1 Samuel 15:22 Obedience And Sacrifice

Obedience

But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 

Obedience is something that most people find difficult to do. Wanting to do their own thing, the majority of people choose not to be obedient. They want to twist or bend the rules to their own favor. People want to do their own thing, their own way, in their own time. It is about self, not about God or others.

Saul had been told to completely destroy all of the people and animals of the Amalekites as he and his army went to battle against them. Instead of destroying everyone and everything, the men kept some of the animals for a sacrifice. Saul thought it would be good to keep those animals to be able to offer a great sacrifice to God. However, that was not what God had commanded him to do.

Although most people do not like to sacrifice anything, they will quickly sacrifice something rather than obey. In churches there are people who will donate a lot of money to the church or organizations or they will offer help in some ministry on a regular basis. Yet, at home or work, they do not live for God or obey His commands on purpose. They feel that their large offerings cover up their sins and puts them in right standing with God.

God does not want sacrifice if there is no obedience. In this case, sacrifice is trying to earn one’s way into heaven, rather than trusting Jesus for salvation. Believers are to obey everything God says and trust what He says first. Once the obedience occurs, then sacrifices can be done to worship and honor God.

Take a look at your own life and see how well you are doing at obeying what God has told you to do. God is interested in you obeying His every word, His word in little things as well as in the great things.

If there is no obedience, there is no love. Jesus said that if you love Him, you would obey Him. Love is greater than any sacrifice.

Once you love and obey God, then you may do the sacrifices as God leads you. Not the other way around.

Are you obeying God today?

I pray today that you will know God’s commands for your life; that you will obey what God tells you to do; that you will trust everything God tells you; and that your heart and life will obey God first before any sacrifice. 

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1 John 5:3 Love For God

 

Autumn river

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 1 John 5:3

Following various organizations can be a challenge for some people. The organization will have a lot of rules and regulations that a person must follow. Some of these commands may be how a person dresses, where he can go, what he can do, how he must speak, how much it may cost, and many other rules. The number of rules can become a challenge and a heavy burden for many people. They may even keep some people from joining.

Many people in the world see following God in this same way. They see what they think are many rules and commands that they must follow. This is often seen because people in the church lay out a long list of commands a person must follow in order to believe in Jesus or be a member of the church. In order to love God a person must do all of those commands. Some of these may be: how a person dresses, which bible translation he reads, where he goes to church, how much he must give to the church, and many other commands.

John states that to love God is to keep His commands, and that His commands are not a heavy burden. All of God’s commands are summed up in loving God and loving other people. This is not a lot of commands. They are simple. Do what is best for God and for others.

When a person gets wrapped up in lots of commands, he loses the sight of love for God. He sees God as a harsh dictator and not a loving Father. Then it becomes hard to love God or others.

In loving God one will turn from sin and be His witness to the world. He will want to tell everyone about Jesus first and foremost. It will be his focus in life.

Focus your life on loving God and loving others. As you do that you will fulfill His commands, to love God and others.

As you love God and others, God will give you the strength to turn away from sin and to be His witness in this world. Turning from sin and obeying God will no longer be a burden, but a great joy.

How are you at loving God today?

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will love God; that you will find joy and strength in loving God; that you will love others as God loves them; and that you will be a witness of Jesus to the world. 

1 John 2:4 Do Your Really Know God?

 

Sunset on ocean

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 1 John 2:4

Claiming to know a person is easy to say. It is common to hear about someone who has met someone else one time and they claim to know that person. Or they have read a lot about that person and they claim to know that person. While they may know a little about that person, they really don’t know that person, unless a lot of time is spent with that person in person.

Claims are easy to make, because they are just words. It takes more than just words to know a person.

All over the world there are people who claim to know God. Many will even go to church on a regular basis, carry a bible and be able to quote the bible. As they claim to know God and will talk about Him, they will also live their lives in willful sin and refuse to do what He is asking them to do. Others will claim to know him, will flee sin, yet, will not do what He asks them to do.

John says that if a person does not do what God asks of him, he really does not know God.

God’s love, mercy and goodness is so great that if a person really knows God, he will know His love, mercy and goodness. Knowing those things will cause a person to want to serve Him and obey Him.

