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What are your Idolotrinkets?

This week in my bible study we learned about Idolotrinkets. What are Idolotrinkets? Let us first understand what idols are, “An idol is anything we set up along with, or instead of God.” We may not be worshiping a true idol like the Israelites worshiped the idol of Baal. But we may put our identity into our status, various pleasures or our financial stability . . . the list of Idolotrinkets can be endless. The author of the study says these trinkets are, “anything I go for to satisfy me are just the trinkets – the evidence that I am my own idol.” – Quotes by Jennifer Rotheschild in her Hosea study page 114.

I use to collect trinkets. In fact, the pin in the picture above was one of my favorite jewelry trinkets from my teenage years. It is, of course, the first letter of my name. I loved to pin on my shirt like everyone did in the 80’s. I no longer wear it but won’t give it away because I’m very sentimental. Not that this is a special pin. I’m sure it came from JC Penney’s or some other department store. The thing about me being segmental is that I tend to cling to things that I really need to let go.

True story time: Last year we turned our 5th bedroom in the basement into my husband’s workshop. This bedroom use to be part of the garage that previous owners converted into a large room. We used this room as our storage room and had to go through everything in order to downsize what we had to fit into a smaller space. I kid you not when I say I had 4 boxes full of my girl’s school work. Most were their artwork and awards. But I also kept their school work like spelling and math tests and other assignments. The girls forced me to throw those away which, for some reason, was difficult to do. I kept them thinking it would be nice to look back and see what kind of work they did. But in all reality, I really didn’t need to keep this stuff. When I threw it all away I was able to get all of their school work down to one box a piece for their whole school career.

I say this to show you that I hang on to things and some of those things can be considered Idolotrinkets. Another quote from the study that hit be hard was, “Idolotrinkets imply God is not doing His job adequately. An idol competes with God because we erect it to supplement Him” (Jennifer Rotheschild in her Hosea study page 116). GULP!

This week’s study revealed to me about how stubborn I am when it comes to giving up my Idolotrinkets. When I came across this picture it reminded me the importance releasing my Idolotrinkets to the Lord. To not hold onto them with a closed tight fist. When I keep my hands open and lifted to the Lord, it only then that my Idolotrinkets can be released. It is only then that I become the person who doesn’t need anything else to supplement God’s care and provision for me.

I believe it is when I set my mind on the things on this earth is when I start to acquire Idolotrinkets. It reminds me the importance of what the bible says in Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”  

What are your Idolotrinkets? What steps can you take to opening your hand and releasing them to the Lord?

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Clean On The Inside

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26

I am a person who likes to have her house clean. In fact, I can kind of get a little obsessed about cleaning it. Every month I deep clean the dishwasher. I scrub everything I can scrub and send it through a cycle with 2 cups of vinegar and then scrub it out again. I thought I was keeping it squeaky clean but it was only an illusion.

Last week while I was cleaning it I noticed that there was some gunk underneath the silverware holder and under the plastic grate at the bottom of the dishwasher. I try hard to scrub those things with a brush but for the past few months they weren’t getting really clean. And the dishes weren’t getting as clean either. Of course, my clean freak senses kick in and I start pulling things out for further inspection. I even got my husband involved which meant that the whole dishwasher got pulled apart.

Under the grate was gooey slime. In fact, this gooey slime was clogged in the drain which was backed up by a few toothpicks and a bit of napkin or paper towel. This goo was behind everything and in every nook and cranny of the sprayers. To say I gagging is an understatement. I was grossed out that I couldn’t even make dinner and forced my family to have leftovers.

This is only a little bit of the gooey stuff we pulled out of the dishwasher.

I soaked EVERYTHING in vinegar and then I scrubbed EVERYTHING with a brush. I used Q-tips to dig into places I couldn’t get. We even ran it through another cycle without the sprayers before deep cleaning it one last time. It. Was. Disgusting!!!!!!!!!!

