I mean, we've all been there right? When our schedule fills up, when sleep seems like the most attractive option, when our awe of God fades....worship just isnt at the top of our list. I mean sure, in your head, the answer to "whats the most important thing in your life" may still be God, but are your heart and actions still reflecting that? These past couple months have been killer for me. I started a new job working 20-30 hours a week, being a full time student, worship team commitments, small group meetings, working out, a social life, time with Jesus, and on top of all this, trying to find the time to just be still. I literally felt like there was NO time in my day. And oh yea...WHERE did my sleep go?! Every night I go to sleep, saying, "Oh God, I'm sorry for not putting you first. I will wake up early tomorrow and spend time with you first thing". And then I go to sleep...my alarm goes off for 6:00am...and I forget why its even going off. Day after day, night after night. Feeling distant from Jesus was becoming a routine. Finally, this morning I had time to journal and study the word. The Lord brought me to Malachi chapter 1, and oh how relevant and convicting it was.
MALACHI CHAPTER ONE//
1:2 "I have always loved you," says the Lord. I love that this is the first thing God tells the prophet Malachi to tell his people. That he has always loved us, despite all the things that we have done, and is about to convict us for, he wants us to know how much he loves us in the midst of it all.
You have shown contempt for my name// "A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name! 1:6
-----The main thing that stuck out to me in this was the word honor. To me, honoring a father and a master (both things of this world), are putting them as a priority. Honoring my father is a priority of mine. Respecting the attendace policy in my classes is a priority of mine. My father, the education system, sleep, work, these are all things OF God, given BY GOD. If I'm prioritizing them before I prioritize God, these things have become idols in my life.
Unworthy Sacrifices// "You defile your sacrifices and my alter by saying the alter of the Lord deserves no respect. When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isnt that wrong? And isnt it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like tha tto your governor, and see how pleased he is!' says the Lord of Heaven's Armies. 1:8
------What respect do we have for the Lord and the worship he is worthy of when we give him "blind animals" or animals that are "crippled and diseased"...AKA, the leftovers of what you have. You have healthy, beautiful animals to give, but youre giving him the things you dont need or want, your left overs. How many times a day do I give him my leftovers? I put so much time into studying and being faithful in school and relationships, that I forget about the one who gave them all to me. And by the end of the day, all I have left is a few prayers here and there, an "i'm sorry" and I wake up the next morning and unintentionally do it all again.
All or Nothing// "How I wish one of you would shut these doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you, and I will not accept your offerings."
----Ouch. He wants whole hearted worship, or nothing at all. No worship is better than worship with contempt. (*contempt: negative attitude towards something or someone regarding it as inferior or worthless). This, we already know of God: he wants you to be hot or cold, not lukewarm. Lukewarm faith is not pleasing to him.
Too Big a Request// "But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing comtemptible food, you are saying its alright to defile the Lords table. You say, 'It's to hard to serve the Lord,' and you turn your noses up at my commands." 1:12
------We all know that actions speak louder than words. The voice of our action of "half hearted worship" is speaking dishonor upon the name of the Lord. Our contemptable actions are giving onlookers the example of what worship should be, saying its "alright to defile His table". The thought of the discipline and sacrifice it takes to really give whole hearted worship, scares alot of people. It leads us to give up, and turn away from Jesus. But the truth of it is, we are only sacrificing the things he sacrificed himself for us to have: free will.
Empty Promises// "Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock, but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord." 1:14
-----Guilty, guilty, guilty. Like I mentioned above, every night I find myself saying "Lord, I will put you first tomorrow." I promise the best, but still give him a 'defective' offering, half hearted worship. Its become something of an accomplishment to spend time with God. As I write that, I hate seeing it on a paper. An accomplishment??? Spending time with the creator? Falling in the love with Jesus? An accomplishment? I need a renewed mind, and renewed spirit.
Grace// Now although his despise for half hearted worship still remains the same, one thing has changed since the old testament when this was written: Jesus. Because he came, there is grace every day when I dont wake up when I should. There is grace when I view being in his presence as an accomplishment that I have earned by proritizing my time correctly. There is grace when my selfishness gets in the way of wanting to worship. There is grace when I overlook the truth. Even though the heart of God doesnt sway on this subject, there is grace. Grace abounding that I am so thankful for.
