It all started when we were kids:  our mom or dad told us to “clean our room”, and we just picked everything up and shoved it under the bed or in the closet.  Maybe it’s human nature to want to do just enough to get by, to look like you’re working when someone walks by your desk…while keeping Facebook running in the background. Going just enough over the speed limit to not get a speeding ticket, putting just enough effort into the housework to say you cleaned the house, but hope nobody looks closely at that toilet, or peaks behind the shower curtain, or looks under your bed.  But remember when Jesus said you needed to “count the cost” before following Him? That’s because to be His disciple, you have to be “all in”, no adding Him to your life and thinking you’re good to go. But how many people fill churches every Sunday, doing the “hour for God,” then check out and back into the world? Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  And if you just thought to yourself, “I think I do enough to get in,” then you need to stick around and listen for the next hour.  Joining us today is teacher and author of the book “Broken Yet Blessed,” Kathi McCarty.

 

Table Talk Notes

Malachi 1:6-8 | “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name? By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.

 

Why wouldn’t we want to be excellent and extravagant in our offerings to the Lord? Click To Tweet

 

Something’s better than nothing?

Mal 1:8 “But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil?…the lame & sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.

We think cutting corners, or “settling for” isn’t so bad; those attitudes aren’t merely inadequate from God’s point of view, He calls them “evil.”

 

We serve a holy Sovereign Lord

The Lord deserves “excellent” – the very best of ALL that I am and ALL that I have. Instead, we often give Him a “token” out of obligation or guilt. Nothing should concern or consume us more than our relationship to the Lord. Why wouldn’t we want to be excellent and extravagant in our offerings to the Lord?

 

2 women give Jesus their best

Mt 26:6 & Jn 12:1-8 both speak of Mary of Bethany (Lazarus’ sister) coming to Simon the Leper’s home to anoint Jesus in preparation for His crucifixion & burial with the finest of oils.

John 12:1-8 | Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”…  7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

Luke 7:36-50 – an unnamed woman who had been forgiven of her sins comes to the house of Simon the Pharisee and anoints Jesus with expensive oil.

Luke 7:36-50 | One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

 

Both woman had much for which to be grateful. Do you?

 

We measure success…

We give the Lord a “reasonable” portion of ourselves (i.e. our love for Him) compared to everything else in life (the things we “love” like job, family, recreation, sleep, etc)

The Lord wants the unreasonable portion – the freshest and first part of us, the best of us.

 

Ps 63:1-5 | David understood giving the “unreasonable” portion.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

 

God’s measure of success…

Mt 22:37, 39 | “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, & with all your soul & with all your mind… and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Lord measures our lives (success in life) by how we love – Him (1st & foremost) and others (born from our love of Him).

 

Only dead things go with the flow. Click To Tweet

 

Too willing to go with the flow

We live in a world that will never understand God’s desire for excellence because they have believed the lie that it’s sufficient to manage, to just get by, and to survive. My students at UW taught me a great lesson…

Only dead things go with the flow – they end up on the shoreline as food for predators, or they get washed out to sea.

 

5 Cs of the Great Apostasy

Complacency: Change & challenge are as important and necessary as food & water. An amoeba in a stress-free environment dies prematurely.

Revelation 3:14-21 – water that is neither hot enough to cleanse, purify and bring healing, or cold enough to refresh and enliven is lukewarm, and disgusting. The Laodicians knew exactly what Jesus was saying to them. It was the harshest letter of all 7.

Rev. 3:15-21 | “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

 

Matthew 7:16-17 – our fruit “gives us away”

You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

 

Comfortableness: Failure to acknowledge God’s goodness and to appreciate what’s He’s done will mean walking around the same “mountain” because we desire comfort over the call.

 

If I am afraid to speak the truth lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand”, or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”~Amy Carmichael~

 

Romans 12:2 – do not be conformed (patterned after) this world (This world is NOT our home)

 

Confusion:  When we are not students of the Word, we become ignorant of truth & fall prey to the lies of the enemy and we become visionless and passionless.

Eph 4:18-23 “…darkened in their understanding…due to a hardness of heart.”

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

James 1:5-8 “If you desire wisdom (the broad or big picture) let him ask of God…”

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

 

1 Jn 4:1-6 – we must test the spirits because we live in a world where lies abound.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

 

1 Cor 2:7-10 – it is the Spirit that reveals things to us through the Word of God…

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

 

Coldness: When we are not quick to repent of our sin, we develop a callousness of heart. Sin becomes easier and easier to do.

1 John1:8-10 | If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

1 John 2:3-6 – true believers do not continue in their sin or their love will grow cold.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Prov 4:23 | keep your heart with all vigilance for from it flow the springs of life.

John 14:15 | If you love Me, keep My commandments.

 

Complicity: As we get less concerned about our sin, we tend to become more concerned about the world viewpoint, and how to walk in the world while still trying to hold on to the name of “Christian”

Sin today is both glamorized and popularized. To not confront our own sin, and the sin of our nation, to not call evil out for what it is, is to be complicit by default.

 

Mt 27:25 | ‘Let His blood be upon us and upon our children!”

 

2 John 1:7-11 – don’t even receive people who are unwilling to live righteously & are quick to deceive.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

 

The challenge…

Am I giving the Lord the best of who I am?
Am I giving the Lord the best of what I have?
Am I available to be used, & willing to obey?

IN OTHER WORDS: AM I LOVING THE LORD WITH ALL OF MY HEART, ALL OF MY SOUL, AND ALL OF MY MIND?

 

The blessing…

“There is therefore NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1)

“I’m confident of this very thing…that He, who began a good work in you, will perform (mature) it until the day of Jesus Christ (‘s return).” (Phil 1:6)