Tag Archive | religion

“Then Samuel said, Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as He does in obedience? Certainly, obedience is better than sacrifice, paying attention is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

Hello! How are you? I know my life is crazy busy…would you agree that yours is as well? It’s almost the end of October….time is marching on and life has a way of happening when you are in the middle of making other plans. The key is how one responds to life’s changes-especially since God is the one who is either making the changes; or allowing them to occur. “and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. “ (Deuteronomy 28:14)

You may ask, what does she mean about that? I will tell you. First, I want you to know that God is a Sovereign Ruler. In layman’s terms, that means He is in charge and nothing sneaks passed Him without Him knowing or His say so. But, we think He has no idea about what is happening to us, or, how circumstances affect us. We get so caught up in the drama that we lose sight of WHO our God is and WHAT He can do when we are in crisis-and even when we are not in crisis. The issue is what happens next. We take our eyes off Jesus and put the focus on our own self and our situations and we “go through the motions” of our alleged faith. I say “alleged” because we are not always living true faith that can be seen by others. Oh, we may act pious or religious, but, that’s what I mean by going “through the motions”. We can react mechanically because of the knowledge we possess, but the heart may have grown cold and turned from God during this time. “Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you,“ (Jeremiah 26:13)

Make no mistake…God sees and hears everything; and He sees what is actually within our own heart (disbelief, selfishness, religion, etc…) He will reveal to us what is in our heart because He is merciful and loves us and He will give us the opportunity to confess our sins to Him and repent (turn from) them so as to restore our relationship with Him. “However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:16-17)

God does not want our sacrifice of our time and money to “a cause” or, a church;, or a charity just because it seems like the right or good thing to do. It’s easy to write a check or to participate in something once, twice, or even monthly. But who are you doing it for? God? Or, self? God wants our heart attitude to be submissive to Him and His Word. He wants us to obey His will and applyit  to our own lives what the Bible says. He does’nt want us to be mindless robots without a soul or a brain, He just wants what is best for us as any loving Father (or mother) would want for their children.  We need to change our minds and focus on Him completely. We need to get our mind soley off of ourselves when all we have to offer this world is nothing but selfish ambition.  “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.“ (2 Corinthians 10:15).

God, through His Son, Jesus, understands the struggle we endure because He endured every form of struggle and temptation straight to the Cross at Calvery.  To paraphrase one of Michael Card’s verses “it was His love that kept Him hanging on the cross.”  God gave us a way to live and those that are His to behave like Him.  What I mean by “His” are those Born Again Believers that received Jesus Christ, the Messiah into their hearts and follow after Him. These are ones He calls His children. [Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel] But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy. “ (1 Peter 1:14-16)

Our lives should emulate God’s Holiness. We will struggle. We will fall down on our face (sometimes in shame or fear) and the enemy of our souls will continually whisper discouragement in your ears, but, we can continue on because the Spirit of Jesus lives inside of us and His mercies are new every day!. Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).” (Phillippians 2:12-Amplified) 

As you walk Every Day With Grace, know that struggles are guarenteed in this life, but indiffernce and religion are spiritual killers because we lose focus of God.  A small cost of obedience to God is worth so much more than all the wealth in this world. He owns everything and everything is His-so what does He really need? I think this song by Keith Green sums it up perfectly.  The song is convicting and liberating.  I hope you really think about the words and then take a good look at your life and the commitment you say have with God.

In His Love,

Melody

TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE-by Keith Green

To obey is better than sacrifice

I don’t need your money, I want your life
And I hear you say that I’m coming back soon
But you act like I’ll never return

Well you speak of grace and my love so sweet
How you thrive on milk but reject my meat
And I can’t help weeping at how it will be
If you keep on ignoring my words
Well you pray to prosper and succeed
But your flesh is something I just can’t feed

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want more than Sundays and Wednesday nights
‘Cause if you can’t come to me everyday
Then don’t bother coming at all

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want hearts of fire, not your prayers of ice
And I’m coming quickly to give back to you
According to what you have done
According to what you have done
According to what you have done

 

“For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths.” (Proverbs 5:21)

IMG_0493Hello! How are you? How is your week? Mine has been a very long week-life happens and circumstances occur that affect one’s family. So of course, when things happen people may think “where is God in all of this?” “I didn’t see anything like this coming…so how can God allow this to happen?” “Didn’t He know?” “Doesn’t He care?” Well, the truth of the matter is this…Yes! God does see specifically what is occurring in one’s life. He doesn’t get distracted and He is able to listen-regardless of how many people are on the planet. God’s part is not new and it has not changed. He is still sitting on the throne  because NOTHING and NO ONE  can remove Him from it.“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121)

