War Cry

Partial Sacrifices

Originally published January, 2014 - War Cry.

One of the cruel practices in some ancient pagan worship involved mutilating sacrificial animals. Among some peoples, rather than kill the animal, a leg was severed while the animal was alive. Such sacrificial animals then lived out their days, their limp testifying that they had been offered as a partial sacrifice. This is one of the reasons that when the children of Israel conquered some of the kingdoms they were ordered to destroy the animals. The partial sacrifices testified to a defective belief system.

While we are horrified to read of such practices, too many Christians approach their consecration to God in the same manner. “I will give Him something but I’m holding back this.” For it to work, there cannot be piecemeal sacrifices made in the service of God. It is everything or nothing. There is no provision for a down payment followed by easy installments. If you claim Christ, then He claims you. All of you. Your money, your talent, your gifts, your family, your career, your life.

The likelihood is that He will leave your sacrifice in your hands as the steward, not the owner. As a steward, it is up to you to handle things as God would, with His glory and purposes in mind.

The alternative is a partial sacrifice. And as in the animals of Canaan, that does not represent joyful giving but painful living. 

It Is For Freedom

Originally published July, 2013 - War Cry

The greatest export from the United States is not aboard superfreighters that ply the oceans nor does it fill the bellies of aircraft that constantly load and unload goods across the globe. It is not to be found in the billions of financial transactions that move massive sums from this place to that. There is no accounting for it in the Gross Domestic Product or on any of the stock exchanges or stacked in warehouses. It is the noble concept of liberty.

It was the idea of liberty that fired the patriot zeal in 1776, that endured the wintry blast of Valley Forge, that birthed a republic of free people. Liberty dictated that the centuries old institution of slavery could not endure and it was liberty that demanded that an oppressed race stand tall to claim the panorama of freedom.

Believing that liberty was never meant for a single country, young men and women who never thought to leave their hometown much less their country assaulted beaches, dropped from the skies, dove under the sea and slogged through swamp and desert. Some never lived to see their hometown again or feel the warmth of a mother’s hug. Others left behind a part of themselves, returning with shattered bodies and damaged minds. But liberty drove them there and kept them fighting, all with the hope of leaving the gift of freedom behind when they came home.

The concept of liberty is grounded in a gospel that teaches that though people are chained by sin, deliverance is our destiny, salvation our heritage. Hear the challenge and the promise: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1). So then, in Christ be free.