Week Ten – blue plate special

Monday

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17

“Humble Repentance”

Do you know the only thing that you can bring to God that will please Him? A humble heart! God doesn’t need anything from us. He created us for His pleasure. There is nothing beside ourselves that we bring to God that He already doesn’t have. He wants us to approach Him in humility. Why is this such an ordeal for us? Why do we try to bring Him other things?

It’s PRIDE! In some oddly perverse way, we want to deal with God as some type of peer. We want to do things for Him and donate things to causes we think would please Him. These things are not bad, but the underlying issue is that God wants us to see ourselves as hopeless and destitute without Him. The truth is, we are desperate without Him. Our next breathe, our next heartbeat occurs because of Him. We have nothing to be prideful of. We need to lay aside our plans and submit to the plan that our Creator has for us.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit…” (Matthew 5:3). Jesus is telling us that the correct attitude, the broken and contrite heart, is to realize our poor condition apart from Him. “Blessed are those who mourn…”(Matthew 5:4). God approves the person who is mindful and appropriately saddened by his sinful condition. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…”(Matthew 5:6). Pride is laid aside and we are blessed if we understand that the only way we stand as righteous before God is through Jesus work on the cross.

Deal with your pride. It will be a continual battle as long as we live within this earthly tent we call a body. We will fall short, but be humble and repent. God knows your heart – just submit to Him. That is the only way to please Him!


Tuesday

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you will all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119: 9, 11

“God’s Word Leads to Holiness”

How precious is the word of God! In it is a model for how to live. As you read through the scriptures, you get a glimpse of the Creator. Through His dealings with the Israelites, we understand His standards of holiness and how He deals with rebellion and disobedience. He shows us as much of the future as we need to know. In the New Testament, Jesus explains why He came to earth and clearly defines that He is God. (John 10:30). Peter, Paul and some of the other apostles/writers clearly discuss why Jesus came and what we need to do to be righteous before God.

It’s all in there! Is your Bible dusty? Does it only get opened on Sundays, if that often? You are missing out! By studying the Word and understanding God’s standards for us, you can then live a holy life. Without those standards, you would be wandering aimlessly, trying to negotiate the situational ethics of this world in which we live. You cannot truly seek God if you don’t put forth the effort to know Him. You cannot know Him without time in the Word and time in prayer. By memorizing Scripture and hiding those principles in your heart, you will know how to live. You will please God.

Paul instructs in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” SCRIPTURE IS SUFFICIENT. It teaches us; it strongly rebukes us; it turns us onto the right path; it is essential to show us what it takes to live a righteous life.

Make time for personal Bible study. Find a time and place in which you will not be interrupted. God will bless your effort.


Wednesday

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

“God’s Word is Our Light in This Darkness”

Think about being in a very dark forest or on a dark street in the city. You are walking along with a flashlight powered by two AA batteries. The illumination is perfect for you to take the next few steps safely and efficiently. But, if you raise the flashlight and shine it in the distance, the light diffuses. The flashlight does not illuminate the end of the path.

God’s Word is like this flashlight. It is a light to guide us in a world of absolute darkness. But God has not chosen to show us the end of our journey on earth – the end of the path. This is what faith is for. The truths of the Scripture are sufficient to guide us in all activities (see 2 Timothy 3:16,17). But God wants us to trust in His sufficiency and in His love for us. We demonstrate our faith by taking one step at a time with our path illuminated by His Word.

The answer to many of life’s questions is in Scripture. Contained therein are clear cut principles to guide your life. God is faithful. He shows us just enough to negotiate this life and to press on to holiness!


Thursday

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

“Be Transparent Before the Lord”

Let’s be honest and do something very difficult. Each of us need to get on his/her knees and admit it: “We are not intrinsically good!” Lay your pride aside and acknowledge it. The Apostle Paul did. “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” (Romans 7:19). Look, if we could measure up to God’s standards on our own, we wouldn’t need Jesus. BUT WE DO! Look into your heart and see the truth. Even some of the good things we do are not backed by good motives.

We need to be transparent before the Lord. We must mourn our sinful condition: “Blessed are those who mourn.” (Matthew 5:4). God wants us to acknowledge the truth. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3). What He meant was that there is no righteousness apart from Him. We are granted access to God’s kingdom because of Jesus’ work on the cross, not because of our works (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Why is it important to be honest before God and to acknowledge these truths? Doesn’t He know it already? Of course He does! But the issue is that He chose to create us with a free will. When the first man and woman sinned, we (collectively) lost our liberty not to sin. We now have a choice and God wants us to make the proper decisions.

Make this passage from Psalm 139 a regular part of your prayer life as you confess to Him. Ask Him to test your motives and assess your actions. Let Him run both your actions and motives through His perfect “grid.” The Holy Spirit will mature you as a result!


Friday

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

“Jesus Will Bear Your Burden”

Do you ever just run out of steam, meet yourself at the middle, or come to the end of yourself? Everyone is so busy! Many of our activities are good things, but we become weary nonetheless. All of us are burdened down. We all need the Lord to sustain us.

It’s not God’s plan for us to “burn out” along the path of life. He has made provision for us. Why is it so hard for us to acquiesce to this? Is it pride? Is it ignorance with regard to God’s plans for us? Whatever the reason, Jesus is waiting to walk beside us in His gentle way and provide rest for us. He wants to bear our burdens. HE IS CAPABLE – we are not.

How can we apply this truth to our lives? You first must acknowledge your need. Sometimes we don’t want to do this. It’s a change from self-confidence to confidence based on God. It’s not natural (in the flesh) to do this. Secondly, there is a faith issue: can Jesus really do this for me? Does He know what is going on with everyone, including me? Then it is the big leap to this thought: “Will I make Jesus the “boss” of my life?” Even when life is painful, will I let Him have His way? This is dying to self – making His way your way without continually pulling back and trying to redirect your life.

He says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Does He love you and me? Does He have your best in mind? Can He do it? Jesus is totally capable. He’s just waiting for you to make the choice: My way or Jesus’ way.

#Every other major world religion teaches that, if you are good enough and follow their set of rules, then you will be alright. BUT, the CROSS OF CHRIST unmistakably shouts to the world, “you cannot save yourself! You cannot be good enough for God!” That is why Jesus had to die for us to be saved.