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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Guard Your Heart (06/08/12)

TITLE: Mediocrity versus a Devoted Heart
By Steve Fortosis
06/09/12


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"You offer the lame and sick livestock as sacrifices. You give me the leftovers. Offer it to your governor and see how he likes it, says the Lord of hosts” (author’s paraphrase).

"I have loved you," said the Lord. "How have you loved us?" the Israelites muttered brashly. "You have shown contempt for me," said the Lord. "How in the world have we shown contempt?" they blustered.
On through the book of Malachi, the Jewish returnees from exile reflected smug impudence as God poured out his heartache through Malachi. They had not guarded their hearts from complacency. On the surface, the people were offering sacrifices, going regularly to the temple, refraining from overt crimes. But beneath the surface they were apathetic and self-centered. They offered blind, defective animals for sacrifice, they married pagan women, they divorced recklessly, they held back tithes from God--then they wept and wailed before God because he wasn't blessing them. They moaned, "What did we gain by carrying out God's requirements? It is futile to serve God; it's the evildoers who are prospering."
We can weep and wail to God until the cows come home, but he will not respond if we're selfishly manipulating him for His gifts instead of loving Him for Himself. We can pretend we are sacrificing for God, but it is quite obvious to Him if we’re just handing Him our leftovers. God says, "Go after me and my righteousness first...delight yourself in knowing me...seek after those things that are above..." Only then will God give tangible blessings; and, at that point, if we guard our hearts, the gifts will actually seem incidental.


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This article has been read 174 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/15/12
You do a nice job of getting right to the point and you manage to tell a powerful message without coming off as sanctimonious which isn't always easy to do. Nice job.
Leola Ogle 06/15/12
You packed a powerful punch in a few words. This was so good. Thanks for sharing. God bless!
Genia Gilbert06/16/12
Good message here. I am reminded that God doesn't want our "stuff." He wants our hearts; in essence, He wants us. Unfortunately, not many people are willing to be that kind of devoted. You said it well.
Genia Gilbert06/16/12
I forgot to mention that spacing between paragraphs uniformly would make this even more enjoyable to read.
Camille (C D) Swanson 06/17/12
A fine job of bringing the message to the reader in this lovely piece. Thank you.
God Bless~
Edmond Ng 06/18/12
Nicely written and to the point. Good job!