What is Better Than Sacrifice to God?

What is Better Than Sacrifice to God?

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  (Hos 6:6)

This Scripture verse states two things that God prefers over a burnt offering:

  • Mercy – God wants His people to show compassion and kindness to others, especially anyone who is in need.
  • Knowledge of God – God wants us to know Him, and one important way to do that is to read and to meditate upon His Word.  He has given us His Word in order to allow us to learn all about Him, and about His truth.

So Samuel said:  “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.  (1 Sam 15:22)

God says clearly here that obedience is better than sacrifice.  He wants us to obey Him and His Word.  He asks us to live in agreement with His Word and His wisdom.

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.  (Pro 21:3)

The Bible passage shown above teaches us that more than sacrifice, the Lord desires:

  • For us to live righteously – This means to live a holy, good, and moral life among men, a life that honors God and obeys the Word of God. 
  • For us to do justice – This means to live with a sense of fairness to all, and to treat everyone equally.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Gal 5:14)

Made Alive

Made Alive

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor 15:21-22)

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  (Rom 5:15-17)

Because all humanity is descended from Adam, we are all going to experience death someday.  In a similar way, everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will one day be made alive.

What does that really mean to us? 

It means that we, upon accepting Jesus as our Savior, have been born into the family of God.  Having accepted Jesus as our Savior and keeping our relationship with Him alive throughout our lives means that:

  • We belong to Jesus;
  • We are His seed and offspring;
  • We serve Jesus because He is our covenant Head and Representative; and
  • We shall be raised [resurrected] to immortal life in and by Jesus Christ.

One day, we will have eternity to spend in the presence of our living God who is love.  We will eternally be surrounded by perfect, unfailing, unending Love.  This is a blessing of our salvation for which we may continuously praise and thank God!

Longing for Our Heavenly Dwelling

Longing for Our Heavenly Dwelling

Here’s a truth worthy of deep reflection: 

Our spirits within us long for our heavenly, eternal home.  We yearn to have our flawed, imperfect humanity swallowed up by eternal life and eternal love.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  (2 Cor 5:1-4 NKJV, emphasis added)

He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken.  (Isa 25:8 NKJV)

For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  (1 Cor 15:53-54 NIV)

When Isaiah 25 speaks of God wiping away tears from all faces, I believe that He is referring to our arrival in heaven, when all of our past shame and guilt AND any possibility of future sin will be extinguished forever.

All sorrows, sins and shortcomings from our earthly lives will be forgotten, and the prospect of eternity in the presence of our God and King will be our entire focus and purpose.

Just think about eternity spent in an atmosphere of perfect, unconditional, unfailing LOVE!  That is our beautiful, blessed destiny.

Prosperity, Wealth, Abundance

Prosperity, Wealth, Abundance

God has given us promises to bless us with prosperity and abundance—even wealth.  But we need to trust in God’s faithfulness, and trust that He will bring these promises to pass in our own lives.

“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (Deu 8:18 NKJV)

This Scripture passage says that God gives us power to get wealth in order to establish His covenant with us.  This is an important concept to hold onto:  that God gives us the competence, aptitude, and capacity for receiving and acquiring wealth.

But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.  (Ps 37:11 NIV)

The meek are all those who follow Jesus Christ.  Jesus even said that the meek would inherit the earth.  That would include inheriting prosperity and wealth.  (Mt 5:5; Col 3:2) 

Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.  (Isa 60:5 NKJV)

Isaiah 60:5 informs us that abundance and wealth shall come to God’s people.  Furthermore, it says that our hearts with swell with joy and that our faces will glow joyously because of this truth.

The secret of knowing the Scriptures is to realize that every promise and every blessing is ours NOW—before we see it and before we experience it in the natural.  This is why we are called people of faith.  Faith is trusting God to bring unseen things into the place where we can see them and experience them!  (Heb 11:1)  Hallelujah!