Very few people want to hurt someone who really loves them. They want to do good to that person who loves them. God’s love is greater than any love a person can give. Jesus gave His life for each person.

If you, as a believer, claim to know God and really know His love for you, then you will want to obey Him in every area of your life, with every thing He says.

Do not be the one who claims to know God, yet, will not do what He says to do. Be the one who will do whatever God tells you to do. Show God the love for Him that He shows for you by your obedience.

Ask yourself how well you really know God today. Do you know His great, infinite love for you?

Are you showing you really know God by your obedience and love to Him?

I pray today that you will know God’s love to you; that you will know God’s commands to you; that you will do what God commands; and that you will love God as He loves you. 

Matthew 22:40 Only Two Simple Rules To Follow

Love God And Neighbor

“All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:40

Jesus was asked by some teachers of the Law what was the greatest commandment. He told them to love God and to love the neighbor. He finishes with telling them that all the other commandments are based off of those two.

People do not like to have a lot of rules and regulations to follow. They want to have their freedom to do what they want, when they want and how they want. Yet, they know that rules are a necessity.

Since rules are required, most people want to know what they are. In that process, they also want to know what the most important rules are. They want to know which rules will enact the harshest punishment if not followed. It will also let them know what they can cut corners on, because the other rules are not so important.

The challenge with having many different rules, is that it is difficult to remember each one. When a person does his taxes, there are thousands of different rules regulating them. It is difficult for a person to know every one of those rules.

People need the rules to be simplified to be able to understand them. The more rules that there are, the easier it is to miss one.

Jesus simplified all the rules into two. All one has to do is love God and love his neighbor. If that is done, all the other commands of God will be followed perfectly.

In order to follow these commands, you must ask yourself on a regular basis if what you are saying or doing is loving God and loving your neighbor. If your words or actions are loving God and your neighbor, you are following God’s greatest commands and all the other commands of God.

If they are not loving God or your neighbor, you have something you must change. Later in scripture you are told that to love God is to love your neighbor, and to love your neighbor is to love God.

There is now no reason for you to wonder what God’s commands are for you. They are all summed up in two simple little rules: 1) love God, and 2) love your neighbor.

Are you following these two simple commands?

Are you really loving God as you say you are?

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will love God with all of your life; that you will love your neighbors as God loves them; and that you will follow God with all of your heart.

Purpose Of Living On Earth

LifePurpose

Everyone you look people are busy about things in their life. Busy at work, at play, at taking care of the home, at taking care of children or parents, repairs, relationships, making money, paying bills, and the list goes on forever. People are always busy doing something.

If you are like me and my family, we are always busy doing something. We are always wishing things would slow down so that we could breath. There is always something to do and a whole list of things we are behind on in getting done.

Then comes the questions of what is supposed to be done. What is the purpose in everything that is being done? Does the things that we are doing have any real purpose or is it just being busy?

Many people wonder what their real purpose is. They want to know why they are where they are and what they are supposed to be doing. They wonder if there is any real meaning to what they are doing.

Ecclesiastes 12_13

Solomon had written Ecclesiastes looking at life and the purpose of life. He was the wealthiest man who ever lived in all of history. He makes Bill Gates look as though he has not even started to make any money.

Since Solomon had so much money and fame, he was able to have and do anything that he wanted. This book that he wrote, looks at everything and sees everything as meaningless. Things that just happen over and over. Everyone lives and dies, and can take nothing with them…meaningless. Solomon searches for meaning in many different things, wisdom, knowledge, joy, wealth, entertainment, and work.

meaningless word on concrette wall

Yet, in the final verses of the book, he draws everything to a final conclusion. The purpose of man is to fear God and keep His commands.

To fear God is the first thing Solomon lists as a duty of all men. This is to have a reverence for God. You are to respect God for who He is.

Who is God?

He is the One who created everything, including you. He created this world for man to live on and He created every person and everything in this world. Since He created it all, that means He is the Boss, the One in charge, the One who can make all the rules.

Is God In Control

This slides into the second duty of man that Solomon listed: man is to obey God.

A lot of people will claim that they love God. They will go to church every Sunday and wear their Sunday best. It all sounds good, until you look at their life. Then the question of whether they are really loving God or not comes up in deciding whether they are really obeying God.

