Living Sacrifice

relaxing with a cup of cocoa

I have just completed reading the book of Matthew, fresh in my mind is the Lord’s last days.  The sacrifice he made for me, the sacrifice he made for you.  Now I begin the book of Leviticus… not knowing what to expect… how will it speak to me, a book of laws that the Jewish people would not be able to full fill completely? Chapters one and two showed me Jesus! Pure, loving and perfect.

God was very specific in how sacrifice was to be made, whether it be a blood sacrifice or a grain offering.  It was to be pure and perfect.. Jesus was that!  It of course then would be held as important to the one offering it… Jesus again! In these chapters of Leviticus, the offerings made would be a sweet aroma to the LORD.

Jesus’ sacrifice was an atonement for our sins, it was to restore a right relationship between God and us.  In all of our shortcomings, Jesus pain, suffering and crucifixion  was an act of love for us, a gift of grace.  So, I think about this all, and focus on that gift…

With all the things going on in our day to day lives, we can get distracted from his grace.   Sacrifice ~ made for me ~ love ~ grace.  The Old Testament can seem old, just as it is called.  But it is filled with pictures from what is new!  As a new Christian, one of the first verses on my own I committed to memory was Romans 12:1-2 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” ESV

I am reading through the bible with Good Morning Girls. (http://womenlivingwell.org/2015/04/introduction-to-leviticus-resources-chapters-1-5/) We are being guided to look at Leviticus as a book of Worship… I looked at that verse I memorized so many years ago and wanted to see it in a fresh new light… so on to more modern translations I turn.  I love that we can see the word in so many different versions!  Here, The Message puts it so clearly,

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

This also goes along with what our message was about on Sunday in King Solomon’s life.  Things around us can pull us away slowly, gradually. The key words I took from that was “start well ~ finish well”.   When we Focus on Grace,  keep our attention on God, he brings out our best!  Our best attitudes, our best character, it gives us gratitude for what he has done for us and given us.  It helps us to look at all things around us, things going on in our lives that may seem like interruptions, and see them as opportunities! It will help us to finish well!  I hope to live my everyday, ordinary life for Him, as a living sacrifice.  As I do that, I have peace and joy because of his mercies and grace.

Whatever season you are in, God is on the throne!  He is able, he is faithful.  Focus on His Grace and live in gratitude. Pace your live before him!

  

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Recipe for Joy

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Summer has finally arrived.  Isn’t it funny how we complain about the cold and snow for so long throughout the winter, but, when the heat and humidity of summer hits us. we complain about that too.  I know that I am guilty of that; yet in the summer I can escape by finding the coolness of air conditioning.  Yet, even if I need a light sweater, I can enjoy the coolness.  When winter snow arrives, I have no choice but to go out in it, shovel, drive, trudge through slushy, sloppy parking lots.  For sure, there is no escaping it!  I would certainly choose the beauty of summer, the green grass, the colorful flowers and being able bask in the sunshine.  Yes, I love it!

If stress and tension are filling my life, I have choices in how to deal with those things too.  Jesus left us with these words…

These things I have spoken to you,

that my joy may be in you,

and that your joy may be full…John 15:11

As a Christian, I have him in me, his joy is in me ~ regardless of  my outward circumstances and what is going on in my life!   Prior to these words, Jesus also told us to abide in his love.   If I am going to stand by, or act in accordance with His love, I must embrace his love.  It is then when his joy will have a marked influence on my attitude and actions.  He, being in my heart, will rule not my circumstances.  Joy is within!  My choice is whether or not I will live in that joy or live in my stress.

If you feel like your being pulled in too many directions, maybe it is time to unclutter your mind and your heart.  soak in his love, soak his words to your life.  As you do that, consider your blessings, consider what he has done for you out of love.  Lift up the name of the Lord in worship and with deep gratitude for who he is and what he has done in your life.  The stresses and tension you were feeling can be flooded over with his love.  Take time to slow down this summer and besides basking in the sun, bask in the Son!

I hope you enjoy this song by Gwen Smith.  Take time to reflect on it and consider the words as you consider how you can bask in the son more this summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVee2y01_8k