Month: September 2014


Opus Operatum
God’s work
Done within us
By His Spirit

Opus Operantis
God’s work
Worked out through us
By His Spirit

The sign sacramental
The effect victorious
The effective power
Of a Spirit-filled life

You Know me and Search me

You know me and search me,
Where I sit and rise;
You know my thoughts,
My deepest yearnings,
You understand and discern
My innermost purposes;
Even before I utter a word,
You have already heard my mind.

Let me never escape your Spirit,
Let me never flee from your presence;
You are in the heavens,
Yet meet me here in the depths;
You are at the break of dawn,
And in the waves of the seas;
Always You will guide me,
And You shall hold me fast.

– inspired by Psalm 139:1-10

Quotes on Idolatry

“Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. In the wilderness God gave Israel the manna every day, and they had no need to worry about food and drink. Indeed, if they kept any of the manna over until the next day, it went bad. In the same way, the disciple must receive his portion from God every day. If he stores it up as a permanent possession, he spoils not only the gift, but himself as well, for he sets his heart on accumulated wealth, and makes it a barrier between himself and God. Where our treasure is, there is our trust, our security, our consolation and our God. Hoarding is idolatry.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

“I believe a significant segment of American evangelicalism is guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry. To a frightful degree, I think, evangelicals fuse the kingdom of God with a preferred version of the kingdom of the world (whether it’s our national interests, a particular form of government, a particular political program, or so on). Rather than focusing our understanding of God’s kingdom on the person of Jesus—who, incidentally, never allowed himself to get pulled into the political disputes of his day—I believe many of us American evangelicals have allowed our understanding of the kingdom of God to be polluted with political ideals, agendas, and issues.”
― Gregory A. Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church

“The first sin was rebellion, idolatry, treason, and pride, all rolled into a single bite. Both Adam and Eve made a conscious choice to rebel against their Creator and live on their own terms. And we imitate their decision every time we choose our desires over God’s.”
― Francis Chan, Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples

“The universe shudders in horror that we have this infinitely valuable, infinitely deep, infinitely rich, infinitely wise, infinitely loving God, and instead of pursuing him with steadfast passion and enthralled fury — instead of loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; instead of attributing to him glory and honor and praise and power and wisdom and strength — we just try to take his toys and run. It is still idolatry to want God for his benefits but not for himself.”
― Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel

“He who loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me.’ That’s not really cruel. Loving Christ more than our fathers and mothers simply saves the love we have for our parents from idolatry…. God, as the source of love, is the proper head of every loving household.”
― William Sloane Coffin

“If the heart be chiefly and directly fixed on God, and the soul engaged to glorify him, some degree of religious affection will be the effect and attendant of it. But to seek after affection directly and chiefly; to have the heart principally set upon that; is to place it in the room of God and his glory. If it be sought, that others may take notice of it, and admire us for our spirituality and forwardness in religion, it is then damnable pride; if for the sake of feeling the pleasure of being affected, it is then idolatry and self-gratification.”
― Jonathan Edwards, The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

“When something becomes so important to you that it drives your behavior and commands your emotions, you are worshipping it.”
― J.D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary

“Here’s the point: idolatry is the tree from which our sins and struggles grow.”
― Kyle Idleman, Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart

“When anything in life is an absolute requirement for your happiness and self-worth, it is essentially an ‘idol,’ something you are actually worshipping. When such a thing is threatened, your anger is absolute. Your anger is actually the way the idol keeps you in its service, in its chains. Therefore if you find that, despite all the efforts to forgive, your anger and bitterness cannot subside, you may need to look deeper and ask, ‘What am I defending? What is so important that I cannot live without?’ It may be that, until some inordinate desire is identified and confronted, you will not be able to master your anger.”
― Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
― Anne Lamott

“One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give, and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God. Now, quite plainly natural gifts carry with them a similar danger. If you have sound nerves and intelligence and health and popularity and a good upbringing, you are likely to be quite satisfied with your character as it is. “Why drag God into it?” you may ask. A certain level of good conduct comes fairly easily to you. You are not one of those wretched creatures who are always being tripped up by sex or dipsomania or nervousness or bad temper. Everyone says you are a nice chap, and between ourselves, you agree with them. You are quite likely to believe that all this niceness is your own doing, and you may easily not feel the need for any better kind of goodness. Often people who have all these natural kinds of goodness cannot be brought to recognize their need for Christ at all until one day, the natural goodness lets them down, and their self-satisfaction is shattered. In other words, it is hard for those who are rich in this sense to enter the kingdom.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“My point is that when we ask people what they want in church instead of giving them what they were created to long for, we play into the very idolatry that church was created to dismantle.”
― James MacDonald, Vertical Church: What Every Heart Longs for. What Every Church Can Be.

