Tag Archives: sacrifice

How’s your flock?

Pr. 27:28:  “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”

What is the state of your flock?  Have you been looking, asking, or taking note?  In the class I’m in right now, it’s reminding us how Jesus always noticed the needs in people’s lives and filled those needs.  We are usually so great about filling the needs in the lives of people outside of our families, but I don’t think we are as good at ministering to the ones closest to us.

When it comes to the ones closest to us we suddenly begin looking inwardly, and shifting things to ask, “What are you going to do for me?”

Why does ministry have to stop at our front doors?  We are still supposed to attend to our herds.

We can’t always give our best to those outside our immediate flock (whoever that is for you) and then have nothing left for the ones we have been told to attend.  They also have needs.  They also have desires.  They also have hurts.

My class talks about how Jesus even broke tradition, in order to help people.  He actually touched the leper when He healed him, even though he could have just spoken the word, because the leper probably needed human contact. They didn’t do that back then.  He also forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery instead of stoning her, like he was supposed to by law, because she needed forgiveness.

I also remember when He healed someone on the Sabbath.  I think that shows that just because we have a plan set for our morning, our evening, our day, our weekend, our class, etc., if someone in our flock has a need, sometimes we need to set aside our personal plan and minister to their need, and then move forward; as some needs are more important than others.

This also tells me that sometimes, we will have to do things in ways that might break the traditions we’ve set up in our own minds, as well.  I had some Aha! moments about those for myself this week.  Ask God what those are for you.  In doing so, it may feel like you are giving something up, but didn’t Jesus also sacrifice for His sheep?  If we are following Him, we must be like Him and trust that God will provide for all that we need.

One of the best things we can remember, when we are with our flocks, is that in order to be more like Jesus, we need to care for people.  Jesus didn’t just say the words in the Bible.  He said them while He was caring for people.  We can’t just walk around saying words.  We have to act them out, and it starts with our own flock.

Trust me, I’m talking to myself, fellow shepherds,

jamie

handle with care

What more could be said?

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Serve God with Spiritual Gifts

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Behave Like a Christian

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Well said. Help us to do this, Lord.

A life without apology

I was sweeping up the pieces of a broken glass lampshade this morning and the Lord showed me how the pieces were like our choices.

I’ve seen pretty memes on social media about how we should live our lives without apology, but a life without apology doesn’t always look beautiful.  A life without apology is selfish.  It can even be evil.  It can look like rape, murder, genocide, incest, abuse, lies, manipulation, or many other things that people aren’t thinking about when they see they first see that statement.

The choices we make in our lives affect other people whether we want them to or not.  Cause and effect is a certainty.

Now, if our choices are to sin, things around us break.  Even things in the lives of others.  We may not like to believe it, but it’s true nonetheless.  If we choose to lie, others are hurt.  If we choose to murder, others are affected.  If we choose to [you fill in the blank] there is a ripple affect.

“Oh, but no one else even knows what I’m doing.” Maybe they don’t, and maybe they won’t, but I assure you that your choices are affecting the people around you.  Pieces around you are breaking.  Things are not whole and well like they used to be.

Even though I swept up the pieces of that broken lampshade, I am sure there are pieces that are scattered in places I cannot see.  Some pieces are so minute that I can’t see them.  Some will show themselves later on down the line.

It’s the same with our choices.  Whether good or bad, we don’t always see the outcome and affect of our choices until later, and some are so minute we may not notice, but we can know with certainty that our choices have affected those around us.

As Christians, we don’t have the luxury of living a life without apology.  Sorry.  We have people counting on us and a God to answer to, in the end.   We are called to be a living sacrifice…even in 2019.

Sorry, not sorry,

jamie

Love your enemies, part 4

Pr. 15:18:  “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”

If you want to go back and read parts one, two, and three of this 4-part series, just click on those links and it will take you there.

Today’s topic is love.  “Behold, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  1 John 4:7-8

God IS love!  And we love one another because love is of Him and we are born of Him and we know Him.  When we aren’t loving one another, then it’s an indicator than something is off in our relationship with God.  When we aren’t loving then something is wrong.

Vs. 10 says that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins.  “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love on another.”  (vs. 11)

How do we love one another?  1 John 3:16-18 says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  …let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

We show love by meeting each other’s needs when we can.  We love by our actions, not just by saying, “I love you.”  Meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.  Love requires sacrifice.

Pr. 17:22:  “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”  Some people’s bones have been dried through brokenness.  But we have the remedy for that.  Pr. 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Perhaps we can be the one who gives health back to that person with the dried bones with our pleasant words and our love.  Also, those wrathful people who stir up strife…perhaps their bones have been dried up for a long time.  Perhaps they are hard, unyielding and rank, but it could be our love and our pleasant words that brings the sweetness and health back to their bones.

Pr. 17:14 says, “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before it starts.”  We all know that’s true.  Once it has begun it almost impossible to get it stopped.  Maybe we could be the ones that choose to trust God instead, allay contention, and simply choose love.

Again, we can only control what we do, not what other do, or how others react.  If they don’t react with kindness, then we react with forgiveness, yes?  If you’ve forgotten, go back and re-read the last few blogs at the links above.

