5 Steps to Eliminate Your Golden Calf

5 Steps to Eliminate Your Golden Calf

What is your idol?

Many Christians shrug off the first and second commandment by thinking, “Well I don’t bow down to any statue so I’m good to go.” Unfortunately, there is a reason God makes such a big deal about idolatry in the Bible and since the Bible is a guide directed toward Christians, it might benefit those who listen.

The true definition of an idol is this: Anything that separates you from your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

An example from the Old Testament talks about the Israelites building an elaborate golden calf which they worshiped as a manifestation of God. They believed that God wouldn’t mind if they had something materialistic to rely on. Needless to say the story didn’t end well (Exodus 32).

Idols come in many ways, shapes, and forms and the average Christian probably has a minimum of 10 idols (and that’s aiming low). How did I come to this conclusion you ask? I took a look at my life with the question, “what is my idol?” I took out a sheet of paper and before I knew it, there was not one, not two, but a whole list of things that could be considered my idols.

We as humans in this day and age are a materialistic society. We focus on how we look and what we have and before we know it, we are completely distracted from God. There are so many things that control us nowadays we may not even be aware of it. Here are a few examples.

Addictions have a habit of controlling our lives like alcoholism, smoking (not just cigarettes), overeating (gluttony), sex, and pornography to name a few. These are the more serious idols that we may be worshiping without even knowing it.

Some of the more subtle examples include video games, TV series, and social networking. These can devour our time so that we feel we have no more time in the day to pray or read our Bibles. Therefore, they become our idols.

Believe it or not people, even fashion can become an idol. By focusing so much on what we wear or how society looks at us, we become self-absorbed and vain. Vanity is as much an idol as a golden calf.

If any of these examples refer to you, then don’t worry. You are not alone and there is something you can do. From my own growing experience with Father I have come up with 5 steps that will help you get rid of the idols in your life.

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1. Admit and Accept

Like any addiction, the first step to overcoming is to first realize that you have a problem. Having idols that keep you from God is definitely a problem. So man up and understand what in your life is keeping you distracted from your spiritual walk. Then you have to make the decision to change it.

2. Repent and Reconcile

Not one day should go by without you repenting for the sins you have committed. We are imperfect people and we sin without even knowing it sometimes. Having idols is a sin so therefore you must ask the Lord’s forgiveness for those sins. Once you have set yourself straight with Father, you need to work on your plan of action.

3. Know Your Team

You need to realize right now that you CANNOT do this alone. God is your ultimate accountability partner and He will help you overcome. If you try to do this by your own will and strength, you will fail every time.

4. Start Small

If you were on a diet one of the first things people tell you is to make wise decisions. You will be tempted. You won’t feel like doing the right thing. That is normal, but the trick is to do it anyway. Set small goals. Start your morning by reading the Bible. You will see a difference. Only give yourself a limited time a day watching TV or getting on the internet. Try going a day without smoking or it could be as simple as having a glass of water instead of having a soda.

5. Follow Through

When hitting a baseball it is important to follow through instead of cutting yourself short. You’ve started small and worked your way up to bigger goals well now is the time to keep yourself in check. Know that you will mess up and have bad days, but if you give up, those idols will come back and rule your life.

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I have found that the more I read my Bible and talk to God the more I am able to feel Him throughout the day. Therefore, He keeps me accountable and I feel more convicted when I do wrong. My Heavenly Father guides me to think more like Him on a daily basis, but I couldn’t possibly get to that point without focusing more on Him.

If you spend more of your time doing the things of the world whether it be for recreational purposes or even on a need-to basis, you are putting other things before Him. The Bible says that “[Jesus] is the way, the truth, and the life, no one can get to the Father accept through Him.” Anything else in our life is only going to keep us down.

The Bible also says that we cannot serve two masters. If you live “of the world” you are serving the world and not God. In addition, idolaters are one of the many things that will not inherit the kingdom of God. Take these things to heart, they are not meant to judge you, but to instead bring you closer to Father.

God Bless

-LJM

Exodus 20, Exodus 32, John 14:6, Matthew 6:24,

1 John 2:15, Romans 12:2,1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, Philippians 4: 13

Ain’t No Valley Low Enough

Ain’t No Valley Low Enough

It wasn’t until I got to college and I was more independent than I had ever been did I realize just how much pain there was in the world. You hear horror stories on the news like the kind that make you go, “How terrible” but you don’t fully understand until you are surrounded by hurt. Suddenly I was surrounded by people who were hurting or who have been scarred in their lifetime. Sometimes I needed to physically get away from all of the brokenness.

Unfortunately you can never fully escape except through God. With God everything can be made whole. Sinful people cause the sadness and hurt in the world, but when you look to God, you are looking at the one thing that will forever be perfect. With a low spirit I would have to regenerate with God and then I would have to take a deep breath and head back into a broken world.

One of my favorite inspirational speakers, Nick Vujicic (a must youtube search), said “Pain is pain, brokenness is brokenness.” Everyone goes through painful circumstances. Sometimes they’re continual, sometimes they just take you down temporarily. Regardless it is still painful and no matter what it is, God cares about it and He wants to help you through it.

My lowest moment so far in my life came when I was 16 years old. I brought trouble upon myself and I didn’t like the person I was becoming. If an outsider were to look at my situation, they would probably think, “That is not such a big deal.” It was a big deal. I was ashamed that I disappointed the people I loved the most, but I believe with all of my heart that it was supposed to happen. As a result I learned a lot about myself and what I was going to do.

Our “valleys” come in many forms: physical and mental disabilities, broken families, bullying, bad decisions etc. Whatever the case, God can use all things even Satan himself to help us grow into the people He wants us to be. The trick is to stay out of the pit of self pity that traps us like quicksand.

