Obedience is Better than Sacrifice!

In 1 Sam. 15:23 God told Saul that obedience to him is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of lambs.

The Lord made it clear to Saul that he wanted him to hear his voice and obey his commands and that was the way he was to worship.

The Lord made a command to Saul to slay every inhabitant of Amalek including their animals. Saul leaned on his own reasoning in the situation. Rather than do what he was told, Saul spared the king of Amalek and took the best of the spoil for himself.

The Lord took Saul’s disobedience as a rebellious act against his Lordship.

Saul said that he was going to sacrifice the sheep and oxen he had taken to the Lord but the Lord wouldn’t accept it.

Saul it seemed wanted to serve God Saul’s way. He knew better than God on how to serve God.

Saul even justified his action by saying he did everything that he was told to do but he took the best of the animals to make a big sacrifice to God. Plus Saul let the king or head of the Lord’s enemy live.

Amalek was a descendant of Esau. This lineage had no respect to God’s covenant. They were disrespectful of God’s holy ways.

By letting Amalek’s king live Saul was compromising with evil.

God’s view was that Saul by taking matters into his own hand was therefore in rebellion and operating in a witchcraft spirit. He in effect was denying God.

This story is really a parallel to the religious spirit that decides how God should be worshiped. The religious spirit comprises with things that disrespect God’s word.

Religion wants to make all kinds of obligations and ritualistic observations in preference to what God’s word has to say.

The religious spirit wants to perform feats that guise as worshiping God but in reality only exalt man’s ego.

God requires obedience to please him. Romans 6:16 tells us that obedience to the faith moves into righteousness or justification.

Obedience means attentive hearkening, complying with a command or request.
Submitting to the authority and moral conviction of the religious truth of reliance on Jesus Christ for salvation. This is obedience to the faith.

God’s way of worship is by faith in Jesus Christ! Not rituals and all kinds of humanistic effort.

2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to demolish high minded reasoning that oppose knowing God and bringing captive the intellect to obey Jesus Christ.

In other words cast down any form of worship that is against what God’s word defines as worship.

What is obedient worship acceptable to God?

1 Peter 1:2 says that God the Father has chosen those who by his foreknowledge through sanctification (purified and made holy) of the Holy Spirit unto ( toward) obedience (hearkening to command ) and sprinkling of the blood atonement of Jesus Christ.

The only form of worship pleasing to God is through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and obedience to the gospel.

Those who hearken to this command will be received by God the Father and are well pleasing in his sight.

Anything added to that or taken from that is considered disobedience to God.

Sin Shall Not Have Dominion!

Romans Chapter 6:14 tells us that sin shall not have any dominion over us.

To have dominion over means to exercise Lordship, ownership, to be ruled by.

If in fact scriptures tell us that sin shall not have dominion over us then why does sin have dominion over some Christians?

Why are some Christians living very much like they are not much different than the unsaved?

Let’s take a look at what scriptures tell us about the matter.

We find out in the next verse that sin has no dominion over Christians because we are not under law but under grace.

In other words Christians now have a new Lord. The Bible tells us that prior to salvation sin was our master. We were under the control of the devil through the sin nature. Sin is the devil’s nature. That is why Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees who were under the law that they had the devil’s nature.

Continuing on in the chapter we can find the remedy for the sin nature. Verse 15 makes it clear that just because we are under grace or favor from God through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ that does not mean we are free to continue to sin.

Verse 16 tells us that whoever we yield ourselves to obey is whose servant we are to whom we obey. If we yield to sin it is because we have sin as our master. If we yield to the Holy Spirit it is evident that God is our master.

Yielding to sin produces death. That means our fruit will be rotten, leading to decay and death. In other words our lives will produce defeat, sickness, poverty, and all kinds of ailments which may lead even to eternal death.

That is why Jesus said to test the fruit to see if someone really belongs to Jesus. If our lives are producing bad fruit then it is because of one or two things. Either there is no real salvation experience or their is ignorance of God’s word.

Vrs. 17 tells us that if we obeyed the teaching we received about salvation then we are free from the dominion of sin and are now become servants of righteousness.

Righteousness in this verse is translated as justification. Made in right standing with God. Now some Christians will stop there BUT it does in fact not end there.

This verse goes on to say that if we have been made righteous then our fruit will be unto holiness. In other words the fruit of our lives will be producing a sanctified purified life.

Now what is the key here to going from the righteous of God in Christ Jesus to holiness or godly living?

The key is in this word. YIELD. If indeed we have received Jesus Christ and are justified by his blood then we will be servants of that righteousness producing holy living.

Under the sin nature we yielded to sin. It was our master. But now we belong to another, born of his Spirit and are become servants of righteousness. If we are servants then we are not free to live any way the old flesh or earthy senses try to dictate.

We are now called to yield to God. That is to the Holy Spirit given to us at the new birth which makes his will know to us by revelation of the word of God. To yield means to give way to, adhere to. Submit to.

