H A P P Y N E W Y E A R !
I know I am a few days late, but hopefully you have still stuck to your new years resolutions (NYR). You are on track with your new diet and you probably have hit the gym a few times this week. That is what happens when a New Year comes. We have this revelation or insight to eat better, work out, be a better person. To help us continue this goal we make, NYR. I have got back on track…eating right and exercises again. I ate my fair share of Gingerbread Men cookies this year…and homemade chocolate fudge. So I have been walking with my mom and I have not been snacking on Chex Mix every five minutes. But to me it isn’t just a physical cleanse, I want a cleanse for my mind, specifically Spiritually. What am I doing as a Christian that is encouraging my soul? I am not always dedicated person, it is hard for me to stay on something. I am talking about devotions specifically. I get really excited on something and then I just forget to. I guess it means I am human but it isn’t enough. Especially when I think of all that I have been given. Sometimes I like to just sit down and be truly humbled by how God loves me. That I have everything I need in that moment. I love that time between God and yourself right after communion. When you are sitting in your seat and you have that time to close your eyes and be complete immersed in his love and sacrifice. Sometimes I don’t want to open my eyes, because in that moment I feel so safe and loved and whole. So I am praying that God will help me through this little journal/devotional time.
__ So I goggled Bible verses on living like the Lord. I often get caught up on one bible verse in a chapter, so sometimes what I read doesn’t actually help me. Romans 12:2 is a pretty well known verse, but if we go back on verse and read it together, it sounds like this: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
___ When I first read this, the first word that hit me was sacrifice. If you know the story of Jesus Christ you know he did the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus Christ came as a baby to a virgin, taught God’s Word, and then died. He died not just for the people of the time but he died for EVERYONE. In the past and in the future, all of them saved. So since he sacrificed his life, when I read this I thought is God asking us to do the same thing? In a way…..yes. It does scare me at times, for two reason one curled in the other. 1) to sacrifice means to give of yourself…do I need to die for God? That is terrifying, which brings me to 2) Fear. It tells me that I can’t do something that it would be more work to try something that what I am just doing now. But if you go back to the verse it says a living sacrifice. To be alive, walking this earth as a human but more immortally as a Christian. I want to live like Christ, even if that means to sacrifice my life. Christ sacrificed himself for all of us, I want to live that way to. Giving of myself, I just don’t always know how.
___On the radio that other day, they quoted Matthew 7:7 which is “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” When you really think about it, it seems almost selfish to ask God for something. Sometimes I think it sounds selfish..maybe not to you. But to ask for something that might just benefit me, I seem to pause, and hide myself for God…but that is impossible. I am not trying to should self-righteous or anything, it is just something I sometimes struggle with. So when I wanted to do a study on The Fruit of the Spirit, from Galatians 5:22-23. I just sat there and I asked God to show me what to do next.
__ Going back to Romans 12, I wanted to hi-light verse six, even though I like to focus on verse seven. Romans 12:6 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith;” I think it is so beautiful that even though God gave us salvation and that in itself is wonderful; he gave us all our own spiritual gift. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 helps me understand these gifts, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” Then..because I goggle verses I looked up 1 Peter 4:10-11 which says something similar to 1 Corinthians. says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve other, faithfully administer God’s grace in it various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” These gifts that the Lord gives us, whether it is to preach, teach, serve or whatever it is, we should do it through God, for God. I know that looking at that you think, I am not going to be a pastor or teacher, I understand because I am in that same predicament. I was going to be a teacher, and now I am not. But I know that I can still serve others, and I think that is what God was always getting to. We all need to be reminded that we can live like God just like 1 Peter talked about.
___ Maybe at this point you are thinking…where is she going with this? Please have patience..was that a foreshadowing?
___ One man in the bible Paul..who use to be Saul didn’t always have the easiest life. I would encourage you if you don’t know that story to read about it.(Acts 9). Paul doesn’t always have the easiest job, but he continues to speak of the Lord. Galatians, chapter five, Paul starts to speak of the fruit of the Spirit which are… “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23. We can live a life for God, a life as a living sacrifice, a life living like God. We can do all this because, Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” The sacrifice that I talked about in the beginning is coming full circle. God, gave us the freedom in Christ to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Any and all things we do, we can do them because of God’s sacrifice.