Tag Archives: sacrifice

The Gratitude of Grace

Today’s verse speaks of who truly honors God – “whoever offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (NASB). The Message translation calls this living the “praising life.” The Bible says that we were created to glorify God (see Isaiah 43:7). Psalm 50:23 makes it clear that we are living out our purpose to glorify God when we live “in the gratitude of grace.” The real question is how well are we bringing God glory with our gratitude of grace? 

If we are honest about this question, if we are honest about the thanksgiving we have lived out today, it is likely the thankfulness is not very evident. We spend so much of our time thinking we have earned what we have, that we are entitled to certain things. We overlook our daily blessings because we do not spend time considering life without them. When something good comes our way, our initial response usually isn’t to thank God for provision, for blessings, for protection, etc. Though God is alive and active, and very much moving in the world today, we oftentimes allow God to be boxed up, whereas we only need interact or thank Him when we have a grand request. Everything is separate. Everything else we can handle in our own strength. 

Without our life lived in the gratitude of grace, our testimony of the Gospel is silenced. If we do not spend time praising Him, pointing to Him, honoring Him, etc., what does everyone see? When we aren’t pointing to God, our fingers are always pointing elsewhere—to ourselves, to others, etc. 

How can we truly live in the gratitude of grace? We can devote more time listing reasons we are thankful, spending each day trying to find more reasons God deserves all praise and glory. We can receive the Gospel daily to remind us of the free gift of God’s grace. We can pour out that freshly received grace to others as we go about our day. We can pause to breathe in God’s grace and meditate on His goodness. What are you thankful for today?

“The life that pleases me is a life lived in the gratitude of grace, always choosing to walk with me in what is right. This is the sacrifice I desire from you. If you do this, more of my salvation will unfold for you.” – Psalm 50:23 [TPT]

Small Beginnings

Today my daughter received her college acceptance letter. What an exciting moment celebrating her invitation into the biochemistry program she desires to begin her journey toward a career in pathology. Yet when I think of this new journey she is about to embark upon, I am reminded of a recent fortune cookie statement – “All great things had small beginnings.”

This interest she has in pathology was something she developed as a young child watching Dr. G: Medical Examinerwith me. This seed then blossomed over years of schooling and research. As we celebrate today as a family, we recognize it was small things that led to this great thing. It also will take a lot of study and sacrifice to reach the end goal; lots of small things that will lead up to the great things. 

With social media today, we are shown a lot of great things, but we do not see the back story. We see the grand vacation photos, but not the overtime hours or intense saving with a budget that went on to offer a great opportunity with no additional debt. We see well-behaved children and fancy dinners and homes decorated to look like the homes shown in magazines. We do not see the small beginnings; we do not see all that has led up to this very moment.

It is truly a blessing to look back on all the small beginnings of life and see how God has moved. It is awesome to look at how God used our faithful obedience, our struggles, etc. all for His good purpose and for His glory. May we give Him praise as we remember the small beginnings. May we stay focused on what matters, remembering that the social media posts we see are only showing us what someone wants us to see. May we stay humble, remembering that God is in control and every great thing is only great because He has paved the way and opened the doors. To Him be all glory, honor, and praise.

“He is your praise and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awe-inspiring works your eyes have seen.” – Deuteronomy 10:21 [CSB]

Fortune Cookie Devotion Series: On the Line

Today’s fortune cookie said this: “There is no glory unless you put yourself on the line.” Glory is a big thing. We read in the Bible that we are made for God’s glory. We read that no one can steal God’s glory. In fact, the glory is God’s alone. 

This fortune cookies basically says that one must be on the line for glory. If there is no sacrifice, no challenge, if things are simple and ordinary, there is no achievement—there is no magnificence. If you are satisfied with mediocre, you may be missing the mark.

Sometimes in life, we are at an all-time low and God gets greater glory from our faithful obedience as He leads us from all-time low to our greater destiny. Sometimes we must sacrifice, humble ourselves, and risk what may appear as an easy win, so that we can get the more difficult victory. In faith, we are often led to put it “on the line,” to even say “no” to the good, so that we can say “yes” to the great. Remember, it all comes down to God’s glory. So today, ask the Spirit if you are living for His glory.

