Mercy, Not Sacrifice (based loosely on the first chapter of the book of Job)

“I sacrifice, I sacrifice,” the righteous man did say.

“Long hours I toil to satisfy my darling’s needs each day.

This job consumes my life, dear, but I do it all for you,

From Monday up through Saturday, and now on Sundays too.

For me there is no Sabbath rest. I’m married to my work.

It has me in an iron grip. My work I dare not shirk.

You say you want my time, but I do not have it to give.

You see how hard I slave so that my family might live.”

 

And so, the man with fervor climbed his ladder of success,

Although the burden on his shoulders caused him much distress,

For when it came to serving God, he feared his kids might fail,

And that he never would reap any fruit from his travail.

He saw the way they partied. Had they cursed God in their hearts?

Then he must work to save them all from Satan’s fiery darts!

The best of his own toil and sweat this righteous man did pour

Into a fragrant offering that God could not ignore.

 

The best of all he had he sacrificed continually

That God’s forgiveness might rain down on them and set them free.

The man was truly duty-bound. He had no other choice.

Yet his own fleshly toil gave him no reason to rejoice.

For no blood of an animal could satisfy God’s law,

Because such sacrifices are not totally without flaw.

Nor can the righteousness of man atone for sinful pride.

It’s just like fig leaves, leaving him with no true place to hide.

 

Man’s best attempt at righteousness is like a filthy rag,

According to Isaiah. There ‘s no gold inside that bag.

How then can wasted time and talents ever be redeemed?

Not even he whose name was Job could come up with a scheme!

If even he, the man most upright, didn’t have the “stuff,”

Then how could anybody else attempt to do enough?

The truth is, God had His own plan which Job could not yet see,

Until one day he caught God’s notice unexpectedly.

 

Scriptures

Isaiah 64:6   Romans 3:23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing by Immersion in God’s Word

Dip seven times in Jordan, the prophet to Naaman did say.

Set aside your own agenda, dear commander, and obey.

Immerse yourself within it. There’s healing in this Word.

It must sink deep within you to remove the icy berg.

 

It is the berg of unbelief. We see it on the surface.

It’s floating on your skin. To shame you is its purpose.

Beneath it lies a mountain that can tumble the Titanic.

Only the Man of perfect faith can tread on that Atlantic.

 

Your berg of doubt would block the faith that God seeks to impart.

You must let Him dissolve the rock of pride that’s in your heart.

One dip is not enough to penetrate such stubborn soil.

You can’t get rid of it with fervent sweat or fearful toil.

 

No river of Damascus can remove your ingrown sin,

But bathing in the flow of God’s good news gives peace within.

Transgression may rise up, but much more does God’s grace abound,

With drastic change that places your feet back on solid ground.

 

You do not need a man to wave his hand over the spot.

Just take the word, believe it, exercise the faith you’ve got

By soaking in the scriptures. Drink His truth in, undiluted,

For which no earthly medicine can well be substituted.

 

Behold the stones that testify to Christ’s amazing power

To make God’s flood of judgment part that you might now cross over,

receiving sweet for bitter, mercy streams to end all strife,

For all who do believe in Him have passed from death to life.

 

 

What Does Paul’s Thorn Teach Us?

I personally don’t believe Paul’s flesh thorn was a sickness, but supposing – just supposing, that it was, what can we learn from it?

First off, if you read the account in II Corinthians 12:7-10, you will see that this flesh thorn was not of God. For according to Lamentations 3:33, He does not willingly afflict the children of men. The flesh thorn was a messenger of Satan, Paul tells us. Satan’s messages are evil, which is why Paul did not willingly embrace that message. Like any smart believer, he knew that sickness was a form of death, which entered the world through Adam. That’s because Adam accepted Satan’s message that if he ate the forbidden fruit he would be like a god.

So, if Paul’s flesh thorn was an illness – again, I say, “if” – we know that it was not of God. It was Paul’s flesh, prone to the sin of pride, that opened the door. Sin is what opens the door to sickness, for “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory,” as Paul tells us in Romans 3:23. Sin is what separates man from God and from His kingdom, which as Paul himself tells us in Romans 14:17, is all about “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

In Matthew 12:28 and Luke 11:20, Jesus said, “If, by the finger of God, I drive out devils, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” He taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In Acts 10:38 Peter tells us that Jesus went about doing good and healing ALL who were oppressed by the devil. What does that tell us about sickness? It is the work of the devil, also called Satan. Many times in the gospels we read where Jesus healed people by casting out devils. He never once told anyone to just accept the sickness. Despite their sin, he healed them, so that they would believe in Him and be saved from their sin.

All we have to be healed and to be saved is to humble ourselves, for as it says in James 4:6 as well as in numerous other scriptures, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

So then, if – and I do say if – Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a sickness – know that God’s grace is sufficient to heal you. Pride is the only thing that will stand in your way. Are you too proud to receive from Him? You might not think so, but what does God say about it?