Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Modern Day Baal Worship

What comes to mind when you think of idol worship?

Immediately I think of the children of Israel and the Golden calf that they made while Moses was on the mountain with God. If I think much further, I can come up with numerous OT examples of idol worship but rarely do I venture into New Testament times and even more rare is to contemplate idolatry in modern terms.

Somehow I have regulated the word idolatry to OT times.

How convenient.

Webster defines idolatry as:

1. The worship of idols, images, or any thing made by hands, or which is not God.

Idolatry is of two kinds; the worship of images, statues, pictures, &c. made by hands; and the worship of the heavenly bodies,the sun, moon and stars, or of demons, angels, men and animals.

2. Excessive attachment or veneration for any thing, or that which borders on adoration.

So, what is an IDOL? just a statue...something tangible?

Webster defines idol as

1. An image, form or representation, usually of a man or other animal, consecrated as an object of worship; a pagan deity. Idols are usually statues or images, carved out of wood or stone, or formed of metals, particularly silver or gold.

The gods of the nations are idols. Ps.96.

2. A person loved and honored to adoration. The prince was the idol of the people.

3. Any thing on which we set our affections; that to which we indulge an excessive and sinful attachment.

An idol is any thing which usurps the place of God in the hearts of his rational creatures.

So the question I have been pondering the past few days is this - what have I been setting my affections on that has usurped the place of God in my own heart?

Is it my children? homeschooling? church activities? service opportunities?

All those things are good but if God is not what my heart is set upon, they are the Baals of my life.

What about you?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why study? Why gain knowledge?

Several years ago, these questions were posed to the students in our church...

"why are you studying? why are you going to school? college?"

A simple answer would be "because my parents are making me." Or for those still in high school, the answer is "because the law mandates that I go to school."

But have you ever stopped to think about why you are teaching your kids what you are teaching them? or as an adult, why you studied what you did? why you went to college (if you went)? or why you pursued what career you pursued?

This question made me think on two levels. One, in my own life. I had to examine why did I go to college and pursue the course of study that I did. Then, why did I get an advanced degree. The answer was simple regarding why college and why the advanced degree -- both were expected in my family. It wasn't up for discussion. However, the course of study was truly your own choice.

The second level I had to examine was what was I teaching my own children now at home.

That is what brought me to this issue of looking at the mind and its purpose. Years ago, when we first started homeschooling, the goals were easy to establish. Now that my children are older, the goals of schooling look much different and they are more abstract than concrete. We realized early on that if they left our home as brilliant scholars but did not know God, then we had failed miserably. However, it has been easy to get caught up in the academics of life because they are required.

Recently, I re-listened to the message that contained the above questions. He noted that we don't pursue education so that we can get a good job, a nice car, etc. Christ has given us our minds for such a deeper reason.

We have been given the privilege of studying so that we can show the glory of Christ.


You study so that your skill/knowledge is needed and in that need, you have the opportunity to develop relationships and in those relationships, you have the opportunity to show Christ.

He gave an example - an unbelievable example and I will share it here. In the Middle East, there is a Baptist School that has high academic standards. The academic excellence is so well known that the Muslims are willing to send their children to this school knowing that their children will be taught the Holy Bible! The school is very open about this and the parents even sign a statement that it is okay for their student to be taught the Bible. The school is 90% Muslim. What an outreach to the Muslim community. All because the Muslims value the knowledge of this school.

The problem, as I see it, is that we compartmentalize our lives and don't see how our professional lives should be used for the glory/mission of Christ.

So I ask the question of you....why study? why gain knowledge?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Twisted Minds or Transformed Minds?

Romans 1:21-25, "For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen."

Twisted thinking, distorted views, warped minds...there is a pattern that Scripture shows us that occurs when one does not have a renewed mind in Christ.

First, it starts with self-worship. Or worship of self. However you want to say it, it is still the same. It is where we have put ourselves on the throne and Christ has no room to be the Lord of our lives.

This leads to foolish minds or futility in their thinking. I believe Paul says in Ephesians 4:17-18 that they had "ignorance of thinking." that a nice way of saying they were ignorant?

This leads to sinful desires which then leads to sinful behaviors. Or you could say distorted desires and distorted behaviors.

