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?
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.
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!
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
The limitless Love of the Lord never ends, His pardon for sin never finds itself matched for the sin itself. These are new at the first rising of the Sun, everyday, everyday! Great, mighty awesome in Power is Your commitment to us, O Ruler of my soul! Great, mighty, awesome in Power is Your commitment to us, O Ruler of my soul!
(The steadfast Love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness, oh Lord. Great is Thy faithfulness.)
The two stanzas of this famous Song are the same. To meditate on things, often is best done when we take the words and fill up the space with all they mean in detail to us. One is not more precious than the other, for they tell the Good News. Glory to the One for which all songs are worthy to be sang! May our spirits rise up to meet Him!
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
We are not called to be “good people”. We are not created to be the most successful, educated, prosperous we can be in our means for income; nor the raising of our children; nor anything that promotes us or illuminates us in this world. All these may come, but they are not the first and foremost focus of our lives. As Yeshua (Jesus) said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of heaven, and (then) all these things shall be added into you.” Our call, or goal our first and most passionate pursuit must be holiness! What is holiness? Sounds like a legalistic religious word these days, eh? It depends on Who’s eyes you are looking for the definition for through.
The key words are what we are to hate and what we are to cling to or love.
Within the community these days there is a back tracking with the word – hate. “Christians don’t hate, they love.” – as the mantra goes. Really? That’s not what I read in the heart of my Father. Hate what is evil. If we are going to be Holy, the exact opposite of love must be held as a lifelong steady discipline in regards to anything anything evil.
It helps to become like children. They have no hesitancy in rejecting what they hate. They resist it without giving up. Foods, chores, discipline, mostly – they are learning what their flesh bends like. We teach them to love those good things. But just focus on their single minded devotion to reject that plate of broccoli (or whatever each one may abhore). I remember working on a plate of broccoli for three days, until I ate it all. I didn’t eat much those three days. I was miserable, but I didn’t care, I hated broccoli. I was determined in my mind it was not good, would not be good and therefore it wasn’t good. (I love broccoli now, thanks mom!) I also remember avoiding it like the plague. If I knew mom was fixing it, I found ways to be at a friends for dinner instead of home, or I’d play sick. I rejected what I hated. I did it well. We all did. So why can’t we do that with evil? We celebrate Halloween and apply the scripture backwards. Attempting to glean some good out of a practice that has no root of good in it. The candy, and the tears of our children “feeling left out” entice us with compromise for sweets and new inventions to go along with it. Holiness, sees Halloween as just another calender day, it simply rejects the whole thing. If a donut had arsenic in it, mixed into the dough, do we eat just a little thinking the arsenic won’t effect us? The Word of God, says a little leaven, a little slip, a little compromise and the whole batch is ruined. We are called to hate, that which holds any degree of evil, to abhore and avoid it like we avoid pain. With everything in us. It starts by making up our minds.
See where it says, “and become convinced of…”. I think this is where we go wrong. We are not fully convinced that a little joining in with evil practices will truly harm us. Many are not so in union with the Spirit that they can discern where evil lurks inside candy-coated, seemingly innocent things. It is impossible to cling to what is good and compromise with a little evil. You cannot say, “I love you”, to someone and have resentment, or bitterness towards them in your heart. So we see that the holiness always starts from within, to begin the process of convincing. We never convince ourselves, the Spirit of the Living God first convicts and teaches/instructs, then He shows us how to give up our way of rationalizing, to die to ourselves, and with nothing but blind trust move forward with the way laid out for us in scripture. Hating what’s evil is not coincidently the first part of the instructing. That is first. Then we can can begin to cling to what is good.
I hate. ..unkindness. So I am kind. – Holiness
It doesn’t matter if my feelings feel like being kind, I choose the kindness in trust in my Savior.
I hate. ..deception. So, no matter what it may cost me, I am honest. – Holiness
I hate. ..trying to get something for nothing also known as laziness. Which can come in disguise of entitlement. So I think nothing is owed to me, and look for where it will cost me something to obtain anything. – Holiness
I hate. ..resentment. Which comes in many forms, all of which centers on selfishness. Expecting others to do or be something for me. Unable to rejoice when someone gets something good. Choosing to be hurt and put distance between myself and another instead of choosing grace. So I choose grace every time, in all things, with all people. – Holiness
Do we begin to see? Ninety percent of Holiness is done from within. And without continued exposure to the mind and heart of God – His Word – there can be no transformation. No hating evil and clinging to what is God aka: good.
