Contemptible Offering

The LORD Almighty says to the priests, “Children honor their parents, and servants honor their masters. I am your father—why don’t you honor me? I am your master—why don’t you respect me? You despise me, and yet you ask, ‘How have we despised you?’ This is how—by offering worthless food on my altar. Then you ask, ‘How have we failed to respect you?’ I will tell you—by showing contempt for my altar. (Malachi 1:6-7 Good News Bible)

Wow! That’s’ strong language that God used towards the priests. Needless to say God was not happy with them. They were giving Him the lame, blind and sick animals as offerings. They were giving Him animals that they didn’t want and were worthless (verse 8). By doing this they were saying that God’s altar was worthless! And this was contemptible to God. He wanted one of the priests to close the doors to the Temple so that no one would go in to light “useless” fires on His altar. He refused to accept their sacrifices. What a sad testimony.

Today we are seeing the same thing in Christian churches around the country. No, we don’t offer animal sacrifices anymore, but what we offer is still “useless” fire on His altar. If we do not give our best then He will not accept what we offer. That was the problem in Malachi’s day and it’s still the problem today. In fact, this has been the problem since the very beginning. Cain didn’t offer his best to God and God wouldn’t accept second, third or less from him. Nor will He accept that from us. God has not changed, nor will He ever change. One of the few times that Jesus talked about money, He talked about the poor widow who gave only a small “mite” or penny in the offering. Jesus said that she gave more than all of the rich people putting in their large sums. Why? The widow gave all that she had while the rich people were giving their leftovers or extra.

Don’t give Jesus your leftovers. He won’t accept that, ever. I love the song Howard Grose wrote in 1901, Give of Your Best to The Master.

Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Throw your soul’s fresh, glowing ardor
Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example,
Dauntless was He, young and brave;
Give Him your loyal devotion;
Give Him the best that you have.

Refrain:
Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation’s full armor,
Join in the battle for truth.

Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.

Give of your best to the Master;
Naught else is worthy His love;
He gave Himself for your ransom,
Gave up His glory above.
Laid down His life without murmur,
You from sin’s ruin to save;
Give Him your heart’s adoration;
Give Him the best that you have.

(Give Of Your Best To The Master, words by Howard B. Grose, 1901, public domain)

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Be still

Be still, and know that I am God: (Psalm 46:10 King James Version)

Yes, I know that this verse was written during a time of war and was actually directed towards Israel’s enemies. But we can take heart in it today by knowing that He is still God with all that implies. He is still Almighty, omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. No other being can claim this.

Today I want to urge you to “be still” and listen to what He has to say to you. God often speaks in a “small, still voice” (1 Kings 19:13) and we have to hush all of the worry and bustle around us to hear Him.

When you hear people talk about going into a prayer closet, this is what they mean. It might be a literal closet, or just a quiet spot where you can sit or kneel for a while and seek His presence. Sure, you can pray while doing other things and you should. In fact you should pray all the time, but there needs to be a time, every day, if possible, when you just shut down and let God fill you with His wonderfulness. Listen to Him as you read His word and sense the answers to your prayers as you are praying.

Be still and know that He is God.

 

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Reaping what you sow

Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant. If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8 Good News Bible)

Have you ever planted roses and found grapes growing on the rose bushes? Of course not. Apples don’t grow on pear trees. By the same token spiritual health doesn’t grow when carnal seeds are planted. By thinking this we are trying to make a fool of God, and this cannot happen. We might think we are getting away with it, but the true nature of the plant will always become known.

We have seen this in public figures and it’s especially troubling when it’s a well-known preacher who falls. But it will happen to us as well if we persist in sinning. I know that we all are imperfect and slip from time to time, but that’s certainly not what I’m talking about. When you slip, not matter how hard the fall, repent and ask God to forgive you and He will. The Bible says that He no longer remembers the sins of those who truly repent (turn away from) their sins.

What Paul was talking about in his letter was deliberate, continual sin. Doing what you know is wrong and continuing to do it even when the Holy Spirit is prompting you to turn away from this behavior. You can’t continue to live like this if you are a believer. God will not be mocked and that what this is doing.

The Southern Gospel group The Chuckwagon Gang sang a song many years ago that had a line that said, “God will set your fields on fire, if to sin is your desire.” Have you ever wondered why nothing is going right? Are you trying and still not succeeding? Maybe it’s the devil blocking you but maybe it’s unrepented sin in your life? Ask God to show you where you have to change then ask Him to help you make the needed changes. He will. He wants you to live a life that brings glory to Him and will help you, even if that help is “to set your field on fire.”

 

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Christians in wolves’ clothes

For some godless people have slipped in unnoticed among us, persons who distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Long ago the Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received. (Jude 1:4 Good News Bible)

We hear a lot about false teachers today. But how do we tell the difference in a true teacher and a false teacher. Often the false teachings are so close that it’s almost impossible to put your finger on the difference. The deceiver wants to deceive the believers and he frequently does this with slight, subtle variations on the Word.

Remember when Satan tempted Jesus? Satan used the Word, or I should say misused the Word. Satan quoted Psalm 91:11 correctly but took it out of context and applied it incorrectly. He does the same thing today. False teachers, prophets and preachers correctly quote the scripture but pull it out of context and misuse it. This is why it is sometimes hard to tell who they are. They use God’s very own Word as their calling card and we can sometimes get confused.

Paul said that in the last days there would be a certain kind of people abounding in our gatherings. 2 Timothy 3: 1-9 describes these people as selfish, greedy and boastful. Paul also says that they are merciless, slanderers and violent. Then he advises Timothy (and us) to stay away from such people. Jesus said that by their fruits you will know them. What kind of fruit are these false teachers producing? Often we have to look no further than their teaching to see their fruit. A leader who teaches that abortion is nothing more than a woman’s control of her own body is certainly and obviously not in line with the Word, no matter how many verses he or she quotes. I would like to say that this one is so obvious that no one would ever follow such a leader. Unfortunately, millions around the world and here in the US actually do follow such a leader.

It is imperative that we actually know the Word. Get into a Bible centered study group and do your homework so that you can be better prepared to defend the truth and to actually know the truth.

 

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Believe

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, “I believe. Help my unbelief!”   (Mark 9:23-24 World English Bible)

“If you can believe.” I am often like this father Jesus was talking to. I do believe, but there are times when I have to admit that I am human. I have doubts and fears. What if Jesus doesn’t do this or that and things don’t work out like I (think) I need them to work out? I do believe, but Jesus, help my unbelief!

This may well be why we don’t see the healings and the other miracles like I think the Bible says we should. We believe, but not like we should. I’m not saying that we doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. Nor am I saying that our salvation is in jeopardy, but do we believe Him before we believe a doctor? Do we believe Him before we believe a politician? Do we believe Him before we believe a pastor? When you accept a human’s word over the Word, then you need to ask Him to help your unbelief. “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

This should be our prayer any time we find ourselves questioning Jesus or His Word.

 

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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