Every once in awhile you will hear about a train that derailed and got off track from the original course. It doesn't happen often, thankfully, but it's bad news when it does. The Lord had given the priests their direct orders through the law and they were disobedient, leading the people incorrectly, representing God in the worst way. If they had done what the Lord had told them, the people would've followed their lead for the good and would've been blessed. God repeatedly called them to return and repent. Getting off course when you have a track to guide you means there is a miscue or a command that isn't respected. Obedience is forgotten. Living It Out: Make sure those you follow are leading you correctly by Godly example or you will be swayed by their path of derailment. The tribe of Levi had been set apart as priests but they departed from doing what wasright and caused the people to stumble. These "men of God" were derailed in the name of religion and weren't showing the people the right image of God's Law. God had given them His requirement earlier in Leviticus but they didn't heed the command.
Leviticus 21:7 and 8
".....because priests are holy to their God. Regard them as holy because they offer up the food of your God. Consider them holy, because I the Lord am holy-I who make you holy."
Living It Out: Apart from Him we can do nothing. Only the Holy Spirit can change us and make us holy.
Derailment is easy because distractions and things of the world look so enticing and are at our disposal, here and now. As Christians, we are to live for eternity and what is to come, a better world.
Living It Out: All of us can stumble at any time. Work at staying strong so you don't lose the eternal battle for the temporary pleasures of this life. The Israelites and others that have gone before us serve as an example. Some of our biggest obstacles are lies straight from Satan who wants to derail us.
1 Peter 5:8 and 9
"Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith"....
After the postings on blemished sacrifices and spiritual compromise (I could've written many more), I was thinking I wanted to write something lighter when, last night, my dream seemed to have the answer!
In the dream my youngest son, Aaron, who is now 21, is 4 or 5. While I'm laying on the bed, he comes in to talk to me and informs me that for Christmas the family doesn't know what to give me so they have decided they are going to give me a plated Derek Jeter footprint! Now, I come from a house of men who are all into sports and though I have received a couple of gifts that weren't top on my list, I gotta say this one kind of blew me away and NOT for the better!
I wish in this dream I was composed when I answered my son, but, unfortunately, the response was pretty true to my nature. The conversation went something like this:
Me, aghast with horror, "What do you mean a footprint of Derek Jeter"? My attitude was totally less than grateful!
Aaron replies calmly, "Mom, that's no way to react. It's a sacrificial gift and we have done our best!
I woke laughing thinking about God meeting my need for some humor but still weaving the concepts of Malachi within my night thoughts. I was reminded about the Israelites wanting more when they went back into Judah and my hope for more than a plated Derek Jeter footprint for Christmas. I was also reminded that in all things it's about the sacrifice of the heart.
For the record, my family isn't a fan of Derek Jeter so I'm really praying this will never come to pass!
Living It Out: If your family decides to give you a plated Derek Jeter footprint for Christmas, don't react as though it's a blemished sacrifice!
"Worship as adoration of God is a distinctive activity; it embraces both understanding and emotions, the whole person in the presence of the God of creation and redemption. ...Even so, this does not mean turning away from the world. It involves, rather, the right perception of how God relates to the world, and the world to God. In such a framework, worship, embracing both adoration and action, is nothing but the outworking of God centeredness in the individual and corporate experience of the people of God." ~D.A.Carson
"In light of moldybologna and brown bananas the priests were offering up in the temple, they didn't have any enthusiasm for their jobs either. Instead of happily frying up the fattest chickens in the churchyard for God, they were throwing greasy nuggets into paper bags and shoving them across the counter, not even looking up to acknowledge the King they were serving." ~Lisa Harper Malachi, A Love That Never Lets Go Living It Out: Watch what you are serving the King.
Pollution is the introduction of a contaminant, something defiled and compromised. It could be anything from noise pollution to air pollution to water pollution and more. But today as I read the scripture and pondered how to blog "Living It Out", I am challenged not by the contamination of the environment but measuring to see if I have any spiritual compromise.
In Malachi 1:6 and 7 the Lord is explaining to the priests in Israel that they have despised or shown contempt for the name of the Lord. Yes, that's right, it was the priests! They replied by asking the Lord, "How"? "How have we shown contempt for your name?"
He told them because you have placed "polluted food, defiled food" on the altar. The priests were responsible for offerings that had no defect, the offerings were to be without blemish. They were giving God less than perfect sacrifices.
