Awake! – Part 22 – Becoming Aware ~ Sacrifice

August 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm (WSGD Newes) (, , , )

The question frames the answer. I read that somewhere. In fact the question that Michael had just quieted the group with seemed to come from the same source. I pressed the recesses of my mind to try to remember where I had read it. 

“It’s easy to get distracted and hard to know the difference between digging for answers and distraction.” Michael spoke into the silence. 

There was a slight shift in the air of the room. Focus and clarity fought for the space. 

Clareese spoke up. “Could you repeat the question.” 

“Is there a difference between living your sacrifice and dying it? Is one more final than the other?” Michael repeated the dynamic duo. 

Again the group retreated into their own revere. Some looking up as if to see their brains disecting the words. Some with eyes closed,  as in prayer but more conversation with the only One who could give such answers to such questions. 

There was a book, a series, I had read. Yes, The Staff and the Sword, that was it! I suddenly had the urge to re-read it. Those statements – not framed as questions in the book – had been the central theme in the last book.  It had stuck out to me as I read it,  I remembered. I had underlined the themed statements. They had swirled around my head for weeks after I’d read it. I remembered scriptures that immediately came to mind, like a promise kept, during the course of my ponderings. I smiled. 

Carl, a gentle man with the physical strength of an ox sat forward in his chair. The legs scraped the floor at the movement. Collective heads turned his direction. 

“I don’t think a great number of people know what sacrifice is. In context to some scripture it seems clear, in others it seems controversial. I mean if Yeshua’s sacrifice was once and for all, how does that apply to us?  I can’t remember the exact reference but the Scripture that says, ‘offer your bodies as a living sacrifice’ – this one feels like it’s missing some key element to it. Then we are told to live to God and die to ourselves. So based on that I’d say there is no difference to living my sacrifice and dying it as they are one in the same in this context. Yet, these questions are to me a different world. I sense that what’s being pried open here is something all together different.” Carl sat back in his chair. A spiritual sweat was forming on the man’s brow. It made me think, as here was a man who could likely bench-press three of us sitting here without breaking a sweat. Carl was deeper than most gave him credit for; TV shows always gave guys like him a “big heart/no brain” image. I shook my head as once again I am struck by how God focuses on the heart. Work that out and the brain will fire on more cylinders than most race cars at the Indy. It was true, these questions made the heart go where the brain could only follow it, not the other way around. 

Michael was the kind of leader who always let comments or questions sink in before he would say something. I liked that, I strove to emulate his example. ‘Silence is space for God‘ he would say, ‘both to work in all those in the room and the one who had just spoken’. The room fairly cackled with it. 

Michael began reading from Romans 11 and ended up on Romans 12:1, the Scripture about offering your body as a living sacrifice. Everyone wrote the reference down, but Michael continued all the way to the end of chapter 12. Again the room was quiet for a time before he spoke into the fullness of Carl’s comment and the Word. The pages of his Bible flipped back and forth in the lull.

“I’m going to have to study more here but I’m thinking perhaps the ‘body’ being referred here is the body of Yeshua. The church as a whole, not just individual people.  Though I think it can be applied individually, the context prior to chapter 12 verse 1 and after are all in context of the Roman church; aka: the Body –  he was addressing. It never stood out to me before quite like that. Thank you Carl for saying what you did, I tend to agree with you and think perhaps the missing link is interpretation.” His focus returned down towards his Bible. 

The whole group joined him. Reading and pondering. I was more than a little struck by the new perspective. I can’t count how many times I had heard this scripture quoted, mostly in context of health and fitness/moral related issues and among sports activities. How often Lord have I relied on other people’s context to interpret Your Word? Sacrifice here took on a totally different light from this angle. A collective view of sacrifice rather than individual required more pondering, no doubt. 

Sharon, Carl’s wife, spoke up. 

“A living and dying sacrifice taken from this view is almost surreal! I will admit that when I go to church I don’t see anything that represents sacrifice as I’ve understood it. There’s a part of me that’s almost angry at the thought. Why, I’m not real sure.  Some sense of injustice plays in my mind with it. In Hebrews chapter 11 verse 4, it speaks of both living and dying.”

The shuffle of pages being turned filled a gap before she went on. 

