Black Sheep Bass-ic Training

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Lame sacrifices

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master.  If I am a father, where is the honor due me?  If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty.  “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.  But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’  You place defiled food on my altar.  But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’  By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible.  When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong?  When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong?  Try offering them to your governor!  Would he be pleased with you?  Would he accept you?”  says the Lord Almighty.

“When you bring injured, crippled, or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the Lord.  “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord.  For I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.”

Malachi 1: 6-8, 13b-14

These verses hit me like a suckerpunch recently.  In context, it’s God going in on the Temple priests who had gotten considerably lax in their practices, and it was affecting the worship of all the Jews under their care.  As the shepherds go, so go the flocks.

But as all Scripture, this can speak to us today as well.  We are all called to be living sacrifices (Romans 12:1), and we have to ask ourselves, what sacrifice are we presenting to Him?  Are we giving our best (our ‘firstborn male’), or are we giving a poor substitute (the ‘blind, crippled, or diseased animals’)?

For an example (the example which this Scripture convicted me on), let’s go with Worship Team service.  Fitting example as it is a very public ministry that can influence many (just as the priesthood was).

If we don’t spend regular time in prayer and the Word before going in front of the congregation on Sunday, we’re offering a lame sacrifice.

If we don’t settle heart issues (unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment) before showing up for church, we’re offering a lame sacrifice.

If we don’t treat our service as a commitment and a priority, we’re offering a lame sacrifice.

If we don’t make time to prepare our parts for the music (listen to recordings, practice, etc), we’re offering a lame sacrifice.

If we routinely show up late for rehearsal, we’re offering a lame sacrifice.

If we don’t approach rehearsal with a humble heart and willingness to learn and serve, we’re offering a lame sacrifice.

If we allow our focus to be on anything but Him during worship, we’re offering a lame sacrifice.

Seems strict, yes.  But God is worthy of and deserves the absolute best that we can give, especially when He has placed us in such a visible role.  Anything less, is a lame sacrifice.

I know I need to raise my game.

I challenge others to do the same, in whatever ministry they’re serving in.  Bring God the best that you have to offer.  Let Him show you where you might be shortchanging Him, ask forgiveness for that, and give Him the effort He’s due.

God has been so good to us.  Let’s show our gratitude in what we give of ourselves.

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Success and failure

…and various quotes.

Success: reclaiming part of my life back from my place of employment.  I have refrained from working overtime, despite production being just a bit behind.  Too many messages coming at me telling me that my time should be spent more fruitfully and that time allocated to something indicates the priority I’m giving it.  Work was crowding out things that mean a great deal more to me.  And the work I do does not feel fruitful.  So.  Since giving up the OT, my house is cleaner, I’ve gotten more Bible study in, and I’ve put myself in a position to dive into my music-making more fervently.  And funny thing is, the bills are still getting paid.  Not much “play money” left but that’s due to my own silly decisions making the bills what they are.  God’s still covering my backside.  Which leads to:

Failure: not extending the mercy God has shown me time and time and time again.  Quote from Joyce Meyer in a set of teaching notes in her Everyday Life Bible: ‘Mercy chooses to be kind and good to people who deserve to be punished.’

I have not been making that choice.  There is an individual at my job that works my last nerve on a daily basis…won’t go into reasons.  But every day is an opportunity for me to extend mercy to this individual.  I usually end up snapping off, and my heart attitude is, I want this person to fry for all the consternation they’ve caused the whole office.

But that’s not what God has done for me.  He has continued to bless me and keep me despite my disobedience that deserves punishment.

I need to find out why I struggle so much with giving away what God has given me in abundance.

Another quote on the mind, from the memorial service for our dear church elder that passed this week: ‘Live in such a way that when people think of integrity, they think of you.’

Getting my mercy issue straightened out would probably move things in that direction.

I do realize this much: I need to come against the spirit of fear in my life.  I’m realizing more and more how much anxiety drives my thoughts, feelings, behavior.  I am not trusting God fully.  I want to build that trust.  I have tasted the peace that passes all understanding, for brief moments…I want it to become something I dwell in.  Because if I’m dwelling in that peace, I am thinking, talking, and acting in a way that is Christ-like, and it will make those around me hungry for Him.

The world needs Him more than ever.

I need Him more than ever.

Selah.

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