“Every man becomes the image of the God he adores.
He whose worship is directed to a dead thing becomes dead.
He who loves corruption rots.
He who loves a shadow becomes, himself, a shadow.
He who loves things that must perish lives in dread of their perishing.”
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

“Five obstacles block our access to the benefits God wants for us: Unbelief, which hinders knowing God Pride, which prevents us from glorifying God Idolatry, which keeps us from being satisfied with God Prayerlessness, which blocks our experience of God’s peace Legalism, which stops our enjoyment of God’s presence”
― Beth Moore, Breaking Free

“What are you really living for? It’s crucial to realize that you either glorify God, or you glorify something or someone else. You’re always making something look big. If you don’t glorify God when you’re involved in a conflict, you inevitably show that someone or something else rules your heart.”
― Ken Sande, Resolving Everyday Conflict

“God is most high. To choose God, his light, his way his truth (all Christ), means everything flows from the highest point. To choose something lesser is to compel your life to flow from a lesser rise — a hill, rather than a mountain.”
― Elizabeth Scalia

“If you uproot the idol and fail to plant the love of Christ in its place, the idol will grow back.”
― Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus + Nothing = Everything

“Idolatry is when you become the source of your own joy. Poverty of spirit is a wonderful thing.”
― Paul Washer

“We have lived for too long in a world, and tragically in a Church, where the wills and affections of human beings are regarded as sacrosanct as they stand, where God is required to command what we already love, and to promise what we already desire.”
― N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

“When human beings give their heartfelt allegiance to and worship that which is not God, they progressively cease to reflect the image of God. One of the primary laws of human life is that you become like what you worship; what’s more, you reflect what you worship not only to the object itself but also outward to the world around. Those who worship money increasingly define themselves in terms of it and increasingly treat other people as creditors, debtors, partners, or customers rather than as human beings. Those who worship sex define themselves in terms of it (their preferences, their practices, their past histories) and increasingly treat other people as actual or potential sex objects. Those who worship power define themselves in terms of it and treat other people as either collaborators, competitors, or pawns. These and many other forms of idolatry combine in a thousand ways, all of them damaging to the image-bearing quality of the people concerned and of those whose lives they touch.”
― N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Your Harbour Lights

Faith Unlocked

Your harbour lights
Shine to light my way home,
Sailing to sure haven,
Sheltered safe from the storm;
Guiding true strait path,
Avoiding hidden danger,
Finding safe passage
Until I reach home.

Your harbour lights,
Shining beacon of hope,
Piercing dull evening
Cloaking over my boat.
Lighting Your gracious path,
Set out by my Saviour,
Assuring safe passage,
And carrying me home.

Your harbour lights
Mark family and a fireside,
Warmth and security,
Sitting there by my God’s side,
Preparing next voyage,
Planning our journey,
Back out to the wild seas,
To battle Earth’s raging tides.

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Faith Unlocked’s Friday Haiku #36 – Rebuild the Temple

Rebuild the Temple
Not with gold or coercion –
But the Word of God

The Script of My Life

Faith Unlocked

Who edited the script of my life?
Who wrote in this stuff I never intended?
How did it ever get to be so dark?
Why have I become a villain, condemned?

Then I look again . . .

. . . and a blood-red pen
Strikes through all my gravest errors;
And while the plot
May be kind, or not,
May continue to twist and turn,
I know it finishes happily:
An ancient death giving life eternally,
My soul saved with Christ’s family,
Praising my God forever in Heaven.

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Thursday is Verse Day @FaithUnlocked – Micah 7:14-17

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
which lives by itself in a forest,
in fertile pasturelands.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
as in days long ago.
“As in the days when you came out of Egypt,
I will show them my wonders.”
Nations will see and be ashamed,
deprived of all their power.
They will put their hands over their mouths
and their ears will become deaf.
They will lick dust like a snake,
like creatures that crawl on the ground.
They will come trembling out of their dens;
they will turn in fear to the Lord our God
and will be afraid of you.
– Micah 7:14-17

The Road to Oblivion

Faith Unlocked

On the road to oblivion,
Seeming not to care,
Yet part of me clung on,
And You found me there.
You opened my eyes again,
Took my blinkers off;
My heart had become hard –
Your grace made it soft.
You blessed me through strangers,
Gave me close loving friends,
Challenged my guilt,
Helped me see through your lens.
No more self-destruction,
No more running scared;
There’s a Father up in Heaven,
There’s a banquet table all prepared;
Royal work for these worthless hands,
A willing heart to serve You;
Righteous tasks in a fallen world,
For a servant child born anew.
Though there be trials and opposition,
Obstacles to the paths which You light,
They make the journey much more rewarding
As I try to fight Your glorious fight.

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