I know this all goes against our fleshly, human-nature, but when we do what God has asked us to do, we can trust that He will have our back and see us through!  We have to believe it!

Believing we can do it, in Him!

jamie

Love

Pouring sacrifice on Jesus’ head

And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.  But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?  For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” Mt. 26:6-9

This familiar passage spoke something new to me this morning.  Sometimes, the acts we feel led to do for the Lord do not make sense to others around us.

Perhaps we choose to fast at an “inopportune” time.  Maybe we worked in the nursery 4 Sundays in a row, while others had the opportunity to worship in service.  It could be that we chose to drive far out of our way to stop by and visit someone who needed to see a friendly face.

The examples could go on and on, but the principle remains.  Not everything we personally choose to do for the Lord will viewed in a beautiful light by others around us.  We may even be criticized for our sacrifice.

Let me remind you what Jesus thinks about it:  “Why do you trouble this woman?  For she has done a good work for Me.”  Vs. 10

Not everything we do has to meet with the standards of others…even if they are fellow followers.  If we feel a nudging to do a work in the Lord’s name, then we are pleasing the only One who matters.

Keep on, friend.  You are pleasing the One who is worth the sacrifice, and that is truly all that matters.

Proud of you,

jamie

What if you’re called a fool?

This morning I read 1 Cor. 4, where Paul is talking about the apostles being fools for Christ’s sake.  Vs. 12 says, “And we labor, working with our hands.  Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat.”

I’ve been reading a lot about martyr’s lately, both past and present.  Because of this, it was so striking for me this morning to think about Paul’s words.  These aren’t just words on a page.  These are the true thoughts and facts about a human being’s life.

The apostles were truly reviled.  They were left homeless and poorly clothed, spat upon, and condemned, and yet they continued to bless.  For God’s sake, they continued to bless and offer the saving truths of the gospel of Christ.

The apostles were actually persecuted.  They were beaten, threatened, jailed, and killed, and yet they endured.  Looking forward to the reward of serving Jesus Christ, they were able to continue to pour out to as many as possible until the very end.

The apostles were defamed.  They were falsely accused and imprisoned time and time again, and yet they continued to entreat those around them to accept Jesus as their Savior.  They continued to speak the gospel, even in the presence of their accusers, so that anyone whose heart may be open to hear would receive salvation full and free.

I think of the bad days I have, when I can’t get my eyes off of myself.  I think of the times I’ve been hurt, when I’ve allowed my pain to shut me down.  Then, I look at what so many have gone and are going through for the cause of Christ and I know that I still need to mature.

The apostles were the ultimate example of doing all things to the glory of God.

While our individual talents, gifts, and callings may be a little different in description, we are all part of the body working towards the same goal:  to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

In Christ, we have so much to offer those around us.  Even if the time comes when, like the apostles, we are looked upon as fools, it will have been worth it.  There is a great reward awaiting us and those who believe because of our own endurance.

We cannot keep God’s grace and His gifts all for ourselves.  They were meant to be shared.  His sacrifice makes our own sacrifices worth the price.

The song I’ve attached today reminds me that instead of wasting my time on things that don’t matter, I can give everything in my life for Him.  He’s worth it!

Stirred,

jamie

 

What are you preaching?

Pr. 21:29:  “A wicked man hardens his face, but as for the upright, he establishes his way.”

Yesterday we talked about our beautiful feet, and how our lives, that point to Jesus, preach.  (You have beautiful feet)  Notice the catch there?  When our lives point to Jesus, we preach His gospel.  When our lives do not, well…

Sometimes I preach fear.  Didn’t God say He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind?  Sometimes I’m so tired that it would almost seem like my strength doesn’t come from the Lord.  Sometimes I worry so much that I appear to have no Provider that faithfully supplies all my needs.

When we our willingly living in sin, we point others to satan.  When we allow bondage and temptation to drive our actions, we are preaching something other than the freedoms that come from Christ.  When we talk only about things gone wrong in our lives or our world, we preach that praise is not our weapon.  When we don’t open our Bibles to seek or our mouths to pray, we preach that we have no need of a Savior.

If our actions preach, then we need to be very aware of which actions we are choosing.  We must not harden our hearts or faces.  Ro. 12:1 begs that we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God; reminding us that this is our reasonable service.

When we establish our way, our actions will reflect that choice.  We must not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove (preach) what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

God will renew our minds daily when we spend time with Him.  His mercies are new each morning.  He is the portion we need every day, and when we have established our way in Him we can have the strong assurance in the hope we have in Him.  With that, our lives will preach the gospel of peace…the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Established,

jamie

Find wisdom

Pr. 3:13:  “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”

In Mark 12:38-40, Jesus warns his disciples to beware of the scribes.  He said they were people whose religion was for show.

Verse 28; however, introduces us to a scribe who came to Jesus and asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?”  After Jesus answered him, the scribe told Jesus, “Well said, Teacher.  You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.  And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Certainly this scribe had gained understanding.  For the wisdom he found, Mark 12:34 says, “Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.'”

What happier knowledge is there than that you are not far from the kingdom of God?

