4 Ways to Know You Have an Idol in Your Life

14305256_1737031053206700_2219233568440604115_oConfession time: I’ve had an idol or two in my day.

I’ve been reading in Isaiah the last several days and there is a constant theme of idols in the lives of God’s people. Perhaps, you think you can’t relate; it’s not like you’re carrying around a golden calf in your pocket. Or are you?

Many years ago, I was a working mom with a strong desire to stay home with my children. And, by strong, I mean a cry every Sunday night, stalk every stay at home mom on Facebook, imagine all the ways my children were going to suffer because I worked desire.

Then, after ten years of patient waiting, calm petitions, weeping and wailing, God granted my request. Here’s the thing, I love being home. In many ways, it’s everything I hoped. But, y’all, it comes with a whole different set of issues. It wasn’t the be all – end all that I believed.

Fast forward a couple years. I’d been blogging and writing my little heart out with my eye on the prize – my own book. It seemed like everybody and their mama had a book deal and I wanted it something awful. When someone chose to take a chance on me and offer me that opportunity, I was certain it was going be awesome in every way.

And it was. For a while.

All it took, for that idol to begin to crumble, was one person leaving a mediocre review. Not a bad one, mind you. Just meh. Some random somebody left a review that they really enjoyed the book, that it was a great addition to their morning Bible study, and the person gave it…2 Stars. In my flesh, I was offended. Seriously, what did they want it to do for them? Make their morning coffee as well?

Here’s the scary part; in the moment, I didn’t realize these things were idols. So, as I was reading through Isaiah, I began looking for idol signs – things that would be warnings for those of us who wish to avoid the pitfalls of idol worship.

FOUR WAYS TO KNOW YOU HAVE AN IDOL IN YOUR LIFE

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You are loved. ❤

Keep Your Hands and Feet inside the Ride at all Times

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I almost died last week. You might think that is an exaggeration but that’s only because you did not see the ring of death that I rode at the local Strawberry Festival. I don’t know if rides have gotten scarier or if I’ve just gotten older (okay, fine, I do know!), but there is no reason for an almost forty-year-old woman to be dangling upside down for a sweet forever.

My brother has always had this theory that you shouldn’t ride anything that can be put up and taken down in less than twenty-four hours. I used to think that was just fear speaking but, perhaps, it was wisdom at an early age. After all, as I was standing in line for the tilt-a-whirl, I did see the two workers have a pow wow in the corner. Then, one reached behind a curtain and pulled out a small bag of parts and proceeded to crawl under the ride. Were these the parts they had forgotten to put on? The “spares”, perhaps? Were they replacements for the parts that come off on the regular?

What would make a normally rational woman ride the ring of death fire? In my case, it was a little boy who rides the bus to our church on Wednesday nights. He came up to me as I was working a booth and begged me to ride this particular ride with him. He continued to check on me every thirty minutes to make sure I had not forgotten. So, at 6:00, I walked to my doom and rode the ride.

For the rest of the weekend, every time he saw me, he smiled and gave me a thumbs up. He would yell over the noise of the rides and crowd, “You did it!” He’s right; I did it. But, I’ll tell you, it was frightening and uncomfortable.

God often calls us to frightening and uncomfortable scenarios. If you commit yourself to following Him, you may just find yourself hanging upside down trying not to embarrass yourself by begging the workers to stop the ride when all you wanted was a funnel cake.

The Strawberry Festival draws you in with the cotton candy and bright lights. You’ve already bought the armband and gotten on the ride before you realize the cost. Christ, on the other hand, is quite upfront.

Pick up your cross.

The world will hate you like it hated me.

Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted.

You can never say that you weren’t warned. But, one day, when it’s all said and done, we will lay eyes on Jesus Himself. On that day, over the noise of the angels singing and trumpets blasting, He will yell, “You did it!” And you can know that, yes, it was often frightening and uncomfortable, but you did it.

