Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Buzzards at the Beach

This week's edition of What I Am Learning is actually what I learned last week! Better late than never, right? (Please note, the title is not a reference to myself or anyone else in this post!)

Last week my husband and I were fortunate enough to accompany our very good friends Leah and Greg to Amelia Island. We stayed in a beautiful beachside condo and this was the view from our balcony. It was so peaceful and quiet. It was nice to be able to rest for a few days.

However, Leah looked out one day and this is what we saw:

Two red-tailed hawks. We see them a lot where we live, but I just never associate them with the beach. And then she saw this:

After much debate, we finally decided that yes, these were indeed buzzards and not some weird beach bird that we had never seen. I see these occasionally at home too. But never at the beach. It was the strangest thing. (So now you know that my post title was not in reference to Leah and I.) After the buzzards dined on their beachside delicacy, they flew over to the lawn of The Ritz Carlton which was next door to us. And apparently had a show down with one of the hawks.

And then they decided to sun themselves. Can you imagine paying a premium price to stay at The Ritz just to look out of your window and see buzzards on the lawn? Even though there are negative connotations that go along with buzzards, they really were quite impressive to see. God's handiwork is something else.

As you know by my previous posts about what I am learning, my Bible study group is doing the study No Other Gods by Kelly Minter. We have studied how false gods can become functional gods and some of the reasons why we have idols. This week we are studying how our false gods lie to us. On day three Kelly said this: "The lies that circle our false gods like buzzards will try to convince us that redemption is wrapped up in our idols, but it will never be so." Talk about show and tell! God used a visual reminder to go along with my Bible study that day. Wow!

On Saturday night, Leah spoke to the ladies of Amelia Baptist Church. She spoke on our legacy as Christian women. She caused us all to really examine just what kind of legacy we will leave

behind. What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Everything we do and say, how we act and react effects everyone around us. I want my legacy to reflect Christ.

Life is Good,


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keep on Learning

I have been praying for those of us who have committed to learn Scripture this year. I pray that at the end of 2009 our minds will be renewed by His word that has taken up residence in our lives.

My verse for this week is Matthew 6:33: "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (NIV)

Keep up the good work.

Life is Good,


Friday, January 16, 2009

Confronting My Idols

As I told you last week I began the Bible Study "No Other Gods " by Kelly Minter. It is about confronting our modern-day idols. And I told you that I had several idols in my life. Good grief!
I feel like I have really been smacked around and this is only week number two.

I am also facilitating Beth Moore's study on Proverbs "Wising Up Wherever Life Happens" at my church on Wednesday nights. No, I am not an over achiever, I just really need a lot of Bible Study. You know how when God is really trying to get your attention about a particular matter every verse you read or study you do fits together? And it becomes abundantly clear that He is speaking to you? Well on Wednesday night our study was on our heart. So not only do I have idols in my life, I also have an ailing heart which goes hand in hand with huge idol in my life.

In "Wising Up" our lesson was on the Heart of Wisdom. We are to inspect our hearts for ailments and to "guard" our hearts. (Prov. 4:23). One kind of ailing heart is the anxious heart.
Beth says: "The Hebrew word for anxious literally means " 'to bow down like prisoners before their captors." (NIV Application Commentary, p.344) She goes on to say that all anxiety is rooted in control. I never felt like I was a control freak, I just always felt out of control. A prisoner of circumstances beyond my control.

As far back as I can remember, even when I was a little girl, I was anxious about nearly everything. I worried needlessly about things. And still do. But I am very good at hiding it and it has never been so bad that I needed medication to control it, and I have never had a full-blown anxiety attack. But it is always there. A constant anvil hanging over my head. Even when there is no reason to be anxious, I am anxious. So God is forcing me to look at this and figure out why. I have to realize that I am not in control God is. And I am not God. And it is exhausting trying to be God. And I do not want to be a prisoner bowing down in captivity to my idols.

This week in "No Other Gods" Kelly Minter reminded us of the story of Sarah and Hagar from Genesis 16:1-15. You know the gist of the story. God had promised Abraham that he would have a son. Sarah was barren and because she was getting older, instead of waiting on God to do His thing, she felt like she had to help things along by insisting that Abraham sleep with her maidservant Hagar. Kelly says, "Many of us run to idols because we are convinced they will bring us what we need. During the era in which Sarah and Hagar lived the ability to bear children was essential. It was viewed as a need." Personally, I think Sarah's desire to help God sprang from the anxiety that she must have felt in her inability to have a child. How many times have I reacted out of my anxiety like Sarah did? I think I "need" something and I try to fix that need. I get tired of waiting on God and try to help him out. Unfortunately too many times. He does not need my help.

