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.

The Jesus-Girl Who Confesses

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan!

As daughters of God who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ, we need to willfully enter our prayer closet and bring before God our desperate need for His forgiveness and deliverance.

The most sacred thing in our lives, is our relationship with God. No act of human influence can compare to Jesus Christ who has touched our souls, for He has chosen to rescue us!

Lord, I told you about the evil I have done. I am sorry for my sin (Psalm 38:18; ERV).

This is what we need to do, because we are accountable to God for what we have done. While we may avoid this truth, if we could, the reality is – we can’t hide from our sin. No one has been able to successfully hide from their sin. Adam and Eve tried to, but they ended up only hiding from God. Walk out of the darkness, by entering Jesus’ well-lit presence!

Before we can become a woman of influence, we have to be a woman with a humble heart who acknowledges her sin before a most holy God. We must allow Jesus Christ into our lives.

Here are some truths we must grasp –

(1) God is set apart, and cannot even look upon sin.

O Lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal. . . But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil (Hab. 1:12a, 13a, NLT).

(2) Even though it is uncomfortable to think about our sin, let’s find comfort in our Christian community where we all must confess our sins and turn from them. Also, let’s confess to one another, so we may be prayed for and healed.

But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed! We—every one of us—have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us! (Isaiah 53:5-6, TLB)

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16, ESV).

(3) Most importantly: As we repent of sin, let’s celebrate Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. He has paid the ultimate price, and loved us with an eternal love.

. . . Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice (Psalm 51:7b-8, NKJV).

I invite you to enter a quiet place, where you can talk to God about the struggles with sin and seek His forgiveness.

Want to learn more about confession, sin, what God says, and having a relationship with Jesus Christ? I am hosting a daily devotional on 1 John over at Indoor Outreach. Join us, as we dive into God’s Word!

Featured image by Ben White.

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Week 4: Prepare For An Energetic Week!

Few things get to me like this topic, as far the church life goes. Welcome, I am your “equally messed up” tour guide. I cannot help but read 1 Thessalonians 4, and be reminded of the ways the Church is… far from where we could be. I love the global church; we are the beloved body of Christ. His bride. His treasure.

Yet we settle for so little, when God wants to lead us to much more – even in this life before we reach Heaven and all its glory.

My Honest Heart Struggle

I made it my mission to go through “Meeting the Thessalonians” before this course was set to begin, which I mostly was able to. I can honestly say, week 4 was without any doubt one of the most difficult weeks. While I had weeks of surprising affliction that made it hard to reach for my Bible and notebook, this week has challenged me greatly based on the content in 1 Thessalonians 4.

It touched me at my core, as a single woman. Some excitement. Erm, much frustration. Plenty of moments, where I was reminded of where I want to be as part of the Church.

Join Me!

I invite you in joining me for the reading of God’s Word, where we will hear God speak in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

As a single woman, I am bombarded with temptation – often. I am not alone in this struggle, though. I know, many readers are right there with me.

This passage of Scripture is important for all believers, regardless of our relationship status.

As we take the time to focus our attention on our Lord Jesus Christ, He will work in our midst. While we may face many temptations and struggles in this area, we are not alone. Girls and Guys, you are not alone. I am looking forward to the chance of going through this passage of Scripture together.

This week’s blogging might look drastically differently than the past three weeks have been. Because this passage of Scripture is of such great importance to me, I want to try and pop in whenever I can – to share my thoughts on a particular verse or share a quote from a Bible commentary. This week, in terms of blog posts, might look crazy different than this past week. Or, it might look exactly the same. Only the Good Lord knows!

We simply have to wait and see what God decides to do, because this is His blog.

I may have many passionate things to say, and He may have to offer a strong, yet gentile, reminder of “No Stacey, you cannot write that. It is not useful to build up others in the Church.” (I actually have a good set of moments like this. I, too, am a work in process. . .)

Whatever happens on the blog or your personal study this week, keep digging into God’s Word! I am excited to see what God shows us. Here is the reading plan for this week.