Verse 23 declares that the wages or earnings of obeying the sin nature will produce death but the gift of God which is salvation through Jesus Christ freely given to us produces eternal life.

Those under the dominion of sin are the slaves to sin but those under the dominion of the Holy Spirit are now become servants of righteousness unto holiness.

Yield or give way your vessel to the Holy Spirit and he will empower you to live a life that pleases God!

Idle Words !

Jesus told his disciples in Matthew chapter 12 that everyone will have to give account for every idle word that they speak on the day of judgment.

The word idle is argos in the Greek which means to be lazy, inactive, barren, non productive or slow.

Jesus spoke this after having encounters with the religious people of his day. What words were these religious leaders speaking to Jesus that caused him to say this? Let’s take a look at Matthew Chapter 12.

The religious leaders in this chapter’s account were accusing and condemning Jesus. They were also using scriptures to try to entrap him. Then when Jesus answered with wisdom this really irked the religious leaders and so they conspired to stop Jesus from performing his ministry. They wanted to destroy him.

On top of all that the religious leaders began to call his miraculous works of the devil. Jesus told them that they were committing blasphemy by attributing his miracles from a demonic source. He also told them that by speaking against the Holy Spirit when they saw the miracles that they were in danger of hell fire.

Jesus explained to his disciples that what the mouth speaks is what is in the heart. Words spoken reveals the spiritual condition.

If the words spoke are negative, non productive, ungodly then that’s because of the condition of the heart.

An angry bitter person speaks negative critical words. An unbelieving heart speaks doubt and unbelief.

A faith filled heart speaks uplifting encouraging words.

Jesus said that the words we speak from our mouths reveal our heart condition. In other words we are what we say.

This is why we will be judged by our words. If we breath out cruelty, meanness and criticism then we will eat the fruit of our words. Jesus did say that we will have what we say. We become in our actions the condition of our hearts verified by the words we speak.

If however as Jesus said, we have good things in our heart then we will produce good things. The word of God living in our hearts will bring forth much fruit.

This means that when situations arise in our lives we will automatically draw from the word of God we have put in our heart.

For example, if we loose a job we can say, “My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory through Jesus Christ.”

If we have someone oppose us we can say, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue rising up against me shall be condemned.”

We speak what’s in our heart when situations arise. Faith filled hearts speak faith filled words but hearts filled with dark things speak dark words.

This is what the Lord means by “A pure heart will see God.” A heart filled with the word of God will see God’s hand at work in every situation. (Matthew 5:8)

Idle words are non productive words in the Kingdom of God. Words of no spiritual good. Words that speak contrary to sound doctrine and have no faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:1 Mathew 21:22, 23)

God’s word is like a fire in the heart’s of his people. These hearts bring life and liberty in Jesus Christ through their words. A pure heart sees God’s divine intervention in every situation and declares God’s word into the situation.

God’s words spoken are words seasoned with salt bringing grace to the hearers. (Jeremiah 20:29, Colossians 4:6)

So put God’s word in your heart and speak God’s word in every situation. Then you will find the Lord bringing his miracle working power into all your situations.

Hang On To Jesus!

No matter how hard the battle is Christians must hold on to the hem of Jesus Christ’s garment until victory comes ! (Matthew 9:20)

Many times when we don’t see immediate results and heaven seems silent our flesh is tempted to panic but Jesus wants us to look to him, the originator and completer of our faith, and not at the storm around us. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

No matter how rough the waves, how deep the waters, or how hard the wind blows, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. (Mathew 14)

Satan knows his times is short and he is mad as hell. Knowing our weakness, and the weakness of others, the evil one will send forth those fiery darts but our faith in Jesus Christ is what will bring us through to victory every time. If we do not give up. (Ephesians 6:16, Galatians 6:9)

Faithful is he who has promised! So hang on, keep pressing through in prayer and having done all you are required in scriptures to do just keep standing. (Hebrews 10:23, Ephesians 6:13)

God’s power will be released to rescue you from your fiery trial. Jesus will turn your way and see your faith. He will lift you up out of despair and make you whole again. Jesus will turn your sorrow into joy once more! Do not be afraid! Do not doubt his love for you! Hang on with every last thread of your being to his garment!

Your victory is sure! Look up for help is on its way!

Continue to put your trust in Jesus Christ through the storm and you will not be disappointed! Remember that he has promised to come through for you and God never breaks a promise! (Roman’s 10:11 Psalms 25:3)

Faithful is He Who Has Promised!

Sometimes as Christians we can find ourselves stuck in situations that we really don’t like ! I know from personal experience that making a big fuss over it usually does not help to change the situation and in fact may even make things worse.

It is not necessary either to let yourself be a sitting duck . You don’t have to just suck it up if circumstance is causing you grief. There is nothing more dis-empowering than feeling there is no way out.