I have to be honest, it is not easy to come face to face with my idols and look into my ailing heart and deal with the junk that's in there. It has been painful at times. But I think that God allows painful lessons because they are the ones that stay with us forever. God is so good. He wants me to clean out all the junk in my heart and in my life. To throw away the idols I have been hanging on to. He wants to be the only God in my life.

Life is Good,


Thursday, January 8, 2009

What Are My Idols?

I just started the study No Other Gods by Kelly Minter with a group of ladies this week. So for the next few Fridays "What I am Learning" will come from this study.

The central theme of this study is this verse from 2 Kings 17: "They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods."(v.33) Verse 41 says, "Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols."

Just in this first week I have had to ask myself some hard questions about idols in my life and the answers have not always been pretty ones. I can tell this is going to be a difficult study. It is not easy to take a hard look into my life and come face to face with my faults and how I shortchange God. In other words, I am cheating God by putting other people or other things above Him, even if they are good things.

Ken Sande gives this definition of an idol: "Most people think of an idol as a statue of wood, stone, or metal worshiped by pagan people....In Biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our heart on.....An idol can also be referred to as a "false god" or a "functional god".

Functional gods? How many things in my life are my functional gods? Do I honor God in the things that I listen to on the radio, watch on TV, with the thoughts in my mind and the feelings in my heart? What about things that are good? Do I put my family or my church activities above God? Do I put more importance on completing my Bible Study than I put on seeking God?

Another definition of an idol is this one by Richard Keyes: "An idol is something within creation that is inflated to function as a substitute for God. All sorts of things are potential idols, depending only on our attitudes and actions toward them...Idolatry may not involve explicit denials of God's existence or character. It may well come in the form of an overattachment to something that is, in itself, perfectly good...An idol can be a physical object, a property, a person, an activity, a role, an institution, a hope, an image, an idea, a pleasure, a hero --- anything that can substitute for God."

I am ashamed to say that I have many idols in my life. Even if some of them are good. So as I begin this deep introspection I want to clean out any idols in my life. I want to let go of those things that are keeping me from wholly serving God. I don't want to be consumed by serving my false idols. I want to be consumed by my desire for my Lord.

Life is Good,


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hiding His Word in our Hearts

This is the post that I originally intended for New Year's Eve. Unfortunately, I had computer problems and by the time I figured out what was wrong and had replaced my modem it was late and I was frustrated and couldn't think clearly. Even today there has been some sort of glitch and I lost my draft twice. It has taken me four days to get this posted. I really think that the enemy does not care if this particular posts survives or not. It is about Scripture and we all know that Scripture is the only offensive weapon in our arsenal against the enemy.

For the past several months God has been speaking to me about not knowing enough Scripture. I love His word and am familiar with it, but I have not memorized a lot of it. I can recall it, but sometimes not completely or correctly and I sometimes have trouble remembering the address. So He has directed me to learn one new Scripture each week. I am to memorize it and meditate on it and soak it up until it is completely engraved on my heart. The really neat thing is that God has been speaking to other women about this also. I have read several blogs and spoke with several women face to face that God has also impressed upon the need for Scripture memorization. On Beth Moore's blog over 3,000 women have committed to learning Scripture this year.

In an earlier blog entry I posted this quote from Adrian Roger's devotional "What Every Christian Ought to Know Day by Day": "I want you to learn how to study your Bible, to make it burst aflame in your hand. Knowledge is power in any realm, whether business, athletics, or theology. But nowhere is it more true than in relation to the Word of God. So since it's true that knowledge carries so much power, we need the knowledge of the Word of God in order to have spiritual power."

Can you imagine how much more effective we can be as Christian women if we are continually living and breathing the Holy Word of God? We can have spiritual power! "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 (NIV).

In Psalm 119 David speaks so beautifully about God's Word and it's benefit to us:

  • His Word is eternal (v.89)
  • His laws endure to this day (v.91)
  • His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path v.105)
  • His statutes are wonderful (v.129)
  • All His Words are true (v.160)

Priscilla Shirer says in her Bible Study Discerning the Voice of God that by reading Scripture we delight ourselves in God and should expect to learn something new about our God and discover His personality.

My verse for this week is Zephaniah 3:17: The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

My prayer for anyone reading this blog is that God will give you the desire to know more of His precious Word in the coming year. We can be spiritually powerful women.

Life is Good,