Tuesday, May 22, 2012

#247 - Is the Sin Worth It?

Proverbs 31:18b - ...her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].

1 Peter 1:14-16 - [Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel]. 15 But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living. 16 For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.
I sit and reflect this morning on the greatness of our God. As I began to journal this morning, I began to just thank Him for the sacrifice of Jesus. As words poured out into my journal, I'm sure there was a look of pain on my face as I thought in greater depth about what the word "sacrifice" actually meant. I decided to look it up. A Hebrew "Piel" form of the word "sacrifice" means to press or squeeze. The "Piel" form of  a word is intensive & active. Sacrifice is greater than just a non-chalant "offering" to our Father.

As I sat, I pictured my Jesus on the cross. The vision of Jesus' body from the movie "The Passion of Christ" flashed in my mind. I saw his torn flesh. I saw the blood dripping from His brow. I saw the pain He suffered as he was beat. As I envisioned all of this and wrote my thank you's to my Father, I know an expression of pain wore across my face. To imagine that MY sin put Jesus on that cross. For a split second, in my mind I tried to justify that Jesus died for all mankind, not just me... so it was not just MY sins that put him on that cross. BUT my selfish justifications were quickly wiped away when I reminded myself that if I were the only person on the earth that had sinned, God would have still chosen to send his Son, Jesus, to the cross for me. It is hard to conceive.

To bring it even closer to home, I wanted to personalize it. I wanted to make it real to myself. Not just a story, or a neat concept that "Jesus died for me." I wanted the depth of the realness to really sink in. It took me but only a brief moment when I pictured my son, Tyler Junior. I melt just at his hug. My heart melts when he cries because he falls down and hurts his toe. To see his face so sad, and tears streaming down his face, and there is only one person he wants when he gets hurt, Mommy. Mommy can hug like no other. Mommy can cuddle, coddle, kiss it, lay hands on it and remind him what we say when we have a hurt, "Healed in Jesus Name." And through Tyler Juniors tears, he says "Healed. Healed Mommy." I think of how my son has a way of melting my heart and I hate to even see a stubbed toe, let alone putting him in the place of Jesus on the cross.

The word "sacrifice" takes on a whole new meaning. That great of a sacrifice would be extremely painful.  I can barely even allow my mind to go there to picture MY son, Tyler Junior, in the place of Jesus. The beatings, the torture, the blood, the pain. My Father sacrificed and WATCHED His Son go through that for me!! When I thought about it, even if I knew that Tyler Junior were going to die & be raised again in 3 days, I still don't think I could stand to watch him being tortured.

All of these thoughts bring "sin" into a whole new perspective. I think of a sin I committed last week, would I really have allowed myself that moment of living in the flesh if the consequences would require the sacrifice of my son? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Then the verse, "Live holy as I am holy," comes to life in a whole new light. Placing MY SON in the place of what God sacrificed with His ONLY Son makes me think completely differently.

Is strife worth it? Is immorality worth it? Is coveting worth it? Is gossip worth it? Is ugly thoughts or words worth it? Is ANY sin worth it? NO! NO! NO! The sacrifice was so great. The sacrifice was so heavy. And we are given the charge to "Live holy as I am holy." As Ephesians 5:1 reminds us also to, "Be imitators of God (copy Him, follow His example)..."

I ask you, is the sin in your life worth such a great sacrifice? Is the few minutes of pleasure or living in the flesh really worth it?

Monday, May 14, 2012

What is Your True North?

Psalm 67:2 - That Your way may be known upon earth, Your saving power (Your deliverances and Your salvation) among all nations. 
Psalm 68:3 - But let the [uncompromisingly] righteous be glad; let them be in high spirits and glory before God, yes, let them [jubilantly] rejoice!
I sit here this morning with a great realization of how much I do not know! After spending the last four days with family and celebrating the life of Tyler's grandfather, I am beginning this week with a lot of things I've learned. As we sat in the funeral on Saturday, I marveled at how great this man was. I marveled at all the many things this man quietly did for the Kingdom of God. The lives he helped, served & invested in. The ministries he impacted because of his generosity and love for the Lord. The obedience he displayed in following the calling that God had specifically on his life. I still sit and marvel.