How long have you prayed for your situation to change and it hasn’t? Getting frustrated and ready to throw in the towel? Well, there is good news that you might need to hear.

None of us are guaranteed a continual life of milk and honey in this life. Jesus made it quite clear in his word that in this world we will have tribulation. However, the Lord did promise that as he overcame trials in this world so can we.

Going to the cross was a very difficult circumstance for the Lord. Jesus had to yield to unpleasantness and a lot of hardship but he endured, scriptures tell us, for the joy that lay ahead.

I am sure that Jesus really had to put his trust in the Father to bring him through his circumstance even though he felt forsaken and alone for a time. It couldn’t have been easy facing that kind of situation.

Being left in a forsaken place can cause the human mind to freak out a bit but the truth of the matter is that God is with us in our circumstance even though it doesn’t feel like it to us sometimes. When trouble comes our first inclination is to start to be afraid and maybe even feel angry.

God knows that we are only human but never should we stay in that kind of mindset. It will only end up hurting us in the end. Bitterness and anger can cause a whole heap more trouble for us than our actual problem both from a physical and spiritual perspective.

There is some really good news however, which we should keep in mind when we find ourselves in terrible circumstance. God says in his word that he will always be with us even in trouble and he has promised to never forsake us. That means he is going to walk us through our unpleasant circumstance ! Just like God the Father walked Jesus through his difficulties so he will do the same for us.

We have to wait though, be patient, never give up and keep on praying. This is the scriptural key to victory! Never giving up! Keep standing in faith! Keep praying and trusting until the victory comes! Just as Jesus was risen from the dead by the power of God so too shall we experience victory. That is if we don’t give up and if we hold on to our faith.

God had promised to make a way out of the wilderness and he always delivers on his promise. Remember that God cannot lie. It’s as impossible for God to say a fib as it is for the moon to fall out of the sky and land in your plate. He cannot lie. It’s a spiritual reality. So, knowing that God is very trustworthy we can keep trusting in him until the darkness flees and we see the light!

Never do we have to succumb to fear, defeat or depression because we know that all things are working together for our good. ALL is ALL!

Now there is nothing written in stone that our prayers will be answered exactly as we want them to be because well, God is God after all. If there is one thing that I have learned it is that I don’t know what is best for me. Left to my own devices I’d be chasing after rabbit trails indefinitely. So, it’s best that I just trust the Lord to work it all out and he will. For faithful is he that has promised!

You too can be assured that the Lord will bring you through every circumstance. He may or may not change the place you are in but one thing you can count on is that he will change you. After all his priority is what’s best for your eternal weight of glory and in the grand scheme of things that’s what matters.

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Distractions!

Many of us know that the seed of God’s word falling on thorny ground does not grow properly because of being choked out by the desire for this world’s goods.

What we don’t take a closer look at is that the seed of God’s word gets drown out also by the cares of this life or merimna in the Greek that translates as distractions.

While we may not be trying to climb the ladder of success in order to get rich or living to gratify our bodily appetites what we do a lot of is let distractions get in the way of our spiritual life.

Yes, this seems to be the big issue we face day to day in trying to maintain a close walk with the Lord.

Satan is a clever rascal. He knows that we probably are not going to buy into get rich quick schemes or raid the fridge to eat all of the left over birthday cake, (after all we have some restraint) but what he does and does a lot is distract us.

Distractions come in various forms. Talking too long on the phone when we are supposed to be praying, watching too many videos instead of reading the word, spending too much time in fellowship with people instead of in communion with the Holy Spirit.

We all do it and then we wonder what happened ! Where is God? Where is his presence? Did I do something wrong?

Well, yeah! We just ignored the Holy Spirit who was tugging at our heart and continued to get carried away with distractions.

Alright! I get it Lord Jesus! Losing a sense of God’s presence is like the hammer that has to fall on my head before I come to my senses.

Now, I’m listening Lord. Distractions! That’s what it is! Dialing heaven for self control!

It’s all a matter of priorities. Do we want to be a vessel ready for the Lord’s use ? Then it means giving up more than just pursuing worldly affairs. It means not letting distractions of life drown out God’s voice. Not letting even seemingly harmless things become more important than our time with God.

Unless we draw from the Holy Spirit in our prayer closet and fill our hearts with his word we will end up being only spiritual duds. All talk and no action. All religion and no anointing.

Distractions drown out the word of God sown by the Holy Spirit into our heart and that’s what we have to be on guard for. Old slew foot knows that distractions are his most powerful weapon against a Christian pursuing after God.

So we just have to say no to his sneaky agenda and ignore those distractions when they come our way. If there is one thing that Satan is afraid of it’s a prayed up filled with the word of God daily Christian.

With the Lord’s help we can make those distractions take a back seat and wait for us.

Don’t let distractions choke out your spiritual destiny!

Luke 18:14


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