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

Despair

February 13, 2015

Despair

2 Corinthians 4:8
[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;

There may be one today that is in a place of despair. You are so low and you feel so worthless that you despair of life itself. Desperation is overtaking you and maybe you are even contemplating that the world would be better off without you. Beloved, despair is the work of the enemy. Never is it God’s intent to bring you here. God is not the author of discouragement. He values you even more than you can value yourself.
“You may say, “even God can’t love me the way I am.” God has never stopped loving you in spite of what you are. Though the world would despise you, God has not forsaken you. Even in the bondage of deepest and ugliest sin God’s heart beats for us. Even when men can’t forgive you, God can. He loves even the lowest and vilest of sinners, the greatest failures, the nobodies, the forgotten and the rejected. God didn’t come in Christ Jesus just to call out and save the golden boys and girls. He came for all and especially those rejected of the world. 1 Corinthian 1:27-31 says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
God is calling out to you in your despair today. Despair is the tool of devil for self-condemnation in order to destroy the precious gift of life and hope that God has given you. God is there for us when we turn to Him. It isn’t by the evidence of our feeling that we determine His presence it is according to the promise and faithfulness of His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us if we call out and believe on Him. The Lord wants to instill hope in your life today. He wants to instill in you confidence that in His eyes you are of great value and worth. No matter what your life has been or where it has taken you God can take it and use it for good if you surrender your all to Him. He is reaching out to you the hand of hope and life today. He is your lifeline that will keep you from drowning in the miry sea. Reach out and lay hold of Him. Lay hold of Christ and the precious promises for life and blessing in His Word. Jesus died for you as much as anyone else, reach out by faith and receive life from Him today.

Blessings,
#kent

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