Priceless Worship

She, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on. Mark 12:44

I use writing to worship and serve God, even more so now that health issues often limit my mobility. So, when an acquaintance said he found no value in what I wrote, I became discouraged. I doubted the significance of my small offerings to God.

Through prayer, study of Scripture, and encouragement from my husband, family, and friends, the Lord affirmed that only He—not the opinions of other people—could determine our motives as a worshiper and the worth of our offerings to Him. I asked the Giver of all gifts to continue helping me develop skills and provide opportunities to share the resources He gives me.

We offer You the best of the gifts You’ve first given to us.

Jesus contradicted our standards of merit regarding our giving (Mark 12:41–44). While the rich tossed large amounts of money into the temple treasury, a poor widow put in coins “worth only a few cents” (v. 42). The Lord declared her gift greater than the rest (v. 43), though her contribution seemed insignificant to those around her (v. 44).

Although the widow’s story focuses on financial offerings, every act of giving can be an expression of worship and loving obedience. Like the widow, we honor God with intentional, generous, and sacrificial gifts given from whatever He’s already given us. When we present God the best of our time, talents, or treasure with hearts motivated by love, we are lavishing Him with offerings of priceless worship.

Lord, thank You for never comparing us with others when we offer You the best of the gifts You’ve first given to us.

Sacrificial offerings motivated by our love for God will always be priceless expressions of worship.

By Xochitl Dixon 

INSIGHT:Do you ever feel like you have little or nothing to offer? It’s a lousy feeling, isn’t it? Maybe that’s one reason the gospel of Mark tells us about the day Jesus sat down by the collection box in the temple to watch people drop in their offerings. He noticed those who gave out of their wealth, and then he watched as a poor widow stopped by to drop in her two-cent offering. Why did she even bother? Even more important, what was she thinking? She put in everything she had. Jesus’s disciples must have been nearby, because He called their attention to this poor woman and made a point of the largeness of her gift.

Now maybe you’re wondering, What was Jesus thinking? He didn’t actually say we all should be like this woman who dropped everything she had in the collection box. What our Teacher did imply, though, is that God counts differently than we do. There was something about that woman’s heart that determined the value of what she had to offer to God.

Confronting The Closed Doors

Acts 16:5-12

We cannot help feeling disappointed when a door of opportunity closes. But our heavenly Father will often prevent us from going forward when He wants to redirect our steps toward a wiser pathway. What determines whether we partake of His greater blessing is our reaction: Will we beat against the barred door or look for a new opening?

Paul’s second missionary journey included a series of divine “no admittance signs.” The apostle set out to visit the churches he had started across Asia, but the Holy Spirit led him away from city after city. It must have felt quite frustrating to be prevented from carrying out the gospel commission (Matt. 28:19).

Paul kept traveling in search of fertile ground where he could plant a new church, and at last the Lord revealed an open door to Macedonia. The new route eventually led him into key cities of that day. Philippi, Corinth, and Ephesus were major commerce centers teeming with dignitaries and foreign traders who could carry the gospel farther and faster than Paul.

The apostle set out with a wise and rational plan, but human reasoning isn’t always reliable. The Bible tells us to trust in the Lord instead of our own understanding (Prov. 3:5). If we’re to follow God’s will for our life, we must live by the Spirit’s prompting. Consider that the Creator of the universe is taking a moment to nudge you in the right direction so that you may be fruitful and blessed. Follow Him, and He will direct your steps down the right paths and through the best doorways.

The River of God

“Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.” (Psalm 65:9)

The inexhaustible river of God, watering the whole earth, is nothing less than the refreshing rains coming down from the heavens, “visiting” the earth on its amazing journey to the oceans, whence it flows back up to the skies again. This river incorporates all the rivers of Earth, yet it is like no other river, for once it reaches the ocean, it rises into the heavens, there to flow back over the thirsty ground and finally descend once more on its endless journey.

What a wonderful provision is this river of God! Without it, all life on Earth would soon die. Far more valuable than gold, it continually “enriches” the earth on its regular visitations “to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth” (Job 38:27).

Thereby does God also prepare corn to feed man and beast. The word “corn” in this and other passages probably refers generically to any of the cereal grains that provide the basic foodstuffs for people and animals all over the world. This is implied in the creation passage itself. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth. . . . And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat” (Genesis 1:29-30).

This is God’s wonderful life-giving river. “He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth” (Psalm 104:13-14). The Creator is also the Sustainer (Colossians 1:16-17). HMM

“God judgeth the righteous.”

Psalm 7

Probably it was in these dark days, when David was still under the fierce displeasure of Saul, that he penned—this psalm bears the title of Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the Lord, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.

It appears probable that Cush had accused David of treasonable conspiracy against Saul’s authority, or of some other crime. This the King would be ready enough to credit, both from his jealousy of David, and from the relationship which existed between himself, the son of Kish, and this Cush or Kish the Benjamite.

