Greetings to my #INSPIRED family! I pray the following post blesses you mightily!
In my church, each minister is assigned a month to teach Sunday School. I closed out the year of 2015 as Sunday School teacher. The lesson dated for December 13th is entitled, "Acceptable Offerings." In my preparation to teach, I read through the scripture lesson text and background reference scriptures concerning this topic, as I normally would do.
As I read through the Old Testament, it is safe to conclude that God was VERY particular concerning which offerings should be offered and for what purpose. There were several key offerings the Israelites made to God: Burnt, Meat (Grain), Peace (all voluntary/free will); Sin and Trespass (required). They each had their own purpose and significance. (Life Application Study Bible, KJV) However, the Israelites couldn't bring just ANYTHING before God. Quintessentially, we should be the same way-not in a prideful, conceited manner, but in a way that you realize your worth, realizing who and WHOSE you are (1 Peter 2:9). We shouldn't settle for just anything or anyone.
Let's use an example we all can relate to: Imagine going to a restaurant and that dinner you are PAYING for being served to you on a filthy plate. The silverware still shows remnants of food particles from the previous customers. There is a fat, red lipstick print on your coffee mug. However, the waiter looks at you like, "here it is, enjoy," then walks away like their deed is done and you should be happy about it. Honestly, you should feel offended! Not only am I paying for this meal, but it's served to me, on filthy dinnerware? In the words of "Stephanie Tanner" from Full House, "HOW RUDE!"
Let's bring it a little "closer to home." You are at the home of a dear friend or close relative for dinner. Your trusted friends/relatives serve your meal in a manner identical to that of the waiter we previously discussed. The dinnerware and flatware are still decorated with the remnants of the previous meal. Your food is thrown on the plate like slop in a trough. There is a long streak across the plate that looks like it was licked by "Fido." Although you make a conscious effort to show appreciation for the meal, your stomach churns uncontrollably at the mere THOUGHT of even placing one forkful of that meal in your mouth...much less chewing and swallowing it.
NOW. PICTURE THIS!! Imagine how God feels when we present ourselves to Him in any way and then look at Him as if we are doing Him a huge favor, and He should be glad about it.
Imagine "doing a work" for the Lord, but not putting forth your very best. That's like serving God, the One who fearfully and wonderfully made us, a meal on a filthy plate. The plate/fork/spoon, etc. is the vessel (US). The meal is the offering (our works, lifestyle, way of living, etc.). Are you offering an ill-prepared, just-thrown-together meal up to God like OK, HERE YOU GO, FATHER. YOU WANT IT? HERE, TAKE IT. I can hear "Sister Tanner" again: "HOW RUDE!"
To present ourselves as holy and ACCEPTABLE, is to be OBEDIENT to Him. Let's present ourselves in a way that aligns with the ways and statutes of God. To be acceptable is to be pleasing. It is pleasing to GOD when He knows that we are truly giving our very best to Him. It is acceptable and pleasing when it is done straight from the heart, with no hidden motives or agendas (Example: "I'll sow this $1,000 seed cuz I want a husband, and I just know that if I give this money and 'put a praise on it,' He gonna do it for me, hallelujah! I speak it, I declare and decree it!" *tongues commence*)
Uh, NO. That is a selfish, self-centered, self-indulging way to give.
DISCLAIMER: There is absolutely nothing wrong with sowing a seed. There is nothing wrong with believing God for certain things; HOWEVER, let us put on, and keep on, our Matthew 6:33 caps:
SEEK YE FIRST. I said, SEEK. YE. FIRST! Seek God because He's GOD! Seek Him because He is the source of our existence and the lover of our souls. Seek God because without Him, we are NOTHING. Seek God because it is in His presence, the fullness of joy abides. Seek God because He is the director and guide of our lives. Without Him guiding us along with way, we will trip up and fall! The awesome thing about THAT is that He is there to pick us up and carry us. Think about that famous poem, Footprints in the Sand. If you are not familiar with that poem, Google it.
If we love Him, we'll keep His commandments, John 14:15. FLATOUT.
Obey Him. THAT is what's acceptable to Him! #Obedience
I pray you were inspired.
1 Peter 1:13-16
John 14:15; Chapter 15
Psalm 119:11, 105