By trusting Abel offered a greater sacrifice than Cain; because of this he was attested as righteous, with God giving him this testimony on the ground of his gifts. Through having trusted, he still continues to speak, even though he is dead. Then I’m reminded of Psalms 51:16-17.”

Again the air filled with the wind of pages turning. 

For You don’t want sacrifices, or I would give them; You don’t take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God, You won’t spurn a broken, chastened heart. Here it speaks personally, My sacrifice to God, is what Davis says. Here again I see both the living and dying of sacrifice working together.” Sharon looked around the room. An invitation to converse with her shone in her eyes. Indeed her spirit invited communion. It was one of her gifts I’ve often noted. 

“As to the last question; is one more final than the other? I’d say yes and no. Yes, in that if our living sacrifice is not there, the dying can’t exist either. No, because they are both equally important because of the need for each other to exist. As far as the definition of sacrifice, I agree with Carl it needs to be better clarified. In terms of salvation Yeshua’s sacrifice is once and for all, in this case both for the living and the dying – even the dead! Yet just as He said if we do as He did our sacrifice will resemble His. Giving up our way of thinking, deducing, judging and deciding in favor of God’s. This is a sacrifice that occurs within me everyday all day long. This is a living thing, the living testimony. Yet in the working of this I do die to myself every time. Often I think people think of martyrdom; the ultimate end of one’s breathing here on earth where another kills you because you believe. Which is just as applicable here, but it goes deeper than just that simple act alone. No one could get to such a place without having done the living and dying everyday. It shows up in Abel’s sacrificial offering, he gave from the worship of God in the living of his faith, it was a great reminder that his living testimony is still testifying today! What’s more final than that? In most the Scriptures read tonight and that came to mind for me sacrifice is almost inextricably linked to the Temple or church, meaning the Body of Christ as a whole. I will be studying this more this week.” I thought more aloud than intended to speak out. The nodding of heads was encouraging. Yet I still craved more time to let the Spirit lead me deeper. Yeshua – the sacrificial Lamb – it was a title He is, there was more here, I just knew it. 

Michael’s voice interrupted my introspection.

“Let us invite the Spirit to close this out. Our time is up tonight. I’ll leave the questions open ended and we will pick up next week on them. I’m curious to share and see what God shows us all as we study and learn at His feet this week. Bob, will you, dear Brother, use the great gift God has given you and pray us into the rest of this night?”

Heads bowed, newly awakened parts of our souls joined with Bob. Excitement and joy flowed from our hearts, joining the Kingdom of heaven. The need for such a place to come together and learn, had brought us all here. Everyone of us at one time or another had shared that it felt like the “churches” that formed just after Yeshua ascended with the promise of His return and the warning to be prepared, ready and watching. We came together in a plead to God that we be renewed and awakened with the sense that times were closing in and we all felt we needed ‘more’. What an answer to prayer this group was! Not of religious people learning religion, but of God’s children learning of Him!

✡ Grace and peace to you in the great Name of Yeshua the Messiah, may His Name be manifest in us all, each day! ✡

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Lessons in Set Apart (Holiness) – Part 1

December 7, 2016 at 12:47 am (Remodeling the Mind, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , )

Caleb and his 8 year old daughter, Halayia were sitting at the park feeding the resident geese. The many flocks of spring and summer had flown south, the park was quiet, settling in to the crisper air of winter. The greese breath was visible as they gathered for the crumbs. 

Caleb and Halayia took this path as they walked home from Halayia school. The park workers were finishing up the holiday decor. Halayia watched them, absent-mindedly tossing her crumbs. Caleb could see her little gears spinning and smiled, he knew a question was about to emerge. He sent up a request that the Lord would place the answer in his heart before he heard the question. Those gears were seriously grinding on something big. 

“Papa?” came the sweet voice of his first born daughter. He smiles. 

“Yes, Layia?” He threw another handful of crumbs. 

“Why don’t we celebrate Christmas anymore? We used to, and I don’t understand. I miss the lights and all the stuff we did then. My friends all do, and Gail invited me to a church play, but Mama says no. Everybody does it, but us it seems.” The sadness and dejection in her voice broke Caleb’s heart. 

Oh boy Lord, help me here.  

“When is your birthday Layia?” The words were out before he realized it. 

A confused face looked up at him. “May 6th, Daddy, you know that. I’m talking about Christmas.” Bright green eyes beheld him with question. 