It's crazy to think we want God to give us HIS best, HIS blessing to us, yet, we offer Him a blemished offering of ourselves.
At least, I know I don't always give Him the best of me.
You might ask how? By not putting Him first, by not placing my all on the altar. Do I want Him more than anything in this world? Do I desire to know Him above all else?
Romans 12:1 from the message Bible says it best:
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering."
Living It Out: Let us ask the Lord to check for Spiritual Compromise within our lives or any area of a blemished sacrifice. And then, place our lives daily before Him as an offering, even in the everyday, ordinary life.
As parents, we expect obedience and respect from our children, after all, look what we've done for them! We say, even if only to ourselves, we've given you shelter, fed you, raised you for all these years and you owe it to us to show honor. How easily our defenses become more about us than having the attitude of Christ and showing our children the character of God.
God is so gracious to not have that same mindset with us when we do not show Him the honor and respect He more than deserves.
Malachi 1:6, "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a master, where is the respect due me?, says the Lord Almighty."
Curly girl question today for "Living It Out"....
Do I give you the Lord the same respect and honor I expect from my children? Others? How much greater it should be than even that! Great is the Lord and worthy to be praised! Selah
"Living It Out"-Today just focus on this: "Great is the Lord"!
Do you remember the old hymn "How Great Thou Art"? Proclaim with me today, "My God, how great thou art!" Feel your spirit within you well up at the words you speak.
There is no limit to what God can or will do on your behalf if you are a child of the King and follow Him. Is there an area today where you might be thinking I can't do that, I'm not good enough, or it will never happen?
I have many of those places and am no expert on having this conquered. I falter and waffle faster than you can blink but when I speak His name and remember how great He is, it changes my view at that moment.
The people of Israel were doubting God. They had moved back to their home land expecting more than what they saw. They desired more and were discouraged.
God told the Israelites He would take care of the land of Edom by destroying them, and, when He did, Israel would acknowledge Him as Lord! A change would take place in their spirit and they would see Him as He truly is, great and mighty.
The circumstances became bigger at that moment for the Israelites than their God. He reminds them to change their perspective.
It is a constant battle to remember that this life isn't about me or what I'm going through but how great the Lord is! He know my concerns and will deal with them.
When our focus stays where it belongs, we will see and acknowledge how great is the Lord!
We can have pride in a team (Go Braves), pride in our accomplishments, pride in our children, but, pride isn't necessarily a good thing. The Bible has a lot to say about this 5 letter word that creeps into our heart. And just for the record, it's the lesson I most need to learn and relearn from the scriptures. Pride comes before a fall, so watch out!
Malachi 1:4 reads:
'Edom may say, "Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins."
But this is what the Lord Almighty says: "They may build but I will demolish."
In this scripture, Edom (the geographical location) was relying on her own strength. She was prideful in saying what she WILL DO on her own despite what was God's Sovereign will or plan for the nation. Edom had been destroyed and planned to rebuild. God reminded them, that, in fact, even if they did rebuild, they would be demolished, wiped out. This is the story of the two nations of Israel and Edom. One receiving blessing and one cursing.
The two nations came from Jacob and Esau, the two twins that the Bible prophesied would be at war with one another. On Day 3, I wrote that through God's Sovereign will, Jacob became the nation of Israel which was chosen and blessed by God as a nation and Esau became the land of Edom. Edom had been destroyed and was adamant would come back with a vengeance.
God basically said you can do what you want but I have control, "They may build but I will demolish".
One of the key lessons the Bible speaks on is that of pride and denying self. As a whole, we humans are independent and stubborn, like these Edomites, wanting to do things our way without the intervention of a God who has all knowledge. We want to be our own Master but true freedom comes when we surrender our lives to the One who controls all things. I don't think we understand this principle until we realize His life must come out of us, not our own. 1 Corinthians 4:7 reminds us, "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." We must be broken (of ourselves) and poured out (all Him) for others before He can use us and before we are able to experience true freedom.
"Living It Out":
Instead of being so determined to do it our way, we should ask Him before we build something (our lives, our homes, our future, our career, our families) and allow Him to be the Master Builder
WE SAY : "though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins"
GOD SAYS: "They may build but I will demolish."
If you are a Christ Follower, the daily trials He gives us are to profit us, not harm us.
Living It Out....Curly Girl NEEDS grace and God is Sovereign, therefore, He knows.
Only God can mend a broken heart.
