Friday, October 17, 2008

Dutiful Roses

Good morning, Church!

Quite a challenge for us today! Get ready to take a good hard look at your heart, and your life.

Today's readings: Revelation 17, Isaiah 1-2, Psalm 108

"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the Lord. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies- I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them." -Isaiah 1:11-14

Wow. God is angry! His people had strayed so far from Him that they were just going through the motions of worship, despite the fact that they were living in sin. The law demanded sacrifices, and holy days, and Sabbath- but the people were fulfilling those laws out of duty- checking them off their "to do" lists. When originally God had intended those acts to be done out of love and worship of a holy God. So His beloved people were entering His temple covered in sin, and then singing all the right songs, and doing all the required things. How despicable that was to our holy God!

But we are not too different! Obviously, we aren't worshiping golden idols, or giving ourselves to prostitution, we aren't murderers or thieves. And yet, we come in to church with bad attitudes, we withhold our tithes, we run in and run out just because we are "supposed to" do church, and we sing songs that we don't mean. Those things are just as despicable to our holy God. I once heard a story about a man who was told he had to give his wife roses every Friday- and he did it without fail. But when his wife asked him why he gave her roses every Friday, he told her it was because he had to- it was expected. But, my friends, dutiful roses are no gift. Roses out of obligation, instead of a heart of love and romance, are an insult to your beloved. And God deserves so much more.

He longs for you to come to church because you can't wait to sing His praises. He wants you to place your offering in the plate joyfully, as you return a portion of all He has given you. He delights when you sing the songs, and mean every word of them! He jumps for joy when you extend your hand to the poor, or wrap your arms around the hurting, or speak a word of hope to the lonely. You have great power to bring joy to the heart of the Father! What are you doing about it? Are you coming to church out of obligation? Are you going through the motions in your devotional life? Are you teaching Sunday School just because there is no one else to do it?

My challenge for us today, is to allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal our true motives. Ask Him to reveal places where you aren't giving 100%, or places that you are just paying your dues- instead of pouring out your worship. And as He opens your eyes to those areas, would you repent, and surrender them to Him. Ask Him to draw you closer to His heart- causing you to fall more deeply in love with Him. And then you won't be able to help yourself- worship will overflow!

Praying that our eyes would be opened,

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