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"A Son Honors His Father"

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A son honors his father, and servants their master. If then I am a father, where is the honor due me? And if I am a master, where is the respect due me? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. You say, “How have we despised your name?” 7 By offering polluted food on my altar. And you say, “How have we polluted it?” By thinking that the LORD’s table may be despised. Malachi 1:6-14 (NRSV) 

Malachi starts with a pleasant conversation with God letting Israel know that they are chosen, but it escalates very quickly to a time of correction. God asks Israel a rhetorical question that they already know the answer to. He wants to know if it is common for a person to honor someone who is their father? He wants to know if honor is due to Him as Father simply because He is the Father? The obvious answer to that question is a resounding “YES!” Well if that is true, then why has Israel refused to offer God the honor that is due Him, and how have they failed? In short, they have offered polluted food on the altar of God and so have we. What does offering polluted food look like exactly? It is when we approach the altar of worship with indifference. It’s when we come to Him when we’ve decided that we have no better place to be in this moment. It’s when we decide how much of our worship He will get on a given day, by our preference of song, or whether we are in the mood to give it. When we bring nominal worship to God, we defile the very experience of worship. God has not called us to indifference. Jesus didn’t shed His own blood on the cross for us to only come with part of our devotion. If Malachi teaches us nothing else, the one thing it is clearly saying is that God has a high expectation of “how” we worship. He cares about the heart we attach to the pursuit of His presence. Anything short of bringing our very best sacrifice of praise breaks the heart of God. 

Mike Devine

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HE Chose Me (Part 2)

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Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed and worthy of praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ, 4 just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose driven] and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will—

Ephesians 1:2-5 (AMP)

Ephesians explains something extremely beautiful to us. It explains exactly how God chose us and erased the distance between us and Him. He says that we were “chosen in Christ” before the foundation of the earth and named among the holy. What does this mean exactly? In short, it just means that His choosing of us makes no earthly sense. Let me explain. You see, we all were born with what one writer calls an “Adam Problem.” We were born with a thing called original sin attached to us genetically. We were sinners not because we sin, we were sinners because we were of the heritage of Adam. While the law allowed us to see our sin, the law could not correct the fact that we sinned. Even if we were capable of keeping all of the law, we were still sinners. The only hope for our Adam Problem was for the Father to solve it for us. In other words, the only hope for our Adam Problem was a Jesus Solution. So God sent His Son to die in our place for our sin. It wasn’t that we stopped sinning that saved us, it was that Jesus chose us anyway. Jesus replaced our heritage with His own. Does that mean that we continue in sin after meeting Jesus? Absolutely not! But no matter how hard we try, we can never rid ourselves completely of sin. God knew that! So He sent Jesus in our place to give us a new heritage. That’s what Ephesians is trying to explain to us. We are saved by grace through faith and not because of anything we have accomplished. No, the accomplishment of our salvation belongs to Jesus. Blessed be His name!!

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