April 26, 2012

Today you should read: Zephaniah 1

“Just wait ’til your father gets home” are words that every child dreads to hear.

Whether it meant a spanking or just a good “talkin’ to”, it was enough to instill the fear of God in the perpetrator. The reason? The child knew that the crime deserved punishment. Whatever he did wrong — big or small — he knew there were consequences.

That same undertone is what we encounter throughout the minor prophets and especially in Zephaniah. But the “just wait ’til your father gets home” in this book refers to the “Day of the Lord”. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing this theme throughout that last few weeks of Jumpstart. If you missed my earlier post on it, read it here.

Verses 2-6 focus on the judgment that awaited Judah. Verses 2 & 3 reveal the anger of the Lord. Verse 4 revealed the reason: idolatrous priests, the remnant of Baal, and idol worship among the Israelites. Their hearts were given to other gods. The Lord was jealous and angry. Remember what God said about this in the Big Ten?

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Deuteronomy 5:7-10 ESV

We might be enticed to sinfully approach this today and say to ourselves, “It’s a good thing I have no carved Baals like the Israelites did” or foolishly assure ourselves we have no idols in our lives. The reality is that each of us has idols that grip our hearts. It may be the acquiring of stuff or the perfect body image or climbing the next rung in the corporate ladder or the approval of others or performance as a Christian. We all have them and we even claim some of them in the name of Jesus! But regardless of how “Christian” we make our idolatry sound, God still hates it; He wants our whole hearts.

Today, let us pause to examine our hearts, identify our idolatry, and turn back to our True Love.

That’s a key sign of being a genuine believer: repentance. Plus, there is too much at stake. The world needs the hope that we have in Jesus. We limit our gospel-impact when we don’t relinquish our idols. Let them go.

After all, Dad is coming home soon.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

Author: Center Point Church

A multi-campus church in central Kentucky. Our mission is to take everyone we meet one step closer to becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

5 thoughts on “April 26, 2012”

  1. Awesome Todd!
    I love it when you tie in a life event or memory to the teaching, it helps to relate and makes it mean more.
    It is easy to get caught up in so many areas of our lives and make them “all” important. Even “serving” as Rich gave us a lesson on and you spoke about as well.
    It truely is about balance and knowing Who is the one we should run to at the end of the day. For that matter all day long!
    I love that my mind ofter wonders to my Heavenly Daddy during the day, other times goes there quickly after a thought I want to repent for, and other times, just to thank Him for how good He is to me. And to know He is there and I can crawl up in His lap and feel His arms wrap around me when I am sad, lonely, or hurt, that is the best feeling of all for a single person.
    So looking foward to Daddy coming home!
    Renee

  2. Todd, the verse “And I will destroy those who used to worship me but now no longer do. They no longer ask for the Lord’s guidance
    or seek my blessings.” Such a lesson to us to be constantly asking God to examine our hearts…..show us what he is seeing. In working through “Experiencing God” in discipleship, one of the first things Henry Blackaby says in week 2 is “The focus of the Bible is God. The essence of sin is a shift from God-centeredness to self-centeredness. The essence of salvation is denying self instead of affirming self.” He references King Asa in II Chronicles 16:1-3 and how his self-centeredness became a subtle trap. Blackaby further exhorts that we “must seek to view situations from God’s perspective rather than from our own distorted human outlook.” I have been reminded of that this week in several venues around me. The hope of the gospel is much more important than areas of bondage in my/our lives that we cling to. God wants his abundance for us and in EVERYTHING we say and do, he wants glory, fame, and honor to be brought to him alone! I’m grateful for your exhortation Todd! Am asking God to examine my heart today and reveal anything that is in his way.

  3. Well, Ms. Tina, I couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂 In going through Experiencing God a couple of days ago I read about looking sincerely for God’s direction sincerely and patiently looking to the Holy Spirit to guide from the Word. But MY influence MY impatience MY dishonesty MY hard heart keeps me from hearing GODs word and hearing ONLY what I WANT to hear…My love of self, my pridefulness, my arrogance is a constant battle and while I am not perfect at it and probably never will be, each day I give glory to Him and ask for His guidance that HIS will be done, not what is on my selfish agenda. Satan, unfortunately attacks become sneakier and I just have to keep looking up. Some times I find myself out of the spirit focusing on myself, my hurts, my pain, and I forget there are so many people around me that just want to encourage me and lift me up so I may become even closer to God. Asking for help and even for forgiveness is difficult for me (as a type A personality), but overcoming that yields more for me to praise Him for. (Am I rambling yet??)
    Even thought I would rather not admit it, I would MUCH rather my idols be money or fame or this or that rather than myself, but when I’m relying only on myself to accomplish daily tasks and not seeking guidance from above, I really am just being arrogant thinking I can do that alone. SILLY PRIDE!!!!!!!
    Renee, you’re right, it is easy to get caught up in doing so many things and giving them all priority. I have found myself run ragged doing so many things for school, kids, church and I get overwhelmed at times. While I do believe God calls us to serve in some form or fashion, whether inside church doors or out, I also believe he equips us for what He wants us to do. There have been days I couldn’t have made it through without inner peace and patience. I’m very thankful that I don’t have to do it all on my own. And Ms. Renee, single or not, you have a church family that loves you very much and I am grateful to have you in my life. Your smile is contagious and I miss weekly hugs from you in CG!!! I always appreciate your insight and your advice.
    Anyway that’s my two cents!! Have a great day, y’all!!!

  4. First — to all of you — your comments were much better than the post. I am gleaning a lot from what you had to say.

    Renee, loved this part of your comment: “It truly is about balance and knowing Who is the one we should run to at the end of the day. For that matter all day long!” It is a balance, and it is easy to miss the One we’re doing it all for.

    Tina, you are dead on. I think, if we were all truthful, we all like being the “god” of our own lives. Our self-centeredness needs redemption and real repentance for it to turn to Christ-centeredness.

    Adele, this was soooo solid: “But MY influence MY impatience MY dishonesty MY hard heart keeps me from hearing GODs word and hearing ONLY what I WANT to hear…My love of self, my pridefulness, my arrogance is a constant battle and while I am not perfect at it and probably never will be, each day I give glory to Him and ask for His guidance that HIS will be done, not what is on my selfish agenda.” Thanks for being so forthright and honest. I am right with you with the same struggle inside of me.

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment. I feel like I’ve gotten to learn from each of you today.

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