Hearing and Responding to a Word from God

The Lord placed it in my heart to share with you all today when I heard a whisper of the Holy Spirit that changed my life forever. When I was an active duty Marine in Okinawa, Japan, I received orders to Austin, Texas. During that time my wife and I fell apart from the church and my PTSD was really bad. So bad, that when my kids would try to hug me I was dodging them and go into a room because I would have an anxiety attack. My marriage was falling apart and I was an alcoholic. I drank around a bottle of Courvoisier every night to calm my nerves and to help me forget about my problems. Out of pride, I would not accept that I needed help and intercession, and because of this, my life was spiraling out of control. Then one sunny afternoon I was driving between bases in an alley and I prayed a very simple, yet sincere prayer to the Lord. I laid my pride at the foot of the cross and I spoke to Him as the loving Father that He is. I told God that I was failing as a husband, a father, and as a Christian. I told Him that I needed help and I knew that I can’t handle my problems on my own. I told God with all sincerity that I would do whatever He wanted from me and I meant it. I gave it all to him. My anxiety, my depression, my relationship with my wife and my parenthood.

Then I heard a whisper from behind me and my entire body froze and felt at peace. I heard two words that would change my life forever. I heard “stop drinking.” At the time I could not understand the significance of these words but I said: “yes Father.” I ran home and told my wife what I heard and that I submitted myself to the Lord. I told her that I quit drinking and that I needed to change. However, this is not the end of my story. Shortly after coming back to the United States, I required my third shoulder surgery and the day I got off convalescent leave I was sent to a logistics chief conference in Houston, Texas. During that week conference, I was feeling severe back pain and was rushed to the emergency. It turns out that my right kidney was four times the size of my left kidney and the majority of my urine was blood. They originally thought I had cancer, however, the urologist in Austin found out different. It turns out that I was having kidney failure and required emergency surgery to not die within the week.

In the questionnaire from the doctor, he was looking at my blood test results and said that I was lucky that I was no longer drinking. He said that if I would have had one beer, a shot, or even a glass of wine, they would not have known why I died until my autopsy because my toxicity levels were so high. You see, the funny thing about hearing a word from God is that you never know when or why He tells you something or places something in your heart. However, if I did not hear and receive His message and act out of faith and obedience, I would not be alive today. Since then, I have been fully transformed by the power of the blood of Christ and have dedicated my life to help others hear a word from God.

Now that I shared with you all a little bit of my testimony, I would like to share with you how not only to transform your life for the better but how to build a stronger relationship with the Lord so that you can hear His voice in your heart. There are five simple steps that if adhered to, will allow you to be transformed and renewed daily.

The first step is to engage the Lord is through prayer. According to 1 John 5:14, God always listens to our prayers. Not only does He listen to our prayers, but we can also have confidence that he hears us. What this means is anyone can listen to what you say, however, only someone that truly cares about your well-being will hear you. God cares so much about us that He hears ever petition that we make to Him. Regardless of where you are in your walk, He wants to hear from you. He wants to fellowship with you through His Spirit. Therefore, prayer is the first step to hearing from God. You are opening a line of communication with Him.

The second step is to reflect on your problem and repent of it. Often times, this is the most difficult part of the process, especially if you are already saved. This is because you are too busy worrying about everyone else’s sin that is worse than yours that you cannot see the log in your eye (Matthew 7:1-5). Our harsh judgment of others and our pride will always get in our way. Another common problem at this stage is being able to fully reflect on your problem. Often times we tend to give the Lord symptoms of our problems and when we don’t see a resolution in our lives we can think that the Lord is not listening to our problems. However, that is a lie because 1 John 5:14 tells us differently. In this stage, you really need to dig deep and find the root of your problem. If you are feeling depressed or anxiety on an issue, what was the original cause of that problem that initialed a void needed to be filled in your heart? If your children are not walking with the Lord, are you praying for their lives to change, yet you are not living a life of example? It takes deep meditation and reflection to identify the root causes of either your sins and problems. It may be ugly, but it is needed. This is why Christ died on the cross. He takes our sins and our problems and exchanges them with righteousness allowing the Lord to take hold of our situations (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The third step is to fully leave the problem at the foot of the cross. God has your problem once you have fully given Him the root of the problem. It is His now and no longer yours. At this point, you need to renew and transform your mind (Romans 12:2). If you keep thinking about your issues, then you have not fully given it to the Lord. You see, your mind is a very powerful thing. How you think will either give you blessings or take them away. So, get up every morning and give a prayer of Thanksgiving to the Lord. Start your day on a positive note and you will see what it does to your soul. Get up and tell the Lord thank you for taking away your depression, your anxiety, your addictions, for fixing a troublesome relationship. Thank Him for the healing and restoration that He has granted over your life. When you can get up and honestly proclaim the victory, the victory will come.