Only God can heal a leper.
Only God can perform miracles.
Only God can restore a marriage.
Only God can provide peace.
Only God can satisfy the deepest need.
Only God can raise the dead.
Some things in the Bible are a mystery they say, unexplainable, we won't know until we get to heaven. Accept it by faith.
How is one brother loved, one hated?
Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated.
Only God because He is Sovereign and because I don't know all things, I must leave it to a God who does.
This teaches me to trust.
Since a Sovereign God knows the heart of man, His decisions are based on
His foreknowledge. After Esau sold his inheritance for a bowl of soup, when he wanted to receive the blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
Graciously, the Lord told the Israelites that He loved them. Oh, how we all want to be loved, to be known and received just as we are. Here, in Malachi 1:2, God tells them He has always loved them and the tone of the people when they answer is anything but respectful.
"How have you loved us?", they ask, in disbelief. The promises they were expecting about their kingdom had not happened upon their return to Judah. The blessings they awaited, specifically, the Lord, had not yet manifested. They had returned from Babylon many years ago and still they were waiting. And while they remained, they became slack in the things of God. I can almost hear the tone of the disgruntled lot, the indignation in their voices.
Living It Out for Today: Do I become disgruntled and indignant when I am waiting on God to bring something about that He has placed in my heart, something I need or desire? Am I being slack in my Christian walk, more focused on me than on Him?
In fact, my heart sinks as I muse that I probably sound like they did when I think He has forgotten me or not answered a request I might ask. His promises are supposed to remind me of what I need to think on. But you know what I do instead of focusing on the promises from the Bible? Like the Israelites, I often question and doubt my Lord and put my thoughts on the situations of life. You see, I'm no different. I live now, they lived then, but I'm a lot like them. Nothing has changed on the human scope of life-we still question and walk in disbelief rather than confidence and trust.
Living It Out: When He says to believe, I must do it in faith, in Him not me.
If God looked down from heaven and told me He loved me, unless I was having a really spiritual day, I might react as the Israelites did. I like to see and feel things. I want LIVING proof of the spiritual realities the Bible says is true. But, the Christian walk is all about walking in faith not sight. In my flesh, if life isn't treating me well, I might think just like they did. Instead of focusing on God and His love for me, believing He is for me not against me, I'd probably focus on my circumstances and the whirlwind of life-marriage, kids, bills, sickness, hurts.
God told them He loved them in the Old Testament, and we continue to see it in the New Testament. He is consistent and true to His Word. 1 John 3:1 "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
Living It Out: What a privilege to be called His child! Just as God had an inheritance for the Israelites, so He has for His children today. He wants us to bask in that love, walk confidently moment by moment realizing He is with us and has eternity waiting for us. In a world that offers nothing of permanence, we can hang on to His promises that will never fade or be blown like the wind.
Your true worth and legitimacy all come from the One who has always loved you and always will.
LIVING IT OUT...What does the Old Testament book of Malachi have to do with you and me? Spend 31 days with Curly Girl Meets Grace and you will discover what the prophet spoke in 430 B.C. (or so) has relevance for our lives in 2013, practical tips and guidance for our hurried lives in a messed up world. Slow down, take a breath, and follow along as we see the hand of God throughout all time speaks the same message for us today.
The opening line of Malachi 1:1, "An oracle: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi", indicates Malachi heard directly from the Lord and this can only be done through a personal relationship, being alone in thought with the living God and hearing His voice. A messenger must receive something before he can deliver. A simple truth to learn from Malachi in the opening line is to take time to listen and hear from the Lord.
After hearing, we must do something. Obedience is the second step and practical truth. Malachi delivered a message to the Israelites because it was a burden, a heavy weight on his heart. The hearing of the prophet would have meant nothing without obedience to the Word. However, the message was so powerful, he had to speak it out.
"When God puts a burden upon you, He puts His own arm underneath." -Spurgeon As a Christ Follower the message on our hearts is always to tell others about Jesus and to be LIVING IT OUT. When He gives you the burden, He will give you the way, the strength, and the power (Eph. 1:19 & 20). Receive it for yourself, obey, share the message with others.
You see? God's Word never changes and the principles endure time.
I'm just a curly haired girl in love with Jesus learning by His grace to walk out being a Christ Follower. I love studying the Word and writing about it. Jesus is the only thing that makes sense in this crazy mixed up world and I want to know all I can about Him!