“Yes, I know, now when is Jesus birthday?” Caleb tried not to smile as he could see the Lord had heard his prayer and was answering. He began to see where this was going. 

Halayia’s face scrunched in introspection. 

“It’s not December 25th, but I don’t know….eerrr…I don’t remember His birthday day.” she thought more out loud than in answer. 

“You’re right, His birthday isn’t on Christmas and today you will perhaps remember His real birthday from now on because you have asked these questions. But, before I tell you His actual birthday day, let me ask you…How would you feel if we celebrated your birthday on say… Alice’s birthday?” 

Halayias face again scrunched up, this time in a form of disgust. Alice was a girl at school who was constantly belittling Halayia because she was a Christian. Many a tearful face had greeted Molly and Caleb from Layias sweet face after school from hurtful things Alice did. 

“I would be very mad, Daddy, why would we do that? Halayia tossed another crumb-full down hard on the ground. a piece hit a goose on the nose and made it squack and flutter it’s wings.

“Absolutely, that would be very crazy, huh? You are a bit young dear Layia, but there is a long history to learn about Christmas and how it came to be, and if you’re willing we shall begin to teach you. But right now, let just say that how Christmas started was by people who worshiped the god Isis and this god was just Satan trying to fool these people. But in the real world, God’s world, Jesus’s world, His birthday got mixed up with His enemies party and over the years people tried to make it better and added to it to include Santa Claus and many things. So in truth people don’t even realize they arecelebrating  Satan’s idea of a holiday for him but somehow because some Christians wanted to make it a good holiday, most now think that it’s Jesus’s birthday they celebrate instead. So you see, Layia, it would be like celebrating your birthday on Alice’s, who doesn’t like you because you love Jesus, but worse because Satan is actually Jesus’s enemy, while Alice is foolish and deceived, she is not your enemy. Does that make sense?” Deep inside Caleb took a deep breath, inviting the Spirit to open his daughters mind to understand what was a very complicated thing. 

Halayia was quiet for a few moments, many emotions rolling across her face as her little mind and heart worked to process. Slowly…

“Well, it must hurt Jesus a lot since everybody has changed his birthday and they don’t know… Do they?…I mean, even Christians, our church, our family, who loves Jesus, they all do! How can they not know? Daddy, why doesn’t Jesus tell them?” Halayia was perplexed still, but Caleb could see she was grasping the truth. 

“He does tell them. Just like your mommy and I learned the truth, everyone can learn it too. But just like you, it’s hard to change, to stop celebrating like everyone else, when it seems innocent and harmless. Especially for those who think they can say they are really celebrating Jesus so it doesn’t matter. But, Layia, always remember it’s not what you think of anything in this life but what God thinks that matters most, and He is very serious about the truth of things, it’s His thoughts we must take our actions on. He had a very special reason for sending His Son, Jesus, to be born when He did, the exact day and hour has meaning. HIS birthday is the most important birthday ever, we must be careful to honor God’s timing and ways. As you grow older He will teach you how very special each moment and event in your life has lots of meaning, but Jesus birthday is full of all the meanings of all the lives on earth in one Man. We want to honor that, so we don’t have anything to do with what makes Jesus birthday less. God says have NOTHING to do with evil. Sometimes, like now, that’s hard. The lights are pretty, the plays are well done, the gifts are fun, the songs and shows seem innocent and seem to be good, but to God its like everyone has decided to go to Satan’s party and this makes Him very sad.” Caleb began to gather the bags, now empty of crumbs. The sun had fallen behind the horizon. Darkness was encroaching. Halayia perceived they were leaving and took his hand. 

“Does it make God happy that we don’t celebrate Christmas?” the question was full of more. More than just the one, as all things rich with a heart that longs to please God. Caleb’s heart soared. 

“Yes, my cub, yes it makes Him happy. But more than that, it make us closer to Him, His presence is like you and me, here in this park, talking, feeding the geese and loving to be together. It gives us joy too! He can teach us many things when we are trusting Him and obeying. Especially when it’s hard. I’m sorry it is hard for you dear Layia to not be able to join in with so many things. I’m very sorry that your mommy and I did not realize before what Christmas was and we celebrated and it makes you miss it. Will you forgive me?” Caleb had stopped and knelt down in front of his precious gift God had given him to teach and lead. 

