Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection for 2.26.14

“Be careful that you don’t forget the Lord your God by failing to keep His command — the ordinances and statutes — I am giving you today. When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery….”
 
 Deuteronomy 8:11-14 HCSB
 
 Pray
 Father I can clearly see many of the substitutes that I have put in Your place, now and in the past. I promise to put these substitutes away. Help me Father to see the other things, ways, and people that I have substituted for You, so that I can put them aside, in their rightful place, and only focus on You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
 
 Reflection
 
 Material Substitutes
 Cars, houses, money, jewelry, clothing and shoes, accessories, food, and other material things have oftentimes been substitutes for God—loved and cherished more than He. The act of greed is a total blotting out of God. It’s a focus on self—me, myself, and I. When it’s “all about me” there is no room for God. God said we’re not to focus on self, but to focus on Him.
 
 An obsession with material possessions and buying things, and having an abundance of objects around you are all substitutes for having a relationship with God. When there is so much focus on objects and how to get them, there is less focus on the reality that without God you simply would not have access. When we focus too much on the pleasure we receive from material things we oftentimes do not invest enough time in advocating and fighting for the oppressed, under served, and poor.
 
 Church and Religious Substitutes
 Church baptisms performed as tradition/ritual, evangelistic visits with a primary focus on getting visitors to the church to reach attendance goals, and other ritual/traditional religious activities are substitutes for a genuine love relationship with God. Baptism is expressly for each participant to have a renewal with God. It’s a time of public testimony. Many people and churches simply “check the box” as the thing to do. Evangelistic trips or visits are supposed to be a time to allow people to feel God’s love through others where in that love they are encouraged by Him to seek Him.
 
 No where in the Bible does it mention mega churches in the same sentence of building God’s Kingdom. If the majority of your congregation is struggling financially, unemployed or underemployed, living paycheck to paycheck, then there’s a problem with that equation. The size of that building and the property acquired is being funded by those members. They are being put further in debt to achieve someone else’s mission, not God’s. We must check ourselves, and check those leaders who run the churches. Has the physical structure of the church become a substitute for God?
 
 Human Substitutes
 Human substitutes are present in most of our lives. We either substitute our parents, spouses, the person we’re dating, or our so-called religious leader for God. We have such intimate relationships with these people because we can see, hear, smell, touch, and have conversations with them where we gain immediate feedback. But there is no relationship more intimate and more rewarding than the one with our Heavenly Father.
 
 Think about the millions of people around the world who place their religious/spiritual leaders on a pedestal as though they are God, or His right hand. Think of the millions of people who sit back and watch their religious leaders commit heinous crimes against others, yet their followers forgive them and continue to follow them (and support them financially) instead of forgiving them, and then sending them on their way. These relationships are substitutions for God. We don’t need to go to man or woman to get closer to God. All we have to do is turn to God. You don’t need to turn to man or woman to find out how to pray to God, all you have to do is start talking to Him just as you would a loved one. Have a simple conversation and open your heart and mind to being receptive to Him.
 
 An obsession with self and our appearance means a lack of focus on God. There is a huge difference between taking care of your body in dedication to our Father (the One who gave you your body) versus working out and flaunting your body, obsessed with how it looks because you want adoration from others—you want to say, “look at me”. The former is to praise God. The latter is to praise self. Remember what I said earlier in this message, “When it’s “all about me” there is no room for God. God said we’re not to focus on self, but to focus on Him.”
 
 I admit that I have ignored God’s warning and followed the lead of a human instead. I have been involved in love relationships and friendships with people who were toxic, and God showed me that they were toxic, yet I ignored Him. I have been with men who couldn’t be faithful to our relationship, and God showed me in the very beginning that these men would not be faithful, yet I ignored Him. God showed me the so-called friends who would betray me, but I didn’t believe the message. I assumed that in every situation it wasn’t God warning me, but rather it was the enemy just trying to mess up a good thing. I can admit that every time that I have done so it has been to my detriment. I’m obviously hard-headed, and that’s why my molding process is at times extremely intense.
 
 I seek restoration and renewal in my life and journey. How about you?
 
 Question of the Day:
 Can you recognize some of the ways that you have turned to substitutes instead of turning to God?
 
 
 Feel free to share your answers, prayers, comments, and reflections in the comment section below. You can also send me an email at: breakingbreadwithnatasha@gmail.com Please also feel free to share this post with others. We’re never quite sure who needs to hear and see what, and when! May God continue to bless and keep all of us.
 
 Love always,
 
 Natasha
 
 Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha Foreman Bryant, unless otherwise noted. breakingbreadwithnatasha.com Copyright 2009-2013 under Natasha L. Foreman, unless otherwise noted.
 
 Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
 
 
 

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