Friday, March 24, 2017

Better than Sacrifice

Chuckle: "If you laugh a lot, when you get older, your wrinkles will be in the right places!"
Quote: "Christianity is both about justice and about Christ changing people from the inside out." --David Sheppard

"The LORD is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices" (Proverbs 21:3 NLT).
It seems to me that we are experiencing a generation of "Christians" that believe if we do the right religious things outwardly, we will somehow please God and find His favor. But, make no mistake, it is the condition of our hearts that is most important to God, not the "religious" things we do, no matter how sacrificial we may think our "offerings" to be.
In the Old Testament, the offering of sacrifices was necessary to cover the sins of the people and perpetuate a right relationship with God. Yet, many went through the motions and took part in the sacrificial rituals but did not worship from their hearts and were disobedient to God when it came to treating others with love, mercy, kindness, and compassion.
Many find it more acceptable to give generously to missions than to be missionaries. Giving is a good thing and should be an important part of our worship. However, God has commanded us all to go and make disciples, minister to the needs of the less fortunate, and do so with genuine love and compassion. We can do all the right and good things while having hearts that are no different from those who are flagrantly disobedient toward God.
We cannot use sacrifices as bribes to make God turn a blind eye to all our character blemishes and faults. We cannot purchase our way into God's favor. If our personal and business dealings are not governed by righteous character, including justice and fairness, no amount of sacrificial deposits in the offering plate will be acceptable and pleasing to God.
You can attend church regularly, give of your money, and even serve in a leadership position with a heart that is not totally committed to God. God is more interested in your relationship with Him than what you do for Him. God said, "I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices, I want you to know God; that's more important than burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6 NLT). Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6 NIV).
God does not want you to go through the motions of religious worship, but He wants you to know Him and increase your love for Him each day. If this love relationship is established, everything you do will emanate from that relationship. A sincere change of heart pleases God because it will include sacrificing yourself. Here's a prayer of application from Romans 12:1 -- "Right now and right here I offer and present to you, O Lord, myself, my soul and body, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice to you."
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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