Archive for the ‘Divine Nature’ category

Giving My Best to God

November 17, 2011

Can you imagine someone standing before the altar of God to give a second rate sacrifice? Israel was guilty of that in Malachi’s day.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the LORD’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 1:6-8)

Singing, praying, giving, serving and any other sacrifice to God must be our best. We have to watch ourselves carefully because the devil certainly tempts us to give less than our best. I remember an older preacher saying he always tried to be in bed before 10:00 on Saturday nights so he would be completely rested and be able to give his best the next day. I wonder if we might not benefit from that mentality? Do we sometimes stay up too late so we are bleary-eyed during worship? Can we be so rushed from getting ready that our hearts are not able to focus on the Holy One? My mother always layed out our clothes when we were children so everything was ready first thing Sunday morning. As we grew older she encouraged us to do the same.

Can it happen that we get so involved in recreation that our financial contribution to God suffers? Do we give only what is left and not what is right? Do we use all our energy earning a living so that God’s work gets only the leftovers at the end of a hard week? So often the Devil fills our lives with urgent things that steal away from the important and necessary. Our Father deserves much more than the minimums and the scrapings of what is left over.

Pray today for God to help us order our lives so we can give Him what is rightfully His. God gave a principle that should still be observed today…

But if ithas any blemish, if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 15:21)

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“Say Yes to The Dress!” An Invitation Spurned

January 13, 2011

I’ve always been intrigued by the parable of  Wedding Feast in Matthew 22.  I am curious about why that man refused to wear the wedding garment provided for all the specially invited guests. What is it about people that would make them think they can reject God’s kindness and then expect Him to be more kind?  The invitation and the wedding garment were a gift graciously given.  Refusal to wear the garment was a slap in the face to the one who gave the feast, the garment and the invitation.

The one who gave the feast throws that man out.  This leaves little room for speculation.  Those who refuse God’s grace by trying to “have it their way” will have no grace.  This pretty much is the epitome of high handed sin.  I don’t want to be like this man.

There are so many similarities in this parable to today.  I think about how people try to rewrite God’s commands to fit their own personal tastes and basically demand that God accept them in their rebellion. I also think about how many will taunt the obedient for being legalistic and unkind for pointing out God’s specific commands.

Let’s be very careful to come prepared to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  Let us be mindful of the goodness and mercy of God for even including us on the guest list.  And certainly let us not be so ill mannered as to demand that God change the party to fit our selfish desires.

Lord, please give me a heart that is aware of your grace and your sternness (Romans 11:22).  Help me to follow your will so I won’t be cast out of your wedding feast.  Through Jesus I ask these things.

So Good!

December 10, 2010

My friend and teacher Thomas Chapin has a gift for writing, arranging and performing music.  He chooses to direct that talent toward worship of God.  He penned a beautiful song a few years back that reminds us of how truly good God is.

As I wake with the dawn,
I am blessed by your light,
And when the light is gone,
You give me peace in the night.

I feel your love and your mercies
They’re new everyday
They inspire and stir me and I have to say…

You, are so good, You are so good to me.

Thomas Chapin

So many things remind us of God’s goodness.  Often the most important blessings are the simplest of all. Paul’s preaching reminded us that it is in God that we “live, move and have our very being.” The joy of beauty is a rich blessing we see, hear and experience all the time.  The mighty maker didn’t have to marry artistry and beauty with function.  He threw that in as a blessing.  Every sunrise and sunset are testimony to God’s goodness.

O Lord my God,
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all
The works Thy Hand hath made,
I see the stars,
I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy pow’r throughout
The universe displayed;

Carl Boberg

Grateful hearts should be noisy.  Because of God’s kindness toward us we should be telling others about what He is doing and has done for us.  That could be our project for improvement.  Let’s try to tell at least one person how good our God has been to us.  It could be something that happened today or years earlier.  God is so Good.

Knowing You, Jesus

August 31, 2010

The song by that title has been a favorite of mine from the first time I heard it.  It is one of those songs that has a tune that matches perfectly the sentiment of the lyric.  The lyric is profound and describes our desperate need to shed the love of this world and come to love the Lord with all our hearts.

The conversion process is a mighty one when you think about it.  Everything the world teaches us is to “get more” and you’ll finally be happy.  However, the reality is the more we get the less joy “stuff” brings.  It takes a reshaping of our priorities and desires to quit wanting the trinkets and treasure of the world and desiring the Lord and the peace he promises.

Oh that we could love the Lord so much that our selfishness would fall away.

Knowing you, Jesus knowing you
There is no greater thing
You’re my all you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord.

Graham Kendrick

Lord, help me today come to know you more, to love you more, and to become more like you in all your ways.  Help me to love what you love, enjoy what you enjoy and do what you do.

I Am God’s Child!

December 7, 2009

Birth Certificate

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!””
(Romans 8:15)

You cannot ask for a greater blessing than being adopted by the Lord of Creation.  Being a child brings great privilege.  Everyone knows there is more blessing if you are the child of a king than if you are the child of the homeless guy on the corner. How much more are we blessed being adopted by the Great God of the Bible?  We are talking about being the child of the Lord God of All, The Creator (Gen 1:26), Most High Sovereign over all (Daniel 4:24), The Master (Proverbs 18:10), The God Who Sees (Genesis 16:7), God Almighty (Genesis 17:1), our Helper (Psalm 33:20),  Provider (Genesis 22:1-19), Healer (Jeremiah 19:11),  Shepherd (Psalm 23), the Lord of the Hosts of Armies (Amos 4:13), The God Who Sanctifies (Leviticus 11:44), Our Banner (Exodus 17:8-16), Peace, And the God Who is There.

I feel like I just got the highest promotion of all.  I now have the joy of calling God, my Father.  I pray that you will not live below your privilege.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
(1Jn 3:1)

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
(Psa 31:19)

Life cannot be better for those who are in Christ (Ephesians 1 and 2).  He has blessed us with all spiritual blessing in Christ.

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Little Things Mean A Lot

December 3, 2009

I remember a note pinned to a pair of socks in my duffel that read “I love you and will miss you. Mom.” I read this note during summer vacation at my Father’s House my 2nd grade year of school. Mom and Dad divorced during winter break of my 2nd grade year. Needless to say my life was filled with turmoil wanting to be with both my parents. That was impossible after our move to Illinois and Dad’s remarriage in Texas.

I found the note pinned to my socks at a time that I was so miserable and homesick that I thought I would die. Just reading that note calmed my heart knowing my mom was still thinking of me even though she was over a thousand miles away.

Through the years I’ve learned that little things are important: Telling your wife and children “I love you.” Holding a door open for the old man at the grocery store. Picking up a piece of discarded paper off the playground. Giving the last piece of pie to your sister even though you love pie more than she does.

We should never underestimate the power of little things. Listen to the prophet “Do not despise the day of small things” (Zechariah 4:10). What we may believe is small could be  huge in the eyes of God. It was from the tiny town of Bethlehem that the King of Glory would come forth.

Take a little time to do a kind deed that could make all the difference in world for a person who needs kindness.

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

Thus the little minutes,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.

Thus our little errors
Make a mighty sin;
Drop by drop the evil
Floods the heart within.

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
Like the heaven above.
— Ascribed to Julia A. F. Carney