As I reflect on the simplicity of this great man, I realize how much I do not yet know and the qualities I still have yet to possess. I reflect on the areas God has to mold me, twist and turn, change and recreate, but all the while realizing that it still begins with me. Me. It begins with my willingness to SEE myself. It begins with my willingness to be open to the areas that I need to change. It begins with ME being willing to open my heart, and as difficult as it may be, open myself up to rebuke, to facing the ugly areas in my life that I have been hardened to.

Why? Because the #1 purpose of myself and each believer should be Psalm 67:2. That HIS way may be known upon the earth. That HIS saving power, HIS deliverances and HIS salvation my be known among the nations! How easy it can be to lose sight of the greater importance in life. It is not about the houses, the cars, the money, the trips, the clothes, the jewelry, the purses, the experiences. I learned from a man who was indeed blessed with all of those things, BUT I learned where his heart remained all of these years. I learned that his #1 focus was allowing the saving power of Jesus to be the greatest legacy he left on earth. Through the increase he received, he did not lose sight of his calling. He did not lose sight of blessing the Kingdom of God. He lived out HIS PURPOSE on this earth. With humility, he lived out his calling.

Praise God that we have something to jubilantly rejoice in! Psalm 68:3. We can be in high spirits and glory before God. We can JUBILANTLY rejoice! Why? Why can we be jubilant? Because the end of the story says that WE WIN! The end of the story says that we, believers, win! We will be walking on streets of gold with the King of Kings! We will enter through pearly gates and glory for eternity with our Savior, Jesus Christ.

What about you? Do you have any areas that need to be refocused? Like me, do you have any areas in your life that need to be tweaked? Has "true north" moved off course just a few degrees? I challenge you to take a few minutes to check your true north. Check your direction.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Windows of Heaven

Proverbs 10:22 - The Blessing of the Lord makes rich & He adds no sorrow with it. 
Malachi 3:10 - Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 
I've been reading a great book lately which has solidified some of my thoughts about sowing & reaping, about "the blessing"... about finances.... and several other things.

God has allowed us the opportunity to partner with Him through tithing. What a GREAT opportunity. Through tithing, we have the ability to allow the windows of heaven to open over us. The windows of heaven open in a variety of ways.... but many ways they open I had not ever thought of before. Have you ever gotten an awesome idea, and later found that idea on store shelves? I remember getting the idea several years ago for "plastic re-freezable ice-cubes." I thought it would be a really great idea, certainly a great, usable invention. Wouldn't you know it... a few years after I got the idea, I saw the product that I had thought of, right there in front of me, on the shelf!  THAT is a great example of the windows of heaven being open. The windows of heaven opened and rained down an idea. A witty invention. A concept. A product that God knew would sell. He gave me the idea. I did nothing with it. And... most likely, as He saw I was going to do nothing with it, He gave the idea to someone else who would. That witty idea made someone money, just not me.

The Blessing allows us not only to meet our own needs via the Lord providing, but The Blessing, when in abundance, pours out in an overflow so that WE, God's Children can bless other people. LACK & poverty is not a part of the Kingdom of God. Otherwise, the streets of heaven would not be paved in gold. The "pearly gates" would be rusty gates instead. "On earth as it is in heaven." Through being a faithful tither, we open up the WINDOWS of heaven to pour down ideas, ways of increase directly to us. God knows if He can trust us with the TITHE, 10%, He can most likely trust us with more. What was the beginning problem in the Bible? The ONE tree. Adam & Eve were not willing to leave alone just that one tree. Let's say that one tree represented the "tithe".... if we can be good stewards of the tithe, I do not doubt that the Lord would be happy to bless us, you & me, with more. We see another example of the wicked servant who buried the masters money. In Matthew 25:28, So take the talent away from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.

God wants to bless you. Will you be faithful to give AND faithful when you receive? Money. Ideas. Inventions. Concepts. 

Social Sharing