Living Sacrifice

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).

In some religions, the follower is asked to die in the name of their god. This is how they live out what they believe. They are asked to sacrifice themselves (or someone else). To which, there is no words – only heartache.

It is different for those who have trusted in Jesus as our Savior and Lord. When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, our new life begins. We are forever His! Christianity brings us into relationship with our God and Creator, through His Son Jesus Christ!


Living Sacrifice

We are asked to become a living sacrifice, in view of God’s mercies who through His Son Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day to give us new life. The debt we owed has been paid in full!

While some may ask their members to sacrifice themselves “for the cause,” we are urged to do something very differently. We are urged to come and follow Jesus Christ, not religion. It is a relationship with the Most High God!

It Is Done!

God’s Son Jesus Christ has accomplished the work we could never complete. He is the One who has saved us. It is not about what we could do in the name of religion, but what has been done for us! “In view of God’s mercies, offer your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God…”

Highest Aim

Do you want to honestly please God? This is the KEY to doing so.

Give yourselves to God, through His Son Jesus Christ! Answer Jesus’ call to “come follow Me” and allow Him to make our burdens light (Matthew 11:28-30).”

Choose to live a holy life based on the Bible and keep following our Savior and King – even when temptation does come. It is where we find eternal life, freedom, and peace. When we choose to glorify God, we are seeking to please and obey Him (even when we do it imperfectly)

Holy (Set Apart) Living

Meeting with Jesus each day is an important of following Jesus. By doing so, I am placing myself in the right spiritual environment to worship Him and continually follow Him through the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with others who are following Jesus too.

Each day, we can choose to follow Him. His mercies are made new each morning. And He offers us His companionship, forgiveness, and amazing love.

There is no substitution for our relationship with Jesus Christ!

It is choosing to trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and King of our lives. And, this is how we will please Him.

This is the worship we can seek.

Seeking God in Difficulties {Summer ’17}

In Psalm 70, we are reminded of our need to seek God – especially in the midst of the most difficult things.

God, hurry to rescue me. Lord, hurry to help me! (Ps. 70:1, CSB)

Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need (Heb. 4:16).

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been gifted with this incredible relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Where we can boldly come to His throne, and receive all the help we could ever need.

Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let those who love your salvation continually say, “God is great!” I am oppressed and needy; hurry to me, God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay (Ps. 70:4-5).

The outcome of seeking our Lord Jesus in the midst of hard times is – life changing. God can give us a joy like nothing we could ever experience. The secret to joy isn’t necessarily in the removal of bad circumstances. It is found in spending time in God’s presence and trusting Him no matter the outcome. Now God could change our situations, but He might choose to change our hearts and walk us through the difficulties of life.

Friends, let’s bring our needs before our gracious God. We boldly come and share with God all we are going through.

This is a message I need for myself, because life can get hard. While I might force myself to carry the full weight of the burden, I will progress at a much slower pace than if I had accepted King Jesus’ help.

Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).

God wants to be involved in our lives. He doesn’t want to be merely an observer, but He wants to be actively involved in our lives. While it can seem like our “normal” to go at it alone, it is not part of the way we have been called toward.

Some believe we have to make our own prayers come true. Basically we need to lean not on God, but ourselves.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us of our need to allow God to be the sufficiency we need. God is God for a very good reason. Our strength cannot begin to compare with our great God’s!

As we walk with Jesus, we are invited to lay down our old ways and allow our great God to show us His love, grace, and power!

Friend, I have absolutely no idea what you are personally going through. What I do know is – the God I serve. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the debt for our sin. He came and endured the most unimaginable pain, so we can have a relationship with our heavenly Father. A relationship, where we are His friend versus His enemy.

Image by Jason Blackeye.

“The Privilege of Worship” (BookLook)

Privilege of WorshipWorship Wars

In “The Privilege of Worship,” Stewart Holloway addresses worship in a new vibrant way. We all know the “worship wars” that can happen within our churches and relationships. We spend far more time arguing or sharing our puffed-up opinion about how we want to worship, than we do simply worshiping. And the result of such actions, is destruction rather than peace and brokenness rather than the wholeness Jesus gives to us. There is no beauty in “worship wars”. I have seen its effect on a personal level, and it reminds me of the need to focus on worshipping God (not myself or someone else). What if we worshiped God in all His holiness and splendor, rather than arguing about the way we worship?

Help Wanted: Jesus!

As Holloway stated, many Christians are missing out on the privilege of worship. We get more excited about a football game, than we do about worshipping our Savior. We should be more excited about Jesus Christ and the opportunity given to worship Him. This is why revival is the only word to kindly express our need as the Church.

For many of us, our worship needs a revival. We need to remember what worship is honestly about. These days, we aren’t treating worship with the reverence it deserves. We need to remember the design of worship. Through worship, we get the opportunity to “communion with God” as Holloway states as he describes worship. God has given us a way (worship) to meet with Him and pour all that is building up in our hearts.

Worship is the beautiful communion and celebration between us and God.

Thoughts on “The Privilege of Worship”

As I read Holloway’s book and reflect on its key principles, I am able to gain a clearer picture of worship and its importance in my life. However we worship, it needs to be the center of our lives. Holloway shows his heart for worship in “The Privilege of Worship,” and God will change our own hearts as we read this book. Our hearts will become excited about worshipping the Lord our God. We will have a more intimate relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. We will see peace flow through our church lives, as we give ourselves to God, His Church, and choose to not participate in worship wars.

