“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Happy Memorial Day! On the last Monday of each May, the United States celebrates all men and women who have died while serving in the US military. These men and women have given their lives to stand for something that is important to them, something they felt was worth fighting for.
“Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
Everywhere you turn you’ll see the world promoting “life at the top”. Whether it’s through books and programs, commercials and TV shows, music and art, social media and pop culture, business and wealth-building curriculum, or any plethora of self-promotion material, we’re often encouraged or trained to be “large and in charge”, the “cream of the crop that rises to the top”, the “best in class”, the “captain of the ship”, the “ringmaster”, the “alpha dog”, the “leader among men”, the “american/asian/australian/etc. idol”, the “owner of our own destiny”, the “hero”, the “heroine”, the “master”, the “winner”, the “champion”.
“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3)
Making sacrifices for the Lord can be good, but you know what’s even better? Obedience. This may be a confusing statement, as you may be wondering what the difference is. Let’s break it down a little.
“Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.'” (Joshua 3:5)
We often remember Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, but there was another recorded instance where God controlled the waters to allow the nation of Israel to pass on dry land. Joshua urged the people to purify themselves to receive the miracle that was in store. (more…)
“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…)