So Amazed By You (Worship Series Part 9)

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The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

Psalm 24 in it’s entirety. God is magnificent and worthy to be praised. He created the world with His words. He spoke and it was. As you look around the earth you see the glory and splendor of God. How awesome are His works. How glorious are His deeds. How beautiful is His heart. How excellent is His creativity.

He created mankind in His image, formed Adam from the dust and breathed His life into Him. We are unlike all other animals because we have God’s breath in us. God formed Eve out of the side of Adam.

God gave all creation natural order and beauty.

God knows and calls all the stars by name. There are approximately a septillion stars… “And so, if you multiply the number of stars in our galaxy by the number of galaxies in the Universe, you get approximately 10^24 stars. That’s a 1 followed by twenty-four zeros,”~universetoday.com.

We can’t recall probably a thousand or ten thousand names. God can recall them all!

God knows every hair on our heads and has collected every tear in a bottle.

How awesome is our God? He’s beyond awesome.

There’s nowhere we can go that’s hidden from His Presence. There’s nothing more powerful than His love. There’s no one who stands above Him. He is great, powerful, good, holy, awesome, and amazing.

This is the God we worship. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God who led the Israelites out of captivity. The God who performed many miraculous signs and wonders to free His people. The God who fed the multitudes manna from heaven. The God who spoke to Moses through a burning bush. The God who overshadowed a virgin to conceive His Son. The God who raised Jesus and Lazarus from the dead.

Everything and everyone else pales in comparison. In order to be fully free of idols, we must glorify the only One worthy of worship. It is God alone that we worship. Nothing and no one created is worthy of worship.

Only God can save.

Only the power of God can heal and deliver.

Only the love of God can radically transform a life; give people true, unshakable identity and a completely new nature.

Only God can hold the world together and cease to fail.

So I ask, who and what will you worship?

The church can’t save people. Spouses and friends can’t make another person whole. Money can’t purchase lasting joy. Ministry cannot provide sustaining life. Politicians, pastors, and mere men/women can’t save anyone and deliver the world from all evil. Earthly pleasures cannot replace the goodness and pleasure of God.

Since the beginning of time, the war has been over worship. For we become like the object of our affections. Lucifer wanted the worship given to God. It got him thrown out of heaven. We were made in God’s image to worship Him. As we worship Him, we become more and more like Him.

What’s stealing your worship? What do you love or want more than God? Whatever it is, it leads to destruction. Idols don’t give life; they take it.

Father whatever we worship other than you, may it be laid at your feet. You alone are worthy of worship, adoration, and pure devotion. You are good and your steadfast love endures forever. Thank you for loving us. Please forgive us for the sin of idolatry. Help us to glorify you in all things. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

The Idol of the Church, Spiritual Gifts, & People God Uses (Worship Series Part 5)

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“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments,~Exodus 20:2-6.

Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,“~Acts 4:10-12.

God is quite serious about being the only One we worship. I’ve been following Jesus for a long time. I can say with great confidence there’s an idol in Christian circles we find acceptable to worship, it’s His church, the people He uses, and the gifts of the Spirit.

The church in the context I’m using it is the corporate body of believers.

I’ve been in services where people walked out if they didn’t have their favorite pastor preaching, their favorite worship leader leading, or they left a church to follow a mega pastor.

I’ve gone to conferences where people have refused prayer from the people around them to seek out the big name person with a healing ministry to pray for them.

I’ve seen people worship their “church” or the people God is using in their “church.” Instead of cultivating their own relationship with God, they sought out what they believed to be more “spiritual” people to feed them continually.

I’ve seen people shake their fists at God if He didn’t perform the miracle they wanted or needed.

I’ve seen all over social media where big name churches have boasted about their members, conferences, and the well known pastors they have coming through their church.

I’ve seen the fans and groupies of major worship artists. They exalt the bands, groups, and individuals to a god like status.

I’ve heard people say you should never criticize the church because she’s Christ’s Bride. Almost like Bridezilla at times, the Bride becomes the focus-she can do no wrong, she must have her way, she’s exalted above the Groom. Some love “church-worship gatherings” more than God. The weekend service or church attendance is the only time they meet with God.

Certain churches or pastors have had their bad behavior excused not by grace, but under the lie that the church is not to be held accountable for their wrongdoing. Example pastors molesting children and it’s hidden from the public.