Believe it or not, God has a plan and a purpose for your life. It could be something big like an Astronaut; maybe a scientist who discovers a cure; maybe the purpose is to be a Pastor or a leader of a congregation who truly has a Godly influence. It could be a “celebrity,” but, I’m a little hesitant to use that term because people tend to idolize people who have somewhat of a public face-even within some religious organizations. Anyway, one’s purpose could also be a mother  or grandmother who teaches and raises children to love and obey God; or to care for a sick child. It could be a faithful father, who works three jobs to support his family and to put food on the table and goes to church and worship together as a family. I know many today, do not have a family situation like this, but the family (father, mother, children) was God’s perfect design-for a purpose and with a purpose. The family relationship is something tangible that God uses for us to identify with Him. The purpose: “to be fruitful and multiply.” Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28) Please do not confuse having a family or a large family for that matter as breeding. I know there are people who cannot comprehend having more than “2.5” children in the United States, but God distinctly says that children are a gift and a heritage from the LORD.  “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5) So what else am I saying?  We have choices in our decisions; no matter what they are-the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Some choices may be clear cut; some may be difficult; and still-some may be confusing; and God sees how we choose-especially since He gave us free will. ‘For [God’s] eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps.” (Job 34:21 Amplified) “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15)

God is there for us no matter what-even we go through bad or sad times. You know those times when it feels like the world is closing in on you and you feel all alone and you don’t think you can go on. “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) We should take comfort that God is there for us whether we need to make a decision or if we enter into trials; either way, He is there. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  (James 1: 2-8)

As you walk Every Day With Grace, know that everything comes from God. “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:16-18) As we get to know God and His Word, we need to apply what He is teaching us and learn to be more Christ minded instead of earthly (or fleshly minded). “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of( all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:19-27)

In His Love,

Melody

“As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mark 2:13-17)

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Hello! How is everyone? I hope you are becoming more and more intimate with Jesus as you begin to spend time with Him.  I’ve been thinking (cause I do that), about  all the changes that are transpiring in world today.  There are things happening that I never thought I would see in this lifetime in the United States. There is a tremendous breakdown of how God implemented family and a revision of that through the laws of men without God.  I keep hearing people saying repeatedly “they can’t tell me what to do!” I keep asking, “who are they?” Nobody can give me a real answer. “You know” is not an answer. “You know”is not even a complete thought or sentence.

People think they have political problems and everyone and their brother are having their civil rights violated.  Oh, allow me to clear this up for everyone…this is not, nor ever has been, political.  The issue is moral. The issue is the matter of the heart.  “How can you say that? I am a good person!” Maybe in comparison to another person you are good.  Maybe compared to Hitler you are good. However, this is what God, Himself says “All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”(Romans 3:12) Jesus said ” No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:8) People don’t realize that God is not good-He is holy. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16) Sorry if I left you feeling doomed. There is hope and the hope and answer is Jesus.

In the above scripture, Jesus saw Levi, the tax collector and said “follow Me” and immediately he got up to go with Him.  Please understand, the tax collectors were hated among the Jews in Israel and for good reason. They worked for the Roman government, plus, they would tax their fellow Jew for anything and everything. In laymen’s terms, they would “shake down” their fellow Israelite for whatever they had. They were considered to be like a gentile-the lowest of the low. You see, the Jews were (and still are) considered God’s chosen people. They were set apart from other nations to represent God so to see a fellow Jew treat another Jew so badly in addition to siding with a gentiles was really despicable.

So what does Jesus do? He goes to Levi’s house where there are more tax collectors and sinners and dines with them.Jesus even brought His disciples to dine with them. They are  having fellowship by sharing a meal. These are the outcasts of society! I think Jesus did this for a few reasons: 1) to teach His disciples (then and now) to be loving, kind and non-judgemental to all people; 2) to bring hope and salvation to all people; and 3) for His disciple-to be set apart and not act like the scribes and Pharisees (religious people). What do certain “religious” people normally do when they see sinners/outcasts? They look down on them. They don’t really offer to help them or bring the hope of salvation to them. They don’t even let them know their need for repentance so that they can become God’s children. You see, religion excuses sin. Religion will let you die in your sin. Religion is man’s way of being right with God.  However, the Bible says “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)  See, relationship brings God to man. Jesus and His disciples showed kindness by sitting and eating with “sinners”. I find it humerous that the Pharisees asked the disciples-not Jesus why He dined with sinners.  I find their behavior arrogant and cowardly not to ask Jesus directly.They probably felt more superior than the disciples because they were mostly un-educated fisherman and were also former sinners so it was “ok” to look down on them where they could not find fault with Jesus-even though they tried. How did Jesus handle this situation? By speaking directly to them when He said “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The Pharisees could not truly forgive people. They only had laws (rules) as to how to handle sin. Only God can forgive sin, but one must repent (turn and walk away from sin) by asking Jesus into their hearts and lives. “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.” (Daniel 9:9) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Please know that God has made a way to bridge the gap between Him and mankind and that is through His Son, Jesus. “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) I have been sinner, pharisee, and sinner saved by grace through Jesus Christ. God’s mercies are new every morning. There is no sinner that is so “bad” that Jesus will not forgive when asked of Him.

As you Walk Every Day With Grace, I want to leave you with this scripture “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)