A King’s Testimony

Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony:

King Nebuchadnezzar’s message to all the peoples, nations, and languages inhabiting the entire earth: “I wish you much peace. I’m delighted to share the signs and miracles that the Most High God has worked in my life.

His signs are superb!
His miracles so powerful!
His kingdom is everlasting.
His rule is for all time.
“While I, Nebuchadnezzar, was safe in my house, content in my palace, I had a terrifying dream. My thoughts while I was lying in bed and the vision in my mind overwhelmed me. I ordered all Babylon’s sages to come before me, so they might tell me the dream’s meaning. So the dream interpreters, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners came. I told them the dream, but they couldn’t interpret it for me. Daniel, who is called Belteshazzar after the name of my god, was the last to come before me. In him is the breath of the holy gods! I told Daniel the dream:

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
“Belteshazzar, chief of the dream interpreters, I know the breath of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Tell me the meaning of the visions I had in my dream. In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw a vision:

At the center of the earth was a towering tree.
The tree grew in size and strength;
it was as high as the sky;
it could be seen from every corner of the earth.
Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant;
it had enough food for everyone.
Wild animals took shade under it;
birds nested in its branches.
All living things lived off that tree.
“In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw another vision: A holy watcher came down from heaven. He proclaimed loudly:

‘Cut down the tree and shear off its branches!
Strip its leaves and scatter its fruit!
The creatures should flee from its shelter;
the birds should take flight from its branches.
But leave its deepest root in the earth,
bound with iron and bronze in the field grass.
Dew from heaven is to wash it,
and it must live with the animals in the earth’s vegetation.
Its human mind is to be changed:
it will be given the mind of an animal.
Seven periods of time will pass over it.
This sentence is by the watchers’ decree;
this decision is the holy ones’ word
so that all who live might know
that the Most High dominates human kingship.
The Most High gives kingship to anyone he wants
and sets over it the lowest of people.’
“This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. So now Belteshazzar, tell me the meaning because all the sages in my kingdom were unable to interpret it for me. But you are able to do it because the breath of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel interprets the visions
Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was shocked for a bit. What he thought about frightened him.

The king declared, “Don’t let the dream and its meaning scare you, Belteshazzar.”

Then Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish the dream to be for those who hate you and its meaning to be for your enemies! The tree you saw that grew in size and strength, that was as high as the sky, that could be seen from every corner of the earth, with its beautiful leaves and its abundant fruit, and that had enough food for everyone, with wild animals living under it and birds nesting in its branches— Your Majesty, that tree is you! You have grown large and become powerful. Your greatness is as high as the sky; your rule extends to the edge of the earth!

“Your Majesty, the holy watcher you saw coming down from heaven, who said, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its deepest root in the earth, bound with iron and bronze in the field grass, dew from heaven is to wash it, and it must live with the wild animals until seven periods of time pass over it’— Your Majesty, this is the dream’s meaning: It is the sentence of the Most High, delivered to my master the king. You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle and will be washed by dew from heaven. Seven periods of time will pass over you, until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants. And when he said to leave the deepest root of the tree—that means your kingship will again be yours, once you acknowledge that heaven rules all. Therefore, Your Majesty, please accept my advice: remove your sins by doing what is right; remove your wrongdoing by showing mercy to the poor. Then your safety will be long lasting.”

Visions come true
All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later, he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon. The king declared, “Isn’t this Babylon, the magnificent city that I built as the royal house by my own mighty strength and for my own majestic glory?”

These words hadn’t even left the king’s mouth when a voice came from heaven: “You, King Nebuchadnezzar, are now informed: Kingship is taken away from you. You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s sentence was immediately carried out. He was driven away from other humans and ate grass like cattle. Dew from heaven washed his body until he grew hair like eagles’ feathers and claws like a bird.

Nebuchadnezzar is restored
“At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes to heaven. My reason returned to me, and I praised the Most High. I worshipped and glorified the one who lives forever because his rule is everlasting; his kingdom is for all time. All of earth’s inhabitants are nothing in comparison. The Most High does whatever he wants with heaven’s forces and with earth’s inhabitants. No one can contain his power or say to him, ‘What do you think you are doing?’ So at that moment my reason returned to me. My honor and splendor came back to me for the glory of my kingdom. My associates and my princes wanted to be with me again. Not only was I reinstated over my kingdom, I received more power than ever before.

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, worship, magnify, and glorify the king of heaven. All his works are truth, all his paths are justice, and he is able to humble all who walk in pride.”

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~ Daniel 4 Common English Bible (CEB) / Picture by Magda Ehlers

What A Mighty God We Serve

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God Confronts Job

And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:

‘’Why do you confuse the issue?

Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about?

Pull yourself together, Job!

Up on your feet! Stand tall!

I have some questions for you,

and I want some straight answers.

Where were you when I created the earth?

Tell me, since you know so much!

Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that!

Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?

How was its foundation poured,

and who set the cornerstone,

While the morning stars sang in chorus

and all the angels shouted praise?

And who took charge of the ocean

when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?

That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds,

and tucked it in safely at night.

Then I made a playpen for it,

a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose,

And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place.

Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’

“And have you ever ordered Morning, ‘Get up!’

told Dawn, ‘Get to work!’

So you could seize Earth like a blanket

and shake out the wicked like cockroaches?

As the sun brings everything to light,

brings out all the colours and shapes,

The cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked

they’re caught in the very act!

“Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things,

explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean?

Do you know the first thing about death?

Do you have one clue regarding death’s dark mysteries?

And do you have any idea how large this earth is?

Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer.

“Do you know where Light comes from

and where Darkness lives

So you can take them by the hand

and lead them home when they get lost?

Why, of course you know that.

You’ve known them all your life,

grown up in the same neighbourhood with them!

“Have you ever travelled to where snow is made,

seen the vault where hail is stockpiled,

The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness

for times of trouble and battle and war?

Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,

or to the place from which the wind blows?

