King Josiah: Jehovah’s King

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2 Kings 23:12-18
17 The King asked, “What is the tombstone I see?”
The men of the city said, “It marks the tomb
of the man of God who came from Judah and
pronounced against the altar of Bethel the
very things you have done to it.” 18 “Leave it
along,” he said.  Don’t let anyone disturb
his bones.” So they spared his bones
and those of the prophet who come from Samaria. 

Josiah, fresh of hearing a word from the Lord, organizes his people and resources.  He moves from site to site, tearing a part, burning up, and making waste of everything and those who lead people to offend and stands against the Lord.

I first wondered how many of us have that type of fire?

Angry upset boy, little man

Photo from Google Search

King Josiah was so convicted about the distress caused to the Lord by the sins of the people that He purposely went through and took down everything that was against the Lord.  He wouldn’t allow anything to stand that would dishonor God, and sought to please the Lord by restoring His house of worship to Him and Him alone.  Part of the problem with the church is a lack of Josiahs.  We lack men and women who are so in love with God that they seek to honor God in word and deed.

We must be committed to restoring any error of prior generations
that do not line up with God’s Word.

King Josiah was sincere also about restoring and correcting the error of generations before him.  He could no longer sit on his throne knowing that there was a Word and a way to heal the land.  He couldn’t sleep knowing that God was not only angry, but was set against His own people.  How many of us are like King Josiah?  He shows his true kingship in the way he acts to protect and direct his kingdom in a way that placed them in favor with the Lord!  If only we had more Josiahs!

We show true Kingship when our actions protect and direct the
kingdom in a way that pleases the Lord!

integrityWhile on his quest, they come across a sealed tomb.  He inquired of his men, and they remarked, “It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it.”

Let us not gloss over the statement, and the power of what is taking place here.  Before King Josiah, there had been men of God who had spoken for the Lord.  They confronted the people and the priest about their actions, warning and condemning them about the error and danger of worshiping and serving false God’s.  Not only was their life in danger from citizens and leadership, but they were to be committed and wholly committed to the Lord, or they would meet the grave. 

These men in the grave, met their maker much earlier than any of them planned to do.  They spoke truthfully and boldly, but a lack of obedience along with their words and delivery of the truth resulted in an unmarked grave marker, for their existence.

Sadly, the name of the Prophet was not listed or documented,  but what was remembered was the truth he spoke, and the commitment to the Lord displayed by him loosing His life for his God. 

Though their names were not documented, the name of the Lord was
proclaimed from that day forward by everyone that passed his tomb.

worship-fastHere King Josiah, 26 years into life, 18 years into Kingship, is confronted again with the gravity of the circumstances.  The men of the city say, “It marks the tomb of the man of God who…. (did) the very things you have done to it.”  I’m sure King Josiah had to realize that everyone wasn’t pleased with his actions.  And though King, there would be those who could and would oppose him because of his stance and actions.  Josiah realized that standing for God, and going against the traditions and norms of the people could make him unpopular and a target of wickedness.

How many of us are willing to stand for God if He is against
cultural norms and or tradition?

Never the less, King Josiah was not wavered.   He was so committed, that he continued on his tour to rid the city despite looking not just at the grave of the Prophet from Judah, but the text informs us that there was another unnamed Prophet with a tomb from Samaria.  The text says, “…so they spared his bones and those of the Prophet who had come from Samaria”  Yes, he wasn’t looking at one grave, but two graves.  Both of men of God who took a stand for the Lord!  He continued on.  He completed the work of the Prophet from Judah, fulfilling His Words by destroying the altar of Bethel.

I.  Honor those that served and sacrificed before you!

King Josiah responds to these facts, “Don’t let anyone disturb his bones.”  King Josiah demands that the grave of God’s servant remained untouched.  In this, he further honors those who have taken a bold stand before him.  We too must be committed to honor those who  have stood before us and with us. 

2.  The Forgiveness of God applies not only to Sheep but to Shepherd.

Though it might be challenging, we must understand that honoring them, further honors the Lord.  It also brings glory and honor to the mission we all share the load in carrying out.  We must carry this out, even when one of us falters, knowing that forgiving message God has us carry, applies not only to Sheep but to Shepherd.

