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Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Just Kill Me Now..."

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."
Have you experienced the prompting of His Holy Spirit to minister to someone you didn't know? Your first thought, "Ya know Lord, I have a better idea, you can send someone else that is gifted to minister, I would rather pray silently for them."
Has God asked you leave a familiar place and live in a new location? Your initial reaction, "But Lord, our kids are settled here. You surely don't want us to uproot them now, do You?"
Or has God asked you to forgive someone that deeply wounded the core of who you are and your response was OR still is, "I AM NOT! I'd rather go to my grave than let that person off the hook. To hear me say I forgive them, No, they don't deserve it! Just kill me now..."

When God revealed the truth of Romans 12:1 to me years ago I prayed, "Lord, I want to be a living sacrifice that is pleasing to You. I want my life to show devotion and worship to my Savior. With the help of Your Spirit living in me, I can do this!" I thought this 'living sacrifice' thing would be easy peasy. Wow, was I wrong! I found myself wanting to go back to the Old Testament times when the Children of God would sacrifice an unblemished lamb or offer a burnt offering and be done with it. That would be much easier than offering up MY life as a living sacrifice, especially when He asks me to do something I am not comfortable doing.

I just love how God uncovers the attitude of my heart! He led me to His truth in Psalm 51:16-17, David was broken over his sins and cried out, "You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to the Lord is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humble heart." King David had all the possessions in the world at his finger tips and the only thing he could offer God, was himself, humbled and broken.

In order for me to be a living sacrifice that is pleasing to God, I must be broken and humble of heart. Daily, I must admit my sins before the Lord. Daily I must cry out to my Father to remove any remnant of self and be filled with His Holy Spirit. Daily, I must put my desires aside and be reminded that He is the desire of my heart! And daily, I must be reminded that a living sacrifice has the choice to be prostrate before the One who is the Sacrifice or walk away from the alter...

Yep, at times it would appear to be much easier to walk off the alter than to offer my life as a living sacrifice. As His child, in the end, when I stand face-to-face before my Savior (Romans 14:12,"
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God) and explain to Him the times I chose to walk away...I will probably drop to my knees in remorse. To see the pain in His eyes, unbearable!  I believe He will then lift me to my feet and remind me that I am His because I chose to accept Him as my Savior while living on earth. He will then show me where my life was a living sacrifice, a sweet aroma or worship being offered up to heaven. Times I was aware of making the hard choice and even the times I had no clue.  The joy I will see on my Savior's face, is what my heart longs for!

Father God, I thank You for the truth of Your words. Help me to die to self daily, be filled with Your Holy Spirit, and truly let You have Your way in me no matter how much it hurts. May I be sensitive to Your prompting to minister to someone in need, to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, to forgive those who have hurt me, and to share the Good News to lost souls. Let me always remember the smile on Your sweet face far exceeds the smile on other people's faces. I want to be pleasing to You! Amen

Saturday, August 10, 2013

How Beautiful The Feet of Our Savior!

As I sit here pondering the cross, thinking about what Jesus had to go through for all of mankind, I am drawn to the foot of the cross. His feet. His dirty, bloody, nail pierced feet that carried away our sins. Jesus chose the cross, He went in obedience to the Father but also because He knew that without His sacrifice, NOT ONE would be in heaven today! As in the Old Testament, we would still be going to a temple to sacrifice unblemished animals to atone for our sins. Can you imagine with the population of the world today, how much blood that would be? Just imagine Metro St. Louis, with an estimated population of over 300,000, what that would be like. Now imagine Delhi, India, with an estimated population of 16.75 Million! Are you getting a visual of how many unblemished animals, priest, towels, and water to clean up all the blood sacrificed to have a right relationship with God?

This is why I am in awe of His precious feet that carried away our sins...Jesus could have came in an instant as a grown man, went straight to the cross to die and then rose from the dead three days later. Boom, done! No secret betrayals, humiliation of carrying the cross, beatings, suffering, just a simple death that freed us all from sin. But instead; He came from Heaven, was born in a manger, learned to walk like us, talk like us, and experienced all the pains of childhood like us. As He grew older, He learned from his mother and His earthly father taught him the family business. He read and learned from the scriptures of old. I am sure He experienced teasing from other youth, and also the joys of growing up with strong family bonds.

When it was time for Jesus to begin His ministry; His feet carried Him on the dusty roads of Nazareth, near the shores of Galilee, to Bethany by way of the Jordan river which is where He stepped in to the waters to be baptized. He was then lead into the Judean wilderness for forty days. He walked throughout the regions of Galilee, Judea and Samaria. He walked up mountains to be alone with His Father. He stood on the raging sea. He taught in temples, in homes and on sea shores. People flocked to wherever His feet landed; those who believed He was the Messiah and those who would reject Him.

His feet lead Him to the outcasts; the crippled, blind, deaf, prostitutes, lepers, and demon possessed. He performed miracles in front of their eyes. He was lead to broken sinners wanting to be freed from the chains that bound them. His feet lead Him to the dead and He raised them to life. Oh, how beautiful His precious feet that were stained with dirt, tears and blood...

He entered Jerusalem where people threw palm branches at His feet. He wept for He knew that most would not believe in Him. His feet were washed with tears,dried with hair and anointed with oil. He was then lead to the Garden of Gethsemane where He cried out to His Father for His will to be done. He was betrayed with a kiss and lead away in shackles, beaten and mocked. He carried our humility and shame, our guilt and burdens. He carried our sins as He walked the long, dusty road to the place of Golgotha. 

Imagine with me the pain He endured. The blazing sun beat down upon Him and sweat began to stream down His shredded flesh! I am sure he wept, for He experienced excruciating pain. But the spiritual pain He endured was far worse than the physical pain. He was broken because He took on the stench of sin, the punishment of being separated from His Father. The Holy Son of God, who NOT ONCE sinned. The Unblemished Sacrifice became blemished, distorted for US!

How beautiful the feet of our Savior! He didn't stop and cry out, "Father take me home now. I give up!" Instead, He willingly laid down His life and cried out, "Father, forgive them they don't understand what they are doing." (Luke 23:34). And then cried out with His last breathe, "It is finished!"(John 19:30). Three days after His burial, He triumphantly walked out of the tomb ALIVE, defeating death and the power of darkness! He didn't stop there. He walked and talked with people to prove He was alive and that the grave could not keep Him, for He is GOD! Thousands witnessed His steps after the crucifixion!

As His beautiful, nail pierced feet stood on the mountain near Galilee, He spoke His final words to all of His followers before He ascended to heaven, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age."(Matthew 28:18-20).

We, His disciples, should walk as He walked. Are you following the footsteps of our Savior? Have you taken up your cross? He did say, "And whoever doesn't take up your cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:38)

*Bible references found in HCSB throughout the four Gospels*