Who do you suppose carves canyons

for the downpours of rain, and charts

the route of thunderstorms

That bring water to unvisited fields,

deserts no one ever lays eyes on,

Drenching the useless wastelands

so they’re carpeted with wildflowers and grass?

And who do you think is the father of rain and dew,

the mother of ice and frost?

You don’t for a minute imagine

these marvels of weather just happen, do you?

“Can you catch the eye of the beautiful Pleiades sisters,

or distract Orion from his hunt?

Can you get Venus to look your way,

or get the Great Bear and her cubs to come out and play?

Do you know the first thing about the sky’s constellations

and how they affect things on Earth?

“Can you get the attention of the clouds,

and commission a shower of rain?

Can you take charge of the lightning bolts

and have them report to you for orders?

What Do You Have to Say for Yourself?

“Who do you think gave weather-wisdom to the ibis,

and storm-savvy to the rooster?

Does anyone know enough to number all the clouds

or tip over the rain barrels of heaven

When the earth is cracked and dry,

the ground baked hard as a brick?

“Can you teach the lioness to stalk her prey

and satisfy the appetite of her cubs

As they crouch in their den,

waiting hungrily in their cave?

And who sets out food for the ravens

when their young cry to God,

fluttering about because they have no food?”

“Do you know the month when mountain goats give birth?

Have you ever watched a doe bear her fawn?

Do you know how many months she is pregnant?

Do you know the season of her delivery,

when she crouches down and drops her offspring?

Her young ones flourish and are soon on their own;

they leave and don’t come back.

“Who do you think set the wild donkey free,

opened the corral gates and let him go?

I gave him the whole wilderness to roam in,

the rolling plains and wide-open places.

He laughs at his city cousins, who are harnessed and harried.

He’s oblivious to the cries of teamsters.

He grazes freely through the hills,

nibbling anything that’s green.

“Will the wild buffalo condescend to serve you,

volunteer to spend the night in your barn?

Can you imagine hitching your plow to a buffalo

and getting him to till your fields?

He’s hugely strong, yes, but could you trust him,

would you dare turn the job over to him?

You wouldn’t for a minute depend on him, would you,

to do what you said when you said it?

“The ostrich flaps her wings futilely—

all those beautiful feathers, but useless!

She lays her eggs on the hard ground,

leaves them there in the dirt, exposed to the weather,

Not caring that they might get stepped on and cracked

or trampled by some wild animal.

She’s negligent with her young, as if they weren’t even hers.

She cares nothing about anything.

She wasn’t created very smart, that’s for sure,

wasn’t given her share of good sense.

But when she runs, oh, how she runs,

laughing, leaving horse and rider in the dust.

“Are you the one who gave the horse his prowess

and adorned him with a shimmering mane?

Did you create him to prance proudly

and strike terror with his royal snorts?

He paws the ground fiercely, eager and spirited,

then charges into the fray.

He laughs at danger, fearless,

doesn’t shy away from the sword.

The banging and clanging

of quiver and lance don’t faze him.

He quivers with excitement, and at the trumpet blast

races off at a gallop.

At the sound of the trumpet he neighs mightily,

smelling the excitement of battle from a long way off,

catching the rolling thunder of the war cries.

“Was it through your know-how that the hawk learned to fly,

soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts?

Did you command the eagle’s flight,

and teach her to build her nest in the heights,

Perfectly at home on the high cliff face,

invulnerable on pinnacle and crag?

From her perch she searches for prey,

spies it at a great distance.

Her young gorge themselves on carrion;

wherever there’s a roadkill, you’ll see her circling.”

God then confronted Job directly:

“Now what do you have to say for yourself?

Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?”

Job answered:

“I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me.

I should never have opened my mouth!

I’ve talked too much, way too much.

I’m ready to shut up and listen.”

Job 38-40 (MSG)

He Didn’t Throw Me Away

“A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out…” – Isaiah 42:3

Empty and broken, I came back to Him
A vessel unworthy, so scarred with sin.
But He did not despair…He started over again
And I bless the day, He didn’t throw the clay away.

Over and over, He molds me and makes me,
Into His likeness, He fashions the clay.
A vessel of honor, I am today,
All because Jesus didn’t throw the clay away.

He is the Potter…I am the clay
And molded in His image, He wants me to stay.
Oh, but when I stumble…
When I fall…
When my vessel breaks,
He just picks up those pieces,
He does not throw the clay away…

Over and over, He molds me and makes me,
Into His likeness, He fashions the clay.
A vessel of honor, I am today,
All because Jesus didn’t throw the clay away.

A vessel of honor, I am today,
All because Jesus didn’t throw the clay away.

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Lyrics by Terri Gibbs / Photo by Marina Shatskih from Pexels

Religious or Spiritual?

Our goal is to become more Christ-like in character “…For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” ~ Romans 8:29

“If you are more interested in going to meetings than in crucifying the flesh (Gal. 5:24), you are religious, not spiritual.

If you are more interested in reading your Bible every morning than in controlling your tongue the whole day, you are religious, not spiritual.

If you are more interested in fasting and prayer than in being free from the love of money, you are religious, not spiritual.

If you are more interested in evangelism than in personal sanctification, you are religious, not spiritual.

All the activities of religious people mentioned in the above examples are good. But it is a question of priorities. It is right priorities that makes a man spiritual.”

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** Quote by Brother Zac Poonen / Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

5 Sins Jesus Hated Most

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

As we grow spiritually, we will discover that the righteousness of God is not primarily external, and that sin too is not primarily external. When we talk about righteousness, most people think of the standard mentioned in the ten commandments. But righteousness under the new covenant is measured by the life of Jesus and not by any written Law. When we consider the sins that Jesus spoke against the most, we will discover what He hated the most. As we consider five such sins, we will see that none of them are listed in the ten commandments!!