3.  I’ve Counted the Cost; Now I’ll Complete the Conquest

What I love most in this moment in history is found in verse 19.  The text says, “Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed and defiled all the shrines at the high places…..”  In other words, Josiah continued his conquest.  He didn’t allow the fact that he had stood over two graves of Prophets stop him.  He didn’t let the fact that his own death had been Prophesied by Prophetess Huldah stop him.  He gathered his men and continued to lay to rest everything that stood against the Lord.

Decision-MakingToo many of us are stopped and or slowed down by our fears.  We count the past as the present, and are frozen by its results.  King Josiah continued forward, eager and determined to fulfill the work of the Lord, and to restore the people; even if it cost him is life.  Actually, because he knew who was in control of his life, he pressed on with more confidence, knowing that he would meet the maker and find peace.

4.  He Sacrificed to Save Others

He did this despite having God’s promise “…you will be buried in peace….your eyes will not see the disaster…” the Lord spoke to King Josiah in Chapter 22.  He knew that his future was not to suffer, but he continued the journey because he hoped to change the Lords mind about the fate of his people.

How many of us care about the people so much that we look past self?

We are quick to ask other to sacrifice for us as Kings; oxen that should not be muzzled and worthy of a double portion, but how many of us are making sacrifices beyond prayer, preaching and teaching for those whom God has entrusted to us?  We are quick to label ourselves as Shepherds after God’s own heart, but how many of us are troubled by the sin we see in our congregations and in our own lives?  King Josiah had little to gain from this conquest, but continued it because He wanted to restore a relationship with God and His people!

As Shepherds, wemust do likewise.  The Pleasure of the Lord is our desire, and the People of the Lord are our responsibility.  We must make every effort to direct the people into a right relationship with the Lord.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

To The Yeast of These!

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The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus.
To test him, they asked for a sign from heaven. Mark 8:12
He sighed deeply and said, ‘Why does this generation ask
for a miraculous sign?  I tell you the truth,
no sign will be given to it.” Mark 8;13
“‘Be careful,’ Jesus warned them. 
‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and
that of Herod.'” Mark 8:15 

What a powerful passage this is.  It documents the struggle not just of our Lord meeting the needs of the people gathered, but dealing with the critiques and criticism of those in power, and monitoring and managing the personal relationship with the 12.

discouragedJesus walks on to a dark stage, not with a spotlight soloed on Him, but as the Light peering through the darkness.  Misunderstood by those who walked with Him, envied,  frightened and threatened by those in power, Jesus safely navigates every situation, keeping Himself in a position to lead others, and complete His mission.

Jesus, though I felt He should be bothered by the irresponsibility of the disciples (forgetting the bread,  yet again), Jesus is concerned about the heart of those who are following Him.   He speaks to the 12 who are discussing the irresponsible action, and gets to the heart of the matter.  Though their action looks like simple irresponsibility, it is really more closely tied to what Jesus is encountering with the Pharisees, and initially with Herod. 

Though walking with Jesus, the disciples still had some doubts.  They were unsure no only about who He was, but what His true purpose was.  The reality was that their faith was being built as they were walking with Him.  Though they recognized the wisdom from Him, and the potential in Him, they belief and acceptance of who He was remained fragile.

confused personThese miracles performed, though for the crowd, had a great impact on the disciples, who held the miracle in their hands; participating in what they couldn’t understand, testifying about what they could not explain.  Though Jesus explained what He could, that which could not was relegated to just faith!

Their initial steps were from faith itself, and now these miracles
which aide in building their faith, now could become
the focal point of their faith! 

 

Jesus says, this is yeast!  And this is dangerous!  Brothers and Sisters,
I saw us in the twelve!

God has revealed Himself to us.  He has protected us and provided for us, directed us and disciplined us.  Amidst our walk with Him, He pours favor onto our lives, measuring out grace and mercy along the way, and allowing our life to receive blessings as we trust Him.

The miracles, we discover in Jesus’s dialogue,
were not to build their faith, but to ensure they would trust in Him. 