The fourth step is to listen and receive a word from God. On a daily basis, challenge yourself to read a chapter of the Bible. Think about what it is teaching and how you can apply His word into your walk that day. As you start to do this, you will start to see more of the transformation from the outside. Your relationships with people will get better and the healing you are petitioned for will come. When we walk in the Spirit, your desires of the flesh are no longer gratified (Galatians 5:16-18). When you walk in the Spirit, you are claiming the fruits of the Spirit in your life. You will be filled with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). With these fruits in your life, there is no problem you honestly worry about. There will be no room in your life for fear and stress.

The last step is to act in faith. You will see as your life is filled with the Holy Spirit, the Lord will place something in your heart or in your mind. It may make you uncomfortable at times, but you must trust His voice and act in faith. It can be something as simple as paying for someone’s cup of coffee or helping a single mother with her children or as complicated as walking up to a stranger that the Lord tells you to pray for. Even if they are mean looking, follow where the Spirit is guiding you. When we do this, we are not only being obedient to the Lord, but He will be able to use us to do His will. You never know if you are the answered prayer for that person. That person could have been praying for a sign that God is there to not commit suicide or that someone cares for them. Your lack of acting in faith can cost them their life or even their soul. I know it may sound extreme but brothers and sisters, this is an everyday reality. It is when we can be trusted like Job that your fellowship with God can change lives. He will be able to use you and speak to you because you are transformed and ready to do His will on earth.

Now, the reason why I shared my testimony is to share with you all that you do not have to hit rock bottom to finally give your problems fully to the Lord. I shared my story with you to show you that you can hear from the Lord in your everyday life. This process that I shared with you all has taken me years to get to where I am today. This process is known as the “sanctification” process. This does not happen overnight, however, it can be done and your relationship with the Lord can grow from the process. I am living proof. Even though we all fall short sometimes does not give us the excuse to not try. Give this process a try and see how much freedom you will feel when you fully cast your burdens on the Lord (Proverbs 16).

I would like to finish this lesson with a simple prayer. It was a simple prayer and two simple words that the Holy Spirit gave me changed and transformed my life forever. Heavenly Father, I pray that everyone reading this can receive the message you are trying to share with them. I pray that their suffering, their addictions, their unforgiveness, and their pride can be submitted to you at the foot of the cross. I pray that every one of us can honestly reflect on our lives and submit our struggles to you. I also pray that everyone can be filled by the Spirit and overcome by your peace. I also pray for you to place a transforming word in their hearts or minds. It is on that word that they can fully come to know and understand their purpose in life. I also pray for everyone here today to see themselves not as they see themselves but how you see them. An heir to the kingdom of heaven and a child of the most high God. So, loved that you brought your begotten son Jesus Christ down to earth to be beaten, humiliated, and die for their restoration. It is upon this sacrifice that we have the gift of your Spirit to guide our daily lives. Father, I know that we are not worthy and that we fall short of your glory. However, I am grateful for your son’s sacrifice and I pray that you give us all the strength to live up to that sacrifice, Amen.

He has risen!

Good Friday and Easter Sunday are instrumental to all believers and disciples of our messiah Jesus Christ. It is a glorious celebration for all to come together and celebrate what Jesus did for all of us, sinners, who did not deserve his love. However, we received it anyways when he laid pierced on the cross for all of our sins and transgressions against our Heavenly Father. So before I move forward to this message, I just want to thank Jesus for helping me find my true self because I was lost in this world. I constantly lashed out to those who most loved me and it was not until I was saved by Jesus, that I knew how much change I needed in my life. Many have read my personal testimony, but if you have not, it is on my main page. It wasn’t until after I submitted to Jesus that I have been fixing all my transgressions by sharing his love to everyone I met. I just want to give Jesus thanks for my wonderful wife and four children that I am blessed to raise, teach and love. Now if you are ready, lets begin!