I was so mortified that my dishwasher was this dirty and gross. Here I was thinking I was keeping my it clean when in fact, it was beyond dirty on the inside. It reminded me of these verses in Matthew. The Pharisees were very careful to make sure they looked good on the outside by showing how religious and moral they were. When in fact, their hearts were full of extortion and self-indulgence. God wanted them to make sure their hearts were clean through repentance and faith which would make their outward behavior and appearance acceptable.

We need to be careful about how we take care of our hearts. I know it is hard not to put more emphasis on outward appearances/personality so others accept us. God is more interested in who we are on the inside. This morning let us start to be more concerned with maintaining our hearts than keeping up appearances to be acceptable to those around us. Psalm 51:10 says, Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” I pray that this will be your prayer this morning.

My dishwasher is now squeaky clean like in the first picture. Trust me when I say my poor husband may be required to take it apart once again so I can make sure it also stays squeaky clean on the inside.

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You Are Worth More . . .

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

I love coming across this passage because it reminds me of how much the Lord loves me. We live in a time when our society places upon us so little value. It can really make a person feel worthless. Why? Because the things it values is like an empty black hole. No matter how much you try to prove yourself, you’ll never be enough.

Here’s the thing . . . You are valuable to the Lord. I know this because of the verses here in Luke 12. In biblical times sparrows were sold cheaply for food. This basically means that these little birds were of lesser value. And yet, the bible says, And not one of them is forgotten before God.” If the Lord God values these little birds one can only guess how much He values us, His children. This means that no matter how valueless this world makes you feel, you are worth so much more to the Lord.

My prayer for us today is that we will start to take our focus off of what this world says of us to what the Lord says of us. He loved us so much that “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-7).

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Our Worst Days

“Come and let us return [in repentance] to the LordFor He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. “After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up That we may live before Him. “So let us know and become personally acquainted with Him; let us press on to know and understand fully the [greatness of the] Lord [to honor, heed, and deeply cherish Him]. His appearing is prepared and is as certain as the dawn, And He will come to us [in salvation] like the [heavy] rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” Hosea 6:1-3 (Amplified Bible)

My friends, have you ever read through a book of the bible and just glossed over it not fully understanding all the golden nuggets that can be found? I’m finding this to be true of my bible study in Hosea. This is not an intense study but boy, does it pack a punch that leaves me with much to ponder.

Throughout the book of Hosea I see God at work in restoring what was lost. Lost in the way of by our choice or by the choices of others. No matter what has happened or the poor choice we’ve made, God is always ready to bring us to repentance and back to Him. Today’s study had me thinking about the above passage as the author of the study asked, “Of what worst day and best day do those days make you think?”

Humm . . . my thoughts always go back to one of the most traumatic event of my life. An event I’ve talked about so much I’m sure you all are tired of hearing about it. The event is the day I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a pretty bad day. I could say it was one of the worst days of my life. To face my greatest fear left me shaken to the core. I felt like I had lost so much that day. I felt like the Lord was breaking me into pieces. It. Hurt. Bad. It continued to hurt as I struggled with difficult staging tests and scans. It continue to hurt while I struggled through treatment that made me so sick I couldn’t do anything but sleep. It hurt when I lost my hair and looked so sick that people gave me that sympathetic look and/or tried to avoid looking at me at all. It hurt when I struggled to regain my health. It hurt when I realized I lost out on the first year of my youngest child’s life. It hurt when I saw my husband get sick for 3 months after I started to recover because he did it all – caregiver to me, provider for our family and often single parenting our small children.

Here’s the thing, I needed to be broken. My life was good but I was skating by skimming the surface of my spiritual life. I was walking through life with fear nipping at my heals. I thought it was a wonderful life because nothing terrible had happened to us. What I didn’t understand was that living like that wasn’t living. It wasn’t freeing. It wasn’t spiritually healthy. I have always said I needed God to hit me over the head with a ton of bricks to get my attention and He did. Not that He caused me to have cancer but He used it to wake me up and change my life.