Halayias little gloved hands reached for her Papa’s cheeks and she put her head in his forehead. 

“Of course, Papa, I didn’t know either, will you forgive me? Maybe we can make a party for those who won’t go on going to Satan’s party. It could be like Moses and the Israelites who put the blood over their doors. Well just let it pass right by!” Halayia said with lighthearted fun. 

Caleb teared up, what an amazing little person you have given me dear God! 

He scooped Layia up with a big whoosh! 

“Yes, let’s go home my cub! We shall talk to mommy and Josh and come up with a way to let all this pass over and party in God’s love together!

Amos 5:14-15

Seek good and not evil, so that you will survive. Then Adonai (the Lord) will be with you as you say He is.  Hate evil, love good and uphold justice at the gate… 

Proverbs 1:15

My son, don’t go along with them, don’t set foot on their path.  

Proverbs 4:14-15

Don’t follow the path of the wicked or walk on the way of evil doers. Avoid it, don’t go on it, turn away from it, and pass on.  

2 Timothy 2:19

Nevertheless, God’s firm fountain stands, stamped with these words:

“The Lord knows His own” and, “Let everyone who claims he belongs to the Lord stand apart from evil (wrongdoing).”  

Psalms 37 – all of it. 

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Moreover, it is God who sets both us and you in firm union with the Messiah; He had anointed us, put His seal on us, and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee for the future.  

Revelation 2:5-7

Therefore, remember where you were before you fell, turn from this sin, and do what you used to before. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place – if you don’t turn from your sin! But you have this in your favor: you hate what the Nicolaitans do – I hate it too. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him winning the victory I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life which is in God’s Gan-‘Eden (Garden).'”  

Stay tuned for part 2

Grace and peace in the Messiah, Yeshua. 🙂

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Praise

May 6, 2016 at 12:45 am (Devotionals, Remodeling the Mind, Thoughts to Ponder, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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What is the essence of Praise?

Is it just knowing God is? How often does it come easy when He paints a wondrous sky? When He does anything to make us smile? How does one apply the sacrifice of praise? This question lays heavy on my heart theses days. Almost every believer I know (almost) doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of sacrificial praise. When asked in a poll, nine out of ten believers could not quote a scripture that speaks of sacrificial praise. May seem rather inconsequential unless you realize how often its referenced in the Word. 218 times the word sacrifice is in the Word, half of them include praise with them. In the half that doesn’t refer to praise directly with it, it gives strong indications of it being in conjuction to or related to, or a result of. ..pretty incredible.

To sacrifice means to give something up. To praise means to lift something or someone up in exaltation. Put together, as the Word repeatedly states it, we sacrifice the opposite of praise for praise of God . After all it would hardly be a sacrifice to praise God when I’m happy. It would seem these days that we have this assumption that we are entitled to our feelings. So praise can come after I’ve had my pout, rant, disappointment, hurt, anger – especially if it comes on the heals of injustice. Yet as I enter into the presence of God, and He teaches me, He clearly says to sacrifice my feelings and with all my heart, mind, and soul praise Him, especially when I can hardly dredge up a thin whisp of His praise-worthiness, this is true sacrifice. It requires faith. Faith in the God who is working at all times to and for the good of those that love Him. This is a foundational truth that must be lived. How better to live it than to practice it? Or do it. Something can’t live, as dead words on a page, it must become active to live. Dying to oneself will always come with the sacrifice of one’s feelings. Not the ignorance of them, or denial, but the will turning towards the Father and actively willing itself into the Kingdom of Praise. It’s the arm wrestle of me and my view verses God and His. Every promise He has made can be used to contradict a complaint from human lips. Yes, every single one. Noone keeps their promises like God, not one.

Someone once said, “I really can’t see one thing today that is worth praising“. For those in throws of this temptation let me share a perspective. Everyday, in order for the day to be called a day, the sun must have risen(God be praised), in order for one to be able to call a day a day, one must have been given breath to enter into it(God be praised). One may argue, “what if I wish God had taken me Home instead?” Simply put, then your will has not entered into His, for if you were willed to go Home to be with Him, your breaths would have ceased and there you would be. So. ..sacrifice your will to the sovereign God you say you believe in and thank Him for the day He has made, ask Him to change your heart and open your eyes to the gift of the day you are in and thank Him for your purpose in His will to be here, now.

