In the end of last year American Christian rock band Skillet toured through Europe and Russia, They also played at the annual Christmas Rocknight [Ennepetal/Germany] read our CRN review and watch the pictures
Recently Jen Ledger [picture] drummer of Skillet, posted the following message in the Skilletbookclub.com:
I hope your all doing well! Reading this week was a bit tough. I would be lying if I said I didn’t skip some of Numbers! … But there was still some great stuff that stuck out to me that I would love to share with you!:)
The main point of what I got out of reading this week is how God cares about our hearts above all the things we could ever “do” for him.
Before Jesus came, God had laid out the law through Moses showing his people how to be Holy and clean. He also laid out sacrifices and rituals they would need to follow if they did not meet the requirements of the law to make them right with God. As we have been reading, you may have noticed there were A LOT of requirements, and A LOT of rules!! And so you can imagine there were a lot of sacrifices and rituals happening so that the people could be right with God!
David however, being a man who truly loved and knew God saw that it was not the sacrifices that God really desired from his people.
Ps 51:16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
In Psalm 51 David at this point he had just committed adultery with Bathsheba, and not to mention murdered her husband to do so! Yet here we see David rather than bringing sin offerings, whole heartedly repenting before the Lord. Throwing up his hands and admitting his failure, and asking God to change him. He asks God to forgive him, remove his sins and make him clean again.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
David saw that God doesn’t need burnt offerings, and saw that what God really desires is a repentant heart. In some ways it would be easier to follow through with a sacrifice or a ritual to pay for what he had done, but to repent means to be truly sorry and to change. What God wants from us is a heart that is recklessly abandoned to him…that is broken and ready to be changed in his presence. It doesn’t matter how many great things you “do” for God because truthfully, we can never impress him. We can, however, honor him with our lives and with our humble and grateful hearts. I found David’s prayer inspiring, and I believe it is a great guideline to show us how to come before God. Humbly, broken, and asking him to help us in the areas we fall short.
In Matt 12 we again see what pleases God when we see the exchange between Jesus and a teacher of religious law
29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD.30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”
34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”[/i]
Here we see what’s important, loving God with all that we are! Its not about what we do.. how much church we’ve attended (though of course church is great!!) 0r how many meeting we’ve volunteered at. Its about loving God!
In what ways can we love God?
In psalm 50 it says:
23 But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.
If you keep to my path,
I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”
Here we see it is important to be thankful to God. Honestly we all know that sometimes this can be one of the hardest things to do! But all throughout psalms we see how we are commanded to praise the Lord and be thankful to the Lord for he is good! To praise means to outwardly express. So outwardly expressing thanks and praise to God is one of the first ways to show we love our God.
I have learned from experience that even on the days I feel I’m having the hardest time, if I outwardly begin speaking thanks to God my perspective on life so QUICKLY changes!! It can go from a place of “life is hard” to “THANK YOU LORD FOR GIVING ME LIFE!!” in a matter of minutes. At the end of the day, even those with the worst life stories have something to be thankful for. If you don’t know where to start just thank God for another day. Thank him for anything and everything!
We also see from the psalms that other ways to express praise to the Lord is through dancing, singing, clapping our hands, and shouting! If your in a praise and worship time, or on your own in your room, I challenge you to bring something of praise to God. Even if its embarrassing, you can do this as an act of honoring God and showing him how much you love him. You love him enough you’ll embarrass yourself for him!!:)
Another way you show someone you love them is to spend time with them. In mark 12 Jesus warned the religious leaders who prance around wearing their long robes and big prayer boxes that they will be punished for what they do. These people claimed to be the people who knew God. They were the “Holy” ones that were “righteous”.
How annoying would it be if your husband or wife pranced around telling everyone that you were ”theirs”. If they wore a huge sign around their neck saying “Jen Ledger’s mine” yet they never even spoke to you or spent any time with you…and did the very things that you DETEST and make you sick to your stomach! Is that how you show someone you care? Would you feel loved? Would you feel honored?
Growing up in a church environment can be very similar to this. I hate to say it, but growing up I was one of these people. I said I was a Christian and that I believed in God. I grew up in church, so of course I thought I was saved… Yet I never spent ANY time with God, I did things I knew God would detest just because I wanted too! I lived a life detached from him and that didn’t honor him, yet I claimed to be a Christian. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I truly gave my life to God. I was willing to let go of everything so that I could know him. Its so amazing and so different! I actually hear him speak to me cause you know what, HE IS REAL!!! (It sounds so silly but this totally changed my life!!!) Now I love to spend time getting to know God more!!! I challenge you all to check your hearts and make sure your not just walking around “being a Christian” without even knowing your God! If your not sure get on your own and ask Jesus into your heart yet again, and ask him to help you know him!!
In matt 6:6 it says
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
This is how we get to know our God, and this is a way we can honor and love him…Our alone time with him. Like anyone you love, you get to know and love them even more by spending time with them. This isn’t any different with our heavenly Father.
I touched on this briefly in my last point but another way to love somebody with all that we are, is to literally love somebody with “all that we are”
Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?15 Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?”Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said,
“Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin, and I’ll tell you.”16 When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
17 “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
We are made in God’s image (gen1:27), and if Caesar’s image is on the coin, then whose image is printed all over us? The way we look, think, feel, every hair on our head and every talent in our body is put together by God, and belongs to God. We are made in his image. So we can chose to hold on to our gifts and talents for what we think or want, or we could chose to give them to God. Ask him to use them for whatever he wants and honor him with them instead. We can love him by surrendering everything we have to glorify him because rightfully they belonged to him in the first place!:)
In Mark 12:44
41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts.42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.
43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions.44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
This widow surrenders all that she has to the Lord. And it may not look like much compared to everyone else, but this is beautiful to God because although she doesn’t have much, she is ready to give the little she has. We again see an example of this in Mark 14
While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked.5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me.8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.
Again we see this woman is completely abandoned to Jesus. She doesn’t care about what the people around her think but is going to bring to him the one thing that has any value to her and smash it at his feet. These are both pictures of laying down our absolute everything before God to show our love for him. Our money, our jobs, our relationships, our dreams all come under this category. Is you heart in a place where you could let go of ANYTHING and trust God if he asked you to? The idea of marriage? Your dream job? The things that seem the most valuable to you. This is continually challenging to me and I have to continually come before God and ask him to help me get there.
Thankfully we aren’t supposed to have everything together, but instead, like David, its just about if our heart is right. We can come before God admitting we fall short, and thankfully, with a humble heart, we can ask God to help us and change us. He can give us a heart that desires him more and more, and that’s what I will be continually praying for.I hope you guys feel inspired and encouraged to continue to know God more.
Thanks for reading! I hope this made some sense!!:)
Follow Jen Ledger at Twitter.