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Posts Tagged ‘idolatry’

The Two Sides of Idolatry

February 19th, 2010 No comments

I just returned from a great two weeks in India! We had a tremendous time encouraging pastors with some of the DNA of our Living Stones Tribe…The Kingdom of God, Cultural Transformation, a Culture of Honor, and Building with Spiritual Sons and Daughters. It was awesome.

I am continually stunned by the sheer amount of idol worship still occurring in this Hindu nation. One of the religious festivals I read about in the daily newspaper explained how a baby cobra came out of the wall of the temple while the people were worshipping one of the 30 million gods in India. People began tossing flowers and spraying perfume on the cobra as an act of worship. I drove past numerous statues of the monkey god and thought to myself, “These people cannot be serious! This is your god?” In the West, we look upon this behavior as sheer nonsense, wondering how educated and enlightened people could believe in such foolishness.

Yet in the West, we are equally guilty of our own culturally bound forms of idolatry. In his book, Earth Restored, author John Barber writes, “We forget that idolatry can be practiced in two ways: by worshipping too many gods [like Hindus], or by making the one, true God too small.” I think Americans have sinned by the latter form of idolatry. 

Jesus Christ is Lord of All. When we compartmentalize our faith, making false distinctions between the sacred and the secular, or the separation of church and state, we shrink God. We suggest that He is not really in charge of the universe and everything and everyone in it. So whether we put perfume on serpents or we compartmentalize Christ, we are both equally guilty of idolatry.

There is One, True God….and He’s really BIG! Got it?

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The Seductive Smile of Socialism (3)

October 5th, 2009 No comments

In my last blog, I tried to establish the fact that much of the foreboding forecast we are hearing from the liberal talking-heads is a smokescreen. Americans, when compared to our Socialist European friends, enjoy a higher standard of living. Even “poor” Americans are better off than the  middle-class European!  So the logical solution is really quite simple: Keep your Socialism!

But part of the problem with socialism is that, in addition to the atmosphere of dissatisfaction and despair it intentionally creates, it also has the nasty problem of over-promising and under-delivering. Which leads to my second point:

Like a perverse woman, socialism promises more than it can deliver. She seeks to draw us away from our covenant partner.

Socialism, like a seductress, strives to steal our affections away from our covenant partner. She alluringly promises provision, security, comfort and… the world! And herein lies the problem. Socialists see government as “god.” The government becomes their provider from cradle to grave, their savior in times of trouble, the solver of all their problems, and that which inevitably brings peace and utopia.

Author Stephen McDowell writes,“Socialism is man’s attempt to build his kingdom, through which he tries, on his own terms, to take dominion of the earth.” Socialistic governments will act as if they are sovereign in all things. When the State stands in the place of God, the people develop an idolatrous dependency upon the State instead of God. This is the very essence of sin.

Fortunately, the Lord will not tolerate this perversion for long. In Isaiah 54:5, we read, ”For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name;  And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;  He is called the God of the whole earth.”

The Lord is our Husband. He alone is our Provider. The Lord of heaven’s armies is our Defender and Protector.  And make no mistakes; He is the God of the whole earth. This planet belongs to Him. When earthly governments rob Him of the glory due to Him alone by stealing the faith and affections of the people, God cannot remain silent. He will act. His glory depends on it! 

The children of Israel, God’s covenant bride, lost her first love and turned to the surrounding nations for instruction.They wanted an earthly king like their pagan neighbors. The Lord exposes Israel’s adulterous heart:  “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer.” (I Samuel 8:5-7)

Is this not the heart of the crisis in America today? Who will rule over us? Will we have Christ as our King or will we look to the governments of man to care for our needs?

 The Lord’s command to us is clear: “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband (Jeremiah 3:14). As Americans, we must choose between our Husband, the Lord, or our current mistress, the State. The future of our nation depends upon it.

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