What does it cost you to call yourself a follower of Christ? Have you been stoned (with real rocks, not weed) for your belief in Him? Do you know the sacrifice of not doing the thing you think you can’t live without, just because He said “Live without it.” Do we truly know that when He says that He is prophecying? Literally, if you give it up, you will really and truly live, actively putting His Word to action, faith being a real live thing working inside you. This is Life, the Life Yeshua (Jesus) came to give. The Life He lived, and now we can by the power of His Spirit live too. I can honestly say I never succeed at such sacrifice, until I’ve admitted my defeat in ability and asked for the Spirit to give me praise instead. I can’t drudge praise up on my own. So, you see the denial of the feelings that cause complaint, pout, rage, bitterness, doubt, comparison, etc – may indeed be acknowledged but not lived instead they must be sacrificed, exchanged for what we don’t possess. The only reason we reason to our advantage to keep our feelings and “work through them”, is simply because we don’t want to let them go. Not one person has ever worked through their feelings leading to life, faith in God. Read Hebrews 11. There is no mention of one hint of one person of Faith who “worked through their feelings But had faith. Not one. Every single one, sacrificed their feelings and turned towards God to obtain faith. Often our feelings are cronic lairs. Why? Because they are hitched to our comfort, our perspective, our desires, our failures, the fallen nature of this world. But, what about delight, joy, love, compassion. ..aren’t theses feelings, you ask? Depends. Depends on Who gives them to you. Do you delight at the sunset? Any question as to Who gets the credit for it? And love? This is constantly being defined by feelings, it’s not a feeling, Love is and always will be a choice. Love is sacrifice, if you don’t sacrifice for the one you say you love, you don’t love them. To sacrifice in love, one must give up something of themselves for the other. It must cost something. Another long subject for another blog, but love is not a feeling, it’s a result of feelings being yielded to Love Himself. What does the Word say about joy? I won’t answer this for you, look it up, study it, it’s not a feeling we come by as good little human beings in and of ourselves. All things good – every single good thing ever only and ever will come from God. If you experience it, thank Him for it, cause we don’t get joy without Him or compassion, or delight. One may argue; “but non-believers delight in sunsets“. So? This is evidence of the contrary of what is true about sunsets? Whether one believes or not, God made sunsets, and if one delights at one, they delight in Him, whether they acknowledge it or not. The Author of the sunset does not change, and why wouldn’t He give delight to anyone for admiring His work? That is the amazing thing about God, He doesn’t wait to be who He is, do what He does, on us to believe Him or acknowledge Him. Never has, never will. He came while we were yet sinners, remember? Yes, indeed, even the sinners are given delight in the things that come from God alone.
But, praise, sacrificial praise, this is only given to them that believe and acknowledge Him. Those without Him are quite incapable of faith. But lest, we who follow and live for God be proud, we, too are incapable without Him. The difference is, we who have let Him take over our lives, have been given the power of the Spirit of God to do the things of God. So we see, it all comes from Him, not us. This why, I believe, that nine out of every ten of those believers in that poll, had no clue about sacrificial praise. It’s the stumbling stone we trip over, living a life we get credit for vs. living a life He gets credit for. Indeed it’s a contradiction to even say, I can live my own life. My life is dead if lived for me. Only Life and God go hand in hand. Without Him, death is the only result of anything.

I belabor, but I do so at the lead of the God of Life. Read up about sacrificial praise in His Word, ask Him to expand upon it into your limbs. You’ll find, much of the walk with Him will have this sacrificial praise as it’s hallmark. It takes faith to praise God when bills are due and money is no where to pay, it takes faith to believe He is working in such detail while the over due notices are stamped out. It takes faith to praise God for accidents and floods. It takes faith to praise God for hiccups and delays. Faith is trust in action. A moving, living trust that moves our lips towards praise and our hearts, minds and bodies in line with them. Every single person on the planet has trust issues. Don’t claim that as special or unique to you. Hint, God never said to trust anyone but Him. Most the time we have trust issues, it’s because we trusted the people He made, or ourselves instead of Him in the first place. Trust issues are cured only by trusting only in God. Faith can only come from a living active trust in God. Sacrificial praise is the epitome of faith!

