Barriers to Real…….

James MacDonald – Senior Pastor – Harvest Bible Chapel

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.
—Exodus 20:4-5

When we allow anything to accumulate on the table of our heart and mind, occupying our time and attention in a worshipful way—that’s a problem. But sweeping all of those things off the table so only God remains as the object of our worship aligns with our ultimate reality. We are for Him, breathing for Him, living for Him, and spending our lives for Him. God in the center of our attention is the essence of worship.

The second commandment reminds us we have a capacity for creating idols and false gods: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.” Creating an idol isn’t just carving or molding an image. More often it’s placing godlike values on something that can’t possibly accomplish what only God can do. Whenever we worship what is created instead of our Creator, we end up with nothing but trouble. The warning in this commandment is one of the reasons we come to church: to sweep our idols off the table.

So what most often distracts our worship from God? We asked 100 people and here are the top five answers:

5. Our families. We can let our children or our spouse get in the place of God. Our families are our God-given primary responsibility; that’s why they can never come before Him. If we make them more important than God, we’ve failed in what He wants us to do for them!

4. Money and posessions. We easily worship things instead of God. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). When we worship God, we treasure Him and recognize His worth, but if we set our hearts on our treasure—our money, our posessions—it displaces God and we’re in trouble.

3. Sports figures and celebrities. We worship people when we think “Oh, if only I could be like him.” That’s worship. Do we recognize the convicting accuracy of a television program named American Idol? People are worshiping other people.

2. Our careers and accomplishments. We trust these fragile, temporal achievements to give our lives meaning and significance—the very qualities only God can supply.

1. Ourselves. We turn our needs and wants into our highest pursuit. When we won’t allow anyone, not even God, to get in the way of what we desire, we’re worshiping the idol in the mirror.

The discipline of worship is a deliberate act where we sweep clean the table of our hearts and remove all the false gods who would claim our worship. We gather with others in God’s presence and ask Him to burn away every worthless thing that would crowd out His rightful place. That’s worship at its best and it’s where God shows up in glory.

Read the five idol categories again. Where have you allowed something or someone to slip into God’s place in your life? Don’t hesitate—confess it and set that idol aside. Ask God to trigger a warning when the idol tempts you again. Thank Him for being the one true God in your life.

Barriers to Relationship….

Out of the mouth of a child…..

My niece put this on face book about her little three year old son
Last night Liam prayed on his own for the first time: “Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Cal. And thank you for Nana and PopPop. And thank you God for a picnic and for the chips at the picnic and the water at the picnic. And thank you for Daddy’s car…”

I thought about the verse where God wants us to be as little children, Why do you think that is?

Matthew 18:  2And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I’m not a big joiner of any group. I like to do things by myself. I’m a very stubborn person. But the warmth that I felt from being back in church and learning to develop a more active relationship with my God was a special thing.

– Joanne

Sometimes the kids are looking for some fighting words: ‘How do we retaliate when Dad says bad things about you?’ The best thing I can give to my children is, ‘Let’s give it over to God. Let’s pray for your father. Let’s pray for peace.’

– Laurel

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
  • Teresa LongNo Joe, God is not responsible for your failed marriage or mine. In His Word He said let what God has joined together let no man put under. God is a covenant maker not breaker. People break covenants. One party or both parties of a relationship made bad choices or let things creep in that started to slowly chip away at the marriage. I know personally You can trust God. I had to leave my home, some of my furniture. I had to start over and He has been there. You know as well as I do life as you know it can change in an instant. God is the constant. He never changes. He promises whatever satan has meant for harm God can turn it around for good. The Bible tells us it is satan who comes to kill, steal, and destroy. God came to give us life abundantly. I am now one year out and I am here to tell you God has healed me, restored me, set my feet in a new direction, helped me start over. Honestly, I am the happiest I have been in a long time. Be careful and don’t fall into the trap of woe is me. God gave us the freedom of choice. Choose to let God have it all. Every situation in life you can choose if it will be your tombstone or your stepping stone. Watch what God can do with your life!
    • 66 people like this.
    • Denise Marie NashI’m finding it hard to put away or down the pride and disappointment of changed circumstances when I can’t provide like I need and want to for my 3 kids. Struggling daily is so exhausting and stressful. Trying to stay focused on God and His provisions.
      It will be very easy to see sex as a quick fix for the kind of closeness that you want. But you will need to remind yourself that sex alone is not that, and it magnifies the pain of loneliness. It does not resolve it.

      – Brad Hambrick

      I am building a relationship with my Heavenly Father like I never dreamed possible. I have realized through all of this that I can talk real straight with God. I mean real straight, because He already knows who I am. He already knows the thoughts and the feelings that are in the deep recesses of my mind and my heart. Do you know what it feels like to be able to say, ‘God, I really hate my husband’s guts. And I hate his mistress. And I wish that his major body parts would fall off.’ To be able to speak that honestly with the One person that has the power to help me to grow beyond that.

      – Harriet

      Sometimes when you’re in that broken state, you need to position yourself [to accept help]. Let people love you. Let people minister to you. As time goes on, you’re certainly going to be able to find ways to reciprocate.

      – Dr. Les Carter

      I think in a lot of ways I had some priorities in life all mixed up. I had wife and family above God.

      But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

      – Wayne

      Loneliness is not permanent.
      It’s important to take time to face the pain of what you’re going through. If we don’t face the pain now, we begin the next season of our life built upon a lie.

      – Brad Hambrick


      Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them . . .

      We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21

      If you’re wishing for a change in another person, start by having compassion on that person. Consider God’s great compassion and love for you.
      The LORD has anointed me [Jesus] to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61:1b-3a)
      If you’re wishing for a change in another person, start by having compassion on that person. Consider God’s great compassion and love for you.
      As I try to speak about my anger to the Lord, He already knows it. He’s not threatened by it, and He has a plan that can carry me away from it.

      – Dr. Les Carter, DivorceCare expert,

      Healthy people live in reality . . . In order for your kids to have the best possible chance at a healthy life, they need to learn that things aren’t the same, things are different now, and we have to do things different now. And out of that kind of adversity, children build muscles in their character that they might not have built otherwise.

      – Leslie Vernick

      Claim Ephesians 6:10-11, 14: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. . . . Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.
      But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
      Jumping into a new relationship to drown out your feelings of loneliness will cause you more pain than pleasure.
      When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. (Psalm 142:3)