The book, Ideolatry, was a labor of love for more than a decade.
I was first moved to begin the project in 1998. It was at this time that I laid out the general outline and subjects. I did some research, gathered some references and began a few lines in some of the chapters. My original intent was to create a yearlong series of weekly Bible studies, The Foundations of Faith, that answered the question, "Why do you believe what you believe?" Then the inevitable hit... LIFE!
Pressures from around me presented themselves, mostly from my professional speaking and educational career and my professional work as a dentist. Needless to say, I easily succumbed to them. The manuscript, barely at its conception, lay in the heart of my hard drive as a very short series of undecipherable computer 1’s and 0’s and had about as much value as that code. Over the years, I looked at the files and said to myself, “I really want to write that book, but I am involved in this project and have that responsibility. Just as soon as I finish them, I will take the time to work on it.” Nine years later, with nothing yet added, God was gracious to step in and get my attention.
Sheri, my wife, went to lunch with Marilyn who had been a part of our lives off and on over the previous 15 years but knew nothing of my dream of writing a book. That day in May 2007 Marilyn gave Sheri a message she had received in her prayer time two nights before. That hand written note, hastily scrawled on a scrap of paper, really got my attention!
It said in part:
“You have a gift of both artistic and creative ability. You use them in your workplace and through other venues... you have the ability to paint vivid pictures through words. Just as you have worked, researched, and compiled your book concerning dentistry, there is a spiritual book within you which will cause people to know and to grow in Christ Jesus. You have pondered the idea many times but have procrastinated - now is the time to begin arranging thoughts, scriptures, and personal revelation. It will bring glory to my Name and tremendous blessing to your life.”
I was dumbfounded to receive such an unprompted message and astonished at the completeness of her analysis of my situation. I judged the message to be one directly from the Spirit of God. I immediately opened up the “dusty” files in my computer and showed my wife the work that I had begun nine years before. She was unaware that I had already begun the project. We were both in awe. Thank you, Marilyn, for listening to the Spirit and being bold enough to act upon His direction to give me that note. Without your prompting, the seeds for this book might still be hidden deep within my hard drive and may have never seen the light of day!
That very afternoon, I became obedient to restarting the project and reorganized my files. I was so excited and motivated by a Word from God that I began to write that very night!
Quickly, another roadblock appeared. Yes, LIFE, again! I succumbed, became enveloped in the demands of daily life and all too easily put the book project back into hibernation mode, but this time, I added something to my already overburdened schedule. My wife got me into a program that resulted in me pursuing a degree in Theological Studies that occupied every night with reading, writing papers and even some teaching. Again, I determined that I had no time to work on this book.
God was not to be deterred, however, and got my attention again after several more months of inactivity. One night after an evening class, another woman, Lisa Carol, approached me with a question. She was also one of my dental patients, but we had never really discussed much other than teeth. She asked, “How are you doing on your book?” I replied, “Oh, the book has been finished for a while. You have seen it in the reception room in my dental office, haven’t you?” She replied, “Yes, I have seen that book, but that’s not the one I am talking about! I wanted to know about the book that you are writing for God!”
Again, I was stunned. You see, Lisa Carol was also not aware of this book, nor had she had any contact with Sheri or Marilyn about the project. She said that she had been praying one day, and the Spirit impressed upon her that I was writing a book. She just wanted to know when she could get a copy!!! Needless to say, I immediately set my mind and fingers back to work on the project!
Nearly a year passed, and try as I might, even with these two confirmations from different sources, I still could not get the book project to rise to the top of my priority list. Then, I inadvertently got another gentle prompting from my pastor. He asked if I would be available to teach a Wednesday night service. I emphatically said, “Yes, I would be happy to start the first of a 16-part series!” (I had outlined 16 chapters for the book at the beginning!) This supplied the needed pressure to finish the first chapter, “Acts of God,” which I taught that Wednesday night.
As the book took shape, thoughts became sentences that built into paragraphs and then formed chapters. That first teaching, “Acts of God,” grew into six chapters! As the work expanded, I shared my progress with Tom and his wife Vickie with whom my wife and I had many spiritual conversations. Vickie and I brainstormed and created the term “Ideolatry” during one of those discussions as we explored my vision and outlines for the book. Vickie became a sounding board and the first to read and critique my early drafts. She continued questioning, challenging, and encouraging me to achieve clarity and simplicity with the manuscript as we painstakingly reviewed every line of every chapter. She challenged me to refine my writing and explanations so that I wasn’t the only one who could figure out what I was trying to say! Thank you for your invaluable input.
Lisa Carol and her husband Patrick constantly encouraged me to press on and helped with many chapters of proofreading, posing questions and offering commentary. Lisa never failed to remind me of the vision and ask me if I was done yet! My editorial team, Dave and Connie, Mitzi and Joe, David, Chris and my amazing daughters, Carolyn and Karen struggled through my first draft and provided essential feedback. Judy, my editor, gave me quite an education as she corrected my grammar, punctuation and continuity through the many hours of editing the final manuscript. I especially loved it when she said, “Oh, there are just a few simple changes.” I then spent another 40 hours making those simple changes! My precious wife, Sheri, put up with me constantly saying “I’ll be done in 5 minutes!” while watching me peck away at my computer for 8-10 hours at a time. She had incredible patience!
The book did get finished, after nine years on hold and eight more years in writing. I was very blessed to have received the gentle reminders and encouragement to get on with one of the more important things in my life. It is much too easy to let LIFE get in the way and put God on hold. However, He is understanding and will always give you another chance, right? This appears to have been true in my case, but how much of God’s blessing did I forgo as I walked outside of His desire, putting His purposes on hold while I did my own thing? I suppose I will have to wait a while to find out.
I would be honored if you would take the time to read this book. I worked on it for so many years and through so many seasons of life. It was hard to maintain continuity and resolve that it would ever be finished, but I always had the sense that God literally told me to write it. However, many times I would think as Moses did, “you want me to do what?”
The intent of Ideolatry is to reinforce your faith and trust in the God of the Bible. It will challenge you to consider what is written “between the lines” and gain a deeper understanding of God and the relationship He wants with you. You will find how tradition and “religious” views, crafted by men, may actually distort your view of God’s true intents toward you.
The revelation of God’s character through the Bible is plainly seen in many individual passages and accounts supplied in the Bible. His love, care, provision, and guidance are all provided for your benefit. From Genesis to Revelation and everywhere in between, God seeks to establish an eternal relationship with you and provide for your success in every avenue of life here and in the life that is to come.
I can only hope that the message that this book brings is timely for you. I do not take the concepts and perspectives that I have explored here lightly. They have been well considered and life altering for me as I have searched for deeper meaning in God’s Word. I present some light exploration into the Greek and Hebrew foundations of various passages and also explore some important characters and their relevance.
I chose the particular Biblical characters that are discussed for specific reasons. Together we explore some of the activities of the more well-known personalities of the Bible such as Adam and Eve, Job, Abraham, King David, Daniel, and Esther. I explore some of the more obscure and lesser known individuals such as Melchizedek, Gad, Nathan, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, King Nebuchadnezzar, King Darius, Mordecai, Haman, Korah, and Uzzah. They and their accounts convey important concepts about the protocols and procedures of the spiritual world and the way God made things work. I also consider the teachings of Jesus, which in themselves are transformative and the foundation upon which I build. A study of these and others Biblical characters will provide food for introspection, contemplation, and exploration.
The scope of the book expanded during the 17 years that I wrote it. Much of the information was gathered in the living of life and study aside from actually writing. The main goal of putting all of this on paper is to bring clarity to you, the reader, about the character and nature of God and deepen your understanding of God’s love for you.
There are many scripture references contained in the text that I placed for convenience and clarity. Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible. Although it was not my goal to write a textbook on the subject, I have gone into some depth in a few chapters. Even so, I still have made every attempt to make things as easily understood as possible. Please try to persevere through my explanations as I believe that they will all make sense as you read.
Finally, I did not write this book because I am a theologian or a scholar or because I have a doctorate (which is actually in dentistry). The book did not come out of my studies for a degree in Theology. I wrote this book because I am an ordinary person that has spent a significant amount of time learning about the God that made me and what He says about Himself in the Bible. It is my hope and desire that you are prompted into deep consideration of the concepts presented here. The research, study, and writing I have done have brought me tremendous spiritual growth, blessing, and understanding, and I hope this book will do the same in your life.
Oh, by the way, I did finally get that Master’s degree!
Dr. Rich Masek
I invite you to read
Ideolatry - God Is Not Your Problem
The Character and Nature of God
to learn more about God's plan and provision for your life.
Available in digital formats for Kindle, iBooks, Nook and Generic eReaders
You can read about more subjects from Ideolatry below.