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Modern Idolatory We may not bow down to golden cows, but there are still idols all around us.

If you’ve ever read through the Old Testament, you’ll notice there seems to be one particular sin that God’s people are either committing or in danger of committing – idolatry.
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller provides a series of questions that can help to identify the idols in our lives. Here are few:
Idolatry is not about superstitiously sacrificing to silver statues or bowing to bronzed bovines.

Rather, it’s about the drawing of our heart’s highest affections away from the God who has created us, and giving those affections to something or someone else.

And in the same way that Jesus says that we can commit adultery not only in our actions, but also in our hearts and minds, we can worship idols not only by bowing down to statues but also by giving our highest thoughts and affections to something other than God.
What are your idols?

We can turn anything into an idol—we can give our highest affection and worship to anyone or anything. It could be a person or relationship, a job or career, a car, house, social standing, children, circle of friends, sex, sexual orientation, money, possessions, pets, lifestyle … the list is endless. All of these we can set up as false lovers and idols in our lives.

Interestingly, many of these things are not, in and of themselves, bad. They’re actually often good things, which can make our own idols difficult to spot. So the question we must ask ourselves is…
What am I living for? What are my hopes and dreams?
What do I wake up and go to sleep thinking about? Where does my mind naturally go?
What do you daydream about?
Whose opinion matters most? If I’m unsure about what to do in any given situation, whose opinion comes to mind?
What gives your life meaning? How do you define yourself?
What do I do to escape?
When life gets tough, what do I find my comfort, safety, rescue and pleasure in? It could be work, video games, the silent treatment, hiding in a book, fantasizing, etc.
What do I talk about the most?
What do I spend my money on?
What am I most afraid of losing? What do I worry about most?

Ultimately, we give our affections to other things and people instead of God because at some level we believe they give us the deeper idols of power, approval, comfort or security. In my next post, I’ll address this more deeply and will talk about how Jesus smashes these idols in our lives so that we are free to make him the sole object of our worship, receiving our highest affections.

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Tips for StayingInspired and Motivated Day in and Day out!By Inspirational Speaker Josh Hinds

Tips for StayingInspired and Motivated Day in and Day out!By Inspirational Speaker Josh Hinds.

Living with purpose and passion is based upon decision. You may choose to live day after day, one after another, in a completely ordinary existence. OR you can choose to greet each day with a possibility mindset. A purposeful mindset. A Passionate mindset.
Begin each day with these questions and be amazed.

1. Why is it important for me to engage myself in my work passionately and purposefully each day?

2. How will I choose to allow my attitude effect how I address stressful situations at work today?How can I be more affective and proactive in regards to stress and attitude?

3. When am I most likely too react with the most passion and purpose today? Meeting with clients? Working on my computer? Following up on a lead? Take note of what makes your passion come alive, so you can use it to better your work performance.

4. Where within the organization am I best able to express my passion and purpose? Is it working with my peers? My supervisors? Clients? Interdepartmentally? Where physically do I perform the most purposefully?

5. With whom do I need to spend time in order to maintain balance as I pursue my passion and purpose? Within the organization,who best supports me?

6. What choices will I make today that align my purpose and passion with the tasks at hand at work?

7. Who am I called to be today as an expression of my passion for living?

GLUTONY? LAZINESS? REALLY SINS?

Q. I’ve often heard about the “seven deadly sins.” Is this idea from the Bible? They aren’t exactly the same as the sins found in the Ten Commandments. Are these things (like gluttony, vanity) really sins? How do you know when something like eating or vanity becomes sinful?

A. The Bible never lists them as a group of sins, but it certainly warns against each of them separately: pride, lust, anger, envy, greed, gluttony and sloth (laziness).
The concept of “seven deadly sins” came from Pope Gregory the Great around A.D. 600. He used the list to help people examine their lives for the basic sins that he felt led to all others.For instance, the sin of adultery (which is in the Ten Commandments), would probably have its roots in lust, although adultery could also be motivated by anger, envy, or one of theother seven deadlies, too.