Our destination is holiness. Ninety percent of all our energy is to be focused on obtaining it. When we think that sending our energy into this more than others, will keep us from doing well in our jobs, our family’s, our missions, we get all backwards.
seek ye first. ..and then. ..
We test it and see. Pulling all our resources into this pursuit, only gives us all we need to do more than well with everything else.
As followers of Yeshua, we hate, abhore and reject any form of evil. Theres a time to hate, and a time to love. Not people, but often the things they choose, or the practices they invent. First inside our own hearts, then where we find it as a result of being in others. Evil is sly, sneaky, complicated, and disguised in anything but it’s own face. We can not discern it without the Spirit. We cannot be led by the Spirit without the Savior. We cannot know the Savior without knowing The Word; which He is. We cannot serve two masters. We will either hate the one and love the other or vise versa.
The first stop on the road of Destination Holiness, is hating what is evil. Rejecting, avoiding and turning away from it like a child throwing a tantrum about a plate of food they have determined in their mind is no good for them.
May we all reach this destination!
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
Too often our spirits lean back, away from a scripture, for us to gain an accurate understanding. Mostly, when our pride is involved. Man’s pride can not be tested much higher than when we is in conflict. The scripture above has been notoriously misinterpreted and therefore taught wrong.
Lean in and note the key phrase that has often been reversed.
You remember there your brother has something against you.
Most of us read it…
You remember there you have something against your brother.
There is a huge difference between these statements!
Since the Temple is now within each of our hearts, and our gifts are often things such as our pride, anger, resentment, jealousy, rage, hurt, self-pity, self-absorbtion and so on. This reinforces what Yeshua (Jesus) said about the difference between cleaning the inside of a cup instead of worrying about the outside. (Matt. 23:26)
So…when we are in prayer, offering the Lord, all the things that don’t bring Him glory, and there remember that our brother or sister is angry with us, we are to leave off our offering and keep it at His feet, while we go seek out the person we know is angry with us and offer the olive branch of peace.
Why, I have often wondered, does this scripture so often get turned around? Well, for one it is far easier to retain some pride by going to someone we are angry with and confront them. But…it smacks pride right in the face to seek out someone we know is angry with us! Can your hear the refrain so often used by human wisdom?
I shouldn’t have to approach someone if they are angry with me, they should come to me. After all, they are the ones with the problem. Why should I go and say, “hey, I know your mad at me, let’s make peace.” I mean isn’t it their responsibility to come to me?
I know I’ve said something along those lines. This scripture seems to be backwards, counterintuitive, nonsense. Kinda like, offer the other side of your face if someone smacks you. Truth: Almost everything Yeshua taught goes against our thinking. Just read the gospels again and lean in, you’ll see it everywhere! To us this scripture must have been interpreted wrong, so we reword it to suite our wisdom. Otherwise it seems that we should expect a dentist to come find us when our tooth is infected!
Trust me, the Great Physician does indeed seek each one out, often before they even know they are sick, to offer a cure. Did not God send His Son before anyone knew they needed Him? Did He not, knowing we had issues with Him, seek us out to rectify the problem. We certainly did not seek Him first, with our offense. Left up to us, God would still be waiting for us to come to Him, and say, “Hey, I’ve got issues with You!” In other words, God never asks us to do what He, Himself, does not, has not, and will not do Himself – and first – so as to teach us how to do it!
Perspective in the Kingdom of Heaven means, we are righted to conform to God’s way of thinking. Not that we all the sudden understand scripture in the light of our own rationalization. Isaiah says, “My ways are not your ways, nor My thoughts your thoughts.”. (Isaiah 55:8) A good rule of thumb for studying to show yourself approved, knowing you are beginning to “get it” is that we are ever being put out by the difference between the way we think and how God is teaching us He thinks. Our first instinct to truth will always be resistance, in our flesh. If, Gods Word is not brushing up against our sensibilities, we are gaining nothing. I love the truth, but I wrestle with it before I appreciate it. I’ve yet to meet anyone any different. Even when the truth doesn’t butt up against our pride in correction. For example: God says He loves us. This truth may not correct like the one above, but if we are honest, we can’t reconcile why God would love us the way He does. There is a resistance to this truth, albeit, with a different hue than our resistance to go seek out an offended party against us.
