Stay Fly Girls!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Pick of the Litter – Part 1

“The Lord Almighty says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. I am your father and master, but where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have despised my name! But you ask ‘How have we ever despised your name?’ v.7 You have despised my name by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar. Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?’ You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect."  Malachi 1: 6-7

If given the choice on any given day we would choose to pick the best options that are available. The best apple in the barrel. The best strawberry in the basket. The best outfit in the closet. Right? We are far less likely to reach to the back of the closet for the tired, run over shoes from a few years ago to wear to a party. We are going to immediately reach for the cute, fresh ones we bought a few weeks ago! Of course. We want the pick of the litter for ourselves. Likewise we should give the pick of the litter to God.

Malachi 1:7 begins our discussion on how we should consider what we give to God:

V.7 “You have despised my name by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar.”

During this time sacrifices of animals were the custom and requirement for atonement. The giver, a believer in God, would give a living sacrifice to God as an offering on His alter. Things started going wrong when someone came up with the idea of sparing the best and instead offering the leftovers. Let’s be honest, if we were in the days of biblical times many of us would think “Why hand over my prettiest, fluffiest, fattest sheep/ goat/ ox as an offering? I could use that skin for a nice handbag, the fur to make a lovely sweater, and uh-huh, wouldn’t that make a month’s worth of delicious dinner for the family…I think I’ll offer the sickly little animal over there in the corner. Yeah, him. I can’t do much with that one, so I can just bring that as an offering and call it a day.” Now, may the Lord richly bless you if you think this is an appalling mindset; and may He also richly bless those of us who can be honest with ourselves and admit that we would have more than likely taken the above approach.

V. 8 “When you give blind animals as sacrifices isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord Almighty.”

So let’s put all of this in perspective for us modern women – you know, without the sheep and goats and oxen. Let’s look at our time and energy as our offering to God. God has blessed us with abundant life and resources to enjoy this life HE has given. When we hop out of bed, prepare for our workday or big event, push ourselves like mad women all day, then come home and fall into bed with barely enough energy to say our prayers, we are cheating Him. If I’m on the computer all day, uploading pictures of my great weekend outing or corresponding with friends, but don’t take the time to read and meditate on God’s word, I am cheating Him. I am giving God second best when I run all over town, to this event and that meeting, having brunch with the girls, setting up my plans for the rest of the weekend, but then don’t have time to attend church because ‘Sunday is the only day I get to sleep in and recover from my busy week’. Our Lord has made it amazingly clear in Malachi 1:12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it is alright to defile the Lord’s table.”

Let’s put a bookmark in that until next week ladies… (a little cliffhanger for those who like adventure!)

By God’s grace you will take the opportunity to worship this Sunday at your local church. It’s Resurrection Sunday y’all, this is what it’s all about for us Christians! Put on something jazzy and praise the Lord for sending His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

Stay fly girls ;-)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The speck and The board (subtitle: Deal with your baggage girl!)

"And why worry about a speck in your friends eye, when you have a board in your own?"  Matthew 7:3

In the grand (and even not so grand) scheme of things, all of us have an Achilles heel.  That thing, or things, that can make us not only fall off of the wagon but jump off of it and then try to walk instead of just hopping back on...Some of you know what I'm saying!  One woman might not be able to control herself if a gallon of ice cream is in the vicinity - she will kick off her shoes, curl up on the sofa with a spoon and a dishtowel (to wrap around the carton so her hands won't get cold), then zone out into her own little world.  Another woman will melt into a puddle of sugar, spice, and all things nice when a handsome man walks into the room - with a flip of her hair and the bat of an eyelash she won't focus on anything but getting him to focus on her; a slow sache across the room to catch his eye, a brush against his shoulder, an extra chuckle or notable comment, a sly cross of the legs, anything to get his attention.  Neither of these women sound like you, huh?  Seems a little pathetic to you?  Maybe you can't imagine a woman would stoop to that level, but what may be incomprehensible in your view may be a way of life for someone else.  Criticism is a hill of rough terrain - the longer you travel on its path the bumpier the ride gets. 

"Judge not, that you not be judged."  Matthew 7:1.  This passage of scripture is so basic that it is confusing to some.  Let's look at the concept of the speck and the board and really break this thing down...

Matthew 7:3 "And why worry about the speck in your friend's eye when you have a board in your own?"  Duly noted.  But what if your friend calls attention to her "speck" and asks for advice/ feedback/ help with her speck?  Well, I'm glad you have asked such a poinient question missy!
Matthew 7:4  "How can you think of saying, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye' when you can't see past the board in your own eye?"  So before we go running around, looking down at the woman that has lost one too many battles with Breyer's, we must analyze ourselves for the boards in our own eyes.

In verse 5 of the same passage Jesus calls this person a hypocrite. An He's serious about it!  A hypocrite is defined as 1. a person who pretends to have virtues, morals, or religious beliefs, principles, etc, that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs  2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

In review, it is hypocritical to bad mouth/ criticize/ look down on: a) an overweight person if you are an indulger in something that may not show on your physical exterior. b) a single woman with several children if you have had abortions, close calls, or multiple sex partners. c) a woman wearing a skirt that is too short/ top that is too low/ pants that are too tight if you seek attention in other ways like demeaning others to boost yourself up.  Get the picture?

Matthew 7:5 "First get rid of the board from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friends eye."  I see this last verse as a message of assistance rather than one of admonition.  I used to think the message was "Stop worrying about fixing everyone else until you fix yourself!"  But now I see it from a whole new perspective.  Think of an airplane oxygen mask.  When you take a plane, the instruction for dealing with a loss in cabin pressure is to place your mask on first before making an attempt to help others with their masks.  This is not because it is 'every man for himself', it's because I can be of no use to others if I am going down while trying to help them out.  Likewise, if I have recognized my board - overeating/ overspending/ lusting of the eyes and flesh - and am working to remove it, I will have more compassion for what the person with the speck is going through and be able to share with them the power that God gives to overcome the specks and boards in the eyes of life.

As followers of Christ we are tasked to help strengthen and build His kingdom.  Blind builders with specks and boards in their eyes are pretty ineffective... As we are working get our eyes board free we are to also be compassionate towards others around us who are working to do the same.  I'm praying for you ladies!  With God all things are possible.

Stay fly girls!