Trust God’s Word more than you trust your senses!  He is a God of signs, wonders, and miracles.  (Ac 2:22; 1 Cor 12:28; Heb 2:4) 

God will never allow your faith in Him to be put to shame.  (Rom 9:33; 10:11)

Benefits of Salvation

Benefits of Salvation

The Lord has given His people, those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, many precious promises which inform us of the benefits and blessings of salvation.  Today we’re looking at several of these promises.

The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.  (Ps 34:10)

Wow!  This passage says that those who seek the Lord will not lack ANY good thing!  What a promise, and what a commitment!  Were you aware of this promise?

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  (Ps 37:4)

This Psalm says that as we delight in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our hearts.  This is a powerful promise from God!  What is it that you desire in life?  Go to the Lord in prayer and tell Him what you desire and what you need.  He will hear and answer your prayers.  (1 Joh 5:15)

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  (Ps 84:11) 

This Scripture in Psalm 84 is very much like the one in Psalm 34, shown above.  It’s reminding us that God withholds NO GOOD THING from the people who live upright, righteous lives.  All who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord have been justified and made righteous by the blood of Jesus.  Jesus has become our righteousness.  (1 Cor 1:30)  This is a promise that you may claim for yourself.

Take these verses—these promises from God—to Him in prayer and ask for Him to fulfill them in your life.  Persevere in faith and patience, and you will receive the very things that you’ve requested in order to bring glory and honor to God, the Father.  (Joh 14:13-14)  Hallelujah!

Not Stumbling In Our Words

Not Stumbling In Our Words

The Bible tells us something rather surprising in James 3—that the person who does not stumble in word is a perfect man or woman.  This person is one who is able to control everything about themselves.  Wow!

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.  (Jas 3:2-3, emphasis added

Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.  (Ps 34:13)

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.  (Pro 16:24)

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.  (Pro 18:4)

“He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.”  (1 Pet 3:10)

Controlling our words is one of the most difficult things for human beings.  As 1 Peter 3 reminds us, we should refrain from speaking evil.  Do you know that “speaking evil” means some different things to God?  It means:

  • Saying anything that is less than 100% true;
  • Repeating gossip—even if it’s true;
  • Agreeing with other people who spread lies or say unpleasant things;
  • Saying negative or bad things about ourselves;
  • Repeating negative things;
  • Speaking anything that does not agree with God’s Word.

It surprises people to realize that even if they say something negative about themselves, it is unpleasing to God.  God wants us to agree with what HE says about each one of us.  He says that His children are:

  • Fearfully and wonderfully made,  (Ps 139:14)
  • His special treasure, (Ps 135:4)
  • The apple of His eye, (Zech 2:8)
  • Chosen and dearly loved, (1 Pet 2:4)
  • Given His approval, (1 Thes 2:4) and
  • Accepted in Jesus. (Eph 1:6)

From this list, we can understand that the Lord loves us and has said many wonderful things concerning His children—those who love Him and obey Him.  Since our words proceed from our thoughts, a key Scripture to meditate upon regularly is:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  (Phil 4:8)

As we think about God’s blessings and meditate upon His Words, our own words will begin to change and will correspond to what the Scripture has to say about everything.  God bless you!

The Right Way

The Right Way

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He teaches sinners in the way.  (Ps 25:8)

I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.  (Pro 4:11, emphasis added)

Thus says the Lord:  “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’  (Jer 6:16, emphasis added)

They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness . . .  (2 Pet 2:15, emphasis added)

From the Scriptures shown above, we can clearly understand that God has given His people the “right path” and a “good way” in which we should walk.  He gives us direction and guidance through His Word, and our Lord Jesus served as our highest example.  (See Isa 30:21; 58:11; 1 Pet 2:21-22)

The Word points out to us that the right way is a narrow and challenging one.

Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  (Mt 7:14)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”  (Joh 10:1)

The gate is called narrow and challenging because the gate into the right path is through Jesus Christ, alone.  He is the only “door” into the sheepfold.  Let us look at what more Jesus said about this:

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  (Joh 10:7)

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  (Joh 10:9)

Even in this day and age, there are those who don’t want to hear the name of Jesus.  There are many who speak against Christianity and Christians.  The Good News of the gospel of salvation is unwelcome in many places, therefore following the Lord isn’t always popular.  If you’re known as a Christian, it may bring about harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination against you. 

