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IDOLS

Idols

Romans 1:22-26 NASB

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

I often wonder why people often fall back into the same sin pattern over and over again. As I was preparing to share with my home church this week, this was one of the things I was thinking about. One of the reasons I believe people who take the name of Jesus cannot seem to ever shake their sin patterns is quite simple: they have chosen to not tear down the idols in their lives!

What is an idol? An idol is anything that stands between us and God…anything that we place in importance above or before Him. An idol is built when we exchange the Truth of God for a lie of the enemy. Quite simply, an idol is a false god!

Whether we like it or not, we have all worshiped idols at one time or another in our lives - even as believers in and followers of Christ! Our God has a lot to say about this:

Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19:4 NASB

You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 26:1 NASB

You shall have no other gods before Me.

Deuteronomy 5:7 NASB

Idols are things we have to build and raise up and exalt by our own devices! When we worship an idol, it is one we have built for our self! From my point of view, having walked out of idol worship in my own life, the biggest idol I ever erected and exalted over Jesus was - me.

As my friend Joanna pointed out, the first letter of the word idol is ‘I’. And as my wife pointed out, the first two letters form the initials ID - identity! Since the enemy is not omniscient, he simply plants the seed of self-focus and walks away leaving us to do his dirty work for him. The enemy of God always leads us to build idols in our lives to replace our need for relationship with Almighty God.

We often build idols because, like the children of Israel, we want to worship something we can see. Something tangible. Never mind the miracles of God like that pesky pillar of fire or that protective cloud or the fresh manna provided every morning or water from a rock or - you get the idea! Our God is bigger than merely seeing Him with our eyes!

Just as He commanded the Israelites to tear down and destroy their idols, we must do the same unless we want to keep wandering around in the wilderness of habitual sin for the next forty or so years! When I got tired of trudging through my own wilderness of sin, the Lord led me to the place of tearing down the idols on my own life…but first, He had to point them out to me.

When I left my old life and identity and replaced them with the new life and identity I found in Christ, the Lord led me to many idols I had erected through the years. Those idols? Anything that attached me to my old identity and way of thinking. Soul ties. Things that tied the old ways of thinking to my feet like weights that dragged me to a standstill in my faith walk. When He revealed them to me, He directed me to not simply rid them from my life - but to destroy them if possible!

My idols were things like pictures from my past that connected me to sinful relationships. Reminders of the old way of thinking. I burned all the pictures of me from those sinful relationships.

My idols were gifts and mementos that had been given to me by those I had been in immoral relationship with. I ripped them to shreds and burned them.

My idols were clothes that I had worn that reminded me of certain activities and emotions from my old life. I contemplated giving them away…but decided destruction meant destruction…so I burned them as well.

My idols were emotional relationships - friendships - with people I had sinned with whether physically or emotionally. I cut off all contact with them…even as they derided me and mocked me and said many evil things about me. I had to come to the place where I realized I was not their savior nor was I their redeemer.

My idols were places I had been able to sin in secret. I told others about my propensity to sin in these places in order to help hold myself accountable since I could not legally destroy someone else’s property, LOL!

My idols were old ways of thinking. I had to take those thoughts captive and then trample them under my feet as I replaced them with the Truth of God’s Word.

My idols were vain imaginations for fame. I replaced that idol with making Jesus famous.

My idols were the need to be loved and accepted by men. I replaced this need with my need for God’s love and acceptance…which I continue to receive in wave upon wave of His deep abiding love for me…just because I exist!

My idol was me. I allowed him (me) to be crucified and buried with Christ, replacing my old dead self with the new creation in Christ God raised me to be. And I leave the dead guy dead and buried. I even have a tombstone to prove it!

When we exalt our self above God, we become wise in our own eyes…but God calls this foolishness. The moment we raise our self above God, we effectively raise up our self as an idol, worshiping the creation over the Creator. Idols eventually crumble, one way or the other, because they are not eternal nor are they afforded any real power whatsoever. If we never repent and tear down the idols in our lives, we can never overcome sin. We remain stuck where we are and never truly move on to victory.

How can we walk in freedom when idols separate us from God? How do we tear down the idols in our life?