1. Hypocrisy

To be a hypocrite is to give others the impression that we are holier than we actually are. It is the same as being false, or telling a lie. Jesus pronounced a curse on hypocrites seven times in Matthew 23:13-29. It is possible to tell a lie without even opening our mouths. Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit without saying a word – when he pretended to be a wholehearted disciple of Jesus (Acts 5:1-5).

Jesus told the Pharisees that their inner life was “full of self indulgence” (Mt. 23:25) – which meant that they lived only to please themselves. Yet they gave others the impression that because they knew the Scriptures well and fasted and prayed and tithed their income, they were very holy. They appeared very pious externally. They prayed lengthy prayers in public, but they did not pray at length in private – just like many today. It is hypocrisy if we praise God only on Sunday mornings, but do not have a spirit of praise in our hearts at all times. God looks at our hearts. The wise virgins had a hidden reserve of oil in their vessels while the foolish ones had only enough to light their lamps externally and have a good testimony before men (Mt. 25: 1- 4). When we hear of a Christian leader suddenly falling into adultery, we must realise that that was no sudden fall but the final result of a long period of unfaithfulness in his inner life. He was a hypocrite for long!

2. Spiritual Pride

Spiritual pride is the most common sin to be found among those who pursue after holiness. We all know the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee who despised others even in his prayer (Luke 18:9-14)! It is more than likely that 90% of all prayers offered in public by believers are primarily meant to impress others who are listening and not prayed to God at all. The Pharisee in the parable may not have been evil like other sinners in his external life. But Jesus hated the pride with which he thought of his spiritual activities and with which he despised others. It is spiritual pride that makes believers constantly judge other believers.

The tax collector however, who saw himself as THE sinner – worse than all others – was accepted by God. All who have come face to face with God will have seen themselves at some time, as the chief of sinners. Jesus taught that the greatest person in heaven would be the humblest (Matthew 18:4). The greatest virtue found in heaven is humility. We see in the book of Revelation that all those who receive crowns in heaven are quick to cast them down before the Lord acknowledging that He alone deserves every crown (Revelation 4:10,11).

Jesus said that even if we managed to obey EVERY SINGLE commandment of God, we would still be unprofitable servants who had not done anything more than what was expected of us (Luke 17:10). Then what shall we say about our condition when we fall so often!

3. Impurity

Impurity enters into our hearts mainly through our eyes and our ears. This impurity then comes OUT from our hearts and expresses itself through the various members of our bodies – primarily through our tongues and our eyes. Anyone who seeks to be pure must therefore be especially careful about what he sees and what he hears. Jesus hated impurity so much that He told His disciples that they should be willing to pluck out their right eye and cut off their right hand rather than sin with those members (Matthew 5:27-29).

When do doctors recommend the amputation of the right hand or the surgical removal of an eye? Only when things have become so bad that without the removal of these organs, the whole body would die. This is what we need to understand in relation to sin as well. Sin is so serious that it can imperil our very life. Most believers have not realised this and that is why they are careless in the way they use their tongues and their eyes. We must be as blind men and as dumb men when tempted to sin with our eyes and our tongues. This is the implication of Jesus’ words.

4. Indifference To Human Need

Jesus was angry when the leaders of the synagogue did not want Him to heal a man, just because it was the Sabbath day “He was deeply disturbed by their indifference to human need” (Mark 3:5 – Living).

We are commanded to do good to all men, especially to the children of God (Galatians 6: 10). Jesus taught that those who did nothing to help their brothers who were in need of the basic necessities of life, would be cast out of His presence in the final day (Matthew 25:41-46). We may not have the gift of healing to heal sick believers. But we can all certainly visit those who are sick and encourage them. That’s all the Lord asks of us.

The rich man went to hell because he did not care for his brother Lazarus, who was a fellow Jew and a fellow son of Abraham. The priest and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan, were exposed as hypocrites by Jesus because they did not show compassion on their fellow- brother- Jew who was lying on the roadside wounded. The Bible says that those who see their brothers in need and who are not moved to help them do not really have saving faith (James 2:15-17). They are only deceiving themselves when they say that they are born again; they are not. Those who do not help their brothers in need cannot possibly have the love of God dwelling in their hearts (1 John 3:17) . Jesus spoke out strongly on such matters because He hated the attitude that many religious people had who were concerned only with religious activities but not with helping their needy brothers.

5. Unbelief

The four sins that we have already mentioned can easily be identified as sins by all believers. But when it comes to unbelief, almost all believers think of it, not as a sin but as a weakness. And therefore they don’t learn to hate unbelief as they hate other sins.

But the Bible speaks of an unbelieving heart as an EVIL heart (Hebrews 3: 12) Jesus rebuked His disciples seven times for unbelief. (See Matthew 6:308:2614:3116:817:17-20Mark 16:14Luke 24:25). It seems that He almost never rebuked His disciples for anything else!!

Unbelief is an insult to God, because it implies that God does not care or provide for His children even as much as evil fathers on earth care and provide for their children.

There is also a counterfeit faith being preached these days, as a means of getting things from God. But that is not the faith that Jesus preached. He wanted us to have faith to live by, in our daily life. Victory over depression, bad moods and discouragement can come only as we have faith in a loving Father in heaven and in the wonderful promises He has given us in His Word.

Twice we read of Jesus being amazed – once when he saw FAITH and once when He saw UNBELIEF!! (Matthew 8:10Mark 6:6). Jesus was excited whenever He saw faith in people. And He was disappointed when He saw people unwilling to trust in a loving Father in heaven.

Now That We Know

Now that we have understood what Jesus hated the most, it should be our aim to hate these five sins too. As we discover these sins in our lives, we must crucify them ruthlessly.

Many preachers read articles like this regularly, only in order to get points for their sermons. Let me warn all such: Satan will tempt you to use this article just to get five points for a sermon! But what you need to do, first of all, is to hate these sins thoroughly in your own life.

