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.

December Goals

It is a little late, but “better late than never”.

Do {Daily}

  • Continue to work on choosing allergy free vegetarian dishes.
  • Exercise, while listening to limitations.
  • Keep reading and studying the Word of God (Bible).
  • Welcome silence, to create a prayerful environment.

Learn

This month, my heart’s goal is set on Titus. I need to learn and apply Titus 2:5.

In the book of Titus, we are reminded of God’s greatness and how He wants us to live out our faith in our lives (see 2:3-5).

For this month, I want to lean on the Lord and learn how to serve within the walls of my family’s home. This is done as I keep up on housework (dishes, laundry, picking up, decluttering) – trying to give God my best in this area.

“These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God (Titus 2:4-5, NLT).”

Read

My hope is to keep reading each day. While I have many books to choose from, I am going to limit my goal to a few specific books.

  • In the Middle of the Mess (Sheila Walsh)
  • Loved Baby (Sarah Philpott)
  • Connected (Erin Davis)

Also, I want to keep reading and soaking up the truths from the book of Psalms.

Be

If there was one word for this month, it would be “effective”. I want my life to count. Through eating better, exercising, and trying to stay focused on the Lord by living out His Word, I want to make a difference in my health, family, and life.

Dear friend, what are some of the things you hope to focus on doing or being for the month of December?

Image by Tim Gouw.

In Christ,

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Following Perfection Versus Jesus

I have been feeling led to study 1 Timothy for quite a while. As I study, I generally blog about whatever it is – that I am studying. The Timothy study is tugging at my soul frequently these days, reminding me of where I need to be.

Why haven’t I committed to this study? I have perfectionist tendencies and set lofty expectations I cannot realistically meet. My heart and physical abilities are in two separate places, and must be able to meet.

Developing Courage

We miss so much when we put everything on hold – in case we can’t follow through as planned. Our expectations cannot be more important than God and relationships.

Here is the thing: Perfectionist level expectations can strain those relationships and hold us back, to the point where we won’t immerse in our friendships or read our Bibles without the promise of expectations being met.

The Real Question

How willing are we – to step out in faith, where we trust Jesus Christ to make us courageous people?

We have been called to be strong and courageous. Every little bit we give to God is a worship offering. Just because we miss our own expectations, does not mean that we somehow miss His or those of loved ones. We have to be willing to lay down our own expectations, and exchange it for time with Jesus and those we care about.

Allowing Ourselves to Worship

It goes back to the truth of being a living sacrifice. When we give ourselves to God, we become an acceptable offering.

Jesus Christ is the key ingredient. We need Jesus to be the One leading us, even in our expectations. He is the One who enables us to set reasonable expectations for ourselves and those around us. So, let’s make our lives about our relationship with Jesus Christ.

While my best efforts aren’t enough, I have a Father whose resources are unlimited. This Father of mine is willing to help out His sons and daughters in any and every way – as we call upon His name. We may not meet our own expectations, but this is the place where we meet the grace and amazing love of our great God.

Choosing Wisely

Standing in this place of  God’s love and grace is where we can allow ourselves to make a trade. We can trade in our high expectations, for the opportunity to stand in awe and worship God – as we trust Him to make a way.

I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9, NRSV).

Friends, we must choose whether we want to follow our perfectionist tendencies or Jesus Christ – the Living God. Our lives are messy and out-of-control, which may lead the perfectionist march, but Jesus Christ is more than enough. He doesn’t have to try to be, for He is perfect!

As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure (Ps. 18:30-32, NIV).

Featured image by The Journal Garden | Vera Bitterer.

Until next time,

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The Most Humbling Worship Offering {Romans 12:1}

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, ESV).