Nevertheless, as long as we stay on the right path, God promises to bring us safely to His eternal kingdom.  (2 Tim 4:18)  And He will bless and prosper us along the way.

Inner Strength

Inner Strength

God gives inner strength to every person who trusts in Him and in His salvation.  Here are several Bible passages on the topic:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  (Isa 41:10 NKJV)

I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves . . .  (Eph 3:16 GNT)

. . . strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy . . . (Col 1:11 NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Phil 4:13 NKJV)

This is one of the blessed benefits of our salvation—to receive inner strength and perseverance from God, our Savior.  Whenever we face difficulties, challenges, sorrows, or calamities, we may cry out to the Lord in our trouble and He will deliver us. Take note of these Bible verses:

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.  (Ps 107:6)

. . . persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.  (2 Tim 3:11, emphasis added)

What a loving and mighty God we serve!  Look at just some of the blessings that He pours out upon each and every one of His people:

  • He is always with us and will never reject us. 
  • He upholds and sustains us.
  • He gives us grace to enable us to serve Him and to fulfill our callings. 
  • He provides health, healing, reconciliation, and mercy continuously. 
  • He justifies us and grants us peace with our Father God. 
  • He loves us perfectly
  • He has given us a salvation that will provide us with joy in the presence of the Lord now and for all eternity.

Become aware of and use the inner strength that God has given to you.  Study these blessings and benefits of our salvation in order to support and to sustain your inner strength.  Blessings upon you!

Call the Walls Salvation

Call the Walls Salvation

Here are a couple of prophetic verses from the Bible.

Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.  (Isa 60:18)

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:  “We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.  (Isa 26:1)

There is a day coming when Jesus Christ shall gather His church together, and the verses above foretell of that victorious time.  There will be no need of gates or walls for protection, because the walls will be the very salvation of our God, and the “gates” that we enter will be praise unto our God.  Praise opens all gates into the presence of our living God.

God has shown Himself well able to protect His people.  He says that He is a wall of fire around His people.

‘For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”  (Zech 2:5) 

God is already the glory in our midst—right now. 

He is our Protector and Deliverer.  (2 Sam 22:2-3; Ps 5:11; 34:17; 91:9-12; 2 Thes 3:3)  As we walk with Him and obey His Word willingly, He takes care of all of our individual needs.  Surely, our relationship with Jesus Christ is a fortress and a protection from evil.  The walls of this fortress are called “salvation.”

No Rock Like Our God

No Rock Like Our God

The Bible tells us repeatedly that God is our rock.  What does that mean for us and for our lives?

For their rock is not like our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.  (Deut 32:31)    

No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.  (1 Sam 2:2)

For who is God, except the Lord?  And who is a rock, except our God?  (Ps 18:31)

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  (Ps 118:22)  – Jesus is the “stone” which the builders rejected.  A cornerstone is another word for foundation or basis. 

“This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  (Ac 4:11-12) – Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Not only is Jesus our Rock, but His gospel is, too.  And we, His followers, are chosen by God, and we are precious to Him.  We are a spiritual house built upon faith in Jesus Christ, our Rock and our Redeemer.  (Ps 78:35) There is no Rock like ours who is faithful, loving, and eternal.

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”  (1 Pet 2:4-6)

We are God’s holy priesthood called to offer spiritual sacrifices to God. Spiritual sacrifices would include:

  • Obedience to God and His Word;
  • Cooperating with His re-shaping our values and lives;
  • Loving our neighbors;
  • Acts of kindness and service to others;
  • Praising and worshipping God; and
  • Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.   (1 Peter 2:17)

Remember that Jesus is our Foundation for all of life and faith.

The Word says that all who trust in Jesus will never be put to shame. Praise God!