By John Grant, Week Twenty, 2020
“How the gold has lost its luster, the fine gold become dull! The sacred gems are scattered at every street corner. How the precious children of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter’s hands!” (Lamentations 4:1-2).
A few months ago, my wife and I descended 1,300 feet below the surface and toured the salt mines outside Krakow, Poland. It was an incredible experience. My most important takeaway I learned was how in the times long ago the price of salt was higher per ounce than the price of gold. Salt was more practical, and much needed for food preservation and many other things. Gold was merely ornamental.
Fast forward to today when the price of gold is nearly $1,700 per ounce, but how quickly that can fade to nothing compared to the price of a loaf of bread. The prophet, Jeremiah, who wrote, Lamentations, saw that hundreds of years ago. The temple, which was overlaid with gold, was in ruins; and the gold was not distinguished from common rubbish.
Recent times have shown us how items were so wanted by people that the shelves were empty and our gold (credit cards and cash) were useless to purchase the depleted items. We all have some “gold” in our lives, but what happens when our gold loses its luster? Our fine gold of our lives become dull! Our gold is our idols.
Pastor Tim Keller so aptly says, “An idol is something we cannot live without. We must have it. Therefore, it drives us to break rules we once honored to harm others, even ourselves, in order to obtain it. Anything in life can serve as an idol, or a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life. An idol is anything more important to you than God. Anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God. Anything you seek to give you what only God can give. Anything so central and essential to your life, that should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”
What are some of our gods… financial security, comfort, people, job security, spiritual leaders, living the American dream….? In recent days our lives have been shaken and our lives have changed. It has not all been a pleasurable experience and the jury is still out on what the long term effects will play out. Our lives have changed, but one thing we know is our God has not changed.
He reminds us brokenness that leads to change is not aimless, pain that leads us to trust in God is not pointless and confusion that leads us to God’s throne for answers is not meaningless. In the words of Pastor Ken Whitten, our problem is not the depth of our brokenness. Rather, our problem is the depth of our own self- sufficiency.
Our idols will tarnish and wither away, but God never will.
What are the idols (gold) of your life and how have recent events drawn your focus on Jesus?
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
The Entertainment Test
Here are 10 questions to consider when we turn on the TV, go to a movie, attend a concert, or watch a play:
1. Is what I’m watching lewd and lascivious and appeals to my sinful fleshy desires?
2. Am I looking at a person created in God’s image with pure and honorable intentions?
3. Does this entertainment distract from my pursuit of holiness, righteousness, and godliness?
4. Does this show produce ennobling thoughts or pollute my mind with cheap and tawdry thoughts?
5. Is the allurement of this show vulgar or virtuous?
6. Am I morally stronger from this entertainment, or spiritually weakened?
7. Are the values being presented consistent with my Christian values?
8. Am I allowing myself to be amused by something that is sinful?
9. Would I feel comfortable having Jesus sit with me during this show?
10. When I finish watching, do I feel good about myself or do I feel sleazy?
—Ken Weliever – ThePreachersWord.com
Three ways Jesus responds to fear
One-way Christianity is different from other religions and worldviews centers in Jesus’ redemptive response to fear. Consider three lessons he offers his followers:
1—We should live in the present and trust the future to God.
Jesus taught us, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). This day is the only day there is. Someday there will be a global crisis that seems frightening and unmanageable, but before it accelerates, Jesus will return for us or you or I will go to him. That’s why “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). We are one day closer to eternity than ever before, and we have only today to be ready.
So, live in this day and trust tomorrow to the providence of your Father.
2—Worry is fruitless.
Jesus asks us, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If you then are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” (Luke 12:25–26).
Worry provides the sense that we are doing something about our fear, but this is an illusion. Rather than worry about the future, we should prepare by doing what we can do and trust God with what we cannot.
3—Our Father is Lord of the universe.
He asks: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore” (Matthew 10:29–31).
Our Father measures the universe with the palm of His hand (Isaiah 40:12). He is on the throne of the world.
Let’s be sure He is on the throne of our hearts today. Jim Denison
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
Hope is for the soul what breathing is for the living organism. Gabriel Marcel
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning is young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. Henry Ford
No matter what rough storm is in your life, if Jesus is in your boat, your boat will not sink. Franklin Graham
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison