8/28/18 | A Broken Spirit

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Psalm 51:16 – 17 NLT

Sometimes, I think we believe that the easiest way to gain favor with God, or to relieve our guilty conscience, is to offer some sort of sacrifice or offering, either of our time, energy, or finances. By spending time at church, or donating goods to the poor, we hope to gain God’s pleasure over us and expel any hard feelings regarding our failures.

But although we are asked to do those things as we become more like Christ, that is not in itself what God desires. What good would such gifts or offerings do him? He is God of all. He does not need stuff from us.

Look at it this way,

I believe we can still break God’s heart to this day. When we put our work, our family, our friends, our worry, our comfort, our entertainment, even our ministry, before God. When we put our one on one relationship with God on the back burner, I believe it hurts God’s heart. (Crystal Dill, The Mark of Moses)

The only thing God doesn’t have is our heart. What he wants more than anything is for us to give it to him. What he desires from us is a broken spirit. This means that we realize how we’ve grieved God with our sin, and in turn it grieves us deeply because what we truly desire is a relationship with him. And so we come to him broken and filled with regret. But what is so beautiful is that he will not reject a broken spirit.

He draws near to those who mourn over their sin. Those who know that they need God. Those who know that it’s not by works alone but by faith in Christ that they can be made right.

Those who are broken in spirit, he will not reject. Put the pretenses aside. If you are mournful over your sin and you simply want to be close to God again, then go to him directly to be reconciled. For that is what he desires.

8/21/18 | For the Glory of God

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT

For the past few weeks, Luke and I have been meeting weekly with a mentor couple from church. The above verse was one that they challenged us to memorize and apply to our lives. It’s short and sweet, so it had that going for it, but I was having a really hard time applying it. What does for the glory of God mean? It sounds nice. It sounds like something I should focus on. But what does it mean to give God glory?

I prayed about this for a couple days, and honestly it was frustrating. It felt like someone was telling me to “deadhead the lillies”. I’m on board! If it’s something I need to do I’ll do it! But I have no idea what “deadhead the lillies” means, and until I do, the phrase will mean nothing to me. It’s like someone giving you a band saw and telling you to make a heart. But you’ll never be able to make a heart if no one tells you what a band saw is or how to use it.

I told Luke about my frustration in hopes that God would give him some insight. He prayed about it and read through the entire chapter of 1st Corinthians 10, and God did indeed give him insight. It means to consider God in every situation, and do what brings honor to his name.

This sums it up well:

27 If someone who isn’t a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience.28 (But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you.29 It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks?30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?
1 Corinthians 10:27-30 NLT

Spending time on this chapter has shown me that we really need to take into consideration how our actions affect others. There are situations that go beyond never do this and always do that, just like in the passage above. We just need to make sure that, in all things, we are pointing others to Christ and encouraging them in their faith. This is all the more reason to study the Bible and always be listening to the Holy Spirit, so that in every situation we are ready to do what brings glory to God.

The more time we spend in the Word, the more we’ll be equipped, ready, and able to do the work he sets before you. Spend time in 1 Corinthians 10 this week, and as things come up, ask this question: Will how I’m planning to act bring glory to God?

8/14/18 | Mustard Seed Faith

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.
Matthew 17:20 NLT

This idea of having faith as small as a mustard seed has always been a bit difficult for me – it’s actually caused a little bit of stress because I know I don’t have enough faith to move a mountain. If it takes faith as small as a mustard seed to do that, then I’m in real trouble. I must have faith as small as…a molecule or something.

But Jay E. Adams has an interesting insight into this passage that got me excited. He wrote:

Don’t you see what He meant? He was saying ‘You don’t need anything more. Even the faith that you have is enough to work wonders if you will only exercise it in obedience.’

I see now that it’s not on our shoulders to move the mountains. It’s on God’s. He only asks that we trust him and put what faith we have into obedience.

What if you put your small offering of faith, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, into obedience to Christ? What if you trusted God enough to use what little faith you have? What if you planted it in the soil of God’s care – how might you see it grow? What if, a year from now, it was no longer that tiny seed, but a growing and thriving plant that was established in God? God can move mountains, if only you have faith to watch how he’ll move.

What could God do with your faith today? What could he do in your job, your family, your finances, your marriage? Maybe today’s the day you plant that little mustard seed.