We are urged by God to give Him our bodies – as a living sacrifice. God wants all of us, as we are today. He doesn’t want us to hold off – until our bodies or souls have made it closer to a version of perfection. God wants us, as we truly are.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel as though my body is worthy enough to be a sacrifice, or worship tool, for my great God. I feel so far from where I could be, in terms of my physical body, sensitive and overwhelmed soul, and yes even in my relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I want for God to be given more of me. As I enter this new season of life, I have to remember God wants me as I am. Though unworthy, He accepts me. . . and invites me to come to Him as I am. I can lay down the mask of this false self, where I pretend to be more fine or spiritual than I am. I can lay down the expectations I can never meet.

Because Jesus Christ invites me to come, and boldly come to His glorious throne as Hebrews 4:16 teaches us, I can walk in fellowship with my Wonderful Savior and Prince of Peace. What makes the difference? It is in the assurance that Jesus Christ has purposefully chosen to have a relationship of constant communion with me, that I can freely offer my body as a living sacrifice.

While I may not have much to give, I can make the deliberate choice to give what I do have – to Jesus Christ.

This is about spiritual worship. This is not about seeing my offering as “too little.” Rather, it is about coming to Jesus with whatever I have to offer.

Jesus Christ is the King of all Kings, the Name above all names, and He has chosen to make my body His dwelling place. He has made the deliberate choice to love me, even when I am most unlovable.

He has chosen to make His presence known, even in the midst of physical hardships beyond my control.

Jesus Christ has chosen to love us. Even when we were once His enemies, He came to reconcile us with the Father. While our relationship with our heavenly Father was once shatter “beyond repair” (if left up to us, mere humans), Jesus Christ brought us into this glorious place of restoration through His suffering, death, and resurrection.

God is all powerful. He is the only One who can take our broken pieces, and make us whole.

This is what He is choosing to do, as He invites us to give Him the broken pieces of our lives, and turn them into a complete spiritual worship tool.

. . . We may not have much to offer, but how willing are we to give God what we do have to offer?

Featured image by Yolanda Leyva.

 

The Real Me (on the struggles)

Being sick is embarrassing. It really is. I know others ignore those who are sick. They will look down or walk away when you try to talk to them. They avoid you like the plague. Takes many forms, and nobody knows why. I don’t know why, other than we all seek comfortable lives. If we don’t have to get uncomfortable and real, we may not. As a Christian, I am called to be there to support my brethren as we seek Christ together. Jesus’ sacrifice costed greatly! But, my sin penalty is gone and beautiful abundant life is what I have. I have a Father who loves me greatly! I have new and eternal life. I have a real and lasting hope in Jesus Christ! I have so many brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus!!

I am a huge believer in not wearing masks no matter how embarrassing it may be, to be someone who faces chronic illness. I want to stay emotionally intact and as healthy as I can for my whole being. Illness can take a toll on our emotions. It means days of wanting to cry, lots of praying and learning to trust God more, and just taking this time to seek Him and get His help. When others leave so readily once illness steps in, it is far too easy to believe the lie that God, my Father, will want to leave one day too. On those days, it is important to remember the promise God has given me: He will never leave me nor forsake me!

Talking about it keeps me from my leper status…because it is so easy to feel secluded and like I just exist but play no part in society…

Chronic illness sufferers: Being sick is embarrassing. How do you all handle the embarrassment of being sick without wearing a mask? Do you hide it? Do you dance around it? I mean, really, how do you ‘deal’ with it?

Other readers: How can we help you to not shy away from talking with us? How can we do that without hiding everything and feeling like we are dying on the inside? A mask is a form of dishonesty. On the topic of how we can build these relationships again:  Many, me included, don’t mind talking about it. I love to be asked questions. I have witnessed how others have supported their friend, by asking what it is they struggle with, they have decided to research it, and see how they can support their friend. Just some ideas.

One final thought: If it is something used to draw me closer to God through Jesus Christ, can it still be so embarrassing to be sick? The earthly aspect, the leper status, that is embarrassing, but it can still bring good somewhere in there. Never give up hope, whether you are on end of being sick or o  the end of being supporters of those who are in the struggle. We are all involved in this struggle of facing chronic illness together!