How do you know when something like enjoying food becomes gluttony? Or when healthy self–image becomes pride? Or admiration becomes envy? There’s no easy answer. But I’d suggest a brief self–test to help show you whether or not something natural and good is becoming sinful:

*. Is it interfering with your ability to serve and love God?
*. Does it affect your ability to relate to others?
*. Is it producing love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, and self–control? Or isit producing something else—something more self–centered?
*. Can you abstain from it without becoming resentful? One reason the Bible tells us to fast, to refrain from something for a while, is to demonstrate that it doesn’t have a holdon our soul. (By the way, fasting is not just about food, but anything we might become obsessed with or addicted to, such as
TV, music, text messaging and sleeping in.)

Think of the seven deadlies as they were originally designed—as an indicator of your spiritual health, similar to the way your doctor uses heart rate and blood pressure as indicators of physical health.

Ask yourself: In what ways am I facing each of the seven deadlies today? How am I resisting these temptations and coming back to Christ for my spiritual vitality?

Inner or Outer Appearance ,which matters most?

We live in a world that applauds those in the spotlight. And the world’s spotlight shines brightest on “successful” people. Success is usually measured by:
*. Appearance (how they look)
*. Abilities (what they can do)
*. Accomplishments (what they have done)
*. Affluence or acquisitions (what they have)
*. Associations (who they know).
Just have a look at the TV guide, check out the programs that are on during “prime time” viewing, and you will see it’s true.
It’s pretty easy to get sucked in to thinking that the externals (what everyone else can see) are more important than the internals (what’sgoing on inside, in your heart and soul).

You can tell you have been sucked into this thinking when you spend more time and effort on the “externals”, than on the “internals”. And you can tell you have been sucked into this thinking when you value competency and accomplishments more than character and authenticity.
Check out the list below, and see which column you value the most, the external or internal.

Externals

Focuses on what others can see
Values accomplishments
Values performance results
Competence first
Doing good with the aim of lookinggood
Display: outward show
Esteems status and stature
Competitive and boastful
Craves attention/approval
Insecure without limelight
Stressed and flustered
Reacts to criticism
Cannot let go of control
Restless in spirit
Default way of the world

Internals

Focuses on the inner-life
Values authenticity
Values growth and learning
Character first
Doing good flows out of being good
Depth: inward security
Esteems substance
Genuinely celebrates others
Secure and self-effacing
Quiet confidence/security
Steady and calm
Responds to criticism
Empowers others
Restedness of spirit
Discipleship way of God

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but theLord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

inner or outer appearance which have you been looking lately?

If you ask most people what is their one major objective in life, they would probably give you a vague answer, such as, “I want to be successful, be happy, make a good living,” and that is it. They are all wishes and none of them are clear goals.

Goals must be SMART :

1. S–specific. For example, “I want to lose weight.” This is wishful thinking. It becomes a goal when I pin myself down to”I will lose 10 pounds in 90 days.”

2. M–must be measurable. If we cannot measure it, we cannot accomplish it. Measurement is a way of monitoring our progress.

3. A–must be achievable. Achievable means that it should be out of reach enough to be challenging but it should not be out of sight, otherwise it becomes disheartening.

4. R–realistic. A person who wants to lose 50 pounds in~30 days is being unrealistic.

5. T–time-bound. There should be a starting date and a finishing date.

Luke 14:28
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

3 Kinds Of Christians

Feeling a little desperate, I was wondering why God let me endure so much when this thought crossed my mind: “Am I a fair weather Christian?” If I’m a fair weather Christian, perhaps I seem to believe and even honestly think I believe when all is well and then blame God and turn against Him when stormy or bad weather comes into my life. I don’t think that’s true of me in spite of my desperate moment.

There are, of course, Christians of the opposite kind—those that cling to a buoy in stormy weather but float carefree along in calm waters, caring not about their savior when all is well. You have probably heard about Christians like this. They say there are no atheists in foxholes. Sadly, for many years I was this type of Christian; but I think I have grown in Christianity over the years.

The third type of Christian is the kind I want to be and hope to be most of the time. This type is thankful for blessings and turns to God with thanks for all the good things in life. When things sour, they turn to God for direction and when God says, “No” they try to understand; and through all times and all disturbances, no matter what happens, they have the peace of the presence of the Lord in their lives.

Which kind of Christian are you?