This is the way the world thinks because they do not have new minds in Christ. But what about those of us who profess to be Christ-followers? to have Christ living in our hearts? How do we have transformed minds??

Transformation - the process of changing in character or condition; the act of making into something new.

Romans 6 shows us that once Christ is in us, He transforms our minds and this happens by the Word of God. In other words, Christ changes our hearts and our heads. We must have a Christ-saturated world view - we must see the world through the Word of God. Every aspect of our life needs to be filter through our relationship with Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us to "take every thought captive to obey Christ" and that means EVERY thought - in relationship to our business, our school, our neighbors, etc. It is about ALL of our life.

2 Corinthians 3:18 reminds us that we are transformed by continually focusing on Christ and that means that we must be in a daily relationship with Christ. We reflect Him as we are in relationship with Him. We study His Word, we saturate ourselves with His Word, we hunger for it, we pray, we fill our homes with His truth.

Remember the original question....Why do we have a mind?

One answer is God has given us a mind so we can know His Word. Knowing His Word is what He uses to transform us into the image of Christ.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Deeper still.....

Continuing with the same question....what is the purpose of our minds? I found myself having to search the Scriptures to see what God had to say about our minds. He made us with them so He had to have a purpose for them.

Yes, I understand the human anatomy/physiology reason we have a brain. But I wanted to know why we have a MIND.

Hebrews 8, in describing the new covenant we have in Christ, tells us that the Lord will put His laws into our minds and write them on our hearts (v.10). This is repeated again in Hebrews 10:16. This is the process by which we will internalize God's laws....they will become part of our inner selves. our minds are to hold the laws of God.

Paul tells us in Romans 7:25, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." This is after Paul's dissertation on being released from living under the Mosaic Law for salvation. He is saying that his mind is used to serve God but it wars with his flesh which is the sinful nature.
Paul adds to this thought in Romans 8 by telling us "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (v.5-7)"

Later, in Romans 12:1-2, Paul challenges us "to be transformed by the renewal of our mind". This indicates that we can control what we think and what we put into our minds if we can renew them. And it supports the old adage of "Garbage In, Garbage Out."

Ephesians 4:17-24 is pretty strong about our minds as well. It starts by saying "that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds." Whoa! Who wants to be accused of being futile in your mind? That is pretty strong but he is basically saying when you reject the knowledge of God, your mind is operating in futility - it is worthless.

Continuing in Eph. 4:23...Paul tells them "to be renewed in the spirit of your minds". Here is that renewal phrase again. What is Paul talking about? He is trying to tell the Ephesians that when they become new creatures in Christ, they have to get the junk out of their minds, the garbage has to go, and they have to input the mind of Christ. It is a PROCESS. And that PROCESS is done by reading, meditating, and memorizing God's Word. There really is no other way to do it. if our minds are to be full of the Word of God and be growing in thinking like Christ, .....where does knowledge fit in this picture?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Some deep the request of my daughter....

Giann's request today was a simple request....."Mom, you should post your thoughts about life on our family blog."

"Hmmm.....," was my response because in all honesty I had the thought of who wants to read my musings. And I can muse about some deep things. Just ask Craig or some of my close friends who have had to listen to those musings!

Just the word "muse" sounds good to me. According to Webster,

"to muse is to become absorbed in thought; especially : to turn something over in the mind meditatively and often inconclusively."

So, I have pondered what was really in my head today....what has been swirling around that I have been trying to make sense of and I thought I would share it here.

The question is "What is the purpose of our minds?"

Really think about this question.

WHY do we have brains that can think in very complex patterns? WHY do some people have brains that can embrace physics and others that embrace the arts? WHY do some brains make sense of musical notes on the page or heard by the ear while other brains couldn't match tone if their lives depended on it? WHY do some brains love design and computers and building bridges while other brains would rather love on people? WHY do some brains enjoy math while other brains enjoy history?

Now, I understand the foundational truth that God made each individual uniquely and that each person is gifted with different gifts. That is not the question.

The question is what is the purpose of our minds/brain? Why do we have them?

What are we suppose to do with them?

Trust me, I am musing over this for a greater reason....I am headed somewhere.......more later, dear daughter......