Tag Archives: sacrifice

I Shall Not Lack

Psalm 23:1 THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
When David says I shall not lack, he is saying I shall not be short of anything, be deficient in anything, have too little of something, or be missing anything in my life. Because we have a Shepherd who is concerned with our physical well-being, our mental  state, and our protection we can confidently declare- I shall not lack. Not, I might not have lack in my life, maybe God will provide for me, or sometimes my needs are met. No! I will not have anything missing or absent in my life! We’ve talked about this before- how God will supply for us everything we have need of. How many of us can look back throughout our lives and know that God has truly kept this promise? The answer should be all of us. God will always provide for our needs. I heard my husband once say, “Let’s say you were asking God for a Filet Mignon and you ended up with hamburger that night for dinner. That doesn’t mean God didn’t come through for you. You were able to eat and you didn’t starve, so God did provide for you. Even when we may not understand how our needs will be met, we can trust that we will not lack.

Think of Abraham in Genesis 22. Following the instruction of the Lord, he took his son Isaac up to make an offering to God. His son got a little nervous because he didn’t see the sacrifice. In verse 8Abraham said, My son, [God Himself will provide a lamb for the burnt offering. So the two went on together. You probably know the story, but Abraham got ready to sacrifice his son, God said stop and in verses 13-14 13Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering and an ascending sacrifice instead of his son!  14So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide. And it is said to this day, On the mount of the Lord it will be provided.  This was the first time Abraham saw God as Jehovah Jireh- The Lord God my Provider, but not the last.
We need to understand that the God who provided for Abraham is the same God that will provide for you and me. What comes to mind is Philippians 4:19 And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. We just need to see Him as Jehovah Jireh in our lives.

Don’t Count the Cost

Matthew 8:18-22 18Now Jesus, when He saw the great throngs around Him, gave orders to cross to the other side [of the lake].  19And a scribe came up and said to Him, Master, I will accompany You wherever You go.   20And Jesus replied to him, Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have lodging places, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.   21Another of the disciples said to Him, Lord, let me first go and bury [care for till death] my father. 22But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and leave the dead [in sin] to bury their own dead.

In Matthew 4:18-20 Jesus was just beginning His ministry 18As He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He noticed two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, throwing a dragnet into the sea, for they were fishermen.   19And He said to them, Come after Me [as disciples–letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!  20At once they left their nets and became His disciples [sided with His party and followed Him]. When Jesus called them and asked them to follow Him, Peter and Andrew immediately left their jobs, their home, and their family to become one of the disciples of Jesus. They didn’t stop and think about whether they should go, they just did it. They didn’t care what it cost. Something on the inside of them knew their destiny was in following Jesus.

The scribe came to Jesus and said, I’ll go with you wherever you go. Jesus basically told him, I don’t have a set place to lay my head. This isn’t going to be easy. You’re going to have to really want to follow me. Another man came and said, I’ll go with you, but my dad is dying and I need to stay with him until he passes away. Jesus said, don’t worry about your father, come and follow me. That may seem a little harsh, but following Jesus often requires sacrifice. We may have to sacrifice comfort, relationships, or other things to truly follow Him. In Matthew 16:24-25 Jesus says 24Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].   25For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. If we are truly going to be followers of Christ, we must forget about our interests- what we want to do- and live our lives dying to our flesh and doing what He wants us to do. The benefit for us though, is by laying down our lives we put ourselves in position to receive everlasting life.

Praying Effectively

Matthew 6:5-8 5Also when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward ]in full already.   6But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.   7And when you pray, do not heap up phrases (multiply words, repeating the same ones over and over) as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking.  8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Prayer is our way of communicating with our Heavenly father. As we see in this passage, the hypocrites stand out in the open and pray so that everyone will see them. We are instructed to do our praying in secret. Does this mean there is no place for corporate prayer? No, but praying in a group cannot be a substitute for our personal prayer time. I think of it like this, if I walk around saying for all to hear, “I love you honey”, “You’re a great husband” “I love you so much” my words probably won’t have an impact on my husband.  Everyone around may think I’m a great wife and that I love my husband so much, but my husband won’t. Unless I tell him those things when no one else is around, he won’t feel very loved by me. It’s the same way with God. If the only time we tell Him we love Him is when others are around, He isn’t going to feel very loved by us.

The next part of this verse says not just use empty words when we are praying. It says the hypocrites think they will be heard, but that they won’t. Do you remember the story in 1 Kings 18? Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal( a false God). Both Elijah and all 450 prophets of Baal would each call to their God to bring fire to burn a sacrifice. Whichever God heard the prayers and answered them, the people of Israel would then serve. The prophets of Baal called upon the name of their god for hours They danced, they shouted, they cut themselves, they cried out, but there was not any answer from their God. We know that when Elijah prayed a quiet prayer, the Lord heard it and sent fire from Heaven to burn the sacrifice. When we just pray meaningless words they have the same effect as the false prophets prayers. Nothing happens.

Today we’ve learned to make sure we are spending one on one time with God in prayer, and that those prayers need to have substance and meaning behind them . The last thing we see is that our Father knows what we have need of before we ask Him. Why should we even ask then? When we ask and then receive, we have a greater appreciation for how great God is to us.