Archive for the Sacrifice Category

Mercy not Sacrifice?

Posted in Bible Reading & Study, Christ, Devotional Thought, Family, Gospel, Matthew, Mercy, Sacrifice with tags , , , , on January 9, 2011 by Lee

The pastor of our church has challenged the congregation to journey with him through the gospels. So over the next 40 days we are striving to read through all four gospels. We (the Floyd 4) have been participating as a family. It has been a lot of fun reading and discussing together as a family. To see the M&M’s (my kiddos) interact with God’s word is really something.

Some nights go better than others. (Kids are not always so eager and honestly I don’t always have the energy by the end of the evening.) But most nights the attitude and spirit is good.

We are actually a day behind – but tonight we read Matthew 11-12. For the second time thus far in the book we have come across Jesus saying, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” (He states it in Matt. 9:13;12:8).

I found the statement odd at first. Why would Jesus not want us to sacrifice? Especially, when the implication and command to do so is found in so many places in scripture. But with closer examination we can see what Jesus is getting at.

Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (ESV). (The word ‘steadfast love’ can also be translated mercy.) The ‘sacrifice’ referred to by Jesus is the religious ceremony and observations of the Pharisees (religious). They made a life of doing this and not doing that and observing the sabbath – a very religious, do the right thing kind of life.

However, their religious observance proved to be a cataract on their eyes – preventing them from seeing what was really important. The showing of mercy. The practice of good not just the appearance of goodness. The meeting of needs not obligations. And the practice of principles and convictions not the reading of the rules.

God desires to see the extension of mercy from His follows to those in need of mercy. The practice of our faith is not found in the Bible study, the church going, worship singing, community building or even our praying. The practice of faith is found when our doing of the above results in the pursuit and practice of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control towards those we come into contact with each day.

Being more concerned about church attendance/participation than about our neighbor puts us the road to Pharisaical success. To show mercy puts us in a place of redemption. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” – Matt. 5:7 (ESV).

Lord help me be a person of mercy towards others – not just a man professing religion.

Sarah’s story – Voice of the Martyrs

Posted in Christianity, Persecuted Church, Sacrifice, Trust with tags , on January 14, 2010 by Lee

This video was sent to me by one of my students. A powerful example of the plight many brothers and sisters in Christ face because of their faith in Christ.

We Worship Relationships

Posted in Devotional Thought, Idols, Sacrifice, Worship on May 30, 2007 by Lee

I have been reading Matthew 10:34-39. The language of this passage as both surprised and challenged me at one time or another when reading it. But when I stop to look at its language and simply give it a bit of thought. I see some glaring truth.

Much can be said about the passage and the implication of what Jesus said is tremendous – but I see two things from the passage that speaks deeply about what we worship.

We Worship Relationships. Much of what we do on a regular bases is done to “pay homage” to our relationships. Now I realize that relationships are a key part of who we are and how God has wired us, but I do see from the language Christ uses in this passage is emphases on what we worship rather than Him.

We worship our relationships with other people (friends, family, and co-workers). Most of what we do in a day is in response to our relationship to that person. We work hard at our jobs to satisfy the demands of our boss or customer. We strive to meet the needs and wants of our spouse and children. We seek to spend time and do favors for friends. These are not relationships or things we should not do. Maintaining good relationships with others requires are effort and attention. But you see from the language of Christ (v. 35-37) how Jesus strikes directly at the place of some of our most important relationship and the place they rank compared to Jesus.

We worship ourselves. When we are not seeking to satisfy the demands of a relationship with someone else – we are seeking to satisfy the demands of self. (The two of these get so intermingled I think we have trouble seeing the difference.) We seek to find satisfaction, pleasure, peace. Yet peace is not what we are promised. Christ comes with a sword.

The attention of our hearts must be pledge to Jesus and no one else. A pledge fulfilled by personal sacrifice of all of life to Jesus – no matter what (the Cross.)