Reformed People in a Catholic Cathedral

We have a friend visiting from another country, and if you know us, we love to have people over and show them the city we live in.

Today the tour was to visit downtown and the huge Cathedral in it.

As you walk inside the massive building with three different architectural styles (it took three centuries to build it) it is mostly dark, the smell is peculiar, and your eyes are immediately forced to look at the altars.

The altars (the Altar of Forgiveness and the Altar of the Kings, in the main nave)  are covered with gold, lots of gold. Many people are in there, tourists, children, workers; three nuns and a priest found their way through the people; some devouts were kneeling before the so many images found in the sixteen chapels, two men were in solitude contemplation were sitting on the benches. Others were giving alms, and a lady was pouring holy water on her wallet.

There are as many images of different saints as you can imagine; and as many  different “Virgin Mary” as you could think of, one for each need. There are all kind of “Christs”, there is even one called “The Black Christ”, and another one called “The Lord of Cacao Beans”.

“Our God is in the heavens;
    he does all that he pleases.
 Their idols are silver and gold,
    the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
   eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
   noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
   feet, but do not walk;
   and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them;
   so do all who trust in them.”

Psalm 115: 3-8

What do we learn?

The heaviness over our spirit to see all this idolatry breaks our heart, but there has to be a lesson for us to learn.

What about the idols of the heart that we have and cannot be seen?

They are as terrible and as abominable before God as these wooden idols whom our eyes saw with such indignation.

Let us examine our hearts and search them lest we had already made ourselves some idols.

God mocks the idol makers and idol worshippers, making them just as the idols they build for themselves,

 ” All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?  Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth.

They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together. The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.  He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” 

Isaiah 44: 9-20

May God grant us a repentant heart.

My two three recommendations for today:
If you want to learn more about about how idolatry destroys our life, consider reading, We Become What We Worship, A Biblical Theology of Idolatry, by G.K Beale or Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters, by Timothy Keller
Again, Diane has a great article worth reading, Repent or Perish! John H. Gerstner.
Petra gives moms great encouragement, In the Arms of Faith

Living a Simple Life

It was a windy, sunny day, just  perfect. We stood on the top of a pyramid built around 700 BC, and we enjoyed the view. My little girl picked some wild flowers,while  the rest climbed a tree.

We lived a simple day…

When simple, beautiful days like this one happen, I often think on how we started it, and how we continued through it.

I woke up early had my devotions, made breakfast, {still thinking about the Bible verses I read}, had coffee and a biscotti, took the book we are reading at the family table. We read, we talked about it, we prayed.

And we stood up, and off we went.

How we start our day means a lot, but that is not all.

My prayer lately has been, “Lord, as I leave my quiet morning and devotions at the family table, help me live a life of prayer; let all I do bring glory to your name; let all my words be spoken with the certainty that you hear me always, let me not do my labor without consciously living  for you. I am so prone to wander”

Just as the wind blows over our faces, let us be aware of your presence all day long, let us draw near to you, O Lord.

But for me it is good to be near God
Psalm 73: 28

How can we draw near to Him all day every day?

How can we enjoy His presence all day and not be terrified by it?

It is because of Jesus, our Mediator. Jesus opened the way for us to the Kingdom of Heaven through His incarnation, through His death, through His resurrection.

Peace, true peace has a price, and Jesus paid for it with His blood. (Col 1:20)

How can I not love my Saviour?

How can I not long to draw nearer to Him everyday?

If I can enjoy simple days like this one, is because of His grace.

Well said:

A great sermon by Thomas Watson, The Happiness of Drawing Near to God. I recommend it to you!

If you love Church History, read about this wonderful woman, Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) over at my friend Diane’s place, Theology For Girls

Helping Our Children Grow Tall and Strong

When you live in one of the most crowded cities in the world, you need to plan ahead some time in the woods.

We went to the woods yesterday, and I enjoyed watching my children running and climbing; searching and discovering. We breathed fresh air, and enjoyed the smell of the wet ground and Eucaliptus pines. I even wish this post were a scrath-and-sniff one!

As I saw them on those big trees, I could not think other than, “this is the way I want them to grow in the Lord, tall and strong. With wide roots capable of holding others, and tall branches to be able to see from above.”

Lord, help me nourish my children with your Word; may them grow with strong roots, and grow tall enough to see from above the world. May the little beginnings bear much fruit at the end; may their lives turn into the sweet aroma which only those, who have been in your prescence have.

       In the name of Jesus,who brings life out of darkness.


An Old Building -Framing Light-

Yesterday we went to visit an old convent (from the 1500’s), which has been turned into a Museum.
The building is just beautiful, the ceilings are high and the corridors long and numerous. You can still visit the old kitchen and the bathroom, which was used more as a place of healing than personal cleaning, (it actually has only one bathtub) the nuns would take baths with infussions to heal their diseases.

The windows are deep wide, all framing light.

I love to see how Light finds its way through Darkness, it pierces it. 

Darkness is always overcome by Light.

Light leads our eyes into something else. Our eyes, once that have known light, do not want to steer the darkness. We long for Light.

But I loved darkness, that is what the Bible says, and He saw me and when I did not call Him; He brought life to the dungeon, and pit where I was.

I was so trapped in sin that I could not reach Him, but He remembered my condition, He remembered that I am made of dust, that I was born sinful, and He came, and reached me and took me out of darkness into His admirable light.

The prision of sin and condemnation were broken; there was a way out.

Light always conqueres and pierces Darkness.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
  (2 Corinthians 4:5-6 ESV)

“…at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” ( Ephesians 5:7-10)

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 John 1:4-6)

Thank you, Pilgrim Mommy, for the hymn verse:

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay,

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”