Then you will be able to proclaim God’s Word with authority. Otherwise you will only be a Pharisee like many other preachers in the world.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 

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**By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

Picture by Magda Ehlers at pexels

The Hammer, The File and The Furnace

So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
~ 1 Peter 1:7

The hammer is a useful tool, but the nail, if it had feeling and intelligence, could present another side of the story. For the nail knows the hammer only as an opponent, a brutal, merciless enemy who lives to pound it into submission, to beat it down out of sight and clinch it into place. That is the nail’s view of the hammer, and it is accurate except for one thing: The nail forgets that both it and the hammer are servants of the same workman. Let the nail but remember that the hammer is held by the workman and all resentment toward it will disappear. The carpenter decides whose head will be beaten next and what hammer shall be used in the beating. That is his sovereign right. When the nail has surrendered to the will of the workman and has gotten a little glimpse of his benign plans for its future it will yield to the hammer without complaint.

The file is more painful still, for its business is to bite into the soft metal, scraping and eating away the edges till it has shaped the metal to its will. Yet the file has, in truth, no real will in the matter, but serves another master as the metal also does. It is the master and not the file that decides how much shall be eaten away, what shape the metal shall take, and how long the painful filing shall continue. Let the metal accept the will of the master and it will not try to dictate when or how it shall be filed.

As for the furnace, it is the worst of all. Ruthless and savage, it leaps at every combustible thing that enters it and never relaxes its fury till it has reduced it all to shapeless ashes. All that refuses to burn is melted to a mass of helpless matter, without will or purpose of its own. When everything is melted that will melt and all is burned that will burn, then and not till then the furnace calms down and rests from its destructive fury. 

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

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  *** By A.W. Tozer The root of the Righteous / Photo by Kateryna Babaieva from Pexels

The Assurance From our Father in Heaven

 

Please remember this assurance from our Father in Heaven:

 God is still on the throne,

And He will remember His own;

Though trials may press us and burdens distress us,

He never will leave us alone.

God is still on the throne,

He never forsakes His own;

His promise is true; He will not forget you;

God is still on the throne.

Remember the words of our Lord Jesus: “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. The very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” -Matthew 10:29-31

Stay blessed in his ASSURANCE

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By Filip Tomasz at Pexels

The Sin of a Paralyzed Man

A PARALYZED MAN
In John 5 Jesus met a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. This man often sat by the pool called Bethesda, because the Lord sent an angel there to stir up the waters and heal those who were in it (v4).

I wasn’t surprised that Jesus healed this poor man. But I was a little surprised by what He told the man afterward:
“’Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.'” John 5:14 NASB

The thought entered my mind, what could this man have done who was paralyzed all his life which led Jesus to warn him so sternly “Don’t sin anymore… lest something worse happen to you”? I pictured this man capable of little, except perhaps for begging for money. So I wondered, what was his great sin?

I believe the answer lies not outwardly, but what was within his heart, and we get a glimpse of this in verse John 5:7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

I believe this verse shows an attitude within this man’s heart which was one of “I’m the innocent victim. The reason why I have all my problems is because everyone else is selfish. They all won’t help me into the pool, and they all cut in front of me when I try to get in myself.”

He may have been paralyzed his whole life, but his sin nature and flesh was just as active as anybody else. His body couldn’t harm anyone, but self-pity in his heart must have caused him to murmur and grumble and blame just like anybody else.

THE VICTIM VERSUS THE SINNER
And so, his warning from the Lord is one which convicted me – if I have a view of myself as an innocent victim, and anybody else as “the problem”, then the Lord has the same fearful warning for me – ‘Sin no more (in your heart), lest something worse happen to you.’ The only justified (innocent) ones are those who come to the Lord and say, “I’m the problem.. it’s not my family or friends or children or spouse, or my coworkers – it’s ME. I am the problem” (Luke 18:13-14).

It’s tempting to hold grudges and blame when something bad has happened to us. Maybe it wasn’t someone else’s fault and I’m just looking to blame someone, or maybe it was someone else’s fault – maybe they sinned against me, maybe I have been a victim in that way – but I’m definitely not innocent either! And that means I cannot look down on anybody as if I’m better than them.

Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

TRUE FAITH PRODUCES OBEDIENCE
One thing I’ve seen in my own life is that when I don’t take a Scripture seriously, then I have to be honest… it must be because I don’t really believe it. I imagine a man who reads Matthew 7:1-2 for the first time, or Matthew 6:14-15 for the first time and takes it at its Word. If he really believes it, he says to himself, “Wow! If there’s even one person I don’t forgive while on here earth, then God won’t forgive me of my sins?! I have to go forgive my enemy right now!” That person would be absolutely radical to make sure that they’re not holding even one ounce against anybody else. If I continue to blame others or hold grudges it must be because I don’t believe what God says.
Praise God that He is absolute love, and His mercy is never-ending. He loves me as much as Jesus (John 17:23)! And it was out of absolute love that Jesus gave such a fearful word to the paralyzed man. It’s like this paralyzed man was driving a car straight off a cliff, and Jesus told him sternly, “You’d better turn your wheel the other direction right now, you’re heading for a cliff.” Praise God for His Words to us now, so that we can avoid the cliff of judging and blaming others.

Lord, help me to release any grudge, or unforgiveness or judging I have against every single person on earth, and reject every thought that “I’m the innocent one.”

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** By Bobby MacDonald © Copyright – Bobby MacDonald. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://nccf.com/ 

Photo by Alvin Decena at Pexels

Testimony of Former Iranian Prisoners Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh

Watch this inspiring interview with Maryam and Marziyeh at HTB Church, London. In 2009 in Iran, Maryam and Marziyeh were imprisoned and sentenced to death because of their Christian faith. Maryam and Marziyeh were born into Muslim families but converted to Christianity and began to share the Gospel with those around them. They were arrested in March 2009 after being accused of evangelism and apostasy. After 259 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison they were released.