Yes, this is a fine line, but faith strengthened by miracles can prove to be dangerous.  Mind you, Jesus was fresh off the heals of two major miracles, but the Pharisees wanted to test the Lord and request further proof of who He was.  Jesus knew that this perspective could become the perspective of the disciples, and one lack luster performance or failed miracle could result in a ship wrecked faith.

I know what you are thinking?  I’m betting on black!  All chips in, but remember, Jesus was unable to perform miracles in His home town (except for a few healings) and he had to put the unbelieving crowd out to heal the young girl.  And there are many more instances of the importance of faith in the performance of miracles, thus anyone’s faith based on miracles is in danger of faltering.

worship-fastJesus says,  “‘Be careful…Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.'” He warns them.  How many people have suffered from the yeast of doubt.  Walking aimlessly, looking for signs and proof to validate what has been given to them through revelation.  Though God verifies and validates His existence, we have those who will yo yo in and out of belief because their faith waivers because their request for proof was denied.

Jesus refuses to give them a sign.  Though requested, He replies to them that enough has been taught and displayed to garner their belief.  He removes Himself from the constant burden of proof, knowing that there will never be enough proof for a heart that is hardened and or looking for a reason not to believe.  To those that doubt, even the proof provided will be challenged and put to the test.  They attributed His miracles to demonic influence at one point.  He knew that further proof wouldn’t make the difference.

Sadly, many have suffered this fate, and have shipwrecked finding reasons to doubt, as opposed to resting in the security of the relationship they have developed with the divine.   Where are you?  Is the yeast beginning to rise?   I like Jesus, hope this blog speaks to the doubt in your life, so that you will survive and not become the yeast of these.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

1 Loaf is Enough!

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The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
except for one loaf they had with them
in the boat. Mark 8:14
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them:
Why are you talking about having no bread?
Do you not see or understand?  Have your
hearts hardened?  Mark 8:17

Of course verse 14 took me on an emotional roller coaster ride.

Here the disciples are, traveling with Him on the heels of 2 major miracles.  He breaks 5 loaves and feeds the 5 thousand!  Turns around, breaks 7 loaves feeds 4 thousand!  Both time, they collect pieces of bread left over, and each time they encounter the crowd, they are not prepared to meet their needs!

It wasn’t that they lacked resources.  The text says that they forgot to bring bread, not that they had no bread to bring.  They simply loaded up the station wagon and forgot to bring lunch and snacks!  How is it possible that they could have these two experiences, and still be unprepared for what lay ahead.decision

Yep, you guessed it!  I thought about us!  How is it that you only have one loaf with you?   After you have survived stock market crashes, housing crises, economic and spiritual depressions, destructive weather systems, famine through shortages….and these are the rare destructive forces we encounter.  What about the day to day, month to month, quarter to quarter crises?  The rising cost of living, the every fluctuating job market, home and auto repairs, medical cost/expenses?  And you are telling me you still have 1 loaf?

At least the disciples could argue that they had access to other loafs, and for this situation, they were not experiencing lack, they were simply not prepared!  Why is it that we still find ourselves unprepared for today and for tomorrow?  How is it that the days requirements simply slipped your mind?  How much have you missed out on because you didn’t pack and plan properly?  I would assume not much, but in most cases, its safe to assume the are a few instances in our lives where we caused stress and chaos for ourselves and others because we did not plan!

chastizeHonestly, if I am Jesus, I probably dock the boat, grab some twine and fashion a whip (give them that temple action!!!)!  They have one job (probably had 10 jobs each)!  I preach.  I teach!  I heal!  I cast out demons!  I perform the miracles!  I do the interviews!  You Assist!   You have one responsibility!  I’m carrying all the weight, and you forget the bread?  Unacceptable!

They are shocked themselves.  Talking among themselves about the irresponsible actions of the group.  And Jesus addresses them.  His concern was not that they forgot the bread, but why they forgot the bread.  Jesus says that they are acting like Pharisees wanting a sign (probably write another blog on this one).

As I read, I was in complete shock!  Jesus says to them, “Why are you talking about having no bread?”  He wasn’t concerned about their irresponsible actions.  He interrupts their conversation and says, in essence, 1 loaf is enough!

