Give Me Your Idols
Psalm 78:58 (NIV) They angered him with their high places;
they aroused his jealousy with their idols.
In 2002, when the show, American Idol, aired for the first time, I remember cringing at the title. Growing up in a house with a Church-going, God-fearing, Song-Leading, Sunday-School teaching mother and grandmother, I was well aware of the commandment that said you should “have no other gods before me.” My mom and grandmom preached about not worshipping idols my whole life. When my grandmother heard about the show, she was livid. How dare they have a show about “Idols”? She fussed and complained about it for weeks.
Idols are not new. Only 40 days after God gave Moses the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) the children of Israel, gave Aaron their gold and so that he could make them a golden calf to worship. See here’s the problem, many of us, wouldn’t dare worship a golden calf or a statue of another god like the children of Israel. We wouldn’t dare! That’s almost a no-brainer. However, we fail to realize that idol worship is really anything that takes our time, our attention, our money or our effort and distracts us from worshipping the one true God.
How can you tell what your idols are? Matthew 6:21 says for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Take a look at your bank account. Where does most of your money go besides bills? Is it shopping? I’ve been guilty! Is it new cars, clothes, technology, movies, entertainment? What do you spend most of your time doing? If we tithed our time, would you have 2.4 hours a day dedicated to God? Probably not, honestly me neither. But many of us spend a huge amount of time on the phone, watching TV, on social media, working, or going out.
Have you noticed in the last few months, many of the things that we “idolize” have been taken away? No Monday night football games, no basketball tournaments, March Madness was a no-go this year. Shopping sprees can only take place online now and even Amazon has delayed the benefits of being a “prime” member with “slow shipping”. Some ran to parties or the casino every weekend. Others rushed to get hair and nails done weekly. Many traveled every chance they got. But now, we are forced to stay home. “It’s safer at home.” We don’t have anywhere to drive our cars; we don’t have the distractions of Friday night parties, Saturday morning shopping or sports on Sundays. We can’t travel any farther than our mailboxes unless we are essential workers or unless we have essential needs. My… My… My… how life has changed.
The world is much quieter now. It’s downright silent. Habakkuk 2:20 says “…But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silent before him.” Have you noticed that the world – not just the U.S., not just Canada or North America, but the whole world is silent? Our idols have been taken away.
Don’t get me wrong and don’t discount God; He is a GIVER. He GAVE his only son so that you and I may have eternal life (John 3:16). Psalm 37:4 says “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Matthew 6:33 says “but seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” God delights in giving to His children. Matthew 7:11 says God gives good gifts. He gave the best gift – His son’s life for your salvation. He came that you may have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). But we have to be careful that we don’t fall in love with the gifts more than the giver.
Today God is saying to you, “Give me your idols – your money, your clothes, your homes, your cars, your movies, your food, your job – everything that you’ve placed above me.” I dare you to give God anything that you’ve idolized and worshipped; anything that you’ve loved, adored or treasured above Him and Repent. God is waiting with unfailing love and open arms. Give up your idols and turn back to God. Live in the Red ~ Loved and Forgiven.
The Best Laid Plans
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
Midnight of December 31, 2019 signaled the end of one year and the beginning of the next year. I was so excited! Vision board complete. Goals for 2020 written. 2020 Planner purchased. This was the beginning of a great year!
But 2020 came in like a whirlwind. Kobe and his baby girl, Gianna and their friends died, a Tornado tore up Nashville and then COVID-19 made her entrance into the United States. In an instant all of our plans for 2020 went out the door. The year that many of us proclaimed to be the best year of our lives; the year of vision; the year of abundance, suddenly turned into the twilight zone as staying at home, distancing ourselves from our loved ones, not touching and hugging, and hoarding food and toilet paper became our new normal.
The scripture today, reminds us that we can make plans, but the Lord determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9). I am a planner. I have a planner that is color-coded for each type of event in my life. Work activities are colored in green. Purple shaded areas are for Birthdays. Anything that is highlighted Pink represents activities for San’s Child, Inc. I have a system. I don’t like not having a plan.
I have been anticipating summer since October. As the young people say, “I was going to live my best life.” The summers are for rest and renewal, while many vacation or staycation, others take the time to replenish their savings accounts or pay off bills by working part time jobs. Whatever we choose, you can bet your bottom dollar that by January, most people are already planning for June and July.
However, this year most of us were stopped in our tracks as the Coronavirus - COVID-19 marched through the country demanding our attention. And at attention, we stood. For the past few weeks, the world has stopped and life as we know it has changed drastically. One of my summer trips has already been canceled. I am waiting to see what happens with the other ones. I had a few activities planned for, San’s Child, Inc. for March and April. They have been tweaked and adjusted to accommodate our new normal.
A friend of mine had to cancel her March wedding, another friend canceled her move from Jacksonville, FL to Nashville. Graduations have been rescheduled. Vacations have been canceled. Dentist, doctor appointments and surgeries have been delayed. Birthday plans, Dinner plans, parties and get togethers all had to be postponed. So many of our plans have been interrupted by this “virus”.
But honestly, I think we are giving the virus too much credit. You know nothing can happen without God’s permission? Remember when satan wanted to test Job and see if he would denounce God and turn away when all his possessions and family were taken and then his health deteriorated? Remember, that satan had to go to God and ask for permission. God is not surprised by the Coronavirus, nor is He shaken. He still sits on the throne. I can’t help but to wonder if our plans have been adjusted and interrupted on “purpose”. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” God’s purpose MUST go forth. “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).
During this period God has adjusted many of our plans. We are truly relying on our “Daily Bread”. We are forced to trust and lean on the ONE who knows tomorrow and holds tomorrow. For us over thinkers and over planners, this time can be quite scary, but this is the time to lean in to God, our Father, all the more.
God is not against planning. The ants planned and stored food (Proverbs 6:6-8). Builders planned (Luke 14:28-30). Joseph planned strategically for the famine in Egypt (Genesis 41). The virtuous woman worked hard, spent wisely and planned (Proverbs 31). God is not against our planning. Planning is a necessity. Proverbs 13:16 says that a wise man thinks ahead. Our fault is that we plan, but we don’t inquire of God what His plans are for us. But if we commit to the Lord whatever we do, He will establish our plans (Proverbs 16:3).
It wasn’t until later in life that I started asking God for His plans for my life. You know Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So why not ask the one who knows His plans? I encourage you to submit your plans, goals and dreams to God.
2020 is not over yet and God is still on the throne. Plan, Dream, and Write down your plans and then step away and wait for God to adjust them to fit His purpose. One thing I know for sure is that He will WOW you. He will go above and beyond (exceeding, abundantly) your plans. (Ephesians 3:20)
God’s purposes outweigh our plans. Give your plans to God and Live in the Red! ~ Loved and Forgiven.