** Maryam and Marziyeh’s book called, ‘Captive In Iran‘ is available on Amazon Here

Modern Day Idols

 

Idol Worship Today

We tend to think of idolatry as a sin of the past or an eastern mysticism thing. We certainly don’t have idols in western culture, right? Actually, idolatry is surprisingly modern and very prevalent in our culture. Part of the reason we don’t think about idol worship today is because our definition of idolatry is off. We think idolatry is confined to bowing down to a golden statue or praying to a wooden trinket. Since we don’t do those things, we assume we don’t have idols.

But we do have modern day idols. Lots of them. They look different than the idols of the past, but we still practice idolatry today.

Before we look at idol worship today, we need to get a better definition of what an idol is. What exactly is idol worship?

What Is Idolatry? 

An idol is when something or someone becomes more important to us than God. Even good things can become idols when we make them the ultimate things in our lives. Anything, or anyone, can become an idol if we place the value for that thing/person above our value for God.

In ancient times that would have looked like bowing down to worship a golden statue. Modern-day idols look different- more like getting our identity from our job or staring at our technology all day. Anything that becomes more important to us than God becomes an idol; and we all have them.

Tim Keller, in his book Counterfeit Gods says, “An idol is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, and anything that you seek to give you what only God can give.

Idolatry is alive and well today, and we are all prone to have idols in our lives. So what does the Bible say about these modern day idols?

Before you read this list, hear me on this: I’m not saying we should rid ourselves of the things on this list. For many of the things, that would be impossible. Rather, we need to evaluate our lives to make sure they are in the right order and none of these things have become more important than God to us.

With that in mind, here are 6 modern day idols we still worship.

1. Our Identity

It’s easy to place our identity in something or someone other than God. Whether it be our social media following, our position at work, our abilities/skills, or the achievements we are after, many have their identity wrapped up in the wrong thing.

Not only is this an idol, but it’s also a tough way to live. If your identity is in your work, your skills, your looks, or anything else, you will constantly feel like you don’t measure up.  They are harsh masters. But when our identity is secured in God, we can live in freedom. While we will still fall short, God’s love will never fail us.

For some, their identity has become an idol. They have placed more value on who they are, rather than in God.

2. Money/Consumerism 

It doesn’t matter if you have money or are broke. The pursuit of money and the acquisition of things is an idol for many in our culture. Many people trust their money more than they trust God.

Hear me on this. Money is not bad. Money is a tool. And like any tool, you have to use it correctly; otherwise, it can cause much damage. Money isn’t the problem, it’s how we use and view it that can become a problem. 

Many have placed their hopes and dreams in money. They trust it to provide for them, care for them, and protect them. The problem is, it can’t live up to what we are trying to get from it.

Money has become the ultimate thing for many of us. If the motivating factor in your life is money and not God, then that’s an idol. 

3. Entertainment

We are obsessed with being entertained. And it comes in many forms- from Netflix to vacations and video games to podcasts. We love entertainment in all forms. 

Again, as with the other modern day idols, it’s not that entertainment is bad. It can be a good thing. But when our lives become all about the search for entertainment and chase of the best experiences we can find, then it’s become an idol. It’s become more important than God. 

I would argue that entertainment is good and a gift from God, but we should worship the giver not the gift.

4. Sex

We are obsessed with sex in our culture. It is everywhere. It might be the only thing we think about more than money. We have taken a gift from God and made it into the god of our lives. And for many, their lives are controlled by sex. 

To even question the sexual ethic in our society will bring a slew of accusations, showing how tied to our idol we actually are.  Our sexual identity, sexual practices, and sex lives are sacred to us. 

Part of the Babylonian church instead of portraying sex as a good gift from God, in recent history, has heaped guilt and shame upon it. You could argue this is one of the factors that brought the over-exaggeration of sex. But regardless of how we got here, for many today, sex is an idol.  We value it more than we do God. 

6. COMFORT

There is an endless list of products promising to simplify and add comfort to your life. We have made our lives much easier and much more comfortable than at any other time in history. Tasks that used to take all day can be done in minutes. Many menial tasks are now automated. While that’s a good thing, our pursuit in life should not be comfort alone.

Jesus tells a very different narrative for his followers. He says that his followers will face trials, persecution, and difficulty. While comfort isn’t bad, it can become damaging when it becomes the main pursuit in life. When comfort is an idol, we will struggle when God calls us to something difficult.

6. Our Phones 

Smart phone addiction is increasingly becoming a worrying trend. This is especially true for Gen Z and Millennial generations, but it’s certainly not confined to them. For many, they simply cannot live without their phones (or online presence). This is quickly becoming an idol for many.

The problem isn’t our phones or social media or any form of technology. It’s the value we place on it that makes it a problem. When our lives revolve around how many likes we get, what our following looks like, or if we can’t sit in silence for 5 minutes without refreshing our news feed, we might have an idol. Anything that takes the place of God in our life, anything that becomes more important than him, is an idol.

How To Know If You Have A Modern Day Idol

Again, let me reiterate. This isn’t a list of things to avoid or a list we should use to beat ourselves down or ammo to shoot at others. This is a list of things that can take the place of God in our lives. When a good thing becomes an ultimate thing, ultimately it becomes a destructive thing in our lives. That’s idolatry.

What we should do with this list is use it to prayerfully evaluate our lives to make sure nothing has become more important to us than God. 

So how do we know if something has become an idol? Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to help you identify idols in your life:

Where Do I Spend My Time?
Where Do I Spend My Money? 
Where Do I Get My Joy? 
What’s Always On My Mind? 

Actually think about those questions. They will lead you to what either is an idol or what you might be tempted to make an idol. 

Idol worship today might look different, but it still exists. We shouldn’t let anything, even a good thing, take the place of God in our life. 

 

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By Jeffrey Curtis Poor at Rethink Now / Photo by Tom Fisk at pexels

His Plan for Me

When I stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ
And He shows me His plan for me,
The plan of my life as it might have been,
Had He had His way; and I see

How I blocked Him here, and I checked Him there
And I would not yield my will,
Will there be grief in my Saviour’s eyes,
Grief though He loves me still?

