Sacrifice

The other night in growth group one of the ladies asked “How do you even begin to know what Jesus went through?”

I answered with something our Pastor said awhile ago.

“Love is rooted in sacrifice.” – Pastor Tally Wilgis

God sent his Son, Jesus to be the sacrificial lamb. He sent Jesus to die for us so we didn’t have to.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

He sent his Son because he loves us because he wants us to be with him for eternity. We get the free gift of eternal life, but Jesus lived in this world and then voluntarily hung on executioners cross and died for our sins just so all of us can have the gift of eternal life.

Think about that for a moment, Jesus died for you. He voluntarily got up on the cross. He is God in flesh, he could’ve stop it. But he didn’t. He didn’t want to die in Matthew 26:39 Jesus says “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” In another Gospel it says he was so anguished that he was sweating drops of blood. Can you now imagine what he was going through? I still couldn’t.

But I said to them for us to experience even a glimpse of what he went through. Try doing something for someone else when you don’t want to or don’t have the time to. It might be a silly sacrifice but when you had a hard day at work and all you can think about our pjs and your favorite shows and someone you know is hurting or is having a rough day, try switching your plans around to put them first above your own. You’ll get frustrated and you might even get mad because you don’t want to sacrifice the time or energy of your own time.

One of my big things I tell myself is when I don’t want to do something it probably means I should be doing it. Meaning that when I evaluate something by my mere flesh and worldly views my automatic response is I don’t want to. I don’t have time. I don’t have the energy. But when I evaluate through the lens of the spirit I immediately go through it differently. I ask is this purposeful? Does it impact a person? The Kingdom? Is it meaningful? So when I don’t want to do something a lot of times it’s my flesh fighting back because my flesh doesn’t want to put others above me.

One of my pet peeves is when people say they follow Jesus and “live it out” but there is no sacrificing for others and it’s always about them.

God is Love. Love is rooted in sacrifice. And in order for us to show the love of God we have sacrifice time, talent, treasure. We have to be willing to give something even when there is no return.

Meeting you at the point

In Genesis 22, Abraham was to sacrifice his son after God told him to do so. But the beauty is when they go to altar, God showed up. God had Abraham free his son and provided a ram to be sacrificed in his place. God met Abraham in the place after he placed a calling on him and Abraham was following through.

God will meet you where he called you, just not on your timing. I’ve been struggling with faith, I’ve been struggling on whether this life is what God has called me to do, I’ve been struggling with connection with God, I’ve been struggling with a relationship with God. It’s been rough. It’s been battles with the enemy, internal struggles and some very dark days. God promises me he will never leave me nor forsake me. He promises he will always love me and he is working all things for good for those who love him.
But I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to hear the goodness of God. It was as if I put myself in this box and the enemy decided to trap me in there and tried convinced me that God had forgotten me, and repeatedly told me if he truly called me then I wouldn’t be going through this pain. But all this time, God was out there telling me to hold on because I had to endure this moment to get to where God wanted me but I couldn’t hear him over the words of the enemy. I was right where the enemy wanted me, trapped in my own thoughts.

But I was set free. You see there was this moment I had to pull over and allow tears to just flow down my face and be broken before God. At this very point was the point at which God met me. I yelled. I screamed at God. But a peace had come over me. It was in that moment that I knew I was free and all I had to do was let go. 
God will meet you where he wants you. Today I walked into church with more happiness and joy than any Sunday over the last few months. I got to serve Jesus today and for that I am thankful. 

Nailing the Nail in Deeper

It’s Easter time so it’s time for bunnies, eggs, and candy, but most importantly it’s time for Jesus.
It’s time to celebrate his resurrection from the dead. It’s time to celebrate the victory of all victories, the victory of death itself. But he had to die first. 

He had endure torture, he didn’t deserve. He had to endure pain like no other pain. Those nails had to pierce through his flesh and bones. 

So many of us stop Christianity there. We stop and we want the resurrection but we don’t want to face the killing of Jesus head on. We don’t want to face what Jesus actually died for.

He died for our transgressions. He died for our sins. He died so we wouldn’t have to. He died for you and he died for me. But the problem is every time we walk that path of flesh and we give into that sin we are nailing the nail in deeper. 

Every time we put a little pride behind our speech, every time we are a little bitter to that co worker, we are nailing the nail in deeper, crushing him, killing him little by little. 

Some of you maybe thinking “But that’s what grace is for”. Yes, but it neglects that fact that you hang Jesus every time you sin. It neglects the fact that God doesn’t call us to live in sin. He doesn’t say “it’s okay to sin now”. He calls us out of sin. He calls us to glorify him, we can’t do that if we are sitting there trying to pull Jesus off the cross before he even died because all we want is the end result of forgiveness.

Jesus bleed out to heal us. He can’t heal us if we don’t give him all of us because if there is still a part of you in this world, then there is still a chance for infection, for the enemy and sin to engulf  over your life. Which means every day is a battle. Which means that some days you will nail the nails in deeper, but you cannot sit there and keep nailing it in, you need to take a step back and examine yourself to see what part of your flesh you have to give over to Jesus.

Shackles 

We all know that God breaks out chains, right? He frees from everything, because this world isn’t out home. He frees from our past because we are no long bond to it. We no longer have to let our past and our failures depict who we are. He claims us as His sons and daughters. 

