“I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.” (Hosea 13:5-6)
Reading Hosea 13 reminded me of a sermon I heard not long ago. The speaker mentioned that many times people desperately cry out to the Lord for something such as a job, for physical healing from an ailment, for a baby when they’re having trouble getting pregnant, for a spouse when they’re having trouble finding one, etc.
But after the Lord hears their cries and blesses them with that very thing they are praying for, these people quickly thank God, take the blessing, run with it, and then forgot about God. And what’s worse, often times the very thing they were praying for ends up being an idol that draws them further away from the Lord, rather than drawing them closer to Him. (more…)
“For I declare mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)
If we are not sincere when we attempt to turn away from our sin and trust in God’s grace over our failures, then we will likely end up falling back into that same sin repeatedly or any other pattern of sins. If that cycle sounds familiar to you, then let me help you out and let you know that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. (more…)
“But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” (John 12:4-6)
Several years ago when my family and I still lived in the SF Bay Area, we attended a large church that puts on an annual Easter production for the community. One year I played the role of Judas Iscariot, who is known as the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. It was challenging for me to play that role, for as a born-again Christian, I had to put myself in the complete mindset of the one who betrayed the Lord.
While it was difficult to put myself in Judas Iscariot’s shoes, the life of Judas is a clear demonstration of those who claim to believe in and follow Jesus, but whose thoughts and actions reflect anything but. And I had been there before. (more…)
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves. The poor will see and be glad– you who seek God, may your hearts live!” (Psa. 69:30-32, David)
Simply put, a sacrifice of praise is more valuable than a sacrifice of our resources. I believe this is because a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving is reflective of a heart of love and obedience, whereas a sacrifice of our resources and assets is merely a sacrifice of something that already belongs to God, regardless of whether we choose to offer it back to Him or not. (more…)