Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts

Sunday, November 25, 2012

We Call It Sacrifice?

{Jeremiah 33}

“…and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord…”

I rest back into my chair and mull over this phrase.

We call a lot of things sacrifice. Giving a miserly amount for missions. Setting down a good book to go help our parents with a project. Speaking to someone who’s feeling lonely when we would rather be conversing with friends. Spending a day helping at the homeless shelter. Adhering to healthy lifestyle principles just because we know it’s good for us. Putting aside our selfish nature for the benefit of others.

We call this sacrifice. And I rebel.

Because if Christ truly has our hearts, the above is not sacrifice; it’s joy. Pure joy.
When the wellspring of Christ’s joy is in our hearts, to give is to gain; to obey is our pleasure; to share is our song. 

It’s an all-consuming pursuit of happiness of the eternal variety.

And praise? For the Israelites it was embodied in a physical offering, yet there is also the verbal aspect.
We often pride ourselves, thinking we declare our praise and adoration quite often.

We praise God when we call on Him and He shows us great and mighty things. We praise God for healing. We praise God for the big things in our lives. And to us, it seems no sacrifice. The blessings are so obvious.

But what about the things we take for granted? Or perhaps the things that don’t appear to be blessings?

Little things.

Like a minute of sun piercing through the clouds. Like a plethora of Bibles sitting on our shelf. Like instructive criticism from a caring mother. Like golden tamarack trees dotting the hillsides. Like a toothbrush. Like giving to sustain and educate a girl across the world. Like the gift of learning. Even like trials and temptations, suffering and pain, heartache and tears.

Yes, all these are worthy of our gratitude and praise. Through the eyes of the Infinite we can view even the thorniest valley as a gift from the Giver. And we mustn’t forget to pour out our hearts in thanks to the Giver Himself…

With all that He has done for us, praise is no sacrifice; to give is pure joy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

To Find One Faithful…

{Jeremiah 5}

“If you can find a man… I will pardon it.” {Jeremiah 5:1}

Just one. One individual with only two qualifications: execute justice and seek truth.

Could that be so hard to find amid a nation of professed people of God?
One earnest seeker and honest citizen?

Yet they had repeatedly neglected their spiritual relationship with their heavenly Father. They were not upholders of justice or seekers of truth. And because they had so completely spurned His gift of mercy, consequences must follow and His protecting hand be removed.

A high price to pay for disobedience.

I want to be one found faithful…

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"You Shall Call Me, Father…"

{Jeremiah 3}

Christ’s chosen bride, His beloved, has utterly violated the sacred vows of marriage—despite the fact that an incalculable dowry had been given to claim her as His own.
Time after time she has renounced her promise to faithfulness and fallen into a life of whoredom and harlotry.

See the tears running down the face of the Bridegroom as He watches her turn from the path of righteousness up a winding path leading to groves of trees waving on the hilltops.

“My beloved,” He cries, “Return unto me, for I am merciful and will not remain angry with you. Only acknowledge your sins and return unto me, for I am married to you…”

Still married after such absolute desecration of sacred trust? How can that be possible?
No earthly marriage patterned after such disloyalty would endure.

Yet divorce is not an option for Christ. He will ever remain faithful to His bride.
And the Father, watching this abomination to His Son’s reputation, what will He do?

He claims her still, as His daughter.
“You shall call me, Father…”

There is no greater love.

no. greater.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Noble Vine

{Jeremiah 2}

Nobility: “the quality of being noble in character, mind, birth, or rank.”

It was the right rootstock planted in the hearts of the right people,
yet somehow something had gone wrong,  
terribly wrong…

They had carelessly slashed the living vine, grafting an inferior, degenerated one in its place.
And they were reaping the results.

Yet God still pleads with them and offers to re-graft the right vine into their lives.
He longs for them to be representatives of nobility, pinnacles of His creation—noble vines.

He longs for you. He longs for me.

How will I respond to the Grafter’s plea?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Touched by God

{Jeremiah 1}

I cannot speak. I am just a child. I am unqualified.
Excuse. Excuse. Excuse.

When God touches your life, excuses hold no validity.

God says what He means.
His word enables.

"We are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, not by struggle and effort, but by the impartation of that which is Perfect." {Oswald Chambers}

“Be ye therefore perfect…”

Yes… Be.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

To Walk Worthy...

He wants me to be worthy.

I stop and stare at the words again.
“…that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing…”*

A few verses later.