1. Analyze your daily worship to God. How do you worship him?
2. Do you feel that you are giving your whole heart in worship to God? Or is it half hearted? Why.
3. What kind of promises are you making to the Lord that you arent keeping?
4. How can you work to change your halfhearted worship to whole hearted devotion?
5. Respond to the truth of the grace that covers us every day that our worship isnt whole hearted.
Hi there! My name is Blake Reynolds. I'm 19 years old, and am a student at the University of Arkansas. I came up to Arkansas from Dallas, TX, where my heart still resides. I am a very passionate person, and my biggest passion is Jesus. He gave me purpose. My calling is to be a lover, and to bring people to Him relationally, but more specifically I feel a strong calling in music ministry. I sing and play guitar, and am currently learning piano. I love writing music, and I love worship. Other than music, I love art: visual and hands on. I hope to use all these passions to further the kingdom both now and in the future.
I started this blog, Life & Love, mostly to reflect over my days. When I started, I was in a season of discontent. I felt like blogging would really help me appreciate and find the good in each day. This blog became a place to convey my emotions, revelations, and inspirations, as well as a way to have an additional creative outlet. Life & Love will post on many topics, but focus on the areas of faith, music, personal style, and DIY crafts. Thanks for coming by my page. Feel free to comment or email me!
"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully consious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, 'Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.' Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. "
1. I fee like I have no motivation for school. Like zero. I came into a coffee shop on a Saturday night in attempt to seclude myself from the real world and start on my homework. Instead im distracted by new music and the blogosphere. Oh, Lord.
2. I just really love music. Like...everything about it excites me. I just wanna make music for the rest of my life. My hearts desire right now is really to find a couple of friends that have access to a few instruments and just make a coffee house band. Like...is there something so wrong with that? Music people, where you at??
3. I really get upset about the fact that I'm broke. I mean, yeah, I know I'm in college and its kind of a normal thing, but dang. I have so many artsy ideas I wanna pursue but I have no money for SUPPLIES. It really is frusterating.
4. I'm really excited about the future. Really. Lately I've had a hunger for the world. I wanna travel and immerse myself in new cultures and be love and be light and do music and experience new things and...yeah.
5. I just want a kitchen to cook in. And a cute apron to go along with it. Is that too much to ask for?
Its been a while since I've spent time updating posts on my blog. Last semester, I was in a constant routine of posting at least 5/7 days a week. Once I went on winter break, there was no time to post! I was having such a great time being back in Dallas and spending time with the people I love most. Spring semester is about 3 weeks in and for some reason I havent felt as inclined to blog. Now that I actually have time to sit down in a coffee shop and spend some time around the internet, though, I thought I should post something.
Alot happened over break in my relationships, in my spiritual life, and in my heart. I wont go over all of it, but there are a few important things I want to update on.
So, this whole winter break, I had been questioning what I was going to do my sophomore year. Should I stay at the University of Arkansas? Should I go to bible school? Should I do a music ministry internship? The question of "WHAT do I do" was at the front of my mind. Its all I could think about. I worried about it all the time. I wasnt getting a direct answer from God, so I was getting frustrated. I had three options:
1. Stay at the U of A
2. Go to SAGU and do their music ministry internship through the Oaks School of Leadership
3. Move back to North Texas, go to UNT or UTD, and potentially intern with my home church.
During my winter break, I went to a conference through IHOP (International House of Prayer) in Kansas City. It was a 4 day conference with around 30,000 other believers. It was incredible. For months leading up to this conference, I had a strong feeling that God was going to speak direction in my life regarding school. I went expectant. The conference was amazing, I learned so much and I experienced so much of the fullness of God. The one thing Jesus spoke to me at that conference was that this next semester, He wanted me to know him deeper, for my knowledge of Him to expand and go to depths its never been before. While I was excited about that, I was so confused that I didnt leave with any more sense of direction than I had come to the conference with. So, from then on, I had decided I just wasnt going to think about it any more. I was going to focus on knowing God deeper, like he had lead me to, and if God wanted to move me, He would. About a week before I left to head back to Fayetteville, I was journaling my prayers and I just had this supernatural peace fall over me about staying. I feel like (it seems so obvious now) that if I was supposed to leave Arkansas, I wouldn’t have to worry & stress over it. It would be made clear to me. I also feel like I overestimated how long 3.5 years is. I mean, three and a half years…that’s all I have of college years, years I’m never going to get back. These years being spent at the University of Arkansas hold so much opportunity: traveling opportunities, personal growth, testing of faith, etc. No matter how much I miss my family, friends and church, the reality is that they are all going to still be in my life, and in Texas by the time I graduate.
Lastly, I felt like I had been trying to put God’s plans into my own timing. I felt like if I didn’t pursue what I thought I needed to pursue, where I needed to pursue it, then the calling in my life wouldn’t be fulfilled. Now what kind of thinking is that?
Now that I’ve decided to stay, my second semester has been so great. In every way, I feel such confirmation in staying here. Doors have been opened, relationships have been put in front of me, and I am feeling the presence of God in my life in such a new way. I’m more than excited for whats ahead, and I’m excited to blog every step of the way ;).