Hebrews 11:1
Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see.

Hebrews 13:15
Through Him, therefore, let us offer God a sacrifice of praise continually. For this is the natural product of lips that acknowledge His Name.

Psalms 50:14-15
Offer thanksgiving as your sacrifice to God, pay your vows to the Most High, and call to Me when you are in trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.

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♡ Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ♡

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Sacrifice Defined

September 12, 2015 at 12:45 pm (Devotionals, Remodeling the Mind, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Thanksgiving as a sacrifice…what does this look like?

Sacrifice means it cost us something to give; whatever the thing may be. Something that is hard, to the point of rendering one destitute. Lets look at the widow Yeshua (Jesus) praises in Luke (21:1-4) as she was poor, she likely had no way to know how she would pay for food or her bills, but God moved her to give all that remained of her money. Look at the depth of this story.

The widow knew the church (the body of people in the temple and it’s leaders) was corrupt. She could see very well that the money given to it was hardly being used to help the poor such as she, and likely most the people she knew. Yet, she obeyed, trusting God, not the church, giving her money to God, not the church. The sacrificial give here? Her own perspectives, way of thinking – rationalizing, she instead thanked God for what she had to give and gave it all to Him.

Verse 4: “…but she, out of her poverty, has given all she had to live on.”

She could have fallen back on the hardship of her widowhood, made her circumstances the terms by which she negotiated her thinking and giving. I’m sure times we’re hard. Instead she thanked the God who gives and takes away. The sacrifice of praise, even in circumstances that feel hard – don’t initiate praise inside; she chose instead to see her standing as unchanged in His sight. The outward circumstance may look different but the reality of her standing in the Kingdom was what she chose to live by. The sacrifice of giving up our own perspectives and praising God instead of pleading for help and staying in the sorrow – this is the greatest and most costly sacrifice we will make to God. It is most precious in His sight.
So she gave up everything she “owned” both in the physical world and in the inner world where transformation is done. We often make the people in the stories of the Bible inhuman, meaning above those human responses, just because they did indeed rise above them in the stories. The widow thought and felt just like we do, rationalized as best she could, as we do, but her knowing God, changed her choices. Isn’t this what it says?

John 17:3
And eternal life is this: to know You, the One True God, and Him whom You sent, Yeshua the Messiah.

Most don’t sacrifice with thanksgiving, because they don’t know God. Knowing about Him is not the same as knowing Him.

Do we teach our children how to do this? How young are they when they are exposed to the concept? When they scrape their knees and we tend to them with love, do we then pray with them saying,

“God we praise you for scraped knees, we don’t need to know exactly why they are given, but we trust You. May You open our eyes to look for You the most in painful circumstances. We welcome all opportunities for You to show Your love, healing and power as greater than anything on earth we experience and see. Thank You, Father, for scraped knees and the opportunity to praise You. Amen”

This contradiction to all our senses to think and act on such sacrifice is profound. Some may call it extreme, crazy and taking things “too far”. Some may, some do, always have, always will…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Yeshua praised the Father for what He was doing when Lazarus died. He waited to go, I bet He didn’t want to, but He waited till The Father told Him to go. Sacrifice is always what we give up of ourselves for another. We trade our desires, wants, needs, thoughts, perspectives, feelings etc…for God’s instead of our own. And we know that they will be strikingly different, as Isaiah was faithful to write it down – “My ways are not your ways, nor My thoughts your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8)

So read the first part of the Psalms above again.

“Whoever offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors Me…”

Then the next part comes into focus.

“…and to him who goes the right way, I will show the Salvation of God.”

The sacrifice of praise in all ways that seem contradictory, hard, and awkward…this sacrifices our view, our opinions, our perspective (which we know is always but a speck of the whole picture) and our lean or bent; this is what this Psalms is speaking of. Without the first, the second is impossible.

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Show us our Father, open our eyes, for great is the need for this lesson to be applied to us, cemented in our hearts. We depend on You to teach us, as we know this action takes You, Your Holy Spirit, Your Word to enable us in action. Our lean is to complain, fall back on excuses, run towards a “help me” prayer (though we know that we need help, and this is not wrong) instead of trusting that You are working as hard for us when the hits come as when all is well. To say, “Praise You God” for the broke down car, loss of a loved one, hurt and pain of those who misuse, abuse and mistreat us – this is not our first response, and without You it shall never be. We want to be like Your Son, our Master, and be able to turn our cheeks to those who smack them, to give without looking and calculating whether we have it “in our opinion” or not. To simply obey, without hesitation, praising You the whole way, knowing nothing will happen that You can not provide for. ..this is what we pray.

