Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? Psalm 90:11 Many live as the object of someone’s wrath. Through no fault of their own, they share the same last name with someone who harbors rage over the ways their life has failed to deliver what they think …
So that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. Romans 15:32 The word ‘refresh’ is found 17 times in scripture. In most of them, the spirit of one person is being refreshed in the company of another. This got me thinking. What really happens when I …
November 15, 2017
Offer right sacrifices and put your trust in God. Psalm 4:5
As a little girl, I remember hearing my parents say, “Now, we want you to be a good girl!” That often meant that their reputation was on the line and I might embarrass them. I was compliant only because I feared the punishment. Was my choice to behave properly the right kind of sacrifice, the kind David talks about? Hardly. I was selfishly saving my own neck.
From the very beginning, we have acted religiously in an attempt to distract ourselves from our own sin. It hasn’t worked. Down deep we know that we are flawed. And down deep we fear that God is not fooled. In spite of this, we still keep doing it to feel good about ourselves. We hope to appease an angry God but underneath all this striving is the shame of our sinful nature.
I heard someone pose an interesting question the other day. ‘Is it possible for an unbeliever to please God?’ Immediately, I thought of all the selfless acts that arise in the worst of times. People offer their lives to save another. They give generously to charities. They love their families and sacrifice for their well-being. But does all this please God? The answer, I believe, is no. The only acts that please God are the ones that are done with Him at the center of our motivation. He must be the point of my good deeds – not me.
So if unbelievers can’t please God, does this mean that believers will automatically get it right? No. So much of what I do is still selfishly motivated.
By God’s grace though, my intentions are getting cleaned up. I’m maturing just as I did in my childhood. I’m thinking about what happened as I got older and left grade school behind. My motivation for doing the right things began to change. My love for my parents grew and I wanted to honor them. I couldn’t bear the disappointment they would face if I made bad choices. This desire to honor them is the right foundation for a good sacrifice.
After all is said and done, I need to love God more. Easy to say but how is that accomplished? By knowing Him and receiving His love for me. God is the initiator of love and I am the responder. “We love Him because He first loved us.” I cannot simply will myself to love Him more. That encourages more performance and the need to prove something. My love needs to be of the genuine kind, born out of intimacy and amazement.
How could You love me? And yet, You do. Refresh the Gospel message in my soul. In Jesus’ name, Amen
As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Daniel 9:13 Behind every sin is a world of insight. Repentance is often done quickly at an …
I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, Lord, as you know. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly. Psalm 40:9-10 What do you …
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. Psalm 119:93 Which of two teachers would you prefer to learn from? Let’s say that the topic to be taught is THE COMFORTING WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. The first teacher does a word study on ‘comfort. He cross references well …
I will never walk alone for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth. Psalm 26:3 Everyone wonders what their future will hold. Good times or hard times? Healthy or unhealthy? Married or unmarried? Financially secure or living with meager provision? Surrounded by those who love us or mostly alone? …