We repent. Repentance is a good thing because it restores us to right standing with God. Simply put, repentance is agreeing with God. If God calls it sin, we should call it sin.

We renounce the sin. This simply means we formally disown the sin. We take responsibility for our wrong choice and accept God’s Word as the Truth.

We receive the forgiveness of God. To receive Him is to receive all He is. He is love. He is righteous. He is holy. He is All in All. Oh, and while we are at it, we must forgive ourselves!

We realize our identity is in and comes from Him. He is holy, therefore I am holy. He is righteous, therefore I am righteous. He is with me, therefore I am with Him. He is healer, therefore I am called to lead others to healing in and through Jesus Christ. We live our life through the lens of Who God is:

• in our sorrow, He comforts

• in our pain, He gives grace to endure

• in our lack, He provides

• in our wounding, He heals

We recognize that anything can become an idol. My wife can become an idol. My children can become idols. My ministry can become an idol. My work can become an idol. How do I deal with that? I recognize my wife and children, my ministry and vocation, are gifts from the Lord…and I give them back to Him for use in the Kingdom. I am but a steward of such gifts. They do not define me. They remind me of who and Whose I am.

We resume our journey. We get back up from the place we fell and head right back for and to Jesus Christ! It is when we choose to hang on to our idols that our journey becomes stagnant and we walk in constant defeat. Let go of and destroy your idols today…and move on!

Dennis Jernigan

What idols do you worship?

Ephesians 4:21-24 NASB

21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,

22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Thoughts on Persecution

I used to think persecution - real persecution - meant imprisonment or martyrdom. Little did I realize that anything that tries to silence my voice of influence for Christ is, indeed, a form of persecution! That changes everything! Anything that threatens me to try and use fear to silence me is persecution. God has much to say about persecution - and it’s many blessings. But the best news of all? He endures it WITH me!

I have been physically threatened because of my faith. I have been mocked. I have walked through sign-carrying protestors to get to my own concert/ministry gathering. I have been called names. I have shared my story of deliverance on a college campus while a group mocked me the entire time. I have been called names. Been lied about and written about in the blogosphere. Been sneered and jeered at. I’ve been told I am doing more harm than good. I’ve been abandoned by ‘believers’ who told me ‘this is your calling, not mine’. I have been shunned. I have been thrown under the bus by more ‘progressively minded’, more ‘enlightened’ segments of the body of Christ. Through it all, I have determined that I cannot be silent about what God has done for me. Why? If we who have been redeemed do not say what we have been redeemed from, how can those in the same bondage ever going to know freedom is possible?

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,

Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

Psalm 107:1-2 NASB

Another reason I continue to share in spite of the ever-increasing darkness in our culture is knowing that nothing stands forever - not the threats, not the wisdom of man, not humanism - except the Word of God! So, I choose to stand upon the Word in spite of the culture!

The grass withers, the flower fades,

But the word of our God stands forever.

Isaiah 40:8 NASB

Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we WILL experience persecution. It may be as simple as pushback for a simple post of faith we make on Facebook. It may be as harsh as someone threatening us with violence. It may be facing possible censorship or the threat of imprisonment. It may come in the form of mockery or insults or shunning. But follow Christ and it WILL come. We might as well get ready for it.

Paul Nyquist, in his book Prepare: Living in an Increasingly Hostile Culture, says, “Because of our relative inexperience, we Americans tend to have a limited view of persecution. We typically think of it [persecution] in physical terms (imprisonment, martyrdom), and as such, may question whether our experience truly qualifies as persecution. But this definition is too narrow. The biblical term suggests a broader view including aggression, oppression, and violence affecting body, mind, and emotion…Simply put, persecution is the societal marginalization of believers with a view of eliminating their voice of influence.”