He would have me rich, and I stand here poor,
Stripped of all but His grace,
While memory runs like a hunted thing
Down the paths I cannot retrace.

Then my desolate heart will well nigh break
With tears that I cannot shed;
I shall cover my face with my empty hands;
I shall bow my uncrowned head.

Lord of the years that are left to me,
I give them to Thy hand;
Take me and break me, mold me to
The pattern Thou hast planned.

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Poem by Martha Snell Nicholson / Picture by slon.pics

Don’t Despise Difficulty

One night, just before I went to bed, in my mind, I heard. “Don’t despise difficulty.”

In John 15:2 it says, “Every branch in Me that does NOT bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it…” Why does God do this? “… so that it (the branch-the Christian) may bear MORE fruit.
Vs.8 My Father is GLORIFIED by this, that you bear MUCH…fruit,.(not just a little, but MUCH fruit) and so prove to be My disciples.

To prune a tree, you must cut/remove specific branches or stems to BENEFIT the whole tree. The removal of dead, damaged diseased branches, HELP to PREVENT insect and decay organisms from entering the tree.

When God prunes me, ITS FOR MY BENEFIT! By the Holy Spirit He removes what is dead, damaged and diseased in my heart. When condescending words come from a co-worker, God can prune/cut off STEMS of pride, that are causing decay in your heart that says, how can you talk to me that way? I DESERVE RESPECT. IT’S FOR MY BENEFIT, when that big BILL comes. God can prune us to remove that disease of loving money, that UNREST you feel because your retirement fund has decreased.

God says, I’m pruning you, SO you CAN HAVE the BENEFIT of bearing MORE Fruit! Don’t despise the cuts, bear MUCH fruit! Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Much more love for one another (John 15:12) with people who are different than you, rejoicing ALWAYS, peace that surpasses understanding, an ABUNDANCE of patience DURING being tempted to be annoyed at someone, the law of kindness ALWAYS on your lips though you you’ve just been insulted, the goodness of God flowing out of your heart, faithfulness to God, the gentleness of Jesus to others, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit for self-control.

Do you want that? REALLY?

God is saying don’t despise the pruning, the cuts of difficulty. I’m doing great things in your life! And yes, you can enjoy a good meal, a nice trip and even good sleep, BUT that’s NOT the ABUNDANT life, God is calling us to! We SET ourselves up for discouragement, when we LIVE for ease, comfort and pleasure.
Jesus said, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt.6:19-21
We have to be careful NOT treasure our pleasure.

I also have to be careful what I call a BLESSING or a BENEFIT in my life.

I’m NOT COMPLETELY there yet, BUT I’m believing God WILL bring me to a place where I can ALWAYS see His pruning in my life, as an ABSOLUTE BENEFIT TO HIM! Not ONLY what benefits me. (2 Cor.5:9)

Just like we take our bags of fruit home from Safeway or farmers market. We enjoy eating the fruit. Can God do that too? When He walks out to the garden of my life, can HE partake of the Fruit of His Spirit? (Gal.5:22-23) Can He take each fruit, out of the bag and say Ah…humility? Another bite, Ah…love, ah…self-control? Another bite…ah patience, how good it is too eat of My children’s fruitful lives! If God does not prune me, I CANNOT give HIM that fruit! I cannot make Him go…Ah!

John 15:1 My Father is the vinedresser. He prunes, trains, and cultivates. If the fruit is NOT coming out of my branch, it’s possible I’m NOT abiding in the Vine, Jesus. Am I KEEPING His word? Am I dried up? Maybe you just got pruned. And you’re thinking, I got nothing man. PERFECT Vs. 5 Apart from Him, you CAN DO NOTHING! Realizing how INCAPABLE we are and how ABLE He is, will help us depend on Jesus, the Vine. His grace is sufficient (2 Cor.12: 9).

Before fruit appears/grows, it must go through a process of unseen nourishment from the vine.
So it is with fruit in my heart for God. Fruit will come as I get nourishment from the Vine/Jesus. That means I remain in His love and obey His word. Not copying and pasting on the fruit of the Spirit with some dead work, selfish motive. No, if I keep/obey His word, I can prove to God in MY HEART, I’m a DISCIPLE of Jesus. Not prove to others, BUT to God first, who sees and knows all, in the deep secrets of my thoughts and desires. To prove my devotion and allegiance to Him IN the difficulty. (John 15:8) Then the fruit can grow and be GENUINE.

If we look at Luke 14:25-33, we can see some ways our devotion and allegiances WILL be tested as a disciple of Jesus. My love for GOD should be MUCH greater in comparison to my love for others and for myself. So much so, that my love for others and for myself, LOOKS like hate. This is tested in the CLOSEST relationships. Father, mother, wife, children, siblings and even our own life (vs.26). All these relationships can have disagreements. And when you have a strong disagreement, you can have difficulty.

Jesus said in the very next verse, 27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
We face a choice to pick up our own INNER cross. We can decide to please others, please ourselves OR please Jesus. When we chose to please Jesus, it will cost us. It may cost us a “silent” treatment, disrespect, misunderstanding, others being angry with us and maybe even left alone or cut off. Yes, this can even happen in our OWN homes. (Luke 12:51-53).

In Phil. 2:1-11 We see the glory of Jesus, how He carried His cross. He humbled Himself His entire life, even to the point of death. Even in His own home, at least for a time, His brothers were not believing in Him ( John 7:5 ). They lived with Jesus and never saw Him sin even once! Yet they still mocked Him.
In Mark 3:21 says, “When His own people ( kinsmen-blood relatives ), heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” In other words, Jesus’ own family called Him crazy! These are just a few examples of what we can face if we live by Jesus’ standards. Jesus Himself said in:
Matt.10: 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

Maybe it’s Jesus’ standard against the finances between you and your spouse. Maybe it’s Jesus’ standard in your wedding plans against your family’s standards for your wedding plans. Maybe it’s deciding what church to go to or continue to go to. Or even different opinions and thoughts about ministry in the church. Yes, even there we can find Jesus’ dividing sword of discipleship. If I can’t have a humble attitude and pick up my INNER cross IN my home, I certainly won’t be able to do it in God’s church.