It was written, ‘When Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and told them as they were walking along, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the high priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to unbelievers to be mocked, whipped, and crucified, but on the third day he will be raised,’(Matthew 28:16-20, ISV). Jesus knew what was meant to happen to him. He knew it was necessary to deliver us from the law to a state of grace. I get choked up when I read this scripture. I can’t imagine what was going through Jesus’ mind knowing what was in store for him, but he continue to do what God wanted of him. It must have been on his mind to the very last minute before he was taken after Passover. The amount of love Jesus had not only for all those who loved him, but all who hated him and every future generation. That kind of love can never be measured.

John wrote, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, I tell all of you emphatically, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces a lot of grain. The one who loves his life will destroy it, and the one who hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me. And where I am, there my servant will also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him,” (John 12:23-26). Jesus knew that he had to plant the seed of love and grace in all of the worlds hearts and mind. This could not happen without his sacrifice. The end of his death would signify the foundation of our faith. Jesus’ death allowed us to be glorified through his suffering and allowed us to be sanctified by being his disciples. Only when we suffer like Jesus did so we can truly enter the Kingdom of God. 

Paul clarified this in Acts, “As they were proclaiming the good news in that city, they discipled a large number of people. Then they went back to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to continue in the faith. “We must endure many hardships,” they said, “to get into the kingdom of God,” (Acts 14:21-22).

After Jesus suffered and paid the ultimate price for all of us, the high priests and Pharisees gathered before Pilate. They petitioned to him to secure Jesus’ tomb because Jesus stated “he would rise after the third day.” They were scared that Jesus’ disciples would steal his body from the tomb and cause an upraising. So Pilate had a stone seal the tomb of Jesus and had guards and a seal on it (Matthew 27:63-66).

What fear these people had to have to take such extremes to ensure Jesus’ body could not be touched. They also wanted to disprove everything Jesus taught. I am confident that in the back of their minds stood the question “what if ?” We all know what happened next…

As it was written, ‘Jesus asked her, “Dear lady, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she told him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him away.” Jesus told her, “Mary!” She turned around and told him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus told her, “Don’t hold on to me, because I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I’m ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” So Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord!” She also told them what he had told her,’(John 20:15-18). 

When this event happened, it was confirmation for everyone that Jesus was the messiah and that all of his teachings were valid. This also showed everyone that he fulfilled the prophecies of the old testament. When Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses, the rush of emotions for these woman must have been enormous. The feeling of happiness, sadness, relief and reverence. They instantly started to worship Jesus at his feet. I truly wish I could have been there to be the first to worship our risen Lord before he ascended back to heaven.

After Jesus defeated death, he taught his disciples and thousands of others for 40 days before he ascended. The Pharisees even tried to bribe people to say that they did not see Jesus. What fear must have been in them to do this! Then Jesus told his disciples about his great commission.

Matthew recorded it as, “ The eleven disciples went into Galilee to the hillside to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him, though some had doubts. Then Jesus approached them and told them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:16-20). 

This message is not only about what Jesus did for us, but how we can repay him. In Jesus’ great commission, he told his followers to not only be disciples of him, but to make disciples of all people in all nations. Jesus told us all what he expected of us!

Disciples are disciplined in not only studying Jesus’s teachings, but actually living it! As Christians (disciples of Jesus Christ), we must first build ourselves up and work with the Holy Spirit to mature us spiritually. Then we are to turn around and teach our families. We must first make our wives and children disciples before we can move outward into the community. This is a lesson often skipped by many, but I am not throwing stones like the Pharisees to the ones who do this. I have been guilty of this in the past. You cannot disciple others while you are letting your family live in condemnation. After doing your primary duty in life (ministering to your family), then you can move outward. Share your testimony and share the gospel. 