“Do you not understand?  Have your hearts hardened?”  Jesus says, with me, you will always have enough.  There is enough power in me, enough compassion in me, enough love in me, enough mercy in me to make sure we can meet the needs of the people we encounter next.  1 loaf is enough!

selfconfidence

Picture from google search.

Frustrated, I read it again.  Doesn’t He see that they have been irresponsible?  Doesn’t He see they have been wasteful?  Doesn’t He see their forgetfulness as a misuse and abuse of His power?  The answer would be yes!  However, His concern is about their relationship with Him.

“Do you not see or understand?  Have your hearts hardened?” He continued.  He was more concerned that their conversation discussed their doubt to feed those that would gather, than their desire was to see Him do further miracles to establish their faith or solidify their belief in Him.   

worship-fastHaving said that, I wonder how many of my lack of faith conversations have caused God to be sick to His stomach.  Even though said conversation might have concluded with faith, the journey towards walking in faith is sometimes littered with doubt.  There are times when the Holy Spirit and I exchange stories.  She brings forth what God has done, and I recount what was denied and what failed!  She talks about how we have overcome, and I provide a detailed list of what’s yet to be completed and still undone.

Let us fix our conversations to reflect our trust and belief in God.  Now, this is no excuse or reason to be unprepared, but in the chance that we are, we must move with confidence, knowing that we serve a God that is not only willing, but fully capable of providing all our needs.  He will make a way out of no way!  And when we are focused on the 1 loaf, let us not be fearful, and acknowledge that 1 loaf is enough!

 

 

#PastorJDO3

 

The Capable One!

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So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown
and gather where I have not scattered seed?
Well then you should have put my money on
deposit with the bankers, so that when I
returned I would have received it back with interest.
Matthew 25:26-28

I was asked the question about the response of the Master to Servant number 1, shockedwhom he called Wicked and Lazy.  It was pointed out, and is noted, that the Master was aware of the ability of each Servant, thus He distributed the talents according to what they could handle.

 

He had the Resources, Ability and Capacity to Produce!

And this is why the Master is so angry!  See, He distributed the wealth to them according to their ability!  Thus the servant was capable of handling the 1 talent. The Master had watched him, and assessed his current state, and determined that he would be productive and effective with 1 talent to manage.

He called Him lazy and wicked because He wasted his ability!

confidentIf he was incapable and had shown no ability, the Master wouldn’t have given him the one to manage.   I think we make the mistake in this passage and in life of viewing the amount of talent given as a rating system.  We look at the man that has been given 5 talents of resources, and value his ability above those who have been given less.  This is not God’s perspective.  To God, they were all viewed as servants.  As servants they had different abilities, and the Masters desire and praise would be distributed to all equally (as seen with his response towards the man that had 5 talents and 2 talents).  He was pleased with productivity, not just the volume produced.

The Master is no respecter of person!

The Master didn’t distribute the talents according to His love or respect level for the servants, but according to the ability given to them and the management skills displayed by them.  He addressed them all equally, and responded them equally as seen in the interaction between 5 and 2 (although it is to be noted that the 1 talent taken was given to the one with 5).  He was pleased with them both, and gave them equal access to enjoy His happiness, and also the promise that their productivity would insure them opportunities to lead and manage in the future.

Wasted Potential and Productivity

God not only had a desire for the man to be productive, but for his resources to be productive!  Illustrated in the cursing of the fig tree, God’s creation is designed to produce not just for itself, but for all that come after it.  Even if man had no ambition and desires for himself, God, who creates for others and provides for others, made man to follow the example He set.

God is not just a Creator and Sustainer; He is a Developer and Producer!

God creates a lifeline!  He produces things that produce.  His creation is not only a seed, but is seed bearing.  God made us creative, just like Him.validate  We are able to think and reason; not only speaking potentially, but creating exponentially.  He places in us ability, which enables us to carry out His desire to Sustain things for His Creation, but to Develop things that will enable future generations to produce, and create wealth for future generations to come.

The mans laziness thwarted the potential of the talents given to him.  The were buried under ground, where as they should have been seeds in the ground, and building foundations on the earth.  Their ability was hampered by His unwillingness to use his ability. We must be aware that our ability to create and produce brings glory and honor to our creator, who gave us dominion and free will.  He enjoys seeing us experience what He created, and reviles in seeing us take what He provided and creating for future generations.