God knows in these relationships we WILL be tested. We CAN carry our own cross, when we love Jesus MORE than our own families and our own life. And in so doing, we actually love them better. Whether others say so or not. If that happens because we’ve chosen to obey God, not man, He will honor us ( 1 Sam.2:30 ). And that is greater than ANY honor we can receive!

Jesus sums it up in Vs.33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”
If we are holding onto these relationships at the cost of lowering Jesus’ standards to follow what they say, we cannot be His disciple.
Being a follower of Jesus, is not a matter of how many times we’ve read, studied or memorized the Bible. Not a matter of how many times we went to church, shared the word, gave a testimony, prayed or helped people. Yes, amen, we should do these things BUT it’s NOT what qualifies me to be a disciple of Jesus.

Though God may prune me in these relationships, I don’t have to fear
God DOESN’T prune us to be mean. John 15:4-10 says, He does this so we can remain in His love. And when we keep His word, that’s what happens. We remain in His love. He stays close to us and we to Him. And I NEVER lose out, though the pruning HURT.
We see in verse 11 Jesus asked, why have I said these things to you? To discourage you? No. I HAVE SAID THIS TO YOU, SO I CAN…. GIVE you MY JOY TO THE FULLEST!!!!

So, I’m believing God, that when I face difficulty and I’m getting pruned, I can ACTUALLY look forward to some Promises!
John 15: 8 When I bear fruit of the Holy Spirit, I WILL give Him glory. Verse 10 If I obey His word, I WILL abide in His love like Jesus did. And verse 11 When I do these things, I WILL get Jesus’ JOY…. to the FULLEST!
The Lord is so generous, He gives us His joy too when we are faithful to Him in difficulty.

If you are IN a tough spot now, remain in His love. Obey His word and believe God WILL fulfill His promises, even IN your difficulty!

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**By Paul Moore © Copyright – Paul Moore. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://nccf.com/ 

Picture by Pixabay at pexels

Practising The Presence of God ~ Free eBook

One of the most adored books on living in God’s presence comes from an unlikely source— a man who was maimed as a young soldier and later became a footman “who was clumsy and broke everything.”

That is the early life of Nicholas Herman before he became Brother Lawrence.

Herman was born around 1610 in Herimenil, Lorraine, a Duchy of France. His birth records were destroyed in a fire at his parish church during the Thirty Years War, a war in which he fought as a young soldier. It was also the war in which he sustained a near-fatal injury that left him quite crippled and in chronic pain for the rest of his life.

Brother Lawrence Learned to Be in God’s Presence While Doing Chores

At mid-life he entered a newly established monastery in Paris where he became the cook for the community which grew to over one hundred members. After fifteen years, his duties were shifted to the sandal repair shop but, even then, he often returned to the busy kitchen to help out.

While repairing sandals or working in the kitchen, Brother Lawrence discovered and then followed a pure and uncomplicated way to walk continually in God’s presence. For some forty years, he lived and walked with God at his side. 

It was not until after his death that a few of his letters were collected. Joseph de Beaufort, representative, and counsel to the local archbishop, first published the letters in a small pamphlet. The following year, in a second publication which he titled, “The Practice of the Presence of God,’ de Beaufort included, as introductory material, the content of four conversations he had with Brother Lawrence.

In this small book, through letters and conversations, Brother Lawrence simply and beautifully explains how to continually walk with God, not from the head but from the heart. 

Brother Lawrence also left the gift of a direct approach to living in God’s presence that is as practical today as it was four hundred years ago.

The conversations between Brother Lawrence and de Beaufort covered many topics but most dealt with man’s responsibility to continually commune with God:

Brother Lawrence related that we should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s Presence by continually conversing with Him. It was a shameful thing to quit His conversation to think of trifles and fooleries. We should feed and nourish our souls with high notions of God which would yield us great joy in being devoted to Him.

He said we ought to quicken and enliven our faith. It was lamentable we had so little. Instead of taking faith for the rule of their conduct, men amused themselves with trivial devotions which changed daily. He said that faith was sufficient to bring us to a high degree of perfection. We ought to give ourselves up to God with regard both to things temporal and spiritual and seek our satisfaction only in the fulfilling of His will. Whether God led us by suffering or by consolation all would be equal to a soul truly resigned.

Brother Lawrence said that the worst that could happen to him was to lose that sense of God which he had enjoyed so long. Yet the goodness of God assured him He would not forsake him utterly and that He would give him strength to bear whatever evil He permitted to happen to him. Brother Lawrence, therefore, said he feared nothing. 

The book includes 15 short letters written by Brother Lawrence during the last ten years of his life to a variety of long time friends.  They are the heart and soul of his ability to live in the constant presence of God.

The account I can give you is: Having found in many books different methods of going to God and diverse practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly God’s. This made me resolve to give the all for the All. After having given myself wholly to God, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He, and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world.

Sometimes I considered myself before Him as a poor criminal at the feet of his judge. At other times I beheld Him in my heart as my Father, as my God. I worshipped Him the oftenest I could, keeping my mind in His holy presence and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I made this my business, not only at the appointed times of prayer but all the time; every hour, every minute, even in the height of my work, I drove from my mind everything that interrupted my thoughts of God.

Brother Lawrence never advanced beyond being the cook at the Paris monastery, but he developed the unique gift of being able to pray incessantly with God throughout the entire day and regardless of whatever else he was doing. This unique gift produced such a spiritual change in Brother Lawrence that many people sought him out to learn how to practice the presence of God themselves.

