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Category: Devotional (page 16 of 28)

Obedience Not Sacrifice

It seemed like a good idea.  I mean how could it be wrong?  The animals that were kept alive would be use to worship God.  There would be a large number of sacrifices later that day to glorify God.  On top of this the animals used would not just be any animals, but rather they were the best!  Yes, the Lord would be pleased.

Such, however was not the case.  Instead of being pleased the Lord was angry.  The decision to save animals for sacrifice would forever altar the nation of Israel. You see the story is that of King Saul.  He was commanded by God to kill all the Amalekites including their livestock.  However, he decided that it was better to save animals to sacrifice than it was to obey God.  He was wrong.  He allowed fear and the influence of others to keep him from following God’s commands and felt that worship would cover up his sinfulness. He learned the lesson we have to lesson:  that it is better to obey than to sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).

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He is, so we strive to Become

In 1 John 3 John describes to us some truths about Jesus.  John says He is pure (3:3).  John declares He is sinless (3:5).  John states He is righteous.  John in very clear language describes three important attributes of Jesus.

Why?  Although it is good for us to know these facts about Jesus so that we will appreciate Him more and better understand His sacrifice, John has a different ambition.  He wants us to become like Jesus.  John says that since Jesus is pure, we purify ourselves (3:3).  John declares that since He is sinless, then we should not practice sin (3:6). John states that since He is righteous then we should practice righteousness (3:7).

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Dealing with the Heart

Appearing righteous does not make one righteous.  A lot of people concern themselves with appearing righteous.  They take the time to learn the right lingo. They agonize over the right way of doing something so as to keep up appearances. From the outside they seem to be truly living God’s life.

But appearing righteous does not make one righteous.  Righteousness starts from the inside.  True righteousness is a matter of the heart.  It is a righteousness that does not concern itself with simply not murdering, but focuses on the root cause of anger.  It is a righteousness that does not feel justified in not committing adultery, while in actuality you have allowed lust to win.  True righteousness starts from a changed heart and attitude that then leads to a new way of living.

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Thankfulness in Paul–Saving Faith

You can find the earlier posts in this series here.

In Ephesians 1:15, 16 Paul writes:

For this reason, ever since I heard of you faith in the Lord Jesus…I have not stopped giving thanks.

“For this reason” is important for our understanding of this section.  To me it is best to understanding the “reason” being all that Paul has spoken of to begin the book.  In verses 3-13 Paul has a meandering sentence where he says (in far more words) God chose us (I’ve written on that before here).  In verse 14 Paul reminds them of the trust they put in the gospel once they heard it.  They had believed the message.

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Thankfulness in Paul–Laborers of Love

This post continues our series of looking at seeing how to be thankful by analyzing Paul’s prayers.  You can read the first two here and here.

In writing in Colossians Paul tells the Christians that he thanks God for their love (1:3, 4).  This love was not a generic love but a love that they had for God’s people.  They loved one another in such a powerful way that Paul had heard of their love.  It is was tangible.  It was evident. It was clearly seen.  They were a loving church.

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