Tag Archives: sacrifice

More than Conquerors

As we come together this morning, Father, may I be focused on you and attentive to Your words…and may that be the case not just here and now but throughout our day together. Amen.

Hebrews 9:1-15 (<<click here)

Lord, for my mind to wrap itself around this passage I need to go back to the very beginning. Adam and Eve were very clearly told, in fact it explicitly states in Genesis 2:16-17,

“But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden – except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.’”

They disobeyed and sin entered the world and according to God’s word, being irrevocably true, with sin came death. Paul’s statement in Romans 6:23 makes it clear. “For the wages of sin is death…” So for Adam and Eve’s sin to be forgiven death was required. Their death was not instantaneous but blood had to be shed. To cover their new found nakedness blood was shed – a life was sacrificed – and so it began.

So for thousands of years because sin was inevitable (and will be until Christ returns) life – blood – was forfeit for forgiveness. And that was the case still when Jesus first came to live amongst us.

Over time God set up a structured system by which sins could be forgiven. It may have provided the necessary forgiveness but it dealt basically in the realm of the physical and ceremonial. By its very nature it could not get to the core of the problem – the conscience. And there was no permanence to it – every time they sinned another sacrifice was needed. In addition every year it was necessary to offer a sacrifice for the community as a whole.

But in God’s timing Jesus came to live amongst us. He became the perfect, once and for all, sacrifice. And His sacrifice went way beyond the ceremonial and physical – it went to the very core of our being. His blood not only covers us but His very presence fills us. The conscience can be brought under control.

Lord Jesus, thank You for all You do. We no longer need live defeated lives. In You we are victorious, “In You we are more than conquerors. Romans 8:37 NIV

Apr 5th, Tue, 6:45am

A band that I really like is Rend Collective – here’s a great song by them if you’d like to check it out!

Adopted into the Family

Over the thousands of years, Father, oh the countless multitude who have sat where I am sitting – in Your presence, spending time with, learning from You, growing in Your, being love by You. What a privilege!

Hebrews 2:11-13 (<<click here)

It’s a little over whelming, Lord, to think that because You have made me holy that I am now Your brother. I know that this is the case but it just seems so…so…intimate. I know, oh too well, who I am yet You embrace me as a cherished member of Your family.

I really don’t know a whole lot about the feelings that are associated with adoption. I know people who have been adopted but we’ve never really talked about it. I also know individuals who have adopted children and have heard some of how it has impacted their lives. As I sit here writing, it by no means does it justice but here’s a little of what I see.

Two families come to mind. In both instances, by no choice of their own, there were unable to have children and they wanted children so badly. The love they shared with their spouse they wanted desperately to share with someone else – and not just any someone but a special “someone’ who would call them Mommy and Daddy. There was a void in their lives and they wondered if it would ever be filled. God graciously enabled both of these couples to embrace beautiful additions to their families. It is truly a blessing to hear the stories they have to tell and to see pictures of their children as they continue to grow. It is obvious that the gifts they have received are not taken for granted. They are cherished, they are loved, and life could not be imagined without them.

Neither couple was coerced into bringing a child into their lives. They diligently prayed for the privilege of having a child and both were richly rewarded.

Father, it is a difficult to comprehend all You went through to bring me into Your family. You sacrificed greatly so that I could be with You. Jesus, You gave up Your very life so that I could be made holy, so that I could call You brother.

I guess what comes to mind when I think on these things are pictures of love, fulfillment, acceptance, gratitude, completeness and things being as they should be. And though these are all my personal things – intimate things – they are not meant to be kept quiet. They are things that bring great joy and are meant to be celebrated!

Feb 20th, Sat, 5:29 am

Called to Share

Good morning, Father! I’m ready to hear what You have to say. Help me to take it all in and to live it out, too!

Titus 3:12-15 (<<click here)

Paul’s letter to Titus concludes with some transitional instruction – a pastoral change with a call for Titus to winter with Paul. Also, Paul asks for the Crete’s to help Apollos and Zenas in their travels for ministry. And in that regard he writes, “Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent need of others; then they will not be unproductive.” v14

Lord, when we are called to share it can be a challenge – it goes against our self-preservation mentality. If I have two apples and I give you one apple… that leaves me with just one apple. Things we own, including money, are at times, difficult to part with…but for that matter so is our time. In fact sometimes it is easier to throw money at a need than to invest time into it. Quite often time is a much more valuable commodity.

Jesus, when You came to live amongst us – You sacrificed everything. We had nothing in comparison but You came to give us Your all. You held nothing back.

For the most part we are not asked to give everything we cherish away. (Though a devout follower realizes all we own – all we are – is from Your bounteous hand.) But how many times when we are asked to give we respond like a toddler whose toy is given to another.

Lord, help me to be wise in my giving. May I give to those who are truly in need. May I do so with the utmost of love and compassion. May I not be hesitant, on occasion, to give until it hurts. May I be Your hands and Your heart to a world in need – not just material need but sometimes I need to give time and a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Feb 7th, Sun, 6:28 am

Such Love!

It really should come as no surprise, Father, but Your love and grace never cease to amaze me! A hymn I grew up with popped in my head when I first sat down.

“Such love, such wondrous love!
That God should love a sinner such as I –
How wonderful is love like this!” – C. Bishop, 1929

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10

Lord, first of all thank You… Thank You for loving me even before there was a day one! (Ephesians 1:4) Thank You for your sacrifice for me… for all of us. Thank You for Your faithfulness to me even when I am unfaithful. I am overwhelmed by Your “real love”.

I think one of things that beats us down is thinking that we are the only failures in Your kingdom. Looking out over the vast sea of faces of fellow pastors, and leaders in the church – over individuals that just seem so “saintly,” it becomes very daunting.

No matter how overwhelming those thoughts might be, in reality they are not true. We – every single one of us– are all sinners. None of us are perfect. You are the only one who is perfect. And even though we may feel like the ugly stepchild in the family of God none of us were “naturally” born into Your family. We are here not because we are better than anyone else but solely, entirely, exclusively because You…loved…us! Help me, Lord, to remember this. Burden my heart and mind with the burning desire to draw closer to You each and every day!

Dec 20th, Sun, 6:43 am

No Use Hiding

The quiet of the morning seems best for me, Father, though even this “late” hour has its challenges. After a good night’s sleep, my mind is quiet and hearing Your voice is easier in that there is less to obstruct it. Enable me to listen to what You have to say to me today

2 Timothy 3:8-9  (<<click here)

Lord, thank You for the love You have extended to me. Saying thank You for the sacrifice You made for me is a paltry response, small and meager indeed. Your love truly covers a vast multitude of my sins.

This morning’s passage makes me think how futile it is to try and hide sin in our lives. The end of Numbers 32:23 says, “you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Looking back over my life I can think of numerous times when I would have been absolutely mortified if others could have read my mind or had known what I had been doing or thinking. But I have given those things over to You to “trample… under Your feet and throw them in the depths of the ocean!” Micah 7:19  They will never be seen or heard from again – praise Your holy name!

Lord, continue helping me to be drawn to You. Only because of You can I be victorious over the sin that tries to trip me up in my walk with You. You have helped me so much in the past and continue to help me in the present. I am lost without You… I am Yours, Lord.

December 11th, Friday, 8:38 am