February 4 “Idols of the heart”

Idols of the Heart

We are repeatedly warned, even in the New Testament, to avoid, in fact flee from, idolatry. But giant statues aren’t the only kind of idols. What “idols of the heart” do we worship that can hinder our relationships with God and with others?

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 19 & 20
Psalm 18.37-45
Proverbs 6.20-25
Matthew 22.23-46

Exodus 19 & 20

The Ten Commandments

In chapter 19 God displays His power and majesty so that the people will have no doubt that He is God and that Moses is His representative. The need for them to be outwardly clean was a visual representation of the inward cleanliness with which they were to approach a Holy God.

Then in chapter 20 God gives the Ten Commandments to the people Himself. Later He will write them on stone tablets.

The first command is “Have no other gods before me” (20:3). This, of course, was a prohibition against worshipping false gods of any kind. It was spoken to a people living in a culture where most people believed in and worshipped many gods, polytheism.

The second was to “Make no images, no likenesses of anything in heaven or on earth” (20:4). They were not to make an image of anything that was in heaven (angels, God Himself, or people who had gone to heaven) or on earth (man, woman, animals, or anything else). This command did not forbid artistic expression, but forbids the use of these items as part of our worship. Continue reading

February 3 “Handling difficult people & parenting difficult children”

Little girl and puppy

How do you handle difficult people? Do you respond with sinful anger and frustration or do you respond as Moses did? What about parenting difficult children?

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 17 & 18
Psalm 18:28-36
Proverbs 6:16-19
Matthew 22:1-22

Exodus 17 & 18:

Handling difficult people

What a group these Israelites were! Again they turn on Moses. Even though they were being led by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, instead of turning to God in prayer, they blame Moses for their thirst. His response is to go straight to God and again God meets their need supernaturally.

What do you do when faced with difficult people? Continue reading