The wonderful and amazing thing about the Lord is that He does restore what is broken. He restores us when we make mistakes. He restores us when tragedy strikes, “For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.”

My life is richer than it was. I still struggle with fear and I’m not perfect. I will forget what I’ve learned from my worst day when I stumble sometimes. But I know for certain that I serve a God who loves me. A God who cares about me and isn’t going to let me walk this earth alone. A God full of grace, mercy and forgiveness. A God who restores brokenness. A God who has way more patience with me than He should be.

The good news is that whatever we are going through is not the end of the story. Stories can be revised. I love this quote by Jennifer Rothschild, “The resurrection of Jesus reminds us that the worst day is not the last day.” Can I get an AMEN! to that?!

If you are going through a difficult time I pray that you will take comfort in knowing that your story is not over. This is not the end and greater things are in store for us. All we experience is preparing us for best days in eternity where we will be free from our worst days.

Note: Quote taken from Hosea: Unfailing Love Changes Everything by Jennifer Rothschild, page 73.

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“You were worth the life of Jesus”

I am continuing to enjoy my bible study on the book of Hosea. This week I came across this wonderful little nugget by the author Jennifer Rothschild, “You were wroth the life of Jesus. That is how valuable you are to Him. You may not feel that special or valuable, but, Gomer Girl, who you are and how you feel are not the same thing. Trust God’s opinion of you. He sees you as incredibly, eternally, valuable.”

Let me see a raise of hands for all who have felt invisible, not valued and worthless? My hand is raised for sure!

Here is what I learned about Jesus this week. A little something I always knew but my eyes were opened further. Did you know that 30 pieces of silver is the prices of a female salve? Jesus was sold/betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew 26:13-14).

This is how much He loves and values us! He was willing to be sold for the price of a slave in order that we will be come priceless.

Do you still feeling that you have no value after reading what He did? I will leave you with this question to ponder that I had to answer from my study, “How does it make you feel that Jesus allowed Himself to be sold for the prices of a salve?

I honestly, had a hard time putting to words what I felt which I guess means I felt overwhelmed.

Note: Hosea study and quote by Jennifer Rothschild, taken from pages 64-65.

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“Faith is a vision plus valor”

Sometimes life is so hard that my faith feels like the crumbly looking leaf. You know it’ll crumble into a million pieces if it gets stomped on.

I had a conversation with a friend last week reminded me that faith doesn’t depend on the circumstances I find myself in. I think Satan wants us to believe our faith can be weakened depending on what we are going through. I think the truth of the matter is that our faith is like a rock. It is unmovable because it is based upon the one and only solid Rock (the Lord).

The day after this conversation I came across this thought in my devotional that was perfect for explaining what I was mulling over:

“Faith is a vision plus valor.

Faith is the eye by which we look to Jesus. A dim-sighted eye is still an eye; a weeping eye is still an eye.

Faith is the hand with which we lay hold of Jesus. A trembling hand is still a hand. And he is a believer whose heart within him trembles when he touches the hem of the Saviour’s garment, that he may be healed.

Faith is the tongue by which we taste how good the Lord is. A feverish tongue is nevertheless a tongue. And even then we may believe when we are without the smallest portion of comfort; for our faith is founded not upon feelings but upon the promises of God.

Faith is the foot by which we go to Jesus. A lame foot is still a foot. He who comes slowly nevertheless comes.” – George Mueller

Faith is not based upon a feeling which is a good thing right? My emotions can take me to amazing heights as well as the deepest darkest valleys. No matter how we feel we still have the same strong faith. Why? Because God never changes. He is always with us no matter how we feel or no matter what we are going through.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

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Yesterday a conversation about anxiety started on my bible study’s Facebook page. It was a wonderful conversation that reminded me of two verses I turn to when my anxiety level rises.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

The reason why I love these verses is because they are great reminders of how important it is to set our minds on the promises of God. The foundation of our little worlds can sift and fall out from beneath us but the Lord will always be our solid Rock to land on.