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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Faith “Making” God or Idols - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 6 - Purity 1279

 

Faith “Making” God or Idols - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 6 - Purity 1279

Purity 1279 02/20/2024 Purity 1279 Podcast

Purity 1279 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun shining bright over the Dockside Diner, while its rays transform a fountain into a blazing cross-like flower and create a light pathway on surface of Echo Lake, comes to us from yours truly as I took a moment yesterday to capture this scene and to bask in the sunshine after two days of rain, while on vacation on planet Disney World since Friday.

While it may not be a “whole new world”, it is different reality down here, and while I have enjoyed the fun Disney World has to offer, and even had a real moment of appreciation for how Walt Disney’s vision has positively impacted generations, I am struck with melancholy when I realize that the world broken by sin can’t be saved by “just our imaginations” or our hopes and dreams  or even our best efforts and that as wonderful as this place is in some aspects it is quite terrible and perhaps even sinister in others.  Beyond the materialism and selling of potent potables, merch, toys, and thrills for circumstantial happiness, the concepts and symbols that hold the spirit of anti-Christ are at times hard to ignore. For example, dragons are a symbol of the enemy and there are lots here.  

But instead of rallying against the EVIL today, I will focus on the good and realize that this place was created for people to come to have some fun and express their love for one another by sharing their experiences together and remembering more innocent times from their childhoods.  And when I see the love that parents have for their children and families have for each other, it gives me hope that they may already know the love of the Lord or one day could.   The evil and the harsh realities of the world can’t be escaped from, but they can be overcome through the love of God that is found when we put our faith in Jesus.  So with that hope, we seek to draw closer to the Lord in the season that prepares us for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, Lent.

It’s the sixth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 6

YOU ARE TO HAVE NO other Gods.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear, love, and trust God above all things.

A "god" is the term for that to which we are to look for all good and in which we are to find refuge in all need. Therefore, to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in that one with your whole heart. As I have often said, it is the trust and faith of the heart alone that make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true one. Conversely, where your trust is false and wrong, there you do not have the true God. For these two belong together, faith and God. Anything on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God... Exodus 20:1-5a

SILENCE FOR MEDITATION

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 15 minutes or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

     How is it possible that our faith and trust can "make both God and an idol"?

I don’t like that phrasing, “make both God and an idol” when it is removed from the overall context of Luther’s statement because nothing we do “makes God” – He is self-existent and completely holy (set apart, different) but as Luther points out in his previous statement to “to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in that one with your whole heart” and what we put our faith in – whether the One True God revealed in the pages of the Bible or some other created concept or thing becomes “our god”.   So faith in Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – makes the One True God of the Bible “our God” while faith in Buddha, money, ourselves, our families, our job, or any other false religion makes those things “our god”, small g, – or more accurately “our idol”.  While our faith makes something “our personal God (big G) or god/idol ( little g), it doesn’t make God who He is.

     What are some of the things (idols) our culture encourages us to place our faith and trust in?

As I included in my list above, our culture encourages us to put our faith in ourselves, our families, our jobs, our money. My western society tends to distrust or deny the supernatural, so self-sufficiency is the biggest idol in my culture here in the United States. Governments, political parties, individual philosophies, institutions, and corporations are a close second.

     We are instructed to both "fear" and "love" God. In practical terms, what do you think it means to fear God? To love God?

To fear God is to respect Him and His wisdom and power, and quite frankly to really fear the judgment He will bring to those who are not safe in Christ.  To love Him is to know Him and the fact that He is good, righteous, just, and holy, and that beyond those attributes is His love for us. To Fear and to Love God is to know Him, to Trust Him, and to Obey and Follow Him.

PSALM FRAGMENT

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; they make no sound in their throats. Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them. Psalm 115:4-8

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

     God wants to be in relationship with us. Describe in your journal how you experience your relationship with God at this time.

I experience my relationship as my constant companion through life. I blog, pray and read His word each day to stay in His presence. I pray to talk to Him. I try to obey what His word instructs us to do and try to encourage others to seek Him.  I spend my days “walking and talking to God” because I have known His love and experienced His presence. He never leaves us, but you have to spend time with Him to know He is there. My relationship with God defines who I am.

     Write about how the fear and love of God work themselves out in your daily life.

The fear of the Lord causes me to want to do what is right. The love of the Lord gives me the motivation to continue to do it.  Only His love would change a rebel like me and because He first loved me and has demonstrated and revealed His truth and love for me, I now try to abide in His Presence every day.

     It has been said that "the human heart is a factory of idols." In your journal, describe any idols that have been manufactured in your own heart's factory. What kind of "worship" do they demand of you? What would you need to do to be free of these idols?

My self-sufficiency is still a big idol. Although some self-sufficiency is unavoidable because  the world demands we work and support ourselves,  I will often not seek help because I think I can do things “by myself” but God often humbles me to reveal how inadequate I am in myself and I now more readily will admit when I can’t do something and need help.   Food is still an idol as well, as a part of me still wrongly associates food with comfort or pleasure and has demonstrated my lack of self-control over it during this vacation. I will be in full repentance mode when I return back to normal, thanks be to God.

PRAYERS FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH

Pray for yourself, your family, and your friends that they will put their faith wholly in the one true God and put away all their idols.

Lord, I pray that I, my family and friends will all put our faith in You, the One True and Only God, and put away all our idols. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, cast out those idols in my heart that captivate me and draw me from you. Give me the faith to put all my trust in you alone. Amen.

 

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.)

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

Proverbs 15:4 (NASB)
4  A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.

Today’s verse is the second of two passages of scripture that fall under the fifteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

15.     A word aptly spoken and a wise rebuke can be very helpful to others.

Today’s verse reminds us that life and death lie in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) by giving us the analogy of a soothing tongue being a tree of life, whereas a “perverse” tongue being one that crushes the spirit.  According to MacArthur’s commentary – perverse here means to “wound” or “break”, thus, to destroy one’s moral.  And that’s how negative words crush the spirit they take away our hope.  So speak soothing words of truth that will guide others to submit to God and to have the hope of life eternal that comes though faith in Christ.

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: MARK 11

“Have faith in God.” – Mark 11:22

The writer to the Hebrews says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).

It follows then that without this faith, it is impossible to earn the Divine attestation: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17, emphasis mine), or “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21).

Faith, in the sense of the above text, is not an attribute of God, but His essential nature. Therefore, only those who are partakers of God's divine nature are possessors of it. Moreover, it is increased as Christ (who is God's nature) is formed in me.

Lord, increase my faith. I believe, help my unbelief.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


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