He Placed Effort in the Wrong Place!

shame on youThe text says that the man took the talent (estimated to be worth a years wages by some) and buried it in the ground.  He used his ability and invested his time in digging a hole in the ground, when he could have taken it to a bank and gained standard interest or negotiated for a higher interest rate.

The work placed in to protecting the money could have been placed into investing it.  It is likely that he took time searching for a place to bury the money that was away from people so that it would not be stolen while he too was away.

He will Never Know the Joy of Producing!

God rewarded the other servants with joy.  It was an extension of the joy the both felt when returning to the Master more than He had entrusted them with.  Furthermore, they were rewarded with future management, where as this servant would be cast into the darkness, and never experience the satisfaction of being productive.

Though he didn’t have the ability of the man with 5 to produce 5 more, or the man with 2, to produce 4, he was able with his ability to create 2, possibly 3 with extra effort.  Sadly he will never know!

discouragedWe all know someone, maybe its you, that recounts the moments and opportunities they had to advance their family and are saddened because they didn’t not produce when the moment was there!  Many of us have thoughts of grandeur, and hopes of becoming wealth or elite, but multiplication requires hard work and sacrifice.  While some inherit wealth, the vast majority of future wealth will come from someone who started with 5, 2, and even 1.  It is truly not where you start, but that you start, and that you work hard until you have finished what you envisioned!

#PastorJDO3

Skill Set of a 2, Mindset of a 5

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To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents,
and to another one talent.  Each according to his ability. 
Then he went on his journey.  Matthew 25:15

The discussion of the story of talents is always rich.  This past Wednesday, we discussed many aspect of this story, in hope that the hearer would not just be encouraged to be a better steward, but one that would look for ways to invest their money.

The story tells of a Master who had 3 servants that He decided to entrust with His wealth.  He leaves on a journey, and allows them to manage/steward His wealth while He is away.  They have no instructions, so they can invest as they choose.  They do this, knowing that He will return, and that each will have to give an account on what they did with the money he allowed them to have.

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While most of the discussion focuses on comparing the man with 5 talents and the man with one talent, I want to direct our attention to the man with 2 talents and press a couple of ideas for thought and discussion.

 

There was very little difference between the ability
of the man with 2 and the man with 1!

This is important.  The text says the Master distributed to the men based upon their individual abilities.  In discussion, Minister Wiggins defined abilities and used the word “skill-set”.  We are not aware of whether he was born with these skill sets, or developed these skill sets, but he had them.  We are all born with gifts/abilities, but they can be developed and sharpened as we practice our craft and become more knowledgeable about the subject matter. Decision-Making

It is my hope that many of us will be inspired to develop and demonstrate to God our capacity and ability to handle more, and in turn, be trusted with more.  My prayer is that those with the ability of a 2, will be faithful and productive and not loose what God has placed in their hands.

We discover from reading a major difference
between the man with 2 and the man with 1, was his mindset! 

While the man with 2 had a skill set closer to the man with 1, his mindset was that of the man with 5.  The man with one had a skill set closer to the man with 2, but accepted his present circumstances, and was fearful of failing because of his ability.  But not the Man with 2.  He used His ability to its full potential.

The Master is Fully Aware of Our Ability
and Distributes to us The Maximum,
bringing us to Full Capacity

A thought:

What if 2 was Maximum Capacity for This man?  Our assumption is that He could handle 5 because He created 2 more from the two he was given and ended with 4.

It could be that the man with 2 would have less efficient and effective with 5?  Maybe as opposed to doubling to 10, he would have have struggled to make 6 or worse, stumbled and returned to the Master with 4?

Parents, “It’s the difference of telling a 10 year old “Clean your room!” or telling them to “Clean the whole house!”  Chances are, with command one, you get a spotless room, and with command two, you get a neat house at best (or two clean rooms, and 5 untouched).  Victory-Lap-Retirement-750x486

The Master knows the ability of His Servants.  His knowledge of their ability is how He measure their capability.  Until we manage the 2 to a level that demonstrates a greater capacity, we will continue to manage 2, and possible be reduced to 1 or none if we prove ourselves to be incapable of managing what we have.  This is seen with the man that has 1 talent.  God doesn’t take his ability away, but removes the money he had because he didn’t use his ability to maximize and produce with the money he had be entrusted with.

