Idol on a Rampage

I happened across the neatest story of Abraham, the man the Bible designates as God’s friend and the father of all who believe.

Our scriptures first introduce him to us as Abram. Jewish records hold that Abram’s father made a living selling idols. According to their tradition, Abram was a mere child when he first began questioning the legitimacy of the idols his family and the surrounding culture worshiped as gods. The story is told of young Abram taking a hammer while his father was away and smashing all of the idols, except for the largest one. He positioned the hammer in this idol’s hand. When his father returned and discovered the chaos, Abram explained that the large idol had smashed all the others.

Indignant, the older man told his son that they both knew the idol could do no such thing.

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The story goes that young Abram said, “Why then, do we worship them?”

Why, indeed. Why would anyone worship the things around them and neglect the Creator behind it all? Oh. You have a point.

Those Jewish records say Abram came to believe there was One God over all instead of worshiping the many gods of his people. Exactly how Abram came to this belief isn’t mentioned in their historical accounts, nor is it detailed in Abram’s biblical introduction. We’re not treated to Abram’s “how I came to faith” story. We simply see God’s word coming to this man and telling him to leave everything familiar and strike out for the unknown.

As sketchy as that introduction sounds, it has God’s signature move all over it.

God never debates His existence with anyone. He simply states that He is, that He has given evidence of Himself in the world around us and in our individual heart of hearts. The only thing expected of any of us is to acknowledge His authority and follow him in what promises to be a need to know type of relationship.

Abraham’s heavenly invitation is the same as yours and mine. It’s our response that makes us, or breaks us.

A Tale Worth Tattling

From my earliest childhood memories I heard it said that no one likes a tattletale. And from my earliest childhood memories I noted that this warning did little to dissuade my peers and I from doing the telling, especially if we had the goods on an enemy.

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I also noticed that adults were exempt from the label. They were never tattling. They were well-meaning informants doing us kids a “favor.” I get that now. I dreaded it back then when I knew someone was headed to my parents with less than stellar news about my conduct.

“I’m telling,” struck fear in my grade school heart on more than one occasion, especially when adults featured it in the choice that really wasn’t a choice at all. “Either you tell your parents what you’ve done, or I’ll tell them.” Unfortunately, there was never a door number three.

Missing the mark was painful then, and it’s painful now, although it’s no longer my parents that I aim to please and end up disappointing despite the best of intentions. These days, I’m addicted to the sweet fellowship of heaven and nothing in me wants to disrupt that precious relationship, and yet I still do.

Maybe you can relate.

If so, let me give you the encouragement that buoys me. My enemy might beat me to the throne of God but he can’t ever outrun my Jesus. No power of heaven, no source on earth, and no demon in hell can outrun the grace of Christ.

It’s impossible for you and I to take our repentant selves to the throne without finding Jesus is already there. And glory hallelujah, He’s not there to rub it in. Jesus is there to intercede on our behalf, to remind His Father and ours that the punishment for our sins has been met through the Cross.

When we fall short, let’s be quick to take our confession to God’s throne, resting in the assurance that our Redeemer is waiting there to restore our souls.

Now, there’s a tale worth tattling!

How Telling is Your Transformation?

The news alert came across my car radio. A huge bolt of lightning had struck a California beach out of the blue in the middle of a beautifully sunny day, leaving one person dead and more than a dozen injured, one critically.

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I listened as the desk anchor cut to the scene where a field reporter was waiting to interview an eye witness.  I’m still shaking my head over what happened next.  Apparently, the guy being interviewed saw the whole thing as an opportunity to grab his 15 seconds of fame for he opened his eye witness account with a joke. Yes, he did. He stuttered and stammered as if he’d been struck by lightning himself. As you might imagine, his joke fell flat.  I couldn’t see the reporter’s face, but the dead air was a big clue. The wannabe comedian chuckled self-consciously and said something about how you just have to laugh to get through things. To his credit, the reporter continued the interview as if it hadn’t even happened, only it got worse. Within seconds the fellow was actually plugging a movie he was producing. I couldn’t believe my ears.

Grasping now, the reporter opined on the life-altering experience it must have been for all involved. The guy’s response said it all, “Oh, absolutely,” he said. “I know it changed me– for a minute.”

That’s what he said. It changed him for a minute. Telling isn’t it? Whatever else impact the near death experience had on him it was temporary. Once you sit with that a while, the truth of it settles in. We’ve all had experiences that we think will change us forever–and now I’m thinking about our first encounter with Jesus– only to discover that it was temporary, a moment, a season. I can’t count the number of times that happened to me. Today, I remember eternally grateful that Father God taught me how to stay in His pursuit because it is His abiding Presence that changes us forever!