Psalms 7:1-5

From these verses we may learn that no innocence can shield a man from the calumnies of the wicked. David had been scrupulously careful to avoid any appearance of rebellion against Saul, whom he constantly styled “the Lord’s Anointed”; but all this could not protect him from lying tongues. As the shadow follows the substance, so envy pursues goodness. It is only at the tree laden with fruit that men throw stones. If we would live without being slandered, we must wait till we get to heaven. Let us be very heedful not to believe the flying rumours which are always assailing gracious men. If there are no believers in slander, there will be but a dull market in falsehood, and good men’s characters will be safe. Ill-will never spoke well. Sinners have an ill-will to saints, and therefore, we may be sure they will not speak well of them.

Psalms 7:7-17

Oh, how good to have a true and upright heart. Crooked sinners, with all their craftiness, are foiled by honest spirits. God defends the right. Filth will not long abide on the pure white garments of the saints, but shall be brushed off by divine providence, to the vexation of the men by whose base hands it was thrown. The believer should not fear anything which his foes can do or say against him, for the tree which God plants no winds can uproot. God judgeth the righteous, he hath not given them up to their persecutors.

 

Delight thyself in God, he’ll give

Thine heart’s desire to thee:

Commit thy way to God alone,

It brought to pass shall be.

 

And like unto the light he shall

Thy righteousness display;

And he thy judgment shall bring forth,

Like noontide of the day.

 

Here’s What To Do if the Devil Is Trying To Devour You!

1 Peter 5:8

Has the devil ever tried to use your past against you? Maybe he’s told you, “You’re in this mess because of your own actions! Don’t even try to ask God to help you because you got into this mess by yourself, and now you’re going to have to get out of it by yourself! God won’t help you, because you’re reaping exactly what you’ve sown!”

If you’ve ever heard these kinds of accusations from the devil, then First Peter 5:8 is just for you! It says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

The word “vigilant” comes from the Greek word gregoreo, which means to be on your guard, to be watchful, or to be attentive. This word primarily denotes the watchful attitude of one who is on the lookout to make certain no enemy or aggressor can successfully gain entry into his life or place of residence.

This tells us that we must be on high alert against an enemy who is seeking to gain access to our lives. The Greek tense for the word “vigilant” means to be continually, perpetually vigilant. That means this is not a one-time act of vigilance, but the attitude of a person who is unwavering in his commitment. This person has resolved that he will never let up in his pledge to be watchful, wide awake, and on the lookout to make sure some sinister force doesn’t successfully sneak up to attack and overtake him.

The fact that Peter uses the word gregoreo lets us know that the devil can be pretty sneaky in the way he attacks. Therefore, we must be constantly observant to keep the devil out of our affairs.

Peter goes on to say, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary….” That word “adversary” is from the Greek word antidikos. This word was used in New Testament times for a lawyer who argued in a court of law. This was the picture of a prosecutor who brought offenders to court, argued vehemently against them, and then sent them off to prison. Now Peter uses this word to depict the way the devil may try to overtake us!

Peter is telling us that when the devil strikes, he often acts like a lawyer who tries to bring us down by prosecuting us with the facts of our past sins and mistakes. The enemy drags up facts from the past and reminds us of our former failures; then he vigorously tries to convince us that we deserve to be in the mess we are in. If the devil is successful in his prosecution, he will persuade us to believe that we are unrighteous and unworthy and that we deserve as just punishment whatever difficulties he is throwing our way.

It is unfortunate that many believers assist the devil in his efforts to prosecute them by being irresponsible or negligent in key areas of their lives. For instance, many people have money problems because they have spent too much money or used their credit cards way beyond the limit of what they could afford. Others get sick in the wintertime because they go outside without proper clothing. Marriages get into trouble because the spouses never spend time together or do anything to nurture their relationships. Christians like to blame the devil for everything that happens, but the truth is, people usually help out the enemy a little along the way!

Praise God, when we sin and do wrong, His grace is there to forgive and to restore us! But the devil is also there. The enemy remembers every innocent mistake made along the way, and like a prosecutor or “adversary” (the Greek word antidikos), he comes to accuse you. Like a lawyer, he argues his points in your mind, saying:

  • You’re in this mess because of your own dumb mistakes!
  • You’re reaping what you sowed, and there’s no way for you to get out of this mess!
  • You’re paying for your past!
  • Your kids are a mess because you failed as a parent!
  • You’re going to go bankrupt because you spent too much money on worthless things!
  • You’ve destroyed all your friendships because you weren’t a faithful friend!

Sometimes the devil is accurate in what he tells you. It may be true that you created this mess! You really may have messed up your friendships by not being a faithful friend. You may have spent too much money, and the financial trouble you’re in now may very well be your own fault! Ml the devil’s accusations may be true. Believe me, he isn’t going to make up some absurd fantasy that won’t affect you. The devil is going to try to use facts and arguments that make sense to you so you’ll agree with him!

But you must never forget what David told us: The Lord is the One who redeems our lives from destruction (Psalm 103:4). He is a restoring, delivering, redeeming God! He wants to snatch you out of the power of darkness and get you over into His realm of life and light where past sin won’t continue to exert its influences upon you (Colossians 1:13)! You just need to genuinely repent of past mistakes, get your heart right with God, and then tell the devil to flee!