I can say with earnest conviction and Biblical backing, there’s no place in scripture where God exalts anyone above Him. Christ raises us up to sit in heavenly places with Him, not above Him. God loves people. He loves to give good gifts. He loves His Bride. He never longs for anything or anyone to be exalted above Him. We (humans) were not created to be worshipped. We cannot save anyone. Without God, we can do nothing (John 15:5). There’s only one who is infallible, Christ alone.

Your pastor, priest, rabbi, worship leader, or spiritual leader is human. Meaning they were created not the Creator.

The desire to be worshipped and worshipped above God is what caused Lucifer to be cast out of heaven.

When we worship the created or the gifts of God, we are idolaters. It’s a harsh but true word.

There’s no pastor, teacher, prophet, evangelist, apostle, singer, worship leader, Christian celebrity, healer, etcetera…who can save anyone. Nor are people all powerful. We get into trouble when we make ourselves or others demigods.

Those who worship idols have no place in God’s Kingdom.

You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world,~Ephesians 5:5.

We are also not to worship the gifts. It’s great that God enables us to participate in His Kingdom building. We are not to exalt the gifts. See how Jesus instructs the disciples.

don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven,~Luke 10:20.

Paul also gives us insight on proper view of the gifts.


If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love,~1 Cor 13:1-7.

Jesus provides even more insight about the gifts.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’~Matthew 7:21-23.

The gifts are not an indication of right standing with God. Nor are they to be worshipped. Many will be deceived by the antichrist because he will be able to perform miracles, signs, and wonders. Read Revelations.

This does not mean we do not honor God’s people, love them, or say thanks for the gifts of God. It does mean we don’t ever elevate anyone or anything above Him. God alone is worthy.

Father, please forgive us for worshipping anyone or anything other than You! Please purify our hearts and help us to place You first in all things. Thank You for all You are. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

The Idol of Comfort (Worship Series Part 4)

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we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you…2 Corinthians 4:7-12.

Today’s topic is one I’ve struggled with the past few years. I grow tired of trials and crave comfort. Following Jesus isn’t always comfortable. It is not wrong to desire peace. It is an idol when we want to be comfortable above doing God’s will.

I’m okay with sleeping in the Amazon Jungle with little to no amenities. I’ve done this before on several mission trips to Brazil. I’m okay with the basic nuisances of life. I don’t love constant trials-the ones that test your faith and patience. Especially when it’s seasons of fiery trials. After many years of on and off suffering, this soldier longs for vacay (vacations from trials).

I also don’t love continually being called outside my comfort zone. As an introvert, I don’t love God asking me to lead Bible studies, socialize with lots of believers, nor do I love public speaking. Give me God, some books, art, my guitar, music, and a way to write. I will enjoy my time without people and be blissfully happy. It takes God’s love, grace, and power for me to do any kind of ministry that involves constant socializing. I’m just not wired for extroversion. Yet God continually calls me to minister to other believers and socialize with all kinds of people.

Apostle Paul went through many trials and horrible situations, yet tells us to rejoice when we are in those situations because God is working something for good.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always see the good or feel the good in the middle of trials and storms or being called out of comfort zones. Sometimes my heart cries out, “God make this more bearable or comfortable.”

The idol of comfort says, “Don’t take that risk. Don’t go the extra mile. Don’t persevere in faith. Don’t lay down your life !”

All idols want to place the focus somewhere or on something other than Jesus.

The problem with this idol in particular is that it hinders growth and fosters selfishness.

A seed and a butterfly both go through some pretty challenging experiences to become who they were created to be. We too must go through some uncomfortable things in order to become who God called us to be. Without growth, which is often painful, there’s no beauty.

Though I love when the sun is shining, everything is going well, and it’s like heaven on earth-the times of deepest intimacy with God have occurred in seasons of what I’d consider a taste of Hades. I found great love and comfort in God in those seasons when I had no clue how the miracle was coming. Those seasons taught me things about God no one can take away.

Losing my mum to cancer after seeing many people healed, taught me the great comfort of God.

Serving under a manager who harassed & created chaos for 4 years taught me the grace of God to not retaliate. It built something in me. Human resources did not help, there was no rescue. God simply walked me through it. Day in and day out-relying on His strength. By the way she eventually gave her life to Christ. 🙂

Watching both my parents battle cancer while I was young, taught me to trust God as Father and Mother. So many tearful nights while my friends were enjoying life. Jesus became my best friend.