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11 [NIV]

Staying the Course Outline

8-6-17 Summer Survival Series: Staying the Course

 

Know the Place of Destination

 

Acts 20:24– However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. [PAUL’S FAREWELL TO THE EPHESIANS]

 

2 Timothy 4:7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

REMAINED FAITHFUL

 

1 Corinthians 9:25– Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.

 

1 Corinthians 9:25– All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

Their leaves of the crown from their games was made of leaves which didn’t last

            RECEIVE A CROWN THAT WILL LAST FOREVER – ETERNAL LIFE

 

Know the Road to Travel

Matthew 7:13-14 – You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

TWO GATES, TWO ROADS, TWO DESTINITES (HEAVEN OR HELL)

The Narrow Road is a Difficult Road

 

Luke 13:24– Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

 

Isaiah 35:8– A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. (The Glory of Zion) TRAVEL ON THE HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS MEANS WE WALK IN GOD’S WAYS

 

Know the Direction to Take

 

John 14:6– Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

John 6:40– For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in himshall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

 

Know the Stops to Make

 

Hebrews 12:1– Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

 

Romans 13:10b-13– … the commandments are summed up in this one decree: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. PUT ON CHRIST

 

Know the Turns to Make

 

Psalm 119:105– Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. BE IN THE WORD.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understandingin all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. TRUST + SUBMIT – HE WILL SHOW YOU THE PATH TO TAKE (FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE)

 

Ephesians 5:15-17Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. EXAMINE YOURSELF, USE TIME WISELY

 

 

 

John 15 – Abide in Jesus. If you remain in Him, He will remain in you. You will be fruitful. Remain in His love. Keep His commands.Jesus says… Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love… Lay down your life for your friends.

 

Know the Tolls to Pay

 

Don’t sacrifice who you are in Christ

 

Philippians 3:8– What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. THE PRICE PAID IS CENTERED ON CHRIST OR IT IS A LOSS

 

Invest in the Kingdom

 

Matthew 6:20– But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.

 

1 Timothy 6:18-20– Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge. GUARD THE DEPOSIT ENTRUSTED TO YOU

 

 

Wholehearted Commitment

It is hard to be committed to something. In life, we must be committed to something. For those who are married, you should be committed to your marriage. For those who are employed, you should be committed to your work. If you have children, you should be committed to raising the children. When we look at commitments to God, we must look at a wholehearted commitment.

What does it mean to be wholeheartedly committed? It means that you are not waking up one day ready to serve Jesus and then serving yourself the next day. Wholehearted commitment is about consistency. It is about sacrifice. It is about being all in, without holding anything back.

Today, ask if you are wholeheartedly committed. Do you love God with all your heart? Do you love the God with all your soul? Do you love God with all your strength? Are you committed to the Lord? Are you holding something back? Could you just step away from serving Him tomorrow, like nothing would change? Are you blown from place to place without any roots, or are you wholeheartedly committed?

“And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-6 [NLT]

Ransom to God

If something is held for ransom and you cannot pay the price, the thing being held is not released. The reason something is a ransom is because the something is held until the price is paid. If not paid, the release doesn’t happen.

As we look in the Bible, we read about how we cannot redeem ourselves from death by paying a ransom. We cannot pay enough. We cannot afford the price. We don’t have what it would take. No matter how hard we try to gain what is needed for the ransom, we will fall short. Redemption certainly does not come easy. Yet, it has come. It has a name. JESUS. He has paid the ransom. He has paid the debt in full. We have redemption through Him. We are released from the grave; we resurrect because of Him. We find ourselves with an eternal life through faith alone in Jesus Christ. It is through grace alone that the ransom was paid in full.

Today, remember that you have not redeemed yourself. You put your faith in the One Who paid the price that only He could pay. Thank Jesus Christ for being the once for all sacrifice. Thank Him for the redemption that you receive through Him alone. Live out your redeemed life. Remember, you are free so live free! Live free and point others to this freedom! Let people know Who offers redemption. Let people know Who is reaching out His hand! Point people to JESUS!

“Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.” – Psalm 49:7-9 [NLT]

Stand Between

After the rebellion of Korah, we read about Aaron standing between the dead and the living. What an interesting display. Aaron stood between the dead and the living with the incense burning to purify the people. This incense was to make the people right with the Lord. He stood between them and the plague stopped.

