Have you ever known a person who is really, really good at giving meaningful and intentional gifts to others? They are the ones who months ago heard you mention that you really loved a certain brand of coffee, or that you had seen a beautiful emerald green scarf at a certain boutique that caught your eye. When it comes time for a special occasion, you can’t wait to see what they have found to give as a gift because you know it comes from the heart.

When we read of the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-16, we see how they both brought an offering before the Lord, but we see two different reactions from God: God was pleased with Abel and his offering, but with Cain, He was not pleased. 

Abel knew what would please God most, and he selected the best he could offer to God. His offering was a demonstration that he knew what God wanted most, and his offering reflected that. 

Cain’s offering showed there was something else going on in his heart toward God. It wouldn’t have mattered what Cain had brought as an offering; the issue wasn’t that God wasn’t happy with the offering. He doesn’t need an animal sacrifice any more than He needs anything we could come up with on this earth. He’s God! He is the Creator of all. 

But what displeased and disappointed God was the heart behind the offering. The offering was just an external display and indicator of what was happening internally with both Cain and Abel’s hearts.

Hosea 6:6 says, “For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice; I delight in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings.”

God isn’t looking for our most extravagant displays of offerings and sacrifice. He loves obedience, but if we are doing the right thing with the wrong heart, just doing enough to tick the boxes of religious actions, nothing about that is pleasing to God. He is longing for the heart behind it all, the heart response that shows Him that we love Him and want to do what pleases and honors Him most. 

He’s looking for a faithful, pure heart who comes before Him with a spirit of humility and repentance. He’s looking for what’s real and genuine, not routine and rote; faithfulness, not optics.

When we have a heart posture that is honoring and humble, we are telling the Lord, “It’s an honor to do what pleases You most, because You are worthy of all I have to offer, and so much more.”

We speak God’s love language when we come before Him with beautiful, faithful, pure, humble hearts. That’s what delights God.  

Have you purchased your In the Beginning Bible study journal yet? Not only will you find all of the daily reading passages and SOAP journaling pages, but you’ll have each of the daily devotions in printed form–no need to check the app on your phone while working through your study!

Don’t forget, the Bridge Reading Plan is only available in the printed journals! The Bridge is a two-week long reading plan designed to bridge the gap between two studies. In the In the Beginning journal you’ll find the Bridge Reading Plan along with two weeks of SOAP journaling pages and daily Scripture reading! Don’t miss this! The Bridge reading plans will walk through the entire Book of Psalms during 2021. This plan is found only in the study journals, so grab one today! You don’t want to miss out!

When you purchase a journal, you are helping us reach women around the world with the gospel. By purchasing a journal you help our incredible team of volunteer translators build up leaders around the world. Your journal purchase allows women to read God’s Word in their native language and have access to quality Bible study materials in the language they best understand. We hope you’ll join us on our mission to make God’s Word accessible to women in every nation and in every language!

Order In the Beginning and In the Beginning for Kids journals here!

 

Andrea Howey

Andrea Howey

Andrea Howey is a hand lettering artist in Dallas, Texas. She started hand lettering Scripture and encouraging words during a season of loss and God began to use it as a means to minister encouragement to people around the world through social media. Today, she continues to create hand lettered words and goods for her business, as well as freelance work for ministries, authors, and other projects, all with the aim of encouraging people in heart, strengthening people in faith, and above all, pointing people to Jesus. You can check out her beautiful designs at andreahowey.com and connect with her on Instagram.

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