There are many good things God will give to us, as we give ourselves to Him and commit to worshipping Him.

This book has been a blessing for me to read. While I am not done reading or using it in my Christian life, I do think it is a good book for any Christian to read. We all need to remember the amazing privilege we have been given, in Christ, to worship. (Psstt: The book is only $3.99 for the Kindle edition)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLook’s blogger review program, in exchange for a honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

Life Gets Hard

For most of my life, I have lived with little outside support for my close knit family. We have always endured some challenging season in our lives. We each have our own unique set of complications. While Jesus promises to be there for us and help us through it all, I just hope for more emotional and spiritual support from those who are choosing to follow Him. I want to see Christ’s bride, the Church, step up and love others… the moment they need it.

How have you faced your own “low support” challenging days?

While often we can look strong, looks can be deceiving. In our lives, we choose to not dwell upon the whose of our lives. Who isn’t there for us? We choose to dwell upon the God Almighty that promises to dwell with us.

The Kind of Friend

While we do this, I know what kind of friend I want to be. While I cannot change what others do, I can choose what I do.

I can choose to be that friend who sends off a text or message into the world of cyberspace, to allow a hurting soul to know that they are not alone.

I can choose to pray for my friends, and let them know that I am thinking of them.

I can choose to do a lot of things differently, based on my experiences (or lackthereof) with people.

… And, often, I do choose to act differently.

The Temptation

While it is tempting to call others out, I am reminded that the Holy Spirit comforts and convicts (see John 14:24, 16:8). While my family faces a new position in our roller coaster ride, I can be assured of one thing – the Holy Spirit is the One who leads and will offer us His eternal comfort that can soothe even the most broken soul.

The Jesus We Come to Know

While the Holy Spirit comforts us, He may be convicting others. While it is possible others may never know what we endure or face, as we live our lives without deep community, Jesus knows and cares deeply about what we face.

Jesus cares, and He is listening to our petitions.

Jesus listens to our petitions, and He is drawing us near.

Jesus is going to work all things out for His ultimate good.

The Relationship Factor

While that is a good plan, sometimes, we all just need someone to come beside us and say “you know what, I am so sorry this is going on. Can I come sit with you? Can I make a run to the grocery store for you?”

While others stand aside as spectators in our lives, they get to see how Jesus uses this for His glory – to unite us to Himself. While others stand on the sidelines, we get the joy of seeing how God can teach us and spur us on toward whatever is next in our lives.

Perhaps if we all faced these “low support” seasons, we would be more compassionate towards those around us. Perhaps, we would have more patience for those who are enduring rough seasons. Perhaps, we would have more grace than judgment to offer. There are a lot of “perhaps” we could list.

In whatever season you find yourself, be gentle with those around you (see Eph. 4:2; Gal. 5:22-23). While we know it’s impossible to know others’ struggles fully, we are called to be there for them. They need you (see Gen. 2:18; Gal. 6:2).

As I conclude today’s message, I invite you to join me in fasting and praying for my mom – as she has an important procedure this Wednesday morning (July 20th).

Grace Leads: A Devotional Series on the Power of God’s Grace {{As an Amazon affiliate, one way you can support this blog is through using the above link. If you find yourself on Amazon, consider using the above link.}}

Five Minute Friday – Alive

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Minute Friday!
This week’s theme is “alive. To learn more about Five Minute Friday,
please visit Kate’s
blog for more details… Each week, a community
of bloggers come together with the common goal is to spend
five unedited minutes to write on a topic.

Tonight is Good Friday – the day where we celebrate the truth that Jesus was crucified as our sin offering. It fits so perfectly with this week’s theme of what alive means – to me.

Sin Offering

Jesus is our sin offering! Listen to what the author of Hebrews was instructed to write by God – the Author of life itself!

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications,with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Heb. 5:7-9).

The Truth

Through the blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, I am made alive. I have His hope and power running through my veins. Even on the days where I feel like I just can’t cope, I am reminded of the blood that was shed for me.

Made Alive

Jesus Christ went to the cross, for our sake. The more I write, for our sake, the deeper this truth begins to hit home. Jesus went to the cross for us. He has made us alive. As it says in Ephesians 2, we once were dead in our trespasses but now are made alive in Christ.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved… (vv. 1-5)”

More than anything, I wish I could put into words what this exchange has meant for my life.

Jesus Christ took my sins, burdens, suffering, and condemnation. He took it all away, so that I can find peace with God – my Creator. It is a gift that knows no words. There are not enough words in the English dictionary to describe the amazing, indescribable gift that we find in Jesus Christ – through His death and resurrection.

New Life

Because Jesus rose again on the third day, we too can rise to new life. Though our lives seem tattered and broken, we can experience wholeness and brand new life. It is in Christ that we are made complete. Whole. No longer broken. No longer chained to a spiritual death. But, we have life. We have access to the Father we cannot live without! We find wholeness and soul satisfaction!

In Christ, we are given eternal life and mercy. In Christ, we find all we need!

He carried us, and now we are made alive.

“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed (1 Pet. 2:24).”

What a tremendous, indescribable gift!