Just hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

 

 

When Buddying Up Leads to Betrayal

I’ve been thinking a lot about The Buddy System and what it looks like for grown women trying to walk it out. The fact is that we’re all a little broken and it’s just a matter of time before we cut one another. Often it’s the person closest to us that gets hurt the most or, on the flip side, who hurts us the most.

If you’ve ever experienced the betrayal of a buddy, you’ve probably thought one (or more) of these things:

  1. I must have picked the wrong buddy.
  2. I must have been a bad buddy.
  3. I won’t buddy up ever again.

We always seem shocked when someone lets us down, don’t we? Perhaps, we had our expectations a little too high. We expect people to understand us completely and to always behave like we want them to behave.

As I was reading through the gospel of Luke, I came across the passage where Jesus selects His apostles. At this point in time, He had thousands of disciples. {A disciple is simply a follower.} Out of the mass of followers, Jesus was ready to pick his inner circle. He was ready to buddy up, so to speak.

I must have picked the wrong buddy.

The first thing Jesus did, prior to choosing His apostles, was to pray. In fact, Scripture tells us that He prayed “all night” (Luke 6:12.) After spending the entire night speaking to and listening to His Father, Jesus selects the twelve men who will be His closest confidants. What I’m trying to convey to you is that Christ did not pick the wrong people. He buddied up with the exact men that God wanted. And yet…

When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:13-16) emphasis mine

Do you see it? Jesus prayed fervently and chose the men God told Him to choose and there, in the midst, was one who would betray. There are times when we buddy up with someone who will break our heart. We will invest in them and they will walk away. That doesn’t mean you chose the wrong buddy.

I must have been a bad buddy.

Can we all agree that Jesus was a perfect buddy? There was nothing He did to warrant Judas’ betrayal. Think about it. One night at dinner, Jesus announced that one of the apostles was going to betray Him.

And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” Matthew 26:21

Did they all give each other a knowing look and give the side eye to Judas? No, they all were shocked and asking the Lord if it was them! Why? Because Jesus treated Judas just like every other disciple. He loved Judas like the others; He broke bread with Judas like the others. He washed Judas’ feet like the others!

Someone’s betrayal is not a reflection on you. Christ was the perfect buddy and, in the end, Judas still chose to be a traitor.

I won’t buddy up ever again.

It’s happened to all of us. We’ve been wounded by another woman and we’ve promised ourselves it won’t happen again. We aren’t playing this game anymore; we’re taking our ball and going home. No one will get that close to us again. It seemed to be all pain and no gain. Peace out, ladies, the buddy system isn’t for me.

The apostles certainly could have chosen that route. They had walked side by side with Judas. They experienced trials and triumph together. They were the chosen few and he had played them. One man short, they could have just tightened the circle a little and refused to allow another possible traitor to join their ranks.

The apostles must have been paying attention because they did what they had seen Jesus do. They prayed about who should take Judas’ place. They sought God’s will on their next buddy. They selected two men who had been with them from the beginning – someone who had been faithfully on the fringe for Jesus’ entire ministry. They presented the two names before the Lord and waited.

And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen.” Acts 1:24 emphasis mine

They were brave enough to buddy up again. To risk betrayal again. To not place the sin of one man on every man that came after him.  They didn’t ask God for “a good buddy” this time. They simply wanted the one God had chosen.

Ministry is messy and there will be many who turn away. But those of us who are committed – we carry on. We link arms with another woman and keep moving. There is much work to be done.

You are loved!

 

Don’t be a Weak Woman

There are so many voices. So many opinions. So much noise. There are books and blogs. People and platforms. Conferences with catchy themes. It’s easy to get swept away by charismatic teachers and ear-tickling teaching.

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We can google anything and fill our minds with useless trivia which may serve us well at a dinner party but will be of no use when we are blindsided by life. We can, quite possibly, gorge ourselves on information and our souls can still starve for lack of truth.

Always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:7 ESV

We have an enemy who lurks about. He walks up and down upon the earth (Job 1:7) and he’s just looking for anyone to devour (1 Peter 5:8.)

