Paul, after demonstrating that religious people are just as sinful as the lost world, answers the question, “What advantage do we have?”
Basically, “If my religion hasn’t earned me any favor with God, what was the point to that?”
Paul answers the question by stating that our advantage was that we were entrusted with the word of God, the Bible. Then, in a theological eloquence that could only be inspired by God Himself, demonstrated God’s grace and salvation of us, in spite of our sinfulness.
Hagar is an often overlooked individual in the Bible. Known as Sarah’s handmaid who had a son in an affair between her and Abraham that was actually initiated by Sarah, Hagar is often portrayed in sermons as a rebellious servant who tried to usurp Sarah’s position upon becoming pregnant.
However, Hagar’s story is way more profound than that, and if you place yourself in her shoes, you see she was a mighty woman of faith. From her obedience to Sarah, her recognition of God’s love and providence, and the faith she demonstrated when she obeyed God and returned to Sarah, she presents herself as a Spiritual giant.
From Hagar’s story, we learn that God sees us and looks after us, that He blesses us, and that He calls us to reconciliation. Take a listen to the above posted podcast, and let us know how this message impacts you.
The invention of the snooze button tells you a lot about how we feel about mornings. The alarm rings, we know we need to get up, but we want a little more sleep, so we hit the snooze button to silence the alarm for nine precious minutes before it wakes us up again.
Mornings mean the routine starts again. It’s another day, another to-do list, and another schedule filled with stressors, from work-related conflict, to financial challenges, to family issues. These daily challenges wait for us to rise out of the peaceful dream state and re-enter the grueling reality of this world.
We hate mornings. We hate Mondays. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
My daily Bible reading brought me to Psalm 5 today, and in it, verse 3, which says, “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice, in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”
These words, penned by King David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were convicting to me. I do not always enjoy mornings. Many times, I have hit the snooze button to the point where my morning routine is rushed. In these times, I fail to pray, give God glory, and appreciate the blessing of another day.
Then, I read the words of David. “In the morning you hear my voice, in the morning, I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”
Prayer was important to David. He prayed relentlessly, and continually praised and worshiped God. The picture he paints in Psalm 5:3 is one of waking up early, selecting the lamb for sacrifice, conducting the sacrifice, praying to the Lord, watching the sun rise, and then watching to see how the Lord blesses the day.
The entire process oriented the day around the Lord, and thus David enjoyed peace in the Lord despite the turmoil and stresses that come with being king.
Life is hard, and stress is part of the package. We can either rise up reluctantly in the morning, curse our fate, and trudge through the daily battles, or we can rise up early, give God His glory, and watch for Him to do amazing things throughout the day.
The lesson we learn from David is one to be well received. We will enjoy more peace and joy if we learn to prepare God’s sacrifice of prayer and praise in the mornings. May the Lord help us to begin each day in gratitude toward Him, and may He give us the energy to rise up in plenty of time to worship Him, and to rely less on the snooze button.
–Pastor Leland Acker has pastored Life Point since its inception in 2008. He is a longtime morning radio personality, former hospice chaplain, and financial services advisor.