Obedience is greater than sacrifice…Yet we are called to both! Yes these two words are divinely intertwined. Obedient…unto death. What a calling!!! Living to die. Friend, when Jesus asked you to follow Him..Where did you think He was taking you? Fame, fortune, reputation, world wide ministry? Hold on, just a minute there…maybe there was a prerequisite! Luke 9:23-25 says: Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself AND take up his cross daily AND follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life FOR ME will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self.” It is amazing that when we are going through a difficult time, albeit loss, rejection, sickness, financial instability, that we shake our fists at our Father and shout “Where are you!!!!” yet at these times… He is the most present! I recall reading a story about three hebrew lads who were thrown into a fiery furnace and Jesus joined them! And what is more, the only thing that was burned was the ropes that bound them! One day when John Wimber was laying in a hospital bed, taking chemotherapy, a friend of his joined him and said: “John all these years you believed in healing, and prayed for the sick, where is Jesus now?” Without hesitating John replied: “You can’t see Him? He’s right next to me taking chemotherapy!” He is always where we least expect him…in our pain. He is a very present help, in time of need. If you are looking for His presence, you will find it in the place of sacrifice, a place covered in blood, an altar. The way is narrow and it is marked with sweat and tears, yours and those who have gone before you. Thats why it says in acts 7:44-53 “The most high DOES NOT live in houses made by men!” He lives IN the man! So stop staring at the smoke and start embracing the fire of sacrifice. For too long we have depended on “cults of personality” to invoke the presence of God. It is only when a man’s gift is laid upon the fiery altar of sacrifice and the dross removed, that you will truly be able to experience the presence of God. We will find Him at the altar, not mans altar ego. By the way I didn’t write this as “sermon spice” for someones sunday morning sermonette! May it become to all who read it, a fuel that perpetuates an unquenchable fire that consumes you and everyone you come in contact with. Then maybe the world can savor the fragrance of an acceptable sacrifice instead of the stench of strange fire. Smoke or fire? Presence or pretense? You decide.