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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

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I keep wondering why people keep losing focus on the big picture. People tend to dig in and drill down to the details and seek the nitty gritty. That somehow usually leads them down the road to what are called minor details. But when the details become a distraction, I often am reminded of that notion that the devil is in the details. Ain’t he, though?

We can get lost on that fact that God is talking down to Israel and Judah. We can get caught up to God calling them out of their name. We have to see beyond God pleading with them to return to Him with repentance and a rejection of other gods. We have to see the big picture is that God was wronged by both Judah and Israel and that this prophecy is part of how things play out between God and them as their inevitable punishment is on the way. If we lose sight of he big picture here, we will continuously wrestle with the minor details and miss the message that God has for us to glean from this Old Testament prophecy.

How God Responds to Sacrifices

“. . . Your burnt offerings are not acceptable nor your sacrifices sweet to me.” (v. 20, NKJV)

Think about what God is saying right here. He just finished sharing how this nation has refused to return to Him. In fact, He shares that they are not even ashamed of the abomination that they committed against Him. He shared that he had set watchmen to sound the trumpet, but they had hardened their hearts and refused to listen. Check out verses15-17 in chapter 6 to see what I am saying.

Compare this to God’s sentiments in Isaiah 1:10 regarding sacrifices and offerings. If you lined those verses up side by side, they might pass for twins or at least kissing cousins. They are so similar in the subject matter and the sentiments of God’s seething rage and fury. In essence, He is not impressed with the ritualistic displays of the so-called holy nation. Nor is He interested in their sacrifices and burnt offerings, even new moon celebrations and similar activities. God basically says that they can keep all of that.

What God Truly Desires

God’s desire is for more than sacrifices. God’s desire extends beyond burnt offerings. Even though it might be the first born or the best of the best from among your flock, it is not at the top of God’s list for what he wants from us.

Take these two verses to Hosea 6:6 and Psalm 40:6. These verse share that our offerings are not worthy of God’s attention when our hearts are not in the right place. Amos 5:22 says that God will neither receive or regard these offerings. In the following verse, he says he doesn’t even want to hear them sing their songs. In verse 24, He simply speaks on justice and peace. In Micah 6:8 adds: “And what does the LORD require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

What does this tell you about ritualistic religion and relationships?

What is God’s desire?

Doing Just as God Desires of Us

We cannot offer God anything in place of what he desires from us. All of what we bring forth is futile and meaningless unless we have sought to fulfill the desire of God. We cannot expect Him to be pleased with our outward activity if we have not cleansed and cleared out a place for Him in our hearts. God desires to be in a relationship with us as His people.

God back to chapter 4 and the calling for the people of God to circumcise their hearts. Look at this chapter where it is said that: “Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. . .” (v. 10, NKJV). Keep in mind that the circumcision was a sign of the covenant between God and His people. It was an outward sign of a spiritual commitment. What God is saying is that our spiritual commitment and connection with Him should be binding like a covenant and it should keep us tied to Him beyond the outward trappings of offerings, sacrifices, and the semblance of symbolic worship.

“And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless” – Matthew 12:7.

Think about it as we read chapter 6 this week. Be sure to tune in to our midweek livestream Bible study discussion on this chapter on Wednesday at 11 AM PST via YouTube. Look at it as a boost to your Bible reading and Bible study as you seek to devour the Word on your own.

Check out last week’s Bible Study session with Pastor Powell & myself

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The Promise of Prayer

 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. – 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

Prayer is a promising exercise.  Aside from its ability to help believers release tension and pressure as well as express themselves openly to God directly, prayer comes with a simple promise.

Prayer may not change the outcome.

The promise of prayer is that it can change our own outlook.

Prayer can change our outlook on matters both big and small.  It can actually alter our own perspective on our position within the midst of misery or the precipice of a problem.

“Prayers never die.” – E.M. Bounds

Once we pray, the promise still holds true.  The promise is all about change.

You may not God’s mind or His intention like the prayer of Hezekiah when called out to get his house in order through the prophet Isaiah.  Yet, prayer offers us power to change our walk along this journey of life.  You can make changes in your life due to your prayer life.

Here is how to tap into the ever-changing power and promise of prayer:

  • Put prayer into effect.
  • Take advantage of what God can offers you through prayer.
  • Always stay connected to God through an active and responsive prayer life.

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Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. – 1 John 2:7

John was pretty clear.  He wasn’t writing about anything new.  It wasn’t anything that the believers had not already heard, either directly from Jesus or quoted by one of the followers who had walked with Him during His earthly ministry.

It was the same as it was in the beginning.

There was already an “old commandment” and that was “no new commandment.” It all was the same.

Nothing was new.

Jesus said what needed to be said.  He said it all from the onset of His ministry.  He continued with it throughout His ministry.  He wrapped up His ministry with the same thing.

His disciples and apostles were to continue in what He taught them from the beginning.  New followers were to do so also.  No one was to add anything to it.  No one was to compel others to get circumcised or recognize new moons or other feasts to become at one with Christ.  All that it took was a faithful belief in Him as the Son of God, the Savior, and the propitiation of our sins.

Nothing was added.

We have all that we need in Him.  We have all that we are to follow in His Word.  There is nothing new to it.  There is to be nothing added to it.  It is totally complete.

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Who Cares

Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)

These are some comforting and divinely  inspired words of one of the few men who knew Jesus personally .  In fact, Peter personally knew Jesus, was personally called by Jesus, and even had Jesus share with him how the gates of hell would prevail against the church that the Lord would build “upon this rock.”

Read more: http://relijournal.com/christianity/casting-your-cares-on-christ/#ixzz2YUsDjgj6

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Rest in Him

God offers us peace if we will simply rest in Him.

Ever felt like it was a bad day getting worse?

Rest in Him.

Ever felt stress mounting up like a volcano ready to erupt?

Just rest in Him.

Trust God’s Word.

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
Hebrews 4:9

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Jesus runs down several blessed people in the famed Beatitiudes.  From the poor in spirit to the meek, the Lord shares how each group is blessed for upholding and withstanding.  Yet, I am intrigued by Jesus’ reference to the “peacemakers.” Rarely is such a stance taken by many people, particularly when you look at our economy and global situation.   Few people set out to make peace.  Most people want to make money, have fun, or simply succeed (whatever that may mean to them).  However, we need more peacemakers.  We need them to help make a difference.  We need them to help push a new agenda.  We need them to keep Wall Street and Main Street on their toes.  Become a peacemaker today.  Become a voice for those who have no voice of their own.  Become a peacemaker without delay.  There is little time to waste.  Become a peacemaker now.

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