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Definition of idolatry

 September 2008 

One of the things that keeps any Christian or family from effectively walking with God is idolatry. And by idolatry I don't only mean such things as bowing down to graven images, but rather putting the worship of anything in the place of God. Whenever something has more importance in our life than Jesus then it is a form of idolatry. Because our family has always struggled to put Jesus first in our lives we could be said to be struggling with idolatry.

In the past, television had far too high a place in our family. Our children used to watch too much of it and I used to put high priority on watching the news at the time we had our evening meal. I am not saying watching the news is wrong, but I could have been relating far better to the rest of my family if I hadn't been watching the news at that time. It has been much better for our family since we have had no TV in our lounge. (see January 2008 newsletter)

A few days before we went to the Philippines in August we decided as a family that we were going to cut down on using the computers so much because they were like an idol in some of our children's lives. It is essential for us to have a computer for our ministry of "Families Walking with God", and business related matters such as banking. We should not, however, allow our children to spend hours using the computer to play games, or the chat line, or to buy things.

In New Zealand there is an internet site called Trademe where people can buy and sell things. This site has been a problem in some of our boys lives because of the large number of purchases they have made. They think they are getting bargains, but if they don't really need these things are they really bargains. Buying off the internet was like an addiction in one of our boy's lives which he has freely admitted and has now stopped that. One of our boys has been sitting up late at night to watch the Israeli news on the internet and he has struggled to get out of bed to have an effective Quiet Time.

The chat line has also been a problem in our family. Some years ago when we didn't fully understand the internet, our older boys were spending far too much time chatting to all sorts of people and some of this "chatting" was not very Godly.

Playing games on the internet has also been a slight problem for our boys. It amazes me that a game on the internet can be played between people all around the world.

It is not that the internet is wrong in itself, but because it has taken up far too much time in the life of our family it has, at times, been like an idol.

While we were in the Philippines we spent very little time on the computer, but once we came back to New Zealand our boys initially got back into playing games. With our boys agreement we have now brought a halt to most of the internet use and it has been much better for our family. We now have more time together as a family and occasionally have a games evening on a week night.

We live with Nana, my mother, who is nearly 92 and is completely bedridden. About a week after we came back from the Philippines we believe she had another minor stroke as her speech slurred for a few hours and her memory went. She has since recovered somewhat, but is not as mentally alert as she was a few months ago.

In New Zealand we have a wonderful health system and we have a caregiver who comes in each day for 3 1/2 hours to shower her etc and so caring for her is no real burden on us. On the contrary she is a blessing to us. We regularly pray, sing hymns, recite the 23rd Psalm and pray the Lord's prayer with her.

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