This display foreshadows what is to come. Jesus Christ stands between God and us sinners, just as Aaron stood between the living people and the dead people. Remember, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). So we are the dead. God is life, we are dead in our transgressions. But Jesus Christ stands between God and us. He is the Lamb of God. He is our mediator. He is our High Priest. The Bible says that “He lives forever to intercede with God on (our) behalf.” He offered a “once for all” sacrifice. This sacrifice of His blood makes us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18, Revelation 7:14). We are right with God because we are clothed in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).

Today, remember Who stands between you and God. Remember the High Priest that we have- “He is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven.” Worship Him. Praise His great name. In Christ alone, my hope is found.

“He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague stopped.” – Numbers 16:48 [NLT]

“Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. He is the kind of high priest we need because He is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when He offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.” – Hebrews 7:25-27 [NLT]

The Headphones

Parents understand the word sacrifice. Most parents do for their children before they do for themselves. Parents sacrifice time, money, and energy. If you and your child both need to get an eye exam, chances are the kid will get taken to the eye doctor first. When it is time for a new pair of shoes, you realize your kid needs a new pair so you put your shoes on the “wish list.”

This week, I noticed my daughter Jess struggling with her headphones. She saved up money for new headphones that were not an improvement to her half broken old headphones. She returned to using the old headphones for half the time. I had the same headphones that I used for work. I decided to switch my good headphones for her broken ones. She was so grateful and she didn’t understand why I would take her broken headphones in exchange for good headphones.

I am not mentioning this to make you think highly of such sacrificial parenting. The truth is, when she noticed the sacrifice and I had to explain to her what it meant to sacrifice as a parent, I was reminded of the greatest sacrifice, the Lamb of God. I was reminded of the sacrifice our Heavenly Father made by sending His Son to die for my sins, for your sins, so that we could no longer suffer the wages of sin, but instead have Eternal Life. I only gave headphones. His sacrifice we should remember each day. Thank you Jesus!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [ESV]

God Sees to It

In Genesis 22, we read in verse 14 the term GOD-Yireh. The Message translates this to “God sees to it.” To see to something, one makes sure it will happen, that whatever is needed is provided. In this case, Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his treasured son Isaac on the altar. Abraham did exactly what was commanded, taking Isaac and binding him to prepare for the sacrifice.

As Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God stepped in and we read of an angel calling out to stop the sacrifice. This attempted sacrifice showed Abraham feared God. After the angel interruption, then God provided another sacrifice—a ram that got caught in the thicket by his horns. God saw to it that there was something to sacrifice. In the same way, He sees to it that all our needs are provided.

Today realize that not only does God sees all, but He also sees things through to completion. When you think that there is no other way, there is a ram in the thicket. When you think that you cannot take anything more, there is a ram in the thicket. When you are struggling, in need, tired, or not well, there is often a ram in the thicket. If God called you to it, He will see you through it—with His strength to achieve His plan and finish the race focused on His purpose and for His glory.

I Have Sinned

Everyone sins; everyone falls short (Romans 3:23). That’s the bad news. But the good news is that Christ Jesus has built a bridge over the gap that was created by sin. God is holy and He can’t stand sin—sin is anything against God. So as we sin, we are moving ourselves away from God. The blood of Christ was poured out for each one of us to have a way to be righteous (right with God). Only if we believe in Him are we saved from the sin punishment. Even so, we must continue to repent for our sins and recognize our constant need for Jesus Christ.

When David sinned, he recognized that he sinned against God. When Nathan opened his eyes to this sinful act of adultery and murder, David repented. He changed his mind. He said, “I have sinned against the LORD.” He understood that truth and he recognized his need for forgiveness. Nathan revealed to him that God put away the sin.

God has also put away your sin if you believe in His Son. When you believe in Jesus, there is no longer the sin punishment of death. Instead, you are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are justified. Even so, it is important to repent whenever you are convicted of sin. Give it to God immediately. Recognize your need for His forgiveness. Understand He is the only way. Don’t let anything become a stumbling block in your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

“David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’” – 2 Samuel 12:13 [ESV]