Leaning in close…what does this mean? A well respected pastor usually starts out his sermons with this phrase.
“Holy Spirit, make the Book live to me, show me myself, and show me my Savior, and make the Book live to me.
In other words, we lean in close by asking for His perspective not asking for Him to make our perspective make sense with His Word.
Leaning shows us our bent. I remember the first time I rode with my husband on his motorcycle. When he would turn or go around a bend, I instinctively wanted to lean away from the ground or direction of the turn. He had to teach me, that I endangered us both by doing that. On a motorcycle, you lean into the turn or bend which meant that often you lean towards the ground! That was scarey. Also, too much, and we would crash! So he said, “Just stay with me, let your body become one with mine, no more, no less. What a beautiful picture to the unity we are to have with Yeshua the Messiah as Paul so often spoke of, and Yeshua, Himself in John chapter 17. Leaning in close can feel humanly scarey and wrong. But our feelings lie! In Matthew 5:23-24, we must lean in close to the One promised by our Savior to reveal all truth to us.
Leave your gift, go seek out the one you know is angry with you, make peace and come back where I hold your gift in trust to be offered from a pure heart.
A pure heart is attained by obedience, conforming our actions and lives, to what God says is right. It proves that the gift we would offer with just words, will indeed be true with our actions. Words are easy.
God forgive me for being unforgiving.
Leaning in close, the Spirit reveals where indeed we have been, and where we justify it because the person is angry at us, and we have no idea why. Do you not know? Only the Spirit of God can remind you of any such thing that would bring about peace? Inwardly or outwardly, this does not come from us. So in this scripture we see that when we come to Him with our gifts, if there is anything that makes that gift unable to truly be given, He reminds us or reveals to us anything that taints our offering. And not only that, but shows us how to make the gift worthy.
Those two scriptures say a whole lot more than what the mere English words printed on paper say. They are alive and active, cutting marrow from bone, breathing life into our own dead bones, making a new life thrive inside!
Lean in Close! You’ll be transformed, you’ll experience the whole ‘new creation’ we are made into when we lean in as one with Yeshua. Lean in Close!
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
Today, those who follow Yeshua, are often accused of being narrow-minded. Unwilling to bend to social acceptability is labeled close-minded. Not long ago, yet by human years many years ago a people said the same thing.
Yeshua, prepared us as His sheep for such mantra. Yet Christians today shrink at being called exactly what He called us to. It’s no shameful thing to be narrow-minded in the light of Matthew 7. Close-minded in the light of…
Yes, there are ways we are to become impenetrable. Narrow and close minded, unbending, unyielding, straight, severe unto His will for the purity He directs us towards. The key is recognizing that that His direction for us, is not meant to to turned into finger pointing towards others. As followers of Yeshua, He tells us like He did Peter in John chapter 22 verses 20-23. Each of us have a call to a certain severity and adherence, that does not carry over to all. So we recognize that there’s a place where we follow Him, yet keep our minds open. Open enough to let prescriptions fly out and up into the Father’s hand when it comes to others.
But there’s a reality to following Him that makes no apologies or exceptions for how one becomes a follower of Yeshua. Only through Him, only by obeying Him, only by making all thing about and for Him. Sounds rigid and absolute. It is. He set the example, and now leads us down the direct path of its execution for each of our lives. Those lives are to look different, but all of them point to Him. He is the needle on the compass, He points in all directions but the driving force of its pull is the Father’s will for every one. Narrow, yes, hard, painfully, yes. Rewarding, emphatically, yes yes yes! Easy, not hardly (forgive the pun). Full of peace and contentment, nothing else on earth can fill us so.
Don’t shrink from being of the Narrow and Few, for the Author of these shrinks not from claiming you!
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