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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

April 15, 2011 - 'Instead Of' Moments

By William E. Richardson

“Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42, NKJV).

There’s a classic answer children give when asked why they did something they were told not to do: “Because I wanted to.” Their strong desire seems to trump the parental command. Yet in thousands of scenarios every day, children are reminded of the consequences of willful disobedience.

When we adults break the law, we incur fines or time behind bars. The military demands a price for insubordination.

I see that point of decision when someone chooses to let a thought become a disobedient action as an “instead of” moment. The Bible is full of such moments.

King Saul is a prime example. God clearly instructed Saul through His spokesman Samuel to wipe out the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:3). Saul understood. He was to annihilate them. However, in his “instead of” moment, Saul spared some of the livestock and the evil King Agag.

Then Samuel arrived. Saul lied, saying he’d obeyed. Samuel asked, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” (v. 14).

Next, Saul gave his disobedience a spiritual spin. He said the animals were held back for sacrificing to God. True, animal sacrifices were a religious act God honored. But ...

Samuel’s response cut to the quick: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (v. 22).

Saul did what he wanted instead of what God wanted. One “instead of” moment (sparing the animals and Agag) led to another “instead of” moment (lying about it). He rationalized but couldn’t hide his willful disobedience.

As 21st-century Christians, it pays to live cautiously. Opportunities to disobey God will present themselves throughout our lives. Can we honor God in every decision? Yes, by being firm in denying our preferences when they conflict with what we know God wants.

Knowing He had less than 24 hours to live, Jesus prayed to the Heavenly Father, “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” That prayer is good for God’s followers today, any moment of any day.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God.



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