Before going on our journey together, the Lord spoke to me early this morning, and gave me this verse. Along with this one as well:
What we put in our minds comes out in our words and actions. Paul is telling us to program our minds with the right kind of things. Thoughts that are true, thoughts that are honorable, thoughts that are lovely, thoughts that our commendable, thoughts of excellence and worthy of praise. We need to examine what we are allowing to come into our via television, radio, internet, books, conversations and movies. Above all we need to read God’s Word and practice it! We need to focus on what is good, honorable and pure. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do this, but in the end it is well worth the effort.
It is not enough to hear God’s Words, how many times have we listened to a preacher and forget the meaning of his message; but we remember a funny illustration; it is easy to read the Bible without putting its words into action. It is much harder to live differently. It is easy to debate passages of Scripture without living out it messages in our lives. Exposure to God’s Word is not enough; it must lead to obedience.
The theme that runs throughout the Bible is this: Obedience is Better than Sacrifice! We find this is in Psalms 40:6-8; 51:16-17; Proverbs 21:3; Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 7:21-23; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 12:7; Mark 12:33; and Hebrews 10:8-9.
Samuel was not saying that sacrifice is not important. Samuel was trying for Saul to look at his motives for sacrifice. A sacrifice was a ritual transaction between man and God that physically demonstrated a relationship between them. But if a person’s heart was not right before God, if he or she was not truly repentant, or did not truly love God, the sacrifice was meaningless; unless it was performed with an attitude of obedience. Anyone can appear righteous(Going to church, quoting Scripture, teaching Sunday School, serving on a committee, and even giving to charity) but all of this becomes worthless unless it is accompanied by devotion and obedience to God.
Therefore, know that as a child, I suffered all kinds of abuse in a couple of foster homes. Going into details about the abuse is not going to serve any godly purpose. Besides even through abuse, I learned to depend upon God, and therefore, there were lessons I learned even from abuse from others. I also believe that there is good in all people.
I am raising our son differently than I was raised. Therefore, I am breaking the cycle of abuse. Just because someone was abused doesn’t mean that we have to continue in that cycle.
It is enough to know that I am a survivor by the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, having been empowered by the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God our Father in heaven. Therefore, I am choosing to live as a survivor and not as a victim. A survivor always has choices, victims seldom have choices, if any at all. I am no longer a child and these experiences were real, and I thank God for the lessons I have learned through all of these different experiences.