Archive for the ‘sacrifice’ Tag

SONG FOR FALLEN SOLDIERS

Why did they have to die?
Each hero stepped up and said,
I will go.
I will protect you.

They were more willing
than brave.
What faced them
they met
with honor,
With the determination
to save others’ lives,
Not counting their own.

An intense struggle
became their lot.
Not turning back
became their practice
The reality they chose.

Kingdoms, nations, peoples
they carried on their backs
Whose destiny they handed to God,
With faith in the outcome.

When they fell
They counted not their loss,
But rejoiced in the safety
for those they loved.

Their sacrifice,
Preordained by God
is lifted before us.
They stand forever immortalized
as heroes.
Those who’ve kept us free.
Those whose first thought was,
I will go.

PSALM 40:6-8

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the Book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart'”(Psalm 40:6-8).

God desires us to obey the commands He directs toward us and to obey the Ten Commandments, above personal sacrifices and prescribed burnt rituals. Here David speaks of the priest and prophet Samuel’s experience recorded in 1 Samuel 15 in regards to King Saul. Saul and his army had just decimated the Amalekites as the Lord had commanded him to do. But Saul did not follow the Lord’s command to also destroy all the enemy’s livestock, but rather took them as plunder. Saul intended to sacrifice the best sheep and oxen to God, as was the Israelite’s religious practice. But God, through Samuel, communicated to Saul that obedience is required above sacrifice and burnt offerings. To fully realize this required an opening of the ears to God’s wishes, instead of one’s inclination to do what one thinks is best, as Saul did.

God, in His infinite wisdom, always directs us to do what is best for us. Samuel, as well as David, realized this. Sacrificing to the Lord is fine, but true worship of God requires obedience to God, first and foremost. This is a prime ingredient to spiritual growth. If we live our lives in line with God’s requirements as revealed in the Bible, we can also say, “Behold, I come. I delight to do Your will, O my God.” We can serve God with joyful hearts because His Law is indelibly inscribed on our hearts. Our obedience to Him flows as a wellspring from our hearts.

(Quoted Scripture from NKJV.)

EMBRACING GOD

A rich, satisfying experience, even in tough times, can be obtained only by making God the center of our lives. You may say, “But I want to be the center of my life.” I have known people who put themselves at the center of their universe. I was one of them. They are, in a word, selfish. Take another look at your heart. Do you want to love, to share, and to bless others? Well, you need to put God first. Only by abiding in Christ, or staying connected to Him, letting Him mold your character to the likeness of His own, can you be equipped to truly love others.

There is no love without sacrifice. Who of us can deny Christ loves us? He gave His life for each of us. He reconciled us to God. While abiding in Christ, He gives us the power to carve out those bad habits and those unloving behaviors and pitch them. Only then will we reflect Him and be a source of blessing to others.

You may wonder, is the act of blessing others, bringing happiness, the true meaning of life? Many philosophers as well as ordinary people have struggled with the meaning of life question. Some say we live to love others, many say we live for pleasure, while others are comfortable without an answer to this question.

God says in His written Word, the Bible, that we live first and foremost to love and obey Him, our Creator. But why love God, some question? The Bible stresses: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Solomon, the God inspired author of this verse, recognized that fearing God means to hold God in awe. Beyond that, to obey His Ten Commandments simply ensures our happiness because it acknowledges that we accept His being in control. He is a benevolent, loving God and He is above all other gods. To think the god of pleasure will bring us happiness is an illusion, because it showers us with only fleeting moments of bliss.

God promises us an eternity with Him if we but follow Him, accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior. We need not, nor cannot earn salvation through good works, although good works go hand-in-hand with an abiding faith in God. Instead, we believe in Christ, our Savior, looking to His perfect life and death. He died as our substitute to satisfy the wages of sin which is death. His Word says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). By repenting of our sins we show we love God enough to have Him reproduce His image in us. We no longer live for self, but for Him.

Christ beckons us: “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

When we follow Christ we are freed from the bondage sin creates. Christ teaches us humility and we no longer feel societal pressure to be the best. We can rest in being precious in His sight and will become all God has planned for us, all the while feeling His loving embrace. This, I think is an admirable goal and at the heart of the meaning of life.

(Quoted Scripture from NKJV.)

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