Facing death quite a few times taught me that my life is in God’s hands. Painful, unsettling, yet comforting to know no one can pluck me out of His hands.

I won’t tell you my entire life story, these are just a few examples. Though the road behind me has been paved with seasons of suffering, they taught me more than a text book ever could about God. When you have your own experiences, it deepens relationship. Reading about a person and encountering them are two different things.

That being said, the devil, sin, living in a sinful world, and sometimes our choices cause suffering and discomfort. God will work all things together for good. It doesn’t always feel good, yet He works things for good.

No matter what you’re facing, know if God doesn’t provide instant change-He will provide His comfort, love, grace, and power to get you through! Knowing Him is worth it all.

Sweet friends, may we want God more than we want to be comfortable. He’s worthy of being first. If Jesus chose comfort over God’s will, where would we be? God’s ways are perfect and though He doesn’t deliver us from everything-He will give us strength to get through the discomfort. He’s able.

God bless,

Erin

Photo credit:Microsoft Clipart

The Idol of Beauty (Worship Series Part 2)

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Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised,~Proverbs 31:30.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,~1 Samuel 16:7.

Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly,~John 7:24.

Beauty definition: 1 : the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness 2 : a beautiful person or thing ; especially : a beautiful woman 3 : a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality 4 : a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or instance .

God created the world and humans. He then stated, “It is good.” God delights in His creation. He finds beauty in what He made. He did not, however, intend for creation to take the place of the Creator. Everything He created is to point back to Him. He alone is to be worshipped (adored, given the highest place, exalted, given the most time and energy).

Our world is obsessed with “beauty.” Magazines are devoted to beauty; plastic surgeons, special products, fitness programs, salons, spas, tv shows, and commercials are all sending the message, “You need to be our definition of beautiful and/or sexy. If you are, your life will be perfect! If you’re not, buy our product and you will become beautiful and have an amazing life.

When beauty becomes an idol we become vain, lustful (craving more-more products, more surgeries, more modifications to outer appearances), people are reduced to objects for pleasure, and we begin to suffer from severe discontentment. Billions of dollars yearly are spent on beauty. There are people destroying their lives, bodies, and emptying their wallets to achieve some standard of beauty.

Behind every idol there’s a lie:

I worked for a popular catalogue company in college. The women in those magazines did not look like their photos. They had fake hair, fake eyelashes, some fake eye color, professional makeup, they were taped in, clothes tailored to fit, and many “imperfections” were airbrushed out. The images reinforce the idol and sends the message, “Who you are and what you have is not enough.

An idol says, “You can find satisfaction, comfort, love, peace, and identity in me.” Nothing is further from the truth. If “beauty” brought happiness, the “beautiful people,” wouldn’t have the same suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, and divorce rates as everyone else.

Truth encounter:

Satisfaction, love, peace, comfort, and true identity can be found in God alone. He’s the only One who remains stable and constant. Idols enslave; God liberates.

Beauty is fleeting. What’s considered beautiful today in society may not be tomorrow.

True beauty radiates from the heart:

There’s also the trouble with judging by outward appearances. God looks at the heart. We are being transformed from glory to glory by His Spirit. Those in Christ are becoming more beautiful (like Him) in character, actions, and nature.

Jesus was not considered physically beautiful. The Bible said there was nothing about Him that would draw us to Him (unlike the Jesus we see in paintings and movies). He was average. He was a Jewish man who looked like the other disciples. Otherwise Judas would not have had to point Him out. Yet Jesus is our standard of beauty. He radiates the beauty of the Father. God’s definition of beauty is often different from ours. He’s looking at the heart.

May we not fall prey to judging people by outward appearances. Every person has tremendous value and worth that is not linked to their appearance. Jesus solidified the worth of every person by giving His life for theirs on the cross.

Closing thoughts:

Sweet friends, may we not be deceived into worshipping beauty. Lucifer was beautiful and wanted to be worshipped. People nor angels are to be worshipped. God alone is worthy of worship! You are beautiful to God because you’re His creation. Your true beauty radiates from within! There is nothing wrong with looking nice or taking care of your outward appearance, the key is to worship God, not beauty or created things.

Stay blessed!

Erin