Archive for the ‘Idolatry’ Category

Timeline of Truth: The Wars of Jephthah, the Negotiating Judge (Judges 11:30-12:7)

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

Timeline of Truth:  The Wars of Jephthah, the Negotiating Judge (Judges 11:30-12:7)
Jephthah becomes the victim of his own words. Jephthah has negotiated with the elders of Gilead, and he has negotiated with the Ammonite king who leads forces oppressing Israel. Jephthah depends upon God to give him victory over the Ammonites, but seeks to unnecessarily manipulate God’s favor by vowing like a Canaanite. Jephthah promises to offer as a burnt sacrifice the first thing that comes out to meet him. God gives Jephthah victory, and who comes out to meet him but his only child – his daughter. We examine the different views of what happened, and what Jephthah could have done and should have done. Then we look at Jephthah’s merciless killing of his own Ephraimite brethren. Rejecting of God’s ways can lead to us making foolish choices and committing horrible actions. 

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Timeline of Truth: The Rise of Jephthah, the Negotiating Judge (Judges 10:6-11:29)

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

Timeline of Truth:  The Rise of Jephthah, the Negotiating Judge (Judges 10:6-11:29)
Once again Israel rejects God, and God turns the nation over to a very oppressive enemy. Israel confesses their sin, but God says “No.” They put repentant words to their actions. God relents and allows for the raising up of another delivering warrior, Jephthah. Jephthah had been rejected because of his past, which he had no control over, and now is pursued by Israel to lead their army to war against the oppressors. God can use someone that others rejected? How do we approach others that do not meet our affirmation? 

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Timeline of Truth: The Downfall of Gideon, the Faulty Judge (Judges 8:13-34)

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Timeline of Truth:  The Downfall of Gideon, the Faulty Judge (Judges 8:13-34)
God miraculously secures victory for Gideon. Gideon allows the credit to go to himself rather than to God and reflects a prideful embrace in an unofficial kingship. In just a brief number of verses (8:13-34), we trace the many evidences that Gideon glories in himself and his newly found (but God-given) success. His actions and his influence lead Israel away from God, encourage idolatry, and set the stage for worse things to come. The truth Gideon did not embrace: Spiritual success requires humble recognition of God and the accurate assessment of oneself.

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Timeline of Truth: Gideon, the Fearful, Faulty Judge – The Calling of Gideon (Judges 6:1-40)

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Timeline of Truth:  Gideon, the Fearful, Faulty Judge – The Calling of Gideon (Judges 6:1-40)
We begin the first of four lessons related to a well-known deliverer:  Gideon. Israel continues “the sin” by serving other gods. God delivers them into enemy hands again, this time, into the hands of the Midianites. Israel cries out to God because of the oppression by the enemy. God graciously raises up another “fighting rescuer,” Gideon. In this chapter of the Bible, we see God’s patient process of raising up a leader through a gradual process. God labels Gideon by the outcome he can be through God’s help: “Might man of valor.”

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Timeline of Truth: Spiritual Failure: God Sends Trouble on God-Forsakers (Judges 2:6 – 3:6)

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Timeline of Truth:  Spiritual Failure: God Sends Trouble on God-Forsakers  (Judges 2:6 – 3:6)
Chapter 2 of Judges looks deeper into the actions (or inactions) of Israel’s military failures of Chapter 1. We see the full-blown impact of disobedience and the eternity-impacting downward spiral that sin brings. Because Israel forsakes God and His covenant and plunges themselves deep into worshipping the gods of the nations they are around, God brings oppressors that make the lives of the nation of Israel miserable. Do they come back to God? No. They run further into sin and away from God. Does God wholly abandon them? No. In the midst of their discipline and punishment, God continues to show grace by raising up judges – limited and often very broken leaders – to free them from their oppressors for a time, and to keep Israel on course for His future promises.

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Timeline of Truth: Israel Reaffirms the Covenant (Joshua 24:1-33)

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Timeline of Truth: Israel Reaffirms the Covenant (Joshua 24:1-33)
Joshua presents the most important choice that anyone must make: Serve God or something else. Joshua shows the nation that the only reasonable choice is to serve God and makes his commitment to serve God himself. We are encouraged to echo Joshua’s response, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” You are serving God or you are serving something that replaces God. What have you chosen?

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Timeline of Truth: A Dangerous Misunderstanding and Its Lessons (Joshua 22:10-34)

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Timeline of Truth: A Dangerous Misunderstanding and Its Lesson (Joshua 22:10-34)
As the two and one-half tribes return east of the Jordan, a simple monument turns into a great misunderstanding. The rest of the tribes of Israel are ready to go to war. Thankfully a small group of representatives from the western tribes talk it out and find out the truth of the other altar and prevent unnecessary bloodshed.

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MONEY MATTERS: Jesus Confronts the Money-Loving Pharisees (Luke 16:14-18)

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

MONEY MATTERS: Jesus Confronts the Money-Loving Pharisees (Luke 16:14-18)

Jesus confronts the money-loving religious leaders that have been hearing Him speak and sneering at His teaching. Jesus points out their ungodly habit of trying to justify their ungodly money-loving attitudes and actions. He lets them know that what man considers important actually repulses God. Money often replaces God in people’s lives. Jesus also illustrates that when one refuses to follow God in one area, that person is likely to refuse to follow God in all areas, including morality and marriage. Are you like the money-loving Pharisees that put money first?

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MONEY MATTERS: Jesus Presents Two Principles Regarding Possessions (Luke 16:10-13)

Monday, March 12th, 2018

MONEY MATTERS: Jesus Presents Two Principles Regarding Possessions (Luke 16:10-13)

Jesus goes from telling stories to straight talk. He gives two principles that cannot be mistaken or missed. The first principle relates to reliability. Only those who are faithful with what little they already have can be counted on to be faithful with more. Faithfulness is not a matter of quantity. The second principle relates to loyalty. Jesus declares that absolutely no one can serve God and money. You may have the idea in your head that you can, but Jesus clearly says one master wins out. You can easily tell if God is your master by how you handle, pursue, and prize your money and possessions. Who is your master? God, or money? It’s easy to tell.

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Timeline of Truth: Command #1 – You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me (Exodus 20:1-3)

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

“You shall have no other gods before me” does NOT mean we can have other gods as long as God is first. It means that we cannot have any other gods anywhere in the presence of God. Nothing is to compete with God as the center and controller of our lives.