If you keep dwelling on the accusations that the enemy is speaking against you in your mind, you’ll find yourself in trouble pretty quickly. Peter goes on to tell you why this is so: “… The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Have you ever heard lions when they are hungry? They roar so loudly that the sound is nearly deafening. Peter says that this is what it’s like when the devil starts attacking your mind. Your mind is so filled with the roars of the enemy’s accusations that you can’t hear anything else but those lies. He tells you over and over, “You’re going to fail… fail… fail…. fail… FAIL!!!” Even when people try to tell you the truth, it’s hard to hear what they’re saying because those lies are roaring so loudly in your mind and ears!

If you keep giving ear to the devil’s accusations, he will keep you all torn up inside and in a constant state of turmoil. In fact, Peter says he will “devour” you. The word “devour” is the Greek word pino, which means to drink, to lick, or to slurp up, as a lion might lick the blood of his prey off the ground. The devil wants to turn you into a mess of liquid emotions and then lick you up until there’s nothing left of your life. That’s what he wants to do with you—but you don’t have to let him do it!

 

When you put all these words together, First Peter 5:8 could be interpreted:

“You must be constantly alert and on your guard! The devil, like an accusing lawyer, will try to charge you with all kinds of arguments and accusations. You need to know that he is like a lion on the prowl—constantly walking around, roaring with a deafening sound, earnestly seeking the kind of person he can completely consume and slurp up!”

You don’t have to fall victim to the devil’s attacks! Peter tells us, “Whom resist stedfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:9). If you’ll resist the devil, you can run him clear out of your mind and your life. He doesn’t know how to deal with those who stand up to him, so he runs in fear when a believer challenges him! And if you feel too weak to resist the devil by yourself, I would advise you to find people who know how to pray and let them help you!

Has the devil been harassing you about anything in particular? Are you tired of this constant harassment? If so, it’s time for you to stand up, throw back your shoulders, and command him to leave in Jesus’ name! Then determine to stay alert and watchful, constantly on your guard. You can be sure that the enemy will try to come back to accuse you again—but next time, you’ll be ready for him!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am asking You to help me take authority over the accusations that the devil has been speaking in my mind. He’s been telling me all the reasons that I shouldn’t have any hope and that I deserve to be in this mess. But Your grace is greater than any mistake I’ve made or sin I’ve committed in the past! I know that You have forgiven me and redeemed me from any mess I’ve created by my own actions. I thank You now for Your forgiveness and mercy, and today I lay claim to the power of restoration! Devil, right now I command you to leave me in Jesus’ name! I refuse to listen to your accusations any longer!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I declare that I have confessed all my past sins and mistakes. Therefore, I am forgiven; I am clean; and I am free in the sight of the Lord. He does not hold my past against me. He is my Redeemer, my Restorer, my Deliverer, and my Salvation. His Spirit is operating in me right now to get me out of every mess I have created, both intentionally and unintentionally. My heart is repentant, and my desire is to do what is right. Therefore, God is helping me walk out of the problems that have tried to grip my mind and my life!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Are there areas in your life in which the devil is trying to drag up the past so he can accuse you and convince you that you deserve the attacks that are coming against you right now?
  2. Have you taken the time to sincerely repent for those past sins and mistakes before the Lord? Or did you just quickly admit you sinned, never allowing the Holy Spirit to deal with you deeply about these matters?
  3. If the devil has been roaring in your mind, consider what steps you can take to stop those roaring accusations, such as listening to praise and worship music or teaching tapes, meditating on the Word, etc. What other steps can you take to silence the enemy’s accusations?

 

“Christians” In Business Who Lie

Recently, I had a conversation with “Christian” businessmen who make a practice of manipulating financial documents and transactions in order to avoid taxation or accountability to monitoring agencies. All this is done, they tell me, to help both the customer and themselves realize a fair profit. No one is hurt. All involved stand to gain.

 

When I challenged them on this routine, they responded, “Dwightthats the way it is done here. You just cant operate any other way.

 

That evening, as I recounted our conversation, I could not get a particular Scripture out of my mind:

 

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neitherthieves nor the greedy norswindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9a, 10)

 

According to this passage, three classes of people are not going to heaven:

 

Thieves – Perhaps you will recognize the Greek word: kleptes – from which we get kleptomaniac. This is someone who is compelled to take what is not rightfully his; is driven to take more than his fair share. In many quarters, it is standard business practice to ask, “How can we bilk others in such a way that we leave a smile on their face?

 

The greedy – This person, in his scramble to get, or stay ahead of the rest of the pack, has an avaricious appetite for more, and is willing to defraud others to get it.

 

Swindlers – The other night while eating in a restaurant, I observed a man attack his meal. Noodles hung from his lips. His cheeks were stuffed to the breaking point with food, as he gulped liquid to wash it all down. Then another helping. Gulping, etc. That is the spirit of a swindler: Grasping. Gluttonous. Ravenous. Predatory. In a hurry.

 

As people whose lives have been transformed by the Lord Jesus, are we not compelled to express that change in such a manner that the people around us sit up and ask, “Why are these people so different?” After all,

 

You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)

 

 

%d bloggers like this: