Saturday, February 12, 2022

Return to Joy by Rejecting Idols

What I’m sharing today came out of such a good time of attaching to my heavenly Father while in awe of him for the Three Father’s Club he has given me.[1] Here is how he used these three fathers in their work to glorify Yahweh on one side and cleanse their nation from idols on the other. Today, a man named Gideon was added to the mix.[2] 

The Scene: 

The book of Judges follows a pattern of the people of Israel doing “what was right in their own eyes,”[3] turning to idols, God sending the curses on them that were required based on the old covenant,[4] the people crying out to God for deliverance, and God sending a Judge to do the delivering. The Midianites were the enemy God was using during Gideon’s lifetime, and Gideon was God’s answer to the people’s prayers for deliverance.[5] This is the part that stood out to me: 

That night the LORD said to him, “Take your father's bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night.[6] 

The Lessons:

Here are some of the lessons from Gideon’s interview by my Three Fathers’ Club: 

1.     “Pull down the alter of Baal that your father has”. Point: the idol must be pulled down no matter who it belongs to. And, yes, we must admit this very thing is in our churches for us to get the full benefit of Gideon’s example.

2.    “Cut down the Asherah that is beside it”. Point: it doesn’t matter who it belongs to, it is an idol, CUT… IT… DOWN!!! God is cleansing his kingdom of our idols no matter what they are and who they belong to. No favoritism or partiality.

3.    “Build an altar to Yahweh your God on the top of the stronghold here”. In the very place that idols were worshipped, an altar to the only true God would be erected. Point: in the inner places where we hide our collection of idols behind the fortress of our self-protection, we must set up our hearts as an altar to Yahweh in the name of Jesus Christ his Son!

4.    “Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down”. Point: there is such complete repentance that we use our idols as the fuel that fully returns us to our devotion to God. If we need a picture of God working all things together for good, using the fuel of our own idols to give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ is worth a thousand words!

5.    “Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as Yahweh had told him”. Point: with the help of men who would work with him, and possibly even using his father’s bull to pull down the idols, God viewed Gideon’s actions as obedient faith. We are called to the same. Some people will do this together. Let those be “our people” who mentor us.

6.    “But because he was too afraid of his family”. Point: this is added after the affirmation that Gideon had obeyed God so that we can be encouraged that we can fully obey God even when our actions are customized around our fear of our family members. In this case, Gideon’s fear of doing God’s will because it was directly against his own dad is an example I can attach to very easily! The application to our churches is also clear.

7.    “But because he was too afraid of… the men of the town”. Point: Gideon was concerned very directly with his dad and his family but was also aware that he would be attacking the beliefs and practices of the whole community. This included men who would have the potential to retaliate. He obeyed God anyway. Amen!

8.    “He was too afraid to do it by day,” so, “he did it by night”. Point: it is one thing to know what we are afraid of, but it is still another thing to figure out how to do God’s will anyway. Note: God didn’t tell Gideon what time of day or night to do it, only what to do. I hope we see the encouragement in this. Even Nicodemus came to Jesus at night out of fear, but he still CAME![7] 

What was the result? 

The men of the town found out that it was Gideon who tore down their idols and made a burnt offering with the wood of their Asherah.[8] We can’t expect to obey God without people finding out and being upset about it. 

The men went to Gideon’s dad, Joash, and called for justice. In our day, it is not difficult to see what that could look like with people taking Christians to court because their feelings are hurt over our efforts to proclaim the good news of great joy to all people.[9] This is what happened for Gideon: 

But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.”[10] 

Yes, it would be nice to have a dad like that who would receive the healthy shame message about his idolatry and declared the obvious, that if Baal “is a god, let him contend for himself”. There is some comfort and encouragement in this, that we never know when a family member may just have a change of heart because we chose God instead of them. That can’t be what decides our obedience, but it is presented as encouragement nonetheless. 

The Application: 

I have often felt that, if church-folk would seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God[11] even when it means conflict with family, and if people would be able to pray, 

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name instead of my family name; your kingdom come into my family to liberate them from their sarky, self-protective, self-justifying kingdoms, and your will be done in my life and church as it is done in heaven no matter what that means to my family,”[12] 

we would be giving our families the very best gift of all at the same time as we refuse to honor their idolatrous ways. 

This morning, Gideon simply encourages me to springboard off my fears and join my heavenly Father in his work no matter who comes along, who stands in the way, or who is left behind. When God reveals his will, he has already thought through all those things anyway, and what he says to do is the very best thing possible.   

We must also admit that division in churches and communities is inescapably about idols. Self-protection, self-justification, and self-glorification, are just as much idols in Jesus’ church today as Baal and Asherah were in Israel during Gideon’s day. 

God’s will about idols is the same as always. It is clear from Gideon’s life that fear of family members has NEVER been an excuse to disobey God. In fact, fear of family IS an idol! So is love of family for too many Christians! 

As I apply all of this to my own life, and consider how to spur on others to the love and good works of Jesus’ kingdom, I will let James lay the application: 

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.[13] 

I can’t help smiling at the reminder of how God worked this into my heart not that many months ago so that now Zephaniah, Josiah, David, and Gideon, all shout out their hearty (and manly) AMEN!!!! And so do I!


© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] In the last month or so, God has used the prophet Zephaniah, and then King Josiah, and now King David, to work together in my life like I have been adopted by three fathers who all want me to have the same heart for God, and the same life of obedient faith that wants to do all his will. Relating to these men like my father-mentors is literally thrilling and comforting my heart beyond my expectations. I now refer to them as my Three Father’s Club, or 3FC for short.

[2] Gideon is introduced to us in Judges 6.

[3] Judges 17:6; 21:25

[4] Deuteronomy 30:15-20 gives us God’s statement of the covenant promises of blessings for obedient faith and curses for disobedient faithlessness. He says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life…” (vs 19). When he cursed them in their idolatry he was just as faithful as when he blessed them in their repentance and return to faith.

[5] Judges 6:6

[6] Judges 6:25-27

[7] John 3:1-18

[8] Judges 6:28-30

[9] In Canada, there is a brand-new bill in place to make that even easier for Jesus’ enemies! Obedient-faith still chooses to worship God with our obedience in spirit and in truth!

[10] Judges 6:31

[11] Matthew 6:33

[12] According to Jesus’ model prayer of Matthew 6:9-13.

[13] James 4:7-10 in context of James 4:1-12

Saturday, February 5, 2022

This Week of "On This Day" Sharing (January 30 - February 5, 2022)

This week has continued the turmoil and unrest in Canada as truckers lead the way in confronting the corruption in our government. My time with God in his word has included exploring the life of King Josiah who reigned during the time that Zephaniah was given his prophecy from God. His efforts to clean up the corruption of his dad's evil reign was frustrated by the people never turning their hearts back to God. 

I ended the week exploring some wonderful realities of the kingdom of heaven so that I was often in tears of wonder at what God does to not only give us eternal life, but also to minister assurances to our insecure secret places. 

When King David wrote, "Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart" (Ps 51:6), he was not only inviting every generation of God's children to want truth and wisdom in our secret hearts, but to surrender to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to make it so. I share this week's posts in the hope that you will experience God in these ways for yourself, and also in your fellowship of God's people. 

Sunday: "To Walk with God in a Wicked World"


It is nothing new that, if we want to walk with God, we must do so in a wicked world. It doesn’t matter if we go back as far as righteous Abel who was killed by his evil-hearted brother Cain, or to righteous Noah who built an ark to save his family while the wicked world went from bad to worse, or to righteous Joseph who was sold into slavery by his sinful brothers, it is easy to find examples of what it looks like to walk with God in a wicked world.

This morning I was captivated by one of the kings of old named Josiah. I had tears of both sorrow and wonder as I read about what it was like for him to discover how evil his people were. He grieved over the way they had replaced God and his word with their idols and adulteries. Kinda sounded familiar!

The key to all the people who walked with God in their generation of the wicked world comes down to one word: Faith. They received what God was revealing about himself and responded to him in faith. 

I am going to spend some more time considering how Josiah’s life speaks today even though he is long gone, so to speak. His testimony still lives, and I believe some reading this may live because of his testimony! Josiah’s example calls us to trust in God through faith in Jesus Christ and join the light shining in a dark world while Jesus continues to seek and to save the lost. 

Monday: "Growing in our Growing-up"

At any time in our life, we could make too much or too
little about how we are growing up. Only God really knows how close or far we are from being like his Son. His take on it is that “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” 

I’m coming out of a couple of weeks of exploring how God must clean house to return his people to joy. Yesterday, this led me into the crushing discovery of how hard a leader can work to join God’s house cleaning only to watch his people prefer their idolatry and adultery of heart. 

This morning, God comforted me with this appeal: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” What I realized was that, because God’s issue is “growing”, not “perfecting” (that will only happen in our glorification), the issue is whether we are growing in step with God’s growth chart. 

Success today is to have “become larger, greater, or bigger” in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And that is something that I WILL know about myself by this evening. 

Tuesday: "The Kindness That Leads Us Home"

People sometimes speak of an act of kindness they witnessed that “restored their faith in humanity”. That sentiment is an acknowledgement that kindness is a key quality of being human, and it is an admission that kindness has become a rare experience.

As I was pondering God’s kindness this morning, I applied it to how he relates to us when we’re living the wrong way in the wrong place in the wrong time. I know that many people hate admitting that they are wrong. I know the feeling. 

While we can often avoid facing that we are wrong with people by defending, deflecting, and denying what we have done, the same cannot be said about God. He knows. 

Which makes the fact that his kindness shines gloriously good at the same time as he sheds light on what we’re doing wrong a wonderful gift of… well… KINDNESS!!!

Here are just a few thoughts of what this means to me, and what I hope you will see in anything God is doing to make you stand in front of his mirror. His kindness is working to bring us home. Please join me.


Wednesday: "The True God or Idols” 

(no other options)

When people hear the word “repent”, they often think
of it in its negative aspect of confessing sin. If I would just admit I’m a sinner, and tell God my sins, and say I’m sorry, and promise to never do it again, he will forgive me. And then, if I turn to Jesus, and put my faith in him, and give him the privileged right to come into my heart, I get my fire insurance policy from hell and will one day go to heaven.

Hold it a minute! Doesn’t that sound like we must do the good work of repentance so that God can accept us by faith? When repentance is something we “do” in order to get God to do something, it is a good work. And that is in direct conflict with the good news of the gospel that we are saved by grace through faith, “and this is NOT your own doing; it is the gift of God, NOT the result of WORKS, so that NO ONE may boast!”

What I’m learning this week in a real and personal way is that repentance (with respect to our idolatry problem in particular) is such a complete change of mind that we don’t “do” the work of repenting so that we can “do” the work of faith. Rather, we come to hear such good news about Jesus Christ that our sudden burst of faith and love towards him makes all our sins suddenly feel so offensive and vile that we joyfully run to Christ to be our greatest treasure forever and gladly receive his forgiveness and cleansing so we can join the righteous who live by faith!

I would love it if you would give up both extremes of denying your sin on one side or working to get rid of it on the other, and let yourself love Jesus with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength, so that you would JOYFULLY give up your sinful life in order to have HIM! 

Here is some encouragement in that direction, with the standing invitation to let me or someone else who truly loves the Lord Jesus Christ help you know him as your greatest joy. 

Thursday: "The Age to Follow God"

In my time with God this morning, I was drawn to consider a young man’s example for my over-the-hill years. He grew up in evil times. His nation was filled with wickedness. His dad had modelled a sinful and rebellious way of life. It sounded like reading real news from this morning! 

But this young man walked with God. He did what was right as the Creator knows what is right. What did it do for me to consider his example?

It affirmed that there is no age-limit on coming to know Jesus Christ as our Creator, Lord and Savior. He was the same age as what I consider the first personal steps of my walk with God. He continued walking with God his whole life. 

Together, he tells children and teen agers that you can receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and follow him no matter what your world is like, no matter what your family is like, and even no matter what you are like! It also tells us older folks that we can walk faithfully with our God all the years that remain. 

The same God who led that young man back in the day is leading all who trust in his Son right now. Join me in following Jesus Christ no matter how much we stand out to our deteriorating world. 

Friday: "The Joyful Domain of Love and Light"

There is a sense in which I have dual citizenship. I
can’t help it that I live in this world and that I am a citizen of Canada. This country has had some good moments. However, the present corruption in every level of government is demoralizing. Seeing dishonesty and deception promoted so blatantly is shocking, but it is also what God describes in his word, so it is not as surprising to his children as to those who only have worldly residency. 

My greater citizenship is in the Kingdom of God. My King is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, so what he is doing is of much greater significance than any worldly dictator. My citizenship in God’s kingdom is his doing, not my own, so it is secure for eternity. My entrance into the kingdom of heaven is by the gift of salvation that is graciously offered to me in Jesus Christ and received by the experience of living faith.

Anyone who comes into God’s kingdom discovers that we have a growing longing for our Forever Home. We are in the domain of God now, but we look forward to going home from this foreign land of the world. 

Today I want to share a few thoughts about why our supreme joy is found in God’s kingdom, along with the corresponding reality that the things that once satisfied us in the world will be seen for the mirage that they are. There is good news of great joy regarding how to find God’s kingdom. Would I be happy to share it with you? Of course! Thanks for asking! 

Saturday: "The Rest-in-Peace of Eternal Life"

RIP has been a familiar caricature on tombstones. It is a very noble desire that our loved ones Rest In Peace when they die. 

The question is, what are the conditions that must be met in order to know that dying would be peaceful rest. How do we know these conditions? What if the warnings of a place called Hell are valid? How do we know that is not what is happening to our dearly departed (or to us when it is our turn)? If Heaven is real, how do we have assurance that it is our Forever Home? 

As I seem to be close to terminal velocity on the downside of being over-the-hill, it is crucial that I know for certain what is going to happen to me when I die. I don’t want to die. Nothing in me feels like life is supposed to reach an expiry date where we are quite happy to cease being with people we love in experiences we love sharing with our people. Fact is, I want to live FOREVER, and I want to LIVE forever!

Here is another invitation for everyone who reads this to know how you can have eternal life that is both forever and everything life is designed to be. The threat of death is all around us. Whether you are the next to die, or someone you love is soon to be gone, the assurance of eternal life is essential. I would love to know that you know this life. 

© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

Friday, February 4, 2022

Our Home Church Story (Podcast Version)

I have been in home church ministry for just over two decades, and I have not known how to tell our story. Until now. 

Not long ago, I was approached by Robin Martens of Sow37 Podcast to see if he could interview me regarding people who became disillusioned with the institutional church. He knew that we had not given up on church itself, but had found ourselves in home church ministry, so it felt like a good way to finally give testimony of our journey. 

It was a very encouraging time to reminisce with him about our journey, consider key elements of it as they may apply to things others are facing, and encourage people to seek God with all our hearts about both problems that are staring us in the face and the promises of God regarding his church. It was a very good online visit, and I am glad we have something we can share to encourage others. 

The link below is the audio podcast in video form. It contains pictures of myself and Robin Martens, just so you know who we are, along with some of the key statements and scriptures that we refer to. Whether you watch or just listen, my hope is that the telling of our story (real life journey) will encourage you to seek God about everything you do with your church family so that you are growing as the church Jesus is building. 

And, if you are a Christian who has already become so disillusioned that you have “given up” on Jesus’ church, I hope this encourages you that we are not limited by traditional buildings, denominations or institutions to live in the freedom for which Jesus set us free. It only takes two or three people meeting in Jesus’ name for him to be among us, and if we seek him, he will surely lead us in how to keep in step with whatever his Spirit is doing. 

If you would like to know more about Robin Martens’ Podcast and ministry, his links are in the description below the video. If you would like to know more about how to seek God about church problems, and how to organize as a home church, both of us would be happy to help.



© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8