This celebration is not only about what Jesus did, but what he called us all to do about it now! This is how we can truly honor Jesus for his love for all mankind. We are his disciples, his ambassadors for his love, and the example for others to emulate who do not yet know him. We need to take time during this celebration to remember to carry our crosses.

If you have not been faithfully following Jesus’ teachings, then take some time today before you go to church and pray to him. Give Jesus thanks for everything he did for all of us, sinners, and then give thanks for what he has personally done in your life. Then align yourself to his ministry and truly honor him. At the end of the day, everything Jesus did for us is to be shared with others. So please submit yourself and be his disciple.

May God bless you all!

The gift of prayer

Jeremiah 10:23-24

LORD, I know that a person’s life is not his to control, nor does a person establish his way in life. 24  LORD, correct me, but with justice, not with anger. Otherwise, you’ll bring me to nothing.

When reading Jeremiah’s prayer to our Heavenly Father, he fully understood that His ability to direct our lives is so much better than we can ever do.  Many times we are afraid of God’s power and are even scared to pray in a way.  However, we need to stop fearing God and allow Him to work completely in our lives.  The Lord will give you the wisdom you need to understand Him at the right time when asking for answers.  This is not the end of this lesson though, you’re not getting off that easy!  Jeremiah’s prayers was one of adoration.  This was a common type of prayers in the old testament.  I would like to ask and answer some questions today about prayer such as  how often does the average Christian pray, how often should we pray, and what are some major types of prayer?  If you are ready, let’s begin.

How often does the average Christian pray daily?  When researching this question with online polls and sources, Beliefnet was my favorite.  They found that an average of 64% of Christians pray daily and the biggest part of their prayer was for their family.  That number was a little over 56% of their prayers.

How often should we pray?  Ephesians 6:18

Pray in the Spirit at all times with every kind of prayer and request. Likewise, be alert with your most diligent efforts and pray for all the saints.

This scripture states to pray at all times and for all kinds of reasons.  When we pray it should not just be before meals or because you feel you need something.  It should go much deeper than that.  To have an effective prayer life takes dedication and discipline.  I used to think I had a good prayer life, but some time ago I was in a bad situation and prayed to my Heavenly Father for resolution just like most Christians would do. He faithfully answered that prayer, but I felt a little uneasy about the entire situation.  I felt like I just treated God like a personal genie.  I started to think about most of my prayers and I noticed a majority of them were for me or my family.  That was about it.  I realized this was not fair to God.  

Now imagine a stranger keeps walking up to you asking for $100.  You give it to him to help and then he keeps coming back.  You keep helping him because of your gracious heart, but you notice a pattern that that person is not seeking a personal relationship with you.  They just want, want, and want some more.  I don’t know about you, but after a while I would stop helping that person until he got his priorities right.  Now think about how many people pray to God on a daily basis, how many of them are sincere and pure of heart?  Many of us (I used to be one of them) ride off of grace.  I did not want to do that anymore and some time has passed.  A prayer journal filled and seminary school completed, I would like to share with everyone what I have learned.

What are some of the major types of prayer?  I will be listing them below.

Prayers of adoration:  How many times a day do you take some time and be in awe of everything our Heavenly Father has created or just how amazing He is?  Just look out of the window at everything He created and say “Lord your are awesome and mighty.”  God wants to hear that because we were created by Him to adore Him.  Colossians 1:16 mentions that all things were created by Him and for Him.  Everything is His and nothing is truly ours.  Just that fact alone should leave you star struck.  I know I am.

Prayers of confession:  As seen in Nehemiah 1:5-7 and Daniel 9:1-19, they can deal with the sin of a group of people or it can be about personal sins as read in Psalm 51.  When we pray for our past sin’s is one thing, but one must sincerely repent, then seek forgiveness.  It is not automatically forgiven just by a quick prayer like many like to believe.  Proper repentance will be rewarded with forgiveness by our Heavenly Father.  What about praying for the sins of others?  When done whole heartedly and for the right reasons allows the Holy Spirit to put conviction in their heart to turn from their sin sooner or later.  It is up to us to not to stop praying for for sins and for every sinner.