By Daniel So at Justice Ventures International / Picture by Janez Podnar at Pexels

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FREE eBook Download:

Only One Life

Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its days I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say ’twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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By C.T Studd / Photo by veeterzy from Pexels

List Of Sins That Christians Often Ignore

Some sins have become culturally acceptable. We do not call them out. We rarely even acknowledge them. And many don’t even recognize them as a sin. But this list of sins is something we should not ignore.

Now before you read this and go point your finger at others, take a look in the mirror. This isn’t a weapon to use against people, rather an opportunity to evaluate our own sin.

Here’s a list of sins that we often ignore.

Gluttony 

Gluttony is probably the most acceptable sin in the American church. Which is why it’s first on the list of sins we ignore. While the church is known for taken hard stances on other sins it almost glorifies the overindulgence of food, drink, and anything else we can shove in our mouth. We live in a culture of excess, but Christians should take a stance against this unhealthy behavior.

We made gluttony totally normally. But the Bible takes a different stance. It talks at length about self-control (1 Peter 1:5-7Galatians 5:222 Timothy 3:1-9). We are not to let anything control our lives. When should does control us it takes the place of God, in other words, it’s a sin. We should instead strive to practice self-control so that nothing gains control of us.

Now I’m not saying if you eat too much turkey on Thanksgiving that’s a sin. Gluttony is not an occasional indulgence rather a habitual practice. The Bible portrays occasional feasts as a good thing. But when we make a good thing an ultimate thing it ultimately becomes destructive. And for many food is a destructive force in their life. It’s become an idol.

Food is good. We should eat it and enjoy it. But we should also be careful to not let it control our lives.

Fear/Anxiety

Let me be clear, mental illness is not sinning. There are some that have an actual medical condition. I’m not proposing that those that suffer from mental illness are sinning.

What I’m talking about is the fear and anxiety that people bring on themselves by worrying about things out of their control. Whether it be politics or money or some disease you might contract. As Christians, we ought not to worry. If Jesus died and rose again, what does it matter?!” That’s what Jesus is getting at in Matthew 6:25-27.

We don’t need to worry about how much money we have. What happens to this country or what illness we might get in the future. At the end of the day, no one but Jesus has the power to make any impactful change on our lives. We literally have nothing to worry about or fear.

Idolatry

I know what you are thinking, I don’t have any golden statues in my house. But you still have idols. It might be that black box that hangs on your wall. It might be your social media accounts. That brick in your pocket that you stare at constantly. Your clothes, bank account, relationships, looks, and intellect can all be idols. An idol is anything that takes the place of God. We have plenty of those in our culture today.

There’s always something vying for God’s spot in our life. Money, time, social status, even technology are all trying to become the most important thing in your life.

How do you know if you have an idol? What’s the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing at night? Whatever that is it’s a good chance that is an idol in your life. Idolatry leads to all sorts of other sins, many that are on this list of sins.

CONSUMERISM 

This certainly could fall into the previous category as an idol. But this one stands out. We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. Yet we are buried in debt. We are terrible managers, or stewards, of our wealth. That is a sin.

In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus talks just about that. Although his parable isn’t exclusive to our finances, it certainly does apply. God has entrusted us with time, money, resources, and opportunities. We are charged with caring for however much, or little, he has given us. When it comes to money, we are failing.

Let me make one thing clear, having money is not sin. But letting it run your life is. Using it all on yourself, and taking extra credit to spend even more is being a bad steward. God gave you what you have so you can provide for yourself, and yes, find enjoyment. But he also expects you to use it to grow his kingdom. But the American church is failing in this regard, and worse we rarely call it out or put it on any list of sins.

Nationalism 

It’s a sin to put anything before God. That includes America. Our ultimate allegiance is to God, not this country. Too many in the church place their American freedoms above God’s kingdom.

This means that sometimes what is best for this country is not always what is Biblically correct. I hear far too many Christians that are more concerned with the direction of the government and not concerned enough with their neighbor. Where is your allegiance? Is it to God or country? Are you more concerned with the direction of this country or advancing the Kingdom of God?

I know this is a touchy subject. God’s Kingdom has a different set of morals and governing principles that stand in opposition to every earthly government. We need to look and see where our allegiance lies.

IDLENESS 

One of the greatest temptations man faces is to be idle. It started in the Garden of Eden when Eve was tempted, Adam did nothing; he was idle. We today largely do the same. We largely don’t even protect our families. Sure we protect them from the “physical” dangers out there, but what about the spiritual dangers? Why aren’t we warning our Christian brothers and sisters when they wander off in the wrong direction? Why don’t we call out sin in our own family?

God did not call us to be idle and timid. He called us to be bold and courageous. It’s time for us to stop being idle and go get involved in others’ lives.

Comfort

Maybe this seems a little weird to be on a list of sins. But I think the greatest lie we have boughten into is that life is all about our personal comfort. It’s not. Jesus never said that his disciples would be surrounded by comfort and nice things. He actually said that in order to follow him they would have to pick up their cross in order to follow him.

Comfort isn’t bad. In fact, we are commanded to take time to rest and relax. But this is the same principle as gluttony. Too much of a good thing can become destructive. We should rest and find comfort, but that shouldn’t’ be the primary goal in our life.

What would Jesus’ life look like if he pursued comfort instead of us? It wouldn’t be a life that would change the world that’s for sure. We need to stop pursuing comfort and chase after the things after God’s heart. It will lead us to some pretty uncomfortable situations, but it will also lead to a life well-lived.

This list of sins isn’t intended to be used to show how bad “they” are. It’s not ammo to shoot people with. It’s a mirror to examine yourself. My guess is there are one or two things on this list that you struggle with. For me, it’s Comfort and Consumerism. We need to each take our sins to Jesus, even the sins that are socially acceptable. We won’t see any change until we each deal with our own sins.


By Jeffrey Curtis Poor at rethinknow.org / Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pexels