It’s easy to think of sacrifice horizontally (with people). But vertically? What is sacrifice for God? How could it be anything other than our ways, and our thoughts? It’s easy to praise Him, when things are well, or even in the “norm”, but in hard times? To actually say “thank You.” when we are in a tough spot, experiencing great pain, hurt and anger? What else could it be but the sacrifice being spoken of so often in the Word. Is this not what we watched our Lord do, to our own perplexity? That even, steady, consistent example of His inner world (very human) completely sold out to trusting the Father. Oh how all who watched Him, walked with Him, knew Him, we’re touched by Him wanted this that He had. Peace.
Those who walk with, watch, know, and are touched by Him still do. They bare the hallmarks of it as well, as it begins to change them from the inside out. It’s more than a simple “I trust You, Lord”, it goes way down deep and pulls up a “Hallelujah, glory glory glory to the Most High”. Joining the constant refrain of Heaven (read all the refrains in Revelation) at times when doubt, fear, frustration, anger, and resentment lurk around looking for the opportunity to steal from this joining in with heavenly discourse. Do we remember how our enemy is described? A thief, searching for someone to devour, rob joy, pull down and snuff out the light? It’s not his delight to do this because it brings us down. No! It’s because it steals from the glory of God, which resides in the praises of His people. Not just the kind of praise of a thousand voices ringing in song to Him, but most importantly the praise that comes from a child whose tendency is to become self absorbed focusing with earthly eyes; instead – those eyes track with the eyes of the Savior and begin to lift up with heart, mind and soul a “thank You” and chorus of “glory” that heaven itself turns towards and joins. Sacrificial praise, points us to the Way, and we can not help but see the Salvation of God. He has and always will ‘out-sacrifice’ us! Glory to God, in the highest! And Shalom – peace to His people on earth!
Selah – Amen!

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♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡

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Living Belief

April 24, 2015 at 12:41 am (Remodeling the Mind, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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Sandra and Ellen sat in Sandra’s dining room drinking tea. Ellen was sharing a heartache with her neighbor who had happened join her on her porch as she cried that morning. Sandra, always having been a courteous neighbor, had invited Ellen over, curious as to why Ellen was so distraught.

Ellen began by telling her that she and her girlfriend were about to be married on Wednesday afternoon. Sandra, congratulated her. Ellen’s smile did not reach her eyes. Sandra waited for her to continue. A very treasured family member had told Ellen that she could not be there, due to her “love for God and His ways”. Ellen’s voice dripped with sarcasim as she held her fingers up to “quote-end-quote”. Sandra understood.

“She has ALWAYS been there for me! Always. And now this? How can I possibly forgive this?” Ellen cried, tears competing with a running nose.

Sandra handed her a tissue. After a few moments, the tears returned to a few trickles.

“I have a question, if you don’t mind telling me, has this person always lived everything she believes? I mean, backed it up in every way?” Sandra risked poking in.

“Yes, absolutely. I mean, with growth over the years. She always would tell me, ‘it’s not about being perfect, it’s about learning to stretch and grow’, but yeah.” Ellen sniffed.

“Well, I’m no religious person. In fact I don’t believe in God at all. But it strikes me that perhaps you should not see this as such a surprise. If you’ve always respected this person, and known where they end and begin, I suppose what just happened just reinforces what’s always been there. I mean, that you can count on this person. She hasn’t contradicted herself, in fact, with much risk, she maintained her stand. That’s rather rare in my opinion. Most the people I know that say the love God and believe in Him, are constantly doing things that seem to compromise their “belief system”. It’s one of the reasons why I’m an atheist. I’ve read the Bible, noone stands like those people did way back then. I mean the “good ones”. There always seems to be a place where they give in to something or other that contradicts what the God of the Bible said. Usually it is where loved ones are concerned. But it seems to me, if she loves you she’ll continue to be what she’s always been, an live what she really believes, even if it costs her something. Was she smug about telling you she couldn’t be there?” Sandra asked, almost hoping for some chink in this persons armor.