Prayers of thanksgiving:  This type of prayer is about realizing what God has done for you in your life and the blessings He has bestowed upon you.  This is where you give thanks to the Lord for protecting you, providing nourishment, clothes on your back or anything else He has blessed you with.  This type of prayer is very humbling because you acknowledge the Lord for as being your Creator, Provider, and Father.  You also acknowledge that He deserves all the glory and all of your love.

Prayer of supplication:  This is the last type of prayer I will be writing about today and sadly enough it is the most common.  This is when you need something and you ask God to provide you with it “if it is in His will.” Many Christians prayers are prayers of supplication as stated by Beliefnet.

Understanding these different types of prayers is very important.  I am saying this because no Christians prayers should be one sided.  It is up to us to dedicate the time everyday to pray to our Heavenly Father.  He deserves this and much, much more.  I am asking you to do the impossible and pray for the entire day, but make some time for Him.  Some simple examples could be as simple as saying a prayer of adorations after waking up.  Maybe a prayer of thanksgiving added in sometime after that.  If you realized you have sinned, stop right there and then and sincerely repent and humbly seek forgiveness from our God.  If you are going through something bad or are lacking nourishment or something else important, say a prayer of supplication.  Try praying before every meal and take some time to glorify His name some more and thank him for your sandwich he has blessed you with.

At first, this may not be easy to do.  It was not easy for me at first, but when you get in the routine of praying multiple times a day it is extremely humbling.  As time goes by you will want to pray more and the time will fly as you pray.  You may even feel convicted to pray for and with others. This is what God wants from us in the aspect of prayer.  

I pray that this message reaches whoever needs it. Please have a blessed day and let me know what you think.  Is there something else someone would like to add? Please comment me and let me know so we could fellowship with one another. 

God bless you all!

Can you enjoy your life?

Ecclesiastes 2:16

“For neither the wise nor the fool will be long remembered, since in days to come everything will be forgotten. The wise man dies the same way as the fool, does he not?”

Death is the ultimate equalizer of all people.  It does not matter how much you have attained in wealth, wisdom, or popularity. Death comes for us all the same whether you are penniless or a billionaire.  So many people may ask “why not just enjoy your life?” I agree with this questions with a slightly different perspective. I ask “why not live and enjoy the life God gave you?” The way we live our lives affects our outcome after death.  Do you want to pass away and hear angels singing and glorifying our Heavenly Father or do you want to suffer the consequences of living life full of sin and worldly desires? So what does the bible say about enjoying your life? What does the bible say about how to enjoy your life? These are two questions a want to help answer you all today.  Now if you’re ready to take this small journey with me today, lets begin!

1 Timothy 6:6-8

“Of course, godliness with contentment does bring a great profit. 7  Nothing to this world we bring; from it take we nothing. 8  With food to eat and clothes to wear; content we are in everything.”

The bible teaches us to enjoy life, we must be content with what we have.  This lesson both teaches spiritual growth and personal fulfillment.  If you put God in the center of your life and not your personal desires, then you will be content with all that God has provided you.  Many people confuse riches with happiness.  Money cannot buy you happiness.  People get stuck in a vicious cycle of gaining money and possessions and thinking they need more and then more.  They begin to lust for more things and then want to find ways to earn more money to buy them.  Money is not evil though, the lust for money is.  Once you are stuck in this cycle, it is very hard to stop it and you can never truly stop and enjoy your life.  Are you currently stuck in this cycle? If so, how do you break it?

Many things can be learned from this simple truth God shared with us in this scripture.  First is to love people more than you love your money and your possessions.  When you die you cannot bring your things with you.  However, the positive or negative impact you leave on the people around you will be everlasting.  Secondly, there is a fine line between what you need and what you think you need.  If you continue to lust for things you do not have, you can never be content with what God has provided in your life.  So take some time and figure out what is really important in your life and what you truly need to achieve it.

Ecclesiastes 8:15

“So then I recommended enjoyment of life, because it is better on earth for a man to eat, drink, and be happy, since this will stay with him throughout his struggle all the days of his life, which God grants him on earth.”

