Wealth and riches are in their houses; and their righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright; for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Psalm 112:3-4 We once had a family friend in the small town where I grew up who was quite wealthy. My aunt and uncle took him in as a young …
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 …
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
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 …
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High. Psalm 50:14 Have you ever noticed how few people ever say ‘thank you’? We are, by nature, selfish and entitled. Because we believe we deserve better, saying ‘thank you’ doesn’t occur to us as often as it should. I can …
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children– Psalm 103:17 I’ve done it. Have you? I’d not only attempted to live in the present, which is God’s will for me, but I’ve lived in the past and in the future. Neither of …
Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Psalm 24:7 God speaks to His people and joyfully commands them to lift their heads. He has gone out to battle on their behalf and has come back victorious. Have you been shamed? No …