In 2 Timothy, Paul says that there are people who creep around outside households in the hopes of capturing weak women (2 Timothy 3:6.) He describes those women as those who are always learning but never arrive at the truth. They are weak!

Satan is creeping around outside our homes and he is not going to be scared away by some catchy quote from our latest favorite blogger or the lyrics to the latest hit song. He doesn’t care if that Bible teacher tells you you’re fabulous or if that preacher gives you all the warm fuzzies when he preaches.darkness

Some time ago, my husband was home alone and noticed an empty truck at the end of the driveway. He couldn’t seem to locate the owner of the vehicle and could only assume that he was lurking around the outside of the house.

He called 9-1-1 and informed the operator that she may want to send someone to the house. Actually, what he said was, “Someone is creeping around my house and I’ve just loaded my shotgun.” Because that is how you respond when some fool is lurking around your home.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love Bible studies. I attend women’s conferences. Obviously, I’m not opposed to bloggers or authors. But none of it matters if we don’t know Truth. The truth is our only defense again the enemy waiting outside our households.  We must, like the people of Berea, take what we hear and compare it to Scripture (Acts 17:11) so that we are not led astray or left defenseless.

The surest way to not be the weak women Paul references is to be women in the Word!

You are loved. ❤

How to be a Party Crasher

photo-1434077471918-4ea96e6e45d5.jpgWhen a Pharisee throws a party, it is an A lister. Only the elite are invited and, conversely, everyone invited considers themselves the elite. One such event takes place in Luke 7:36-50.

During this particular dinner party, Jesus was the guest of honor. There is great irony in that all of the guests felt completely worthy to be there. I imagine them sitting in various places around the room. There was probably some eating and some drinking and some small talking. I can tell you what did not take place because Jesus is quick to point it out.

No one gave him any water to clean his feet (Luke 7:44.)

No one kissed him in greeting (Luke 7:45.)

No one anointed his head with oil (Luke 7:46.)

They all treated him quite casually. They were oblivious to the fact that they stood in the presence of the Messiah. They were standing on holy ground and didn’t even know it because, when a Pharisee throws a party, it’s all about the Pharisee. This becomes obvious when Simon, the Pharisee, opens his mouth.

If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner. – Luke 7:39

All of the invited guests are enjoying themselves when, suddenly, she walks into the room. She was known in that city. One of the gutsiest moves in all of Scripture – right up there with David standing toe to toe with Goliath – was when this woman crossed the threshold of that house. What was she looking for that night?

Forgiveness?

Compassion?

Peace?

Love?

Healing?

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All I know is that, whatever it was, she had come to the right place. Clearly, she had hit rock bottom. She didn’t care about the knowing eyes that watched her walk across the room. She didn’t care about the I know what you’ve done whispers. She didn’t care about the way everyone inched away lest her dress brush against them and defile their garments.

When a Pharisee throws a party, appearances are everything. But when a woman is desperate for something more, the last thing that matters is whether or not she has an appropriate party dress.

For all of their Pharisaical knowledge, she knew what none of those men knew. Something about the way Jesus looked at her – something in the way He didn’t pull away when she came near – she knew who Jesus was and it was more than she could bear. Her tears fell unchecked and no one else in that room mattered.

She bathed Him with her tears.

She covered Him with kisses.

She anointed Him with oil.

She honored Him the way no one else at the party had done. She loved him with everything she had and, whatever she had come looking for, she received it and more.

And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50 (emphasis mine)

When we come to Jesus in humility and faith, we are able to leave in peace. We bring our baggage but we leave with freedom. We come in shame but we leave forgiven. We enter His presence as that woman but we leave as His beloved.

You are loved. ❤

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Optional Study Notes:

Luke 7:37-38   How desperate are you to be where Jesus is? How lavish is your love for Him?

Luke 7:39    What did Simon see? (a sinner)

Luke 7:44   What did Jesus want him to see? (the woman)