Some will live in sinful lifestyles or do not show Christ in any area of their life, other than at church. Is this really obeying God? Claiming to love God is easy, but proving it is another matter, though not difficult.

1 John 5:3 New International Version (NIV)

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

John said that for a person to love God, he must keep His commands–obey Him. He finishes this verse with saying that the commands are not burdensome. In other words, they are not that difficult to keep and obey.

Obedience Is An Expression

When talking about the commands of God, many people look to the Old Testament and the book of Leviticus and see hundreds of laws. They see that and say that there is no way they can obey all those laws.

Jesus made the laws of God very simple. He summed the entire law up into two very simple laws: 1) Love God, 2) Love others.

Matthew 22:37-39 New International Version (NIV)

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

All of the commandments God gave to mankind are summed up under these two simple commands. When you love God, you will obey His commands. When you are obeying God, you are loving Him. And when you love God, you will love every person. And when you love every person, you are loving God. These go hand in hand and cannot be separated, because God is love.

Everything that you do must be about love. Either love to God or love to another person. All of it sums up into love for God.

Now to get back to what I was talking about at the beginning, the purpose of life and the busyness of life. Many people are questioning their purpose in this life and why they are running so hard.

Questions

As you go into each day or plan for days to come, are you seeking out God’s purpose for you? God has a reason for you to be where you are, when you are there, and for what you are going through. Ultimately it is to bring you closer to Him and be a witness to others to bring them closer to Him.

As Jesus left the earth, He told the disciples to go into all of the world and make disciples of every one. They were to point people to Jesus and teach them everything Jesus taught them.

making disciples

This command has not been pulled back to this day. God has given you the same command to tell others about Jesus. This is showing the ultimate love to any person on this earth. It is also showing the ultimate love for God. Jesus died for every person and it is your job and my job to tell them about Jesus and what He did.

Look at your day and ask yourself if what you are doing is fulfilling this command in some way or another. No matter what your job is, you can still be a witness, you can still tell others about Jesus.

If you are not fulfilling God’s command to be a witness in this world, then you need to make some changes in your life. Your life will be meaningless and without purpose, if you are not doing God’s commands and loving Him and others.

When you are busy doing God’s work, you will have strength that will not fail. God will continually open doors for you to be His witness. The doors will never stop opening, unless you close them. In doing this God will restore your energy so that you may continue to do more of His work. In this, you will find your purpose for where you are and what you are doing and what you may be going through.

God Be In Control Prayer

I trust and pray that you will find your purpose on this earth today. Live for loving God and loving others.

 

Jeremiah 2:1-2 Do You Still Have First Love?

The word of the LORD came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the LORD says: “‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.'” Jeremiah 2:1-2

When a person is in love to the point of getting married, he is usually in head over heels in love with the bride. The bride is also madly in love with the groom at the point of getting married.

Both of them look at each other as the greatest in the world, that there can be no fault in the other. They desire to spend time together, doing anything and everything together. Often the things they do will include doing crazy little things together. All of this is because of love.

The first months together as a married couple will be seen as fully devoted to each other. They will follow each other everywhere one goes, regardless of how hard it is. This is first love devotion.

The sad part is that many marriages do not stay that way. Many, and often within the first year to two years, fall out of that first love for each other. They begin to get discontented with each other. Many begin to wonder what they ever saw in each other and why they loved each other.

God is looking at Israel in these verses and remembering their first love for Him. They started off dedicated to Him and following Him everywhere. Israel had forgotten their first love and dedication to God. The chose to not follow Him any more.

Take a good look at your life. Remember back to when you first chose to follow God. Think of the reasons why you chose to follow God. Think about how much love you had for God and what you would do for Him at that time.

Is that love for God still the same?

Or have you allowed your love for God to fall away?

Many people, like Israel, have chosen to let their crazy love for God to calm down. They are no longer madly in love with God and begin to not follow Him everywhere He goes.

Renew your first love and devotion to God. Make Him first and foremost in your life, and start following Him again through the wilderness of this life.

I pray today that you will remember your first love for God; that you will be dedicated to God; that you will follow God everywhere; and that you will tell others of your love for God.