Monthly Archives: December 2009

Universal Idols

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Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21
Most of us think of an idol as a statue of wood, stone, or metal worshiped by pagan people. But the concept of idolatry is much broader and far more personal than that. An idol is anything apart from God that we depend on to be happy, fulfilled, or secure.

In biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our heart on … in short, it is something we love and pursue more than God (see Phil. 3:19).

Adapted from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 104.

Food for Thought

????

When was the last time you heard a pull-out-the-stops sermon on idols? How about a straight-up-tell-it-like-it-is book on personal idols? What about a conversation over coffee that kinda-sorta-talked about idols?

Maybe every once in a while, but for the most part, we don’t like to talk about idols. As Ken reminds us, they are always something very personal.

The Food For Thought line above usually has a question of some sort to prompt reflection. This time it has nothing but question marks — four to be exact. Allow those four question marks to raise this question, “What are four things, besides God, that your heart is set on?”

In other words, take time and identify four idols in your life. Not your spouse’s life, or your co-worker’s, or your neighbor’s. Your life. Your idols. What are you depending on to be happy, fulfilled, or secure?

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1. self

2. son

3. hubby/control /church work

4. hobbies/exercise/me time

Musings on …. 1 Kings 19:11-18

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God’s Revelation to Elijah

11Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORDbut the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORDwas not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

13So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

15Then the LORD said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16Also you shall anoint Jehum the son of Nishim as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehum will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehum, Elisha will kill. 18Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

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God asked Elijah what he was doing there? Did God already know? Yes.

Elijah walks out to stand before the Lord and tells Him, he is left alone and they seek my life.

What does God tell Elijah? “Hey my prophet, get up and be happy!”

No, He tells him more bad news. Anoint some kings and prophets and they are going to kill everyone!

Oh Joy!!!

Yet God reserved 7,000 in Israel. Men who still worshiped the One True God.

Will things ever get better for Elijah? Will his depression ever lift?  Will his circumstances ever change?

Elijah is then sent to prophecy for the Lord, kill some more men and meet more kings. He gets  aprotegé, Elisha, just before he is taken up to heaven. Without seeing death.

I was going somewhere with these scriptures, I had initially thought God got right up to fixing Elijah’s situation, but as I read I found it He didn’t.

So what can we learn from Elijah?

Mary, Did You Know?

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Maybe because I’m a mom and thinking about Jesus being a real human with a mom and family, brings it a little bit more real to me.

WE watched The Nativity Story again this holiday season.

The part that struck a chord in my heart was when the angel told Mary she was to bring forth a child named Jesus and when the angel of the Lord told Joseph, Do not be afraid, for what is happening to Mary is God’s will (my paraphrase, of course) It hit me, they both knew the baby was going to save them, and they were the only ones who knew the baby Mary was carrying was something special, for all the nations, was from God.

Can you imagine, no one in the world was for them, she could of been stoned to death and they together knew. They had this secret, this crazy charge God had given them.

That knowledge had to help form a bond between them knowing they had to cling together for encouragment and love and support.Could they have really known the impact early on? Did they just obey their God that easy? It’s pretty amazing to me.

Compare this: God literally tells Mary and Joseph to have this baby that He will be special, he will be King and they obey.

to Today: millions of women knowingly kill their unborn children, not ever getting to know how special their child could have been…

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[and this portion of a post from last year]..

Mary knew her son was from God, was of God, but she know He was God?

Matthew 1:18-25

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel”(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

She knew his name meant God with us, she knew the king was being born in Bethlehem.

Did she think she had given birth to [just an earthly]  king?

Mary’s Song of Praise:

The Magnificat       Luke 1:46 And Mary said,“My soul magnifies the Lord,47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,and holy is his name.50 And his mercy is for those who fear himfrom generation to generation.51 He has shown strength with his arm;he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;52 he has brought down the mighty from their thronesand exalted those of humble estate;53 he has filled the hungry with good things,and the rich he has sent away empty.54 He has helped his servant Israel,in remembrance of his mercy,55 as he spoke to our fathers,to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

and in Luke:

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”  29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

My humble opinion is that she thought she was delivering a king into the world, a mighty king who believed unto the Lord God. A king who would save her people from roman rule. [but I could be wrong :)]

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

Luke 2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents  saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

Those of us who are blessed with children, think about how we are so proud and treasure things our child does or says up in our hearts. When a right choice is made, when a commitment to the Lord is spoken, when love is returned.

Can you even imagine having a sinless child?!?!?!?  Did she truly understand that the boy she delivered, would deliver her? If she didn’t know then, she knows now!

Praise the King of Kings!

the Home Engineer

Musings on …. 1 Kings 19:1-10

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Elijah Escapes from Jezebel

Elijah Flees to Horeb

1And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me,and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 3And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers! ”

5Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel F52 touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.”6Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.

9And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10So he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

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Sounds to me like good old Elijah is depressed, scared and running for his life, but yet not having the strength to go….

Sound like any of you?

Are you being harassed by someone or something?

Fearing for your life?

Fleeing from a great mess of trouble?

Struggling to make it through the valley on your own strength?

Have you ever prayed that you might die or at least be taken away from your troubles?

Feel alone and persecuted or isolated and damned?

Sounds like me.

Who shall we turn to when we feel like this?

to be continued…….

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

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We just got home from Leslie’s house and I had a couple glasses of wine.

We played some games and had lots of fun. I got heartburn and the hiccups. We then came home to open presents.

The one we were most worried about was the chainsaw carved bear we bought for jim. From a place in Allyn.

So far he loves it, it will sit on the porch of his man shed….. also got him a Home Depot gift certificate to finish the man shed so it will be ready to occupy. soon.

I’m looking forward to sitting out there reading and writing with no one to bother me.

Tomorrow we head out to the grandparent’s house, me to my parents house, and jim and Jesse to jim’s parents house.

Be blessed and joyful in the new year. God loves you.

Kristina

 

Advent Family Devotions: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

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Christmas Eve

Our Response

Put a large red candle in the center of the wreath and light it with the other four. Through the weeks the light of your wreath has grown brighter, and with the celebration of Christ’s birth the message becomes clearer: the Light of the World has overcome the darkness!! The Scripture readings for today focus on what our response should be.

John 8:12: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 9:4-5: As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6: And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Matthew 5:14-16: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

1 John 1:5-7: This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Carol: “Thou Dost Reign On High” No. 241 (Blue Trinity No. 170)

Christmas Day

Again, light all five candles. Read the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20. Have family members share what they have learned during your Advent devotions. Sing your favorite Christmas carols in joyous celebration because, in Isaiah’s words: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”  (Isaiah 9:2)