Feature image by Sweet Ice Cream Photography.

Until next time,

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Making Promises to God {{Week 5}}

Welcome, friends!

I invite you to get out your study journal and Bible, if you have it nearby. If you haven’t had the privilege of ordering your study journal yet, you can do so here (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link).

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:33-35; Numbers 30:2

Again, you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not make false vows, but you shall fulfill your vows to the Lord [as a religious duty].’ But I say to you, do not make an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God; or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King (Matthew 5:33-35, AMP).

 If a man makes a vow to the Lord or swears an oath to bind himself with a pledge [of abstinence], he shall not break (violate, profane) his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth (Numbers 30:2).

Devotion

In the context of this passage, we are taught to not issue promises to God. It is not good for us to say, “I will do _________.” While it is our human tendencies to make promises, we tend to not be able to keep them. Things are constantly arising in our lives. Not only that, but God is sacred and holy. Our relationship with God is unlike any other relationship we have, in our lives!

How are we realizing, as Christ followers, the significance of such a promise made?

I remember one time, where I made such a promise to God. I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing. But bottom line, I was afraid and quickly forgetting the greatness of my God. He doesn’t need our promises. He doesn’t need our promises, to activate His life-saving (and changing) grace!

When Scripture teaches us that it is better to not make oaths, God really knows what He is talking about. When we make oaths, we don’t know what the future or even God’s will has in store. Making promises seem to be the popular in the reality of daily living. We remember our human fraility and try to use “pinky promises” to get our kids and others to just be faithful to what they have said.

God is faithful!

Even when we are faithless, God is completely faithful!

Allow God to show you His greatness in your life.

When we begin to grasp, really grasp, the greatness of our God, we won’t make promises. This is the point, where we are utterly aware that God is far greater than we could ever comprehend. God is not one we should “make deals” with. God is Awesome and the richest Treasure of this world.

My hope is to remember the sacredness of our great God. He is very good to His people. We have no way of knowing what circumstances lie ahead, and how it will affect how we carry out our promises.

Lord, Remove the blinders from our eyes. I pray You would show us Your greatness. Help us to remember there is none like You. Thank You that You are sacred, holy, and pour out Your truths in our lives! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Accepting God’s Word {{Week 4}}

Welcome, friends!

I invite you to get out your study journal and Bible, if you have it nearby. If you haven’t had the privilege of ordering your study journal yet, you can do so here (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link).

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:19-20; Proverbs 30:12; Luke 18:11

So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven! (Matthew 5:19-20, NLT)

They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed (Proverbs 30:12).

 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[a]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! (Luke 18:11)

Devotion

To ignore God’s commands, is a deliberate act. When we ignore something, we overlook it and there is thought that goes into it. In today’s Scriptures, we learn that it is a holy offense to our holy God – to ignore His written word. We can’t ignore part of God’s Word. We need to accept all of it, for it is food for our soul and pivotal for our relationship with our God through Jesus Christ.

God has breathed life into all Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. By using Scripture, the servant of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing (NIRV).

Like we are taught in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, all scripture is God breathed and has an important purpose.  We may struggle to read and certain books of the Bible like Leviticus and Revelation, but we absolutely cannot discount these parts of God’s Word.

God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us in reading the Bible and learning how His truths apply to our lives.

It’s in God’s full written word that we learn our righteousness isn’t righteousness at all. When we study and teach the Bible in its entirety, we learn how much we don’t have it all together and need Jesus Christ to enter our lives, displaying His power.

Our righteousness isn’t enough; it’s like filthy rags. The righteousness of Christ far exceeds our own, and His righteousness and grace is what we desperately need and seek for.

The Bible teaches us about Jesus and why we need a Savior. Our righteousness is not righteousness at all.

Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your beautiful Word and grace. Teach me Your Word. Help me to not ignore any of Your commands, designed with my blessings in mind. I pray You would give me the understanding I seek. Amen.