The Lord wants us to enjoy our lives when done in the right spirit and the right moderations.  People who are not believers “yet,” often have this mindset that they can not fully enjoy their life if the accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.  They focus on what they have to give up in their lives instead of realizing what they are gaining in return.  You see, the scriptures teach us that life is not about enjoying what you have, but understanding that you would not have anything in your life without God.  By understanding this, you will finally be able to enjoy an abundant life. If you hold onto your worldly desires and continue sinning you will never have an abundant life or have eternal life everlasting that can only come through Jesus Christ.

I will share this last scripture with you all today, whether you are a believer or not.  To enjoy your life truly can be as simple as changing the perspective in the ways you see life.  It all starts with how you see things and interpret them.  If you are not happy in your current situation, or feel that you never have enough of anything, please think about all the things you do have and cast your worries of what you do not have to God. Let Him sort out your needs from your desires. I cannot think of another verse better to explain this than Romans 12:2.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.”

Please have a blessed day!

True knowledge 

Today I will be sharing some insight from the book of Proverbs.  I want to write about true knowledge and how it should be applied in your household.  Parenting a new generation of godly children is very important in the eyes of the Lord and it should be for every Christian parent as well. So let’s begin!

Proverbs 1:7

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.”

One of most problematic people are those who think they know it all.  They refuse to listen to the counsel of others and are bound to fail.  Only the ones who are willing to seek counsel and mentorship from those qualified are the true winners in life. They have the discipline to follow our Heavenly Father’s commands and live with a reverence for Him.  These are things that we must ingrain in our children’s minds daily to ensure a proper start for a foundation of true knowledge for them.

Proverbs 1:8-10

My son, listen to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching: 9  for they will be a garland to grace your head, and a necklace around your neck. 10  My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.

In this world, respect of the Lord should be the center of everyone’s life.  With all the technology we have today, gathering knowledge is simple and fast. However, those with wisdom to use the knowledge are very scarce.  This is because the foundation of knowledge is the fear of the Lord.  Having respect for the Lord and the fear not to live up to His expectations of us as the center of our life will guide  your attitude and actions to reflect only Him.  You should want to awe in His power and follow His word.

“Remember that our actions speak louder than words,” as my wife Amy would say.  This is especially true from within your home.  Our children learn from our actions everyday.  They learn morals, values, and respect from their parents.  Children learn from how you act at home, and how you act away from home.  If you live life devoted to the Lord; studying His word and being full of His love for others, your children will see this and follow your positive footsteps.  If you do not show your dependence for the Lord, they will most likely not follow Him as well.

Teach them right living and reverence for the Lord so they can grow up to do the same for their children. This will let them be a beacon of light to a new generation lost in the darkness with no one to guide them. Make worshiping God and studying the bible the center of your family’s life and watch the positive influence it will have in their life.  If you fail to do this, will they have the strength to turn away from the negative influences from other sinners like it states in Proverbs 1:10?  Please raise your children in a manner that is pleasing to our Lord.  I leave you with one last scripture and please have a blessed day.

Proverbs 3:7

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”

The light of God

Hello everyone!  I have a great chronological order bible I am currently reading and studying on. I do not know if anyone else has had the chance to get one or download a free one from the internet but it makes reading the bible flow a little bit easier. As I was finishing up 2 Samuel and 2 Chronicles I was reading Psalm 4 and I got goose bumps.  So I wanted to share my message today with everyone based on it.  Now lets dive in!

Psalm 4

1  When I call, answer me, my righteous God! When I was in distress, you set me free. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. 2 You people, how long will you malign my reputation? How long will you love what is vain and what is false? Interlude 3  But understand this: the LORD has set apart the godly for himself! The LORD will hear me when I cry out to him! 4  Be angry, yet do not sin. Think about this when upon your beds, and be silent. Interlude 5  Offer sacrifices that are righteous, and put your confidence in the LORD. 6  Many are asking, “Who will help us to see better days?” LORD, may the light of your favor shine upon us. 7  You have given me more joy in my heart than at harvest times, when grain and wine abound. 8  I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, LORD, enable me to live securely.

I want to highlight verses 3-4.  They are very important and relevant to each and every one of us today.  Godly are those who are faithful to God.  David knew when he called out to God that He was listening and would answer back.  We today can be confident that God listens to our prayers when we call on Him.  Sometimes we feel that God is not listening to us because we are being worldly, but He is listening!  If you give your faith in Jesus Christ you are forgiven and He will listen. When you feel that your prayers are not going anywhere remember that “you have been set apart by God,” and He loves you.  Your answers may not be what you want, but He does answer you.  Remember to look at your problems in the light of God instead of looking at God in the shadows of your problems.  

