“4 Ways to Enjoy True Abundance” February 28

 

4 Ways to Enjoy True Abundance

When the Nation of Israel followed God’s commands to observe a Sabbath year every 7 years and a Year of Jubilee every 50 years, God provided so much on the 6th year that it sustained them for 3.

With all the talk today about hard economic times, how can we learn to rest in God’s provision? Here are 4 ways to enjoy true abundance whatever the circumstances around us.

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 25
Psalm 28.6-9
Proverbs 10.19-21
Mark 6.30-56

 

4 Ways to Enjoy True Abundance

 

Leviticus 25:

True Abundance & the Year of Jubilee

 

The idea of a Sabbath has always been an important principle in the Bible. God rested on the 7th day and has instructed us to take time to rest, as well. Sabbath isn’t just about rest, it’s also about refocusing on God.

The children of Israel were not only to observe a Sabbath each week. There was to be a Sabbath year every seven years. This was a year for the land, as well as the people, to rest. This allowed the nutrients in the soil to be replenished while it kept the people focused on God. It was a reminder that everything, including the land, was the Lord’s. They were merely stewards over it. That is still true today with whatever the Lord has blessed us: jobs, property, talents, even our children.

Then every fifty years, after seven sets of seven years, there was to be a year of Jubilee! This was an additional year of rest from labor, but even more importantly, all the Israelites who had fallen on hard times were to be restored, released from indebtedness and given back family property. This would be even more important once they had gone in and taken possession of the Promised Land because God would allocate land to each of the twelve tribes for an inheritance.

An amazing thing would take place leading up to the year of Jubilee. On the sixth year God would provide such abundance that it would sustain the people for three years! What a beautiful picture of God’s provision!

With all the talk today about hard economic times, what does the year of Jubilee picture for us? What can we do that will help us rest in God’s provision? Continue reading

“Idols of the Heart” 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

 

Idols of the Heart

 

Exodus 19 & 20

The Ten Commandments

 

ten commandmentsIn 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 worshiping false gods of any kind. It was spoken to people in a culture where most nations believed in and worshiped 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.

 

Idols of the Heart

 

We must also guard against idols of the heart: things that are more important to us than God.

Ezekiel 14 says, “these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity” (v. 3).

Almost anything can become an idol—success, money, power, prestige, having a better home, children, or a spouse. When addressing their “idols of the heart” God told Ezekiel to tell the people:

“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the LORD will answer him by Myself. I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the LORD'” (Ezek. 14:6-8).

Think about that phrase, “[he] puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity.” If you take something, even a good thing, and put it in front of your face, it’s hard to see Continue reading