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Showing posts from December, 2022

Undetected Idolatry

What is idolatry? We see the word  idol  at the outset of the word, tipping us off to the idea that idolatry involves idols. Webster defined idolatry as “the religious worship of idols.” Fair enough, but what are idols? Let’s ask Webster again. He says it is “an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.” The dictionary goes on to say an idol may be a figment of the imagination, or any person or thing regarded with blind devotion. We often think about a thing in relation to idolatry, such as the Baals in the Old Testament or the kachinas of the Native Americans. But idolatry can also exist in the mind.  In the classic theological work  The Knowledge of the Holy,  A.W. Tozer wrote, “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.”   We see this played out in Romans 1, where Paul noted, “For although they kn

A Great Multitude

  Dr. King famously dreamed of a world in which people were judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin. But never did he dream that we would become a colorblind society. The goal is not to pretend that there are no differences in skin color, but simply not to treat people differently because of those differences.    John the Apostle also had a dream, and he recorded it for us as the last book of the Bible. Revelation 7:9 says in part, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…”   In his book titled  Advocates,  Pastor Dhati Lewis wrote about that passage, noting, “Even at the heavenly worship service, God still recognizes different ethnicities.  John didn’t see a multitude ‘who  used to be  from every nation, tribe, people, and language…’”  (emphasis added)   We are not going to lose our identity in heaven,

Headless Turtles

  Pastor Steve Gaines once repeated a story he heard from his friend. This man was by himself doing some bass fishing when he suddenly had a sharp tug on his line. He became excited and began to reel in his catch.    After some struggle, he was finally able to discover what it was that bit his hook—not a bass, but a turtle. He laid the reptile on its back in the grass and tried to remove the hook. He even tried giving the back of its head a little thump, hoping to jar the hook loose. He soon realized his efforts were futile, and there was only one option left.   I apologize for the rest of this sentence, but the man took out his knife and removed the head of the turtle, putting it out of its misery. Within minutes he had a new hook on his line and had recast. But then he heard some rustling in the grass behind him, which was alarming since he was by himself. He turned around to see that turtle—headless—trying to walk. Like a snake that refuses to die, this turtle’s nerve endings were c