What are you doing with your ability?  Are you being productive?  Have you ever been more effective with less, thus defining less is more, or had more, and achieved less?

 

#PastorJDO3

Burn Baby Burn: Micah 1:6-7

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Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble,
a place for planting vineyards.  I will pour her
stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations.
All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple
gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her
images.  Since she gathered her gifts from the wages
of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they
will again be used.”  Micah 1:6-7

Decades ago, The Trammps caused a rumble in the air waves, publishing Disco Inferno, further stamping the age of disco in the American Music scene.  Caught in the storm, many hit dance floors, moving and grooving, crying out “Burn Baby Burn” as the horns and snares, directed our limbs offering freedom from the stresses of the day.

The song writer wrote,  “I heard somebody say Burn Baby Burn”, which symbolized one adding more fuel to an already blazing flame, that was consuming all in sight.  This move would drive those listening, moving further to the point of self consumption, without anyone trying or able to stop the consumption!  As I read this passage, I imagined God walking into our homes and churches, seeing the fans of sin and corruption being stoked, and being consumed like the writer, but not moved to participate, but to engulf with a all consuming fire from above!  bonfire

I look at our community and at our churches, and often wonder what God would fashion with His hands upon entering today’s temple.  I’m sure He wouldn’t be too impressed, seeing us move without the Spirit and often stumbling through without faith!  Surely He wouldn’t be pleased with how we treat our neighbors, or how we marinate ourselves with sin and offer ourselves up as an offering.  Surely he would scoff at our refusal to confront it sin, and would be sickened as we serve sermonize sedatives and counsel that mask symptoms, and don’t address the problems.  Surely, He would listen to our praise, and investigate the heart of our worship, judging not only our sincerity, but our motives in what and why we do, and cry out to the top of His Lungs, “Burn Baby Burn!”

God instructs Micah to tell the people that He is going to personally take Samaria and turn it into a heap of rubble.  Much like He rained fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, God was so sickened by what He watched, that He determined that destruction was the best solution to a problem that had been given an answer, but had been refused to be solved or resolved.   “…I will make Samaria a heap of rubble…planting vineyards….”  God’s hand, will descend like a wrecking ball, leveling the things that have mocked Him and participated in the misleading of His people!  This grand city, the capital of Israel, will be leveled, its very foundation, cleared of its debris, and developed into a fruitful vineyard.

embers1He continues that “All her idols would be broken to pieces, and her temple gifts will be burned with fire“.  Nothing that has stood in between God and His people will stand.  The things considered gifts to God.  The things they believed pleased God in worship.  The things the believed made them more in tune with God, He says will be “burned with fire.”  Fire, one of the most destructive forces will be used to bring judgement on all things that have insulted God my standing in His place not only in the physical temple building, but in the hearts of His people!

God informs the people that their gifts are not acceptable!  They have stumbled into the temple, soaked and steeped in sin, offering offerings to move the debt and stain of the infraction they have committed, and God says of these gifts, “they will be burned to the ground“.   God, the ultimate accountants, takes account of each contribution, its contributor, and the contributing factors leading to the contribution, and then categorizes them as unacceptable!

confused personI wonder what He would say about our contributions?  Would He find the nearest flammable source, grab some stones  from the rubble and form a spark to destroy our unworthy gift?  He said of the gift, what tainted it was the contributor!  He describes them as prostitutes.  Saying they gained their wages and presented their offerings through unholy methods and offered them to a holy and perfect God and expected Him not to be insulted.

Their perspective was that He should be grateful that they continued to offer Him something because they had other gods they worshiped and needed to make sacrifices too.  Sadly, we are the same!  We forget that God’s return wont just be to judge the living and the dead, causing ever knee to bow and tongue to confess, but that He will also look at the saved, inspecting our fruit and also the church as His bride and its leadership.  Though salvation is ours, we will have to give an account for each word and deed in front of our creator.  It is my hope that He says servant well done, and not burn baby burn when it comes to my life and my sacrifices.

 

#PastorJDO3