For those of you who have little baggage, praise God, but there is a reason for that. I believe that there are people with little baggage so they can help carry the burdens of others. After a couple of years in college I came to the conclusion that that was one of my purposes. The Bible tells us to “Carry one another’s burdens in love and thus fulfilling the law of Christ.” Christ carries us especially through our valleys; therefore, we must do the same for each other.

I came up with a phrase, though it may not be original, I live by it. “The lower Satan takes you, the higher Jesus can raise you.” Satan can take you down whether it be through situations out of your control or circumstances that you brought upon yourself. Either way, Jesus merely holds out His hand and all you have to do is take hold of it.

God bless.

-LJM

Galations 6:2

I Believe I Can Fly

I Believe I Can Fly

Nothing like soaring above the clouds and watching the sunset to remind you of how beautiful God’s creation is. As I sit by the window of this plane I think back to the first time in my memory that I talked to God.

When you were a kid, did you ever just look up and ask, “God, are you really there?” Well maybe you even ask now. There comes a time in everyone’s life where they just want to put the cards on the table and know beyond a shadow of a doubt whether or not there is a god.

My moment came when I was 8 years old. I don’t have any memory of sincerely talking to God before then. I remember chanting my meal time blessings, and bedtime prayers, but I don’t remember actually having a conversation with God until I was 8.

I remember laying in my twin bed staring up at the ceiling. My deepest wish at the time was the ability to fly. I wanted to be Mrs. Peter Pan.  If I had to choose a superpower it would be flight. I could just picture myself flying circles around my friends and everyone would think I was the coolest person ever! I thought of all the awesome things I could do with my power like reaching high places without a stool, saving kittens out of trees, and never having to be afraid of falling ever again.

I stared into the darkness of my bedroom and said aloud, “God, I really really really wanna fly. I know You have the power to make it happen. I would really love it if You would let me fly.” I prayed and prayed over and over until my eyes grew drowsy and I drifted off to sleep. The next morning I would remember my prayer and I would stand on my bed, ready for take off. Deep down I knew I wouldn’t be able to fly, but it wouldn’t stop me from trying.

That wasn’t the last night I asked. I figured, maybe God didn’t hear me. Maybe He heard me and I didn’t do something right. So once again I sprawled out on my bed, put my hands together, and prayed aloud, “God, if You’re really there, will you let me fly?” When that didn’t work I tried one last time.

Maybe if I got on my knees and put my hands together God would listen. “If you let me fly then I will believe in You.”  Now I had Him, I thought. But the following morning I jumped up from my bed only to be brought down like a rock.

Instead of sulking in the corner about how God doesn’t listen or that there isn’t even a god, I just shrugged it off. I had no doubt in my mind that God was there and there was nothing that could make me believe otherwise. At such a young age I had to start coming to the realization that I am not always going to get what I want right away, even if I ask God. We zero in on our needs and wants, but God knows what is best for us. And He answers our prayers in his own time.

Oh and I did get my prayer answered. For the third time this summer I have flown over the United States and I’m sure it will not be my last.

-LJM

1 Corinthians 8:6, Romans 1:20

These are the Stepping Stones

These are the Stepping Stones

Last week my family took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale for our family vacation. Through a week of relaxation and plenty of beach time, I had a reoccurring thought, “God never takes a vacation.” Each and everyday our Heavenly Father speaks to us and reveals His presence in our lives whether it be through an encouraging word or a ray of sunshine.

This thought has fueled my relationship with Father this past year and I have a few books to prove it. The first is of course my Bible. The second is my devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and the third is my journal, but I will get to that later.

He is always teaching, always encouraging, always guiding, and, of course, always loving. Even though His efforts are everlasting, we, as humans with our short attention span, find a way to be disconnected from Him and fail to notice.

Now we come to the inspiration behind this blog! Just under a year ago my friend and I were standing at a book shelf at Barnes and Noble. The books in front of us were not to read, but instead they were to write in. Journals of all sizes and colors lined the shelves.

My friend and I, we’ll call her Sally, we liked to reminisce about the times when we were adolescents ranting away to our best friend named, “Dear Diary.” Looking back through those best friends I realized how young and shallow I sounded. Talking about every guy that said “Hello” to me like he was Mr. Right, what I ate for dinner, how many times I went on a diet, how many fights I had with my brother and so on. Each entry was pointless and it was almost embarrassing to read again. There was no depth, no growth involved, it just reminded me of how odd I was as a child.

As a result, Sally came up with an idea that I will now forever carry with me and pass on to others. Instead of complaining about everything wrong in our lives in a diary, why don’t we journal about the blessings that God gives us. So there we were ready to pick out a journal whose purpose was to record all the good that God does in our lives. I picked out the small purple notebook featured in the picture above. Little did I know about the wonderful step I was to take with God.

In under a year I have filled up that entire journal with life lessons, answered prayers, and healed heartaches. Each entry proves that if you are open to hearing The Lord’s voice, you will hear it. This journal is a tool that helps me channel my thoughts and prayers with Father. It reminds me of His eternal presence through his blessings which often follow tough lessons. As a result, my faith grows stronger every day.

This blog is a way for me to share what I have learned from God by keeping this journal. It is a way for me, as a writer, to show you how God is faithful and if you have eyes to see, you will see His beautiful work in you.

Let me give this late disclaimer. Keeping a journal is not what is going to get you a relationship with Father. The first step to a relationship is to pray, the second is to read His word. How else are you going to know when He is talking to you? Keeping a journal is simply a tool in this relationship. I look forward to sharing my experiences and thoughts with you and I hope that this will encourage you in entries to come.

-LJM

Revelation 2:7, Proverbs 20:12