“…having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself… to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight…”

Me? Worthy? Unblameable? I think not.

By no stretch of the imagination am I without fault. I don’t deserve anything.
I am overcome by a complete sense of my unworthiness.

Despite how undeserving I feel myself to be, He wants me to be worthy.
He has given His very blood to cover my wretchedness.

How can I spurn the gift that cost my Savior His life?

So I claim His pure white garment of righteousness to fully cover my unworthiness.

He will continue to transform my life “til we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”**

And I will walk on those golden streets worthy—not because of any virtue in myself, but because I walk in His worthiness…

What incomprehensible love and grace my Father bestows!

*{Colossians 1:10}
**{Ephesians 4:13}

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Defeated by Song

Song is a forceful weapon with the ability to either defeat the enemy or dishonor our Creator. Unfortunately most of the world experiences the negative connotation and only a few the positive. Nearly all are blinded to its massive influence on our lives.

We can have so much more power than we now possess, just through song…

Temptation would hold no sway. Trials would be turned to triumph. Victory would be assured.

The secret?

Christ knew it well and employed it often. In becoming part of humanity He subjected Himself to every temptation to which we are subjected today. And He was frequently tempted. Yet He never succumbed to the enticement of the enemy.

“When in His youth His associates would try to lead Him to do wrong, He [Christ] would begin to sing some sweet melody, and the first thing they knew they were uniting with Him in singing the song. They caught His spirit, and the enemy was defeated.”*

He drove back the enemy, meeting the temptation with a song.
And not only did His companions cease their invitations to evil, they joined with Him in song…

Throughout His life, Christ employed this simple yet effective weapon against temptation. Picture His clear, melodious voice rising above the din of the crowds, in the midst of scoffers, in situations of peril, gloom or fear. I wish I could have been there. Heard it. Seen it. Experienced it.

Yet that same tool can be ours today, with the same results…

“God wants us to use every facility which Heaven has provided for resisting the enemy.”**

By God's grace, I’m determined to more intentionally utilize this weapon against temptations.
To sing until the enemy is defeated…

Will you join me?

* Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 235
** Evangelism, 498

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stamped with the Cross

 “All the blessings of this life and of the life to come are delivered to us stamped with the cross of Calvary.” {Christ’s Object Lessons, 362}

Not a blessing does God give without an inscription of the cross, concealed or visible. And He often proves adversity to be my greatest blessing.

Hardship and suffering are not situations I particularly desire.
In fact, my human flesh naturally recoils at the thought of sorrow or pain.

I was not originally created to ever experience these consequences of sin. Yet since the fall, these are Christ’s chosen instruments to purge my character from the traces of evil.

I stop and desperately attempt to consider sin with an eternal mindset…

In the light of Calvary, is there anything in my life worth holding onto?
Is there anything too dear for me to relinquish?

I can think of nothing…

Then why do I shrink from the approaching sound of adversity's footsteps? Why do I not embrace the pain, the heartache, the sorrow with unconditional gratitude? They are but a gift of love from my Father, a blessing stamped with the cross…

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Staked for Fulfillment

Glory. Honor. Heaven. All at risk of being nullified. And by what? A promise of faithfulness… And to whom? Unworthy, sinful beings who call this blighted earth home.

Just as Christ risked all Heaven when He stooped to uplift fallen humanity, He yet again puts the whole of eternity on the line.

“The honor of His throne is staked for the fulfillment of His word unto us.” {Christ’s Object Lessons, 148}

Everything is staked on the fruition of a promise. If His word fails, even once, the entire plan of salvation will be obliterated forever. Yet Christ will jeopardize the honor of His throne merely to offer us the choice of eternal life.

This sacrifice cannot be taken lightly. He has pledged the entirety of heaven’s resources to secure our deliverance. Will we not risk every earthly loss for heavenly gain?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Gift Called Grace

Grace: an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings.*

There are but few attributes of God’s character shown to fallen man alone. Included in this special handful is grace. The only qualification for reception is unworthiness. The only prerequisite, sin.

Sin necessitates grace. We do not pursue grace, instead grace is sent in search of us. And it is when grace comes knocking at our doors that we are expected to respond.

God’s highest joy is to bestow the gift of grace on undeserving mortals. Yet there must be a mutual transaction. When God freely gives, we must reciprocate by graciously accepting.

"We are debtors to the world for the grace given us of God…"**

Will others see glimpses of grace in you? 

* Heavenly Places, 34 
** Christian Service, 10