More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

Mark 12:33-34
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

While we no longer literally offer burnt offerings and sacrifices we still do it in type. Many times I might rather love my neighbor, whoever that might be, from a distance rather than up close and personal. Just allow me donate some money for their cause, or pray for them, anything, but don’t make me become personally involved in their lives. Most of us like our own space and some of us like to be around friends and family, but even that has its limitations. How much time do I have for my neighbor, those people that I encounter in my daily life, business or work? Many times we might think to ourselves, “You know, I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to get involved with someone else’s.” If we love ourselves enough to care about our problems, our needs, our wants, desires and goals in life, then aren’t we mandated to care about the similar needs of others as well?
Most of us would agree that in a world where every time you turn around someone wants to sell you something or ask you to contribute something we begin to become rather cold and callused. We build these walls to try and keep these people out. It is true, we can’t be everything to everybody and we do only have so many resources, still, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves? All of the things that I do for me, am I willing to do them for someone else? Personally, I am not a real people person and the majority of the time I am quite content and comfortable to be by myself, doing my own thing, but can I really love my neighbor as myself from that position. Loving others is always stretching us. It causes us to move out of our comfort zone. It causes us to come out of the place of just making the token efforts of the burnt offerings and sacrifices and requires me to get involved. Jesus was involved with those around him and not just with the upper crust, the easy to get along with, the likeable or the ones that could benefit Him. He was relating to humanity at all levels, classes, sexes and races. He would relate with children and adults alike, to the whole and the broken, rich and the poor and to the sinner and the righteous. Jesus was not a respecter of persons and He was sensitive to the heart cry of people. There are a lot of people out there that just want to take advantage and use others. This tends to make us wary and cynical, but the Lord wants us to tune into the heart cry of others. Listen, by the Spirit to the real need in people. It often isn’t what we see being portrayed on the outside or in their actions. We need a spirit of sensitivity, not to be duped by everyone that comes along, but to see into the heart need of others.
As the ambassadors and representatives of Christ in this earth we are the channels of God’s blessing, healing, restoration and reconciliation. If we don’t take the time and make the time for the needs of others, then who will. If I want someone to love me, be sensitive to my needs and to just care then that is the love I need to be extending to others in whatever capacity I have to give it. It isn’t the religious gestures that I make and the token giving that the Lord is looking for. He is looking for my heart to be one with His heart in me. He desires me to love Him through the way I love others, through a heart that is really caring and concerned for the needs of others. So often we are like the Scribe, the Pharisee, “the Christian”, who walks to the other side of the road when we see our neighbor in need. We don’t want the inconvenience and the investment of our time and resources to get involved. If my neighbor is important to the Lord, then they have to become my priority also. We have to remember that our mission in the earth is not about us, it is about Him through the way that we serve others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are all part of the same pie.
“Lord, give us sensitive hearts and eyes to see into the real needs of others and to make ourselves available and willing to minister to those needs in what ever way we can. Give us your heart to really love others as we would love ourselves, not from a distance, but up close and personal. Help us to truly be the extension of your compassion, love and grace. May the world truly know us by our love and not just by our name and religion. Allow us to be willing to pay the price of the personal sacrifice required in the giving of ourselves and that which cost us personally to love You with all of our hearts; to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter who they may be.”

Blessings,
#kent

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John 4:1-3
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

The Journey is as Important as the Destination

Here is a scripture that we often read right over and don’t really think about as being significant. There are events that happen in life that cause us to go from destination to destination. Often, especially as men, we become only focused upon the destination and not the journey. As Christians our ultimate destination is heaven and eternal life in Christ Jesus. If that is all that we see then we will miss the importance of the journey that takes us there.
In John 4 it as Jesus is traveling to the destination of Galilee that He passes through Samaria and encounters the woman at the well. That encounter was a life changing moment for this woman and for her entire town. Most all of the miracles and works that Jesus did were while He was on His way from one place to another. It is important for us to not only focus on our destination, but to be open to the Holy Spirit’s work and movement through us as we journey to our destination. The journey is where we grow in experience and exercise of where we are going too. Divine providence often accompanies upon our journeys and it is important that we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He brings people into our lives that may just seem an inconvenience and annoyance to us. The Lord has just brought to mind a story I recently read that illustrates this very thing. I believe it is His purpose today to share this with you.

HAIRBRUSH EXPERIENCE OF BETH MOORE AT THE AIRPORT

For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.

This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane. I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least
of which is your ego.
I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair
hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I’d just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport… An impersonator maybe? Was a camera on somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let’s admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern,and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.
I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall.I’ve learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my
spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. ‘Oh, no, God, please,no.’ I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, ‘Don’t make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I’ll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don’t make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!’ There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, ‘Please don’t make me witness to this man. Not now. I’ll do it on the plane.’Then I heard it….’I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.’
The words were so clear, my heart leap into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainier. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, ‘God,as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I’m on this Lord. I’m your girl! You’ve never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man.’
Again as clearly as I’ve ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. ‘That is not what I said,Beth. I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.’
I looked up at God and quipped, ‘I don’t have a hairbrush. It’s in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?’ God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God’s word: ‘I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:17)
I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, ‘Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’
He looked back at me and said, ‘What did you say?’
‘May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’ To which he responded in volume ten, ‘Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you’re going to have to talk louder than that’
At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, ‘SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?’ At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Long Locks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, ‘If you really want to.’
Are you kidding? Of course I didn’t want to. But God didn’t seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, ‘Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don’t have a hairbrush.’
‘I have one in my bag,’ he responded.
I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger’s old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man’s hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don’t do many things well, but must admit I’ve had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I’d done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands,remembering to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man’s hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this soun ds so strange, but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I – for that few minutes – felt a portion of the very
love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.
The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God’s. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant’s. I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said,’Sir, do you know my Jesus?’
He said, ‘Yes, I do’
Well, that figures, I thought.
He explained, ‘I’ve known Him since I married my bride. She
wouldn’t marry me until I got to know the Savior.’ He said, ‘You see, the problem is, I haven’t seen my bride in months. I’ve had open-heart surgery, and she’s been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.’
Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we’re completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand,was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I’ll never forget it.
Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I’d acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.
I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, ‘That old man’s sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?’
I said, ‘Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!’
And we got to share.
I learned something about God that day. He knows if you’re exhausted,you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!
I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way … all because I didn’t want people to think I was strange. God didn’t send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.
John 1:14 ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,full of grace and truth’
Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting,’Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!’

Blessins,
#Kent

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