Now moving on to the fifth verse of Psalm 4.  In David’s time, they conducted animal sacrifices and we do not today.  What was important in those ceremonies for God was the “heart” and “submission” in obedience.

1 Samuel 15:22-23

Samuel said, “Does the LORD delight as much in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the LORD? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.  Indeed, rebellion is the sin of divination, and arrogance is iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected this message from the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.”

Today a sacrifice in the right spirit is still pleasing to our Heavenly Father.  He wants our praise before our gifts.

Hebrew 13:15

Therefore, through him let us always bring God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess his name.

Offer yourself as a sacrifice to God and give Him your total obedience.  It is never too late to submit to Him. To feel the security of God every day is a beautiful thing today just like it was in David’s time.  There is many messages that can be learned from this Psalms and I pray that everyone today receives this message.  If you have not submitted to God, it is never too late to do so.  Acknowledging our need for Him is the first step and if anyone needs guidance, please contact me and I would love to help you in your journey.  Please have a blessed day!

Obedience is better than sacrifice

1 Samuel 15:19-23

“Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD, but took the spoils, and did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD?”  Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.  But the people took of the spoil, sheep and cattle, the chief of the devoted things, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.” Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.”

When fasting and reading 1 Samuel, I felt inspired to share a simple message with everyone today.  Obedience is better than sacrifice! It is a clear and simple message.  When Saul decided to plunder his enemies and take what was rightfully the Lords, he made a huge mistake.  Rebellion and stubbornness against our Lord are serious sins.  In that time, those sins were punishable by death.  The Lord took away Saul’s kingdom and closed His doors to him.  To have God close His doors to you is the worse thing that could happen to a person.  So I started to research scriptures to see why the Lord states obedience is so important.  I found these verses below I wanted to share with you all and then I want to discuss how if we are not careful today we can repeat Saul’s mistakes.

Proverbs 21:3

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”

Jeremiah 7:21-23

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat meat.  For I did not speak to your fathers, nor command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: but this thing I commanded them, saying, ‘Listen to my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.”

The verses I shared above with you will give you some more insight on the importance of obedience.  By just making sacrifices in life does not mean you are pleasing our God.  If your heart is not obedient to His word, nothing you do will ever please Him.  Our overwhelming love for God should be enough to want to be obedient to Him.  Jesus himself makes this connection in John 14:21.

“The person who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I, too, will love him and reveal myself to him.”

If we are not careful and learn from Saul’s mistakes we are going to follow his footsteps.  Saul was a religious man.  He was going through the motions, but did what made him happy.  Saul should have had the Lords happiness in mind before he worried about himself.  Many people today make the same mistake.  They go to church on Sunday, they make small sacrifices to look good in front of other Christians, but there is no true merit behind those actions.  They fall on deaf ears when it comes to the Lord.  When you study the bible, the message of being fully obedient repeats itself many times.  There is no better way to show your love for God then to follow His commandments.  Does this mean that God does not want you to sacrifice things in your life for Him? No, when you carry your cross you are to make sacrifices  in your life happily because it pleases the Lord when your heart is in the right place.  If you are obedient to what God commands of us, there is no amount of sacrifices you can do to equal that.  That is why I wanted to share my simple and profound message of “Obedience is better than sacrifice” with everyone today.  

Take some time today and think about what you have done to be obedient to God this past week.  Were you obedient to His word? Did you put yourself before Him?  Did you care and love for others out of the pureness of your heart, or did you do things to make yourself look good in front of others?  Only you can honestly answer those questions.  Will God be pleased with your answers?  If not, take some time today to repent and pray to God.  Ask for Him to give you the wisdom you need to be able to change yourself to be a better person.  Ask for Him to give you the love of Christ, so you can have the strength to put other’s needs before yours.  Only then will you be able to strengthen your relationship and resolve with our Heavenly Father.  I pray everyone has a blessed day today and good bye for now.