But how many of us rush back to put the shackles back on ourselves? You can say none, but think about that addiction to whatever you have or had, let be food, alcohol, porn, drugs, anything. At first when God opened your heart, you realized it was wrong so you gave it up and you stayed away. But how long did it last?

A year? A day? Maybe even 5 or 10 years? And then that moment of temptation hits at the moment where you are stressed and down and you give in just that once.  You feel guilty, sinful, and comepltely unforgiveable in that moment. But then you remind yourself God will forgive me because He already has. You convince yourself you’re okay and it won’t happen again. THEN the next time of giving into temptation came a little sooner than last time, and the pattern just keeps going.

The thing is we do it ourselves. We put the shackles of sin back in our lives. We let that temptation dictate our moves instead of God. We let our own sinful self get in the way of true freedom from God.  But the thing is the shackles aren’t locked, we can walk away at any moment but we don’t and they will just keep getting tighter and tighter the more we give in to our addiction and temptation.

But what if we instead of turning away from God to hide our sin nature in times of stress, depression, and worry, what if we turn towards to God? Temptation will always happen, but instead of giving in, open your bible. Instead of giving in call someone. Instead of giving in pray. 

Your mind is powerful. If you create a system in to battle temptation that comes in front you, you will combat it. But you have to be willing to not only give it up for now, but completely. You have to be willing to talk about that darkness of temptation to other people. You have to be willing to walk away from the shackles of sin and not look back. If you don’t you will hold yourself captive there. 

Don’t be held captive in chains that were broken once. Find yourself a path to get out, because God already created it for you, you just have to find the right one. 

He will not Abandon

God is with us.

That is the saying right? The saying the truth that we are all suppose to believe. God is with us.

I have debated this in my head all day long. I have come to realization that I haven’t been living as though He is with me. I have suffered from depression and ultimate feeling of feeling lonely but I was never alone. I just didn’t know God was there.

God is there regardless of what I am going through. Regardless if it’s a really bad day and nothing is going right, or if it’s a great day and everything is going great. He is also there when you fall to your knees and pray your heart out to Him, He is listening.

I have made it a pattern in my life that when something is not going right, it seems like I am going to have a bad day, I pause and I say a little prayer and then laugh and tell myself, “One thing cannot ruin my day” . I sometimes have to give myself a pep talk and tell myself that, “Whatever comes at me today, it’ll okay, because at the end of the day God you will not abandon me”. It surprises me that just be reminding myself that on days when I feel down, on days I do not want to get out of bed and face reality, I have a great day. God is with me throughout the day to remind me He will not abandon me.

But yet at my darkest moments, when I feel like I have failed life, when I feel like I am going backwards instead of moving forwards. I forget God is there. I forget that He is there when I sin, He is there in my darkest moments. But when I get to the point that I need Him to be there, when I open my bible and I cry out to him, I realize that He was there all along. He is the light that shines in my darkest times. I realized that I should never act that. I should never get so down on myself. But it happens. It happens if I don’t remind myself, that I am living my life not by own will, but His who put me here. My life is about doing God’s will through me. If it means picking up trash, if it means helping an old lady up the stairs, if it means sacrificing time that I could have to have “fun” or to be with my family or to sleep, if it means doing things that makes me sweat, if it things that makes me cry, if it means I lose for others to gain, I am okay with that.

God is there when I fall, and He will be there to lift me back up. I will face trails, I will face temptation, I will face fear. But hopefully reminding myself the God is with me always, and He will not abandon me, He will not forsake me, then maybe I will choose God more and choose sin less. I will be a bit more courageous when I feel fear creep over me. God can do amazing things through me, if I choose Him more.

Sinful Coffee

So I gave up coffee for a week. Ok so it’s only a week, but here’s what I have learned.

I complained of the idea of giving up coffee, I had every excuse in the bag. But I didn’t plan on giving up coffee. I figured I can let go of something else that wasn’t as abundant in my life. I was on my way to work last Monday morning and I just felt like I didn’t need to stop for coffee that I could make coffee at work. Then, the coffee maker at work was broken! So I sighed and I said a prayer that was so simple. “If it is your will, God, if you really think this will help, let it be done. Amen”

That day I wasn’t stressed, wasn’t even really tired. I turned to water. The next day was the most stressful day of the month. The end of the month. It meant deadlines were sooner, more paperwork. The works. But I still didn’t give up, even after the headaches started rolling in. By the end of the week I realized my ups and my downs throughout the day were because of my continuous crashes of caffeine, not my actual being tired.

It’s like sin, sin can make you feel great but by end of the sin, you will be down seeking your next sin to get involved with. And I know you will be kicking and screaming like a little child of even the idea of giving up some sin, but in the end it’s all worth it. With Gods help it can be done. Even if you don’t think you can live without.

Jesus, the perfect man,died for our sins, so that we may live. But if you are a Christian living in continuous sin, the thing Jesus died for, then how can you embrace God with a fully loving heart? You can’t. How can you live a sinful life if you are suppose to be Christ like? It doesn’t go together. I am not saying you won’t sin because you will and if you say you don’t, you are probably lying and therefore sinning. We are enslaved to sin. Sin gets you no where in life. Embrace God and leave the sin behind.

No matter where you are in life, if you think that God put it on your heart to do it. Then do it give up the sin and Stop complaining.