“No, I could see she was torn too. I guess I never thought of it that way. I should have known she would not be able to come to my wedding to another woman. She’s never rejected Gwen or myself. This, like I said, is the first time she’s ever had to say, “I can’t choose you on this one, kiddo” It just hurts, ya know?” Again the tears began to flow steadily down Ellen’s face.

“I bet, I’m certainly not saying it should not hurt. But when it comes to trust, I’d say don’t let the hurt of this take that away from you both. If she will back up her beliefs like you say. Then she’s likely still very trustworthy. Thats hard to find. I don’t want people in my life who just always do things that make me happy, and just like me. I want people who stand firm, and even challenge me at times.” Said Sandra

Ellen giggled through a sniffle.
“She does that! I just can’t image her not being there.”

“Does it make you think twice about what you’re about to do?” Sandra ventured

“Yes, but how can love be wrong? I love Gwen, if God is love, how can our love be wrong? I just can’t get around that.” Ellen went from tears to outright anger.

Sandra gulped, and charged ahead.
“Well, Ellen, I don’t know you well. But if you say you believe in the God of the Bible, then you are saying you think, well, He’s God. You know, the One that knows everything, made everything and can tell you how to do everything and you can trust that God. As I said, I’m not unfamiliar with the Bible. I like to know what I don’t believe. He makes it clear that your love for Gwen is at best misplaced. So it seems you have to decide if you can say, like your loved one, “I believe in this God, and stand and live accordingly”. Sounds to me like at least some of this hurt may be more to do with a crisis of belief than the events themselves. You’re in a tough spot. We’re you raised in a church?” Sandra let out an inner breath. Where did that come from, am I encouraging her to believe in God?

Ellen kept her head down and remained silent for a moment.
“Yes, I was raised to believe in Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Spirit, as the Bible states.” Ellen let out a huff. “Pfft, but in a church, no. Churches are hypocritical.”

Don’t I know it! Thought Sandra, relieved. Yet something else tugged at the edges of her mind. It irritated her, but her mouth was moved to open.
“I agree, they are, but it seems so are you right now, achem, I mean if you believe as you say you do, that is. I’m sorry, it’s not really my business. I don’t mean to offend ya.” Sandra blurted and covered it up with apology. How in the name of all that is did that come out of my mouth?

Ellen stared at Sandra for what seemed like an hour. And then…
“Well maybe, but then I’m just doing what everyone does I guess, learning. I love Gwen, that’s all I know. Guess God is going to have to work around that!”

Again, Sandra’s mouth opened and words stunned.
“Well, they do say He’s the God of the impossible!” Sandra quickly went into sarcastic mode to cover.

Ellen and Sandra giggled. Then Ellen excused herself and left. Sandra took a huge breath. What just happened here? Her mind was drawn over and over that day to – well… there’s no other way to put it – pray for Ellen and Gwen and Ellen’s loved one she was so hurt by. The whole day they would not leave her thoughts and the Words of the Bible she did not believe in kept playing like a “bad country tune” as she thought of them. It would seem that Ellen’s loved ones stand had made an impression on Sandra, and she didn’t even know her name! Respectability is hard to find these days, she rationalized. Sandra found herself hoping she might just meet this loved one who could not be at Ellen’s wedding because she loved God so much. At the same time the other part of her dripped with distain at the thought of it. Again another scripture from “that Bible” ran through her mind. Something about a heart divided not being able to stand or some such thing. It was absurd, she had only really read the dang thing once! Just as quickly the image of that Bible tucked away in the closet came to mind. She felt an irresistible urge to go pull it out. All day and well into the next day her thoughts centered around Ellen, her loved one, and that dusty old Bible. Wednesday rolled around and Sandra caught Ellen and Gwen leaving next door. They were on their way to their wedding. They looked happy, Sandra felt sad. She walked into her house, and went to the closet, found the dusty Bible and pulled it out. Intent on reaffirming her lack of need or belief for it, she sat down and began to read.

“In the beginning, God, …”

Meanwhile, Ellens ‘loved one’ was praying for Ellen, for Gwen, for everyone they know and all who would come to know the Lord through the “impossible”.

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♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡

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