Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.  The choice really is mine!

Ask yourself the same questions I’ve had to ask myself:  Is God really a priority in my life?  

I’ll be back Friday to finish up this quick series.  Until then, enjoy your 4th of July Holiday!

In His Love,

Christi

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 8 – Recycling the Pain (pgs 241-267)

Choice8_LHC

Galatians 6:1-2
My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself. You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.” (CEV)
At the beginning of this study in January, I had many comments on apprehensions, anxieties, and generalized worries about getting back in to the memories & experiences of the past. As the study progressed, I’ve been able to see transformations in our participants. Some have had small “AHA” moments on how the past has shaped today. Others have had eye-opening revelations. Where ever this study has taken you, God has blessed your life.
We are heading in to our final week of Life’s Healing Choices, but this is not the final week of our journey. John Baker tells us, in the Celebrate Recover Participant Guide 4, “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Instead of the focus remaining on healing your personal hurts, it’s time to consider how others can benefit from our experiences. Baker references “recycling the pain.”
Recycle — to adapt or convert something to a new use
When we faced the events that shaped our attitudes, addictions, thoughts or behaviors, we never would have imagined that good would come out of it. Romans 8:28 states: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)
God truly does have an amazing plan for His children. He does not sit around looking for ways to hurt us, complicate our lives, or bring us pain. This comes from our choices in life. But He does promise to use ALL things for His good purpose. So when I consider the experiences of my past, I need to look to ways my experiences can help others. What did I learn from these events that can be passed on to another, give hope and encouragement?
We’re reminded that God “does His best work through weak people”

2 Cor 12:7 -10 tells us, “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (The Message)
If you had asked me in 2001 what good would ever come from the chaos around me, I would have thrown up my hands and said “Nothing!” I never could have imagined that God would restore my heart and soul to the point of remarriage, blending families, and step-parenting. And, I certainly wouldn’t have ever guessed He would use me in a ministry position like Girlfriends Coffee Hour! But in the midst of everything, I didn’t blame God or accuse Him of doing things to me. I knew He didn’t want me to experience pain, but He promised to use whatever I did experience for the positive.
As a parent, I see the same type of things with my kids. I don’t sit around thinking of ways to inflict pain or hardship in their lives (though they may think otherwise with the household rules!), but I do know that their teenage minds will make decisions that sometimes bring painful consequences. My goal as mom is to help them learn from the experience, give suggestions to overcome, and help them move forward. There is a purpose behind all that we experience, whether we want to admit it or not.

God does the same for us through His Word, our interactions with fellow believers, and in daily prayers with Him. Baker shares that , “people are not helped by our strengths; they’re helped when we’re honest about our weaknesses … the proof that you are truly recovering is when you begin to focus outside yourself, when you stop being absorbed with your needs, your hurts, your problems. Recovery is evident when you being to say, ‘How can I help others?”” pg.242
This week we’ll look more closely at the following questions:

  • Why does God allow pain?
  • How can we use our pain to help others?

A few verses to ponder this week:
Ecclesiastes 4:9 -1 2 NLT
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. (The Message)

James 1:22 NLT
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

 

Your Reading Assignment this Week

Monday – Chapter 8 Sharing the Choice – Laurie
Tuesday – Why does God Allow Pain? – Leslie
Wednesday – How to Use our Pain – Kim
Thursday – Make the Choice – Amy
Friday – Recap of the week – Laurie

Let’s Pray:

Lord, we thank You because You are ever-present in our lives. No matter what we experience, You are there with us to give us strength, courage, comfort through each and every step. Even as we look to heal from our past experience, we can hold hope in Your promise to work ALL things for good in those who live according to Your will. As our Heavenly Father, You desire the best for Your children. Continue to guide us as we continue to learn more about trusting You. Amen.

Power Verses for Chapter 8
Matthew 10:8
Matthew 6:24
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Deuteronomy 4:9
James 2:17
Ephesians 4:1
2 Corinthians 3:18
Hebrews 10:24
Romans 12: 9, 13
Galatians 6:1
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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If you would like to send Amy a private email in regards to this blog, please email her at: Amy@girlfriendscoffeehour.com