Lisa Cherry, in her book Like a Flood, provides a much-needed tool for the body of Christ as we face this present darkness. I would encourage you to read this book to prepare your heart for what’s coming…to prepare your heart to stand firm and strong through the onslaught. Below is a link to a list of 100 Scriptures dealing with persecution. I would encourage you to read through them and allow the Holy Spirit to use them to strengthen your heart and mind.

http://www.openbible.info/topics/persecution

Dennis Jernigan

To get your own copy of Like a Flood, go to http://frontlinefamilies.org/home/product/likeaflood/

To get your own copy of Prepare: Living in an Increasingly Hostile Culture, go to https://www.amazon.com/Prepare-Living-Increasingly-Hostile-Culture/dp/0802412564

Dennis Jernigan

Waltzing Matilda Away

The Grandpa Song

Sing Over Me Testimonial

After watching "Sing Over Me" I wanted to read the book to learn more. I'm so glad I did! The book was so inspiring that it launched me into writing my own story for others to read, too. I highly recommend both the movie and the book to anyone who wants more insight into what it's like to struggle with, and overcome, feelings of homosexuality.

Eric Elder

Get your copy of the book at https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=26&p=3527

Get your copy of the DVD at https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=22&p=3572

Generations is Here!

My new book in The Chronicles of Bren series is here! To get your copy of Generations, go to http://www.thechroniclesofbren.com/

My Choice

My Choice

Much of my freedom has come in realizing I always have a choice in any given situation. Hear me: I understand I may not get to choose the circumstances of my life…and I don’t even get to choose what I’m tempted by…but I ALWAYS have a choice as to how I will respond to the circumstances and temptations of my life.

I used to think God couldn’t love me…until I was confronted that either He is love or He is not…and that He either loves me or He doesn’t. Freedom flooded in the very moment I decided - changed the way I thought - and chose and accepted His love for me rather than reject that love.

I used to think God had abandoned me when thinking about how my grandmother died when I was 13. She had been a refuge for me, so when she was gone, I felt abandoned. I chose to believe I would be alone…until I realized I had a choice in the way I responded to her death. I chose to believe I would see her again because of her faith in Jesus. I chose to allow the good memories of our 13 years together to be my focal point rather than the fact that she was forever gone from her physical body. Freedom came as a result of my choice.

Regarding the temptation of same sex attraction, I always had a choice as to whether or not I would respond to that temptation by giving in to said temptation…but chose to believe God’s Word is true and chose to change my way of thinking along with my point of view. Rather than allowing the temptation to define me and draw me into sin, I chose to use the very temptation to draw me to intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. In the process, He began to renew my mind…and I began to allow Him to define me. My choice.

Throughout my life, I have example after example of circumstances and temptations that have presented themselves, and example after example of how making a simple choice proved to be the difference between freedom or bondage.

I choose to forgive those who mock me and try to wound me emotionally.

I choose to believe the best about people.

I choose to bless those who curse me.

I choose to see the storms of life as opportunities to experience God’s grace.

I choose to allow God to take even the things Satan means for evil and use them for my good and His glory.

I choose to be victor rather than victim.

I choose to see every situation from God’s point of view.

I choose.

It’s my choice. Always…

Dennis Jernigan

June 17, 2016

Just a Thought on Feelings

Just a Thought on Feelings

Why in the world would anyone allow the way they feel to define their entire being? I sometimes feel like lashing out in anger. Yet, I don’t - and I do not call myself an angry person just because I felt that way.

I sometimes feel like taking something that does not belong to me. Yet, I do not call myself a thief just because I felt like stealing something.

I sometimes feel like a loser. Yet, I do not allow that feeling to define who I am as a person.

Every feeling I have comes as a result of something I have thought. Each feeling I have is attached to a thought I have had. What I have learned is that if I change the way I think, I can change the way I feel. Some have told me I am simply brainwashing myself…and I have to agree. I have allowed Truth to wash away the lies I have thought about myself and have replaced those lies with right thinking about who and Whose I am. And guess what? My feelings have followed suit!

Don’t get me wrong. This has not always been easy. It is a battle…but a battle worth fighting! Though I have fallen at times, I just keep getting back up. The only failure is the person who falls and chooses to not get back up.

I do not define myself. My Maker gets to do that. I seek Jesus. He reveals the lies I believe and shows me the Truth. It is up to me to put off those lies and to replace them with the Truth. A depth of freedom has come as a result of this mind renewal that I never thought possible. This realization keeps me seeking Jesus for more! It has afforded me something the world seems to think is impossible. Self-control.

Just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is…and it - that feeling - certainly does not define who I am.

DJ

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2 NASB

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