It is ok for us to ask questions of God.  It is ok for us to seek wisdom in His Word and search for the answers.  Through Him, we gain the wisdom and understanding that we need.  Knowing the truth, knowing who He really is, knowing His nature keeps us from religion that is just for show.  Knowing God leads to loving God, and loving God leads to humble and willing submission to Him.

The most amazing and mind-boggling thing about God is that good works do not impress Him.  He is not interested in our outward appearances or performances.  He does not require that we strive for perfection.  God simply desires that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that we love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.

We learned in 1 Sam. 16:7 that, “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  God knows what is truly in our hearts, no matter what sacrifices or pretenses we may bring forth.

Once we discover who He truly is, through the wisdom and understanding found in His Word, it is not difficult to kneel to the God of the Bible.  Our flesh may still be weak and we may have moments of doubt, confusion, or fear; but God, knowing our hearts, will come to our rescue.  If we continue seeking Him, reading His Word, asking questions of Him, and searching for the answers, we find Him ever-faithful.

We don’t need to pretend we have it all together or be afraid to ask questions of God.  Gaining understanding and finding wisdom brings true happiness and brings us ever closer to Him and His kingdom.  What better knowledge is there than that?

Asking,

jamie

Because of your own understanding, cease!

Pr. 23:4:  “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease!”

A month after Donnie and I were married, I accepted a higher-paying promotion at work.  I soon learned; however, that promotions are not always worth accepting.  Although my manager promised to fill the position I previously held, there was a significant amount of stalling and I worked both positions for over a year.

I would wake up at 4:30 a.m. to make the long commute to be at work at 6:00.  Most days I would arrive back home between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.  Add to that the numerous times I had to fill in for another shift, arriving home at 2:00 a.m., only to get back up and start over.

I averaged 65 hours a week during that time, eventually beginning to break down physically, and also missing out on critical time with my new husband.  When did we have time to enjoy one another?  What should have been our “honeymoon period” was entirely too difficult for us.  That experience is definitely one of those I would go back and do differently, if given the chance.  No amount of money or supervising experience was worth all that I sacrificed during that time.

If we really take God at His word, believing that, “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” then we can see that no promotion, position, company, or paycheck will ever be what gets us through.  Our provision comes from the Lord, and no matter where we work, or what our title, that will always be true.  What’s more is that if we tithe a portion back to Him, He will faithfully rebuke the devourer for our sakes, and not allow him to destroy the fruit of our labor.

Worrying about what we will eat, what we will wear, what car we will drive, what we will buy our kids for Christmas…those worries are just a waste of our time.  Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (our basic needs) shall be added to you.”  Mt. 6:33.  He said, “what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.”  Mt. 7:9-11

If you are faced with the decision to over-work to become rich, remember the Lord’s promises and His enduring faithfulness, and choose to cease.  It is not worth the sacrifices of family relationships, health, your relationship with God, or your time to be able to do God’s work.  Understanding God’s faithfulness, and the effects of your sacrificing choices, work as unto the Lord, and then cease!  Allow God to show His hand of provision in your life.

Content,

jamie

 

 

 

 

Jesus’ death = your life

Pr. 16:15:  “In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.”

Yesterday I heard a story about a soldier whose life was saved by the sacrifice of one of his fellow soldier’s own life.  He said that his days are now lived in light and in honor of that sacrifice.  The point brought up by the lady relaying this story was that it is a concept generally accepted that when someone lays down their life specifically for you, then it is logical for you to want to live your life in a way that honors that sacrifice.

Does that concept sound familiar to you?  Jesus laid down His life for each and everyone one of us.  Our lives have been saved because one man offered Himself up in exchange for us.  Are we living in a way that brings honor to His sacrifice?  Are we trampling on His sacrifice, living as though what He did was of no consequence?

Hearing that soldier say that his life is now lived in honor of the life of the other makes him sound very honorable.  He will be well-respected by almost everyone for making a statement like that, and more so by following through with what he said.  The other soldier’s parents, in particular, will receive much more comfort knowing that their son did not die in vain for someone who was ungrateful, uncaring, or unworthy.

That’s just it, though, isn’t it?  Was he really worthy of the life of their own son?  No.  No one will ever be as cherished in their eyes as their own son.  However, they understand their son’s sacrifice was out of love for his fellow soldier and out of his own desire that his fellow soldier would not die.

Certainly none of us are worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus; however, He counted us worthy out of His overwhelming love for us, and His desire that we live eternally with Him in heaven.  God does not desire than any should perish, so He willingly sacrificed His own Son for our salvation.  Are we living lives of gratitude in light of that sacrifice?  Are we honoring God with our actions, decisions, words, and goals?  Who are we trying to honor?

Isn’t Jesus worthy of our honor, respect, and gratitude?  He offered Himself up specifically for you…for me.  In the light of His face there truly is life…eternal life.  And the blessings that come from His latter rain shine His favor upon us, saving even in these last days.  His salvation is still freely offered to one and all.

If you believe Jesus died for you, live a life that proves it.  Show your gratitude to Him by honoring Him with your life.  Isn’t that the very least we can do for the One who gave His very own life for our own?

Praise Him now!

jamie