my heart Oh Lord,
Illuminate my inner most parts.
Strike within me the tell-tale chord,
Show me where your purpose starts.
notes which reveal my true reasons,
For coming and going, and doing.
The deeds which comprise life's seasons,
Confirms what is worth pursuing.
my desires, whether high or low.
Purify me with Your holy fire.
Unlock the secrets which only You can know,
Break the shackles that imprison me in the mire.
me clay on Your potter's wheel;
Make me pliable and soft.
Separate the fake from that which is real.
Confirm my hope of Heaven's loft!
the Truth, so lies will cease.
Pierce my soul with Your two-edged sword!
May I decrease as You INCREASE;
Fill me with Your Living Word.
Hebrews 11, Abel, the second born son of the world's first couple,
is noted for his heart of faith and obedience. He was preceded in
birth by his brother Cain. The story of Cain and Abel can be read in
the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis. In verse three it says,
"Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the
Lord." In verse four it says that "Abel also brought of
the firstlings of his flock and the FAT thereof. And the Lord had
respect unto Abel and to his offering." However, the Lord
didn't look with favor upon the "sacrifice" of Cain.
might ask what the big difference was between the gifts of Cain and
Abel? Was it merely the difference of WHAT was offered? Did it have
to do with the TIMING of the gifts? What was it?! What was the most
important difference? I believe it was God's ability to look into
the hearts of both Cain and Abel which revealed the difference. God
was able to illuminate their inner most parts. He KNEW their motives
for giving. He could differentiate between fake and real. He KNEW
who was giving from a pure heart. God can easily tell the difference
between gifts of thanksgiving and gifts of obligation. (Each day
should be a gift we give/live to God.) Cain must have resented
giving to God what he knew He did not need. So, instead of bringing
his BEST to God, he brought a token offering, hoping it would
appease Him. How often have we given to the Lord in this way? How
often have we given to satisfy our conscience, while at the same
time quenching the true SPIRIT of giving/living? What and how much
has very little, if anything to do with our giving to God. In
Corinthians it says, "God loves a cheerful giver."
Obviously, Cain was not a cheerful giver. On the other hand, there
was Abel. He willingly sacrificed his very BEST for God with a
CHEERFUL / THANKFUL heart! Abel knew who gave him the animals
to sacrifice. It appears Cain felt he had more of an investment in
his gift. He had to plant, tend, and harvest his crops. His
work had produced the bounty. Bible scholars will note, there
was no blood shed in Cain's sacrifice either...the only blood he
shed was that of Abel's (an ultimate act of selfishness). The only
sacrifice that has ever made an eternal difference for man was a
blood sacrifice as well...the blood sacrifice made by Jesus Christ!
Abel's sacrifice spoke loud and clear! NOTHING was more important to
him than his relationship with God!
Christians, God wants us to give our very BEST to Him. God doesn't
desire the "leftovers" of our lives. Many times I have
allowed the "things of this world" to cloud my spiritual
eyes. I have been guilty of working so hard on "things",
that I have forgotten to praise the Lord, or spend meaningful time
with Him. You know what I mean...I was just too busy! If you ask my
sons who is their best friend, they will reply, "Jesus." I
too, believe Jesus is our best friend. However, if He is, shouldn't
we spend time talking to Him, and allowing Him to speak to us? I
mean, it's very important to us to spend quality time with our best
earthly friends. We go out to eat with them. We go on vacation with
them. We talk to them on the phone. We email them, and send text
messages. Yet, somehow, with God it seems to be different. Oddly
enough, He many times receives the worst part of our
times after a long day at work I have tried to have a "quiet
time" with God and ended up falling asleep within minutes of
beginning! Not a very nice thing to do to the One I call my best
friend. Why it is something I would never do to my earthly best
friend - my wife. Undoubtedly, if I did, it would hurt her deeply!
How can we as Christians avoid giving God less than our BEST? Do we
quit everything else and begin praying and reading the Bible
twenty-four hours a day?! Of course not. We simply have to
prioritize our lives. God must be placed in front of ALL other
things in our life. The Bible says, "that the steps of a
righteous man are ordered of the Lord." That means when we give
God FIRST PLACE in our hearts, the remainder of our life will be led
by Him! He will guide us with His mighty hand! Problems will still
exist, but God will help us deal with those problems more
effectively when we have submitted / given our hearts and minds to
had prioritized his life. His giving was prioritized by his love for
God. His relationship with God was more important than any other
aspect of his life. Ask yourself this simple question: "Are my
priorities based first and foremost on my relationship with
Jesus"? If you cannot answer "yes", then you should
re-prioritize your life. If God isn't the most important part of
your life, He can be...but, it's ultimately up to YOU. You must make
that decision - no one else can cause you to have a heart of faith
and obedience like Abel. Pray for wisdom concerning this. Ask the
Lord to reveal your heart to you...to reveal your motives, and to
change your heart if it isn't in line with His Word and will. Until
next time, be blessed with God's BEST!